Initially i started this blog as a photoblog depicting pictures from all my travels. But lately i've realized that i need to share some of my travel experiences too. So here it goes.. celebrating Life and its wonderful experiences.

Landsdowne - The Weekend Gateway!



28th June 2016, New Delhi.

Recently I had been to Landsdowne with my office colleague. Though the trip was more of a mingling trip compared to my usual travel trips, I still could find out some time to get to know the place while talking to people and roaming around.

Landsdowne is a small army cantonment in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is quite a serene place away from the crowd. There are few tourist spots in the town compared to other hill stations around the place. And these tourist spots can easily avoided. Then why one should go to Landsdowne? For me there can be mainly three key reason and i'm sure at least one of the reason should fit well to any traveler.

If you love company then go there in a group and you will enjoy the company in a nice weather. A good company will almost made you forget that there are very few things to do or look over there.

On the contrary if you are a loner and love peace and serenity then you can roam around the town to get some great views. Stop by some tea stall and have a cup of hot tea in the morning or find a nice view point and spend the evening watching the Sun going down. At night you can find a nice resort and get a campfire done while sipping your drink. 

And the last one is for the fitness freaks (It’s just my perception and may not be true). What caught my attention in Landsdowne were the runners and cyclist in the town. Being an army cantonment I think fitness runs in their blood. They were in abundance - both local and travelers. So maybe you can make a trip to challenge your fitness level. I’m not sure about you but I’m for sure will challenge myself one day and that too very soon. Till then don't discard this weekend gateway from your list... Its just 5-6 hours drive from Delhi and can be your savior at times.

LANDSDOWNE, UTTRAKHAND, INDIA | JUNE 2016

Crazy May!


02nd June 2016, New Delhi

Last month has been a crazy month for me , totally tied up travelling with work. It was (after a long time) areal hectic trip for me - especially when i'm used to relaxed travelling. My schedule somewhat looked like

Delhi - Mumbai - Delhi - Cochin - Bangalore - Chennai - Delhi - Hyderabad - Delhi - Kolkotta - Delhi - Ahemadabad - Delhi - Ludhiana - Delhi

Crazy!! But while i was mostly busy with work i could sneak out sometime early morning or late evening for myself. Moreover each city gave me a something to remember for long time. While i was in Mumbai i could clicked the Bandra-Worli sealink at length taking out time early in the morning during Sunrise. While travelling to Cochin my flight got delayed by 2 hours and reached Cochin with a bad mood, but as soon i opened my eyes in the morning the city overwhelmed me with rains (considering in Delhi the temperature was reaching 46 degree). I was overjoyed. Then it was turn of Bangalore where i met my family members and was staying in a nice Taj property. I along with a colleague cycled around the resort for quite long (and i was riding a bike after almost 15 years :-) ).

The trip was building up and was getting hectic day by day and tiredness was getting on me. We reached Chennai. It was election result day and Amma came back to power again. But for me taking the night Cityscape on my camera was quite memorable not because that i took it but because i was at the top of the Hotel roof enjoying the pleasant weather with my camera. 

At Hyderabad i had little time but when i was on my way to the Airport i got a message from the airline for delay in departure of my flight. I asked the cab driver to take me to Hussain Sagar. He being a local took me to a secluded place by the lake. I spent almost an hour sitting by the lake in the evening. That day due to rain my flight got delayed almost by 3 hours and i landed in Delhi at 2 AM.

After Hyderabad it was turn for Kolkotta, nothing much of a memory but rained again welcomed me. And then i spoke to a friend almost after decades. I also met one of my old colleague accidentally at the Airport.  Ahmadabad was too hot to me to go out. But i almost lost my mobile over there. I left it in the cab but with some calls here and there i got it back late at night. Lucky me!! 

Last leg of my travel was a totally new city - Ludhiana. I was there for the first time. The strange part was that we went for a dinner in a near by mall. The place where we went , at first looks like a beer bar with fresh beer coming out of the brewery. But when we went in we find it out to be a family restaurant with IPL final going on one side while live Hindi music on the other side. It looked more like a confused place but we had hardly any other choice. But best part of Ludhiana was the road trip along the NH1 from Delhi and back...

So the whole month went like in minutes but with some memories to cherish for. Though i was too tired but writing down the experience was quite satisfying for myself..

I hope to travel more in coming days both for work and leisure and soon will share more experiences from the trips.

Till then have a memorable time!

MUMBAI, COCHIN, BANGALORE, CHENNAI, HYDERABAD, KOLKOTTA, AHEMADABAD, LUDHIYANA | MAY 2016

Sunrise in Varanasi


07th April 2016, New Delhi

Varanasi is considered to be heaven for photo enthusiastic and a place to capture the true essence of Indian culture and beliefs. I myself have seen so many pictures of this place, of its ghats,streets,sadhus, to aarti to temples. But one thing i hardly find are the pictures of the Sunrise. 

During my trip i was fortunate enough to witness it. It was one of the most beautiful Sunrise i've ever seen. The best part of it is that you are not alone to witness it. The city is so lively even before the Sunrise. I've not seen any other city that is so lively, so early in the morning. People come to the ghats for the aarti (worship) , to share thoughts, to talk, to read,  for a walk and even yoga. By the time the Sun appears around the horizon, against the mighty Ganges, you will feel half a day is over. And then the Sun will reminds you that its still early morning. That's the beauty of the place.

I know many people misses the morning aarti for the evening one. But my strong recommendation is to go early morning. You will be blessed. Take a boat ride and feel the calm water of the river Ganges,  the cool breeze touching your face and then listen to the morning chats. Totally refreshing!

While still on the boat watch the Sun rising above the horizon on one side and see how it brings everything to life on the other side. Everything looks so peaceful at that moments that you will long for more. 


ASI GHAT, VARANASI, UP, INDIA | MAR 2016

P.S: One more recommendation is to take a manual boat rather than a boat operated by machine. You can enjoy the moment more with the slow pace of the boast along the river. Plan for some longs hours - at least 3-4 hours to spend on the ghats and the boat together.

Incredible Varanasi!



31st March 2016, New Delhi

Varanasi was in my bucket list for quite long time but somehow i was not been able to fulfill my wish till now. But at last this month i was able to pay a visit to the city after so many try. 
While planning the trip, i had thought that i'll cover everything during this trip and, wisely i covered a lot during the trip - from ghats to temples to the river Ganges to the narrow streets of Varanasi. 

But here the quotes from Mark Twain aptly fits. He had said: "Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even the legend, and looks twice as old as all of then put together."

So how could i even think of covering or knowing even a part of the city in such brief time. Post my return i had given a lot of thought and every time i came to the same conclusion that one have to live the city of Varanasi to know it. A tourist or a traveler can't even think to knowing it even after numerous trips. This is the charm of the city which itself is so incredible! 

In coming days i'll bring more stories and places from this Incredible city and hopefully i'll do justice to it.

RIVER GANGES, VARANASI, UP, INDIA | MAR 2016 

Mawlynnong - Asia's cleanest village tag - a boon or a bane?



21st March 2016, New Delhi

So when some place is dubbed as Asia's cleanest village then there must be something in it, right?
Truly this village in East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya is one of the cleanest place I've been in India. What surprises me most is that the places is not that accessible and yet locals have managed to keep it filled with amnesties and at the same time maintained the cleanness and hygiene of the place. That's truly remarkable in all sense.

Apart from local government initiative , the key reason (which i strongly feel and its my personal opinion) is that Mawlynnong follows the matrilineal society and women are more inclined towards cleanness. If you go to any other place in Meghalaya itself, you won't find the same standard of cleanness. So, my feelings are strong enough to have such opinion. Whatever it may be, but its a place worth visiting.

But the Asia's cleanest village is infact a boon or a bane only time can tell. When i went there i was totally suprised by the influx of tourist over there. Most of them came there to tick their itinerary, have some food, litter some wastes and move on!! They hardly interact with the locals or even roam around the village. This way can this village still carry the tag for long? Not sure at all. 

But the tourist influx is definitely helping the locals in uplifting their living standards so they won;t mind till the time there is no dire consequences. So all we can do is wait and watch.

Before i close this blog my suggestion to all of you would be to plan your trip is such a way that you can stay overnight at this place. There are many home stay options available which may not give you the city comfort but will definitely give you a total different experience. In the morning you can walk along the village, interact with them and if you don;t mind walking for a mile of two you can have a quite morning at the living root bridge. In the afternoon have a local lunch in one of the small local restaurants which is fulfilling. I was suggested to carry my food while visiting this place but if are a foodie then don't. The local food (Mostly rice) is delicious.

This would be the best experience for you in Meghalaya for sure.
Next post i'll let you know few more place around Mawlynnong (hopefully).

MAWLYNNONG, MEGHALAYA | DEC 2015






LIVING ROOT BRIDGE - MEGHALAYA !


02nd March 2016, New Delhi

Meghalaya is known for its natural beauty. Among many of its wonder, one thing which stands apart are the "Living Root Bridge" found commonly in the southern part of the states. These are made by the Humans by entangling the roots of trees like the Banyan trees. With time (which may take upto 15 years or more) the roots firms up well and then with stones and mud they are further made into bridge to cross the mountainous terrains of the regions.

There are double Decker root bridge also found in the state. This one (depicted in the picture) is a single root bridge near the village of Nowhek (Or near Mawlynnong - another village). This was the best options which was fitting well into my itinerary.I was not at all disappointed by getting there. Though one day, i wish to cover few more of them but till that time the beauty of this place will remain there in back of my mind.

This bridge is very close to the popular village - Mawlynnong (popularly know for being crowned as Asia's cleanest village). Just before 2 km from the village you need to get down and then there are stairs which take you down to the bridge area. There is a ticket system (managed by the locals) to get in there. Post getting your tickets you need to take stairs downhill almost few hundreds meters. The stairs are quite steep and so one need to be careful with children and old people. But, its worth making the effort!

Once you are there you can admire the wonder which locals has created. The stream beneath is also accessible and you can have some good time over there with your friends and family.

After that you can head to the Nowhek View Point through the trails. Its quite uphill and a must to do thing if you are there. I'll write more about it in coming posts.

Till the time enjoy this unique man-nature creation.

LIVING ROOT BRIDGE, NOWHEK, EAST KHASI HILLS, MEGHALAYA | DEC 2015



VANTAGE POINT - UMIAM LAKE



24th Feb 2016, New Delhi

Last post might have given you a glimpse of the beauty of the Umiam Lake and i've also mentioned about a vantage point from where you can view the whole lake and feel the grandness of it.

The point comes while on the way uphill from Umiam Lake to the city of Shillong. The point gives a 360 view of the lake which is quite a view to hold onto, but the sad point is that there is a barrier which restricts you to go further to the edge and get better clicks of the whole lake. Though it may be because of security measure, but it definitely dampens the enthusiasm of people like me.

You can spend some time over there and have some good street food too (if you feel like munching) from the makeshifts stalls out there. Since we were there at Christmas time we had some great home made cake with tea from one of the vendor.

The interesting thing i liked about some of the vendor is that they have made the stalls in their car itself (see below picture). 



It was quite  interesting way of doing business in a place where rain is so common. The stall helper was quite friendly and spoke fluent English unlike in other parts of the country where language becomes an issue. He  gave me some good tips about some places around Shillong too (though i couldn't cover them due to my short stay) and asked me to come during monsoon. I'm not sure if i'll be able to make it during monsoon but it definitely left a good impression on me.

So if you need a break from your road-trip this will be one of the best place to have a short break. The view as well as the food will make you refresh. 

UMIAM LAKE, SHILLONG, MEGHALAYA | DEC 2015

Serenity at its best - Umiam Lake



12th Feb 2016, New Delhi

Umian lake is a reservoir turned into a lake, which emits beauty round the clock. The lake is 15 kms before the main city Shillong and right beside the Guwahati to Shillong highway.

So when you plan your trip to Shillong (from Guwahati) ensure to visit the lake on the way to the city. No point coming back to the place again when most of the other attractions of the city are on the other side of the city.. 

We reached this place at a decent time, around 9.30 am in the morning, and still the gates were not yet opened. Even the shops around the place were closed. We have to wait a bit before someone came and provided us the entry tickets. We were the first one to be there and that gave us enough time to explore the place without much crowd around. The place is very tranquil and provides one of the best scenic beauty around it with the floating clouds, the blue sky, hills around the lake and the blue water.

You can plan picnics at this place or just sit around and enjoy the cold breeze and the view or take a walk along the shore of the lake. Boats rides are also available but the only twist is that if you are 2-3 people then you need to wait for the boat to fill up. Like we reached quite early in the morning so we had to wait a lot for other people to arrive. They start the boat only when its full or you pay the full amount of the boat capacity (This is what i did at last). Before you decide on the boat ride ask the route, as otherwise it may be just be  a waste of monies for you. But its a worth taking the ride as the lake is huge and you will be mesmerized by its beauty and calmness. So a must place for your travel itinerary. There is also a vantage point further up on the way to Shillong. The vantage point gives a 360 degree view of the place. I'll write about it in my next post with few pictures for sure. 

P.S The lake is also sometime referred as Barapani lake as earlier this was a part of Assam before Meghalaya came into existence. So don;t get confused by the name as drivers from Assam may refer this place as Barapani while in all other places this is mentioned as Umian Lake only. 


UMIAM LAKE, SHILLONG, MEGHALAYA | DEC 2015




Canyons of Laitlum


01st Feb 2016, New Delhi

I mentioned briefly about the "Canyons of Laitlum, Meghalaya" in my earlier post. Laitlum is situated around 45 minutes drive from Shillong and is situated in the Khasi Hills. Now after so many days i got some time to write further about this beautiful place. 

As mentioned earlier as soon we arrived at Laitlum, we were welcomed by magnificent pasture land. It appears to be a plateau  amidst the hills. You stroll around the place, enjoying every step around the place. While strolling, at any moment, it won't come to your mind that the place is known for something else. Its when you walk till the edge of the hills, the magnificent deep gorge surprises you. The gorge is huge and deep. People say during monsoon the whole gorge is filled with clouds and the bottom is hardly seen. Won't it be wonderful to witness such a sight?

Since i went during winters and the weather was clear. I could manage to see and click the beautiful gorge till the very end. You can see some habitation down below the gorge and the river flowing between the hills. The sight is mesmerizing especially when you can see the Sun going down behind the hills of the gorge.

There are steep stairs (made my locals) around the edge of the gorge and you can walk down (if you wish) to quite an extend till the villages down below. While going down you can feel the winds more strongly and every step will remind you about the grandness of the gorge. I would definitely suggest to do so as its a different experience.

So as said earlier do keep this place in the bucket list for next time. Its worth visiting.

P.S: Somewhere i read that Laitlum itself meant "the edge of the Hills" and surely the name is aptly given to this place.

LAITLUM, SMIT, MEGHALAYA | DEC 2015

LAITLUM - a hidden Jewel



19th Jan 2015, New Delhi

As mentioned earlier my whole trip to Shillong was not planned properly and now that i have been there i'm quite happy about the fact. Shillong is known as Scotland of East and truly it'll meet all those expectation of yours.

I wanted to go to places, which normally people avoid or hardly know about it.  Laitlum ( 't' silient) - was one such place. I was browsing Instagram a day before my travel and saw some beautiful pictures of this place.I felt in love but those pictures never show the full beauty of the place. So all i had in my mind were those picture only.

Anyhow i went ahead and left for Laitlum. This place is around 5 kms ahead of a small village called Smit. Searching this place was a task. Hardly anyone knew about it. Our driver had no clues but still with the help of Google maps we tried to find it. After hours of drive we could hardly find clues about it. We asked locals and they just pointed to one direction and we followed. Locals didn't understand English or Hindi. So it was a chance we took. 

I wanted to go back as traces of the place is nowhere to see. But then suddenly a local taxi driver came to our help. He was taking locals to the same place and Bingo!!

As soon we arrived at Laitlum our Jaws were awestruck!! What a place... miles of pasture land. You can run, roll down and have all the fun. At the end of the pastures are the famous "Canyons of Laitlum" (This is what the place is famous for and pictures to come soon). 

The best thing i liked about this places was that there were hardly anyone out there. Few (i counted 5) locals from Shillong and we were the only tourist from outside Shillong. Wow!! Isn't it the best place to go.

If you visit Shillong next time make sure to go to this place. But remember to carry food with you. You won;t find anything to buy out there except Chips or Biscuits that to if you are lucky enough to see locals selling out there.

Few stories and pictures to follow from this place including that of the Canyons. Till then Stay tuned!

Oh i forgot! All i heard (And later confirmed) is that you will see a bit of this place in the upcoming movie "RockOn 2".

LAITLUM, SMIT, MEGHALAYA, INDIA | DEC 2015

Heaven in Dawki


06th Jan 2015, New Delhi

Continuing from the last post, here is another picture of the Unmgot river and this time a top view of the place. You can see the different shades of the river water. At different time of the day the shades changes as per the Sun's position. Just find a quite place and sit there for hours, listening to a nice music. I'm sure the serenity of the place with take your breath away.

If you know some locals in Shillong or in Guwahati, then you can plan a nice picnic out there. I have spotted group of people cooking over there. Just that you need to carry your cooking stuff with you. 

If you wish to see more of these picture look out for my Instagram handle - palash1103

DAWKI, MEGHALAYA, INDIA | DEC 2015

Heaven



04th Jan 2015, New Delhi

With Instagram becoming widespread and so easy to use i completely neglected my blog last year. In total, just 3 post in a year - that is really sad on my part! :-(

Now that a new year has started and i being relatively free at this time of the year i thought of reviving my blog again.So i wanted to start with something which is magical. 

This picture is from my recent trip to Meghalaya of a gorge on the river Unmgot. The town is famously known as Dawki. Dawki is on the border of India-Bangladesh and around 120 Km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. 

Dawki was never there in my itinerary. I'm a planned traveler as far the destinations are concerned but when it comes to visit places within the destination then i'm quite flexible. Dawki got added once i arrived in Shillong. I never Googled the place earlier, so i was totally unaware of the beauty of this place. But as i reached there (Around 2 PM in the afternoon) i was totally speechless, seeing the beauty of the place. The river water was (Infact, is) crystal clear with different shades of Turquoise. You can see the river bed throughout the stretch. The boats on the river looks like if they have been held mid-air.. it was truly magical.

Surprisingly the beauty of the place is confined to some half a km of the stretch only. And for all the photographers its advisable to click the place from top to feel the real beauty of the place (More pictures to come soon). Also if you decide to go down you can hire boats for few hundred rupees and have a good half an hour trip around the place. There are very few people over there, unlike in other tourist places in rest of India. 

So next time you plan any trip towards North-east part of the country i would definitely suggest to add Dawki in the list.

One more interesting fact about this place is that, had the gorge been few hundred meters (Roughly 400-500 meters) downhill then it would had been in Bangladesh. We are lucky enough to see such a beauty without a VISA.

DAWKI, MEGHALAYA, INDIA | DEC 2015