All posts filed under: India

Looking For An Offbeat Motorbiking Trail In Himalayas? Try Jammu To Killar

During the past few months, and particularly after writing a few blogposts about my motorbiking trip in Spiti Valley last year, if there was one question I was repeatedly being questioned, it was “how commercialized Spiti Valley is.” And innocently, I always only answered, “not at all”. I mean if you compare the Buddha Circuit, that, in reality, takes you to some of the most untapped and isolated corners of Indian Himalayas, with the much commercialized and beaten Leh-Laddakh, what else would you anyway say. Though in reality, Spiti Valley is actually pretty untapped, and there are times when you are driving in there for hours without spotting any trace of life, the fact is, with soaring popularity that reality is changing every minute. Finding tourist driving your way isn’t rare in Spiti Valley anymore, but not so in parts I ended up exploring with Jammu Tourism recently. During my recent motorbiking tour with Jammu tourism, with 60 plus riders from across the country, we explored places like none other. Our route-map took us to exactly …

What To See And Do In Manali

I consider Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, my second home. And it isn’t just me, but everyone who lives in Delhi. Manali’s close proximity to the capital, and other big towns like Chandigarh, makes it a favourable holiday destination, particularly during summers, when the heat in Indian cities becomes unbearably harsh and people fancy a quick escape. Other than Indian tourist, Manali has also long attracted the hippies of the West, particularly if we talk about Vashishth (the town next to Manali), which can also otherwise be perceived as the GOA for hippies in the north of India. It might have had something to do with the world famous elusive and guarded Malana cream from the nearby town of Malana, or perhaps something else. But whatever, the reason Manali is one of North India’s top tourist attractions. Things To Do In Manali From enjoying the views of the Beas to experiencing therapeutic hot springs in Vasisht, to driving to Solang Valley and rolling down the hills – there’s enough to do in and around Manali. And speaking of the highlights, here are some… Stroll Along …

Gujarat Travel Guide

When I was initially planning to backpack across Gujarat I’d no idea what to expect. People suggested that backpacking in Gujarat – particularly inside Kutch – won’t be a good idea. But it wasn’t the backpacking that I was worried about. A limited travel information available on Gujarat was my biggest challenge. Other than its few religious sites, a couple of national parks and the over promoted Kutch festival (or Rann Utsav), very little has been written or known about tourism in Gujarat. A few sources, on internet moreover suggested that backpacking in Gujarat, due to its poor public transportation system, was perhaps the bad idea.So before I start with my usual travel guide format, I’d give you a general overview and help you understand Gujarat better. So before I start with my usual travel guide format, I’d give you a general overview and help you understand Gujarat better. The state has been divided into three parts: Saurasthra, Magadh and Kutch. Saurasthra and Magadh, does not have much to travel, at least if speaking for not-so-religious travel community. Other than Gir National Park (popular for …

Tips For Your First Solo Motorbiking Trip In Himalayas

I remember the time I was planning my first ever motorbiking trip in the Himalayas, I was scared more than ever in my life. I’d never done something like that before and I’d no idea what to expect. And to make it worse, I’d decided to go solo, and that too on world’s most isolated and treacherous roads. (Yes, I am talking about Spiti Valley, in higher Himalayas!) But where on one side I was scared and confused, with no past experiences of riding in the Himalayas, on the other side, I knew I was ready for it – at least if technically speaking. I had researched about the entire route map well enough, equipped myself properly, and was not carried away by the romanticism of riding only a Royal Enfield (the most loved motorbike among Indians for off-roading). For a total of 9 days, I drove an average of 200 kilometres per day, covering a total of 2200 kilometre distance from my home (in Delhi) and back, and it was a whirlwind experience. At times I was scared, at times …

How To See Delhi In 2 Days

Despite Delhi being one of the places I personally don’t endorse, there’s much to see and do here for a tourist here. Delhi is rich in culture and history. After all, there must be a reason why it was declared as Republic of India’s first capital city. So visit to Delhi can’t be denied, and if you finally end up here, being a first timer, and aren’t sure from where to start and end your day, this two day travel itinerary will set you up for a real Delhi experience. This is Delhi on a fast-track… Day 1 Start from the hub of all activity in central Delhi, by taking a metro to Patel Chowk, and then a brief tuktuk ride to the iconic India Gate. This 42 meter structure is the nation’s pride with its two columns inscribed with martyred soldiers names. There is no visitor or photography fee in and around India Gate. Located on Rajpath and close the Parliament house, India Gate is the perfect destination to start with your Delhi tour, …

My First Snowboarding Experience

Confidently balancing on my board, gliding down the slope with all the grace of a gazelle, I slid for a few metres before finally landing on my chest. The last night’s snow absorbed the hit pretty much every time I crashed, while trying to polish my left and right turns while snowboarding, with a little to no luck. But I was firm on my goal! A few weeks ago the lovely folks at NorthlandAdventures, in Manali, invited me to try a few days of skiing or snowboarding with them, at their ski hotel, Sethan Heights, in Hamta Valley, Himachal. And as soon as they first mentioned it, my (first) reaction was ‘oh, bum … I can’t ski!’. Then I realised, this would mean gaining a new skill, and I spat a big yes… Though I was still unsure about it! For the next few weeks, the crashing, getting uncontrolled, and other hazards made me wince every time I thought about my decision. And I sure didn’t want to crash in front of others. But To hell with it… I’d …

Sethan Village In Himachal: A Place To Relax, Unwind And Just Be!

After a few nights in Charanag, a small town tucked away from the crowds connecting Kullu-Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, it was time to lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan, as my next destination was called, sounded like a perfect option. Located approximately an hour’s drive from Manali, Sethan was definitely a place for slow travellers – at least during winters, when the snow still claimed the ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, was pretty much impossible – unless you’re conquering glaciers. I sure wasn’t! In the month of March, and with mercury still falling beyond zero for most of the hours in a day, the valley here was draped in white. Little flakes of happiness were everywhere! From Sethan, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village, and the river Beas flowing right next to it – perhaps a few thousand feet down. The inhabitants here were originally migrated from Tibet, and represent a Buddhist community who share their roots being horse herders in in their past. …

Seven Amazing Things To Do in Lonavala

The diverse land of Maharashtra offers plenty of opportunities for tourists and professionals to have a quiet and sober time.  But if you live in and around Mumbai, Lonavala might just be your answer for an easy escape from your daily bustling life. With an elevation of over 2,000 feet, and a wide range of activities like camping, waterfall rappelling, rock climbing and trekking, among others, this place has something for everyone. Whether you’re an adrenaline junky, or someone who only fancies cozying up and staying under covers, be rest assured that Lonavala won’t let you return unsatisfied. When I first arrived in Lonavala, for a short trip, with a group of friends, I had no idea about what to expect. I thought even a weekend might feel too long here. But it turned out that this tiny little place had too much to offer, and cramming it all in a few days of itinerary, was a total injustice. But whether you come here for a day, a week, or a fortnight, if I were …

Want To See Local Art Forms In Kutch? Try Nirona Village

Kutch has always been known for its wealth of culture and handicrafts. And when you’re here on a holiday, one thing that you really do not want to miss is exploring a few local art forms. Kutch produces some of the world’s most unusual textile products, as well as intricately crafted metal works. In the book, Kachchh: The Last Frontier, author Tejinder Singh sums it up pretty well: “The intricate embroidery stems from the Kutchi lifestyle… One can see the influences of the Cretan stitch of Greece, surface interlacing stitches from Armenia and the French tambouring techniques. It is a reflection of their lifestyle… of camels, peacocks, parrots, flowers, trees and women churning milk. Each pattern tells a story.” The best way to experience local art forms in Kutch, however, is by village hopping. As you pass through various artisan villages of the indigenous tribes that inhibit the district of Kutch, you find a striking contradiction. But one needs days to explore them all, or perhaps even a week. But those who have only one day …

Lakhpat: The Ghost Town Of Gujarat

We all have heard of Ghost Towns – towns that have been deserted owing to natural calamities, some buried under the empty grounds and others, left behind with their undying tales of wonder. Lakhpat for me was one such story – a bustling town emptied owing to an incident, a town that still exists but does not, a town that speaks of a gloomy past as you walk through its emptied, abandoned streets. I was suggested a visit to Lakhpat, a godforsaken place, by someone whom I met in Bhuj. Liakatali, a local guide and a journalist with BhujMitr, a vernacular Kutchi newspaper, was born and brought up inside the boundaries of Lakhpat, before finally moving to Bhuj to pursue his higher studies. “It used to be the biggest and richest settlements in all of Gujarat” he provided, still sounding hopeful. “There were more than 15,000 people residing inside the walls of the fort, now only 566 have left. You must visit it now that you’re here. I’m sure you’ll like it” Hopelessly driven by …