Month: March 2016

Why I Travel Solo

“So when are we leaving? What days have you applied for a leave, at your workplace?” I asked my friend Alok, with whom I was trying to partner up for a few-week long motorbike expedition in Himalayas. A long silence at his end was a clear invitation to realise that the deal is cancelled. “No man, the thing is I might not be coming along, something really urgent has come up,” he confessed, in his usual tone. This happened yesterday, and since last 24 hours, I’m constantly consoling him to reconsider, like a stubborn, innocent kid, trying to make him realise what he will miss, if he doesn’t come along. None of my friends wants to replace him either – everyone is busy with their work, sorting their lives in an ever systematic order. “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready” Henry David Thoreau And then I realised it’s the same pattern that has been repeating over the years. Though some people …

Theyyam: More Than A Fancy Display Of Enactments

When it comes to telling old folklores or mythological stories, people in India often do it the hard way – by enacting dance or drama on stage. There is some kind of liveliness in such performances that not only give life to the original stories, but also bring our life to a state of exuberance and enthusiasm. When you watch a set of people doing complicated dance moves or enacting mythical characters – you get a sense of awe and experience a whole new reality. I think that is the beauty of such mythological stage plays. And North Kerala’s Theyyam, a popular ritual for worship in the north Malabar region (North Kerala), whose origin can be traced back to over 800 years, is no exception. With a series of ritual dance performances incorporating dance, mime and music, Theyyam showcases the ancient tribal cultures, where performers represents a heroic character with divine power – by wearing heavy make-up, huge masks and flamboyant costumes to give a dramatic appearance. The headgear and other ornamental items – which are mostly prepared …

How I Afford My Travels

After more than two years of uninterrupted travel, the most common question I still get is: “How do you afford traveling all the time?” Well, here’s my answer… For nearly two consecutive years now, I have been living out of my backpack, while exploring an assortment of new places all over the globe. And because of that,  the commonest question I get is, “how do I afford to travel so much?”. To most of the people it looks like I am having a blast (which I sure am). But there’s more to it. I’ve worked hard to make this happen. I use different sources to sustain my travel. And interestingly, even after two years of constant travelling, I am still looking looking for ways to make money out of it. But first things first, here’s how I DON’T fund my travels. My parents, family, and friends don’t give a dime to my globetrotting. And there is no single company sponsoring my ventures. Though I keep finding temporary sponsors, on the way, but I do not have any one organisation, taking care …

Life In The Backwaters Of Alleppey, Kerala

Tourists in their fancy houseboats seemed high in spirit, with their impressive camera doing most of the work. But in the local ferry, the atmosphere was rather regular. Here, no one appeared to be in hurry or amazed by the arresting beauty of the backwaters in Alleppey – one of the prime highlights of tourism in Kerala. I heard a lot about the backwaters of Kerala. I heard that tourists here hire a floating houseboat and wander through its maze of interconnected lagoons, canals, lakes and inlets – home to a dazzling assortment of flora and fauna, and local villages. I heard that they spend days sitting on the deck, experiencing the tranquility of this place, with a book in their hand, while swiftly sailing through one village to the other. I wanted to explore this place too, but my own way. And here I was, in a government ferry, surrounded by a bunch of locals who were heading back from the mainland of Alleppey, with all the ration they needed, and a newspaper that they’d …

In Photos: Discovering Fort Kochi By Foot

Every place has its own defining attraction. When it comes to Kochi, the cultural capital of Kerala, The Jew Town and the Chinese fishing nets make the headlines of the travel guide books. But there is much more to see and a plenty more to do in Kochi, and the best way to submerge in its romantically artistic and historic outlook, is by travelling on foot. Ideally Kochi has two parts, the new Kochi (South Ernakulum) and the old harbour part (popularly known as Fort Kochi). Fort Kochi can easily be the most non-Keralite city. It does not give you the Kerala we picture in our mind. It does not have the relaxing house boats, nor does it have the ever-expected views of street-lined coconut trees. Expect something more refreshing when you’re here. From the smell of spices in its small streets, to some of the most colourful architecture in India – Fort Kochi has its own charm, and remains the favourite destination for tourists, over the new Kochi. Its narrow and confined streets seem …

Indian Railways: Always Having The Best Stories To Tell

Train journeys in India have always fascinated me. A 24 hour drive on any route, in any direction, and you feel the entire India. From bucolic country-sides to sedative garbage dumps – you get to see it all. Not to mention, a variety of interesting people, you meet on the way who challenge the ambiguity of an Indian mind, and its awkwardness, or better put, its ludicrously confusing state. Iam writing this as I struggle to grab myself from an arresting view of open farmlands, perfectly beautified by a group of silent, comely hills in the backdrop (near Mumbai) – something far more magical than the open skies of an airplane’s window. And only a few seconds later the landscape changes into an almost dried, soundless river, with a couple of fishermen in their boats – battling to acquire their routine dinner. I was almost spellbound, when I realised that I’ve still got a lot more to see and a plenty more to experience – as in the next few hours I will enter into the …

Rishikesh – From Being A Land Of Yogis To A Hub Of Tourism

If you turn off the main road that leads to Shivpuri – the starting point of River Rafting into the holy Ganges – and walk about the small alleys of Rishikesh, you’d find that the place is swirling with all kind of adventure sport and tour companies – alluring tourists to partake into its cultural destruction, by making Rishikesh nothing but just another weekend getaway around us. For those who can see its invisible forces and read all the unseen currents in the air, Rishikesh is a magical world. It is one of those places where you come to regain your inner consciousness and learn about maintaining a harmony with the world – by staying close to the Ganges and under the undiluted purity of Himalayas. Yet for many, the town has become a place for enchantment, for having a few pints of beer, and enjoy the aggression of Ganges, rafting and kayaking. But that’s not what Rishikesh’s real charm, at least not in its real sense. I’ve some personal attachment to this place, some affection – …

Hampi: A Journey Back Into The Time

When in Hampi, you experience a difference sense of reality. A reality, which dates back its existence thousands of years ago. I’ve seen remote towns of Laddakh and the isolated mountains of Bhutan but the kind of unfamiliarity this place made me feel was, by far, unparalleled! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to my Youtube channel,  for more travel videos. 

How To Overcome Loneliness: Tips For A First Timer Solo Traveler

I woke up confused, almost in Haze, questioning myself, “How the hell did I crack my iPhone’s screen?” “Did I break it while I was sleeping?”  Then a closer look, still half asleep, and I realized that it wasn’t broken. It was the new wallpaper that I’d installed a few days ago. It made the screen looked as if it were cracked.  I was simply being groggy. I couldn’t see clearly, as negative thoughts had held sway over my thinking process. It had been a few long weeks, since I was travelling. Alone! And having no one to speak with, I had become a lone, grumpy traveller.  This is how the gloominess of solo travelling first hit me. And as I remember, it hit me hard. When I’d initially left for my first ever solo trip, I expected a fictional reality – based on my imagination and popular culture. I thought my trip was going to be amazing. Crazy thing were going to happen to me. I’d make friend everywhere. Locals would invite me for dinners. It was just going to …