The March Diaries

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

RANNUTSAV



If I could thank the universe for one major thing in 2018, it would be for all the travel opportunities that I got. I managed to cross two destinations off of my travel bucket list this year. One of them was Udaipur and the second one being Rannutsav.

For all who are not aware as to what exactly Rannutsav is, it is a vibrant festival in Kutch, Gujarat which runs from around November till February. It is a carnival of dance, music and food on the shimmering backdrop of White Rann (desert). We were there for about a day and a half after which we decided to take a detour and explore other parts of Kutch. 



HOW TO GET THERE
I stay within the state of Gujarat from which Dhordo - where the White Rann is based at, is about a 7-8 hour long drive. We had booked an 8 seat car, which was totally perfect for us. You could find out the best way to get there from your city - maybe you could self drive too. The way you're going to reach your destination should always be selected upon your comfort preference. Also believe me when I say this, carry food with you! Especially if you have your younger cousins travelling with you. 

WHERE TO STAY:
Our trip was pre-booked as we went in place of my uncle and aunt who had to cancel last minute. We stayed at the White Rann Resort, more of which I've documented in my video here. You get an option to stay in tents too. Here are a few places you can book your stay from:




WHERE TO EAT:
We had the best time when it came to food during this trip. Our stay had the best buffet for the 3 meals that we had there. What I noticed is that within the scope of Rannutsav there are not enough independent restaurants. But when you branch out to the other sides of Kutchh, you'd be surprised at how many proper Indian restaurants you'll come across. Although I'd like to mention that what some of those places might lack in A grade ambiance, they more than make up for that with their food. 

WHAT TO SHOP:
Rannutsav itself has a lot of options where you can shop a lot of Indie items from. Saying that a lot of these places carry very similar stuff and are definitely open to bargaining. You can get very nice Indian outfits, Shoes, Bags, Home Decor Items, Bedsheets and much more. I shopped a lot to gift people from these shops. Price wise, everything I mentioned above is very very affordable. 








WHAT TO EXPLORE:
The best advice that I'd give you is, DO NOT miss either the sunset or the sunrise from the White Desert. It is an experience in itself. Next up, walk around all the booths in the Rannutsav, there's so much to know and so much to see. Also don't miss out on any folk programs that your Hotel or Stay have arranged for you. It is definitely a must have experience. Then if you're driving or have rented a car, maybe you want to explore the other parts of Kutchh. There are a lot of activities going around in the White Desert, so if you're adventurous enough to have a go at them, book them well in advance. If it is a huge group that you're going with, they have insane discounts for a group booking.






*If you are going around the beginning of the festival, do not forget to carry your sunscreen, it would be hot.
*If you are going in the beginning of the year, don't forget to carry your warmer clothes because it would be freezing.
*There are not many places where they'd be equipped with a credit/debit card machine so it's always safer to carry a bit of cash.
*Also don't forget to carry your shoes. You'd need them to walk around the White Desert, and if in case you forget it, bless you soles!

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

I FEEL PRETTY



A while ago I stumbled upon the hype over the movie 'I Feel Pretty' which stars Amy Schumer in the lead. I am all about chick flicks. I love a totally girls girls movie, but to be honest I wasn't a huge Amy Schumer fan for reasons unknown to me! Saying that, I did give into the hype and decided to Netflix the movie. I am so so glad I watched it. Really did not expect the sudden burst of confidence it injected into me. In true Hollywood fashion it does have a very over the top climax. If I were to ever take such a step in my career, there would probably be no company that would ever hire me again!



So why have I decided to dedicate a whole blog post to this movie? It's because this movie really hit home for me. *SPOILER ALERT* The basic theme for the movie revolves around this girl who dreams of working at the head office of the company she currently working at, but never has enough confidence to actually go and interview for the position. Then one day she meets with an accident and somehow gets the confidence of the world! (I know right!). Everything in her life just goes so right that it all has to go wrong one day, and it does. And then at the end we all learn that if we really do consider ourselves good enough then the world will too.



I agree. Some of the best decisions of my life have come from my belief in my own self. Whether it resulted into something or not, is secondary. Confidence is tricky. We have been told to 'fake it till you make it' when it comes to being confident. But I think it would drop you as quick as it took you high. How I feel it works is that to gain confidence in something you just have to keep doing it consistently. When you do it as often, you keep getting better at it and then one day you won't have to think twice to just go for it! If you love something enough, you will know what to do. You don't need someone else to push you towards it! So light a fire within your passion and just go for it! I promise one day you will get there!



Ending this article on a suggestion: Go watch 'I Feel Pretty'. I am sure you won't regret it!
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

UDAIPUR


Udaipur has always been on the top of my travel bucket list. There's just something about a place with so much historical evidence that pulls me towards it. It just feels like I am living in some pre historic era with of course the facilities of Wifi and Cabs. To me, visiting a new place has a lot to do with its architecture, the places we can eat and how affordable it can be.

Here's how we spent the weekend in Udaipur. I've included everything we did, everything we did not do, everything we did that you may skip, where we ate and where we stayed. To see how all the places were and what were our reactions to them you can watch the vlog about the trip on my YouTube channel here:


HOW TO GET THERE

So we contemplated on a couple of options before settling on flying to Udaipur. I'm sure you can find out options with which you're more comfortable with if flying isn't what you are looking for. Also, if you are looking to fly, I suggest comparing prices on a couple of different websites. I always check MakeMyTrip, Akbar Travels and the Airlines own websites. When you're working with a budget even a difference of about 1K is worth it. We were flying a low cost airline and they didn't provide us with an option for the inclusive meals so it is good to carry a little bit of food with you.


WHERE TO STAY

Since Udaipur has a place with a lot of tourist attractions, we had decided that it just makes sense to book a really nice place that was inexpensive at the same time. Also, because it was two of us, all the expenses were going to get divided by two and hence we set our budget a little higher than we usually would. We scrolled through a lot of options and finally managed to find one that fit well within our budget and booked Hotel Raj Kuber for the stay. We were really pleased with the way our room turned out. We had a fantastic view overlooking the beautiful city from both the windows. So the places we saw our options were from Trivago and directly from the hotel's website. And because we found out that Booking.com was offering the best deal through Trivago, inclusive of breakfast, we went ahead with that option. The stay was excellent, however the breakfast options could be a bit better.


WHERE TO EAT

Me and Tanisha are both huge foodies. So finding places that satisfy our taste buds is very important to us. We spent endless hours on Zomato trying to find places that offer a variety of cuisines. Sounds really fancy right? Well, truth be told, we ended up going to not such different places. Although the food that we had was really good. Some of the places we ate were: Royal Cuisine at Hotel Chunda Palace, 1559 AD, Vantage by Panna Villas, Darikhanna Restaurant at Jag Mandir, Jhumar Restaurant, Oladar Village Cafe and had fantastic rajasthani dessert at JBMB (a local point). The food menu for the restaurant at Jag Mandir were surprisingly limited and expensive. So you might want to just grab a drink there and eat somewhere else maybe. There's a variety of Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian options at all of these places. There are various other options for a proper fine dining experience where you would have to book a table well in advance.



WHAT TO SEE

There is a whole lot to see in and around Udaipur. You can make a day trip to either KumbalGagh or ChittorGadh which are about a couple of hours away from the city of Udaipur. We on the other hand didn't pre plan our trip and so we decided to skip both the places for this trip. Saying that we did manage to see a lot in Udaipur. The things we saw were: Rajiv Gandhi Garden, Sahelion Ki Bari, Fateh Sagar Lake Front, City Palace, Jag Mandir, Monsoon Palace, and Lake Pichola. We were actually going to skip the Monsoon Palace but that was actually one of the best parts of the trip.

*You definitely want to try and reach to all the places you're going to go a little bit earlier just to avoid all the tourists blocking the Instagram worthy shots.
*Plan your day a bit in advance so that you don't end up feeling lost in the morning as we did twice while on the trip.
*Try and inquire about the places from a couple of different sources.
*Book your transport depending on your needs. If you don't need a car for the whole day don't book one. The easiest way to get around Udaipur is by either Ola or Uber.
*Also if you're a blogger like me, have a very boho and earthy vibe to your outfits. It translates excellently with the medieval background in the photos.
*If you are flying to any destination ever, try and check in online 24 hours before to get the best available seats.






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