I decided to visit Aga Khan Palace because I was very intrigued by the history with the palace. The Aga Khan Palace played a role in the Indian freedom movement as it was used as a place where Mahatma Gandhi was interned. Mahatma Gandhi is someone whom I have always respected very much. To be able to see where he spent his late life was moving to me.
The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in 1892. I have been reading some about Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, his grand son Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV who succeeded Aga Khan after him and Aga Khan IV’s three children: Zahra Aga Khan, Prince Rahim Aga Khan, and Prince Hussain Aga Khan. It’s fascinating.
The Aga Khan Palace was beautiful and interesting to photograph. I enjoyed my time very much and the best of all, my kids thanked me for taking them to the palace!
My son got a lot of attention from the girls who were visiting the palace for a school field trip. I didn’t know that faux hawk is such a girl magnet.
This photo below is my favorite one.
I hope you enjoyed my photos.
Aga Khan Palace
Samrat Ashok Road/Pune Nagar Road near Hyatt Pune
Sometimes we have so many social engagements for our kids over a weekend that I feel like I don’t really spend time with them. I chaperon my kids everywhere to their activities or parties, have a play date, feed them, socialize with our friends, and a weekend is done.
My oldest daughter is 9 years old. I’m at the half way point till she will take off to go to collage. If the next 9 years will go by as fast as the last 9 years have gone, the day to send her off to collage will come before I know it.
A weekend trip to Pune was a nice remedy for my thought. I loved that I was with my kids: Talking to them, seeing them play, and relaxing with them. It was nothing extravagant, but it was special to me.
So, you might be thinking, what’s in Pune?
Here are a few things that I had a chance to do. Thanks to my new friend, Beth, I was able to realize a fruitful and memorable trip. Beth is a mother of two and a talented photographer and yogi. Thank you, Beth, for your wonderful help and thanks, Zeli, for introducing us to each other!
WEEKEND IN PUNE
This post is more like a summary of our trip to Pune. I will post individual articles on Aga Khan Palace, The Westin Hotel in Pune, the Jogger’s Park, and Baan Tao Restaurant at Hyatt Pune in the near future. I hope you will come back to see them!
ACTIVITIES IN PUNE
AGA KHAN PALACE
Aga Khan Palace was simply beautiful. The lovely weather helped as well. It was worth seeing the place Mahatma Gandhi, someone I learned about in school and I respect, spent some time with his wife when he was interned.
To read more about Aga Khan Palace, click HERE.
JOGGER’S PARK IN KALYANI NAGAR
DAMODAR RAVJI GALANDE PATIL PARK
The Jogger’s Park in Kalyani Nagar is listed as The Damodar Ravji Galande Patil Park on a Google Map, but it seems that it is better known as the Jogger’s Park among the locals and expats who live in Pune. It has a nice grassy area where people sit and chat and kids run around. My kids have not been to a park like that in Mumbai and they got very exited. I was excited. The weather was very comfortable. It was neither hot or humid compared to that in Mumbai.
There are three activities recommended by Beth that I did not have the time to do, but I would like to share them with you because I think some of you might find them interesting.
Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden
Nice place to go for walks. There is a zoo nearby so you can do them together as they are in the same area and quite far from anything else.
1. Fort Jadhavgahd– lovely resort which used to be a fort. About an hour’s drive from Pune. Great for lunch and walking. You can stay overnight as well. Very India feel.
2. Jejuri Temple– about an hour and a half away. Very fascinating temple where everything is covered in turmeric powder.
The Japanese Garden is supposed to be nice. I thought outside Pune activities sounded fantastic if we had more time to spend in the area.
BAAN TAO AT HYATT PUNE
I enjoyed having a Dim Sum lunch so much with my kids at Baan Tao! Baan Tao was very flexible and they let me order a dim sum lunch for 2 for 4 of us: me and my 3 kids. My second and third kids don’t eat much, so if we order a set for each of us, there would be way too much food to go to waste. The dim sum lunch was wonderful and it made it worth going to Pune for Baan Tao.
I, unfortunately, don’t have the photos of the two restaurants we went out for dinner. It is not a reflection of anything. I simply did not take any photos because the restaurants were too dark for me to take good quality photos and when there is not enough light for me to take photos, I do not feel inspired. I need to get better at it, though.
Dario’s is a vegetarian Italian restaurant. There are two Dario’s in Pune and we went to Dario’s in Koregaon Park. We all loved all the dishes and even my Texan husband who always asks for some kind of meat for dinner did not complain. That says a lot. It was very filling and we enjoyed our meal to the fullest.
At Hotel Sunderban
Lane 1, No:19, Koregaon Park, Pune, Maharashtra 411001
Malaka Spice is an Asian cuisine restaurant. There are more than one Malaka Spice restaurants in Pune. We went to the one in Koregaon Park, but without realizing I made a reservation at a different location, but arrived at the one near us. They serve Pan Asian inspired dishes which have great spicy kicks to the food. All the dishes were delicious! Their food was quite spicy, but you can ask them to make it mild or non-spicy.
Lane 5, Koregaon Park, Pune, India
We did not get to try the restaurants below, but they sound appealing to me.
Great Punjab – Really good Indian food.
Hyatt Regency – A good Sunday brunch with an excellent kids club.
I enjoyed the luxurious stay at The Westin. It’s easy for me to stay at a hotel with my son being only two. We had a suite which we liked better than having two connecting rooms.
I really liked The Westin and I would love to stay there again, but I am kind of curious about Hyatt Regency in Pune. I hear that Hyatt Regency has an indoor swimming pool (only one inside a hotel in town apparently), a playground and a kids club. That’s a bonus for parents with little kids, isn’t it? If we go back to Pune, I might try to stay at Hyatt Regency.
VSCOCam iPod Touch
The landscape on the high way to Pune was pretty. It was very lush and hilly. There were some water falls on the rocky walls which made the drive really fun. Getting in and out of Mumbai and getting in and out of Pune were tough with traffic, though. We spent 3 and a half hours each way, but you can probably shorten the trip to 3 hours if you leave earlier than we did. We left Mumbai on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. to beat the traffic in Mumbai, but we hit the traffic in Pune. I think leaving by 7:00 a.m. will make a significant difference. We left Pune on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. and we still hit the traffic once we entered Mumbai. I was worried about a bathroom break, but we did not have to stop to use a bathroom both ways. There are rest stops on the way there, though.
High Way Caution
I did not experience anything dangerous or see any accidents, but apparently the toll road between Mumbai and Pune is known for accidents. I did see many cars passing by very fast. They flew by when we were driving 100 km per hour. I requested my driver not to exceed the speed of 100 km per hour.
Tip for Parents With Young Kids
If you travel with young children under the age of 6, I suggest taking a diaper or two just in case your child needs to go use a bathroom while you are on a high way nowhere near a rest stop.
It’s much cooler in Pune than in Mumbai. You might want to bring a light cardigan or sweater for going out at night.
VSCOCam iPod Touch
VSCOCam iPod Touch
All the photos were taken with a VSCO Cam on my iPod Touch.
Here is a post for you just in time for the Monday Mode today. I went to Croma at the Link Square on Linking Road across the street from KFC and I remembered that my friend, Rachel, told me that there is a boutique that sells Indian embroidery blouses inside the same Link Square shopping center on the top floor. I decided to check it out after I could not find the inkjet I was looking for at Croma. If you happen to know where I can buy an inkjet for a Fuji Xerox printer, please let me know!
I have many friends in Mumbai who love Ahilaya. Ahilaya is a store that sells beautiful blouses with Indian embroidery of flowers. There are many pastel color blouses which are beautiful. You can see photos on Ahilaya’s Facebook page. One day Rachel was wearing a blouse from Ahilaya and looked gorgeous on her, so I asked her about it. Ahilaya is a high-class fashion in India. The least expensive blouse I saw was probably around US$80 and the price goes up to a couple of hundred dollars. I have gone to Ahilaya in Santacruz and there is a sale rack outside the front door where you can find blouses with discount prices. I feel that all the ones I was attracted to were inside the store with regular prices, though. Sadly enough, they are not in my price range.
Rachel told me there are three embroidery stores with different price ranges. Ahilaya is ranked the top, then there is another store with similar embroidery blouses on Linking Road that is slightly cheaper than Ahilaya (sorry, I can’t remember the name!) and then NEEMRANA, which is the least expensive. When I was going up the escalators inside Link Square, I was a bit skeptical of what the store of NEEMRANA is going to look like, but I was pleasantly surprised by the charming interior of the Neemrana store. I would not say Neemrana is cheap because many of the blouses are made of silk. Their prices for blouses start around US$50 and 60. They are some gorgeous blouses and dresses! They would dye the blouse in the colors you would like upon request. I wish I brought my big camera, but I was happy to take photos on my iPod Touch. The blouse I tried on felt so soft and silky.
Link Square, Shop No. S/3 & S/4
2 Floor, 33 Road, Off Linking Road
Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050
PHONE: 26469177 | 26469178
*Link Square is across the street from KFC on Linking Road. Neemrana is on the 2nd floor. After you get off the escalator, you take a u-turn to walk towards the glass window. At the end, you look to your right and you will see the store just like in the photo below.
Shop No. 6, Ground Floor
New Queen’s Road
Opera House, Mumbai 400004
PHONE: 23677780 | 23614436
This Zara dress is one of my favorite dresses that I own. It was a gift from my sisters for my birthday last year. My youngest sister picked it up at a Zara store in Tokyo. I like her style which is different from mine. When she picks an outfit for me, it usually makes me go out of my comfort zone and I get to wear something that I might not chose for myself. The length of this dress is a bit riskier than my usual liking, but I think that the dress looks better without leggings.
The black shoes are my most recent shoe purchase in Mumbai. I love shoes, but it’s hard to find what I like wherever I am. I bought this pair at Bootmaker on Liking Road in Mumbai. There are numerous shoe shops lined up side by side on Linking Road in Mumbai. It was overwhelming to find where to go when I first visited and I wished someone had given me a recommendation or two! I decided to check out most of the shops on Linking Road one by one. I quickly learned that not every store has shoes that you would find in the U.S. Bootmaker is one of the shops that I found more trendy shoes that you might find in the U.S. Yes, I recommend Bootmaker.
The necklace was a gift from my husband for my birthday in the previous year. I love it. He bought it in the U.S., but it was made in India. I received it when we were in the U.S. last summer and it was before our move to Mumbai. It’s interesting, isn’t it? I brought it back to the country where it was made.
Zara has been one of my favorite fashion brands. It’s my dream to visit Spain one day and shop at Zara, the world’s largest apparel retailer. Spain is a country of origin of another favorite brand of mine, Mango. Why did I not pick Spanish to learn when I was in school?
I am really happy to present one of my most recent encounters, The White Window, thanks to my friend, Diana. I am lucky to have friends who introduce me to neat stylish stores wherever I go!
The White Window is owned by Twinkle Khanna, who is an interior designer and film actress. She’s also known as the wife of a popular Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar. The store is in a quaint neighborhood of Bandra, suburbs of Mumbai, India. It looks like an oasis in the hustle and bustle of Bandra near Linking Road and Ambedkar Road.
As you walk in through a big glass door of The White Window, the lovely fragrance of their scented candles welcome you into the cozy space with contemporary furniture and decor. It’s beautiful. The White Window reminded me of Le Souq, one of my favorite stores in Jakarta, Indonesia. I will let the photos tell the story of the store from here and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing all the one of a kind pieces sold at the store.
I was really excited when I was given a permission to take photos of The White Window when I visited. (I usually visit without checking in advance whether I can take photos or not. Often times stores and restaurants allow me to take photos, but there were times I was told that I wasn’t allowed to do so.) I throughly enjoyed photographing the dreamy interior of the store with lots of light that came in from the big glass windows.
I purchased their Morocco candle (in photo above). It was 650 Rupees (About US$11). It smelled absolutely divine.
THE WHITE WINDOW
330 Palatial Building,
21 Ambedkar Road
Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050
TEL: 022 2646 5957
I still have a number of photos taken over the summer, which I need to go over, edit and upload to different sites to save them. I’m a bit overwhelmed. That’s why I have not been inspired to blog lately. Actually, I have a lot to say. The problem is that I don’t find the right photos to use and I have not been motivated to edit the photos. This often happens when I have too many photos for me to go through and edit.
Anyways, I finally edited these photos from our time in Dallas during this past summer in 2014. These are dear to me. We went to visit my sister-in-law in Dallas, Texas. While she was at work, we took our kids and our nephew, my sister-in-law’s son, to visit Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. We loved it!
When I was looking for an activity to do with our kids, my sister-in-law’s neighbor recommended Klyde Warren Park. It was perfect as we wanted a reasonably priced activity that entertains our kids well, can tire them out, and can be finished in time for us to put our toddler son to take a nap. Well, Klyde Warren Park is free! We loved ordering lunch from the food car parked along the Klyde Warren Park and eat outside before having gone to the park.
I highly recommend Klyde Warren Park for any families who visit Dallas (I assume people who live there know about it). It was a gem. Klyde Warren Park was exactly what my kids miss in our life in Mumbai and they absolutely loved running around in a play ground getting splashed by the water in the hot weather. It was a bit warm for parents to watch the kids, but it was worth seeing our kids smile.
My friend, Sarah, gave me a beautiful Mia Tui bag when we saw each other in Houston, Texas, this past summer. Mia Tui is a bag brand which was founded in 2010 by a mom of two, Charlotte, while she lived in Vietnam with her family. All the Mia Tui purses are created in Vietnam and “Tui” in the name means “bag” in Vietnamese.
Sarah and I met in Jakarta, Indonesia through our kids and we shared some fabulous time during the whole three years of our tour in Jakarta. The most memorable time with Sarah to me was the time we spent in the same group to practice and perform for the Fashion Dance, a charity event organized by the British Women’s Association in Jakarta, Indonesia.
After Sarah gave me this fabulous purse in Houston, I traveled with it all summer and I have been using it everyday in Mumbai, India since we came back from our summer holidays. For women with a busy life style whether at work or at home with or without kids, traveling, shopping, etc. there is nothing better than having a purse that helps you organize and get to everything quickly.
shirt: le petit society, pants: zara
The bag that I have is called Grace. I love Grace bag for its versatility. It can be a shoulder bag or a messenger bag with an extension belt. Messenger bags are so convenient as you can get to your stuff with one hand.
When I flew from the U.S. to Japan and from Japan back to India, I used Grace bag as a messenger bag and it was very practical at the airports. I was able to get my children’s and my passports and boarding passes in and out of the bag very easily.
I love my big bags, too, but I always felt that I could never find what I needed when I needed it. I used to look for my cell phone, wallet and key all the time.
I have done this below before to look for my key and cell phone. My head was halfway in my purse.
Have you done this?
Ok, maybe it’s just me…
This key string has been a life saver for me who’s always looking for a house key. I can find my key even without looking. Another thing that many people might appreciate is that Mia Tui bags are waterproof inside and outside. I like subtle colors for my purses, but I do love and feel cheerful when I open my purse and see the pink lining inside. I find it really pretty.
Below is the inside of my purse. (Eeeek!) To keep all these small items organized in a purse without getting everything scrambled is a bit of a challenge.
I have three kids. My youngest son, who is two years old, keeps me on my toes. It helps me to have a well-organized purse so that I don’t get distracted by digging out something in my purse and I can keep an eye on him. He can move fast, you know!
I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour of Mia Tui bag!
Thank you, Sarah, for a wonderful gift!!