Saturday, June 25, 2016

Why a visit to Phaltan will leave you spellbound

Being urban dwellers, we tend to plan trips to the most popular tourist locations across the country and abroad. My recent trip to Phaltan, a small town in rural Maharashtra, had some unique and unusual experiences included in the itinerary- some things which probably we would enjoy a lot, but never really think about experiencing. These were the experiences in the itinerary that made me accept the invitation to go and stay in a hotel in the middle of acres of barren land. The trip had been planned by Jakson Inns (Read: Weekend Stay at Jakson Inns, Phaltan) in support of promoting rural tourism, and I must say I was impressed.

The skies opened and it poured that evening. Photo location: Agricultural Development Trust, Baramati

Breakfast by a river

‘I think they are going to serve some authentic local food at the farm’, said my co-blogger.

‘It’s breakfast at a farm, so obviously they are going to have some local food and sugarcane juice.’

What we were to discover was something absolutely unexpected and surprising. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

8 Tiny Stories commemorating my 8 Years of Blogging

In 8 years, everything can change. The people you know, the way they are with you, the places you call your own, the situations you think are challenges, the thoughts that you have, the priorities in your life, the worries and joys of life- all of it. This is to the ONE thing that has remained unchanged in my life for the last 8 years. It is the one thing that has given me peace of mind when everything else has failed. It has only improved, inspired and helped me more and more.

13th of June 2016 marks the completion of 8 years of blogging for me. It’s that one day of the year which has consistently seen a post year after year. Here I bring to you the journey of eight years in 8 tiny stories; it’s happy 8th birthday to the blog after all…

1. The One where it all Began

I have told and retold this story to everyone who ever asked me ‘How did you get into blogging?’ Here it goes again, concisely: One fine summer afternoon on the 13th of June 2008, I sat at home in Delhi and Googled ‘what is a blog?’ Moments later I stumbled across BigB’s BigAdda blog and was amazed at how he could get hundreds of comments on his posts within minutes of posting his daily life situations. Minutes later, this blog was created. Of course, it looked nothing close to how it looks now, nor was the content anything close to what might interest you. But I never cease to get tired of repeating the inspirational story that the one man was for me.

2. The One where I met the Inspiration

Two years ago, I was in Mumbai for the first time. It was for a short internship. My friend took me around the city of Bollywood and I proudly got a picture clicked in front of the house of my inspiration. It became the 13th of June post for that year. 8 days later, I was on a Bollywood-movie set standing face-to-face with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, working with him on the same film, too nervous to tell him ‘Thank you for being my inspiration to start blogging’.

3. The One with the Domain Story

Thursday, June 09, 2016

The 'Wow' Hospitality at Jakson Inns, Phaltan

When I was invited for a stay at the Jakson Inns, Phaltan, what I really didn’t anticipate would impress me was the hospitality rendered to us. Every request made was taken care of with utter diligence. Each meal planned for us was a unique experience different from the previous ones.

After a warm welcome and checking in to our rooms (Read here), it was lunch time and our lunch was to be served at Green Bean, the in-house multi cuisine restaurant.

Spotted this bird house in the hotel gardens. Probably the birds love the hospitality too. Jakson Inns, Phaltan
It was a colourful setup, with enough natural light coming in. Here we met the General Manager of Jakson Inns, Gautam Banerjee. As we went through a 2-hour long Indian lunch, that started with ‘spiced water’ (yes, spicy water but great for digestion and by taste), soup and appetisers, the main course and ended with desserts, Gautam told us about the history of Phaltan, places to see around, the story of the hotel’s coming into existence and why all the food was so spicy.

‘People here love spicy food and if it is too much for you, do let us know so we can decrease the spiciness a bit,’ Gautam told us. Although the food tasted great, I had water in my eyes with the first few sips of the soup and the spiced water. Seeing my predicament, he immediately instructed the chefs to serve less-spicy food to me.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Weekend Stay: Review of Jakson Inns, Phaltan

When Google Maps shows that the hotel you are invited to is set amidst acres of barren farm land with a few industries here and there, the nearest big city is at least 60 kilometres away, water is scarce and the place sees about 12 days of rainfall in the whole year, and at the same time the itinerary includes some experiences which you can just not say no to, what do you do?

It didn’t take me long to say yes to the trip to Phaltan for a 3 day-2 night stay at Jakson Inns to review the property and to experience some unforgettable moments.

Early one morning this summer, along with some bloggers and travel writers, I was headed to Phaltan (270 kms from Mumbai), a small town located in the Satara district of Maharashtra.

An overcast sky allowed me to click this beautiful picture of the property one evening. Jakson Inns, Phaltan
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