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These 8 destinations will make you feel WOW

These 8 destinations will make you feel WOW!

Our planet is full of natural and man-made marvels. People who wish to explore a new place every now and then know the importance of diving deep into the unspoiled beauty and meeting travellers with different cultures and traditions. We are here with some stunning places whose beauty and the cultures will leave you spellbound.

All these destinations have their own charm and one cannot contemplate their beauties and express them in words. To have an out of this world travel experience, continue reading and add the following places to your travel bucket list. Pick up one and enjoy a dive into a world of wild woods and untouched azure surface of the oceans.

Andaman:

Whether you are looking forward to some exclusive honeymoon tours or an excursion with your friends or a lovely journey with your family, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands remains an exciting holiday destination. The vibrant marine life, the serene beaches, the unspoiled nature and the lovely aura are going to deliver you an unforgettable holiday experience.  There are approximately 300 islands popular for its white sand beaches, tropical rainforests and stunning mangroves. The Havelock Island is the most visited island of the place.


Turkey :

Turkey is a beautiful nation located in western Asia and Eastern Europe contemplating the traditional connections with the Persian, Greek, Byzantine, Roman and the Ottoman Empires. Visiting Turkey will be a blessed experience and you can observe a unique blend of these ancient cultures amalgamating the western culture in its heart. Turkey is a place where continents collide, it is a place with colourful skies, it is a chilled spray on a hot soul and it is a historical land with the best local cuisine.


Nepal :

If your definition of a holiday is indulging in some adrenaline-filled activities, then you can place your palm on the best trekking tour in the Himalayas that kick-start from Nepal. Nepal is a beautiful country located in the laps of the mighty Himalayas and the unspoiled nature and the virgin snow provide the best holiday getaway for the adventure enthusiasts. Nepal is home to some of the most thrilling treks such as the Annapurna Circuit and the Everest Base Camp Trek. Do you wish to check your trekking stamina? Reach Nepal and embark on a thrilling Himalayan trek.


Singapore:

One of the best island nations on this planet, Singapore is the top-most choice for holidays for couples, families, and friends. This tourism-friendly country has added several jewels to its crown. From the beaches with soft sands to the souring Singapore flyer, from the amazing universal studios to the peppy underwater world, Singapore is home to a number of activities that will please everyone’s soul. It is a country for your kids, elderly, friends and your better half. Book your tickets to Singapore and get an eyeful of this wonderful land.



Ladakh:
Have you caught a sight of a frozen river anytime in your life? If not then the Chadar trek in Ladakh will help you catch this amazing sight soon. Embark on an amazing journey with your beloved, gear up and get ready for a Ladakh bike trip; this will be the best experience of your life. The stunning views, the breath taking nature and the low oxygen zones, you will have a feeling of being in the paradise and you will never wish to come back home.

Dubai :

Dubai was once a city known only for its oil reserves. Who knew then that after a few decades, Dubai would become one of the top-most holiday destinations in the world? A huge crowd of tourists visits this vibrant city of UAE to participate in its yearly Dubai Festival. UAE is paying a great deal of attention to tourism and the cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are popular for tourism. You will find amazing man-made beaches, several adventurous activities to indulge in, stunning skyscrapers and boutique shopping malls.

Bali:

Bali is an Indonesian Island popular for its dense volcanic mountains, the iconic rice paddies, coral reefs and stunning beaches. The island is also known for its Buddhists temples and the pristine yoga centres. The mere mention of this island will educe the thoughts of the paradise. Bali is more than just a place; it is an inspiration, a mood and a tropical state of mind.

Australia: The last in our list is Australia, which does not deserve to be at the last place. Australia is an amazing country and the enthralling beauty of the country draws in a number of tourists every year. For couples, Australia remains one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world. Australia is colourful, wild, has soulful stories and sophisticated cities to spend the best time of your life with your partner.
 *Content is sponsored by Thrillophilia

Cafe Buzzinga.. Cafe in Whitefield

http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Bangalore Restaurant - Cafe Buzzinga Review
Last weekend I visited Cafe Buzzinga.. I used to always watch it while driving down to Kundalhalli from Whitefield .. so decided to try it out this weekend.
The name sounds offbeat and the place looked hippie from outside - so we went in. The parking is also available inside the galli.. which is an important factor to go to a restaurant.

Ambiance : 3/5 
This a home converted to a cafe.. a small sitting area inside and a large area in the open. The place looks offbeat with some weird cartoon character pictures on the wall.. bright lights inside and a dark natural light outside. The challenge with sitting outside was that there were mosquitoes.. the restaurant had put lots of mosquito coils under each table so the smoke from that was overpowering. This mixes with the smoke coming from hookah on tables.
Inside also there is sitting area, which is much quieter, covered with bright walls and images. The inside sitting is a small space, with only 2-3 tables. 
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

Food : 3.5/5
This cafe offers western cuisine - The menu has Pasta, fries, Soups, Sandwiches, burgers, lasagna, Roasted chicken platters and much more. Zomato says they do not serve alcohol, but when we visited, we saw they serve wine and sangria. Many people were having wine along with Hookah. 
We have a young kid, so we avoided the hookah, but I noticed that people were really enjoying their wine, hookah and chicken.

We ordered a Cheese sauce Pasta and a Grilled chicken plate
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

Chicken Grilled with peri peri sauce and served with 2 sides - French Fries and Onion rings : This was lovely. The platter was huge for one person to finish. The chicken was tender and well marinated in  sauces. 
The fries were also good, Onion rings were too oily apparently. Except Onion rings, the rest of the stuff was pretty good. 
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

Alfredo Penne Pasta : Good cheesy sauce, with veggies and served with some bread. 

Service : Overall good, but a bit slow. The number of customers were more than the number of attendants. We had to remind the waiter many times before he could actually bring our meal. 
But the good thing is that the owner, a nice lady, is also there in the restaurant, she will ask if we enjoyed our meal and what is the feedback.

Price : Our bill was around INR 700/- for the above 2 dishes. The portion size of food is pretty good.

Location 1, Bright Farm, Thubarahalli, Varthur Road, Whitefield, Bangalore
When we go from Hope farm junction towards Kapoor's Cafe, this restaurant comes on the left side. Google Maps location is correct.

Overall I think it is a good place to hangout, I would love to visit there again.
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

My Rating - 3/5

Cafe Buzzinga Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
P.S : All pictures on my blog are original and clicked from my iPhone 6. I visited this place with my family and paid for my food - the review is authentic !!

Around Bangalore.. Ideas for the long weekend

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Kabini backwaters
The next weekend is a Long weekend (Good Friday) and the best thing about Bangalore is that there are so many places nearby that it is worth to get out and get moving for the long weekends. 
I thought of compiling a list of all places that I have been to for a 2 day or a 1 day outing.

I have also linked each of the list to the detailed posts on my blog - in case you need more details to plan your trip

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Kabini
1. Kabini : This place has a charm of its own - Kabini Backwaters are known for its diverse wildlife and quiet atmosphere away from the hustle of the city.  This is around 210 Kms from Bangalore and only ~60 kms from Mysore.
We went there by our own car and stayed at Jungle Lodges. They have a 1 night and 2 day package which includes food, Nagarhole forest safari and a River safari. 
It was an amazing experience and I would recommend everyone to go there. This trip can be planned over a weekend, but bookings for stay have to be done in advance.

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Nagarhole Jungle Safari
2. Nagarhole Forest : Relating to the above post, the Nagarhole forest is an adventure in itself. 

Nagarhole forest is at the edge of karnataka and kerala border, and many of the fellow travellers have encountered this place on the way to ooty or wyanad or southern coorg. But what we see while passing through it is just tip of the iceberg, the wildlife and density of this forest is immense. Animals live in their natural habitat and can be visited during the Nagarhole safari.
There is a huge difference between the jungle safari at Nagarhole or Bandipur forest v/s the one in Bannerghatta national park. Here we are in an open jeep, in the midst of a jungle and we have to literally search for animals. The surroundings are more genuine and a bit scary too.

The distance from Bangalore to Nagarhole national park is 224 kms. The best way is to drive your own vehicle or take a hired cab. Public transport is not that great.

My Trip to Nagarhole National Park - Detailed post

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Butter falls @ Chikmagalur
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The iconic restaurant in Chikmagalur
3. Chikmagalur : This is a hill station with major attractions being the home-stays with coffee plantations, driving on the hills, and waterfalls.
Total distance from Whitefield Bangalore to Chikmagalur ~250 Kms
We drove our Honda Amaze from Bangalore and reached there in 5 hours.
Key places to see in Chikmagalur are Mulyanagiri (highest hill top), Baba budnagiri (another hill top) and Buttermilk falls

More Details about my trip to Chikmagalur
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Belur Temple
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Vishnu Varaha avtar @ Belur Temple

4. Belur Historical temples : In connection with Chikmagalur, there is another place Belur which is known for its famous Hoysala architecture temple. This can be visited on the way to Chikmagalur or a full day Trip can be planned to visit here. You can do a morning-evening run for Belur - overnight stay is not required. 
This is around 220 Kms from Bangalore and 30Kms from Chikmagalur. Many people plan day-trips to this temple and believe me, it is totally worth it.
It was built in 1117AD by King Vishnuvardhana and it seems this place was build to celebrate their military victory. You could find a lot of art-work covering their National emblem, Horses, Lions and war symbols. There is a main temple of Lord Vishnu and other small side temples of other deities. The main temple has 48 pillars and each pillar is unique in design and art. Outside the temple, each wall has a story to tell.. going around looking at those stone sculptures and figuring out the story which fascinated the artists of that era is indeed a magical experience.

Detailed post about Belur on my blog
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Periyar Lake in Ooty
5. Ooty : This place needs no introduction, it is by far one of the most popular hill stations in Tamil Nadu. Ooty is around 280 Kms from Bangalore. Known for its Tea gardens, Lakes and botonical gardens, Periyar Lake, it never stops attracting tourists.
Avoid during Peak season as it gets too crowded. 

Here is the detailed article on Ooty Trip
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Shivasamudram Falls

6. Shivasamudra Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful attractions around Bangalore. It is ~140 kms from the city and is the second biggest waterfall in the country. River Kaveri divides into two branches and each branch cascades down rocky cliffs as the Gaganachukki and the Bharachukki, both are one km away from each other. These spectacular waterfalls are surrounded by hill forests of the Kaveri Wildlife Sanctuary.

My Trip to Shivasamudra Waterfalls

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Rananathittu Bird Park

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Baby Crocodile @ Ranganathittu bird watching

7. Ranganathittu Bird sancturary : This Bird Sanctuary is located 140Kms from Bangalore, we visited here on our return journey from Shivasamudram falls - so this could be clubbed together. The best time to go to Ranganathittu is Feb-March because there are umpteem birds and even migratory species could be seen in this season.
We went in August - just after rains, so birds were less and the pool was full of water.
Nonetheless we enjoyed a lot, some pics here...

Here is the detailed article on Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

8. Nandi Hills : Guess every Bangalorean has been here, so how could I miss such a beautiful place my list of Weekend ideas. Nandi hills is a beautiful hillstation in Bangalore. It is around 60-70 kms from the city and is an awesome picnic spot in any weather.. We drove to Nandi hills by our own car Honda Amaze, the drive is superb, easy (a bangalore road driver can manage the turns/ghats) but need to be careful in monsoons as the roads get slippery and visibility is limited.
There is a Karnataka tourism bus also which had a 1 day tour to Nandi hills.

My trip to Nandi Hills - detailed post
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Nandi Hills
9. Bannerghatta national park is not very far from Bangalore, just 20 to 30 kms range, depending on where you stay in the city. It lies towards the south of the city, in the hills of Anekal range. A small portion of this park is part of the zoo and safari, which can be visited by everyone on a ticket.
I found safari was a bit expensive but they take you to the inside of the jungle and closer to tigers, lions, bears, deer and more animals. The zoo is also nice with all animals under enclosures. I particularly found the butterfly park very beautiful.

Here is the detailed article on Bannerghatta National Park
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Bannerghatta National Park
10. Lalbagh Gardens : This is located within Bangalore - If you do not want to go anywhere outside Bangalore as it is a challenge to find quiet places and good hotels on long weekends - head to the Lalbagh gardens to spend your day. Leave early morning and reach by 8 or 9AM to avoid crowd and also to avail parking. You can also try Namma Metro - the Lalbagh metro station is very near to the west gate

Detailed article on Lalbagh Gardens on my blog
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Rose Garden @ Lalbagh

P.S:  All Pictures in this blog are original and clicked from my phone and camera

Chianti : Italian Wine and Dine in Whitefield

http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Spinach and Ricotta Raviolli in Mushroom sauce
Yesterday I went to Park Square mall, since it is the closest to my place and I had not been there since its renovation. I stumbled upon this new place called Chianti, checked quickly its rating on Zomato and decided to try it out.

My kid enjoys Italian menu as it has a lot of cheese and low spice as compared to many of the Indian or Chinese cuisines. Chianti Restaurant is located on the Ground floor, besides Bakasur restaurant, you can enter from inside the mall or from outside (there are two entry gates).
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

Food: 4/5
The food was delicious. The menu is completely Italian, not a Indianised version of Italy. It has stuff from Pasta, pizza, breads, bruschetta, soups, Risottos, Lasagnas etc.
As soon as we went there, every table has a DIY sheet on how to create your own Garlic Burschetta. The waiter got us some complimentary stuff for us to create our own Bruschetta.
First you rub your bread with garlic clove, then with Basil leave, then with Cherry tomato and finally drizzle some Olive oil to it.
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
DIY your own Bruschetta
It tasted amazing and also gave us something to do while we waited for our food to arrive.
Then he got us some complimentary breads fresh from the oven along with some flavored butter, these were so soft that we devoured them.

Margarita Pizza : Traditional Pizza with Basil, Olive oil, Tomato sauce and lots of Mozzarella cheese.  I always order this as my little one loves a pizza with only chesse an no toppings
Very soft with chunks of mozzerella cheese and drizzled with some olive oil top. It was thin crust.. a slightly different taste but nice.
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Margarita Pizza
Ravioli Di Spinachi E Ricotta : Fresh homemade Ravioli stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta, served with mushroom and cream sauce. This was very well made, Spinach was complimenting the taste of Mushroom sauce.. enjoyed this dish

They also have different varieties of wine, but I did not try any of it.
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Spinach Ravioli in Mushroom and cheese sauce
Ambiance: 3/5
Nice quiet place. Well maintained, soft music in background. The lights are dim and the interior is woody brown shades. Good, but could be perked up for the younger crowd I believe

Service : Good service and fast too. The waiters knew many details about the menu and recommended us the Ravioli dish. Complimentary breads were too good!!

Price: The cost is at par with other Italian joints - a bit pricey I would say, but the food makes up for it. For the Pizza and Ravioli - we paid ~INR 1000/-
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Complimentary breads
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

Location : Located at the ground floor of Ascendas Park Square mall on ITPL Main Road.
By the way, the parking in this mall is free on Saturdays and Sundays (on the purchase of something from the mall). If you will show the bill from restaurant in the parking lot, the security will waive off the parking charges. We did not know it, so left the bill at the restaurant and ended up paying 40 bucks.

http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Ambiance of this place
Overall it was nice, and I would go there again!!
P.S : All pictures are taken from my iPhone 6
Chianti Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Colombo Trip..Part 2..Culture..Shopping..History.. Sri Lanka

This post is a continuation of the previous post on  Colombo trip where I had written about the city, places to visit, hotels and other info about this place.
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Lion statues @ the Independence square Colombo
As part of our Sri Lanka Itinerary.. we traveled to Colombo from Kandy by car (this took us about 3-4 hours) and stayed in Steward hotel. We had booked a car for our entire trip - starting from Colombo Airport and ending back at Colombo.
**Many people have reached out to me asking about the car booking, you can ping me on fb or connect with me on my gmail id, I will send you the driver's / agency phone number.

The first day in Colombo we visited the Gangaramaya temple and Galle Face green where we did lots of kite flying. (Details on Part 1 blog)
The next day we headed after breakfast to tour the city and also planned some time for shopping.
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Colombo Town Hall
Colombo Town hall :
This is the Mayor's office, which houses the administrative staff of the Colombo Municipal Council. The building is impressive and worth a photo-stop. It is not allowed to go inside, and if you take too many clicks or spend more that a few minutes, the security guards will start questioning you.

Viharamahadevi Park : This part is just opposite to the Townhall building, so you can visit both these places together. This is very green and quiet. Despite of being a weekend, we did not find any tourists or locals in this place - serene, quiet and very clean.
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Viharamahadevi Park
National Museum : Very close to the Viharamahadevi park, the National museum of Sri Lanka. This is one of the top listed places to visit on Tripadvisor - However, we always get bored in museums, so we decided to skip it.

Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Art) Theatre : This looks very beautiful - and my camera could'nt do justice to the actual look of this place. This is a performing arts center, and there are shows held for which you can buy tickets and visit this place.
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Lotus Art Theatre
Road-side Painters :
All the above attractions are very close-by within 1 kms radius. As you leave from this theatre, you will find a street which is full of Paintings. There are painters who can also make portraits of you. These look very beautiful and in-fact we even got down to see if we could buy them. The prices are reasonable - they will give the canvas roll to you. However, for international tourists, the concern is how do you carry this without getting crushed in the flight.
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Paintings of Sri Lanka
Independence War Memorial (Also known as Independence Square) : This is indeed the best place I found in Colombo. Vast empty gardens, greenery spread wide, and beautiful memorial hall. The best place about Sri Lanka is that it is extremely clean and not crowded at all (except some of the Buddhist temples). You can sit here for hours exploring the ponds, flags and green landscape.
Totally Loved it.
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Independence War memorial
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Lush Greenery at Independence sqaure
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Water ponds at Independence memorial
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Memorial Hall
Shopping : The first question is what to shop from Sri Lanka for your family and friends. Before I went there, people told me it is a Shopping haven. There is a currency advantage, so you can almost afford anything and shop a lot. Let me break the myth - I did not find Sri Lanka cheap or my currency being an advantage.
Things are reasonably priced, but they are definitely not cheap. Infact, many of the clothes are labelled as "Made in India" - so why buy it from Sri Lanka??
Nonetheless, we did end up exploring Shopping outlets and ended up stocking something for our family.
Odel Mall : This is a Hi-fi mall, with all the branded stuff. Clothes, Shoes, Designer bags, Food, Souvenirs everything is here. But the cost is equally high - I did not find any local Sri Lankans shopping at this place, all were tourists especially western tourists.
The food outlets outside this mall are pretty good, they have some Indian thali also which was quite nice.

Paradise Road : You will find lots of Off-beat stuff here for Homeware, designer items, collectibles, candles etc. This is good for buying small gifts for your friends back in India. This is a small store, so you can wrap this in half-hour.

House of Fashion : Have you been to Mega-mart or Big Bazaar in India. Yes, this is the Big Bazaar of SriLanka. This is on the way to the Airport, so we wrapped up everything, and on the way to the Airport, stopped by here and stocked the shopping bags. Lots of stuff, from toys, to candles, to specialized soaps, organic spices, Clothes, stolls, shoes, bags everything. It is reasonably priced. Look for the labels before you buy (as lots of stuff says 'Made in India').

Tea: When in doubt what to buy, the Sri Lankan tea is very popular. Some of the key brands being Dilmah, Ceylon tea, Zesta and many more. These can be purchased from any Supermarket in Sri Lanka. I brought lots of Dilmah tea for my family and myself. It is very good.

Post this, we headed to the airport and back to India. So this is the last in the Sri Lanka Series. I might write some more about the Budget of the trip and how to self-plan the Sri Lanka itinerary in a different blog post :)

Other Articles in the Sri Lanka Series :

1. Sri Lanka Itinerary
2. Bentota - Beach town
3. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
4. Kandy
5. Sigiriya.. Ravan's fort
6. Dambulla.. Caves and Golden temple
7. Colombo Trip Part 1

P.S : All pictures in this article are original and clicked from my DLSR D5300 camera and iPhone 6 :)


Oregano Soul food.. Quiet little Italian cafe.. Whitefield

http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Creamy Mushroom Risotto in Butter Chicken sauce
Its Friday again and every weekend I go out and try a new place in Bangalore.. Last weekend, I stumbled across this small little cafe in Whitefield called Oregano Soul food. Checked the ratings and went ahead for the evening.

Ambiance: 3/5
Low profile ambiance. Very quiet.. this is a house converted to a cafe.. so I could see a few tables. It is open with a shed on top.. so cool breeze made the mood for the day. Lights are dim and there is a mild music. Seats are wooden, nothing special.
http://www.bootsandbutter.com/

Food : 3.5/5
The menu is very limited - some smoothies, coffee, Snacks, sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta, Risotto etc. The pricing is very reasonable and menu is short and sweet. 
We ordered the following :
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Peach Smoothie with Cheese toast
Peach Smoothie - Nice sweet milkshake with Peach flavor

http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Cheese Chilli Toast
Cheese Chilly Toast : It was more like a soft cheese bread, but very tasty though

Mushroom Risotto with butter chicken sauce : This was the best of all - very tasty, I suggest this is a must-try thing on the menu. The Risotto rice was very soft and creamy with lots of boiled mushrooms. The butter chicken gravy was amazing and mixed with the risotto rice, it was just magical. 

Margarita Cheese Pizza: This was nice, thin crust pizza with good cheese. But it was normal, not out of the world.
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Pizzaaaaa !!!
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http://www.bootsandbutter.com/
Outer facade of Oregano Soul food
Price : I think it is reasonably priced. My bill for the above (Pizza, Cheese toast, Risotto, and Smoothie) was ~ INR 700

Location : Whitefield, Behind the new Brigade Lakefront. Coming from Hoodi, take the turn after Madhura office or before the Petrol pump. It is a small cafe inside that lane. Or you could follow Google maps - it is correct.

Address
61, Seetharampalya - Hoodi Road, Whitefield, Bangalore
Overall my rating : 3.5/5P.S - All pictures are taken from my iPhone 6 camera.


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Oregano Soul Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato