A piece of Himachal

You may call me highly¬†ignorant on reading this – that I heard of Mcleodganj & Dalhousie only in past few years. In college days or fresher days at work – I never heard about these famous places. It would have been nice though ..when they were yet to be so¬†commercialised and so damn crowded. My last memories of being in Himachal were at¬†Manali and Rohtang pass in 2009. I did all the touristy stuff that time, and it wasn’t as bad. I experienced the snow, and I don’t have much attraction towards it, so I don’t call it exotic either.

So this trip was the brain child of our very dear girls’ group. We had been talking about it¬†for almost 6 months, and finally 2 of us booked the tickets to go in the month of January 2015. After a lot of hot conversations and excitement for all that we were going to do on this trip – most girls backed out, making some excuse or another. The 2 of us with tickets were the only ones left. It didn’t sound so fun anymore. Luckily for me my parents were visiting that side, and I decided to not let go off my tickets to waste – and made the trip anyway.

Me and my husband, we flew to Chandigarh directly¬†from Bangalore¬†– in separate flights (ofcourse due to different bookings – and what are the odds! the ticket was cheaper a month before than it was 3 months before – hubby’s gain). I did not make any changes to the original itinerary I had. Chandigarh – Mcleodganj – Andretta – Dalhousie – Chandigarh.

Landing in Chandigarh right on time, we headed straight towards bus station to catch a bus to Dharamshala. Chandigarh bus station for Himachal, Uttarakhand & Punjab buses is in Sector 46. I guess ones towards Delhi are in Sector 14. We had to hire a shared auto rickshaw from Airport (Sector 68) to sector 46, costed about 150/-. At the bus stop, there are couple of buses scheduled everyday for Dharamshala, the last one being at about 2:30 p.m., for which the guys at the counter will start selling tickets only by 1 p.m. Ticket costs 240/- per head. The Chandigarh bus station was fairly clean, and fairly safe, and helpful crowd. We ate lunch at the bus station restaurant, closing our eyes towards the unclean premises of that particular eatery, and it was 100/- for 2. Mind it, we ate a lot as we both had left in the middle of the night from our home in Bangalore.
Our bus started right on time, and we were on our way to Dharamshala. It was a regular local bus, we had packed ourselves in warm coats, the glass windows didn’t save much cold wind from entering but we managed somehow. The bus ran on schedule, even though there was lot of winter rain all the way, and fog later. It took breaks on these local dhabas, which served tea (sugar syrups) and samosas and bread pakoras, thankfully so.

I had lost touch with those awesome bread pakoras in adolescence due to the calorie scare, but yea they tasted heaven, and I didn’t care if they used healthy ingredients. The pakoras were being cascaded onto a iron rod¬†like kababs and pushed into the furnace like mud-made ‘bhatti’ for baking. The aroma was just irresistible. I ate those everytime, and dosed off on my Avomine dosage for motion sickness. We were the last ones to be dropped in Dharamshala’s last stop – at the bus station. It was 8:00 p.m. It felt like we were thrown out from a warm enclosure into a cold steely world, we were shivering like hell..brrrrrrr! it was¬†below zero degree. With all¬†our senses kinda numb, without thinking a lot, we called upon the only taxi we saw at the bus stop and requested him to take us to Mcleodganj, where we had our stay booked. He thankfully did not try to take advantage of the situation and agreed to drop us at a regular nominal rate of 250/- for a 20 kms ride. He rode well, he rode fast, and dropped us in front of our hotel (after ofcourse we had made him speak with hotel manager for directions).

We had made a cash-less booking at the Annex hotel via booking.com. The Manager was quite cordial and helpful at all times, on the phone too. He had kept us a nice room as requested, except he kept the balcony door open that made all the cold wind into¬†the room making it super chilly when we entered. I literally begged him to provide us a heater, thankfully he didn’t charge us extra over it, even though he had warned us, since he realised we used it only that night because of his little mistake. With doors closed, the room wasn’t¬†so chilly later.

At 8:30 p.m. the hilly towns behave like its midnight. We checked into our hotel, and with no further delay headed out looking for food. We were told the snow has melted away just a few days back, and the town was just getting back in action, so all stores and cafes were closing down earlier than usual i.e. by 8 p.m. We prayed for luck and looked for a restaurant that was still serving. Just a few meters away, we found Indique Kitchen and they were more than happy to serve us hot and yummy indian food. I gobbled up on kadai paneer,¬†tandoori rotis and jeera rice to my heart’s content – all ready for a tight sleep. Annex hotel is well equipped, with cozy electric bed warmers and a Wi-Fi that works flawlessly. Cable connection on the TV, Geyser in the bath. Perfect for the next 2 nights of stay.
Morning was pleasant, with the sun shining and the glowing valley visible from the balcony. The chill was gone.

View from Annex Hotel

View from Annex Hotel

We got ready and headed to the market for some breakfast. Surprisingly all those famous cafes I had heard about (Chocolate Log, German Bakery etc.) were either on winter vacation or closed for good. The hotel had this little hand drawn map of the area.

Map of Mcleodganj

Map of Mcleodganj

We found the Peace cafe, a quiet humble little space that served the most amazing glass full of tea, we sipped it away gazing outside at the sleepy town. We ordered some butter toast and tibetan bread to go with it (total cost 90/-), taste & comfort Рpriceless.
There is a small Tibet Bakery around that corner, sort of hanging on the porch with a little display unit, and a friendly guy sitting behind it. You must try the Yak cheesecake from here, I had never tasted something as amazing before!

View of Jogibara Road and Yak cheesecake from Tibet Bakery

View of Jogibara Road and Yak cheesecake from Tibet Bakery

After breakfast, I roamed around the market for a bit, shops were still closed. I bought some leg warmers from the few that were open. Then we thought of hiring a bike to check out Dharamshala and near by areas. From the hotel you can see the road below, that takes you to the Dalai Lama Temple Complex. On the same road there are shops that provide bikes for hire. But hire rates here are much higher than what you are used to paying in Goa, Kochi, Pondy etc. We paid a 800/- for a Avenger for a single day. But it was a nice bike. We planned to ride to Palampur and Andretta that day.

view from hotel balcony

view from hotel balcony

The drive from Mcleodganj to Dharamshala was quick, and we were soon at the foot-hills. While you drive ahead, just turn and¬†look behind you, and you will be spell-bound. The grand Himalayas finally so visible, while being so near them in Mcleodganj, you don’t quite get to see them in entirety really.

View - after coming a little ahead of Dharamshala towards Palampur

View – after coming a little ahead of Dharamshala towards Palampur

We drove for about 2 hours, and crossed Palampur town. All the scenic¬†beauty is on the way and if you don’t have your own vehicle or taxi for hire, there is no point in coming to these towns. Since we had to reach back to Mcleod before sun down, we headed straight towards Andretta. I was quite¬†dreamy-eyed about what I could see in Andretta. After another half hour of driving, asking for directions, my bubble did burst. Andretta is a small village we all know, why is it famous? there are some mesmerising images of Andretta online, where is that view? The answer is all the same – nothing else but hype. Apparently, there is a hill behind Andretta, that you need to trek up on foot(no road to drive) and may be then you will actually see the scenics those online images showcased. From down inside the village this is what you will see.

Andretta village

Andretta village

Which is probably the same view as from many other villages of Himachal in the plains. The most famous part of Andretta is the pottery place, where you can go and experiment and make pots. Since I’ve always done¬†such artsy activities with my mom as a child, and later in the¬†design school, I probably won’t understand the charm people build around doing things by using your hands, because I’ve always done/created many things¬†using my hands! why do I need to be in Andretta (or Auroville for that matter..) to do that shit ūüėõ or may be it is just being in a exotic location while you do that stuff is what the charm is really about. It has a certain awe added when you say “yea..I was making pots on this wheel..with the himalayas in the background..under the warm sun” as opposed to “I just did some pottery stuff in that workshop/at school/at home”. Mean jokes apart, I did meet the old man at Andretta Pottery, and he is a humble knowledgeable old man – eager to answer my every question. I bought some mementoes and we headed back to Mcleod. In Andretta, there is also a Sobha Singh art gallery, with signs all the way to make you think it is something important, probably you can miss. I gave it a miss.
After driving all day, we reached back in Mcleod by about 6 in the evening. It was time to get some grub and we were famished since we missed lunch while driving. We again went to Indique Kitchen and savoured on some butter chicken.[prices are high here, but you wouldn’t mind it with large portions they serve – total cost about 800/- for 2 people]

Mcleodganj Market

Mcleodganj Market

By the second morning, the sun had completely warmed the entire town. It was pleasant, and we were a layer lighter on clothes. We had breakfast at the hotel’s terrace.
We spent the day visiting Dalai Lama temple and the Bhagsu Naag falls, and some shopping. The waterfall in this season is almost dry, and the feeble stream allows you to trek within the river rocks. As we prepared to leave the town for Dalhousie, we hurried for a lunch at Snow Leopard Рit is a good place to hang out, it is very famous for its variety of coffee preps, and tibetan food. We went there every time we could, since most other well-known restaurants were on vacation Рthis place was thankfully serving.

supper at Snow leopard

supper at Snow leopard

By afternoon¬†we left Dharamshala to head towards Dalhousie. According to google, most places are only 3-4 hours away. In reality, in the hilly regions, you need to be slightly more realistic. First of all there is only 1 direct bus from Dharamshala bus station to Dalhousie, that starts as early as 8:30 – 9 a.m, because it takes almost a day to cross that distance. From Mcleodganj you can take shared jeeps to Dharamshala bus station for about 40/- per head. On reaching¬†bus station around¬†2 pm, we discovered about missing the only bus to Dalhousie, and had to take another route to reach there i.e. via Pathankot. Now to reach Pathankot too you won’t get a direct bus. You either take bus¬†to Chakki (50 kms from Dalhousie) or Mandi, even though Chakki is on a junction where the route turns towards Dalhousie, you can’t be guaranteed to find a bus there. In short, it is a bad idea mostly to rely on local transport in Himachal, or people’s advise for that matter – they are never sure, even if they are, 90% of times they are giving the wrong information. We somehow changed a few buses and reached Pathankot by 7 pm. Even at that time, the only option left for us to reach Dalhousie from there (now 68kms from here) was to hire a taxi. We managed to find one for 1800/- and drove off.

We reached Dalhousie at 12 am (about 5 hrs). With an advance booking made at Hotel Mohan Palace, we checked in. I think it is a trait in hotels that side, even if they see customers shivering they have to do a customary argument about providing a heater. Other than that, I noticed snow on the roads, and it seemed we chose a good time to catch it before it melted away.

Khajjair Road, Dalhousie Public school road

Khajjair Road, Dalhousie Public school road

Dalhousie was snow clad,¬†and most of the town remained closed through out the 2 days we were there. No cafes, no restaurants, no shops. We had plans to hire taxi to visit Khajjiar, also known as Switzerland of India – but the route and the place itself was blocked by snow. No taxis were going there. Other tourists spots didn’t sound as interesting either, with no local transport options, the place was already a turn off. We just used the day to trek up on Khajjiar Road with no known aim whatsoever.

no! those aren't clouds ...Himalayas in the far sight

no! those aren’t clouds …Himalayas in the far sight

Somewhere near the peak we got this view, and I guess it was enough for the day. We spent remaining evening cherishing snow peaked view from our room and ordered room service.
While walking around the town earlier, I don’t like to generalise, but I noticed only Delhi-iets and mostly north indians were the ones loitering the place [I’m a north indian myself]. Every time throwing a food wrapper they just finished anywhere they like, throwing water bottles wherever they pleased. Many many punjabi men (as they kept speaking in punjabi) were always loud, disrespectful to people around them, yelling, playing super loud music in their cars, drinking in public and basically making a nuisance. They were totally disgusting as they kept throwing all junk and left overs out of their cars and spreading food while they ate – I mean how¬†can grown-men be so ill-behaved?? whoever you guys are – Shame on you, you are a shame for¬†your community, shame for this country.

The next day from previous experience we checked out soon from hotel and headed towards Dalhousie bus station down the hill, as early as 8:30 am in order to find a way to reach back Chandigarh, via Pathankot. Turns out even then we were late, and we missed a bus by 10 mins. We looked around, and luckily found another couple wishing to reach Pathankot. Normally taxi charges are about 2100-2500/-, we found one at 1800/- to share among 4 of us. We got dropped at Pathankot bus station at 1 pm. We booked the next bus at 2:30 pm from there to Chandigarh.

Overall conclusion from this trip was : Himachal is indeed very beautiful, scenic and picturesque Рhowever it was heartbreaking how the tourists are being callous towards their responsibilities. Very disappointed.


Puducherry revisited

It is funny just a year back at the same time around Pondicherry was burning and baking, making it absolutely tough to wander out and explore. And we¬†didn’t know Pondicherry Cafes and restaurants close down for a holiday in the hot summers! no wonder last time we could not find most¬†of them open.¬†Last trip was also a result of ill-prepared, hurried plan. Every time I think of it, it annoys me. Weather this time was refreshingly pleasant.

Anyhow, this time I had a list of things not-to-do, so I have to appreciate my last trip for it ūüôā I made sure to spend time in Pondicherry this time, instead of Auroville. Which works better for me, as I’m not into sitting around quietly or meditating either. I¬†would choose to see lifestyles, local cultures. [details about train ride, stay and commute at the bottom]

As I walked and rode numerous times through the lanes of Puducherry, I aimed to remember and grasp the structure of this town – which I could not in my last visit. That is how I connect with every place I go to. To begin with, this is what I noticed on the Pondicherry Map: pondy 2015

Puducherry town is an amalgamation of different cultures, ofcourse due to its colonisation history from the French. However, people tend to talk more about its French-ness than other factors that contribute to its characteristics. Apart from French architecture, Pondicherry is home to¬†beautiful Tamil architecture from the Cholas & Pallavas. As indicated in the image, areas towards the sea is largely studded with French style villas and bungalows and Heritage buildings. Second section, as you move away from the Sea side, cross the Kassim Salai Main road or Bussy Street, you begin to notice the typical Tamil style homes, with intricate doors and wooden pillars. Once you reach M.G, Road you cross over to the urbanised town, with modern glass architecture, that we all witness in every town these days. The town is definitely better planned to help preserve old buildings and protect cultures to some extent. I found a brief documentation about some famous colonial buildings here –http://www.intachpondicherry.org/flipbook/pdf/Heritage_Trail_Map_Pondicherry.pdf You can take a walk around the town in good weather preferably to spot them. The Pondicherry Museum is housed in one such building, adjacent to the Library – which is another beautiful bungalow. The Museum has a mix of stuff, most of it is ofcourse paintings and furniture from the residences of French Officers that are almost in a bad shape. It is sad how Govt. has no funds or facilities to preserve such amazing paintings and memorabilia from last century. Other part of the museum is full of remains and artefacts from Harappan or some other ancient civilisations – not sure if it is from near by region or far. Only interesting collection was that of coins from various parts of the world, dated 1000s of years back, the detail on those coins from a time when no tools existed, astonishes you. In short, if you are interested in getting to know Pondicherry history – you may pay this place a visit.

Rocky Beach Pondicherry

Rocky Beach Pondicherry

The light house could be a good visit too, it stays open till 5 pm, and costs 25/- per adult to enter. In good weather you can enjoy the open sea view from the top.

I have give it to Cafe Xtasi, on Mission Street, for serving such amazing pizzas. No wonder it has guests all the time, and they are such humble¬†helpful hosts too. Except they didn’t serve wheat thin crust on V’day ūüėõ We went there again the next¬†day nonetheless to have it ūüôā Do not miss their pizzas with Feta, smackin! Dominos has probably brought our standards really down, so did not expect it to be so good. A small size is so much bigger at Xtasi, I’m wondering what the large size would be,¬†small one is good for 2 people.
La Maison Rose was a suggestion by a friend, and it was pretty nice. Except it being a V’night, staff wasn’t helpful in giving us a good table. We sat on a large table in a wall-blocked¬†corner. Food was okay, from their dessert menu Guava compote with lime cream was a hit, if I wasn’t so full with grilled chicken salad, would’ve liked to taste the Newyork cheesecake too. I had never tried a orange colada before, and it was served quite stronger than regular 30 ml – made me¬†happy! ūüôā
Zuka Chocolate cafe, on Bussy street is a must. Apple pie, pastries ..they just have a characteristic of their own. In Bangalore even if I pay double that money I won’t get that stuff.
Kasha ki Aasha is a clone to Kashi Art Cafe in Kochi or Dyu Art Cafe in Koramangala. Same dark coffee, same chocolate cake – you can’t get bored of them ever.
Bon bakes somewhere on Kassim Salai canal road is good to chill at, reasonable prices and good coffee.
Tantos was a major let down, the original joint in Auroville was loaded and full of foreign janta. We decided to go to the less crowded joint that has opened on the highway. In any case this one served an average pizza, with regular commercial cheese. Turns out you have to particularly ask for Auroville homemade cheese and you will be charged more for it. Not the case with Xtasi.
Cafe Xtasi hands down!

Food & desserts

Food & desserts

Beach: For a less crowded beach go towards Auroville beach, or somewhere ahead. At Pondicherry town most beach is blocked with rocks. Take the straight highway from MG road and you will definitely find a nice secluded beach ahead.

Auroville Beach

Auroville Beach

For the sunrise, Goubert Ave is your easiest choice, very crowded like always, but you will manage a relaxed view of the sunrise, with fisherman strolling across the ocean at dawn.

Rocky beach view

Rocky beach view

Getting there: We booked a train just 2 weeks in advance from the date of travel, Pondicherry Express: Bangalore – Pondicherry leaves Fri 9 p.m. We boarded it from Basavanagudi station as it is nearer than Yeshwantpur for us. It arrived 30 mins late. Over night it stopped more than it ran. It was a cheap option, but we paid the price next day. The train kept halting¬†every 5 mins for atleast 30 mins stop every where – there was some major issue with the schedule this train followed. Also this train changes the direction of its engine multiple times through the route. The train was 3 hours off schedule by morning, and it only got worse later. We reached Pondicherry finally at 11:30 am instead of 8 am. All passengers were so accustomed to train taking stops at random places, that we almost couldn’t believe it was Puducherry station after all. For return we could not find seats on train, so took a Sharma transport bus on Sunday – which was right on time through out.
Stay: We had advance booked a hotel using Booking.com just by chance. It worked for us as being a Valentine’s weekend, almost everything was going to be full. We stayed at a heritage home turned into hotel – La Maison Tamoule. I would say it is reasonably priced for the kind of maintenance such a place calls for, and the staff is courteous too. There are many such heritage hotels in the same lanes in and around. On the Colonial homes side too you will get many expensive hotels. Cheaper homestays are tough to find, but you may get lucky. Most of colonial side is expensive. May be move towards the MG Road side places get reasonable.

Heritage Hotel - La Maison Tamoule

Heritage Hotel – La Maison Tamoule

Commute: Right after getting out from railway station, we looked for a two wheeler for hire. As spending on auto rickshaw is plain stupid. There are very few shops near by Railway Station that provide bikes. We asked locals and they all directed us towards Mission Street (they won’t take the name as such – only a hand gesture in the direction of street). It is a 2-3 km walk, if weather permits you can just walk up till there. There is probably only one distributor of vehicles there, we could not find anyone else. He has a small bench with a drawer where he stores your ID when you hire a vehicle from him. Ideally you need to pay 250/- for a gear-less scooter, and about 300-350/- for a geared bike. We hired one¬†for 2 days.

At Auroville, Dreamer’s Cafe at the visitor’s centre serves amazing Carrot cake. You could buy lemonades and coffee from a smaller stall near it for half the price. This time I skipped the Matri Mandir¬†as I didn’t find it worth the 20 min video and the extra-long walk to reach it. Just strolled to see the Aurobindo statue at Savitri Bhavan, meh. I still refer to Auroville as overhyped ūüėõ¬†Sorry I know many people who like it. But yea, for me I’ve done enough artsy stuff in better premises than Auroville.¬†For me it is simply over-hyped by foreigners, same situation as Andretta in Himachal. But thats just my opinion and a personal choice to root for Pondicherry more than Auro.

Unexplored around Bangalore…

It is true without pictures no one will be interested in reading about a place, but then since I haven’t been there, I felt some of these places needed a mention and a slight push on the internet, for people to somehow find them and update the world. I could hardly find much online, as not many people have been there, may be they didn’t come out interesting, but from what glimpses I saw, they sure did look beautiful.¬†On a train journey back from Kochi, that too a day journey, brought out many amazing landscapes and visuals for my musings. On further research I came across a couple of probable interesting places to be for Bangaloreans. But they aren’t that easy an access either it seems.

1. Rayakottai Fort:¬† This place looked amazing from the tracks.. a huge Savanadurga type of Rock, but a singular one standing tall in midst of fields around. It is¬†supposed to be a long forgotten Fort of Tipu Sultan – Rayakottai. From far away, it looks an intriguing little remain of an old structure placed neatly over the top of the hill. Since I could not find exact images that were impressed on my mind while looking out the train’s window .. I could find some close ones here –¬†http://arunthetraveller.blogspot.in/2011/05/tipu-sultans-lesser-known-fort-across.html

It is a trek, and with the rocks I’m guessing difficulty level = hard Approx.¬†about 100 kms from Silk board Junction, Bangalore – yes you need to drive down Hosur Road.

2. Thoppaiyaru Reservoir: This place looked so amazing, with a calm river that flows into a reservoir..with no guarded or inhabited banks what so ever. A perfect picnic spot in amazing pleasant weather. I’m not quite sure though if it is a visitable spot, as I do not think anyone has ever gone so far in search of a quiet spot – only a few mentions here and there by people driving towards Kerela from Bangalore. Why hasn’t anyone stopped here and brought some amazing images back? may be they all forgot to enjoy the journey in order to reach their destinations ūüėČ

Approx 200 kms from Bangalore, best to drive beside the railway tracks

Approx 200 kms from Bangalore, best to drive beside the railway tracks

Google earth image - railway track goes in the north of it

Google earth image – railway track goes in the north of it

This place is definitely something I want to check out.

3. Kadudhanapalli Lake: There is a quaint little lake on this path, again a Picnic spot appears to me, a village is near by and I feel it is a good place to relax on a sunday afternoon.

Approx 60 kms from Silk Board Bangalore - down Hosur road

Approx 60 kms from Silk Board Bangalore – down Hosur road

4. Kesarkuli dam: It is seems like an amazing location – surrounded by hills on almost all sides.

On google maps - Approx 200 + kms.

On google maps – Approx 200 + kms.

I imagine opposite side of this bridge must be more interesting – have to be there to find out. More here –¬†http://www.panoramio.com/photo/26650767

5. Teerthahalli Lake: I’m not sure where I saw this place, but it was in my wish list that I keep track on my phone, on researching -Got some interesting images on this blog-¬†http://paadooru.blogspot.in/2013/05/a-brief-visit-to-teerthahalli.html https://madhusudangs.wordpress.com/tag/teerthahalli/

Refuse to make an Excuse

Recently on 22nd Jan 2015, my Meetup group completed a year. We have done a couple of amazing trips with the group. But since I have officially declared this blog to be a personal travelogue now, all stories you read may or may not be part of trips with group.
But then this post is all about my Meetup group.

The group is a colorful place. So many personalities, so many kinds of perspectives, travel means so differently for all of us.
About the places we covered last year, and what 2015 may hold for us ..here is the map:
India map 2015

The group is a bouquet, ages ranging from 20 – 50 .. yes I’m going to give you instances of all kinds of excuses that people often make, but do not apply on any of the energetic members of our group.

Excuse 1: I’m too old now..
really? if you meet our -50+ year olds, I’m sure you will die of shame looking at there enthusiasm. Health issues aren’t a barrier for serious travel freaks .. some of them are fitter than some 20-30 year somethings.
Excuse 2: I have kids..(waiting for them to grow up)
They are mothers of toddlers, 3-9 year olds.. they even bring their kids to trips, and not once catching a bus or a auto is an issue for them, stay anywhere Рthey manage. And they are willing to go for any damn trip!
Excuse 3: I don’t have enough funds
None of us does! And backpacking is all about cheap travel. Now its not like you have to stay on shoe-string budget, reasonable means to travel using means and stay in places that never call for a huge budget. You just need to be willing to go out and do some research. Near by Bangalore (weekend outings) have costed us about 2-2.5 k per head. Our Bhutan trip was about 15-20 k per head.
Excuse 4: I don’t get leaves from work!
Really (again)?? You think we all happily get leaves for our expeditions? We all are just keen on checking out cool destinations and would go there making as many excuses as needed. It requires a bit of planning too – keep an eye on your calendar for the year.. what long weekends can be used and stuff like that.
Excuse 5: It is not safe for women on their own to travel
Now that kind of excuse I don’t even entertain, or care to talk to the woman saying it. It is all in your head lady!! Like what the hell. Plus its not like we are asking you to travel solo – that is what the group is for..a company. We understand if a girl is not too bold to venture out alone, you need someone to accompany you.. but not lead you. You don’t need to be lead, do you? If you do, this group isn’t the place for you.

Some people in this group are very very experienced about traveling, few are more experienced about foreign travel, but not so much in India. Few keep traveling constantly within India, and probably have covered every known destination here – but still want to go there again sometime. Some simply travel without planning or researching much about it, they continue to visit those places and come back without knowing much about it – thats how they enjoy it. Some like taking local transport for all the time they have, while some like to spend on taxis for a hassle free commute. Some have friends in every destination they know, and come in handy in giving first hand information about the place. Some don’t mind walking all day, some can’t take even 15 steps – but it won’t stop them nonetheless.

Hats off to this wonderful bunch of travel enthusiasts – you are an inspiration to all those women who are still sitting there either in their bedrooms or offices dreaming about coming out someday.

Why this Blog changed..

It has been a year since I started the Meetup group and this blog, and I realised you can’t make people understand your vision. May be it is best to follow your heart and do things you want to do anyway.
The group does a lot of trips now and then, but what reaches this blog are only those trips which I have been part of. Couple of trips that happened, and I could not join, the experiences have gone lost as other people may not be as interested in documenting their travels. Collecting details from members is also a task, neither do they care enough to respond, nor do I have a right over them to expect response.

Hence, this blog from now on is just my views and experiences of travels done by me. I will definitely include stories from other travellers who are willing to share their stories and experiences.

Stay tuned….