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Shimla – the queen of hills – I have oft enough memories of family holidays spent in Shimla, a summer resort of once and now booming capital of Himachal Pradesh.  Overlooking the superheated plains of North west India and Punjab,  Shimla was always and is a welcome retreat. A pleasant 3 hours drive up into to  the lower Himalayas, by road or the famous narrow gauge toy train with a 100 tunnels. Main memories of trip –  walks up the mall, wooden handicraft markets, bustling Tibetan markets, pashmina and woolen specials and Raj style guest houses and coffee shops. Always spurring of a nostalgia there.

How many days would I spend there on a holiday now – 3

Goa – Wow! what a fantastic combination of sun beach, beer and culture. I have been there thrice, as about a 13 year old, a 22 year old and then another 10 years later.  Each time has been special in its own way. Interestingly although travel advisories might urge getting away from the Northern beaches, those are still the most vibrant of the lot and ones I have been to.

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How many days would I spend there on a holiday now – 7

Delhi – Oddly, yes. A big hot, dusty plain encrusted with concrete chumps as it looks from the air. But as much as is the history to it, is the charactered rendered upon it through years of rule by one or another. Lutyen’s New Delhi was always remarkable as a child, and a few decades later having seen the world a bit, it seems more remarkable, in the endeavour, design and achievement.  Holidays in Delhi were frequent with my Dad’s best  friend’s family, so a bunch of lads growing up together and making do with what was the urban sprawl for imaginative games – all good, nice fun that added character to the holidays.

How many days would I spend there on a holiday now – 5

Bombay, no Mumbai – Hmm, I think it was about every 2-3 years, starting with a long train journey, on the Superfast, Frontier mail, later the Rajdhani and of course my first flight. Just relaxed and fun family holidays with my maternal uncle’s family. Incidentally he was (and is) notable figure in the Indian film industry. Occasional brush ins with the luminaries of the Indian film industry added to the delight. (Did that encourage a career in film industry? No).  It was a strikingly different urban scape, the delicious ghee topped chapatties and pickle with yellow dal, finely chopped aloo gobi and of course the super ginger tea! Not too mention a trip to Khandala in a 12 seater van that had been restored after an unintended dip at the Mud beach!

How many days would I spend there on a holiday now – 4-5

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