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Tibetan Settlements in India

Buddhism is a religion that encompasses many beliefs and traditions. It is really hard to make out a difference between Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism as the Tibetan sect is a part of it. Tibetan Buddhism, which can also be called as Lamaism is the Buddhist sect that is mainly found in Tibet. They believe in the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. Mahayana, Foundational Vehicle, and Vajrayna are the three vehicles that Tibetan Buddhism is founded upon.

Sham Valley trek - Buddha statue


Tibetan people’s origin is that they are the descendants of the human Pha Trelgen Changchup Sempa and rock ogress Ma Drag Sinmo. It is thought that most of the Tibeto-Burman-speakers in Southwest China, including the Tibetans, are direct descendants from the ancient Qiang.




Tibet is rich in culture. Tibetan art is deeply religious in nature, a form of sacred art. It spreads over a wide range of paintings, frescos, statues, ritual objects, coins, ornaments and furniture.

  • Tantric influence Most of the typical Tibetan Buddhist art can be seen as part of the practice of tantra. A surprising aspect of Tantric Buddhism is the common representation of wrathful deities, often depicted with angry faces, circles of flame, or with the skulls of the dead. These images represent the Protectors and their fearsome bearing belies their true compassionate nature.
  • Bön influence The indigenous shamanistic religion of the Himalayas is known as Bön. Bon contributes a pantheon of local tutelary deities to Tibetan art. In Tibetan temples (known as lhakhang), statues of the Buddha or Padmasambhava are often paired with statues of the tutelary deity of the district who often appears angry or dark.
  • Tibetan rug making is an ancient art and craft in the tradition of Tibetan people. These rugs are primarily made from Tibetan highland sheep’s virgin wool. The Tibetan uses rugs for almost any domestic use from flooring to wall hanging to horse saddles. Traditionally the best rugs are from Gyantse, a city which is known for its rugs. Tibetan rugs are big business in not only Tibet, but also Nepal, where Tibetan immigrants brought with them their knowledge of rug making.

There is a rich ancient tradition of lay Tibetan literature which includes epics, poetry, short stories, dance scripts and mime, plays and so on which has expanded into a huge body of work – some of which has been translated into Western languages. Tibetan literature has a historical span of over 1300 years. Perhaps the best known category of Tibetan literature outside of Tibet are the epic stories – particularly the famous Gesar epic.

Tibetan art is deeply religious in nature, from the exquisitely detailed statues found in Gonpas to wooden carvings and the intricate designs of the Thangka paintings. Thangka paintings, a syncretism of Indian scroll-painting with Nepalese and Kashmiri painting, appeared in Tibet around the 8th century. Rectangular and painted on cotton or linen, they usually depict traditional motifs including religious, astrological, and theological subjects, and sometimes a mandala.

Following in the footsteps of the 14th Dalai Lama more than 150,000 Tibetan refugees have fled to India during the past 50 years. He left with his initial entourage following the abortive 1959 Tibetan uprising. He was followed by about 80,000 Tibetan refugees.


In 1960, the Government of Mysore (as Karnataka was called at that time) allotted nearly 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land at Bylakuppe in Mysore district in Karnataka and the first ever Tibetan exile settlement, Lugsung Samdupling came into existence in 1961. A few years later another settlement, Tibetan Dickey Larsoe, also called TDL, was established. This was followed by the establishment of three more settlements in Karnataka state making it the state with the largest Tibetan refugee population. Rabgayling settlement was created in Gurupura village near Hunsur, Dhondenling was established at Oderapalya near Kollegal and Doeguling settlement came into being at Mundgod in Uttara Kannada district, all in Karnataka. The Bir Tibetan Colony was established in Bir, Himachal Pradesh.

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Eternal beauty of Khonoma

Khonoma village in Nagaland, is estimated to be 500 years old. The land was infested by an aromatic plant locally known as Khwuno. Khonoma’s fame chiefly comes through its standing as a warrior village and gallantry in warfare. The village is inhabited by about 3,400 people with about 580 households. By nature they are hospitable and loving which thereby make them friendly and sociable towards any visitor.


Khonoma Village is gifted with a very rich bio-diversity and natural resources. Over 400 species of local tress have been identified through local experts in this tropical rain forest. The forest is also an ideal place for trekking, enjoying nature and doing research work as it is very rich in birds, reptiles, amphibians, orchids and many rare species of flora and fauna.

Villlage Khonoma has seven traditional gates. These are also related to many taboos and beliefs while at the same time holds high esteem, respect and admiration. All gates are carved depicting various pictures like – full moon, spears, hornbill feathers etc.

Terhunyi- This festival falls in December. This festival is a celebration of thanksgiving for a rich harvest and is celebrated for 10 days. The festival is also an occasion for the youth to display their strength and skills in various sports like wrestling. Each day has its own unique events and grand celebration.


Places of interest:

  • Khonoma Dzukou- Dzukou literally means ‘cool water’. This beautiful valley of eternal charm lies at the south-west of Khonoma village. Ideal place for trekkers and nature lovers in July-August.
  • Terhuotsiese – It literallymeans the place where the stone was erected by spirit. This area serves an ideal place for picnickers. Facing the main sitting square stands a peculiar stone in the shape of an owl.
  • Thelukhriezie and Khonoma war memorial – This sloppy mountain that stretches down to touch the villages at its base was said to have magical charm. Today, a tower is erected at the top of this hill to commemorate warriors.
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A Heritage View of Goa

  • Divar :

The island of Divar is famous for Bonderam, the festival held on the river island on the 4th Saturday on the month of august. Bonderam means the festival of flags, its high point is a mock battle to commemorate the property wars that took place here over a century ago. Its landmark is its Indo-Portuguese architecture.

  • Safa masjid, Ponda:

This mosque was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur.Adjacent to the mosque is a well constructed masonary tank with small dressing chambers with Mihrab designs.

  • Buddhist Caves, Rivona :

Often called pandava caves, these are actually the few vestiges of Goa’s past Buddhist presence when monks would seek sancity from their austere lives as wandering mendicants and camp in caves for the monsoons. There is an underground cave with a small well too.

  • Petroglyphs at pansaimol, usgalimal, vichundrem, sanguem:

This beautiful site on the bank of the Kushavati river is perhaps one of the earliest expressions of art and culture in Goa. Rock carvings found here are believed to depict symbols of the fertility cult and religious cosmology.

  • Cotigao wildlife sanctuary:

Kuskem waterfalls may be seen in the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary in canacona taluka. You can also see the ruins of ancient temples in this tiny village of Kuskem.

  • Shri Parshuram temple, Painguinim, canacona:

This temple is dedicated to the legendary Vaishnavite deity of Goa. It displays rare endangered Kaavi art.

  • Cabo da Rama, Canaona :

Built by the soundekar kings towards the end of the 16th century, this magnificent monument has a moat, a fantastic view of the and two freshwater tanks. The ramps were meant for elephants and horses. This was locally called Ramachem Bhushir. Later taken over by the Portuguese in 1764, its name was changed to Cabo da Rama.

  • Santana church, Talaulim:

One of the five models after which all the churches and chapels followed suit, this one perhaps is the most fascinating church of all.

  • Mapusa Friday market:

For absolutely fascinating bargains and a slice-of-life in Goa in terms of local produce, visit Mapusa market place on Fridays where you will see dried fish that Goans supplement their diet with during the fishless days of the monsoon.

  • Heritage villages of Goa:

This is a coined term for villages with a fine stock of heritage houses, churches, temples and street furniture. Visit these villages to experience the continuity of Goa’s social and culturl history.

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Must-try food in Karnataka

Having a bad day? Is your mood off? There is something that can definitely cheer you up! Any guesses to what it would be? Its Food! Indian cuisine is loved by almost everybody all over the world. And talking about Indian cuisine, how could anybody not get excited on hearing “Dosa” and “Idli”!

Among the south Indian cuisine, the food of Karnataka is very diverse. This cuisine is a treat for all vegetarians as Karnataka has higher percentage of vegetarians than other south Indian states. Hold on, not a disappointment for the non-vegetarians. The seafood in the coastal region has the most lip-smacking spices and flavors. As karnataka’s cultural history takes us back through centuries, Karnataka;s food too has a rich and amazing history. Lets go back to learn more about the origin of the most loved and enjoyed dishes of Karnataka.

Neer dosa

Neer Dosa Image source :


Neer dosa literally means water dosa and is true to its name as its ingrediants are only rice flour and salt. Neer dosa is a crepe and is popular for its easy preparation. This is enjoyed all over Karnataka but loved a lot in the region of Udupi. Neer Dosa tastes best with a spicy curry.

Where to find : Vasudev Adigas, Mangalore Pearl, Mtr are among the best places for a neer dosa in Bangalore.




Kane Rava fry

Kane Rava Fry Image source :


Kane rava fry is a dish of fish marinated with spices and covered with semolina (rava ). Kane rava fry is most loved in the coastal region, originating in mangalore. The burst of flavors and spices is a delight and a must try for all sea food lovers.

Where to find : The ocea restaurant, malgudi, hotel regency park.



Bisi bele bath

Bisibelebath image source :


Bisi bele bath literally means hot lentil rice. It is a traditional dish and has a elaborate preparation with the use of spices, vegetables and lentils. This dish is also another gift of the Udupi cuisine but can be found all over Karnataka. It tastes the best when served hot with papad, boondi  or chips.





Kundapura Koli saaru

Kundapura Koli Saaru image source :


Originating from the coastal region, Kundapura chicken curry is packed with spices. It is a rich chicken dish with an abundance of flavors and a must try for all meat as well as spice lovers.

Where to find : Kundapura Express, Natti manae.






Chiroti Image source :


Chiroti is a sweet famous from Karnataka and is a treat to the taste buds with its simple yet mouthwatering flavor. It’s a simple dish to prepare and is most enjoyed during festivals.

Where to find : Halli thindi, Matru sagar.





Ragi Mudde

Ragi mudde image source :

Ragi mudde is a traditional dish of Karnataka, most popular in the rural region. A healthy dish made with  only two ingredients – ragi flour and water. Ragi mudde – bassaru is a popular combination. Bassaru is made from decanted water. There are variations in Bassaru and each one has it’s own unique taste along with ragi mudde. It is almost a daily food of the farming community. Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister of India popularised Ragi mudde by having it prepared and shipped from Karnataka to Delhi.

Where to find : Kritunga Restaurant, Ragi Mudde Mess.




Blog by : Umaima Khan

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The Nilgiri Tribes

Tribes of the Nilgiri Hills

The Nilgiri hills, a treasure of nature from the beautiful hill stations to the most amazing cultures. Situated between the western ghats, these hills are most popular for their hills stations- Coonoor, Ooty etc, the diversity in flora and fauna and the most amazing tribes. These tribes add more beauty  to the culture of India making it more rich and diverse. Get up close with the tribes and share in their unique cultures and traditions which have been practiced since ancient times. Discover more about the tribes living in the lush and beautiful Nilgiri Hills.





This community is now with the population of approximately 3,00,000 and  forms the largest population of the nilgiri district. Badagas earn their livelihood through agriculture and the major agricultural activity is tea plantation. Apart from this they also plant carrots, beans, cabbages and many more. The houses of the badagas are fascinating as they stand out among the greenery of the nilgiris.  They are famous for their dance and festivities and they do not hesitate to step out and groove. The elaborate funeral cars of the Badagas seem to be survivals of ancient Indian practices in Buddhist India which have been described by Chinese travelers. They continue to be practiced to the present day in Hindu Bali.







This tribe is of special interest to ethnographers and physical anthropologists . The Todas are a pastoral tribe, which means they rear cattle for their living. They live in half-barrel shaped houses which are generally made of mud and bamboos. The Todas are purely vegetarians and consume rice which they get in exchange for milk reared from the buffaloes. Polyandry is practiced among the Todas. This tribe has existed from 5000 BC and believed to be descendants of the Pandavas. They are found only in the Nilgiri hills and have a population of only 1000 as they marry within their tribe.

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3- Kurumbas

Traditionally the Kurumbas have subsisted as hunters and gatherers.  Bananas, mangoes, jackfruit, maize, and chilies are the usual garden produce. The houses of the Kurumba tribe are usually constructed with bamboo backbone, grass and mud. The activity for which the Kurumbas are best known has been the provision of sorcery. With the help of herbs, spells, and roots, they can heal any sickness and can also bring sickness or death to their enemy.  Kurumbas are found in the mid-ranges of the nilgiris.




Image source :


The kota tribe is an artisan community with potters, blacksmiths, carpenters etc. .  A few artisans still produce fine hand-carved rifle butts and double-reed instruments. Their language is found to be similar with the dravidian family. The pattern of settlement is believed to have been determined by a cow who led the Kotas through the Nilgiris and stopped in various places to indicate various sites for the Villages.  Sheep raising and beekeeping has also been adopted by the Kotas.  They occupy seven villages widely spread among the hills.







irulas tourmyindiacom
Irula hunters Image source :


The irulas are forest-dwellers and hence they get their name, which literally means “People of the darkness”. They are known for overpowering and taming wild beasts. The Irulas maintain their livelihood by hunting and honey-collecting. They construct their houses with split bamboos. Irulas are the second largest tribe of the Nilgiris after the Badagas. They are also known for their knowledge of herbal medicines. They are mainly found in the eastern and southern part of the hills.

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Blog by : Umaima Khan


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The Monsoon Starts Here

Chasing the Monsoon

The term Monsoon was first used in English in British India, which includes present day’s India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Southwest Monsoon winds are called ‘Nairutya Maarut’ in India. The four-month long Monsoon season, which runs from June to September, brings 70% of the country’s annual rainfall.

Southern India in the monsoon is absolutely magnificent places on earth that lures you with her pungent smells, a proud and vibrant culture, lip smacking foods and rich landscape. However, the South West monsoon puts a whole new spin on ‘when it rains it pours’. When the rains hit the Arabian Sea, making inroads into other parts of India, using Kerala as the gateway, you can’t just sit idle. What better way to Enjoy the monsoons than travelling! This monsoon we give You a list of places you could visit in South India and fun things to do.

Meteorological Center image source:



Meteorological Center in Trivandrum

Visit the Meteorological Center here, understand how the monsoon starts, its arrival, its impact and get latest updates on the weather forecast personally.

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Kovalam image source


Kovalam Beach

Drive down to Kovalam and enjoy breakfast with the first touch of monsoon. Experience peace and calmness in the afternoon with Yoga and Meditation classes.

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Trivandrum city image source


Visit the Trivandrum City

Visit the Napier Museum and get an insight on the Mughal and Tanjore art. Get enchanted in the Padmanabhaswamy temple with the Dravidian style architecture and the rich history and mysteries of this temple.

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Allepey House  Boat image source

Allepey  House Boat

Enjoy the beauty of the waters to the fullest in the beautiful house boats. Learn more about the maintenance and care of these with the owners. Visit the paddy fields or go Fishing! Enjoy your stay at an island in the backwaters. Visit the Coir museum, a beauty spot on the map of Allepey. Experience life among the chirping of birds in the Pathiramanal Island.





Mussel Cultivation image source


Mussel Cultivation 

Stay at a  resort famous for mussel farming and learn more about the impact of the monsoon on the mussel cultivation. Enjoy the stay at eco-friendly cottages with a treat of fish and mussel dinner.

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Barkana Falls Image souce

Cherrapunji of South India

Visit the city of Agumbe – famous for its waterfalls. Get amazed by the beauty of the Barkana falls, as it never fails to fascinate people with its wide variety of flora and fauna. Enjoy the peace n tranquility of the Koodlu Theertha falls as it is situated away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.






The city of Banvasi

An Ancient Royal  Dynasty

Visit the city of Banvasi, It once was the capital of the Kadamba rulers, an ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka. Enjoy it’s pineapples in the Pineapple fete held in the first weekend of every month. Visit the famous Yana Caves which is famous for it two black crystalline limestone formations named as Bhairaveshwara peak and Mohini peak. Also treat yourself with the famous Khanavalis of Banvasi.


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Jog Falls image source


Get Refreshed in the Jog Falls

Get up close and drenched in the Jog Falls.The monsoon season is the best season to visit Jog falls, as the beauty of the place is enhanced with the hills covered in mist. Ideal place for photographers.

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St Sebastian Chappel in Fontainhas


Discover the unseen Goa

Drive past the rolling hills and waterfalls and relax  in some less crowded beaches. Visit the local market which showcases some vibrant ingrediants. Learn to cook a new Goan recipe and also visit the less discovered Divar Island or the Fontainhas. Be a part of the Sao Joao Festival on 24th June 2017!

 Explore more :

Blog by : Umaima Khan




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Chasing the Monsoon in Kerala


Kerala, then you’ve probably been living under a rock.Located North West of Kerala,  just about 16-18 kms from Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, Kovalam is a lovely crescent-shaped stretch of beach which actually is a cluster of 3 beaches separated by rock promontories viz.,Lighthouse,Samudra and Hawa beach.

It is here that the famed South Westmonsoons hits India, using Kerala as the gateway, making its way through the Southern states to other parts of this vast country.You’re at Kovalam. Pause. Will it rain or won’t it?

Well, based on the outcome you could decide to:

  • laze languidly under the shelter of a beach shack or get an Ayruvedic massage
  • sip your beer alongwith some mouth watering fried squid or fried fish Kerala style, for company
  • look for bargains at the local shops lining the Lighthouse beach
  • find out the real story behind the name Hawa beach or
  • dash off to the Indian Meterological Observatory located at Thiruvananthapuram (new name meaning, City of Lord Anantha) and check with the rain astrologers (the Met dept. folks) if the rains are “on course”

Going by historical records, the rains have hardly ever strayed beyond 1st week of June.However, if the rains disappoint by not showing up, you can show up at the iconic Sri Padmanabhasamy Temple where Lord Vishnu is found reclining on his serpent and pray fervently. Spoiler alert:adhere to their dress code (yes they can refuse entry if your attire doesn’t meet their criteria, your fervent prayers not withstanding).

Journeying with the rains as it snakes its way across the state to Karnataka, Goa and beyond, is compelling in its beauty, tranquility and urgency. Cue: run out and get drenched, photograph the soft after-rain glow or just hold your breath till your next lush and abundant destination. Metta!

Delicious tidbits:

  • The South West monsoons are known as Edavappathi, after the month of Edavam.
  • The Meteorological Observatory in Trivandrum, one of India’s oldest observatories was started by the Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore in 1836
  • Prince G V Raja found immense tourism potential and invited Thomas Cook & Sons, UK to develop and promote the region
  • The candy striped Lighthouse is 35 m tall and you can climb to the top for spectacular views
  • Fusion, German Bakery, Swiss Café are where you get some good grub at Kovalam


Kerala and the South West Monsoons –

a match made in the clouds

After Kovalam’s rainy beach and Trivandrum’s good Lord SwamyPadmanabha watching the world go by on his recliner serpent, it’s time to move on to more languid country. So think Vasco da Gama,the spice trade, Travancore kings, Namboothiris, and as your mind meanders, stop and gasp at the magnificence of the Ashtamudi Lake. Inhale. You’re at the gateway to the famed backwaters of God’s Own Country, Alleppey.

As you make your way to backwaters-world, en route you could wrap yourself in acres of paddyfields like a wet sarong on a rainy day. Idyllic, green and wet, this is Kerala’s rice bowl, probably the only place in the worldwhere farming is done below sea level

Kettuvallams wait for experience-seekers patiently, tethered to the pier at Alleppey. As you step into one, you know it’s time to go with the flow. You watch the world go by, wave to the young boys running along the embankment, look up at the sudden flash of avian colour and enjoy the languorous ride.

From Alleppey chase the dark clouds to Kochi, a delightful blend fold-word charm and bustling metropolis. Fort Kochi is a must-see place ideal for rambling and sauntering through its rich historical and cultural heritage. From the peace of the old colonial bungalows experience a different kind of peace in a Namboothiri home in Nilambur. This district is rich in different wooded forests especially teak, housing the world’s first Teak Museum. As you sit in the courtyard of a Namboothiri home with the rains pitter-pattering down, time stands still. Until suddenly…

you see a row of men lining up thepath, beating their drums, and dancers dressed in the most vibrant,eye-popping elaborate costumes and head dresses, dancing in slow rhythmic steps, propitiating the Gods. Watch with awe as these Theyyamdancers perform this ancient dance to worship ancestors, in front of age-old shrines.

After the Theyyam routine, you comeback to earth and chase the rains to Bekal, one of the best preserved forts in Kerala. Located at Kasaragod, this 300-year old fort offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. While in Kasargod, a visit to the oyster farm, OysterOpera, is a must. Listen, see and experience the transformational oyster and mussel farming conducted in this award-winning eco-farm recognized for its innovative methodologies.Yes, it’s time to whip out your travel diary and journal away about this remarkable enterprise accompanied by the warm outpourings from the sky.

As you chase the South West monsoons from one place to the next, enveloping you in perpetual dampness, you are reminded of Coleridge’s Rime of The Ancient Mariner: And now the storm blast came, and he was tyrannous and strong: He struck with his o’ertaking wings, And chased us south along.


a) Paddy fieldsat Kuttanad –

b) Chinesefishing nets at Kochi –

c) Theyyam dance–

d) Bekal fort –

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Bangalore Sketch Crawl

Sketch crawl in Bangalore

Ever noticed all the things we don’t notice in our routine life? Drive through the same roads everyday and still not notice the stories our city wants to tell us. Sketch Crawl organized by Make it Happen and guided by Nicholas,an architect,enabled us to look at our city, Bangalore,in a way we had never before.

A walk through the noisy and buzzing M.G.road and sketching some of the buildings of Bangalore with historical importance.Sketch crawl is an eye opener as we notice the architectural designs and minute details of the buildings which we’ve seen almost all our life.


Founded by Abel Joshua Higginbotham in 1905,it is one of the oldest bookstores of Bangalore. Above is a sketch of Higginbothams by one of the participant. Each person has their own perspective about the same element and these elements can be made memorable by sketching. Photography helps us capture moments but sketching gets us connected to the places.

Tract and Book Society

The British Book Society building is popularly known today as the Hard Rock Cafe. This building is a prominent structure signifying the architectural designs of the British. In the picture above we can notice the details sketched by our participant. We get to see a whole new image of our same old Hard Rock Cafe as we pay attention to the details and the stories this building holds.

In the sketch crawl,each person has their own perspective about the same element. To one of our participant,Hard Rock Cafe is a reminder of the YMCA song as it’s usually played there.

St.Mark’s Cathedral

Situated in the heart of Bangalore,the Cathedral church has immense details for artists. We visit a church every Sunday,but how many of us take time to notice the minute details our church holds? The Cathedral church holds details which fascinate everytime we look at it. The rich architectural design amazed all the participants and it seemed unfair that the canvas could hold only certain parts of the church. The details made in all the sketches were a proof of the whole new image our participants could see of their same old Church.

Amongst all the hustle in the world today,there are a very few people who still want to keep their hobbies and passions alive and we got a whole bunch of them. A group of fantastic people who were willing to step out on a sleepy Saturday morning to look at the whole new same old city.

More than sketching and knowing our city,what was more important is that we made memories. Just a look at the sketch anytime in the years to come and we’d go back to the same Saturday morning. Perfection isn’t required for a sketch,all we need is for it to hold eternal​ memories.

Blog by : Umaima Khan