Bindu Sethi and Bunty Bakshi were your typical workaday Delhi couple, she with advertising and consumer care goods, he an ancillary businessman for Maruti Suzuki. Yet somehow, neither was able to get the mountains out of their veins. “I grew up in Kashmir, he in the Kumaon mountains. I come from a large family and some of my most treasured memories are of huge family parties in our rambling house in Srinagar. But that Kashmir is finished. And one of my biggest regrets is that our kids—now 21 and 17—did not have those kind of holidays,” says Sethi.
So Sethi and Bakshi did the next best thing: Deciding to capitalize on years of experience in hosting friends and family at their house in Ranikhet, they built Fishermen’s Lodge in Bhimtal, a 6-hour drive from New Delhi. This 12-bedroom home away from home, launched commercially from 1 November, encapsulates all that’s warm and fuzzy about family holidays. The rooms are tastefully decorated and, if you’re lucky, you may wake up to the aromas of Sethi’s baking.
Stunning views: Soak up nature on the deck of Fishermen’s Lodge.
The living and dining spaces are common areas, designed to draw people out of their cocoons and bond over board games or the book, music and movie collections. The great outdoors are just a step away, waiting to be explored through hikes, picnics, fishing, birding, golfing or mountain biking.
If you aren’t the active sort, mark out the deck as your favourite spot to soak in the sun or bathe in the starlight. Mealtimes, Sethi says, are their strength, with the hosts themselves supervising the kitchen and welcoming inputs from guests.
Call 09910162244 or 011-41328410 for bookings or log on to www.thefishermenslodge.com for details. Introductory three-day package for two, inclusive of breakfast, high tea and dinner: Rs16,000; four-day package: Rs24,000. Sumana Mukherjee
OUT OF THE BOX
It is a super-glam take on the world of travel: Nothing else would be acceptable when designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are involved. Suitcases, boarding bags, beauty bags, cosmetic pouches, overnight boarding bags, zipped wallets—durable and stylish luggage and daily-use pieces infused with bows and ruching, oversized details, clasps and buckles are all a part of the Happy Travel with Viktor and Rolf line by Samsonite Black Label. This is a fun, energetic collection inspired by the 1950s and 1960s era of jet-set travel.
The signature collection is available in a vintage aeroplane print in scarlet for women, or sky blue for men, and in retro black vinyl with leather trimmings. Our pick: Sally, an upright bag for women which comes with an integrated handbag, and Harry, another uprighter for men.
Available from February at Samsonite Black Label stores at the Grand Hyatt hotel, Santa Cruz, and Atria mall, Worli, Mumbai; and Sidhu Sri Vaishnavi Arcade, Hyderabad. Prices start at Rs22,000. Seema Chowdhry
Travel broadens the mind, they say, and sometimes it inks the virtual pen as well. But who reads what you write? Just having your blog out there doesn’t cut it these days; to ensure serious readership, try hitching on to Zoomtra’s star. The year-and-a-half-old travel search engine with a monthly average of 450,000 hits now offers a platform, www.zoomtra.com/travel-blogs.aspx,for travel blogs. It’s a great deal both ways, says Vikas Jawa, Zoomtra’s director. “We get to bolster our ‘emotive content’ by showcasing first-hand experiences of travel; the bloggers get an increased number of hits on their own webpages,” he says, since Zoomtra links directly to the blog.
To get on to the Zoomtra platform, Jawa says you need to meet three criteria: You need to be passionate about travel, you need to be travelling regularly and you need to be a good writer. Bloggers may email them at email@example.com to register for the screening process.
If wordy blogs aren’t your thing, however, try Zoomtra’s micro-blogging options (think Twitter) on social networking websites Orkut and Facebook. “IndiaDekha!, an application we developed, already has 1.5 lakh registered users and 500,000 micro-blogs. This is perfect for those who’ve been some place and have something to say about it in less than 50 words or so,” says Jawa.
So, whether you are a man of few words or many, there’s a platform waiting for your travel story. Write on.Sumana Mukherjee
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org