Friday, 1 December 2017

Things to Buy in Mysore

Every time, husband and I decide to take a holiday, my husband does all the planning.

Right from Air India flight booking, hotel bookings as well as sightseeing.

Our travel plans are always jam-packed, thanks to husband, who hates to miss any attraction that our holiday destination offers.

So when we zeroed down on Mysore for our next holiday, I strictly told husband that he can take care of the flight bookings and booking hotels in Mysore. But as far as sightseeing and eating out is concerned, it will be me who will take a final call.

While doing my research, I came across some really cool stuff.

And instead of making a list of must visit places in Mysore, I actually compiled a list of must buy things from Mysore. :)

So scroll down to read what I intend to shop at my upcoming holiday in Mysore.

Mysore Silk Saree:

It is believed that the Mysore Royalty made conscious efforts to encourage the silk industry in Mysore during the 20th century. The presence of mulberry plants around Mysore further encouraged this industry in Mysore, as silk worms mainly feed on mulberry leaves. Mysore silk sarees, are light weight and soft with a sheen on it and are inlaid with golden zari threads. I am surprised, that I still don’t own a piece of this beautiful saree. And hence it tops my list of must buy things from Mysore.

Mysore Sandalwood Soap:


Since the establishment of the Government Sandalwood Factory in Mysore in the =early 1900's, it became a centre for all things sandalwood. Sandalwood oil, sandalwood soap, sandalwood perfumes, sandalwood face packs, etc.
I have been a fan of sandalwood soaps since my childhood days, as whenever any of our relatives went to Mysore on a holiday, they would definitely buy sandalwood soaps for us a souvenirs. I love how it leaves you fragrant after a bath.

Coffee:

Since Mysore is really close to Coorg, which produces some of the best coffee in India, Mysore has many retail and wholesale shops that sell coffee specially sourced from Coorg. The best places to buy coffee in Mysore would be near Devraja Market and Gandhi Square. I am surely picking some for my coffee loving friends abroad.

Channapatna toys:


Channapatna toys are toys made in Channapatna town which lies on the Bangalore-Mysore Road and hence is found extensively in stores of Mysore. These are wooden toys which are made from local varieties of wood and coloured with vegetable dyes. They are very artistic and inexpensive. I have been a fan of wooden toys since my childhood, as my parents and uncles would often buy me wooden toys from Sawantwadi. On my Mysore holiday, I am definitely picking a few ones for my little nieces and nephews.


While there are so many other interesting things to buy in Mysore, these items top my list of must buys.


Have you been to Mysore? What did you buy? Tell me in the comments below.


P.S. We do not own images used in this post.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Madhuri Dixit - The Enigmatic Girl-Next-Door

When stalwarts like Late M.F.Hussain and Late Ashok Kumar describe someone as “the epitome of beauty, grace and womanhood”, you know that the lady in discussion has to be a rare phenomenon. But then Madhuri Dixit has never been ordinary or run-of- the-mill in any aspect.
Whether it is her break-the- darkest-clouds illuminating smile, her jaw-dropping dance moves or her affable personality, Madhuri always manages to win you over!
The one thing that Madhuri has unfortunately suffered the bane of, in the early stages of her
career, was her dressing sense. But, according to me, Madhuri could hardly be blamed for some of the fashion faux pas; those were different times! Colourful dresses, curly hair and loud makeup were all the rage! Also, entourage of designers, makeup artists and hairdressers had not yet caught up with Bollywood. Given these handicaps, I have always believed Madhuri still outshone all her peers with her innocent face and oodles of talent.
And in the recent years, she has also proved time and again, that she is a true timeless diva.
Whether it is her signature anarkali dresses or captivating contemporary sarees, she continues to dazzle generation after generation of male and female fans galore!
So here are a few of my favourite captured moments of India’s most glamorous girl-next-
door (yes it is supposed to be paradoxical)!!




 











































-Gouri Patwardhan
 For So-Saree

P.S. We do not own images used in this post.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Restaurant Review: Chaubara 601 in Thane

A few weeks ago I was invited for a restaurant review in Thane and the only reason I couldn't turn it down was because it promised to be a Restaurant delivering authentic Punjabi tadka.
Now those who don't know, I am a real sucker for Indian Cuisine and Punjabi food happens to be my biggest weakness.
So, off I headed to Chaubara 601 which is a roof top restaurant in Thane West.

First things first, I fell in love with the decor of this place from the moment I stepped in.
It gave me the feel of a Punjabi dhabha, but of all the dhaba style restaurants I have been too, this one has to be the best.
Scroll down and see for yourself.
































Now, moving on to the food.

We were treated to a special menu which was curated as part of the launch and preview of the restaurant, so as to ensure we were  able to taste and review maximum items on their menu.
We were greeted with a welcome drink and Alu chaat. The Alu chaat was chatpata and the drink refreshing. Good Start!

We were then asked for our choice of beer/wine. Since I do not drink, I requested for a Lassi, and believe me this was the best decision I have ever made. Yes...EVER.

Coz I have never tasted a Lassi as rich, creamy and delicious as this one. So the one thing that You MUST MUST try when you are at this restaurant is their Lassi.


Then came the platter of vegetarian and non vegetarian starters.
My favorites: Paneer Tikka and Bharwan Khumb(mushrooms)
                     Kastoori Murgh and Mutton Chop


I was already full at this point of time, but the curiosity that had built up after tasting their starters made me go for heir main course.
First came their assorted bread tokri, and then varied varieties of kormas and curries.



Every dish that was served was rich in flavor and had just the right amount of spice.

Their Badi Lehsooni has vadis specially sourced from Amritsar.
And the best thing about the non-vegetarian dishes was that the meat was cooked really well. The one thing that really puts me off at restaurants serving non vegetarian food is that the meat is not adequately flavored and cooked. And at Chaubara 601, it was like they had secretly read my mind before serving the food. The meat and fish was just perfect.
Must try dishes: Murg Korma and Taar Korma.

Also, do try their Amritsari chur chur naan and kulchiyan.



But the winner of the evening, was definitely the Gosht Dum Biryani. I have no words to describe how good it was. Every morsel of the Biryani was perfection, and the flavors just kept bursting in my mouth with every bite. Ummm...!!!


By this time, I was so full, that I felt that I could go without food for a week, but I still went for their dessert spread, which included golden papaya sheera, kheer biranj and bharwa rabdi roti. I wasn't a fan of the Papaya Sheera but my favorite was the definitely the bharwa rabdi roti.


All in all, it was an evening to remember.
Open Kitchen
Good food, good ambience, reasonable prices, good hosts and knowledgeable waiters, who took us through the entire menu and introduced us to the way the food was cooked.

This place has an open kitchen, wherein you can see the chefs cooking through clear glass windows. This was a plus for me, because I am always apprehensive about the hygiene in restaurant kitchens.

The seating is interesting too. The table tops have quirky designs with Bollywood dialogues engraved on them.



And they have special seating for big groups which is a major plus. 

I really loved this place and cant wait to go back.
Finger Bowl was warm tea with a slice of lemon

Menu card printed on Jute...how cool is that!
My rating: 4/5
Would I go again: Hell..yeah..!!!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

So-Saree Readers Speak - Pramila

We are back with our Readers Speak Segment and I hope I am able to make it a regular feature on the blog.
Today's reader is a person whose saree style I really like.
Traditional with a lot of sass, is how I would define it.
So without much ado, lets move on to see what she has to say.
 



































It's a huge compliment that my pics were chosen to be featured on So-Saree.
I follow So-Saree since its all about fashion, culture, tradition, style tips, nail art and being oneself. I appreciate and follow the blog as it inspires me to be myself yet stand out from the crowd. It's different and when I say different I honestly mean it. I have grown immensely in my dressing sense and people have noticed the change .....it's classy now.
I always loved Sarees and I find them very graceful. I believe any women looks pretty in a saree provided its draped well. I have never failed to turn heads when I wear a saree. Saree just happens to be one of those things that brings out the beauty in a women. It's a sexy outfit and yet earns brownie points with conservative people as well. ;)
I love love love sarees....So sarees !!! ;)
I wish Aditi and her blog all the best for all future endeavors and I am highly obliged for featuring me......I am just loving this attention 😍😍



Thanks Pramila, for your kind words. You really carry your sarees with a lot of grace.

Monday, 13 November 2017

What Happens at the OKTOBERFEST stays at the OKTOBERFEST…SO PROST ON!!


The hard working Germans are suddenly tired. Why you ask? Well, the Oktoberfest is just over and they are still recuperating!! The sudden loss of Mass (German one litre beer mug) from their hands is still a sore spot and their feet are still itching to walk back to the Wiesen (Oktoberfest grounds). But well, they always have the next year to look forward to and maybe put a spring back to their cold (only because of autumn is settling in fast) feet!




After my second visit to the world’s biggest Volksfest (people’s festival), I thought I should pen down not only my experience but also a few tips for those keen to visit the festival next or coming year/s.
Before I start, in case any of you are planning to visit the fest in 2018, stop reading (and whatever else you are doing) and book yourself in one of the beer tents NOW! And I am by no means exaggerating – booking for the tents begins within a few days of the end of the festival and are sold out before you can say Prost!


Let me begin with a brief history of the festival for the more curious. Oktoberfest was initiated in its original form in the early 19th Century, in Munich, mainly as celebration of the (then) Crown Prince Ludwig I nuptials with Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The first festivities were held in the Munich field grounds near the city gate, which is now named “Theresienwiese” (Theresa's fields). Even today the Oktoberfest continues to be held on the same grounds. What began as horse races, have now culminated in the largest beer festival of the world!


In case you are not sure what magnitude I am talking about, here are a few statistics from the 2017 festival (and this is just Munich!) – 6.2 million Guests converged at the Wies’n and consumed close to 7.5 million litres of beer in just a fortnight!! So if you are a beer lover – this is your Mecca!!
Ironically, I am more of a wine person, but that hardly mattered; I had to experience what the fuss was about. And was I in for the shock of my life! This was not just another “fair” or “festival”, it was like Disneyland for the Germans, who are always up for a glass of beer! The grounds itself is about 42 hectares (0.42 square kms) and is one of the biggest fairgrounds in Europe. During the Oktoberfest there are about 14 bigger official beer tents, 22 smaller tents serving beer, other drinks and German speciality fair food and several carousel and other amusement rides to keep the visitors occupied throughout the day and well into the night.


The festival begins with a parade from all the breweries in horse drawn carriages and floats. This is then followed by the traditional Beer Barrel Tapping - at noon the city mayor opens the first beer barrel in the Schottenhammel (beer brewery of Bavaria) tent. With the initial pass and the exclamation "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!") The Oktoberfest is then declared as opened. Twelve gunshots are then fired on the stairway of the city’s hall of fame -Ruhmeshalle.
This is the signal for the other restaurateurs to start with the serving of beer.
Now on to the more fun facts. In case you really want to get into the mood of the fest, you need to be dressed in the traditional attire. For women, it is a Bavarian Dirndl dress with an apron tied around it. Each apron is wrapped and typically tied with bow on the front. Put your bow on the left side if you’re single, the right side if you’re taken, and in the middle if you’re are a virgin!




Also, just based on my past visits, I would suggest braiding your hair – preferably two braids, if your hair (and you) are upto it! That would really make you blend in the crowd.
For boys, a typical outfit will have a button-up shirt (either white or checkered); leather Lederhosen shorts with suspenders, an Alpine hat, and sturdy Bavarian shoes. The significance of the Lederhosen is quite interesting too; while the peasantry wore both short Lederhosen and longer styled "Kniebundhosen" made of goat or sheepskin that was dyed black, the nobles, who were often adept hunters, chose to make their Lederhosen of deerskins - a much softer and higher grade of leather. These were then richly decorated to symbolize their nobility. Part of the uniqueness of Lederhosen can also be attributed to their intricate embroidery that is found both on the trousers as well as on the suspenders. Oftentimes the embroidery signified a certain region of the country
 

 Now that you are dressed to the nines, let us start with the beers and food. Inside the grounds you will find 2 options for beer – either inside one of the big tents or at stalls all across the grounds. To get inside the tents, you need to have reservations, which can be done online, or else you can hang outside the tents for an hour or two and hope someone leaves and you can then get inside. These tents are essentially huge wooden marquees of the 14 official breweries of Munich, and have been brewing beers for centuries.


Once inside, you are easily sucked into the music, dancing and gala. People dancing on the wooden benches, waitresses mulling about delivering the beer, traditional German music being played by local live bands and the outside world just ceases to exist!
Beer at the fest is generally only available as “Mass”, which is essentially a one litre beer mug. The locals consume an average of 10-12 Mass of beer on any day of the Oktoberfest! So it’s no joke when I say that the fest is not for the weak-hearted! Although you will be spoilt for beer choices, my personal favourites were Paulaner and Löwenbräu. The former is more of a strong lager and the latter is a slightly malty flavoured “meadow” beer.
 


 



Food options are also ample, but mostly limited to Bavarian and German favourites – like wurst, sauerkraut, schnitzel, fish delicacies, pommes (potato fries), crepes, and roasted nuts. You will also find a few coffee, soft drinks and such other stalls, but I say why bother??!!
So now that you are reasonably equipped with the information about Oktoberfest, when are you making your flight?

-Gouri Patwardhan
For So-Saree

 

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