A day in Seattle

I am in Seattle from the last few days and have been planning to visit some of the major attractions here. When I searched for “Places to visit in Seattle” the first few search results were the following:

  1. Pike Place Market
  2. The Great Gum Wall of Seattle
  3. Space Needle
  4. Chihuli Garden and glass

Since I didn’t have any company, I decided to be a solo traveller for a day. Trust me I have never roamed around places alone. I always wanted to do so but never did. Before starting my trip I downloaded Moovit app so that I get to know from where i can take which bus. One thing which i liked about the Moovit app is it shows bus stop ID as well along with the bus number. For a person like me, who was new to the place, it helped a lot.

Pike Place Market: This market was one of the few things I wanted to visit. They call it “Historical district” as one can find hundred years old shoops here. Roaming around in an unknown city all by myself was quite an experience.

The Great Gum Wall of Seattle: It looks colourful in pictures but trust me its smelly and gross. They had cleaned this wall for the first time in 20 years in November 2015. It happens to be one of the major attractions in Seattle. I thought i’ll have to search for this wall, but its at the entrance of Pike Place Market, yo ujust have to take left to the alley.

The Great Gum Wall of Seattle

Space Needle: The iconic Seattle’s landmark and tourist attraction center. It has a revolving glass floor 500 ft up in the air. I walked all the way from Ivar’s fish bar to the Space needle. It’s a good 30 mins walk (1.5 miles). The entry to the observation tower is not free. But you can get some discount if you are taking ticket for Space needle and Chihuly garden and glass together.

Chihuly Glass and Garden:
Named after Dale Chihuly, this place showcases his glass work but for some reason it was never in my list of places to visit. I guess i was underestimating the power of creativity. When I went inside, I was just mesmerized with the fact that everything was made up of glass. During my visit, various thoughts were crossing my head like, how can someone make such a beautiful thing out of glass, how many people would have been involved and how many days would have been spent on each detail. At the end of the tour, they showed a small documentary on how the glass chandeliers are made. I came and searched for all the videos related to glass blowing till my eyes started paining. Photos from Chihuly Glass and Ganden can be found on my instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2D_c0nl7U-/

After walking more than 10 kms, i was so tired that i wanted to take a cab back to the hotel. I got a mini heart-attack when i checked the cab fare, it was 40 $. I thought it would be a good idea to take the bus again. I had to walk a bit from Seattle space needle to catch the bus, also, there are no direct buses for Bellevue. One has to take bus till Kirkland and from there take a bus for Bellevue. Anyway, after walking for a while i found the bus stop. I got into one of the buses and I reached Kirkland. One thing which I learned from my bus journey was unlike India, there bus drivers don’t talk to the passengers while driving the bus. I wanted to confirm with the bus driver if it was the correct bus and he was listening but not answering. Later at a signal he told me he cannot talk while driving. But i was in the right bus.

Do you have any such travel story? Do share in the comment your experience.

My kitchen story – Pure veg omellete

Blessed are those who know how to cook and have interest in cooking. I dont have any inerest in cooking. I don’t even feel like cooking. I am happy if i get food served infront of me without going to the kitchen.

I am on my business trip. And this time i have decied to cook rather than hopping restaurants. I try to cook something which requires less preparation + cooking time. I have been trying to cook anything and everything in microwave because it takes less time and attention.

One fine sunday i decided to prepare omellete with veggies. I wanted to have lots of veggies so i added spinach, carrot, cauliflower, tomatoes and potato. I prefer to have only two eggs a day. While chopping the veggies i did not realise that i am going to add only two eggs. Very happily i put all the chopped vegetables in the bowl and added two eggs. The eggs were not enough for the vegetables. I mixed the veggies and eggs nicely in a bowl. It was very clear I screwed my omellete but i was just going with the flow.

I poured the mixture in a plate and put it in oven for 10 mins. After 10 mins when i took it out from the oven, it felt like a vegetable cake. I could cut it in slices. But it was a good learning. Now whenever i put veggies in omellete, i double check the proportion.

My first ever microwave cooked omellete will always be memorable.

What’s your kitchen story?

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A must visit place

Have you ever visited a place which you saw online (Instagram in my case) and saved it in your places-to-visit list? Well, recently I had a chance to visit one such place. A few months back, while scrolling through the posts on Instagram, I came across a pic of a library. The library looked huge and, the moment I saw it, I wanted to visit it. But that time I didn’t know where this library was. I started looking for more details about the pic. By that time I was sure I’ll never get a chance to visit this place which is in Seoul, South Korea. And eventually the pic which was moved to my places-to-visit list. With time I even forgot about this place. Recently, I got a chance to visit our parent company in Suwon, South Korea. Even then it didn’t click me that I could visit this library. During my visit, I went to meet a friend of mine who is doing PhD from Seoul National University. This friend asked me what would I like to see in Seoul. I described him about this library. He said he knows one such library but he was not sure if what I was describing and what he understood were the same. Anyway, we went to the place which I described him and he thought he understood. It was the Starfield library, Seoul. I was so mesmerized by the library I couldn’t take my eyes off from the design and architecture. I was looking at the library from top to bottom, left to right without blinking. It was books all around. At that moment, I just wanted to be there and wanted to see and touch each and every book. If you are a book lover and if by chance you are in Seoul do visit this library. If you have already been to this place then do drop comments about your experience.

Also, I realised Dreams do come true.

Alma mater

When was the last time you visited college??

I visited my grad school after eight long years. You won’t believe how excited I was. All the memories were flashing in-front of my eyes. 

I don’t know from where to start. Let me start from the beginning 🙂 

After my 12th board, I wanted to go for engineering because 

  1. Bhaiya did engineering 
  2. I thought it was really cool to stay away from parents so I would be free to do anything at anytime and no one will say a word to me.
  3. I never had an insight of what I should do with my career so engineering was an easy option. The only thing I knew was I have to study something in order to get a job!

I took a year gap to prepare for engineering entrance exams. I could not clear IIT JEE and AIEEE obviously as I was never focused. Also, because I was preparing for the above stated (1, 2, 3) reasons and didn’t really want to do engineering. In that respect, I really admire darling sister. She was focused since 9th grade about her career, what she wanted to study, from which university and where would she like to start her career from (as in which company, what job etc.). Everything was clear to her. And she made sure she was always on right track towards her dream job. 

Coming back to me now, I got some rank in Orissa Jee and was called for counselling in August-September. Meanwhile, my parents decided I should not sit idle and waste another year in order to wait for the Orissa Jee result. They suggested me to apply in the colleges for basic science / arts / vocational courses. Well, even then I had my own tantrums. I didn’t want to study “Arts”. Seriously!!! Yes, I said that. Because, again, I was not sure what would I do by doing “Arts”. 

Other colleges would take admission on the basis of marks obtained in 12th board exam but St. Xavier’s College used to take entrance test for all the branches. I gave admission test for Mathematics and Physics. I wanted to take Maths, particularly, only because Papa was a masters in maths. I never liked Physics because of the teacher who taught physics in school and, chemistry was always so confusing that I really never understood. 

The physics teacher in school had once told me that I would never do anything in my life. I will sit at home and will spend my dad’s money. Yes! That’s what he said. He made that comment only because I did an experiment wrong during our practical sessions. In spite of encouraging students to excel, he was discouraging me. I was so disappointed with his comment that I started crying. That’s why I never liked physics! 

Unfortunately or fortunately, I cleared Physics entrance in St. Xavier’s college for Bachelors degree. My name was on the third list. I was really horrified with the fact that I will be studying physics. Will I be able to understand what they teach? What if the professors in college were like my school physics teacher? What if I flunk in exams? So many things were going in my head. But, then, I thought these classes/lectures are temporary because I was secretly waiting for the Orissa Jee counselling. It was first day of the college, and I reached college an hour before the lecture time. I am the kind of person who prefers to be on time or before time. 

College campus
College campus

For an hour I was just roaming around in the department, going through the noticeboard where there was the  admission list. I got a chance to look at it to know who all will be attending lectures with me. I got my eyes on the anti-raging notices saying ‘senior students are not allowed to rag the fresher, in case of any ragging complaints the student will be suspended for that semester’, the syllabus for first semester, attendance notice warning students if they fail to achieve 80% attendance then they wont be allowed to sit in the semester exams, and previous semester’s result list among other things. After doing time pass for one hour it was time for me to attend my first lecture. I was getting goosebumps and exactly the same feeling as Lucky gets in the movie Main Hoon Na, when he visits his college library first time ever.

The first lecture was taken by Prof Dipankar Dey (DDey sir we used to call him), head of Physics department. I really didn’t know at that time who he was until one of the students sitting next to me told that he’s the HOD. He took the lecture of Mathematical Physics. He made that session so interesting that my hatred for physics vanished in the very first lecture. 

After the first lecture, I thought there won’t be any more lectures. But we had all the scheduled lectures. I had an impression that normal colleges would not be regular in terms of classes and students would be more free to roam around. But I was wrong. St. Xavier’s college, being an autonomous institution, was very strict in terms of lectures and discipline. With each passing day, I started enjoying physics. I didn’t make much friends because I thought I was there for some time only. By the time my Orissa JEE counselling came, I had already attended two months of college and got busy with the assignments and practical stuffs. 

I went for my Orissa JEE counselling. My turn was in second half of the day, but there was a big screen where we could see the seats filled in different colleges. Till the time my turn came to fill the form for the desired college and branch, almost all the seats in good colleges were filled. I had two options: Engineering from some random college in a branch which i never thought of or Physics from St Xavier’s College. I was just thinking during the whole counselling process and was discussing with Papa about future plans. Then all of a sudden I stood up and asked Papa to come with me. He somehow sensed my decision. The only thing he said was lets wait for your turn but since I was not ready to sit, we came out in the middle of the counselling. The only thing Papa asked was whether I was sure about it? Would I not regret later? I confidently said I won’t regret. I came back to Ranchi with a happy heart. Next day I went to college and everything seemed so good. I sat with new girls and became friends with them (Ankita, Rafia and Spriha). For the next three years, these three girls and I were inseparable. We would come to the college together, sit together on first bench, would prepare for semester exams together. I made other friends also from my department as well as from other departments. But these girls were special. Mummy would pack lunch for me and she would ensure she packed something new for me everyday. After the lectures in college I would ensure I reach home on time and get back to study. No roaming around in college after lectures. Sometimes after college if we would want to spend time together then either they would come to my place or I would go to there place but no hanging around outside. No movie, no birthday treat in restaurants, no shopping, nothing. It was not that our parents would restrict us from all these things, it was just that I wanted to spend more of my time in figuring out what next. Three years passed in a blink without realizing when and how. It felt like yesterday I was there in the college as a fresher and today I was an alumni. But I was somehow happy that college got over and I got admission in NIT Rourkela for Masters in Physics. I was more happy because of the option 2 I stated in the beginning of the post. 

After a few days Mummy moved to Kolkata with Papa and after a few months of their stay there, they moved to Mumbai. After completing my masters, I came back to Mumbai. I got a job in Mumbai and then in Bangalore. I never went back to Ranchi after my graduation.Two years back Mummy Papa moved to Jamshedpur. Since we are now working professionals, our vacations depends upon manager’s yes/no and if there is any important deadline to meet. With all these things my frequency of visiting home has reduced to twice / thrice a year. For some it may be sufficient but I feel if I could visit home more often. 

There are two ways to go Jamshedpur from Bangalore: a) take flight to Ranchi and from Ranchi take bus/cab to Jamshedpur, b) take flight to Kolkata and from there they can catch a train to Jamshedpur. Till last year I was taking route b. Only this time I thought of going home via Ranchi. This is the less tiring route. I have decided that from now on I would take this route only. After spending a few days in Jamshedpur, it was time for me to be back to work. Since my flight was from Ranchi, I decided to go a little early and meet a very dear friend (Rishabh) who got engaged just a day before. Due to some function at my place I could not attend his engagement. Rishabh is an Art of Living student and Geologist by profession.

Rishabh and I
Rishabh and I

We decided to meet at college. I was really excited to go back to college and see how much the college has changed. I was also excited to be back in Ranchi after 8 long years. I got down from bus and took a cycle rickshaw to college. Every single thing took me back to the time spent during the year 2000 – 2010. It reminded me of so many things. Going to Papa’s office, shopping with Mummy Papa in church complex, spending summer vacation at Tripathi uncle’s place, eating ice cream at Firayalal, going to wool house or Kashmir vastralaya with Mummy during winters because she would knit sweaters for us, that New Lords tailor where Papa would give his shirt and pair of trousers to get stitched, Punjab sweets from where we would buy sweets, Hanuman Mandir where Mummy would take me to every Tuesday, Daily market where I used to go with Mummy on Sundays to buy fresh vegetables. I don’t remember when was the last time I had cycle rickshaw ride so I ensured I get on one of them. Later I realised I was smiling like an idiot. 

Church complex
Church complex

With all the memories flashing in front of me I reached college. I didn’t see much crowd in the college maybe because of exams or maybe because of summer vacation. The college has changed a lot but the scooty stand and Xerox counter is still the same. The very first change I noticed was the auditorium, they have named the auditorium in the loving memory of late Father C De Brouwer. He was an inspiration. The second change that I noticed was they have changed the library entrance. The college has expanded and new buildings were there. Construction is still going on. Now they have new building for Arts, Humanities and Mass Communication. The boundary wall between the old St John’s school and our college is no more as the college has taken that part of the school. Some departments have been shifted to St John’s school premises. The chapel has been renewed and shifted to a new place. Earlier the chapel used to be open for students also. In fact, darling sister has been to chapel. But the year I joined college they closed chapel for students as they found that students were missing the lectures and doing time pass in chapel. The old canteen has been renewed. And the new canteen has a playing area too. They have kept indoor games also. The owner of old canteen now sits near the St John’s school premise. After roaming around in the college for one hour we decided to sit in the canteen. It was then I realised that in my three years in college I never visited canteen. When I confessed this to Rishabh he said you missed the fun. He, then, started telling me about the time he spent in college canteen, about his elections and college fest. While he was telling me his stories of college canteen, the only thing that was coming to my mind was – can I just go back to my college days? In order to focus on studies and career I somehow missed enjoying the college life!! 

Me
Just outside the college canteen. Happy me!

It’s very important to enjoy every phase of life without getting stressed out for the future. Be focused towards your goal and dreams but don’t forget to enjoy the present. With this, Baba Nimisha Kashyap is signing off with a hope to write another blog post soon.

 

Kodaikanal

I had a chance to visit this beautiful place in Tamilnadu with my girlfriends. We were a group of five girls from Bangalore. Before going to Kodaikanal we planned our trip, as in how much budget do we have, where would we want to stay, how would we like to travel, etc. Since all five of us were busy in office we decided to split the planning so that everyone has an equal amount of job to be done and no one is overloaded with the planning.

Since I have been travelling a lot, I decided to travel cheap this time so that I can save some money for my upcoming trips. I have always travelled in an AC bus, never tried non-AC bus for such a long distance. This time we decided to travel in a non-AC bus for a different kind of experience. We booked a non-AC bus with KPN travels from redbus.in. My experience with KPN travels was not great so I would not suggest it to anyone. They had charging point but it was not working. They don’t provide blanket even for a long-distance journey. No water bottles as well.

On the way to Kodaikanal
On the way to Kodaikanal

We wanted to stay in a cottage in the mid of the hill station to get a feel of the place. After doing a lot of search online, we decided for Pink House. It is in Vattakanal, seven kms from Kodaikanal. We reached Pink House in the morning and I was so mesmerised with the view that I felt my two days’ stay would not be enough to absorb the beauty. It felt as if we were staying amidst the clouds. But one has to climb a few steps (actually a lot) to reach this cottage. There are other cottages also on the way to Pink House. It is located exactly opposite to Altaf’s Cafe. Dolphin’s Nose is quite close to the cottage. The cottages here provide breakfast and dinner on request. In case you want to enjoy bonfire, they will provide you woods for which they charge as well.

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Pink House (view from the entrance), Vattakanal

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Pink House, Vattakanal

The owner / care taker had a dog. The dog’s name is Luci and she had a cute baby too :-). Both the pets were very friendly. It was fun playing with them.

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Luci

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Luci’s baby

After getting fresh, we had our breakfast (which was prepared by the owner / care taker of the cottage), we headed towards Pine Tree forest. Our cab driver was also our tour guide.  After Pine Tree forest, we headed towards Pillar’s Rock. It was disappointing. When we went there the place was covered with fog and we were unable to see the Pillar’s Rock. They have entry fee also and we felt our money was wasted as we could not see anything. Maybe it was a bad day for us to visit the place. There is a small market outside Pillar’s Rock. One can explore the market. The shops had many handmade toys, chocolates, essential oils, coffee and tea powder and other decorative items. I bought homemade chocolates from there and it was yummy 🙂

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Pine Tree Forest

After exploring the market near Pillar’s rock, we went to Sheep farm. Well, even that was a disappointment. The place was stinking and i could only see rabbits in the cage. Sheeps were having fodders at a distant place where we were not allowed to go. From that farm, we could see one lake and my friends wanted to go there.

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View from Sheep’s farm

So from the farm we went to Mannavur lake (it’s exactly opposite to Sheep’s Farm). At first I was a little skeptical to go because I was tired and I could not see the lake at all. One has to walk a kilometer or two to reach the lake, the weather was sunny and above all we were hungry. My friends somehow convinced me to walk down to the lake.

After a good walk, we reached the lake. The location was beautiful, I forgot I was tired and hungry. I sat calmly on a bench and was absorbing the beauty of the place. It was serene, I just wanted to be there. I could see people boating, some people sitting quiet and enjoying the nature, some like my friends, who were busy taking selfies and photos. After a while I also joined them in taking photos and getting clicked.

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Boating in Mannavur Lake

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Mannavur Lake View

After spending an hour at Mannavur lake, we decided to take a break and grab some food. There was a small tea stall near Mannavur lake entrance but we wanted to have lunch so we didn’t stop there. Our cab driver took us to a small restaurant. By the time we reached there, the lunch was almost over. We had biryani (biryani is always a savior). All of us were tired and it was getting dark so we decided to go back to our cottage. The cab driver dropped us near Altaf’s Cafe and left for the day.

After taking rest for a while we decided to visit Altaf’s Cafe. This cafe is famous in Vattakanal. The cafe was full and we couldn’t find a seat for ourselves.

We went to a nearby cafe and had some snacks and coffee. The distant city lights from the cafe was looking like a sky full of stars. We asked the care taker / owner of the cottage to prepare dinner for us and asked them for woods for bonfire. We had dinner by the bonfire and after that we called it a day.

Next day we woke up with a beautiful sunrise. Trust me I have never seen such a beautiful sunrise in my life so far. We got ready for Dolphin’s Nose. I would suggest you to visit this place early in the morning when the sun is not that bright. Also, wear a pair of shoes as you would have to walk for some 20-30mins.

The view from Dolphin’s nose was beautiful, it was covered with trees full of greenery. There is a deep valley on the edge of the Dolphin’s Nose. It’s dangerous to go near the edge of the rock. Please avoid going near the edge if you are afraid of heights.

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That’s me trying to go near the edge of the rock while posing @Dolphin’s nose

On the way back to Dolphin’s Nose, there was one more view point – Mountain View. There were small stalls for breakfast, tea and coffee. We had lime juice there to buck up our energy.

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Mountain View

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Mountain View

Now was the time for Vattakanal waterfall. I had read tourist reviews about it and, therefore, kept it for the last place to be visited.

It was cold and knowing the water would also be chilled I was reluctant to go inside the water. But my friends dragged me in. The water was crystal clear and we went inside water till the rocks. The rocks are very slippery, I had a bad fall there. Fortunately, my friends held me back from falling in the water. Of all the waterfalls, we saw in Kodaikanal, Vattakanal waterfall was the best and it had more water than any other waterfalls. There is one more famous waterfall, known as “Liril waterfall”. Apparently, the liril ad was shot there but now this waterfall has very less water.

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Clear water of Vattakanal waterfall

After visiting some more waterfalls, we went to Coaker’s walk. As the name says, this place is more for a walk. This place would be ideal for morning walk or evening walk. They have an entry fee, and they charge for camera separately. Since we were running out of time as we had to catch our bus back to Bangalore, we took a quick walk. Nice scenic view could be seen. They have a small telescope room as well, in case one wants to have a telescopic view (it is NOT free). With coaker’s walk, we ended our trip to Kodaikanal.

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View from Coaker’s walk

Tips:

  1. Carry warm clothes even if you are travelling in summer season (we travelled in the month of May-June and the weather was cold)
  2. Do hotel/cottage and cab booking in advance in order to avoid last-minute rush and price hike.
  3. Make a list of places you would like to visit by doing some search on booking websites (the cab driver may say this place is not good or that place is good according to his convenience).
  4. Don’t forget to carry your camera if you want to capture the beauty of the place.
  5. Carry notebook and pen, in case you want to make a note of the places you visited. We have notepad in the mobile also in case one wants to use that. I would prefer notebook and pen though 🙂
  6. If you are travelling in a group, it’s better to maintain an expense report. Try Splitwise app to split the expenses.

Note: This was my experience. I would love to hear from you all about your experience. Do comment below your experience or leave a link of your story in the comment. 🙂

 

Mid year review!

This year I have decided to travel as much as I can, as far as I can and click as many photos as I can. My travel story started in march with a week-long trip to Delhi, though I don’t count Delhi in the story because Delhi is more like a second home to me and I prefer relaxing there than roaming around the places. But Delhi has got lots of places to cover, historical monuments, some old markets, places to eat.

That’s what I do in Delhi. #myclick

My second destination was Orissa, specifically Bhubaneswar, Nayagarh, Puri, Konark. Orissa holds a special place in my heart. I have lived in Orissa (Rourkela) for two years, during my masters, and that was the first time I was away from home, made new friends, learned how to live in a hostel with limited facilities, and learned the local language as well. Learning local language helps you in connecting with the local people. May be that’s the reason I have got more friends from Orissa than any other states. Trip to Orissa was pending for the last five years and I am glad I made it. It was possible only because of my friend Smita, the only friend about whom I have spoken on my blog till now. It was her wedding which took me back to Orissa that too in summer (April), when the temperature was 48° C. One more reason to travel was the desire to see Odiya wedding and a hope to capture some moments in my camera. Below are some glimpse from the wedding.

Apart from attending wedding in Nayagarh, I went to Jagannath Temple, Puri. People are not allowed to carry cell phones or camera inside the temple premise, also there are dedicated counter outside the temple for people to take off their footwear, and submit mobile phones and camera.  There were priests all around the temple, trying to allure the visitors by saying they will get a “special darshan / more close view” of the lord (it’s trap, don’t fall in the trap) and they don’t have to stand in the long queue. In return to all these services, the priests charge a hefty amount. Since I was with my friends who keep visiting the temple quite often, I was aware of all these “favours” offered by the priests and hence, my money was saved. Since Konark is just 35 kms away from Puri, one cannot give a miss to Konark Sun Temple. This temple has its own history. Konark Sun Temple is one of the seven wonders of India, also a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.

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Konark Sun Temple

My third destination this year was in June when I went to Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, with my girl friends. Same time last year I wnet to Ooty, Tamilnadu with some other friends (again an all girls trip). I liked Kodai more than Ooty. More details about the stay, places I visited and my experience will be covered in my next blog post can be found here.

My fourth destination is yet to happen and the destination has been decided. Well, I can’t disclose the destination now. All I can say is it’s again one of the world heritage sites in India and this place is on my wishlist for the last two years. Keep guessing till I write about it further. 🙂