All posts tagged: Travel Guide

Bodhgaya — What To Expect From The Birthplace Of Buddhism

The birthplace of Buddhism. The crucible of a new philosophy. The epitome of knowledge and compassion. That’s what Bodhgaya is! Located in the Gaya district, in the Indian state of Bihar, Bodhgaya is a tiny little town where prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a Pipal tree, some 2500 years ago. In terms of blessedness, consider this tiny temple town for Buddhists what Mecca is to Muslims, or Varanasi to Hindus. Unsurprisingly, the town attracts thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, who come for prayer, study and meditation – with some in their flaming red robes, and other, in Turmeric and Saffron ones. Though of course the most hallowed spot in Bodhgaya is the Bodhi tree which flourishes inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, the many Buddhist monasteries and temples that mark its bucolic landscape, built in their national style by foreign Buddhist communities, no less add to the city’s charm. Every country in the world, which has a Buddhist population, including Japan, Burma, Bhutan, and Nepal, among others, have erected their own respective monasteries and temples in Bodhgaya. …

Where To Travel In India: My 9 Personal Faves From 2016

2016 turned out to be a promising year for my travelling stint. If the entire year put together, I think I spent more than 300 days on the road. I covered a part of Southeast Asia, a bit of Nepal and much of India (now only left with 6 Indian states, including Gujarat and Rajasthan, and they are next in my list). Where most of the places I visited were great, some were exceptionally better. Better in a way that they carried the essence of Indian culture, its diverse landscapes, and represented India as a rich travel package. So if I were to recommend any places from those I visited in India, in 2016, they would be… Alappuzha Backwaters, Kerala Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is home to a vast network of waterways and a few thousand houseboats. And the experience of sailing downs its interconnected lagoons and smaller canals, while overlooking the paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks, is totally magical. You can also call it romantic. …

Introduction To Varanasi

When I first arrived in Varansi, I had its most clichéd picture in my head: a group of people surrounding the burning pyres on a ghat, a few lost sadhus whitewashed in ash, and the daily Ganga Aarti. Though I knew that the town is more or less comprised of 80+ connected ghats, running to a length of almost 10 kilometres – visualizing it anything more than the many recent spiritual towns of India, was quite impossible. During my first 15 minutes of arrival, I remember attesting it to the auto rikhshaw driver, that I’m finding Varanasi quite similar to Haridwar, or “Rishikesh without mountains”. I asked him if he has ever visited Uttarakhand. He rejected, in the most uninteresting manner. But as the time went past, and I thoughtfully overstayed in the town, one day after the other, I realised that Varanasi was perhaps not anything like Haridwar, or Rishikesh, or any other Indian town for that matter. After all, it is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited place on earth – dwelling …

From My Homestay… A Quick Guide To Kabbinakad, Coorg

I remember when I first spoke to Sharath, asking if I can visit them and explore the coffee plantation and the nature around their homestay, in Kabbinakad, Coorg, he replied in the most candid manner. A part of his response also sounded a little customary – following the usual banalities of any hospitality business. He wrote, sounding ostentatious, that they would be happy to show me the best of nature and Coorgi hospitality. “What a polished statement,” I thought. But it was until I actually visited his place that I realised it was indeed among the best, and most unspoilt nature, I have ever seen. And the hospitality Coorgis were always known for, was no less remarkable, either. I first visited Coorg, some 6 months ago, experiencing one of the many camping sites around the place – and the experience always stayed in my memory, quite afresh. But this time as I reached Kabbinakad, located around 30 kms towards east of Madikeri, I found it much different, and perhaps more surreal. I remember losing myself …

GOA Travel Guide

I avoided Goa for a long time, travelling the length and breadth of India on several trips, but never making it to the vacation hot-spot known for beaches, sunsets and parties. I always thought that Goa must have lost its charm, due to waves upon waves of Indian and western European tourists that travel there. But I was wrong. I travelled this amazing little part of India (in Nov’16) for nearly a month – with most of the time spent on its beaches in the south, and I immediately fell in love with it. I loved its atmosphere, the beaches, all-night crazy parties and a laid-back tropical vibe. What’s better is, from first timer honeymooners to crazy college party mongers, there is something for everyone here. You can find beaches as dead as a village in the far-out corners of Himalaya, to those hosting all-night raves. There’s sun, sea, sand, seafood and pretty much everything else you need to make your holiday better. Come here to lose yourself in a heavenly experience. Come here for a great holiday. …

Choosing The Perfect Quiet Beach In Goa

Goa is big. In fact, massive. And depending upon which part of the town (I prefer calling it a town, rather than a state) you choose to stay, you pretty much shape your entire Goan experience. You can perceive it as a chilled out ambient heaven or something completely opposite of it. If I were to describe my initial few days in Calangute, North Goa, in one sentence, I’d agree with what lonely planet has put in their guidebook’s cover page “Where the beach meets the bazaar”. But that wouldn’t make any sense, if I think of my last few days at Kakolem Beach, in South Goa. Why not? Because the entire (Kakolem) beach had only one accommodation option, one eating-point, and the nearest market was somewhere about 5 kilometres away, in any direction. The point here is, Goa can be confusing, and can give you a complete different experience, depending upon where you decided to stay. And if the idea is experiencing a quiet and chilled-out Goan vibe, then the choice becomes even more …

A Quick Guide To Agonda Beach, South Goa

I carefully chose to spend a bigger portion of my time in Goa on a three kilometre stretch of sand known as Agonda Beach. And Sonho do Mar, which offers cozy beach huts became my home for almost a fortnight. Compared to a few other beaches in south, Agonda turned out to be a little touristy. It looked more like an island in Bali than it did a part of India – with a majority of Western Europeans claiming the beach. It housed a diverse mix of tourists – independent travellers, elderly couples and families – which, I think, helped create a most pleasant atmosphere. It was certainly not a wild party place but was certainly not a boring, nothing-to-do destination either. What made it perfect to a next level was the fact that the kind of tourist that visit here often don’t look for moon beach raves, and late night wild parties. During my entire time in Agonda, the beach went amazingly quiet right after the midnight. I could hear sea waves the entire …

KARNATAKA Travel Guide

Karnataka is a bounty. Here you’ll find palaces, tiger reserves, ancient ruins, and pretty much everything else that favours tourism. Come here to experience some of the most beautiful and clean beaches of India. At its nerve centre is Bangalore – India’s IT hub, with nearly 8 million people running on its streets. In the south, is a much beautiful coastal line and hill districts, representing a quintessential Hindu south India – of lush tropical vegetation and dominating temple sites. In its east, the rainforest Western Ghats can be found impeding the path of dramatic clouds. Come here for any kind of experience. TOP PLACES TO SEE AND EXPERIENCES TO TRY Experience Life In Bangalore: Bangalore is the biggest cosmopolitan in the south India, and is my favourite city in India. Unlike other big cities, Bangalore has an educated young crowd, a perfect weather, and a benevolent drinking and dining scene. It is not necessarily a place you’d come to experience a world-class city, but if you want to experience a modern side of India, come straight …

MEGHALAYA Travel Guide

Situated in the northeast part of India, Meghalaya is all about mesmerizing hills, dominating rain-forests, dramatic clouds and a lot of rain. The town of Cherapunji and Mawsynram are statistically among the wettest places on earth. English is the official language here, making communication with locals not much of a hassle. I found Meghalaya as one of the safest and convenient places in India for solo travelling. The entire state is majorly populated by three indigenous tribes, who follow a matrilineal system with property names and wealth passing from mother to daughter. Come here to explore a non-clichéd and a different side of India. TOP PLACES TO SEE AND EXPERIENCES TO TRY Root Bridges In The Eastern Khasi Hills: This is something so unique that you can’t find it anywhere else in the world. Root bridges were made by indigenous Khasi people, living in and around the Village Nongriat, in Eastern Khasi Hills. There are a number of small root bridges around the area with a Double Decker Root bridge, unlike one of its kind, located …

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 …