WALLOW IN A BREATHTAKING BEACHSIDE SETTING AT SURYA SAMUDRA – KOVALAM

Planning a trip to Kerala and looking for a setting that will give you an ethereal experience of  ‘God’s Own Country’? I happened to stay at this beautiful heritage property called Surya Samudra – Kovalam by Niraamaya Retreats with my family a couple of months ago and simply didn’t want to return. I had almost planned to apply for a job as a staff member only so that I could live in the tranquil surroundings for the rest of my life. 😉

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The jade blue infinity pool surrounded by greenery. How can you not love it?
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Some bird watching at the nearly private beach of the resort

Set in 20 acres of landscaped gardens, Surya Samudra is a peaceful retreat built at a stunning cliff-top location with dramatic views of the Arabian Sea apart from the two secluded and nearly-private beaches, yet not more than 12 km from the hustle and bustle of Kovalam. Everything from the reception to the polished wooden cottages reflect the 100-year old traditional Keralan homes and lifestyle.

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The reception of the resort has a very earthy appeal with its wooden interiors

Spaced well apart, surrounded by a number of coconut trees, the cottages are perfect for families looking for deep relaxation or even a couple looking to sharing some romantic moments with each other. In fact, a solo trip here is highly recommended too as you’re sure to come back with a lot more calm and renewed energy for your next opus. Read more

6 THINGS I ENJOYED DOING AT SULA FEST 2016

A weekend at SulaFest was a mega mix of great music, wine, drinks, gourmet food, fashion, shopping and more in idyllic surroundings of the scenic vineyards in Nashik. Here’s every little fun detail for you

(1) SHOPPING AT THE MINI BAZAAR

When there is music, wine and shopping, you don’t really need more! SulaFest had these little shops selling knick-knacks and creative items sprinkled across different areas. I found some hand-painted bottles, antique silver jewellery, hand-embroidered little clutches from Kashmir, pretty Pashmina shawls, colourful ganjis with quirky sayings for both men and women, jootis with ghungrus, dainty and French-like kitchen ware in subtle shades of white and pink and a lot more. Even if you don’t really intend to go back with your hands full of shopping bags, sometimes, it’s just a lot of fun to look around and hunt for interesting stuff.

(2) GRAPE STOMPING, OF COURSE!

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The moment you look at those bunches of grapes lying in a huge wooden barrel, you simply want to kick off your shoes and jump in for some fun. The experience of squishing and squashing fresh grapes with your bare feet and feeling them between your toes is utterly delightful. Plus, grape stomping never fails to be the perfect photo op! This activity at Sula Fest was chargeable at Rs 300 per person for 10 minutes. Had it been cheaper, I would be dancing, sleeping and rolling in that tub full of purple grapes all night.

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HOW TO TELL AWESOME STORIES THROUGH YOUR CAMERA

Travel the world and come back with a suitcase full of memories – all this only with your camera lens

Do you happen to remember the smell of a pretty flower you saw in the garden, the thrill of sitting in a roller coaster ride, the adrenaline rush you experienced during white water rafting, the fragrance and taste of local food and the warmth of the natives who gave you shelter? The photographs you click during your travel should bring these sensations back and help you share those fun-we-had stories with your loved ones. So how do you click the best shot?

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved…
– Late American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams

For capturing a picture that comes alive every single time you look at it, you need to think and feel as much as you need to look.

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I AM GOING ‘GLAMPING IN THE VINEYARDS’!

For a very long time, I am yearning to take a road trip to a camping site and sleep under the enormous sky in the wilderness, where nature is my only alarm clock. I wish to peep out of my cosy tent and soak in the incredible sunrise amid green hills or simply laze around in a hammock. I am day dreaming of nothing but toasty, chocolate-dipped marshmallows and yummy barbecue dinners accompanied by bonfires and late-night acoustic jam sessions.

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The Let’s Camp Out team offers unforgettable, luxurious camping experiences at handpicked idyllic locations including forests, beaches and hills

And when I happened to plan a three-day glamping trip to Sula Vineyards located near the beautiful Godavari river in Nashik, it was almost like the universe had conspired to grant my travel wishes yet again. In fact, an upgraded version of my wishes this time. If you have never heard of glamping, the definition is: Glamorous Camping. Glamping was first introduced in early 1900s in European and American safaris as the affluent travellers did not want to sacrifice the comforts and luxuries they were accustomed to. And, the glam quotient cannot get any better. Yes, it’s time to indulge in the harvest season at Sula Fest 2016. I am already doing a happy dance around my living room as I can see myself squishing grapes between my toes, downing glasses of delectable wine, treating myself to the lip-smacking gourmet spread and shopping some pretty, delicate knick-knacks at the little fest bazaar.

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