Leela Palace Udaipur

My first glimpse of Leela Palace Udaipur was not of the building itself, majestic as it is, but of the way the management looks after its guests. Shortly after a date for my visit was set, I received an email. Would I please list out my preferences for music, beverage and reading material. And while…

Switzerland Behind the Scenes

You’ve seen the rolling, flower-strewn meadows of Switzerland in innumerable Hindi films and snow-clad mountains in tourism brochures. You know that Zurich is lined end to end with banks and that every third shop in the country sells cuckoo clocks, cheese or chocolates. But did you know that hornussen is a popular sport, which has…

A weekend in Old Delhi

Forget Shah Jehan and the Mughals, I told myself firmly as I threaded my way through the meat market, in the shadow of the Jama Masjid. The Mughal emperor with the most developed aesthetic sense for architecture and jewellery may have been the raison d’etre for much of Old Delhi, certainly for the giant quadrangle…

Ethnic shopping in London

On Edgware Road, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t in Iraq. Burqa clad figures were out shopping: at one end of a side road, a vegetable market had been set up. Fabric shops sold lacy lengths of cloth with liberal helpings of glitter. However, it was the small grocery shops that were…

Manna in the Desert

Our guide in Amman had the rather unlikely name of Basel Ahmed. Had I but known it, his name was the perfect metaphor for Jordan itself: on the crossroads of Christianity and Islam. He had two seemingly irreconcilable passions: history and cuisine. While on site – Jordan has an unfair proportion of world famous Roman…

Andalusia for Spanish Olive Oil

The orange marmalade I had for breakfast still tingles on my palate. Sevilla marmalade is more intense and more astringent than anything else I have ever tasted; English marmalade is more bitter but not quite as fruity. I’ve started to spread the marmalade more and more thinly on my toast in a bid to make…

Extra Virgin Territory

The first trip I ever made to the olive growing world was to Andalusia in Southern Spain around five years ago. It was an eye opener. Along with 11 other media people from Canada, USA, Russia, Serbia, China and India, I visited olive groves, travelled through Andalusia’s trademark low hills covered with neat rows of…

Top Restaurants: Amaranta

Amaranth or Ram dana, is the most ancient of all Indian cereals. By calling their restaurant Amaranta, The Oberoi Gurgaon pays obeisance to the age-old grain and gives Amaranta a contemporary spin in one fell swoop. Taken in conjuction with the interiors, you would not guess that it is an Indian coastal restaurant that serves…