All posts filed under: India

Getting Local Village Experience In Kumaon Region In Uttarakhand

Want to experience local Kumao culture and explore village life in Uttarakhand? Visit Naikana village, near Jageshwar Dham… because I have found you a place! Not very high in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, I happened to hike through dreamy villages, deodar forest, and secret rhododendron trails, where locals would wake up at 4 am to chop wood across daunting terrain, climbing up and down a steep mountain face while I carefully place one foot in front of the other. My two-day stay in this sleepy village called Naikana, that, in fact, was located only 20 minutes away from a well-trodden road, was, in fact, lost deep inside a forest. It remained the most beautiful highlight of the many journeys that I have previously had across in Uttarakhand, for it took me to a world where iPhones, drones, and Instagram still held no value. While planning for my 20-day road trip across Uttarakhand (and on Delhi-Munsiyari trail to be particular) I decided that for one night, at least, I was to going to have some real …

Top Travel Tips For Almora In Uttarakhand

Planning to visit Almora? Read these top travel tips and make your experience better! At first glance, Almora appeared as one of those bustling towns in the mountains that are becoming a concrete jungle. There were hotels and shopping complexes being arranged on the narrow ridge. Neighborhoods were quickly getting buried under plastic waste. Local people seemed too busy in their lives to answer any requests. Honestly speaking, my first impression of Almora wasn’t a pleasing one. It had been only 10 minutes that I had arrived there and every part of me already wanted to escape its madness. I knew my hotel was located some 5km outside of the main town – thankfully far enough from Almora’s maddening Lala Bazaar – yet I needed a stronger reason to console my heart. To make it even worse, Google navigated me to a dead-end, forcing me to now ask for directions. “The Himalayan Woods” I enquired a few random faces, but no one had a clue. Then a sudden realization and I recalled that my hotel …

Kalagarh: A perfect Weekend Getaway From Delhi

Looking for a quick weekend getaway from New Delhi? Visit Kalagarh, near Jim Corbett! As I left New Delhi, and with that, the imposing concrete buildings behind me, I could already smell fresh air. The beautiful countryside of Uttar Pradesh with periodic glimpses of green pastures and lush foliage were enough to keep me going even on a hot summer day. It had been less than 4 hours since I left home and a part of me already wanted to go astray, ride aimlessly on quaint walkways, spotting friendly locals and some rare wildlife. This was certainly one of the most picturesque (though equally confusing) drives I’ve ever experienced near New Delhi – the kind that makes you introspect at each turn, as you listen to the tunes of rusting winds, connecting trees, and distant chirping birds! I remember when I was planning my 20-day motorbiking trip across Uttarakhand (towards Munisyari) I wanted to keep my first day’s ride as easy and unchallenging as possible. I mean during a summer day, of 40-degree Celsius temperature, …

Goa Travel Tips

When it comes to a travel destination like Goa, writing a travel guide or a few backpacking tips become literally challenging. I mean there is so much to see and do in Goa that compiling it all in a list can be a tough task. And then, there are all those striking dissimilarities between different parts of Goa (yes, I am comparing North Goa and South Goa) to add to the struggle. So yea, writing a few travel tips for Goa, and claiming them to work throughout Goa is nearly impossible. But attempting the impossible, here are a few useful Travel Tips for Goa that I carefully gathered during my one-month long journey across north and south Goa. See if you agree… When In Goa, Rent A Scooter As I said in one of my previous articles on Goa where I have talked about Different Beaches Of Goa – Goa is massive. So, to make sure you don’t miss out much and see most of Goa in the least possible time, you need to have …

The Bible of Budget Travel In India: Top Tips

After living in India for almost my entire life, when I quit my job in 2015 to travel, I decided to initially explore my own country, before stepping out in the world. This was for two reasons: one, because I knew if I survived a few months in India and still didn’t give up on travelling, I can handle any place in the world. I wanted to test my endurance. Secondly, because India was among one of the cheapest countries to travel, and given I had no source of regular income at the moment, budget travelling was the only way to afford travelling. So my choice was easy, and I spent the initial 12 months of my travelling stint mapping the length and breadth of my country, before actually stepping abroad (except for travelling Nepal and Bhutan. But they’re more or less India). During my corporate life, I used to travel during weekends and wonder how some poeple (particularly European and Israeli backpackers in India) manage to live a nomadic life. “Where do they get the money from,” I always asked myself, because …

Why Taking A Luxury Train May Just Be The Best Way To Travel India

It has been nearly 10 months now since I experienced luxury train travel in India, with The Golden Chariot. And after reading my first blog post on it — the review of The Golden Chariot — a lot of people wrote to me asking how do I actually rate it “off the record”. Do I really recommend them to try a similar journey? Do luxury trains in India really worth their price tag? Well, attempting the answer today in this blog here – publicly, and honestly too — if I were to summon up in a few words, I would say: Yes. Luxury train travel may just be the best way to travel to India, provided, you can afford it. How Much A Luxury Train Ride In India Costs India has a total of 5 luxury trains, out of which, only four are currently operating. This includes The Golden Chariot, The Maharajas’ Express, The Deccan Odyssey and The Palace on Wheels. And they all cover a different itinerary, covering a different part of India. And …

Kumbh Mela In Prayagraj: An Ideal Travel Guide

So this time in 2019, the Ardh Kumbh Mela took place in the historic city of Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad) and on the very first day of the event, nearly 1.5 crore pilgrims ended up in the city, wanting to take a dip in the sacred waters of the Saraswati River. But the question is, in a city of 1.2 Lakh people, if over 1.5 crore visitors would end up in a single day what are the chances of getting a comfortable stay or even managing the transport (to Prayagraj) at first place. Well, I visited the Kumbh Mela on the very first day of its start and stayed there for a couple of nights, in the tent-city, close to Triveni Ghat. It was an experience unlike any other, especially for someone who isn’t a big fan of visiting crowded places. To me, the place did not only feel overwhelmingly overcrowded but also lacking the infrastructure in catering to the needs of the visitors. Public toilets were overflowing, roads were jammed, and most of …

Kumbh Mela 2019: In Pictures

Hailed as the largest congregation of pilgrims in the entire world, the ‘Kumbh Mela’ is being held in the historic city of Prayagraj in 2019. And I happened to be lucky to experience it and click some amazing pictures on the very first day on January 15. I even attended the traditional ‘shahi snan’ at the Kumbh Mela and got exclusive pictures of Naga Sadhus taking the procession forward. To be honest, it was quite an amazing experience, and when I left home to attend the Kumbh Mela, I wasn’t expecting what I actually saw there. Though a certain confusion was certainly expected, there was more to it, than just the confusion. From naked Naga babas riding horses, to others smeared in ash & making a beeline for the Juna Akhara (an organisation of sadhus) every sight was just as colourful and complex as the ancient Hindu culture, in reality, is. No wonder, if you want to experience the ancient Hindu culture and experience an overdose of it, there’s no better place than the Kumbh …

Fojal Valley: Exploring The Unexplored Himachal Pradesh

From its placement and appearance, the town of Fojal certainly looked like a place where tourists would want to spend a few relaxing nights, avoiding the crowded Kullu-Manali trail in Himachal Pradesh. And then, Fojal is a popular paragliding site in the entire Manali region. Yet there were no guesthouses, for I was searching for one for over two hours now. Those who visit Fojal Valley, do only a day trip, try paragliding, and head back to where they came from. So yea, after wandering confusingly and pleading a few random locals for a bed, when I had almost lost the will and decided to head back to Manali, my eyes beheld a sight totally unworldly. The shining snowcapped mountains were appearing golden at a distance. A few local Himachali houses were moreover adding to the charm. For a moment it felt as if I have time-transported myself into the golden age of 70s or 80s when people shared more green space around them, than concrete; when the chirping of birds echoed all day, from afar; …

How Sivananda Ashram, In Rishikesh, Changed Me

It has been three years since the events that are described here took place. Three years since I was a student at Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, learning about a divine lifestyle and how not be affected by little ups and downs in life, and yet I never mentioned anything about the place here. It is not that over the years I’ve lost touch with Sivananda Ashram (I think I’ve visited Rishikesh and stayed in the Ashram more times in the previous three years than any other place in the world) or that I didn’t want to talk about it; but the fact that I never found a compelling reason, was the reason. Sivananda Ashram, for me, is like a second home, a place that has nourished my roots and made me what I am today. And just like you don’t feel a need to write about your home and make it public to the world, I never felt it important to be writing about Sivananda Ashram either. But this time, as …