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Kaziranga National Park, the unusual name in itself has a lyrical, mysterious ring to it that builds up the anticipation of an experience that is different, almost other-worldly. The green havens of this expansive national park that holds in its folds many an exotic creation of nature is a cathartic anti-thesis to the mundane realities of our ‘every day’. The national park, popular as the habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros and the famed but elusive Bengal tiger, remains true to the mysticism that reverberates with its name. As with anyone who likes to step out of their comfort zone to soak up on new experiences, visiting this national park had been on my list for long. During a family trip to the north-east, I decided to finally check this box off my bucket list. Getting to the Kaziranga National Park Since we were already out and about exploring different destinations…

A trip to Tawang is like an escape into paradise. As you cross the Sela Pass and enter the Tawang district, you feel you as if you have been transported to fairy land. The eastern Himalayas with their hypnotic beauty and charm, the innumerable mountain ranges with clouds floating atop, different hues of vegetation all around make this hill region a delight to behold. Our trip to Tawang began at the Sela Pass at 13,700 ft above sea above sea level, with icy cold winds blowing throughout the year. The Sela Lake here was the first breathtaking sight we were greeted by. The lake remains frozen for nearly four to five months a year and feeds the Nurangang River. Some of the highlights from our trip to Tawang include: Jaswant Garh The road follows the Nurangang River to Jaswant Garh, where there is a War Memorial named after the Subedar…

Having put in a great deal of effort in planning a budget trip to Singapore, it was finally time for me to bring on the vacation mode and kickstart a memorable trip with my family. After landing at Changi Airport, we headed straight to our hotel after breakfast. We reached the hotel before the check-in time, and despite it being a budget hotel, the staff was courteous enough to make us comfortable and arrange for an early check-in. We were also fortunate to find an Indian eatery– ABC Nasi Kandar – right around the corner from our hotel. The staff at the restaurant was of Malaysian descent but they spoke Tamil. My mom managed to build a good rapport with them since she knows Tamil. We frequented this place for breakfast on all five days of our stay in Singapore. The nearest metro station was the Kallang MRT station, a…

They say science can take you places. For me, it happened quite literally when I got a chance to visit the States. Long story short, a work-related conference turned up in California, thus, giving me a chance to have a splendid time in the United States. The venue of my conference was San Diego, the eighth largest city in the USA on the Pacific coast of California, known for its idyllic climate and flawless beaches. The idea of this place itself gave me a feeling of euphoria. What made this already perfect plan even better was that a friend from work going to be on this trip too. We started planning months ahead, browsing through web pages for every little detail we needed to know to make the most of our time there. Our travel itinerary also included a night halt at NYC, adding onto our heightened excitement levels. The Big…

As we drove into Nainital, the sun had long set and the small hill town glistened in the glow of lights reflected in the waters of the kidney-bean shaped lake at its heart. The drive beyond Kaladhungi, as you begin the uphill ascent, was a pleasant change from the taxing whizzing through crowded towns of Moradabad, Kashipur and others. The Mall Road in Nainital is turned into a vehicle-free walking plaza during evening hours, and by the time we arrived, the vehicle restriction was in place. So we had to take a long detour through steep slopes on the other end of the town. Tired from a long drive, we weren’t really pleased by the idea but the view from the highest point on this hill flanking the Naini Lake was breathtaking. The vast expanse of tinkering lights all over the surrounding hills, reflections in the water, clean, fresh air…

After almost a year of planning and rescheduling, our Pondicherry trip was finally on the cards. Amidst all the procrastinations, our major concern was will it be worth the visit, that too after experiencing the mystique environment of Goa. A lot of contemplation and several rounds of discussions later, we finally decided to go ahead with the trip and picked out the convenient long weekend to hit the road. On the appointed day, we – a group of seven friends – started out from Bangalore at around 4 am. Since we were travelling by a friend’s car, we didn’t really have to worry much about travel expenses. All we needed was to cater for fuel. Amid all the holiday excitement and frenzy, there was this other fuel – fuel for the body – that we completely forgot to take into account. Since we had started out super early in the…

You’ve probably read to death about the mainstream must-see destinations in Kashmir, right from Gulmarg to Phalgam, Sonmarg and Srinagar. I wanted to explore the beauty of Kashmir from a different vantage point. If you too are looking to indulge in sights that are off the beaten path, this look-back at my journey will inspire you to explore the hidden gems of Kashmir. I started my research in January this year, and zeroed in on exploring the untouched beauties around North and South Kashmir. Heading off the beaten path and being one with nature is a wonderfully liberating experience. I believe it is “better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times”. Arranging the tour on my own turned out to be a challenge, as most of the areas don’t have proper connectivity via phone or email. Having run out of patience after trying for a while,…

It was a trip to attend a wedding in Coorg, and I was not so interested in going there with a toddler in tow and dealing with the in-laws and stuff (wink). But I did go. An evening drive on the Mysore highway is like driving on a butter clad toast – not slippery but smooth. We headed straight to Talacavery, the most pious place for all Coorgis and Tamilians as their deity is river Cauvery. The water here carries the purity of its people’s devotion and prayers and it feels heavenly to take a dip in this water, even though it is bone chilling cold, something akin to the experience of a dip in the Ganges. After seeking the blessings of Cauvery, we headed to the beautiful landscape of Robusta plantation all around, that sweet scent of fresh air told us we were wrapped in the blanket of nature…

Beauty of Ladakh is truly mesmerizing …When I say the word slowly in my mind and I find the essence of it lingering in my brain, followed by what seems like the most picturesque surrounding and a gush of cold, fresh air with calming sounds of the sacred drums that monks use for their daily evening prayers, in the background. This is what I got back from my numerous visits to Ladakh; the culture, the beauty, the sweet faces and the serenity – precisely what makes it the paradise that everyone wants a piece of. Leh is the first place that comes to mind when one talks about Ladakh and rightly so, with it being the most developed city in the region with the availability of almost every facility (even 4G now!).It cannot be denied that Leh has its own sweet charm but it is a grave mistake to limit the…

Marriage is hard work even at its best. When you throw in a baby, postpartum hormones, and a great sense of confusion about ‘where to from here’ in the mix, the results can be disastrous. Having landed in exactly that kind of soup, our marriage was going through more than a rough patch, and being believers in the therapeutic powers of travel, we figured taking a holiday would be a great way to re-connect and rekindle the, if not lost, then dwindling spark. Husband dearest had read of Ahmedabad-Diu as one of the must-do road trips in India somewhere on the internet. Being based out of Gandhinagar, Gujarat, (which is almost Ahmedabad) worked to your advantage. With the promise of a one-of-its-kind drive on a highway flanked by the mighty Arabian Sea, we set out for out getaway in the blistering heat of June. The prospect of dodging the tourist…