24 HOURS IN ANTWERP

Years ago, Antwerp established itself as a hot bed for diamonds and avant garde fashion, but it isn’t just a place to buy your engagement ring and shop for trousseau. The city is blooming in a million forms – from cuisine to culture, art to architecture and ideas to innovation. The infrastructure here makes it easy to reach most places on foot or bike around. To uncover its true essence, saunter the streets near the port or sit quietly at the riverfront for some people watching.

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If you just have a day to go around this Flemish city, here’s a map to help you make the most of it:

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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.Β 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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PADHARO MHAARE DES…

that translates to ‘Welcome to our city’ exemplifies the spirit of Jodhpur which isn’t simply an architectural marvel but a canvas of Rajasthani culture, colours, music and more

Ever thought the colour locals painted their homes with only to ward off insects would become synonymous with the city? Earlier, Jodhpur used to suffer from a major termite problem and thus, the people there began adding copper sulphate to their whitewashes, which lent the city its pristine blue-indigo hue. Traditionally, blue signified the home of a Brahmin, but gradually non-Brahmins too fell in love with the tint and got in on the act. Yes, the Blue City is really blue! It has been chronicled in many a photographic anecdotes, written tales and beautiful canvases; but to see it come alive in front your very eyes is altogether a different experience.

Modern Jodhpur stretches well beyond the city walls, but it is the buzz of the old city and the larger-than-life fort that capture your imaginations. At the base of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort is a jumble of blue cubes that stretch out to the 10 km-long, 16th-century city wall. Inside are vibrant, entangled and bustling medieval streets – all of which look-alike and never seem to lead where you want them to – and shops selling everything from vintage home decor and temple decorations to skirts, saris, jootis and traditional embroidered jholas. With many of the alleyways now obstructed with unwanted scrap, forget exploring the city on foot, especially during muggy monsoons. The attractive-looking rickshaws here are made super slim to be able to squeeze through the narrow streets and make for a great travel option. Their sight makes you want to hop into them straight away!

RAJPUTANA SPLENDOUR

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