Best Ramzan food in India! (A Foodie’s analysis)

Numerous posts are available online that talk about Ramzan in India, and food that is on offer in various cities across India during Ramzan. As a foodie, I have always wondered which is the best city to be in for a Iftar food walk, and I intend to settle this debate for once and for all – by comparing 4 cities in India that have the best Ramzan food on offer. Are you ready for a comparative analysis of the best of the best? Here goes:

 

1. Delhi:

The first and arguably the strongest contender on the list is the capital city of Delhi. In the capital, we talk about only the area surrounding the largest mosque outside of Israel in Asia, our very own Jama Masjid. During Ramzan, the food on offer around Jama Masjid (read Matia Mahal) is to die for. The area is lit on usual days, come the festivities, there is nothing as colorful and full of natural aromas as Old Delhi.

The colors and lights of Matia Mahal
The colors and lights of Matia Mahal

The nature of Ramzan Food: Matia Mahal has various street restaurants where you get special Iftaar food to break your fast. Ranging from dates imported from the middle east, to Mohabbat ka Sharbat (milk watermelon Rooh afza), Anjeer Shake, Paneer Jalebi, Keema and Khoya Samosa to the usual spread of Kebabs, tikkas, nihari, shirmal and biryani – the options will make your mouth salivate.

Ramzan special Chicken
Butter Cream Chicken Tikka is a delight never to be missed!(Source)

Value for Money: When it comes to Value for money, Old Delhi is the best of the lot. The Ramzan food available in the area will set you back by only INR 300-400 per person for moderate level foodies with non vegetarian food. For extreme foodies, this amount could go upto INR 600-700 per person, but not more.

Crowd and Feel: The crowd around Jama Masjid makes the atmosphere even better. From families that have come out to break their roza during Ramzan, to group of friends, you will find all sorts of people eating Matia Mahal in and out.

SeekSherpa Hidden Haunt: Anjeer Shake at Cool Point is one of the most underrated yet unmissable delicacies.

 

2. Mumbai

The place to be in Mumbai during Ramzan is Mohammed Ali Road near Minara Masjid, and Bohari Mohalla. Both of these areas primarily serve street food, and these are probably the only areas where you will find quality Ramzan food, as well North Indian delicacies throughout the year. The area around Minara Masjid at Mohd. Ali Road is the best place to start with.

The nature of Ramzan Food: Special Ramzan Food in the area has some Parsi influence, as well as some unique dishes that you might not find throughout the city. From quirky dishes like a tongue soup or bhejha fry to sweet idli-like Sandan, egg malpua, kebabs, tandoori quail, aflatoon, phirni, masala milk, mawa jalebi and hand churned ice-cream, the spread here is vast and in a way even better than Delhi. The food taste however varies and some might prefer Ramzan food in Delhi due to its more authentic nature.

Ramzan street food in Mumbai
Egg Malpuas being fried at Mohd Ali Road

Value for Money: Compared to Delhi, the food is a tad bit costlier. To enjoy the full spread in Ramzan, one must be ready to shell out about INR 600-700 per person, and for extreme foodies, the amount may go upto INR 1000 per person.

Crowd and Feel: The crowd around the area gathers right after sunset and Iftar. Although Minara Masjid is also an important place, the shear numbers at Jama Masjid outweigh it by a mile (a blessing in disguise?). Like the food and the city, the crowd is also cosmopolitan and there’s variety in terms of the people as well.

SeekSherpa Hidden Haunt: One might consider Mohd. Ali Road to be the end of the tunnel. However, take out some time and move onto Bohari Mohalla, to find Bara Handi – Meat cooked in 12 different pots burried underground, with different styles of gravies and cuts such as nihari, paya, sookha, nalli and pichota combined to give a gravy based dish that makes you want to bite your fingers.

Bara Handi at Bohri Mohalla
Bara Handi at Surti Bara Handi is Bohri Mohalla’s best kept secret for over 80 years

3. Hyderabad

Hyderabad is arguably the home of Biryani. Many historians have claimed Hyderabad to be the city that gave birth to Biryani when the Nizam ordered his chefs to make it for the common people. Hence, Biryani has been a crowd favorite since ages, and you can expect some of the best biryanis in India to be available in the streets of Hyderabad. Since the area around Charminar is the centre of all street food in the city, Ramzan specific food is also available in the area, with some varieties of Ramzan food that are unique to only Hyderabad.

The nature of Ramzan Food: The food that is available during Ramzan in Hyderbad is plentiful. To start off, many prefer to take a sip of the Irani chai with some Osmania biscuits, or Kahwa(a more traditional drink). For starters and main course, you can get kebabs, tikkas, haleem, paya, nihari, bheja fry, keema samosa, biryani and quirky food like zaban, bheja, gurda, kaleji based gravies. For dessert, you can either try hand churned ice-cream with only natural flavors, or traditional desserts like Qubani ka meetha(a version of apricot pudding), Double ka meetha (fried bread soaked in milk and rabri ),  sevaiyon ka meetha (vermicelli dessert), kheer and Gil-e-firdaus(rice and milk based dish infused with Lauki) apart from the usual shakes to wash down the spicy biryani and kebabs!

Ramzan food walk in Hyderbad kebabs
Moist Kebabs resting after being perfectly grilled!

Value for Money: The food options in Hyderabad vary in terms of price point. For a normal foodie, INR 500-600 per person would suffice. For a hardcore ‘I-want-to-taste-everything’ kind of a person, the amount could go upto INR 800-1000.

Crowd and Feel: The people around the area are very friendly, and Hyderabad is home to a fairly cosmopolitan population as well. People who run restaurants around the area are nice to travelers, and so are the people who have come out to eat. Whilst a lot of people come in order to visit the Charminar or Chowmahalla Palace, many come just to eat their hard out, or shop in the Laad Bazaar, which stays open till midnight!

Food walk participants in Ramzan Food walk
The ever so excited foodies of Hyderabad!(source)

SeekSherpa Hidden Haunt: Apart from authentic Haleem which is only available in Hyderabad, Pathar-ka-ghosht is something that is a novelty in Hyderabad. Rather than cooking the kebabs on a skewer over a flame and tandoor, these kebabs are cooked on a large rock/pathar, and acquire a unique aroma and taste. You can get this at a lot of restaurants, but some of the best tasted kebabs are available at Shadab Restaurant and Bade Miyaan Kebabs.

4. Lucknow

Lucknow, or the city of Nawabs has always been a famous centre point when it comes to food in India. Much like Delhi, you will find an old world charm in the Chowk area in Lucknow, along with traces of Mughal architecture around the city. In retrospect, Awadh has been a stronghold known for various food items, and another contender for the city where biryani originated from. Come Ramzan, Lucknow is lit up, and has amazing street food on offer.

The nature of Ramzan Food: During Ramzan and throughout the year, some of the favorites that are unmissable are the Kebabs at Tunday Kebabi(a food joint famous throughout India among foodies, also has a cult following as people swear that it has the best Galouti kebabs in India), Awadhi Biryani, kebabs, Qorma and Zafrani Pulav. Apart from this, you can get Khajur Ghosht, Rogan josh,  Shammi, Boti, Kakori and Fish kebabs. For dessert, you can always fall back on matka kulfi served from earthern pots topped with vermicelli, phirni, jalebis or Ramzan food like shaak or bouchnika.

Ramzan Food walk in Chowk area Lucknow
Tunday Kebabi in Chowk area serving kebabs!(source)

Value for Money: Like other places mentioned above, Lucknow is also not that hefty on the pocket. A normal foodie can expect the food to cost around INR 400-500 per person, and hardcore foodies can enjoy the dishes by shelling out around INR 700-800 per person.

Crowd and Feel: The tehzeeb people have in Lucknow means you can count on everyone being friendly! The area is frequented by group of friends, families and people from all around the city – because of the famous food in the area. During Ramzan, the food here is unmissable, and hence you can expect some crowd in the area!

SeekSherpa Hidden Haunt: The Makhan Malai at Akbar gate is the truest version of icing on the cake. Similar to Daulat ki chaat in Delhi, Makhan Malai is something every Lucknow resident will swear by. Some may even claim it to beat the flavor of Daulat ki Chaat, since Makhan Malai has a more intense flavor.

Makhan Malai during Ramzan Food Walk in Lucknow
Makhan Malai available in Lucknow!(source)

 

Verdict: While one may argue that the city they live in has the best food on offer, two cities clearly stand out of the 4 above in terms of culture, heritage, secret recipes, the quality of food available and the variety. Whilst Hyderabad inches close to top in terms of taste, variety and cultural heritage, Delhi is no less in those fields. While Mumbai and Lucknow serve some of the most delectable cuisine around their states, they fall a little short in front of Delhi and Hyderabad. What would you prefer, the Irani chai of Hyderbad or the Butter Tea of Chawri Bazaar? The North Indian Biryani or Hyderabadi Biryani? You decide.

Surprise Hidden Haunt: If whatever you have read salivates you, we are providing a passage to enjoying everything on the menu! SeekSherpa is conducting food walks in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Scroll below to find the links and book your tickets now for a Ramzan Food walk, specially during this month:

1. Delhi Ramzan Food Walk

2. Mumbai Ramzan Food Walk

3. Hyderabad Ramzan Food Walk

Doesn’t this list make you salivate? Head out for a Ramzan Food Walk TODAY!

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!

#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”

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!”

7 unique things to do in 7 cities of India

7 Unique Things To Do In 7 Cities Of India

India is often associated with the Taj Mahal. Why shouldn’t it be? After all, it’s the seventh wonder of the world. However, there is much more to India than the Taj Mahal. Read these things to do in India that range from cemeteries tour to an urban village walk to a community walk!

1) Urban Village Walk with a Personal Stylist – Delhi

Hauz Khas Heritage Walk - Things to do in India - Delhi
Hauz Khas Heritage Walk – Things to do in India – Delhi

Delhi is much more than Qutab Minar, Red Fort and Old Delhi. This walk in centred around Hauz Khas Village which is home to fort ruins, lake, deer park, boutiques, restaurant, pubs and street art. Yeah, so much to see in just one urban village. Take this walk to learn more about the ruins, click pictures by the lake and deer park, gorge on Delhi’s food, experience the nightlife and shop for traditional Indian goods. This ain’t a run of the mill walk but one of the most unique things to do while in India.

Conducted by an Ex Consultant who now has her own travel startup. She will ease your decision making, take you to the best places and help find what you really want. Really, a unique and different way to explore the boutiques of Delhi.

Write us at getmesherpa@seeksherpa.com to book now!

2) Parsi Potpurri – Mumbai

Parsi South Mumbai Heritage Walk - Things to do in India - Mumbai
Parsi South Mumbai Heritage Walk – Things to do in India – Mumbai

The so called bucket list items in Mumbai are the slum tour or the Bollywood tour. So much so, that these tours have now become a cliche. Instead of doing the cliche, we recommend a tour to experience the Parsi Culture – On this walk, you will explore the Parsi faith, daily essentials & way of life. You will visit Parsi landmarks and indulge in their signature dishes.

Conducted by a cultural enthusiast who has first hand accounts of the Parsi community!

Book now!

3) Yoga with the Taj Mahal – Agra

Things to do in India - Agra
Things to do in India – Agra

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 one of the most relaxing things to do India.

Conducted by a Yoga specialist and expert.

Write us at getmesherpa@seeksherpa.com to book now!

4) Walking Tour – Beyond the forts and monuments – Jaipur

Things to do in India - Jaipur
Things to do in India – Jaipur

Jaipur is not just about towering forts! Take this tour to experience the religious side of the locals by visiting temples and witnessing Hindu religious ceremonies. Not only this, explore the Havelis of Jaipur that have been there since the times of the Rajputs. Things to do in India like the walking tour have been inviting hordes of travellers for years. It is truly exciting and refreshing.

Conducted by someone who has taken Price Charles on his walks!

Book now!

5) Cemeteries of Kolkata

Things to do in India - Kolkata
Things to do in India – Kolkata

Unique things to do in India are not limited only to monuments, Yoga and communities. Take this tour to explore the cemeteries of Kolkata. You will explore two colonial cemeteries of Kolkata and learn more about the souls that reside in these cemeteries. You will also identify different types of grave architecture, learn more about the “White Mughal”, “The Greatest Liar” in the British Empire and the most beautiful girl in Calcutta in the late 18th century.
Conducted by an archaeologist and avid traveler!

Book now!

6) Desserts Safari – Bengaluru

Things to do in India - Bengaluru
Things to do in India – Bengaluru

Food walks are considered to be one of the most unique things to do in India. However, a food walk to just explore the desserts – that is truly unique and refreshing! You will be taken around to the choicest spots in Bengaluru to sample the tastiest desserts. You will also learn about what goes into making them, the different techniques used, the different variants of the same dessert across countries and so on.
Conducted by a foodie on a mission to visit every country of the world. The count stands at 54 countries.

Book now!

7) Galliyon Kay Raja – A Photo Walk in Old Hyderabad

Photo Walk in Hyderabad - Things to do in Hyderabad
Photo Walk in Hyderabad – Things to do in Hyderabad

Photography is one of the most exciting and engaging things to do in Hyderabad. On this photo walk, you will learn the basics of street photography including angels, shutter speed, exposure and natural lighting. You will also explore the food and markets of Hyderabad and go back home with improved skills, a heavier stomach and appreciation for Old Hyderabad.

Conduced by a corporate strategy professional who is an avid photographer.

Book now!

If you want these amazing things to do in India, simply reach out to us at getmesherpa@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 per person. You can also check out more things to do on SeekSherpa.com. See you!

12 hours In Mumbai done differently! #NotATourist

12 hours In Mumbai done differently!

Got 12 hours in Mumbai and looking for unique things to do in Mumbai? From our inventory of over a 100 different unique things to do in Mumbai we’ve come with a day in Mumbai made of only unique experiences that your clients would love! From unique heritage walks in Mumbai to a Mumbai pub crawl you would love, find a variety of sightseeing options for a day in Mumbai!

South Mumbai Heritage Walk

Unique Things to do in Mumbai - South Mumbai Walk
Unique Things to do in Mumbai – South Mumbai Walk

Itinerary - This walk begins at Gateway of India before heading past the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel to the shopping streets and noted eateries. One also covers the Navy Memorial and the illusive Wodehouse Cathedral before stopping for tender coconut at Rajabai Clock Tower. The walk also covers Churchgate Station where one learns stories on the world famous “Mumbai Dabbawallas.” At each place, the Sherpa engages the travelers in historical, economic, cultural and religious discussions. One then proceeds to the famous Dhobi Ghat of Mumbai. One can witness hundreds of people washing clothes. The Sherpa shares stories and takes you inside religious places to talk about evolution of Hinduism, Islam and Sufism in India. One of the most unique things to do in Mumbai – The Dhobi Ghat

Duration - 6 hours with a breakfast break
Time - 730 AM
Conducted By a Sherpa who is an extrovert who is passionate about local and world history and culture and wish to help people understand the WHY so that they can appreciate the WHAT.  He has been the Manager for Cultural Relations at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for 5 years and is fluent in English and conversant in Spanish, French, Hindi and Portuguese

Book now!

Picturesque Bandra

Unique Things to do in Mumbai - Picturesque Bandra
Unique Things to do in Mumbai – Picturesque Bandra

Itinerary – Spectacular sunrise views over the sealink from a 16th century Portuguese fort? A Buckingham palace-like Parsi sanatorium? A drinking-trough for horses and a soldier’s barracks from 2 centuries ago? A centuries-old church and basilica, a Portuguese-style urban village, Bollywood superstar home and unobtrusive yet wholesome bakeries? Join me for a 90 minute, 3 kilometer walk from Bandra Fort to St. Andrew’s Church as we explore the bustling suburb for the many mysteries that it holds and the enchanting stories that you will love when told! Wow, experiencing the true Bandra is perhaps one of the most unique things to do in Mumbai
Duration – 3 hours
Time – 3:30 PM
Conducted by – Sherpa who’s the Editor of a Magazine, freelance guide, speaks both French and Spanish. I have an MA in Indian philosophy and like telling stories. Like to relate everyday, contemporary India with her mythologies, history and politics!

Book now!

The Mumbai Beer Crawl

Unique Things to do in Mumbai - The Beer Crawl
Unique Things to do in Mumbai – The Beer Crawl

Itinerary - A beer crawl is one of the most unique things to do while in Mumbai! This tour will take you to Mumbai’s most happening open air pubs. We will make you experience the open air pubs in Mumbai, a culture, which seems to be fading away into extinction. These, also happen to be some of the cheapest places to go grab a chilled lager. While we’re at it, we’ll get some amazing food, each place has to offer.
Duration - 3 hours
Time – 7 PM
Conducted by – Sherpa who’s explored places for Food/Drinks with various concepts, and are cheap on the wallet. These places, serve some amazing food too!

Book now!

Each sherpa above has conducted tours for at least 50 travellers and is rated very highly!

You can find amazing heritage walks in Mumbai here.

Contact SeekSherpa – +91-96439-82934 and we’ll customize the itinerary as per your client’s requirements!