Mud Rushing in Pune…Wooohooooo

Honestly, there are so many festivals being held in India, that it’s difficult to say which one is worth your time and which is not. I’m sure there will be different reasons for people to like one festival over another as well. What set the Mud Rush apart from others, for me, is that it is held twice a year and in a different location, giving me an opportunity to have a blast and explore a new destination at the same time. Mud Rush, now an event that most people actually look forward to attending, was last held in February 2013, in Kolad, Maharashtra. Six months later, the venue was Fort Jadhavgadh in Pune, Maharashtra. Check out these pictures, taken at Fort Jadhavgadh, during the event. 

 

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It’s quite simple: Participants have to run along a muddy track and clear various levels of obstacles. You are considered and made to feel like a winner, provided you finish the run. The Pune edition, which took place on August 31, 2013, kept with the theme of the Fort and had people in traditional Maratha garb blow the trumpet and drums for those who finished the run and as they were presented with medals and a chilled can of beer. Awesome!

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What followed was a day of relaxation under the sun and grooving to signature beats of various DJ’s, throughout the day. The actual party, of course, began only once the sun began to set… and had even the most tired Mud Rusher tapping his feet involuntarily…

PSSTTTT…: Aamby Valley has been declared as the Mud Rush venue for February 2014. Start preparing already… 

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Realities of Rajasthan

So, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Rajasthan? It has to be either a ride on the camels or the pretty lehariya dupattas and saris famous there. The Sam desert on the outskirts of Jaisalmer is recommended for those who want to take a tour on the sands. In fact with winter coming up, Rajasthan in India will be on the top of most tourists’ mind. So, charges for a camel ride, did you just ask? The rates differ vastly during the off season and season months, which are typically from October to February, with November, December and January being the peak months.
Frankly, how much you pay for a camel ride depends on how rich you look!

Price for a camel ride:

The camel handler will typically charge Rs 250 for a ride that begins from the road where the owners are waiting for their camels to be hired till a point in the dunes. The handler will walk ahead will you are perched on a cushioned seat on the hump. Once he leaves you in the dunes, he will ride the camel back to the road and wait for more customers. The price for the same routine escalates to Rs 1,000 or even Rs 2,000 during the peak tourist season, in the months of November till January. One camel keeper confided that the rates are not fixed and are generally decided on the spot, judging the customer’s capacity to pay. So it’s usually charge anywhere between Rs 800 to Rs 1,500 while the rates for foreign tourists are Rs 1,000 upwards only.
Also, the rates mentioned above are only to drop you till the desert, or a few steps into it. If you want a full tour, you have to cough up more. The options are a full desert tour, a camel race or a ride back to where you started from. There are a number of entertainment options once you reach the dunes too. Groups of men and women put up a show, with the women dancing to folk songs that men sing. The twirling of skirts adorned with local embroidery and mirror work, with beige dunes serving as a canvas makes for a pleasant sight and more imporantly, excellent pictures.

Beware of the lehariyas

Next stop: Shopping. The one most common item found on almost everyones shopping list is: Lehariya duppattas, suits or saris. You get the same thing for about the same price in every other metropolitan city in the country, but I guess there is a charm to wearing one that you can claim to have picked up in Rajasthan itself. But here’s a word of caution before you, like many other always-in-a-hurry travellers, just pile on lehariya sets at the cash counter. Always open the suit or the dupatta to check the length of the chunni. Most of them are quite short and those who like only lengthy chunnis will be disappointed. Some dupattas come in ‘bada panna’ (increased width). It’s no magic, the shopkeeper attaches an identical chunni piece to the existing one, for a wider breadth causing it to look clumsy, to say the least. My friends were in for a rude shock when they saw dupattas with a joint on them, but only once they were back in the city. Luckily for them, good sense prevailed and they separated the joint piece from the real chunni and made a stole out of the extra piece.
Moral of the story: Always open and check the dupattas and even sari length before buying them.

Use the extra bit of the dupatta as a stole

For Jewellery Junkies:
The city of Jaisalmer has several stores where you can scout for typical Rajasthani bags, outfits and mirrored jewellery. But silver jewellery aficionados will be pleased to learn that tucked away in the bylanes of Jaisalmer is a house that specialises in silver items. Shri Charbuja Jewellers is a family run business, the bunglow which they operate from is their residence as well. Guests are ushered into a room and one of the men will come with boxes filled with silver pendants, bracelets, necklaces and earrings and they are priced according to the weight, design and stones used in it. I found some really cool designs of a whistle pendant (which you can blow into), miniature crocodies, turtle (both with moving limbs and head), etc. They’re primarily into manufacturing and exporting silver, gold and ethnic jewellery but they welcome tourists who drop by occasionally too.
You can call them at 9414206089, 9782583101 or check out www.shricharbhuja.com.

Cool cat and other silver jewellery at Shri Charbhuja

 

 

Bandra Worli Sea Link to be lit up in Pink!

Time for a colour change. Bandra Worli Sea Link will be lit up in pink to create awareness about breast cancer

The Empire State Building in New York City was lit in pink on Monday, October 1 and now Bandra Worli Sea Link will follow suit. In fact, prominent landmarks in the world are gearing up to display their pink side. Why? To create awareness about breast cancer. Yup, it’s breast cancer awareness month and the Bandra Worli sea link will be lit up in Pink from tomorrow onwards (for one whole week) as part of Estee Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign’s Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative. Watch out and don’t forget to take pictures of the sea link, all dolled up in pretty pink.

The Empire State building was lit up in pink early this month