"What's in the name?"-  Shakespeare 

In our society, if a woman is not carrying her husband's surname after marriage, they start judging about her character.In a study published in Basic and Applied Psychology in 2010 showed that women who change their names after marriage are more typically viewed as more "caring and emotional," while women who kept their last names were viewed as "smarter and more ambitious."

If women take her husband's surname after marriage, it is a sign of commitment.REALLY? I don't think it makes much sense.

Our Indian society has abundant parameters to explain a girl's character; her loyalty towards her husband, responsibility towards her house and dedication towards her in-laws. But what about her parents who give her all these characteristics? She leaves everything behind after marriage. Can't she even carry surname given by her father -  the name she is known by till now?
Marriage changes everything in a girl's life. She leaves her home, her family, her emotions everything and starts a new life. Does that mean she should leave her identity also?
I still carry my father surname even after my marriage and I proudly introduce myself with my maiden name.

I am happy to have my maiden family attach to me like this, because of whom I exist in this world. My name is a gift from my parents. They gave me my morals, my quality, my features, my habits everything. I still carry everything then why should I leave the identity given by them.

Many girls don't like to change their name after marriage but they do it just because of social trends and orthodox system. Recently, I have seen many girls starting to use their husband's first name instead of their surname or both the surnames (own and husband)  – maybe -- because that looks more appealing.

I remember when I didn't change my name on facebook after marriage, my friends started asking questions about it - "Awww…You have not change your name on facebook?"

Many of the girls are very happy to do it. So I don't want to change their opinion here. I think it should be a personal choice, not a mandatory transformation.
I don't have any hard feelings for the people who do not agree with my point of view but I have the full reservation to not adhere to any stereotypes.

I like to thank my husband that he honors my independence and my decision. He never judges me with this label and not even asked if I would change it. He knows that I am his and don't require any name change for that.
If we talk about gender equality, we need to consider this fact –He carries his father's name and I carry mine.
Yes, there would be problems some times. People will still look us in a suspicious way and we might need to keep our marriage certificate handy. But every change needs time in the beginning. And, problems might come. But, I think it's worth when you stand for what you believe.
My name – My identity
Signing off
Vinni Balyan

McLeodganj View

Planning

Mcleodganj was on my list for a long time.  As Delhi was burning like hell in June, so the McLeodGanj came into the picture to get some relief from the heat.  Summer time is the peak season in Mcleodganj.  You get to see places full of tourist from Delhi and Punjab.  It's better to book your hotel and travel well in advance to avoid last minute rush and rest can be taken care of.

Budget- As we were traveling in a group of six people we took an estimate of 5000/- each

Duration- 3 Days / 2 Night

Month of Travel- Last week of June

How to reach

Bus (the most convenient) - Bus (the most convenient) - We started our journey from Delhi by taking an overnight (11 hrs) bus from Majnu Ka Tilla.  Frequent bus services are available and you can book it from the website like PayTm, Redbus or Goibibo.  Buses were clean and comfortable so overall we had a fairly comfortable journey.

Round Trip Bus ticket- 2400 per person (Volvo/Mercedes)

Flight - One can also take a flight from Delhi to Dharamshala and from there, you will have to book a taxi to Mcleodganj which will take around 50 minute.

Train - The other option is a train till Pathankot and then a two hour drive by road.

On the way to Mcleodganj

Where to stay

Getting a good stay in McLeodGanj is not a problem if you book in advance.  I am not mentioning my hotel name as I had a very bad experience but you can go for TripAdvisor rating and choose a decent hotel.  In peak season they really don't care if you stay or leave.  All the hotels are fully occupied so you have to make some adjustments during peak seasons like June and July.  In the hotel, sometimes you can face water shortage problem or power cut, so be prepared mentally (you can't do anything about it).

Cost - 1000/- Per night with twin sharing (500 Each person)

For two nights, I spent 500x2=1000 on hotel.

Total spent so far- (To and Fro Bus+Hotel) 3400/-

View of Mcleodganj from my hotel

What to do

A 2-3 days trip is enough to cover Dharamsala and Mcleodganj.

You can dedicate
  1. One day to Mcleodganj 
  2.  One day to Triund Trek 
  3. And one full day to Dharamsala

Day 1 - Mcleodganj

Bhagsu Fall

Bhagsu fall

Bhagsu Temple


This is one of the prime attractions in Mcleodganj.   It is a two kilometers trek and worth going to.   Enjoy the scenic beauty and rejuvenate yourself with the effect of ice cold water and green lush surrounding.   You can spend some quality time here by dipping your feet into the water and adorning the beauty of nature.   There are few small cafes out there where you can enjoy some tea, Maggie etc.
There is also notoriously infamous, Shiva Café which is around 1 km from fall.  If you are not too tired from the trek to fall, go to this café where you can find your next tea or coffee served.  Sit there and relax while you enjoy the cold breeze flowing through your body.  The breathtaking view is worth the hike.

Tsunglagkhang & Kalchakra Temple 

Kalchakra Temple

Temple

You can visit Tsunglagkhang complex which is a 10-minute walk from the market.  This place is Dalai Lama's residence.  You can see the Tibetan culture and some monks in action here.   Also, check out the Kalachakra temple which is in the market itself.

Church of St.  Johns

St Johns Church 

St Johns Church

This is just one km away from the main market.  It was built in 1852 in dedication to John the Baptist.  It is also the final resting place of Lord Ergin, governor general and viceroy of India during the British Raj.  You'll get the stunning view of the valley from this place.

  Dal lake and Naddi View Point

Naddi view point

Dal Lake

Oh yes this is named after the Dal Lake of Srinagar, but we didn't find it as beautiful.  It is a small 3 km trek from Mcleodganj.  You can sit here and relax as the lake has calming beauty and surrounded by deodar trees.  Another 2km away is Naddi view point from where you can see the Dhauladhar Range at such a close distance.  Just sit there relax watching the majestic mountain and enjoy the sunset.  

Cost- There is no entry fee anywhere so we only spent on food. You can spend as less or as big on food items here as variety is unlimited. 

Breakfast Lunch Dinner- 370 /-per person 

Total spent - 3770/- per person

Day 2 - Triund trek

Trek in Mcleodganj

View during trek

View of Mcleodganj
Now, this should be your main purpose to go to Mcleodganj.  Triund offers you an escape into the majestic Himalayas.  It Is about 9 km trek from Mcleodganj and provides you a breathtaking scenic view of entire Kangra Valley.  There are few places en-route to get refreshments. You will get everything from Maggi to trek basics like a torch, toiletries and all.  But food options en-route and at the top is very limited. You can choose for an overnight stay by booking in advance.  Ask your hotel to arrange it for you, they will provide a guide as well as a stay including food.

Cost- We trek on our own so spent only on eateries 

Maggie, Snacks, Food- 260/- per person


Total spent- 4030/- per person

Day 3- Dharamshala

As from the trek, you will be tired, so you can hire a taxi to take a trip to Dharamshala.  You can get a taxi with decent price here and it will be easy to cover all the major attraction of Dharamshala in one day.  

A tip: Don't look for the travel booking agencies to get a taxi. You can come to McLeodGanj Square and can see a taxi booth. Negotiate harder with them and you can get a small cab (4+1 driver) in Rs. 1000-1500 and SUV (6+1 Driver) in Rs. 2000-2500. You can visit 6 points in Dharamsala – Museum, War Memorial, HPCA Cricket Stadium, Tea garden, Karmapa Temple and Norbulingka Institute. These are enough. If you want to go further, you can go to Kangra valley and Chamunda Temple but we stopped ourselves here.
After reaching Dharamshala, you should start with the State Museum àTea Garden àWar Memorial à HPCA Stadium  à Norbulingka Institute àKarmapa Temple (Gyuto Monastery), then back to McLeodganj. 

Kangra Art Museum

Kangra art museum 

Artist at museum 

Museum 

If you have taste for sculptures, paintings, and statues - this is the place for you. You will get to see the things discovered through the excavation of old civilization. You can also see artists doing a beautiful painting. Entry ticket cost is rupees 20.

Tea Garden

Tea garden Dharamshala

Tea garden Dharamshala

Dharamshala has beautifully lined and organized tea gardens.  One can enjoy Walking in between the lanes of the gardens and clicking whole lot of photographs.

 War Memorial

Salute to our heroes 
Name written of brave heroes

Very close to HPCA stadium, it is situated in the pine forests and builds in the memory our real heroes who fought for saving our motherland.  There is a very big park where you can relax and have fun. Entry ticket will cost you 10 rupees.

 HPCA Stadium

HPCA Stadium 

HPCA Stadium 

It's pretty small though but has a breathtaking view with snow-capped mountains at the background. The beautiful stadium is open for tourist even if no matches are being played here, so do check out this scenic beauty!

 Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka Institute

Norbulingka Institute

Doll museum Norbulingka Institute

Doll museum Norbulingka Institute

I just loved this place the main objective of Norbulingka is to preserve and encourage Tibetan arts and culture.  This place in a tranquil setting with beautiful gardens is very differently built and has a very positive and attractive vibe to it.  The doll museum also there shows various rituals of their festival celebrations dance forms etc.  The institute has a restaurant and café as well where you can sit and enjoy some fine coffee. There is an entry ticket cost of rupees 20.

 Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery

Beautiful Gyuto Monastery

Monks working on painting in Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery

The place is very peaceful and clean.  You can see monks chanting and doing a different kind of works.  Beautiful paintings and idols of Lord Buddha embellish the place and the Dhauladhar range can be seen in the background.

Cost- Taxi- Total 2400/-(400/- per person)

Food- 425/- per person

Entry tickets-50 /- per person

Total- 4900/- per person

What/ where to eat

The Infamous Shiva's Cafe

Thai Lunch at Four seasons Cafe, McLeodGanj

Restaurants here serve up delicious Tibetan food.  Enjoy yummiest Thupka and Momos in Tibet kitchen.  We also loved the chow mien and delicious pasta of Four seasons café.  Every café has a variety of dishes to offer, each in their own signature style.

Where to shop

Streets of Mcleodganj - Best place to shop.


Shopping in Mcleodganj has plenty to offer.  Tibetan silver jewelry, Tibetan Singing Bowls, different types of Buddha Statutes, wind chimes, home decorating items, thangkas, mini prayer wheels and colorful Tibetan flags.You can also pick up hand-knitted scarfs, slippers, and cute bracelets  and bangles .While the high prices may put you off initially, put your bargaining skills to the test for a better deal.
We did only a few shopping as prices were really high and we had already crossed our budget.

The Amazing Singing Bowl

Singing Bowl

Check out more about Amazing Singing Bowl


We took the bus from Mcleodgunj to Delhi in the evening; you can also board the bus from Dharamshala.

With some happy and beautiful memories, we bid good bye to this beautiful place, until we meet again.

Bonus Tip- You can cut down on mention budget by doing some saving like instead of a taxi to Dharamshala you can start a little early around 8 am or 9 am and take the bus to Dharamshala. It costs you Rs 15-20 per person and then hire a cab/taxi from Dharamshala to tour the local place. The taxi from there will cost you Rs 600-1000 depending on the season.

I will not suggest traveling on your own vehicle to Mcleodgunj in peak season, as I have seen people stuck in traffic for more than 7-8 hours. Obviously, you don't want to ruin your whole fun by sitting in car whole day. Even hotels also don't have parking space, if you like to travel by car it's better to park it when you reach Mcleodgunj and trek to all the nearby places, it will save your time as well as you will feel the essence of the place.

Should you feel to add up your experience that can help others planning a trip to McLeodganj, please feel free to write in the comments.

Let me know if you have any question, I would love to answer them. :-)
Someone says “True love” is like a ghost that everyone talks about but only few have seen. It’s true somehow when you search the whole world just to find that one person with whom you want to share your life and he exists undiscovered in this universe.  Planning for marriage starts not when your parents start the search but basically when your neighbors and relatives come and ask in a sarcastic tone to your parents “koi ladka nahi dekha”?


You start looking young guy with a question mark – “Is he the one I am looking for?”. And then the calculation starts for good and bad in him. But the hardest part is   that when we find that the creature is already engaged. Our calculation stops and then we start blaming why the bloody hell all the good guys are married or engaged. If he would have meet me before we would have been such a nice pair? Ohhh…! I will not get a person like him again. And then we think that there is no point in liking someone, I will accept whoever my parents choose for me.


The most difficult situation is when your parents introduce a boy and explain about him like he is the only prince left on the earth. You want to reply them hard, but you stop yourself as it may hurt their feelings.



Your heart-beat start increasing with a high pace when your mother says “ek ladka hai if you…… ??”. You just want to go away without replying anything. How can you say YES or NO just by knowing the name or by knowing how much property/asset he has. It becomes very difficult to identify someone especially, when he is trying to be the best one for you. You don’t know if the person is real"HIM" or a fake "HIM".


Life is so unpredictable. You want that Mr. Perfect and search for him every here and there. But sometime, he is just in front of you and you miss to recognize him, or sometime, you don’t want to recognize him because you are afraid that your parents and/or relatives would not accept him, and you start pushing yourself hard to like someone just for the sake of your parent’s choice. But is there any harm in liking someone? It’s you who has to spend all good and bad time together for rest of your life. Life will be so beautiful and comfortable if you are with the one you have choose by choice not by compulsion.


You may get a loving partner, money, lifestyle etc., yet something may still be missing …. a connection that the soul inconspicuously seeks! You can find these errors in anyone but when YOU choose, you stop blaming others because you know it’s your decision, not for the sake of others.

Sometime I wonder why the hell people want to get married ……? But it’s unexplainable. You always want a partner to share your life. You know that you will never be alone and he/she will always support you in your good and bad times. He/She will never say – “it’s over/ let’s take a break.”



I read somewhere that you need a husband, for he’ll not break into a “bachelor’s” party or visit clubs when separated from you, even for a while…but lie dull and low. He’ll openly acknowledge there’s no joy without you, even in the merriest of recreations!  He will hold your hand when both of you have gray hair and visit park. By looking at the young couples, just to cheer you, he will say “we still make the best couple and you still look beautiful”.


Anyhow this is the most adventures phase of my life .I don’t know what new turn my life will take and who will be the one to make my journey more beautiful and memorable.
Hope everyone gets the perfect one. 🙂

When to get married?

Once you found your soul mate, the biggest quest is accomplished and the next big task is to decide to get married and plan your big day. The minute you get engaged, everyone will be asking for your wedding date. But in reality, you won't be able to set an exact date until finalizing other major decisions. When to get married? is one of the most important question and required a lot of planning that you have to make as a couple. This is your special day that you have been waiting for and now when it is finally right around the corner, you don’t want to leave any room for the mistakes and flaws. As you plan this wonderful day, you both will continue to feel great joy as this is the most important time of your life and you want everything to be perfect and according to your choice as well. So it is natural that you may also experience a few butterflies and a little confusion. After all, organizing a ceremony and reception is a big undertaking. So here are few tips which might sound simple and repetitive but will surely help you to plan the official celebration of your love and commitment.

# 1.First Thing to- do before saying I-do # plan your budget!




It’s important to create a wedding budget before you begin preparing for the big Indian wedding. Each part of your plan depends on how much money you actually have to spend and it will help you to decide the kind of wedding you want to have. It’s important to stick to a budget and to keep your wishes realistic. While this is a very special day in your life, it's not an excuse to be wildly extravagant with money you don't have. Sit down with your fiancé and families and figure out which elements are most important for you like the type of catering, your favorite photographer, entertainment, décor etc This will affect every decision and purchase you make, so be sure to work out your budget before you start planning.

# 2.Make a plan to plan your wedding day



While you don’t have to set a firm date now, it’s smart to have an idea of what month or season you want to marry in. Then you’ll know how long you have to get things organized. Discuss with your partner how you want to celebrate your perfect wedding day , like you want to have a big fat wedding, a small get together or a destination wedding and how many guest you like to invite. The number of guest you want to invite has a trickle-down effect on all the matters related to the wedding planning, so it would be a smart way to write the list sooner rather than later. While planning your final guest count you should consider your total budget and the invitation requirements. The count of the guest list will not only affect your budget but will also set the mood and tone of the day. It will help to set size of your wedding party and a venue accordingly.
# 3.Choose your significant date 


In Hindu marriage the date is usually based on the auspicious day and time given by pundit. Marriage is believed to be the beginning of a new life. You might want to choose the same date as anniversary of your parents or Grandparents, or you may want to tie the knot on the anniversary of your first date, the date you meet first or when he bend down on knees and pooped the question. Consider all the factors while choosing a date like availability of your favorite venue, your photographer or other family events.

# 4.Consider factor of holidays




Think twice before getting married on a holiday as there are pros and cons of it. Although it may be super fun to marry on holiday but you want to celebrate your wedding date for the years to come not just because it was also a New Year eve or a valentine day. Another fact to keep in mind is the costs that are associated with holiday weddings. Like if your wedding is on valentine day, finding Rosses would be difficult and will increase your budget. So work the date out for public holidays, weekend, exams, family matters or religious concerns so that it is convenient for maximum people to celebrate your big day.
# 5.Check your schedule before hand



Consider the busiest time in profession and plan you wedding accordingly. For example if you are in an accountant you may want to skip the year end dates for your wedding. Finalize the schedule with your family, as how many days would be enough for the rituals also match it with availability of your partner, if he or she is also a working professional. Many couple wants to plan their honeymoon immediately after wedding, so be sure you both of you get enough days off to enjoy your pre wedding schedule and post wedding holidays.

# 6.Choose wisely – consider off season discounts





Winter time is most favorable time in India and so it is the most expensive time of the year to get married. The most popular marrying month are December and January followed by November and February. Choosing a date between mid of February and September open the doors to negotiate better pricing and help you to maintain your wedding budget. You can also grab many good deals as off seasons discount from wedding planers. This way you can book your dream wedding venue or photographer and also end up with big saving.
# 7.Weather according to your wedding style




Weather plays an important role to include in your wedding date consideration. It is true you can’t control the weather but you should always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Weather will not only affect your wedding's style and location, but it will also set a completely different mood. Decide the style and type of wedding you want to have. As do you want to marry indoors or out? On the beach, at a hotel or in an open farm house or in a cozy lounge. Weather factor will affect your dream venue, wedding photos, attire and even your guest attendance, so keep weather factor in mind when finalizing for your dream day.
The moral of the story is to make sure you give yourself enough time to plan for the things that are truly important to you. So do not rush into things and consider all the factors while planning your big day. All of the things mentioned above will surely help you to design your wedding day and make it memorable. You need to be considered all the fact together at the same time as they are all depending on each other really. But that’s a good thing; because it will help you start setting the “tone” of your wedding. Take helping hands of your family and consult a wedding planner if you have a busy schedule. Hiring a wedding planner would be a good idea as he can help you with any or all of the things you will have to do. They have the skill, the experience and the contacts to help keep things running smoothly. But they can only do it effectively when you share your input, like they suggest you for a wedding theme or a wedding venue but it’s you who select.


Have a happy planning, get marries and enjoy your big day to the fullest.

I am sure you must have some thought after reading this piece of my experience. Would you mind writing few words of your opinion in comments? I'd really appreciate it.