2015 has been a momentous year. It has included nearly all aspects of human life for me and I have often had the feeling of going through a wringer. Professionally, my online travel portal “Your Exotic World” has overcome endless hiccups and my personal life has undergone a complete makeover. Travel career wise, 2015 has been a real star and although, I have explored less destinations than usual, all my visits have been very intense. Also, for the first time in my career, I have added a hearty amount of pleasure with work and the destinations too have been pretty mind blowing. A lot of secret travel wishlists have come true and this year has been kind enough to let me revive my old, mostly forgotten other passions in life. So, presenting my 2015 in a nutshell and what a year it has been. This has truly been life in the fast lane.


I had ushered in a brand new 2015 at Varanasi, by the banks of the holy Ganges. It has been an impromptu visit and the shivering December-January had been the perfect time to visit the dusty, chaotic hub of humanity. Varanasi had been shocking and soul shakingly alive at the same time and the burning ghats, narrow lanes, awesome food and ancient lifestyle had made me want more of India’s premier temple city. Spirituality indeed has an address and it is, in my eyes Varanasi.

#India #Indiatourism #Incredibleindia #Uttarpradeshtourism #Varanasi #Varanasistreetphoto #Varanasipanmarket

The Pan market of Varanasi


The lovely, old and controversial capital of India, New Delhi has been much explored during this year. I have visited it during foggy winters, experienced frothing of Delhi flowers in spring and have sought respite in the cool awning depths of Jama Masjid on cruel summer afternoons.

#India #Indiatourism #Incredibleindia #NewDelhi #Jamamasjid

The red sandstone welcome of Jama Masjid


My most controversial and toughest travel experience of this year has been Yemen. The ancient land of Queen of Sheba had won my heart forever, only to be destroyed by constant bombing by Saudi Arabia. I have been there during its most turbulent times and was one of the last foreigners to be rescued from the war stricken country.

#Yemen #Yementourism #Thula

Yemen will never be the same again

#Yemen #Yementourism #Socotraisland #Blooddragontrees

And Socotra will always seem too surreal to be true


The lovely little Rajasthani town of Bundi was wedged into my schedule right after my return from Yemen and the city of stepwells has been fantastically blue. It has a half destroyed fort, beautiful palaces, fairy forests, Jungle Book like ruined temples and is famous for a school of miniature paintings, known as Bundi paintings.

#Incredibleindia #Indiatourism #India #Rajasthantourism #Bundi #Bundifort

The Bundi Fort had been a heartbreak


The French colonial town of Pondicherry and nearby Gingee was a mini romantic break and by February, I have needed it badly. Indulging in some French food, wine, luxurious stays and mini motorbike trips have been rejuvenating.

#India #Incredibleindia #Pondicherry

You can never go wrong with Pondicherry

#India #Incredibleindia #Pondicherry #Gingeefort

Or an Indiana Jones style adventure at Gingee Fort


The paragliding hub of India is nestled at Bir and I had sneaked away to the hill station to meet a friend. It had not been cold anymore and flowers had started blooming. Occasional rain showers had played spoilsport and completely ruined by paragliding experience.

#Incredibleindia #India #Indiatourism #Birbilling

Bir had been to meet a friend


With the hint of spring, I had rushed off to Shekhawati region in Rajasthan to enjoy the beauty of its incredible painted houses to the fullest. A part of the Old Silk Route, Shekhawati region had been one vast open air museum.

#Incredibleindia #India #Shekhawati #Rajasthantourism

Shekhawati Region had been an open air museum

#Incredibleindia #Rajasthan #Shekhawati

And Rajasthan cannot get better than this


I have visited Kashmir a few times this year and the wet spring had been followed by flood. Although, it had been rain washed, the beauty of snowy mountains and fields of gold had been unforgettable.

#Incredibleindia #Kashmir #Pahalgam

Then there had been the wet Kashmiri spring

My summer had begun with rows of tulips, Phnom Penh love and serious start of cooking classes.

#Incredibleindia #Kashmir #Srinagartulipfestival

Srinagar Tulip Festival had welcomed by summer

#Cambodia #Phnompenh

And it had been followed by Phnom Penh


Malaysia had been for professional reasons and I had managed to get some work done there. Otherwise it had been a pretty “All fun, no work” year and I had eaten my way into Kuala Lumpur. My food love which had started with Phnom Penh had continued throughout the year.

#Malaysia #KLstreetart

Malaysia had started immediately thereafter

#Malaysia #KLfood

With food

#Malaysia #Penang #Penangstreetart

Penang and

#Malaysia #Melaka

Melaka stopovers


Kanchanaburi and multiple Bangkok trips have made Thailand one of my most visited counties this year and I am seriously not complaining. Staying at a floating raft house, exploring the golden province of Kanchanaburi, cooking for love in Bangkok and some more food porn cannot be all too bad.

#Thailand #Kanchanaburi #Erawannationalpark

Erawan National Park and

#Thailand #Bangkok #Bangkokcookingclass

Bangkok cooking class had been spells of romance in a very busy year


2015 has been a year of changes, shifting and predictably Germany has featured in the radar. Although busy and action packed, it had felt good to be with family.

#Germany #Cologne

Cologne had felt like home

#Germany #Osnabruck

With very sedate Osnabruck as a brief breather

#Germany #Berlin #Berlinstreetart

And Berlin had been such a sexy animal


Myanmar had been a tough decision. While, strictly against supporting the current dictatorship regime, a wonderfully paying assignment had drawn me to Myanmar and I had sold my conscience for money. Myanmar had been undergoing flood that time and I had returned with wet days, breathtaking memories and (thankfully) heavy wallet.

#Myanmar #Lakeinle

Myanmar is irrestible


With indigenous roots


And gorgeous history



Then there had been Thai breaks

#India #Rajasthan #Hawamahal

With some more Jaipur

#India #Rajasthan #Siriskanationalpark

Siriska National Park

#Rajasthan #India #Bhangarh

And haunted village Bhangarh moments thrown in


Autumn had started with returning to Cambodia and with a lot of Kolkata moments. This time I had explored beyond Phnom Penh by venturing into Tonle Sap, Battambang and doing a complete loop at Angkor Wat. And Kolkata has never seemed more beautiful than this autumn.


Wet Cambodian countryside

#Cambodia #Kulennationalpark

Gorgeous Kulen National Park

#Cambodia #Tonlesap #floodedforest

Tonle Sap’s flooded forests


Battambang leisure

#Cambodia #Amgkorwat

Angkor sunrises had completed 2015 Cambodia for me


Autumn had brought


Some Kolkata socializing and this year I had come out of my shell


Philippines has marked the end of my international trips this year and it has been a grand finale. Manila, Cebu, Bohol and Tagaytay have been a part of our rushed itinerary and once again I have naughtily missed work.

#Philippines #Bohol

Philippines is fun

#Chocolate Hills #Philippines

Any time of the year

#Philippines #Tagaytay

With its volcanic craters


And awesome food


A brief photoshoot in Jaipur had made me busy in the last months of the year and the balmy sun, crisp blue skies had combined well with the city royal grandeur and elephant love.

#India #Jaipur #Citypalace

The Royal Indigo room of City Palace had shimmered like waves

#Jaipur #India #Elephantfarm

And painting the elephants had been so much fun


I had ended the dramatic year with Purulia district in West Bengal. It had been during Christmas time, when Kolkata had geared up like a party girl that I had traveled for more than half a day to visit the other end of my state. The reason had been the gorgeous masked dance called Chau and I had come back with more than that.

#Purulia #Westbengal #Chaudance

Chau dance and

#Purulia #Westbengaltourism

And beautiful nature had made Purulia unforgettable


Kolkata has featured high on my travel list this year and I have fallen more and more in love with my city. I have realized that despite its quirks, ugly scars and whims, I love my city to the core and directly connect it with my identity. So needless to say, it was hardly a surprise that we chose Kolkata to be the witness of our beautiful (and much awaited) union.

What had begun as a city walk, had quickly been turned into an engagement at the Howrah Bridge, stolen kisses among colourful baskets of Mallick Bazar flower market, high fashion artfully nude photoshoot at a Bengali heritage house, a semi traditional wedding at Kali Temple and a champagne splashed reception dinner at Southern Avenue. Participated by only the closest of our small social circle, it had been a very private and homespun affair. We had shopped for our own trousseau, done my own make up, wreathed flowers for my headbands and decorated our house with highly fragrant seasonal Chatim flowers, lit diyas and Gramophone music.

The party had been lazy and informal and we ate, drank, gossiped and made merry till late into the night. Movie producers, lawyers, businessmen, professors, artists, fashion photographers and other friends from all walks of life had made it a memorable evening and the dinner of course, had been a quintessential multi course Bengali meal.


Birds of a feather flock together

Can a year get more dramatic than this? I dont know, but I ain’t complaining. Happy holidays, folks and have a wonderful last week of 2015.