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    A traveller’s guide to packing smart!

    A traveller’s guide to packing smart!

    A well-seasoned traveller just instinctively knows how to pack for the next vacation. Some friends have become experts at packing within an hour, and have fairly, albeit annoyingly, won bragging rights. But if you’re one who gets a mild anxiety attack when it’s time for packing for a holiday, if even the thought of stuffing your essentials into that trolley bag makes your palms sweat, you’ve found your solution here.

    Make a list

    This tip will save you from much stress, trust us! You’ll have a surprisingly long list, and it will keep growing, too, once you begin to pack. Start with the absolute essentials – that depends on the kind of vacation you’re going on, on the weather through the journey and destination, your passport and papers, and your toiletries. Then come in the list of clothes, the accessories, a snack or two, etc. Scratch things off the list as you pack, and finally make sure you’ve got everything ready the night before. And, finally, the toothbrush. Review the list and check if you absolutely need to take everything on it; decide what goes into which bag.

    Plan your outfits

    And make it simple! If you’re going for four days, four sets of clothes (plus an extra light set for emergencies) are all you need. Depending on the weather, choose your outfits. You don’t really need that pair of new shorts if you’re going to the mountains, and you don’t need that leather jacket that you’ve been dying to wear if you’re going to the beach. Keep it simple.

    Fit your clothes in

    We’ll let you in on the best tried-and-tested method of fitting your clothes into your baggage. Roll them. Most times, folding clothes of different sizes wastes precious bag space. Roll your jeans, your shirts, even your socks (no, really).

    Use your backpack

    Backpack

    Your backpack bags should essentially carry the things you need at an arm’s reach; however, it does have a lot of space left in it always. Keep one set of clothes, your phone charger, the sunscreen, and the most used toiletries in your backpack. This will come in handy in the rare case your luggage goes missing.

    Extra plastic bags/ziplocks are important

    Your dirty clothes need a reserved space of their own as the holiday continues. Besides, you can never predict the minor disasters you may face during a trip – spilt shampoo, unexpected wet clothes, dirty slippers, or a bottle of local honey with a broken seal (true story).

    Toiletries and liquids

    Toiletries and liquids

    Have a designated space for toiletries and anything that might spill. Pack them in plastic bags or ziplocks and keep them away from your expensive clothing. Also, these need to be mini versions of the products. There’s no point taking along an entire bottle of shampoo when you’ll use it only twice.

    No space for that heavy jacket?

    Especially if you’re flying, it’s wisest to wear your bulkiest clothes on your journey instead of packing them. If you simply must take these bulky items along, it’s best to put them on. (They also give you pockets to keep some essentials!)

    No room for “just in case”

    We’ve mentioned this already, but it’s important enough to stress on again. Even if the vacation takes you on an unexpected night-out, it’s okay to be in your day clothes. You will definitely have the same amount of fun.

    Just a bit of extra space

    Just a bit of extra space - Trolley bag

    In the end, make sure you’re left with some extra space in your bag. You’re going to a new place, after all, and you’ll be tempted to get back souvenirs. Or your friend will be eternally grateful for your offer to carry her jeans in your bag. Now this is a clever “just in case”.

    Don’t see your trolley bag as your enemy! We hope our packing hacks are the spell you were looking for to magically enlarge your bag space

    What Makes Swiss Watches So Special?

    What Makes Swiss Watches So Special?

    Some of the most expensive timepieces in the world, watches with the “Swiss made” label have the reputation of being the best watches – and they’ve maintained this reputation for centuries now. So, what makes Swiss-made watches so sought-after? And why do they cost so much more than watches made elsewhere?

    Swiss watches are artefacts of luxury and are lauded for their precision and pedigree. It’s the pure metals that are used, the expertise in which the links and the cases are constructed, the crystal that makes scratches pretty much non-existent, the Quartz movement, and more that make these timepieces extra reliable.

    Swiss-made watches

    Surgical steel metal

    Almost all Swiss watches are constructed using 316L stainless steel. This is an alloy of iron, chromium, nickel and molybdenum that is employed for some of the most important uses of metal in the world, including pharmaceutical equipment and marine application. The molybdenum provides an immense resistance to corrosion, making your watch so long-lasting that, well, your grandchild can use it all their life too.

    Solid steel links and cases

    Have you noticed how a Swiss watch is heavier than other watches? This is because of the use of solid steel links and cases. The links are not hollow, as you may find in some of the other watches, which makes them retain their original build and design as they are far from getting distorted. Your wrist is going to be safe from scratches and allergies.

    Sapphire crystal

    Swiss watches Sapphire crystal

    Swiss watches are safe from scratches – it’s as simple as that. Unless you are determined to test the crystal using unusual methods to make some damage. Look closely at your Swiss watch and you’re likely to find the crystal as good as new. They are used due to their extreme hardness (a 9 on the Mohs scale) for scratch resistance.

    Pin-and-sleeve links

    In Swiss-made watches, the pins that join the links together and to each other are almost always made in the style of pin and sleeve. What makes this important is the fact that regular movement of metal on metal causes wear. When the link rotates on the pin, it causes tension that makes the pin smaller, making the pin to slide out of the band eventually. With a pin-and-sleeve link, this wear and tear is avoided, and that guarantees the watch a reliable durability.

    Quartz movement

    Swiss Wrist Watch making procedure

    The sole purpose of a watch is its mechanism and reliable time-keeping. Swiss watchmakers have perfected this art by studying for long how best to make this function unparalleled in excellence. They put each watch together the right way, so these movements are hand assembled. Made with pure metal gears, the functionality of Swiss watches is long-lasting. These watches are not sealed, either, which means you (or your grandchild) can get your watch serviced if something ever does go wrong.

    Solid band caps

    The band caps on Swiss watches, again, are made solidly with no hollows. An impressive percentage of a watch pin holding the band is supported by the cap – the solid cap. Force against the pin is, therefore, distributed over the entire length of the pin. No room for breakage!

    The Swiss have been practising the art of watch-making for centuries now, and have become the experts whom you can blindly trust with your timepiece needs. With a Swiss Wrist Watch, you have a timepiece that lasts longer than a lifetime and are fashionable always. Swiza has a collection of these watches for men and women, in different styles, designs and purposes – check out our Watch collection

    5 Stunning Offbeat Beaches for Your Next Vacation

    5 Stunning Offbeat Beaches for Your Next Vacation

    Crowded beaches with a shack, a restaurant or a shop every two steps you take can get quite tiresome, especially if you went there looking forward to a vacation that helped you relax. There still are a few not-so-famous beaches in India that may just do the trick for you. We give you a list of 5 offbeat beaches with stunning vistas that is sure to put a big smile on your face.

    Yarada Beach, Andhra Pradesh

    Yarada beach, located on the East coast only 15km from Vizag, is one of the best-kept local secrets of Andhra Pradesh. Its surrounded by banana plantations interspersed with rocky terrain. Together, they create an environment that accords the perfect setting for a day-long outing with your friends or family.

    Malpe Beach, Karnataka

    Malpe is located at about 6km from Udupi, a town in Western Karnataka. The unique sea walkaway at Malpe beach makes for an ideal view point to spot Dolphins. As the hub of Mogaveera population, the town of Malpe is associated largely with settlements of the Mogaveera fisherman community and you can witness the local fishing practices. Thankfully, the beach is not too commercialized and makes for a pleasant, ideal weekend getaway.

    Lalaji Bay Beach, Andaman Islands

    Located in Long Island in Andaman & Nicobar, the crystal-clear waters of Lalaji beach will make your visit a truly memorable one. You need to go on a 90-minute boat ride to get to Long Island from Yerrata Jay, and this ride is certain to enchant you with the scenic creeks along the way. Once you reach, you are welcomed by coconut and palm trees along the long shore – the perfect setting of the long-awaited tropical holiday.

    Shiroda Beach, Maharashtra

    Situated in the Sindhurdurg district in Maharshtra, Shiroda beach is one the few remaining virgin beaches in India. The peace and tranquility of the surroundings serves as the perfect anecdote to get away from the stress and hustle of city life. Here, you can truly relax all by yourself.

    Dhanushkodi Beach, Tamil Nadu

    Situated at the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, the road leading up to Dhanushkodi Beach surrounded by the Sea on both sides is an enthralling journey that everyone should experience! Dhanushkodi literally means ‘tip of the bow’ and is widely considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Tamil Nadu.

    Your holiday to the beach can be made a lot more comfortable when your belongings are water-proof. Backpacks by Swiza have zippers that make them water-resistant, and the Swiss watches are all water-resistant, too.

    Eight Best Places in India to Experience Holi

    Eight Best Places in India to Experience Holi

    For years you’ve seen photos and videos of Holi celebrations in Vrindavan – one big party of colours, bhang and music. There are, however, a few other places in India where the party is just as fun, full of tradition, (sometimes strange) legends, and colourful. So, here are some of those places you can visit when you can’t make it to Mathura.

    1. Basanta Utsav in Shantiniketan (West Bengal)

    Celebrated as the Spring Festival in West Bengal, Holi is not just a splash of colours here. This old tradition was reintroduced by Rabindranath Tagore himself. The students of Vishwa Bharati University in Shantiniketan dress in the colours of spring, especially yellow – complete with marigold flowers – and perform folk dances, dances to Rabindra Sangeet, and other cultural events. This celebration of song and dance is followed by the playing with the colours. The celebrations start on the day before Holi, so plan accordingly.

    1. Lathmar Holi in Barsana and Nandgaon (Uttar Pradesh)

    Lord Krishna is from Nandgaon and his beloved Radha from Barsana. Following legend and tradition, the men from Nandgaon visit Barsana to tease its women, following which the Barsana women playfully beat up the Nandgaon men. This strange, yet exuberant and lively celebration of the festival of colours start nearly a week in advance, and it’s a joyful party for days. Be warned, though, that it’s going to be rather crowded and spirits are high!

    1. Kumaoni Holi in Kumaon (Uttarakhand)

    Another culturally-rich celebration of song and dance, the Kumaoni Holi is a long festival to signify the end of winter and the beginning of sowing season. The people of this region have three types of celebrations: Bathak Holi – this is when close family and friends sit together and sing songs; Khari Holi – meaning “standing Holi”, this celebration involves the Kumaoni men singing and dancing while wearing traditional attire; Mahila Holi – this is celebrated by women by singing songs about love and spirituality.

    1. Holi with Baul in Purulia (West Bengal)

    The Basanta Utsav is celebrated in Purulia also. Here, it’s a celebration of the Purulia people’s unique folk songs, dance and arts. This place is special because of the participation of the Baul musicians who sing their beautiful songs to bring in the spring season. Dance to the beating of drums and have a grand time playing with the colours of Holi.

    1. Royal Holi in Jaipur and Udaipur (Rajasthan)

     

    The stereotypical festival celebration in India can be witnessed during Holi in Jaipur. A parade, complete with decorated elephants, camels, horses, and Rajasthanis dancing to folk music dressed in their beautiful, colourful traditional outfits, is a major part of the festival here. Udaipur also witnesses pomp and show with bonfires lit on the nights of Holi celebration to ward off evil spirits, the backdrop of historical buildings and palaces providing a memorable sight. A procession with the royal band from the royal residence to Manek Chowk at the City Palace includes bedecked horses.

    1. Shigmotsav Holi in Panjim, Margoao and Vasco (Goa)

    Shigmotsav in Goa is a 14-day-long celebration of Holi to celebrate and honour the homecoming of warriors who fought the invaders at the end of Dasara. Folk dances are performed along the roads by dance troupes during the parade, and this is accompanied by the participation of the natives in their boats. Vhadlo Shigmo, or big Shigmo, is celebrated by all, and the Dhakto Shigmo, or small Shigmo, is celebrated by farmers and rural communities.

    1. Warrior Holi in Anandpur Sahib (Punjab)

    Warriors are honoured not only in Goa but also in Punjab, the land of the warriors. The Sikhs of this region started the celebration of Holi in their community in the 16th century having been introduced to it by Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. Instead of a play with colours, however, you’ll witness here the demonstration of physical agility of the warriors who perform wrestling, acrobatic military exercises, mock sword fights, martial arts, and turban tying. These are followed by kirtan, music and poetry competitions.

    1. Heritage land Holi in Hampi (Karnataka)

    Although the celebration of Holi is mostly restricted to the North and West of India, Hampi in the South makes sure it doesn’t miss out on the fun. It’s plain fun in Hampi during Holi as both the natives and tourists participate in a celebration of throwing coloured powders and coloured water. The heritage landmarks and temples and ruins add to the ambience of a true Indian festival. Everyone goes for a dip in Tungabhadra River towards the end of the day.

    Travel to the place nearest to you this Holi season to witness cultures and traditions of local communities come more alive than ever. Make sure your backpacks are waterproof and your watches (if you insist on wearing them) water-resistant so they survive this mayhem of water and colours. Happy Holi!

    Explore a City like a Resident would – Bangalore

    Explore a City like a Resident would – Bangalore

    Travelling to Bangalore, you’re set with a list of places a traveller simply has to visit – the palace, the art galleries, and some temples inside Bangalore, and an ashram, a zoo, and a dam a little way away from the city. When you’re a true traveller, however, spending your nights in a hostel and wanting to make your way around the city like a local would, you seek a completely different experience.

    Get the best local food, brewed beer, inexpensive shopping, and opportunities to meet some interesting people the true-blue Bangalorean way. Depending on which part of the city you’re in, you’ve got different things to do. Explore roads with some of the oldest houses, attend events and gigs, and have leisurely lunches.

    Early to Rise

    If you’re one to enthusiastically wake up early in the mornings, the parks and lakes of Bangalore welcome you. Especially on Sundays, you have a great chance of meeting some like-minded people at these places. Start the day with bird-watching at Jakkur Lake, Madivala Lake, Sankey Tank, or Lalbagh, or a ride/drive to the outskirts. Cubbon Park will sometimes surprise you with a Shakespeare in the Park play or slack-lining workshops. (Meet some very social dogs here on Sunday mornings!)

    Breakfast in Bangalore

    For the best South Indian breakfast, MTR (Mavalli), Brahmins’ Coffee Bar (Shankarapura), or Janatha Hotel (Malleshwaram) will serve you well – don’t forget the filter coffee in the end. For a fulfilling American breakfast, The Hole in the Wall Cafe (Koramangala) will satisfy your cravings. A delicious continental breakfast can be found in Zoey’s (Sarjapur Road) and 154 Breakfast Club (Koramangala).

    Shopping and Exploring

    Shop in Bangalore the way we used to before the malls came about. Commercial Street has an assortment of shops where you can spend half a day tirelessly. And when you need a place that has everything, enter the labyrinth of KR Market and Chickpete, where aged buildings share space with new shops, and where shopkeepers surprise you with their wares. Take with you your trusty tote bag and shop to your heart’s content!

    Hearty Lunches

    Leisurely lunches make a holiday more relaxing. Some of the offbeat places you can try lunch at are Rogue Elephant (Basavanagudi), Go Native for some organic goodness (Jayanagar), Coast II Coast for a Mangalorean cuisine (MG Road), Phobidden Fruit for some Vietnamese dishes (Indiranagar), The Only Place for some old-time feels (Museum Road), and Oota Bangalore (Whitefield). If you’re craving for a good biryani, however, Shivaji Military Hotel (Banashankari) is arguably the most popular place to have this meal. Failing to get there on time, you can find a great substitute in Nagarjuna.

    The Pub City

    Bangalore is dotted with breweries to quench our thirst for a good time. And even more so with old and new pubs. Drink your fill at Arbor Brewing Company (Ashok Nagar), Brewsky (JP Nagar), Windmills Craftworks (Whitefield), Toit (Indiranagar), or any of the dozens of places that brew their special beers. When it comes to pubs for a very casual evening, true Bangaloreans swear by Pecos (Brigade Road), Scottish Pub (St Mark’s Road), Watson’s (Ulsoor), Plan B (pick your branch), or that nice pub down the road for a memorable time.

    Spending an Evening

    You can choose between arts, food, among books, and some time with nature to spend your evenings. An insightful play at Ranga Shankara (JP Nagar) or Jagriti (Whitefield) or a walk along Rangoli that runs along MG Road is sure to refresh you. Check the events at Urban Solace (Ulsoor) to see if you can spend an evening meeting like-minded people there. Satisfy your taste buds at Food Street in VV Puram, Hari Super Sandwich (pick your branch), Mosque Road in Frazer Town, or the multitude of unassuming cafes and dessert places. If you’re an avid reader, you simply mustn’t miss a long visit to Blossom Book House, The Bookworm, and Goobe’s Book Republic on Church Street or Bookfair in Koramangala. The Garden City, as Bangalore used to be called, has lovely parks and lakes in almost all its areas with trees with characters and birds that entertain you with their antics.

    The Nightlife

    An early-to-bed rule imposed on the city doesn’t dampen the spirits of its residents! Pubs and restaurants are open until 1am, and everyone makes the most of it. Thursday nights at Hard Rock Cafe (St Mark’s Road) have some brilliant musicians performing at the pub for music lovers. Choose the best night to karaoke at Opus (Sarjapur Road) or groove to live music at Fandom (Koramangala). DJs of the city play tracks you’ll fall in love with as you dance at the clubs of Indiranagar. Food trucks and dosa gaadis station themselves around popular pubs after midnight to serve some scrumptious street food – a welcome sight after hours of thorough enjoyment.

    So make your own itinerary depending on your interests and areas. The BMTC buses, auto rickshaws, and Namma Metro will take you around the city in comfort. Leave your luggage bags in your room, pack your backpacks  for the day, and live the best life Bangalore has to offer!