Monday, September 29, 2008

Mount Abu - A Fun New Year Destination

And here is another New Year Destination that I found interesting, especially if you want to do something different and yet not completely get away from the party and the glitz scene of New Year Eve....

(Psst- I wrote this piece for someone, but things didn't work out, so I'm posting it here rather than letting it waste on my machine)

Mt. Abu, Rajasthan

Why There: After Madonna brought in her New Year in Jodhpur, you surely would like to give it try too. We suggest you head for Mount Abu instead. It’s the time when this exotic hill town of Rajasthan shines bright in the colors of Winter Festival.

What’s in Store: Colorful processions, classic folk music and dances, heaped up thaalis of festive Rajasthani food, floating earthen lamps in the Nakki lake, and fireworks – night after night!

While You are Here: Soak into the serenity of the Dilwara Jain temples, prefect spot to make some serious resolutions. Spend an invigorating day in the tiny local wildlife sanctuary, spotting birds and deer. For a leisurely evening go boating in the Nakki lake and don’t forget shopping for some handicrafts to take back home.

Moving Nearby: The 15th century Achalgarh fort of the legendary Rana Kumbha is situated just 11 km away. Traver’s tank, located 5 km away, is a man made water body which houses a crocodile park and beautiful nature all around.

How to Go: Mount Abu is well connected by road (24 km from NH 14). Abu Road is a major train station. Nearest airport is Udaipur (185 km).

What to Pack: Don’t forget you woolens; it may be Rajasthan, but it’s a hill station. Temperature can drop down to anything between 10 to minus 8°C.

Bishnupur - A Quiet New Year Idea

While browsing for some 'off-beat' new year ideas, I came to know that Vishnupur (or Bishnupur in W. Bengal) hosts a cultural fest during the last week of December. Sounded like a perfectly quiet New Year destination. Though it sounded too boring to spend new year there for some, here is what I feel about bringing in the New year in Vishnupur...
Why There: Begin your new year at a slow, serene pace, and discover some hidden architectural wonders of Bengal. Vishnupur is a town of terracotta temples. Master craftsmen from 16th and 17th centuries carved exquisite scenes of local lore, Ramayan, Krishna Leela and tales of valor of the Malla rulers on clay tiles. These were then baked and joined to cover every inch of these temples.
The last week of December sees the sleepy little town bubbling with action as the five-day Vishnupur Festival unfolds.
What’s in Store: A celebration of Mother Earth, concerts of soul-stirring classical Indian music of the Vishnupur gharana, innumerable stalls selling famous Bankura terracotta figurines and toys, sea-shell and bell metal handicrafts, and smooth silks – Tussars and Baluchari Sarees.
While You are Here: Catch up with some history in this capital city of the ancient Malla rulers--roam around bundhs (water reservoirs) and stroll past age-old cannons. You’ll need a full day to entirely capture the detailed carvings of the scores of temples. Grab this chance to watch some terracotta craftsmen and silk weavers in action. Shop your fill of silks.
Moving Nearby: Embark on a soul-searching expedition to Kamarpukur (48 Km) and Jairambati (43 Km), birthplaces of Ramkrishna Paranhansa and his wife, Ma Sarda. A few more km away is the Garh Mandaran fort. Visit the terracotta craft center of Panchmura (25 km) famous for its clay Bankura horse – the official symbol of Indian handicrafts
How to Go: Nearest airport is Calcutta (152 km). Regular buses and trains ply from Calcutta (trains take around 3:30 to 4 hours).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I always appreciated youtube, but today, suddenly, I'm loving it.

I was editing yet another episode synopsis of Kumkum. Thought of Juhi Parmar and then remembered Shaheen. It was Juhi's second serial (first one came 3 days before, if I remember right). I had written dialogues; screenplay & direction was by my husband. It was his first directorial venture, and last for TV.

So there was this sudden nostalgia trip and I googled for "Juhi Parmar Shaeen". And surprise of surprises!! I got this...

I had never imagined anyone would put this video on YouTube. Passed it on to hubby, who is equally excited. After all, Shaheen was our first baby! Now he has graduated to films and I have moved on to a completely different profile, but the video is precious to us both.

Thanks YouTube.