5 Job Rejection Letters That Break The Routine

Sending a job rejection letter?

It’s not easy. There’s a small bead of sweat that trickles down your temple as you begin to write that personalised job rejection letter. You’re not happy about writing this rejection letter, but then you have no other choice.

Here are 5 ways you can make the rejection letter more meaningful for the person at the other side. Write something so simple yet so powerful that it leaves a lifelong impression.

Before you do that there are three things you need to keep in mind –

1. Below you will find formats of letters you can use but you shouldn’t use them as is. Modify them as per your style or speaking or thinking. Throw in the ‘I’ instead of the we.

2. Understand the person’s state of affairs before you send a rejection letter. If a person is hell bent on your company they will never take any other company, so our suggestion would be not to suggest alternatives. Instead, coach the person on his or her skills that you felt could improve.

3. Encourage. Encourage. Discourage. – Don’t lead candidates down a blind alley. Be clear about what they will get for they are. More candidates will thank you for the reality check.

Here are 5 job rejection letter samples that you can use to break the routine –

1. The return offer + watch a cool video job rejection letter

This is what inFeedo uses for any rejections they need to send out. The brackets are additions we’ve done to explain the letter –

Subject: Abhinav’s (personalisation) Application Status at inFeedo / Startup backed by Ex Google Country Head (building credibility)

Body
Thank you for applying Abhinav, but we’re currently only looking for Frontend Web Designers and PHP Developers with 1yr+ experience who can work in NCR and visit our Gurgaon office for an interview within the next 7 days (broad reason for rejection). 
You can still help us by referring a friend and earn Rs. 10,000 if he/she gets hired. (giving you something in return for having taken the time to apply)
Would love to consider your application in the future. (hope)
Also, looking at your profile, I think you’ll find this Ted Talk interesting: https://youtu.be/nLe-8y7Tddk
(pointing you in the direction of something that might make sense for you to watch – typically this could be a video that you had watched at some time that moved you)
Cheers and all the best for your future endeavours!
(friendly close)

2. “There are other jobs available and we’re not the end of the world” – Job rejection letter 

Something what Akosha uses -
Thanks a lot for taking out the time to fill in the form – we truly appreciate the amount of effort that you put in. (no personalisation is a negative)

We quickly (should avoid using words quickly or cursory) went through your resume and the responses that you had filled in but after discussing it internally, we regret to inform you that you have not made it to the next round. Of course, we make mistakes at times, but if you were in our position, you would optimize for efficiency too. (putting you in their shoes, “what would you have done?”)Don’t worry that it didn’t work out with Akosha (we’re not the end of the world). We’ve found some other good startups who are hiring as well – in case you truly would like to start your career at a startup.
Here are some other startups you can check up:
Limetray – Restaurant SaaS business
Hirist – India’s best startup jobs site
Adattor – CA consulting firm for startups
Morpheus – have a look at their portfolio companies
Sequoia – have a look at their portfolio companies
(giving you a lot of options to work with which is awesome!)
Best of luck with your search.

3. The “We chose somebody else and we’re frank about it” – Job rejection letter 

A number of times you have to be honest about why you didn’t pick the candidate and whether you actually found someone else to fill in the shoes. We loved this letter from Marsdd.
Dear Dhruv, (personalisation)
Thank you for taking the time to speak to us about the position, CEO.We regret to inform you that Google will not be pursuing your candidacy for this position. Though your qualifications are impressive, the selection process was highly competitive (son, you tried, but you didn’t finish first) and we have decided to move forward with a candidate whose qualifications better meet our needs at this time(you’re not worse, he or she’s just better at this time). We thank you for your interest in Google and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.Regards,

Mr. Schmidt
Director

4. The “We’ve got another opening for you” – Job rejection letter.

A lot of times you’re wondering if the candidate could actually fit another role. Don’t worry about sounding pompous, suggest alternatives to your candidates.
Hi Dhruv! (personalisation and familiarisation)
Thanks so much for dropping in, really appreciate your time. (respecting the candidate)
We were discussing your resume and the interview you gave, great stuff by the way (positive tone), and we have some good news for you. We would like you to apply for a few new roles that are coming up at Google. I’ve already got your resume with me and with your approval I can go ahead and share them with the concerned department. Yes?
I’m sorry I can’t find space in my department right now, there’s just about enough resources we have going here. (do inform the candidate about the situation)
Thanks Dhruv,
Best,
Tom

5. The “Rejecting a candidate you really liked” – Job rejection letter

We really liked this letter from the folks at Susan Heathfield.
Dear Dhruv (personalisation)The Johnson Company interview team (all of us!) wants to thank you for taking the time to participate in our hiring process through the second interview stage. This letter is to let you know that we have selected another candidate. (Don’t hide the truth)You were an exceptional candidate for our job and we hope that you apply for openings at Johnson Company for which you qualify in the future. (you’re good and we don’t want to let you go) While you were not selected for the current opening, the interview team did not make this decision lightly. Your future applications will receive thorough review. (you’re not stuck in a recursive system)

Again, thank you for taking the time to come to Johnson Company to meet our interview team. We enjoyed meeting you and our discussions indicated that you have much to offer your next employer. (personalise this a little bit).

We wish you both personal and professional success in your job search and in the future. We appreciate your interest in our organization.

Regards,
Larry
CEO, Google

These job rejection letters might help #BreakTheRoutine. :)
Would appreciate your thoughts in the comments  below, and if you ever need to get on a quick call and discuss how you can break the routine at your company just buzz me (Dhruv) at +91-96439-82934.
Thanks for reading.

10 Amazing Things to Do in Agra Apart From The Taj Mahal!

Things to do in Agra APART from the Taj!

If you’re looking to explore Agra uniquely, then you’ve come to the right place! We have some awesome things to do in Agra that you would love.

1) Cultural Walk of Agra

Who said Agra is only about the Taj Mahal? Take this walk to explore the hidden lanes, the bustling spice market, mosques and temples of Agra. Not only this, understand the Taj Mahal and Red Fort from a different perspective. View the Taj Mahal from a secret spot! Visit the local shops to taste traditional sweets of Agra and enjoy a ride on the Rickshaw. Take this walk and be a local of Agra as you explore new and niche things to do in Agra!

Things to do in Agra!
Explore the culture of Agra

 

2) Fooding in the city of Taj Mahal, Agra!

Looking for food related things to do in Agra? Take a gastronomical and cultural walk to experience the local food of Agra! Our Sherpa will take you through all the famous eateries of Agra. During this trail, you will not only taste the food but also understand when and why is a particular dish prepared! You will also be told little stories about the history of the eateries. Wow! Isn’t that a great thing to do in Agra?

Things to do in Agra
Try the traditional Paan in Agra!

 

3) Yoga with the Taj Mahal

Practice Yoga while viewing the Taj Mahal! Sounds exciting? It surely is! Get on this 2 hour micro-tour to experience the two things that are truly Indian and reflect the Indian Culture – The Taj Mahal and Yoga. This unique experience will cover the basic aspects of Asanas, Dhyanas and Pranayam with a breathtaking view of the Seventh Wonder of the World from only a few hundred meters away! It’s a relaxing thing to do in Agra.

Things to do in Agra
Yoga facing the Taj Mahal

 

4) Tour of the sabzi mandi

Sabzi Mandi stands for Vegetable Market in hindi. You can visit this market to witness and understand the buying and selling of fruits and vegetables. Interact with the local vendors and public who will tell you about the local names and uses of specific fruits and vegetables. This experience will be conducted on foot and rickshaw! Take this tour only if you want to be right in the middle of the bustling vegetable market of Agra and find really cool things to do!

Things to do in Agra - Sabzi Mandi Visit
Sabzi Mandi In Agra

 

5) Colonial Structures of Agra

That’s right, Agra isn’t only famous for The Taj Mahal, Mughal Monuments and the Panchi Petha! Agra houses a number of colonial structures from the days of the British Rule! This walk will cover bungalows, Cemeteries, Churches, Cathedrals and a number of other buildings and places that have there ever since the British Rule! Take this tour if you know want to more about Agra and if you like exploring beyond the obvious.

Things to do in Agra - Colonial Era Buildings
Colonial Walk in Agra

 

6) Explore Agra on a bike (Where else would you find such things to do in Agra?)

What a great thing to do in Agra! Bike Tours are not limited only to Europe! This bike tour is a unique way to explore Agra. If you’re a biker or a traveller or an explorer, this tour is for you! You will be exploring the heritage, culture, monuments, markets and food of Agra through this Bike Tour. No worries, you are provided with all equipment to have a safe and exciting ride. This tours covers the following places – Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, Streets and markets of Agra and Agra food! 

7) Korai Village – A village in the city of the Taj

Take this tour to witness rural life in India! During this tour, you will get a chance to interact with the villagers & see their way of life. It is actually quite different to experience this village in the city of the Seventh Wonder of the World. These are some really unique things to do in Agra. 

Things to do in Agra - Visit Korai Village Near Agra
Korai Village Tour

 

8) Cook and Dine in with a local

Looking for food things to do in Agra? Learn how to cook Indian Dishes at a local’s house! The family will teach you how to a few lip smacking dishes with indian spices and herbs. Once you’ve prepared the dishes, you will also eat with the indian family.

Things to do in Agra - Food
At Home Dining Experience With A Local in Agra

 

If you want these amazing things to do in Agra, simply reach out to us at makemesherpa@seeksherpa.com or call us at +91-96439-82934 and we’ll get them arranged. Our prices are very nominal and start at INR 500 to 700 per person. You can also check out more things to do on SeekSherpa.com. See you!

 

10+ Ways To Know Your City Better This Independence Day!

India’s Independence Day – how well do you know India?

Be it the 69th or the 68th or the 70th or whichever year, you’re going to enjoy your Indian independence day when you know more about your country.

India’s a country rich with eons worth of history. There are stories about every nook and cranny in your city and that’s why we’ve got some of the best Sherpas telling you about your city this Indian Independence Day. If you’re looking for things to do this independence day then you’ve come to the right place we’ve got a number of events and activities this independence day mentioned below!

Try any of the tours below to get your fill of history, heritage, and culture this Indian Independence Day!

Delhi Tours For Indian Independence Day

(Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, & Hyderabad Below)

1. Old Delhi Heritage and Cultural walk  

Experience Highlights –

– Visit the temples, bazaars, and monuments of Old Delhi.
– Visit the Paranthe Wale gali, the Shish Ganj Gurudwara, Ghalib ki Haveli and many more!
– Conducted by history buffs

16 Aug @ 10 AM – INR 700 per person – Book now!

2. Rendezvous with the Past @ The National Museum

Experience Highlights –

– Visit 8 galleries that describe the various facets of Indian History
– Artefacts will come to life through the Sherpa’s narratives
– Conducted by a history student

14 Aug @ 11:30 AM – INR 500 per person – Book now!

3. Dilli Haat through a Cultural Lens

Experience Highlights –

– A 360 degree tour of the wares and cultures of India’s 29 states in under 3 hours.
– Shop and eat from each state’s own special section.
– Conducted by an avid foodie, traveller and pro bargainer!

14 Aug & 16 Aug @  5 PM – INR 800 per person – Book now!

4. Act Naturally – An Acting Workshop Focussed On Expression & Emotion

Experience Highlights –

– Learn how to combine emotion and expression with your speech delivery
– New techniques on sound and body, how do the 2 work together?
– Conducted by a Grade 7 Speech And Drama Trinity Student & Pro Actor

15 & 16 Aug @ 3:30 PM – INR 500 per person – Book now!

5. Photography Lessons – Through The Unexplored Corner Of Lodhi Garden

Experience Highlights –

– Learn the basics of photography with the Lodhi Tombs and gardens as your backdrop.
– Lighting, composition, & metering will be a few of the techniques taught.
– Conducted by an avid photographer!

15 & 16 Aug @ 06 AM – INR 700 per person – Book now!

Mumbai Tours For Independence Day

6. A Brush with the Art Galleries of South Mumbai

Experience Highlights -

Visit 3 iconic Art Galleries of South Mumbai among other architectural gems
Learn to perceive and appreciate art and its various forms
Conducted by an art and history aficionado

On 14, 15, & 16 Aug @ 04 PM – INR 800 per person – Book now!

7. The Fortress that Bombay Once Was

Experience Highlights –

– Draw a colourful contrast between Fortified Bombay and Aamchi Mumbai
– Walk through Town Hall, Flora Fountain, Kala Ghoda,
– Conducted by history buffs!

15 & 16 Aug @ 07 AM – INR 1000 per person – Book now!

Hyderabad Tours For Indian Independence Day

8.Galliyon Kay Raja – A Photo Walk in Old Hyderabad

Experience Highlights –

Become a street photography expert after this ‘learn on the go’ session
The flea market, the colourful lanes and the Charminar make for the perfect subjects
Curated by an experienced photographer

16 Aug @ 07 AM – INR 600 per person – Book now!

Kolkata Tours For Indian Independence Day

9. Hopping with Heritage in Dalhousie Square! 

The guided tour I host via SeekSherpa starts from Chowringhee (in front of KC Das). We will walk past the Rajbhawan Great Eastern Hotel and roam around Dalhousie Square, as we explore the great European structures of the British era.

Sat 15 Aug @ 07:30 PM – Book now!

10. Exploring Kolkata Through The Lens – A Photography Lesson

On this photography tour I host via SeekSherpa, we will start our journey from Prinsep Ghat in Strand Road. I’m a filmmaker and photographer and through our journey I will educate you on the following aspects of photography –

A. Exposure
– ISO
– Shutter Speed
– Aperture
B. Composition/Frame Construction
C. Camera controls
D. Lens basics
E. Focusing modes

Sun 16 Aug, 02:00 PM – Book now!

Bengaluru Tours For Indian Independence Day

11. Bangalore Desserts Safari

The Dessert Food Tour I host via SeekSherpa takes you through the choicest desserts in Koramangala handpicked by connoisseurs themselves. We’ll be indulging in the best desserts on the menu, the names of which I cannot divulge, but I can promise a medley of desserts harmoniously weaving their way through your taste buds.

14 & 15 Aug, 05:00 PM – Book now!

5 Things You Need To Know About Tequila! #RedefiningTravel

The mysteries of Tequila explained…

So you thought Tequila can only be that spirit that you find in dorm parties? And that Tequila was just some alcohol used to flavour fancy red drinks? You couldn’t have been more wrong. We curate for you five facts and stories from Mexico and world over that will change your image of tequila from a juvenile spirit to one of the handsomest of alcohols, all suited up! Read on:

1. It HAS to be from Mexico if it is Tequila

Nope sir, that wasn’t a legacy right only restricted to Champagnes. Tequila comes under the Denomination of Origin, meaning that the spirit can only be produced in Mexico.

That’s a way of saying that Mexico has the rights to the name “Tequila”. (Maybe they could sue “The Champs” over their sole hit tune called “Tequila”, #justkidding).

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2. Tequila DOES NOT come from a cactus!

Fermented from a plant called blue agave, Tequila comes from something closer to lilies than cactus! So how’s that done? Real short: The centre of the plant is crushed (traditionally a 110kg core which looks a lot like a baby sized pineapple), using a large volcanic stone (WHAT!), fermented, distilled, the fibre separated, distilled again, filtered and then balanced.

“More than 60 hands (and a few pairs of feet) touch your bottle of Tequila before it reaches you.”

Fun Fact: Tequila can be made into diamonds (WOAH!) according to the physicists at National Autonomous University of Mexico. (Not diamonds for jewelry, silly, but diamonds that can be electronically and industrially useful.)

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3. Tequila is as classy as Whisky.

It has a terroir. Simple words, it has highlands and lowlands too. Just as winemakers in Burgundy could tell you about the different tastes imparted in wines from different soils, tequila tastes vary depending on where the plant came from.

Highlands impart rich, flowery, vanilla notes. For more earthy, spicy flavor, lowlands are popular.

Don’t confuse tequila with its sister spirit Mezcal. Just as all Scotch is whisky but not all whisky is Scotch, All Tequila is Mezcal, not all Mezcal is Tequila.

4. A bottle of excellent Tequila is..

-A great gift! Many companies in Mexico go lengths to dress up a bottle, something you probably only expect out of wines. A bottle of Leyenda (from Gran Centenario) comes in nifty burlap coffin, for example.

-Worth $225,000! That’s right, that’s how much a private collector paid to get the world’s most expensive bottle of Tequila.

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Fun Fact: If some of the origins of Tequila is to be believed, it was sought as the answer of God and was only made for Priests. It was used in rituals that required human or blood sacrifice. Now that’s a commitment to alcohol!

And now the best:

5. Tequila does NOT cause hangovers.

If you don’t want to be hammered, then avoid something that you take to be ‘Tequila’. Majority of this alcohol is served with more than 40% corn or sugarcane juices, the mix aptly called ‘mixto’, which causes impregnable headaches.

In reality, a 100% pure blue agave tequila (not something as obsolete as the name sounds) NEVER leads to a hangover. So if you want to kick over the morning blues yet have a kick ass night, 100% tequila, that’s what you want.

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So now, has Tequila changed from  something you don’t remember when you first had to  something you’re dying to try? Are you ready for a one-on-one with Tequila, the sophistication of Mexico? Then join us with Tulleeho.com on a Tequila Cocktail making lesson on 18th July 2015 between 4 & 6 PM at Terttulia Restaurant, Mumbai!

Know more about the types of Tequila, how best to be taken and various ways to mix it hard. Book your slot here now or book on BookMyShow now!

10 Amazing Ways We Celebrate Ramzan All Over The World – #RedefiningTravel

10 Ways We Celebrate Ramzan All Over The World!

The month of fasting and spiritual feasting is here!

Whether it is Ramadan in the Arab states or Ramzan to the Urdu born the variety of Iftar delicacies and the pop-surprises in which new generations welcome this month remains as exciting as ever.

Get culture binging with these 10 cities as we describe their quirky-ness in celebrating the month. There’s a surprise for those who read to the very end. :)

Ramzan in Cairo, Egypt

A cannon shot is heard to mark the iftar time during the month, an age old tradition that was adopted by many muslim cities later on. In Egypt, you don’t need to refer to a calendar to know the beginning of the month, because the traditional lanterns or fanous lighting up every corner of the streets do that for you!

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Ramzan in Java, Indonesia

The Javanese Indonesians follow a practice quite similar to a hindu one, they bathe in the holy springs for fasting. This ritual known as Padusa is followed by many.

Ramzan in Sana’a,Yemen

Kohl is not just for the women in the middle eastern city. Though kohl makes up for the cultural cosmetic for the this religion, during the month men get kohl applied to their eyes as a part of the prophetic tradition. 

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Ramzan in Hyderabad, India

Camel used to be offered to the God on the first Friday of the month. This practice has been halted, though, by the action of activists as of now. One tradition that is somewhat a local quirk is the development of the muharram special dish haleem now made popular during the month by cafes and local eateries for its nutritive value.

Hyderabad_Ramzan

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Ramzan in Jakarta, Indonesia

By the end of the holy month,  most employees are given extra happiness in the form of a one-month bonus known as Tunjangan Hari Raya.

Ramzan in Alexandria, Egypt

Around iftar time, the streets are lined up with maa’idat ar-Rahman, which means The banquet of the Merciful(God). These are tables put up by locals offering food to the poor or those who happen to be still on the street during iftar time. This represents the best part about the celebration that is charity and helping the poor.

Ramzan in Alexandria, Egypt
Ramzan in Alexandria, Egypt

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Ramzan in Kashmir, India

The offbeat (literally!) ritual followed here is Sahar Khwan or Drum beater. Voluntary drummers take up the task of waking up people for sehri or the pre dawn meal, walking in dark alleys beating drums.

Kashmir_Ramzaan

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Ramzan in Khost, Afghanistan

All through the month men gather in parks and hold actual(!) egg fights. Each carries a hard boiled egg and tries to crack the other’s. Kite flying is a year long practice, but it takes brilliant shape in the sky particularly during the holy month.

Ramzan in Semarang, Indonesia

Dugderan Carnival is held to mark the beginning of festivities. A parade is also held with the Warak ngendog, a dragon-like creature allegedly inspired by the Buraq.

Indonesia_Ramzaan

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Ramzan in Istanbul, Turkey

The month becomes a Halloween like festival for the kids. Often called Seker Bayrami (Holiday of Sweets), children go door to door wishing people a happy bayram and collecting candies and traditional Baklava, Turkish Delights!

Ramzan in Istanbul, Turkey
Ramzan in Istanbul, Turkey

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Read all the way? You must be super interested! Here’s a special prize for you. You get to celebrate the SeekSherpa way! We’ve got three awesome tours for you -

1. Delhi Ramzan Food Walk – A Rendezvous With Ramzan – Iftar Food Walk!

2. Hyderabad Ramzan Food Walk – Ramzaan Special – Jumme Ki Raat at Charminar

3. Mumbai Ramzan Food Walk – Daawat-E-Ramzaan – Iftar walk in SoBo

What are you waiting for? Book now! :)

5 Things To Do In Mahabaleshwar As A Traveller And #NotATourist

5 things to do in Mahabaleshwar as a traveller and #NotATourist

Mahabaleshwar is a bustling hill station in the Western Ghats of India. Situated a five-hour and a three-hour drive from Mumbai and Pune respectively, it is one of the more popular getaways from the concrete unpleasantness of urban life. Mahabaleshwar has hills, sunset points, waterfalls, forest trails, fresh produce, and strawberries. Lots and lots of strawberries. Needless to say, it also has a lot of tourists. But don’t let that deter you from making a trip to this lush stretch of hills and valleys, and enjoy all the goodness it can offer.

Remember, the trick in visiting a place as touristy as Mahabaleshwar is to go with the spirit of a traveller, not a tourist – willing to see different things, and things differently. Here are 5 unique things you can do in Mahabaleshwar there to make your experience richer, and more memorable.

Take a walk around Old Mahabaleshwar

Old Mahabaleshwar, locally known as Kshetra, lies to the north of the city and has fewer tourists and more locals. Taking a walk around the old part of the city often has the charm of a bygone era and also lets you experience the raw authenticity of the place instead of just its commercial vibe. Stop by one or two temples if you please, observe the juxtaposition of local people’s life and tourists’ life, and try to speak to a few locals to get to know Mahabaleshwar through their stories and memories.

Krishnabai temple in Old Mahabaleshwar
Krishnabai temple in Old Mahabaleshwar

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Rent a place to stay in the woods in Mahabaleshwar

Well, not exactly in the thick of woods, but if you spend a little time and effort you would easily find a place to stay on the outskirts of Mahabaleshwar, away from the chaos of the main town. If you’re extremely lucky, you may even find one inside a strawberry farm. Go the extra mile (pun intended) to book a place on the peripheries of the city. The peace, quiet, and waking up to lush hillsides will do you good.

Forest Valley Resort in Panchgani
Forest Valley Resort in Panchgani

 

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Buy fresh produce at a green grocer and request a local to cook for you

It’s a delicious truth that food tastes better when made with fresh vegetables. Staying in cities we’ve quite forgotten the taste of a meal cooked using vegetables which have come straight from the farm. Light orange baby carrots washed clean, red turnips along with their leaves and roots, juicy red tomatoes the size of cherries, small green cucumbers often already peeled, and other greens, are what you must buy from a local green grocer in Mahabaleshwar. You could eat some of those raw, but we urge you to request the kitchen staff of the place you’ve rented, to cook you an authentic Maharashtrian meal from the fresh produce you just bought. Chances are, they’ll happily oblige.

Fresh produce
Fresh produce

 

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Pick strawberries at a strawberry farm:

Mahabaleshwar has a number of strawberry farms – Garden Green House, Hirkani Garden, Shilpa Farm, Deepak Baug etc – where you can and must go to indulge in a few hours of strawberry picking. Squat-walk your way through rows of varied strawberries, pluck them fresh, and taste the fruit of your hard work (yes, pun intended again). At the end of two or so unhurried hours of leisure, pack a ridiculous number of boxes of strawberries for everyone back home. Spending time like this is the kind of unadulterated recreation that’s hard to come by in a city. Treat yourself to it. You can thank us later.

Strawberry picking Mahabaleshwar
Strawberry picking Mahabaleshwar

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Picnic at Venna Lake:

Pack a picnic basket, go boating, take in the serene surroundings, and try the eateries at the bank of Venna lake, one of the most famous tourist spots in Mahabaleshwar. A large number of people flock to it every day and make up the cheerful energy of the place. Do a family picnic there, or spend time having fun with friends because either ways it’s bound to be memorable. Be sure to include Venna lake in your itinerary.

Venna Lake Mahabaleshwar
Venna Lake Mahabaleshwar

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Exploring Lonavala, Maharashtra’s Favourite Hill Station – #NotATourist

Things to do in Lonavala

Guest Post by Aditi Dharmadhikari 

The call of the hills (Lonavala) is that much stronger when the destination is just a few hours’ worth of a drive away, and with the monsoons finally catching up with us – we’ve realised this is one road trip not to put off any longer. While Lonavala may be the staple stopover town for the seasoned highway traveller, for those looking to unwind, it is chockfull of offbeat offerings to help unwind from the hectic city life. Find some brilliant things to do in Lonavala.

  1.    Visit Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary

Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats, this is definitely one for the nature lovers. You get to be one with nature and experience endangered species of flora and fauna that roam free– such an the Indian mammoth squirrel – thriving in their natural habitats here. Make sure you wear comfortable footwear, this trip’s all about the trekking, nature walks and bird-watching, and there’s also a safari jeep tour that’ll give a chance to be closer to the animals.

Visit Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary
Visit Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary

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  1.     A Day Trip to The Hidden Village

If you really want to leave behind city life, even if it is just for a weekend, we suggest you check out this ‘rustic rural retreat’. Equipped with fresh water springs, a large pond, and a play zone for kids, Hidden Village is a four-acre space that’s brimming with tranquillity. To trek to the lake in back hills, get a natural fish pedicure or just hang out in the woods? You’re truly spoilt for choice.

The Hidden Village, Lonavala
The Hidden Village, Lonavala

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  1.       Go on a Long Drive around Lonavala

The monsoons breathe a new life into the tiny hillstation town of Lonavala every year, transforming it into a verdant place with several naturally-formed waterfalls. On the coldest days, the town is cloaked in a charming veil of mist and the panoramic views are gorgeous. Drive safe, enjoy the waterfalls and don’t be shy to make a pitstop and interact with the locals and enjoy a steaming glass of chai in these surroundings.

Long Drive around Lonavala
Long Drive around Lonavala

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  1.       Visit the Ancient Karla Caves

Located 8 km from Lonavala, this is a heritage spot worth going the distance for, and there’s a bus that’ll get you there in a snappy 10 minutes. You have to climb 400 steps that lead you to these massive Buddhist rock-cut caves with intricate carvings, believed to date back to 160 BC. The stupa and the jaw-dropping pillars of the majestic structure is quite the experience to behold and retains an old-world charm.

Ancient Karla Caves
Ancient Karla Caves

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  1.       Camp Out at Tungarli Lake

Just 3 km from Lonavala, Tungarli lake is a great place to just pitch a tent with a few friends and camp out next to. There are no permissions of any kind required to do this, and you’ll be regaled with an aerial view of Rajmachi, Lonavala and Lohagad. For the adventure enthusiasts, there’s plenty of treks to embark upon in the area as well.

Tungarli Lake
Tungarli Lake

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Check out the other stops in the #NotATourist series for -

1. Things to do in Agra

2. Things to do in Manali

3. Things to do in Goa

The Broke Couple’s Guide to Bharat (India) – #RedefiningTravel

#RedefiningTravel With Heat & Dust Project

Relationship On The Road, Relationship With The Road

Story Behind Devapriya and Saurav (The authors)

A couple of writers and a writer couple, that’s how they describe themselves. Devapriya is a Literature and Natyashastra student, on the other hand Saurav talks energy and politics on IBNLive. Somehow they jelled together in matrimony and in adventure, shrugged off the idea of settled life like a soiled overcoat, and strapped on two backpacks instead to dig out the Indian-ness from the soils of India.

Devapriya and Sourav (The authors of the Heat and Dust Project) SeekSherpa
Devapriya and Saurav (The authors)

 

The Heat And Dust Project and its Inspiration

Think “very very tight budget travel experiences” and put that in three books, that’s the trilogy that will be the Heat And Dust Project. It started with the couple finishing their individual books around 2009, leaving their jobs and relocating in Calcutta. Soon restlessness kicked in and it coupled with the angst of going through the ‘respectable’ family chores(read work) and nuances. The pull to find answers on the road had the djinn’s enamour.

“We were the usual: nine-to-sixers, investment-makers, mall-goers, office-trippers and city-slickers. We were life-going-to-seeders.
Then we came up with an insane idea.
Everyone thought we were mad to put all our eggs in one basket: the idea of a transformational journey through India. On a very, very tight budget. We went ahead anyway.
This book (Heat And Dust Project) is the story of what happened then.”

It loomed as a Che Guevara’s The (Without) Motorcycle Diaries and soon three journeys were made (or should we say infinite?). In the first phase of the Heat And Dust Project (2010), they travelled through Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Western UP and Paharganj. During the second phase, they went through the length of India from Delhi to Kanyakumari and then back up the Coromandel Coast, then Chennai. In the third phase (2011) of journeying they backpacked through Uttarakhand, Himachal, Haryana and Punjab. The first book of the series – “Heat And Dust Project” – chronicles the first phase of their travels, the second book chronicles the second and the third and the last book in the series will consist of travels through Eastern and Northeastern India which are yet to be undertaken.

Heat And Dust Project – Book over blog/vlog/twitter feed

It was always a book for them, right from the beginning (conceived as one, it grew to three!). So why a book? The difference that they found between blog, live feeds or videos and book is the maturity of an idea that can take place in the latter. Writing a book is a personal process, an unraveling in itself, and the narrative grows to become more beautiful an expression.

Videos and live feeds are about the “now-ness” of a moment. But that does not mean that the writers eliminated dynamics from the whole process. The old book which only engages its readers once it has been published got a 21st C makeover. An ordinary book no more it became a dynamic book with the help of the Facebook community, that gathered around The Heat And Dust Project Page, pitching ideas and suggestions along the journey of the travellers and now it is almost a micro-forum-site.

Instances from their literary and literal journey

After journeying almost half the chunk of India when the couple found only 167 Rupees surviving in their account, agony hit them and life became seemingly tough. Their publisher for the Heat And Dust Project arrived with a cape(or white wings and a wand) and after listening to their travel lore, doubled the advance. A sigh of relief.

The most exciting literal stories are in the book which you can buy (buy!) but the writers confide how parties during their time in Paharganj made a worthy cultural confluence.

Well, they were always voracious readers. Their literary reading reflects in their writing, as parts of the book are influences of or dedications to their favorite poets and prose. “The epigraph to the Girnar section is from Robert Svoboda’s Aghora. The chapter on Barmer, ‘How to Survive Madna’ is, in a way, a tribute to Upamanyu Chatterjee’s English, August, while we use Ismail Merathi’s lines from a famous essay by India’s greatest coolest traveler-writers ever: Rahul Sankrityayan.

Sair kar duniya, ki gaafil zindagaani phir kahaan?
Zindagi gar kuchh rahi, toh naujavaani phir kahaan?
Wander the world, ay drifter, where will you get this life again?
And even if life remained, where would you find this youth again?

(Quoted by Rahul Sankrityayan in his famous essay ‘Athato Ghumakkad Jigyasa’)”

Heat And Dust Project Book
Heat And Dust Project Book

 

Two people with an idea for themselves have redefined travel for many who follow their articulate escapades. See how a tiny local step resulted in a global footprint? Hungry for their travel lore? Buy now! 

You can follow their ongoing and forthcoming adventures on their Facebook group here.

 

5 Things That Are Going Wrong With Your Mojito

Mojitos are universal. That’s why travellers love them!

The truth is that most people have no idea what’s wrong with their Mojito either while they’re making them or while they’re sipping them. Until the pleasures of lime, mint, sugar, & rum topped over ice and sparkling water don’t reach you in the perfect proportion or style of preparation, at best, you’re having the Mojito’s thrice removed 4th cousin waiting in line.

However the problem in this art of preparation and proportion lies in the home grown recipe conundrum where all corners of the world seem to have chosen their style of having the minty workhorse whilst ignoring the sanctity of what the Cubans really wanted you to enjoy as you lazed on the beach, cigar in mouth, and wonderful men and women playing volleyball and surfing in the sea.

With pain staking (Pfft…) effort we’ve put together a list of 5 things that typically go wrong with your Mojito either when you’re making it, ordering it, or sipping it.

Grinding Vs. Muddling

No matter who tells you what the two are completely different. Remember, grinding will make you Pudina (Mint) Chutney not a Mojito. To make a Mojito you have to put lime, mint leaves, and Sugar together in a glass and muddle the mixture. Muddling a Mojito mix is the art of light pressing and twisting to release the oils of the mint leaves and the juice of the lime. Crushing or Grinding is going ape sh** crazy on the mixture trying to make the indian household favourite Pudina Chutney. Muddling doesn’t involve breaking the mint leaves or tearing the lime. Watch this video from our friends at MyNSLC about the art of Muddling. 

2. You use Sprite instead of club soda

What’s the point of the mint, lime, and sugar to make your Mojito when you’re going to overpower it with a thoroughly sweetened soft beverage? It’s an absolute waste of time. As we said with our post on the myths about Whisky, a Sprite and Cuban rum is flavouring the sprite, we’ve got to do it the other way round!

Sprite In Mojito
Drinking Sprite? Keep it to the bottle!

3. You’re using your grocer’s white sugar which for the love of god will never ever dissolve

You can stir yourself a whirlwind but you’re not getting anywhere with the white sugar. Sugar syrup might be better to use given the ease of dissolving it with club soda and ice. IF you really want to do it authentic use brown sugar but after muddling drop in 10 ml of really hot water. If you really want to understand the difference between brown and white sugar read this. 

4. You’re shaking it

No. Mojitos are not drinks made in cocktail shakers. They’re made in a glass or if you’re really serving a large crowd then in a small pitcher. A Mojito is an intimate mixture of lime, sugar, and Mint, topped with ice and rum. You can’t make it into a hodge podge with a million tiny particles swimming in your drink. Yuck.

cocktail shaker
What your Mojito will look like if you shake it.

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5. You’re sipping too fast

Slow down there. Your bartender made that drink with due care that delayed his orders a whole lot of time. You’re now going to have to enjoy it until you can request another. Bartenders love making nice cocktails but on a heavy night, you’re giving him a hard time. Moreover, your Mojito will change flavours over the course of the 30 minutes that you should normally sip it. You’re going to feel the minty and lime oils come more into your palate as you wait for the Mojito to mature. However, do drink it before it gets warm.

No. Don't do that.
No. Don’t do that.

Source

Here’s an awesome article we found that really summarises the do’s and dont’s of Mojito making and drinking by Jeffery Morgenthaler. Oh, and I almost forgot, we have a mixology session this weekend, 20th of June 2015 at Zu Tisch in New Delhi at 6PM. You can book a spot here. We’re going to be working a lot on understanding the Mojito and other drinks. Come by if you have time. :)

 

 

 

 

#NotATourist in Goa – Life Beyond The Shacks

Things to do in Goa beyond visiting the Shacks!

A perfect holiday in Goa is incomplete without things to do beyond just going to the shacks and enjoying your chilled beer. If you think you’re a real traveller who’s come to see the sights and sounds and the best places to visit in Goa then these 4 things to do in Goa will be your guide to serendipity to truly immerse yourself in the life and culture of Goa!

Go Goa Gone!

Experience fish drying at Colva!

Colva is as famous as any beach in Goa, so if you want to experience a little tranquil wind, you’ll have to leave your bed early (no apologies!). Before the sun rises, head to witness fishermen’s first produce in a local wholesale market along Colva. Some of it is put to drying right there, which is used to make delicacies like parra, mohle, fish fry, curry, chutney, kismur and roasted fish. The fish is dried under huge nets to prevent the birds from getting to any. Run along, and help some of the fisherwomen rub some salt on to the scales!

Follow the Goan bread trail

Induced mainly by the Portuguese culture, Goa is big on its breads for about a century. Don’t believe us? Then follow a Goan bread trail at the house of a poder(goan bread maker.) Search for one at St Inez near Panjim or in Saligao, break the crust early morning, of paao (traditional cubed bread), poee(whole wheat pockets), crisp undos(round),  kakon (bangle bread), katro (butterfly bread)with tea, xacuti. (Note: Don’t be surprised to see the poders working with scissors, that’s for a speciality bread.)

Kayak in the rains

Monsoons make the rivers and backwaters of Goa swell like a local bread. Not very popular among overseas travellers, this season is just right for people who don’t mind hush hush. Do you think you have it in you to take up a heady adventure? Go kayaking in the backwaters of Northern Goa (!), tussling with (or against) the current of water, with more than enough lush greenery and peacock cries to keep you going around.

Visit a traditional agrarian museum- Goa Chitra Museum

Fascinated as to how the traditional agrarian Goa worked before technology? Explore this offbeat ‘small wonder’, housing more than 4000 artefacts, founded only recently in 2010. Nestled within an organic farm (vegans raise eyebrows!), the museum itself is part of the house that is still used by the family that owns the organization. Don’t forget to drop some pedigree pellets to the humongous carps inside the museum’s well.
Agrarian museum In Goa

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Agrarian museum In Goa

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