Travelogue

Tour of Nilgiris, December 2016

I entered myself into this 8 day, 900 km long cycling tour without knowing what to expect. I learned a lot more about myself in this trip than any other past ones. It was hard. At times I suffered. Yet, in the end, it was one of the most enjoyable trips I had done till date.

Day 0: A preparation and a briefing
Day 1: Bangalore to Mysore
Day 2: Mysore to Kalpetta
Day 3: Kalpetta to Ooty
Day 4: Rest day at Ooty
Day 5: Ooty to Thiashola and back
Day 6: Ooty to Palakkad
Day 7: Palakkad to Valparai
Day 8: Valparai to Pollachi (and then to Coimbatore)
Day 9: Epilogue: Back to Bangalore

Short trips, 2016

June 8-12: A short Jaipur trip
August 14-15: A weekend on Hampi Island

Kodaikanal-Ooty, April-May, 2016

Kodai valley was visible from the elevated view point inside the Gunaa caves compound.

I had planned a longer trip but the unexpected heat in this region forced me, my sister and my mom to opt for cooler places. Some of my colleagues suggested Kodaikanal and Ooty. They had also asked me not to do anything but enjoy the weather. I couldn’t resist walking around. In the end, I realised that my colleagues were right.

Day 1: Walking around Kodaikanal town
Day 2: Kodaikanal is not a place for site-seeing
Day 3: A trip to Berijam Lake
Day 4: Caught a cold and a glimpse of Pykara at Ooty
Day 5: Nothing to see in Ooty

Himachal Pradesh, December, 2015

This was my first solo backpacking trip. I covered a good area of Himachal Pradesh mostly on buses and locally by foot (and in a few inevitable cases, on cars) just before majority of the state was about to shut down due to snow. My target was to start from the Northern areas and move South-East. This helped me escape the onslaught of the freezing cold (although it eventually caught up with me). I had mostly good, some average and some hilarious experiences on my way. I also got to know a lot about the locals and a bit of myself.

Day 1: Bangalore to Delhi to Pathankot
Day 2: Rest Stop at Dalhousie
Day 3: Timed run through Dalhousie-Khajjiar-Chamba loop
Day 4: From Dalhousie to Dharamshala
Day 5: Roaming around in Dharamshala
Day 6: A trek to Triund
Day 7: Three Dharams in Dharamshala
Day 8: A detour to Kangra
Day 9: Chachian, a village 13 km West of Palampur
Day 10: Everything, x km in y direction of Palampur
Day 11: Travelling to Mandi
Day 12: Rewalsar and Mandi
Day 13: To the cold of Manali
Day 14: Visiting the northernmost point of my trip
Day 15: Timepass in Manali and onward to Kasol
Day 16: A trail along the Parvati River
Day 17: Another walk along Parvati River
Day 18: The longest bus ride of this trip
Day 19: Shimla on foot and exit
Day 20: Back home via Delhi

Vietnam, May – June, 2015

The royal theater. Nowadays, performances are held for the audience twice everyday. We did not have time to stay back and watch it.

I did this trip with Nitesh Nandy – the same friend with whom I had backpacked through North-East India in 2014. One of my goals was to travel ultralight. I learned quite a lot from Nandy since he had some prior experience of backpacking in Thailand. If you read through the entries, you’ll find the repeated use of the phrase, “this was the strongest coffee I have tasted till date”. In fact, this is exactly what had happened. When I thought coffee couldn’t get stronger, I got introduced to a different cup at a different place.

Day 0: Leaving Bangalore on a weekday requires patience
Day 1: Getting to Ha Noi
Day 2: Ha Noi is full of good food and good surprises
Day 3: First day and first night at Ha Long bay
Day 4: From Ha Long bay to Hue via Ha Noi
Day 5: Metaphorically floating in Hue
Day 6: Riding around Hue on a rented motorbike
Day 7: Making our way to Hoi An
Day 8: Exploring the not so known parts of Hoi An
Day 9: Sai Gon Kick
Day 10: Squeezing a visit to Cu Chi tunnels

Kerala, March – April, 2015

The other dancer playing the male lead.

I did this trip with my mother and sister. The trip itself was broken into two different itineraries. It would have been taxing on my mother to do a 10 day long trip. Technically, I had not backpacked, but had borrowed some backpacking ethos – e.g., minimal luggage, booking en route, hunting good eateries, etc.

A weekend Wayanad trip (in pictures)
Day 1: A leisurely stroll in Kochi
Day 2: Fort Kochi is no more a fort
Day 3: A backwaters boat ride at Alleppy
Day 4: Making our way to Thekkady
Day 5: A boat ride at Periyar Lake and moving to Munnar
Day 6: One half of Munnar
Day 7: The other half of Munnar

North-East India, December, 2014

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My friend, Nitesh Nandy, introduced me to the idea of backpacking. I had done remote, multi-day trekking before but had not backpacked. The idea of not planning the route ahead was an intriguing and frightening thought to me. Yet, I took a plunge. This turned out to be one of my most memorable trips. In some ways, this trip helped me shed some bit of inhibition towards approaching strangers.

Day 1: At Guwahati, the access point for North East India
Day 2: Exit from Guwahati and entry into Shillong
Day 3: Finding a way from Shillong to Chellapunjee
Day 4: Nongriat and Paradise
Day 5: Narrow Caves and Narrower Stairs
Day 6: Eat, sleep, meet travellers and do nothing
Day 7: A tourist trip in Sohra and back to Shillong
Day 8: Finding the cheapest and the most comfortable way to Nagaland
Day 9: From the heat of Dimapur to the darkness of Kohima
Day 10: Heritage of Nagaland
Day 11: A glimpse of Naga lifestyle
Day 12: The Finale