Think tent with a view, tasteful luxury and otherworldly, stunning natural beauty. That’s what ‘glamping’ at Chamba Camp Thiksey and Diskit is all about

LEADThere are those who yearn to ditch all the present-day luxuries and camp with the basics in God’s flawless setting – Leh-Ladakh. They are okay with roughing it, sleeping on the cold ground, using Mother Nature as lavatory and giving up on warm, comforting showers. Unadulterated air and picture-perfect views keep them happy. And then there are some who want it all – good wifi connectivity, Himalayan earl grey tea on call and a foam mattress for a good night’s sleep – without trading off nature and it’s rugged beauty. You can call them “glampers”. A fry cry from the string of typical white and maroon guest houses and hotels with distinct dragon motifs and wood carvings that dot Leh, glamping in the ‘Land of Lamas’ is all about unrivalled understated luxury.

Chamba Camp Thiksey and Diskit by TUTC are set up in mesmerising locations making the surroundings a photographer’s delight. Depart on a photo tour with a local guide or a like-minded outdoorsy-type wildlife enthusiast. They will help you unravel all the little hidden treasures you wouldn’t want to miss capturing in your camera!  Read more



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


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.


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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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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.

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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A quaint, little hamlet in Uttarakhand, Kanatal grants every wandering traveller an invaluable gift – the gift of inner peace and silence

The mountains are calling and I must go.
– John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist

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While leading a boisterous, flashy life as an urbanite, you’re constantly connected. It’s become a rare thing to break away from technology and keep sometime solely for yourself, to let your thoughts take you wherever they wish to. While you may perceive this as a ‘waste of time’, it’s a way of life for people living in the mountains. The layered hills of Kanatal – a picture-perfect hill station near Dehradun, perched at an altitude of over 8,500 feet – urge you to tune out of the mental baggage, tune into nature and reconnect with your disoriented self. Yet unharmed by commercialisation, Kanatal is surrounded by dense pine, cedar, oak and rododendron forests and offers a splendid view of mammoth snow-capped Himalayas.  Ornamented by beautiful wild flowers; it looks like a landscape straight out of Keats’ poetry.

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The rainy season certainly isn’t really the right time to visit Jaisalmer, especially if you wish to enjoy a camel safari and a night of camping under the starry sky. But that did not deter the curious rain chaser in me who desperately wanted to experience the monsoon magic in the ‘Golden City of India’. After living the Maharaja life at a 550-year-old haveli in Jodhpur, we decided to take off to Jaisalmer by road. I must say that our 300 km drive was quite rewarding. The highway was stark empty with open spaces on either side, and no visible economic activity for miles and miles; we almost felt like we privately owned the beautiful surroundings. To make the trip all the more pleasant, peacocks, camels and blackbucks occasionally made an appearance, gorging themselves on the fresh green grass, courtesy the random bursts of rain.
The city that is entirely constructed by yellow sandstone is much more laid-back and hassle-free as compared to cities like Jodhpur and Jaipur and untouched by globalisation. Retaining the rural Rajasthani aura and culture, the city has no fancy malls or popular food chains and is hugely dotted with ruins. We started our day with a walking tour of the city’s major heritage spots which are within the radius of 2 to 4 km. Even if you’ve hired a car or taxi, you’ll have to walk up to most of the places as the streets are quite narrow. When you look at the magnificent, carved havelis and the unique fort perforated with winding lanes and lined with houses and temples, you’ll be transformed to a bygone era and would never wish to return to reality.
After savoring a few local dishes like Ker Sangri and Daal Baati at one of the small joints near the fort, we proceeded to Sam Sand Dunes for a desert safari which was just the perfect way to end the evening on a delightful note. It wasn’t raining that evening and we just got lucky. When it rains, you can’t recognise the desert – heaps of sand are eroded, leaving behind bare nut-brown earth and a camel or jeep safari remains a distant dream. But we got to experience both and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Yes, the ride is likely to take a toll on your back if you tend to become too stiff and don’t move in the same rhythm. Post the safari, you can either get back to your hotel or book an overnight stay at one of the desert camps to witness the breathtaking sunset and spend the night around a bonfire or simply appreciate the rustic performances by the folk dancers of Rajasthan.
My trip to Jaisalmer was indeed a memorable one as it felt like I was travelling back in time. Too hard to believe? Here’s a glimpse

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A panoramic view of the Jaisalmer city from Canon Point
Jaisalmer Fort Road enclosed by honey-coloured sandstones. Can’t take your eyes off the unsurpassed architectural marvel?

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