Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga – Truptsthan!

जहाँ हवाओं में राजस्थान का संगीत है: माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

My colleague Trupti Sharma along with her bunch of young, adventurous & enthusiastic friends ringed in New Year in mesmerizing Rajasthan & the choice was in favour of Dessert trek at Jaisalmer.  In over a week – long trip to Jaisalmer, Trupti experienced Rajasthan like never before…

… Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga!


Trupti was gracious enough to share her experiences along with unique photo-essay for travel-knots readers. Enjoy reading it here!!

Phir dekhiye Rajasthan appko bhi kuch aisa lagega!!!

Jaisalmer Trek: The Transition:

  • From 2016 to 2017
  • From one state to another
  • From Camp to Second Home
  • From Strangers to Friends
  • From Friends to Family
  • From Can I do it to I bet you cannot do it

But it was truly:

Challenging | Freezing | Arid | Windy | Quiet | Calm | Noisy | Golden | Royal | Natural | Raw

It was anything but boring…

Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Camel Ride, Boating, Posing, Singing, Folk Dancing; Challenging your physical and mental endurance, we did it all in Rajasthan

Base Camp: Jaisalmer City – Border Home Guard Ground

Higher Camps: Kharara Camp | Sam Sand Dunes | Sudasari Sand Dunes | Bama

When Trupti decided to be part of this trek and started checking on tickets to neighbouring cities of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, which was good three months ahead, I was surprised to note that all tickets to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur or any possible city in Rajasthan were full or super expensive and she had to take Mumbai – Delhi – Jaisalmer route to reach base camp.  Unexpectedly she found Delhi not at all cold and she even enjoyed cold water shower there. From Delhi she embarked on her journey to Jodhpur.  This is the magic of Rajasthani soil…माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

Thankfully she found Jaisalmer to be super impressive, quite a deal for true – blue Mumbai girl. Trupti found Station very clean and did not shirk it from terming it “One of the best”.

I present here the Trupti’s account of her Jaisalmer trek:

Jaisalmer is the largest district in India in fact even bigger than many Indian States which is also clean and royal in its look and feel.  It is endowed with perfect lighting which provided ample reflection for our pictures. I found everything there to be so grand and royal, even houses are made of hand carved stones which I had never seen before. It was a pleasure ogling at those beautiful stone house which a rarity in Metro we live in.

After this our next destination was “Patvaaon-ki-Haveli” where we found forever welcoming Rajasthani folk-singers, where we found Rajathani folk music spreading like aroma in the air.  We sang and even danced with these Rajasthani folk artists. Moreover, they did not expect much money from us; they thanked us for whatever we gave them. Indeed they were very humble, warm and welcoming.  I would like to mention here that colourful turbans have perpetual charm midst tourists coming here which would cost you not more that Rs. 50.  Before entering “Patvaaon-ki-haveli” don’t forget to gorge on delicious Paani – Puri where law of multiplication applies in full – force. Go on gulping, without counting though.

Now we had to embark on our first higher camp – the Kharara camp, where we came across lot of windmills and trust me windmills are one of the best inventions, just like mountains even they make you and your problems look relatively very small. To give you an idea- to reach top of an industrial windmill one needs to have 60 levels on a Human pyramid or terrace of a 38 storey building.

After walking around 12 Kms, we reached our second higher camp – Sam Sand Dunes, my first experience of sand dunes was quite amazing, nothing short of mesmerizing. It was little crowded since most people travelling to Jaisalmer visit Sam dunes but in a lot of ways it was still untouched. I must admit, evenings are the best part of a trek and you don’t have to walk with super heavy rucksack. Moreover, it is neither very hot nor very cold here. Last but not the least, you get to chill, sing, rest, roam around and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets.

So after all this and more like sand sliding, photo shoot and amateur Dangal, we were all set to march back to our camps. On our way we encountered few folk singers –  two kids and one ‘ol chap – and I am happy we met them as it was so much fun singing and dancing along on Rajasthani folk music for over an hour.  So much so that we broke into an impromptu “Sangeet Ceremony”  of our friends  Unnati & Madhu who are chained to get married in coming few months to their respective groom and bride.

In the second leg of our trek from Sam Sand Dunes, we had to reach Sudasari Desert National Park, which threw biggest challenge as we had to do 10 kms ride on camel and 12 Kms of walking along with crawling and hitch hiking!

I can term Camel ride as good and bad both, but to enjoy camel ride, you need to be in sync your rhythm but how do you keep up to a camel who keeps switching songs?

Moreover, trek to Sudasari is not at all easy. Firstly, it is near impossible to get permissions for trekking groups and even for individuals it takes at least three months of approval process but thanks to YHAI’s goodwill and good work that we (group of 40 people) were not just able to trek in but also got to camp one night.

Sudasari Sand dunes were amazing, so calm still so powerful… trust me deserted deserts are much more beautiful.


Other major take away from this trip is that I got to know so many people from different parts of India say now I have friends from AP, Gujarat, Jharkhand, TN, Karnataka and parts of Northern India.

Pictures & text courtesy: Trupti Sharma



Poora London Thumakda!!!

London always excites me…right from the times when I was English Hons Student in Hindu College, Delhi University, many years ago. As the title of the course suggests, we as English Hons Students were extensively taught Shakespeare, Milton, Bronte Sisters, Tennyson…many more difficult to recall now.  I always marveled how beautiful Shakespeare’s UK would look?  I made a scrap book of pictures of United Kingdom with the limited resources I could lay my hands on…


…with our limited means and all the more limited thinking, it was near blasphemous to express our desire to visit London (Read: UK) in those days. Life moved on, but dream lingered on! In following years, I got the chance of visiting many countries barring London and I had almost forgotten my dream. May be that was not for me…


Buckingham Palace, London’s Eye, Wax Museum, Thames River, Hyde Park…fascinated me no end particularly when I read about Bollywood celebrities spending their Summers in beautiful London! I will read about it with great interest and watched photos even more keenly. Everything  about London looked so fascinating, but probably not for me.


But as goes the saying, every idea (read: dream) has its own time. Time of my dream too came and opportunity of visiting London just fell on my lap in January, 2004.  Without wasting any thoughts, I just lapped it.  & Here I was in London! London called me finally!!


My first solo trip to London was quite exciting, at the same time, was full of apprehensions as well.  Just praying and wishing, hope all turns out well as planned.  So how did my London trip turned out to be? Read on to know:

Landing at Heathrow Airport – one of the biggest airports on earth, it was beyond my comprehension and stores like Harrods, cosmetic shops, toy shops, designer dresses, big & well-known brands all over, quite enticing!

My sight-seeing began two days after I landed and my first destination was Trafalgar Square, I could not believe myself that I was actually there. It looked very similar to our Horniman Circle in Mumbai, never mind I had visited famed Trafalgar Square which I hugely admired in DDLJ where Amrish Puri fed pigeons. It was the first day of snow fall in London, so day turned out to be quite special.  I was finding it difficult to bear the cold, so I had to cut short the visit to neighboring places.


Following days, I visited Buckingham Palace at 11 AM in the morning and was lucky to watch change of guard parade which was truly fascinating. Huge crowds had gathered on bright sunny morning outside the palace by London standards, not by Mumbai standards. Cruise in river Thames was an amazing experience in itself which was followed by the walk at Hyde Park. What to say of the Madam Tussaud Wax museum, I had never seen anything like this before, such real statues in wax.  I wondered all through, how they have done this? Why we don’t have one in India?  London’s Eye, just OMG!


On one of my tube train sojourns, I landed at a station – Wimbledon, accidently! When tube announced next station – Wimbledon, I quickly got down there to see the famous Wimbledon Stadium, which I had seen only on TV with Steffi Graf playing tennis matches and voila what a sight it was! I beamed with pride as I was at a landmark destination, but not without paying heavy price for this adventure, rather misadventure!


Now on the last leg of sight – seeing, I realized that I had not shopped for anything except for a pair of slippers as my sandal had broken during the outing.  I walked to the nearest tube station and luckily found a shop of foot wear after walking barefoot for nearly a kilometer, may be more, in that chilled / wet weather, holding sandals in one hand and tears in both my eyes.  I promptly bought a slipper from there, albeit two sizes large, but my joy knew no bounds. I will never forget that day in my life. It was the most expensive slippers I could have, rather forced to have.

On the last leg of my trip, I did some mall hopping, visited Harrods, did street shopping and ate nice spicy Indian food in famous Indian restaurants.  Though Pound exchange was quite unviable even then, still shopping was a delightful experience, as one pound has so much value.

So how London cropped up again? Today morning I read in Economic Times that falling Pound may make holidayers’ English Summer Dream Come True!

And I want to visit again…

… With the Pound steadily depreciating against the Rupee in recent months post Brexit, cheaper airfares and attractive promotional offers from airlines and lure of London as a sought after shopping destination, indeed it is going to be English Summer for Indian travelers!!

Am I included?





Lehenga Sarees, ruling the roost this marriage season!

Lehenga style saree or Lehenga Saree as it is famously known, is not a new phenomenon as it is made out to be. Women in South India always worn it in South Silk, Cotton Ikats or Kanjiveram Silks but it came into limelight with Deepika Padukone wearing it on screen in movie Chennai Express. All of us loved her simple demeanor in vibrant coloured, flowy fabrics, intricate gold borders and heavy Gold Pallu lehenga sarees which made Deepika look gorgeous, nonetheless girl next door too!

Then we watched Alia Bhatt wearing those in popular Bollywood movie – Two States, where she looked absolutely stunning in those lehenga sarees.


So what are these lehenga sarees?  Lehenga sarees are an aesthetic blend of the traditional saree and a lehenga choli where saree is normally 4.5 meters long. To wear one, unlike a sari, one doesn’t have to form pleats but may simply ‘tuck and drape’. Like that of a traditional saree, the lehenga style saree is worn over a petticoat (inskirt, pavadai in the south, and shaya in eastern India), along with a designer blouse called the choli.

Many designers like Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi Mukherjee have done some exquisite collections of lehenga saree which have high style quotient and dollops of traditional inputs. World over brides are loving their Lehenga Sarees…heavy embroideries, free-flowing fabrics and beautiful cuts make these every bride’s dream.

Bride in Sabyasachi Lehenga
Bride in Sabyasachi Lehenga

It will not be a misnomer to say that lehenga sarees present beautiful amalgamation of comfort and style. Today’s youngsters who don’t want to look aunties in a saree and over dressed in a lehenga, want to sport fusion of the two. They want to dress without any encumbrances, without compromising on style quotient and lehenga sarees are just an answer to that. The easy-to-wear option of the garment tells the ladies just to slip into it and be ready in minutes. Stitched as a long flared skirt with a zip at the side, it is made to the measurements of the wearer. The ensemble needs to be slipped in, then the wearer can fasten the zipper and drape the pallu over the shoulders. This is an outfit for ladies who are not comfortable with usual draping and pleating that the regular saree demands.

Designer lehenga sarees may not be easy on pocket as these come with hefty designer price tags and if you want value for money pricing with designer inputs, choose from the gorgeous collection of You can choose from their wide range of lehenga sarees suitable for any occasion. The lehenga saree in question here is getting beautiful contrast owning to use of colours: Electric Blue & Dazzling Blue with sequins all over. This lehenga saree stands out from the usual reds and peaches, blues & greens. The golden lace at the border adds jazz to the look.  Teamed with Art Silk blouse with white hexagonal net lehenga has gracious falls. It can be complimented with light traditional gold jewellery to enhance the look with swag!


Speaking on lehenga saree collection, Mr. Arvind Saraf, Director,  TriveniEthnics said, “Lehenga Saree is in trend from last five years but it gained momentum with Deepika wearing it in Chennai Express. It is a fusion of lehenga, owing to its cuts & shape, with drape of a saree. For a wedding, saree may look casual and lehenga too traditional, so we at Triveni made it more occasion oriented with ease of wearing & carrying attached to it.”

He adds, “Lehenga saree is simplified lehenga with saree like dupatta and a designer choli to boot, the look is very close to half-half saree as worn in South India. From last one year art-silks and brocade lehengas have become very popular with embroideries, works, prints and borders which gives them a rich look.”

Speaking on the innovations done keeping the tastes of trendy, yet traditional youngsters in mind, Saraf says, “ Few years ago our lehengas had heavy embroideries but now we have moved to soft prints in pastel colours providing heavy borders to lehenga, complimenting it with beautiful saree and designer choli which have become quite popular with youngsters. Moreover these are very easy to carry unlike saree which youngsters sometimes find quite cumbersome to manage.”

On Triveni’s lehenga Saree collection, Saraf says, “Bollywood has raised the fashion aspirations of Indian women. Keeping that in mind, our lehengas too have fair amount of embroidery catering to North Indian tastes.  Earlier it was primarily occasion wear but now it is has become very popular for Mehendis and Sangeets. These have become pan India phenomenon with any women sitting in remotest part of India having  them and flaunting them.”

Various rich and exquisite embellishments are used on lehenga style sarees patterns, which include silver embroidery, golden embroidery, metal beads, real pearls, wood beads, glass beads, mirror work, lace work, Kundan, sequins, glittering stones, zardozi, etc. Mostly rich fabrics like silkgeorgette, brasso, brocade, chiffon, crepe, etc., are used in the making of a lehenga style saree.


I think Lehenga Saree would be toast of this marriage season, particularly for mehendi & sangeet!

So what are you thinking, order one from Triveni Ethnics for Mere hathon mein nau nau choodiyan hain…




Delhi – Goa round trip may cost Rs. 25,000

In the midst of a steady rise in air traffic demand, the Indian Navy wants the number of civilian flights allowed at the Goa Airport to be halved. The navy has sighted the requirement of airspace and facility for military exercise for drastically reducing the number of flights. The Goa international airport, the only airport in the state, is a naval facility where state owned AAI operates a civil enclave offering a few flying slots to airlines. Carriers such as IndiGo and Spice Jet have taken the matter to nodal aviation Ministry. They have argued that this forced reduction would render their capacity unutilized besides triggering a hike in airfare to this popular tourist destination. The airlines claimed that Delhi – Goa round-trip could double to 25,000 in case flight frequency is reduced.


Goa is one of the few international airports that have witnessed high double digit growth in the past few years. As per the latest data compiled by Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Goa Airport saw 33.54 lakh passengers flying to and fro from Goa in the first eight months of FY 17 registered a growth of 27.9 per cent.  Most of the airlines, including Vistara and Air Asia India, have mounted flights to Goa, which is famous for its beaches. It receives nearly 30 Lakh visitors every year out of which 3.42 lakh are foreign tourists.

Source: FC