Kaziranga National Park, Assam: Elephants are (mostly) such gentle creatures that go about their business (eating) with little regard to anyone else’s business. This particular photogenic pachyderm pair lazily chomped away on grass while a dozen trigger-happy humans furiously clicked away. Of which I was one!
Pushkar, Rajasthan: The Holy Lake of Pushkar is, alas, no longer holy for it is swarming with avaricious louts who emotionally blackmail you into doling out anywhere from 500 to a 1000 rupees all in the name of god. Nonetheless, witnessing hundreds of devotees go about their daily rituals by the powder blue of the ghats makes for an interesting sight.
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand: If you are young, fun-loving and find yourself in Thailand (and I suspect most already have or will) then you must make it a mission to visit this gorgeous island. Not only is Koh Phi Phi tiny and teeming with life in every nook but it is also incredibly blessed with stunning blue waters (Maya Bay is a boat trip away) and a beach that turns into one, big fire show of a party. Besides, Phi Phi is so small that one practically feels like a local within a day or three and that, I believe, is where Phi Phi is a winner through and through!
Jaipur, Rajasthan: Even if this chandelier at the City Palace of Jaipur is not the fanciest one around, the very installation of a chandelier still adds a touch of grandeur to any old place. Of course, the fact that these pigeons have made this chandelier their temporary home does not exactly spell well for the place…!
Pushkar, Rajasthan: This beast of burden carried us around the periphery of Pushkar town and its adjoining desert patches for two full hours under the torrid desert sun. With a packed schedule (a couple of more two-hour rides and a full night safari) ahead of it, here the camel stops for a bit of rest before the next lot of eager passengers arrive. Priced at anywhere from Rs. 300 - 800 per person for two hours, a camel ride is a must-do in Pushkar town.
Jaipur, Rajasthan: The Lotus Gate at the City Palace is a thing of beauty. Located in the Pritam Niwas Chowk of the palace, the beautifully gilded door allows one access to the Chandra Mahal. Evocative of summertime bliss, this ornate gate with its motifs of pink lotuses in full bloom is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati.
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town: Originally known as the Malay Quarters, the Bo Kaap is a colourful neighbourhood with cobbled streets that mostly houses ‘coloured’ residents. The pastel colours of these houses, incidentally, are changed every year to give the neighbourhood a fresh, new look. The Bo-Kaap Museum is a must-do if you’re looking for a dose of history!
Oia, Santorini: The stark contrast between the blueness of the Aegean Sea and the pristine whiteness of Grecian architecture is probably what sets Greece apart from the rest of Europe. Whilst all of Europe has majestic, old buildings; aeons of history; exotic food; and exquisite natural beauty, Greece, on the other hand, takes the cake for having the most different architecture - simple, whitewashed matchbox houses and churches.
Puerta del Sol, Madrid: A tourist gets up to take a photo of Madrid’s beautiful, old buildings as the characteristic red hop-on hop-off bus glides through the narrow alleyway. Incidentally, that’s the hotel I stayed at on the left!
Antibes, Côte d’azur: The Marché Provençal at Antibes is a charming covered marketplace that sells organic foodstuffs, quirky artworks by local artists and some vintage jewellery and cutlery and other oddities on a rare day. In the nights, the restaurants on the market’s parameter use this space for their open-air seating. The vibe is a happy one indeed.