Month: April 2016

Bylakuppe: A Visit To The Tibet Of South

If you catch it at the right angle, where I found myself sitting, inside the premises of Namdroling monastery, Bylakuppe, surrounded by the bright and cheerful company of Buddhists, among which many were the first generation Tibetan immigrants, it can give off something of the light of fairly-tale. Speaking of the fairy-tale, I remember, I was once told that one of the greatest miseries of human condition is that we are not always keen to give up on our fairy tales. We expect our lives to turn into something magical, something extraordinary from this moment and far-off from the world we know. We spend our lives cradling such hopes and in the end realise the truth, almost impatiently. “We are like dogs barking at the injustice of the universe when our keeper goes out, to buy us some more food” William James Most of the people of the 21st century are found either making false promises to their future, or finding excuses to shroud the mistakes they had done in the past. But the people here, …

Kanyakumari: Life In A Day (In Pictures)

At the southernmost part of India is located the town of Kanyakumari, where India concludes its boundaries, almost gracefully, surrounded by the mighty and endless Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal – from all its directions. Known for its mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets, Kanyakumari entertains hundreds of Indian tourists flocking in everyday. But when it comes to the life of locals who are living here, everything becomes much usual and far more ordinary. Here, life in Kanyakumari in a day, for tourists and locals, alike: 5:50AM The city wakes up, as dawn starts breaking over the horizon, shell pink and faintly gold. 8:00AM A bunch of tourist figuring their way in Devi Kanya Kumari Temple – looking all but a little confused. 9:00AM Little boy chasing his dreams, or perhaps shaping them, by taking inspiration from the majestic and the endless sea. 12:00PM A street seller awaiting his first customer of the day, during the wee hours of the noon. 12:00PM “He is very intelligent, always choose the correct card,” says a tarot card reader, trying to persuade me, as a tourist. …

Kerala: A Well-Behaved, Tranquil State; Truly A God’s Own Country

Kerala, the southernmost state of India, as I found, has some sort of warmth in its air.  Its people, despite walking fast – with their lungis, all tucked up –never seem to be in hurry. This place has some sort of force – full of magic, and if it is, it speaks for a magic that only knows the language of friendliness and peace. They say, people in Kerala are most educated, I say they are well learnt. And what makes them so qualified is the culture they follow and the kindness they preach. I always wondered what’s in this place (and perhaps in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu) that it gave India so many great teachers of philosophy – from Shankracharya to Chinmayananda, and many others; and I found the answer only when, at last, I personally visited this part of my country. Almost every other person here – from the older, more religious to the younger, more practical – live in their own world of self-effacing originality. Their lifestyle is uncomplicated, simply …

How To Save Money For Travel: 4 Tips

People often ask me how I make my travel dreams possible. They assume that I am either lucky or independently wealthy. Well, to innocently admit it, I am not independently wealthy. Though you can call me a little lucky, for I’ve been travelling for almost two years now, and without having any steady source of income. Before anything,  here’s a little on how I afford my travels. If you’re considering travel more seriously and a little more frequently you need to be smart with your money – and that starts before you hit the road. Here are 4 proven, self-tested and effective ways to save money before you start travelling: 1. Avoid Eating Out Love your local restaurant? Well that local restaurant loves you money. Avoid it. Restaurants and take-aways are a little too expensive now a days, I get sticker shocker every time I get the bill. “You need how much for a meal?” I lose my heart as I hear the figure in reply. As an advantage I know cooking, and managing quick …

Hampi: A Journey To The Unknown

The sun set; the dusk fell on the river, but no lights appeared along the shore. Hunters for treasure and the seekers of fame – it felt – this river has seen them all, back in time, when they came possessing whatever they found, within the greatness the of this land, until that greatness surrendered, and started losing itself into the oblivious mystery of unknown. I wonder how many times this town fell prey to human greed, generation after generation, as people submitted themselves to the insatiable thirst to acquire more and looted the place and took back with them, all they assumed was of any value. It reminded me of that computer game I used to play, where you take a big army of knights and swordsmen and bring down your neighbouring empire, something similar – or perhaps much uncomfortable and eerily painful – it feels, might have happened here, as you walk  about the empty ruins of Hampi. Beautiful, but missed monuments, lying wasted, losing their significance to the impenetrable gloom. Temples, either sealed …

What Adventure Means To You?

So, I often talk about the term ‘Adventure travel’ in my blog posts. But I never shared here what do I mean by Adventure. Is it skydiving and all those extreme activities that spike in us adrenaline a little more than, say, jogging or cycling? I don’t think so. Here’s what I understand by Adventure: Adventure For Me Is The Power Of Thought When we first look at the brochure and imagine in our head who we’ll become when we go to that place. When we fantasize about that beach, that sunset and dream of what, of who, we might become in that moment – Adventure is that power of thought. It’s in hacking the reality of our yet-to-be-discovered journey and a desire for self-transcendence, a desire for rebirth, for apotheosis. That moment when we create itineraries or book our tickets or call our friends – for me – is the purest Adventure of all. Adventure For Me The Joy In Getting Lost We are bliss junkies, chasing the ultimate truth. Sure a secured job, a regular source of income …

A Wonderful Way To Navigate Through Places

The sun was scattering diamonds as we left our campsite – home to our few temporary nights – and started heading back to Bangalore. Driving through the wilderness and the many sleepy settlements around Coorg, we slowly turned onto the snarl of bigger roads that clog and clutter the modern city life. The final drive, back to where it all started, was rather strange. Everyone kept silent, despite much going in their head. I think it was the melancholy, kicking in hard, as no one, it seemed, had a perfect set of words to start a conversation. The silence felt awkward, creating a sense of discomfort, almost the way you feel the moment you first meet a group of unknown people. But this silence had some meaning to it, some memories, which kept reverberating in our head, with every passing minute. As I personally drew it out, everyone was, at least, quite satisfied with how this three-day trip went by. We were quite thrilled, in fact, with the experiences and the memories the journey had …

Varkala: The Dying ‘Benares’ Of South

Despite being an avid traveler myself, I often find myself writing a story, almost innocently, trying to discourage the idea of frenzied and mass tourism. I’ve seen local cultures turning into commodities when religious rituals and traditional ethnic tires reduce and sanitize, to conform to tourist expectations – as so was the case with Varkala, a coastal town in India’s southernmost state of Kerala. Once a destination is sold as a tourism product, it starts losing its originality – which, with time, brings about nothing but yet another modern tourist destination, providing us with perfectly staged, not so authentic, experiences. Varkala is a calm and quiet hamlet, having its presence on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has one of those ideal places, which has a perfect beach and a great crowd. The only thing, however, that differs Varkala among its other tropical Indian counterparts is its rich history. It was only about less than 20 years ago when Varkala, which today, has become an ideal spot to amble, for tanned westerners – was always found …

Kanyakumari: A Place Constantly Inviting Us For A Secular Sabbath

When you visit a place what is that one thing that you look out for, the most? The experience that makes that particular place unique. Sure you want to have a good time and follow your own way of travel. Those, who are all into leisure, for example, are always looking for a place to relax, which makes them hungry for beaches, when traveling around places like South India. When I came to Kanyakumari, I was expecting the same. Though I am not claiming that I travel for leisure and that I was expecting fancy beaches. But the picture I had crafted in my head was of a place, much tranquil, surrounded by sea, leaving almost no trace back to India’s much confused and muddled mainland. After all, this is where India concludes and finds itself gracefully surrounded by the mighty and the endless Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal – from almost all directions. But when you’re in Kanyakumari you don’t feel that tranquillity in its air. Nor do you get to …