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If your mind is a prisoner of your limited thoughts, help it break free. Travel - Sajjid Mitha

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Incredible India

A unique ‘Runway’ stay-cation at the fabulous Taj Santacruz

As members of Taj InnerCircle, India’s largest hotel loyalty programme, valid at over 80 hotels locally, and at 16 hotels at iconic international destinations, we look forward to our yearly stay-cation in our city of residence. Over the years we have enjoyed our free weekends as ‘Taj InnerCircle’ members, at the Vivanta by Taj – President, Taj Lands End – Mumbai and our favourite, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, a property we love dearly and have celebrated many a special occasion at. For us, the Taj brand embodies a perfect mix of sophistication and warmth, with high standards of services and etiquette from their staff.

This year, a friend recommended we spend our weekend at the Taj Santacruz, the brand new luxury hotel, located near the domestic airport in Mumbai.

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Our Great Escape to Shillim – a Celestial Spa Retreat in the Sahyadris

Wanting to escape from the heat and dust of Mumbai over the long weekend in October, Laveena and I, were excited about our visit to Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa which is located in the Sahyadri hills. Our 3-hour drive to the retreat was a pleasant one and although there is a short 2 km stretch of mountain road which is uneven and bumpy, the emerald-green, rain-soaked landscape more than makes up for it.

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The Oberoi Amarvilas – Living the Romance of the Taj Mahal from Dawn to Dusk

A comfortable 3 and a half hour car ride from Delhi, on the Yamuna expressway, got us into Agra on a Friday afternoon. The traffic on Friday is thin in Agra, as it is the one day in the week that the Taj Mahal is shut for tourists. As we drove along a sweeping approach road, surrounded by native trees, through the gates of the Oberoi Amarvilas, we were met at the main entrance, by a young hotel staff member who guided us past the grand quadrant style forecourt, into a lobby where a crystal chandelier hung from a blue-and-gold dome, showering its glittering light onto the marble floor.

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amanbagh resort - Luxury Travel

Incredible India. Incredible Amanbagh

Laveena and I were once asked by someone who knew our penchant for travel, whether we were Aman Junkies. Since neither of us were familiar with the term, we inquired as to what an Aman Junkie was? We were told that the luxurious Aman had a dedicated fan base, travelers who were loyal to the brand and who were devoted to the treasures offered by this super hospitality group to all who chose to experience the magic of Aman. “In fact, a true Aman junkie is known to plan his vacation according to the 32 resort locations around the world”, we were told. When asked what about the Aman made the experience so different from the other top of the line hotel brands like the Four Seasons, The Oberoi or the Taj, we were told that the Aman promised to help guests ‘lock away cherished memories for life’. This simple response was enough to raise our curiosity and we immediately began scouting around for an Aman property in India given that Laveena had a short weekend break in December.

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nadesar palace varanasi

Fall in love with ‘Tajness’ at the Nadesar Palace

Laveena recently had a short break for Ganesh Chaturti. It is a Hindu festival,  celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Given the auspiciousness of the  holiday, Laveena was keen to travel to Varanasi, regarded as one of the seven holy cities of Hindus. The Sapta Puri are seven holy pilgrimage centres in India. While Varanasi also known as Benares or Kashi is one of the seven, the others are Mathura, Haridwar, Ayodhya, Kanchipuram, Dwarka and Ujjain.

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