WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Let there be light!

I discovered this amazing boat light at La Maison Rose in Pondicherry, India. This huge light is completely made out of recycled Indian water bottles. It makes you want to exclaim “Let there be light!”

Shops That Rock ~ Nilgiri’s…

Nilgiri’s Supermarkets have been an institution in south India since 1905. They began as a small store chain in Ooty and Coonoor and have now grown to supermarkets in 28 cities in India. I just love going into the Bangalore store … Continue reading

Shops That Rock ~ Himalaya, India…

himalaya 1

Himalaya is one of the most popular brands of health and beauty products in India. Around 200 million Himalaya products are distributed around the world each year.

Himalaya started in 1930 with one man, Mr M Manal and his hand-operated tablet making press. Since then it has grown to a huge company with numerous products and stores.

Himalaya’s herbal Ayurvedic tablets and medicines cater for over sixty different ailments from heartburn to osteoporosis. My family and I have tried many of these remedies with great success.

Himalaya also have a wonderful beauty range with cleansers, soaps, shampoos and many other products. They are extremely well priced and are made from all natural ingredients such as saffron, neem, pomegranate and walnut. Recently they launched a range of Ayurvedic products for pets so now the whole family is covered.

It is very easy to find Himalaya products in India as they are sold at most small pharmacies and supermarkets. They also have Himalaya specialty shops in many towns and cities. I visited the store in Mysore last trip and it had an amazing range.

Shops That Rock ~ Gangarams Book Store, Bangalore, India…

Mural on the stairwell up to Gangarams...

Mural on the stairwell up to Gangarams…

Last September I posted a story about Gangarams Bookstore in Bangalore closing down. It was a very sad day for me because I love reading and Gangarams is always my first stop when I visit Bangalore.

Yesterday I was delighted to receive news from the owners of Gangarams that they have finally re-located…YAY.

Their two new addresses are:

GANGARAMS (Books only)

48 Triumph Tower

2nd Floor

Church Street

Bangalore (Opposite Mainland China Restaurant)

ph: 08028127888

GANGARAMS(Stationery, gifts and trophies)

Indiranagar/ Domlur

ph: 08040383838

Gangarams is a wonderful shop to find amazing books by both Indian and international authors. They are always so helpful and will find the book you are looking for in a jiffy. I can’t wait to visit them again on my next trip to Bangalore.

Shops that rock ~ Om Narayana Pearls, India…

Om Narayana Pearls, Thirumalaikodi, India...

Om Narayana Pearls, Thirumalaikodi, India…

I know, I know…I’m at the Sripuram Ashram visiting lovely Amma…what more do I need? Well…it is hard to resist when you have a real cutie of a jewellery shop right outside the Ashram front gates.

Om Narayana Pearls is just that shop. It is located at  No. 1/556-C (outside Main Gate entrance), Sripuram Golden Temple, Thirumalaikodi, Vellore-55, Tamil Nadu, India. This is a shop that definitely should not be missed. It has the most beautiful reasonably priced pearls that will tantalise and delight you. The pearls can be bought in a string or be made into whatever design you desire. I had a special Ganesha pendant attached to a string of pale pink pearls. Each time I have visited the Ashram I have bought lovely jewellery for family and friends.

So when next at the Sripuram Ashram check out Om Narayana Pearls ’cause pearls are a girls best friend…

My necklace that I had made at Om Narayana Pearls...

My necklace that I had made at Om Narayana Pearls…

Shops That Rock ~ The Orange Bicycle

The Orange Bicycle

The Orange Bicycle Shop…

“Why are you two lovely ladies looking so happy?” asked a gentlemen in the breakfast room of our Bangalore hotel.

“We’re off shopping for the day!” exclaimed Padma and I gleefully.

“Shopping? Where do you shop in Bangalore? I have three daughters and a wife back home and I have been here for a month and haven’t been able to find them anything!”

“Ah…you just have to know where to look” said Padma.

With that she took out her notebook and we wrote a page long map with shopping tips for him. The gentleman was so happy and appreciative.

That is the key to a perfect shopping day ~ squirrelling out shops that are interesting, different and fun to be in.

One shop we recommended to him was The Orange Bicycle. We found this cutie on our last trip to Bangalore. We bought perfect and tasteful Indian inspired gifts here to take back to friends and family back home.

Out the front of The Orange Bicycle...

Out the front of The Orange Bicycle…

You can find the Orange Bicycle at:

The Orange Bicycle
House No : 3353, 5th Cross
12th “A” Main ,HAL 2nd Stage
Indiranagar, Bangalore-560038
  080 41255242

The store promotes itself as  “… a store for the woman who is comfortable in her own skin. Someone who is always looking for a fresh idea and embraces the same in her life.”

So if you are looking for fresh shopping ideas rush over to the gorgeous Orange Bicycle. Its lovely rooms filled with goodies will make your shopping day perfect.

Shops that rock ~ Nirvana Boutique

Nirvana Boutique Pondicherry

Nirvana Boutique Pondicherry

At 10 Suffren Street, Pondicherry you will find the Nirvana Boutique gift shop. Every time I visit Pondicherry I drop by this cute little shop to stock up on Indian pop art gifts. They are open six days a week from Monday to Saturday from 10am-1pm and 2pm-7pm.

Some of my cute Nirvana Boutique purchases...

Some of my cute Nirvana Boutique purchases…

You will find individual and kooky gifts at this boutique such as:

  • Adorable purses and wash bags with Indian cartoons printed on them.
  • T-shirts and singlets emblazoned with cartoon Gods and Goddesses.
  • Hand-made Indian dolls.
  • Funky mobile phone cases.
  • Key rings and bangles.
Outside of Nirvana Boutique...

Outside of Nirvana Boutique…

Nirvana is a shop that positively rocks Pondicherry in South India so make sure you don’t miss it.

Click here for a map of how to get to Nirvana Boutique…

Shopping in Puttaparthi, India…

Puttaparthi shoe shop owner and cobbler...

Puttaparthi shoe shop owner and cobbler…

I know, I know…you are in India on a spiritual search…you are staying at an ashram…and you should be completely focused on the guru. However some of us, especially those like me without a ceiling on the desires, like to do a bit of shopping too.

And let me tell you…it is very hard to resist. This is because around many ashrams in India great little shops have sprung up due to the large numbers of people, both Indian and foreign, visiting the ashram. Puttaparthi is a perfect example of this. What was once a tiny village is now a thriving town. Sai Baba’s death has reduced the number of shops but there are still many to visit.

The main streets for shopping in Puttaparthi are Puttaparthi Main Road, Chitravati Road and Samadhi Road.

World Peace Cafe and German Bakery...

World Peace Cafe and German Bakery…

There are two great places to eat in Puttaparthi outside of the ashram. The first is the World Peace Cafe and German Bakery upstairs in the Main Road straight across from the ashram. Here you can sit in the lovely airy rooftop cafe or lounge on the cushions in the rooftop booth. The meals are cheap and very tasty. Our favourite is the thin and divine banana pancakes with honey drizzled on the top….mmmm my mouth is watering just remembering them! Their wonderful bakery sells lots of tempting baked treats. The second is the Sai Towers Hotel Vegetarian Restaurant (3/604 Main Road). It too is found just across from the ashram. Our family just adore this restaurant. The Indian menu is extensive and divine. They also have some tasty western meals ~ the vegie burger is a standout. One of the highlights are the endearing waiters who are so sweet and always remember us from year to year when we visit.

Sai Towers also has two shops within its complex. The Sai Towers Book Shop has an extensive range of books on nearly every God, Goddess, Guru, Avatar or Mystic you could name. It also has some wonderful books on alternate health and medicine such as Ayurveda, magnet therapy and reiki just to name a few. There is a lovely Gift Shop with fantastic gifts for those at home such as jewellery, statues and paintings. One year I got some lovely antique enamel ladles here which were very cute.

Straight across the road from Sai Towers in Main Road is a wonderful tiny shoe shop with quirky Indian made shoes and sandals. The lovely cobbler there can mend the sandals on the spot if they need altering.

Right next door to the World Peace Cafe is the quaint Blue Dragon Gallery (SRS Complex, Main Road). Here you can buy amazing Tibetan artworks, jewellery and handmade felt goods such as slippers, puppets purses etc… They also have a wide range of uplifting Tibetan and Buddhist music to buy.

Entance to Blue Dragon Gallery..

Entrance to the Blue Dragon Gallery…

A short walk down the main road from the ashram is the Sathya Sai Super Bazaar. This big supermarket has all your needs plus more. It sells a large array of Ayurvedic medicines and books and their stainless steel section is vast.

The Chitravati Road is wonderful for shopping especially for jewellery. You will find all the Tibetan jewellers here. They sell amazing silver jewellery at very reasonable prices. They also sell lots of Tibetan and Buddhist trinkets which are fun to look through. The Little Tibet Gift Centre is especially good. Choten can make bead jewellery there for you on request.

Choten busy at work at the Little Tibet Gift Centre...

Choten busy at work at the Little Tibet Gift Centre…

Craft Kings is located in the Chitravati Road and is great for Indian goods such as paintings, cushions, ornaments etc.. Ganesh is extremely helpful and his prices are fair. Outside his shops sits a lovely old perfume man. Here you can buy aromatic oils and perfumes very cheaply. You can choose the size you would like and the bottles are collector items themselves! The patchouli and amber are especially good. Last time I was there he gave me a free bottle of Blue Moon oil because ” a customer as good as you Madam only comes along every blue moon”…so sweet!

The Samadhi Road is an interesting place for shopping. We have nicknamed it the “religious relics road” as the tiny shops here are jammed packed full of religious statues, jewellery, bangles, brass wear etc… There are hours of fun trinketing to be had in the Samadhi Road.

Puttaparthi also has many internet cafes, money changers, banks, chemists and a post office. There is a lovely Library a short stroll from the ashram called the Shanti Library which is well worth a visit.

I hope this helps you to shop up a storm in Puttaparthi…