There comes a point where science becomes poetry. When a strictly objective gaze creates an image that allows us to imagine a beauty greater than which we can express. That’s where photography turns more life-like. 


I am not  a professional photographer, but of what I learn and believe in photography and by following great artists of the time, I understand photography as one of the strongest art forms existing today. Right from the time of Ansel Adams to all the current gen Instagram-worthy photographers trying to make their space in the ever so saturating field, one thing goes without saying – it is very important to find your subject that you’d love to shoot rather than just focusing on being a good photographer. But it is equally important to find your creative. And nothing in the world can possibly mirror creativity better than the pieces of work in this art-fled studio.

Facing the islands of Kastellholmen and Djurgarden, this museum, Fotografiska – mainly known as the photography museum of Stockholm is built-in a former customs house. It is a massive three storey photo gallery where one can find worlds top photographers works exhibited on rotation.


One such opportunity came my way when I was traveling in Stockholm during the last week of December. Honestly Fotografiska wasn’t on my list before I looked up the website and read about the photographers who were exhibited there at the time. In no time the camera enthusiast in me decided to find a way to reach Djurgarden. I stayed very close to the central station and it took me a direct metro rail to Slussen and a quick 12 minute walk hence to reach this beautiful building. I had the Stockholm pass which helped me skip lines and saved up on my entry fee. That’s the one thing I absolutely love about the Stockholm pass – it includes almost everything one would want to see in Stockholm, and it sure is cost-effective.

If I have to describe my experience at Fotografiska in one word, I’d say – Fascinating. Right from the moment I walked into the gallery and laid eyes on hassleblad camera bodies and lenses, I knew I was in for a treat throughout. It took me about 3 hours to read through each photograph, the colors, the angles, the details. The artists that month on exhibit were Nick Veasey, Chen Man, Asa Sjöström and Ida Borg. Each of them echoing their meraki through their own unique cutting edge photography, took me through an extraordinary journey in the making of state of the art masterpieces. Staring up at these daedal photographs, I was in awe of the complexities of art and the simplicities of human life and materialism.

Here I will be taking you back to Stockholm’s December journey. Tip-toe with me through Fotografiska and go speechless at the possibilities of art and creativity.

Nick Veasey


“I can preserve a child’s smile, make any woman feel beautiful, bring a grown man to tears, fifty years from now and freeze time – What’s your superpower?”

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Most artists claim to delve beneath the surface of their subjects. Most artists fail. And of what I experienced of Nick’s photography technique is that no one can go to such intricate depth of ones core. This man has the imagination, power and creativity to dig deep into the possibilities of daily objects. And what’s crazy is – he seems UNSTOPPABLE. In an unmatchable spirit, Nick Veasey works in his X-ray studio in a rural area outside Maidstone, England. He does not focus on capturing beautiful landscape over shining horizons, nor does he focus on painting portraits. Instead, he has mastered the art of penetrating deep inside any object – living and non-living. The X-ray technique. Look, observe, learn the magic created by Nick Veasle’s X-ray photographic technique. Read as deeply as you want. unravel a photo layer by layer, till there’s nothing left to it – and yet everything.

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I have never seen detailing so closely my entire life. Neither would you.

Chen Man


Redefining the fine line between Fashion photography, Art, Painting and Graphic design, Chen Man masters the art of photo-manipulation technique. She was the first one to learn, use and master Photoshop in China. She would spend months on her computer creating and recreating one image.


Flying with fearlessness and sitting at the edge of the curiosity-cliff, Chen Man shocked the chinese art world bringing in a whole new revolution to the visual world single-handedly.


Ida Borg

Taking on life simple pleasures and building art off them, is a skill many possess. But the sheer perfection and elegance is what defines Ida Borg’s work of art. In – Hygiene – A circle of life, Ida captures the daily emotions of the life cycle of a lay man. In the mindset of educating people about the importance of Hygiene, Ida says, ” No matter where you find yourself in the cycle of life, hygiene is what stays with you, and your health should be of primary concern”.

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In her series, Ida has captured people of different ages and nationalities, from across the world to bring together the basic necessity of one thing that unites us all – Hygiene. Photography is an all-inclusive art form which is why it has the power to reach the mind, body and soul of anyone hence provoking newer perspectives.

Asa Sjöström

“I see myself in those I photograph and I often wonder what it would be like if their lives had been mine. The connection feels personal, as if we share a story, but one that is not my own”.


Asa captures the story of a silent land. A land she walked into and fled herself with overwhelming emotions. Moldova, sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, is the poorest country in Europe (2005). On her 3 month long trip, she captured faces of prisoners, victims of human trafficing and domestic violence. Feeling incomplete even after capturing the souls of what made Moldova, she realised that she hadnt looked close enough. That was the moment when she put herself in the place of the locals, observed the details and encountered in the people of Moldova, strong integrity, will power and a fierce sincerity. She saw people, the poverty and the dignity; the brutal yet fragile life experiences of the people.

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Its a fearlfully dangeorous stunt to put yourself in place of such severity just to capture the heart and soul in a photograph. Asa’s ‘The silent land’ series are a line of brutally honest inhuman realities of this wildly materialistic world we live in.


Fotografiska introduced me to art like I have never seen before. The multitude of possibilities one can learn just by using a lens, the levels of photojournalism and the numerous ways of visual storytelling is what I take away from this beautiful art museum in Stockholm. If you are a photography enthusiast, take my word for it – YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS PLACE! Go, unlearn everything you have been taught about photography and look at art in a whole new perspective.


Stadsgårdshamnen 22
116 45 Stockholm


Sun – Weds 9:00 am – 11: 00 pm
Thurs – Sat 9:00 am – 1:00 am


Adults SEK 135
Students and Seniors SEK 105
Groups (minimum 20 visitors) SEK 105
Children under 12 years free
NB This museum does not accept cash; cards only

When Art meets Life

Have you been to Fotografiska yet? What did you like best?

I enjoyed writing this post. If there is something in specific you would want to know about Stockholm or want me to write about, mention in the comments below and I will get back ASAP. Got any other amazing must-do must-see option in Stockholm? Share me the link and I will read it up too 🙂

If you enjoyed the article, feel free to share it!

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16 Experienced Travelers Share Their Best Travel Advice To Inspire The Traveler In You

Travel tips. Because everyone needs them💖
Traveling alone? Traveling as a couple? With family? Or friends?
These are some of the best travel tips one could get😁

My friend from @travelstoriesuntold has summed up some helpful advice from travelers around the world. Read them here 😁

Travel Stories Untold

Does the thought of traveling scare you? Is it the fear of venturing out of your comfort zone? Or the fear of getting lost in an unknown place? Perhaps, simply the thought that it will be too expensive?

I won’t try to undermine your fear by saying these are irrational thoughts. However, I will definitely attempt to alleviate them by arming you with the information you need. So, here are some of the best travel advice and travel tips from 16 experienced travelers.

Some of them will help you learn how to cut costs and travel on a budget while others will simply inspire and motivate the traveler in you. But first, what’s the best travel advice I have for you? Here goes.

Book your flights, way in advance – at least a good three to six months before your trip – to save on costs. Check for multiple different…

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Fika – Lets brew it!

Shhhh… my coffee and I are having a moment. I will deal with you later.



Halla friends!

As promised, out of my sheer love for cultural learning and oh, COFFEE, this blog’s dedicated to a momentary romance with coffee, or as the Swedes call it – FIKA!

Somewhere on the Island of södermalm, I found a little café on the corner with a board outside that said – FIKA! The word in itself was so sweet to read I was intrigued to google it up. “OK google! What does Fika mean?” “Fika is a coffee break”. My heart the next hyper second – “Wait, coffee? Did I hear Coffee?”

It took me a conversation with three Swedes to understand that Fika after all isn’t ‘JUST’ a coffee break. It’s so much more than that. And boy, do the Swedes hate it being called a coffee break!

My ever so curious mind didn’t stop till I learnt all about Fika (Because, well… coffee). So in my own words I’d define Fika as – a moment of meditation with coffee! More like a concept, a state of mind or a feeling. And feelings have no definite terms of description, aye? (Yup I just got a little philosophical here!)

Fika is a Swedish obsession. The swedes are one of the highest coffee consuming nations in the world (Ranking in the top 10 list). Which is why, Coffee is more than having a break or a pastime for them. Coffee for them is weaving moments of bliss and light hearted conversations with friends and family leaving all your problems behind (nop, they do not discuss problems on the coffee table). And this, my friends, is an integral part of their culture (Fika – every single day! yup.)

So how do you… Fika? You wonder?

I will help break it down for you.

  1. You get yourself coffee.
  2. You add a pastry or a muffin (anything baked basically!)
  3. .. you just FIKA!

The art of Fika is all about leaving all your problems behind and having a moment of bliss and relax. The Swedes believe (and you and I would second them on this), the world is getting busier by the passing minute. Problems are never ending and our hair is graying faster and sooner than ever. It would do no harm to set aside everything and enjoy a happy conversation with a friend… and just FIKA! This, as I said before, being more of a Swedish tradition and obsession, the employers even give their staff a Fika break (maybe even two sometimes). That’s how entrenched it is in the Swedish culture.

Now, as I sit back and sip on my cup of coffee while I write this piece of article here, I think how coffee really is just a ‘to-go’ option for everyone around the world (yes even me!). We all have so much on our plates every single day that a coffee break really means discussing work issues or holding up client meetings. At work a coffee break means heading to a vending machine or the cafeteria and buying yourself that use and throw cup, sipping on it while you are driving or taking the subway. When I was studying in the UK, most of my mornings were filled with coffee on the side while getting dressed or finishing an assignment. Even at the university, I would get myself coffee from the 1 pound coffee maker and run with it to the lecture theater (multitasking, please!). But ever since I got back from Sweden, mum and I try to inculcate this Fika culture in our daily routine. We are both crazy coffee lovers and we sit with our coffees in the balcony and watch the sun rise up every morning. It really is the best moment of my all-so-busy day! A rather relaxed kick start.

What are the rules of FIKA?

One of the many beautiful things about this art is there aren’t really stated rules to fika. Not a coffee fan? Drink tea instead. Don’t like a muffin, pick a croissant or a sandwich. Whatever suits you? You don’t even have to head to a café, you can Fika literally anywhere, even in the comfort of your home.

Sweden and Coffee?

If we go down the road of civilization and walk down the streets with Swedish history, Sweden and coffee have been in a rather complicated relationship from the start.

Coffee entered Sweden like a breath of fresh air in mid-16th century under King Fredrick I. However, he was never a fan of these brown beans and tried to tax the shit out of it to kick it out of their culture. With eventual failures, he then banned coffee. Over years and subsequent successors, King Adolf Fredrick levied heavier taxes on coffee, which lead to coffee smuggling and these bean babies went underground. With secret coffee shops in hidden corners of cities, the Swedish became hitched to coffee. It became an ingrained part of them. They wanted someone to build this as a culture. And hence, enter King Gustav III, from where things got creative and interesting. After several attempts of brainwashing his people against the contents of coffee, failures of PR campaigns downgrading the effects of coffee, the swedes just did not let go. He even ran an experiment where he picked twin brothers (criminals) and tried to prove the harmful effects of coffee. He fed one brother with tea and the other with coffee, each thrice a day to prove that the coffee drinking criminal would die a caffeinated death rather faster than the tea drinking criminal. Not only did both of them survive the test, they also outlived the king (in fact, the coffee drinking criminal even outlived the tea drinker).

The ban on Fika was lifted in the mid-19th century when the youth was high on rage and caffeine. Ever since, coffee and Fika has taken over Sweden like a storm and is now a cool tag.

Let’s all raise a toast to the warrior that lies in the Swedish coffee (wink!).

If you head to Sweden, DO NOT call Fika a coffee break. Just call it… Fika!

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Every day, I try to have a Fika. It helps to sit back on my chair and breath fresh air in the balcony and read a book or listen to music with my strong, dark coffee. That is my Fika!

What is yours?


I enjoyed writing this post. If there is something in specific you would want to know about Stockholm or want me to write about, mention in the comments below and I will get back ASAP. Tell me about your Fika experience in the comments below. I would love to read them ❤

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The artists paradise – Stockholm

Are you headed to the Venice of the North? Read on to see things you absolutely cannot miss in Stockholm. (For the love of Art and Culture)

6 of my most exclusive Experiences in Stockholm!

6 most amazing things to experience in stockholm

Are you headed to the Venice of the North? Read on to see things you absolutely cannot miss in Stockholm.

It’s been about 2 months since my Scandinavian travel and I still cannot get enough of how beautiful the Northern part of Europe is. Yes you read that right. Scandinavia in the Winters (yep, I know your eyes are wide open in sheer surprise or shock :P). Experiencing a white winter was always on my list right from my years in the UK. Terrible luck as I’d call it, I spent 2 December’s in the UK and never saw a single snow flake (sigh!). But as crazy as it sounds, Scandinavian winters are insane only if you are an absolute winter lover. Peak winters, knee deep snow and below freezing temperatures, Scandinavia is white heaven on earth.

Credits: Ola Ericson /

I started off with Stockholm or as they call it “The Venice of the North”. Almost a week in Stockholm, spending the whole of Christmas week there, I saw some incredible places and experienced some of the best Swedish traditions. Not to miss, the city that was lonely on Christmas eve (no body on the streets and most of the stores were shut), caught up to a running life soon after. Right from fancy museums to watching the gloomy sky change colors over all of Stockholm, I had some off the track experiences or what I’d rather call as “The Artists Galore”. Think of it! If you just end up visiting the main streets of the city or the headlined museums or touristy spots what new have you done? It would feel like ‘just another European city’ with nothing different to mark. I am among the ones to learn of the history of a place and watch out for the rarer experiences. After all travel is about indulging in newer experiences! Delve a little deeper and you’ll find each city has a soul of its own.


If you are especially an art lover, I’d suggest DO NOT miss this list!


1. Fotografiska: The artist living in abundance


Open: All seasons

Entry fee: 145 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass)

Often referred to as the “Photography museum” in Stockholm, this place has photography exhibitions on rotation. Every few weeks they showcase the most exclusive set of photographers across the world. I visited this museum in the 3rd week of December and experienced photography very unlike what we see every day. Watching works of photographers Nick Veasey, Chen Man and Ida Borg, I couldn’t believe photography of such kind even existed. These photographers are the epitome of creative photography.

I am dedicating an entire blog to my most favorite museum (Fotografiska) soon! Stay tuned.

2. Get moving on the waters – Winter Archipelago boat tour.

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Open: All Seasons (Kindly check site for Christmas/eve)

Entry fee: 295 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass)

The city of Stockholm is virtually surrounded by 14 islands. The reason why its called the “Venice of the North”. Boat tours in summer ring a bell to beachy outfits, free flowing gowns and some ice popsicles. But I visited Stockholm in dead peak winters and wasn’t too sure of how a boat tour would turn out be on semi-frozen land (lol). Alas, I fell in love with city even more. There is just something fulfilling about heaters and socks and mufflers combined with gloomy views on the outside and a really hot cup of dark chocolate wrapped by your fingers.

Was it freezing outside? Hell ya-ha! I did a 3 hour Archipelago ride. It was big boat beautifully decorated with all things Christmas. Tiny reindeer pelts hanging on each window, small Santa’s kept on the corners of the boat. Everything was red and oh so beautiful.

Do this tour and get in tune with the historical grounds of the Archipelago.

3. Travel back in time – Skansen


Open: All seasons

Entry fee: 180 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass)

This beautiful open air museum located in the Island of Djurgården is about 15 minutes by bus or tram from the city center. Relive the 19th century Swedish lifestyle here. It consists of 150 homes and farms. The employees in Skansen play roles of people from the past explaining Swedish art, craft and culture.

4. 360 degree view – Ericsson Globe



Open: All seasons

Entry fee: 150 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass before 12pm)

This beautiful structure – The Globen Skyview – gives you an unobstructed view of all of southern Stockholm. The Globen is Sweden’s national arena and the largest hemispherical building in the world. The building has 2 spherical gondolas that take you up to the top of the building which is the view point in about 30 minutes of riding time. Secret tip – carry a wide lens or a go-pro for this place 😉

5. Because you never say no to coffee – FIKA!

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Not many people know about this beautiful Swedish tradition. Fika is the art of taking a coffee break. Sounds too mundane? Its significance is much more than that. Fika is the art of meeting your loved ones over a coffee break with sweet conversations and cake or a pastry. But Fika is more than just coffee. In fact its almost offensive to call traditional Fika JUST a ‘coffee-break’. It is more of a Swedish obsession. Sweden is one of the highest coffee-consuming countries in the world. So coffee here is more like a lifestyle in itself.

Being a coffee-addict myself, you can only imagine my obsession in learning what Fika really is all about. I am going to write an entire article on Fika. Stay tuned!

6. Art at its best – Stockholm Underground



Once again for the art lovers of all kinds, I’d recommend you carry a good camera so you can get some lovely shots of Stockholm’s underground rail. Trust me when I say, the art under here is fantastic.

Stockholm metro was opened in 1950. Right from beginning, a group of local artists have been involved through the construction process. The Swedes wanted travel to be an experience and not just a mode of commute even for the locals.

Around 150 odd artists have contributed to the art of Sweden’s underground metro. It is more like a permanent art exhibition down there. Sculptures, mosaics, paintings, gardens etc. are some of the highlights of the metro. Look out for T-centralan for some fancy deep blue under water feels; Kungsträdgården for some ancient sculptures, dungee cave feels; Rådhuset (court house) for some natural cave and lava colors; Solna centrum for a feel of walking straight into the colors of the burning sun.

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Stockholm really surprised me. I knew I would love it but I had no idea how much I’d fall in love with it. This was just winters, my eyes would sparkle with bliss with Scandinavian summers. There is so much more to Stockholm when you put on your traveler shoes and dirty your shoe laces a little, walk around the city and explore parts like no one else can explain. After all, each traveler has his own eyes, a different perspective and an urge to explore like no other. I cannot wait to come back here with lesser layers on me 😛

Have you been to Stockholm? What did you like best?

I enjoyed writing this post. If there is something in specific you would want to know about Stockholm or want me to write about, mention in the comments below and I will get back ASAP. Got any other amazing must-do must-see option in Stockholm? Share me the link and I will read it up too 🙂

If you enjoyed the article, feel free to share it!

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Stockholm – a dreamy December’s journal

As light rain and snow tumbles down the city of Stockholm, I walk on the street of Strandvägen spotting thin layers of snow on the many wooden benches at the banks of Lake Mälaren. I spot some words written on each of those benches and decide to leave my own mark for however long they remain.

As light rain and snow tumbles down the city of Stockholm, I walk on the street of Strandvägen spotting thin layers of snow on the many wooden benches at the banks of Lake Mälaren. I spot some words written on each of those benches and decide to leave my own mark for however long they remain.

There is something very nostalgic about the air in Stockholm, something that reminds me of my sweet-somethings. It tingles little smiles across my face and as I gaze across the wide archipelago stretched across the many islands that surround the central part of the city, my heart is filled with happiness undeniable. A December visit to Stockholm surely needs some guts and willpower to face cold winds and ankle deep snow (at least in the beginning). Almost every travel agency I went to discouraged me to head for my Scandinavian adventure. Their reply – “Ma’am we are too ‘Indian’ to face such extreme winters”. And my only response to their words – Rolling eyes and several smirks later – “just gives me an estimated quotation please”.


And after 2 weeks of endless planning (sipping on coffee by the edge of my balcony and of dreaming of white winds and snowflakes) I headed straight to Stockholm with my family (parents and brother). Everyone I knew told me that Scandinavia is better off travelling in the summers. European summers are pretty pleasant, I know of that as I have traveled to Europe in different seasons before. But as utterly gorgeous and happening Scandinavia is in summers, there is something magical about its winters. A visit in the winters brings the city under different lights altogether and a big white blanket of snow. And this very few tourists know about.

In my further posts I will be giving you tips about Scandinavian winter travels. For now put your gloves, woolen socks and ear muffs on, HERE WE GO!

Hotel Tegnérlunden

This is where I stayed. Located about 12-15 minutes walking distance from the Central Station, this little boutique hotel was filled with tiny details, a cosy environment and a beautiful garden to wake up to every morning.

The view from my hotel. Stockholm at its gloomy self.
Endless cups of coffee, Swedish history books, this was my cosy corner in Stockholm.

Daylight would spread across Stockholm sky after 8:30 am. The beautiful view from the glass walls of Tegnérlunden were worth the little day-light spread across Stockholm’s sky.

Subtle breakfast mornings in Stockholm


A boulevard in central Stockholm, Strandvägen stretches for over 1 km in distance. With footways paved in granite and lamp-posts and benches lay’d at the corner, this place is the departure spot for many cruises in the city. I did the famous Archipelago winter cruise right from here.

One of my favorite spots in Stockholm, Strandvägen.

Nordiska Museet

The very first museum I entered in Stockholm was the Nordic Museum. This museum holds the cultural history and ethnography of Stockholm. I learnt some fantastic insights on different aspects of Swedish life and architecture over a period of 400 years. And thank lords for Christmas eve, I ended up spending more than three hours at this museum getting dressed as Santa and fairy.

Gamla Stan

Another favorite spot in the city. This is an old town which consists mainly of the island Stadsholmen. Gamla stan has some of the most colorful buildings in the city of Stockholm and some of the most narrow lanes across eastern Europe. The whole of old town is filled with tiny cafes and boutique shops selling authentic Swedish vintage wear. Slightly expensive, for me Gamla stan will probably be one of the many picturesque spots in the city.


One of the busiest squares in Stockholm, Kungsträdgården is a centrally located park which turns into an ice skating ridge by the end of December, all through winters.

Christmas decorations, Kungsträdgården


Drottninggaten is the biggest, most famous shopping street in Stockholm. But the foodie in me stopped for this amazing ice-cream.

Ice cream shop, Drottninggaten


Being an open air museum, Skansen during its gloomy December season seems like a haunted forest in itself (don’t worry their ain’t no ghosts here). My pictures seem even more gloomy and haunted as I captured them with barely any daylight left. I missed most of the interior of Skansen, but if you are there, Please look through this beautiful place completely (and click LOTS of pictures).

Ericsson Globe

And last but not the least, Skyview. If you want to see the whole of Stockholm (and I mean almost all islands) from a birds eye this is the place you should absolutely not miss. Not many people know about the globan. Ericsson Globe is an indoor arena located in the globe city of stockholm (on the outskirts). It is the largest hemispherical building on earth which has a small glass globe attached to it. You step inside and it takes you to the top of the Globe from where you see all of Stockholm’s beauty.

This is just a glimpse of all the beautiful things I saw in Stockholm. There is so much more to Stockholm than what is seen in mere photographs. One has to be there to experience the truest sense of Swedish culture.

In the next few posts I am going to talk more about my journey across Scandinavia and how to survive the below freezing temperatures. STAY TUNED 😀

If there is something in specific you would want to know about Stockholm or want me to write about, mention in the comments below and I will get back ASAP. Got any other amazing must-do must-see option in Stockholm? Share me the link and I will read it up too 🙂

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A Jubilant Love Affair – Con Amor Granada

“This is the dream of all the world. The dream is to live in Granada. You know, work in the morning, have a one hour nap in the afternoon and at night go out and have that life; eat tapas and drink red wine and be in a beautiful place”.

Sophia – “Hold my hand and I will show you a beautiful place.”

Anthony Bourdair once said, “This is the dream of all the world. The dream is to live in Granada. You know, work in the morning, have a one hour nap in the afternoon and at night go out and have that life; eat tapas and drink red wine and be in a beautiful place”.

Copyrights: @whereizmyboardingpass

This is what these narrow bustling streets of the little Spanish town echoed. With an exquisite history of the Nasrid Dynasty and the spectacular Moorish architecture, one cannot help but imagine what the kings and the queens would have felt walking through the passages of the ‘Palacios Nazaries’ to the gorgeous lush green gardens of the Alhambra. There is so much authenticity in the palaces and the monuments of this town, that one cannot miss being in – as described by Anthony – a beautiful place. Although, to me Granada will always be a conflate of ancient authenticity and modern day lifestyle.

I had a friend Ross, back in England who once happened to mention that his grandparents lived in Spain. He knew my genre of travel and suggested I make sure to visit this town. When I asked him to describe this place to me, he said “Granada is as beautiful as the sky midst the setting sun; as mellifluous as the Spanish lady’s footsteps; as rustic as the falling autumn leaves and as genial as a small child playing across the street”.

A wandering soul like mine couldn’t resist those words and I instantly found myself booking an apartment for a 3 day trip in the town of Granada. I looked through pictures of the place over the internet but what I witnessed was so much more abundant than what was on the internet. I was in the town where once lived the Romans and the Nasrid’s. While the Romans brought in early architecture and culture to Spain, the Moors and the Nasrid’s brought in royalty and Islamic décor during the later history of the town. I was walking the narrow streets of Granada where there existed abundant history and war and blood and lust. Here, in this ancient southern Spanish town, I could be anyone, do anything. I felt like a free bird trying to find a new home away from home.


And so, one fine summer morning of July, I decided to be a bird. I was the crimson rosella parrot. That morning as I stepped out of my apartment in the city center, I let my predominantly red-blue feathers flip-flap back and forth as I flew myself swiftly across the charm filled atmosphere of the town. I let the warm summer air kiss my tinted lips and the bright sun twinkle in my eye.


In no time I was at the Palace of Alhambra, getting lost in the mysterious walled gardens hidden from prying eyes, walking through the Arab baths, wondering what all the intricate designs in the Alhambra’s salons and courtyard’s really signified and what all those words engraved and carved on the walls and ceilings of the palace really try to convey.


Post a well exercised morning, as the sun reached the midpoint in the sky, I was roaming the streets of Granada, glancing through the windows of old vintage shops and passing by groups of people eating tapas and drinking chilled beer. It was almost 4 by the time I rested my tired legs in a café and ordered myself a tall glass of cold coffee sided by a tomato-mozzarella sandwich. Every restaurant in here had tiny water sprinklers suspended from the roofs and umbrellas which really help fight the scorching heat during peak summer days.

Post a light lunch I was out again, doing my thing, being myself, the free-spirit person I am, engaging myself in the hustle-bustle of the town life as I encountered a square seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The locals were building something that looked like a stage. The stage lay in a bucolic setting of tiny cottages and had a rustic charm to it.

As I looked around, I saw people whispering among themselves and talking about what was about to come up. I saw tourists trying to hold maps, shutterbugs not leaving their cameras alone and this one tall petite woman in a long cotton gown with a sling bag. Her round glasses were raised above her forehead and she was busy making some notes and clicking pictures of the whole set-up.

I landed myself next to the young lady, maybe about 24-26 years in age. She was preoccupied with her camera, sitting over the stairs of the square. I sat by her and introduced myself, hoping she spoke English. I asked her in Spanish, ‘tu hablas ingles?’ (You speak English?) immediately replying ‘no hablo Español mucho’ (I don’t speak much Spanish). She looked at me with a gentle welcoming smile and started talking to me in English. Her English had a Spanish lilt to it, and I knew she was a local.DSC_0747

After a brief introduction she told me the whole set up is for a series of tap dance performances lined up by the locals. She gave a brief introduction of what the traditional dance form of Spain was and how culturally centered the people of this country are when it comes to learning ancient art forms. Flamenco is a passionate seductive dance form in a mysterious culture dated almost over 500 years ago. This dance form is colored in passion, dance, drama, story and romance. Women were dressed in colorful gypsy style dresses, silk shawls and hand painted fans in an array of dazzling designs. Some women were also dressed in capes and corsets in red, black and white while men were covered in red and black tuxedos tightly wrapped around their waists. There were men playing live music by clapping their hands and tapping their feet over the strong wooden flooring. The old men, with faces scorched and cracked like the bark of an olive tree, their hands swaying, making movements that could describe a saga by themselves and the courting couples dancing the most dramatic sevillanas, a symbol of life in this wonderful southern town of Granada. Their bodies moved in Spanish lilt while their feet tapped the wooden flooring making hard-hitting sounds to the ears. The expressions on their faces spoke a language that broke all linguistic barriers among all us variant travelers gathered in that little square from different corners of the world.

Being a dancer and culture enthusiast myself, I was left startled in the brilliance of the Tablao Flamenco. This dance form was theater in itself.

It took me a few moments to gather my wings back up and stand on my feet to wave in the flow of the evening. As I turned to leave, I thanked Sophia for the time spent together. It was almost 9 pm and my stomach had started to growl. I was starting to get hungry. Sophia called out for me and asked if I would like to have light dinner somewhere around. A little part of me was relentless but I gave in when she said she knew a great coffee shop around the city center where we could have a quite conversation over some neat Tapas and hot chocolate. I informed her that I was a vegetarian and she surprised me when she said she was vegan herself.



Image Credit: Vagabond
Image credits: Vagabond

We started walking through the dark narrow lanes lit with hundreds of fairy lights, some shaped in butterflies, some others in net shaped candles while some were painted in the colours of rainbow. A little part in me couldn’t believe these were the same streets I walked through all morning. They were much livelier, filled with people playing music and women dancing to it. It looked like a mini carnival. I lost count of the number of restaurants we crossed, but I cannot forget how crowded each restaurant was even on a weekday. There were restaurants with females dancers swaying around, belly dancing in their outfits and serving food from one table to another. There were belly dancers on the ends of every street. There were people chatting loudly in a language that made no sense to me. And yet, there I was, slurping up every step of this town, like freshly squeezed strawberry juice.

In between all my momentary observations, Sophia and I exchanged details of our respective countries. She asked me how I got here and where I was headed to after. She helped me with things I could do in Seville and Madrid. In about 20 minutes we reached Plaza de los Girones. The café where we ate was a cosy little setting filled with artistic pleasures. Restaurante Hicuri Art Vegan had warm interiors and was filled with walls painted in different colors. There was so much vivid art and graffiti on every wall in so many mixed colors. Sophia knew the staff since she was a regular here. She mentioned this place was ranked highest and one of the best vegan/vegetarian cafes in town. We sat by the corner resting upon a bright yellow wall. I am a foodie at heart and always in for trying new dishes and so I insisted she order the food. She ordered creamed vegetable soup followed by a main dish (which I can’t remember. Sob!). I insisted on bunking hot chocolate and sipping on some traditional wine. The wine selection at the restaurant was fairly small but justly so, they honed in for perfect selections including some organic options. We built conversation as we ate and I learned how similar we were in terms of our perspectives on life and travel. She was a photographer and aimed to be a fulltime traveller. And I could see her going a long way with this by the glitter in her eyes every time she spoke about a new city or a new country on her bucket list. I introduced India to her in a very authentic way and gave her a list of places she should go backpacking around the country.

Image Credits: Vagabond

As the sky turned from purple to deep blue to coal black, what started as a fun filled conversation, turned into a beautiful unintended intellectual conversation. We shared stories from our past. We spoke about our families and friends, about what life meant to each of us and what the purpose of love really is. I told her how different the concept of marriage in India is and that back home my family was looking out for me to settle. That moment Sophia told me something which I will never be able to forget all my life. She said, “Sakshi, before you find someone, make sure to find yourself. Or else, you will break all the hearts in the process.” Her words moved something in me. I knew what she meant and I connected to her words so well. For a moment I could literally visualize those words, the alphabets from her statement move around me. In that moment I understood the importance of perspective.

What I thought would last a small talk, extended to a late night dinner at a random art café with a glass of organic wine and long endless conversations. It’s been a year and a half since that day, and I still haven’t been able to forget that serendipitous evening in Granada. As the stars took over the sky and formed a blanket over us, I knew Granada was magic in some little way.

And before the night ended, I went back to that little square, sat on the stairs and lay on the tiled floor, staring up at the sky, trying to locate the stars and breathing in the musical air one last time before I headed to my apartment. Once in my apartment I changed into a pair of shorts and made myself a hot cup of coffee. Sitting on the edge of my balcony, I looked down at the empty streets and wondered if this is what ‘home-away-from-home’ really meant. That night before I cradled myself to sleep, I wrote a little about this beautiful town that I’d like to mention here:


A jubilant love affair – con amor Granada


When you shed your skin and take another form

You know you might see yet another storm.

Or you might just come across a calm ocean

Stretching its arms ahead of time’s notion.

You could either crib to feel out of place

Or simply relish the sweet escape.

Into a town so beautiful where the Alhambra stands

Looks like a musical and welcomes you with open hands.

Where the sun sets in pink and the night turns purple

Where your heart beats in sync and your soul feels coral.

Where the streets stay awake with all the hustle

And its people eat pray love with a whole lot of bustle.

I knew I found me, a bit of myself here

I know I will come back, with another story to share.

And as I finish my cuppa, breathing reliance

I can’t help but brood, about the sweet dalliance.



Did you enjoy this article? Have a similar experience? Comment below and let me know 🙂

Have any questions about Granada? Hit me up! And I’ll answer.

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Equality – A mythical unicorn

I sincerely hope #MeToo turns to #IBelieveYou to spread mental support to the victims and #NowWhat to bring this ruthlessness to halt.

The year 2017 is probably going to be remembered for the way some massive campaigns rocketed for rather lesser talked about social issues across the world. Forget feminism rants, forget climate control or even the rise of the ISIS. These issues have for a long time gained limelight over mainstream media. I am talking about the lesser discussed social norms and mental illness. Shazaam (a music recognition app) collaborated with Alzheimers research UK to educate people about the effects and the magnitude of Alzheimers disease. It was the day Shazaam forgot to recognize songs. Users received messages from the app equivalent to people suffering from the disease. Although an excellent way to raise awareness, the campaign remained off mainstream media.

Another social awareness campaign that has fueled overnight is the #MeToo campaign with the idea to bring the magnitude of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape culture into limelight. On 15th October, actress Alyssa Milano started with the hashtag (#MeToo) on twitter to encourage women who’d been sexually assaulted and harassed to tweet the hashtag. Overnight the hashtag was tweeted over half a million times. And these are just overnight twitter stats. Pile in the flooded number of Facebook status’, pins and Instagram stories, the numbers are flooding the internet. The whole idea for such a campaign is to raise awareness across boundaries and understand how unfortunately common this social issue is.

While this started as a women-centric campaign for obvious reasons, I would use my platform to raise awareness with the fact that assault, harassment or rape is not limited to women alone. The ratio undoubtedly and unfortunately is in favor of women, but there are men out there who have faced sexual assault in ways they probably wouldn’t even talk about. Not everyone will ever understand the imprints any kind of abuse would leave over the victim, but neglecting or ignoring the fact that some men or people with no gender preference have also been on the darker side of the fence is erroneous.

This was my Instagram post from earlier today by which I wish to extend my hands towards all humans who have been victims to such infelicitous incidents.


Me too.
Because its not only about women.
Because there is no inclination toward or prejudice against a single gender.
Because it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Because it is okay to speak about it.
A few years ago in an equality and empowerment seminar over 250 people (men and women) were asked whether they had been sexually assaulted? Less than 10 of them raised their hands.
The same question was asked again, only this time the participants were asked to close their eyes. They were then asked to open their eyes just to see almost every hand go up.
We don’t speak up to such issues because they are to be ashamed of, ignored and filed into a dusted corner of our mind. We leave them unspoken because such things should remain private (as stereotyped)? Women don’t speak of this out of fear, but so do men. They don’t address these issues because – its not that common? The man was such a pussy? Be a man?… the rants go on!
Have we ever left everything aside and given this a serious thought? The magnitude of this issue is so massive and deeply disturbing that we have all convinced ourselves to stay in the box.
Here’s a shout out to everyone who has been sexually harassed or assaulted. It was hard to face it. It is harder to accept it. But it is also important to talk about it. The campaign asks all women to share #MeToo in support of creating awareness and measuring the actual magnitude of the problem. I would extend this to all the men who have been victims to this crippling issue.
Because it can happen to anyone.
This issue will endure for as long as we remain silent.
Equality will remain a mythical unicorn if we cannot extend this on zero gender bias!


The fact that every woman has at some point in life faced sexual harassment, the evocative stories of some men and the troubled marks these instances have left on us all, is fiercely alarming. I sincerely hope #MeToo turns to #IBelieveYou to spread mental support to the victims and #NowWhat to bring this ruthlessness to halt.  


Tell me what you think about this and help raise awareness. If you know someone who has been a victim to sexual assault, harassment or rape (irrespective of gender), extend your emotional support to them and if you are a victim yourself, talk to someone you are comfortable with. And understand that its also okay not to talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable, but DO NOT drown yourself in the dark. You will be okay. 

Lets all work toward putting a halt to this.

Share this. Raise awareness.

Vashisht – Myths from the Himalayas

A large of travel in India holds massive amount of myths and historical significance. I rode from Manali to small lush green village and unraveled some fascinating stories from the era of Mahabharata. Read on to know more…

Anyone fascinated by the ancient stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana will come to believe that a large part of travel in India has back stories and myths that define the current day destinations. Are you the kind of traveler who loves to learn the historical significance of a certain destination? Are you the kind that loves to go down to the deep roots of reasoning? Are you the one to question and give deeper meanings to your travels?

If you are, then you and I are going to have fun connecting historical dots. Read on to find more!

We reached Vashisht on rented bikes. A quick flashback to a lovely (pretty bumpy) bike ride from the edge of old manali to Vashisht all the way to Solang valley and back! The sheer beauty of lush mountains and roads knotted up in their own twisted tales, a bunch of girls on three bikes pretty defines ‘BOSS GIRLS’!

In the month of July, a bunch of us girls traveled all the way from the south of India to Himachal for a trek toward the Hampta pass, crossing valleys and mountains between Manali and Spiti. With a stop over in Manali for 3 days, we decided to rent bikes and ride around Manali and a few villages. I have been to Manali three times before, but this is the one I am never going to forget. The sheer presence of mind while riding midst these lush mountains and meeting the cold breeze in the air at higher altitudes while swirling from one turn to another, I realized that happiness is just around the corner (of the mountains, duh!).

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In conversation with them about the history of Vashisht ©whereizmyboardingpass

Our very first stop was at this quintessential little village at the banks of river Beas called Vashisht. Being more like a subtle green patch, this village was named after Rishi Vashisht, one of the seven sages (saptarishis) in Hinduism. The story of Vashisht trails all the way back to the era of Mahabharata. Even the river Beas, was originally called vipasha which means ‘freedom from bondage’. All across the books of Ramayana and Mahabharata, the conflict between the two greatest rishis of the time – Rishi Vashisht and Vishvamithra, has been a highlight. There have been various violent encounters captured in the respective books between them. Myths say that, Rishi Vashisht attempted to commit suicide in this river after he gained information that Vishvamithra (warrior son of Gadhi) killed his children. In the attempt to commit suicide, the river refused to drown Rishi Vashisht therefore creating a hundred shallow channels. And that’s how the name Vipasha – present day Beas. After this event, Rishi Vashisht started afresh. This temple is almost over 4000 years old. Looking closely into the architecture of this temple, you will see the intricate details and carvings on its wooden walls that speak of an unread story altogether.

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Vashisht Temple, Himachal Pradesh ©whereizmyboardingpass

We reached Vashisht in about 20 minutes from one edge of old Manali. This village is filled with rich culture, traditions and lots of tiny colorful cafes. It remains pretty crowded by tourists from around world during peak seasons. From foreign travelers to traditional architecture, German bakeries to Instagram worthy sit down cafes with live music, from cows to deer’s to nilgai’s, this was one stop on my bike-day excursion around Manali that I will never forget. Such is the photographic beauty of this village and the path that leads to it.

If you are in Manali, do give this little place a quick visit. It won’t take you more than 45 minutes by walk or even a short drive up through the rickshaws.

Got another historical significance for this village or hill station? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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How to make friends on the road?

This is one question I have been asked way too many times.

How do you manage to make friends on the move?

Well it’s easier than you may think and this isn’t subject to being an extrovert alone. No I am not a social butterfly or an extremely outgoing person in general and no it is not awkward to talk to random strangers. In fact I have built some of the most long lasting friendships on the road and soon you shall realize that the fun in traveling or backpacking is in the people you meet on the way and the relations you build along your travel journeys.

I have been traveling a long while, which is why I am going to give you super easy and quick pointers as to how you can make friends while you travel.

If you have any more ideas please feel open to sharing them in the comments section below the article!


Hostels are the way to go peepal!


Skip that hotel and pick a travel hostel. Travel hostels are designed into existence so you meet like-minded people and fellow travelers. This is by far one of the easiest hacks to meet new people when you travel. Share stories, learn new stuff, sing along bonfires and eat together over beer. Hostel cafes and bars are the go-to place to catch up with a crowd belonging to different edges of the world.

2. Share a meal!


YES, that’s right. FOOD. As weird as it may sound initially, this is one thing I have learnt from my personal experiences. Share a meal at a local bar or a café, at the hostel kitchen or a chai shop, and you will find words running out of your mouth with no extra effort added. But seriously, sharing a meal with a hungry traveler (I was starving when I found a girl who shared her fries with me. Seriously guys, I am talking yummy golden fried – French fries and cheese dip. Slurpp 😉) might just do wonders. Delicious feed = Loads of friends = You are welcome 😉

3. Join Meet-up sites.


This isn’t something I have personally experienced, but learning from an old friend’s experiences I am willing to try this on myself. There are plenty of Facebook pages and websites where you can meet like-minded people and build conversations. Share a sport or a hobby and see your comment section flood. Post your location and learn how people around gather to help you. This is one of the easiest introvert-travel-hacks. This is the digital age, and we have plenty of apps flooded on our play stores. Pick one, join it and find fellow travelers willing to join you, weather it is a day trip or a week’s trek, a sit down supper or a social gathering, you are sure to find some help here.


screenshot-2017-09-15-15-01-37-e1505468097871.pngYup. You read that right. This is one of my most favorite social networks to meet and plan adventures with fellow travel bloggers and travel enthusiasts. Alright, this isn’t really a way to make friends while you are literally on-the-road, but Instagram is an easy place to find safe and legitimate travelers. I have built friendships over Instagram and have a bunch of people willing to travel with me in the future. I have even found kind hearted individuals willing to help me with local travels, from across borders.

5. Ask people

That’s right buddy. Asking people questions about the place, where to find a certain kind of food or anything about the place you are in. A secret to this is portraying an attitude of a tourist. Ask very touristy questions to locals and you will see an entire conversation building up. An addition to this is the fact that people enjoy talking about themselves, so take interest in the people you talk to. Ask them questions about themselves and not just the place.

Many people I know personally have told me how difficult they find even exchanging looks with strangers, let alone words.

Well, I am here to say – You are not alone. I was also one among you until a few years ago. I had no other option but to seek help form the people around me with my luggage as I was travelling from Leeds to London with my entire student luggage in hand (30kg+20kg+10kg+10kg). That is a lot of luggage when your mode of transport in the city of London is the underground and you are all alone, added to that the pressure of less than 2 minute halts at the boarding station. That was moment I realized it’s not the end of the world, asking for help from strangers or even talking to them randomly. 

You just need to get your fear out.

6. Stay open to new experiences2986486d7725736e74ac1d87784dc839--adventure-awaits-adventure-travel

A random bicycle race, a quick day trek, trying a random food dish, dressing up like the locals, sharing embarrassing stories from past, playing the guitar, learning a new dance form. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. If you want to make friends en-route travels you have to, HAVE TO be open to crazy, wild, new experiences. Indulging in local activities, volunteering for a local campaign, learning a new language, all these are ways you will make new friends. And believe me when I say this, the friends you make sharing experiences will remain with you forever.




Got yet another tip or any information that would help the readers? Feel free to leave in the comments section below.

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#HappyTravels peepal ❤