We paddled on the backwaters of Kumarakom in the country side for 2 hours on a recent weekend trip with our 2.5 year old daughter. Raju, our boatman took us from our place of stay at Taj Vivanta and showed us his village Aymanam that adjoins Kumarakom, and the one on which the Nobel prize winning novel ‘God of small things‘ is based. Raju is a 60+ old man whose son works at Taj. Aymanam is his native where everybody knows each other. People have very simple and close to the nature lifestyle here as their livelihood (fishing) and routine majorly depends on the backwaters. We all were speechless while soaking in the natural surroundings around us. It was during this time that I wondered if there is any other place better than Kumarakom in Kerala where a family can relax! For I have been to other places as well – Munnar, Kochi, Allepey to name some and they are beautiful as well but the tranquility and peace that we found here apart from the leisure activities made our holiday with our daughter so much enjoyable that I concluded that only staying at Kumarakom for days give will you ample experience of Kerala and you would be left asking for more.

Here are the reasons why:

Kerala is God’s own country and Kumarakom is God’s hometown

Away from the hustle bustle of modern world, this part looks still untouched by invasion of modern architecture and complex lifestyle. Green is prominent everywhere and the only sound that make noise is that of the birds or the boats plying on the water. What else does a family with kids and elderly needs than a perfect break to relax in such surroundings from their busy, chaotic lives?

God’s hometown
Water, water everywhere

The streams started following us as soon as we started from Kottayam railway station towards Kumarakom. As we reached our place of stay as Taj Vivanta resort, it became apparent that water bodies were our constant companion everywhere. With lagoons, ponds, streams, back waters, you will feel enticed by water everywhere. And the backdrop of Vembanad lake adds to the beauty!

A stream just around our Taj villa where we stayed!

A pond with water lillies in the back 🙂

The lagoon at Baker’s house
In the backdrop of largest fresh water lake of Kerala

Vembanad (Vembanad Kayal or Vembanad Kol) is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in Kerala spanning several districts in the state. There are several resorts on the banks of Vembanad Lake at Kumarakom. About 400 houseboats operate in the area. Houseboats idling in the lake or
small boats hitching a ride is a common sight here. Many resorts offer houseboats ride as part of the package and hence, families find that very convenient. A ride of two hours is more than enough here to soak the beauty but a night stay is also common on the lake.

A houseboat cruising on the Vembanad lake

Simple lifestyle make city people envious!!

I’ll let the photos do all the talking here..

Many locals have houseboats

A lady duck farmer. Did you hear that before? Not me!!

People commute on the backwaters and uses this water for household chores as well. Wow and we have to buy water from tankers. Not fair:(

I love this locality. Do the kids here play boating-boating! Huh for us it’s kagaz ki kashti and baarish ka paani 🙁

Several Luxury and Budget resorts

There are several lake resorts here to suit your budget and desire. Taj Garden Retreat the first modern tourist resort in Kumarakom is established in the Victorian two storied bungalow built by Alfred George Baker in the year 1881. Kumarakom is the first destination in India to Implement Responsible Tourism practices. Kerala Tourism was awarded for its path-breaking ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.

Several luxury and budget resorts on the banks of the lake
Wide variety of flora and fauna

Kumarakom boasts of pristine green environment with rich variety of flora and fauna. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary) is situated here, on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Set in the Kerala Backwaters the bird sanctuary is a favorite haunt of migratory birds. The main attractions are local birds like waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron, cormorant, moorhen, darter, and brahminy kite, as well as the migratory Siberian crane. Parrot, teal, lark, flycatcher, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Some of the migratory birds come from as far the Himalayas, and a few even from Siberia.

Img Source here
Ducks in a lagoon. Wide variety of fishes here!!

Can you spot the mangoes here?

Moderate climate throughout the year perfect for families 

Although we went in off-season in summer (as mentioned everywhere) yet we were delighted to find rains almost every second day. Days are humid here but that is bearable. In fact, for families especially with kids and elders, this place is ideal as far as weather is concerned. You can keep light clothes that will give you enough space to carry other essential stuffs like for us we needed to carry lot of baby care products for our toddler!

Leisure activities and cultural programs

Kumarakom is a place to lay back, relax and enjoy with your people. Since, water is everywhere there are leisure activities like boating, yachting, kayaking and fishing. Apart from these resorts like Taj offer cultural programs and lot of other to engage like pottery classes, local cuisine cooking classes etc that will make you feel spiritually satisfied!

Bharatnatyam performance at Taj Vivanta

Pottery done by tourists!!

In the lap of nature, ek game ho jaaye?? 😉

If you are still not convinced then watch this video

Easy to access

  • By air: via Cochin International Airport approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi).
  • By rail: via Kottayam
  • By boat: From Muhamma (near Alappuzha) to Kumarakom Jetty.
  • By road:KSRTC(16 kilometres) Buses and taxis are easily available at all times of the day from Kottayam.
Click here for the fact-file for Kumarakom if you are planning a visit.

For our stay experience at Vivanta by Taj, in Kumarakom click here

Click here for the Flickr gallery of all our pics of Taj Kumarakom.

* * *

Hampi (Hampe) is a village in northern Karnataka, India. One of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime, it is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.

There is some magic about the stones in Hampi. The place is sculptor’s delight – ruins of temples and architecture galore all nooks and corners. The place has a magical charm for the discerning and a magnetic impact on your heart and soul that you do not want to come back from the place.

We spent a weekend over there exploring Hampi in Auto (Tuk Tuk) and loved every moment of our stay. The place immediately has a tranquil effect which with a balm of serenity, soothes our parched souls.

Predominant element in Hampi is Earth. The stone and mud makes you grounded. Of course there is architecture to marvel about, of course there is river to have fun in water. But Hampi is more than a super popular tourist circuit.

It is a place where you can find yourself.

The little district of Wayanad is one of many reasons why Kerala is known as God’s own country. Beautiful waterfalls, adventurous caves, lakes, dams, forest, rivers – there is everything you can expect from nature and everything is aplenty!

Edakkal Caves is one such location in Wayanad which is a little known gem of its own kind. Edakkal Caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India’s Western Ghats.

With pre-historic wall carvings, a very interesting flight of stairs and a breathtaking view when you reach top, the experience of visiting Edakkal is something which can not be easily described in any way apart from self realization! Here are some pics from our several trips.

Linking with Skywatch Friday. Go and check out more Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site
The beautiful Radhanagar Beach or Beach #7, in Havelock island is probably one of the best beaches in Asia. We visited this beautiful sight way back in 2009. The pristine white sands, very little crowd made this beach almost exclusive private beach for a newly married couple like us. 
From being colonial prison, to today’s one of the hottest tourist destinations Andamans have come a long way. 
If you have already not been here, you outta – where else you can have the luxury to stare at beautiful sights like below – and roam freely with deers (Ross Island).


Linking with Skywatch Friday. Go and check out more Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site

I claim myself to be a wandering soul. I love to travel – never stay in one place for very long, hopping from one experience to another. Yet as we grow in life, we sometimes tend to lose the very fabric of our soul – in my case it being the perennial desire to soar skies for endless times and limitless expanse.

Marriage, kid, job, family – you just do not realize how the routine sets in and how you start dancing to the rhythm of everyday grind. But somewhere deep in our hearts, that insatiable thirst for living life king-size keeps recurring. It becomes a never ending itch.

I am lucky that when this starts happening, I get a chance to twist things a bit and rejuvenate my life-parched soul. In other words – I plan a trip. And make it happen.

Kerala has always been my top destination in India. For some reason, Nature seems to have taken a liking to this place. The greenery here is breathtaking and never ending. I wish I could live here forever! That being an endeavor for some other day, this time we planned a trip to Kovalam. Kovalam is a beach town and in true Kerala style offers the grandeur of everything Kerala has to offer.

Source: Wikimedia

We booked our flight via these Domestic Airlines and off we were set to fly away to Trivandrum – the capital city of Kerala. Kovalam is about 15-20 kms away.

We made a reservation at Taj Kovalam as our goal was spend time at leisure. Being with a toddler, city hopping becomes a tiring endeavor and we prefer to enjoy the quiet and calm of a good resort which offers more than just rooms. Our experience at Taj properties has always been good and it was a natural choice for us.

And we were right. We had a great stay in the resort. We enjoyed the expanse of breakfast and live performances. Our kiddo loved running around the property and playing in the jacuzzi pools near our cottage.

While lazing at our room we were checking literature and came to know that the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple – the richest place of worship in earth – is nearby. Since we had loads of time at our disposal, we decided to experience the opulence and divinity of the place and unravel the mystery behind it. As a detour from our regular holidaying, we decided to chuck air conditioned taxies and used an Auto Rickshaw for our commute. Our daughter simply loved the touch of air and her hair flowing in the wind. The gentle caressing of breeze enthralled our souls.

We visiting Kovalam beach as well and after a short day trip returned back to our hotel. We spent rest of day in the Jacuzzi playing with our daughter. After hours of soaking ourselves, we got tired and retired ourselves to our room for a quick seista.

Our dinner had the highlight of live musical performance. Soft soothing live music, good food and great conversations, awesome company of my family – I loved every bit of this vacation.

I would recommend you to try Kovalam as your next getaway. If you want to just relax in the lap of nature and enjoy the luxury of doing nothing – this is your place. In our usual vacations we end up tiring ourselves so much that we need another vacation for recovery. Our Kovalam trip was exactly opposite – we returned truly rejuvenated.

Mr.Mehar Rao’s Residence (Night View) : Eclectic style houses by KREATIVE HOUSE
Img Courtesy here

Owning a house is a dream for almost everyone. We all want our own space where we can gather all our materialistic belongings and build a lifestyle showcased through our home decor. Right from the primitive days man has sought a shelter for his own where he could settle down and enjoy days with his loved ones. And so we have archaeological findings of caves where humans have resided during prehistoric era and decorated the walls with their sketching skills. The longing for a well-maintained house has always been there in humankind. And the modern civilization has witnessed a wide variety of options when it comes to human nest. 

In India, here are the top 5 options you can think of when planning to have a residential property of your own:

1. Flats/Condos: The busy city life and growing population of migrants in the cities have given rise to the Apartment culture. You can opt for buying a flat in a basic apartment or in a project that provides luxury amenities. The best part of owning a flat is you get to live in a society where everyone works together as a friendly community. But rising prices of property in India compels one to invest early in a project, mostly during the pre-launch phase. Another point to consider here is to go for a builder who has the reputation of finishing the project in time and who cares for all legal paperwork to be completed.

2. Villas: If you have the budget than Villas can be the place of your dreams. Although, good property in a good location can make more than a hole in your pocket, yet Villas give you the down to the earth feeling, quite literally as you not only own the piece of land of land exclusively but are actually directly connected to it unlike flats where only ground floor has access to landscape!

3. Row Houses: Even if you don’t have enough budget for Villas, you can still remain connected to the ground on a lesser price by buying a row house. The difference in a Row House and a Villa is there is a wall sharing between two houses in a row. Rest everything can be exclusive including a garden area.

4. Country house: Away from city, in lush green farmlands in a scenic location. Yes, many people opt for country houses instead of buying a property in the noisy cities. If it is possible to commute to office from such far place or work from home is your kind of job, you would stay there permanently or you can use such house for a weekend getaway. You may also rent it out as home stays occasionally and earn some moolah from such a residence. 

5. Independent house: Buying a land and constructing a house takes lot of hard work but this can be your option if you do not want to be dependent on a third party to build the house of your dreams. You do everything here from scratch, starting from buying a piece of and getting a plan laid by a skilled architect. The issue with such residents is mostly in India, the development of localities having independent houses is very haphazard mostly with cases of land encroachments and commercial buildings coming up in between.

This is a comprehensive list of what type of home you can plan to own. Each person has his own liking but no matter what one selects, the prospect of staying with the loved ones under one roof makes any place worthy to be home!

After all, home is where the heart is.

So go ahead and hunt for your kind of space.

* * *

As we all know, Spring is the season that paves the way for everything to bloom. It is lavender, pink and peach everywhere this season. And on fashion and makeup, it remains the same. Floral skirts, tops, dresses, and a bronze makeup will do the good for the season.

By taking into consideration a few things, you can simply look ravishing this Spring. Check out these ways to look your best this Spring…

Go Floral!

Adapt to what the season demands. Choose floral dresses and other outfits that sync with the season. You can even go to mix and match. A floral crop top with printed leggings or even a jegging can make you look fabulous. You can shop these leggings online from Zivame. The store is also the ultimate destination for all your essential needs. Try floral collections on Zivame bras and other lingerie to go with the season.

Subtle Makeup

Makeup should not be heavy on you during Spring. This season demands a light powder. You can even prefer going for a full bronzer full on the body. Use BB Cream, blush, compact powder and also play with your eyes for looking beautiful with makeup. Shop branded makeup products online at low prices. Have a look at Shopclues for any makeup product or related accessories so that you get the right look. Use Shopclues Coupons to avail discount for the purchase made.

Eat Lightly

It is always good to have a light diet during this season. Prefer to eat more of fruits and vegetables. Have them raw rather than drinking their juices. Avoid high-calorie foods this time, as it might take more time for digestion. You can even carry fruits for the season including Strawberries, Oranges, Pear, or even sliced carrots when you are out.

Intake Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water makes your skin flawless, by removing all the impurities and toxic elements from your body inside out. It makes your skin look supple and fresh,

Moisturize Your Body

Moisturizing your body irrespective of the season is vital. You may try the essential oils, or even a body-cream. Apply it all over the body and pat it dry. It will make your skin look more glowing and young and helps in getting rid of patches and lines.

Right Accessories

Make sure that you carry off yourself with the right accessories. You can go for some bright shades for bags, clutches, etc., so that looks more funky and attractive. It will go in line with what you wear. Also, make a choice for your footwear as well. You can buy branded accessories to get your look rightly online. Trendin is an excellent choice for great accessories. Use Trendin Coupons while buying to avail more discounts.

No Chapped Lips

Be careful with your lips during this season. The winter is still not gone, and the summer is almost nearing, and the climate makes your lips go chapped. Nourish it with some good lip balm so that it stays beautiful and healthy.

Stay Away From Sun

Make sure that you keep away from the sun. It can tan your body and make it look dull and tired. And all your effort will go in vain. So, make sure you apply sunscreen prior stepping out.


This post is contributed by a guest and is sponsored. All images here are courtesy www.google.ca.

With New Year just around the corner, what are your plans? What, you haven’t decided yet! OMG, get on your feet now, pack your bags and head to GOA. Why Goa? C’mon you must be kidding me. Haven’t you heard of the famous Sunburn Festival? Yeah, yeah, the popular electronic dance and music festival that originated in 2007 with an audience of just 2,000 and which has quickly exploded to establish Sunburn Goa as one of the world’s top three music festivals. Yes, this year edition is expected to see half a million fans around. And what more is for the first time, Sunburn Goa will be a 4 day festival i.e. from 27 to 30 December 2015, which is set to begin on December 27 on the famous Vagator beach drawing crowds from over 50 countries. An estimate of 120-plus artists will perform at one stage and at the after-party in the four-day fest. It will also feature over 40 different experience zones, a fan village, and other forms of entertainment such as bungee jumping, volleyball, hot air balloon rides and zorbing, offering the ultimate holiday experience. There really is no activity that the organisers haven’t thought of for fans to be engage throughout the festival.  So, now do you understand why I am fielding for the big event. Yes, because it is really BIG this time – Sunburn Goa basically has become the mother of all festivals! You can keep track of all the happenings around the festival at www.liveinstyle.com that is covering the event extensively.

Courtesy: Liveinstyle.com

And if this still does not appeal you (which is next to impossible!) or there is no way you can head to Goa, than need not worry as there are ample of events happening all around where you can chill, party hard and enjoy with your friends. Or you can plan and throw your own New Year Party with some craziness and swag. To help you out in perfect celebrations to welcome the new year, there are some amazing articles, party ideas and events information provided at Liveinstyle.com in their New Year Party 2016 section. The site offers great insights into celebrity parties and has wide range of ideas to stock up on fun and party in style at home, or anywhere outside.

Well, I am all hooked to this site to make a statement this New Year. How about you?

DISCLAIMER: This blog is intended for audience above legal drinking age as specified by their state/country of residence. 

I am bowled over by the classy Asus Zenfone 2 designs. Already, Asus phones have impressed me with their features. Read my posts on Asus Zenfone here. And now the looks have me all gaga as they are definitely making nice statement here. They come in so stylish and chic looks that it inspires me to try different looks on myself too. Not only does it come in various colors but I can see some really sophisticated textures. See yourself few designs here:

Cutie Pie Marzia
Illusion series – Navy Blue
Illusion series-Glacier White
Fusion Series-Vibrant Yellow

Classic Series-Glamour Red
Fusion Series-Rose Red

The touch of elegance, the smooth finish, the bright colors, the exclusivity Asus #Zenfone 2 has everything that can give your outfit a luxurious edge with its textured patterns. It is definitely designed for those who are not afraid to stand out and perfect for sophisticated with a keen eye for fashion. And so all these designs made me wonder why not to recreate my looks with something unique. So I tried this outfit for the very first time just to have a match with the stylish pieces. Here’s my new look :

Yup, I tried a Maxi for the first time all inspired by the Cutie Pie Marzia. And I loved myself. Not only is the dress very comfortable to carry, it also gives me very classy look, right? I didn’t accessorized it much and kept it simple with one matching bracelet in one hand and minimal makeup. That way it gives one more demure and mature look. This is one of various my #Zenlooks as now I keep experimenting with different styles and outfits.

And yes, to celebrate the uniqueness of its designs, Asus is hosting a contest to get fans to create their own back cover designs to win a ZenFone 2 every week! Now you can too participate in the contest and promote the contest on your social channels. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/1Q1ohRK
Create a design with the textures you encounter every day for the ZenFone 2 case and stand a chance to win attractive prizes

Contest period: Nov 9 – Dec 6 2015
Weekly Prizes 1x ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML)
1x Limited edition ZenFone 2 case by CutiePieMarzia
Grand Prize: Best design will be printed as the limited edition ZenFone 2 case

So what are you waiting for, create your own design and have fun!!

The time of the year we all eagerly wait, saving pennies, making wishlists, all in the hope that the festival of lights will bring prosperity to us. Yes, Diwali is around the corner – get those lists out, open those piggy banks for, it is the time to have fun, indulge yourself a bit and buy gifts for your kith and kin.

We all love getting gifts and giving gifts. We all have different reasons for gifting. For us it is a mix of multiple things. We often find it hard to express our gratitude in words. Diwali brings the right occasion for us to say that little note of thanks, which otherwise goes unspoken, unheard by the target of affection.

And of-course for the Adrenalin rush it gives when you think about someone’s needs ahead of yours and decide to take that effort to find out what they would be needing! The mere process brings people closure if done from the heart.

Throw in a bit of surprise and you have the the perfect concoction of the amazing experience you create by gifting the right thing to the right person.

They say that when you give, you shall also receive. Life after-all believes in full circle and how come a good deed can go unrecognized. You can Gift Yourself Happiness by experiencing the pleasure of giving. Not only in terms of heart filled with warmth, but also in terms of real tangible gifts you can win for yourself, should you gift an Asus mobile this Diwali.

You would already know that Asus ZenFone is an amazing series of phones, suiting all budgets, whims and fancies. You can see complete Asus range here. We are fan of Asus devices and the phone is no exception. Amazing hardware, great selfies, ultra thin edges, stunning displays, super fast charging – you will find all these features in the Asus range – and for this reason it is as special a phone as that special someone who you want to impress this Diwali.

If you gift an Asus phone this Diwali you stand a chance to win an e-gift voucher worth Rs. 1000 every hour and the icing on the cake is there is a gold voucher worth Rs. 25000 everyday! Would that not be a true #HarPalHappiness moment!

I am rushing to order the amazing Asus Selfie for my Selfie obsessed sister-in-law. Do hurry up as this offer is time-limited!