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Yeah! This awesome site has announced its 2nd Blogger’s Award, called the AsiaRooms Blogger Awards 2014.
The categories are as follows:
1) Foodie Blog of the Year
2) Travel Photographer of the Year
3) Newcomer of the Year
4) Travel Tips Expert
5) Hotel Review Guru
6) Travel Video of the Year.
See yourself fitting into any? Fill the form here.
Don’t see yourself fitting into this, but know someone who you would like to nominate? Please go ahead :D
While you do all this, please nominate me too. Here is how. Go to this page, scroll down and fill this form with details mentioned below:
Happy reading! :D
[Chitrashala is a museum dedicated to the Indian graphic arts. It is a part of a boutique hotel property called 'Te Aroha', in scenic Uttrakhand. Te Aroha and Chitrashala are labor of love from Sumant Batra. A Borrowed Backpack is happy to have been in conversation with him. This is the maiden interview for Chitrashala, which is open for public since 19th March 2014. (Co-incidentally, it is the maiden interview for A Borrowed Backpack too. )
It is enriching to discover the thoughts behind the magical union of intellect and passion.]
ABB: A private museum, that is uncommon, how did the thought occur to you?
Sumant Batra: It is not uncommon in developed countries for collectors to structure and institutionalize their collections, interests or hobbies into private museums. Hobbies, if structured creatively, can benefit the society at large in research, education, recreation, preserving culture and heritage. In India, we are yet to realize the significance of museums. Museums play a very key role in development of societies. There are very few public museums. Private collectors hold their collections close to their heart. But I am glad to note that many avid collectors are now institutionalizing their hobbies and have set up prviate museums or galleries. Look at Kiran Nadar, Tarun Thakral and Aditya Arya. Tarun Thukral and Aditya are pursuing their passions more keenly now. For me, Chitrashala is a humble effort to preserve and conserve the Indian vintage graphic art, which is a national treasure as it forms a priceless part of our cultural heritage and history. It would be unfair to keep the others deprived of access to my collection for research, education or visual delight. Hence, the museum.
[This post follows the picture-story post on the event. Here is the link to it.]
11th April, 2014
I was just about to call it a day and hit the sack, when a voice within me suggested that I check my e-mail. I did. The inbox had a mail from the organizer’s of MTB Shimla 2014. It said that if I wanted to be a part of the event, I needed to show up at Shimla before evening the succeeding day.
Delhi to Shimla is a 14 hours journey. How I managed to show up is a story for another day, but I am glad I did.
11th April, 2014.
Hotel Holiday Home, Shimla.
I reached the venue, where briefing presentation for MTB Shimla 2014 was in progress. The room was packed with bikers, volunteers, management-team and the excitement each one brought along with them. The presentation briefed about the plans for the next two days. Route, itinerary, arrangements, doubts, hopes and fears, all were discussed.
[Dear readers, the photographs used in this post belong to HASTPA- Himalayan Adventure Sports & Tourism Promotion Association. If you like any and would like to use it somewhere, please take permission from HASTPA. The souls at HASTPA are pretty generous and would allow you happily! ]
#MTBShimla2014. The weekend that was!
Here is a sneak-peek into it. While I craft the main blog-post, please savour this.
The event was rife with expectations, determination, excitement, camaraderie in the most scenic, but challenging of back-drops! It had so many stories to tell. So many moments to share!
It roared about friendship:
[With this post, I am going to add a new category called 'technology' to this blog. All travel related tech-discoveries go here. You are welcome to send your suggestions for the category.]
How many times have you booked train-seats with high, triple digit wait-listed ticket and lost sleep over whether or not would you get through? Or worse, how many times have you booked train-seats with high, triple digit wait-listed ticket and are greeted by a not-so-packed train and wondered what the hoopla was about?
Travel related uncertainties bring helplessness and anxiety by truck-loads. I know this because I go through this kind of anxiety at least 4-5 times a month and that is how I discovered this tech-related-awesomeness!
Location: Haryana Roadways bus, the non-AC one. Boarded from Shimla, for Delhi at 09:00 pm.
I was too tired after a busy weekend in Shimla, and wanted to sleep though my journey the minute I boarded the bus. Unfortunately, it was being driven by maniac of a driver, thanks to whom, for the first time in my life I felt giddy on a hilly terrain.
Anyway, as the road ahead gradually lost its deadly-curves, I drifted off to sleep. The bus reached Chandigarh and I woke up briefly to change my sitting position and went back to sleep again.
Meanwhile, a guy boarded from Chandigarh. Would refer to him as Sir Chandigarh for this post. Must be around 33-35 years of age.
“Have you ever tasted the infinite sky?
Have you ever draped the blazing sun? “
Spotted this ‘Saadhu’ at the Nandgaon temple close to Vrindavan, during the Holi celebration. His attire seemed to follow the fashion principal of “draping” very beautifully. It was almost as if he has draped the incandescent sun around him.
Love and light!
[Before I begin this post, I wish to thank my fellow-traveler, Natty Singh, for generously donating images for this blog-post. I am extremely thankful for all the four images that he has let me use here. His photography is as natty as he himself is. What I like about him is the fact that he could have easily managed an FB-page titled something like 'Natty Photography' with a decent fan following, but instead, he does it only through his personal albums on Facebook. It is refreshing to meet such under-stated people in the era of blatant advertisement.]
Please note: The Holi-celebration at Nandgaon and Barsana takes place approximately a week before the actual date for Holi.
There are two villages close to Vrindavan. One is called Nandgaon and the other one is known as Barsana. Nandgaon is Lord Krishna’s birthplace and Barsana is Radha’s (his beloved). Radha-Krishna love-story is one of the most famous ones in the Hindu mythology. Even today, a man/woman from Nandgaon would not get married to a woman/man from Barsana.
The festival begins on ‘ashtmi’ with ‘laddoo-leela’ at Barsana. We missed this. Taking ‘laddoo-leela’ into account, the celebrations last for two and a half days.
I rarely write about my in-town loafing in Delhi, but since I have recently bought a DSLR camera, I decided to take it out for our (the camera’s and mine) first adventure-walk.
Out for a meeting with a start-up, I found myself in the South-West part of the city. It is a hang-out zone which is very popular with the students, and is called Satya Niketan.
A few of my personal favorites at Satya Niketan are :
* Kevs, for its amazing variety of Maggi (the pseudo-health freak in me REFUSES to acknowledge that I love Maggi)
* QDs, for its Tandoori Momos
* 34 Chowranghee Lane, for its sinful, super-oily rolls
* Big Yellow Door, for lot many things.
Phew! If only I could marry ‘food’!!
Came across this street-food in the rural areas of Punjab and simply loved the way it is done! This is basically ‘chhola-kulcha’, albeit with a difference. Chholey is stuffed inside the kulcha and then the combo is relished.
Here, the vendor is preparing the chholey-stuffing (customized, as per your needs). He mixes the boiled chholey with onion, spices, chilly and lemon juice.
Once the stuffing is prepared, the kulcha is slit open.