Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Believing In Magic, With #ColgateMagicalStories...

Children are bundles of curiosity. Add to that, creativity, and you'll have an unbeatable combination. Kids always have stories to tell, and an intrinsic curiosity and creativity fuels the budding storyteller in them. More often than not, they come up with imaginative accounts of the most unimaginative scenarios, incomprehensible to us as adults. What I most like about kids when they turn storytellers is that all such stories have the twinkle of innocence in them. Such stories are accounts of mischief, albeit with a message. It is always a joy to enjoy and appreciate a story coming from a child, as opposed to narration from a childish storybook, isn't it? 

It was no different when my six-year-old niece came home a couple of weeks back, on a long weekend. After an hour of her arrival, the doorbell rang for a second time, that day. Being her chirpy self, she ran to the door, prompting me to receive whatever had been brought forth by the person delivering couriers. 

The package was from Colgate and it aimed at inviting #ColgateMagicalStories. The moment she saw the word Colgate, she excitedly proclaimed that it was a gift from her toothpaste brand because she had been wreathing in pain from an aching milk tooth, the previous day at my cousin's place. She liked to believe that it was a surprise for her, to soothe her pain and proclaim the Tooth Fairy's arrival. 

Indeed, the entire package was coming her way, and ensured for her, a fun evening with art 'n' craft and stories. I cut open all the packs for her (that was 'Parental Guidance' for her) and her excitement grew gradually. The next moment she was jumping in joy on seeing all the cute sea animals drawn on the four different packs and it piqued her curiosity to derive meaning out of the titles of the packs, namely Coral Reef, Treasure Hunt, Sea Magic, and Pirate Ship. 

So, here goes the #ColgateMagicalStories she created, that evening. Enjoy it as I did. 
She recognized Blackbeard's ship that was analogical to the huge cruise she had been on, last month, on her vacation.  

She read and analysed that Sadie was an adventurous soul helping Blackbeard discover a hidden treasure. 

One of her school friends has a pet parrot and she began squawking on seeing one drawn on the pack too. She also had a story to tell on how that pet of her friend's had learnt to mimic her. 

She established a connect as to how the comical parrot could guide Blackbeard through rough waters by alerting him against approaching enemies. 

Upon seeing the mermaid, she was awestruck as to how we could assume half-human - half-fish form. Nonetheless, I thought I'll have to tell her about Disney's Mermaid some other day. 

She made the mermaid live in the sea castle with her best friend, Dolphin by her side, also making her own the treasure chest Blackbeard was looking for. Blackbeard successfully reached the treasure by following the Treasure Map that he had charted, with help of his sea friends, Shark and Crab. 

Killer Whale and String Ray blocked his way to the castle to protect the mermaid and her treasure. In the ensuing tussle, the ship hits a big rock and is transformed into wreckage in no time. 

Meanwhile, two of his other friends, Star Fish and Puffer Fish help Blackbeard steal the Treasure from the Mermaid. Having nowhere else to go, Blackbeard returned to the wreckage with Sadie and his Parrot waiting for him. While he narrates to Sadie, the episode that ensued at the Castle, their Treasure is taken custody of, by an Octopus. 

The Octopus is successful in scaring the Puffer Fish, that defends itself by filling water in its stomach and called out to the Sword Fish passing by. It helped Puffer by lifting it on its sword-shaped bill, placing her on the huge Sea Turtle's shell and together, they all disappeared into the deep sea. But, the Star Fish faced the Octopus bravely, as it could regrow its limbs. 

While the Octopus was busy keeping Star Fish at bay, Blackbeard and Sadie returned to land, with their cherished treasure. 

I ended up asking my niece about Sea Horse's role and this is what she had to say. She told me that the male sea horse was carrying eggs in its pouch so it was resting in the coral reef. 

Meanwhile, a clever Lion Fish, with its needle-like spines aimed to harm Sea Horse. In the nick of time, however, Barracuda made a quick move and surprised the Lion Fish thus distracting it and foiling its intention to harm. All the animals that had helped Blackbeard, his parrot and Sadie, also returned to the Reef by evening. 


Everyone clapped for her as the story ended on this note and she felt elated. Kudos to Colgate for encouraging the imaginative souls that our kids are! :)


Sunday, 24 July 2016

#NamahDiaries: Of Jungle Trails & Archaeological Grandeur

This is the last of a three-part series titled #NamahDiaries, elucidating my experiences at a FAM Trip to Namah Resort, Uttarakhand.

Read about Namah: #NamahDiaries: A Rejuvenation Straight From The Heart

Read about their Pratha: #NamahDiaries: Glorifying A 'Pratha'...


There's an adage - 'When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.' It is therefore a matter of instinct that when one is in Corbett, it is but customary to visit the Corbett Landscape for oneself.

However, the escapades with nature had begun within the premises of Namah itself. Picture for instance, the elephants that roam around with tourists on the road that Namah is situated on (witnessed while arriving at the Resort) or the monkeys that welcomed us into the premises and ran across the passage or the Cat and Mynah sitting on the table and window sill (captured from my room, upstairs) or the mighty little beetle on a bonsai (found in abundance all over the Resort).

The most awaited element of this FAM had to be the Jungle Safari, taking us into the Corbett Landscape visible from the vast expanse of the Resort.

Mind you, that the dense forest expanse is different from and barely touched by the open-roof Safari Jeeps that venture on the Landscape's trail.

The thrill of standing in that open-roof Jeep with the windy breeze complementing mild showers of rain is indescribable.

After a dramatic entry into the Landscape by trudging over rocks and dynamic streams of the river, Kosi, we came face to face with the mighty mountains overpowered by a covering of clouds.

Though we were not able spot any tigers, or for that matter, any other wildlife, except for a few Spotted Deer, seen from afar, on the final stretch of the drive.

Spot The Spotted Deer At A Distance! :)

The towering trees of Sagwan and Silver Oak along with sunlight peeping in through the dense canopy made for a memorable sight.

Life-size Sagwan Leaves

Silver Oak Stands Tall

Also, huge ant-hills were aplenty throughout the motorable stretch.

The only consolation to the no-show of fauna was the visit to the Sitabani Temple (or Sitavani Temple - literally Sita's Forest) located inside the dense forest.

Folklore has it that this site was the birth place of twin Princes, Luv and Kush, The temple itself is not visible where the Jeep stops. It appears in sight after one descends a flight of stairs.

The temple is identified by the ASI and is a revered place.

An element of surprise inside the premises were the presence of three cold water springs that sprout from what appears to be an animal's snout.

Two of the three natural springs. :)

The figurines and carvings are ancient and invoke curiosity as to why this site is not as known as Ayodhya, which is Lord Ram's birthplace?

I wish we could have stayed a little bit longer at the Temple, admiring the calm of the forest, but we had to return just in time for our farewell at Namah, as we had to mark our return to Delhi next morning.

Pic Credits to fellow blogger - Vikramjit Rooprai

I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend getaway at Namah. In the sweltering heat of June, the mountain chill and pleasant views provided a respite throughout the journey.

The vibe of being welcomed and being pampered at the Resort, also lent this FAM, a memorable outlook.

Looking forward to return to the hospitality of Namah, soon enough. :)


P.S.: I had been invited by Namah in order to chronicle this experience for my readers. The opinion is mine, by all means. The images are attributed to the Blog and bear its copyright, unless stated otherwise, not to be misused in any manner whatsoever.

Namah is a venture by DS Group, into the world of hospitality, apart from its sister, The Manu Maharani, situated in Nainital.

In case you wish to visit Namah like I did, you can reach out to them by the following means:

Namah, Jim Corbett National Park,
Dhikuli, Ramnagar,
Nainital District, Uttarakhand


Saturday, 23 July 2016

#NamahDiaries: Glorifying A 'Pratha'...

Very recently, I had blogged about my FAM Trip to Namah Resort, Uttarakhand, being the first of a three-part series, aptly titled #NamahDiaries.

Read about it: #NamahDiaries: A Rejuvenation Straight From The Heart

Read about Corbett Landscape: #NamahDiaries: Of Jungle Trails & Archaeological Grandeur

One of the most impressive elements of Namah apart from the sheer expanse of the property, a pool of facilities and scenic views that make you soak in the laid back feel of a perfect weekend getaway, is their Pratha.

Well, I am not exactly referring to the Pratha of zealous and courteous service, that is rendered to their guests, resulting in a pleasant vacation or work-oriented getaway, away from home. I am taking the notch a bit further, by referring to their Pratha, that serves gastronomical delights up its sleeve.

If you haven't got it already, Namah Resort is home to an in-house restaurant, named Pratha, and an in-house bar, named Boond.

The entire vibe of the restaurant is what had appealed to me in the first go. The ambiance at Pratha is what takes the cake, apart from the life-size cake that is offered as dessert too. :)

Where else would you find spacious seating, a sea of variety being at your disposal, live cooking, artistic presentation of various food items and encouragement of talented artistes, all under the same roof?

The first evening at Pratha had concluded with sumptuous dinner, but before that we also had some delicious आलू टिक्की and गोलगप्पा to relish at the live counter, just outside the restaurant.

#WhatsOnMyPlate was on my mind with the plethora of dishes from various cuisines, be it Indian, Oriental, or Italian at my disposal to suit my palate.

Of course, some decadent desserts had to follow before bloggers retired for the night.

Must I admit that the service from stewards is as prompt as it is spot-on. Despite being a full-house during my stay here, the staff at Pratha was at the helm of their accuracy and efficiency.

All levels of hygiene are also maintained by the staff at Pratha at all times, that I had observed, and these minute pointers, if taken care of, go a long way.

You can also enjoy some delicious street food items of the likes of पाव भाजी, Fry-Vegetables or पापड़ी-चाट for instance, at the live cooking counter alongside the Buffet spread during dinner.

Another point to note is that there always plays, some soothing music in the background in mornings and afternoons, while there is a talented singer, who renders his voice to an array of melodies - be it the classics or the new beats - during night, i.e. bringing forth, some live music for you to hum along to, or to even request songs, as you appreciate a good meal that marks the end of the day.

At Pratha, I also admire the fact that presentation of dishes is as valued as their taste. For, even though it was not explicitly specified, yet it was taken care of, that dishes are segregated into sections according to cuisine.

During Breakfast one can relish a host of nutritious delicacies of the likes of fresh cut fruits, sprouts, cornflakes (corn, chocolate or oats), fresh juices or milkshakes, the entirety of South Indian Cuisine (Idli, Sambhar, Vada, Upma, Uttapam, Dosa - on order), omelettes - made to order, baked beans, chicken salami, bacon, or even छोले-भठूरे on one hand, and muffins and donuts for the ones with a sweet tooth, early in the morning.

Such a filling spread made the body shun all the tiredness and replenish its energies for the day to come.

During Lunch and Dinner, similarly, there were an array of delicious offerings from global cuisines - be it Indian, Italian, Oriental, Asian or Continental - to cater to both meal preferences - be it Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian.

Hi-Tea was suitably arranged for, with snacks and hot beverages at our disposal.

The decor is also what scores with me, as far as Pratha is concerned. Their scalloped arch frames overlook the mighty Sitabani hills, the serene River Kosi and lush green landscape, allowing for both indoor and outdoor seating.

While the front entrance to Pratha is from the green lawns adjoining the Pool, the rear opens out into the Open Air Amphitheater. (where our session on the fauna of Corbett, was incidentally held too, being wrapped with a glass full of freshly prepared, refreshing Sugarcane Juice).

Pratha also serves as an entrance itself, to the Recreation center upstairs, which plays host to an array of fun and games.

The bar, Boond is also situated adjacent to Pratha.

Namah believes in following this Pratha and keeping the Indian tradition of serving wholesome food alive, for generations to come.


P.S.: I had been invited by Namah in order to chronicle this experience for my readers. The opinion is mine, by all means. The images are attributed to the Blog and bear its copyright, unless stated otherwise, not to be misused in any manner whatsoever.

Namah is a venture by DS Group, into the world of hospitality, apart from its sister, The Manu Maharani, situated in Nainital.

In case you wish to visit Namah like I did, you can reach out to them by the following means:

Namah, Jim Corbett National Park,
Dhikuli, Ramnagar,
Nainital District, Uttarakhand


Friday, 22 July 2016

#NamahDiaries: A Rejuvenation Straight From The Heart

A luxurious getaway nestled in the lap of nature.
Could one ask for more?

Such a question does not arise when one is a mountain person. It does not, for me at least.
I'm a believer of the fact that opportunity never knocks twice, and so I was quick enough to seize it the moment it came to me.

Led by the premise of International Yoga Day, I had been invited over by the gracious folks at Namah, for #TheRoyalRejuvenation. It has been a month to the day I returned home, yet the heart longs to go back to relive the entirety of the experience.

The weekend of 19-22 June 2016 was attributed to a relaxing, refreshing and rejuvenating getaway to Namah Resort, Uttarakhand.

Must I admit that it was a wise decision to agree to be a part of the 'Blogger's Contingent' as it gifted me memories that would last a lifetime. Add to it the scenic landscapes which were a visual treat. :)

After a seven-hour long journey that included a stopover for lunch at Bikanervala, on the highway and encompassed the areas of Hapur, Gajraula and Amroha to name a few, with scenic views of Ramganga and Garhmukhteshwar, we had reached the expanse of Corbett, with Namah Resort being our calling.

The Caravan had begun on the way itself, with the lush green expanse of the countryside, so to say but it was the musical welcome upon entering the premises of Namah, that set the tone for a weekend brimming with good times.

The Tilak from a Thal comprising of a Dia and the invigorating scent of Champa flowers, lent a traditional feel.

Admiring a gorgeous lotus pond and witnessing the plentiful boughs of Mango trees made all the tiredness vanish from the body, transcending the sense of space and time, to teleport me to my summer vacations at my grandparents' as a child and the times of गुठली-गुलेल. :)

An amazing fact that was revealed to us was regarding the Welcome Drink served to all guests at Namah. While most of us were guessing it to be a spin-off on Strawberries or Roohafza, it turned out that it had been prepared using Rhododendron! (which is also interestingly, the state tree of Uttarakhand)

Each element at Namah is an experience in itself. The vast expanse of the aesthetically developed and maintained Resort has given way to the in-house carts that are meant for ferrying guests all over the property. Such is the paradox of being vast, yet concise, appreciating the beauty of whatever one is able to witness first hand.

Needless to say, their Premium Room was a delight to stay in!

Have a look for yourselves and experience some envy... :)

Apart from 16 Premium Rooms, Namah also boasts of 28 Superior Rooms and 4 Suites.

Our first evening at Namah concluded with another elegant performance by artists in true-blue Kumaoni folk form. Have a look at the Garwhali dancers for yourselves:

Good thing was, we bloggers too, were invited to try our amateur selves at the traditional dance form in the midst of glistening moonlight from a serene full moon and a gentle breeze.

The Resplendent Full Moon Welcomes! :)


The next morning was to begin on an early note with the warm, bright sun emerging from amid the mighty mountains of Sitabani and the trickling waters of River Kosi in sight.

On the eve of International Yoga Day, all of us gathered by the poolside and were acquainted with the ancient practice of Kunjal Kriya and Jala Neti, meant to cleanse our systems, followed by lukewarm honey, ginger and lemon infused water.

What came next was an invigorating hour long session of Yoga - conjunction of the mind and body - as detailed by our instructor, Mr. Tarun, at Namah's banquet - Kosi (partitioned into Halls 1 & 2).

The breakfast spread at Pratha seemed all the more welcoming once we were done with the Yoga session for the day! :)

One of the many elements of the Buffet Spread. 

Besides some social media frenzies for Likes and Re-tweets with an ongoing poolside activity in the afternoon, there was also scheduled, a talk by renowned naturalist, Mr. Imran Khan on the fauna of Corbett at Namah's amphitheater in the evening, post Hi-Tea.

Mr. Khan was there to brief us about the importance of tigers in the ecosystem, whilst also informing us that if one comes to Corbett solely for the sake of Tigers, it would be a disrespect to the other unique fauna inhabiting the forest.

The Amphitheater visible from a distance. 

He also quoted Vidura from Mahabharata:

Don’t destroy the forest, don’t kill the tiger. 
You cannot have forest without tigers, nor tigers without forest. 
The forest protects the tigers, the tigers the forest. 

We decided to call it a day by wrapping up the session with a glass of fresh sugarcane juice, but I guess more was yet to come, in the form of a #MondayMojito Twitter Quiz Contest focusing on 'Namah Trivia' hosted by Namah post dinner, wherein Yours Truly won a Mojito delivered at her doorstep! :)


Next morning, dawned International Yoga Day. Besides Yoga, however, we also had a 'QR Code' Treasure Hunt, which led us to tour the beautiful property in a way. 

Next came the most awaited Jungle Safari scheduled for the day, which came along with its share of an open-roof Safari Jeep. 

The surprise element in the Safari was the Sitabani Temple, located in the dense forest, which stands true to the stance of archaeological elegance to date. 

Must I also mention before I close this account, Namah also boasts of a wonderful spa, Tatva, a gym, and a recreation center, which is entirely different from the Play Area, complete with swings, as visible from my Room, so be sure to avail all these facilities when you pay a visit to Namah for your rendition of #TheRoyalRejuvenation! :)

For now, all I want is to while the evening away, shunning all the stress, paving way for another Weekend Getaway. What say, Namah? :)

All in all, Namah Resort played a wonderful host to us bloggers on the occasion of International Yoga Day, with #TheRoyalRejuvenation. 

More on the scenic beauty that Corbett Landscape is (witnessed during Jungle Safari) and the decadent food at Pratha, in my subsequent posts of #NamahDiaries. Head here to read more about it.

Wrapping up with the last sunset witnessed at Namah and #TheRoyalRejuvenation. 


P.S.: I had been invited by Namah in order to chronicle this experience for my readers. The opinion is mine, by all means. The images are attributed to the Blog and bear its copyright, unless stated otherwise, not to be misused in any manner whatsoever. 

Namah is a venture by DS Group, into the world of hospitality, apart from its sister, The Manu Maharani, situated in Nainital.

In case you wish to visit Namah like I did, you can reach out to them by the following means: 

Namah, Jim Corbett National Park, 
Dhikuli, Ramnagar, 
Nainital District, Uttarakhand


Until then, a humble Namah from the hills and beyond! :)