All posts tagged: Bad Experiences

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 indeed found a naturally beautiful part of Thailand. It was green as far as I could see, and the timely glimpses of Thai countryside was constantly adding up to a good 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 …

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 has one of those ideal 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 only about less than 20 years ago when Varkala, which today, has become an ideal spot to amble, for tanned westerners – was always found …

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

If you turn off 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 read all the unseen currents in the air, Rishikesh is a magical world. It is one of those places where you come to regain your inner consciousness and learn about maintaining a harmony with the world – by staying close to the Ganges and under the undiluted purity of Himalayas. Yet for many, the town has become a place for enchantment, for having a few pints of beer, and enjoy the aggression of Ganges, rafting and kayaking. But that’s not what Rishikesh’s real charm, at least not in its real sense. I’ve some personal attachment to this place, some affection – …

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 …