This year on the Festival of Lights, may we shine & sparkle from within!

IMG_8398

Advertisements

Photo Challenge : Window

IMG_7820

Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. It looms over the city of Jodhpur, in the state of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is a beautiful city with royal forts, beautiful lakes and gardens, bustling bazaars and a hearty appetite for delicious food. This city is also famously called the Blue City on account of a majority of houses in the older part of town being whitewashed in a blueish hue. The best ways to see proof of this are to either amble along the streets at ground level or hike up to the Mehrangarh Fort and enjoy a bird’s eye view from the ramparts. By the way, Jodhpur is Mr.A’s birthplace & childhood home, enough reason to be all the more special for me 🙂

This post, however, zooms in on a distinct attribute of many forts and palaces in India , a special kind of window that you see in the pictures, called the jharokha. It is a typical feature of Indo-Islamic architecture which is at once an enclosed balcony as well as a window. It served various purposes – beautifying the building facade with its intricate designs, pillars, and mini-roofs; providing a screen against the outer world through covered lattices; providing ventilation as well as shade against sun and rain.

P.S. I posted another picture clicked at the Fort in a previous entry to the Weekly Photo Challenge, when we talked about an ephemeral moment caught on camera.

Check out more from the Weekly Photo Challenge at Sunny District!

 

 

Travel checklist : 2016

2016 was a year of adventures, big and small. Early last year, Mr.A and I prepared a 2016 Travel Wishlist. And we went though quite a bit of it, of course, missing some here & there, but adding a few more in the end. By the end of it, I had ticked off 9 totally new countries! Whoa, I’m so lucky!! So, continuing on the tradition set down by my Travel checklist: 2015, here’s the lineup from 2016…

#1 Germany : Around my birthday in February, we visited Berlin, a city rife with such poignant history, yet so contemporary at the same time. It was an eye-opener, trying to imagine what the city might have gone through during those war-torn years.

collage_berlin.jpg

#2 Czech Republic : In spring, it was time for beautiful Prague, together with our friends N&G. The city of a hundred spires was as intriguing as we had expected. Like Berlin, here too, we experienced some heartrending snippets of history.

collage_prague.jpg

#3 Croatia : May brought in a terrific week of road-trips, when we travelled through the length of Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. We visited several cities and witnessed amazing geography, enjoyed traditional food and met some really nice people along the way.

collage_croatia

#4 Estonia : Around midsummer, we took an overnight cruise to Tallinn, to see its charming old town and relax at a spa hotel. Mr.A’s little sis joined us on this fun trip.

collage_estonia

#5 Latvia : A mere 4-hour bus ride from Tallinn brought us to Riga, another really winsome town with its many spires, squares, parks and cafes.

collage_riga

#6 Iceland : In fall came our epic road-trip around Iceland with our friends S&S, one of our most awe-inspiring trips ever. To say that the landscape is stunning, is a gross understatement. Every step of the way was a revelation in beauty and wonder.

collage_iceland

#7 Switzerland :  In September, Mr.A and I took my parents on a trip to Switzerland, the enchanting land of endless green fields, glorious mountains and postcard villages.

collage_swiss

#8 United Kingdom : And then there was a bonus office trip to London. Though it was short & snappy, I got a chance to see a couple of prime spots and became even more excited about returning to this groovy city.

collage_london

#9 Hungary :  In November, keeping up with an unsaid tradition of ours, we celebrated Mr.A’s birthday in Budapest. We were charmed by this city of bridges, and felt knowledgable while comparing it to its almost-twin, Prague.

collage_budapest.jpg

#10 India : And finally in December we spent time in India to connect with our beloved friends and family. I know this is cheating, ’cause I am from India, so this is not a new visit, but I just couldn’t resist the fun of getting down to a square ten-pointer 😉

collage_india

How was your year in travel? Keep going!!

Color Story : Blue

Sky. Ocean. Teal. Berry. Sapphire. Azure. Aegean. Peacock. Cobalt. Denim. Navy… Picture each of these, and a random collection of words will quickly transform into vivid and evocative names for various shades of Blue.

santorini

Sunny, happy day. Santorini, Greece

kolkata

Calcutta Trams, running since 1902. Kolkata, India.

img_3094

Chunks of glacier ice floating on a lagoon. Jökulsárlón, Iceland.

vasteras

Stained glass window at a church. Västerås, Sweden.

lisbon

Azulejo, a mural made from tin-glazed ceramic tiles. Lisbon, Portugal.

tallinn

Call for selfie onboard the Tallink ferry! Tallinn, Estonia.

More “Color Stories” at Sunny District:

 

Durga Puja in Stockholm

It’s that time of the year! The all mighty ten-armed Goddess, Durga is revered and rejoiced in all her strength & glory.  Celebrated throughout India by different names, Dussehra, Navratri, Sharadiya, Durga Puja… all these festivals stand for the one thing, victory of goodness & righteousness over evil.

For me personally, this is the time when I am most homesick. Being away from home for nearly half my life, I am supposed to be used to this, right? Nope. I learnt it doesn’t work that way. I think of those years when the most awaited trip of the year was when we drove to my father’s family home in the village and spent the next week flying through festivities, meeting family, conspiring with cousins, dressing up for the day and altogether having the best time ever!

Time flies but I live in the now. So I am happy that Mr.A and I could be part of some celebrations, here in Stockholm. We seized the rare chance to dress up in traditional Indian attire. There was worshiping of the Goddess, songs and dances by talented performers and good old Indian food to seal the deal. The perfect festival weekend 🙂