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Knock Knock (Bandracruz)

Most of us are getting offs on the occasion of Diwali and after a day or two, a few notches of boredom will probably kick in. Of course, this is a much-needed break from our routine but if you still feel like doing something with your leave, here’s an idea!

Rev your engine and head over to the Sula Vineyards, which is a famous winery located in Nashik, approximately 200 kms away from Mumbai. India's leading producer of wines, Sula Vineyards is seated amidst the sprawling hills of Nashik, overlooking the Gangapur Dam.

Why you should be here?

Everything, starting from the roads leading up to Sula, to the ambience here, breathes tranquillity and your sight will be graced by a verdant landscape, which looks straight out of a movie. This homegrown winery actually popularised the term “wine tourism" and their wines are produced with premium grapes harvested from the estate vineyards as well as local farmers.

Sula Vineyards is renowned for its varieties of grape wines, such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel and it is also home to approximately 60 wineries. You can spend the day on a detailed wine tour which would involve wine tasting too and when hungry, you can head straight to their rooftop restaurant as well. Tickets for the wine tour and wine tasting can be bought at their first-floor reception!

This place also houses an amphitheatre and has landscape gardening, which serves as an alternate picnic spot for people looking to relax here.

Knock Knock

The Sula Vineyards also has a Gift and Bottle Shop, which stocks some exclusive brands of wine that can be bought only from the winery so before exiting, grab a souvenir for sure.

There’s an Italian restaurant nearby too, so when here, grab some wood-fired pizza and glasses of fine wine to give yourself the break you need and deserve!

Here comes the festival of light, so let the celebrations begin! Perhaps the most widely celebrated and grandest of festivals in India, Diwali is finally here and its sparkles will soon alight our skies. As we gear up to rejoice in the spirit of Diwali, we thought of some things that could be taken care of this season. Though most of you would probably not need a reminder, we thought of making a kind of checklist lest you miss out on something.

1. Apne to Apne Hote Hain...

Any fun is incomplete without the people you want to share it with. In the current urbanized scenario, folks living away from families and their homes know what we are talking about. So take a break for your family this Diwali and enjoy the warmth of home sweet home amidst all the merrymaking.

2. Light ‘em Up!

The first thing that comes to mind when you say ‘Diwali’ is a sky lit by floating lanterns, bursting crackers, rockets and other light shows that emanate from numerous homes. It may be noisy but people deserve to break free for a few hours at least. So get the group together and let the works light up the horizon. Do take care of the little ones though; they can be a handful when it comes to both luminous and flammable objects, so make sure they are restricted or monitored accordingly.

3. Be A Millionaire Spender

Now that you’re gearing up for a grand occasion, make others feel the spirit too. Buying crackers is an integral part of this festival and we hope you get the best ones to your liking.

Do keep in mind though that the stall or new vendor you buy from gets just this one time a year to earn properly as this market caters mainly one product - crackers. So keeping his limitation in mind, feel free to let him make his profit this once at least. Let the bigger shops be at your mercy but with the smaller one, let him win the bargain-battle this time. In fact, it may be better to maximize his sales for he probably needs it more.

4. Let The Light Spread

Diwali is indeed the festival of light. We need everybody to realise the same, yet there are those who do not have even the basic light-bulbs to illuminate their homes, let alone festive and decor lighting. Be a kind soul and look out for such people. A fan, a bulb, a stove - these are basic amenities and you could be the one to help someone avail such a necessity.

It is a festival for us, it is a festival for all. The less fortunate cannot fulfil their fundamental needs, so a celebration for their kids is a far-fetched idea. We should look to endow some material, a few crackers or diyas, that make it a joyous time for them too.

5. Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye

Food is as much a necessity as a luxury in our celebration. The sweet market goes berserk with activity, family, friends and relatives exchange sweets of many varieties and we aren’t complaining. Do grab your favorite barfi or peda or gulab jamun....we could list a lot more but space ain’t enough for all that there is. You get the drift - remember your favorite sweet and have lots of it; no one’s looking, everybody is busy with something or the other.

While at it, do share these with the ones who cannot have a stomach-full meal and can’t afford sweet delicacies. They will be grateful and you will enjoy the warmth it gives your heart.

Knock Knock...

Have fun, enjoy the long weekend and the festival but remember to also include all sections of society. For it is rightly said,”The more, the merrier”.

Happy Diwali folks!

This story has been written by our guest contributor

Monsoons are upon us and usually weekends these days are irksome- it’s muddy everywhere and the rains can go from kitten and pups to wild cats and barking dogs! You just never know. Life becomes a part of the ‘Viraani’ household and our enthusiasm flickers like Tulsi’s diya. Sigh!

Mumbai rains seem like a bane, specially when it dampens our spirit of going out with friends or fam because of the obvious reasons but this time around, it’ll be different! Why? Because we’ve found a hangout spot here in Mumbai’s Goregaon so revv your engines and head here.

Chhota Kashmir!

Located near the Aarey Dairy, Chhota Kashmir is a picnic spot with a sprawling lake which has boating facilities and the vibrant verdant garden, is robust with blossoming flowers all round the the year. The towering coconut trees give you absolute Goan feels and the clustered palm trees grown here, are somewhat a reminder of the natural beauty of Kashmir!

As this garden is one of the popular locales in the Aarey colony, you’ll witness people frolicking here often, with their fam, friends or bae for a long drive or simply for a picnic.

The rainy weather conditions coupled with the natural ambience of this vicinity makes this a perfect monsoon hangout spot, away from the chaotic life in the city which never sleeps!

How to Reach Here?

The bustling Aarey Colony is situated on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad roadway, amid Malad and Goregaon. The place is easily accessible from the Goregaon railway station via auto-rickshaws so even if you don’t have a four-wheeler, Hakuna Matata!

Location: Aarey Colony, Goregaon, Mumbai

Everyone knows about Hollywood’s obsession with Tiffany & Co. and we know why! This store’s collections have been making women swoon and every eligible bachelor, heads over to this store, to take steps towards finally sealing the deal with bae.

If your choices are aligned with the old saying, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, then we have news for you which’ll not be easy for your pockets but you could totally obsess over it.

The globally iconic, New York City based Tiffany & Co. is again setting up a store in Mumbai’s Jio World Centre Mall, which is scheduled to open in April next year.

This will be Tiffany & Co.’s 3rd attempt to establish their affluent presence in India’s jewelry sector. It’s first franchise contract with a local jeweller, through which a store was set up in Mumbai’s Oberoi, was highly inefficacious. But hey, 3rd time’s a charm so fingers crossed!

So what we’re saying is we’re all independent women who can afford their own diamonds (of course, the wage gap will make us wait a bit more than the men) but we’d suggest you start dropping hints to bae! If you’re planning your engagement or a proposal, THIS INVESTMENT WILL ABSOLUTELY HIT HOME.

We’re not saying we want a guy who’d shut down Tiffany & Co. for a while to choose the perfect ring, like Nick Jonas did in London for Priyanka Chopra but we’d LOVE absolutely ANYTHING from here. Of course love shouldn’t be materialized but we all agree that their patent blue box loaded with an exquisite ring, a bracelet or anything at all, will keep us all happy! *wink wink*

Mumbai is a fast-paced city in more ways than one! With the daily commotion of its millions, the city truly never sleeps. The entertainment nucleus of India, Mumbai has witnessed substantial historical episodes which has moulded our present and how!

This city has been a conflation of divergent cultures and its contemporary cosmopolitan character can be attributed to its fascinating past- how it unfolded from Bombay to Mumbai! A place where you can observe the story of the city’s growth and revisions is at the Prints Gallery at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Fort, Mumbai.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Mumbai was gifted as a dowry from the Portuguese to the Britishers, which was a part of a clever trick and the latter fell for it immediately! The islands of Bombay were given as part of Portuguese princess Catherine’s dowry during her wedding to Charles II of England.

Back in the day, people relied heavily on cartographers so the Portuguese seized the opportunity and presented a fallacious map of Bombay to the British! According to the map, Brazil was a stone throw away from this locale and keeping the commercial possibilities in mind, the Britishers readily took over the archipelago as dowry. By the time they realized that Brazil wasn’t anywhere close to the representation, the wedding was through and the map had mysteriously disappeared.

Handling the sprawling islands for Charles II was a herculean task so to make things easier, he rented out the whole of Mumbai to the East India Company, only for £10 in gold a year!

Bombay was an archipelago of seven islands and back then the Portuguese called the islands by various names, which finally took the written form Bombaim. They also built several fortifications around the city! At the CMVS gallery, they have stocked the prints of the earliest maps of Mumbai with its seven islands named Colaba, Old Woman’s Island (Lower Colaba), Isle of Bombay, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, and Worli.

If it hadn’t been for the strategic union of those two royalties, Bombay perhaps would have never be the thriving metropolis that it is today.

For us cinephiles, Nolan is to us what God is to theists! Plenty of divergent elements are always amalgamated into Nolan’s work, some of which push him to the zenith of his career while others simply raise eyebrows in disbelief. He’s sometimes dinged for making films that are too vague on character development while also being praised for big-budget movies that people want to talk about, dissect, and rewatch time and again!

This maven director, who has helmed masterpieces like Dunkirk, Inception, Memento, Insomnia and so on, is coming to Mumbai to film his next movie titled Tenet! According to sources, Nolan was here in Mumbai for a recce session and he will be flying down in September for a couple of days to shoot this upcoming project.

Places where he’ll be shooting!

A little birdie told us that there’ll be an epic chase sequence here in the city and if you’re willing to spot the Hollywood biggie, you gotta be around South Bombay, the Gateway of India, Taj Mahal hotel and Colaba Market. Tenet will also be shot in seven international locations including US, Estonia, Italy and London apart from India.

This spy-action thriller will also give screen space to our ‘Bobby’ woman, Dimple Kapadia who’ll be playing the role of an elderly lady with a strong narrative in the story! The other stars of this movie are Robert Pattinson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Clemence Poesy.

Dimple Kapadia

Dutch-Swedish cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, who worked with Nolan on Interstellar and Dunkirk, has been appointed as the Director of Photography for this one. The film's musical score is being composed by Ludwig Göransson, who recently won an Oscar for his work on Black Panther.

Tenet is set against the backdrop of an international world of espionage and it is eyeing a release some time in July next year.

Marine Drive aur Mumbai are like the eternal chai-biskut combo, incomplete without each other! The scenic beauty of the resplendent Marine Drive is what really makes the city come alive and monsoons are a sight to behold here. The sprawling promenade attracts photographers, joggers and tourists from all over and it’s a locale for all to relish. Even Bollywood has showcased these rocks several times in different movies- remember Wake Up Sid?

Honestly the sounds of the crashing waves are like a homely music to the ears and it spells peace for us, Mumbaikars. So if you’ve been around this area, maybe sitting by the oscillating sea, have you ever noticed the shape of the rocks here? Well, these rocks have a rock-solid reason of being here!

Here’s why-

These colossal 'four-legged' concrete rocks, binding themselves to one another are known as tetra-pods! When these tetra-pods are placed in an interlocking pattern, they tend to form a porous boundary which lets only a part of the water seep in, guarding the major chunk from crossing boundaries. These tetra-pods first originated in France and were later developed in Australia because of the high demands and usage! These structures are quite popular in other countries too and it is also said that they interrupt the natural cycle of soil erosion and nutrition! There are approximately over 600 tetra-pods rooted at the Marine Drive and each tetra-pod weighs around 2 tons and costs more than ₹5,000 per structure!

The herculean tetra-pods have become an integral part of the Marine Drive’s identity and without this endowment, we would have faced heightened water clogging issues in the city!

This generation of millennials and post millennials are obsessed with Flamingos. We have them on our coffee mugs, our flip flops, notebooks, desktop wallpaper and even on our clothes. Yet, how many of us can say that we’ve seen a flamingo in real life? Flamingos are magnificent creatures, blush pink muddles with streaks of white black and rose pink. These birds seem tropical and dreamy to say the least and apparently, love water. But where can we find them? The answer is simple, in the city of dreams.

Mumbai is a city that surprises us ever so often, with its webbed network of local trains, dabbe walas and the spirit of live and let live. Yet, there are a few things that Mumbai has hidden away, the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary is one of them.

When the bustle of the city and the unending buzz of Bandra is weighing you down and you want to find the peace and calm amidst the city that never sleeps, this is where you want to be. The natural habitat of Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary will fill you with tranquillity while the beautiful birds and their melodious calls will fill your soul with joy.

The most beautiful thing about the sanctuary, apart from the birds and the scenic views of nature, is the absolute peace.The birds of water do not come to visit people who cannot find it in themselves to practice silence.

Book yourself a safari, find your binoculars, get your suntan lotion on and get ready to lose yourself to bliss. The sanctuary offers a number of safari and bird sighting options and you can pick any one of them to make a day out of it. The Coastal & Marine Bio Diversity Centre near Airoli offers a safari where you are taken on a boat with a bunch of people and you can spot these birds in their natural habitat, basking in the sun or taking a luxurious bath.

Nestled in Thane, the creek is hardly an hour away from Bandra so you can make a day trip and still be back home by the evening.

We would suggest taking the guided tours, as they are headed by people who’ve been trained by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and know the best way to observe these magnificent birds.

The timings and dates for booking also depend on the tidal waves and other factors, so it would be prudent to call ahead and make a booking before you make any plans.

Location: Coastal & Marine Bio Diversity Centre - Sector 10, Diva Nagar Road, Mangrove Forest, Airoli, Navi Mumbai

Price: ₹ 330 (Weekdays) & ₹440 (Weekends) per head
Contact: +91 9987 673 737

Bandra West is often (rightfully) referred to as the "Queen of the Suburbs" in Mumbai and we Mumbaikars know why! This multi-faceted neighborhood has been the witness of several dreams and journeys, and has often turned into the ultimate destination in itself.

In order to cater to the cosmopolitan lifestyle running through the veins here, here are the top 5 things you can do solo in Bandra West which would keep the summer blues away!

Visit Bandra Fort and Bandstand

Nestled on the tip of Bandra West, are the glorious remnants of a 17th century fort that was built by the Portuguese as a watchtower. It was strategically located to look out over Mahim Bay but now it provides a stellar view of the iconic Bandra-Worli Sealink bridge.

Stroll Along Bandstand and Carter Road Promenades

Bandra West outlines the rushing and crashing Arabian Sea and you can indulge yourself on an evening stroll by the long stretches of the ocean front.

This neighborhood has 2 prominent promenades, one which extends from the Bandstand and the other is further north, along the Carter Road.
Recent development projects have introduced renovated facilities such as amphitheaters, parks, and children's playgrounds so there can never be a dull moment here!

Visit Bollywood Walk Of Fame

The lanes in the vicinity of the Ranwar village has recently become renowned for their quirky street art created by artists from all over the globe! You can take a glimpse of this artistry in and around the Waroda Road, Chapel Road, and Saint Veronica Road up to Mount Carmel Church in Bandra West. The most prominent murals on the Chapel Road are the products of the Bollywood Art Project.

You can also sneak a peek at the massive murals of Bollywood actors like Madhubala, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna on the corner of Bandstand and Pereira Road. Ask around for a guided tour of the street art and your Instagram will thank you forever!

Get a Reflexology Treatment

Feeling stressed lately? Need alone time to chill and pamper yourself? Then we have news for you!
Mettaa Reflexology Spa at Bandra West's Pali Village offers inexpensive reflexology massages by visually impaired therapists, many of whom are completely blind. They've all undergone six-month reflexology training programs, so they're appropriately qualified and this is the best way for you to let off some steam!

Shop till you Drop

Bandra West is known for its versatility when it comes to shopping. Mostly popular for cheap, sexy and durable lingerie, the shops here won’t disappoint you. Linking Road is lined with stalls selling cheap shoes, bags, clothing, and accessories and the neighborhood also has boutiques that are worth a visit!

Bargain hunters, your time is now and if you’re alone, relish a retail therapy here.

So if you’re here at Bandra West and are looking for things to do while alone, these are the options which you can explore around!