Book review, Travel, Travel, Michigan, US

Book Review: The Indian Retirees guide to road trips in the USA

Title: The Indian Retirees guide to road trips in the USA

Author: Brinda Vijay

About the book: The author has covered numerous destinations in the US and has described them vividly with pictures and words. Having lived in the US from 1996-2010, I loved reading this book and looking back on fond memories. I was almost travelling with her from East coast of the US to the West coast of US and having a good time! 🙂 I have visited most places along the East Coast of US from New York City to Mackinac Island in Michigan and this book made me go back 15 years! 🙂 These places are a delight to visit and I hope everybody gets a chance to visit them some time.

I have not visited the West Coast of US as much and it was fun to read about the destinations there. It was exciting to read about the Bonneville salt flats, rodeo, skiing and the miraculous stairway at Sante Fe, New Mexico. I hope to catch all these destinations when I visit US sometime! 🙂

I liked the fact that Brinda has provided good Indian restaurants at all the places that she has visited. It was also nice to read about why retirees should travel. “Travel broadens the horizons” is my motto and I totally agree with her reasons. I also liked the fact that there is a ‘Table of Contents’ hyperlink given at the bottom of many pages, so that the reader can easily navigate to another chapter.

A great book that is tempting me to visit the US again! 🙂

You can download Brinda’s book from this link:

You can also download my book from this link:

Travel, Travel, Michigan, US

Live to Drive!

Driving has always been one of my favorite things to do. The feeling of driving a fast moving vehicle(safely :)) can be compared to a free flying bird with no restrictions and barriers. I got the first feel of a vehicle 20 years ago(!) and it has been an exciting experience all along. The feeling of exhilaration and independence, we can get from driving one’s own vehicle cannot be described!!

Continue reading “Live to Drive!”

India, Travel, Uncategorized

Sights and Sounds of Hyderabad, India

History which can neither be re-created nor re-lived can only be felt through present day influences. We got to feel this as we visited the the ‘City of Pearls’ or Hyderabad recently. What does Hyderabad immediately make you think of? If you are thinking of Charminar, Golconda Fort, Biriyani,pearls – then you are right on!

Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana, India. Hyderabad owes most of its present day influences to its rich history. Indian history is fascinating and we can see that the Nizams and Mughals have carved their impression on Hyderabad even today. The history of Hyderabad can be explained in a few lines from Wikipedia “In 1724, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, known as the Nizams of Hyderabad. The Nizam’s dominions became a princely state during the British Raj, and remained so for 150 years, with the city serving as its capital”. The air that we breathe and the architecture of the buildings in Hyderabad still remind of you of the Nizams.


The ‘Charminar’ is synonymous with Hyderabad. It was built in 1591 and it was built by the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. It has four minarets with the typical dome shaped structure.


The writing describing ‘Charminar’


The ‘Charminar’ with its minarets


It was interesting to reach the upper floor of the minaret. There were 149 steps which were steep and winding.It almost reminded us of the steep and winding steps in the Statue of Liberty’s crown(when we climbed it prior to 2001) Once we reach the top, the view from the top of Charminar is spell binding.

The inner dome visible from the upper floor of Charminar



The Charminar is surrounded by ‘Laad bazaar’ which is a shopper’s paradise for bangles, pearls and other miscellaneous items.

Fun, excitement, life, hustle and bustle, hawkers, crowd all describe India’s shopping markets and that is what we got to experience at the Charminar market too!



Velvet bangles, anyone? 🙂

Salar Jung Museum:

The Salar Jung museum houses artifacts collected by Salar Jung III. It has artifacts related to the Indian, Far Eastern art and European art. The Salar Jung Museum takes more than 3 hrs to admire.The cost per adult to see the different artifacts in the Salar Jung museum is only 20 Rs! (not dollars!! :))  It has the musical clock, Veiled Rebecca, ivory collection, art collection and so on.



This is the clock that has the bearded man stepping out 3 minutes before the hour and striking the gong for the respective hour. There is also another blacksmith who is busy striking the seconds with a hammer.

There is a big crowd waiting patiently and orderly to see this magnificent machinery in work!


Hussain Sagar Lake:

Hussain sagar Lake is the man made lake built by Hussain Shah Wahi in the year 1562. It connects the cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It has a beautiful Buddha statue in the center which can be accessed by fun boat rides.

Buddha statue at the Hussain Sagar Lake

India flag

Skyline of Hyderabad from the Hussain Sagar Lake


The park adjacent to the lake boasts of a number of activities and rides to keep everyone entertained.

Our trip was completed by tasting Hyderabad’s very own biriyani… 🙂  These were 2 days in Hyderabad with a whirlwind of “Mughalai” activity!! Join me as I seek more of Indian historical sites….





Niagara Falls, NY

We stayed in the state of New York for quite some time and a visit to Niagara Falls was the most obvious thing to do.

We visited the Falls for a total of three times and each of the visit to the Falls was nothing short of spectacular.

Water has calming and soothing effect and the cascading falls that is depicted in so many Indian movies is sure to blow anyone away. We visited the two major falls on the American side – the American Falls and the  Bridal veil Falls.

The American Falls has a drop of about 100 ft and the power of the water is totally amazing. It is little wonder that the Niagara Falls is a good source of hydro electric power. These are some pictures of the American Falls:




The walk across the Niagara state park was equally mesmerizing as one was able to enjoy the clean and pure environment which refreshed our heart and soul.



The Bridal veil Falls are so named because the Falls resemble the veil of a bride. It is the smallest of the three falls on the American side.


The ‘Cave of the winds’ experience was truely a memorable one. We were taken 175 feet down on an elevator and we could walk to the base of the Falls in special rain gear and get up and close with the Bridal veil Falls!

The Bridal veil Falls from the base

Misty base of bridal veil Falls

The ‘Maid of the mist’ moves from the American Falls, crosses the Horse Shoe Falls and moves directly underneath the Horseshoe Falls. Everyone is provided with a rain coat as one is sure to get drenched as the boat meanders beneath the Falls.


Another gem of a place that will always have a special place in our hearts!