As the first week of 2023 comes to a close, I am so impressed and pleasantly surprised by the energy of people around me. So many resolutions, year-in-review reels and optimism. And no, I am not being sarcastic. I genuinely feel good about that fact that almost everyone is resolving to spend their 2023 in new and beautiful ways.
In 2022, I spent the 52 weekends travelling to 1 new continent, 2 new countries, 2 new Indian states, over 50 cities and posting 52 new blogs on ‘Life on Weekends’.
And like some of you asked, here’s the list of those 52 blogs with a glimpse of the great history, architecture, art and geography of Incredible India.
National Park/ Forests of India:
There are over 100 national (wildlife) parks in India, ~72 bird sanctuaries and 50+ Tiger Reserves housing hundreds of unique animals and thousands of birds.
How many have you seen thus far? 🙂
Velavadar exists in Gujarat, India and is popular for its vast grasslands where you can see a bunch (or several) of blackbucks happily jumping and frolicking early mornings and before sunsets. In the same grassland, if you go for early morning safaris, travel with ultra-silent and patient wildlife lovers and have a bit of a luck on your side, you can even spot wolves. Wildlife enthusiasts would know how rare it is to spot a wolf now in India. Ah, irony!
The last two posts in this section would take you on a tour to Kaziranga Nationa Park – home to the maximum number of rhinoceros in the world, I think, and a quiet encounter with Hornbills in West Bengal. Click to access:
- The Savanna of India: Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar
- Wolf, Wolf – cried our neighbour the third time that fateful morning
- What’s so great about the World UNESCO Heritage site, Kaziranga National Park?
- Two lazy days of rare birds and high mountains in Latpanchar, Darjeeling
North-east: the biggest jewel in the crown of India
A long time back, I promised a batch mate of mine that whenever I would travel to North-east of India, I would write about my true feelings. Here it goes: Northeast is really the jewel (probably one of the biggest) in the already shining crown of India. I have been to three north-east states till date: Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya and I love all of them. Well, Meghalaya (a tad bit) more because it’s simply gorgeous and so diverse. Plus I am a little biased towards the waterfalls, and hikes, and clouds and monsoons and rains. Oh, Meghalaya! You beauty! 🙂
Click to access:
- Thin air, low Oxygen & high altitude: Zero Point, Sikkim
- 12 amazing experiences in the land of one-horned rhinoceros, Assam
- 3500+ demanding stairs to one of its own kind, the double-decker bridge of Meghalaya
- Encountering Occult and much feared black magic in a town of the 21st century: Mayaong, Assam
- A beautiful boat ride in the cleanest river of India: Dawki, Meghalaya
Hills, Mountains & Valleys ❤️❤️❤️
If I have to choose between beaches and mountains, I would probably try to explain you that there is no comparison possible, ever. But if you still push me, I would choose mountains – giant, tall and insane. Yeah, I can’t bear the cold. And I like tropical climate. I can hardly survive below zero degrees Celsius and muster all my courage to exist at high altitudes. And still! Mountains forever for this petite person with a giant spirit! Click to access:
- Driving through Khardung La, one of the highest motorable passes in the world
- 12 things to take with you on your upcoming trip to Leh, Ladakh
- Abandoned tales of an admired country: Kashmir of Incredible India
- A day of eternal romance in Pahalgam, Kashmir
The hidden Gems of India:
I have been saying it for years and I would say it again: my dear friends, move beyond Kerala, Ladakh, Kashmir, Goa and Himachal. There are plenty of other gorgeous spots in India and let me show you a few: the beautiful Diu fortress, Ajanta and Ellora caves of Aurangabad (that happens to be a UNESCO site as well), Pamban Bridge & Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, Marble Gorge of Bhedaghat, Jabalpur and Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat.
- A piece of Portugal in Diu, the Diu fortress
- A memorable sunset at Raja’s seat: intimate, beautiful and rainy
- The smoky Dhuandhar falls of Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh
- Another token of eternal love, Bibi ka Maqbara of Aurangabad
- The Glorious Gorge, Marble rocks of Bhedaghat, Jabalpur
- Cave 16, 30 and 34: a grand tour of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
- A rush of adrenaline and a bridge like no other: Pamban Bridge, Rameshwaram
- Where land ends: Dhanushkodi, a beautiful yet haunting ghost town of India
- Ruins of a Harappan City and Indus Valley Civilisation, Gujarat
- Maa Aaschen, Tumi Kothay? A humid afternoon amidst the magicians of Kumartuli, Kolkata
- India Coffee House and its smoking, hot stories
- Live a piece of history and the unwavering faith in Gods, inside Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan
- Salar Jung Museum and the veiled Rebecca
Underestimated and yet beautiful tourist spots of India:
I know. I know. You think who travels to Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh?! But you know what? A few decades back, people might have said the same thing about other places. And then once the masses discovered Konark temple, Odisha became an important stop on every traveler’s itinerary. Well! Konark, Raghurajpur, Chilka and Bhubhaneswar.
Similarly, the land where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, how can it not be on your itinerary is beyond me!
- Seven truths about Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh
- The pursuit of the best Litti-chokha in the erstwhile Magadh region
- 4 days and 3 nights in Odisha: a travel itinerary
The ever-loved and the popular tourist spots of India
We all love tourist spots, and for all the right reasons. I have nothing against those. In fact, travel, explore and rediscover by all means. And when you do, just have a look at these:
- A sultry afternoon inside the royal, splendid Mysore Palace
- Coffee tales straight from Chikmagalur, Karnataka
- The flamboyant and the cinematic City Palace of Udaipur
- 16 acres of adventure in the heritage resort of Sawai Madhopor Lodge
- From NDLS to Sawai Madhopur, a train journey of 5 hours but of a hundred old memories
- Cast aside your diet plans and relish the exclusive flavours of Amritsari Kulcha
- Would an apology ever come, ask the brave & grieving souls of Jallianwala Bagh
- Goa forever | 4 days of heritage discovery in old and latin quarter of Goa
- From Peace and solace to bazaar like hustle bustle: Kovalam then and now
The Metropolitan cities of India:
I think, this section needs no introduction. By the way, surprise, surprise – the list of metropolitan cities of India is growing. Here are some curated experiences that you could try such as the cafe trail in Bombay, discovering Mallipoo (Jasmine flowers) in Madurai, engaging in Adda sessions in Kolkata and checking out the iconic spots of Bombay.
- Following my heart in the ever-admired and always fragrant town of Madurai
- Of sandstone, stories and splendour: the stunning Mehrangarh fort of Jodhpur, Rajasthan
- 10 things to do in Hyderabad and soak the royal air
- Things you don’t know about the Golden Triangle of India
- 13 places to explore over the weekends if you are in Delhi NCR, India
- Sabarmati Ashram | The stunning start to India’s Great Independence
- 10 things to do in Calcutta (Kolkata) the cultural capital of India
- Once upon a time, in the old, dusty college street of Calcutta
- Fall in love all over again at the iconic Howrah Bridge, Kolkata
- My first Mumbai rains and the onslaught after
- My all-time favourite: 8 iconic cafes from Bombay
- Pandal Hopping, feasting on Bhog & dancing with Dhunuchi & Dhak: a soulful, extraordinary experience of Durga Pujo in Bombay in 2019
Outside India, my tryst with International destinations:
I travelled to Berlin, Germany and Barcelona, Spain this year. Thanks to my stars, my health and my self-belief that motivates me to change places when I am not happy. 🙂
- My bittersweet (read:disappointing) experience of flying via Emirates from Delhi to Barcelona
- 120 hours in Berlin: Bread, Bars and a bit of Brute welcome
If you want to have a pure travel conversation, romanticise locations of India or just have a word, drop me an email at email@example.com.