Tag Archives: Live like a local

Live like a local: Jodhpur
Live like a local: Jodhpur

The third in our Live like a local series that tries to give you the insider scoop to what the long term residents love about their cities. Read our Mumbai and Delhi posts also!

Jodhpur

Where to stay:

Indrashan Homestay. A beautiful red brick building surrounded by thick, lush banana plants, soft lawns and trees that droop gently over the whitewashed terraces that define the domestic life of the cities of North India. Meet Chandrashekar and Bhavana, who urge you to their dinner table and then into their kitchens to dip your fingers into the wholesomeness of Jodhpuri cuisine. Discuss culture, history, art, society or your feelings over an evening drink by the fire that could turn into a night of scintillating conversation. The rooms are furnished in dark wood handed down through the generations, draped in the soft Rajasthani linen that visiting Indians carry away in great bundles to grace their winter beds. Everything about this homestay spells the summer pilgrimage that diasporic Indians make to regroup in the houses of their grandparents, an annual regrouping of cousins and in-laws from across the country into a modern semblance of the erstwhile joint family, an journey that every traveller deserves to make.

indrashan homestay - tripadvisor Photo Credits – Tripadvisor

What to eat:

Rajasthani thalis. You might want to skip breakfast before you take a stab at this, because the Rajasthanis believe in a full and I mean a FULL belly for a full life. Go to Gypsy for the whole hog: five kinds of bread, fried cakes, samosa, sweet daal and spicy vegetable, rice, chutneys and chillies ring the shiny stainless steel plate. All around you will be college students, office workers, parents hand-feeding their little children as they tuck in heartily, always calling out for more.

gypsyfoods-com Photo Credits – http://www.gypsyfoods.com/

Make sure you also grab a Mirchibada on the street, a deep fried chilli patty, maybe between two slices of bread if you’re not sure you can handle the spice. It’s the city’s pride and joy.

Where to go:

Go to Cafe Mehran. I know, it sounds like I’m just sending you back to eat some Rajasthani fast food or look at the monument that every tout pushed you toward, but trust me, a cold beer and good view is just what everybody needs at the end of the day, and this is the most beautiful place to savour it.

Cafe Mehran - Tripadvisor Photo Credits – Tripadvisor

What to do:

Sail high above the Blue City on Mehrangarh Fort’s own zip lines. You’ll be trekking through Rao Jodha Park and watching your murky reflection skim over the surface of the lakes as you shoot through the sky. Granted, there’s probably going to be a bunch of tourist hanging around as well, but you’ll see your fair share of adrenaline hungry locals as well. Remember to book in advance from inside the Fort.

Mehrangar Zip line

What to say:

‘Koi dikkat nahin’ (Ko-ee dikk-kath nu-hee). It literally means ‘no problem’, but it’ll be repeated to you so often across the beautiful state that you’ll soon pick up the gentle lilt of the people and slip smoothly into their carefree culture.

Bonus Tips:
  • Jodhpur is famous for being one of the country’s ultimate wedding destinations. If you’re visiting during wedding season (December-January), look out for the lavish baaraaths or wedding processions. Actually make that listen for the baaraath. There’s no way the deafening dhol beats and shrieking trumpets can go unnoticed.
  • Be ready to bargain for your souveniers, it’ll only endear you to the shopkeepers.
  • If you head down to the university areas, you might find tiny hovels that call themselves restaurants with only two items on their menus–Maggi and Beer.


Live like a local: Mumbai
Live like a local: Mumbai

This post kicks off our live like a local series, a quick run through of each of the nation’s top destinations through the eyes of its own. Find out where to stay, what to eat, where to go, what to do, what to say and a bunch of extra tips to help you drop the tourist tag.

Where to stay:

Stay over at Soraya’s. She knows the city inside out and has endless interest in new people and cultures. With significant travels under her belt, she’ll be an expert guide when it comes to exploring, and also ensure you have a comfortable and cosy home base to operate out of. Bombay city doesn’t have quite as many homestays or couchsurfing options as other world cities, but our budget hotels are a real experience in themselves!

What to eat:

Maharashtrian Fish. Parsi Mutton Dhansak (spicy gravy on brown rice). Mughlai Kheema pao (mince and bread). As a blend of cultures, there’s a blend of food all equally delicious in its own right, but none beats out Mumbai’s very own vada pav. A delicious, hot potato patty fried in a chickpea batter, smothered in chutney and packed neatly into a sliced pav bun. In terms of a single restaurant that really embodies the city spirit, we’d have to recommend The Bombay Canteen an outstanding establishment both for its innovativeness and its near perfect attention to thematic detail in décor, menu and delicious city-inspired cocktails. Try any of their food really, it’s all local but with a masterful twist by the brilliant chef Thomas Zachariah.

Where to go:

The seaface. Whether it’s Bandra’s bandstand or Marine Drive’s Chowpatty, this is the city’s social leveller. Watch the sunset in the company of families, lovers, schemers and college gangs, buy some channa from a passing urchin or fruit ice-cream from our beloved Naturals. If you’re in Bandra late, wait for Bournvita Uncle to ride up on his cycle and dole out a steaming cups of hot chocolate. Feel the breeze in your hair and just listen, watch, and be a part of the passionate storm of people that fuel this city.

What to do:

Take a hike. The city’s surrounded by beautiful hills just a few hours out and while as a visitor you’re probably looking for something more in the city itself, but it’s our escape. Let us know if you think you’re up for a day’s rewarding climb and we’ll find the perfect option for you. For those still looking for something within the city, try the Bhau Daji Lad Museum. A fine collection of artefacts, lovingly accumulated and categorized situated inside the city zoo at Byculla, it encourages interaction and would love to answer all your questions about the city we love.

What to say:

Try your hand at our universal fix-it ‘jau de, kaka’ that translates to ‘let it go, uncle’. Throw it blindly at any figure of authority, particularly cops in a sufficiently grovelly tone and you might just be able to get out of a tight spot. Most people in Bombay of all classes speak basic English, so there’s no need to rock out your Namaste every five minutes. It’s really not that commonly used. Hellos, pleases and thank yous have pretty much replaced their local counterparts, so that won’t cause you much trouble either. If you contact us personally, we could give you a more private tutorial on bambaiiya gaalis that’ll serve you well in traffic.

Bonus tips:

• Always opt for public transport. Maybe you’ll get ripped off by cabs and autos but it’s worth it for stories you’ll hear and if they try to lie to you about the distance, at least you get to take the scenic route. Be careful of local trains at rush hour, but don’t let that put you off from taking it at all. The metro’s cool and very efficient but no fun, so you can skip that
EAT OFF THE STREET
• Try not to end up with too many beggar children under your personal care
• Don’t forget mosquito repellent and sun-screen!