Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A complete guide to the Holy Pilgrimage to Maa Vaishno Devi’s Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir

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It is considered truly auspicious and Goddess Durga’s direct blessings on us if one is able to plan a holy pilgrimage for Maa Vaishno Devi's Shrine in a lifetime. It is said she blesses only some and calls her to her door high up on the Trikuta mountains in Katra in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is widely believed that whatever you ask Maa with pure heart, she confers it to you and fulfils your desire.

I went there for the first time in May’06 as a newly wed as my husband is a staunch devotee of Maa Durga and this year again, twelve years later, again in May. You can choose to fly to Jammu Airport which is 48 kms from Katra or board a train or bus to Katra based on the total distance you ought to cover. We went from Delhi to Amritsar as visiting Golden Temple the second time was on our itinerary too and from Amritsar(more on it in my subsequent posts on my #TravelDiaries) we went to Katra for which there are several modes of transport easily available.

In Katra from Baadganga (from where we start the climb) the Shrine or Bhawan as it is popularly called is a straight fourteen kilometres climb upward. The entire journey is divided into two halves by Ardhkuwari. The climb is steep and difficult till ArdhKuwari if you are climbing on foot with horses, ponies  and palkis hovering and crossing you on all sides. From Ardhkuwari, upwards it is less steep and there are separate ways for those on foot and horses. 

If you too are planning a trip to Vaishno Devi with your family or friends, the following information shall be vital for you. Basically there are about five modes of transport you can take to reach the shrine.

1. Helicopters: You can take a helicopter which takes you to Sanjhi Chaath which is very close to the shrine. If you have a very elderly member in your family or a member who can’t walk, you can hire palkis from Sanjhi Chaath till Bhavan (main shrine) too to make it absolutely convenient for them.

2. Horses or Ponies: Alternatively, you can hire a horse or pony from Baadganga to ArdhKuwari and then from there to Bhavan(the same are available to come down too) and your trip becomes easy peasy if you are not scared of horses or ponies.

3. Palkis: But if you are scared of horses, take a palki, which means being lifted up in a comfortable chair with attachments for four men to lift you. This is normally recommended for elderly or sick but this time I saw young handsome men too enjoying palki ride(somehow I didn’t appreciate this much) so I guess the option is open for everyone.

4. Electric Cars: In all of the above, you have to shelve a  fairly decent amount of money from your pockets. At Ardhkuwari, electric cars(autos) are also available for the elderly and disabled. 

5. Pitthus: You can also hire Pitthus(similar to coolies) to carry small kids and your stuff up or down on the journey if you have decided to complete the pilgrimage on foot. Don’t forget to grab a Lathi to support you during the long walk..trust me it comes really handy when fatigue takes over you.

Food and water is available at regular intervals and it is advisable to take breaks and keep oneself hydrated., some pitthus also offer you massage on the route to relax your tired feet. Get your bookings done well in advance in peak seasons as there is crazy rush and we all have to queue up at bhawan for darshan. Do book a stay through Vaishno Devi Shrine Board if you have climbed on foot and would like to rest a little before descending, this is assuming you are catching good sleep at your hotel in Katra or Jammu so that your body can regain the energy.

We were a family of twelve with age group five to seventy and all of us did the Darshan nicely no matter what mode we took as per our health. Three eldest took helicopters while the youngest took pitthu, rest of us managed it on foot with just taking horse for three-four kilometers out of twenty eight whooping ones on account of a sprain. That’s the power Goddess gives those who come to her. Though I am extremely grateful to hubby dear for being patient to the cranky baby that I became during the last part of the descent, the gentleman that he is, he made me relax at a dispensary and gave me a good spray of instant pain relief over my sprain.

Never underestimate the climbing down, my friends, it takes a toll on your legs even when you are walking not against gravity😄. It also proved that I was no more an energetic newly wed twenty something young gal who climbed and descended merrily last time but I am still happy, I did it and wrote to you this post so that you know clearly the ways and means to plan your Vaishno Devi Darshan to the best of your abilities considering the best option that suits you and your family.

This is Truly Yours Roma signing off, see you soon with some other personal insights from my travel diaries ♥️. Please feel free to email me at roma.shobhit.sinha@gmail.com if you have any further queries related to this, I shall be more that happy to help you :)

Friday, 15 June 2018

Proud to Announce the Launch of My Third Book ~ ‘Destiny’s Favourite Child’, The Autobiography of a Rebel

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My precious friends and esteemed readers, God has been extremely kind and my heart’s joy knows no bound announcing to you the launch of my third book, Destiny’s Favourite Child, which is nothing but the softest piece of my heart.

It was difficult rather brutal penning the autobiography of this motherless rebel, a people’s gal and yet a recluse, some one who loves to smile and hide her scars behind her cheek to cheek grins, someone who always aspires to know the deep purpose of her existence and whose two roles of a mommy and wifey keep her merrily grounded... but I am glad I overcame my inhibitions to complete the manuscript. With this book, my life becomes an open book, in words and in deeds.

You should read it to know how a girl child who listens to all the malicious ways of the world in her mother’s womb feels petrified even before her birth but still decides to survive and take the challenge. 

You should read it to know how despite of destiny’s chosen games against her, she not only proves herself time and again but remembers to make her mark.

You should read it to know how a commoner with zero support system still manages to live life queen size. 

Also, you should read it to know about this bold and beautiful’s rare ability to dream and move mountains to fulfil her dreams. She indeed is ‘Destiny’s Favourite Child’.

The book shall be available shortly on Amazon and you can prebook the same. It has also made a place for itself in the coveted Blogchatter Ebook Carnival and you can grab a soft copy here.

If you love what I write and have a penchant for my writing style and if you have not already read them, here are my two earlier books, ‘The Fragrance of True Love’ and ‘Dare to Defy the Destiny’ available on Amazon, just click on their links below, to make a copy all yours.

The former , ‘The Fragrance of True Love’ is a cute and cuddly chicklet romance which is also a battle of a young gal Priyam whose traumatic past stops her from accepting her glorious future. The fiction novella is about how Meer’s innocent love heals all her wounds. If you love immortal love-stories this one is indeed for you.

While the latter, ‘Dare to Defy the Destiny’ is a tear in eye kind of a non fiction anthology of true tales of Indian women which will prick your conscience to become the face of positive change. You would have definitely met many of them in your lives and have been left either too numb or too inspired by them. I have personally met each one of them and this book is my heartfelt tribute to their infinite courage.

Penning these three babies which are nothing short of masterpieces for me has brought me much more closer to life and I am eternally grateful to the Almighty for blessing me to do so. I have breathed in the characters, cried with them, laughed with them, lived in them and in each book have promised to liberate them and I did keep my promise.

Now my babies, my three books are in your precious hands. I trust you will shower the same tonnes of love to the new baby, ‘Destiny’s Favourite Child’ as much as you did you to my last two outings. 

Here’s a billion thanks to you from Truly Yours Roma  for your overwhelming love and support always♥️.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Comparative Reviews of the Three Radissons in Delhi, the Dwarka, the Mahipalpur(Airport) and the CP ones

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I was in Delhi recently for my annual holiday and all the lovely memories of the umpteen years I had spent in Saadi Dilwaali Dilli came flooding by and this happens to me every year. I grow nostalgic as I had dated here, then spent quite a few years here as a new bride and have also become a mom here. I recognise so many roads, so many places and so many faces here along with the wonderful moments spent at each place.

Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi Airport, Mahipalpur

This is the reason that though living in Pune for the past six years, every summer I love coming back to Delhi for a mini vacation and relive the most beautiful moments of our lives all over again. While for the last several years I have been staying at Radisson Blu, Dwarka, this time we decided to also test and taste the other two Radisson properties in Delhi - Radisson Blu Plaza, Airport or Mahipalpur as it is called and Radisson Blu Marina, Connaught Place, Delhi and below I bring to you the relative review of the three, from several perspectives, purely based on my own experience.

Radisson Blu, Dwarka, Delhi
  1. Price: First it is most important to know the cost of stay per night in either of the three. The Airport or Mahipalpur Radisson is a five star property and the costliest of the three. The other two are both four star ones and the CP one is more heavy on our pockets than Dwarka Radisson on account of its prime location purely though infrastructure-wise Dwarka scores better.
  2. Location: While the Dwarka and Mahipalpur properties are relatively closer to airport and Gurgaon side of NCR, Radisson CP is at the centre or heart of the city surrounded by best eateries and shopping arenas of town. So choose your stay with respect to the nearness to the places you are most likely to visit in this trip to avoid wasting your precious time in traffic nuisances.
  3. Rooms and Other Facilities: Comparing the room size of the three considering standard business class rooms for comparison, Radisson Airport has biggest rooms followed by Dwarka and then CP properties. The facilities in all three are alike. However, Radisson Dwarka being the newest property scores brownie points in this category, the other two being fairly old. 
  4. Service: Undoubtedly until early this year I was a fan of the professional warmth exuded by Radisson Dwarka staff to its guests but I found the Radisson Airport staff gain a fine edge above them for their Indian touch in the way they took care of us. We were overwhelmed by both the teams. Radisson CP Service was between ok and good but no way near impressive.
  5. Food: As far as in room dining is concerned, Radisson Airport head chef and his team clearly stole the show for every single dish was mirroring a unique signature style and were absolutely drool worthy. In their exorbitant breakfast menu, my favourite was the exotic Salmon Fish delicacy. Also, the buffet breakfast at the airport had the richest and the most spread menu in comparison to the other two. At number two there’s a tie between the Dwarka and CP head chefs both of whom ensure your belly gets delectable fresh food customised to your needs and I vouch for them anyway.
  6. Shopping: Now this is tricky. I like to shop in the branded retail chains in the basement of Radisson Dwarka the most. This place also has some toy shops and eateries for me to keep the kiddo engaged. However, Radisson CP gives you the best access to most branded to street shops all at one place right outside your hotel and is at par or has a slight edge above Radisson Dwarka. You have to hire a taxi to take you anywhere to shop around Radisson Airport or Mahipalpur.
  7. Swimming pool and Spa: For me a hotel stay is synonymous to a luxurious well equipped swimming pool and Spa. While all three didn’t disappoint me on Spa front I was disappointed that Radisson CP didn’t have a swimming pool while the other two have lavish ones.
Radisson Blu Marina, CP, Delhi

Connectivity to all three properties is good and a cab when booked almost arrives instantaneously. Also all three are courteous enough to provide you early checkins if the rooms are available. Our stay has been on the whole very pleasant in all three and I have summed up my observations in the above points to aid you make an informed choice as per your needs. Please feel free to ping me if you wish to know any further details about the same.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A Dream To Fulfil Every Indian's Selfie Dream Comes True with #Mobiistar Launch: IndiBlogger Meet, Delhi

Meeting fellow bloggers and umpteen hours of fruitful discussion, give me an adrenaline rush like nothing else and especially if it’s an Indiblogger Meet, then one sure has hit the bull’s eye of utmost fun and frolic coupled with some wonderful insights. Yes, I confess I am an ardent sucker of Indimeets and though Inditeam hasn’t found a way to Pune yet, I have gone lucky traveling to places where they plan some. Well, when there's a will, there's a way😊.

May has been an extreme busy month for me and I was looking forward to a fortnight long vacation with family in Kashmir, our collecting stop being Delhi. A night before commencing the journey, after I completed all my packing, I sat for my usual before sleep reading spree. While I was well aware above Mobiistar’s Launch in India, I had absolutely no clue that an Indiblogger Meet for the same is scheduled the next day in Delhi. What a coincidence, I jumped in delight and without wasting a moment I applied for it. In the next second, the Indipass flashed in my mailbox and I shared the news with my nine year old who has started blogging a year back. A technology buff that he is, he made me leave no stone unturned to appease everyone to tuck him along ( A big thanks IndiB Team for accepting my request, you have knitted all of us so well into a family and now I know the reason why).

Excitement was at its peak as we landed in Delhi from Pune just an hour before the Meet. The energy of the little one in surfing every ounce about the star of the day, #Mobiistar as his eyes lit up when he narrated the minutest info to me made me conceal my lethargy and tip toe to the grand event and I am so glad I did despite of a very hectic schedule.

Time just flew from the time we stepped in, meeting so many virtual blogger buddies in person, was a feeling which cannot be weaved in words. While Kartik kick started the Mobiistar Indimeet in style, he soon handed over the stage to Ms. Shobha Rana of Mobiistar who invited Mr. Carl Ngo, CEO and Co-founder, Mobiistar India to take us through the launch. I was intrigued to know how within nine years, Mobiistar has carved a niche for itself in Vietnam and now has extraordinary plans to go global. It was amazing to know how it was awarded as the ‘Most Impressive SmartPhone of the Year, 2017’ in Vietnam.

For India, they have derived their USP from the Indian nerve to click large groupies along with the beautiful back grounds and they promise to let every Indian #EnjoyMore at pocket friendly prices. I liked the way they have tapped the intellectual power of the bloggers and their social media presence to promote themselves. One needs smarter ways to impress the smart customers these days.

Their foray in the Indian market scenes is more merely on the surface but backed by extensive research and selfie satisfaction surveys with their own and competitors phones, the results of which were shared with us. Their clear cut plan is to enhance our selfie/groupie experience without loosing the charming background and while in impressive dignity they did not reveal the competitor's name, it was evident their products have worked wonders for their market price.

Their marketing strategy is fairly aggressive too with their tie up with Flipkart and special offers like Complete Mobile Protection and Exchange Deals. Unbelievably if we acquire it with JIO, we get an instant cash back of 2200 rupees. We clicked a lot of selfies with these selfie centric phones. Can there be a better offer in this segment.

Let us talk about the models and pricing now. As of date, two of their models are launched in India- CQ priced at 4999 comes in Black and Gold colours and possesses a 13MP selfie camera with ‘Face Beauty Mode’ which offers a seven level beautification and XQ Dual(available in black and champagne colour), priced at 7999, as the name suggests has 13MP and 8 MP Dual Selfie Cam for the ultimate selfie experience. 

Both of the above come with a 120 degrees wide angle shot to capture a large group as well as the picturesque background with equal ease. Since I have seen and experienced both the devices in the physical demo given during the indimeet, I can safely say both these phones are an absolute steal deal at this price.

I was also bowled over in sheer admiration as Carl professed how #Mobiistar wishes to first make its place in the heart’s of Indians and is focusing on heart share before market share. This for me is a clear indicator that they have a long journey ahead in India and I wish them all the very best in all their endeavours. May their dream to fulfil every Indian’s precious selfie/groupie dream comes true♥️. Truly Yours Roma recommends these wonderful devices to its readers, do check them out if you looking for a selfie expert without burning a hole in your pocket :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Waiting For The Launch of a Eureka to Satiate this Selfie Queen, #Mobiistar

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No matter how much people have criticised the advent to selfies, for me and to most people who love to pose in front of the camera it is a eureka. I undoubtedly would love to hug to person who invented the selfie fever and express my gratitude to him to having discovered how to click one self and the ones we love ourselves without depending on others. He or she has made every day of our lives a precious sweet memory we can relive just by visiting any of our social media or google drives which are full of priceless selfies of our moods and moments.

Also, I love to smile always and capture the close ups, no matter where I am and what I am doing, sometimes fresh out of the shower as the sunshine plays with my wet tresses I want to capture it to the Tee or at others all clad up in a playful tiara on the beach. I always have always sought for an enhanced selfie experience.

I equally love capturing myself with my family when on exotic locations like the one below which I shot on the PhiPhi islands near Patong in Thailand. This selfie is of our memorable anniversary and is forever imprinted on my heart. I am madly in love with it and it dwells in my home as a wall size portrait. My husband clicked this selfie and we both value it as a timeless priceless image of our infinite love with the face of our love therein too, our sonny boy.

However every time I look at it I realise somewhere my selfie camera missed arresting the beautiful background as much as it could and the regret sinks deep and the perfect shot greedy me waits for another Eureka... someone who lives on the jargon, #EnjoyMore found this enjoyment not more.

The gadget freak that I am, since then have been frantically searching for it with my soul craving for a perfect selfie camera. I guess now my prayers are answered as the Vietnamese smartphone major #Mobiistar with its extremely potent front and selfie dual camera that captures 120 degrees wide angle shot is all set to foray Indian Markets in a huge and unparalleled way and shall be grabbed exclusively from Flipkart. It most importantly bestows me with the exclusive power to capture priceless groupies like never before.

I can’t hold my excitement to own one and satiate the smiley selfie queen in me. If you too are a selfie lover like me, do check them out!

Friday, 11 May 2018

World Wide Release of my Third Book Cover

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It is a writer’s ultimate dream to publish a book in her name and here I am revealing my third book cover to all of you with an ecstatic heart and a cheek to cheek smile. Can’t hold on to the excitement of soon holding my third book in my hands. It is almost like holding your new born for the first time♥️.

‘Destiny’s Favourite Child’ is an autobiography of a rebel and every Indian girl will see herself in the protagonist. Though we are known to be the quiet and the submissive types, each one of us has a hidden volcano within ourselves which though rarely erupts but when it does, a story of this stature is born which won’t let you sleep till you bring it forth to the world.

After my heart wrenching non-fiction book ‘Dare To Defy the Destiny’ and a breezy chiclet romance ‘The Fragrance of True Love’, this third precious piece of my heart, ‘Destiny’s Favourite Child’ is my own true tale from my birth till the present day, of how there can be no better example of Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest theory. You have to read it to believe it for there is a lot a person hides behind her vibrant smiles.

This book is also special as you can read it as continuations if previous chapters as well as read each chapter as a stand-alone tale. This book is indeed my heartfelt tribute to each one who met me on the cross roads of life. Thank you for being this kind to me and if you were not my gratitude to you only multiplies as your bitterness has only made me yearn harder to become whatever I have become today.

Here’s how the face of my book will look to you and it will be released very shortly. Stay tuned to 'Truly Yours Roma' here or my social media handles to grab a copy all yours that shall be served to you hot with all my love.