Saturday, May 4, 2019

Lego Avengers Endgame - War Machine Buster Set - Product Review

The Avengers Endgame craze has absolutely taken over my household. The last movie of the decade, the ending of an era, such nostalgia! I obviously saw the movie on the first day - and the kiddo, younger brother and me were in for a surprise just soon after - when we received a Lego Avengers Endgame Set - for the War machine buster. Mind you, that by itself is a spoiler, because it tells you that War Machine will be there in the movie!


If you've seen the trailer, you know that the Avengers assemble in an all new suit and avatar to take on Thanos. If you're a Marvel and Iron Man fan, then you know Iron Patriot or War Machine. The set comes with 300+ pieces to build the war machine along with characters for War Machine (Played by Don Cheadle in the movies), ant man and a couple of outriders.

Iron Patriot or War Machine was created as an alternate Iron Man suit by Tony Stark, and was first used in Avengers Age of Ultron to tame the Hulk. The sheer detailing in the Lego Avengers set received was brilliant - the fingers and thumb of the war machine, making sure the face inside the iron patriot armor is brown to resemble that of the actual character, the suit and everything else. Simply amazing.

Watch the unboxing and time-lapse video I have a created :

Product information:
  • Build the posable War Machine Buster mech toy, with an opening minifigure cockpit, 6-stud rapid shooter, 2 detachable stud-shooting cannons, 2 flick missiles and gripping hands, and battle the Outriders!
  • Includes 4 minifigures: a War Machine figure and Ant-Man, each featuring new Avengers team suit decoration, plus 2 Outriders
  • War Machine Buster mech model measures over 6” (17cm) high, 2” (6cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide
  • 362 pieces – Marvel superhero toy construction kit for boys and girls aged 7+ and for fans and kids of all ages; This LEGO Marvel Avengers War Machine Buster 76124 building set for kids can be built together with all other original LEGO playsets and LEGO bricks for imaginative play
  • Recreate exciting action from the Marvel Avengers movies with this fun-packed creative building toy

You can purchase it online from Amazon, makes a perfect gift for any die-hard Avengers fan!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Grandma's Recipe: Sweet Corn Bhel

My grandma makes this really nice Sweet Corn Bhel/Chaat, and I had not had it since years. She does not keep to well these days and hence seldom is in the kitchen. But after a few failed attempts of ordering corn chaat in various restaurants, I finally told her that it's been so long since I had it. And she made sure I had the good old corn bhel on my visit at mom's for summer vacations, and I made it a point to observe and focus on the recipe, and it is surprisingly easy!

Here's what you need -

Servings (6 to 8)

3 cups of boiled sweet corn
1 dry coconut (cut into small pieces and then grinded in the mixer)
3 medium sized potatoes boiled and chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes - finely chopped
2 medium sized onions - finely chopped
2 green chillies
Nylon sev
Juice of 3 lemons
4 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
Bread croutons (or small bread pieces fried till light brown)


1. Once you have prepared all the ingredients for the bhel, put a kadhai/pan for the gas burner and add 2-3 teaspoons ghee/oil.

2. Add the onion and sauté till a li'l cooked (we don't want it to be completely soft and brown). Add green chillies and chopped tomatoes. Cook till all the water from the chopped tomatoes evaporates.

3. Add the chopped boiled potatoes, sugar, salt and lemon juice. After cooking a little add the boiled corn and shredded coconut (leave some coconut for garnishing).

4. Finally add the bread croutons and nylon sev and mix well. Taste once and add salt and lemon juice till it matches your liking.

5. Garnish with the coconut and some more nylon sev and coriander leaves (if you want) and serve hot.

The final result is a yummy corn bhel with flavors of coconut and the veggies! It is not supposed to be a spicy dish at all, but if you are a fan of spicy, then you can add more green chillies.

Do let me know how did it turn out for you!

Monday, April 22, 2019

E for Extra, E for Vitamin E!

Are you someone who feels tired even when you’ve just gotten up after 6-8 hours of sleep? Feel lethargic all the time and a lack of energy? I was in that category too until a few years ago when I decided to make certain lifestyle changes.

By lifestyle changes, I mean eating right. I don’t believe in the concept of dieting, so when I say eating right I mean smaller but more frequent meals and keeping a balance of greens, fruits, pulses, proteins and carbs.

And having an active lifestyle also needs physical activity; as simple as walking, jogging, dancing, cycling, swimming or practicing Yoga. Being a woman who is entering her 30’s, I have also started caring about my bones, maintaining hormonal balance and handling PMS issues.

But being an eggetarian (no seafood or meat in my diet) I know me and my family lack certain nutrients – which have to then be consumed via supplements – very important!

Because we don’t get enough sunlight, we need supplements for Vitamin D, and Omega 3 if we don’t eat fish. There are plenty of food options for Vitamin C: the first thing that comes to your mind will be citrus fruits, but not many are aware of the 5th in the alphabet i.e. Vitamin E and its benefits and sources. As defined on Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is found in many foods including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil. It is also available as a supplement.

Vitamin E is basically an antioxidant. This means it protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals, which can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions related to aging (hence people say Vitamin E is good for the skin, hair, overall beauty etc.).
The body also needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria.

So how does one get some Vitamin E in one’s diet? It’s time to go nuts because these yummy nuts are a rich source of vitamins! Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts are Vitamin E rich. Greens like spinach and broccoli are rich in Vitamin E too, and I make sure to give that in soup form to my kid and the entire family (DM / Comment for a really tasty broccoli recipe).

It’s summers, and mango lovers should rejoice because mangoes are a rich source of Vitamin E too! Vegetable oils are a good source of Vitamin E too (we use sunflower or soyabean oil in our household).

So what are you waiting for? Plan your food chart, meals and exercise routines and get fit!


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Gautam Hari Singhania lends his support to Government for infra up-gradation of Mumbai!

At a time and day when Mumbai is competing with Singapore and Hong Kong to be the financial capital of the world, it is in dire need of infrastructure augmentation. 

The country’s financial capital i.e. Mumbai needs robust infrastructure is an understatement since the city face multiple challenges, which are unique and probably not been witnessed by any other city across the globe.

Take for instance, Greater Mumbai with a population of 16.4 million houses twice as many people as those in New York City. Suburban Mumbai has a density of 20,925 persons per sq. km which is twice as many people as that in New York (10,630 persons per sq km). That is absolutely shocking!


Mumbai Metropolitan Region with 1,700 times lesser area can be home to the entire population of Australia. Can you imagine that?

Sensing the need of the hour, the Maharashtra Government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are working in tandem to spruce up the city’s transportation network besides the up-gradation of the urban infrastructure.

Being born and brought up in Mumbai, I know how bad things are, with the state of bridges and all the recent collapses that are happening. The population is ever-growing and we need to upgrade accordingly.

And in support of the Government and the civic body is renowned industrialist, Mr. Gautam Hari Singhania, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Raymond Group.

Mr. Singhania recently organized a presentation by Mr. Abhin Alimchandani, Chairman STUP Consultants, which holistically covered the issues of infrastructure development in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, for prominent citizens of Mumbai.

Commending the work done by MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) and the State Government, Mr. Singhania remarked that the governments are criticized if they don’t do anything and also receive brick-bats if they do something. 

Admitting that there will be issues in implementing projects of these scale, Mr. Singhania said the presentation was an attempt to create more awareness about what the government was doing, He felt that the infrastructure projects such as Navi Mumbai International airport, Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, metro rail, coastal road and mono rail will change the face of the metropolis in the days to come. A temporary inconvenience for the better future of the city!

While there will be short-term environment issues while undertaking these projects, the Raymond CMD said imagine the reduction in the carbon foot-print once the travel by road is reduced by one hour for each vehicle.

Besides, these projects will create more jobs and entail huge investment and we should thank the government for undertaking them, he concluded.

I too, believe that things will change for the better in my city, and am glad that initiatives are being taken.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Before You Go On Your Next Road Trip, Make Sure You Have Taken Care Of These 5 Things!

Gone are the days when our vacations meant boarding a bus/train/flight to reach from point A to point B. An increasing number of people are taking road trips, and not just to travel from one city or state to the other but also to another country; The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway for instance, allows one to reach Thailand via a road trip! 

Personally, I have taken road trips in and around Maharashtra - to Panchgani, Lonavala, Pune, Mahabaleshwar, Goa and the sorts and aim to try longer routes soon. 

Here are some pointers to keep in mind before embarking on a road trip:

1. First Aid Kit 

It is very important to have the basic medicines for headaches, allergies, nausea caused due to motion sickness, etc. with you at all times.  It is also essential to carry bandaging and other supplies for minor injuries. Don’t forget to keep a scissor/swiss knife and torch handy as well. If there are any other medications you regularly take, keep those handy for the trip duration and extra too, you never know when you may extend your trip. And if there are kids traveling along, then their medications and snacks too.

2. Route, navigation, designated drivers

Make sure you know the route you’re taking, the road situation, tolls, and have a navigation system in your car or on your phone. It’s a good idea to download the map offline (Google maps has this option) as many a times you do not get network on the go or in remote locations. Also it is always good to have at least 2 people driving for long trips so that one can rest while the other drives.

3. Car check-up and spare parts

Make sure to have serviced the car just before the trip and have anything that requires repairs, addressed. Carry spare tyres, tools to change tyres, water and cloth etc. to clean car when required and anything else that you can think of to make your car ready for the adventure! It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep some contact numbers handy for garages on the route, emergency services on national highways, and so on.

4. Car Insurance 

Better to be safe than sorry they say. Hence make sure your car insurance is renewed. If it has expired, you can renew it online easily in a matter of clicks. You just need a few details handy like the city, car and variant and registration year and month.

In fact another thing you could do if you are a frequent road trip traveler, which not many are aware of; is get a third party car insurance online. Wonder what’s that? If someone else’s car gets damaged by you during an accident, you will be covered for that as well and won’t have to shell a huge amount to reimburse the third party. In fact having a third party car insurance is a requirement under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

5. A good playlist and some fun people.

No road trip is complete without awesome music! Since we all use music streaming apps these days, make sure you have songs downloaded to play offline - or else again because of bad internet network, you might have to make do without music. Don’t forget to ensure  you have the aux cable or its alternative in place. Check out some playlists made specially for road trips! 

And last but the least, it is very important to embark with a positive attitude and fun people to have a trip that you can remember for life!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

LEGO The Movie 2 Rex’s Rex-treme Offroader Building Blocks - Product Review

We were recently invited for the special screening of Lego Movie 2 recently and it was such a fun movie! It was a cherry on the cake to receive the new Lego Movie 2 themed set so that we can recreate scenes from the movie!

The box contains 2 characters - Emmet & Rex, along with the dinosaur rex-o-saurus, the offloading truck and a plantimal alien figure. The movie is all about alien invasion and how Emmet and Rex help rescue Lucy, so since I have a son, he was keen to be all prepared to fight with the mean machines, dinosaur and gadgets that he built (with my assistance).


There are two instruction books that help you build the models, and the best part is there are more than one ways to build things. For instance you can build the rex-o-saurus quad or execu-rex-o-saurus (dino with guns or dino with wheels!) The set is suggested for age 7+, and if they have seen Lego movies and TV series, they'll be able to have so many story-telling game plays and endless amount of fun. Infact good idea to mix and match and build something new too!

Every little piece put together to make something awesome, it took us a good couple of hours to build the off-roader car, but oh man, the detailing! Stud shooters, pilot seats, sticker labelling, everything is just amazing. I personally absolutely loved Rex's mug and briefcase and Emmet's flashlight - they are so cute! Do check out our unboxing video as well:

You can purchase the set on this Amazon link and also explore other sets from the movie and many more they sell online (watch out for deals as well!) There is a Warrior Lucy & Ultrakatty themed set too, which is what I am going to buy next. Personally, lego sets are fun for our whole family, not just the kiddo.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Meet The Iron Lady Of Jaipur who's making the Rajasthani in me so proud!

I saw this video on EatTreat's channel and could not resist myself from sharing it -

Being a Rajasthani, and native place being Jaipur - I was so proud of her! The thought of home-made dal, baati and churma simply warms me up and to imagine her open her home and heart to guests to learn these recipes!

A little more about the episode -

In this week’s episode of The Rasoi Project, we go to Jaipur to meet a renowned home chef – Seema Sethi, who cooks authentic Rajasthani food & hosts guests at home who are in awe of her delectable Dal Bati Churma recipe! Watch on to know her inspiring story!
If you liked this inspirational story of this awesome home chef & love Rajasthani food – Gatte ki Sabzi & Dal Bati Churma and are interested in Rajasthani recipes, then stay tuned to discover some more on The Rasoi Project! Hit the like button and let us know in the comments below if you know of more such inspiring stories. Subscribe to the EatTreat’s YouTube channel for more awesome food stories like this:

More about Usha Cook: Usha Kitchen appliances is about the love for food, for healthy and masterful cooking, and smart appliances to ensure delicious results. From the must-haves to the specialised appliances - each unique and relevant to Indian kitchens - Usha is committed to your quest for excellent cooking. Their legacy has evolved to connect with not only a new generation of Indians, but also with the evolving kitchen spaces of the 21st century. Discover more recipes and learn more about Usha Cook here: More about Usha Cook:Usha Kitchen appliances is about the love for food, for healthy and masterful cooking, and smart appliances to ensure delicious results. From the must-haves to the specialised appliances - each unique and relevant to Indian kitchens - Usha is committed to your quest for excellent cooking. Their legacy has evolved to connect with not only a new generation of Indians, but also with the evolving kitchen spaces of the 21st century. Discover more recipes and learn more about Usha Cook here:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A day at Kidzania - Kid's favourite place in Mumbai!

I first saw the world of Kidzania from inside when it had just launched in Mumbai, I guess around 6-7 years ago. This was because my sister-in-law was working in their marketing team. I was just newly married and had no kids, in-fact I was like why am I not a kid to go enjoy this, or why did we not have this when we were kids! :P

My baby, now is a 4+ year old pre-schooler finally old enough to understand role-play and the activities at KidZania. Hence we finally made our long-awaited trip to Kidzania at R-City Mall, Ghatkopar last weekend on a Saturday afternoon. I don't know how they managed to fit that huge world of Kidzania in a mall, I wonder how huge the mall must be! Your first time at Kidzania can be a little overwhelming - there is so much to see, so much going on and so many kids.
Starting by taking off, a flight-like experience where you get your boarding passes and RFID tag watches (this is a great concept, you can track where your kid is, so they won't ever be lost). Next Panav was given a cheque worth Rs.50 which you have to go encash at Yes Bank (You will notice a lot of similar brand collaborations there).

Since it was my first visit, I only got to know that you can also ask for a debit card instead of cash - if you think carrying the currency notes may be a hassle. I would recommend that for the 2-5 age group. Older kids will surely enjoy the cash and notes and calculate how much they have got and how much is left. Once that is done, you are free to go do the activity you like, and mind you there are 100+ activities to pick from. For toddlers there are not as many, but there are a good 30 odd activities for toddlers. And we could only finish around 8 while there from 2pm to 7pm (we were really tired at the end of that).

A post shared by Avantika / Jill Of All Trades (@stunningmoon) on

Try to come on a weekday if possible, and avoid public holidays. More rush means more waiting time. Though there can always be school groups - but there they have a protocol to take half from the school queue and other from the family queue which is a great thing. All the activities run on a time-table schedule and they put up the next timing on the glass door. On an average you need to wait for 10-15 minutes before every activity. Panav absolutely wanted to be a policeman, doctor, fireman - so that's the three we started with.

As a doctor they were given medical instructions, then they all climbed into an ambulance along with a patient and came back. Parents are not allowed inside the activity rooms though. Policemen are given a case, to go look for clues and come back with a verdict of the case and find the culprit. What he really enjoyed was being a fireman - and it sure is a popular activity at Kidzania. After getting fire safety training, all the firefighters wear their uniform, get into the fire-truck and go to a hotel that's on fire (mock fire of course), where they each put down the water. It was really fun.

A post shared by Avantika / Jill Of All Trades (@stunningmoon) on

Panav then noticed lot of kids running around delivering or collecting packages, being someone who loves packages himself, he wanted to do this next. He enjoyed going to various establishments and collecting the packages. All four of these activities - the kids earn money. I love how they have absolutely thought of the tiniest detail possible. Everything is so thought through. The details of each activity, what kids learn, the staff is so understanding and polite and know how to tackle kids, even the doors are kid friendly, no finger coming in the middle of the door incident. There are snack counters everywhere - to stop and grab a bite.

Kids who visit here regularly were such pro's. They know how to go about things and utilise their time well. We then went to the 1st floor where there were many more activities - Panav went to parle-G factory, parle candy factory, Frooti factory and Kinder-joy factory - where kids are taught how these are made. The process - it's really cool - even for an adult to see. For all these activities money is to be paid, and you get a biscuit/frooti/candy/chocolate at the end of the activity.

All in all, great place for kids to enjoy - alone or with friends or as a birthday party venue or from school! You cannot miss taking your kid to Kidzania. I recommend for age 4+, and they keep running ticket offers on their website too. They also have a souvenir store at the end of your visit if you want to buy a keepsake. And, for readers who are not from Mumbai, there are multiple Kidzania centres all over the globe - find your nearest one here (I hope they plan more in India apart from Mumbai and Delhi) -

Friday, February 1, 2019

boAt Rockerz 255 Sports Bluetooth Wireless Earphone : Review

Writing a technology review after a really long time. I have been meaning to write one for my Mi 55" Android TV as well, but just haven't gotten to it. Anyways, I was searching for a good wireless (read: bluetooth) earphones since a couple of months and after a lot of searching around finally bought the
boAt Rockerz 255 Sports Bluetooth Wireless Earphone during one of Amazon's sales.

Why I needed Bluetooth headphones?
I use the Apple iPhone X which has the same jack for earphone and charging, so that was a big inconvenience, plus if you are going to walk or jog with music, wired is a no-no and lastly - AirPods kharidne ki aukaat nahi hai. I would surely lose them within a week. 

So I knew specifically what I was looking for -
  • In-Ear Bluetooth Earphones (Over the ear headphones are too bulky and not very portable).
  • Under 2.5-3K rupees (I am not very good at maintaining earphones and end up damaging them pretty easily).
  • A bluetooth earphone with good battery life and good bass.
After reading a lot of buyer reviews across Amazon, Flipkart etc I shortlisted a few from JBL, Skullcandy and boAt. The boAt Rockerz 255 is priced at MRP of Rs.2990/- so I was not too sure to invest that in a brand I hadn't ever used before. But on one of Amazon's sale days, it was available for Rs.1090/- and I did not hesitate and purchased it.

It arrived quick, was charged already and it is a good purchase! Here's what I liked -

1. Average use of the earphones makes battery last for 1-2 days. Which is good. (If you're listening to songs for say 30 mins each day and just taking calls otherwise).
2.  You can charge it via power socket or PC using the USB cable provided.
3. It stays fit in the ears and does not come off, though I have not yet tried running or jogging with it, but walking is comfortable.
4. Nice colour options - neon green, red or black. I bought the neon green one.
5.  Sound quality is good - I won't say you'll get Bose-like quality. But for the amount, the music quality is very decent. Bass too.
6. There is a nice voice that greets you when you switch on or switch off the earphones, unlike the standard voice you'll here in every other chinese bluetooth earphones or speakers.
7. Magnetic clipping of earphones when not in use.

What could be better -
  • Sometimes the earphones give beep sounds, and I don't know what they're for, but it can be irritating.
  • Battery percentage is not known, if phone could show the earphone battery percentage somehow, it would be useful.
  • When battery gets low it starts beeping frequently, that is annoying as well.

Overall, at the price I paid it's a very good purchase, I would buy it again at the same price. But maybe not at the MRP.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend at Ganesh Baugh - Kutch - Review

If you live in a metro city, specially one like Mumbai - you crave for a time-out to be somewhere peaceful, silent, green, serene. Somewhere you can go spend some quality time with your loves ones, or maybe silent time with yourself or connecting with nature. Ganesh Baugh was one such place I recently visited. Usually family vacations are at some standard luxury resort at Goa or some other tourist location - but tourist locations means crowd, noise, chaos. Now imagine being at a 100 acre lush greenery, living in the middle of trees and farm-life. A standalone basic accommodation with all modern amenities like a hugeee bathroom with geyser, jetspray (yes I need to know if the loo has a jet spray!), toileteries, bed sheets etc. There is a granite flooring with granite bed and since we went during winter - we did not even need the fan.

Unfortunate for us, we spent one whole day traveling as our train was delayed - so when booking tickets, see the delay pattern and then book. If you're coming from Mumbai Kutch Express is a good option. Nearest railway station is Anjaar, but that is a small one where not all trains halt, so then there is Gandhidham junction which is half an hour away. We reached on Friday night and after hours in the train, we could not wait to reach and have some hot home cooked food. The owner Mr.Bhatia and his staff was awaiting us and there was hot traditional Gujarat food awaiting us - Gujarati kadhi, sev tamatar nu saak, khichdi, chapati, chaas and some salad. We ate to our heart's content and turned in for the day as we wanted to rest up for the hectic day ahead. They have a proper functioning kitchen on the upper floor (rooms are on the ground level) - where all ingredients and utensils are there if you want to cook anything on your own. It's a great thing specially if you're traveling with children as you need to prepare milk or something else for them, or if you want to have tea or coffee anytime of the hour or are in mood for the midnight maggi - it's like your own home.

Next morning I woke up at around 7am, there was darkness in the room with the doors closed and shaded, and since we arrived at night we couldn't see anything. So now picture this - I open the room doors to see hundreds of trees, chilly air and li'l fog and peacocks and peahens running around! I could not believe my eyes. If you're from a small town or happen to visit villages frequently, you may not be surprised. But I have seen peacocks roaming freely like this only in my childhood days when I visited Jaipur, my native place. So I was so happy. I ran inside to go get my GoPro and record, and those camera shy and maybe human shy birds vanished. We had some tea and got ready for a long day ahead - covering places in Bhuj and then heading to Rann Utsav, read more about that here.

We were back late night, after having dinner outside on the way (Hotel Neelam, quite good food - much recommended). We chatted for a while and snoozed again - since we were exhausted. Our earlier itinerary had us on the road for hours again the next day but we did not want to tire ourself, plus being our last day we wanted to spend some time at the farm so we changed our plans. Next morning we got up and had our chai with a bonfire to warm us too - why should bonfires be only for nights, right? It was very soothing and soon we explored the farmhouse to see what all it has. They have ample of fruit trees bearing Guavas, Mangoes (during mango season they get really busy), lemons etc. They also house some domestic animals apart from dogs - like goats, cows, horses. We were even lucky to spot a family of great Indian antelopes (neelgaay) who apparently can jump heights and happen to visit the farm frequently owing to the fact there aren't many humans around. We saw the mother, father and kid (not from near though, from far off) - they are like giant deers (built more like a horse). Mr.Bhatia told us there are deers also which you can sometimes spot.
There was a very friendly black lab called Tiger - who even my toddler grew fond of. My toddler also grew very fond of the owner Mr.Bhatia, whom he addressed as "babaji" on his own, he hasn't even heard that word before!

Day 2 (technically Day 3) was then spent exploring li'l bit more of Bhuj and then heading to Bhujodi to shop for local handicraft and visiting the Vande Mataram memorial park (a must visit). We bought shawls, purses, copper/brass bells, kurtas etc from here. My only regret was not getting to spend more time at Ganesh Baugh - there was still a lot I did not get to see - like their inhouse nursery, nearby school etc. So I would recommend you to plan a trip with atleast 4-5 days minimum in hand so that you have atleast 2 days just at the farmhouse. They can easily accommodate a group of 10 - so if you're planning to visit with friends or family - they are there to host you. I opted to stay at Ganesh Baugh rather than one of the tent city tents because those are a rip-off, charging a crazy amount for a tent stay, plus it's too crowded and noisy - which I wanted to avoid and ofcourse thanks to Manasvi, our host from Mumbai who told me about this place - thanks a ton! You can book the property online or get more information here - Ganesh Baugh AirBNB.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A trip to Rann Utsav & Kutch with toddler + Little Travel Bug Book Review

I had Rann Utsav on my bucket list since ages and finally went in December end! I aim to have one family trip a year - with my parents. This was that trip for 2018.

This blog is keeping in mind you are going with small kids, I have written another more detailed one on our stay here.

Mode of Journey -
There are trains, flights and good roads leading to Bhuj so you have lots of options, but if you're opting for trains please choose the Express trains and check their reviews online. My Mumbai to Gandhidham (that's where we were staying) train called Gandhidham express was really horrible. It was rescheduled to start 4.30 hours after the scheduled departure time and was running late plus the bathrooms and train coaches were a disaster (Even in 2 tier AC coach) so we wasted a day plus were irritated. Specially with kids you want a clean train that runs of time, and do check in advance if there is a pantry on the train or not, ours did not have - so if you are not carrying sufficient food, you're stuck.

Places to visit in Kutch/Bhuj with kids -

1. Rann Utsav, Dhordo, White Rann
So if you have done your research in advance, you will know that there is the Tent City and the normal Rann Utsav. Tent city has accommodation plus activities and more but it is super expensive.
There is the open for all Rann Utsav which has shopping and food stalls, washrooms (not in a great condition though) and a car parking. After that point you have to either walk or take a camel/horse driven cart ride to the white sand desert. What we did not know is that once you reach the White Rann there are no amenities - no washrooms, no drinking water or food or anything. You have to go back to the shopping stalls by taking another camel-ride for any of that. Its expensive and time consuming. So if you plan to spend hours at the beautiful dessert stretch- clicking lot of pics, watching sunset over the never ending horizon and watching the full moon - then please carry snacks and water in your bag. Also in winters, light woollens are required - it's important to cover ears specially. My kiddo enjoyed running around the hugeeee area!

2. Vande Mataram Memorial, Bhujodi, Bhuj
This is a new addition - and it's beautiful. Ample of space, a large fountain, beautiful structures and small hut-style cottages showcasing the local Kutch-work and a lake, bridge and ample greenery. They also have a 4D show that usually get sold out pretty soon - we anyways missed it coz it happens at late evening and we had a train to catch. But do visit this place - only thing, the queue for the tickets was realllly slow. It is located in Bhujodi, where you should do your local handicraft shopping as well. We left the toddler with his nana - and the ladies did some shopping. As kids will get bored in the shopping bit.

3. Radhe Krishna Temple, Bhuj
Now this is a place one might not recommend to a tourist, but I was very impressed by this temple and wish there was something like this in my vicinity as well. It's a huge space again, a small simple temple with colourful steps. Lot's of place where artists set up camp and were drawing or sketching or painting. There is a small kids park, pond with ducks, walking path and shaded area to sit and white sand everywhere. All in all, one could spend couple of hours here at peace - reading a book, writing or whatever else - while kids played around. What a concept! Temples wouldn't be so boring/chaotic then.

4. Kutch Museum
I will definitely not recommend going to Aaina Mahal & Prag Mahal with kids because they were extremely crowded, very old structures that look like they would collapse any time. There is a tower at Prag Mahal which has clearly instructions of not staying at the tower for more than a minute but no one follows that! Infact there is a very narrow set of steps to go up or come down, so I suggest not taking small kids here. But you can take them to the Kutch Museum where they can learn a li'l about the royals and old things - only if that interests them.

We could not go to Narayan Sarovar, Kala Dungar, Mata ni madh on this trip as our one day was gone due to train being late. Maybe some other time! There is a place called Chattedi at Bhuj which had nice stone structures to click pictures, if that interests you. Its unfortunate that due to harsh climate conditions and no rain, the lakes are all dried up in Bhuj. Also, you will be on the road a lot, so if your kids are motion sick, it's better to hire a non AC car or rikshaw - we had a non AC car, climate was wonderful so there was no need of AC, infact it drops a lot in the morning and evening onward - so kid who usually is motion sick, did not have any problem luckily.

I received a great travel logging book for kids from Little Travel Bug - their travel diary. And we logged our Bhuj travel in this book! This colourful, fun and interactive travel diary provides a place for children to record fun travel stories everyday while on a vacation. This book makes diary writing simple, easy and interesting for children. Imagine, how much fun it will be to re-read this diary together once they grow older… remembering all the little details that made their vacation special! My toddler is only 4 so he cannot write on his own yet, but I asked him the questions, which he answered and I logged the details for him so that when he's older he can check out his expeditions and add to them! Cool concept I think.