Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Leh Ladakh – Experience of a Lifetime!

Leh Ladakh – Experience of a Lifetime!

Think about Ladakh and the first thing that pops in minds of many is perhaps the leather jacket clad bikers riding through the serene and heavenly roads. But no matter who you are, a biker, a traveler, photographer or even a movie buff (who often catches the glimpse of Ladakh in movies) if the word ‘adventure’ gushes the adrenaline in your veins then Leh-Ladakh is definitely the place you wouldn’t want to miss. Housed in the Indian state of beautiful Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is the highest plateau in the state which has range of surprises to offer, from stark mountains, to monasteries, lakes and not to miss the Tibetan food and culture. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh and has much more to offer than one can imagine.

I must warn that traveling to Leh isn't really a piece of cake, it does have its own challenges be it the accessibility to the place, weather or mountainous terrain. The easiest way to travel is by air from Delhi (yes, I kept it simple), although if you want to experience an exciting crusade before reaching Leh then traveling by road either by bus or by bike or even by train provides an incredible view of the landscape as an incentive.

There is so much to explore in Leh that one must be prepared for an extensive trip to capture the scenic beauty of this relatively less explored land on your camera. But before you start exploring don’t forget to acclimatize yourself to the atypical weather. Here are some places I managed to travel while in Leh and it still lingers fresh in my memories.

Shanti Stupa:

Built in 1991 by Buddhists from Japan and Ladakh, one not only finds spiritual solace under the shade of peaceful Buddha statue enshrined by 14th Dalai Lama, but can also get a good Panoramic view of the valley.  This place provides one of the world’s best sunrise and sunset views. A must-go place for photographers and nature lovers.

Leh palace:

A humongous structure that takes you back to 17th century royal living. Seeking inspiration from Potala palace in Lhasa (Tibet) this awe-inspiring palace is whopping nine storey high which seems to have held royal family in higher floors, while housing stables and store rooms in lower floors. Although in dilapidated state now, this place is sure to take you back to ancient times.

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Tsemo fort:

Also, called victory tower is placed on the same hill (Namgyal hill) as Leh palace. It was built to celebrate the victory of Ladakh over Balti Kashmir Army in 16th century. This structure is visible from virtually any place in Leh. Placed beneath the fort is this 15th century monastery called Namgyal Tsemo Gompa that consists of a three storey high Buddha image along with many ancient manuscripts.

Thiksey Gompa:

Located less than 20km away from Leh it is housed at the top of a hill in Thiksey village and has one of the most beautiful and colossal Buddha statues in Ladakh placed in Maitreya temple which stands 49 feet tall. Built in 15th century this twelve storey complex houses many stupas, thangkas, murals, swords etc.

Hemis Gompa:

Being the largest monastery,  it is also considered to be one of the wealthiest monasteries of Ladakh. Renovated in 17th century by king Namgyal Sengge this Gompa belongs to Dugpa order worshipping the Buddha Padmasambhava. The monastery is full of colourful murals and sculptures. The huge idol of the Buddha is one of a kind.  I was lucky to witness the vibrant Hemis festival held every June honouring the deity. The vibrant outfits, attractive masks, beautiful tunes, and dance is once in a life time experience.

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Pangong Tso lake:

Remember Phunsuk Wangudo (Aamir Khan) flying a drone with ladakhi kids near a lake in movie ‘3 idiots’? Yes, that beautiful lake is what I am talking about. The journey from Leh to this lake takes about 5 hours and one needs to start early as there are many passes to be crossed in between.  There is a strange yet beautiful stream that flows near lukung called Pagal nala which needs to be crossed before 12 noon as it becomes unassailable after that. It takes a whole day to visit this place, but the moment one catches the glimpse of this heavenly lake, some sort of renewed energy starts to radiate in the air. This place is worth a visit in all human existence. Although, there is no permit required for Indians it is best to carry an identity proof anyway.

War museum:

If your heart goes out to those Brave soldiers who stand tall in the most extreme conditions in the world to provide peace in our country then this  ‘Hall of fame' is a must visit. Located in airport road, this museum brings us closer to the lives of soldiers in most treacherous glaciers like Siachin along with other information on people and culture of Ladakh.

Shopping spree:

Go to Ladakh and not shop would be a real waste of trip. Ladakh is popular for things like silver jewellery, torquiose jewellery usually worn by Ladakhi women, Thangka paintings on silk, prayer wheels, carpets, stoles, rugs, and woolen clothes. Head to main bazaar which offers umpteen number of stores to chose from. But be prepared about the prices as most shops have fixed price some more expensive than others. For a good bargain try visiting Moti market or Tibetan refugee market on old Leh road. Government run emporium could also be a good place to buy handicrafts, but they are little pricey.

Adventure sports:

Ladakh is a synonym of adventure in more ways than one. One can try many adventure sports like trekking, river rafting, mountaineering or less adventurous yet enjoyable sports like polo or archery. I tried my hands-on river rafting and trust me I would want to go back to Leh again not just for the sport, but for the unforgettable views I experienced while rafting. The picturesque views of hill top monasteries and trail of magnificent landscape had left a lasting impression for life. There are several packages to rafting ranging from level I to IV, all with either just rafting service or lunch/transport along with rafting, take your pick. Best time to raft is between June to August when the water level is high enough.

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Scrumptious Food:

Be a Ladakhi when in Ladakh. Although, Leh being a tourist place provides a range of options to satisfy our tastebuds from usual Indian to continental delicacies, I think the best bet is to try Ladakhi cuisine for authentic taste and flavours which is pretty much different from what we experience in our cities. Try Ladakhi bread called Khambir with butter tea or apricot jam for breakfast followed by noodle soup thenthuk or Ladakhi traditional meal skyu for lunch and steamed dumpling momos and noodle soup thupka for light dinner. Take the taste of Ladakh with you and savour it forever.

Traveling through the vast grim belts of valley with alien climate and yet with breath-taking views is something that cannot be expressed in words, but can only be experienced best. So, go ahead and live the adventure of a lifetime.

Ladakh : Trip of a lifetime to the land of endless discovery

Ladakh : Trip of a Lifetime

Spectacular, enthralling, epic. Words fall short when it comes to describing a trip to the land of high passes – Ladakh. Just like everyone else, a trip to Ladakh found its way to my bucket list and I am glad it did. Located in the northern most state, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh is truly the crown jewel of India. Majestic mountains, high passes, meandering rivers, placid lakes, enchanting desert and the humbling monasteries, the place has it all. For an adventure junkie a trip to Leh ladakh can truly be the trip of a lifetime. Driving on treacherous terrains crossing some of the world’s highest passes makes for a thrilling experience like none other. But that is not all, rafting in the mighty Indus and Zanskar rivers or camping in the Nubra valley desert are not any less exciting. The turquoise waters of lake Pangong Tso and the soothing hymns and bells of the monasteries can calm even the most chaotic of minds.

I can go on and on but here are my 10 most favorite experiences of the magical trip.

The first impression

Unless one is driving to Leh from either Shimla or Srinagar, a day is needed to get acclimatized to the high altitude and the perfect way to spend day 1 in Leh is visiting this gorgeous stupa located 10-15 minutes drive away from Leh city. The climb of 500 or so steps got my body ready and set the tone for coming days. Even from a distance the stark white colour of stupa stood out in the brown background of the typical Ladakhi mountainous terrain and once on top, I get the most mesmerizing views of the Leh city and farther areas. As evening set in the golden glow of sun setting on the horizon rewarded us with the most breath-taking views as far as eyes could see. If this was any indication of the days to come, we knew we were in for a great trip.

Breathtaking views of Himalayas and Leh town from Shanti Stupa

Top of the world : Khardungla pass

Making way through treacherous meandering roads and various hairpin loops to the highest motorable road in the world, Khardungla Pass was no mean feat and I can easily say that my heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion. It is difficult to spend more than 10-15 minutes here due to high altitude sickness but don’t forget to click the mandatory pictures for your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Though it is now claimed that even at an altitude of 5602m, Khardungla may actually not be the highest, but the grandeur of majestic Himalayas and the raw beauty of nature is a humbling experience in itself. It may not be the highest in the world but it’s definitely the highest road I have ever been to! One can’t help but have immense respect for the border roads organization guys who maintain these roads all through the year.

At the Khardungla Pass

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Cold desert : Nubra Valley

What comes to mind when we think about a desert? Scorching sun, heat, sand and camels, right? As usual Ladakh surprises you. Yes there is sun and sand but the temperatures easily reach sub-zero. Welcome to the cold desert of Nubra Valley. A long ride crossing through Khardungla Pass almost 150km north of the town of Leh brings you to this wonder land. One of the most fascinating experiences for me was riding on the back of double humped Bactrian camels. These are a critically endangered species, the ancestors of which were probably abandoned here centuries ago by caravans from central Asia when Nubra valley formed a part of the ancient silk route for traders from south to central Asia. 

Bactrian camels at Nubra desert

Night at the camp

As soon as I saw the cute little tents that were to be our night camps I fell in love with them. But as night set in, I could hear the loud whistling and howling sounds of the wind blowing through the desert. The cute little tent now stirred and swayed with every gush of wind. Even though I woke up perfectly safe to a gorgeous morning, the night at the tent was a thrilling one indeed.

Morning at the desert camp

The Enchanting Pangong Tso

Kareena in 3 Idiots, Anushka in Jab Tak Hai Jaan and countless other actors have shot and been left spell-bound by the beauty of Lake Pangong. The tiredness of a long car ride suddenly disappears as you come across one of the most stunning lakes present all over the world. No need to crowd at the shooting point, walk along the lake and everywhere you are met with divine views. Even though we were supposed to return back same day, we decided to spend the night in one of the tents along the bank of Lake Pangong and I do not regret the decision. As day passed we were greeted with the most exquisite shades of turquoise, blue and green at different times of day. It was probably the most calming and serene day of my life. 

                                                    Mesmerizing views at Pangong Tso

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Frozen Lake

On our way back from Pangong I was lured by a frozen lake we had crossed on our way earlier. The lake was frozen solid and we followed people who could be seen walking over it. The paucity of crowds is one of the best parts about Ladakh and I found a quiet corner for myself and spend few moments just listening to the silence and appreciating the marvels of Mother Nature.

Chilling over a lake

Cruisin’ down the highway

For those who struggle through killing traffic and pollution of Delhi, Mumbai or any other metro, a journey on the epic roads of Ladakh seems straight out of heaven. Clear blue skies, gorgeous vistas and never ending roads, a trip through Ladakh is surely a trip to remember.

Enticing Highways

Where the great rivers meet

Blue Zanskar and the greenish Indus, two majestic rivers merge to form one near the town of Nimmu. Since I was there in summers, Zanskar River was more turbulent compared to the placid Indus. I could not help but get excited about rafting opportunity. Four people from my group agreed to come along. Tackling through turgid rapids we thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular landscape with deep gorges and towering mountain peaks around us.

Confluence of Indus and Zanskar

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Closer to God

A large number of Buddhist monasteries can be found scattered throughout Ladakh. Not only do they provide captivating views being present at an altitude but also there is some kind of serenity and peace that can be experienced in the monasteries. The soothing hymns and chimes of bells have a power to calm even the most disturbed soul.

Diskit Monastery

Photographer’s paradise

Whether you are a professional photographer or an amateur, Ladakh provides more than ample photo-ops at every nook and turn. Empty your memory card and carry a spare one. Not doing so is my only regret of the entire trip.

                                    Somewhere near the humble origins of the mighty Indus

Don’t wait, plan a trip because a trip to Leh Ladakh is definitely one of the most fulfilling of all and will leave you with a camera full of photographs and a truck load of memories.

The only trip you will regret is the one you didn’t take”

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Author: Samta Goel

8 Best Things About Leh Ladakh: The Spell Binding Effect.

Leh Ladakh – The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

Ladakh, encircled by the majestic snow laden Himalayan ranges attracts numerous travelers from all over the world with its breathtaking beauty. This `land of the high passes’ offers stunning views of mountain peaks, rivers, lakes and incredible landscapes.

Here is a glimpse of this enchanting and mystical land…

The Road (Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

1.Bustling Bazaars of Leh

Leh, the capital, with its narrow streets full of guest houses, restaurants and shops is a tourist’s delight. The Buddhist influence adds a magical charm to the valley - fluttering prayer flags and spinning prayer wheels invite you to explore this enticing land of monks and monasteries. This culture has given rise to some of the warmest people. Try using the universal Ladakhi greeting Juley, accompanied with a smile and the locals will open out to you. Acclimatization is the key to having a trouble free holiday. It would be a good idea to start your holiday by spending a few days exploring places in and around Leh, as you adjust to the high altitude.

The Tibetan Market in Leh (Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

Go local and try their staple diet of Momos, Thukpa and Chai that’s available around every street corner. The main bazaar is probably the busiest place in the whole region and is a good place to shop for souvenirs.

2.Mesmerizing Lakes

The Pangong Tso  (Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

In the sunlight, the stunning blue waters of the mystical Pangong Tso lake mesmerizes every visitor. A popular destination, only one third of this salt water lake lies in India, the remaining in Tibet. From the Indian tip of Lukang, visitors are permitted to view the lake. The expanse of the lake with its gentle shimmering waves in hues of blue along with its vastness, makes it seem like a mini ocean. Stretching across approximately 130kms with a width of 6kms at its widest, it lies in the shape of an `L’ with the shorter part in India. In the distance, you can see a faint range of mountains which mark the border of India and China. Despite the brackish water, this lake lies completely frozen in winter. Pangong Tso is approximately 175 kms (5 hour’s drive) from Leh, crossing through the Chang La Pass, the third highest motorable pass.
The Tso Moriri (Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

Set amidst a backdrop of barren brown hills, snow covered peaks and surrounded by wetlands is this beautiful mountain lake of Tso Moriri. Officially known as the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve, it’s at a slightly higher altitude than Pangong Tso. The waters here are less brackish inviting the presence of wildlife. In the summer, migratory birds, Himalayan marmots and occasionally the wild ass can be spotted in the surroundings of this lake.  You will also see nomadic shepherds with their flocks of sheep around the lake. Tso Moriri is about 250 kms from Leh (7 -8 hours by car).

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3.A Foreign Landscape 

The monastery of Lamayaru in the background 
(Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

Perched on a hilltop, the ancient monastery of Lamayaru, set against a backdrop of barren brown mountains is an impressive sight. What makes it exceptional is the `moonscape’ terrain. These geological formations in the landscape are a remarkable spectacle. Lamayaru Monastery is built into this moonscape. Originally a collection of five large buildings, only one remains today. The monastery is a series of shrines inside which is a glassed meditation cave of Lama Naropa. It is home to about 150 monks who live a life of simplicity. The monastery also showcases a rich collection of paintings and artifacts. Though slightly remote, it’s natural beauty will fascinate every visitor, especially photographers and trekkers. Lamayaru also attracts visitors for the annual Yuru Kabgyat (mask festival). A two-day cultural festival, where you will see monks wearing masks dance in a procession. It is 127 kms (2 ½ hours drive) from Leh and is on the scenic Srinagar – Leh highway.

Another monastery which is definitely worth a visit is the Alchi monastery. Considered to be the oldest Buddhist learning center, it is famous for its miniature paintings. It makes an interesting stop as the village and monastery are distinct from the others in the region.  While other monasteries sit on hill tops this one is on a level ground. Situated on the banks of the Indus river, the fertile land makes the village of Alchi a lush green, giving you a break from the otherwise barren desert terrain. Alchi Monastery is 70kms (2 ½ hour’s drive) from Leh.

4.A Natural Sauna In Desert Terrain

A lady with her prayer wheel
(Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

While travelling in this freezing desert like terrain, a relaxing dip in one of the coldest altitudes is a luxury! Nestled along the Indus is the village of Chumathang which welcomes you with its hot water springs. Here, spread across nearly an acre you will see boiling water pouring out through sprinklers, accompanied with a lot of steam. The air is warm, with a thick smell of Sulphur. This boiling hot water flows between the rocks to meet the freezing waters of the Indus river. At the right point in this mixture, the soothing temperature allows a relaxed dip. Chumathang is approximately 150 kms (5 hour’s drive) from Leh and enroute to Tso Moriri Lake.

5.On Top Of The World

No visitor leaves Ladakh without posing for a photo at Khardungla Pass, the world’s highest motorable road! A board at the top signals its height – 18380 ft. 

A cheerful face
(Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

Crossing over Khardungla, you descend to enter the river valleys of Nubra and Shyok. Known for its beauty, the Nubra valley has a stunning landscape which is filled with greenery, flowers, huge mountain faces and numerous trekking trails.  Visitors usually halt for the night at Diskit before returning to Leh. A landmark of this valley is the 32 meter Maitreya Buddha statue maintained by the Diskit Monastery. Being at a lower altitude than Leh, the Nubra Valley enjoys warmer climate and is also a great place to spend a few days to acclimatize to the altitude. If you have time, travel further to Hunder to see the Bactrian camels. These camels with two humps are native to the cold desert regions of Hunder. Diksit is about 140 kms from Leh. Keep in mind that you need a minimum of 2 days to visit the Nubra Valley.

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6.Dancing With Masks

          A Mask Dance (Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)
Hidden behind a mountain lies the biggest monastery of the region, Hemis Gompa. This monastery is the venue for the biggest cultural event of the year, the Hemis festival which is held over 2 days, sometime in June-July. Local Tibetans eagerly look forward to this event. This festival celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Lamas perform the famous mask dance (known as Chaam) to the accompaniment of drums, cymbals and long horns. Hemis Monastery is at a distance of 40 kms (1 hour’s drive) from Leh.

7.A Winter Spectacle

The frozen Zanskar river (Photo credit:Narayan Gopalan)

The winters are harsh in Ladakh, with the landscape covered in layers of snow. Heavy snowfalls make Leh accessible only by air. But the weather doesn’t deter trekkers and mountaineers who come to traverse this frozen landscape. The famous `Chadar trek’ (`Chadar’ means blanket in the local language) attracts those with an adventurous spirit. A difficult and challenging trek, it involves walking over the frozen Zanskar river. The river transforms itself - from a rapid flowing one in the summer, to a frozen blanket of ice during the winter. Temperatures range between 15 to 20 degrees (during the day) and -25 to -35 degrees (during the night). Walking along this frozen spectacle is unquestionably one of the most thrilling treks! 

8.Voyagers On Bikes

Gata Loops: 22 hair pin bends (Photo credit: Narayan Gopalan)

If you’re a rider, exploring Ladakh by Motor bike will surely be on your bucket list! Ask any biker and he or she will tell you that it’s something that needs to be experienced and cannot be described in words. While many bikers kick start their expedition from Manali, there is also the option of hiring one in Leh. Apart from being able to explore the terrain independently, it will undeniably add a twist of adventure to your trip.

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Whether you are a traveler seeking solace amidst nature or looking to experience an adrenaline rush – Ladakh will leave you enthralled with its beauty and memories to last a lifetime!

Author: Sharada Gopalan
Photo credits: Narayan Gopalan

8 things you should definitely do in Meghalaya

8 things you should definitely do in Meghalaya!

Meghalaya, the northeastern town of India, which literally means “the abode of clouds”, makes an enthralling experience for anyone and everyone. From cave hopping to the n number of waterfalls here – there would never be an hour of the day when you will be bored!

Here are 8 things you should definitely do in Meghalaya!

1.    Spend a day in Shillong

Meghalaya without a day at Shillong is unimaginable and impossible. The Khasi town and the capital of the state is filled with tourists and the locals. Spend a day here and explore the Police Market to buy the best Korean and Hong Kong imports, go to Shillong peak to relish the view (also, do not forget to dress up in the traditional Khasi outfits!) and try out the local cuisine!

View from Shillong Peak

2.    Go cave hopping

It is a well-known fact that Meghalaya is extremely popular for the caves. You will find here several explored and even more unexplored cave systems. Meghalaya also houses some of Asia’s longest caves in Asia. During my trip to Meghalaya, I visited the impressive Siju cave in Garo Hills, which is speculated to be more than 3 km long. The entrance was flooded with water and we had to wade through the knee-deep brook in pitch darkness towards the end of the long chamber. The sound of water flowing in the darkness was super scary, but it also added to the adrenaline rush in a weird way. Apart from these, you should also visit Krem Mawkhyrdop, and the biggest sandstone cave in the entire Indian sub-continent – Krem Dam.


3.    A day to the falls

Meghalaya, a place where there is an ever presence of rain, rain, and more rain, has to have countless and infinite waterfalls. There are the falls, which fall from a magnificent height, to ones that have a broad feature. There is a popular belief among Buddhists that waterfalls are the doorways to other realms. Following the same trail of thought, it is safe to say that Meghalaya is home to infinite realms, which can best be understood and found when you go hopping from one waterfall to the other. There are the famous Elephanta and Noukhalikha falls (this is, in fact, the 3rd highest waterfall in India) to be explored. Apart from that, you will find many others while you set off exploring!

Elephanta Falls

4.    Visit the cleanest village of Asia

Mawlynnong, situated around 100km from Shillong is a magical paradise. It has been granted the prestigious award for being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003. One glimpse of the village, and you will know why! Just go around the village and interact with the locals and if you are lucky, you can also be invited to stay with them for a night. The best way of exploring a place is on foot – and that is what I will suggest you. You can see the Bangladesh border from here too!


5.    The wettest place on Earth and it's wonders!

You can never be prepared for what Cherrapunjee brings to you besides the rain: The living root bridges. No amount of reading or picture surfing has the ability to replace the exquisite sight that awaits you. The living roots bridge is the finest examples of bio-engineering – it takes 10 years of the Ficus Elastica (Rubber) trees to grow roots and a hundred odd years for them to grow into a strong bridge. Earlier, bamboo bridges were constructed which would either rot or get destroyed in the monsoons, but these living root bridges only get stronger every year! It makes a breathtaking sight and a surreal experience. My advice? Just sit on the roots, and spend some quality time on the bridge. It is a lifetime experience!

6.    Enjoy the erratic weather

Meghalaya is as unpredictable as a child. One moment it is all sunny and cool and the next moment it starts raining cats and dogs (& the entire zoo!) Dress comfortably and always carry an umbrella with you. Otherwise, the haywire weather can get on your nerves. However, regardless the situation, a general suggestion is to just enjoy the whims and fancies of the rain god while you are there. Go dance in the rain, trek through it or sip tea and enjoy the view – your call. Just make the most of it!

7.    Enjoy the journey

How many times have we heard of the proverb “It is the journey, and not the destination that matters”? You will realize the truth in these words once you drive through clouds in Meghalaya. Yes, you read correct and I am not even exaggerating! It is an ethereal experience – to see a blob of cloud just ahead and jumping right into it. It is not called “The Abode of Clouds” for nothing, eh! I often found myself wishing for the journey to never end. It was an experience in itself. Here are some of the snapshots:

The other very interesting places to visit would be the Umiam lake and the Dawki lake. Dawki lake has the clearest water you will ever see. Sadly, because of the paucity of time, I had been unable to cover those places (which, again, gives me the legit excuse to visit the place again!)
Cutting the long story short: for those who listen, the mountains always call – and there is no turning back. Cheers!

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Monday, 10 April 2017

Vegetarian food in Europe: A taste of India on holidays

Vegetarian food in Europe: A taste of India on holidays

The most recommended Indian vegetarian treats in Europe

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To be hungry is to be curious. To be a vegetarian is to be persistent. To be an Indian vegetarian is to be lucky. When you are travelling and eating, finding vegetarian sustenance is not just a matter of asking: “Do you have anything vegetarian?” Depending on where you are, “Do you have anything vegetarian?” has to be followed with an arsenal of inquiries, from “Can you make that without fish sauce?” to “Are the beans cooked in lard or oil?” The good news is that if you are planning a Europe holiday, you can expect an epicurean veggie feast to suit your Indian palate across the biggest cities of Europe. Here’s a list of highly recommended Indian restaurants to help you feel at home while holidaying across various cities in Europe.


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London has more vegetarian and vegan establishments than anywhere else in the UK, with around 130 completely vegetarian restaurants. 
In London, Drummond Street is a safe bet. It is home to Chutneys, the Diwana Bhel Poori House and the Ravi Shankar, all longstanding vegetarian favorites.


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There are several Indian restaurants in the hip and happening Berlin. While Guru in Charlottenburg with its very affordable and equally delectable menu is a hit especially for its Malai Kofta and Peshawari Naan, the Indian locals in Berlin vouch for Chutnify. The colorful interior is decorated with a lot of love to detail and has a super-cosy feeling, the menu comes in between two cardboard wraps and sounds very exciting (including loads of vegan options!): read sweet potato Ragda patty with Masala chickpea mix in a soft wheat bun or Channa Masala rice bowl with chickpeas. The heart of the menu, however, are the dosas, thin vegan lentil-rice pancakes filled with all kinds of things and accompanied by a choice of chutneys, spicy, sour and sweet. Some of the highly recommended dishes here include Bombay Bhel and Mean Green Dosa, a dosa filled with green-chutney-marinated paneer cheese, served with, of course, a variety of chutneys.


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Unearth the best Indian cooking in your holiday to Europe, from warm kormas to fusion naan burgers. Paris is no exception to keeping this celebration of Indian feasts alive. Not always famed for its selection of restaurants offering spicy delicacies, Paris nevertheless hosts a healthy range of Indian restaurants to cure curry cravings. One of the longstanding favorites of Indian vegetarian diners in Paris  is Krishna Bhavan. Don’t miss their special vegetarian thaali – that includes six mini-dishes of vegetables surrounding a dome of rice arrived, topped with crunchiest pappads. The menu offers a huge choice of dishes from Southern India, ranging from dosa to iddiyapam along with a culinary ride with spicy potatoes and green beans, a tasty aubergine and tomato curry, and cabbage with coconut and mustard seeds, all authentically and endearingly Indian.

Find out more about Europe in this holiday package on Tripshelf!


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Globally renowned Saravana Bhavan has opened its newest restaurant in Amsterdam. Europe holidays can enthrall us with a global feast but nothing that feels like home to the homeless with the most authentic Indian food full of fresh aroma laden with warm Indian spices. For fantastic home feels, dig into a range of Indian specialties from “Cheese Masala Dosa” to “Saravanaa Special Meal” – a veggie thali featuring no less than ten little dishes, plus rice, chapatti and pappads.

Explore more of Europe through this interesting holiday package on Tripshelf!


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If you are a pure vegetarian in a foreign land and don't know where to eat, one place you can always depend on is Govinda’s run by ISKCON. You fill find a center in most European cities including Stockholm. Run by devotees of ISKCON , they serve pure veg food (with no onion & garlic) and their thalis are good for a wholesome meal. Don’t miss their Krishna prasadam – a scrumptious meal offered during the early evening hours.


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An unpretentious little place that's well known for its vegan/vegetarian Jain-Indian food in Antwerp is Aahaar - one of the most popular go-to eateries for all Indian tourists. Famous for having no menu but just an eat-all-you-like Indian pure veggie buffet with five mains, two sweets and rice.


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If you’re up for some dal-chawal with the stars at the top of Europe, authentic Indian food awaits you in the middle of the glacier panorama at 3'454 metres above sea level at The Restaurant Bollywood, Jungfraujoch. You can sample the steamed rice, dal, vegetable and various Indian curries, with champagne and Swiss chocolate, as your eyes roam around the 100-odd posters from Bollywood and regional Indian cinema at one end and an unobstructed view of the longest glacier in Europe at the other end. The aroma of desi food like chhole-batoore and the growling of hungry-for-Indian-food stomachs makes the restaurant host about 1,000 foodies and Bollywood fans every day. For pure Jain meals, Maharaja Indian Restaurant at Interlaken is highly recommended.  Our Swiss friends ensure we don’t miss home when they host us.

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