Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Muse: Armchair Backpacker (#4) - India!

Hi everyone! First of all: YAY I'M BACK! WOHOO! Finally! *throws confetti* Thank you sooo much for all your lovely comments regarding my internet issue! So glad to be back and running! *beaming like sunshine* I missed visiting your lovely blogs and reading everyone's brilliant posts. I know that I must have missed A LOT during the short break. *hangs my head in shame*

Anyway, I hope you still have your backpack because today, we're going to visit....

India! The home of some nicest people I've ever met. For some reasons, I always think of elephant when I read India in a book or watch it in movie... so without further ado, this is amazing India, tour guided by an equally amazing blogger! ;)

(I apologize in advance for rather messy post. Blogger won't let me fix the space)

The bookie in action

Hi! My name is Pooja! I go by Ajoop on my blog,
 On books! I have been blogging for over six months and to say it’s been fun is an understatement!! I’m thrilled to be a part of Hilda’s new feature! I've been following Catch The Lune for ages. I absolutely adore Hilda’s blog and Armchair Backpacker is such a fun way to get the sights and tastes of various places from around the world brought to us :D

I live in Chennai (formerly called Madras), which is a metropolitan city in India. I live in the centre of Chennai, so I’m right in the middle of the traffic jams, flurry of activity, crammed stores and highways that lead into the tiniest roads and LOVE it! I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else! 

I can’t wait to show you around Chennai, the land of Kollywood (that’s the Tamil film industry!). It’s just the right time too! It’s not as hot during August as it is in May. We can flag an auto (provided you are prepared to bargain; the auto meters are always turned off) and check out some of the places I love!

[Some of the images are mine. I’ve left links to the source of the others!]

Places You Should Go To
The Beaches


Chennai is nothing without its beaches. With its creamy sands, expansive ocean, blue skies and the various vendors (sundal with ripe mango, anyone?), carousal rides and balloon shooting stalls. There’s also horse riding, a number of parrot fortune tellers, regular fortune tellers and kite-flying! Or of course, you may prefer to tread closer to the ocean, to just hang out and click lots of pictures! The Marina Beach is the most famous, though the Besant Nagar and Elliot’s Beach are preferred by some.

Senmozhi Poonga: “The Classical Language Park” 

A botanical garden recently set up by the horticultural department of the Government of Tamil Nadu. I haven’t gone there yet but I’ve heard it’s GORGEOUS. 

Also known as a “cross cultural living museum of art, architecture, crafts and performing arts of South India”. With various reconstructions of typical houses from various states and communities in South India, live demonstrations of various arts and crafts like weaving, pottery, puppetry and more, it’s an utterly charming artificial village. If you want to learn more about the culture of South India, this is an amazing place to visit for tourists and locals alike! 

Image from:


If you’re the kind of person who is fascinated with history and love to explore, you will love this temple town that’s filled with historic monuments, sculptures, temples and rock-cut caves from the Pallava dynasty alongside beaches and resorts! 


Image from

Pondy Bazaar

It’s a HUGE market-type place overflowing with branded stores, several smaller stores as well as shops by the pavement (and… people! So many people!). Want to go shopping for clothes, utensils, bindis, hair ties, coffee powder or even flowers? Well, it’s all here! It’s filled with places where you can shop for clothes and shoes at low rates and there are eateries at every corner, in case you need to stop to catch your breath! 

It’s the pavement shopping that’s the most fun as they are overflowing with shoes, clothes, and more and when it comes to the prices, they
 expect you to haggle… at least a little! 

There are, also the malls, of which Express Avenue is by far the biggest. I'd highly recommend catching a movie at Escape Cinemas over there, though when it comes to shopping at a mall, I prefer Citi Centre because it's comparatively less crowded and has a Landmark which is my fave bookstore!


I was super excited to find out that, a Chennai-based online library has started the concept of Auto Libraries, where aside from displaying their ads on autos… they have also decided to leave behind books in these autos for passengers to discover! Moreover, if you happen to enjoy reading the book and haven’t quite finished reading the book at the end of the ride, you’re allowed to take the book home! 

Imagine discovering amazing books every time you step into an auto on your way to someplace! I’ve been waiting to spot an auto where I can find an Auto Read!

Another recent construction is the Anna Centenary Library, which is one of the largest libraries in Asia! It’s an awesome place that’s so quiet and has the best atmosphere ever. It’s easy to sink into the plush seats and get lost in the book you’ve chosen. I like the Children’s Fiction section the best because there is this artificial tree right at the center that I love sitting under! 


[From top left to bottom right] South Indian cuisine, Masala dosa, South Indian thali and mini-idlis!

This is South Indian cuisine for you! It's more rice-based, as opposed to North Indian breads like naan coupled with tandoor (yum!). 

Masala dosa is my favourite kind of dosa. It's dosa with a potato filling!

While I am not a big fan of idli, I do salivate over a platter of mini-idlis! They are so adorable looking and fluffy!

I love anything cheesy, so I tend to add cheese and ketchup to anything and everything: from noodles to even dosa which people find pretty weird but trust me... it's delicious! xD

Final Word

I hope you enjoyed my mini tour! There are probably places I've left out... It's impossible to cover them all! I hope you come visit sometime, we can talk books and hang out all day! Like Hilda, I'm kind of bad at directions but the people are real friendly so there will always be someone to point us to the right place when we get lost! :)

Aww, it's so fascinating that we both are bad with directions, Ajoop! x) And gosh, an auto? I have very similar vehicle like auto in Indonesia! Well well well... who knows that there is something more than these Bollywood actors and elephant in India? ;)

Make sure to check out Ajoop's beautiful blog, On books! because she writes the most creative reviews ever! I'm sure you're gonna love her and her blog the moment you step foot on her blog! x) Need another reason? Because Pooja is such an amazing person with very friendly personality. That's good enough reason to visit her blog, right? ;)
Looking at these pictures of delicious Indian food get me hungry... off to get some naan bread! Before I go, here's a map like usual!

Next week will be the last Armchair Backpacker post! *sob* Along with the post, I'm going to have a giveaway so stay tune! Next destination: TOP SECRET! Well, it's good to have no idea where you'll be sometimes, right? :)

Thank you for reading this post, and have a wonderful day, everyone! :)


  1. YAY! Awesome post Hilda and Pooja! India looks like so much fun! I love the pictures you guys included and ohhhhhhhhhhhh yummy! Dosa's! Thanks for the trip to India! I had a lot of fun and I can't wait to visit more places with you!!!! Thanks for sharing.

    Sorry I haven't been visiting often!!!! I've been a bit busy writing.

    1. BTW Gorgeous blog design!!! It looks SO lovely and suits the blog perfectly :-)

  2. OMG!!!! That auto bus thing where you get to read books is awesome!!!! And the toys looks like something I would buy for my older sister! (She has an obsession of teddy bears XP) Everything looks gorgeous!

    I can't believe next week is going to be the last! :( I really loved seeing different places that awesome bloggers live at. *sigh*

    Thanks Ajoop and Hilda for the awesome post!!!! I can't wait to see what the next destination is! X)

  3. OH MY GOSH! I'VE BEEN TO ALL THESE PLACES! Although I have to admit, Chennai/Tamil Nadu is SO HOT! It's practically on the equator so you're always sweating and half-dying unless you have a million water bottles with you, but I loveee it! It's amazing the food is AWESOME! :D Incredible post this week!

    Ivy Book Bindings

  4. Um, Anna Centenary Library LOOKS AMAZING!! I love Pooja's blog so I love hearing more about her home country. Absolutely love this series of posts, Hilda! <3

  5. Pondy Bazaar....COME TO ME.
    And that library! And the FOOD. Just looking at the pictures of the foods made me hungry!
    I can't believe next week is going to be the last! T_T But thanks for the awesome post Hilda and Ajoop! :)

  6. Wow! Another great backpacker post from you Hilda and Ajoop! India looks so much fun! Anna Centenary Library is ah-ma-zing! I can totally live there. LOL! And the Auto Libraries is awesome! Thanks for taking us there girls! Looking forward to our next stop! Hmmm...I'm very curious were it will be. :)

  7. I love the look of that food! I'm obsessed with naan bread and tandoori chicken!!! The beaches look so beautiful. A far cry from the miserable weather I'm experiencing in Australia!

    Welcome back Hilda. I know how it feels to get your Internet back after a long time offline!

  8. It's SO great to have you back Hilda! <3 Hope your internet stops giving you problems!

    Horse riding on the beach?!? YES PLEASE! I don't think I could shop in India because I'd be awful at haggling, haha. I can see why the children's room is your favorite part of the library Ajoop! That tree is beautiful.

    Thanks for another amazing journey around the world Hilda <3 Why is next week the last Armchair Backpacker?!?! I'm sooo sad =''(

  9. Hilda and Pooja, I LOVE, LOVE, this post! India is such a fascinating, rich country with history, great sightseeing and culture. Even though I haven't visited there I would love to go one day, and hopefully, I'll at least see some of the great locations and sights you mentioned, Pooja. :) Thank you for sharing such a wonderful feature with us, Hilda! <3 It's always so interesting when fellow bloggers share information and images about their home country, in all its glory.

    1. Wait, what?! This is the last Armchair Backpacker post?? Noo!!

      *collaps into a sobbing mess*

  10. Great post Ajoop! India sounds like an amazing place to visit, I would definitely head straight to those beaches!

  11. Next week is the last week? *sobs* I've looved the Armchair Backpacker posts. Can't wait for the TOP SECRET destination, Hilda <33 and thanks for having me on this week :,) You are tres awesomeness! We've missed you on the blogosphere. Glad your back <33

  12. Mmmm... Indian food! Yum! ;)

    India looks like a wonderful and culture-rich place. I hope I can visit it one day. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Ajoop I love this post, I'm glad to know it's a lot cooler in India now, I went last April and nearly fainted it was so hot, but as soon as we went to Shimla I loved it because of the cooler weather! It felt like being back in the UK again, I would love to visit Chennai, I definitely think I should go of Punjab next time! And all these food images are making me hungry! Thanks ladies for sharing another brilliant post with us! I can't believe it's going to come to an end soon *sobs*

  14. As usual, I zero in on the food, and it looks amazing! I love Indian food. You can tell where my mind is constantly! I love this idea of someone leaving a surprise book in your auto. Brilliant! The beaches look lovely and so do the rock caves. I really must visit India sometime. Thanks Hilda and Ajoop for another wonderful post! Next week is the last one?! Hilda, we need more countries! :)


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