Jul 21, 2014

Alila Diwa Goa - Hotel Review

Alila Diwa Goa, approx 20mins driving distance from Goa Dabolim International airport, is a lovely property situated cosily between lush green paddy fields and soothing Gonsua Beach in Majorda. As I approached it, I could sense the peace of leaving behind chaotic traffic sounds. The south end room that I was allotted had a beautiful view from the balcony. Large green fields, cows and buffaloes grazing on them and the fields lined with tall coconut trees. For a person like me who landed here directly from the concrete jungle of Bangalore, the sight was heavenly!

S P A C I O U S  R O O M !

As I walked into the room I felt I could easily throw all my body parts around and still not feel cramped. The bathroom was a room too, very well planned and included in the room yet separated well with huge sliding doors. When did I visit Goa last? May be it was during the initial months of married life when I was too dazed to notice anything. Not this time! I had time enough and plenty to walk through all their facilities and I enjoyed the whole experience!

Before I checked in I was asked to mail in my choice on various factors, one among them was that of pillows from the pillow menu! Now that was a first time for me! They have a wide range: Super soft, cotton comfort, cervical support pillow, non allergenic pillow and more. I saw no reason to call in for their room service.


Two of their facilities that I found very well equipped and furnished were the gym and kids area. Those families with young kids and toddlers have more reason to have happy hour at the gym and pool. The staffs at their kids’ corner are well trained and parents can leave their children there while they sweat in gym or soak in pool.

The infinity pool is fairy tale like! It faces the paddy fields with coconut trees standing tall providing natural shade in the noons. Notice the sunken pool furniture where one can enjoy a beer while soaking in the pool. I was almost tempted to take a dip there but had to give it a miss owing to my commitments in the city. The evenings here, with sun setting at the horizon visible from the pool are just not to be missed I was told.

Yet another place to escape from all tensions (including nagging family members) of life is their spa! Spa Alila is stuffed with signature oils and creams, here I allowed myself to be lavishly pampered by the nimble but strong fingers of a young masseuse. The spa provides unique treatments, blending ancient Asian and Ayurveda healing techniques with age-old beauty recipes featuring the curative benefits of fresh, natural and quality ingredients.

Food became a very enjoyable part of my stay here. The buffet meal in its spacious dining area easily tops my list of ‘memorable gastronomic experience’! The Spice Studio there showcases Indian cuisine from the Northwest Frontier, Awadh & Hyderabad, South East Coast and Gorgeous Goa. I chose the northwest frontier dishes and they were lip smacking finger licking good dishes. VIVO is their ‘live kitchen restaurant’ which is open 24 hours The Edge Bar and Lounge is a chic poolside bar great for sundowners with an outdoor deck.


Jul 19, 2014

Faces of India - 170

The things tourists do for photographing themselves!!! I saw these two boys wake up this sleeping dog, pat it and pose with it. While his friends were taking his pics, I didn’t let the opportunity slip and framed them quickly. This picture was taken in Old Goa.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here


Jul 17, 2014

Skies Over Goa

I am on a short holiday to Goa for this weekend. I am looking forward to a great time there. Couple of pictures taken from aircraft a short while before it touched down at the airport.

SkyWatch Friday 

Jul 14, 2014

Chettinad Temples

The Chettiyar (earlier known as Nagarathars) community of Chettinad region constructed temples wherever possible. Like in other communities, this community too had clans. Each clan was associated with one temple with its own water tank. Each clan had their own rules and protocols to be maintained. The temple committee often played a big role in town planning, and a flourishing city soon developed around these temples.

These are some of the pictures of the interiors of the temples. Not all of them allow photography; wherever they permitted I clicked to my heart’s content. The sculted figures are so life like, almost telling a story.

Nine of these temples are the most famous ones. Illaiyathangudi, Mathoor, Vairavankoil, Nemamkoil, Illupaikudi, Surakuddi, Velangudi, Iraniyur and Pillaiyarpatti. Very complex names, but all are reachable and we toured them in a span of threes days crisscrossing the entire Chettinad region.

Each temple is unique. Religious activities dominated the daily life of people in these regions for centuries. The traditions and rituals handed down generations after generations and watching them perform these activities is interesting and valuable.


One unusual aspect that was shared with me was that: People within the same temple are considered as siblings. The bride and groom should belong to different temples if they are to be married. Mathur temple is one exception where there are subdivisions within the temple. So marriage among brides and grooms of certain subdivisions are permitted.


Our World Tuesday 

Jul 12, 2014

Movenpick in Bangalore

The summers are long gone; rains have drenched the Bangaloreans more than once in this season yet their craving for ice cream never seems to end. World famous ice cream brands seem to home in on Indians’ indulgence, craving and their willingness to buy on impulse.

Latest in the market here is the famous Swiss chain Movenpick. I was one of the few lucky bloggers who attended their pre launch bloggers’ meet. We were presented with wide range of dessert combinations. It was hard for me to be loyal to one of them. I tasted one ice cream I swore it is THE best I ever tasted, but as soon as I tasted the next one I voted the next one THE best! It was hard for me to choose one!

Caramelita. Two scoops of Caramelita ice cream on base of cream with caramel sauce topped with caramel pieces and garnished with wafer biscuit and whipped cream...

Peche Melba. Two scoops of Vanilla ice cream placed on poached peaches drizzled with raspberry sauce, garnished with whipped cream and topped with almond flakes...

What I liked best is that: their products are made without artificial additives, artificial flavorings or artificial colors! With this Natural Policy they have developed several innovations over the years, ever since they started in 1948. It is hard for ordinary ingredients to match this.

I also like their impeccable presentation of their desserts, though I am not sure if I have been able to do full justice in capturing their presentation.

The shakes kept coming... You can choose from over 20 flavours to make your own shake...


The Movenpick joint is located at Lavelle Road, Bangalore. It is a cute little place to hang around and they have the take home packs too. The affluent consumer base and the ‘newly conscious of natural products’ young adults are definitely going to enjoy this brand!

The happy team of Movenpick in Bangalore.