5 Best South Indian Meat Specials

25 January  |  Listicles

When you are exploring Southern India you have to try the local cuisines to complete your experience. This part of India boasts a very diverse range of non-vegetarian dishes, from chicken and seafood to savoury red meat preparations. Here are some of the most celebrated South Indian non veg recipes that you can tuck yourself into.

Pork Curry, Karnataka

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No discussion of Coorg will be complete without a mention of the region’s signature dish. Pandi curry or pork curry is a meat lover’s delight. Along with the delicious proteins and fats of pork, you also get to taste the different spices and garnishes that will whisk you away to those verdant Kodava hills. One of the main ingredients that help set Coorg pork curry apart is the local vinegar or kachampuli. Pandi curry was traditionally served using wild boar meat but nowadays farmed pork is the meat of choice. Enjoy your dish with kadambuttu, or rice balls.

Gonguru Mamsam, Andhra Pradesh

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We all know how spicy Andhra cuisine can get. One of the hallmark dishes of this diverse cuisine is gonguru mamsam, a mutton curry made in culinary heaven. After frying the curry base (Cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds, onions, ginger and garlic) pre-boiled meat is added into the mix along with other ingredients like red chilli powder, green chillies, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, gongura leaves, turmeric, curry leaves, chopped coriander, salt and water. This mutton dish is best eaten with rice and generous dollops of ghee.

Chepa Pulusu, Telangana

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The chepa pulusu is arguably the most loved fish dish in Andhra cuisine. It is essentially fried fish thrown into a flavourful tamarind curry and featuring a host of spices. Pour water, add curry leaves and let the curry simmer for around ten minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve it with rice.

Chicken Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

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One of the most popular chicken recipes in the region is Chicken Chettinad. The fiery taste and amalgamation of multiple flavours is not just celebrated in its home state but across the world. The marinated chicken is fried in heated spiced oil (cardamom, cloves, cumin and cinnamon), fresh onions and curry leaves, and tomato for that extra zing. The curry should be garnished with coriander and served with rice.

Meen Murringakka Curry, Kerala

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If the one question on your mind is how to make fish curry, then Meen murringakka is a simple yet delicious Kerala dish which you can try out. This delightful sardine preparation has a mix of flavours. Salt-marinated fish is fried in oil and fenugreek. A paste made of tamarind, garlic, chilli and coconut along with fresh chillies, onions, ginger and curry leaves complete this dish. It is best eaten with rice.
You can enjoy many of these dishes in a nice getaway outside the city, amidst the calmest of environments. There are many resorts perfect for a one day outing in Bangalore. A Nandi Hills stay is another great idea, where you can enjoy delicious food after a day spent exploring the hilly terrain. There are also many resorts in Kabini, one of the most pristine forest areas in Karnataka, where you can spend time indulging in delicious food amidst the natural beauty of the place.

Places to visit in South India in 2018

25 January  |  Adventure & Travel

Southern India is a land of dynamic sceneries, vibrant cultures, and delicious cuisines. From architecture connoisseurs to nature enthusiasts, there is a host of destinations here that will satisfy everyone. Here are some of the top picks.

Pondicherry

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Not too many places can boast of such a mosaic of cultural influences as Pondicherry. The former French territory still has its colonial legacy, in the form of finely preserved neighbourhoods where you can walk and cycle around in peace. Explore the ‘Rues’ of the French Quarters or you can take a stroll on the waterside promenade, one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry. The union territory is a bohemian paradise too. Head over to Auroville and explore the beaches and hills there. Interact with the global communities and indulge in fine local fare. From baguettes and steaks to the choicest of dosas, Pondicherry and its outskirts are a haven for foodies. Bangalore to Pondicherry is a comfortable 7-hour journey through the countryside of Tamil Nadu.

Varkala, Kerala

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The cliffs overlooking the sea give Varkala Beach a unique place in the list of seaside escapades in Kerala. The beach town is also famous for its Ayurvedic massage centres, making Varkala a perfect destination for those who need some rejuvenation. The Kappil Beach is another serene shoreline which must be experienced. Varkala is also home to some very old temples, the most famous being the Janardanaswamy Temple.

Kabini, Karnataka

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Kabini is one of the best places in Southern India where you can enjoy some time in the pristine environs of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Expect some thrills and adventures as you head into the dense jungles. The riverine landscape provides a great stage for water activities. Bird watchers and nature photographers all love Kabini forest for the ample sightings of rare species that it offers. Find eco-friendly resorts in Kabini where you can enjoy jungle safaris, nature walks and kayaking.

Fort Kochi, Kerala

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Fort Kochi refers to the historical part of this large city on Kerala’s coast. For centuries, Kochi has been a melting pot of cultures and an important hub of trade. To this day, many communities showcase their influence in its various attractions. From the Chinese fishing nets to the synagogue at Jew town, the world had converged in Fort Kochi. Visit the St. Francis Church, which for many years held the remains of the famous explorer, Vasco da Gama. Fort Kochi is also a great place to try out the seafood delicacies of Kerala.

Masinagudi, Tamil Nadu

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If you want to step away from the buzz, then a weekend at Masinagudi will certainly give you the relaxation you need. Part of the Mudumalai National Park, there are many places to visit in Masinagudi. The Kalhatti waterfalls and Theppakadu Elephant Camp are some of the highlights of this region. Masinagudi is also a good base for jungle treks and safaris. Masinagudi homestays provide cosy lodging and a homely vibe.

In case you do not have to time to plan longer trips there are enough nearby destinations that you can enjoy. Find resorts in Kanakpura road or head over to Nandi Hills, a short drive away. Whether you want an activity-filled day or just want to sit back with a book, there is everything for everyone.

Top 5 Adventure Sports in India

18 January  |  Listicles

India is a land of contrasts and adventure seekers can spend an entire lifetime exploring its various geographical wonders. From high-altitude getaways to jungle treks and water-based activities, there are more than enough options for a complete experience. Here are 5 activities that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Conquer the Rapids

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Negotiating the rapids of India’s rivers is a challenge that is attracting rafting enthusiasts from all over the world. White water rafting is an activity that can be performed at many levels, depending on the expertise of the participants. The gushing mountain river landscapes of Rishikesh, Dandeli, Kolad, Arunachal Pradesh, and Kullu are some of the top destinations for white water rafting in India.

Trek the Himalayas

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The epic Himalayan adventure is something that everybody wishes for. We have heard enough stories of bike rides and treks in the world’s highest peaks from our adventure-seeking buddies and it is no surprise that a mountain excursion lists high on the adventure options available in India. If you are looking to trek the Himalayas then familiarise yourself with the most popular routes. Some of the popular summer treks include the Pin Parvati Pass and the Roopkund treks.

A Rocky Adventure

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Where there are large rocks, there is a stage set for rappelling. From beginner descents to some of the toughest cliff faces, you are never too far away from this adventure. An activity that gives you quite a core workout, rappelling encourages people to explore rugged landscapes and enjoy beautiful sceneries apart from the main event itself. Ramanagara, which is on the Bangalore-Mysore highway is a great place to literally “learn the ropes” of this adventure discipline.

Bungee Jumping

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An activity not meant for the faint-hearted, bungee jumping is also one that helps you conquer your fears. Strap yourself to an elastic cord and take a plunge into thin air from a height. As crazy as it may sound, this is one of the most popular adventure activities across the world and performed with the highest standards of technical details and equipment. India has many popular bungee spots, from natural set-ups to artificially designed spots. Rishikesh, Lonavala and Bangalore are considered to be some of the top places for bungee jumping in India.

Explore the Deep Jungles

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Karnataka is home to some of India’s last big stretches of wilderness. The state has the highest number of adult wild tigers in the country and a jungle safari in Karnataka here will bring you up close to some of the most iconic species in the region.
There are many places around Bangalore where you can enjoy a weekend of adventure and relaxation. Browse some Kabini river resorts so you can enjoy some kayaking and safaris or cosy up in a Masinagudi homestay. You don’t have to go too far for some outdoor escapades. A Nandi Hills stay can include some scenic treks and bird watching.

Canoeing

18 January  |  Adventure & Travel

What is Canoeing?

A canoe is a narrow and light double pointed boat with an open top. You can have a single paddler canoe or more, with everyone facing the direction of travel. A distinctive feature of canoeing, that is paddling a canoe, is that one uses a single bladed paddle. Canoe camping is a popular outdoor activity where participants find a spot near a water body, set up camp and navigate the waters on a canoe. You can enjoy a canoeing session on lakes, streams, rivers and large ponds. Canoes can be used to negotiate white waters and they are also popular in races and leisure tours.
The origins of the canoe go back millennia when it was basically a dug-out piece of floatable wood. Records of the canoe, or vessels using the same underlying concept, have been found across the world. Indigenous American tribes and Australian aborigines also used canoes to travel their waterways. By the 19th century, more standardised designs started getting adopted and canoeing became a popular recreational activity in the Americas and Britain, slowly spreading across the world in that avatar.

History of Canoeing in India

Traditionally, India is home to many boat disciplines and the long boat races of Kerala are one of the world famous examples of this discipline. River rafting is another popular sport in the country. The Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association is one of the major bodies of organized canoeing and kayaking in the country and its growth reflects the history of the sport in India. As a sport, modern canoeing has been in India since 1986, when 2 training centres were set up in Alleppey and Port Blair, regions with a history of paddling.
Canoeing as a sport is gaining popularity in India. The rich natural reserves of the country are attracting enthusiasts to all corners. From the popular water landscapes of the Himalayan foothills in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to newly chartered areas in the Teesta Valley around Darjeeling, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya in the North-East, there are many ideal spots for different levels of canoeing and similar boat sports. Goa, Kerala and Karnataka are also major canoeing hubs in Southern India.

Where can we do Canoeing in Karnataka?

Karnataka boasts some of the best riverine landscapes ideal for boating activities. Kabini forest is set in the pristine wilderness of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve and the clear waters here are the best place for canoeing enthusiasts and those who want to try it for the first time. Discovery Village is one of the best resorts in Kabini where you can enjoy an authentic canoeing experience.
Canoeing is not the only activity at Discovery Village. Kayaking is something you will enjoy too. In contrast to canoeing, the seating position in a kayak is different and you use a double bladed paddle instead. Make your plans and explore the beauty of the Kabini River while engaging in a healthy and fun sport.
Maybe a long getaway is not in your plans now. Enjoy a one day outing in Bangalore or rejuvenate with a Nandi Hills stay just a few kilometres from the city.

Best Places to visit in January in India

12 January  |  Listicles

It is the beginning of the year and you need to start it off on a positive note. The sub-continent is full of destinations whether it is nature, culture or adventure you are after. Here are some of the best places to visit in India in January when the weather is best for exploration.

Golconda Fort (Telangana)

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West of the bustling city of Hyderabad, one can explore the remnants of its medieval past. Golconda Fort was a citadel of the Qutb Shahi rulers and is where the famous Kohinoor diamond was stored. One of the best places to visit in South India, Golconda is technically a complex of smaller forts and some of the major architectural features here include the gateways, bastions and places of worship. Baradari is the highest point of the fort, where you can enjoy views of the sprawling city below. When in Golconda, you can also visit the beautiful tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans.

Kalimpong (West Bengal)

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Often mentioned in the shadow of its more famous hill-station counterpart Darjeeling, Kalimpong offers a very distinctive experience to those who want to explore the rustic Himalayan foothills. Kalimpong is a town with a very long history. It was on a major trade route between India and the kingdoms of Tibet and in its more modern avatar is known as an education hub. The town is known for its picturesque location with the Himalayas in the backdrop and many rare orchids can be found here.

Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka)

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If you are in the South of India, then you can start the New Year with a rejuvenating trip to the cool misty forests at the foothills of the Nilgiris. Browse through the top Kabini resorts and enjoy an escapade that would include wildlife sightings, nature trails, and water adventures like kayaking and canoeing. Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary falls in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is home to a wide range of species like the Bengal tiger, leopard, and the Indian bison. Bird watchers would love to observe the myriad avian specimens in the reservoir backwaters of the Kabini River.

Elephanta Caves (Maharashtra)

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Chiselled and sculpted into caves on an island just off the coast of Mumbai, the rock-cut Elephanta caves offer visitors a glimpse into the blend of Buddhist and Hindu cultures of India’s golden age. The carvings and statues here are more than 1500 years old and some of the major highlights include a 20-feet tall Trimurti sculpture and the restored pillars of the cave entrance.

Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh)

Fatehpur Sikri was capital of the Mughal Empire for a very short time and was abandoned in 1610, but for those who are looking to experience the grandeur of Persian influenced Mughal design and engineering, there are few places better than this. Some of the striking features of Akbar’s city are the Buland Darwaza, a 55-metre tall arch, the Jama Masjid, and the very popular tomb of the Sufi saint Salim Chisti.
Even if you do not have the time to visit the best tourist places in India listed above there are many fulfilling day-trip and weekend destinations just outside the city. Check out Masinagudi homestays for a rustic experience set in the lap of nature. If you need to soak in some crisp mountain air and enjoy some nice hikes, a Nandi Hills stay is never a bad idea.

Team Building Activities

12 January  |  Team Building

Incentivizing your team members is not just restricted to monetary and target-oriented themes. Creating a positive atmosphere in a workplace also requires interpersonal harmony and a happy team is a productive team. Team building activities are a great way to integrate employees and help people from different backgrounds and departments get to know each other.

What are Team Building Activities?

A good office environment hinges on how well the members of a workplace communicate with each other. Team building activities is a loose term used for activities that put colleagues out of the usual work scenario and help them build good social dynamics with each other. When your team members are friends and enjoy hanging out with each other, you can reap the benefits of a happy workplace and increased drive. Certain team building exercises help new members blend into the rest of the team and icebreakers are a great way to get everyone introduced to each other. With the typical Indian office a microcosm of ethnic and cultural diversity, team building has become a very important part of managing the workplace.

Why are team building activities necessary?

Team building activities create the foundation for networking and exchange of ideas. As colleagues get to know each other better and find common interests while building friendships, overall team morale also improves. Corporate team building games are designed strategically to enhance healthy competition amongst peers. Office life can have its stressful phases and monotony, and fun activities at work help in alleviating symptoms of boredom and disillusionment. Besides being a day of entertainment and recreation, a corporate outing can do wonders in getting reclusive employees to open up and it also emboldens leadership qualities in those with good potential.

What is the outcome we can expect?

Office team building games have many long-term benefits. Besides providing new experiences and plenty of photo-ops for team members, team building activities foster a space for innovation and collaboration that spills over into the office. Good communication is the starting point of a successful business model and team building activities encourage this most crucial component. By encouraging good social dynamics in the team through team building exercises, loyalty also gets a boost.

Where can we go for outdoor activities in Karnataka?

Outdoor activities are the best way to create a memorable event for your team. You do not have to go too far from the city for a wholesome activity-filled experience. There are many resorts in Bangalore for team outing. From specific corporate games to nature activities like hiking and rock climbing there are conveniently located establishments that can accommodate an entire squad of colleagues. One can arrange a one day outing in Bangalore in the cool climes of Nandi Hills. Other options include the foothills and wilderness areas in the foothills of the Nilgiris. Kayaking and jungle safaris are some of the activities a team can enjoy in eco-friendly Kabini river resorts.

Travel Tips for Travelling by Bus

06 January  |  Listicles

Bus journeys are fun in many ways but can easily turn to nightmares if you make the wrong choices or forget some essentials. From seating space to food and hygiene, here are some of the most useful bus trip tips.

  1. Choose Your Seat Carefully

Nowadays, when you book your coach online, you can choose your seat. The place where you sit is the most crucial part of having a comfortable journey. When choosing your seat note the time of the journey and whether you are heading south or north. If you want to avoid the heat, choose a left-hand seat for a northbound journey and a right-hand seat if the bus is heading south. Choosing the right place is one of the major safety tips for travelling in bus journeys. The seats in the middle of the bus are considered to be the most comfortable.  At the back, it gets bumpier. Window seats offer a view but the aisle gives you space to stretch.

  1. Keep Yourself Entertained

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Keep your options open when it comes to entertainment on the journey. Reading can be a good idea if the journey is smooth and there isn’t much movement but it can also cause you a bad headache and even worse, nausea if the road is rough. Your phone is probably your best friend during a journey and there is enough on social media to keep you occupied. However, long journeys could also mean going offline for a long stretch. Keep a movie or your favourite show ready on your phone or tab. Make a travel playlist. There is nothing more satisfying than listening to your favourite songs while staring out at the countryside.

  1. Bring Your Toiletries

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Public rest stops aren’t the most equipped and just getting access to a clean loo is quite a relief. Pack your toiletries with you. Longer journeys will include more stops and you always want to have the option of freshening up if you need to.

  1. Pack Some Treats

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If you are choosing a good bus service, the good chance is that it would stop at a decent restaurant where you can enjoy a good and hygienic meal. However, one cannot take too many chances especially in long journeys that are a little off the popular routes. It is also completely natural to get hungry on the bus. A pack of biscuits or crisps is always handy.

  1. Pack an Energy Drink

Another awkward situation you may face on bus journeys is the need to use the bathroom at the wrong time. Maybe you can get away with stopping the bus once but it is ideal to avoid this situation. Pack a sports energy drink that would help you balance out your body salts without over-hydrating you.

Apart from these travel tips, always remember to be alert about your luggage. If you are a solo traveller try not wandering off and stay close to the crowd during stops. Make some friends even. Some good trip ideas near Bangalore include the forest destinations at the foot of the Nilgiris. Find Kabini river resorts or Masinagudi homestays for a rejuvenating escapade just a short bus ride away. If you can only accommodate a day trip in your schedule, there are resorts in Kanakapura road where you can unwind.

 

A Trip to Kabini

06 January  |  Adventure & Travel

Kabini is the gateway to the wilderness of the towering Nilgiris range. It is also a hotspot for adrenaline junkies and wildlife enthusiasts. You can enjoy a trip to Kabini from Bangalore as this verdant destination is just a few hours’ drive away. There are many memorable stay options. Choose a Kabini river lodge or relax in the luxuries of a Kabini lake view resort. Whether it is with family or a bunch of friends, you will find enough attractions and experiences that will make you come back for more.

Kabini River

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The Kabini River snakes and flourishes through a dense pristine jungle and its waters are clear almost year round. It falls in one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the world and the riverine landscape feeds the habitat of many species. The river flows into the Kaveri and its backwaters provide the habitat for many aquatic and avian species.

Kabini Dam

The Kabini Dam is more than half a km long and since its construction in 1974 has altered the landscape of the region. It created a permanent watering hole which now attracts a range of wildlife, including large herds of Asiatic elephants. The dam caters to many villages and hamlets in the region and the reservoir is also a very popular scenic spot. The dam reaches full capacity in the monsoons when its gates are opened, a powerful sight to behold. On sunnier days, the dam is a good spot to unwind. There are many who make the trip to Kabini from Mysore to have a small picnic at the dam site.

Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary

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The Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary offers a brush with the wilderness of Southern India. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the largest stretch of continuous forest in the region. The forest is home to the Indian bison and the Bengal tiger. Many nature photographers come to the Kabini forest for leopard sightings. The range is home to a population of black or melanistic leopards. What can be apter than an encounter with Bagheera in this Jungle-Book environment?

Adventure in Kabini

There are many activities you can enjoy on the Kabini River, the dam reservoir and the surrounding forest areas. Kayaking is a very pleasant way to navigate the gentle currents on the reservoir and also get up close to the birdlife. Not to mention, it also gives you a vigorous workout. Nature walks and safaris are also a must when you are here.

Apart from Kabini’s jungle stays you can also opt for Masinagudi homestays if you look for a more intimate experience. Those who need a breather but cannot make the long trip immediately can stick to somewhere closer to Bangalore. Find quality Nandi Hills accommodation where you can rejuvenate in the crisp air and also enjoy a hike or two. There are also resorts in Kanakapura Road where you can enjoy a day trip.

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