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Staycation @Mashobra, Near Shimla

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Mashobra - the name did not ring a bell with me.  My husband popped up this name one evening to select a destination for our staycation and I was left clueless. Where is this place, wondered I and immediately set about to google it. Well, Mashobra is a sleepy little town tucked away in a quiet corner of Shimla. I was glad to know that it is located just 12 kms from Shimla and is yet almost untouched by the maddening crowds of Shimla. We wanted such a place for our staycation - close to the comforts of a city and also far from its chaos and crowds. We were looking for a good homestay in the lap of nature with all the modern amenities and conveniences (read internet) at hand. Mashobra was the ideal spot with good internet connectivity and good accessibility from Shimla.  The town is nestled at a height of 7041 feet and is almost always covered in a veneer of mist and fog. It felt like we were residing in the clouds :) On a clear day, it offers panoramic views of the valleys and peaks a

Korigad Monsoon Trek, Lonavala

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To go or not to go, was the question foremost on our minds. It had been raining  since the whole of last week week and the trek uphill was sure to be muddy and slippery. But then we were really bored sitting at home with the lockdown still enforced and wanted to step out. We thought we will decide on the feasibility of the trek at the last minute after driving to Lonavla. At least the picturesque drive to Lonavla would be worth our efforts. So off we set sharp at 6 am in the morning from our house, the four of us - I, my husband, our son, and our dog, Nemo, to embark on what was going to be the most lovely trek till date. Soon we were cruising on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway mindful of the speeding cameras that have been recently installed there. There is a fine of 1000 bucks per every violation and with the sheer number of cameras installed in there, I was fervently hoping that we are able to keep our fine to a bare minimum - kidding :) However, soon I was no longer mindful of any restr

Sabudana Khichdi - Authentic Maharashtrian Recipe

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Sabudana khichdi   Sabudana khichdi is one of my most favourite breakfasts! It is typically eaten during fasts as it full of carbs and loaded with the richness of ghee - ideal on a fasting day to curb your hunger cravings.  If I make it for breakfast, then lunch is usually late and a light fare. It is prepared in a number of different ways across India. I had it in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand recently but I like the Maharashtrian version the best. So I am posting the no garlic - no onion recipe - the way it is usually eaten in the state. Here is the recipe - quick and easy! Ingredients Sabudana, unsoaked- 1 cup Ghee - 8-10 tbsp Jeera/cumin seeds - 1 tsp Coarsely crushed peanut powder - 3/4 cup Green chillies - 2-3, finely chopped Potato - 1 large, chopped Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, finely chopped Asafoetida/hing - a pinch Sugar - 1 tsp Salt - to taste Method Wash and rinse the sabudana and soak it overnight in just enough water so that all the sabudana pearls are covered in water. There sho

Mesmerising Maldives

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March 2021 Beautiful, ain't it! Maldives - the name conjures up images of reef-ringed atolls, clear blue waters, white sandy beaches and luxurious overwater villas... and lately also of  Bollywood stars flaunting their tanned bodies on the beaches of this sunny island! It had almost become a mini Mumbai before this current lockdown.  I did not particularly think about why they are thronging to Maldives. However, just recently I read an article that many of these celebrities get a deal vacation - free staycations in these resorts to post pictures and promote these resorts on the social media sites...quite a deal, right!  Uber-luxury and expensive resorts are what come to mind whenever Maldives is mentioned but that's not entirely true. Not many are aware that Maldives is also a budding budget destination since the last decade.  In 2009, the Maldivian government started allowing tourists to stay among the local population rather than just on privately-owned resorts. This regulat

Mussoorie

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Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills For me, Mussoorie is the land of Rudyard Kipling and Ruskin Bond, who with their innumerable stories have weaved an air of magic and adventure around this beautiful British-era hill station. Thanks to these authors, I was already fascinated with this heritage hill town without having seen it and now visiting it was one of my travel dreams come true.  We visited Mussoorie during the Christmas break of 2020. Being in the middle of a pandemic, we chose to stay at JW Marriot which we thought would be a better choice given the sanitization and safety procedures it followed. However, our resort was a good 25-30 minute drive from the hub of the town but that did not bother us much as we had hired a personal car and a driver for the entire duration of the trip.  This popular hill station still retains much of its colonial charm even in 2020.  Landour near Lal Tibba, where Ruskin Bond still resides,  is one such place where one can still find age-old villas and chu