A Day in Hauz Khas Village

A Day in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi

The Indian capital is a massive city that’s impossible to see in a single visit—or even in several. If you’re short on time while visiting Delhi and don’t know how to balance competing desires to sightsee, eat well shop in the city’s best shops, then head straight to Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi. This small urban enclave has it all, and will keep you occupied for hours. Sightseeing Hauz Khas Village is centred around the Hauz Khas, or ‘royal tank’, a large pond dating back to the 13th century. Above the pond are an impressive collection of ruins of a seminary, mosque and tombs. Delhi is a city full of atmospheric old ruins from the Mughal period and earlier, hinting at the city’s many centuries of history and layered civilisations. The ruins at Hauz Khas are some of the best in the city, and are free to enter. It’s a peaceful place, even when filled with smooching students hiding between the pillars. Information boards dotted around are as informative and detailed as any museum’s. There is also the pretty Deer Park adjacent to the pond, where you can stroll through the dense woods. If you’ve just passing through Delhi, sightseeing in Hauz Khas Village will give you a great introduction to the city’s atmosphere and appeal. Shopping Hauz Khas Village has developed rapidly over the past few years from a quiet suburb into one of the city’s trendiest shopping hubs. This means that a lot of shops (as well…

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Day Hikes in Lower Mustang

Day Hikes in Lower Mustang

I’d been wanting to travel to the Mustang region of Nepal for a long time. It’s an ethnically and culturally Tibetan region of Nepal, north of Pokhara and the Annapurnas, that sits in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas. This last year I’ve really gotten my fill of Tibet and little-Tibets, with my trips to Ladakh in India and Tibet itself in China, but Mustang and its $500 permit still eluded me. However, it’s only Upper Mustang for which you have to pay the pricey permit. Lower Mustang (the area around Jomsom, Kagbeni and Muktinath) is accessible and, while not completely permit free, much much cheaper. Thanks to Inside Himalayas and Redhouse Lodge Kagbeni, I travelled to Lower Mustang in February. I flew from Pokhara to Jomsom, an easy 30 minutes through the mountains, rather than go overland via Beni, a trip that would’ve taken around 10 hours. Most people visit Lower Mustang on the way through to Upper Mustang, while on the Muktinath trek/pilgrimage or as part of the Annapurna Circuit trek. But, as I found out, it’s a worthy destination in its own right. I wrote about day hikes around Lower Mustang for Kimkim.com. Check out the full article here, or read on for an extract. Day hikes in Lower Mustang “The Lower Mustang region of Nepal sits on both the classic Annapurna Circuit and is on the way to mysterious Upper Mustang, but it deserves more attention as a destination in its own right. Spending four days to…

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Review: The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

Review: The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

Delhi—whether you’re a first time visitor or come here often—can be exhausting. It’s massive. For much of the year it can be very hot (and the rest of the time it’s very cold). And getting around, even with the excellent metro system, can take a while. The perfect antidote to the big-city stress is an afternoon spent at The Lodhi Spa. I have been to Delhi many times, but in 2016 I visited during the monsoon for the first time. I’d spent two and a half months in the parched high-altitude desert of Ladakh, so Delhi’s thick dampness was actually welcome, despite the heat. Delhi’s lush gardens and tree-lined avenues really sparkle at this time of year. What I love most about the metropolis, and what keeps pulling me back, are the pockets of peace that can be found amid the chaos: in the shade of a fifteenth-century ruin, or walking down a flower-fringed pathway in an unknown urban park. But during this rainy-season visit I had to resign myself to the fact that I couldn’t spend all day walking around the spacious avenues and outdoor shopping areas, like I usually would, unless I wanted to get really wet. A perfect time to retreat to The Lodhi. The hammam is open for hotel guests and spa patrons to use before or after their spa treatments. It’s even hotter and steamier than the monsoon streets outside. After plenty of cooling down with air conditioning and ice-cream at lunch, I retreated to…

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21 Free MOOCs for Writers

21 Free MOOCs for Writers

MOOCs—massive open online courses—are online courses convened by some of the world’s best and most innovative universities. While they are often driven as a publicity exercise for the institution, they offer enormous learning opportunities for the public. Including writers. MOOCs come in all shapes and sizes, from two-week webinars with open/rolling ‘enrolment’, to one-off, 10-week courses with assignments, discussion boards for participants and tailored feedback. While you can always just watch a bunch of great writing videos on YouTube, MOOCs go a step further by integrating readings and assignments (though not always graded). The online world is full of great courses you can take, for a fee. But one of the best things about MOOCs is they’re usually free. So, if you’re a writer curious about a certain form of poetry that you’ve never studied before, or want to brush up on your English grammar, there are a wide variety of suitable MOOCs. Those listed here are free, although some charge a fee if you want to receive a certificate to prove you have participated in/completed the course, and some require payment to access all course materials. Write Professional Emails in English Georgia Institute of Technology Starts 3 April 2017 / 5 week course Note that although it costs to take the exam/final project, you can audit this course for free. English for Media Literacy University of Pennsylvania Starts 3 April 2017 / 5 week course Note that some costs are attached to this course, but you can audit the…

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Pakistan on My Mind

Pakistan on My Mind

Pakistan has been on my mind rather a lot today. First, I helped publish (edit) a great article over at Inside Himalayas on a solo woman’s motorbike trip along the Karakoram Highway. Then I got listening to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Then, I discovered that Himal Southasian, my dear old employer, republished an article of mine from 2014 that had originally appeared in print. Now you can read it online, for free. It’s called “Of Shadows, Skins and Stones“, and is a literary essay on Pakistani women’s literature. I’ve been saying for years that I will make it to Pakistan soon, but it hasn’t happened yet. I know, I do actually have to make it happen, but I’ve been very busy making all sorts of other things happen. So, the closest I’ve still been to Pakistan is the Wagah Border Crossing in Indian Punjab, in 2008. Although Pakistan is near Nepal, this part of the world isn’t very well connected, transport-wise, and I don’t trust Pakistani or Nepali airlines all that much. Plus, getting a Pakistan visa in Nepal seems like rather a headache. But, these are just excuses. I don’t think this year will be my Pakistan year, but next might be. You can read an extract of my Himal Southasian article below, or the full article on the site. ‘For a few years, Pakistani English literature has been on the verge of a ‘boom’; not quite an explosion, but what scholar of contemporary Pakistani literature Claire Chambers…

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