All posts filed under: India

Experiencing Luxury Train Travel In India: With The Golden Chariot

The Golden Chariot — an absolute luxury train travel in India! For a country like India that is so diverse and distinct, train-travel remains a beautiful highlight. Hopping from one place to the other while noticing small differences in the culture, traditions and landscapes, is a delight of a different kind. And when you get to do it under the luxury of having your own private room, some world-class food and a whole lot of other perks that came along with you — say a gym or a spa — things become even more interesting. Yes, I am talking about one of the five Maharaja Trains that run across India: The Golden Chariot. I happened to experience The Golden Chariot during a blog trip with the Ministry of Tourism in India. A part of 15 other bloggers, representing 6 different continents from across the world, we travelled across the parts of Karnataka and Goa, visiting some of the highlighted gems in the region. Despite personally repeating most of the places (as I’d visited them in the previous years) …

camping near manali

Planning Camping In Manali? Try Footloose Camps!

After exploring three continents and much of India in the previous two years when the idea of starting a new venture — of opening a tourist facility — struck my mind, the Himalayas felt like the best option. But where in the Himalayas was the question! From the vainglorious far-out valleys in the East to some of the most splendid and frequent in the West, the Indian Himalayas offer a great deal of natural bounty and experiences and basis on where you end up staying (unless you’ve spent years exploring it, just like I did) you shape a picture of your own version of the Himalayas, and its people. Imagine if you stayed at only one place in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, and that happened to be Darma Valley in the Pithoragarh district — you’d consider Uttarakhand as a land of meat-eaters, and a place where animal sacrifice is still blatantly practised. Now those who are familiar with Uttarakhand, very well know that Uttarakhand is majorly a dry district, where in most parts serving any meat and …

snowboarding india

Buying A Snowboard In India & Becoming A Pro In Under 30,000 Rupees

Ever since I visited Sethan last year, in the winter of 2017, for learning snowboarding for the first time in life, I’ve been hooked to the sport. I was, in fact, so hooked that you would have found me watching tutorials about snowboarding on youtube, had you suddenly popped into my life a few months ago. From how to correctly stand on a snowboard to how and why to wax it — I’ve seen them all. So as winter approached this year, one thing was clear: I was going to buy my own snowboard and become a pro — but all in a bargain. Buying A Snowboard In India: The Reality To cut things short, let me tell you… buying a snowboard in India is a challenge, just like buying other sport equipment. Even the most popular locations for skiing like Auli and Gulmarg or someplace in Himachal Pradesh have no stores to quickly grab one. Though you may easily find one to rent, buying is, unfortunately, pretty impossible. Most online retailers moreover don’t sell one. …

backcountry snowboarding india

Where To Backcountry Snowboard In The Himalayas

Before anything, let me be clear… I am not a snowboard or a ski expert. I haven’t cleared any professional certifications, and neither have I been practising the sport since years. I am, in fact, so new to snowboarding that anyone would only call me a beginner. But mastering a sport is one thing, and knowing where to best do it, is the other — and speaking of backcountry snowboarding in the Himalayas, the Pir Panjal range near Sethan is perhaps one of the best options. I first visited Sethan, during the winter of 2017 where I met a group of North Americans who just wouldn’t stop bragging about the nearby ski-slopes. It was their third consecutive winter there. During the entire week I stayed in Sethan, and between all those chilling winter nights conversations, I found them constantly boasting about how exciting the slopes in Pir Panjal can be. “The thrill in snowboarding in the wilderness of the Himalayas is unparalleled, and this place is just so perfect,” one would repeat every two hours. …

snowboarding india

Backcountry Snowboarding In The Himalayas

Located only 25 km from the town of Manali, in the Himalayan Pir Panjal range, Sethan offers some of the best slopes in the world for backcountry snowboarding/skiing. According to an Australia based ski expert and the author of many books, C.R. Spooner, Pir Panjal is the Mecca backcountry skiing/boarding locale in the Indian Himalayas. I happened to visit Sethan during the winter months of 2017 and was flabbergasted by seeing how much it actually snowed there. Always wanting to return, as winter hit in 2018, I bought my own snowboard from Delhi and made my way to Manali, and further to Sethan. Bringing to you my week-long backcountry snowboarding adventure in Sethan, here’s a quick 3-minute video: You can also read more about My First Snowboarding Experience In Sethan last year. Subscribe to my Youtube channel, for more travel videos.

Hallan Valley

Hallan Valley: Himachal Pradesh’s Another Best Kept Secret

There are some places in the world that keep a piece of you, places that time and again feel irresistible, regardless of your frequent visits there. Hallan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is one such place for me. And its tranquil locale, a friendly atmosphere, and an away-from-the-tourist-trail charm are in fact, the reasons. The first time I happened to visit Hallan Valley, it was a year and a half ago. I was returning from a solo motorbiking trip in Spiti Valley. But as I left Manali for Delhi, and rode about ten or twelve kilometres, towards Kullu (on old Manali-Kullu highway) I came across a dull looking signboard on the left. “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna“ it read, and pointed toward uphill, with a bit more information about the road length and other mechanical gibberish. I can’t remember what else it said, but the term “Gram Sadak”, that translates to ‘village road’ in English, felt quite assuring. At 10 in the morning, the weather looked perfect to be riding on the Hallan Road (Google for where …

Badrinath temple

An Ideal Guide To Char Dham Yatra: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath

It is said in Hinduism, that no act can be more righteous and religiously pious than taking your parents on a pilgrimage to Char Dham. And I ended up living that statement, earlier in the year 2017, upon my mother’s continuous request to take her across to the Char Dham — the four holy sites for Hindus: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath — in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. It happened when my mother kept requesting me to a point where any repeated denial felt like a hopeless try. The deal was, however, we were not going to book any of those lame Char Dham yatra tours that cover every experience possible — from fighting for the front seat in the tour-bus everyday, to sight-seeing more tourist places (that fall on route) than something religious, to sleeping in the smelly guesthouses ever — but nothing spiritually uplifting.   So taking no risk of that sort and regretting in the end, we agreed upon following my way — of literally backpacking to all the four sites of Char Dham. For a period …

Pottery in Padavedu

Padavedu In Tamil Nadu: An Idea Example Of A Progressive India

Throughout all these years of travel, I have learned that every city, every town, has its own charm. You visit Dharamshala, in the Indian Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, and you get a sense of reverence in its air; Shimla, on the other hand, despite being located in the same state has nothing to do with reverence and only makes sense as a hill resort buzzing with happy vacationers. Similarly, not every destination leave a deeper impression on life. Some do, while some don’t. But my recent visit to Padavedu, a cluster of villages centrally located among Vellore and Thiruvannamalai, in Tamil Nadu, was definitely one of those when you end up learning something useful in life — a kind of experience that helps you grow just as much within, as without. I visited Padavedu on a blog-tip with Srinivasan Services Trust, or SST, to learn a bit about sustainable living and various community-empowerment initiatives run by them. From pottery making to basket weaving, individual money generating activities to community services (like waste management and healthcare and education) SST teaches people …

Bamboo cottage Majuli island

Revisiting Majuli Island: India’s Largest River Island

I remember back in the summer of 2015, I fell in love with the Majuli Island — a 450 sq km of an untouched land (and India’s largest river island) that appears to have been forgotten by today’s new-age influence and of any technology. Here people still pedalled a manual bicycle to work. Hand manoeuvred boats were preferred over the motored ones. What is often termed as India’s largest river island, Majuli Island, at least to me, revealed itself as a no man’s land where simmering mat of yellow rice fields and water meadows bursting with hyacinth blossoms were more in mass and number than there was life. More than two years later as I revisited Majuli in December 2017, to meet a friend, I figured that Majuli was still pretty much the same. If the rest of India was developing at a rate of 6, on a scale of 10, Majuli was still somewhere in decimals below 1. Roads were still deprived of any concrete. A chaay and a samosa still cost less than 10 Rupees. …

Nagaland border

Travelling In Nagaland — Is It Safe?

“Though it’s totally peaceful at the moment and the local rebellion groups have agreed to a ceasefire, nothing can anyway happen to a tourist ever. Ye log, vaise bhi, tourist ko kkuch nahi karta (they mean no harm to tourists)” I clearly remember how brief, but aptly assuring, the answer came to me the first time I inquired about the safety for a tourist travelling in Nagaland. And as I later repeated the same question, almost every two days, every time I saw an army personnel (to be honest, anyone wearing the camouflage army pants!) I got the same answer. “For a tourist, Nagaland is completely safe” And to tell you the truth, I wanted to believe that too — with all the goodness and faith in me. But given what we keep hearing about northeast India and with the indigenous Naga tribes always having maintained a deadly image to the outer world, it was just too tough for me to reconsider, at least without having any first-hand experience. Experiencing The Offbeat Nagaland My first experience …