A dog at Chikmagalur – and for all dogs out there

Here's a toast to all dogs on National Dog Day - for the love you bring us all. Whether you are a stray or a pet. I don't have a dog of my own, but all those kind humans who let me play with theirs - thank you so much. So full of gratitude always. And to the dog at the waterfall near Chikmagalur - you will always be in my heart.

Travels that revel in folklores and fairy tales – happy folklore day!

Did you know that in Ireland, in 1999 a 'sacred' bush in Co Clare was protected after it was deemed to be the abode of fairies? And that the plans for a motorway bypass had been worked upon or modified in such a way that the bush wouldn't be destroyed? There are also many caves across Ireland where, as the story goes, the tragic lovers Diarmuid and Grainne slept and hid. And one of these caves is in the Gleniff Horseshoe, which itself is a place full of magic and breath-taking beauty. The world around us is full of such stories. No matter where we travel to - each region has a rich repertoire of folklores and fairy tales. And that is why this blog on World Folklore Day, which falls on 22nd August every year.

A period property, pleasure grounds and walled gardens at Glenveagh Castle

Gardens also put an indelible stamp on my heart from the books I read. First and foremost among them was The Secret Garden. Then there were the gardens from Daphne Du Maurier's novels. If you have read Rebecca, you will forever remember the gardens of Manderly, and especially the 'Happy Valley' where rhododendrons and azaleas are pleasantly fragrant even in the rain, in colors of “salmon, white, and gold.” Again in My Cousin Rachel by Maurier, you would witness two different types of gardens. The Italian one in Rachel's Villa Sangalletti in Florence, and the English one in Cornwall (Remember the 'sunken garden'?) I am still enamoured by both of these 'literary' gardens.

Pottery and paper bags – a story of Dingle and India

We went to the counter, and paid for them. I was a bit hesitant about our purchase at first; I thought the mugs were rather expensive. But I knew that these were handmade and unique, and thus we were paying for the craft and their uniqueness. When the woman at the counter handed the cups/mugs to me, she put them in a paper bag that was fashioned out of a newspaper. The font looked very familiar. This looks like Hindi, I said to my husband.

Encountering the donkey enroute to the Devil’s Chimney Waterfall

A lone donkey grazed in a large filled full of yellow irises and other flowers that appeared like buttercups. You could see the backdrop of a mountain, and trees in the horizon. The donkey did not seem like he was in haste. He looked like he was at peace. Neck bent, head down in haze of green and yellow, he seemed far removed from the miseries of the world, and the unfairness, death and grief that rocked the world in the past year and more.

What is authentic travel?

Many of us - as travellers, service providers, storytellers and content creators - have heard the term 'authentic travel' or authentic travel experiences. But you will know that the term is rather fluid and subjective. It could mean different things for different people. However, more and more travellers are seeking authentic travel, which in some ways would mean travel experiences that are more real, immersive and genuine - as opposed to those that are stage-managed or touristy in nature. A lot of service providers are also trying to cater to this demand.

The time we jumped off a bus in Malta

We made it to the portico and paused to take in the six columns and the two bell towers flanking them. But it was when we stepped inside that I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Or perhaps I had consumed magic mushroom? The interior of the dome was spectacular, coming alive in a beautiful gold, white and blue. As I stood wide-eyed and open mouthed, a man who must be in his sixties came to me. He pointed at a board and smiled. “Miraklu. Miracle.”