December 6th, 2013 by admin

Online shopping has started to catch up in India by 2005. To give it further fillip, Google India organized Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) for the first time in 12th December, 2012. This was done on the lines of Cyber Monday which follows Thanks Giving day in the US. Cyber Monday later spread to many other countries of the world. The basic idea is to persuade people to shop online. For this the participating retailers give huge discounts to encourage sales. This is two way beneficial as consumers can purchase at cheap rates and retailers can clean up their yearend inventory.  This year GOSF will take place on 11th, 12th and 13th of December.

Google the online mammoth wanted to replicate the same success in India. Traditionally, Indians are very choosy and wanted to see things before buying. With GOSF Google wanted to bring more Indians on the online e-commerce bandwagon.

This year large number of retailers are participating. I am glad to see well known names like Flipkart, Cleartrip, Zovi, Myntra, Amazon, AirAsia, Airtel, Bagskart, Bookmyshow, ITC Hotels, Indigo, Redbus, Titan, Volkswagen etc to name a few. You can buy from a large range of items starting from paints to water filters to car. With some of the participants like ebay, zovi, flipkart, Jabong etc I have consumer relationship and looking forward to see some great deals or discounts from them. So just another few days wait and then great shopping awaits us!

The readers of Travelingbeats and travel junkies will be thinking what’s in it for us? Well travellers too have a lot to choose from. As airlines, ticket booking portals like makemytrip, redbus, easemytrip, and hotels are participating.

Also, I found some further interesting information and statistics on last year’s GOSF on Cuponation’s (a site that gives deals coupon on their various partner portals) site and they also seems to be offering GOSF Coupons. Happy Yearend Shopping!


November 25th, 2013 by admin

The Hues of Chilika
Photo credit:

I was born and spent the early days of my life in one of the wettest place in India. I have a natural affinity to wetlands. But you will ask me: Does the tourist has a business there? I say yes!  With developing tourism facilities and raising awareness, the average tourists can also enjoy holidays at such amazing wetland eco-systems. But for travelers and animal photographers, these are the place to be in. India has some amazing wetland eco-systems. And the good news is that, they are now preserved by the government. National Geographic in one of their recent issue, made a list of India’s best wetlands. I am noting them as follows:

Eastern India

  1. Chilika Lake, Orissa
  2. Deepor Beel, Assam
  3. Loktak lake, Manipur

Northern India

  1.  Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
  2. Tso Moriri Lake, (Ladakh region), Jammu & Kashmir
  3. Wular Lake, Jammu & Kashmir
  4. Ropar Lake, Punjab

Southern India

  1. Astamudi Lake, Kerala
  2. Vembanad – Kol lake, Kerala

I am glad to have visited Chilika lake back in 1993 along with my parents. We had traveled from Puri on a day trip to Chilika. It is famous for shrimp cultivation. The lake has an inlet with the sea and has natural small size waves which is not found in typical lakes. We had took a boat ride to a Kali temple located at one of the islands in the lake. It is a very nice place and on my travel radar again. So now that you know the names, the thought of visiting one of these places dint cross your mind?

November 18th, 2013 by admin

Nagar Kirtan is a procession taken out by the Sikhs wherever they are in considerable numbers. Nagar Kirtan literally means singing of divine hymns around the town. Typically, the procession is taken out before the Prakash utsav in the month of Vaisakhi. I have seen this procession before in Bangalore. But this is the first time, I have been part of it to capture the lively proceedings. The procession started from the Gurudwara located at Ulsoor, and took the route through – ulsoor road – MG road – Kamaraj road – Central Street – Infantry road – Dispensary road – St. John’s road – Gangadhar Chetty road – Ulsoor Gurudwara.

I joined the procession at Ulsoor road. Vibrantly dressed kids, young and old were part of the procession. One of the trucks was nicely decorated and it contained the Guru Granth Sahib (holy scripture of Sikhs). At the other end of the truck, please were singing religious hymns. At the front of the truck there were 5 khalsas with swords in their hand and led by one with a flag. At the front of the procession, there were Sewadar (volunteer) who were cleaning the way with broomstick for the khalsas who were working bare feet. I was asked by one of the volunteer to tie a cloth on the head and I happily did. Through out the route volunteers were distributing fruits, fruit juice, biscuits, snacks, tea, food and water. At some places volunteers displayed sword playing etc. It was dark when we reached the Gurudwara again. I signed off by taking a lit shot of the Gurudwara.

To view more pictures visit: TravelingBeats Photo Gallery

October 30th, 2013 by admin

Wine as a beverage drinks is catching up fast in India and leading in this regards is the UB group with their Four Seasons wines. Four Seasons has been quite aggressive in promoting their wines. Recently, I was invited to one of their promotional wine tasting events at Fawa, UB City, Bangalore. The host did a pretty good job of introducing invitees to the history of wine, process of wine making, different kind of wines and so on. Exclusively Four Seasons has 9 different variety of wines: Four Seasons Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Blush (Rose) Wine, Merlot, Viognier, Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Barrique Reserve Shiraz. Among them the Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Barrique Reserve Shiraz are allowed to mature for 9 months in New French Oak Barrels. And we all know the older the wine, the tastier it is!

Now lets get into wine tasting! It has its own etiquette, if you follow while tasting will give an enriching experience. Started with the red wine Four Seasons Cabernet Sauvignon. First evaluate your wine with sight, then by smell and finally let your tongue taste it. Look into your glass vertically from top then hold it in light and lastly give it a slight tilt so that the wines moves to the edges of the glass. Here we were trying to gauge the depth of color, density and saturation of the wine. In terms of view you can try a straight, side or a tilted view. Next step is to swirl the glass by placing the glass on a flat surface. Now try to smell from close quarters and feel the aroma of the wine. Red wines are eternal good but I liked their Rose (Blush) variety more. Then tried my hands on the white wines which too had a pleasant taste. One of the trick, the host taught was to try lemon and then try to taste the white wine with the tip of the tongue. Yo! it does make a different in its taste. Note that the sugar buds are located at the tip of the tongue. So try tasting wine with the tip of your tongue for a better experience.

Food and wine goes hand in hand. So food followed soon. Typically these wines goes good with salads and spicy veg/non-veg items. The grapes for making these wines are sourced from Baramati region of Maharashtra. Also their winery is located there. To promote wine tourism, Four Season has made necessary hospitality arrangements. Indian wine these days is going places and scene looks bright. Overall a good experience with a lot of wine gyan soaked in.

If you are an Indian wine lover in Bangalore, you can order Four Seasons wines online. Good news! Delivery is free in Bangalore city limits. However, you will have to order a minimum of 4 bottles of 750 ml and ordering person has to be 21 years old.

October 20th, 2013 by admin

On the first Sunday of October 2013, me and another photographer friend set out to explore Melkote. It was my first visit there, though I have read about it and has been on my radar for long time.
Early morning he picked up in his car and pretty quick we were on Mysore road after zooming through NICE road (one way toll Rs 60 for car). Did a pit stop for a quick breakfast. Driving through mild vehicle movement we reached Mandya. After we reached the country road after Mandya, it was transportation to another world. The country to Melkote seems to be newly laid and is in awesome condition.
The drive to Melkote through the country side is as good as the destination. One way encountered many things which I had for long lost touch in city life. The green paddy field looking like a a green velvet cover under the blue sky, the rustic rocky settings, water bodies, easy going rural people was all a sight to behold.

Soon we found ourself at the foot of Yoganarashima temple hill. We took the small left road and did a bit of photography. Explored the surrounding. There is a rustic pond, a stone steps leading to some temple on this side of the hill. Then we drove again in minutes to the town. Our first stop was Kalyani (pushkarani or pond). This ancient India’s public bath system. This is a big beautifully made pond. All sides of this water body is embanked with stone steps. There are gates and nicely made structures as well for people to sit and take rest. Faithfuls take bath here and do rituals. At four corners of the pond, they lit fire. This would be awesome sight at evening. Comparatively the pond is clean. Saw one interesting character over there, who was conducting a ritual of putting vermillion on kid’s forehead and was playing an instrument like a small saxaphone.

Next we started climbing steps to Yoganarashima temple which is located on top of a hill nearby. One might have to climb 120 – 150 steps to reach the temple. The hill gives an awesome panoramic view of Melkote town below and the surrounding country side. At the summit of the hill we bought some snacks and beverages. Sat on the edge of a stone and was feeling like sitting on the lap of nature. Unhindered view for miles ahead, pure oxygen filled breeze and wildlife in the form of monkeys, goats & sheep made it very adventurous.  After our rest, we started our remaining part of the short climb. The temple is spacious and has a balcony at its backside. Once you reach the main hall, one has to take a round of the sanctum sanatorium. One can go out of the temple by walking straight or take the left door to enjoy the outside view. On two of the windows found people tying their bangles or charms while making their wishes. It was an interesting sight.

Next we went to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple (Lord Vishnu). The temple was closed then. Lastly went to the Raya Gopura (the unfinished gate). It is a beautiful structure and very neatly kept. You can get a completely different view of Yoganarashima temple from here. One can climb to the sides of the gate and sit over there.

Overall Melkote is very good for photography and is a wonderful one day trip. I had wrote a detailed article on Melkote before. You can read that if you need more info.

To view more pictures visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

September 12th, 2013 by admin

This Monday (09/09/2013) was Ganesh Chaturthi. A very auspicious day according to Hindu religion. The festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm all over India. Colorful idols are made for the elephant headed god in all forms. The day before people come to particular locations like around RV road, Bangalore to pickup the idol for prayer at their home. This is a emotional and a happy moment for the faithful. I wanted to capture these in its natural elements. So on Sunday afternoon went over there with my photowalk group. We started our walk from Lalbagh west gate onto RV road. The sky was overcast but thankfully it did not rain albeit little bit at the end.

After walking little bit we found idol sculptures have lined up completed idols on both sides of the road for display. It was a sight to see. Colorful idols of Lord Ganapati, frenetic activity of people to buy or pick up a pre-ordered idol. Started clicking as we went. Entered a few workshops and was a amazing experience.

Then we went to VV Puram, one of the oldest area in Bangalore. But still looks very much new and charming. The food street here is famous for mouth watering snacks. I tried paddu for the first time and it was good. Now its time for the pictures.

To view all the pictures, visit Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

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