• Goa,  India,  Travel,  Urban Sketching

    Office of the Post Master General of Goa, Panjim

    Seema Misra Weathered cities and old buildings have always captivated me. So last month, while in Goa I was delighted to come across one such city. Just out of a grueling overnight bus journey from Bangalore, I was hungry and in search of a good café. Panjim Bus Stop was overflowing with touts peddling rooms, bikes, cars, everything on rent! I needed a short break to refuel myself. And, headed away from the crowd towards the Blue Tokai Café, in the nearby Fontainhas area. A stroll led me to a lovely toy-town bridge. The low, curving bridge had pretty yellow trimmings and artistic arches. A sign elaborated its history: The Patto…

  • Goa,  India,  Travel

    The Loja by the Water: A Genuine Goan Getaway

    Seema Misra Our first brush with Goan beaches was at Arambol back in 2012, which was a typical Goa holiday of beaches, beer, and buzzing party atmosphere. This year we returned to the sunshine state in search of a different experience – a quieter one – which we found at the beautiful Loja by the Water. What the Loja felt like The Loja is an intimate cabin just right for a couple or a single traveler. Slanting red tiled roof, a wall painting on one corner, and cool red-peroxide floor as you step in – I loved the earthy feel. The cabin is divided into a living area and a kitchenette with…

  • India,  Karnataka,  South India,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Urban Sketching,  Visual Journal

    Cantonment Railway Station – An Illustrated Travel Story

    Seema Misra Urban Sketching At Cantonment Railway Station Last weekend, our Urban Sketchers meet was at the Cantonment Railway Station, Bangalore (BNC). While most of us were geared up to sketch amidst the bustle and chaos of a typical Indian railway station, what we found was a place of astonishing stillness. The arched walls and green rooftops look as though they simply stood still and refused to move to make way for Bengaluru! A group of Railways employees was conducting a Swachh Bharat survey. They asked us a few questions and moved on to complete their round of the station. A train with a vivid red engine stood by the platform the…

  • Travel,  Urban Sketching,  Vietnam,  Watercolors

    Food Trails in Hanoi Old Quarter

    Seema Misra As we hit the streets of Hanoi Old Quarter, it was like entering a magical world. Being Indian, we found the noise and chaos quite familiar and non-threatening. Tiny food vendors on the pavements, the fragrance from each corner, the array of small seats with locals munching on sunflower seeds and sipping never-ending cups of ice tea created an atmosphere quite unique. Some of the roads were packed with backpacker abodes. Millions of things and lives coexist on these tiny lanes, enjoying the coexistence, enjoying the cacophony.   Food is an integral part of Vietnam travel. In Hanoi, like all other Vietnam cities, there are very few billboards.…

  • Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Vietnam

    See You At Lily’s – Artsy Hostel in Hanoi, Old Quarter

    Seema Misra There is something about places with quirky names. While planning our Vietnam travel, we were looking for cheaper hostels and came across Lily’s. We instantly liked it. The high ratings helped us to go for it too. Since it was our first stop, we had a lot of questions on Hanoi, food, tours, our itinerary in general. We wrote to them and got an instant reply from Snowy, one of the staff at the hostel. She was super helpful and addressed our long queries on WhatsApp. We were reassured that Vietnam is a friendly place and a right choice. See You At Lily’s Hostel When we reached Hanoi,…

  • India,  Karnataka,  Travel,  Urban Sketching

    Urban Sketching: Siddhaih Road, Bangalore

    Seema Misra The Urban Sketchers Bengaluru meet in the first week of August was all about automobile repair shops. We met across  Urvashi Theater. A relic from the single screen theater era, this theater was famous for its great sound system. K. C. Nanjunde Gowda, a film producer and prominent businessman of Karnataka, constructed it during the 1970s. Before multiplexes became popular, this was a hep place where college students would hang-out. We walked along the Siddhaih Road and found a nook where we could gather and sketch. The turnout was very good with some newcomers and a guest from Portugal. We also had a few goats who ambled around quite comfortable being…

  • India,  Orissa,  Travel

    Celebrating Indian Handloom Day

    Seema Misra The Amlan Store, of Orissa Cooperative Tasar and Silk Federation Ltd (SERIFED), has beautiful murals showcasing Orissa handloom. I have inherited my love of handlooms from an aunt, whom I have seen wearing absolutely gorgeous handloom sarees. Every trip home includes a shopping trip with my aunt and uncle to get something handloom. The best pampering! Nowadays, where ever I travel, I try to pick up something handloom as a souvenir. I feel so privileged to live in a country with an endless variety of handlooms. It’s the best cloth to wear. Draped as a saree, designed into a crisp skirt, a striking kurta or a shawl –…

  • South India,  Uncategorized,  Urban Sketching,  Visual Journal

    Dust, Noise, and Colors – Urban Sketching at Russell Market

    Seema Misra Russell Market was an assault on the senses – there was movement everywhere, a cacophony of colors and shapes, making it impossible to decide what to sketch. I was walking around the Russell Market area in mid-July with my fellow urban sketchers. A cool breeze kept us company, as we walked around looking for sketching points. We met at the auto stand, opposite St. Mary’s Basilica. And walked up to Russel Market. An old, peach-colored building, with Indo-Islamic style turrets and arched windows, greeted us. As I walked in, abundant flower and fruit shops greeted me. The market building also offers pet shops, gardening equipment, dry fruits, toys, groceries, and…

  • India,  Karnataka,  South India,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal

    Benne Dosa at Gururaj Canteen, the Oldest Dosa Canteen In Davengere

    Seema Misra On our way to Sirsi, on a hot summer afternoon in May, we stopped at Davengere, to sample the Benne Dosas which have made this tiny city so very famous on the Karnataka map. And of course, we wanted to have it at the most authentic place possible. After some scouting around in the busy city street, typical of small towns like this, with fruit vendors, flower sellers, goli soda carts, and small eateries, we gathered that the place to be at is GURURAJ CANTEEN. We walked around, avoided the larger shops with bigger boards until we found out this hole in the wall shop. It was in…