FOREST BATHING IN THE BEAR COUNTRY

A hike in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is a chance to come face to face with bears and ethereal blue glaciers while slowing down and plugging into the therapeutic powers of the natural world

Hiking in the lush and inviting Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska
The Tongass National Forest is a buffer against climate change, absorbing around eight percent of the nation’s annual global warming pollution and storing an estimated 10-12 percent of all carbon in USA’s national forests. However, it continues to be threatened by ongoing congressional attempts to clear-cut rare and valuable old-growth trees.

In the heat of idleness, I often envision myself in the middle of nowhere, lost in the deep, dark woods, full of magic and mysticism. Taking deep breaths to smell the fresh forest air and damp soil, placing my hands on the trunk of a tree, listening to the ambient sounds of birds, dipping my fingers in a stream to feel the chilled water and soaking up the sublime serenity, I am at the peak of bliss, calm and contentment. Such is the tonic called “nature”!

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BELGRADE – A BALKAN BEAUTY

Visit Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia, for an immersive walk from the country’s turbulent past to its liberated present

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“Let’s meet by the horse” 
If someone in Belgrade tells you this, you must know they are referring to the sculpture of Prince Mihailo Obrenovic III riding a horse. It is one of the most popular meeting points in the city. 

A famous thought expressed by Serbian writer Duško Radovic says, “Whoever was lucky enough to wake up in Belgrade this morning can consider that he has achieved enough for life today. To insist on anything more would be unseemly.”

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BIKANER – A CITY OF GOLDEN SANDS & STARRY SKIES

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For me, the desert town of Bikaner has always been synonymous with famed Bikaneri bhujia! Overshadowed by its celebrity cousins – Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, the remote town in Thar desert remains fairly under-explored as a holiday destination. The ravishing red is lost somewhere, amid hues of blue, pink and golden! However, only when I happen to explore the vibrant city on a long weekend break with my partner, I discover that it has a lot more to offer other than the sev-like, crunchy snack packed in shiny foil packets.
After alighting the small Air India flight at Nal airport which is also the Bikaner Air Force Station, we are on our way to Narendra Bhawan which is around 16 km from the airport.
Local woman in Bikaner
During the drive, we see camel carts treading on clean, wide roads, independent houses (each one constructed in its own unique style) awash with colour and village belles sauntering in flowing skirts, with a ghunghat drawn over their faces, right till the chin. Our very first impression of Bikaner says a lot about the flavour of the city! We are delighted to see that it has a genuine untramelled vibe and a certain rustic charm.

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EXPLORING IRISH COUNTRYSIDE ONBOARD BELMOND GRAND HIBERNIAN

Ireland is home to the kind of beauty that instantly makes you a believer. Take a 4-day train journey through the rustic country to forge a deeper connection with yourself and everything around you – people, nature, food, culture, and more

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Many love trains but never end up taking them as they’re always in a hurry to reach where they can start their vacation. But, why just get somewhere when you can make the journey as glorious as the destination?

TRAIN JOURNEY IN IRELAND

In this age of all things instant, trains give you that perfect opportunity to experience the simple pleasures of going slow which involves taking the time to breathe, unplug and pay attention to the little, simple joys of life that aren’t necessarily the most popular attractions.

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Get off the grid in Doubtful Sound!

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Bird’s eye view of Doubtful Sound

The massive Doubtful Sound fjord in New Zealand is where you can enjoy the sound of silence!

How often do you feel that your days and months are passing too quickly? While constantly trying to cope with the hurried pace of city life, you often feel the need to slow down, sense the nature deeply and relax in the present moment. Recently, I got an opportunity to get off the grid in Doubtful Sound – one of New Zealand’s largest fjords in Fiordland – and returned feeling the ancient connection with nature.

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WILD AND WONDERFUL POKHARA

Often perceived as the indigent cousin of India, Nepal is far from being one. In fact, it has a wealth of charming villages, incredible mountain scenery, centuries-old pagodas, monastries and temples, interesting museums, backpacker-friendly streets and gorgeous national parks waiting to be explored. And which is probably why it is difficult to pack everything in one trip!

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During our recent jaunt to Nepal, my husband and I decide to explore Pokhara at a relaxed pace, thus delving deeper in the traditional mountain life of the lakeside town. Read more

WHY FOOD TOURS ARE THE BEST WAY TO GO AROUND A NEW CITY!

If there’s anything humans have in common, it’s the love of food!

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Sushi, sashimi and ramen in Japan, pad thai in Thailand, cheese and chocolates in Switzerland, beer and sausages in Germany, bunny chow in South Africa, handmade pasta and traditional pizza in Italy and the list can go on.

For many, food is one of the first things that comes to mind when planning a trip to a new country. And what better than learning about the history, cuisine and culture of a place while stuffing your face with delicious food, in the company of a knowledgeable, fun-loving local?

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“FALL”ING FOR QUEENSTOWN!

In fall, Queenstown puts on its best show, as though dressed for the red carpet. I rediscovered the essence of life through an autumnal trip to the alpine city
Rowa of lake-side houses in Queenstown
“Never let go of your window seat on a flight to Queenstown” is a quick advice given to me by a Kiwi as I am all set to board the flight from Auckland to Queenstown, a city in New Zealand’s South Island. And thank heavens, I heed the tip!

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GLAMPING IN THE MYSTICAL LAND OF NAGAS

When in the north-eastern state of Nagaland, go beyond Kohima. Glamp at the foothills of Japfu, sample Naga delicacies and explore the unusung villages that will only foster your connection with nature

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A trip with my girlfriends is long overdue and I am thinking of a destination that offers it all – colour, culture and spectacular natural beauty. I, almost spontaneously, book three seats on a flight from Mumbai to Dimapur. Read more