All posts tagged: Offbeat Places

Sethan Village In Himachal: A Place To Relax, Unwind And Just Be!

After a few nights in Charanag, a small town tucked away from the crowds connecting Kullu-Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, it was time to lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan, as my next destination was called, sounded like a perfect option. Located approximately an hour’s drive from Manali, Sethan was definitely a place for slow travellers – at least during winters, when the snow still claimed the ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, was pretty much impossible – unless you’re conquering glaciers. I sure wasn’t! In the month of March, and with mercury still falling beyond zero for most of the hours in a day, the valley here was draped in white. Little flakes of happiness were everywhere! From Sethan, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village, and the river Beas flowing right next to it – perhaps a few thousand feet down. The inhabitants here were originally migrated from Tibet, and represent a Buddhist community who share their roots being horse herders in in their past. …

Hot Air Ballooning In Goa: What It Feels Like

After groggily waking up at 5:15 in the morning – before even a bird had appeared in the sky – I was ready to leave and reach our Hot Air Balloon flight station, some 30 kilometres away from the place where I was staying, at Agonda, South Goa. I’d barely slept the night before, because I was so excited. After all, the idea of flying in basket, led by a 10 meter giant balloon – the first ever method of flight, created by man, was quite a celebration. Flustered and windswept, I reached the location – a long empty ground, almost in the middle of nowhere. I had nearly considered it a bad start of a day, and then my eyes fell on a massive, oval shaped balloon. I’d never seen a Hot Air Balloon from so close, in my life before – and as I remember, it looked beautiful! Under the safe and knowledgeable direction of Rita, our flying pilot, who has been flying this thing for the past 16 years (yes, you read that …

Experiencing A Different Side Of Auli

After a failed attempt to complete Satopanth Lake trek, all on my own, I was literally not ready for another follow-an-unknown-trail challenge. It was time to find a place which offered me a comfortable camping site, and some rest. A good flat space and easy food options – was all I was thinking. And then the wind said “Auli”. I loved Auli. Not because it offered sights that were unimaginably beautiful. Neither was I excited about a riveting ski experience. Some people suggest that Auli has India’s best and possibly the world’s one-among-best ski resorts. And the convenience and excitement of long cable rides makes it even more popular. But there was another side of Auli, much beautiful and less known to its praisers. I happened to explore it as I reached the town in the month of May.  The sun was shining, and snow was far gone. Each gaze beheld a sight of nothing more than dead and glorious mountains – a few patches of grass, however gave the entire mountain a greenish tinge. …

A Photojourney To Sangla Valley And Chitkul

During my solo bike trip to Spiti Valley, I ended up in a town called Chitkul. It was more than 40 kilometres off the route. One side. But I could not stop myself from bifurcating. After all, it was “The Must See Camping Place, in Himalayas” as many people, whom I’d met on the journey, recommended. “Don’t forget to go to Chitkul man, Sangla Valley is so beautiful you won’t believe your eyes,” said a guy from Bangalore, as he threw another mug of water on his over-pampered Bullet 350. “Classic”, as he always pointed out, with a pause. Situated around 40 km from Karcham, Chitkul comes under Sangla Valley, which is spread over a tiny land of 20 kms. And when it comes to Himalayas, 20 kms seem even tinier. But if you speak about its beauty, each sight is a magnificent sight to behold. Snow clad mountains surround you and welcome you with a spectacular view of The Kinner Kailash. On the left lies the Sangla Valley, and on the right, the Baspa Valley. …

Panchachuli Base Camp Trek: From Itinerary to Costing

I’ve done quite a few treks in Uttarakhand. Gomukh-Tapovan, Dodhital, Valley of flowers, Stopanth Lake, Gaurikund Kedarnath – the list is long. And often the journeys were concluded solo. I like the idea of taking long solo strolls, under the magnifying beauty of Himalayan cliffs. There is some adventure in that. This time, I was off to Panchachuli Base Camp, located at the end of eastern Kumaon region, near Munsiyari, in Uttarakhand. Panchachuli, literally means ‘five pointed oven’. According to the locals, it was Panchachuli peaks where the Pandavas cooked their last meal on the five peaks of Panch Chuli before leaving for heaven. And that’s its religious significance. The trek to Panchachuli Base Camp turned out to be a pretty easy deal. Where most of the blogs, on internet, suggested that it takes a good 4-5 days of strenuous walk to complete the trek, I found that 2 days might just be enough. Darma Valley is being connected with a fine (as per the Himalayan standard) motorable road. Starting from Sobla, the road has already …

My Journey Into Darma Valley

It was 1 in the afternoon, as I grabbed myself somewhere in the middle of Darma valley, riding under the rocky cliffs that mark the road till Nangling. The terrain looked quite walkable but the comfort of a motorcar was far more appealing, even if you’re to sitting on the roof. The peaks of Panchachuli glacier were still, at least, two days away from me. But I could already feel its presence. The sun was unusually bright. This was definitely higher up. At about 13,000 feet above sea level, the jeep wound up quite a bit. After a couple hours of ride, we hit a rickety local shop for some food. I was ready to order another vegetarian meal – for I was in Uttarakhand, and well aware of its vegetarian culture – when all of a sudden, my eyes caught hold of a sheep who was already butchered. A man was busy taking off her coat. Few people surrounding him on the scene. The lady serving at the shop asked if I fancy some mutton and rice. …

Charanag – Just Another Town, Across The Mountains

When you’ve been traveling for long enough, you start calculating the benefits. You wonder whether your travels have made you a better person, and whether all these journeys, that you’ve so far taken, have given you a deeper understanding of yourself – from within, and without I found myself pondering over such infinite and boundless thoughts as I decided to stay yet another day in Charanag – a small village in Himachal, secluded from the-road-much-taken towards Manali – where I ended up being the (only) tourist in the entire town. Though in my mind I’ve always been a drifter, it’s places like these, that slow down my movement. As I wandered through its small, cosy alleys it struck me that going slow, and sometime going nowhere at all, and just sitting still – killing every minute as it approaches you, with a new challenge – is the best of all joys. And here, in places like these, you find that joy. The joy in sitting still. In studying locals, and following their cultural routine to each days …

A Photo Journey Through Spiti Valley: Amongst World’s Most Beautiful Landscapes

Isolated and wild from inside out, as it appears – the journey to Spiti Valley will take you to the roads less traveled, literally! It is “The Middle Land” between India and Tibet, and much of it is either inhospitable or unexplored. Life here is tough and a little less ordinary, perhaps that’s why every moment spent here has its own significance. [Also Read: My Solo Bike Expedition To Spiti And How I Did It In Less Than 5K Rupees] A cold desert, a raging river, few rugged and narrow roads, and many uninviting trekking routes – no wonder Spiti Valley has no charm for a weakling.   It is said that the journey is more exciting than the destination itself. And when you’re here, you understand that well. Driving for long hours of a day, counting each mile is no less than a thrilling experience. It is something that every adventurer dreams of. The Majestic Key Monastery with a vainglorious mountain range trying to address its authority. Come to this barren land and you’d find nature ruling over every bit …

Timelapse Of My Camping-Site-In-Making, In Chandratal

During my very recent 9-day solo bike trip to Spiti Valley, I camped almost every night. This helped me to keep my budget under a good control and stay away from the most ‘sought after’ tourist places — as I had the security to have a roof at night, no matter where I go. Here, a quick time lapse of my temporary dwelling (on day 8) in making. Pretty neat, eh?Location: Chandra Tal (about 4,300 m above sea level) Also See: Concluding Video Of My 9-Day Solo Road Trip To Spiti Valley Subscribe to my Youtube channel, for more travel videos. 

Bylakuppe: A Visit To The Tibet Of South

If you catch it at the right angle, where I found myself sitting, inside the premises of Namdroling monastery, Bylakuppe, surrounded by the bright and cheerful company of Buddhists, among which many were the first generation Tibetan immigrants, it can give off something of the light of fairly-tale. Speaking of the fairy-tale, I remember, I was once told that one of the greatest miseries of human condition is that we are not always keen to give up on our fairy tales. We expect our lives to turn into something magical, something extraordinary from this moment and far-off from the world we know. We spend our lives cradling such hopes and in the end realise the truth, almost impatiently. “We are like dogs barking at the injustice of the universe when our keeper goes out, to buy us some more food” William James Most of the people of the 21st century are found either making false promises to their future, or finding excuses to shroud the mistakes they had done in the past. But the people here, …