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Bikkupedia Unlimited

Bikkupedia Unlimited
Bikkupedia will be Bikku and me and the world as we see it. The places, people, food, our excitements and disappointments. Read on if you want to be part of our journey. We promise you it will be exciting by the day.


CITY GUIDE - Sun finally sets on Appu Ghar
2008-02-17 14:48:00
There is something about feeling nostalgic which makes you want to turn back the needles of the clock. This is the feeling I experienced when sitting thousands of kilometers away from Delhi in my in-laws home in Trivandrum, I saw a news flash across a channel saying Appu Ghar’s last day. As the channel started showing images of one the most popular amusement parks in Delhi, I suddenly found my mind rolling back the years of my childhood, of which Appu Ghar was such a huge part. The tug in my heart was so huge that I just couldn’t help penning down my thoughts.Today, Delhi might be bustling with several other and probably even better amusement parks, but for many of us little ones, the big fat Appu in Gate No 9 of Pragati Maidan was the only source of entertainment and fun.Many times Sunday outings meant one full tiring day at Appu Ghar when my parents would be busy clicking pictures of me on the swings. Of course a trip to Appu would be a must if any of my cousins would land up ...
More About: Sets , Guide , City , Finally
Ponmudi: Kerala's Golden Crown
2007-10-08 10:14:00
I sat happily humming to myself on my way to work in the morning as the pleasant breeze hit my face and rain splattered the roads all around.For a change, I didn't even mind the pollution and traffic around me. It was this weather which reminded me of something and prompted me to get over my laziness and finally write after this long break. The overcast sky, the soft drizzle and the rain kissed trees drifted my thoughts back to a few months when I was standing overlooking an expanse of mountains covered with a green blanket with the sky playing pranks on me.On the one side of the sky was a full misty stretch overshadowing the plants and making the early morning look like late evening. On the other side was a brightly lit up sky generously sun bathing the plants. 61 kms away from Trivandrum, I was in this quaint little hill station called Ponmudi. Literally meaning a golden crown, Ponmudi was quite a breathtaking sight to behold.Though just about a 1000 meter above sea level, it h...
More About: Golden
FOOD GUIDE - Oh! Calcutta
2007-07-22 15:34:00
For years, I have harboured a myth - there can be nothing more in Bengali food than fish and rice. And even though I knew I was being stupid, I somehow believed that there's nothing much about that cuisine which the vegetarians can relish. Well, unfortunately I myself had to shatter all my myths into pieces when I devoured an amazing amount of food at Delhi's latest Bong heaven Oh! Calcutta . I really would be the last person to know how would an authentic Bengali luchi or dhokar dholna taste, but the only thing I knew for sure was that the food there was simply delicious.When the opening of this restaurant was announced some months back, it had stirred quite an interest in the Bengali population of my previous office, many of whom made frequent trips to the place. Frankly, I had never thought of going there. But recently, for my mallu, fish loving husband's sake, I thought of giving that place a shot. After all, the birthday boy had to be pleased.And only later I realised what I ...
More About: Food , Guide , Guid
Rafting the white water spectacles of Ganges
2007-07-20 07:49:00
It was pure magic. We were floating right in the middle of the holy Ganges , with the white water gushing from all sides. Is it the real me? I wondered. Considering I am not the dare devil type, it was hard to believe that I could convince myself to jump right in the middle of the busy river. I guess it was all about the experience. After all, we were cruising through the rapids of the river with life jackets as our only protection. And then, the sheer magic of the virgin nature around me probably made everything seem possible, even jumping into a river without knowing the S of swimming. For me, the river rafting trip meant a lot more than just the exciting sport.Love at first sight None of us were prepared for what was going to meet our eye after the six hour drive from Delhi. We had spent the 27 kms drive from Rishikesh, (which seemed more like a chase to a no man's land) in excitement and anxiety. After all, we had not seen any brochures and had done no web search. So, when we se...
More About: White , Water , Rafting
FOOD/SHOP GUIDE - Paan - oh! -Tales
2007-06-30 08:59:00
Fancy owning an MF Husain painting and that too free of cost! Shiv Narayan Pandey proudly flaunts his photograph with the famous painter's work gifted to him by Husain himself. Well, who is SN Pandey? The 85-year-old man is a paanwala, the owner of SN Pandey & Sons, one of the oldest paan shops in Connaught Place. Bang opposite the Shivaji Stadium MCDonald's, this little paan shop tucked away in a corner overflows with anecdotes.Peer in the shop and you will find yourself staring into an array of black and white photographs lining the wall. There are photos of all the political stalwarts of the country from the old timers like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Indira Gandhi to president APJ Abdul Kalam. While some are posing with a young SN Pandey, the others are busy taking paan from him.So, how does MF Husain's painting come here? "Husain always comes here for paan whenever he is in Delhi. I had once asked him for a painting of his and many years later he brought it and gave me saying I ...
More About: Food , Shop , Guide , Tales , Tale
TEENS COLUMN - A Corbettian Encounter
2007-06-27 07:32:00
By Eesha KunduriIt was around seven on a pleasant Sunday morning, the sky was bright and clear, and the sun sparkled through the woods of the Jim Corbett National Park, an ideal setting for a jeep safari through the wild. As we got into the jeep, everyone said this was going to be an exciting experience, more so if we happen to sight a tiger. Someone said, “Tiger? Forget it. We stand absolutely no chance.” “Maybe the person is right”, I told myself for tiger sightings had certainly become rare these days. We drove through the woodlands, spotting a herd of deer’s graze close by, and a beautiful partridge flap its wings and take to the air. Everything seemed just so admirable and mesmerizing. The multifarious trees, with their vibrant shades of green and brown completely enchanted me. I suddenly felt so close to nature. We stopped near a place from where our tour guide felt we could possibly sight the unsightable - the tiger. We waited for nearly half an hour or so, remindin...
More About: Teens , Column , Counter , Encounter
Ramgarh: The Valley of Joy
2007-06-20 08:49:00
We heard excitedly as the waiter said, "this is today's fresh juice and is made with the apricots plucked from the orchards of the village below." Saying this, he poured the thick, yellow liquid in our glasses. Fascinated we were as we tasted the lovely juice sitting in the dining hall of the Neemrana Ramgarh Bungalows. But then, everything about Ramgarh seemed fascinating. Be it the intoxicating silence of the hills, the chilly breeze, the red cheeked pahari children or the beautiful view, just about everything was so out of this world.The road less travelledWhy Ramgarh? That seemed to be the question on everyone's mind as we were about to depart to the place. After all, we were travelling to Uttaranchal, a state which boasts of being home to some of the most popular hill stations like Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Ranikhet. Well, the only thing that prompted us to make our trip to Ramgarh was the place where we chose to stay. In the photographs we got to see on the Neemrana websi...
More About: The V , Valley
SHOP GUIDE - India's Oldest Toy Shop
2007-06-16 08:12:00
Nothing about Connaught Place is unfamiliar to me. And yet, this amazing place called CP never ceases to spring surprises. But as I had said in my earlier post, even in these 25 long years, I always chance upon something new in this market. Our latest find in CP was also thanks to my non-Delhiite husband who loves walking around the inner circle. When he told me that CP has the oldest toy shop in the country, I was sure that it must be one tiny shop, tucked away in some corner of the market. Well, not really.The toy legacyWith a bright red board saying India's Oldest Toy Shop , Ram Chander & Sons stands proudly next to the Odeon theatre. It was impossible to miss the board but still I had managed not to see it for so many years.And when I finally saw it, I was little curious as I walked in. One look around the shop took me down memory lane, back to the good old days when birthdays always meant how many new toys were added to my cupboard! Dolls, doll houses, kitchen sets, cars, aerop...
More About: Guide , Guid
FOOD GUIDE - Mosaic of Choice
2007-06-12 06:52:00
Sometimes I wonder what Delhi would be without Connaught Place. Hard to imagine right? I've been in Delhi since I was born and I still haven't been able to discover this market which has seen the city evolve from a scratch. Walking across the countless shops and restaurants lining the white walls of the inner and outer circle somehow always pumps up my spirits. And just because we are so used to dining at the restaurants which have been there forever, there is hardly any attempt to try out new places. But my husband decided to break the pattern and we headed to a two-month-old restaurant Mosaic .The food courtI must say, the restaurateur knew what he was doing when he named the restaurant Mosaic. The mosaic of dishes served here are enough to make anyone's taste buds dance. This place is a must visit for a first timer to India who wants to familiarize oneself with some of the most famous ethnic cuisines. And for apna desis, well read on … Our Bengalis can dig into the Doi Maach,...
More About: Food , Guide , Choice , Choi
SHOP GUIDE - Little Tibet in Delhi
2007-05-30 16:21:00
There are many things that catch your eye while walking down the Tibet an market of Janpath. Red, blue, green yellow, black, white - colours just stare out as you as one look at any of the shops. Earrings, wall hangings, decorative and collector's items, clothes, footwear … you name it and you have it. Life just seems so vibrant here and it becomes better still if you are feeling rich that day. With the NDMC renovating the market, and giving it a wonderful facelift, shopping here seems even a more attractive experience. But somehow, this side of the market, which runs along the Imperial Hotel road, seems so aloof from the other, more popular side of Janpath. With clothes, jewellery, decorative items, bed sheets stacked up everywhere, this one is a haven for the college goers who stop by at any time of the day, bargain fiercely and walk away triumphantly with a skirt, t-shirt or jeans at dirt cheap rates. But the Tibetan market is different. Here, the prices are more or less fixed ...
More About: Delhi , Shop , Guide , Litt
GUEST COLUMN - The homely Spring fields of Shimla
2007-05-28 11:40:00
By Swarup Kar Purkayastha February 2002. As the cab drives through the narrow, winding roads of Shimla , to Spring fields Hotel, it removes us from the hustle-bustle of the city and drifts one into a relatively peaceful realm. It is so easy to get lost as the place opens up and takes one in the warmth of its embrace. Imposing hills climbing high to kiss the sky, even as blankets of dense, white clouds swim in its vast emptiness. The sun is trying to break through the grey, morning mist from behind the hills. And yet it's not easy to get lost. The world, its smell, touches seep into the atmosphere as the city gets ready to wake up to the call of the day. The cold breeze brushes one's heart, birds chirp and kids queue in for schools. The cab screeches to a halt at the threshold of the hotel, situated at the outskirt of the city. I looked out of the window of my car confused as the hotel looks more like a residence. There is no sign of a hotel. No one at the gate. On the other side, th...
More About: Column , Guest , Field
FOOD GUIDE - Oh! My Chicken Biriyani
2007-05-28 06:32:00
The news of Andhra Bhavan soon making way for a five star hotel was little hard to digest. What would happen to my favourite Chicken biriyani? Only made on Sundays it really is worth a week's wait. Will the canteen which is a beehive of activity during lunch and dinner also face the axe or be relocated to some funny place which would be hard to spell, leave alone reach? Hope the planners have a place for one of the most-sought after canteen in the capital in the idea of things to follow. The news however pulled me and my wife to pay a visit to the AP Bhavan this Sunday. I usually get the biriyani packed to be relished either at home or office but this time we decided to sample it here. My veggie wife ordered her meal and started her gleeful swim in the pool of ghee as I digged into my chicken biriyani which seemed a bit less than my usual packed version. I was soon through with my first plate and was feeling greedy to have another. My wife seeing my dilemma allowed me to go for one...
More About: Food , Guide , Riya , Guid
Peacock dance at the Tiger's den
2007-05-21 06:17:00
There was a special host greeting us on our arrival at Nawab Pataudi's Palace. One of the most beautiful creations of nature, the peacock gave us a spectacular welcome. Their blue-green wings spread wide in a circle, two peacocks were dancing away to glory as our car wound up to the entrance. Frankly, I had never seen a peacock dance. So, for me, this was one of the most enchanting sight. Well, quite a royal welcome, I thought as I got down from the car. But the bird turned out to be quite smart and immediately recoiled its feathers even before we could take out our camera. We are sure there will be many more here, we consoled ourselves as we offloaded from the vehicle.Tiger's PalaceSuch was our fascination towards the bird that we did not even bother to examine the place where we were supposed to shell out so much cash just for a day and night stay. So, after the peacock resumed its daily chores, we finally found the time to look around. The Pataudi Palace is a huge white structu...
More About: Dance
Trivandrum Diary
2007-05-15 08:50:00
I am smitten. This is my second visit to this exquisite locale, but the magical feeling which engulfs me when the aircraft starts hovering over Kerala still remains. This is truly God's Own Country. And it is Trivandrum, the capital is where I pay my obeisance to. For me, it is a haven, a place which has become so much a part of me in just two visits.Green queenFour and a half hours in the plane is pretty tiring. So, by the time you are told that the flight is preparing for arrival to the Trivandrum airport, all you want to do is get up and run. But hold on. It was just then that I happened to look down from my window. A poet would have found his muse from the sight which greeted me when I looked out. I was here, little below the clouds and in front of my eyes was this vast green blanket, engulfing a huge territory. Soft, fresh and welcoming, the lush green layer seemed to call me and I was mentally responding to it. And there was the ocean. From the distance, only a sheet of blue ...
More About: Diary , Riva , Ivan
Tirchendur: From Diana cut 2 Britney's Bald
2007-05-04 09:40:00
Let me make a confession - I have never been too much of a religious traveler. I had always imagined traveling as freaking out on beaches, mountains or deserts.It is only after traveling with my husband and in-laws that I learnt how exciting temple visits could be. After visiting some of the most sacred spots in South India, I learnt how even today God is the centre of the lives of several people in this country. What else could explain the swarms of devotees, clad in heavy silk saris, bearing the brunt of the scorching sun all over the Murugan temple at Tirchendur? There was no sight of strain, no tiredness. But I shouldn't be surprised, after all, I'm a part of a country where people believe firmly that their square meal comes with the blessings of the almighty.The journeyThe fact that I had recently learnt that the Murugan temple at Tirchendur was supposed to be my father's family deity made me curious. So, a detour was planned to Tirchendur on our way to Kanyakumari. The main...
More About: Diana , Dian , Chen
Amritsar Diary
2007-04-26 17:35:00
As our car zipped through the lanes of Amritsar at 11 in the night, I felt a strange familiarity with the city. After sleeping all the way through our journey in the Shatabdi, we were wide awake when we reached. Our destination, City Heart Hotel came in no time but I was still wondering why does this city seem familiar. In fact, this was my first visit to Punjab ... However, I turned my attention to the place where our hotel was located.Built amidst a row of shops, our hotel was a small two storey building which could have been easily mistaken for another shop had it not been for the huge banner.Just adjoining the building was an ICICI ATM along with a shop selling 'punjabi jutti' which was open even at 11.15 in the night! There were people and vehicles still going down the road ... The scene was a far cry from the deserted city that Delhi becomes at this time and they say big cities have an active night life!.The signs of commercialisation were written bold and clear all over the...
More About: Diary , Tsar
An evening at the Wagah border
2007-04-19 11:08:00
A trip to the Wagah border to see the flag lowering ceremony of India and Pakistan sounded quite exciting.But when I sat on the stadium overlooking both the borders, it was something else that fascinated me.Here, sitting on each side of the fence were the kind of people I had probably only seen in the cricket matches.For us, patriotism is a word so completely restricted to the history books that the sight at Wagah border seemed so out of the world. As the Indian side of the stadium slowly filled up, a BSF jawan in a war cry kind of tone shouted Bharat Mata ki jai, Hindustan Zindabad, Vande Matram and in the backdrop were old patroitic movie songs like Nannna Munna rahi hoon. To give the jawan company were a 500 odd Indians who were more than eager to shout Bharat Mata Ki Jai.Then began what seemed like a daily ritual run of Indians to the border gate holding the tri colour flag. In no time, around the jawans gathered clusters of men, women, old and young all fighting for a two minut...
More About: Order , Evening
New Year at the Golden Temple
2007-04-17 09:03:00
The spectacles of this huge country are far too undiscovered by its inhabitants (which of course includes us). And as we set out with our unsaid resolve to at least be called well travelled Indians, we stand dumbfounded at all the surprises in store for us.So, I travel from the tip of the country, admiring the sheer beauty of the goddess at Kanyakumari to standing awestruck in front of a thousand odd devotees, ready to spend their lives in service of a Holy book ..."This is real India," I told myself as I stood on the steps of the Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara, staring at the devotees, many of whom would be glad to breathe their last in the holy water which cradles the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar.The marvelWith every step into the temple, I am transported into a world which is so unknown to me ...The ears are treated to an array of melodious sounds coming somewhere from inside temple ... Is it Gurbani or Shabd Kirtan, we really can't make out but whatever it is, the sounds are sou...
More About: New Year , Year , The Go
At India's Cape with Good Hope
2007-04-10 15:01:00
Many years ago, when I would hear about Kanyakumari, it used to fascinate me. My god, you can see a confluence of three oceans here... I used to think, amazed but strangely, it never dawned on me that visiting the place could ever be a possibility. And then, many years later, I heard a casual reference of Kanyakumari from my husband whose family is settled in Trivandrum. I learnt that Kanyakumari is about three hours away from my in-laws home. I was excited as I asked Sujith if we could go there. "Yes we can try to," was the casual response. I was surprised to hear no excitement and no awe of the place. It was only later when I learnt that going to Kanyakumari is a routine for these people and they are no tourists there.Though they often plan a vacation to Kanyakumari, they were little amused by my fascination towards the place.However, a trip was arranged and it was supposed to be a three night and 2 day visit. Thanks to my mother-in-law's job at the Census Directorate, our stay w...
More About: Hope , Good , Cape
A Villa in the Woods
2007-04-08 14:50:00
There is nothing new I can tell about Shimla. The erstwhile British summer Capital and one of the most popular hill stations of the country, this place has no surprises to spring on the discerning traveler.And yet we decided to go to Shimla... Since we were constantly scolded for going for our honeymoon along with five other people (which included two children), we almost felt pressurised to go for our 'real' honeymoon!But, why Shimla?Well, it so happened that during a cleaning process in my husband's office, a visiting card fell on his desk and he by chance looked at it. The card said Woodville, Shimla. Curiosity led to an Internet search and this is what he found - Woodville Palace is one of those beautiful hotels in Shimla which the town can boast about.But this is not what prompted us to go there. What really inspired this decision was that Swami (Sai Baba) had also stayed there (I wonder he had sent the visiting card to us).Back home, I was offered, "Let's go to Shimla for ...
More About: Woods , In the Woods , Villa
A date with a 14th Century Fort
2007-04-07 10:45:00
To say that we had become sick of our daily routine when we decided to take a break would be an understatement.The daily chaos of our respective offices had probably got us to a stage of crashing. But to avoid any tussle with our bosses, we decided to keep it for our off day.One day break it would be, we decided. And the fact that it was the Valentine’s Day eve added the romantic element!Our decision to explore the Neemrana property at Alwar was the result of my husband’s hours of web search and then finally on instinct.The Neemrana Fort Palace was already booked and only a suite was available which was to cost something above 6000 per person per night. Well, that sounded little too extravagant.Our holiday plans almost got shelved when my better half discovered this another Neemrana property near Alwar. Another call to the Nizamuddin office of Neemrana and we found out that there’s a room available at the Hill Fort, Kesroli costing Rs 3,500.Again extensive Internet research an...
More About: Century
2007-04-06 10:46:00
Bikkupedia will be Bikku & me and the world as we see it. The places, people, food, our excitements and disappointments. Read on if you want to be part of our journey ... We promise you it will be exciting by the day.
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