Saturday, March 17, 2018

How to Spent a day in historic Sivasagar, Assam,India

      Utterly offbeat and witness to 6oo years of riots, revolves, changing political scenarios and one of the tremendous cultural hub of the east with fluid architecture and the city of lakes, yes it is Sibsagar. Built in 18th century by Ahom dynasty, tucked away in the fertile bank of Dikhow river Sibsagar, in the mist of green forest and dusty roads, the city intrigued you every bit. Entering here you fall for the finest fables of yesteryears.  A day is not enough to explore this historic city but will get you a glimpse of the vast might of the Ahom kingdom.

1. Shiva Dol - Whether you are an avid devotee or audacious traveler, Shivdol will hook you in no time. Located in the heart of the city consisting of the main Shiva dol and two relatively small Vishnu dol and Devi dol. Dol means temple in the Assamese language. Built-in 1734  by queen Ambika wife of Shiva Singha, Ahom king. The dome-shaped Shiva dol had a kolosi (vase) of pure gold at the top. In British era, however, it was brought down and replaced with gold plated one.  Believed to be highest shiv temple in India, Shivdol is 104 feet high, and a thousand devotees visit and pray every day. If you walk around don't be surprised to bump into those long-haired and bearded pilgrims.

2. Sibsagar Lake or Borphukuri - Sibsagar is known for its all man-made lakes. Sivasagar lake just a walk away from Shiva dol. Not very pristine but its rich history will intrigue you. If you visit in the morning, you can watch several birds and people pay a visit to feed the fish as well. This 257-acre lake's water level remains above ground level throughout the year.

3. Ranghar - The Coliseum of the east. Its opulent architecture, Unique, and aesthetically carved Ranghar can't be missed. Ranghar stands for a house of entertainment. Once it was Ahom kings sports pavilion used to witness the fantastic bullfights, elephant fight, wrestling, Bihu and several other entertainments. Its courtyard is known for celebrating numerous assamese festivities. The Ranghar's construction has exciting facts as it is said that it did not use cement instead used sticky rice and Swan eggs.

4. Tolatal Ghar - Just 2 miles away from the city, the Tolatal Ghar is a  seven-storeyed palace with four-story above the ground and three underground. Talatal Ghar was used as an army base in Ahom kingdom. Its construction started in 1751 and was completed by 1769. It has two secret tunnels connecting to Dikhow river and Garhgaon palace, used as an escape route in case of enemy invasion or emergency.

    You can end your day with a view of the magnificent sunset from Talatal Ghar.
 What to buy in Sibsagarh - Since you spent the day in Sibsagar, you can't be back empty-handed. Sibsagar is known for handloom and handwoven traditional. You can pick silk scarf, saree, mekhela chadar and many more from local shops.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Indian spring wedding guest outfit inspiration part 1

      Tomorrow daylight saving begins. That reminds me of spring and spring weddings. Nowadays, every time I call back home to my parents, I hear either one of our cousin or family friend is getting married. From next month, with Assamese new year starting, wedding seasons begins too. One beautiful lightly rainy spring day we tied the knot too, about sixteen years back. I can't believe how time flies. Indian weddings are rhapsody of colors when it comes to outfits or dressing up. There are a plethora of opportunities to dress up. Dressing up is one of the great attractions in any wedding, whether you are a family member or friend.
      Spring is the season when flowers bloom and trees perks up with leaves and keeping up with nature and warm light downpour days, you dress up.

  1. Usually bright and pastel color looks great in Indian weddings. I personally avoid red as most Indian brides wear red as tradition. Wearing red sometimes might overshadow the bride. Pink, yellow, teal, turquoise are great for spring Indian weddings.
  2. Stay on classics pieces are always easy on the pocket. As you can repeat and reuse it for years to come.
  3. In spring you can always opt for flowery prints as it never goes out of style. It's very romantic and feminine as well.
  4. Spring defines flower too. For accessories, you can use flower too.
      Here is my inspiration for a spring wedding. Here I am wearing a turquoise blue mekhela chadar teamed up with hot pink blouse. As I am wearing all bright colors, I chose to stay easy on accessories. Wearing thick Assamese bangles called gam kharu, a bright turquoise potli bag and a cocktail ring. Let me know how do you guys like it and also what is your spring wedding outfit inspiration. Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Humble tribute to Sridevi and her top 8 favorite movies.

      Even before my teen, whenever she appeared on the big screen, my eyes got outstruck with aw by her beauty. She is unbelievably beautiful, like a dream. Such was her impact on a little girl. In India,  from kids to senior citizens, village to city, her beautiful dreamy eyes drawn a thousand dreams breaking class, color, and language barriers, every time she appears on the screen.  Yes, she is none other than the indisputable queen of Bollywood, Sridevi. Her stardom was quite different, and the word actor was used for the first time for an Indian female actor is Sridevi. At the age of 54, her untimely demise on 24th February last month created a massive vacuum and void in India and abroad in the hearts of every art affectionate. At the age of 4 started her acting debut, Sridevi acted in almost 300 films in 6 languages with several national awards and India's fourth highest civilian award, Padmashree. Not only acting, but her substance and style also brought a new aura to Indian movie industry. My post is a great tribute to India's first female superstar Sridevi and the vast legacy she left behind.  Here are my top favorite films of Sridevi
1. Chandini  (1989) Directed by Yash Chopra, blockbuster hit Chandini is a romantic saga. Chandini means Moonlight. Just like aesthetics of moonlight, Chandini is aesthetic delight sensitivity and beauty. Sridevi was a delight in this film. Her looks remain as a trendsetter even after a decade.
2. Mr. India. (1987)  Mr. India was Anil Kapoor's film, but we can't imagine Mr. India without Sridevi and her comic timing. Her power pack performance was the fulcrum part of this sci-fi and thriller movie where she played a crime reporter called Seema. Who can forget the song Kate Nahi Katte".
3. Lamhe (1991) . Portrayed two character mother and daughter Lamhe remains Sridevi's one of the splendid performance. The transition from mother's charter to daughter is immaculate. The film shot in Rajasthan and London is a roller coaster romantic saga where she won the 37th Filmfare award for the best actress.
4. Khuda Gawah (1992) Here she coupled with the B'towns Superstar Amitabh Bachan. Lavish and romantic epic Khuda Gawah, Sridevi pulled it with panache and elan and acute acting. Never to be missed.
5. Chaalbaaz (1989)  Yet again here she played two twin character separated by birth one Anju another Manju. Anju quite and calm and Manju seasoned and savvy she lived up two characters in one film with great captivating comic timing and dodge dancing ability and her inevitable acting brilliance.
6. Sadma (1983)  After a car accident injured head a young woman regresses childhood and story of her aloof teacher. One of Sridevi's most beautiful performance with countless cinematic moments.
7. English Vinglish (2012)One can't imagine after a gap of 15 years from celluloid she came with such grace and elan. Yes, this was Sridevi's come back film. Sheer soulful performance and every woman can relate to that permanence Sridevi with her emotional best one of the most feel-good movie.
8. Mom (2017)Unfortunately this was the last film journey before her heavenly abode. Where she proved, she could pull a film without a great screenplay. She played a mother and teacher with her up spontaneity and gifted acting aptness.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Kaziranga National Orchard & Biodiversity park - Beyond an Orchard

      Northeast India has color, culture and charisma of abundant natural beauty. Especially my home state Assam is blessed with the most exotic flora and fauna. My recent visit to India this time, I visited Kaziranga biodiversity park. Entering the park after getting tickets, we were greeted by humble staff ready to help, wearing the most whimsical Assamese traditional attire.

      The park was inaugurated on 2015 October. It is 17 miles from Kaziranga national park and 137 miles from the Capital city Guwahati. The orchard and biodiversity park is a humble attempt by Akhil Gogoi, the founder Secretary of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a farmer organization based in Assam India, to preserve the biodiversity of Assam and North East India.

      The park is a whimsical display of 600 orchids, greenhouse, seed bank, herb garden, cactus garden, a park for children, different variety of local food and a restaurant which offers local food and assamese style juice and snack bar. It also tries to conserve a variety of paddy seeds, medicinal plants, local flowers, sour fruits, cane, bamboo, a variety of fishes, photo gallery and a museum. Also, a vivid display of assamese culture and stage where you can enjoy cultural performances folk dance and music etc perform by local artist.

      It was almost lunchtime when we reached the park. We had our lunch in the park which offered an array of assamese local food. If you devour the local flavor, this is a great place to enjoy the assamese food.

      My children were excited to see the tree house and swung in the swing in the children park area. Along with everything, considering about kids entertainment and learning at the same time was the raving part.

      I took a long walk in the tiny alleys that lead to a natural lake and boating. And I visited the weaving center and museum that showcased exciting display of northeast India's rich handloom tradition.

      The park also sells souvenirs, handlooms and different types of rice, cereals, pickles and spices etc, which are only found in Assam or northeast India.
As I visited the park in cold January, orchards were not in its full glory but got hooked enough with the diverse culture. I went to visit biodiversity park but came back with great historical Assamese cultural insight and tribal heritage. And I experienced the orchard,  nature and diverse cultural unity and returned with the great feeling of seeing the effort of preserving things that are related to our roots which we all are proud of.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Flora , West Hartford review

      If you follow my blog, you might know I already visited flora for Connecticut blogger's meet. And I wanted to visit again, and two weeks back for my birthday lunch, I choose to come here.
Like everyday diet even when eating out, I love to visit places which offers sustainable or healthy food. In Hartford area, there are several excellent restaurants but finding plant-based Flora itself is a blessing. 

      Flora is nested on the second floor of the American Legion Hayes-Village Post 96 building. Flora is unique and innovative on it own. Flower mural painted by local artist Andres Montiel on the walls of the stairs and microgreens grown on site at Flora and used in their dishes.

      Open space with a full-service bar and cozy fireplace with excellent ventilation for natural light are instantly motivating with impressive service and creative, extensive vegan choices.

      I started my day with a yellow pineapple juice and husband had shaved jalapeno soup. The yellow pineapple juice was refreshing and I got the fair share of soup from my husband. It was thick, whippy, filling and succulent at the same time.

      For starter, we had artichoke and spinach dip that comes with a toasted house-made seed bread. It was indeed different than the usual greasy and heavy ones. A healthy twist without compromising the flavor and texture.

      For the main, I opted for grilled organic chicken breast which comes with avocado slices, farro, spaghetti squash, rutabaga, kale garnished with sunflower seeds and chili oil. It was undoubtedly a well-crafted dish with a healthy balance. Rightly grilled chicken added a great punch with avocado, farro, and made crunchy with sunflower seeds. And husband got falafel wrap that comes with terra root vegetable chips. Delicately baked falafel oozes dainty deliciousness.
      For our sweet ending, we had fried whole wheat bread with cashew butter. It was almost decadent dessert with every bite sensing the nutty bites.  The only minor gripe was, if they could take care of the presentation as much the taste.

      We witnessed locally sourced, healthy and unique dining Flora's motto “As vegan as you want to be". Coming back to Flora again for sure, for the experience, without any reason or occasion.  Flora is undoubtedly a great add-on to Hartford country's foodie's scene with its healthy innovation and inspiration.

Monday | closed

Bar stays open late

Kitchen hours:
Tuesday | 11:30am to 10pm
Wednesday | 11:30am to 10pm
Thursday | 11:30am to 10pm
Friday | 11:30am to 10pm
Saturday | 11:30am to 10pm
Sunday | 11:30am to 10pm

45 Raymond Rd
West Hartford, CT 06107
Phone: 860.216.5992

Saturday, February 10, 2018

National Rail Museum, New Delhi

      As a parent traveler or mother traveler, I often look for places that my kids can enjoy as well. My son has a great fascination for locomotives. There is a significant part of parenting is you can revisit or relieved your favorite things with your kids. This time during our visit in India we visited National Rail Musem. Nested in Chanakyapuri very conveniently with the rich 163 years history and heritage, the National Rail Musem has a beautiful history and heritage. 

    The museum opened on 1st February 1971 has more than ten acres of land and emphasizes on Indian rail heritage. It has both indoor and outdoor exhibits.  The list of display includes the "Fairy Queen" steam locomotive, it is the oldest working steam locomotive and is also featured in Guinness book of world records, "John Morris Fire engine", it is the only solid rubber tire working vehicle, Saloon of Prince of Wales, Patiala state monorail trainways , Saloon of Maharaja of Indore, Saloon of Maharaja of Mysore, Electric locomotive 4502, Electric locomotive Sir Roger Lumley, etc.

Miniature Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station

                                                     Miniature Lotus Temple

Miniature Delhi Rail Station 

        A good thing about the museum is that the entry fees is a very minimal amount, 50 Rupees(0.8 US dollars) for weekdays and 100 rupees (1.2 US dollars) for the weekend in Indian currency. It was a  lovely atmosphere we spotted several school student, or kids visiting the museum, my son was excited to see them. The museum does not limit to school visits, also offers summer camps, seminar etc. for any age group We took the "Joy Train" ride; the train took us through the entire premise between all outdoor exhibits. A display of miniature signature rail stations of India was one of the thrilling parts. Like India's every state has its own culture and color, so does India's every railway station and this exhibit tries to portrait it too, Connor to Nilgiri and Darjeeling to Bikaner. It was a great feeling experience the yesteryears of India's royal state's regal and rich vintage coaches.  Museum also offers activities like diesel and steam engine simulators and 3D coach ride etc.

                                                        Rail Heritage Restaurant

      The museum focuses on little one's entertainment with a small play area with tabletops made like chess boards etc. There is a lovely cafe in the museum convenient to eat if you have little children as it is located inside the museum.


        We had a memorable few hours spent in the museum with joy train ride and seeing some priceless exhibits and experience the joy of peeking through the history and heritage of Indian rail. I visited with my son, he had a great time and I was equally pleased too. Without any age barrier, anybody can experience the joy of yesteryear India's rich rail heritage.