As most of you know, Life on Weekends was born in the November of 2015. And since then, I have been blogging on and off, but travelling constantly. I began as a naive traveller who would want to holiday anywhere (and everywhere) glamorous, dress well & click pictures (tons of it), and spam my Facebook timeline with these. I would check in religiously & won’t spare any of the cute cafes, breezy beaches, laid back lakes, monumental mountains, mystic museums…you get the gist, right?! I would even not skip checking in Mc Donalds, Bikanerwala’s or Gulab’s. Oh wait! That wasn’t me. That was someone in my Facebook Friend list. Sorry! 😀
My blog, my rules! 😉
So, I was ferociously checking in, making lists, checking those off and hopping from one place to another. And in between this craziness, Life happened & before I knew, I was pursuing the goal of travelling to all 29 states of Incredible India to look, see, observe, eat, pray & relax.
What? Oh, you are wondering, ‘why not love?’
Come on, Love is for kids. We married people find solace in congratulating each other on Facebook on anniversaries. 😉
Two and a half years later, my urge for travel is only increasing. As much as I feel pressured at work (or in Life), as much I want to escape this craziness & find peace somewhere remote. So far:
- 15 done
- 14 left
- 2.5 years to go
I am running my own, parallel vision 2020. You see!
So, I am hereby attempting the impossible – of picking one place over the others (that are equally favorite) from the 15 states of Incredible India:
1. Jammu and Kashmir
This is my first choice because of the beautiful valleys of Kashmir & ethereal landscapes of Ladakh. I am sorry. I failed as soon as I began. I can’t pick one from this state, because this is not one state. While Kashmir is heavenly, Ladakh is dream-like. One can’t pick one. You got to do both when it comes to Jammu & Kashmir.
And for the mata-bhakts, pls do Jammu too because – ‘chalo bulava aaya hai, mata ne bulaya hai.’ Jai Mata Di
In spite of the frequent landslides, rowdy crowds, floods, Uttarakhand has some good hill stations such as… wait, take a guess.
No, not Mussorie.
Not even Dehradun.
Not, Lansedowne either.
Don’t even mention Nainital to me. Just go a little Left & you would meet Bhimtal. I love that place because of so many reasons – less crowded being one of them.
3. Uttar Pradesh
When it comes to Uttar Pradesh, picking the favorite place is quite obvious.
It’s Ghaziabad – the place where I was born. Scared?
I am kidding. Uttar Pradesh has so many marvels. But my favorite is not the place that houses one of the wonders of the world. Not even the capital that’s famous for its Kebabs, Chikankari & Shayari.
I am in love with the narrow lanes that are full of the lyrical sounds of Radhe, Radhe. I am in love with the place that featured in all my childhood & taught me that it’s okay to be naughty, okay to steal eatables, okay to tease your parents and okay to find yourself in problems created by others. It was all okay because Gods did it. My favorite place is the place of Krishna- Mathura & Vrindavan.
4. Madhya Pradesh
Popular for Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh is home to erotic temples, some of the best Chhatris (Cenotaphs) hill forts.
My favorite is this spot near Betwa river in Orchha. Against the setting of cenotaphs, when the Sun sets, you secure a spot near the river and watch it flow. I am sure that’s how Nirvana must feel like. That’s my favorite place.
5. Himachal Pradesh
This is a state where I can go again and again & do various things. From cafe hopping in Mcleod to jumping from the second highest paragliding site in the world in Bir Billing to visiting the monastries in Dharamshala, Himachal is amazing in every possible way. But my favorite is not the commercially acclaimed Shimla, or the wannabe hill station of Mashobra or Chail, or Manali of Kullu alliance.
I lost my heart to this little place called Palampur in Himachal that’s away from the hustle-bustle of Dharamshala and McleodGanj & yet just near enough. The stepped farming and a bit of tea plantation in Palampur is just the best concoction to get me high, without any following hang-overs.
No, I give up. Can’t pick a favorite here.
I like the forts of Jaipur as much as the desert of Jaisalmer. I like the ancient hues of Udaipur as much as the fort with the second largest wall of Asia (Kumbhalgarh). I like their Jain temples. I like their haunted places. I like their quirks of worshipping a Bullet & a temple swarming with rats. I absolutely drool over their food. How can I pick a favorite?
But if I have to, it’s going to be a place that’s not glamorous but glorious. The place whose silent premises still remember the bravery and honor of Rajputs. If you hear closely, you can hear the Bhajans of Meerabai for Lord Krishna. My favorite, if I have to pick one, is Chittaurgarh – of Rana Sangha, of Maharana Pratap, of Rani Padmini, of Panna Dhai, of Meerabai, and of many compassionate and brave souls
I haven’t been to much of Punjab, and thus it would not be even fair to even assume the role of picking a favorite. However, I can recommend. And my top recommendation in places to visit in Punjab and all neighbouring states is – Amritsar. Bow your head down in Golden temple & then pay homage to the freedom struggle warriors in Jallianwala Bagh
Murthal and that’s about it – for the paranthas, Lassi and all things edible. However, I do want to visit Kurukshetra in Haryana that’s famous for mythological value.
No, I don’t like Gurgaon.
Yes, I have been to Cyber Hub. And Kingdom of Dreams. And all expensive hotels and restaurants.
Yes, I can afford those too.
No, I still don’t like Gurgaon.
Jai Jagannath! My favorite – Puri for it’s a magical place. Lord Jagannath with his famous quirks and ever-existent miracles live here. And just like Vrindavan, I found a part of myself here in Odisha too. Of course, Konark, Bhubaneswar & Raghurajpur feature in next best places to visit. If you come to Odisha, you must buy Ikat. You would love it.
The place of Shivaji & the haven of Bollywood – both exist in Maharashtra. And Khandala too.
I happened to like Mahabaleshwar for its Grand Canyon like looks & bottomless depths. Simple yet Stylish!
11. Telangana (formerly Andhra Pradesh)
Golconda fort. Period. The kind of architecture that exists in Golconda was way more advanced than its time. It’s also rumored that Koh-i-noor was placed in the fort. Golconda takes the crown even here, hands-down!
Who picks favorites in Goa, one might wonder.
Goa is Goa.
Everything must be a favorite. But I am different. And that’s why, my favorite is Chapora fort, also called ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ fort. That’s my favourite.
You want to pick a beach?!
Then, I pick BetalBatim near Martin’s Corner in South Goa. I love that place. I have been to Goa thrice. Never missed it even once.
13. Tamil Nadu
It’s full of favourites. From the temples to coastlines to palaces to hill stations.
Bollywood did Ooty. And I do Kodai Kanal.
I love that place – their forests, main market area, gardens and lakes. I love everything about Kodai Kanal. And it’s my absolute favourite.
If I have to nominate one state in India that has all kinds of tourist attractions – from hill stations to water falls to ruins to temples to beaches to mountains to forests to what not?! It’s Karnataka.
And my favourite place in here is Jog falls in Shimoga. That place is magical. You have to visit to feel.
It’s not even a choice. My evergreen favorite – Munnar – for their tea plantation, for their idli-sambhar, for their Kuchipudi & Kalaripayattu, for their national parks and spice plantations and view points. Munnar is as romantic as one may get and some more.
lndia is called Incredible for reasons more than one. Of course, to experience that, you would have to venture.
So, are you ready to venture?