Kaftan vibe with Nadima Saqib

I love traveling, well that’s quite obvious but what i love more is Traveling in style. In my recent travel to Ahmedabad, i stayed at a beautiful century old property where every corner had a story.

To much the vibe of the place i chose 5he beautiful Nadima Saqib ,cotton crush kaftan. The kaftan has intricate dori work details on neck and slightly puffed sleeves with mire dori work in slits.

Long and flowy, breathable in the humid Ahmedabad weather, i lounged around the property literally getting lost in a by gone era. A place where Mahatma Gandhi himself stayed.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Arte – Alter, Calcutta


There is something about clothes that look beautiful and are so comfortable you can practically live in them. Over lock-down I have been trying more and more to bring to work and create content in collaboration with homes grown brands that bring out the best of craftsmanship, are eco-friendly promotes sustainability and are socially responsible.


Arte Alter, a made in India brand from Calcutta, a city that is a melting pot of art and culture and reflects everything a socially conscious brand stands for. They firmly believe in creating impact, from the betterment of artisans in terms of health & safety, to textile revival in a contemporary fashion, everything to minute detail of packaging is encouraged by local artisans making it reusable and eco-friendly. At Arte-Alter, they celebrate handmade and craftsmanship, and that is what we as a country “India” is proud of.


The first thing that comes in mind when I see their collection is free flowing comfort, refreshingly beautiful colors, a sense of simple sophistication and a splash of subtle art throughout the collection. The name Arte-Alter itself means, an alternative form of art. All their products are made by hand, and for them, that is art.


Fabrics They Use: this is something I feel needs to be highlighted as it’s the core of any good garmnet. With comfort and care as a key aspect, arte-alter takes immense care to provide you with fabrics made out of azo-free and natural dyed yarns. The yarns are all-natural yarns, like khadi, cotton, silk and linen. The yarns used are hand spined yarns and hand spinning is an ancient textile art, in which fibers are drawn out and twisted together to form a yarn.
The biggest advantage of using natural fabrics is that, they are biodegradable, breathable, soft, durable and also can be produced organically. These fabrics are very comfortable to wear, they are porous, so they do not stick to your body, and they do not cause any harm to the nature when produced. The fabrics are hand washed in minimum amount of water, after the fabrics comes out of the loom, to make them soft and reduce the possibility of further shrinkage.


Arie hand woven khadi dress
Handwoven soft khadi cotton jamdani dress. I like wearing it as a dress, can be paired with a beautiful scarf / belt, add a pair of pants and there is yet another look. The vibrant color is such a mood and it has hand-stitch detailing on neck and sleeve making it a perfect day wear. Shop Here


Aquamarine hand-woven khadi overlayer
I can’t wait to travel and wear this overlayer everywhere. It makes for a great airport style, adding as a layer to my mountain trips and back in city it makes for a stylish work wear. I paired it with their pink resort dress, that can be worn as a separate as well. This aqua cerulean drop shoulder trench overlay comes with patch pocket detail and is handcrafted in soft khadi jamdani with tie and dye detailing on sleeves. Shop Here

They are a luxuriously affordable brand that offers customization option and a joy of wearing them, complimentary with each outfit.

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Upasna

I discovered Upasna during my year in Pondicherry. Searching for local brands that was comfortable for the humid weather i was living in, stylish and worth the money.

Upasana, an Auroville based brand is a beautiful amalgamation of creativity, fashion, design, Indian culture, social responsibility and spiritual progress – woven seamlessly together.
Clothing has power, the power to change lives. The lives of farmers, spinners, weavers, printers, tailors, designers and many more who have invisibly woven their souls into what we wear. Upasana honours them all, consciously, at every stage of crafting their products. Shifting fashion to touch the soul instead of just the body, we believe life is interconnected. Beauty is beyond vanity.

Upasna Label, aims to create conscious sustainable fashion where they take care of our environmental cost and not pass it on to the future. For them, design is creative, problem-solving. Any problem, be it post-tsunami trauma, farmer suicides, garbage littering, weavers losing their job, Upasana looks at social issues as a space to exercise for change. Out of these real problems were born the following projects:

» Kapas – organic cotton project with families of Madurai

» Varanasi Weavers – a project with the weaving communities of Varanasi

» Tsunamika – a tsunami related project providing livelihood to fisherwomen

» Paruthi – India’s local organic brand to support India’s organic farming community

» Small Steps – compact bags as an alternative to plastic bags

It is great to be sharing about brand like this, investing in something that helps nuild my conscious lifestyle.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Svatma – Luxury Resort, Thanjavur

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Svatma – Luxury Resort, Thanjavur

I love travelling, what i love even more is when the journey or destination brings an exciting story or an experience. When i chose my destination this time, i knew i would be taking home a lot of interesting memories. I picked Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore when i was in Pondicherry and it was just a 4 hour drive. We had a very amusing start, our driver was a Rajnikant fan and he entertained us through out the way, while i enjoyed the blabbering my friend found him overwhelming as she just wanted to doze off. The landscape on our way was full of palm trees and paddy fields, i din’t snooze even for a bit, i never can, in flights, in cars, i love watching the landscapes change.

Maratha history, Tamil food, Indian Art and Architecture – Thanjavur is an exquisite southern city formerly known as Tanjore. It is world famous for hand crafted brass idols and Tanjore style of painting, a traditional style that is characterized by the use of gold foil and religious imagery. It’s best known today for being home to the great living Chola temples, a UNESCO world heritage. I was invited to experience the hospitality of Svatma Luxury Resort Hotel, a restored family mansion, that gave me an experience of a magical journey that included the luxury of leisure while dabbling with arts in a traditional home environment.

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Living area, for guests to read, chill and enjoy over arts or games at Svatma, Thanjavur

Visit to local palace with at Svatma, Thanjavur

Much like Thanjavur’s temple architecture, which blends styles from multiple eras, the seven-room heritage wing at Svatma is over 100 years old and the erstwhile family home of the Carnatic musician Rama Kausalya, melds seamlessly into the new building built around it. Across the property, murals of dancers, architectural drawings of Chola-era structures, religious verses and black-and-white photographs adorn the walls.

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The restaurant that leads to patio and further to pool and other restaurant, at Svatma, Thanjavur

Beautiful mornings in this traditional Swappanam Suite at Svatma, Thanjavur

Room: Svatma, recreates the ambiance of a classic Tamil residence in a century-old home flanked by old trees. Keeping you company is period furniture, local art and craft and traditional board games like pallankuzhi. I was staying at the ‘Swappanam Suite’ the best in property with unique design and abundance of intricately carved wooden furniture and pretty balcony. it has a living area, airy bedroom and washroom with closets.

Lounge area in Swappanam Suite, at Svatma, Thanjavur

Catching up on some reading in the private veranda of the Swappanam Suite, at Svatma, Thanjavur

Traditional Thali at Svatma, Thanjavur

Food – The hotel has three restaurants serving south Indian and continental vegetarian food. Aaharam, the indoor restaurant – meaning food or nutrition in Tamil, overlooks the pool, and the outdoor restaurant Amar Chitra Katha-themed Palaharam -meaning snacks offers an excellent local and European vegetarian fare. There’s a set menu for the day, but you can expect dishes such as fried banana flower cutlets, ammani kozhakattai (spiced rice flour balls), puliyotharai (tamarind rice), a variety of rasams, and desserts such as feni (crispy vermicelli) with almond milk and boondi. The terrace bar, Nila, is great for drinks under the stars.

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Pool at Svatma, Thanjavur

Relaxed afternoon with some old old comics by the pool at Svatma, Thanjavur

Experience- Svatma offer a fully equipped gym, spa and pool that looks like a temple tank and you can spend your day around it. Apart from leisure and doing all things touristy planned by Svatma for us, the experience i will cherish forever was the live Veena performance, it was the very first time i experienced it and it blew my mind, i din’t move an inch throughout the performance by the three incredible artist in front of me, it was an experience that i will cherish forever.

Another incredible and yet another first was the sound therapy. I loved every bit of it, a unique sound therapy that was like nothing i have ever experienced, it was calming, and rush of something so new and so amazing left me in a state of zen for hours. Post spa i spent my time by the pool reading one full comic, another first (yes, i never read a comic before)

Spa at Svatma, Thanjavur

Brass Idol Making Experience with Svatma, Thanjavur

Another experience we took was of Bronze Sculpting, Thanjavur is the cradle of this ancient art form and the skill has simply transcended generations of sculptors. We watched cire purdue (was casting) live in action from casting to the sculpture taking its final form and it was just brilliant. Watching things being made from the scratch, especially when its handcrafted, makes you value the artisans and the products a lot more (well at least to me).

Check it out- Tanjore is most famous for its UNESCO-listed Brihadeeswarar Temple, an 11th century Shiva temple built in tawny granite. The edifice was built by King Rajaraja I to celebrate a military victory. Any way you look, it’s a lesson in architectural excellence: from the musical pillars, Chola-style murals and lime plaster frescoes to stucco sculptures of Lord Shiva’s various incarnations and ancient Tamil inscriptions. The central tower has 16 tiers rising to a height of 216 ft, making it one of the tallest of its kind in the world. Several shrines dot the sprawling lawns of the complex, including one of India’s largest statues of Nandi (Shiva’s sacred bull) carved out of a single rock.

Try – Tamil-Maratha fusion cuisine, Thanjavur is synonymous for the famous pulisadam (tamarind paste mixed with rice) and other types of dry rice mixes like ellu sadam, sambar sadam and thengai sadam, all of which are also served at temples as prasadams. Some locals claim that the south Indian sambar was first cooked in the Maratha royal kitchens of Thanjavur. When Sambhaji, the Marathi king and son of Shivaji, wanted something tangy for dinner, the ingenious cook substituted the tarty kokum with tamarind in a dal, threw in some sautéed veggies and the sambar was born! The Maratha influence on the region’s cuisine can be seen in dishes such as shakar biranji—sweetened pulao with almonds and coconut to ambat bhendya—okra tossed with Indian spices.

This blog is so informative, yet i feel there could have been so much more written, but i guess some things are left for experiences. I hope we get through these covid times soon and when we do, we will all travel safe, travel local and see experience the incredible India.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Daughter Earth

Daughter Earth, a skincare brand that is close to home and incredibly good. The aroma of its moisturizer on my skin lingers while i type this and its is one of most amazing skincare brand for sensitive skin (mine is both sensitive and combination).

Coming across a brand that is made with a conscience, and doesn’t leave you to choose between natural and high-performance products is rare and . Every product we make is formulated without compromise.

As a skincare brand they went beyond organic, and formulated products with potent wild-harvested botanicals from some of the remotest habitats. What began as a quest for non-toxic skincare led them on a conscious journey to build products that are good for your skin and also deliver maximum results.

Products i Have Tried and Loved

Eternal Youth Phytonutrient Moisturiser – Smells beautiful, just a pea size and enough moisture, i use this in my night time CTM routine (but you can use it during the day as well, as it is equipped with natural SPF that helps combat free radical damage and photo aging) as i love smelling good when i am going to bed. Its rich in antioxidant-rich plant nutrients, gives long-lasting hydration, its lightweight, non-greasy and helps in radiance and youth-preserving treatment.

Eternal Youth Rejuvenating Serum – I love serums, i feel they are a perfect way to add an extra boost to your skin, i make sure to use serums morning and evening. The eternal youth serum is dermatologically tested, 100% active, preservative-free it helps correct skin and enriches skin with antioxidants, flavonoids and nutrients (Vitamins E, C and B). the serum helps skin microcirculation and delivers nutrients to the deeper layers for a rejuvenated and radiant skin. i also use it before make up sometimes and let it rest for 5 minutes, it gives me a nice glow and sets my make up perfectly.

Face Mist – Rose – Face mists are great, they give you instant of freshness, you use it directly, over your make up, while travelling and in your face pack (only if it is 100% natural, like this one) literally whenever and however you need it. A good face mist helps combat dryness and inflammation throughout the day. I never step with out a mist in my bag, especially during summers.

Wild Java Plum Ayurvedic Face Mask– Rich in skin-nourishing bioflavonoids, antioxidants and Vitamin C, Java Plums are nature’s gift to our skin. With the oil-balancing, acne-clearing and complexion-enhancing properties, these black fruits deliver a power punch of nutrition to the skin in the form of a mask. Also a great skin detoxifier. Suitable for all skin types. Make a mushy paste by mixing in floral waters like Rose, and apply a thick layer on your face and neck. Rinse off before it dries up and after rinsing, spritz your face with the rose mist and follow with the rejuvenating serum. This helps seal your skin with all the nutrition and forms a lipid barrier to prevent loss of hydration. Dull Skin or Uneven texture, Acne and dark spots, Uneven oil levels

Antioxidant Lip Balm – We all need lip balms, i can’t count the number of lip balms i have – in my bag, in my office desk, in my car, in my travel kit and one on my bed side.

An Antioxidant lip balm seals and hydrates your lips while also protecting from the harsh UV rays, helps with lip-elasticity and pigmentation on and around the lips. 100% Vegan and Beeswax-free.

Hope you enjoy reading this, for more such sustainable brands don’t forget to check out my Conscious Living tab and don’t forget to subscribe so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur , Facebook –FashionEatista, for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur

Beleza by the Beach, Goa

 

Beach holiday in only successful for me if I am in the close proximity of the beach. When we decided to go Goa, our sole intention was to stay at a place that was walking proximity to the beach, this holiday was to just relax and not to venture out.  To feed our mind with refreshing thoughts, views that touch your soul and of course good food.  

 

We stayed at ‘Beleza by the Beach Resort Goa means ‘Beautiful’ in Portuguese, comprises of 30 rooms tastefully designed in a Villa style concept. Green, luscious hedges of foliage, groves of banana, coconut and papaya trees, and clusters of bird of paradise flowers and frangipani trees landscape the length and breadth of their resort. The clean, pristine and white sandy beaches of Colva are accessible to guests from a well-paved pathway from within the resort premises.  

 

The property is located in south Goa, and has a direct access to the beach. It is calm and away from the overcrowded side of Goa but offers a lot of activities to keep you entertained.  South Goa is greener, charming and peaceful part of Goa where you can experience the authentic tropical charm of Goa.  

 

The resort is perfect if you are looking for a leisure holiday, serene beaches and good food. The all-day dining restaurant and beach shack and bar offer a delectable choice of seafood, snacks, Goan and Indian food as well as international cuisine. Spa therapies, gym and swimming pool facilities are available to guests on appointment. 

Spa : Rejuvenate & pamper yourself with the spa available at the resort where the experienced therapists work on your tired muscles and treat you to signature Keralite treatments

 

Calcutta Bungalow

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Kolkata, the first capital of British India is a place where you can still breathe the bygone era vividly. The architecture, people, street food and cabins (now known as cafes), museums and Bazaars clearly show how you can find beauty even amidst chaos

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Calcutta Bungalow, a 90-year-old Majumdar bari (townhouse) restored and tucked in a quiet neighborhood. It is a heritage bed & breakfast with six rooms. Every corner of this three storied building boasts a mix of colonial and local architecture.  Away from the maddening chaos of the city, this is a perfect place to stay, that offers an old-world charm along with urban amenities to make your stay a comfortable one.

The intimate property has a small open courtyard and rooms that are named after old neighborhoods like Sahibpara, Darzipara, Mochipara, Potuapara (artists’ colony), Boipara (about books and publishing), Dorjipara (tailors’ hub), Jatrapara (famous for traditional theatre). The rooms dedicate a tale about the places they are named after.  Just like the rest of the bungalow the rooms too are a perfect amalgamation of vintage and modern and equipped with modern day luxuries like air conditioning, television with Netflix, WiFi an attached bathroom and comfortable bed. The place also boasts a reception, recreation room, terrace and a dining hall.

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The dining room, called Notunbazar (named after new market), a common meal space for guests has loudspeakers as ceiling lamps and books that any intellect would like to borrow. While the breakfast is included in the stay, you will have to inform them in advance for dinner or order in, the staff is warm and helpful and lay down your meal for you if you wish to have it in common room, instead of your room.

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The statement Show ’19

The exhibit that brought best of jewellery brands and labels from all across India under one roof.

Designers and brand owners from jaipur, kolkata and of course Hyderabad participated, bringing in their best collection and some of the most exquisite pieces that definitely left me and most of the people awestruck.

Some pieces were perfect for modern souls, intricate designs and diamond’s while others included timless piece’s like jadau, emeralds and some with all new crystal collection. There was something to please every age group and taste.

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Ikat love with Translate

In the clutter of fast fashion ‘Translate, Handwoven Ikat’ has given me something to be grounded about. Collection by Translate India is very avant-garde, with supreme quality. I love how each of their garments can be used as separates or mix and match in numerous ways. Be it summers or using them in layers in winters, they are stylish yet minimalistic, comfortable yet classic and every bit feminine. Translate is a perfect blend of age old traditional that meets modern cuts.

This particular garment is easy and contemporary, be it lunch with friends or meeting a client it’s just perfect. This dress has an amazing pattern play and there are number of ways to style it. Pair it with a palazzo or wear it as dress, add an Ikat scarf or wrap a belt, let your style define the garment.

Translate’ as a brand uses artisanal fabrics that spell luxury. It is a concept apparel and home textile design company, made in India that empowers regional Ikat artisans in transforming the traditional hand-loom weaving to contemporary outfits and home accessories. The primary focus of ‘Translate’ is to revive the age-old traditional art of Ikat; bringing it to a larger audience through weaving, designing, producing and retailing. ‘Translate’ primarily focuses on warp, weft and double Ikat that is almost on the brink of extinction. All textiles at ‘Translate’ are hand-woven by their team of trained weavers and exclusively designed for each collection. All textile are specially treated with VAT dye to make the wearable skin friendly and pre-washed, softened to ensure they are very comfortable for every day wear.

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Ayana Fort Kochi

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Kerala has attracted travelers, explorers and traders from all over the world for centuries, drawn to this slice of tropical South India by spices, Fort Cochin (Kochi) is the one of the best place in Kerala for a rich multicultural experience.

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The fort Kochi area has its own quaint charm, It is buzzing with tourists, but each at their own pace – this part of the city has a ‘homestay’ in every corner! I chose to stay at  ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ for a lot of reason the main being its prime location. One of the biggest delights of Fort Cochin is just wandering and exploring the atmospheric old streets, the mosque, the synagogue, temples and churches, the colourful houses and shops in Jew town and the picturesque Chinese fishing nets and soaking up Cochin’s colourful history.

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Boutique hotels are on rise in India, they are the perfect combination of creativity and luxury, without missing out on comfort, the rooms are spacious and inviting; it is affordable yet high class. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a luxury boutique hotel with  16-rooms that showcases an ideal marriage of history with modern luxurious comfort. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a 200-year old courthouse that has been meticulously restored and then renovated to its rightful glory. The hotel and its surroundings take you on a trip down memory to centuries old history. This element of old and new, existing side by side is evident in each area of the hotel.

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With large public spaces, the property lends itself well to showcase art and the Ayana team endeavors to make the hotel a platform to build awareness towards Indian contemporary artists. The hotel’s monochromatic black and white palate lends itself to the striking artwork showcased throughout the property.  Ayana’s commitment to promoting Indian artists is clearly visible as you walk through the hotel, currently they house paintings from established artists such as Amitabh Sengupta and Dhiraj Choudhary, as well as many budding artists, displayed all over the property.

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Luxury Suite: I wasn’t expecting a big room considering the fact that it was a boutique hotel, but to my delight i stepped into a spacious room which was a welcome surprise. The interiors of my room, just like the rest of the hotel was tastefully done and looked elegant and classy. The team has paid minute attention to each aspect of the interiors. Perfect blend of designs and striking colors define Ayana Fort Kochi rooms. The checkered floors have been created using traditional Indian cement tile and give a sense of colonial charm to the entire property.

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The room has a theme of black and white that created a soothing contrast and in addition to it was a splash of blue to add some color. It had a queen size bed with comfortable mattress and soft pillows, a sofa with round table and lounge chair facing television, just beside the huge glass doors that led to a cute and compact balcony that overlooked the street below and also gave a view of port with ships leaving and arriving.

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Food: Ayana places a high priority on food and offers fresh local produce and authentic flavors. One can feast their senses at a stunning restaurant, ‘The Old Court’, overlooking a private garden. It offers a sundry menu based on organic vegetables and only the freshest local catch. The rooftop café has been designed in an Art Deco style and is filled with the exotic fragrance of the Raat Ki Rani tree, growing wild across the area. It was too hot and Humid for me to have a meal here so i choose the old court for my meals or ordered in room. From south Indian to Italian there is nothing they miss out on, however i would suggest you to go local, enjoy the appam with stew, masala dosa, prawn curry, fish and eat your heart out, because once you are back home you will be craving every bit  of it.

Experiences &  Activities: The hotel is equipped with a roof top pool and a fitness suite –that offer mesmerizing views of the sun and sea.  From attending a rooftop yoga class to sculpting the body with strenuous work out at the gymnasium or just cooling off at the roof top pool, Ayana provides for all modern-day luxuries in a very historic setting. In keeping with the luxury component, Ayana is one of the few hotels in Fort Kochi offering a full-service gym.

The hotel also offers curated activities and guided tours for guests based on their preferences and choices. I enrolled myself for an evening of  Kathakali, Kalaripayattu a traditional dance performance and a Backwater tour which is a mandatory thing to do when in Kerala.  They also offer a spice tour and a fishing tour.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is a place which dazzles anyone who sets their eyes upon it. Set within a picturesque location, Srinagar has got mesmerizing mountains and gardens, along with the highly famed Dal Lake. The climate of the region with its ever famous houseboats, make it the perfect location to unwind and relax.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

The USP of this property is definitely its location, nestled in a serene apple orchard of Srinagar, away from the touristy hustle of the city, the resort is a destination in itself. With breath-taking views, their in-house activities as well as their on request planning for your entire stay is what makes a visit to Srinagar more than just a stopover.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Located just 40 minutes away from Srinagar International Airport, overlooking the breath taking Zabarwan Hills and Mount Mahadev, this stunning property offers design with luxury and exclusive comfort. Enjoy features such as Butler Service Swimming pool, Massage, Private villas, Spa and Steam showers.

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Room at The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

All 20 luxury single and double bedroom villas are garden-facing. The dedicated staff is for sure to make your vacation a memorable one. Even though the resort is equipped with all luxuries of a modern hotel, it is the outdoors that that take your breath away. The view of the mountains, the calm and soothing atmosphere, chirping birds accompany you in the orchard turned garden giving you the much needed blissful moments.

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Breakfast at The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Food: The Orchard Retreat and Spa, Srinagar offers four food and beverage restaurants: An all-day dining Restaurant –Flavours, will offer wide range of cuisine across the globe, The Club Lounge, Poolside Nest will offer more of live barbeque and indulge in the culinary wizardry with their Master Chefs, Café by the name Little Bites with an alfresco is an ideal place to enjoy hot beverages or Shesha.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Try: spend leisure hours in the orchard gardens over sheesha of your choice and some mouth-watering appetizers right outside your room. Stay at the orchard is all about pampering their guests and turning their cravings into delightful experiences at your convenience.

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Pine-n-Peak by ITC, Pahalgam

Pine n Peak Hotel, Pahalgam

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Kahwa & Freshly Baked Cakes on arrival at Pine n Peak Hotel, Pahalgam

Surrounded by lush pine trees and snow-clad mountains, WelcomHotel Pine-n-Peak by ITC is located in the picturesque town of Pahalgam. Located atop the Rajwas Plateau, Pine-n-Peak’s pristine beauty remains untouched by the chaos of the market and ensures that the best views are accorded to Welcom Hotel Pine n Peak, including the shimmering Lidder River and snow topped mountains playing with the sunrays, bathing the valley in different hues throughout the day.

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This ‘Khwabgah Suite’ our abode for in hills for three blissful nights

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Room with a view at Pine n Peak Hotel, Pahalgam

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Nothing is better than munching hot crisps in the freezing weather

Snuggled in the layers of untouched snow and fir laden paths, the property boosts of 80 rooms, suites and cottages. We got to stay the luxury ‘Khawabgah Suit’ (by the way it was the same room Alia Bhatt stayed while she was shooting for Raazi in Kashmir) not that it had to be a reason to make us special, as the room was special in its own way, the view was great, the living room and room had a touch of Kashmiri details along with urban amenities. Along with the most magnificent views of the beautiful city, one can enjoy a game of golf at the nearby Pahalgam Race Course, or shop from the finest shopping arcade of Pahalgam, or enjoy a day of fishing in the Liddar River. Those looking for high adrenaline activities can enjoy trekking, river rafting and also skating at the Welcom Hotel ice rink. Every season here brings with itself something new; the valley, it seems changes colors as winters fade into spring and summers blend with Autumn.

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Freshly baked sheermal and Noon Chai at Pine n Peak Hotel, Pahalgam

It is rare to find charming and genuinely warm staff at most luxury properties. But at this property the staff will you impressed with their warmth, attentiveness, courtesy and a natural zeal to serve. Each of the staff members will leave a lasting impression on you and make sure even your tiny need is fulfilled with a huge smile.

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Breakfast with a view, right in my Khwabgah suit at Pine n Peak Hotel, Pahalgam

Food: The property has three dining outlets, overlooking the garden and the river, Lolaab – All Day Dinning, Saahil – Tea Lounge, Gulistan – Open Garden all offer mutli-cuisine delicacies. Since it was my first stop in Kashmir i went all out on the local specialties like tabakh maaz, rista (meatballs in a red, paprika-saffron-fennel spice gravy), rogan josh,  korma (lamb roasted with yoghurt, spices and onion puree, topped with coriander leaves),  seekh kababs and contains four pieces of methi korma (chicken or mutton flavored with a spice mixture containing dried fenugreek (methi) leaves), marchhwangan korma (chicken legs/thighs cooked in a spicy browned-onion sauce) and gushtaba (meatballs cooked in a spicy yoghurt gravy) and also wouldn’t want to miss the best ever walnut brownie I have ever had was right here at Pine and Peak with ice-cream. The credit entirely goes to the staff who insisted to send it to our room when I told them I had no space for dessert, and I am so glad I did.

 

Kahwa is the traditional tea in Kashmir and it goes with everything you eat as it helps digestion of the food. The tea is prepared by boiling green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and occasionally Kashmiri roses to add special aroma. The tea is then served with sugar or honey and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. I swear I dint have coffee my entire trip, and stuck to Kahwa throughout.

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View from the gardens of Pine n Peak, Pahalgam

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One of the best moments from my stay at Pine n Peak, Pahalgam was breakfast overlooking lidder river

 I am not a morning person, but when I am in hills it comes automatically to me. I was so glad to make an effort on a cosy winter morning for an outdoor breakfast, overlooking the Liddar River. The crisp air, hot refills from samovar paired with fresh Kashmiri breads and an extended breakfast indulging in a view of hills was an absolute bliss. Stay at Pine n Peak was a really heart-warming experience, and all the credit goes to the staff, who will go out of their way to make your needs meet. I loved how they offered to organise a special bonfire, after a long ride (horse ride) to Baisaran organise an outdoor breakfast setup and treated us like family and even packed a take away meal for us for our ride to Srinagar our next stop.

You can have a look at their website here and make you summer/winter booking. A pro tip is that pahalgam has so many places, and if you a person who love trekking and exploring; you can spend up to a week without getting bored. Read more about places to visit in my following blogs, as I take you to a virtual journey to Srinagar and Gulmarg next.

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Enchanted white with Samant Chauhan

I love my whites as much I love my blacks, and yet have a life that is beyond the monochrome magic. While many may disagree an all-white look stands out more than an all-black look for various reasons. Regardless of personal like and dislike for the bright noncolor head to toe hue, an all-white look is more of a statement than its counterpart. It’s brighter; It’s classic but not too been-there-done-that. It’s a no-brainer but not that easy to pull off.

Spelling white perfection in this Anarkali designed by Samant Chauhan, paired with Sangeeta Boochra jewelry that further enhances my look, has to be my most favorite look for summer 2018. Whether it’s a wedding or family function, this look assures spotlight. This top to toe white Anarkali by Samant Chauhan with the light embroidered front is perfect for any summer occasion; It is comfortable, feather-light and paired with right silver jewellery has garnered me several compliments already.

The Brand Sangeeta Boochra has been synonyms to silver jewellery for years now, with best of design that shows the creative craftsmanship has brought Indian craftsmanship on the world map. They offer best of traditional and contemporary jewelry that has developed the ancient craftsmanship and began to create exclusive jewelry with the help of its master craftsmen around Jaipur. Established in the year 1897, it has traveled far and wide. Regularly spotted on best of Bollywood style icons, their pieces are a real treasure.

When I am wearing Anarkalis I prefer the ones with subtle color and not so heavy intricate work. The only reason being I love accessorizing, and lately, I am obsessed with the silver/oxidized jewellery. Apart from the fact that it turns any look classy, the jewellery like the one I got form Sangeeta Boochra is a small investment to a forever fashion, as it sure will never go out of style.

An ultimate neck piece like this brings out a delightful look when you pair it up with a subtle garment, you can style it for a traditional look over a cotton/Banarasi saree, pair it up with your favorite Tie & dye kurta or just a white shirt and it sure will complement each one of it. The intricately designed earrings are light and versatile, the flower ring is just the perfect size symbolizing a blooming flower, it makes me a happy person every time I wear it, even on not so good days, I mean who doesn’t like flowers, it makes everyone happy and this one will never fade out. With generations of efforts, name, and hard work, the quality of products from the brand are undeniably good.

Shop similar jewelry and more from their website – Sangeeta Boochra

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Skincare routine with Lotus Herbals

The hunt for good skin is fervent and one of the most sought-out side effects when looking for a good skincare product. As a teenager, Lotus was the first retail purchase for my skin care, my mom loved the products and I followed her footsteps in purchasing my first sunscreen. When Lotus came up with tinted sunscreen, nothing could get better. Sun protection with a formula that covers minute imperfections was just genius.

So when Lotus sent me over some products to try, I was more than excited. The products included a night time regime that had ‘Serum’ and ‘White Glow cream’ I decided to give it at least a month before I wrote down the review

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Sunscreen Matte Gel  Sunscreen & Safe Sun 3-In-1 Matte Look Daily Sunblock
We can feel the heat and its just the beginning of march, firstly let say, summers or winter, indoors or outdoors a regular use of sunscreen is very important. With summers we are exposed to sunlight more than ever, ‘Lotus Sunscreen  Matte Gel’ is the perfect product to incorporate into your daily skincare routine. I get it- when it’s hot and humid, the last thing you want to do is add an extra layer of product on your skin. Common complaints about sunscreens are that they feel heavy and cloying. But if you want healthy, youthful, glowing skin then sun protection is non- negotiable. But this has an incredibly comfortable texture, perfect for all skin types (mine is combination and suits me perfectly). I recommend this formula because it’s thin and fluid, plus, it sits beautifully under makeup too. And when a sunblock comes with a tinted factor that promises to make your skin look smooth and helps to fix the imperfections, there is nothing more you need.

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Lotus Herbals Whiteglow, Skin Whitening and Brightening Nourishing Night Crème-  It diminishes dark pigmentation and boosts radiance and clarity.  Has benefits of mulberry, grape, saxifraga extracts, and milk enzymes.  Grape concentrate present in this night cream sheds the skin and permits it to infiltrate profound while Milk compounds square melanin pathways and Mulberry concentrate goes about as a decent tyrosinase inhibitor, counteracting hyper-pigmentation, lastly Saxifraga concentrate searches free radicals that can bring about skin harm.
All these combined, calm skin gives  a smooth surface, even tone, and whiteness, and puts a gleam all over when you get up in the morning.  It blends in well and instantly hydrates the skin, leaving it supple. It visibly reduces the sun spots, acne marks and give a very dewy finish to your skin.

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Lotus Herbals YouthRx Activating Serum + Creme – I have been using this twice a day. Just patting with my fingertips thorough out my face and neck. Lot of people forget the neck, but you need to understand it is very vital to take care of it, whatever you apply to your face just extended it to you neck. The serum by lotus protects the skin from radical damage while also helping to treat it. It contains great amount of revolutionary Ginplex Youth Compound, contains 10 times extra anti-ageing power, removes the extra oil on the skin and also controls acne, pimples and blemishes

Serums are great for your skin, they delivers the active ingredients we love deep down to the skin cells that need them in their most potent form. You can use these under makeup, night cream and even under sunscreen on a no makeup day. You only need one small pump, and unless you’re really dry, you can skip moisturizer.

Lotus Herbals Creame – The day care gel cream has cooling effect and refreshes skin on contact while the plant-based ingredients actually relax tense facial muscles (like Botox, but gentler and from nature) to diminish the appearance of lines all day long. The formula is enriched with moisturizers to smooth and plump skin. The cream, will not only make your skin feel super nourished but also produce a noticeable difference in complexion.

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Perfect skin comes with a good skin regime

Lotus Herbals has something to suit your every skin need. Their products will give you the radiant skin you’ve been missing. Lotus products are by far most hassle free and their range of products can easily be included in your daily routine within budget.

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J W Marriott Resort & Spa, Jaipur

J W Marriott is one of the most recognized hotel brands in the world, and at their all new property- J W Marriott Resort and Spa, Jaipur we experienced most energized hospitality and were treated to some incredible meals. The property has a welcoming atmosphere, right from the traditional welcome and breathtaking lobby, there is incredible attention to detail that made our stay full of utmost comfort.

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JW Marriott Resort and Spa, Jaipur- Royal and Splendid

The Resort

It can be rightly said that J W Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa is a modern day palace. I mean if i was a queen today, i would want my palace just this way, away from the hustle of the city, surrounded by the hills with all modern amenities and architecture that displays the best craftsmanship. A white tone follows throughout the property with breaks of blue and metallic at various places, well manicured paths, artistically done fountain spaces (indoor as well as outdoors), grand arches that are perfectly apt for a modern day royalty; and staying here we got treated exactly like that. When touring the property I was awestruck by the doors, the hand-painted patterns by local artisans, paintings and the architecture on the whole.

Food & Restaurants

Food at these restaurant are curated by executive chef Yogender Pal, i was delighted to meet him as i have known him for years, from when he was at The Marriott in Hyderabad. Sukh Mahal restaurant offers modern world cuisine but multi-cuisine delicacies are rustled up as adeptly as marwari meals in this all day restaurant.

On our last day we had a special surprise dinner at Mohan Mahal, just being there was a special experience, it was like dining in sheesh mehal. Mohan Mahal restaurant, is a gorgeous, tenderly-lit restaurant that serves up Rajasthani and Mughlai thali, open only for dinner. The design and beauty of the restaurant is architecturally reflective of Amer Fort’s Sheesh Mahal. Lit by candles, with Rajasthani music and gurgling fountains within the restaurant, provides a beautiful background score. Taking a notch above the meals are served in silver-plated tableware and local delicacies left us with a most found memory, one that will definitely add up to best dinner experiences i have had.

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Chai and Musical evenings by the pool at JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Jaipur

Evening tea, in khullads (they also have cup options but obviously we preferred the desi khullad and masala chai) are best enjoyed while witnessing the performance by the pool that included folk music and folk dance. They also have a lot of fun activities like henna application, puppet show, pottery, elephant rides for kids and relaxing SPA sessions (read here), J W Marriott Jaipur has something to keep everyone indulged.

Room- Royal Courtyard Room

Our villa was bright, lively and equipped with amenities like cable tv, safe, coffee/tea maker, walk in closet and an attached bathroom with a tub and forest essentials toiletries, i love forest essentials; period. But our room and outdoor lounging area was not that got me excited, i mean it was beautiful but what i loved the most was our private outdoor plunge pool.

I spent an entire day and night right at the property to soak in all the beauty and luxury, i even spent a freezing few hours out in the lounging area watching the night sky and gazing the stars. If it wasn’t for January and winters, and the fact that it was more colder because it was at the outskirts, i would have spent the night out in the open.

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The landscape of this place has been done so amazingly that I absolutely enjoyed strolling around the property. The resort has a massive swimming pool by itself for all the guests.

We spent 3 days at this property, but it still felt like it wasn’t enough. The hotel is quite secluded from the city but the helpful staff had a car ready for us whenever we needed (on request), that made travelling totally hassle free for us. Finding cabs might get little tricky in the area so I suggest you book in advance. Being winters the nights were freezing, but I enjoyed my visit both to Jaipur and J W Marriott to the core.

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