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Amidst Stone Temples and Deodar Forests in Jageshwar, Uttarakhand

19 Nov

Jageshwar, a beautiful temple town amidst dense deodar forests in Uttarakhand, was a last-minute by-chance addition to our itinerary. We had earlier planned to drive directly from Kathgodham to Pithoragarh and stay there for the night. But this drive would have been very long and late into the night (it is not advisable to drive in the hills in the dark), so our cab service advised that we stay at Jageshwar instead. We reached Kathgodham by train, found our car for the trip and after slightly unwanted issues with car quality commenced our long , winding and beautiful drive in the hills. The entire drive in the Himalayas is mystical, with winding roads and blind turns, pine and deodar forests, a river racing along and paying hide and seek, small villages making occasional appearances, beautiful green terrace farms donning the mountain sides and numerous birds either flying solo or in beautiful symmetry.

Views on the drive to Jageshwar, Uttarakhand, India

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My Itinerary for a week long trip in Uttarakhand, India

29 Oct

Nostalgia is a good reason to travel; nostalgia coupled with Himalayas is a mighty combination. In this instance the nostalgia was of my parents for a place called Pithoragarh in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand. Both my grandparents worked in Uttar Pradesh (then included Uttarakhand) and at different points in time were posted in Pithoragarh for a brief period. Amongst all of their postings, this was my parents’ favorite place growing up. As kids we too had heard numerous stories from my parents about the place and have always wanted to visit it and see it for ourselves. My mom achieved a significant milestone in age this year and as part of the celebrations we decided to travel to Pithoragarh to revisit a favorite piece from my parent’s childhood.

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The Panchuli Range, Kumaon Hills, Himalayas, Munsyari, Uttarakhand, India

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A long weekend road trip in Gujarat

9 Apr

The moment I see a long weekend break in the calendar it is on my holiday list! And my first thought is – where can I drive to for a quick break? I love road trips for many reasons but most importantly for its flexibility. I don’t have to book and adhere to any flight or train schedules, I can stop wherever I want and actually explore some of those hidden parts of the country that don’t make it to any tourist maps or lists.

Adalaj ni vav, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

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The colourful Taj Mahal’s of Agra

5 Mar

Yes, you read the title correctly! And no, I don’t mean the many small replicas of the Taj Mahal being sold as souvenirs in shops. During my recent visit to Agra, my awesome local host and sister, Chikirsha, took me around the city and I saw some of the lesser known versions of the Taj. Each of these versions were unique and beautiful in their own way and I thought of sharing this with all of you.

Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

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8 Must See’s and Do’s in Ahmedabad

6 Aug

Ahmedabad – A bustling city and the financial capital of Gujarat. It’s famous for many things but never really known as a tourist destination. On my recent weekend visit to this vibrant city, I was quite surprised to see that the Ahmedabad has a lot of places to visit and many unique things to offer to any type of traveler. It has an interesting mix of heritage sites, a piece of the freedom movement, beautiful temples and mosques, good food, amazing hospitality and a unique culture. It is well connected with other cities in the country and all major airlines and trains have travel services to Ahmedabad.  All this makes it a good choice for a long weekend trip from any part of India.

Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

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Konkan Diaries 3: Malvan and my first sight of dolphins in the Arabian sea

4 Apr

Continuing the stories of my Konkan journey here is the next chapter – Konkan Diaries 2.

Our second day in Konkan is my favorite with some unusual activities and unexpected surprises. We had decided to visit Malvan and see Shivaji’s famous fort of Sindhudurg that we all had read so much about in our school history textbooks. In ancient times, Malvan was known as ‘Mahalavan’ meaning a region rich in salt (“Maha” means salt and “lavan” means plantation of salt). Per Wikipedia another possibility is that it’s a phonetic derivative of the word “Mad” meaning “coconut” and “Ban” meaning “gardens” for the large number of coconut trees in this area. And if I was to decide between the two based on the current scenario, I would go with the latter.

River Karli and its backwaters, Konkan Maharashtra

River Karli and its backwaters, Konkan Maharashtra

We started the day with a quick visit to the local village’s small weekly bazaar and post that left for Malvan.

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Konkan Diaries 2: Parule and its pristine beaches

25 Feb

Continuing my experiences from Konkani Diaries 1.

After an adventurous overnight journey we finally reached Kudaal (the nearest bus station for Parule) early morning and got off at the bus stop on the highway. Here we met with Bapat Bhaiya – our host, guide and driver for the entire Konkan trip. Bapat Bhaiya loaded all our stuff in the car and gave us a quick introduction to the area during the car journey. We drove through the town of Kudaal that looked like any tier-two town in India with random concrete buildings everywhere and a big market. But once we were out of Kudaal the scenery changed dramatically. Sitting in the back of the car I had my ears tuned to Bapat Bhaiya’s stories but my eyes were trying to soak in all the elements of the world outside my window. This entire area was extremely scenic with a very Kerala and Goa like look and feel. It was green everywhere with small red brick houses and sloping roofs, long winding roads, mango, palm, coconut and cashew tress all around creating nice canopies, lush green fields (majorly paddy) and red soil, characteristic of this region, making a nice contrast with all the green. In many places the road was at a height and the village cozily nestled amongst palm and coconut trees below.

Pat Lake, Parule - Kudaal, Konkan

Pat Lake, Parule – Kudaal, Konkan

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