11 Oct 2016

Mysore Diaries

I had heard a lot about Mysore City – Cleanest City, Safe for Travel, Shopper’s paradise. This curiosity made me visit Mysore and two (girls) of my friends tagged along with me. So, it was 4 days of all girls trip from Mumbai to Mysore.

Best time to visit Mysore – Starting from October. Try to visit Mysore during Navratri and Dusshera. The city is completely in festive mood and lit up.

How to reach - We travelled from Mumbai to Bangalore by air, and then right outside Kempegowda Airport we took KSRTC fly bus to Mysore. We had pre-booked the bus tickets from KSRTC website.  You can check their website here -  KSRTC Website
 Its hassle free booking and bus starts from airport and stops at Mysore bus depot. Journey takes around 4 hrs with one stop at Kamath Hotel for refreshment. The buses are surprisingly comfortable and clean. In fact, lot better than flight seats.
Tip – Do not forget to carry printout of the e-ticket which you will receive by email. Also, identity proof is important while boarding the bus.

Fly Bus timings KSRTC
Arr. Time
Road Transport Enquiry Numbers

KSRTC City Bus stand
KSRTC Reservation
KSRTC Suburb Bus Stand
Bus Stand

Where to Stay :-
We stayed at Hotel Ginger (Plot no 678, 4, Nazarabad Mohalia, Vasant Mahal Rd, Near Nazarabad Police Station, Opp. Vasant Mahal, Mysuru, Karnataka 570010) which is decent place just in middle of the main city. Also, Mysore palace and main market is just 2 kms away from this hotel.

Special mention :- Hotel Green(2270, Chittaranjan palace, vinoba road, jayalakshmipuram)
Its palace turned into hotel which I had discovered while doing online research. I was tempted to book our stay at this hotel but it is little far from main city and that’s the reason why we choose Hotel Ginger over Hotel Green. However, this hotel also has restaurant where we had our lunch. This place also has amazing bakery which served yummy cakes – Malgudi Coffee Shop.
Tip :- If you are not staying at Hotel Green, do visit their restaurant and Bakery. Try their Walnut and Date cake.

How to get around :-
  1. Local Transport – Rickshaw or City buses. We hired pre-paid rickshaw from Mysore depot to Hotel Ginger(where we stayed). Next day for few hours we commuted in the city by rickshaw and the charges were genuine (I was surprised that the prices were not loot). Also, there are many city buses that takes you around and out of the city to major sports like Chamundi Hills and their frequency is good.
  2. Something to consider while you are travelling in different states of India. We rented a self-driven car from  Zoomcars. It was comfortable and hassle free booking procedure and car which we got was well-maintained. Also, zoomcars are available almost in major cities of India. 
Zoomcars pickup is available at Garuda Mall, Mysore (Walkable distance from Devraja Market and Mysore palace).

Sightseeing :-
  1. Mysore Palace - (Timings 10AM to 5:30 PM) Best to visit inside in morning and visit at Night to see lit up palace.
  2. St. Philomena Church – (2.4km) from Mysore Palace... appx 10 mins(Timings – 5 am to 6:30 pm) Constructed in 1939 using Neo Gothic Style. Architecture inspired by Cologne Cathedral Church, Germany.
  1. Chamundi Hills – (11 km) from Mysore palace…appx 25 mins (Temple timings 7:30 am to 2 pm, 3:30 pm to 6pm, 7:30 to 9 pm)
  1. KSIC Silk factory visit - Mananthody Road, Ashokapuram, Mysore(Sundays closed)
     (Timings – 8.30am-4pm Mon-Sat, outlet 10.30am-7pm daily) 
    Buy silk sari from KSIC factory outlet shop for genuine rates.
  1. Government Sandalwood oil Factory - Ashokapuram, Mysore(Sundays closed) (Timings – 9:30 to 1 and 2 to 5pm
  2. Mysore Zoo – (2 kms) from Mysore palace. We didn't visit this place as we believe that animals shouldn't be kept in enclosure but should allow to be free in wild.
  3. Brindavan Garden - For those who think that Brindavan Gardens is in Mysore..sorry to break your bubble - It's not! It's around 24 kms from main Mysore city. 
  4. Srirangapatna Town – (20 km) appx 35 mins. Dedicate half day for this town. It has few sightseeings - Sri ranganathanswamy temple, Fort, Sangam, Tipu Sultan’s death place, Lal mahal palace, Bathing Ghats, Gumbaz, Dariya daulat bagh.  
  5. Sand Museum - Worth visiting this small museum at foot of the chamundi hills.
 All in all, Mysore is a beautiful city which you must not miss. It has rich culture, friendly and beautiful people and of course it promises decent vacation in India.

13 Mar 2014

Banana Leaf Restaurant Review

South Indian cuisine has been my all-time favourite, no matter how frequent I gorge on it. So, I decided to visit Banana Leaf, Viviana Mall Thane on friend’s recommendation. Well, the name itself hints the uniqueness of this food joint – hot steaming south Indian food served on banana leaf.

Expect a sober, clean and spacious atmosphere with Carnatic music playing in background. Don't bother to make reservations; just barge in and enjoy the experience.

I ordered South Indian Thali with neer dosa and Bissi Belle bhaat. They serve an enormous thali laid with four vegetables, curd, rassam with vada and sweet, neer dosa/appam/roti, steamed rice/Bissi Belle bhaat for a reasonable price Rs 250. Expect mouth-smacking variety and food quality worth every penny you shell. I would love to try aviyal and pulissery on my next visit.

Verdict : A must go for South Indian food lovers.  Thumbs up for quality food and rates.

28 Feb 2014

Bombay Blue - Lower Parel

I am back to blogging, but this time with a friend who will contribute here as well. Coincidence or luck but we have one thing in common- “Our love for food”. Hence, we decide to try different restaurants in Mumbai and elsewhere we travel and review them at this platform for our readers. Welcome Sayoni on the board!

 I believe special moments are created dynamically. It was a dynamic plan to skip the usual homemade tiffin and try Bombay Blue restaurant at Lower Parel, High Street Phoenix. Good food and enchanting ambiance makes your lunching experience memorable. We had very little expectations from Bombay Blue, but we were keen to see what the rula-bula was all about. So, here goes the review:

Next to noodle bar and opposite Dominoes Pizza, Bombay Blue was comparatively less crowded which surprised us. We went at around 1 pm but very few seats were occupied. Anyway the ambiance was spacious, clean and homely. Living up to the name, you will get to see Bombay’s aka Mumbai’s true colours right from cricket posters to Mumbai dabbewalas.

We ordered Berry Berry Micheal, Spicy Tortilla Triangles and Chicken Escalope Melanise. I was disappointed on first sip of Berry Berry Micheal, which tasted like a melted jelly, but Sayoni loved it though. Different people, Different taste! However, spicy tortilla was the best part of our order. Beans just cooked perfectly and went well with melted cheese. Perfectly marinated and seasoned Chicken Escalope Melanise was cherry on the cake. We paid Rs. 750 odd which is reasonable enough for the food quality and quantity what we got. The best part about the restaurant is that you can enjoy Indian as well as International food at affordable rates.

Quick service when it comes to placing order and getting the order on your table. They have these unique table mats which has interesting puzzle game about Mumbai, which you can play while your order is getting ready.
 PS – We forgot the finger bowls though, even after licking the cheese with our fingers and the waiter didn't offer it.

 Verdict of the two hungry souls – A must go for Italian cuisine! We can afford second visit to try other dishes as well.

1 May 2012

Nikon L310 photos

Posting few photos clicked by me from my new Nikon L310 camera.

23 Nov 2011

Two hours lies in the eyes of my innocent one

If I had extra 2 hrs in a day, how would I spend it? I thought about this for several days and I never got valid answer until... 

 It was late afternoon and I was working on my next manuscript. My eyes were glued to the computer screen, whilst my fingers typed the words that were racing through my mind. In came a small furball, carrying excitement which would light up the faces of all. She jumped and barked, trying hard to pull my attention.

 “Go away, Lily!” I muttered, still not looking at her.

 However, Lily remained unmoved. She sat on the ground, her eyes focus on me. She wagged her tail and made a soft noise, desperately calling for my attention.

 “I am working, not now. We will play later,” I said with a hope that she would understand and go to another room.

 This time she barked a little more loudly and I knew she was saying Look here please. I sighed and moved my attention on her. Sensing that my attention was now on her, she danced in happiness, wagging her tail in rhythm. I smiled and patted her back approvingly.

 “Alright, I will give you a biscuit,” I said as I walked inside the kitchen.  Not to mention, Lily followed me excitedly. When she got the biscuit, she ran to her favorite place (the couch) to eat it.

 This is when I got the answer to the above question. My angel, who usually doesn't interrupt in my work, secretly wishes that I will spend some time with her too. If I get extra two hours in a day, I would devote it completely to my dog, who loves me selflessly. However, I also promise to spend some more time with her even if my clock reads 24 hrs, for she thought me to find happiness in small things. She deserves my time as much as I want hers.

Note: This post is a submission to the IndiBlogger-Surf Excel Matic contest, “If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?”. If you are a part of IndiBlogger, do not forget to vote for my entry here.

16 Nov 2011

In Conversation with Author Sonia Kundra Singh

Welcome Sonia! It’s an honor to have you on my blog “Things in Black N White”. To begin, can you tell us a bit about your writing style?

 Thank you. There are really no rules as to how to write. The language is supposed to flow, no careless use of sentences and no overuse of literary words that belonged to the era of Jane Austen. I like freestyle writing yet with I use it with caution, making sure that my readers have a pleasant time without having to take out their dictionaries. 

 How much does Indian readers loves Romance genre? How is your debut novel accepted by the crowd so far? 

 I think Indian readers are romantics by heart. And with the onset of Mills and Boons, I see copies flying everywhere. Love Me In The End is well liked by the young audience of mine and also inspiring those who are still searching for love in an arranged marriage. 

 Tell us in brief about your journey so far. What you learned and how you implemented it?

 It’s exciting to have your book in your hands once it’s published and it is not entirely an easy process if you are a first time writer. It’s always a struggle whenever you want your book out whether it’s the first or the second. Each time you are assessed and measured by the way you write and how you write it. Even if you are not putting your best foot forward, believe in yourself because you are the best judge of your writing. 

 Which is your favorite character in “Love me in the end”? 

 ‘Amitab Melhera’, the father of the heroine is so far my favorite character. I loved writing about him, highlighting the mistakes he didn’t know he was committing and all the while loving his daughter with all his heart. I have a weakness for interfering dads.

 After “Love me in the end”, what are the upcoming projects? Do you plan to write for different genre? 

 I am coming up with my second novel soon. It’s already under process and titled Love Me Like A Gentleman. It’s a romance again. I definitely plan to combine romance with thriller sometime very soon. Chik Lit is another genre I would like to explore. 

 After the first novel’s success, readers’ expectation grows. How are you planning to catch up with your readers’ expectation in next novel? 

 The first novel is always a testing phase to see if your readers like the way you write and it boosts your confidence further when it’s well liked as well. You cannot force a reader to buy your book unless they like the story. It’s a risk you have a take as a writer. My second novel is more on a sensitive side of people struggling with themselves as to what is right and what is wrong.

 Anything you want to say to your readers? 

 I just want to say that they have given me a lot of encouragement and love so far. I hope to continue making romance a very reality in your lives. Keep reading me!

Some more about Love me in the end :

A fanatically devoted father, a headstrong daughter and a devious rake make their way into the world of an arranged marriage, which is a sham. It was going to be the perfect match according to the father, but Ria was impulsive and Arman hated being tied to a girl he had never seen before. Ria was determined to put up a fight to the end and Arman, guided by his instincts, did not offer any help but to desire her with his heart. Could Arman convince her that he was the one for Ria?

To know more about Sonia, please visit her official website : http://www.soniakundra.com/

9 Sept 2011

Ganpati in Mumbai

One of the biggest festivals in Maharastra is Ganesh Utsav. You can find ganpati pandals in every next gully (lane) and they hold 20 – 40 foot big ganpati idols.

So, while the 10 days Ganesh Utsav is on, you need to take a day off or plan visiting all these places on weekends. Starting from your society’s own Ganpati pandal, start walking and visit all the pandals that come on your way. Admire the huge idols, pray feverishly and enjoy the Prasad. This process will eat up your entire day, but by the end of the day you will be super satisfied.

That’s what I did, started from nearest ganpati pandal, paid visit to every ganpati idol on my way. Sharing some of the photo with you.

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