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.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Namphake - Harmony of Peace and Tranquility

The meditation center

      In the kitsch of chaotic world, Namphke village is tucked in quaint calm and tranquility of solitude. It is situated on the banks of Burhidihing river which is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra river.  25 miles away from Dibrugarh Assam, the road from the tea town Dibrugarh takes you through the emerald green tea gardens, dusty roads with the glimpse of river views to the melange of natural beauty and peace, Namphake. 

Burhidihing river

      The lifeline of the village is Namphake Buddhist monastery. The origin of Namphake village can be traced back to 1850 A.D. The people living here are descendants of the great Tai race believed to have migrated from Myanmar. They have over 150 families now. This monastery is considered as the most esteemed and oldest Buddhist monastery in Assam. It has a meditation center with the attached library has several Buddhist manuscripts reserved and is a notable tourist attraction of Assam. 

Main Entrance

      The monastery set is eco-friendly and the natural setting also reflects their artistic side through adorning traditional handloom pieces. 

      Following the path of Buddhism encourages them to be more tolerant and peaceful. As a peace-loving community, they almost witness zero incident of crime. The monastery has its own set of rules:

  • Have to take off your shoes before entering
  • Encouraged to maintain a quiet and peaceful atmosphere 
  • It is devoid polythene or plastic 
  • Do not interrupt in religious activities


Religious Circle

      Namphake is a travel tranquility for your soul and mind. It is standing high in the harmony of peace and simplicity.

Ashoka Pillar

Mucalinda Tank with meditating Buddha statue guarded by a snake.

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