Have you ever thought of replacing the traditional New Year celebrations with something different and more exciting? After a night of partying, drinking and eating our hearts out, we needed to do something refreshing on the first day of the year. That was when I landed on a documentary video of the Pulicat Lake. And something told me that this is what we should be doing instead of huddling into a room full of loud music and free-flowing beer. Luckily, some people in our clique are wildlife enthusiasts and absolute nature lovers. The immediate next thing was to book a decent cab from Chennai to Pulicat the next morning. And there we were, on our way to an unusual bringing-in of the New Year!
Being hard core South Indians, we took a trip to Ujjain and got hooked onto it. It was not all that difficult as my husband knowing not even a word in Hindi made it out to be. I studied Hindi in school and also lived couple of years in North India and so was quite confident of managing the trip well. It brought about a change in my husband who started enjoying trips to North and he was proud of his language prowess he had gained during the trip. So bang came our next trip and this time with our daughter to Haridwar and Rishikesh. All people and the internet told us is about Ganga Arati and its spiritual specialty in the evening on the banks of Ganga. The trip we planned was in the month of May to align with our daughter’s holidays. With people scaring us on the heat, we, as Chennaiites are never to be discouraged by heat, after all we live in a place where the sun rules most of the months in the year.
Our daughter put the first block saying if it is only about Ganga, she is not interested. I assured her that we will make the trip worthwhile for her. We decided to hire a 4-wheeler from Delhi and retain it till we return to Delhi on the way home. The only thing we arranged was the stay, again a shot at #TheBlindList we had curated from the net. We arrived in Haridwar and we had booked a solid 4 days there with a trip to Rishikesh in between. It did not take us long to understand that we were at the base of the Himalayas and the town of Haridwar meandered along the banks of the Ganges.
How old is earth? How was it 3000 years back? History says there were more land than water then. We could travel by foot to most of the continents and probably the reason for our ancestors to have moved across geographies. Places carry more knowledge having seen thousands of years of our existence. Every place holds a charm of its own and travelling to places without much expectations, an Openminded travel, is the best way to enjoy it in its glory. The surprises that such travel opens to us is the real adventure, each moment gets recorded in our life to be recollected as fond memories later and many times it turns out to be an enriching experience. From childhood when I read about Mayans, I was enamoured by the deep jungles of Central and South America, history of buried cities, spiritual mysteries, mathematical ingenuity and the connect I felt with the ancient culture made me go wide eyed whenever I came across any information on them.
With the internet entering my life, any free time would take me to read more about Mayans, their customs and the reasons why the civilisation was completely erased from the world. There are many documentaries and studies on Mayans, but the more we know about them, the more we have questions on their identity. It is not a search on Mayans but a internal search, a form of self exploration, built on a keen interest in knowing our roots. When things are not clear, the best way to get across details is to get to the places, creating #TheBlindList, the ground zero where one place will lead to another based on the information I get in these places. So my bucket list is to hit the places where there are significant historical connect with Mayan civilisation, obviously Central and South America travelling as a local. Though I cannot go in detail on the knowledge I have gained over the years, here are the places I would love to visit.
There are several getaways in and around Chennai that guarantee a break from monotony for travelers. Let’s take a look at a few of these getaway destinations, most notably Madurai, Kumbakonam, Pondicherry and Pulicat.
Visit the lotus-shaped temple town of Madurai and get busy discovering not just themagnificent temples but several hidden gems like the famed fish market at the heart of Madurai, the Gandhi Museum with the clothes he wore on his last day, and the Thirumalai Nayak’s palace among others. The aroma of jasmines, the Jallikattu festival, and the Meenakshi 10-day festival called Thirukalyanam are not to be missed and unique to Madurai.
Ever been with a starry-eyed young professional with promise, raring to take the world by storm and into his own hands? It was among that lot that I was a part of, and it had been quite a while since I had lost the sense of purpose of being with the family both mentally and physically. To not let matters get out of hand, literally, I planned an impromptu trip to a hill station in the southern part of India. My friends were quite puzzled on my travel plans when they knew my domestic harmony was at stake. My answer to them was simple. It is not the threat of losing my way with my family, but the thought of putting into perspective as to what I wanted to do with my life, the very inspiration of my tryst with travel.
Mysore is a dynamic city – full of culture and history. The route from Bangalore to Mysore is one of the busiest in the region and full of its own attractions too. From Ramanagara, which is now an adventure hub, to the gushing Shivasamudram falls in Mandya, the 150-km route along NH275 is full of scenic surprises. Customers are saving on the Bangalore to Mysore cab fare by choosing car rentals for a more wholesome trip experience. Even for business travelers, a rented car gives them more control over their schedule.
As a business hub, Mysore is an important centre of industry, tech and trade. Its offices and industrial sectors are spread across the city. When travelling for work from Bangalore to Mysore, an end-to-end solution is always preferred. A rented car is ideal for a business trip, a transport option available at all times for those meeting shuttles and site visits, along with the transit between the two cities.
Bangalore, a quaint town has emerged as a leading IT hub inviting national and multinational firms and professionals from all over India. Calling Bangalore aka Bengaluru as a city with heterogeneous population from across various tradition and culture will not be a far fetched statement. Bangalore airport which was earlier associated with the Indian Air Force predominantly has now turned out to be an active hub known as Kempegowda International Airport inviting international airlines to make a halt over here. It is now possible to travel to Middle East, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and many more popular international destinations from here.
Picture Credit: Reuters
Travel has now become a part of our regular routine. More often if you are a traveler of air-conditioned coaches in trains, it makes it easy to travel by flights instead. It saves time and efforts. This can be possible only when we know when to book our flights unlike the train system where the tickets price remains stable and the earliest booking gets a confirmed seat though we cannot commit on the seating comfort. Flights have a different algorithm and so prices vary and the rules of railways just do not apply here. How do we get the best deal in air tickets? Travel search engines such as Skyscanner are a great help in helping us in this effort. A recent survey of Indian travelers revealed 72% do not know when is the best time to book flights. A survey by Skyscanner unveiled 69% of travellers incorrectly estimate that the best air fares can be found less than 12 weeks before departure, when in fact the best deals are snapped up by travellers who plan in advance.
We had a long pending visit to Ujjain and Omkareshwar and since young when I studied history, Ujjain has always enamored me. So finally, we decided to make it and our travel began with train tickets to Bhopal and travel in car from there on a round trip to Ujjain and Omkareshwar. One hard lesson we learnt is never trust cab services of Ola or Uber on a weekend. It took 45 minutes for us to get a vehicle to Madras Central and thankfully for clear roads and green signals, we would not have made it to our train on time.
We have been hearing so much about better services in long distance trains and to utter disappointment, Tamilnadu Express food remained the same as we have seen few years back. The only solace was cleaner toilets. We reached Bhopal at 8.30 PM the next day and stayed overnight at our friend’s place who won us over with their hospitality. Our friend suggested that we visit Kharjana Ganesh Temple in Indore on the way to Ujjain. The temple is maintained by volunteers and is a very famous temple in the area.
Ever heard someone who has been to Northern India, specifically the Himalayan range, and has returned saying “Well, it wasn’t much”? We dare you to find someone who would be so out of snap to have said that. The Indian subcontinent is home to the breathtaking Himalayan Range that spans across ten of the Northern-North-eastern states. What is more intriguing about the Himalayas is the opportunity it accords everyone to test their will against odds. It is a dream comes true for many of us to set afoot in the Himalayas. There is a specific notion towards the trekking experience many an Indian and people from the word over have so many fond and not-so-fond memories of. We have seen numerous fictional and non-fictional encounters in the current day that has its root at the trekking experiences of many world-renowned climbing teams, and people, per se.
One of the trips we endeavor to take and prominent in our bucket list is Zurich. We do not belong to the category with a long itinerary moving from one place to another packaging a tight schedule. We are the casual travelers interested in exploring the local environment and little known places from a traveler perspective. So it is Zurich having read, heard about it a lot from friends, magazines and websites. One of the key influence for this interest is Yatra website we connect often for our travel needs. They have such wonderful packages for Swiss and for a mountain lover with keen interest in enjoying nature at its best; it is not surprising Zurich made it to the top of the list. We have the itinerary made and should make it sometime very soon.