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Think Cheesecake, and you automatically think of the creamy, textural New York version of this rich dessert. Because let’s accept it, there’s New York Cheesecake and then there are the rest. In the New York version of the dessert too, there are two variants – NY creamy cheesecake and NY baked. My preferences tilt slightly in favour of the latter. But that’s not to say I don’t gorge on the creamy variety every opportunity I get. Every mouthful of this layered dessert gets me wondering – ‘how does this taste so bloody good?’ So, I decided to delve deeper into the origin and process that lends this iconic dessert quite an unmatchable mix of flavours. Here’s what I learnt: Origin They say that the first-ever cheesecake (which was quite nothing like the ones we are used to eating today) was created on island of Samos in Greece back in…

In summer, it is the perfect retreat from the sweltering heat. In winter, it is a snowy wonderland. There’s no wrong season to explore the breathtaking landscape of the many beautiful places in Kashmir. Time is the only thing you need on your side. Ironically, time is a luxury many of us do not have. But that shouldn’t hold you back from planning a trip. If you’ve got just a handful of days to spare, this Srinagar to Pahalgam itinerary will set you up for a memorable trip: Day 1: Srinagar to Pahalgam Arrive in Srinagar on an early morning flight, hire a taxi for your Srinagar to Pahalgam journey at the airport itself and head off straight to the Valley of Shepherd. It’s a two-hour journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam, so you should be at your destination by lunch. Treat yourself to a hearty meal, get some rest. Head…

A picturesque hill town, with a breezy, frothy river flowing steadfast beside it, large patches of lush green meadows peeping through a thick cover of towering pine trees, a pleasant nip in the weather, and air so fresh you can feel it cleanse your city-riddled insides – a trip to Pahalgam Kashmir offers the perfect antidote to the stuffy, sweaty days of summer. So, after spending two atrocious weeks moving houses, we jet-setted straight to this haven of all things charming and beautiful. Here’s a glimpse into our two-day trip to Pahalgam Kashmir: Srinagar to Pahalgam After landing in Srinagar and spending the night there, we started off for Pahalgam in the morning. There are two approaches to get from Srinagar to Pahalgam – via Awantipora and via Anantnag. We settled for the latter since it runs mainly through national highways and Google Maps recommended it as the shorter route.…

Think eating out in Kashmir, and you think of cosy restaurants with carpeted flooring, wood panelling and a sumptuous wazwan spread. A fantasy-themed cafe – one dedicated to the iconic Game of Thrones, no less – is a clear break-away from this norm. This is what makes the Winterfell Cafe on Boulevard Road by the Dal Lake an exciting new attraction on Srinagar’s map. Set up by two friends, Kamran Nisar and Ummar, Winterfell Cafe Srinagar is not just a tribute to the most legendary TV series of our times but also a glimpse into the refreshing new outlook of Kashmir’s youth or at least a section of it. I had first learnt about this GoT-inspired cafe while researching an article on fantasy-themed restaurants in India, and it had been on my radar since. So when a trip to Kashmir materialised, a meal at Winterfell Cafe Srinagar went right at…

Warm hospitality lies at the heart of Kashmiriyat. However, the palpable sense of an uneasy calm inhibits most travellers from experiencing this fabled hospitality from close quarters. So, on a recent trip to Kashmir, I set out to experience the richness of this land through its food because the cuisine of a place holds the mirror its soul. My quest led me to Ahdoos, one of the finest and most popular restaurants in Srinagar to sample the best of Kashmiri dishes. Set in an old, restored building, Ahdoos on Residency Road near Regal Chowk is situated just off the main road, cloaked by an array of road-side shops. Despite the slightly obscured location, the giant sign postings, along with a little help from Google, make finding this landmark on Srinagar’s cityscape a cinch. During my lunch visit to Ahdoos, the place was undergoing renovation in parts, so there wasn’t much…

Let me set out by saying a three-day trip to Italy is too less to explore this diversely beautiful country, which has a plethora of drop-dead gorgeous places to visit. I was stuck on this timeline because a) it was my last few days in Europe and b) I was on a student budget. My place of residence was Bremen, Germany, which had a direct (and fairly inexpensive) flight to Venice, and hence, I decided to visit one of the most coveted tourist spots on the planet. Honestly, one of the best decisions I ever made. My cousin and I decided to not only visit Venice, but also spend a day in the nearby Shakespearean city of Verona as we wanted to explore as much as we possibly could on this short three-day trip to Italy. Three-day Trip to Italy: Venice Dos and Don’ts – Budgeting: Italy is expensive so…

Our Himalayan neighbour, Nepal, abounds in sublime serenity with a constant backdrop of mountains juxtaposed with curtains of fluttering prayer flags. With its majestic views of the Himalayas, golden temples, charming villages, dense jungles, exotic wildlife, trekking trails and adventure activities, Nepal is without a doubt one of the greatest destinations for any travel enthusiast. Given our geographical proximity and friendly relations with this Himalayan nation, travelling to Nepal is as easy as it gets. And you can pull this trip off without any sizeable dent in your pocket. To help you get started, here is a complete Nepal travel guide from India: Things to Do in Nepal Think Nepal, and you obviously think of towering mountain peaks. That’s only appropriate given that the country is home to the highest mountain peak on earth. While mountains are the biggest drawcard for tourists in Nepal, there is a lot more to…

Having put in a great deal of effort in planning a budget trip to Singapore, it was finally time for me to bring on the vacation mode and kickstart a memorable trip with my family. After landing at Changi Airport, we headed straight to our hotel after breakfast. We reached the hotel before the check-in time, and despite it being a budget hotel, the staff was courteous enough to make us comfortable and arrange for an early check-in. We were also fortunate to find an Indian eatery– ABC Nasi Kandar – right around the corner from our hotel. The staff at the restaurant was of Malaysian descent but they spoke Tamil. My mom managed to build a good rapport with them since she knows Tamil. We frequented this place for breakfast on all five days of our stay in Singapore. The nearest metro station was the Kallang MRT station, a…

Hopping beaches, riding rented scooters in your ganjis and shorts, lazying at the shacks with cool beers for company, partying at Club Cubana or Mambo’s, and coming back home with a new tattoo – that’s the quintessential Goa holiday in a nutshell. But when your travel party comprises four generations of a family, in the age group of 70 to 4 years, mainstream Goa adventures don’t quite cut it. This unusual travel plan compelled us to look for offbeat experiences in Goa for a recent trip and led us to discover that this dainty little state has a lot more to offer than a coastal vibe and a wild party scene. Based on our explorations, here are my top picks for offbeat experience in Goa for a fulfilling, fun-filled holiday: Dolphin Spotting Dolphin Spotting has of late become one of most sought-after offbeat experiences in Goa. In North Goa, you…

I took to travelling a year-and-a-half ago. While most of my life, someone or the other has pushed me into things I have later regretted, this time it is working wonders for me; thanks to my best friend Nitin who came to my rescue. I am Aksshay Pathak and I am a workaholic traveller. Sounds complicated, right? In five years of my professional journey, I had hardly managed to travel. At one point, my work was becoming an all-consuming presence taking over every other aspect of my life. That’s when the blissful experience of travelling was introduced to me. Lately, I discovered most of the people around me hardly venture out owing to the perception that travel is expensive. The objective of sharing my experience is to motivate everyone with a passion to explore new places to pack their bags and travel more often. What if I told you I…