I Love Paris in the Baking time

Not only is it a handsome, majestic city, where just walking around the streets can be an enchanting experience, but it has vast depths for whatever your interest is. Do you want to visit museums till your eyes bubble? You don’t have far to look. Do you want to explore world-class shops? You’ve come to…

Pangot

If you’ve never heard of Pangot, it means, quite simply, that you are not a birder. It’s one of the prime spots in Kumaon for bird watching, where regular sightings of the notoriously shy chir pheasant take place. In addition, Pangot has two added attractions: you’ll find more types of birds here than in any…

Chinese the Indian way

On a recent trip to Beijing, I was intrigued with a vegetarian dish of what appeared to be noodles, but which were made with vegetables mixed with flour. Called Liang Bei Fen Pi, it was composed of pale green noodles lightly steamed and topped with an intensely spicy sauce of coarsely pounded red chillies fried…

The French Farm

Rumour has it that the day of the humble turnip is over. What has appeared in its place is a cornucopia of exotic vegetables which the average Indian farmer would have trouble pronouncing. Bell peppers – red, yellow and purple, mangetout, shitake mushrooms, escarole, endives, celery and baby carrots are all snapped up by executive…

Naldhera for Gateway

“Pack your golf clubs and get the hell out of this house. Permanently.” Under normal circumstances, this ranting would constitute very sound grounds for divorce. On the other hand, in the Sud household in Shimla, it was the extremely propitious start to a business that has been lucrative and satisfying. You’ve heard the term golf…

Manali

Foreigners on the luxury coach from Delhi to Manali outnumbered Indians 3:1. That, however, wasn’t the curious part. What was unusual was that all the foreigners appeared to know exactly where they were headed. The Indians, on the other hand, yours truly included, exchanged notes about hotels uncertainly. The first one off the bus was…

Magic Carpets

Buying a carpet is a life-long investment for most people. So, it is a trifle surprising that not many people know what makes a good carpet, or even what are the factors that affect the quality – and by extension price – of an heirloom that is passed on from one generation to another. There’s…

The Olive Growing World

Spain has a population of 30 million people and 300 million olive trees, the highest in the world. Tunisia has a population of 10 million and 70 million olive trees. It is Greece that has the highest olive oil consumption in the world, because olive trees grow in all parts of the country: in Italy,…

Iran Part Two

Aab gosht translates, less than fecilitously, to water meat. It is more descriptive of Iran’s meat, beans and potato dish than Kashmir’s far more refined lamb cooked in reduced milk, and no! It’s not just my prejudice. Iran’s homely dish is always cooked in a stone pot with a lid. The ones I saw in…

Iran Part One

Iran The only two cities I visited on my trip were to Mashad and Isfahan. Mashad is famous for two things. The shrine of the Eighth Imam of the Shia sect of Islam, Imam Reza, the only one out of all twelve Imams to actually be buried in Iran (all the others are buried in…