My Life In Travel: Madhur Jaffrey

'Every sense goes into high gear when you're faced with the unfamiliar'


First holiday memory?

First holiday memory?

With my family when I was around five years old on our way to the Himalayan hill station of Dalhousie. It was so different to what we were used to, because there was fog and mist, which we thought was very romantic. The holiday began as soon as we stepped on to the overnight train. My mother always packed tiffin-carriers full of food for the journey. The servants, who travelled with us, had laid out all the bedding. I remember sitting on the soft quilts and digging into the koftas (meatballs), potatoes with cumin and mango pickles, using the lovely fluffy pooris (bread) as plates.

Best holiday?

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts with all my children and grandchildren. We rent a six-bedroom house right on the beach every year, which is just perfect. They are the best holidays because they have all the ingredients that are important to me - my family, the water and wonderful fresh food from farms and the sea - the whole family cooks and eats together.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The Lake District. My sister has a house there. I love the endless moors with the grazing sheep and the unsteady skies.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Travelling reveals the real world, not the one you read about. The brain and every sense goes into high gear when you are faced with the unfamiliar. I remember a volcano blowing up when we were on the tiny island of Ternate in Indonesia. The Sultan of Ternate went into the crater to ask his buried ancestors what had caused this imbalance in nature. I travelled with him to a neighbouring island where he dealt with the problems that he believed had caused the eruption. The volcano subsequently subsided. It was another way of thinking.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband. I travel quite a lot through work and often he'll join me at the end of a trip.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I look for good food, good art and the natural beauties of the land when I'm travelling.

Greatest travel luxury?

I like a clean, comfortable bed and hot showers.

Holiday reading?

Nothing serious. Mostly art, architecture, decorating and garden design magazines, so I don't have to concentrate too much. I prefer to just lie back and be gently titillated.

Where has seduced you?

There are so many places. Japanese inns, travelling along the Bosphorus in Turkey, the white houses perched high on the Greek island of Santorini, Tuscany, Martha's Vineyard, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Kerala and the island of Banda in Indonesia. India is a place close to my heart. I grew up in Delhi and go back regularly.

Better to travel or arrive?

It's better to arrive. I hate airports and the endless waiting around. Cars are another matter, because one can stop at will, eat locally, walk in a vineyard or through a camel fair.

Worst travel experience?

Being delayed at JFK by a blizzard and then subsequently missing a series of connections.

Worst holiday?

I tend to see the bright side and have got something out of every holiday.

Worst hotel?

I once stayed in a shoebox of a room near the airport in Tokyo.

Best hotel?

I love the Taj Hotel in Bombay. I have been going there since I was a girl. Perhaps it is just my association with the place. I feel that I have been granted a boon when I am there.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Walking along the beach near the cliffs of Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard.

Best meal abroad?

There have been too many. I have had spectacular meals at the Tawaraya Inn in Kyoto, with fresh, creamy bean curd amongst the other delicacies. Also in Tuscany, with grilled portobello mushrooms and fried artichoke hearts and in India with venison pickle or fresh rice noodles. As a child I used to go on great picnics too, which inspired my love of food - cooking was a central part of growing up and we always had good food at home.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Ask where the best fresh produce market is.

Dream trip?

I never want to stop exploring, so it would be somewhere I have not yet been, like Chile.

Favourite city?

San Francisco and Sydney. They are both similar - they both have great restaurants and architecture that is particular to the land that they're built on. I love that. They are both very integrated, with people from all over the world living as one. I like the fact that they are by the sea too, since I grew up in a land-locked city.

Where next?

Who knows? Patagonia maybe.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee