All posts tagged: Travel Guide

How To Stay In Little Rann of Kutch For Free

When I had initially started planning my trip to Gujarat, particularly around the Rann of Kutch, I felt hopeless. Every place inside the region, charged at least a couple of thousand Rupees for a night. And this did not include food. Some generous tourist homes, however, offered a complimentary breakfast, yet their price tag was way over my budget. “I’d never be able to travel to this part of my country, if I couldn’t find sponsors,” I remember wondering. Now the only option was to stay in the nearby towns of Bhuj and Gandhidham (yet both the places had no place of interest for a tourist like me) and do the day trips to Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) and Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) from them, respectively. But it didn’t sound feasible, at least not for someone who was backpacking. In order to explore the White Desert in GRK and the barren crack-land in LRK, I wanted to stay as closer to them as possible. It was particularly important for me to stay inside, …

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 last few years. Though it’s surely an interesting effort allowing people to revisit the desert region of Kutch – which was left devastated after the 2001 earthquake – by creating a travel story linking to Kutch’s geographical and cultural distinctions, the value for money, that it offers… is unfortunately pretty discouraging. The cheapest deal, which buys you complimentary meals and a one night stay in an economy Swiss tent, costs no less than 10 thousand Rupees (plus taxes) for two people. And mind that this is the cheapest option. If you want a better tent with an Aircon, then you can pay as much as 16 thousand Rupees (plus taxes), for two. The price remains the same for single occupancy, as each tent can only be booked on a twin sharing basis. You can also buy a 2 nights/ 3 days package, which takes you around a few …

A Backpacker’s Guide To Travel In Kutch

Kutch was never on my agenda, and little did I even hear about it. All I knew was that some regular tourists often fly here in winter to spot the rare migratory birds, but for a backpacker, Kutch had very little to offer. My fears moreover started haunting as soon as I moved towards Kutch, from Ahmedabad. Local transport here suddenly become inefficient, and the distances from one village to another, felt totally unbelievable. There was no way I could get a place to stay anywhere, had I not done an advance bookings. I was spending more time on the roads, with my thumb erect, trying to hitchhike, than seeing places. Yet, it was a wonderful trip altogether. And the deeper I explored, the better it turned out. Sharing some of my first impressions of backpacking in Kutch. Great Roads But Disappointing Transport If there is one thing that impressed me about the road transport in Kutch it is the roads. Even the narrowest roads leading to the most interiors and unsung villages were in …

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 A Perfectly 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 written 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 at first place. So how to choose the perfect beach as per your taste? Well, the best way …

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 midnight. I could hear sea waves the entire night, just …