Singer Manjari came into the limelight by lending her voice to 'mukilin makale,' a song in the movie 'Makalku' released in 2005. That song earned Manjari Kerala Government's award for the best playback singer that year and there has no looking back for the singer since then.
Over the last 15 years, Manjari has sung numerous songs for Malayalam and Tamil films, along with winning over fans with her albums and Hindustani ghazals.
Manjari, who holds music close to her heart, also derives equal pleasure from travelling. Even though travelling is not possible in these times of lockdowns, Manjari has a long list of destinations which she has already visited. "Each trip rejuvenates my mind and makes me happy," she says.
Speaking to Onmanorama, the singer said that, "I have set out on many trips but love visiting places with my family. Instead of travelling to several destinations, I prefer to choose a few places and plan a trip," she reveals.
"Whenever I reach a new place, I try to learn about the history, culture, and local legends," Manjari adds.
Rains and mangoes dominate the singer's childhood memories as she used to travel from Muscat to Kerala during every annual vacation. "During Oman, the vacations were in June and July. We used to land at Kozhikode airport and travel to my mother's house at Taliparamba in Kannur. There would be heavy rains in Kerala during those months. Besides, the mangoes and sweet-smelling flowers of many hues were the other attractions," recalls Manjari.
"We spent nearly two months at Taliparamba and they are among my sweetest memories," she says.
Manjari's college days were spent in Thiruvananthapuram and she became active in singing for movies then. "I could travel to many places for stage shows and recordings but a great deal of time was spent at airports," according to the singer. With no chance to visit the tourist spots, Manjari says she has nothing to remember about those journeys.
Her first long trip for a show took her to 20 countries. "While I gave Hindustani music recitals, actress Shobhana presented her dance. Our first stop was Switzerland and the climate there was so different from our land. So, I took special care to protect my voice. In fact, after each show, I took rest in my hotel room," says Manjari.
She also visited many parts of Europe, Middle East and even the Vatican as part of her shows. "At Vatican, there was an exhibition of microphones. All microphones produced till then were displayed and as a singer, I found the event very interesting," reveals Manjari.
Other places the singer has travelled to include Germany, Paris, 17 states in the US, Amsterdam, London, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Kumarakom and Ludhiana
In Kerala, Manjari's favourite destination is Kumarakom. "I've gone there more than once with my family. It is a beautiful spot blessed by nature and I love the backwaters as well as the local cuisine," she says.
Meanwhile, Manjari's preferred locations in India include Rajasthan, Ludhiana, Benares, Agra and Kolakata. "The palaces in Rajasthan are an example of our rich cultural heritage. Apart from the architecture, I find the history attached to the palaces interesting," informs the singer. She also loves Delhi for the same reason.
Manjari's other preferred spots include Shimla for its cold and nature; Benares with the Kashi Viswanath Temple, Ludhiana and Kolkata.
"Ludhiana is a land crisscrossed by canals carrying water to green fields. The lush fields have their own charm. Another journey I enjoyed was a road trip to Surat. However, as it was on a Sunday that I reached Kolkata and all the shops were closed, I couldn't even enjoy 'rasagulla'" says Manjari.
Other places she has been to in the country include Chennai, Bengaluru, Goa and Mumbai.
Manjari loves shopping during her trips. "My preferred items are cosmetics and clothes. Once, in New York, I bought so many things that I wondered whether another suitcase wasn't needed to pack everything," she reveals.
A food lover
Whenever Manjari plans a trip to place, she tries to learn about the tastiest dishes there. "My favourites include the 'rasam' and 'poriyal' served with lunch in Chennai; pancake from I Hope in New York; mutton dishes of Rajasthan and Hyderabadi biriyani, among others," she explains.
"My first foreign trip was to Germany and London along with family. I was aged 10 then and remember enjoying the 'pork belly' in Munich. It is the tastiest pork dish I've ever had," says the singer.
Passion for flowers
Apart from food, Manjari loves flowers, especially roses. "The sight of flowers of various hues blooming is one of my favourite sights. My dream destination is a place where tasty food and colourful flowers could be enjoyed," she says.
Manjari lists New York, Sydney and Singapore as her special destinations. "Once during a trip to New York for a show, there was a break of two weeks and I spent the time touring the city and shopping. Sydney too has influenced me with beautiful flowers and landscapes. It is a planned city. I visited every attraction in Singapore sticking to a strict time schedule. A guide accompanied me and explained everything. It was a truly worthwhile trip and I have loved Singapore ever since," says the celebrity.