All posts filed under: India

Khonoma, Asia’s First Green Village: In Pictures

In the world of ever-changing realities, we all secretly crave for some stillness in life, and with that, for visiting someplace that has been technologically forgotten and kept isolated from the real world. During my visit to Nagaland, I ended up visiting one such place — the village of Khonoma, often regarded as Asia’s first green village, can be anybody’s long-nurtured dream of losing themselves amidst nature’s serenity. Located 20 km from Kohima, Khonoma is easily accessible and offers an unusual rural-Nagaland charm. Readily available taxis (in Kohima) take around 500 Rupees per trip allowing tourists to visit Khonoma on a quick one-day or a half-day trip, while at the same time, a few tourist homes offering enough options for slow-travellers to spend a few days, or a week, in the village. What Makes Khonoma Special Rural Nagaland is beautiful and friendly. The only is, it doesn’t have the infrastructure for tourists — a prominent reason why many people visiting Nagaland return home without visiting anything beyond Kohima and other popular big towns like Mon and Mokokchung. This …

Pfutsero: Visiting The Highest Inhabited Town In Nagaland

Somewhere not much deeper in Nagaland, as I took a sip of my morning tea (in the unsung town of Pfutsero) watching the clouds playfully swirl around the green-lush mountains, I heard my last night’s Naga friends lovingly tending to their vegetable gardens at a distance below. The mist descended heavily on our postcard village of Pfutsero, as a group of men approached me with their massive 14-inch grass machete knives, avoiding any eye contact. The valley echoed with the laughter of women and children. A periodic bwak of chicken was moreover noticably prevalent. This may not be the most beautiful place I’ve seen in the world, said a voice inside me, but it was surely something closer to that – where people live beautifully, eat well and be merry! The town of Pfutsero was never on my agenda, and well, neither were many other places I ended up visiting during my three-week backpacking trip in Nagaland. The biggest motivation for visiting Pfutsero was, however, the fact that it is technically the highest town in Nagaland and also the coldest. In …

Hornbill Festival: In Pictures

Where the stories of Nagaland’s impressive past and an immersive culture is unfortunately slowly dying today, the best way, at least for a tourist, to get closer to its people and their culture, on a fast track, is by attending the 10-day carnival of the Hornbill Festival. Celebrated every year, between 1 and 10 December, Hornbill Festival is where all Naga tribes (16 in total) come together and exhibit their wears, enact their daily life and re-create their energetic festivals at one place. Imagine spending a year travelling through rural Nagaland, witnessing their way of life and celebrations, and then think about bringing it all together in one go. That’s hornbill festival for you. And bringing The Hornbill Festival 2017 in pictures, all at one place, here’s what I have for you: A tribesman from Khiamniungan tribe getting ready for a performance, as he fixes on his helmet. Their traditional attires consist of bright red and bright deep blue coloured dresses, and the ornaments are made of cowries and conch shells Despite most of the tribesmen attending and performing at hornbill festival, being …

Planning A Three Day Visit For The Hornbill Festival & Kohima

The land of colourful festivals, indigenous tribes, intricate art and craft, and strange food, Nagaland has always been a place of mystery and attraction for people. With over fifteen odd headhunting Naga tribes, this tiny bit of India, today, speaks for its once fierce self — the rare place that never saw a colonial raaj in its history, unlike the rest of the country. Where the stories of Nagaland’s impressive past and an immersive culture is unfortunately slowly dying today, the best way, at least for tourists, to get closer to its people and their culture, is by attending the 10-day carnival of the Hornbill Festival. Celebrated every year, between 1 and 10 December, Hornbill Festival is where all Naga tribes come together and exhibit their wears, enact their daily life and re-create their energetic festivals at one place. Imagine spending a year travelling through rural Nagaland, witnessing their way of life and celebrations, and then think about bringing it all together in one go. That’s hornbill festival for you. My Visit To Hornbill Festival My visit to Hornbill …

5 Must See Holiday Destinations In Kerala

Kerala holds enough charisma with its stunning beaches on the Malabar Coast, green patches of coffee and tea plantations in the east, and the many intertwining backwater canals that can be found all across the state. Rich in heritage, abundant in wildlife and tropical charm, Kerala will give you that relaxing, laid-back vacation, that you are looking forward to. And for some quick assurance, here are my top five hand-picked destinations in Kerala: Bekal: Located in the Kasargod district on the west coast of Kerala (about one and a half hour drive from Mangalore) Bekal boasts of many scenic attractions and an offbeat holiday experience. Attractions like the Bekal Fort, a feisty beach and calm backwaters moreover always add to the experience. Enjoy the sun-kissed beaches from Bekkal Cliff and coconut palms that sway in the breeze with a view of the emerald ocean on the horizon. And if you’re planning a short visit only, look no further than staying at Taj Bekal. Spread across 26 acres of beautiful open space, with an amazing view of the sea & backwaters, Taj Bekal is a visual delight. Periyar Tiger Reserve: Thekkady is home to Kerala’s largest …

Offbeat Destinations Near Manali For A Peaceful Holiday

The town of Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, is one of the top tourist destinations in Indian Himalayas. Its close proximity to New Delhi and Chandigarh is moreover continuously making it easier for the crowds to break away from the usual city-madness and experience the peaceful Himalayas. And with the upcoming 4-way highway, all the way from Chandigarh to Manali (with New Delhi to Chandigarh already having one) it is going to be easier than ever for people to reach Manali — meaning, Manali is going to get more crowded, more smokey and bustling with life in the coming years. Recently while travelling to Manali (long story short: I visit Manali and surrounding a few dozen times a year, while staying for a few dozen weeks. I know the place better than my home New Delhi) I realised that Manali isn’t a place I would want to travel to. And it also isn’t a place I would write a Travel Guide for — Things To See And Do In Manali! Not anymore! The idea of having a …

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 in Spiti Valley, 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 still pretty untapped, and there are times when you are driving there for hours without spotting any trace of life — the fact is, with soaring popularity, Spiti Valley is getting crowded everyday. But not so in parts I ended up exploring with Jammu & Kashmir Tourism, recently. During my recent motorbiking tour with J&K tourism, with 60 plus riders from across the country, we explored places like no other. Our route-map took us to exactly what the expedition title promised, “exploration of …

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 or travelling on my own, that I was worried about. A limited travel information available on Gujarat was the biggest challenge. Other than its few religious sites, a couple of national parks and the over-promoted Kutch festival (or the Rann Utsav), very little has been written or spoken about tourism in Gujarat. A few online travel guides moreover left me discouraged furthermore mentioning about Gujarat’s poor public transportation system. 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 of Gujarat has been divided into three parts: Saurashtra, Magadh and Kutch. Saurashtra 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 spotting Asiatic Lion), all you’ll find here are a few historical sites including Somnath and Dwarka, and a few …

Tips For Your First Solo Motorbiking Trip In Himalayas

I vaguely remember the time I was planning my first ever motorbiking trip in the Himalayas, I was scared more than ever. I’d never done something like this before and I’d no idea what to expect from it. And to make it worse, I’d decided to go solo, and that too on the world’s most isolated and treacherous roads — Spiti Valley, in Himachal Pradesh. Read: An Ideal Road-Trip Itinerary For Spiti Valley 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. 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. Another fascination I was bitten with was doing the entire …

One Month Backpacking In Gujarat

Before I started the journey, and while I was still initially planning my one-month backpacking trip across Gujarat, I’d no idea what to expect. A limited information about travel destinations in Gujarat was my biggest challenge, forget about a dearth of public transportation we are all privy to. But in the end, everything turned out pretty well. People in Gujarat are friendly and honest. Despite no public transport available in most parts of the state, particularly in and around Kutch, I’d no problem backpacking there. Local people were helpful enough to offer a lift or suggest me a way around. Gujarat, may not be one of the backpacking-friendly destinations in India, but it’s definitely not the least friendly. Here, a quick overview of my one-month backpacking journey across Gujarat: Continue planning your trip to Gujarat reading: Gujarat Travel Guide | Kutch Travel Guide | Rann Utsav in Kutch Subscribe to my Youtube channel, for more travel videos.