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A Serendipitous Stop in Karnataka Near Nandi Hills

feature oriental darter preening and sunbathing in a pond near nandi hills karnataka

Keeping Our Eyes Open to the Wonders of the World At times, we look around us, and everything moving or even inanimate strikes us as beautiful. Travel, for sure, helps me appreciate the new and the old. But it also opens my eyes to things I might have ignored otherwise. Though I lived for years …

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Searched For Big Adventures, Satisfied With a Little Lakeside Picnic – In Karnataka’s Sharavathi Valley

my man and a picnic in sharavathi valley

We Wanted to Visit Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, But Didn’t Know We Were In It; We Looked For a Big Adventure, But We Were On It Already

That day had started late. We arrived at a homestay near Jog Falls in Sharavathi Valley two days ago. The occasion was of the New Year. 

Like always, I had zoomed in and out of Google Maps and found a vast green blotch dotted with blue pools that I hadn’t explored yet. It was Sharavathi Valley. And once again, I overruled my partner who wanted to visit an easy place, such as Gokarna or Hampi. Easy not because of the distance from Bangalore. But he preferred those well-known destinations because the internet didn’t have much information about Sharavathi Valley.

Not that we ever knew more about a place we wanted to visit than how far away it was and where we would put up for the first night. Sometimes, we even booked that first night while on the way or checked out a couple of hotels or home stays upon arrival. But having to navigate a large forested valley without knowing the local language, any information, and the possibility of losing phone signals could intimidate anyone. Though, to me, the journey sounded adventurous, and so my partner gave in, too.

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On Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg: Nothing To Do But So Much To Do

homestay on stuart hill in madikeri coorg karnataka 1

Living, Writing, and Traveling Slow on Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg, Karnataka

February 2021

We have been here in Stuart Hill in Madikeri town for almost two weeks. The popular Coorg viewpoint Raja’s seat is near Stuart Hill. I’m seated in the garden of our homestay to write.

I don’t know the origin of the name Stuart Hill. The place must have a story from British times. I could go to the Madikeri museum to get a glimpse of this town’s history. But on this trip, I’m not hungry to know. 

Even though we were here on our first wedding anniversary, we didn’t make any big adventurous plans. In the morning we walked down the path going in front of our house. That trail is fringed by jungly plants and trees on both sides. Few houses peek out of that path here and there.

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My Best Bangalore Hotels, Apartments, and Homestays (Stayed At Each)

room casa cottage hotel in bangalore

Some of the Best Bangalore Hotels — From Personal Experience

As my partner and I left our rooftop terrace in Bangalore to start our indefinite road trip, we started searching for budget hotels in Bangalore. Our car was still not delivered (more on the chaos in a separate piece), and we had to stick around the city a bit longer.

The most challenging thing about finding a good guest house in Bangalore is that in big cities hotels are expensive, even if poorly maintained. I have run into a lot of guesthouse owners who overestimate their property’s worth and charge exorbitantly. They calculate their property’s per day rent in terms of how much the building values but not on the services they provide and the current state of the hotel or homestay.

I stayed at a homestay in Bangalore where we almost went crazy fixing the place and handling the hosts. You can read more about this Bangalore Airbnb experience in my family-run guesthouses of India guide. At times, some of the stays at Bangalore were so dirty we checked out from the place the same day.

This Indian accommodations guide has extensive write-ups on my hotel experience in India.

And I understand the hosts’ apprehensions about Indian guests. A lot of us are notorious for making the place dirty, breaking others’ stuff, being rude and noisy, and not caring at all. But if we look beyond, the Bangalore hotel industry is run by staff most of whom aren’t trained in the hospitality industry. Well, that’s a problem in all of India I guess.

In a big city like Bangalore, I have realized it makes more sense to stay at a known or reputed hotel. Smaller and cheaper hotels in Bangalore offer poor services (maybe because their costs are high but can’t be recovered in budget pricing? or they just don’t know any better). And star-rated hotels in Bengaluru have to function well because they cater to a wide audience. Homestays in Bangalore are a gamble.

In the above two guides, you will read me discussing more on such Indian hospitality problems. Today I want to write about these three guesthouses-cum-best-hotels in Bangalore I loved staying at. I booked them on different occasions and here sharing my honest reviews.

Please note: This is not a sponsored post by any of these accommodations in Bangalore. They don’t even know I’m writing about them.

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Who Knew Basavanagudi in Bangalore Could Be So Beautiful

flowers sold in basavanagudi bangalore feature

Going Back in Time in Basavanagudi in Bangalore

Spread symmetrically around parks and temples, Basavanagudi in Bangalore was a surprise to me. I was taken to this old locality of Bangalore by a dear friend Julia.

Julia is a French woman who married an Indian man mostly for her love for Kolkata (sorry Sudipto) — she met her husband there. As destiny had it, Julia happened to move into the flat below our rooftop abode in HSR Bangalore. From my terrace shed, we stalked the blood-red moons together. Christmas was celebrated at her home and Diwali was at mine.

In December 2020, when the lockdowns had been lifted and the cases were receding, Julia took me to Basavanagudi. I hadn’t explored the locality. If Julia hadn’t suggested, I may have never visited the ancient lanes, intriguing parks, and the historic temples in Basavanagudi.

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Best Restaurants Near MG Road Bangalore – Adventures of My Belly

azuki japanese bistro restaurant near mg road bangalore

My Favorite Restaurants Near MG Road — Places to Overeat

I first created a draft for the restaurants near MG Road Bangalore when I was staying at the boutique hotel Casa Cottage behind Richmond Town. Sitting under the avocado trees, I would read books on Bangalore. Sometimes midday, I would pack my Kindle, pen, and notebook and head out. A few days, I stopped by Koshy’s and Indian Coffee House, and other days, I walked on. Towards the evening, my partner would join me for dinner, and we would explore different restaurants around MG Road (It’s close to Richmond Town). And many of those adventures of my belly found their way into this article.

I lived in Bangalore for quite a while and ate at many restaurants, kiosks, food stalls, and cycle vendors. But I never wrote about those eateries. I was scared of indulging in my food obsession. In Richmond Town, I was eating out at a new place daily because we were soon leaving Bangalore(for the nth time). Our Karnataka adventures were coming to an end. And so, I decided to record my food experiences in this MG road restaurants’ guide.

Here they are all. Enjoy.

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Relishing Crunchy and Soft South Indian Dosas

triangular masala dosa feature.jpeg

A Colorful Introduction to South Indian Dosas

I love South Indian dosas, and I enjoy talking about these crispy crepes even more. You have to bear with me as this article on dosas in India will be long. Like my piece on some of the best visiting places in Karnataka.

What’s a Dosa?

Dosa is a thin crispy or soft savory crepe, sometimes it is even thick and soft like a pancake. Dosa could be rolled and stuffed or it might be plain and open — with all other variations not out of the scene. It is served with sambhar (a curry), chutneys, garlic-chilli powder (podi, also known as gunpowder among the uninitiated), and other paraphernalia. Though now dosas are eaten throughout India, and the world, they are still a staple only in South India.

masala dosa in chikmagalur town karnataka
A simple stuffed dosa with coconut chutney and sambhar served on banana leaf. Eaten somewhere in Karnataka.
plain dosa in bangalore karnataka
Plain crispy dosa served with coconut chutney and sambhar in Bangalore on a small roadside dosa joint. Filter coffee is a must with dosa.

Where Did Dosa Originate?

No one knows where the dosa — known as dosai in Tamil Nadu, dose (dough-sey) in Karnataka, and dosha in Kerala — originated. But the ancient Sangam literature of the Tamil area mentions dosa as early as the 1st century AD. As per Wikipedia, a dosa recipe is said to be found in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by the Chalukya king Someshvara III of Karnataka. Originally the South Indian dosa is said to be of a softer and thicker form. But later in Karnataka, dose took a much crispier and thinner avatar.

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Can You Believe This Is Bangalore? (In Photos)

ols style shop in bangalore

Unseen Bangalore Photos From a Plethora of Day Outings in Bangalore City

These are not your usual Instagram Bangalore pictures.

My motive behind this piece on Bangalore images—which is really nothing but a collection of day outings in Bangalore—is to show real Bangalore. Not the cosmopolitan Bangalore city of the Manyata Tech Park, Cubbon Park, Forum Mall, and Koshy’s that every outsider like me knows. I wish to bring forward the old city, the city dense with flower shops, colorful food, coconut stalls, cycle hawkers, chaotic streets, and ubiquitous hot chips corners. Bangalore would be incomplete if we don’t mention its giant trees jutting out of buildings and breaking out of concrete roads, multicolored Hindu temples with a cornucopia of deity sculptures towering above, the most random stuff being sold in bazaar shops, old-style South Indian dosa joints authentic to their practices even hundred years later, and the feeling of the night during the day when thick Bangalore clouds threaten the residents way more than they would like.

In this essay of Bangalore photos, I share moments that have sparsely studded almost ten years of my life. Starting in 2010, I arrived in and left Bangalore so many times I won’t dare to count my shift outs. Irrespective of how much I wanted to let go of the city, Bangalore (and Karnataka state) didn’t leave me, not so soon.

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5 Tried and Trusted Online Organic Stores in Bangalore (Farm+Homemade)

organic vegetables in bangalore

(Phone-Based and) Online Organic Stores in Bangalore That Deliver Fresh, Natural, Preservative-Free, and Personalized Food Items to Your Doorstep

Grocery stores in Bangalore line every street. But we can never tell the origin of the fruits and vegetables there. Is the grocery we buy pesticide-free, or are we eating vegetables swathed in medicine? 

I love to cook. And, I love to shop for groceries. I will not survive a cloth retail store, but I will be so lost in a vegetable market you won’t find me for hours.

Something about the fragrant vegetables and their vibrant colors pulls me towards them. My attraction to the farmer’s markets and organic stores in Bengaluru could be attributed to my foodie nature. Food is a blessing in my simple life. I’ve been cooking since I’m a little girl. And I’ve been overeating ever since I opened my eyes.

For the past four to five years, I’ve been focusing on eating healthy food and living a conscious life. I’m being mindful of the source and content of my food. My diet has shifted heavily towards vegetables, fruits, whole grains, juices, nuts, yogurt, and other light food products. I try not to purchase items with liquid glucose, edible color, all-purpose flour, palm or vegetable oil, flavor enhancers, and other such redundant and unhealthy items. You would be surprised to know how little you can purchase if you vehemently avoid these ingredients.

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