It’s Ugadi April 8 | Somajiuda
The treasures of Telangana find their way onto the chef’s table at Kuchipudi, Katriya Hotel. As part of their Ugadi Food Festival, a variety of regional delicacies will be served. Time: 12.30 pm-11.30 pm. Price: Rs 499 for adults Rs 234 for kids. Details: 23325678
Book it April 9 | Banjara Hills
American indologist Wendy Doniger will be at Lamakaan ‘Hinduvulu: Oka Pratyamanaya Charitra’ over tea. There will be discussions on Hinduism, its literary history, life of subalterns, and controversy around depictions of Hindu mythological texts. Time: 4 pm. Entry free. Details: 9642731329
Festive art April 10 | West Mardepally
The grand festival of Ugadi is here and Balram Art Academy is organising an art exhibition based only on the festival. The participating artists are Srikant Anand Madipadaga, Chidambaram Pavuluri, Rajendra Kumar Ponna, MS Balaji, and Mantu Kalita. Time: 11 am-5 pm. Details: 7396490624
Musical evenings April 11 | Jubilee Hills
If you love Karaoke Nights, then Houz of Blues is the right place for you. KG Rogers will be there for the hit musical renderings. You cab bring your family and friends over drinks and tasty tid-bits. Time: 9 pm-11 pm. Details: 7778512369
Stage night April 12 | Banjara Hills
Grim Pumpkin, a city-based theatre will be presenting ‘A Night of Improv’. The genre is improvised theatre. It demands performance on stage without any script. The scenes and characters are decided on spot. Time: 8.30 pm. Tickets: Rs 100. Details: 9642731329
Celebration times April 13 | Banjara Hills
Gallery Cafe turns one this year and they are organising recitation, singing and other art events. Tonight Pranati Khanna and Niteesh Kondiparti will perform. They both are rising artistes. Time: 7.30 pm. Entry free. Details: 9030616161
Just kidding April 14 | Banjara Hills
You can now take your babies to Hard Rock Cafe. The cafe is organising a musical event only for the little ones. Other than Rock tunes there will be plenty of activities as well. Charges: Rs 499++ taxes. Time: 12 pm-5 pm. Details: 64636375
Sail away April 14 | Hussain Sagar
If you want to sail on waters right in the middle of the city. The Yacht Club of Hyderabad is organising learning sessions every week with seasoned sailors to make you ready for kayaking. Time: 9.30 am-11.30 am. Charges: Rs 750. Details: 64640518
The ‘Heal A Child’ costume party at Westin turned out to be a hit with the city party lovers.
It was a beautiful and creative way to engage people and contribute towards a great cause. The crowd dressed as princesses to Pharaohs were a visual treat with the colours and choices.
Nithin dressed as a Sardar brought Akshay Kumar of Singh is King alive. Karen with her vivacious smile, dressed in red and black drape, was up for some serious competition to several Bollywood celebs. Juhi in a blue-purple Maharastrian style saree coupled with the gold looked the quintessential strong-willed Maratha warrior willing to destroy the enemy to smithereens.
The Ugadi festive spirit is spurring several women groups to have another reasons to organise dress up meets with an ethnic touch. Charul in a blue skirt teamed with a kaftan cut top, the gold touch and blue glares was a cocktail of Indo-Western. She was charm and glamour personified.
Amongst all the light-heartedness, the forming of new IT policies in N Convention and The Farm Land policy event at Osmania University campus were a reflection that the city is serious about pushing the boundaries of business and markets.
With the heat soaring every day, just remember not to take life so seriously. And yes, taking a plunge in the pool or just surrendering to some lemon ice tea can instant cool you and put you back in the party mode.
(The writer runs her own organic cafe, spa, salon Meghavi and is a people’s person with a pulse on the city’s happenings)
Summer is approaching its peak and what better than changing your wardrobe to suit the season and look cool too. Complement your syle with a range of accessories, jewellery, handbags and footwear available at any Shoppers Stop in the city. The latest spring summer collection also offers a host of well-tailored pants, pencil skirts, well-fitted shirts, chic formal tops and elegant dresses. Price ranges from Rs 1,600 – Rs 3,100 Details: 44767710
From Anarkalis to intricate embroidery work saris, Vijay Rana justifies his title of being the ‘trendsetter at ease’
Your choices for customised dress and bridal wears have got a new name to look out for in the market. Hyderabad-based fashion designer Vijay Rana recently opened his first franchise at Road No 7, Banjara Hills. It was the Lakme Fahion Week 2003-2004 Rana that inspired Rana, who has a rich background in the textile business, to take up designing as a profession.
“My grandfather was into textile business and his showroom was inaugurated by Indira Gandhi. Many of my other relatives are also associated with the fashion industry. That should explain where I get my love for fabrics and fashion,” says Rana. The 33-year-old designer is known for his distinguished sense of colour combination.
Spread over 6,000 sq.ft the showroom is based on the wedding theme and just after one enters the store, the mandap like pillars made of fibre gives it a great feel. The framework in all the nine rooms are done with teakwood that adds to its lux quotient. The interiors of the store has been designed by Rana and Bella, his partner and owner of LabelBella. “Looking at our interiors, people who are into interior designing have started giving us some projects too,” he laughed.
Rana is one such designer who rose to fame without any academic background in fashion or designing. “I believe my designs are original because I have not been to any fashion schools. People with talent don’t need a degree to showcase their skills. I am not here to create for people. I do it for my own satisfaction,” said the Hyderabadi designer.
Being associated with the fashion industry for more than a decade now, Rana has earned the moniker as the ‘trendsetter at ease’ in the industry. His designs justify the title bestowed on him. Rana’s dresses are made out of authentic Indian fabrics. He prefers to use top notch fabrics woven by expert artisans in cotton, natural prints, spandex and lycra. With other innovative approaches, his designs are a mix of subtle shades, coral prints and intricate embroidery work.
Rana’s collection feature fusion fashion such as Anarkali gowns, salwar suits, ghagra cholis, embroidery saris, haute couture silhouettes and the signature Anarkali. He is also known for the modern tweaks he adds to the otherwise conventional bridal wears. Bella S Menezes, the coordinator of VIjay Rana Franchise and LabelBela, says, “The store and the collections are a blend of Indo-Western style. Just like Vijay manages to bring the western twist to any Indian dress or vice versa, his store reflects the same theme and attitude.”
The sketches are shown to the customers and then after approval is when they customise the costume. Typically they deliver withing two weeks. The work and stitching are done in his work space in Shamshabad. Price ranges from Rs 50,000 to Rs 4 lakh. Timings: 10.30 am to 9 pm. Details: 9618063944
— Nishad Neelamabaran
Confectionery brand LuvIt launched its new range of candies, lollies and toffees. The flavours and colours vary from mango to caramel. Since it’s summer they have introduced watermelon flavour too.
Price: Rs 5. Details: www.globalcp.in
To beat the heat, K&K, ITC Kakatiya introduces Hadaya-El-Seyf (Gifts of the Summer) for the food lovers of Hyderabad. Price: approx Rs. 3,000++ taxes for two. The festival will continue till April end. Time: 12.30 pm-11 pm. Details: 40081816
Well, IPL fever is on. Deori at The Hyatt Hyderabad is holding a kebab festival. The array comprises both vegetarian and non-vegetarian platters be it paneer shashlik, smoked chicken chunks or tandoori chicken you can have it all. Price: Rs 1,400++ taxes. Details: 49491234
Discover the wild side of Nepal with Taj Safaris’ Meghauli Serai
Taj Safaris opens its first lodge outside India: Meghauli Serai at UNESCO World Heritage listed Chitwan National Park, Nepal. This park is a traveller’s dream. The Sal groves, thick grasslands and water bodies, with the variety of wildlife, make it one of the most sought after destinations in Nepal. Located on the banks of the Rapti river. Meghauli Serai offers spectacular views of the park across the river. The Serai has 30 rooms and lavish suites.
There are 550 native bird species, including the Great Hornbill, Ruddy Shelduck and Pied Kingfisher and approximately 68 species of mammals at Chitwan Park.
Meghauli Serai has Newari and Tharu-inspired front doors in earthy tones that match the landscape, to the locally-sourced ingredients. Interesting wildlife experiences blend with beauty of rustic Nepal. Safaris on elephant-back, by jeep and jungle walks make it complete. Walks through the local Tharu village showcase traditional village life, where guests can learn the tricks of moonshining for traditional brews. They can try fresh homemade Nepalese pickle. Trekking through the beautiful Himalayan foothills is a delight for adventure-seekers. Meghauli is easily accessible from Kathmandu by road or by flight. It takes a 20 minute flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur airport, followed by a 45-minute or 30 kms drive to Meghauli Serai Jungle Lodge in Chitwan National Park.
Beat the heat this summer with our pick of summer coolers that are nothing but milky delights in a variety of flavours
April is the cruellest month, isn’t it? Since the Mercury is rising to unbearable points, nothing seems to help in this season. And even if you drink glasses of water or lemonade, your thirst might be quenched, but it leaves you feeling drained out. And this is due to uncontrolled fluid loss. Well, you don’t need to press the panic button. Flavoured milk drinks that are super summer coolants are known to work their magic. Ranging from humble sabza seeds to raspberries your milky drink, we get you our pick. Read on.
Text: Saima Afreen
Try a mouthful of sweetened milk with delicious jelly-like sabza seeds (basil seeds). Yes, we are talking about falooda. That delicious drink-food of sweetened milk with rose syrup, a spoonful of vermicelli and a dash of floating sabza seeds. The seeds are not just tasty but provide excellent cooling to your body. Topped with a dollop of ice-cream falooda is quite a delight at outlets of Shah Ghouse both in Old City and Hitec City. Owners Mohammed Rabbani, Mohammed Ghouse Pasha and Mohammed Irfan tell us, “Sabza is a good aid for digestion in hot climates and has many more health benefits.” Price: Rs 70. Details: 33165812
This is quite a fruity affair. Don’t bite into apples, drink it from your glass of smoothie. At Gallery Cafe, Banjara Hills the smoothie comes packed with goodness of blueberries and apples. This mix of ice-cream, berries and pureed apple is a thick concoction that leaves you fresh with that sweet-tangy aftertaste in your mouth. For health watchers, it’s a boon given the nutrient facts of the berries. Price: Rs 130. Details: 9030616161
It’s a terrific pairing of muskmelon, honey and milk. And the result? Sweet respite from heat. Don’t worry about calories, the taste is heavenly and the texture as the name suggests is dewy. We tried this smoothie at Soups n Salads, Jubilee Hills. One sip was enough to leave you asking for more. Says the owner and chef Soujanya, “The right amount of sugar and thickness of the milk makes for a perfect smoothie.” A must-try we say. Price: Rs 159. Details: 23550038
This one is for the fitness freaks. A glass of this colorful smoothie is full of goodness of nature. Almost a vegetable basket, the drink has cucumber, spinach and papaya mixed with yoghurt. You can enjoy this healthy coolant at the tiny, cosy cake-shop called Eclaire located at Road No. 12, Banjara Hills. “For that zingy flavour we add cinnamon powder to this smoothie along with a spoonful of sugar,” says chef Hari Babu. The smoothie is available in both regular and special sizes. Price: Rs 80. Details: 9177821777
If you like your milky drinks light and a bit tangy, then litchi smoothie is perfect for you. Neither too thick nor too watery, this summer coolant is mildly sweet and a bit sour. They make it with ripe litchi fruits that are the favoured fruits of summer. Try it at Beyond Coffee, Jubilee Hills. Price: Rs 125. Details: 23545359
WhatsApp wedding invites to those that come with personalised voice messages, the entire range is interesting
This week, I got invited to a couple of weddings. Interestingly, all of them were WhatsApp invites although with a personal touch. I was reminiscing about those days when we used to go through various fancy invitation cards friends and relatives used to give. The cards were distributed by a couple dressed in traditional finery and they always added a personal touch to it by remembering our names, the good times we had and insisted we come for the wedding two days ahead.
The invites cost would be anywhere from Rs 50 a card to a few thousands for expensive gold-plated ones. There are earmarked areas in Hyderabad which cater to the weddings cards alone. The cards typically had gold-embossed images of their favourite Gods or a sequence like Rama-Seeta or Meenakshi-Sundar wedding to add grandeur to it and lend a divine touch. But it has all changed to a mere digital message with no frills. Sounds disappointing, but it makes a lot of sense.
While we all admire the wonderful image of the deity image on a card, we had no clue what to do with so many cards after the event. Our trepidation towards divine wrath kept us away from disposing it off. We could neither throw away nor stack them up. Before we realise they became a whole library filled with dusty memories. Oh, the guilt of having to throw away embellished Radha-Krishna and Ganesha cards.
Luckily, the text or Facebook invites have resolved such hassles. Plus it adds the convenience of reminders even just before the event. Yes, the glitterati is missing but we also have well-designed images that are now being sent as a WhatsApp attachment. Now the biggest boon with this format is of course that you don‘t need to drive kilometres in the hot sun to give a sweaty invitation card. It is cool, convenient and practical.
While on invites, I remeber this elaborate invitation which was visibly luxurious and was accompanied by a box of nuts and sweets. Now that is real style. Another invitation came in with an embedded audio message. This was an innovation by actor Sai Kumar. It was pretty personal, considering that he is a voice artist.
If it’s an invitation card for which one would spend hundreds and hours visiting friends, it better have an innovative touch like this one. When I get such cards, I always have a word of appreciation for the city folk who have the ability to adapt to new ideas and keep it practical at the same time. That is innovation with inspiration for me.
— The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)
Ki & Ka Director: R Balki Cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Arjun Kapoor
Ad guru and filmmaker Balki has always broken new grounds in Bollywood, talk of Cheeni Kum, Paa, and Shamitabh. Ki & Ka sadly falls short of becoming a game changer. For the uninitiated, the film tries to break the stereotypical image of a husband and a wife. Here, Kia (Khan) thinks marriage will ruin her corporate career. Enters Kabir Bansal (Kapoor), who doesn’t mind being the house-husband to her. Then begins the downfall of the film, due to horrific gender stereotyping. Khan, and Kapoor do a good job, but their chemistry isn’t all that great. Watch it if you have to. — Team Indulge
The Divergent Series: Allegiant Director: Robert Schwentke Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts
Following the shocking revelations of The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Tris (Woodley) has to get away with Four (James) and cross the wall that is enclosing Chicago. Leaving their family for the first time, they must return with a solution to save their city. While fans might love this one, cheesy special effects and a weak plot make this one a miss. — T I
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Director: Zack Snyder Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Caville, Jesse Eisenberg
Getting used to Affleck as Batman was one thing, but to deal with a script that is as weak as bad coffee was quite another. In Dawn of Justice, the two superheroes have a serious face off, what with neither of them happy with the other’s methods of saving the world. But it’s hamming champ Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) they need to worry about. The two then forget their worries, and join hands. Yawn! —PN
From scuba diving to dog sledding, four must-do activities on your next trip to Iceland.
A country of vivid natural contrasts and great beauty, Iceland is on every discerning traveller’s bucket list for more than just its famed Northern Lights. While it is a popular summer destination (think midnight sun and long days), the stunning landscape has a completely different beauty in the winter. It’s a country with slow-moving glaciers, sparkling streams, black sand beaches and giant waterfalls, combined with the fascinating culture of the ancient Vikings. I was fortunate to see the bedazzling Northern Lights during my recent winter visit, but several other adventurous activities kept me busy, too.
We were greeted by a volley of friendly barks from the huge but beautiful and intelligent Greenland huskies—it’s like they were waiting for us. As we were a dry-land sledding (sleds with wheels on), the ride was quite bumpy and we had to hang on tight, but it was fun, peppered with humorous asides from our friendly guide who knew each of the eight huskies by name. In summer (May-August), the husky teams go up to the glaciers and the sledding is on snow, and in winter (mid-August to December) the rides are from the farm in Holmasel (a 75-minute drive from Reykjavik).You can choose between one and three days of warm furry fun with these engaging animals. From Rs 8,997 onwards.
While slipping multiple layers over my warm jackets (balaclava, giant orange onesie snowsuit, three pairs of gloves, helmet, et al), I felt like an astronaut heading to a remote lunar system. But the hour-long trip by snowmobile up the Mýrdalsjökull glacier to the top of the volatile Katla volcano was such an adrenaline rush. Skip it at your own peril. After suiting up at the base camp, we were told the safety protocols and paired up: one of us would drive, while the other ride pillion through rugged white capped terrain. Even more exciting was the snowstorm and whiteout that happened as we took off. Riding the storm in your snowmobile is an exhilarating experience. Rs 13,230 per head. Details: arcanum.is
Yes, Iceland offers pristine clear waters for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. Walking the stunning landscapes of the historic Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO heritage site (45 km north-east of Reykjavik), I found it hard to imagine that the clear blue Silfra fissure (glacial water from the nearby Langjökull, filtered through porous underground lava) lay some distance beneath my feet. The fissure is actually a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents, meaning that you dive or snorkel right where the continental plates meet and drift apart about two centimetres every year. The weirdly bright green ‘troll hair’ and multi-hued algae lends it an incredible palette of colours. The folks at Dive.Is, a diving and snorkelling school, operate a five-star PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) dive centre. From Rs 23,810 onwards for a day tour. Details: dive.is
Into the glacier
The ice caves of Langjökull, near Husafell, beckoned. Never having been in one, I quickly learnt that they can be man-made or natural—the latter are old and a trip there is weather-dependent in winter. We rode our super jeep to the base cabin and then moved into the noisy eight-wheel monster truck for a hang-on-to-your-seats exhilarating ride. At the glacier cave, we stepped into a wonderland of long blue-lit ice caves and tunnels, which included an ice chapel (for weddings with a difference) and even a banquet section where we lunched on chicken skewers and cold sandwiches washed down with wine. Over the base frame, the ice grows, and the stalactites and stalagmites are magnificent. Someone said they felt very Jules Verne-ish, and I must agree. From Rs 10,320 onwards. Details: intotheglacier.is
Need to know
Pick a reputed tour company that will organise everything—
including hotels, on-road meals and super jeep rides. Do your research well to wing it alone. Your travel can be planned from
simple and reasonable, to luxurious. And remember,
a Northern Lights sighting is not guaranteed.
Food: Though predominantly non-vegetarian, Reykjavik has a range of excellent restaurants—like Apotek, Dill and the gastropub, Public House—and getting vegetarian food (including Indian) is an option. Be sure to communicate your food
preferences to your tour company in advance.
Go equipped: In summer, and especially in winter, Iceland trips need sufficient warm clothes including waterproof clothing and sturdy hiking boots. Take plenty of sunblock, too.
On-flight reading: Iceland is famous for its sagas (historic narratives based on ancient events, like Egil’s Saga or The Saga of Erik the Red). So pick up one to understand the country’s rich history.
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