• Goa

    St. Anne Church, Olaulim, Goa

    St. Anne church is a hidden gem in the quiet Olaulim village. We found it while riding around Pomburpa village, during our stay at the Loja. In the evening, churchgoers gather here for mass. The rest of the day, the Church stands quietly. Witnessing life passing by for the last 266 years or so. The gentle sway of trees, the white of the church, and the slightly overgrown and abandoned feel of the garden in front of it … something wild and peaceful.  Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. She is the patron of housewives, women in labor, cabinet makers and miners. Her emblem is a door (I tried…

  • Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Uncategorized,  Vietnam

    Top Things to do in Vietnam

    “Vietnam. It grabs you and doesn’t let you go. Once you love it, you love it forever.” Anthony Bourdain Things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam The French Old Quarters is the heart of Hanoi. It feels straight out of Arabian Nights, with old buildings, temples, pagodas, and markets. Most travelers stay here. It is close by popular destinations, such as the Temple of Literature, Hanoi opera house, National Museum of Vietnamese History, and many temples and pagodas. The best way to see this area is on foot with frequent stops for iced coffee, banh mi1, and bun cha2. 1 The Vietnamese version of a sandwich made with baguette filled with a mix of meats,…

  • Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Vietnam

    Awesome Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam

    I have always wanted to visit South East Asia, and when we finally planned a 2-week trip this year my husband immediately said: “Let’s do Vietnam.” Anthony Bourdain’s enticing depiction of Vietnamese cuisine drew him to the country. For me, it was a book, called Saigon which had been on our bookshelves since I could read. When I grew up, and finally read the book, it took me to a place both familiar and exotic. The maps were pulled up on our laptops and we started planning our journey. Vietnam is a thin narrow strip of land, like Kerala – so it made sense to do a cross-country trip. We chose…

  • Goa,  India,  Travel,  Urban Sketching

    Office of the Post Master General of Goa, Panjim

    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 Bridge is…

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

    Cantonment Railway Station – An Illustrated Travel Story

    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 entire time…

  • Travel,  Urban Sketching,  Vietnam,  Watercolors

    Food Trails in Hanoi Old Quarter

    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.  What catches…

  • Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Vietnam

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

    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, the driver…

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

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

    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 a small…

  • Orissa,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal

    The INTACH Warrior of Orissa: Anil Dhir

    ‘Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’ – Ibn Battuta Orissa is often in the news for all the wrong reasons – a cyclone, famine, political issues. Living outside Orissa for many years, I have often found friends and colleagues clueless about the cultural and historical significance of this ancient land. So, this year I was planning to travel to Bhubaneswar for a longer duration and was keen to explore its cultural footprint. I wanted something beyond the touristy articles listing Khandagiri, Udaygiri, Puri, and Konark. I asked friends, family, and searched online for authentic travel books on Orissa.  This search led me to Mr. Anil Dhir; a…

  • India,  Kerala,  Travel

    Zoned Out at Pepper House

    Pepper House is a hub for arts, with posters of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 still adorning the notice boards. One side of the building faces the canals. I remember seeing the magical view of the waterfront with ships passing through, providing an ideal photo op for lover of this specific setting- maritime, colonial structures, the retro feeling and the leisurely elegance of having a coffee amidst such historical ramparts.