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FONTAINHAS, GOA – Melting Pot of Cultures

Cliché; that is what Goa is presumed to be. The perception one has of Goa is generally of beaches and parties. which are only a small section of this beautiful undiscovered state. I have traveled several times to Goa and this blissful coastal city never fails to amaze me. The astonishing history that this state holds is enough to give anyone wanderlust. The history of Goa as we know it today goes back to 1510 when the Portuguese general Afonso de Albuquerque  defeated the ruling Bijapur sultan Yousuf Adil Shah and set up a permanent settlement in Velha Goa.  Since then Goa has been a melting pot of cultures and architecture.

Fontainhas

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This time while traveling to Goa, I experienced one such wonderful example of the Portuguese influence on the culture of Goa and that was the quarters of Fontainhas. Known as Bairro das Fontainhas in Portuguese, they are old Latin Quarter in Panjim, the capital city of the state of Goa. Fontainhas was built in late eighteenth Century by a Goan expatriate named Antonio Joao de Sequeira and in today’s date, it is the only area in Goa where Portuguese is the main spoken language. Fontainhas is a place in Goa that will never fail to show you the dual existence of the Indian and Portuguese culture that it carries. By passing time, the beautiful Latin quarters have experienced an amalgamation of cultures.

Fontainhas

Fontainhas

The architecture and the road map of the Mediterranean nest have been kept undisturbed for many years. The beautiful old buildings with overhanging balconies are all painted in tones of yellow, green, or blue. Interestingly, a Portuguese tradition of painting their houses after monsoon every year is followed here without any exception. Even the confusing but adorably narrow and winding roads have not been changed. interestingly the names of the streets in the Latin quarters carry a history to it too. The 31st January Road or Rua 31 de Janeira in Fontainhas was named after the independence of Portugal from Spain on January 31, 1640. The south end of Fontainhas is adorned with The Chapel of St Sebastian which was constructed in 1880. It is the traditional venue for the annual festival of the Feast of our Lady of Livrament.

Fontainhas

Fontainhas

What actually surprised me about Fontainhas was the culinary excellence I experienced. Many residents living there have converted their houses into lodges, guesthouses, and restaurants. I went to Venite which is also a home cum restaurant. It is not an easy place to spot and the restaurant is on the 1st floor. The building has its own character, as you walk up the rickety stairs. The entrance of this restaurant is adorned with shells and once you are seated in there and once seated, there’s plenty of graffiti to enjoy, drawn by the hundreds of tourists from around the world who’ve dined here over the years.

Fontainhas

Fontainhas

In the month of February, the locales of Fontainhas organise an Art festival, during which they convert their heritage homes into a vintage artworks displaying the architectural features such as motifs around their balconies, elaborate doors and unique name plates. With the aim of preserving the rich Indo-Portuguese culture they hold various programs of dance, music and art. The walk through Fontainhas showed me a different and historic side of Goa which I will never forget. Anyone who plans a trip to Goa must visit this place to know a different side of the city.

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Fontainhas is located about 20-25 km away from both Goa’s International Airport and  Railway Station.This lesser known haven for Art enthusiasts is all about exploring the streets of Europe with the comfort of budget travel. So, I urge that the next time you plan a holiday in Goa, with friends or family, do visit Fontainhas. It’ll rejuvenate you in a way you’ve never known!
Hope you liked this post. Comment below if you have discovered any hidden gem in Goa. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay connected with me. 

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Ruffles and Cold Shoulders – A Spring Must Have!

It’s that time of the year when the chilly winters take an exit and the gorgeous season of Spring arrives. Most of us had to pack our heavy jackets and sweaters way too soon as the winters didn’t last that long this time. But guess what! No matter how classy the winter fashion was, we are all excited to grab our shopping caps and go on a Spring shopping spree.

This Spring, it’s all about ruffles and cold shoulders. This trend is so sophisticated yet so easy to carry; it is everything one needs in their wardrobe. Taking my obsession with this trend a little further, I recently chanced upon this beautiful dress by Femella and I am absolutely loving it! Femella is an Indian brand with a great collection of modern designs with a hint of elegance. This dress carries a lovely shade of blue and its shoulders are a combination of both ruffles and cold shoulders which makes it a perfect catch for this spring.

femella

femella

spring

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My Current Perfume Rotation

I have always been a bit of a  perfume addict. Perfumes are one of my favourite things ever. I am always looking for new perfumes to try. There are so many different perfumes that I wear and love, so I thought of sharing five of my favourites.  For this post I thought I’d share the ones I’m using everyday. These are the ones I’ve fallen in love with over the years. I alternate between these fragrances depending on my mood. Let me give you a very important tip – while you’re buying a perfume, spray on your wrist, then walk around for at least 30 minutes. Sniff your hand! If you still love it, this fragrance is for you. 
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Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel :  is number one on the list of my favourite perfumes. I’ve been wearing this fragrance for a couple of years now and have not tired of it and I don’t think I ever will. It was love at first sniff with this perfume, the ones who have used it would totally agree with me. The top notes are Orange, Mandarin Orange, Orange blossom and Bergamot. Middle notes are Mimosa, Jasmine, Turkish Rose and Ylang-Ylang; base notes are Tonka bean, Patchouli, Opoponax, Vanilla, Vetiver and White Musk. The fragrance is classic sophisticated and elegant. It works for every occasion for me.
Perfume
 
Decadence Marc Jacobs : the bottle is inspired by Marc’s classic handbag shape. I caught a whiff of Decadence when it first released and I knew from that very moment that it would become one of my favourites. Decadence is unexpectedly different from Marc Jacob’s other perfumes. I wear this perfume on a casual night out. Top notes  comprise of Plum, Iris flower and Saffron; heart notes of Bulgarian rose, Jasmine Sambac and Orris; and a base of vetiver, papyrus woods and liquid amber. 
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Vanitas by Versace : Its description by the brand calls it a union of pure elements, chosen and combined with harmony. A rich and voluptuous Tiare flower sublimated by lime and freesia and enveloped by sensual accents of cedar wood and Tonka bean. This fragrance would be apt for night-out parties as it has a mystic aroma to it.  Also the price ranges from 4000-5000 INR for 100 ml. It stays on for 4-5 hours but the fragrance stays on the clothes for good 8-10 hours.

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Cinema by Yves Saint Laurent Cinema :as the name suggests, can make any woman feel like the ‘it girl’ from Hollywood. It is a fragrance for glamorous women, self-confident and elegant. Its the kind of seductive flavour that Hollywood beauties would wear in the romantic movies or with their evening gowns in Oscars or Emmy awards. The top note is delicate and softly fresh (clementine, almond blossom and cyclamen). The heart reveals jasmine, peony and amaryllis. The drydown is warm, opulent, and balsamic with amber, musk and sweet powdery vanilla. Its price is around 4000 INR for 50 ml.

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Chloe Parfum de Roses Miniature Collection : I really love Chloé so I picked up this travel pack. This collection is a five piece set and its really helpful for me as I travel often! These tiny bottles are so cute and you can keep one in each handbag. The longevity is for Chloe is amazing. The fragrance is fresh and feminine which lifts your mood instantly. Somehow all of Chloé’s fragrances make me happy. All I can say is Chloé is beautiful.

So, what is your scent? Don’t forget to share your favourite perfumes with me in the comments section.

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak, a renowned floating market in Thailand, offers a resplendent panoramic scenery of the hustle-bustle of colourfully clad vendors, wearing Thai hand-woven bamboo hats, sitting in the shade of an umbrella, paddling along the ‘Klong’ (canal) in long and sturdy boats to vend their merchandise.

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The floating markets had emerged due to the call of time and the geographical limitations of Thailand. The past civilisations not only settled around rivulets but also, used it as an intrinsic part of trade. They used boats to move around and peddle their produce and crafts locally.

Damnoen Saduak

Today, floating markets, like Damnoen Saduak, have become a hallmark of Thailand’s rich historical past and are maintained for display for the tourists. Since Damnoen Saduak and other floating markets annually receive a huge footfall from around the globe, it has contributed immensely to the tourism industry of Thailand. This has lead to better job opportunities for the local Thai community in countryside, huge  investment by the state in terms of infrastructure in villages and promotion of the vibrant Thai culture.  Damnoen Saduak I stayed in Amari Watergate and was picked by a pre-booked taxi bright and early. A word of caution for the night owls. You would want to tour the market as early as possible for an unfettered shopping and exploration experience. Once the crowd rolled in by 9 a.m, it became a huddle of boats in a narrow strip of water, creating a bottleneck, and it  reminded me of the horrors of New York’s rush hour. However, it would be polite to apologise, saying ‘Khwato’ in Thai(which means sorry), whenever you bump into a fellow person’s boat! Its very interesting how in the midst of the floating market tour you’re taken to a Coconut Sugar Farm. You get to see how the locals make sugar from coconut and also get to sample the product for free.


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Damnoen Saduak has elements of a typical local Asian market. The difference however is that, the shops are makeshift arrangements on a boat. There are pedlars hawking their wares including cooked food, desserts and fruits from little canoes plying up and down the klong. The canoes were laden with exotic varieties of tropical fruits and vegetables like Banana, Oranges, Mango, Coconuts and Star Fruit. There was a wide range of locally produced merchandise up for sale and bargaining. For someone who is into interior decor and wants to take home some authentic indigenous handicraft and artwork this place is a paradise.

Damnoen Saduak

You can find wooden statues, metallic figurines, lamp hangings, paintings of Buddha and Dragons (which are typical symbols of South-East Asian artworks) etc. Damnoen Saduak is a haven for people who are obsessed with street shopping. For someone who is an excellent haggler, this place would be an exhilarating experience. The vendors prepared local dishes on the spot with the required paraphernalia on the boat itself . I relished the highly recommended  ‘Pad Thai’, which is basically stir-feed rice noodles with shredded meat pieces of choice and vegetables. There were several other delicacies that I could go on about namely Green papaya salad, prawns and spring rolls.

Damnoen Saduak
I could also see the Stilted houses, raised on plies on a body of water for protection against flooding, from a distance. You can see through the windows, the routine work being performed by the households.
For touring the market, for an hour or two, anything from a cheap row boats and paddle boats to a long tail motorised boat can be hired. I went with the latter as it is more efficacious. On the flip side, the market has lost its authenticity due to huge tourist inflow . Thus, the overpriced items can be likened to a tourist trap.

However, the positives of the visit more than offset a few downsides. With this experience, I am intrigued by what its counterparts in Cambodia and Myanmar have to offer.This was the first time I’d been to a floating market and the Thainess of this afloat market belt left me asking for more. Its definitely worth the visit and unleashing the foodie and shopaholic in you!

Hope you enjoy the pictures I managed to click from the moving boat. All of these pictures have been captured by phone. 

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floating market

floating market

floating market

floating market

floating market

floating market

Damnoen Saduak

Damnoen Saduak

Damnoen Saduak

 

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Damnoen Saduak

Damnoen Saduak

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Corbett The Baagh – Weekend Getaway

Corbett the Baagh is a holiday haunt located in blissful isolation, in the lap of Patkot village, on the edge of dense Sitabani forest in Uttrakhand. It is strategically situated, in the abundance of natural resources, amidst the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayan mountains. Upon drawing the curtains, early in the morning, one is privy to a picturesque scenery with Sal trees flanking resort boundaries, lush green mountains and organic farms impregnated with plantations.

IMG_8001A walk around the property revealed the seamless gardens maintained with shrubs, flowers and hedges. It’s commendable that despite being located in the heart of wilderness there is no compromise on the opportunities to indulge in sumptuous treats for the mind, body, soul and taste buds. ‘Nivala’, an in-house multi cuisine restaurant, treats you to not only the traditional dishes but their local prides too. One can relax and unwind on the sprawling lawns of the resort. They have lots of sporting avenues like badminton, table tennis and basketball too.

IMG_8003The rooms are available in three categories and are charged accordingly – Premium suites, Superior suites and the Leopard suites. The rooms are spacious, stacked with modern  amenities and done with chic decor. According to the room allotted it could either open up to sprawling lawns, with mountains in the foreground, or cosy balconies. The journey begins within the resort as the vibes of the surroundings warm you up to their world.
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I should forewarn the readers, that Idea and Vodafone are the only sim operators that function in the resort. However, they provide the guests in certain spaces with complementary Wi-fi facility. The staff were always available on our beck and call and provided us with hot water bottles and heaters on request.

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The resort authorities have taken up the task to define wildlife experience beyond jungle safaris and tiger sightings. They beautifully curate a range of activities for their guests. The resort and the locals of the Patkot village work in a synergistic coordination to bring the guests close to the Kumaoni life and culture. Naturalist accompanied village and organic farm visits, bonfires, Jungle safari and detailed knowledge about everything around are few of the amazing experiences we had.

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My fondest memory of Corbett The Baagh comes form the night we celebrated Lohri. The resort organised a bonfire with locals drumming the ‘Dhol’ to local beats and Mr. Imran Khan recounting anecdotes and Mr. Bhatt demonstrating animal alarm calls. For some reason the meld of emotions, vibes and warmth makes the euphoria- like experience of that night inexplicable.
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The hospitality and the services of the staff of Corbett The Baagh are surely praise-worthy. Next time you visit Jim Corbett, I urge you to definitely lodge here for a refreshing and an unique holiday experience!

Read the post on Go Beyond Go Local for more details about my experience in Jim Corbett. Also, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to stay updated with my travels.

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Corbett The Baagh – Go Beyond Go Local

Corbett The Baagh, in purlieu of the Patkot village of Uttarakhand and on the fringes of the wilderness of  Sitabani Wildlife Reserve, is a resort with difference. Unlike their adversaries, here efforts are concerted towards developing a holistic holiday experience. They curate an ethereal combination of Jungle Safari, Village visit or interaction and local festivity celebration to deepen our affiliation with nature and the locals.

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corbett the baagh
The resort is frequented by a naturalist, who owns a ranch nearby and has worked with the Forest Department formerly. We had Mr. Imran Khan on board, to guide us through our ventures, whose knack to transmute his escapades into enthralling anecdotes were the highlight of the trip. During a bonfire, organised within the resort, Mr. Khan and Mr.Bhatt ingeniously demonstrated the alarm calls of various animals when they sense a predator. Through them, we realised that Tigers should not be the epicentre of our attention while visiting Corbett. Our imagination ran wild whilst he narrated other beautiful aspects of the flora and fauna.

corbett the baagh
The Resort has tied up with the Patkot locals to bring the community life in the wild closer to their guests. Thus, we were taken on a visit to the village to see for ourselves the symbiotic relationship shared by the mankind and the jungle. I witnessed the truth in the adage, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. The villagers welcomed us warmly and a one-on-one interaction with the locals made me realise, how they have escaped the complexities of life in the Metropolitan cities. They shared anecdotes of their encounters with Tigers and other wild animals. Despite the simplicity, they face hardships – like staying up all night to keep away animals from their crop fields. In the same pursuit we learnt about a new word, ‘Hakahak’, a local Kumaoni term, is the hooting sound made by a group of people to scare the animals away.

Corbett

We also went on a ‘Jungle Safari’ in open jeeps and I had my own ‘wind in my hair’ moments. Sadly enough, the odds were not in our favour because, the pride of Corbett, the Tiger refused to show up. However, we managed to see Deer varieties like Sambhar deer, Spotted deer and Barking Deer. We also spotted different kinds of migratory birds and learned the nuances involved for the same. We visited the local ‘Haat’ or the village market and I must say the Jalebis (an Indian dessert), Aloo Tikki and Momos that we had there were more appetising than any Delhi eatery can offer! The momos were a bit different as it consisted of soya bits, garlic and chilly. 

Corbett the baagh

Fortunately we visited the land of Gods during the ‘Makar Sankranti’ festival or locally named as ‘Ghugutiya’. It’s celebrated with great enthusiasm by the locals and we were a witness to it. We visited a local household to join them for the celebration. There was this one indigenous sweet made of jaggery and wheat flour which tasted as if it had captured the freshness of the hills and the warmth of the countryside all at once.

Corbett the baagh

In this part of the world, one can experience severe network issues and feel cut-off form the world they come from. However, it is this disconnection that lets us form a more meaningful connection, of our mind, body and soul, with nature. In today’s time and age it’s imperative to consume food grown without heavy use of pesticides, insecticides or synthetic fertilisers. The resort gave us a glimpse of their Organic farms and how it creates a healthy lifestyle and also prevents harmful effects of regular farming techniques.
This getaway from the humdrum of suburban life gave me lifestyle goals. It would be a fantastic idea to own a ranch or two and live this close to our roots! After all, we originate from nature’s womb and its our duty to honour and appreciate its other creations once in a while. It’s like coming home.

Corbett the baagh

Corbett

Corbett the baagh

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HomeShop18 launches – Signature Line by Bipasha Basu

Bipasha_LehengaBollywood always gives us major traditional ensemble goals. Such jaw dropping traditional clothes throw us in a spin. I mean despite the aesthetic appeal, the traditional Lehengas and sarees that we buy at exorbitant prices remain decorated in our closets unless its a festive season.
However, Homeshop 18, India is launching this exclusive Signature line by Bipasha Basu on January 25 ,2017 at 1 p.m on its shopping channel that is available across all DTH and leading cable operators.
According to Homeshop 18 , consumers aspire to dress like Bollywood celebrities but accessibility and affordability often prove to be a deterrent. With launch of Signature line by Bipasha Basu, customers will get to dress like a Bollywood star and at a very affordable price. The designs have been lovingly crafted with her personal inputs to bring the style diva’s ethereal sense of dressing to our fashion savvy customers.
Under this signature line, they will have Lehengas and Sarees inspired from Bipasha Basu’s elegant sense of fashion. Hold your breath because the prices are really unbelievably low. At Rs. 1699 for a single Lehenga and Rs.2999 for 2 lehengas, this deal is absolutely worth the steal!

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Speaking on the launch, Bipasha Basu said, “I am excited to associate with HomeShop18 for this exclusive launch. Just like my movies, I wanted my signature line to reach every nook and corner of the country and there’s no better platform than HomeShop18 to make that possible. My fans and HomeShop18 customers can now dress like me by buying these beautiful Lehengas and Sarees and add a bit more to their exquisite Indian beauty”

Effortless elegance at an affordable price!

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About HomeShop18:

HomeShop18 is an integrated technology platform that enables sellers to showcase, demonstrate and market their products to customers across India. As a pioneer in this space, the company changed the way Indians shop by launching India’s first 24 hours Home Shopping television channel, HomeShop18 in 2008. In 2011, the company launched its website www.homeshop18.com and in 2013 it launched its mobile site. This was followed by mobile apps on iOS, Android and Windows platforms.

Today, HomeShop18 reaches a strong, loyal customer base across all regions and territories of India. Through our integrated technology platform, sellers showcase an impressive portfolio of over 10+ million SKUs across multiple categories like digital, fashion & lifestyle, beauty products, jewellery, kitchen essentials, home furnishings, food and much more. The company through its delivery partners have a logistical reach of over 3000 locations across India.

HomeShop18 free to air TV channel is available at all cable operators & DTH players: Tata Sky-182, Dish TV- 118, Videocon- 114, Airtel- 122, Reliance- 219, DD Free Dish-45. For details on HomeShop18 shows and its offerings, customers can call 1800- 2580 -918 or visit homeshop18.com or connect at facebook.com/homeshop18 or twitter.com/homeshop18.

 

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INDIA CIRCUS – Accolade to Indian Heritage

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Our home, less often than usual, is a reflection of the vivid culture we belong to. But with modernity taking pace, our abodes have been robbed off the essence of Indian culture. However, an online venture, India Circus by Krsnaa Mehta, looks like a promising platform, to satiate the desire to surround ourselves with indigenous decor and utilities. With an Indian palette on board, they draw inspiration from both Mughal dynasty and the road side Chaiwalla .They have curated a line of products, crafted in classic designs with pleasing soft-edged contours. Each product offered, embodies sophistication with a dash of ‘Desiness’ without draining one’s wallet.

Adding to the rich blend of a modern chic style and India’s antiquity, the fabric and material used is of exceptional quality too . The catch here is, that every product evokes a sense of refinement and luxe. You could revamp your living room with exquisite mounted wall art, wall clocks, cushions and lamps which have typical symbols from modern and ancient India imprinted upon them such as Elephants and Peacocks, Krishna in the lap of nature, Architectural marvels of Mughals, Red double-decker bus of Mumbai, Jootis and what not! Even the accessories would add refinement to your royal Indian couture.

Their endeavour for promoting endangered arts like the ‘Bidri Art’ – which dates back to 14th century, is something that sets it apart from its contemporaries. The website scores brownie points not only for the Indian Culture it promotes but for their ‘Art for a cause’ crusade too. Every product bought in the ‘The gateway school collection’ is a contribution on your behalf to ‘The Gateway school of Mumbai’ – a school dedicated to children with special learning requirements. Also, during festival season they offer ‘Gift combos’ which are easy takeaways to enhance your gift shopping experience. It is customer friendly as it has both cash on delivery or online payment option, they ship their products to almost 120 countries and have a flexible return policy. All in all it’s a site for the kind of shopaholics who go gaga over the ‘Dilli Haat’ stuff and are street shopping fanatics! Even if you don’t buy anything, its still scintillating to your senses as various eras have been captured in everyday products that we use.

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