All posts tagged: Offbeat Places

Fojal Valley: Exploring The Unexplored Himachal Pradesh

From its placement and appearance, the town of Fojal certainly looked like a place where tourists would want to spend a few relaxing nights, avoiding the crowded Kullu-Manali trail in Himachal Pradesh. And then, Fojal is a popular paragliding site in the entire Manali region. Yet there were no guesthouses, for I was searching for one for over two hours now. Those who visit Fojal Valley, do only a day trip, try paragliding, and head back to where they came from. So yea, after wandering confusingly and pleading a few random locals for a bed, when I had almost lost the will and decided to head back to Manali, my eyes beheld a sight totally unworldly. The shining snowcapped mountains were appearing golden at a distance. A few local Himachali houses were moreover adding to the charm. For a moment it felt as if I have time-transported myself into the golden age of 70s or 80s when people shared more green space around them, than concrete; when the chirping of birds echoed all day, from afar; …

beas river manali

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 …

5 Beautiful And Very Distinct Places In India Everyone Must Visit

Ever thought of taking that much-deserved break and losing yourself in a place virtually free from all sorts of communication? If yes, then this is a perfect place to start from. The places mentioned below aren’t your standard honeymoon destination, these are those places which can take your breath away and leave you shell-shocked with the beauty that these places in India has to offer. These are the 5 Must Visit Places In India: Pangong Lake, Ladakh Restricting Ladakh tourism to just Pangong lake would be an extreme injustice, but if you ask me to pinpoint the most beautiful place in the region, then Pangong would definitely top my list. Pangong Lake doesn’t have heavy traffic or inflow of tourists, so if you want to scream at the top your voices unabashedly, come here. The sight of the lake can instantly instill a sense of peacefulness in your mind. The lake located at a height of about 4350m is around 124km long and is also home to various migrating birds. Ladakh is definitely a travellers …

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

After a few lazy nights in Charanag, in Hallan Valley — a small town tucked away from the crowd of Manali, in Himachal Pradesh — it was time to relax, and lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan sounded like a perfect name. Located approximately at a 45-minute drive from Manali, Sethan is a place for slow travellers – particularly during winters, when snow claims its ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, becomes impossible! In the month of March, and with mercury still falling beyond zero for most of the hours in a day, the valley 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 of Sethan are the original migrants from Tibet and Spiti Valley, representing a Buddhist community who share their roots being horse herders in their past. They were given land in the surrounding areas by the then …

Hot Air Ballooning In Goa: What It Feels Like

After groggily waking up at 5:15 in the morning – before even the birds woke up – I was ready to leave and reach our Hot Air Balloon flight station, some 30 kilometers away from the place where I was staying, at Agonda beach, in South Goa. I’d barely slept the night before because I was so excited. After all, the idea of flying in a 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 the 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 correctly, 16 years …

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, on either side of the journey, yet I could not stop myself from bifurcating. After all, it was “The Must See Camping Place, in the Himalayas” as many people, whom I met on the road, recommended. “Don’t forget to go to Chitkul man, Sangla Valley is so beautiful that 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 km. And when it comes to the Himalayas, 20 km 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. No wonder, Chitkul is any photography lover’s …

Charanag – Just Another Town, Across The Mountains

When you’ve been travelling 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 too 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 sometimes 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 …

Life In The Backwaters Of Alleppey, Kerala

Tourists in their fancy houseboats seemed high in spirit, with their impressive camera doing most of the work. But in the local ferry, the atmosphere was rather regular. Here, no one appeared to be in hurry or amazed by the arresting beauty of the backwaters in Alleppey – one of the prime highlights of tourism in Kerala. I heard a lot about the backwaters of Kerala. I heard that tourists here hire a floating houseboat and wander through its maze of interconnected lagoons, canals, lakes and inlets – home to a dazzling assortment of flora and fauna, and local villages. I heard that they spend days sitting on the deck, experiencing the tranquillity of the backwaters in Kerala, with a book in their hand, while swiftly sailing through one village to the other. I wanted to explore this place too but in my own way. And there I was, in a government ferry, surrounded by a bunch of locals who were heading back from the mainland Alleppey, with all the ration they needed, and a newspaper …

A Walk Into The Himalayan Woods

Travelling alone has its own benefits. It gives you that control where you can set an itinerary and then you can ditch it. Spending days in solitude also makes you more eager to chat with locals, absorb their culture and team up with them to make your journey more interesting. And that is exactly what happened to me when I was on my way to trek all the way to Deo Tibba. Deo Tiba is basically a 4 to 7 days trek depending upon how far you want to go. The base camp takes 7 days. The elegant Deo Tiba peak which is 6001 m high looks like half oval shaped egg. The journey starts from Jagatsukh village (about 20 km from Manali), in a motorcar, followed by a great deal of walking through Himalaya’s pristine and untouched beauty, laced with the amazing forests and snow-clad peaks. But let’s not waste too much time speaking about its specifications, because we aren’t even going there. So as I said, travelling alone has its own benefits. And this journey just proved …

The Journey That Brought FootlooseDev Into The World

“It’s amazing how small life experiences leave an imprint on us,and force us to change our life one way or the other” I found this statement more truer than ever, back in 2014, while I was travelling in the lofty and vainglorious mountains of Uttarakhand, and got bit by an unsettling travel bug. At that time I had no idea that I’d soon quit my job to travel. But I guess, as they say that life experiences aren’t something to be denied, but to be celebrated, I think I just happened to celebrate my experiences so strenuously that it eventually became a way of life. My first solo-travel experience took place in 2014. It was a 2-day trek in the snout of Gangotri Glacier to reach the place called Gomukh, from where Bhagirathi River originates. I was constantly feeling a certain springy keenness the day I started the trek. Though factually I was walking with a group of other hikers, whom I met in Gangotri, technically speaking I was on my own, as I hardly knew …