I have been out of action for a few months now. 2017 started with a bang and before I realised, I slipped under a mountain of work. While I found my way out, blogging took a backseat.
I was away for some months from my blog, but not from travel. My weekends were mostly spent working or worrying about working – and in between – like I do – I managed a few breaths in the mountains, a few meals sitting next to a localite, a few boat rides in waters away from my city & a few walks on the roads that were new yet familiar to me.
In April this year, I decided to not travel anymore because I was in between roles and had a huge debt to pay. But come weekends, and my backpack starts staring at me, my phone rings with the discounts going on airfare and hotels and my heart pumps in a rhythm that reminds you of a screaming hawker on a beach selling pineapple slices or a local artist playing flute outside the fort premises of a royal city. And before I realise, I am in a new place with friendly strangers, gorging on yummy food, next to fellow travellers and busy breathing in an unknown yet familiar place. And of course, with a big cup of Chai in my hands.
So, before I share with you the stories, I wanted to share how 2017 looked like, travel-wise.
And thanks for the love you have for the stories of #LifeonWeekends. Your constant reminders and pings made me take to the blog again. Hopefully, I will be able to produce more stories, frequently now.
This is what travel does. It takes you to unknown places that look familiar.
Here it goes:
1. Mahabaleshwar, Matheran, Khandala, Lonavala & Pune:
We started the year with cakes, pastries and Irani chai in the cafes of Pune & moved to the strawberry farms of Mapro and grand canyon-like Mahabaleshwar. Since it was January, Khandala & Lonavala were not very impressive, but that didn’t deter me from tying a handkerchief around my neck and singing ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ ;).
2. The famous Khajuraho:
I have been hearing about Khajuraho since the time I was a kid. The temples, the carvings and the guide tours – all conjured up to an image in my mind that needed validation. It was high time.
And I got the chance to revel in the grandeur of Khajuraho at the time when great artists come to perform in Khajuraho from all over the world during the dance festival of Khajuraho.
If you love nature, explore Pandav caves, Panna National Park and Panna waterfalls near Khajuraho.
3. Golden Amritsar of the Golden Triangle:
I was sitting in the Rajaji cafe in Khajuraho and was admiring the view of temples from up there.
A bunch of backpackers were sitting on the next table and were discussing the next destinations when I overheard their conversation.
“Guys , I went to this holy place where they got a huge temple and it’s made of gold. It looked phenomenal in evening. You must go there.”
They were talking about Amritsar & I had to go there now.
So, I came to Amritsar on the eve of Baisakhi – long queues, crowded places did not disappoint me at all. There were so much to do, enjoy and feel.
4. Of the Vyas river, Kullu-Manali:
If you were the kind of kid who grew up in the 90s, you must have heard of ‘Kullu-Manali’ umpteen number of times. In the middle of Summers, when the temperature was soaring day by day in Delhi, I took a weekend’s worth respite in the fresh air of Manali – eating Aloo Tikki off the celebrity stall, slurped Thupka and bought a few “half-pashmina” stoles. 🙂
5. Goa in Monsoons:
This was my fourth trip to Goa and I still managed to discover new places in this touristy state. This time, we stayed in the Central & South Goa only. The high point of the trip was (like always) – the Cappuccino of CCD,Colva & the amazing Dauna Paula.
6. Misty Munnar yet again:
There was a long weekend in August and I didn’t want to sleep over it. So, I flew to the South to spend a few days in the green and mist of Munnar. This weekend was riddled with work. A project plan that I had to submit on 16th August completely overwhelmed my trip and I could not focus on the mountains and forests. But still, worth it!
Note: Do not carry your work to the vacation. Work never ends but vacations do.
7. And for the nth time, the pink city – Jaipur:
After meeting an almost unrealistic timeline, I wanted to unwind and thus chose to spend my following weekend in the pink of Jaipur watching the light and sound show of Amer fort!
Rajasthani food and huge forts were not enough. So, I went on a shopping spree and bough ‘Lakh’ Bangles, Rajasthani quilts, bandhej cloth, tie-dye suits and jutis. Result – a refreshed self! 🙂
8. Bhimtal, Nainital:
In the midst of torrential rains when Mumbai was being flooded, the Kumaon region was perfect for a weekend getaway with just the right amount of rains, and the right amount of cold. The without-sugar, ginger-cardamom tea tasted just about perfect.
And when I was traveling, my plane was saved from crashing in the nick of time, our luggage went missing from the hotel cloak room when we had to catch a train within half an hour & we were almost killed in a landslide.
More on that later!
Keep the spirits high for lives will be riddled with challenges and stress, but no matter the time, place and season – travel will always bring happiness, peace and love.