All posts tagged: Bad Experiences

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 …

4 Things I Hate About Travelling In India

First things first, this post was written keeping a backpacker in mind — for someone who travels with a limited budget hence going after cheap accommodation, odd travel times and (lazy Indian) trains! But if you pay for good hotels, fly around (and miss the real fun of exploring India) and travel in Luxury Indian trains, then you should be fine. I know you must be thinking how I can hate anything about travelling when I love it to a degree that I quit my job to travel and started living out of a backpack. Well, you’re right. I love travelling and I immediately plan my next trip as soon as I return home. Travel is in my veins. But sometimes I just hate certain things about it, and being on the road for a month at a time, simply amplifies the feeling. These are not the periodic disappointments like paying high prices during a peak tourist season, or missing a flight/bus or lacking the comforts of home. Though they sure make travel life tougher, I …

Weak Indian Passport: Making Our Travel Life Tougher Everyday!

Indian Passport: You Weak, Useless Thing! After living in the United Kingdoms for a few years, travelling a bit of the world, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is: being an Indian is a proud thing. People around the world like Indians, respect Indians and are always eager to know more about Indians. While I was travelling in Southeast Asia last year, there were so many instances which made it so much easier for me to connect with others – locals and travellers alike – as I told them I’m from India. Bollywood and Yoga made my identity even more interesting. But feeling cooler and wanted is one thing, and feeling empowered is the other. Sure my identity, as an Indian made me feel good, perhaps even respectful, but it did not make me feel empowered – not as long as I held a Navy Blue coloured passport saying ‘Republic of India’. Indian Passport Makes Me Feel Weak, Forget About Being Empowered There’s no denying the fact that Indian passport is embarrassingly weak – given …

Travel Confession: I Hate Flying

Before you make generalizations let me get this straight, I am not scared of flying.  I am not afraid that the aeroplane I’m flying with will fly into a mountain because of pilot error. Or that a Korean Navy ship decided that the Boeing flying above their head is an enemy aircraft and knocked it off by mistake. No, I don’t find flying a scary thing, and I feel perfectly normal even during the worst of all turbulence in the history of aircrafts. Moreover, I know flying is, by far, the safest mode of transportation available today. Yet every time I have to fly it scares the living shit out of me! Flying Only Seems More Dangerous Until I Actually Board The Flight The idea of missing a flight, arriving at the wrong airport, or worse, forgetting the passport, scares me to death. Because missing a flight, for no matter what reason, means losing a big chunk of your travel budget. During one of my recent trips to Southeast Asia, something similar happened, and the …

Rann Utsav: NOT Worth The Effort, Distance And Money!

Organised annually by Gujarat Tourism, between November and February, the Rann Utsav of Kutch has been scaling popularity charts among Indian and foreign travellers alike, in the previous years. Though it’s surely an interesting effort allowing people to revisit the desert region of Kutch – which was left devastated by the 2001 earthquake – by creating a travel story linking to Kutch’s geographical and cultural distinctions, the value for money that it (the Rann Utsav) offers, however, is unfortunately pretty discouraging. To own a sleeping place (a Premium Tent, or a Rajwadi Bhunga, as named) that comes with complimentary meals and a one night/two days package, costs nearly 6 thousand Rupees per person (excluding 18% taxes). For every extra person, in the tent, you pay 4 thousand (and more taxes) extra. This means a family of three can end up paying over 15 thousand Rupees for one night in Rann Utsav. [Please check their website for updated prices] You can moreover buy longer-duration packages, which takes you to a few places in the nearby town …

Why Thailand’s Mountain Backpacker Paradise ‘Pai’ Couldn’t Intrigue Me

“Pai is amazing and so peaceful”, “I am in love with its beauty”, “It is so different than any other town in Thailand”, “You should definitely visit it man” – I still remember how different people portrayed Pai and inspired me to spare a few days out and visit this “secluded little town”, after Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand. Excited, and hopelessly driven by the whole gamut of backpackers’ emotions, I equipped my rucksack, booked the first minivan that left the next morning and waited impatiently to be passed out for the night. The next morning, as I grabbed myself on the way to Pai, I found a naturally beautiful part of Thailand. It was green as far as I could see, and the timely glimpses of Thai countryside were constantly adding up to the experience. The road to Pai has over 700 turns, but you barely notice them as the journey leaves you awestruck with its beauty. The densely covered hills come your way rolling like waves into the horizon. I was happy that I …

Varkala: The Dying ‘Benares’ Of South

Despite being an avid traveler myself, I often find myself writing a story, almost innocently, trying to discourage the idea of frenzied and mass tourism. I’ve seen local cultures turning into commodities when religious rituals and traditional ethnic tires reduce and sanitize, to conform to tourist expectations – as so was the case with Varkala, a coastal town in India’s southernmost state of Kerala. Once a destination is sold as a tourism product, it starts losing its originality – which, with time, brings about nothing but yet another modern tourist destination, providing us with perfectly staged, not so authentic, experiences. Varkala is a calm and quiet hamlet, having its presence on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It is one of those places, which has a perfect beach and a great crowd. The only thing, however, that differs Varkala among its other tropical Indian counterparts is its rich history. It was less than 20 years ago when Varkala, which today, has become an ideal spot to amble, for tanned westerners, was always found swarm with sadhus, …

Rishikesh – From Being A Land Of Yogis To A Hub Of Tourism

If you turn from the main road that leads to Shivpuri – the starting point of River Rafting into the holy Ganges – and walk about the small alleys of Rishikesh, you’d find that the place is swirling with all kind of adventure sport and tour companies, alluring tourists to partake into its cultural destruction, by making Rishikesh nothing but just another weekend getaway around us. For those who can see its invisible forces and sense the unseen currents in its air, Rishikesh is a magical world. It is one of those places where you wohld want to come to regain your inner consciousness and learn about maintaining harmony with the world – by staying close to the Ganges and under the undiluted purity of the Himalayas. Yet for many, the town has become a place for enchantment, for having a few pints of beer, and enjoying the aggression of Ganges, rafting and kayaking. But that’s not what Rishikesh’s real charm is, at least not in its real sense. I’ve some personal attachment to this place, some …

Srinagar, Kashmir: A Gathering Around The Perplexity

The many houseboats around Dal Lake seemed to be blissfully relaxing, allowing tourists to amicably enjoy the utopian state of Sriangar – a place which once stood with dignity and pride, and was only known for its beauty, or for being a ‘paradise on earth’, as locals still call it. But today, Srinagar can hardly breathe on its own. It seems – as you walk around its confusing and mystifying streets – that its very sustenance, now depends upon those wearing Green Camouflage Jackets and Army Track Pants. After more than two decades of cold war and raw politics, and with Indian army taking affairs in its hands, does the future of tourism in Kashmir and its capital Srinagar look bright? To me, at least, it doesn’t! In the summer of 2015, this ill-famous tourist hotspot of India – appeared to me as a biblical wasteland, where army check-posts and AK47s still rule the day. Even if the town, at large, is declared safe, there’s always this fear and trepidation in your heart that suppresses …

Kamakhya Temple: All A Little Less Sombre Than A Stock Market

It was six in the morning, too early for the rest of the city to wake up and resume their daily chores. But those who came to visit the temple seemed all dedicated and staunched. Rising early and reserving a good place in its long, never ending queues was the only solution to pay the ‘goddess of Desire’ a visit. The many souvenir and prasad shops, spread as far as 400 metres outside its premises, were already up and running – bidding hard for yet another business day. Inside, many devotees indulged in their challenging gamut with pujaris, trying to negotiate a price for a personalised puja. Once they’re done with it, what awaits is yet another task of buying an express entry ticket which guarantees a quick tour inside Kamakhya Temple – one of India’s most sacred sites.   This is how I found Kamakhya Temple – dedicatedly staring into a financial abyss, experimenting with the country’s admirable religious tolerance every minute. And yet it lures the devotees from as far afield as southern India or the far west: the …