Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#Giveaway : Bucket List of a Traveloholic by Sarika Pandit


bring to you a chance to win a copy of

and a voucher worth Rs 500/- from

About the book
While her B - School batch-mates are busy scrambling for top jobs and grades, restless Sarika dreams of putting on her running shoes and having all the pages of her passport stamped by the age of thirty.  What follows is a frenzied quest of not just collecting stamps but ticking off items off her ever-expanding bucket list, From learning the local language in Spain to an alcohol trail through Greece, from a tryst with Shakespeare and Jane Austen in the United Kingdom to an encounter with the Vampire in Romania, from straddling the border of two countries in the Middle East to a road trip through Morocco to the Sahara, each experience bringing her a little closer to reaching that final destination on her passport.  A journey of falling in love with globetrotting - this one promises to be one of the best roller-coaster reading experiences you will have this year. 

Read my review of this book here.

Tell us about your favourite travel destination. And tell us why you think everyone needs to visit it at least once! Leave your answer in the comments section below.

Terms & Conditions:

·      Giveaway is only for residents of India.
·      Decision taken by the judges will be final and cannot be disputed.
·    The contest is open to all residents in India, albeit residing in places where couriers deliver.
·      Only entries in English will be considered eligible for the contest.
·  Submitted entries should be your original work; no plagiarism shall be entertained.
·       Two entries per person are allowed.
    Contest ends on  July 10, 2014.



  1. Paris is my Favourite destination and there is not one but hundreds of reasons why Everyone should visit it once.

    To be lost in an unknown city meeting 10000 stramgers for dinner near the Eiffel tower.
    To sit in the adjoining park with a bottle of wine and some cheese and wait for clock to strike 10 to see the Iron lady Twinkle.
    To visit he catacombs which show the darker side.
    To go and see if Mona Lisa Smiled.
    Go to the flea market and act like a parisian.

    Just Imagine
    It is 10 at night and you take the slow elevator up the Eiffle.. As Light drizzle hits the Eiffle you step out onto the top floor ,all of Paris is at your feet.
    These are just few of them... So many reasons why one should visit paris.

  2. Mecloadganj (Dharamshala)

    No matter what everyone says their favorite destination is somewhere abroad mine is here in this country. Surrounded by the Himalayan Dhauldhar ranges Mecloadganj tells the story of human struggle and hope within the struggle. This is the place where I realized what I wanted, met some great travelers and friends who are as lost as I am but we all know that one day we will find what we want like those goats who starts traveling from here to Kashmir with their masters often lose their way but they know they'll be home one day. Like the Tibetans who lost their home but still hope to return home, to their lands one day.

    This place has an aura, a feel that will make you feel positive from morning to evening, Nature has bestowed this land with beauty and you'll realize it wherever you go. Trek upto the Triund Hills and Beyond, visit Dharamshala and cycle in Kangra Valley or just have a walk towards Naddi and stay with the Shepherds and even if you are sitting somewhere on a roof just staring at the mighty Himalayas you can keep on doing that for hours. When it snows in winters a white blanket covers the city and in summers this city glazes in vivid colors.

    My stay in Mecloadganj was probably the best times I ever spent with friends and travelers, I can't wait to be there when it starts snowing.

  3. VIENNA. A place I want to Visit

    It is my dream destination. Along with Venice (a place I am fascinated with because it is surrounded by water)

    But if I had to pick one place, I’d pick Venice, Austria.
    Most people would pick a place for it appeals to them and if Vienna is their choice, it’d most probably be because it is the “City of Dreams”, “City of Music” and of course, Danube !

    But I pick Vienna for a very different reason. My reason is a book. A book by Betty Neels titled “Magic In Vienna” (Oh please give me a break, I had just started high School when I read it and Harlequin romances are allowed at that age). Though the book by itself is not “mind blowing”, I am very emotionally attached to it.

    I did not have much time with my parents and I have always wanted to learn things about them. There are a lot of stories about my father that are told even today. His pranks, how he charmed everyone etc and about mother, it’s always;” she was very quiet, loving and read a lot”. When I started High school, 2 huge gunny sacks were brought down from the attic and given to me.
    My mother’s collection of Novels.

    I hadn’t pegged Amma to someone who enjoyed reading English novels much less M&B / Harlequin. Much to my amazement, there in that stack of wonderful Kannada Novels, were 2 English Novels. One was “Magic In Vienna”. Incidentally, it was also my first English Novel as I had only read Kannada till then.

    It was after reading “Magic in Vienna”, that I decided to travel to Vienna and Venice, at least once in this lifetime. I know how I visualized Vienna when I was reading the book. It is illogical but I have this feeling that Amma felt very similar too. Amma would want to visit too but couldn’t because she did not live to.

    It might me being desperate to feel her presence but that is how it is. I want to go there and feel the City and then tell Amma, “Look, here we are!” (Please don’t think I am a loony but yes a belief seeped into my mind in my formative years that Amma is with me when I read fictions and is waiting for me to take her to Vienna)

    Sigh. I want to go to Vienna for Amma. For myself. For us. To feel that she is still around me and to tell her that “We made it. We are seeing what Cordelia saw when she first landed in Vienna”

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  5. London is one of the most talked about places in the world but if you ask me there is a lot left unsaid about the place which cannot be put into words.
    When my favourite fictional character Mrs. Dalloway was going on about her childhood sweetheart, I really wanted to shake her shoulders and coerce her to tell me how London looked back then.
    Coming back to reality, one can spend days in London, trying to replace the spaces in their lives with spaces between paintings in multifarious galleries that never end. One can ogle at ancient Egyptian mummies to paintings by artists like Da Vinci and Van Gogh. Red buses, handsome men, sober elite days, voluptuous nights and Big Ben striking will stay etched in your mind forever.
    You can sit near the bank of river Thames and that is when you'll know how London inspired authors like John Dryden, William Blake, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, Keats and so many others to write so beautifully. You can try your hand at poesy if you’re inspired enough by then or otherwise, take a pack of famous Chips and Dips to the EDF Energy London Eye, a giant ferris-wheel. Let it take you to the sky and watch everything else passing by. The lights will be enough to make London and your life glow in the night. You won't remember what you saw while you were on the ferris-wheel-swing but you'll never feel that elevated ever again, I promise!!

  6. Rock Shelters of BheemBetka : UNESCO world heritage site

    First I visited there in 2011, as soon as I reached at site I felt am in stone age.

    Close your eyes and just imagine. You are born in a time where you have no food to eat,no home and nothing to wear. You roam around without clothes, hunt a deer for dinner and make hard rocks your bed.But, where survival is more important than shame.

    Among hunters some are more than hunters, probably they wanted to tell us their stories ?

    They do not know how to sing, they can't write or speak a word. There was no canvas, no paint, no brush.But they knew how to say their story. The vignettes are made on the rock surface where their habitation lies. They made sketches beating the rock surface.Those sketches on rocks depicts chasing an animal,dancing around fires on moonlight, the moon, the sun, the river, the nature.Their story of happiness, their story of survival.They wrote their stories on rocks of Bheembetka some 30,000 years ago.

    Each time I visit, those stories question my privileges which offered to me by default. Stories taught me to be humble and practice gratitude.

    That's the story of artistic evolution of Humankind.

    That's still my favorite place to visit and I recommend everyone to at least visit once in your life time.

  7. My favourite travel destination- Kashmir

    Why everyone should visit it at least once-
    It is the paradise on earth. In India itself! Kashmir is a magical wonderland of high Himalayan mountains, lush green valleys, snow fed high altitude lakes, streams and rivers, spectacular landscape with the great diversity in culture and tradition. Paradise for its beauty and tourists interests like holiday on a houseboat, pilgrimage tours, mountaineering, trekking, snow skiing, rafting, water skiing, trout fishing, river rafting.

    Charming meadows, stay at houseboats, breathtaking views- Kashmir will never disappoint you. Srinagar is the highlight of Kashmir. It is a city of lakes and mountains that climb directly out of those lakes. Srinagar, nestled in the beautiful Kashmir valley has Dal lake as the center of attraction.
    From Srinagar, one can explore the rest of Jammu & Kashmir and visit destinations like Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Gulmarg. Katra in J & K is the starting point for those wanting to visit Vaishno Devi Temple. From breathtaking beauty to spiritual salvation, the state of Jammu & Kashmir offers it all.

    Make your next holiday special in J & K. Srinagar, located in predominantly Muslim Kashmir in far north India, is one of the top 10 hill stations in India. A place of splendid natural beauty, it's often referred to as the "Land of Lakes and Gardens" or the "Switzerland of India". The gardens have a distinctly Mughal influence, as many of them were cultivated by Mughal emperors.

    Kashmir is a jewel of a destination. It is a place which can be re-visited time and again. Hence, my reasons. :)

  8. As part of my #KFBlueMile trip i was taken to Andaman Islands last year! I went to some of the best exotic Islands like Havelock Nile Elephant beach. We also went from Port blair to Diglipur on the Grand trunk road that connects these two places. On the way to Diglipur we encountered the Jarawa tribe on the way to Rangat. and at Diglipur we visited the Only Limestone caves of India at baratang.

    But what was the best part of the trip was the visit to Ross and Smith Island a few nautical miles from the Diglipur jetty! Ross and Smith Islands are known as the Twin Islands of Andaman and Nicobar group of islands. Ross and Smith islands are actually two islands – Ross and Smith joined together to make a single group of islands. These are one of the must watch places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    There are beach chairs on the shores of both islands.Water is crystal clear and gem green in color. Sun bathing in Ross and Smith Islands is a wonderful experience that can be had only after visiting them.

  9. Dream Destination : CANADA

    O Canada! Their National Anthem seems to be my anthem. One country that has always been on my bucket list is this North American land.

    The second most largest nation in the world has some mesmerising locations spread through East to West.

    From Halifax in Nova Scotia to Montreal in Quebec to Toronto in Ontario to Vancouver in British Columbia.

    Also what better day about describing Canada than the Canada Day itself (July 1st).

    Once in a lifetime I have to visit this country. I want to walk in the morning at -20 Degrees Celsius sipping hot coffee from Tim Hortons.

    Sitting on a bench in park watching Maple leaves falling during the Autumn season or as they say the "Fall".

    Diving into the Niagara Falls, though its not practically feasible.

    Playing with snowman when all roads get blocked due to heavy snowfall.

    Oh so much to do in Canada, hope I arrive in this country soon.

  10. For me it has to be the Andaman islands. Having fun in the cool waters of the seas during the day time, collecting shells and corals from the beaches or if you are of the adventurous type going for a round of paragliding and scuba diving and then having the lunch on one of the temporary sheds in the beach will really make you forget about your daily life.

    In the afternoon you can have a visit to the nearest aquarium to have a glimpse of the beautiful aquatic life and mostly you will find rare species of colourful fishes there collected from the seas. For the romantic hearted, in the evening you can troll through the beach in a full moon lit night and sip through some fresh coconut water. That will be a amazing experience with the gentle sea waves kissing the shores.

    And in the night lit up a bonfire by the shores, enjoy a night party and after that you can slowly move back to your seashore huts and just lay back with a gentle sea breeze blowing through your open window. It will be completely unforgettable moments.

  11. While most cities in India are a milieu of various cultures and regions, very rarely do you come across a city like Pondicherry which is as much French as it is Indian. History has it that the French East India Company occupied this city way back in 1674 and held on it for almost 300 yrs till 1956 when they gave it back to India. It therefore goes without saying that the French influence on this city is huge.

    Any first time visitor to the French quarter of Pondicherry, or Puducherry as it is called right now, will be transported to an entirely different world. While the newer parts of the city are pretty much like every other city in South India, the French quarter has to be seen to be believed. The street names which start with 'Rue' (the French word for road), the bakeries selling hot cakes, bread and pastries on all the streets, the eateries which serve delicious lipsmacking Continental food, the old style French villas, the guest houses with their balconies overlooking the Bay of Bengal, these are just some of the reasons why Pondicherry remains a favorite weekend haunt of all Chennai residents.

    For the spiritually inclined, Auroville, an ashram-like habitat build by their own hands by disciples and followers of The Mother is only around 15 odd kms away from Pondicherry, and is a must-do item on the itinerary to this city. The last remains of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother themselves are situated in the Aurobindo Ashram within the French quarter of the city. And the serenity that the ashram exudes has to be experienced to be believed, no words can do true justice to that feeling.

    If you are someone looking for relaxing weekend away from the rat race, the humdrum of a regular 9 to 5 job, the hassles of the long daily commute, then Pondicherry is the place to be. A French riviera situated well within driving distance from Chennai.

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  13. Mumbai...Amchi Mumbai

    The name is enough to make my day. It had always been my dream to visit this city one day and I got this opportunity only in 2013. A year back I landed in Mumbai and instantly I fell in love with the city. (P.S It felt that way at the airport and I was yet to step out to the city)

    Few places emit this warmth when you land. (Unlike the warmth in Kolkata which is contributed by the temperature), Mumbai was one such place.

    I couldn’t wait to explore the city and signed up for Mumbai Darshan the next day. The hustle bustle around you captivates you. I love the place when its buzzing with energy, and Mumbai tops the list. The icing on the cake was of course Salman’s residence but the cherry on top was the juhu beach.(Apart from the filth Vs cleanliness which Sea facing people argue, water makes me attain my inner peace).

    The beach lets you be the kid again, while you run behind the golas/chuskas which are yumm flavored with Milkmaid. The hot vada pavs, and the buttery pav bhajis, the corn roasted on the charcoal or be the famous Mumbai kulfi wala with the tokri. You would go back to your childhood days of those local melas and the colorful things you get to shop around.

    Of course I took the local train to live those #LocalTrainTales and see if women actually go through those entire epicness of conversation which they tweet about. Trust me you wouldnt be disappointed and would conclude that Marathi is well used when you are abusing someone.

    Late night was meant to try the Necklace road and zip through those roads taking in everything the city has to offer. The pavement is free to sit down and watch the waves hit the shore and elude you to escape from the realities of life. Accompanying you always is the garam garam Channa, roasted peanuts or the tangy mangoes.

    You never need a company to enjoy Mumbai, you can run through the flashback and fast forward of phases of life while you sit and watch people on the necklace road.

    People of Mumbai never disappoint you. You can always find them full of life and thank your stars for their company (No I am not exaggerating; You have to experience to believe it). They do live their life to the fullest and are always welcoming.

    I dont think any other place in the world can give me high the way Mumbai does. I have visited it only twice and the only city which made me give a thought to relocation.

    So people who wants to feel the energy, warmth and affectionate in the air, need to visit Mumbai!

  14. My favourite travel destination is Kutch, Gujarat. I love visiting kutch-my village, my mother's home and the near by villages. Last four five years, I have been travelling to kutch every year in December, and still I have lots to explore. Visiting kutch brings me closer to my roots.
    'Kutch nahi dekha toh kuch nai dekha' states Mr. Amitabh Bachchan in the Gujarat tourism tvcs, and how true it is. Be it The Great Rann of Kutch, or the famous Mataji no madh, or Narayan sarovar from where you can have a great view of Arabian sea. The beautiful Jain Temples, Madhai port, the city of Bhuj, Anjaar and Gandhidham are tourist attractions!
    The best thing I find about Kutch is, I don't have to think twice before going on and on in kutchi (my mother tongue). Everyone knows kutchi and every visit teaches me something new about my culture and my language.

  15. Considering am from Mumbai, my favorite getaway is Kashid Beach.

    It is a mesmerizing place. On one side, there it has green mountains with really tall trees which looks absolutely beautiful and on the other is the cleanest beach I have ever come across. It's a white water beach which is so clean that you can see through very clearly deep down even when you are pretty far ahead in the sea water.
    To add to this beauty is awesome Maharashtrian Thali that you get there. It is home cooked by the villagers residing there. Me being a vegetarian, only had the vegetarian food, but my non-veg eater friends loved the Konkani fish available. Pretty authentic and delicious according to them. And everything is as good as home made, as there is not much commercialization there yet. Thank God!
    And why is there not much commercialization, because not many know and visit the place. It really has nothing much to offer as far as travelling/adventure is concerned. But, because of it being secluded from the hype, it is a perfect getaway for a busy Mumbaikar. Stay there for a couple of days, enjoy the coconut water, food, beach, water sports and most of all... nothingness.
    After the trip you are rejuvenated. Fresh and ready to challenge Life, again. :D

  16. Dream travel destination? I don't need to think twice before I say "McLeod Ganj".
    Ever since I was a kid, I always had a strange fascination for the mountains and the seas. While the seas seem like a friend, whom you can always turn to when you need someone to talk to, the mountains were always like an elder in the family. Wise beyond the years, calm and serene. Someone in whose lap you can rest, and know that everything will be somehow okay. Someone whom you can turn to for advice when the world weighs you down.
    When it comes to mountains, not for me the daunting heights and cold of the Himalayas. I prefer the warmth (not literally) of McLeod Ganj. I have never been there, but I have seen a lot of it on the web, movies etc. to develop a strong desire to go there some day. The way I look at it, it would be quite akin to a kid returning home after a long journey - the mother waiting to welcome him with a warm embrace. I could tell you about the tourist attractions in and around this place, but none would explain the real reason why I want to be there - to feel like I have come home.

  17. Thanks for all the answers!! The winner of the contest is Mr BN Gupta (Stupidthoughts).

    The author also particularly liked another entry, and has hence chosen a runner up!! This prize goes to Bhargavi Dev K).

    Congratulations to the winner. We will be back with another contest soon!


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