India : Where chaos seems beautiful

Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi

India Gate, New Delhi

Welcome to the Jungle.

Fifth attempt to try & write something hoping it would work this time. I will not talk about AIESEC or my application process, neither will I talk about what I learned nor I will leave a moral of a fable. I will just tell you what I saw, felt, heard, touched and smelled during the time I was in India, perhaps it will be easier for you to understand what I experienced to give you a flavour of what India is all about.
I’ll be totally honest here and the first thing you will see in India won’t be neither elephants nor cows, nor people dancing like in Bollywood movies, for real. The first thing you see will be thousands of people in a very small place, you will feel unbearably hot and hear car honks everywhere and smell a particular scent originally from India. I spent my first two weeks in New Delhi and everything you know as “traffic rules”, “be kind to others” and “privacy” is going to hell when you get to Delhi. And the thing I am sure about Delhi is that this is the real human jungle. And I absolutely love this amazing city. It has got in my nerves. There is something in particular that I like about Delhi and most of the people who have been to Delhi will think I’m crazy, but here it goes. I love the sound of the honks (I feel connected to them), a particular sound that will make you feel like your eardrum will explode anytime. Everything in Delhi is Intense. After I wasn’t able to breath in the Delhi Metro, I had profound understanding of what “personal space” is. It is crazy. I come from a place where the only public transportation is the bus and when I came to India the metro network was a shock for me, with more than 3 lines with different stops and hundreds of people. If you really want to experience Delhi, you got to move around the city by metro.
In India everything is chaotic, specially food, with every meal being a bomb of flavours. Paneer Masala, Butter Naan, Aloo Tikki, Mix Veg, Dosa and Mango Lassi are my favourites. I love the way Indians use spices, adding them to any cuisine there is. If you are a person who loves to see new things and experience innumerable cultures at once, India is the perfect place to be. Stalk people live, eat without giving a second thought to what the person next to you will think, follow anyone on the road who seems interesting, I’m not kidding, you can stare at a person for more than 5 minutes and everything will be all right.
Let’s change the topic and talk about what I really want to tell you about India. When you get to a place where there are children who do not know what his/her name is or where they come from and you look at a women without clothes outside a shopping mall, that is when reality hits you hard and you start to be grateful for things that you didn’t think were important. What struck me the most (besides the Taj Mahal) is the devotion of people to their religion. During the time I was in Varanasi (the holy city in India) I asked the tour guide: “How can you believe in something you can’t see?” and he said: “It is not about seeing, it is a matter of choosing to believe in something, that way you’ll have something to hold on to.” And that’s where I started to realise what I was doing wrong with myself. It is incredible how a simple sentence can change your perspective of life.
There is no favourite place but favourite moments. It is difficult to choose a moment, but if I have to choose one right now, it would be my first visit to Taj Mahal. It’s undeniably overwhelming. It is not most people imagine it to be: clean, peaceful and calm. It’s a total madness when you try to get in but when you see the Taj Mahal, everything that is around you doesn’t bother you anymore, it is impossible to believe that for the love of a woman such a thing was built. Apart from the Taj Mahal, you’ll see cultural diversity, different religions, beautiful customs and little girls with eye liner. It’s eye catching.
Delhi, Dharamshala, Varanasi, Rishikesh, Jaipur and Jodhpur, every city has something specific that makes them different. I can not describe at this time what it is but each of them is going to teach you something, it shows you something, it makes you feel something. The question is not “Why India?” the real question is “What is India?” and my answer for that question is: “India is the perfect, beautiful, colourful big ball of chaos.”

The Great Online Travel Upgrade

The 21st Century has recently upgraded itself to a beta version 2.0. This version has had very crucial fixes when it comes to handheld operations. One can easily order food, write letters and book hotel rooms while lying down on a couch. The only hardware requirement is a mobile device, a computer and a functioning set of hands. If you have three of these prerequisites your life just went through an update. This 21st Century update costs from around 149$ and goes upto 2000$ with luxury devices. In Addition, it offers a whooping advantage of auditing an organization via reviews.

Today we talk about this specific feature of auditing via reviews. Why this update has people bothered around the world and how fair is this feature. We also talk about travelling and booking a hotel room specifically. Its going to be ruthless and a gospel discussion for travelers. Let’s clear our throats.

Throughout the history of time we have seen the word explorer morphing somewhere with travelling. Travel today has become exploration essentially. Exploration of one’s soul and at times a beautiful spot to chill for a while. Earlier, the world that was not discovered, had to be discovered. But today we have discovered almost everything. Today, man has realized he needs to discover himself after excavating much of his geographical surroundings. To do this, Man travels. This has become a growing trend in this century with the increase of travelers around the world. We can go ahead and say every 2 out of 4 corporate sellouts are spontaneous travelers. The real issue is how they travel? Because if exploration is about comfort, we as well call it cheap cinema. Travel has never been a commodity that can be bought until now. Kudos Richard Branson! When we travel today we have basic mathematical rules to follow after choosing a place.

Is the Place safe? (Lets do a quick google search and dig out all the bad things that have happened here.)

Is there a hotel? (Lets scrutinize through every review on tripadvisor and bookmark the best)

Is the network okay? (Lets see if Oman has good 3g connection because snapchat Y’all!)

Will the place look good on facebook? (Lets see if India has a good appeal on my timeline!)

These factors are hereditary and compulsory (for most). Most of the travelers take this route. They are not wrong. They are just not travelling.
Sorry, But to get something out of your travel you need to switch off your phones. You need to think straight and take risks. You must be out of your comfort zone. Ever imagined Mccandles going “The magic bus has a rating of 1.5 on tripadvisor. It doesn’t even have a Wifi.”. Travel is about discomfort. Discomfort of not knowing where to go. Discomfort of not finding a perfect place to sleep. Its about management. Its about adjustment. Its about Survival!

Its not about finding the best hotel for your stay. Its not when you want a spiritual experience. If you really want to change your life through travel you must escape from judging a hotel by its rating, a place by its propaganda and your travelogue by how attractive it looks on social media. That is what travel is in its true sense. We travel for an inception not a deception. Hotel Reviews and Google Searches can hardly get you anywhere but priorities will.

And it has always been about priorities.

Either you want to be part of that 21st Century Upgrade.

Or you want to be Marco Polo.

The Choice is yours.

 

P.S. Only one is a traveler.

 

The ecstasy of life : My first solo trip

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TRRRIIINGGG! A sudden sensation of warmth emanated from my chest and found its way to pull up my cheeks. Running through the corridors, finding my way through the slow moving crowd, bashing into someone at every turn taken with constant unworried apologies, crossing the 100 meter long football field, I finally found my way into my house. Everything was kept just the way I had left it; the backpack, cap, snacks and my wallet. In 10 mins, I switched from my school uniform to some casual, seemingly “hip” clothes. Packing everything into the backpack, I set out and walked down the stairs to give the key to my mom. My mind was rushing with constantly inpouring thoughts of the train station, me sitting in the train enjoying the view, the “Will I get a window-side seat?” but most of all, “Did I forget something?”! Meeting mom at the front gate, I got into the rikshaw and as we rode outside of the campus, a sensation of freedom and boundlessness radiated all around. After reaching the train station, I got the tickets and stood on the platform waiting for the arrival of the train. Somewhere underneath all this ecstasy was a feeling of non-belief which said, “Is this really happening?”. As the train arrived at the platform, I rushed into the boogie to stop at the first empty window-side seat I can find. And gosh, I did! Sitting there inside, I received my first ever travel cautioning talk, “Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Call once you reach. Take care. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. And don’t forget to call!” Voicing a continuous “hum” to my mom, I settled in. In a few minutes, the train started moving and I looked outside with a wide glee on my face as we passed the “Nilambur Junction” signboard. For the next 3 hours I just sat there staring outside the whole while; different stations while the train stopped – some busy some not, the loud monotonous calls for chai and coffee, the peanut man, people getting in and out. The ecstasy was still present in the same magnitude. As the train slowed down along the platform at “Palakkad Junction”, I stood next to the door inhaling a long deep breath. Aah, home!

Such was the experience of my first ‘solo trip’; a 3 hour train ride when I was 13. There was something special about solo traveling that I had never experienced before. A sensation of boundlessness or perhaps an ecstasy that enables one to feel every breath with infinite joy for living. This made an impression on me and I wish the same for you. Take a break, get that backpack, break the routine and lose yourself to find your true self!

 
“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive” – Jack London

– Sid Ramesh

This blog is absurd and so is the life we are living. So break away.

 

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I am a product. My religion is money. My gender is undefined. My occupation is to survive. But how often do I follow my code of conduct? How often am I true to myself? I work 8 hours a day. Accounts, Bureaucracy, Artist or a Sportsman; doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I am a product and I have chosen to be a product for a rather long term of my entire life. Should I be a product? Or Should I be an unreasonable hippie? Should I leave my responsibilities that I myself have built with lots of expectations? Should I buy a car or Should I buy a phone? Should I row a boat or should I discover fire? Isn’t it hard to be a modern man in this century? How do I answer these questions without being biased towards my choices? Will there be a divine intervention? Will there be an echo? Or will I just read some liberating blog to transform myself into a monk? Well, if you think this to be that blog, you are mistaken. This is just an informal manifesto, not a guide to recognising yourself.

Lets begin with birth. When I was born I was fed with lots of preconceived notions. God, Vegetables, Time, Love, Hate, Money, Job, Wife, Family. It was pouring in like a tap left open to fill a pool. It was massive information that I was not ready to analyse. So, I just accepted it all. The real conflict though is, what now? I think of them now. At present I question religion, my wife, my job, the concept of money in my life, the idea of love. But now, the society gets angry. Now it gets angry, it restricts me from articulating the exact set of answers I am looking for. I guess its time to move on. I have learned enough from the conventional industry that impregnates me with an illogical livelihood. I need to get bitten by a radioactive spider. I need that letter from Hogwarts. I need to kiss my wife passionately like Noah. But before that, all of that fairy tale crap I need to understand this absurdity. How are people in this entire world living? How do they think? Do they have more problems? I think its high time now. I need to take a break from all the people in my city. We can do some Facebook for a while. Its time for me to visit Europe, America, Asia, Antarctica, Africa and Australia. I hope I have enough funds, but even if I don’t I must walk as much as I can. There is a lot to explore and I have been living a monotonous life for really long now. I should pack my bags today. I must leave.

Ibn Batuta, Bernier and Al biruni might have been travellers by profession. I although would do it as a religion. Because whatever the popular culture says, its right about one thing, travel is the best religion out there. Its the best currency. Its the most transforming experience. I am a man, without god, without possessions, without a proper plan. Where do I start my evolution from? Yes, from travelling to a distant land. I am walking towards the bus stop, towards the railway station, towards the airport, towards the local bus stop of Nepal. I dont have an idea about tomorrow but a lot of spirit to be in it. I am walking towards home.

*Beep*

Wait, Wait, Wait. Thats a call from my employment agency. Oh! they have found a perfect placement for me. Hmmm, the pay is good. I can probably pay my rent pretty easily. I can buy a new sedan. I can buy the new iphone. Maybe I should work for a while and leave after an year. But wait, thats the occasional trap that the market throws at me.Its something today, it will be something tomorrow. It has captured my attention for long by this tactful manoeuvre. Should I take the job? Should I make a living instead of living? Should I not walk towards the station, the bus stop, the airport? My luggage pushes me towards the destination. I am falling. Why?

  1. Because I am a product.
  2. Because life is just absurd as it is.
  3. Because I need to know.

You decide.

After all,I am you and what I see is me. 

And do I take you by the hand 

And lead you through the land 

And help me understand 

The best I can. 

This blog is absurd.

So is the life we are living.

Lets Move.

 

Aatmbodh

North East – India’s Unknown

India, The largest democracy in the world has been fascinating to million of overseas tourists for at least a decade now. North East India states are officially recognised as nature’s unexplored paradise. About 60% of the total area covered by the states are forests. Nature’s richness flourish here with UNESCO world Heritage sites like Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park. The region is also rich in petroleum and natural gas which serves as one-fifth of total Indian potential.

Above all India’s north east is enriched with 130 major tribes and 300 sub tribal communities. Ethnic and Linguistic differences amongst these tribes differentiate all these states, thereby giving birth to all these new dialects, languages with varied culture and unique traditions

Arunachal Pradesh

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Image Credits : Google Images

The final frontier of Indian tourism, virginal Arunachal Pradesh shows up as a giant patch of unexplored emerald green on the country’s map. India’s wildest and least explored state, Arunachal (literally the ‘Land of Dawn-lit Mountains’) rises abruptly from the Assam plains as a mass of densely forested, and impossibly steep, hills, which eventually top off as snow-capped peaks along the Tibetan border. Home to 26 indigenous tribes, Arunachal is perhaps the last sanctuary for India’s natural and anthropological heritage. Much of the state still remains beyond tourism’s reach, but new areas (comprising lush river gorges and craggy mountainscapes) are slowly being opened to visitors.

 

Assam

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Image Credits : Google Image

Sprawled lazily along the length of the Brahmaputra valley, Assam (also known as Ahom) is the biggest and most accessible of the Northeast States. A hospitable population, a cuisine with its own distinctive aromas and flavours, a vibrant artistic heritage marked by exotic dance forms, and a string of elegant Hindu temples top its list of innumerable attractions, and no permits are required. The archetypal Assamese landscape is a picturesque golden-green vista of jigsaw-like rice fields and manicured tea estates, framed in the distance by the blue mountains of Arunachal in the north and the highlands of Meghalaya and Nagaland to the south.

Nagaland

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Image Credits : Google Images

The uncontested ‘wild east’ of India, Nagaland is probably one of the reasons you came to the Northeast in the first place. A place of primeval beauty, Nagaland’s dazzling hills and valleys – right on the edge of the India–Myanmar border – are an otherworldly place where, until very recently, some 16-odd headhunting Naga tribes valiantly fought off any intruders. Of course, Nagaland today is a shadow of its once savage self, and much of the south of the state is fairly developed. In the north, however, you still stand a good chance of meeting tribesmen in exotic attire who continue to live a lifestyle that is normally only seen within the pages of a National Geographic magazine.

Mizoram

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Image Credits : Google Images

Seated precariously along rows of north–south-running mountain ridges, pristine Mizoram is more of an experiential journey than a tourist destination. Ethnically, the majority of the local population shares similarities with communities in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar (Burma), and the predominant religion is Christianity. Mizo culture is liberated from caste or gender distinctions: in Aizawl girls smoke openly, wear modern clothes and hang out in unchaperoned posses meeting up with their beaus at rock concerts.

Tripura

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Image Credits : Google Images

Far from India’s popular tourist circuits, Tripura is a culturally charming place which thrives on the hope that its handful of royal palaces and temples will draw the world’s attention some day. For the moment, though, foreign travellers remain very rare, despite the fact that no permit is currently required. The state can be accessed by land from Meghalaya and Bangladesh; if you fly in, you must register with the police on arrival at the airport.

 

Meghalaya

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Image Credits : Google Images

Separating the Assam valley from the plains of Bangladesh, hilly Meghalaya – the ‘abode of clouds’ – is a cool, pine-fresh mountain state set on dramatic horseshoes of rocky cliffs. Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram are statistically amongst the wettest places on earth; most of the rain falls between June and September, creating very impressive waterfalls and carving out some of Asia’s longest caves.

 

Manipur

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Image Credits : Google Images

Manipur, a little Shangri La located in North-East India, is a Jewel of India. This little corner is a paradise on Earth where Mother Nature has been extra generous in her bounty. Least touched and least discovered Manipur promises to be the great tourist discovery of the 21st century. An oval shaped valley surrounded by blue green hills, rich in art and tradition has inspired description such as the “Switzerland of the East” with its cascading rapids, tripling rivers, varieties of flowers, exotic blooms and lakes.

 

This 19 year old cycled 443 Kms home from college | A Travelogue

 

“It is important to remember that it’s your thoughts and perspectives that give your pain its power and you are in the pilot seat. At any point you can refuel your engines, rechart your course, and begin anew. Your mind contains millions of worlds. There is always someplace to escape to.”

-Beau Taplin.

 

I have always wanted to make myself, and the people around me believe that traveling was meant for anyone and everyone. I never had the kind of money to fly  to an exotic holiday destination. Desperate for a getaway, I decided to pedal my way home: from Manipal to Bangalore. To cover 443 km alone with no prior experience, made me think of myself as a child, where you have absolutely no concrete knowledge of how the world functions outside your own comfort zone and your existence becomes a series of interesting guesswork.

 

My indecisiveness and intrusive thoughts has had me interact with various individuals. The term “Travel” never really seemed to have a concrete definition; it was rather a blend of assorted perceptions. For some, it entailed a break from mediocrity and monotonous mundane; for some it was an ostentatious display of extravagance over social media. Some said it was the enthusiasm to explore numerous cultures, historical landmarks and delicacies, while the other few responded with their love for nature, adventure and adrenaline.  As for me, the sole purpose of this journey was introspection and to add a new perspective to the ongoing events in my life.

 

So on the 6th of December, 2015, I began a journey to broaden my horizons, re-evaluate, reflect and conquer my thoughts and dreams.

 

DAY ONE – Manipal to Mangalore

 

Unprepared Start

 

I had no previous knowledge about the needs of a cycling expedition. I prepared my rucksack with a sleeping bag, sunglasses and comfortable clothes whereas some sports gear, saddle covers, sunscreen were forgotten. It took time to sink in that I would really be treading the distance of 450 kilometres, given that the only considerable experience I’d had prior to this was cycling barely 40 km in Ladakh last summer.

 

The very initial phase of the journey felt like a routine as I travel around on my bicycle every single day and is the only mode of transport I operate. As I cycled my way past the concrete jungle, I came across fellow passer-bys that waved to me with bright smiles. I covered around 60-65kms in order to get to Mangalore.

 

Mangalore is the second largest city of Karnataka which is one of the fastest developing cities of Southern India. I managed to book a hotel for the night. Dinner was at a local food joint in a mall that stood nearby the hotel. This was the only luxurious stay for the journey and I absolutely had no accommodation plans thereon.

 

DAY TWO – Mangalore to Uppinangadi.

 

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I planned to leave at 6 in the morning to admire the landscapes and traffic free roads while I made my way to Uppinangadi, but the fire in my soul could not outshine the urge to grab a couple of extra hours of sleep. I ended up checking out of the hotel at 10 a.m. wearing suitable, full-sleeved sportswear, precautionary equipment and sunscreen.

 

Just when I thought I prepped myself well for the day, another predicament showed up.  The saddle of my bicycle wasn’t built to endure long-distances, definitely not as long as 400kms and I ended up with a saddle sore. Despite of the nerve wrecking pain and unfavorably warm weather, I cycled my way to B.C Road (Bantwal Cross road) that is 24kms from Mangalore. Fortunately, I came across  tiny carpentry stall outside a mosque. His dexterity caught my attention and I requested him to modify my saddle. He agreed without a thought and my saddle had been modified as per my requirements within minutes! I was charged Rs. 50 while the ‘branded’ sports saddle would have costed me close to Rs. 2000.

 

Karnataka has been the most humble state to me, in comparison to all other South Indian states. People are cordial and welcoming. My experiences in other states have been really indifferent. If I were to do something of this sort down south and solo, Karnataka was the place. Hands down.
Even though, not many interactions with people midway were possible due to the obvious language barrier. The astonishment and curiosity and the bare-minimum conversations in sign language and common words was a good boost.

 

I stopped at a local road-side ‘dhaba’ that served decent, stomach-filling food only at the cost of Rs. 20! Uppinangadi, made me feel like I had travelled back in time; little technological advancement and the residents living in their own bubble of oblivious happiness.

 

DAY THREE – Uppinangadi to Sakleshpur.

 

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I woke up to the sight of people fidgeting with my bike and its gears. Not an ideal way to be greeted early in the morning in an alien land among strangers. I left the dhabba exasperated and cycled my way into the Western Ghats.

 

Challenge of the day had to be the elevation that ended up reducing my speed all the way down from 15 to 16 kmph to 6 to 7 kmph on an average. It constantly reminded me how plain roads at the beginning of my journey were nothing less than a blessing. Coconut water became my personal favorite throughout the journey. It not only helped me restore my energy, but prevented dehydration to a great extent.

 

 

DAY FOUR – Sakleshpur to Hassan.

 

 

Day four had been really fascinating in terms of exploring tourist spots and landscapes as I touched Sakleshpur. Moreover, I covered a 2300 m elevation which was an accomplishment for me. My body started getting habitual to the exertion and the intensive up-hill cycling. I noticed a major positive difference in my stamina levels that I attained from pushing my boundaries physically as well as mentally.

 

Sakleshpur is a hill station famous for coffee plantations that attract a lot of tourists. I managed to purchase coffee beans for myself as a souvenir .The temperature dropped down from burning 35 degrees to 19 degrees.

 

I visited the Manjarabad Fort located on the outskirts of Sakleshpur on NH48. The fort was constructed by Tipu sultan to protect the plateau beyond Sakleshpur. The entire fort has a star shaped architecture which was also used as an armoury during that period.

 

DAY FIVE – Hassan to Hirisave.

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On my way to Hirisave, I was bewildered to find a Café Coffee Day that stood isolated in the middle of nowhere. I entered the cafe, only to be surprised by the number of people there. I interacted with a gentleman who had driven an incredible 8000km in the past one month in his car. His travel destinations included well acclaimed places like Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala and was now on his way to Bangalore.  We had the same destination!

 

On the road to Hirisave which is a village in the Hassan district, my bicycle had its very first breakdown.  The front brakes broke away from the tyres and I was in a fix. Luckily, I managed to find a scooter repair shop on the highway and the mechanic somehow managed my breaks reattached in no time.

 

 DAY SIX – Hirisave to Bangalore

 

I was 120kms away from my ultimate destination. A distance that seemed so close but was impossible to cover within a day. My parents suggested me add another day to my expedition and stay over for another night. I strongly disagreed; I put my foot down and went against all odds to cover 120kms in a day’s time.

 

I was exhausted and I desperately wanted to go back home in the time I had planned initially. I started cycling at 10 in the morning and decided to stop only when necessary.

 

It was around 7 in the evening and I still had 30kms to cover. I was nearing Bangalore when I saw an accident. I was stopped for water and basic first aid and I gave away my bottle. Giving away my only bottle with none to spare was a terrible mistake. The hope of getting back home, pushed me to pedal harder and forget of the brutality I was putting my body through. The highway had no stop where I could buy a bottle of water and replenish my thirst.

 

15kms away from home, I finally managed to find a tiny stall and grabbed a bottle of water. My body started rejecting liquids due to the fact that I had exerted it to the point of dehydration.

 

However, I pushed through till my body gave up on me in the middle of the highway. I hazily pulled my cell phone out and called my parents up telling them about the horror I had put myself into. I called an Uber cab for the last few kilometers and my expedition came to an undesirable end.

I was taken to the hospital immediately as I got back home. I had severe dehydration, but I managed to recover quickly.

    

 

Experiences post the introspective journey

 

You can never stop the human mind but by meditation. And, that is something I’ve never really been able to take up well. Hence, Travelling has always been my thing when it comes to the search for my peace of mind. It gives you the much needed alternative perspective towards the issues in the daily life. Coming across various people from such diverse walks of life ought to get one thinking and reevaluate one’s approach to life. The major part of the journey involved a lot of introspection and helped me take decisions that I otherwise would not have. Now, three months since this journey, I can very well say that each one of those decisions was right and rewarding.

Traveling through rural areas and being surrounded by nature for the most part brings one closer to oneself. This is a great opportunity to be true to yourself. I had the chance to accept myself, my strengths and weaknesses, my needs and wants. Only when you accept yourself can you move to improve on the areas you’d like to. Living in denial and trying to fit in, is definitely not an answer. Post the trip, I decided to let go off a few toxic people. Killed a few ongoing projects that were turning out to be mentally exhausting. Focussed more on where I felt I belonged. Mustered up the courage to step aside from the mass conformity that happens all around. But, the funny side of this was that if a friend told me of their worries/problems in life, my one point answer became : You should travel (more often). This ofcourse doesn’t go down well with many people. But, to each their own! 🙂
Credits: 
– Compiled by Arminder Kaur 

– Edited by Pallavi Vemuganti

 

Monsoons in Parvati Valley

As the summers bid goodbye, the arrival of monsoons is eminent with silver dark clouds lining up over the blue sky in the horizon. The snow clad peaks of the Himalayas that stands tall on the gushing Parvati River like sentinel are now veiled most of the times by the clouds. The green has turned to emerald in the forest all around as the frequent drizzles are pouring more life into the vegetation as if adding soul to the ever beautiful body.

Kasol

The much better part is the decrease in rush for the public coming into the valley. As the months of May and June have now passed, the huge inflow of tourists now have changed into genuine backpackers who seek to explore the beauty of the Parvati Valley.

So if you are and hopeless romantic, love the rains, love the mountains, love the smell of wet soil, love the dampness of a emerald green forest, blooming of apples and many other exotic fruits and want to live such memories that eludes time then visit the Parvati Valley this monsoon because i know how the heat still irritates the cities, but here in the land of Shiva and Parvati, everything is reborn with the onset of drizzling drops from the heaven.All the stress, demanding tensions, futile worries and any negative thoughts or emotions would be washed away once you drench in the heavenly monsoon of the valley.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your backs and book your tickets because the lustful combination of Monsoons and Himalayas are waiting, and I await your presence to come experience this feeling with me.

Visit Kasol and look for The Hosteller to stay. For online booking go to http://www.thehosteller.com/

– Deep

 

10 Things to explore in Delhi

Delhi is a fast moving city with an overwhelming dose of culture, traditions, religions, languages and everything one could possibly think of.Also called Mini India, The National Capital is divided into 2 sections known as Purani (Old) Delhi and Nai (New) Delhi. The city was designed by British architect Sir Edward Lutyens.

Exploring Delhi is not everyone’s cup of tea because things always don’t turn out how you want them to be and there will always arise some frustrations from touring around.

But don’t let the backdrops pull you down, Keep a positive attitude!

Where to Stay?

For people who have seen the movie ‘Queen”, the idea of staying in a hostel, sharing experiences, life stories and adding new people to the journey called life will seem more welcoming and exciting . A regular vacation can turn into a life changing experience and all one needs is the right kind of place to stay in.

The Hosteller, Saket is one of the best backpackers hostels in India, travelers visiting North India seem to swear by it and rightly so. The hostel also provides WI-FI, books, games, etc. The hostel is located nearby the Saket Metro station which offers good connectivity of the guests to all the parts of the city.This hostel helps bring tourists closer as they have many fun activities such as movie and karaoke nights,etc

How to Move around in Delhi?

Local DTC Bus System provides both AC and Non-AC transportation within the Delhi and NCR region at minimal fares.

Delhi Metro has its branches spread all over the city providing fast Air Conditioned transport at meagre costs

Local Cabs and Autos – One can easily find a Green\Yellow tuk tuk anywhere in Delhi or people can even book a cab for themselves using the Ola or Uber Mobile App

10 things to explore in Delhi

  1. India Gate – Designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, India Gate sits at the centre of New Delhi at the arc end of the Raj Path. Built in 1931, the arc type gate has more than a lakh names engraved on it of the British Indian Army soldiers killed during the World War ISwaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi
  2. Old Delhi – The walled city was founded as Shahjahanabad by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Old Delhi is known for its vibrant and diverse cuisines and the hustle bustle of the market place.The Old Delhi market is a spreader from Red Fort to the Jama Masjid where one can buy traditional items to Modern Gadgets. Dont miss the Paranthe Walli GalliSwaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi
  3. Humayun Tomb – Having the graves of humayun and many other acclaimed Mughal warriors, the tomb was built in the mid 1500’s to house the Mughal Emperor Humayun.You can walk around the surrounding gardens and then proceed to climb a flight of stairs to the main deck. Then you can walk around the inside of the building and see the many marble tombstones.Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  4. Nizamuddin DargahCaste no bar. The place makes your heart worthy, love for Almighty Allah, love for brothers n sisterhood makes your soul peace.You jostle with people and more people in the narrow alleyways – the crowds are everywhere, and when you reach the open square of the Dargah- there is a sudden calm- the qawwalis on Thursday evenings are a treat. Listen to centuries old songs sung in praise of this famous Sufi Saint Nizamuddin . The environs belong to the times he lived there be transported to him. Sufism promotes a culture of kindness to all mankind.Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  5. Sacred Heart Cathedral – The Cathedral Of The Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic cathedral belonging to the LAtin Rite and one of the oldest church buildings in New Delhi. The cathedral organises functions on certain days of the year. Prayers are held in the morning and evening every day. The major ceremonies held at the Cathedral are Easter and Christmas. The most important of the festivities during Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Christmas Vigil Service an hour before midnight Christmas EveSwaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  6. Bangla Sahib Gurudwara – It is one of the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship in Delhi and known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, as well as the pool inside its complex, known as the “Sarovar.”The place offers you eternal calm. One can sit in the main hall or next to the pond and can feel immense delight and relief.Seeing people doing selfless services and the free meals are something to relish.Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  7. Qutub Minar – Qutub Minar, at 120 meters, is the tallest brick minaret in the world. Qutub Minar, along with the ancient and medieval monuments surrounding it, form the Qutub Complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The tower is located in the Mehrauli area of Delhi. An amazing historical and archaeological site, it remains a mystery and the main structure (Qutab Minar) remains standing firm and beautiful as if it’s not aging.Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  8. Lotus Temple – Among the numerous recognizable landmarks which are scattered all around Delhi is the remarkable Lotus Temple. Designed in the shape of a sacred lotus flower, there are 27 flower petals which are constructed of marble and make up the structure.Though it’s dedicated to the Bahá’í faith, it’s a religious worshipping grounds for people of all religions (as such is the philosophy of the Bahá’í faith).Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  9. Akshardham – Akshardham’ means the divine abode of God. It is hailed as an eternal place of devotion, purity and peace. Swaminarayan Akshardham at New Delhi is a Mandir – an abode of God, a Hindu house of worship, and a spiritual and cultural campus dedicated to devotion, learning and harmony. Timeless Hindu spiritual  messages, vibrant devotional traditions and ancient architecture all are echoed in its art and architecture.The mandir is a humble tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781- 1830), the avatars, devas and great sages of Hinduism.Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 
  10. Hauz Khas Village – Hauz Khas village in Hauz Khas, South Delhi houses a water tank, an Islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb and pavilions built around an urbanized village with medieval history traced to the 13th century of Delhi Sultanate reign.Lakes and buildings take you back to the old period of Indian civilisation.Now it is famous for cafes,restaurants,eateries,shops,art and entertainment hub of New Delhi.It is an excellent place for someone looking to hangout with friends and for those who enjoy the nightlife.Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi 

    Come visit Delhi and look for The Hosteller to stay. For online booking go to http://www.thehosteller.com/

– Rusin

5 Things to do in Kasol

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Nestled in the Laps of the Himalayas, The beautiful town of Kasol is the most happening and important part of the Parvati Valley. Cradled amongst the tall pine and cedar trees, surrounded by the forest and lofty snow clad peaks, Kasol holds its own charm and magic to enchant every soul which shall step out here. From beyond the high horizons of the mountains to the banks of the ever flowing Parvati river, calmness and surreality surround the valley. Plus if you have a hippie heart and want to experience some good party, Kasol will never disappoint you.

Where to Stay?

The Hosteller, Kasol is a backpacking hostel located in Old Kasol near the German Bakery. The hostel emits divinity due to the melodious music made by the waters of Parvati River flowing nearby and the chirping of birds and insects in the forests. The hostel gives a good view of trees with Apple, Peach, Pear and Plum fruits blooming at a hand’s distance.

One can book a deluxe room or a dorm bed at the hostel. Adventurous people can go for tents to sleep in the lap of the Himalayas under the protection of the stars.

How to go around in Kasol?

Kasol is well connected by road to all the major cities of North India. In Kasol people can opt for local government owned cheap buses or Cab services to move around in Kasol. But walking,hiking and trekking is more recommended in Kasol to experience the majestic beauty of the Valley.

5 Things to Do in Kasol

  1. Chill and Relax sitting by the Parvati River – Time is an illusion in Kasol, Hence, it is mandatory that you sit by the gushing waters of the river Parvati and let the time fly and introspect into life or just enjoy laziness.
  2. Be a Foodie and do Cafe Hopping – From the famous Evergreen cafe to the Jim Morrison Cafe, Kasol has its own taste and rich cafe culture. You must not leave this place without trying the cafes out. From delicate Israelis cuisines to the subtle momos or thupkas, Kasol will satisfy every taste bud of yours
  3.  Attend the Trance Party – Kasol is a party hotspot and a hippie paradise. World renowned DJ’s perform at the psychedelic parties and it is a one of a kind experience.The experience will be incomplete if you don’t jump to the beat drops of the EDM Tracks.
  4. Hiking, Trekking, Camping – Kasol is the base camp of so many breathtaking Himalayan trekking trails. From beginners trek of Kheerganga to the the all time grand Pin Parvati Trek or Sar Pass Trek, Kasol serves as the throat to all the high altitude adventures.Don’t leave without camping in the woods and having a bonfire party with the forest. Kasol has its soul in it.
  5. Boom, Shankar – The myth, magic and mystery of Kasol is in its herbs and leaves which grow around. From hippies to backpackers, every soul takes a drag of the famous and world renowned “ Stuff or Maal” of Kasol. Don’t go without experiencing the world’s best gift from Kasol to the world.

 

Visit Kasol and look for The Hosteller to stay. For online booking go to http://www.thehosteller.com/

 

– Deep and Rusin

3 ways to Hack Ease in India

 

Useful Mobile Applications

Rent Set Go

If you are searching bicycle, camera, lens, motorbikes, musical instruments, tents and camping products do check out this platform to solve your problem.

 

Ola Cabs

Ola Cabs is a mobile application that helps people to avail local taxi services in almost all major cities in India.

 

Captiva Tour

Captiva Tour goes beyond the dry facts and tells you authentic, engaging stories of places and monuments.

 

Temporary Bank Account in India

 

Foreign tourists during their short visit to India can open a Non-Resident (Ordinary) Rupee (NRO) account (Current / Savings) with any Authorised Dealer bank dealing in foreign exchange. Such account can be opened up to a maximum period of 6 months.

 

Passports and other valid identification proofs are required for opening the accounts. Authorised Dealer banks are also required to follow the Know Your Customer norms while opening of the accounts.

 

Tourists can freely make local payments through the NRO account. All payments to residents exceeding INR 50,000 can be made only by means of cheques / pay orders / demand drafts.

 

This could help travellers eliminate travel agents and commission they pay, thus allowing them to use online platforms such as bookmyshow.com , redbus.com, irctc.co.in etc to book tickets.

 

Tourist Quota in Indian Railways

 

International Tourist Bureaus issue reserved tickets to the Foreign Tourists and NRIs holding valid passport against payment in US dollars, Pounds, Sterling,Euros and indian Rupees. These Bureaus also sell Indrail passes which are issued to foreign tourists / NRIs on production of valid passport and valid visa.Indrail pass entitles the pass holder to travel as he likes over the entire Indian Railways with out any route restriction within the period of validity of IRP. Indrail pass however, does not guaranty reserved accommodation.

The fares of Indrail Passes are in US dollars. The important rules are printed on the Indrail passes.

The foreign tourists can also purchase Indrail passes from the General Sales Agents appointed abroad and Rail Travel Agents appointed in India.

A separate foreign tourist quota has been provided in all classes and almost all the trains for the facility of the tourists.

A tourist can obtain reservations against Indrail passes from any reservation office over Indian Railways.

For getting any clarifications regarding use of Indrail passes and facilities to the foreign tourists, the passengers should contact at :

International Tourist Bureau, First Floor, Station Building,

New Delhi Railway Station, New Delhi- 110055

Phone : 91-11-42625156, Fax: 91-11-23343050