All posts filed under: India

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 …

Hong Kong: In Pictures

When it comes to photography and pictures, Hong Kong can never disappoint. I mean you just Google search for Hong Kong Pictures and you will get the idea: there is just no end to scrolling down. From one of the world’s most congested concrete jungles to green spaces to an interesting street life, Hong Kong has everything a photographer may need. During my blog trip with Cathay Pacific Airlines, I ended up exploring Hong Kong for a few days, on my own, and never did I feel a desire to make friends or look for a company. The streets of Hong Kong and my camera were enough as companions. Also Read: My Suggested Hong Kong Travel Itinerary So out of a few days of directionless wandering, and an effort to capture Hong Kong and its essence in my lens, this is what I’ve produced. This is… Hong Kong, In Pictures Hong Kong, as a city is quite strategically located, with a cram-full of skyscrapers in the middle surrounded by lush green hills. Standing on top …

Why India’s Blue City Jodhpur Couldn’t Intrigue Me

Before you read ahead, please note that everything that’s written below about ‘Jodhpur not being able to impress or intrigue me’ is solely personal. I am sure there are people out there who loved Jodhpur but from the eyes of an Indian backpacker belonging to Delhi, who, more than anything, wanted Jodhpur to be something more than a confusing and muddled Indian neighborhood (as he grew up watching one in Delhi, every day) this is how Jodhpur appeared! As I alight at Jodhpur railway station, I was greeted by a confusing mob of a few hundred people — with some looking pretty familiar to the town, while others, seemingly hopeless and confusing as a  tourist, in a new city, would be. And I was no different either. As I exited the station, I got into the usual gamut of rejecting the constant soliciting of ‘Sir Auto’, ‘Sir Hotel’ requests until I walked a few steps away from anyone who could slyly put their touting Hat on me. Crowded, dusty and defiled, as Jodhpur appeared in the …

Manali Travel Guide

Where the Beas River chuckles merrily down the gorges, and the snowy peaks of the mountains reach their fingers to meet the sky: that’s what Manali is, in one sentence. Though of course, many would argue that Manali has lost its charm due to no control over tourism inflow (including me) for me, it is still one of the highlights in the Indian Himalayans. Manali is a go-to vacation spot for not only adventure seekers but leisure seekers, honeymooners, as well as budget travelers. It has temples, hot springs, one of world’s highest mountain passes, a rich culture and adventure sports like paragliding, skiing, and river rafting — all under a 50km radius. So if you’re planning a vacation, Manali can — no matter what your travel needs are — be your next holiday destination. Plan your holiday in Manali with this ideal Manali Travel Guide: Weather In Manali Although Manali is packed year-round with tourists, it is wise to get an idea of what to expect from the weather there, because at 2050m above the …

Visiting Chakradhar Samaroh In Raigarh

I fairly remember how when Chhattisgarh Tourism invited me to attend their annual cultural event of Chakradhar Samaroh I was bursting with excitement. Visiting Chhattisgarh was high on my list. I had heard about the mentions of its undiscovered beauty from a fellow traveller and an avid motorbiker, whom I happened to meet last year during a motorbiking expedition in Jammu. “Don’t leave any opportunity to visit Chhattisgarh,” he would repeatedly insist, supporting the statement with his personal adventures. A little Googling (upon his frequent requests, of course) then introduced me to a new world — the unbounded beauty of many natural caves, waterfalls and a rich culture that Chhattisgarh has to offer. So yea, when Chhattisgarh Tourism contacted me to attend their annual cultural event of Chakradhar Samaroh, I provided a quick yes. What moreover made the invitation better was every thought of visiting the unheard of town of Raigarh. This would mean that after landing in Raipur (for it had the nearest airport to Raigarh) I was in store for a 4-hour train ride …