3 Musical Staycations You Cannot Afford To Miss This Month!

Rock lovers in love with the all new vernacular fusion indie scene across India!

Here’s your chance to live in the moment as you see some of India’s greatest bands grow and emerge out of the ashes of many sleepless night spent writing and scripting their great melodies.

Be a complete roadie with Rocknaama as they power up to perform all night for you at the Heritage Village Resort & Spa, Manesar by Select Hotels!

electric_guitar_vector_6815902 27th August Rocknaama

And here’s the cool part, you get to live life to the fullest when you stay overnight at the Heritage Village Resort & Spa along with the stars!

What’s so cool about that? Imagine a grand Rajasthani Haveli style resort with all the modern amenities hosting an Indie Rock concert for you!

Ready? Presenting…

Rocknaama FB Ad

Soul Stirring Saturdays @ INR 12,500 + taxes

A quick musical staycation at the Heritage property with a rock band playing all night for you while the food and beverages flow non stop! Limited rooms only, duh! :)

Inclusions

- Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.17.14 PM  Accommodation in well-appointed rooms

- Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.18.58 PM Breakfast, lunch & dinner buffet meals

- music-vector-62 Passes to the in-house musical rock band show, snacks & beverages (including alcoholic)

Organizer – Select Hotels

Convinced? Book here – 011-66764115 or click here!

Testimonial!

Here’s what one of the attendees told us – Mr. Sunil – “Excellent, beyond imagination! Special thanks to Mr. Gopal and team. I’ve been to many properties, but this was by far one of the best. Hospitality was very warm. Music was excellent, will be back soon!”

Here’s what one of the attendees told us – Mr. Sumit – “Awesome place to have a relaxed event, staff was very good, budget for 2 persons was perfect! Very good experience! Will come again in September!”

Can’t make it? We’ve got more staycations coming up -

electric_guitar_vector_6815902 10th September with “Tarkash” the band playing!

electric_guitar_vector_681590224th September with “Aayudh” the band playing!

Soul Stirring Saturdays are presented and operated by Select Hotels!

Proof of the pudding is in the tasting! Have a look at some amazing shots from previous nights –

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The entire gang.

 

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When you fall in love with the sound of your own voice

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Subdued applause before you get comfy enough to let your hair down

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When you feel like Jay Z.

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The humble beginning.

Weekend Getaways from Mumbai? Here we come!

Weekend getaways can be a perfect way to break free from the daily grind before it gets on your nerve. A short vacation where you can relax and rejuvenate, can help you to reinvigorate your senses, thereby helping you ease the pressure of work and daily existence.

Fortunately, for those of us staying in Mumbai, most beautiful destinations are just a short drive away which makes them a perfect weekend getaway. The state of Maharashtra offers you a range of options that you can explore along with the best view of nature and major attractions.

There are beaches, waterfalls, forts, mountains, hills and more that encompasses every corner of this state and places that will leave you mesmerised by its simplistic grandeur.

Now, if you are planning on a weekend getaway from Mumbai, but have no idea where to go, then this stunning infographic will help you decide on the best place to visit in Mumbai for your weekend retreat.

This infographic is an ultimate weekend getaway guide that explains comprehensively the 55+ popular destinations in Mumbai that you can visit. This guide is categorically divided on the basis of distance and provides you information such as the best time to visit a particular place, major attractions and more.

Alternatively, if you’re not looking to head out of Mumbai, we’ve got you covered! Check out SeekSherpa’s amazing line up of Weekend activities for Mumbai here!

In addition, you can also download a printable PDF of this guide and keep it for your reference.

So take a look at this stunning post and plan a perfect weekend trip with your family or friends!

55+ Weekend Getaways from Mumbai by the team at ZaraHutke.in

Best Weekend Getaways from Mumbai

Credits – Guest post by Nirav Dave from Zarahutke

#TakeOff – Escape to Southeast Asia

#TakeOff – Escape to Southeast Asia

Islands, water and sky. Three top ingredients to making soulful travel memories. 

#Takeoff - Seychelles1
Image Source – 5starseurope

Southeast Asia is home to some of the most beautiful island countries in the world. Presenting 4 amazing and scenic island countries you should not miss!

We’ve got you covered with some amazing deals courtesy Live The World and American Express all through out South East Asia! 

Country #1: Bali

How to get there?

airplane-57-32 – #TakeOff to Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.

Also known as the Island of Gods, this Indonesian island has it all. May-August is the best season to visit Bali.

Beaches? Check. Volcanic Mountains? Check. Rice Paddies? Check. Coral Reefs? Check. Resort Towns, Yoga and Meditation retreats? Check and Check. 80% of the people traveling to Indonesia go to Bali and Bali alone.

Don’t travel without a deal! #TakeOff with these amazing travel deals from American Express & Preferred Stay around the world.

What to do?

There’s something for everyone to do in Bali:

Bali is popular for its rejuvenating spa treatments and yoga retreats. Take one to feel the experience!

Visit the rice fields and terraces to feel closer to the nature. Top it off with dining in the middle of a rice field.

Monkey – The wildlife lovers should head to Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, or Bali Safari & Marine Park. Keep the interaction with the animals minimal though.

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sun-2-24 –  Put on your beach outfits and head to the South Bali. If you feel that soaking in the sun does not float your boat, #TakeOff on your surfboards to take it to the next level!

diving –  From onto the waves, go down under. Diving activities are available in southeastern part of the country.

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Temple – For the religious soul, there are countless temples waiting. Marvel at the unique architectural designs!

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Take an early morning walk through Campuhan Ridge and witness a different side of Bali.

 Country #2: Maldives

Before we start, we have to tell you this –

American Express and Starwood are giving at least 20% off on the best available room rates in Maldives upto 31st August? Wanderlust hit you yet?! 

How to get there?

 airplane-57-32 - Take a flight to Male International Airport. 

An archipelago of around 2000 islands, Maldives is the laid back land of lavish resort with crystal clear water. 

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Maldives plays its due to all things blue. Underwater diving, surfing or lavish dining on the water, you are covered.

What to do?

diving – Diving and snorkelling are a must do activity while in Maldives. Swim with the sea turtles, play with the Sharks, find underwater wrecks and corals.

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sun-2-24 – The movie reels with crystal clear water lagoons come to life at Maldives. Spend a day lazing around the beaches or dining at a restaurant in the sea.

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Take a walking tour in Male, buy your own seafood and cook at a local’s home!

Country #3: Philippines 

How to get there?

airplane-57-32 – #TakeOff to Manila, a bayside metropolitan and the capital of Philippines.

Sea - Philippines

If a person decides to go to Philippines and spend a day each at all of its islands, it would take them 20 years! Philippines encompasses 7000 islands, tiny and huge.

Apart from having one of the largest coastlines in the world, Philippines also has a large number of volcanoes, some dormant and some active. Time to turn up the heat!

40% off at the Holiday Inn at Makati courtesy Live The World by American Express!

What to do?

Mountain – Mountains and Volcanoes are popular destinations to travel to in Philippines. Go take a hike, witness an active volcano or hire a bike for mountaineering at Baguio, Davao, Iloilo or Banaue.

Underground river

Temple_Philippines- Being a Spanish colony in the past, Philippines has a considerable amount of churches and along with it, some amazing world heritage sights. Banaue Rice Terraces, San Agustin Church, San Sebastian Church, Fort Santiago and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park are must visits.

diving – Diving and Snorkelling go hand in hand with coral islands. Witness life beyond the sea level at Tubbataha.

Hotels? Check out the amazing deals (15% to 40% off on Hotels) Live The World and American Express have for you!

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Philippines has great variety and flavours in the food. Take a food tour in Manila to gorge on some amazing lip-smacking stuff.

Country #4: Seychelles

How to get there?

airplane-57-32 – The only international airport is Seychelles International Airport, near Victoria. You want to land here.

Seychelles

Secluded, untouched beaches filled with white sand, clear water and open sky. That defines Seychelles. A perfect laid back destination to laze around or take a break from our mundane fast lives.

What to do here?

sun-2-24 – Like most of the places on the list, Seychelles is also a beach paradise. Praslin and La Digue Islands have the best beaches. Clear blue skies are complementary. Snorkeling, diving and water sports are available at some of the sea sites.
wine – One of the underrated attractions in Seychelles is the nightlife. Mahe Island has the best bars and pubs.

botanical_garden_seychelles
Image Credits – Villagetaways.com

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Visit the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens  for witnessing an overwhelming amount of flora, fauna, tortoises and bats.

 What are you waiting for? Get your swimsuits, sunglasses and groove on. #TakeOff to these South East Asia locations with Amex.

It’s not only about Hotels – it’s also residences, shopping, & food! Don’t go to South East Asia without your Amex we say!

#TakeOff: Northern Lights

#TakeOff: Northern Lights, 5 countries where you can witness them

Northern lights are also known as the Aurora Borealis in the north and the Aurora Australis in the south.

Northern lights have been a cause of fantasy and mystery, for hundreds of years carrying legends with them wherever they are witnessed. An old legend goes as far as saying that these lights signified the dawn, Aurora is the Greek goddess of dawn. They were also considered the harbingers of war and famine during the medieval times.

Deal alert on travel in India – Look here! – Hint – #TakeOff with Amex!

The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin believed that these lights indicated the locations of giants who were the spirits of legendary hunters and fishermen. Their spirits were captured in the form of the animals they hunted.

As amazing as the legends sound, the northern lights are actually a scientific phenomenon. They are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that manage to enter the earth’s atmosphere. These particles are gaseous in nature. The variations in the colors are due to the different kinds of gases that collide. The science of it all may or may not appeal to everyone, but the spectacle sure does.

Read on to find out how and where you could see the northern lights in the winter 2016.

  • Country #1: Norway

The carnival of lights is something Norway is famous for. You could camp underneath watching the lights dance above your head.

Go to Svalbard, you cannot go further up than that. This island in Norway is well into the Arctic circle and generally the higher the latitude the better. The season is November to February, but you could also see the Polar Night otherwise.

Svalbard does not have daylight and is soaked in an eerie blue twilight which is breath-taking to say the least. You could also spot various snow animals while you are at it.

 

#Takeoff  Norway Northern Lights
Image Credits – Visit Norway

airplane-57-32  – To get here, you could take the flight to Oslo and then onto Longyearbyen and then make your way to Svalbard.

Love travelling international?                                                                  

Check out the American Express Extra Night Offer!


  • Country #2: Finland

Have you ever lived in an igloo? Well, here at Kakslauttanen you could not only live in one but also gaze at the northern lights from inside it.

You could also prefer to stay in your own wooden cabin, typical camping style and top it up with snow activities such as reindeer safari or walking skis to explore the nearby Urho National Park.

If you want an early Christmas, you could go see Santa at his place in Korvatunturi just two hours away. Take a sled dog, just for the theatricality of it all.

airplane-57-32  – To get here, you could #TakeOff to Helinski and then make your way up north.

 

#Takeoff Finland
Image Credits – Assets Inhabitat

 

  • Country #3: Iceland

This land of geysers, volcanoes and blue ice has a lot more to fascinate about. We say, make an elaborate plan to travel all of it.

Your first stop however should be to visit Reykjavik, for the lights of course. You could also check out the Game of Thrones location while you are in the country.

airplane-57-32 – You could just get #TakeOff to Rejkjavik, but book in advance and save some money.

 

#Takeoff Iceland 1
Image Credits – Jetline holidays

Hobnobbing on international destinations this summer?

Get 20% off when you book with your American Express.

 

#Takeoff Iceland 2
Image Credits – Stuff.co.nz

 

#Takeoff Iceland 3
Image Credits – Amusing Planet

 

  • Country #4: Canada

Northern Canada, is covered by the Aurora Oval, making it the perfect place to see the northern lights.

It covers the provinces of Yukon, Northern Saskatchewan, Northwestern territories, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The Canadian geography has a lot to offer you.

The time when you are not seeing the northern lights, spend it skiing in amazing resorts by the side of British Columbia.

You could also see waterfalls and whales around Vancouver. Also, to get here-well, it’s Canada, should not be much of a problem.

 Psst…American Express is giving 20% off on Hotels for travel in India, Bangladesh and Maldives!

#Takeoff Canada 1
Image Credits – Wikipedia 

 

  • Country #5: Scotland

Scotland, in some parts of the year is also an amazing place to see the Northern Lights. This place has a couple of brilliant locations at the northerly latitudes.

sun-2-24 – If you want something to do for the summer, you could also go to the Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park.

Hire a bicycle and ride around the Royal village of Ballater or go munroe-bagging, soak in the beauty and the royalty that is Scotland. You may have gone to witness the lights, you shall come back with a lot more.

 

#Takeoff  Scotland
Image Credits – Travelzoo 

If you still don’t want to check out the northern lights this summer, watch this video and tell us if you still think so.

Also, watch this space for more amazing places you could #TakeOff to with your American Express!

Let SeekSherpa be the parent this summer – Kids activities in Delhi!

Kids activities in Delhi beyond the laptop, mobile phone, and neighbourhood Karate class 

Hello summer holidays, hello dreading feeling of engaging children!

For every parent out there, one of the toughest tasks in summers is to balance their work life with spending enough time with their kids, making sure that they learn new things, develop new hobbies and find their passion.

While the holidays last, change the game.

Rather than doing the same activities over and over, #BreakTheRoutine.

SeekSherpa presents 5 fun and engaging kids activities this summer that will help them #BreakTheRoutine and learn new things.

Kids Activity #1 – Rather than watching movies on the laptop, go for a photography tour!

Photography
Kids glued to the screen playing counter strike or candy crush or maybe even Instagram?

Don’t let your kid stay cooped up at home with the screen as their only friend this summer.

Send them on a Photography tour that teaches them how to capture various subjects, in the backdrop of Lodhi Gardens or capture Wildlife in action at the Delhi Zoological Park!

Book now

 

Kids Activity #2 – Rather than having Ice Cream at India Gate, visit the Mother Dairy Factory to see how Ice cream is made:

TheMilkyway

Move over getting just ice-cream at India Gate. Get on an AC Bus to visit Mother Dairy Factory!

Why not learn every behind-the-scenes detail about how milk is delivered to our homes and how ice creams are made!

Book now

Kids Activity #3 Rather than having them watch TV the whole day, send them for a hands on cooking experience:

Cooking

 

Easy to cook items and fun hands-on learning for kids! Who would not choose that over sitting idle watching TV all day?

Book now

 

 

 

Kids Activity #4 Rather than taking them to the mall, take them a AC bus trip through monuments in South Delhi:

Backinthepast

Going to malls and watching movies just does not cut it anymore.

Let kids become historians in these Summer vacations by visiting two important monuments in South Delhi – Qutab Minar and Lotus Temple!

Lunch is on us, too.

Book Now

 

Kids activity #5 – Rather than having them mug up history, make them visit a Museum and relive the history:

Musuem

Take a trip to one of the best museums in the whole of Asia, to understand the mythology and the history of art through the ages.

Conducted by a ancient history fanatic, you will be taken back to the ages.

Book Now

#TakeOff: Andaman Nicobar, 7 offbeat things you have to do.

#TakeOff: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 7 offbeat things you have to do.

Hawaii is too far away, Bali is too unrealistic. I have limited money and little time. If you’re looking for some holiday summer romance, whatever your reason is, the Andamans seem like a perfect place to take off to.

Here, I’m going to tell you how to get there and 7 really offbeat things to do. I’ll give you the space to write back the remaining 3 once you’ve actually been to the Andamans and we can exchange notes.

    airplane-57-32 – Port Blair is what you’re looking for when you’re booking your flight and hopefully you’ve got yourself a great deal. If you haven’t yet, check out what American Express has in store here.

Things you HAVE TO DO.

1. Sun Bathing!

Continue reading “#TakeOff: Andaman Nicobar, 7 offbeat things you have to do.”

#TakeOff – In Your City – 7 Nooks and crannies of Delhi

#TakeOff – In Your City – 7 Nooks and crannies of Delhi

Every weekend there’s this struggle of what to do, where to go eat, what event to attend, what food festival to hunt for. Annoyed with this overwhelming need to do the usual I’ve spent the last few weekends snuggled in my couch watching Newsroom and Sherlock alternatively. Oh Benedict, as much as I love you, I also crave a little bit of the outside world. No more will I spend any more free time doing nothing.

With that resolve, I set out to look for the parts of Delhi that are yet to be discovered by the likes of me. It’s funny really, having lived here most my life you’d think I would know this place better. Alas, I couldn’t be more wrong!

I’ve put together a list of 7 places in the hidden nooks and crannies of Delhi that you HAVE TO VISIT! Read on to learn things you never knew existed.

Continue reading “#TakeOff – In Your City – 7 Nooks and crannies of Delhi”

UberTOURISTER – A unique way of touring Aamchi Mumbai!

At SeekSherpa, we have always been a fan of understanding the hidden heritage, culture and art of your city uniquely, by being tourists in your city. The idea of venturing out to the nooks and crannies, exploring the unexplored places and treading on the off beaten paths is something that has always been our mission.

We have something very interesting brewing with American Tourister, and Uber Mumbai where you will be rediscovering the lesser known spots in your city – Mumbai, this weekend. It is not the run-of-the-mill variety action, you will be discovering the spots around your home or workplace, in a completely different light, seeking new experiences and hearing unheard stories. With Uber Tourister, a very special Uber ride will enable you to #touristeryoureveryday. After all, why must interesting things be saved only for vacations?

Whether you have been living your whole life in Mumbai, or just visiting for some days, don’t miss the action! Unlock the hidden Uber Tourister view by:

  • Opening your Uber app between 2 & 3 PM on Sunday, April 3, 2016
  • Entering the code UBERTOURISTER in the promotions tab to unlock the hidden view!
  • Selecting thee UBERTOURISTER view and hit request
  • If connected, you and two friends can choose any 1 of 5 tours listed below
  • All tours are 1.5 hours long, on foot, conducted by experts and free of cost 
  • Demand will be high, you may need to request more than once
  • Tours have limited capacity & will be available on a 1st come 1st serve basis!

THE TOURS

1. Picturesque Bandra:

PT_Bandraphoto by Satish Krishnamurthy

Explore the multicultural history and heritage of the Queen of Mumbai’s Suburbs: Bandra. Take in the street art & graffiti of Ranwar village, visit the quintessential Bandra Fort and trace Colonial & Portuguese history through Bandra’s bylanes & magnificent churches. Tour starts on foot at 4pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

 

2. The Fortress that Bombay Once Was:

Fort_Mumbai

Relive Mumbai’s history with a walk through the old British Buildings in South Mumbai. This tour focuses on the art & architecture of the area, visiting places like the Town Hall, Horniman Circle, Flora Fountain, David Sassoon Library, Churchgate, CST & the Blue Synagogue, with stops at SoBo’s most famous art galleries. Tour starts on foot at 4pm. Maximum tour size: 100 people.

 

3. Parsi Potpourri at Dadar:

Parsi_Dadar

Soak in the heritage of one of the most eclectic communities in Maximum City: the Parsis. Visit Rustom Faramna Agiary Parsi, followed by the largest Parsi colony in India, where legends like Freddie Mercury once lived. Experience the Parsi lifestyle and most importantly, Parsi Food, as we move on to a nearby Irani cafe for a chat. Tour starts on foot at 4pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

 

4. Yum Matunga: A Southie Food Trail in Matunga

Matunga_Southie

photo courtesy wikimedia commons

Ever wondered where to eat the best Dosas in the city? Quell your curiosity with delicious south Indian food in Matunga, where we explore its hidden nooks crammed with cafes and restaurants. Sink your teeth into piping hot Idlis, Vadas & Dosas! Tour starts on foot at 4.30pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

 

5. The Trail by the Lake in Thane

Thane_Lake

Visit the unexplored sister city of Mumbai known for its lakes, a temple and church that have survived centuries. The trail winds through the most popular of the 10 lakes of Thane: Masunda Lake, with all its calm and serenity. Make a pit stop for one of the best Misal pavs in Maharashtra, stopping for conversations about anything and everything. Tour starts on foot at 5.00pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

American Tourister wants you to liven up your everyday. A very special Uber ride which enables you to #TouristerYourEveryday! See you there!

 

 

 

Golden Glows – 3 Surreal Places To See Mumbai’s Sun Set.

The Golden Glows

3 awesome places to be in Mumbai at sunset

– Guest Post By Sherpa Sachin Jain – Host to the Picturesque Bandra Heritage Walk

North-South is a perfect orientation for an island city to have, sunset-wise. So it is no surprise that the Greater Mumbai metropolitan area offers an interesting mix of westward-facing beaches, promenades, forts and jetties to see Surya say his eveningly Tata OK Bye to this heaving and steaming 440-square-kilometer megalopolis. Sunset and not sunrise in particular because the city’s Eastern seaboard, home to its Naval docks since the days of the East India Company, are inaccessible to the common man. Even Bombay Castle, that fateful first edifice, lurks somewhere behind the Asiatic Central library, frustratingly out of bounds. However, opportunities to contemplate the sunrise over the Thane creek that separates Mumbai from mainland India, are present: the Wall by the Gateway of India, the flamingo-famous Sewri mudflats and the fish-basket cacophony of Sassoon Dock are three examples. Nevertheless, this piece focusses on the sunset also because of Bombay’s moniker as a city that never sleeps. She slips into her silky kimono just as the hitherto oppressive ball of fire lowers itself tranquilly into the saffron squiggles of the Arabian sea. Note that I have excluded some spectacular hotel rooftop bars that afford splendid vistas of the city and the sunset, in order to restrict the trio of locations to public spaces where anyone could go.

What does make a sunset spectacular? The actual view of the sunset, the vantage point from which it is seen, and the potential to catch the phenomenon down to the moment the last bit of remaining arc descends below the horizonthe latter may preclude non-seaboard locales like Borivali National Park and Powai Lake, which, though exquisite at this hour, seldom proffer an unobscured view from ground level. The architecture that frames the phenomenon brings character and spontaneity: glass and chrome facades ablaze in angular rays caught at a particular moment and angle; silhouettes of skyscrapers or iconic structures; glimpses of golden rays filtered through mangroves, the huge orange bindi crossed by a beautiful V-shaped flock of birds on their way home, an aeroplane approaching in the distance. The ambience: the sounds, the people who inhabit that place at that hour, the mood the particular concatenation of sound, smell and sight evokes, creates a poignant je ne sais quoi – somewhere in that border world between light and dark, between night and day, amid the kitsch bedding and Polaroid ramblings: we take a pause to contemplate this eternal ritual, reminding us of our significance (or insignificance) as human beings, the universality of our rhythms and cycles despite our (17 million-strong) protestations of Mumbaikar individuality, and the ephemeral nature of beauty itself.

Keeping in mind these factors, I have chosen three diverse locales. Some (maybe silly) advice: before embarking on a sunset odyssey, search for “Mumbai sunset time” on the internet, and plan to show up at your locale 30 minutes ahead of that time, in order to have a leisurely stroll, take in the mahaul and find yourself a great spot to contemplate cross-legged on a parapet. Never underestimate how long it takes to get around in Mumbai, so better early than twilit! An interesting tidbit: if the sun sets at 6:48pm in Mumbai, it had set at 5:24pm in Itanagar, capital of India’s easternmost province, Arunachal Pradesh. Trivia-dharma fulfilled, let’s now bring out the medals podium:

#3 Gorai jetty

Getting there and away: From Borivali train station (West side), BEST bus 294 or 247for (3.8km distance, Rs. 12) to Gorai ‘khāḍi’ (15min).

No fancy benches or promenades here; what you have is a slippery tide-soaked jetty poking into the dark tidal zone. Cries of home-bound birds, desultory conversations of fisherfolk returning with their catch, and the spluttering engines of tyre-bound local ferries plying across the Gorai creek (called khāḍi in Marathi) are the only sounds you’ll hear. The rickety yet hardy boats release rainbow-swirls of oil onto the placid waters and puffs of adulterated kerosene fumes into the air. Look around: power transmission line towers stand dutifully in the middle of the creek, gingerly wading like giant memsahibs daintily stranded in a twice-daily monsoonal flash-flood. Look closely around your feet at the mudflats and concrete, absolutely teeming with crabs and the minutest of ocean fauna, scurrying in and out of millions of tiny holes drilled at a uniform distance. Around you, the mangroves darken, and the trilling crickets get progressively conspiratorial. But the pièce de resistance is the Vipassana Global Pagoda up ahead in the distance across the creek. Rising majestically, shining golden, then in silhouette against the setting sun. You may be lucky and capture its spire actually bisecting the sun’s sphere at the correct angle of descent. Consider taking the ferry, then following the signs to the pagoda, and enjoying the sunset from there as well.

Sunset in Gorai, Mumbai
The ball of fire rests in Gorai, Mumbai

#2 Bandra Fort & Bandstand

Getting there and away: From Bandra train station (West side), take BEST bus 211 down Hill Road to the last stop Land’s End, 20 minutes, Rs. 12)

Clamber atop the Bandra Fort. To your left, the curvy, sleek Bandra-Worli sea-link, completed in the year 2010, with cars starting to turn on their headlights as they purr by. In the rains, the belligerent tides  crash against the bridge’s pylons, in a seasonal game of dare. Around you, the ruins of the ramparts of Castilla de Aguada, the Portuguese-built fort from 1505, heralding the beginning of the European history of Bombay. Shining on this incongruous juxtaposition across 505 years: the sun, melting into the sea Arabian sea, tiny ships on the horizon barely visible, a temporary oil rig of Bombay High somewhere in the distance. Hold onto the fort ramparts, and crane your neck (with deference to the unambiguous “Danger, do not jump” sign on the wall), to see fisherfolk mending nets down below, the black rocks awash in the golden glow. Catch the foliage-filtered spectacle of sunset atop this Forte de Bandora, discreetly gliding past privacy-starved lovers (now dissuaded by terse signs mandating ‘decent behavior’). Stop to smell the fragrant lotuses in the well-maintained ponds, and take any of the labyrinth of stone steps past the Jaane tu ya jaane na stone amphitheater. Saunter down to Bandstand, and face the gawker’s eternal quandary: Shahrukh /Rekha / Salman’s house or ‘o pôr do sol’? Keep toodling down Bandstand, immortalized in countless Hindi film songs right from Kisi Ki Muskurahaton (Anari, 1959) and chomp on a butta (charcoal-roasted, lemon and chilly-spiced ear of corn). Befriend one of the collared, eternally tranquil canines resting on the staggered, curving benches, and get sentimental listening to strains of Kenny G playing from a grilled-up jukebox installed on the promenade by enterprising local residents. Metal sculptures of Raj Kapoor, and a half-hearted Star & Handprints Walk of Fame didn’t have the same luck – they’ve been removed. Finish your walk at another gem of Picturesque Bandra, St. Andrew’s Church, celebrating its 400th year and vying with the Taj Mahal for pre-eminence in antiquity.

Bandra Sunset Point
Catch the foliage-filtered spectacle of sunset atop this Forte de Bandora.

#1 Nariman Point & Marine Drive

Getting there and away: From Churchgate train station (West side), walk 100m(3min)  to Marine Drive, then turn left for the 1km seaside walk (15min) to NCPA, Nariman Point.

Art deco buildings sweep along the Queen’s necklace in an arc, the shimmering streetlights gracefully curve to either side. Cars race between traffic lights on Marine Drive, eager to make it back home before rush hour truly (ha!) begins. Look around you: Fitbit-toting locals counting strides, kitted-out expats striding purposefully with Sennheiser headphones, tourists from every Indian province in gorgeous colourful garb chatting excitedly, an office-goer staring at the ocean, catching a breather between the schizophrenia of the day’s office politics and the upcoming drama at home, both familial and TV; lovers intoxicated on nothing more than the fresh cool breeze, unmindful of the lathi-toting immigrant watchman’s doleful, envious eye; selfie-obsessed college kids munching chana-jor-garam, imbibing chai (and surely, ecological bad karma) from styrofoam cups… Marine Drive is as much an anthropological expedition as it is a venue for a gorgeous the sunset. During the summers, the sun moves duly northward and sets behind the governor’s house on the protruding end of the claw-shaped Backbay Reclamation, giving the buildings an alluring silhouette; at other times it is visible till it goes down into the water. Lay on the katta (parapet) with your head on a towel, or simply dangle your feet down toward the tetrapods, as iconic as the art deco buildings themselves (but mind your cellphone!). Like indolent, post-prandial sea-lions reclining on the Pacific coasts, tetrapods, these 6,500 concrete bulwarks, made by the French ‘Laboratoire Dauphinois d’Hydraulique’ and imported in 1958, allow Mumbaikars to temporarily suspend their disbelief about how impossibly low-lying and ephemeral their expensive, reclaimed (un)real estate is. It’s poignant to remember that till a mere 4 centuries ago this was all sea, just water, almost 150 meters into the ocean from the Esplanade of Bombay Island of yore, from the British Fortress That Once Was, with all the land in between cleared out and guns pointed at potential seafaring invaders in the waters. Walk down to the end of the promenade, to NCPA apartments, where, the hapless horses driving the lit-up, plastic-flower-festooned Victoria buggies take a breather. At its very tip, symbolizing the unceasing quest for lucre and acquisition that define the city, the promenade too extends out a cement finger, pointing accusingly at the ocean, demanding from it more land. Look up at the pink streaks in the clouds, the neon-signs beginning to flicker on above the skyscrapers… and get ready to welcome the night.

Sunset at Nariman Point, Marine Drive, Mumbai
Nariman Point sunset, get ready to welcome the night.

Of course, with just 3 places on my list, I have left out at least a dozen other close contenders for the medal podium – and I can totally understand leaving out a few among them may be sacrilege to their fans: the pearl-like Haji Ali mosque and its low-tide submerged approach road, as seen from Hornby Vellard Road; the bracing, expansive (and expensive) Worli sea-face and the Bandra-Worli sea-link, playing on the setting sun like a harp; the serene, Buddhist-themed, stupa-adorned Chaityabhumi in Dadar West; the ever-popular, coconut-fronded, lip-smacking street-food-paradise of Juhu beach (or the less crowded but beautiful beaches of Versova, Manori, Madh, Marve and Gorai, all within the Greater Mumbai city limits); cutesie Jogger’s Park with its legions of circumambulating joggeratti; Carter Road with canoodling couples, homes of Bollywood legends, amphitheaters hosting B-Boppers to hula-hoopers, and surprisingly dense mangroves along the coast.

So what’s your favourite Mumbai sunset spot and why? Do share in the comments section!

Introducing Sherpa Sachin Jain, our very own Spanish conquistador and Sherpa extraordinaire (he speaks French, Hindi, and Marathi too!). Sherpa Sachin has wowed many a companion with his wit, charm, and serious knowledge (MA in Indian philosophy – no kidding) on the ins and outs of the maze that is Bandra. True to character, he conducts two slick experiences titled  “La pintoresca Bandra“ (Picturesque Bandra for the rest of us) and ”Mumbai Magnifique” ( Even we know that means magnificent Mumbai).

 

Celebrating women and whiskey – Women’s Day special!

6 7 Powerful Women & How They Like Their Whiskey

Whiskey, often seen as a man’s drink, stereotyped well enough through a series of film references, is a full bodied drink with enough legacy and power to knock the wind out of you. But Whiskey or whisky has a strong presence in the feminine world as well, contrary to the vodka stereotype.

Here’s how 7 powerful women like their Whiskey -

1. AVA GARDNER

Ava_Gardner
Ava Gardner

Oscar-nominated actress Ava Gardner had only one request: “I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.”

Though she passed away at the age of 67, it’s never too late to raise a toast in her honor.

Fame – Brilliant actor, and one of the more beautiful women of the 40s and 50s, wife of Frank Sinatra – read her IMDB profile here.

2. CHRISTINA HENDRICKS

Christina Hendricks
Christina Hendricks

Fans of Mad Men better watch out because Christina Hendricks who plays Joan on the show is a real life whiskey aficionado. Her husband introduced her to Whiskey and over time she fell in love with not only the taste but also the entire distillation and blending process. Soon enough, the world leader in Scotch production – Johnnie Walker – invited her as a spokesperson for their brand. Watch out Don Draper!

Fame – Charming actress, six Emmy award nominations, read her IMDB profile here.

3. HILLARY CLINTON

 

Maybe on of the only Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady’s to own her own Maker’s Mark stamped bottle. While she’s known for her political prowess she’s also been known to slug whiskey every now and again. In 2008, a Politico reporter caught her downing a shot of Crown Royal at a bar in Crown Point, Indiana, during her 2008 presidential bid. Now running as the Democrat candidate in 2017 US presidential elections.

 

4. LADY GAGA

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga

“I drink a lot of whiskey and I smoke a lot of weed when I write.”

Her favorite? – Jameson Irish Whiskey. Nuff Said!

Find Lady Gaga on itunes here.

5. MILA KUNIS

Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis, star of Black Swan and Friends with Benefits, was recently recruited as the ambassador of Jim Beam. Kunis said her appreciation of Bourbon was developed only a few years ago, when she told Details magazine: “I wanted something that I could sip on that was delicious. And so I started drinking bourbon. It’s hard for me to sip vodka. And bourbon has a nice warm tingle going down.”

Little known fact – her eyes are different colors, one’s green and the other’s brown!

Fame – adventurous actress, looks for the out of the ordinary, find Mila Kunis’s IMDB profile here.

6. RIHANNA

Rihanna
Rihanna

A lover of the whiskey Jameson she even dedicated a song to the brand – “Cheers to the freakin’ weekend I drink to that, yeah yeah/Oh let the Jameson sink in I drink to that,” her hit – Cheers!

Find Rihanna on itunes here.

In the mood to enjoy Whiskey? We’re celebrating number 7 –

SHERPA ANCHAL

Sherpa Anchal
Sherpa Anchal

who’s hosting the Women’s Day Special – SeekSherpa Whisky Tasting Special – A unique dinner & whisky tasting session, Let’s reverse the rules of the brick and mortar tasting. Let you not see what you eat and drink. Unravel the intricacies of flavours in good food and exquisite whiskies with your eyes shut.

When – 5th March 2016

Where – The Lodi Restaurant

Charges – INR 2500 per person (Includes whisky tastings and dinner)

Book here – SeekSherpa Whisky Tasting Session – Limited seats.

SeekSherpa Whisky Tasting Session
SeekSherpa Whisky Tasting Session

For more women’s day special tours (Pub crawls, heritage walks, and more!) visit the sections here –

a. Delhi Women’s Day Special

b. Mumbai Women’s Day Special

What does Sherpa Anchal like?

“I do tend to pick my favourite whisky depending on the occasion, who i’m with and time of the day! If its a nice afternoon and i’m unwinding with my friends over a brunch I quite like the effervescence of a Jameson & ginger ale. However with the turn of the day and company of my partner with some heady conversations the Ardbeg Uigeadail and its sweet, spicy and deep smoky flavours comes in handy. A friend sometime back picked up the Hibiki 17 Year Old on special request, we then planned a Hibiki & chocolate affair after dinner and the after taste has remained with me ever since. Then I have these very marked moments of being with myself and thats when I need a Scapa 16 Year Old or Oban 14 Year Old. I don’t down my bad days under neat drams but simply wash them away, so be it a bad day at work, bad break up of the past, a Mint Julep has always been around with Makers Mark, if its at cask strength, that makes the bad feel a lot better!”