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!”

How To Get Indian E Visa?

Travelling to India? You need to know how to get an Indian E Visa!

India, the land of many cultures, requires an E Visa for you to enter the country. A procedure that can be filled up by you alone!

To be clear, an indian E Visa is not the same as Indian Visa On Arrival. India does not offer a Visa on Arrival, so please do not be confused.

How to get an Indian E Visa?

1. Log on to indianvisaonline.gov.in with at least 4 days in hand before your intended date of travel. Example if you hope to travel on 10th Jan, make sure you’re applying on 5th or 6th Jan.

2. Click on e-Tourist Visa Application – fill in your details, pay the Indian E Visa fee and hang tight for a few days, you’ll get an email from the Indian Immigration department.

Things to keep in mind – 

1. You need to carry a copy of eTV at the time of travel.

2. Visa validity is 30 days from the date of arrival in the country (note – it’s not date of issue).

3. You must be entering India through one of the following airports – Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi. You can exit from wherever.

4. The Visa is single entry only!

Some more points as per the Indian Immigration Office -

Eligibility

1. International Travellers with the sole objective of visiting India for recreation, medical treatment, or casual business visit.
2. Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India. The passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.

Read up from the website in detail here.

Citizens of the following countries are eligible for getting an Indian E Visa -

Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Hope this helps in answering how to get an Indian e visa!

While you’re here, make sure you check out some awesome walking tours with SeekSherpa. You can also call them at +91-9643982934.

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!

6 Cool Home Page Designs that #BreakTheRoutine

6 Cool “Home Page” Designs That #BreakTheRoutine

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is applicable only to books, humans and other animate objects. In the case of websites, people tend to judge them by their home page.

All you have is a couple of seconds to make a lasting impression. That’s why, we bring you to you 6 home page designs that leave one with an impression, good or bad – you decide:

Scrapd

Scrapd is a digital scrapbook that helps one organise their creative projects.

Scrapd

Source – Scrapd

What’s different:

Clean, clear and simple design (Read minimalist). The copy highlights the main features of the app and has a direct call to action. An innovative home page design! Also, open the site to note the subtle use of animation that helps to organize the information.

BuiltByBuffalo

BuiltByBuffalo is a web design and development agency.

BuiltByBuffalo
BuiltByBuffalo

What’s different:
A beautiful responsive home page design! The shape of the elements change from a pentagon to a rectangle to a square & finally to a rectangle in the mobile view.

Salt Films

Salt Films is production house.

Salt Films
Salt Films

What’s different:
They probably considered the cursor a cliche to navigate. The website uses a giant hand for navigation.
Users have to shake the salt bottles to read a few links – How quirky and different is this home page design?

Letters-INC

Letters is a web design and development company.

Letter
Letter

What’s different:
One of the very few home pages to use monochrome, delicate line style graphics to spice up its home page design. It’s not minimalist, bright or one with a clear copy, yet it engages a user to explore more – Purpose achieved!

AirBnB

AirBnB is a platform connecting local accommodation providers with seekers.

AirBnB
AirBnB

What’s different:
It’s bright and colorful with pictures with a couple of call to actions – Search, How it Works, Become a Host
The pictures run in a slideshow – enough to engage the user and take an action.

Airnauts

Airnauts is a company that provides design, development and consulting services.

Airnauts

What’s different:
Scrolling – This website can be entirely explored just by scrolling.
The unique scroll provides the user with an incentive to explore the site even more!

Feel free to take inspiration from these quirky and innovative home pages. Leave your users with an impression :)

If you want to talk about developing a unique experience for your company to go on, call me at +91-96439-82934.

Signing off!

Sherpa Dhruv

7 quirky ways to build a great startup culture – #BreakTheRoutine

7 Startups With A Great Culture

Are you looking to build a great culture at your startup? Building a startup culture at your organization? In this post we’ve captured some really cool things companies do to develop a startup culture within their systems! Read on and comment with your thoughts, after all this is your list as much as it is ours!

1) inFeedo

A “Dare To Fail” titled pin board highlights the failures that inFeedo has ever faced. After all, each failure is a learning, right?

Code Words are used to address the team members. One can find Alpha, Ariel, Venus in the inFeedo workplace. “Roger That” instead of “Ok” and “Over & Out” instead of “Bye” gives them the feel of soldiers! inFeedo’s Soldiers!

Takeaway – Learn from your failures as a team!

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture - learn from your mistakes

2) Boundless

Values of Boundless are communicated in a clear and clever way.

Team meetings end with awards to employees who have exemplified one of the four company values
The Beast (the hardest worker), The Architect (the best strategist), Indiana Jones/Lara Croft (the dedicated adventurer looking for results), and The Most Interesting Person In the World (a well-rounded, funny, charismatic individual)

Takeaway – Quirky awards can be rewarding to your startup’s culture!

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture

3) PayPal

Mr. Thiel devised this way of building a great culture for PayPal. Reviews and appraisals would depend only on the single most valuable contribution to the company by an employee.

Takeaway – Identify each employee’s topmost contribution

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture

4) Maptia

Perhaps the best startup culture hack ever!

Once Maptia received its seed money of $100,000, Maptia didn’t opt for the usual co-work space/office on rent Instead they spun the globe found a cheap apartment on the coast of Atlantic. All the five members stay there at a cost of $10 per person per week.

Takeaway – Your team can stay and work cheap if they’re together!

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture

5) GitHub

Startups often fail to keep a flat organisational structure.

GitHub has achieved this beautifully – Instead of “Managers” they have “Primary Responsible Person”
A unique way to move beyond the cliche and conventional use of “Managers”

Takeaway – Semantics of job titles can trigger a large change.

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture

6) Warby Parker

We’ve all had crushes. Warby Parker takes this to the next level to instigate “Culture Crushes”.
It simply implies the company ensures that employees have something to look forward to, at all times!
This includes lunches, team events and even fun work deadlines

Takeaway – The team must look forward to something, at all times!

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture

7) Etsy

How important is it for your team to do things they love? Perhaps the most important thing.
Engineers love to make things. They should just do that. Etsy has invested in a 1 click deploy process. Less time waiting for scripts to run. Less time worrying if the code has made it to the server. More time to build things and love the job!

Takeaway – Ensure the team does what it loves. Period.

Takeways on how to build a great startup culture

What do you think makes your startup culture stand out? :)

If you want to talk about developing a unique experience for your company to go on, call me at +91-96439-82934.

Signing off!

Sherpa Dhruv

 

Unique Golden Triangle Itinerary

A Unique Golden Triangle Itinerary

The Golden Triangle is the most preferred travel destination of travellers. Over the last couple of weeks, SeekSherpa has showed you unique things to do in Agra, Jaipur and Delhi.

This week, we’d like to show how you can differentiate your Golden Triangle itinerary to India!

Day 1:
Arrive at Delhi by flight. After traditional “Swagat” (Welcome) our representative would assist you at airport and transfer to hotel for check in. Spend the night in the hotel to get over the jet lag and fatigue.

Day 2:
Get up at leisure, have a scrumptious breakfast at your hotel.

10 AMThe Spice Market Tour at Asia’s Largest Spice Market

Spice Trail by Sherpa Priya

What? Visit Asia’s largest spice market to learn about the different spices, their origins, uses and benefits, the lovely dishes one makes from them, their trade, & also get a chance to purchase quality spices at reasonable rates for you to take back home should you please. This tour is one of the most unique things to do in Delhi!

Who? This tour is conducted by a spice specialist who is also an at home chef and travel blogger. She has taken more than 100 travellers from 10 different countries on this unique tour.

Head back to the hotel for Lunch.

4 PMTour the boutiques of Hauz Khas with a Personal Stylist

Unique Things to do in Delhi - Shopping Experience
Unique Things to do in Delhi – Shopping Experience

What? On this Delhi shopping tour, you will be visiting the boutiques of Hauz Khas/Khan Market for a personalized shopping experience. You can expect to visit shops with Indian fabrics, Indian traditional wear (salwar kameez, sarees), traditional jewellery, home decor, souvenirs, designer wear, ayurveda, tea and such like. Understand the juxtapositioning of Hauz Khas as an urban village with fort ruins, restaurant, pubs, a deer part and high end boutique.

Who? 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.

Have dinner at one of the most happening Indian restaurants at Hauz Khas Village. Head back to the hotel to freshen up to gear yourself for the Mixology Masterclass.

9 PM - Mixology Masterclass with Indian Cocktails

What? Take this tour to learn the ancient art of mixology and muddling and to make 4 to 6 different cocktails and drink them too! Experiment with a wide range of raw ingredients from various families like Indian spices, herbs, fruits, & vegetables to make lip smacking cocktails.

Who? This will be conducted by a mixologist who is trusted by the founder of India’s top hotel chain.

Overnight hotel – Delhi

If the traveller is in Delhi for Day 3:

9 AM – Leave for half day tour to visit the monuments of New and Old Delhi. This will include the Qutab Minar, Red Fort & India Gate. Take a lunch break at Central Delhi’s most famous restaurant.

4 PMStreet Art and Street Photography Tour at Shahpur Jat

IMG_6538

What? Delhi is not just about its monuments and food. Take this tour to marvel at Delhi’s quirkiest graffiti through its urban village and capture the works through your lens as you stroll through the market. This tour takes place in Delhi’s happening urban village, Shahpur Jat, that is famous for its graffiti, street art, boutiques, restaurants and ruins! Perhaps, one of the most exciting things to do in Delhi this season.

Who? This tour is conducted by a photographer and entrepreneur who knows this village in and out.

7 PM - Discovering Delhi 6, A heritage and food walk at Old Delhi

IMG-20150426-WA0019

What? Have a bucket list of things to do in Delhi? Bet Old Delhi is right on top! Take this tour to understand Old Delhi from a historical, cultural and gastronomical perspective. Visit the temples, bazaars, and monuments of Old Delhi. Not only this, also visit the Paranthe Wale gali, the Shish Ganj Gurudwara, Ghalib ki Haveli and many more!

Who? This tour is conducted by an Ex Journalist, now pursuing Law. Comes with a background in history and current affairs with a penchant of good food.

Have dinner at Old Delhi’s most famous eatery and head to the hotel for spending the night.

Day 4:

Morning - The usual stuff! Leave for Agra in an AC vehicle. Arrive at Agra by 11 AM and check in at the hotel for freshing up. Post lunch head out for a city tour of Taj Mahal and Red Fort

5 PM - Cultural Walk of Agra

What? 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!

Who? This is conducted by Tripadvisor certificate of excellence award recipient!

Overnight – Hotel

Day 5:

8 AMYoga facing 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.

10 AM - Colonial Walk of Agra

Agra Heritage Walk
Agra Heritage Walk

What? 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.

After lunch at the hotel, leave for Jaipur.
Overnight – Hotel in Jaipur

Day 6:
After a good and relaxing night, the day at Jaipur will begin early with a cycling tour.

7 AMCycling Tour to explore the markets, streets and food

What? This early morning cycle tour will give you a glimpse of Jaipur, its architecture, havelis and temples. You will also stop to taste the specialities of Jaipur and attend an early morning religious ceremony. This will conclude with a visit to the local vegetable market where you will get the opportunity to bargain with the local vendors.
Who? Conducted by an adventure and experience specialist.

After breakfast, depart for local sightseeing tour.

7 PMCooking Class in the home of an Indian family

Cooking Class Jaipur Seeksherpa
Cooking Class Jaipur Seeksherpa

What? What’s so different about this cooking class in Jaipur? Well, it’s conducted by someone who is an excellent cook and expert on authentic Indian and Ayurvedic cooking. Get an opportunity to source the vegetables before you cook them. It is conducted in a homely environment and one can learn how to cook basic Indian snacks to traditional Rajasthani dishes. Trust us this is one of the fabulous things to do in Jaipur and you shouldn’t miss it.

Overnight – Hotel

Day 7:

7 AMHeritage Walk – Art & Antiquities of Jaipur

What? Visit historic temples, homes of local artisans, lanes and streets of Jaipur on this walk. Get a chance to marvel at the lesser known architectural wonders of Jaipur!

Who? Conducted by someone who has taken Prince Charles, Richard Gere for similar walks!

Return to the Hotel for lunch and refresh yourself for the pottery workshop

4 PM - Pottery Workshop

Pottery Making Jaipur
Pottery Making Jaipur

What? This workshop can either be a wheel pottery workshop or a hand pottery workshop. This will teach you how to build pots from scratch and the various other techniques associated with pottery. This is a unique way to explore Indian art and craft.

Who? Conducted by an Ex employee of a MNC who quit her job to follow her passion of pottery.

Depart for Delhi to take the flight out!

Did not expect a Golden Itinerary to be this unique?! Well, you aren’t the only one.

PS – You are free to add/subtract more unique tours to this itinerary. All you need to do is, contact SeekSherpa – +91-96439-82934 and we’ll customize the itinerary as per your client’s requirements.

 

10X Employee Productivity – 7 Hacks that #BreakTheRoutine

Increase employee productivity at work! Here are 7 hacks that #BreakTheRoutine while improving productivity 10x! 

I’m a serious believer in productivity and automation.

The best part is you can do little things that make life better and faster for everyone around you.

Flipkart today employs around 40000 people while close second rival – Snapdeal – employs just about 7500. That’s roughly 5 times larger workforce for Flipkart while the revenue is just about twice.

Ceteris paribus, would you agree that Snapdeal is more productive per employee? YES!

While we don’t know what magic potion they’re brewing, I’ve got some great suggestions on improving employee productivity for you right here. My research team and I spent about a week in finding these. We called up and hunted down people for information regarding techniques to improve employee productivity and we’ve really got a good list below.

Enjoy –

1. Exercise! Hack 1 to improve employee productivity. 

Clif Bar (OTB) pays for its people to exercise 2.5 hours a week. But, even with that perk in place, it would be human nature for someone to be nervous about being viewed as the slacker who leaves the office in the middle of the day to go workout. For this reason, GPTW 2015 keynote speaker Kevin Cleary, Clif Bar’s CEO, makes sure that Clif Bar people see him at the office in his sweaty gym clothes after a midday run, and he encourages his leadership team to be equally visible in their workout gear. Walk the walk.

What can you do? India doesn’t really provide a very helpful gymming or sports atmosphere, but it’s definitely possible to break sweat over a game of TT or pool. A table starts as low as INR 10,000. Go get it!

2. Learning wallet! Hack 2 to improve employee productivity.

Everybody at InMobi gets $800 annually as a ‘learning wallet’ which they can utilise to do anything — cooking classes, scuba-diving lessons, learning a new language or simply mastering new technologies. WOAH!

What can you do? Ermm..Hello. That’s what SeekSherpa is here for. Visit us and find an experience you want to take your employees on. Write us at getmesherpa@seeksherpa.com and get yourself an account manager assigned to look into your needs specifically.

3. Say Thank You! Hack 3 to improve employee productivity.

DHL Express takes employee engagement seriously in the office, on the roads and in the air. It has an incredible culture of thanking employees, whether that’s through monetary rewards, honouring top performers at its annual Hollywood-style black-tie event or pinning notes of appreciation on the company corkboard.

Recommended - Google has the concept of a Peer bonus. It’s an incredible way of saying thank you when a colleague helps you out. E.g. Employee Divya is working on a tough project, reaches out to Employee Rajesh for help. Rajesh, out of his niceness stays back to help Divya. In a normal scenario, no one would notice. In the event of a Peer Bonus, Divya can refer Rajesh for a peer bonus. The award can be a small monetary award or a BU wide appreciation mail. TRY IT!

4. Learn your product. Hack 4 to improve employee productivity. 

At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters they sent employees to Guatemala to learn more about the coffee-making process!

Isn’t that amazing?

What can you do? In today’s day and age it means – make your sales and tech team work close by. Yes, we all need war rooms but ultimately, when people talk, true sparks fly.

5. Be transparent. Hack 5 to improve employee productivity. 

Whole Foods Market not only lets employees see each other’s salaries, but the company also sends staff on trips to meet suppliers so they learn more about where their products come from and how much they cost.

What can you do? Most Indian companies are very hush hush about compensation. That’s fair to some extent given the high degree of hierarchy indian business setups have. But why not try it? Be a routine breaker!

6. Be what you are! Hack 6 to improve employee productivity. 

Reebok: “CrossFit Box”

Reebok was looking to reinforce its new mission “to get consumers moving.” They figured the best way to do that was to first get their employees in motion. In an effort to align their people with their vision, the athletic apparel brand converted one of their warehouses into a CrossFit workout center, exclusively for Reebok employees. Participants collectively lost over 4000 pounds during 2011. Globally, 1000 Reebok employees are now CrossFitters.

Why it works: This initiative helped build engagement on many levels. Reebok didn’t just sell a lifestyle, it lived it. To deliver the full customer experience, they promoted a culture of health and wellness within their organisation, making employees stakeholders in the company’s vision and mission.

7. Let people do what they like best. Hack 7 to improve employee productivity. 

Google is a master of this. The 20% project that it allows all employees to indulge in gave birth the the world’s largest mailing service – Gmail.com :)

What can you do? Give your guys a day a fortnight off to start with to allow them to do whatever they want. The whole office needn’t be off and this can be done in rotation.

I really hope the above hacks work out for you. I feel they would. Call me at +91-96439-82934 if you want to talk more.

– Dhruv (SeekSherpa.com)

4 Awesome Heritage and Food Walks in Agra

Food and Heritage walks in Agra apart from the Taj Mahal!

– Bookable Through SeekSherpa – Yahoo!

If you’re looking to explore Agra uniquely, then you’ve come to the right place.

We have some awesome Food and heritage walks in Agra that you would love. And the best part, they are all bookable through SeekSherpa.

1) Food Trail in 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?

For details and booking: click here!

Things to do in Agra - Food Walk
Things to do in Agra – Food Walk

2) Colonial Walk in 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. One of the most unique things to do in Agra!

For details and booking: click here!

Things to do in Agra - Colonial Walk
Things to do in Agra – Colonial Walk

3) 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!

For details and booking: click here!

Things to do in Agra - Cultural Walk
Things to do in Agra – Cultural Walk

4) Discover the Oriental Side of Agra

Running out of things to do in Agra? Take this walk to discover and explore the oriental side of Agra. You will be visiting Dara Shikohs library, Mirza Ghalibs birthplace, and the Akbar church. You will also get an opportunity to see the grand old havelis and the oriental markets of Kinari Bazaar. On the way, you will see the early morning bustle at the shoe mandi in Johri Bazar, the only street of Ayurvedic doctors, the paan and the petha mandi and the food street of Seth Gali.

For details and booking: click here!

Things to do in Agra - Oriental Agra
Things to do in Agra – Oriental 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 700 to 900 per person. You can also check out more things to do on SeekSherpa.com. See you!