Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Disclaimer: This is a review post based on personal experiences.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

This quote by Saint Augustine is probably the best inspiration one can get to start travelling. I’m not much of a traveler, but I still love it when I get the opportunity to leave everything behind and experience the unexplored. And as I once said it in one of my previous posts, it isn’t only about travelling, you also should know what the attractions in the city you’re in are and most importantly, you need a place where you can crash in and give a perfect finishing touch to your travel experience. A good hotel stay is one of the most important and an often overlooked aspect of any holiday.

So what do you do to manage these hotel troubles? Reach the place and then look for one, or book one in advance and then reach the place? In any of the cases, there’s always a chance of ending up with a disaster. And while there are many solutions coming up every day in this ever-changing world of technology, we’re bound to like the ones that offer us the most options in the simplest ways possible.

Which brings me to StayZilla!

I came to know about StayZilla through the amazing BNLF program by Indiblogger, and haven’t been able to stop myself from appreciating them ever since. Stayzilla is essentially a one stop solution for all your stay needs. May you be a traveler who’d like the comforts and services of a multi star hotel or someone who loves the feeling of being at home, or you’re not a traveler but would like to help one by renting your place, StayZilla has got it covered for you.

What I liked the most about the app was the peppy interface, which is something many apps have tried recently, but very few manage to get it right.

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Let’s say that you want to travel to Mumbai and need a perfect place to stay. All you need to do is to download the StayZilla App from here (Stayzilla on Google Play | Stayzilla on the App Store), choose what you want to do (Host or guest), enter the basic details and your location and voila… you have a plethora of options on your screen. And there are pictures and reviews to make your job easier too!

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There is a chat option too, so if you’re facing any trouble, the customer care is right there; no need to dial any numbers and wait in queues.

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Although there were a few things that I didn’t like, for instance, no clear option to go back and change my preference as a Host or a Guest once I logged in, no clear help available in the app apart from the customer care chat option and the absence of a make suggestion option, I believe that what is a good product without a scope of improvement. So let this blog post serve as a suggestive one too, rather than just being an appreciative account 🙂

To bring this to an end, let me show you this video:

Oh, and for all my readers who are already cursing me for not posting for so long, kindly bear with me for one more week. There’s a lot in store for the month of November 😀

So stay happy, keep travelling, and use stayzilla.

Update: This post is now the winner of the #OyoXplorer activity from Mumbai. 🙂 Check out: Indiblogger

29 states and over a billion people, if you can never grow tired of one thing in our country, it’s travelling. In India we have such an amazing mixture of cultures, languages and seasons that no time of the year is bad to simply take out your backpack and go for a hike. But that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea either. It isn’t just about travelling, you also need to know which places are the best, what are the attractions of the city you’re in and most importantly, you need a place where you can crash in and give a perfect finishing touch to your travel experience. A good hotel stay is one of the most important and often overlooked aspect of any holiday. Personally, I’ve had my share of hotel troubles while visiting any city and I’m sure you’ve had it too. So when I heard about OYO Rooms and their fantastic concept of bringing economical rooms to you, I couldn’t resist but to sign up to know more. So here goes, my experience of the day I became the #OYOXplorer!

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Ok, I promise I’m never making this face again.

I could tell you how I’m not from Mumbai and how I literally explored the city, but first things first, let me introduce you to the Oyo App.  Barely 6 MB in size, this is a must have App if you like to travel and don’t want to waste much time in thinking about where to stay. The OYO app gets you a comfortable room and all the facilities you’d want in the best prices possible! Don’t believe it? What if I told you that the OYO room in one of the most centrally located places of Jaipur is available in 999 INR a day?

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Courtesy : Google Playstore: OYO App.

So what do I have to do with this? Well, thanks to OYORooms, Indiblogger and my supercool blog, I got a chance to experience all this first hand and live my dream of exploring Mumbai. It’s a shame that even after living so close I never actually went out and explored the city on my own. But never mind, OYO gave me that chance.

I entered the OYO Rooms, Juhu at 12 PM on the 30th of May. Despite being the least punctual, I was the first one to reach there. So I simply went to my room and used the spare time to watch a movie and take a nap afterwards. And what’s not to like once you enter the room, the AC, the TV, the clean bathrooms, the speedy Wi-Fi, and the delicious food that is just a call away! I made sure I check out every single thing inside.

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The awesome double bed.

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The oh so fine TV.

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And my personal favorite, menu!

But this wasn’t it, after all, you don’t invite the best bloggers in the town just to make them sit in a room, right? There were many tasks that we were supposed to do. 10 bloggers, wandering on the streets of Mumbai finishing up the challenges as they go! And this was probably the toughest for me, since all the other bloggers were from Mumbai, they had a definite advantage.

So here’s the list of tasks that we were given.

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And I’m so happy that I managed to do it. But that’s not what makes me the happiest, the better thing was that instead of staying close to the hotel I was staying in, I managed to go quite a distance and feel the heartbeats of the city that never sleeps.

Take a look at how I completed the challenges.

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The check-in selfie, the rider selfie, the selfie with a story, the vada-pav selfie, the happy kids selfie, the uniform selfie, the keeping yourself cool selfie and what not! These are just few of the challenges that we did.

But two of my best challenges were these, which I’m pretty sure no one else did! 😀

In one of the challenges we were supposed to take a selfie with a movie poster. And I chose the movie of my favorite star Lauren Gottilieb, Welcome to Karachi. And guess what, right after I tweeted this, Lauren Retweeted it herself. What else do you want when your favorite star shows some love to you and OYO!

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And the second one that I personally found quite challenging was to reach out to another OYO Room and take a selfie. Now it was made quite easy thanks to the OYO app that took me to OYO Andheri and I clicked this.

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Bad expression Ver.2.0                  But hey, can you see another OYORooms at the back? 😀

As you can see, here I am posing with so many things and so many people, it was a real exhausting task. And to top it all, we had to keep tweeting about how we were faring in the challenges. And not to mention, the activity was not just taking place in Mumbai but in 4 cities across the country. Now it is worth a mention here that yours truly stayed on top of the social media rankings while doing it. Take a look yourself:

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From the OYO rooms on Juhu beach to Churchgate Local station, then the Gateway of India, then Andheri to checkout another OYO Rooms and back to Juhu to finally retire in my OYO Room, I seemed to have lost the track of time while travelling all those places. And the best part was, that after so much activity and a hectic day, I got to get a good night’s sleep in an amazingly comfortable OYO Room.

And when I woke up, I couldn’t have asked for a better morning!

Perfect AC: Check
WiFi: Check
Newspaper: Check
Clean bathroom : Check
Delicious Breakfast: Check.

Two of the many Idlis I ate that day!

Two of the many Idlis I ate that day!

So tell me, what’s not to like in this? If you haven’t tried them yet, do install the OYO App and try it out. You can thank me later.

You can find OYO here:

Website – www.oyorooms.com
Twitter – @oyorooms

I’ll probably be back with some more stories of the day, till then, have a great time! 🙂

I have heard about déjà vu. Can’t say I have seen it yet. But sometimes there’s this thing which you hear all the time and don’t believe it until you see it. Kind of something that happened to me.

This post, again, is totally different (and quite long) from what you usually see on this blog. Instead of telling you about my observations, here’s a little of my experience. Lately I have traveled a lot, in the last 2 years specially. I like travelling. When it’s within your country, it helps you realize what you are. Makes you an outgoing person and boosts up your aspirations. Gets you closer to your country, your roots… or in my case, makes you fall in love with your country.

Here I am going to share my experiences from the 3 great journeys of my life. Starting from Delhi, then Mount Abu and ending up in the south, Mangalore. I was in first year of my college. Hadn’t really travelled much before except for a few places. Delhi is a place where many of my friends and relatives live. So I used my holidays for good and packed my bags to go there. That time, I didn’t have any expectation from the place apart from the fact that I did expect to see a lot of hot girls out there. 😉

It was December, a winter season in Delhi when you can’t see anything but fog in the morning. Driving a bike in that fog was one hell of an experience. We (I, my sister and her family), took our car to see India gate. This was basically the plan, which kept extending as we proceeded. Not only did I see a whole different side of the country with all the buildings like the parliament and the president’s house. I got to see all the things I had only studied once in my history book. The red fort, the Rajghat, the Qutub minar, the Iron pillar. Mesmerizing was the word when I saw the names of the soldiers carved on the India gate. For a moment the patriot inside me woke up. I felt like the proudest Indian alive.

A whole day travel was followed by a trip to Chandni chowk and Connaught place the next day. There I saw the real Delhi. Mostly filled with people from Punjab though, but there is a special feeling you get when you interact with a Delhite. I had a feeling somewhere in my mind that my hometown is a better place to be in… not that I was bias, but the security mishaps, other similar cases and the ‘safer earthquake zone’ were some points. After those 2-3 days, the feeling just vanished. Reason; I didn’t feel different. I was after all, in India! Nothing was different. The culture, the atmosphere and the people only made me feel happier to be an Indian.

All in all… Delhi:
People: Awesome
Tourist attractions: Mind blowing
‘India’ factor: 10/10.
As a metropolitan: I have been to 3, this was the best.

If you are acquainted with a metro, Delhi is awesome. And the malls are too good to shop. Also, don’t miss any of the food joints you see. The paranthe wali gali to be specific is one hell of an experience.

(Don’t try to take the ratings seriously, they are as random as any of my posts)

Part two of my travelogue is my journey to Mount Abu. This was in the summers of last year. A random plan with the best of my friends. Here’s a tip, do NOT think of visiting a place in Rajasthan in summers. Though we did the same… but I was with friends, we didn’t even realize it was hot. Mount Abu is a place of temples. Near Gujarat, it offers a great variety of people. Typical Rajasthanis with long moustaches and the typical Gujaratis with no moustaches 😛

It was a short trip, but we managed to see all the temples and big tourist attractions the place offers. If we start counting the places worth a visit, the list is endless. Starting from the brahmkumari temple and the Shiva temples, we reach the Dilwara temple which is by far the best experience of my life. Each and every stone, every design… so wonderfully carved. Every step has its own story and each pillar has something to say. The markets there are not costly like we generally see.

In the Durga temple which is on the mountains, you get to see the different ‘roops’ of goddess and from the top you can actually see the whole city. (Just like Nahargarh in Jaipur, Rajasthan). Gurushikhar is the next destination which actually makes you feel on the top. And I still remember our guide’s words when we reached there. “You’re on the highest point in Rajasthan.” Feels great!
The evening can’t be better spent when you’re at the “Sunset point” and then the night at the Nakki Lake. The water totally compliments the calm atmosphere.

Mount Abu isn’t really a place where many people live. It’s kinda separated from Abu. So you don’t get to interact a lot. But you do get a cultural vibe from everyone around. Spiritually this place is the most enriching out of the three. When compared to delhi, the place is absolutely opposite both in culture and people around. But still you find one thing common. The ‘india’ factor. The fact that it is still your country and people around are ‘your’ people. You are never alone in the place and whatever language you speak, food you eat and things you do; you will find similar people around.

All in all… Mount Abu:
People: Great
Tourist attractions: Top Drawer! Fantastic! Amazing!
‘India’ factor: 10+1/10.  (And extra 1 for the beautiful preaching the people at Dilwara gave me)
As a city: Infrastructure might not be great, but hats off to the engineers who designed the road plan!

You’ll find hotels and food joints all over the place. Food here is good. And if you’re visiting without a plan, no worries, people there are the best to help you in every way.

The latest trip I had, was earlier this year. We all went to Surathkal, Mangalore in Karnataka. It was probably the best of the travel experiences I’ve had for many reasons. It was in south, a territory unexplored for me. It was a 10 day long tour. It was for Spic Macay, an organization dedicated to make you realize the strength of indian culture.

The 2 day train journey was tiring. But once we reached and settled, we realized the upcoming days were going to be even more tiring. Unlike the previous trips, this one was much disciplined and also we got to interact with thousands of people from all over India. The first five days went in seeing the various performances from the classical artists from the state and outside. The last day was a heritage walk where we explored the city. Saw all the places for which it is known for. For our surprise, it rained heavily.

The only thing I couldn’t handle was food. So here’s this point. When you’re from north india and don’t have a taste developed for south indian foods, the same thing which is heavenly for the people there, will become hell for you. I literally craved for good food. But the time duration was long enough to make me develop the taste for the food. Unlike Delhi, Abu or any other place, you won’t find people speaking hindi there. Finding anything which is even remotely related to anything from north india is tough. But soon you see that this is the beauty of the place. Even when it is like a whole different part of the country, it’s the love, the affection and a spiritual commonness you see in the people which binds you with them.
The food we ate primarily consisted of “Ghasi”, “Ayyangayi”, “Rasam” and “Rasayanam”. And I must say, the rasayanam was good. 😀
And you can’t deny the fact that we all love Dosas!

All in all… Mangalore:
People: Nice (They speak English so sweetly! 😛 )
Tourist attractions: Very good!
‘India’ factor: 10/10.
As a City: For the first time visitors, you just need to visit the beeches once before you start the trip, and you’re gonna love the place.

Food, beeches, temples and some more beeches. That’s precisely Mangalore for you. It might not provide you the best ‘tour’ of india, but it does give you the ‘different vibe’ you wanted.


I have also been to places like Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, M.P and almost every city of Rajasthan. One thing I found common in the aforementioned and the above places was that no matter how different the culture is, how different the food, travel or living habits of the people are; they are all the same loving bunch of people who have the same political and spiritual thoughts. Who will always welcome their guests with a great zeal, who will love the food they make and won’t mind adding a little extra spice anytime! Who will fly kites, the dates may be different. Who will always have interest in football and cricket. I salute the person who coined the term “Unity in Diversity” for India. For I don’t see a reason why we can’t be called that.

I’d like to end with one very good quote my friend harsh says. “If you are in any part of India and want to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, talk about Sachin Tendulkar.
I am proud to be an Indian, and lately, I am proud to be writing about it.  🙂

And yes,

This post has been published by me as a part of IBL; the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by WriteupCafe.com. Join us at our official website and facebook page.

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You can also like this page of Harsh Snehanshu, who is writing a book “Routes to Roots” on India.