Holidays in your backyard

Holidays in your backyard
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First Published: Mon, Mar 30 2009. 10 44 PM IST

 Moving on: (clockwise from top) Business as usual at Cafe Leopold, which was targeted in the 26/11 terror attacks; an old Portuguese church on Manori beach; and Churchgate station. Photos by Tunali M
Moving on: (clockwise from top) Business as usual at Cafe Leopold, which was targeted in the 26/11 terror attacks; an old Portuguese church on Manori beach; and Churchgate station. Photos by Tunali M
Updated: Mon, Mar 30 2009. 10 44 PM IST
TAKE A BREAK IN MUMBAI
FRIDAY
Moving on: (clockwise from top) Business as usual at Cafe Leopold, which was targeted in the 26/11 terror attacks; an old Portuguese church on Manori beach; and Churchgate station. Photos by Tunali Mukherjee, Santosh Verma and Ashesh Shah / Mint.
Buy Fort Walks by Sharada Dwivedi and Rahul Mehrotra (Rs300), which outlines a number of easy walks in Mumbai’s Fort area. Then relocate to Colaba. You’ll easily find accommodation below Rs3,000 a night. But if you want to spoil yourself, you can check into The Gordon House Hotel (www.ghhotel. com; Rs12,000 plus taxes for a double room).
SATURDAY
9am: Start your day early with the walk that begins at the Asiatic Library, the old town hall. Visit St Thomas Cathedral, in a straight line from the town hall, and continue to Flora Fountain and Churchgate station, which stands where the cathedral’s gate used to be.
10am: Stop at Kayani bakery near Metro Cinema for mawa cakes or keema fry and Irani chai (Rs150).
11-11.30am: Visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly The Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) near Regal Cinema. Then catch an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda.
Bed a la Med: A Mediterranean room at The Gordon House Hotel.
1pm or thereabouts: Eat at the Samovar Café (Rs300) at the Jehangir Art Gallery.
2pm: Spend the afternoon browsing, among booksellers who line the pavements from Flora Fountain to Churchgate.
5pm: Head to Leopold Café for beer on tap and other specialities (Rs700).
SUNDAY
Check out early from the hotel and catch a lazy breakfast at Colaba. There’s Cafe Mondegar for sunny eggs and sausages (Rs200 for two). The more upmarket option is Moshe’s in Fabindia, Kala Ghoda (Rs500 for two).
11am: Take the Western Railway suburban train from Churchgate to Malad. Catch a taxi, motorized rickshaw or bus (route 272) to Marve beach. Board the ferry to Manori. Take a tonga (horse-drawn cart/carriage) or rickshaw, or walk to Manoribel, your next holiday home (www.manoribel.com; Rs2,000-5,000).
Taking in history: The steps of the Asiatic Society from where the British declared ownership of India. Gautam Singh
Afternoon: Gorge on east Indian cooking at the Toddy Tapper restaurant.
Late afternoon to evening: Manori beach has several old historical buildings, including a church with a 15th century altar built by the Portuguese. You can also explore the area on bicycles borrowed from the hotel. The ferry/train/bus ride costs around Rs100.
MONDAY
Morning: Check out after an early breakfast. Take the ferry back to Marve beach and from there, an auto to the Yari Road bus station. Take BEST bus No. 56 to Worli Village. This is the route fisherwomen typically take through the fishing colonies of Versova and Khar Danda. Visit the Worli Dairy to see the pasteurization, bottling and distribution of Mumbai’s most-consumed milk.
Noon: Take a cab to Horniman Circle and visit the mint (www.mumbaimint.org); a prior appointment is needed.
Afternoon: Tuck into mutton berry pulav (Rs280) at Britannia and Co.
Late afternoon: Visit the Afghan church (built in 1847) at the end of Colaba.
The bus and taxi ride should cost you around Rs80.
Compiled by Rishad Saam Mehta
TRY A DILLI ‘DARSHAN’
Soul food: (above) A qawwali performance at Hazrat Nizamuddin’s dargah on Thursdays; and a shop in Old Delhi’s Paranthewali Gali rolling out snacks, one of the highlights of the Chor Bizarre Memory Lanes walk. Photos by Pankaj Nangia / Mint and Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
THURSDAY (optional): Get a head start, if you manage to finish work by sundown. Garage the car. Check into a B&B a short cab ride away (we recommend the non-AC Quick Cabs; Rs7.5 a km; 45333333). Bnineteen (www.bnineteen.com; Rs 6,750) in Nizamuddin sports contemporary ethnic decor and has a great view of Humayun’s Tomb. Alternatively, you could stay at The Estate (www.theestatebnb.com; Rs3,500-3,900 for April-September) in Sultanpur Estate, Mehrauli, which has a charming ambience and is quiet and restful.
After sunset: Step out for a qawwali performance at the dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya (in Nizamuddin) or the dargah of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (at the Mehrauli archaelogical complex, near Qutab Minar). From The Estate, you can hire a cab for 4 hours, which will make you poorer by around Rs500.
FRIDAY
5am: At bnineteen, watch daylight break over the picturesque Humayun’s Tomb from your balcony.
6am: Take an auto from Nizamuddin to Connaught Place (CP) for the early morning phool mandi (flower market) on Baba Kharag Singh Marg. Then go to Gole Market for samosas at Bengali Sweets and Kaleva’s whole-fruit kulfi.
Morning glory: The flower market just off Connaught Place, on Baba Kharag Singh Marg. Arvind Yadav / News Photos
Optional: If you are at The Estate, you are close to the phool mandi behind Qutab Minar. A big bunch of roses will cost you just Rs100. Take an auto (Rs30) there before breakfast.
8.30am: Head to CP to get on the Delhi Tourism sightseeing bus from Scindia House/Baba Kharag Singh Marg/Janpath. The full-day tour (www.delhitourism.nic.in; Rs195; lunch included; register beforehand) ends at 5.15pm at Humayun’s Tomb.
5.30pm: Freshen up. If at bnineteen, it’s worth walking to the Dastarkhwan-e-Karim restaurant’s fine-dining outlet. If you are at The Estate, you should pre-order dinner for an excellent home-style meal.
SATURDAY
8.30am: Check out after breakfast. Take an auto (Rs30) from Nizamuddin or a cab (Rs150) from The Estate to Pragati Maidan.
9.30am: Visit the Crafts Museum and watch craftsmen at work. The shop is a good souvenir stop even for fans of Dilli Haat, the open-air craft fair, but it’s more fun to bargain directly with the craftsmen.
11am: Take a bus or auto (Rs30) to the National Museum (www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in) for an audio tour (Rs150) that guides you through the highlights of its collection.
1pm: Take an auto (Rs80) to The Manor (www.themanordelhi.com). Enjoy an offbeat desi meal at Indian Accent. The chef’s tasting menu (Rs800) starts with foie gras-stuffed galawati kebab and ends with toffee chyawanprash cheesecake.
6pm: Soak in some culture at one of the city’s many art galleries and performance venues (check out the week’s events in the Time Out-Mint Planner, uploaded every Friday on www.livemint.com).
6pm: Call a radio cab and go check into Hotel Broadway (www.hotelbroadwaydelhi. com, Rs2,095-4,495), located near Old Delhi’s hot spots. Its quirky décor makes it a classic. Sign up for its Chor Bizarre Memory Lanes walk (Rs1,250).
Dinner: Choose a buffet, thali, tak-a-tak platter or chaat off the in-car salad bar (around Rs500).
SUNDAY
6am (optional): If you can wake up bright and early, an Old Delhi breakfast of sheermal-chai or Kallu’s nihari (Rs25) is yours for the taking (a Rs20 rickshaw ride away).
10am: You’re in for a treat, but first check out of the hotel. The Chor Bizarre Memory Lanes walk begins with a rickshaw ride to Jama Masjid, from where you walk along Dariba Kalan, Kinari Bazaar and Paranthewali Gali. You must snack at Ghantewala, but remember you will be stopping to feast on a wazwan (a full Kashmiri meal served on a trami, a shared platter for four) at Chor Bizarre restaurant at the end of your walk.
You’ll need to walk some more to digest all this. Things to watch for en route: a vendor of Daulat ki chaat in Kinari Bazaar, custom-mixed attar at Gulabsingh Johrimal (www.gulabsinghjohrimal. com) in Dariba Kalan, and the Aap ki Pasand tea shop (www.aapkipasandtea.com) in Daryaganj. Aap ki Pasand is the perfect stop for a cuppa (Rs50 for Darjeeling tea) after bargain-hunting at the Daryaganj Sunday book bazaar.
7pm: Stop for an early dinner/snack of fruit sandwiches (Rs20) at Jain Coffee House (Raghu Ganj, Chawri Bazaar).
8pm (optional): If you still have the energy, take an auto (Rs60) to Andhra Bhavan. It’s quieter in the evenings if you prefer to eat there; but we suggest you get the food packed and bring it home, preferably on one of the new green DTC buses (Rs10-25).
Compiled by Manidipa Mandal
SHOOT THE BREEZE IN BANGALORE
FRIDAY
Walk the talk: (above) This turn-of-the-20th-century monastery on the Bengaluru Walk is a good place to discover seventh century philosophy; and Villa Potti Pati, once a family home, has been converted into a heritage hotel. Photos by Hemant Mishra / Mint and Neemrana Hotels.
8am: Round up the family or set out alone on a drive to Hessaraghatta, in the western suburbs. Nrityagram, the dance village set up by the late Odissi dancer Protima Gauri Bedi, is an hour’s drive away. Join a lecture demonstration and guided tour (10am; Tuesday-Saturday), which includes a home-cooked vegetarian meal (Rs850). You can also walk across to the Taj Kuteeram boutique hotel.
2pm: Drive back to town. As you exit NH4, head for Malleswaram. Here, amid old bungalows set up by the Iyengar Brahmin community, lies Villa Potti Pati (www.neemranahotels.com; Rs3,500-6,000 per night).
4pm: After a dip in the pool, stroll through Malleswaram market’s tightly packed arrays of murukku, kaayi holige and incense.
SATURDAY
6am: Head south to join the 3km traditional Bengaluru Walk at Basavanagudi (it begins at 6.55am, from Harihara Gudda, by the Ramakrishna Ashram; the package costs Rs475, seniors and children, Rs275; and it includes a hearty local breakfast). Alternatives: the Green Heritage Walk in Lalbagh Gardens or the Victorian Walk down MG Road.
12.30pm: Lunch at Kamat Bugle Rock restaurant, which serves authentic north Karnataka cuisine (thali, Rs100). There’s also live classical music (for listings, visit www.kamatyatri.in).
Fine dining: Grasshopper serves you a meal made to order. Hemant Mishra / Mint
3pm: Begin the 100km drive south along the Kanakapura-Kollegal highway to the Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp (www.junglelodges.com). Check into a log hut (Rs2,750 per person) or an air-conditioned cottage (Rs3,000). The tariff includes all meals, a coracle ride on the Cauvery river, fishing alongside anglers, and a guided trek through the adjoining forest. There are river-rafting rides for children (at extra cost).
SUNDAY
2pm: Drive back to the city. But instead of a headlong rush into the bustle, take the slow option and detour to Kalena Agrahara on Bannerghatta Road.
6pm: Drive to Grasshopper, a restaurant that has no set menu but can serve a customized seven-course meal over 3 hours (on prior reservation only; a meal for two costs around Rs3,000; contact Sonali Sattar on 26593999/65665130).
Compiled by Archana Rai
Note: All hotel tariffs and restaurant prices before tax
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First Published: Mon, Mar 30 2009. 10 44 PM IST