Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Kissa Kakori Ka #BeenThereDoneThat

Kissa Kakori Ka #BeenThereDoneThat

This story takes us to 9th August 1925, as told to us by my mother.
My mother was going to her in-laws house for the first time after marriage. My father with a pundit came to receive her. In those days, girls were married early and had to go to in-laws place after attaining puberty.
The ceremony, named as GAUNA, is still prevalent with some.
So my mother was a 14 year old shy bride bedecked in all the jewellery from head to toe wearing a heavy zari saree leaving the town for another town for the first time. My father was 17 years old then .
Practically they were unknown to each other.

But there was another first. It was her first train journey going from Bareilly to Lucknow.
After a few hours of the journey, the train stopped with a jolt. Somebody had pulled the chain near Kakori station. A group of people started running towards the train from the nearby fields.
They were yelling to close the windows and doors of the train, ordered that nobody should peek or get down from the train - otherwise they shall shoot the person.

They were freedom fighters. They were not here to harm the passengers but to take away Indian British Government's money from the Guards compartment. They looted the Government money and went away without really harming anyone. The whole operation hardly took a few minutes but left everybody in the train deeply terrified. My father asked my mother to put all her ornaments in a bag. They got down off the train walked down all the way back home with the help of a coolie.

My grandmother and Bua were waiting for them. They were taken a back from the look at my parent's faces. After such an ordeal first time in their life, both of them were crying right at the door. Though Puja Thali was ready to welcome the couple but in that melee, no body thought of it. My Bua holding the hand of my mother and embracing her took them inside. It was then that my mother worriedly asked for the ornaments bag. My
Father gave a blank look and asked why wasn't it with her? She remembered handing it to the fellow passenger before getting off the train. Before explaining anything, she started wailing loudly leaving everyone stunned. My father understood everything and couldn't help but shout at her. Apparently, another first - their fight.

Later on, my mother told everyone how the fellow passenger must have stolen it since he was in great need of money. It was the time of civil war in the country and the poor man had lost everything when his village was burnt down. Nevertheless, my newly married mother was already perceived as irresponsible and careless both by her husband and her family.

A week later, my mother woke up in the morning to start the day with puja when she noticed her red bag of ornaments on the gate of her temple, She was shocked and called everyone out in the verandah. That's when my father picked up the bag full of all my mother's ornaments and a letter. The letter was written by the fellow passenger who was apparently called the thief. According to him, he came back to the station few days later to find the same coolie my mother and father had left with. He asked him for the address at which he dropped the couple at. And so, this morning he decided to drop the bag at their house.

My family was both embarrassed and proud on reading the letter. In spite of the adverse environment, there was no dearth of noble and honest men. Circumstances don't change people.

The story has stayed with me to remind me every time I go travelling. There are always good people and no matter how bad a circumstance get, there will always be a helping hand.

As told by -
Usha Gupta's mom to Usha Gupta

Thursday, 11 May 2017

7 Truths Discovered About Ladakh : The Untold Story

7 Truths Discovered About Ladakh : The Untold Story

Ladakh hits you with a strong wave. The effect of which makes explorers overlook all travel guidance, and leaves them singing just one thing, ‘Ladakh is wonderful, you have to go there’. 

But when you travel 11,500 feet above the sea level, you find that Ladakh is a daunting destination. 

Here are Seven important and essential things nobody enlightens you about Ladakh. Direct reality, by Gautam.

#1 Ladakh Spellbinds You And Leaves You Breathless, Literally!

The moment you step off the flight and enter the terminal, the pre-recorded voice educates you to rest for no less than 24 hours, eat well and not engage in any physical action on the first day. No fancy drama keeping you in hotels, it just makes acclimatisation simpler. However, it’s not just on day 1 that you feel short of breath, but the whole time you are in Ladakh. The thin air makes minor activities like singing, dancing, excess talking or jumping (I actually attempted that) make you feel as if you have just run a 100mtrs sprint race.
But not to worry, everything can be settled with water. Just don't forget to carry a bottle along EVERYWHERE.

Ladakh Spellbinds You              

#2 Prepaid Mobiles Won’t Work In Ladakh.

You recharge your internet pack, fill your prepaid balance, all in the expectation of staying in contact with your family and loved ones. You start dreaming about your Facebook & Instagram updates with coolest hashtags and check-ins even before you’ve landed in Ladakh. But hold your horses right there! No Prepaid phones work in Ladakh. Even the postpaid phones also lose network after you leave Leh city. 

What phone mobile connections work in Ladakh?

BSNL & Airtel postpaid phone mobile connections work in Ladakh. Your lone hero is your hotel Wi-Fi.

#3 Hustling Bustling Leh

You come to Ladakh searching for peace and mountains, rather you get a scene like home. Roads full of vehicles, clamouring markets, blasting horns and swarming eating places welcome you in Leh city. 

It's much the same as your hometown however with less oxygen. :P

Solution? Try to get the Tibetan flavour. Or if you are ready to spend a few extra bucks, book your accommodation at a distance from the Leh city. There are nearby places with awesome homestays with uninterrupted peace and stunning views of the mountains and the monastery. And just in case you have impromptu city yearnings, you can simply hop into a car and you’ll be at the market area in 20 minutes.

#4 It’s Okay If You Won't Visit Pangong : It's Not The Only Lake In Ladakh. Here are some other lakes in Ladakh you should visit

Ladakh does not begin and end with Pangong. Each place here is ravishing. There are mystery lakes and places that are waiting to be discovered. Wander out, explore and discover spots that you can call your own... places with less tourists, and photographers who interrupts the tranquillity. Have you heard of Tso Moriri, a lake as panoramic as Pangong, a pure bliss (the only difference is, it's not filmed by Bollywood).

Tso Moriri               PC- ShoesOnLoose
Interested in Ladakh Trip?  Register at:

#5 Weather in Ladakh is Hot!!

At the point when Katy Perry sang, “You are hot and you are cold” to the teenager crush, she might as well have sung it for Ladakh because at ground reality, this place has serious concerns with the climate! 

Ladakh is a place where you can get ice-bitten and sun-burnt at the same time. 

And nobody ever tells you that! What everyone tries to enlighten you about is how chilling cold Ladakh can get, and how much woollens you should carry. But what about the burning warmth that usually accompanies the chilly winds? 


Here's my recommendation, pack all your sun caps, dark shades and sunscreens (minimum SPF 50) in your luggage.

Ladakh is Hot                PC- AdventureSingh

#6 “Julley” The Magic Word! What does Julley mean?

People say, visit Ladakh for the colour-changing sky, the mountain dessert terrain and the landscape scenes. I say, visit Ladakh for its local people. It's not only that they have beautiful features, but they have beautiful hearts as well. Can you say, where else in the world will a man hand over his bike keys to an odd stranger who promises to return it back in an hour? Simply say the magic word “Julley” and entire Ladakh will turn into your best friend! 

The smile that goes with the word is more than enough to warm you on a chilly day.

FYI:Julley” generally translates into Hello, Thank You, You Are Welcome and I Don’t Know Ladakhi, in addition to other things. 

The Locals in Ladakh                 

Want to join a group going to Ladakh?  Register at:

#7 The Destination Is What Matters: Ladakh Is Traditional And Modern!

The mobile network here may be not that fast, but the people aren’t! While age-old culture and tradition is still noticeable, there are traces of modern day changes are also all over from food to stay facilities. 
We utilize the words calm, quiet, peace, serendipity, rather loosely nowadays. Here in Ladakh, the words not only reverberate with their true meaning, they appear to be practically inadequate to depict the feelings and emotions in this part of India.

Way to Khardung La                PC- Biswatosh Bagchi

Monday, 8 May 2017

10 Iconic Historical Spots in Europe

10 Iconic Historical Spots in Europe

Europe is a continent that’s filled with amazing things to do. From haute hotels and fabulous food to party parades and charismatic castles, your Europe holiday is sure to be filled with many fun moments. The region is also known to be home to iconic historical spots, ensuring that any Europe trip is filled with several Instagram-worthy shots!

Relive history and include these must-do places to visit in Europe:

1. Berlin Wall, Berlin

If Germany is included in your Europe trip, then its capital, Berlin, is unmissable. Not only does it boast a vibrant nightlife but also various cultural hotspots and the famed Berlin Wall, or rather, remnants of it. Between 1961 and 1989, this structure was an actual wall that divided east and west Berlin. Today, only few portions stand and most of these are plastered with graffiti against which, it has become fashionable to pose. There is also a memorial where you can learn about its history, making it one of the top things to do in Europe and a monument whose demolition stands as testament to the reunification of Germany!

2. Red Square, Moscow

Almost every image of Moscow contains either the entire Red Square or some of its monuments! If your Europe trip includes a jaunt to Moscow then make sure to stand in the centre of the square and just soak up the history of the place that once was the centre of the Soviet world. Visit the colourful St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, Lenin's Mausoleum and State Historical Museum while you stand here. It is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Europe and photographs clicked here are sure to get you many ‘likes’ on social media!

3. The Colosseum, Rome

A visit to Rome will ensure that your Europe holiday is not only filled with yummy pizza, pasta and gelato but also that you’re fed enough doses of exciting history! Located in the heart of the city, this historic amphitheater was built between 72 and 80 A.D. and could seat a whopping 80,000 people! It was used for many public and entertainment events however, what it’s most known for is the hordes of gladiator fights that have also been the subject of many Hollywood films. The Colosseum is a part of Rome’s historic centre that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the must-see places to visit in Europe!

4. Arc De Triomphe, Paris

The city of love and romance is also filled with historic gems like the Arc de Triomphe that was built between built between 1806 and 1836. The neighbourhood is totally historic as this glorious 19th-century arch is surrounded by the Place Charles de Gaulle and the Champs Champs-Élysées making it one of the iconic places to visit in Europe. It was built in memory of those who died to honour France in various wars – their names are inscribed on its walls. If a visit to Paris is scheduled in your Europe trip, then the Arc, which is as beautiful as its home city, is a must-do!

5. Acropolis of Athens, Athens

Could it get more historic than the city that was the birthplace of the Olympics? When you’re not cruising the Mediterranean waters of Greece’s coastline or walking through the cobbled pathways surrounded by white and blue cottages on your Europe holiday, spend some time taking in the history of Athens, the country’s capital. The Acropolis is a Citadel that contains a glorious collection of historical buildings like the iconic Parthenon, Propylaia and the Temple of Athena Nike. Make sure you click pictures and feel the history of this place that dates back to more than 2000 years ago, making it one of the most historic places to visit in Europe!

6. Buckingham Palace, London

Many have tried in the past and failed. At what, you ask? Distracting the guards at London’s Buckingham Palace, of course! London shows up on almost everyone’s Europe trip and Buckingham Palace cannot be left out. It is the seat and residence of England’s Royal Family and is located in the Westminster area. Come here to marvel at the iconic structure, make funny faces at the guards, click loads of pictures and shop for royal family-themed souvenirs here. With so many fun activities on offer, the palace must figure high up in your list of top things to do in Europe.

7. Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, often called the Blue Mosque is one of the most historic and iconic structures in Istanbul, a city that in itself is filled with antiquity, given that it’s spread across two continents. Which means the city is not only one of the must-see places to visit in Europe but also Asia! The mosque is unmissable on your Europe holiday itinerary. It was built between in the 17th century and contains a madrasa, Ahmed’s tomb and a sanitorium. It’s a fully functional mosque even today and is known for its spectacular architecture.  

8. Familia Sagrada, Barcelona

The most ambitious project of renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Familia is definitely one of the top things to do in Europe. If you find yourself in Barcelona during your Europe holiday, you will find that much of the city’s iconic architecture is credited to this creative genius. This particular Roman Catholic Church was his most glorious project: so much so that he couldn’t complete it in his lifetime! It is a sight to behold and several guided tours are held here. Many city architects are toiling night and day to complete the legacy of Gaudí and it’s slated to be completed by 2020.

9. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

When a teenage girl documents her life-in-hiding in a 17th-century house by a canal in Amsterdam during World War II, the book makes for worldwide reading. The ‘secret annex’ was converted into a museum in 1960 and is one of the top places to visit in Europe. Visitors from around the world include this museum during their Europe holiday to have a peek into the life of a young girl during World War II.

10. Canals of Venice

Several Bollywood movies have showcased Venice in a romantic light and rightly so. The city is a conglomeration of 118 little islands that are joined by a canal system. Lovers from around the world have gone on gondola rides along these canals, arm-in-arm with their special someone. If Italy is a part of your Europe trip then Venice is one of the must-see places to visit in Europe. Giving your idea of a ‘romantic long drive’ a twist, a gondola tour is one of the top things do in Europe and will enchant you like no other boat ride would!

There you have it. A listing of iconic spots that are sure to fill your Europe holiday with Instagram-worthy moments! These historical locations have not only made a place for themselves in history but will also do so in your hearts. What are you waiting for? Log onto and book your trip to begin ticking off destinations on this list of must-visit historic places in Europe!

Created by -
Ananya Bahl
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