Category Archives: Travel

Travel articles, India and abroad

Incredible India

By Isheeta Sanghi 

   Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Amritsar, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Mysore. That is the comprehensive list of cities that my friends and I visited last summer. It was a crazy trip, to say the least, not only because we crammed in Agra, Delhi, Amritsar and Jaipur into four days but also because of the lessons that were learned along the way. Continue reading

Tiruvidanthai – The Land of Divine Weddings

By Swati Prasad Siddharth

The Lakshmivaraha Perumal temple at Tiruvidanthai in Tamil Nadu is one of the 108 Divyadesams – sacred places for Vaishnavites. The place is also called Sripuri , Varahapuri, Asurakulakaalanalloor, Nityakalyanapuri or Vamaghavipuri

About 42 kms of driving down the East Coast Road from Chennai, 16 kms short of Mamallapuram, we branch off to the right through a multicolored arch. A concrete road ends abruptly in front of a 15th century stone mahamantapam. Each of the 16 pillars in the mahamantapam is intricately carved. The dasavatharam or ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are very easily recognizable among the numerous figures.
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A desert drive past Jaisalmer

Navin Gulia severely injured his neck and spine while clearing an obstacle in a competition at the Indian Military Academy, where he was in the final term as a gentleman cadet.He was 22 years old then. Refusing to let his disability define him, he decided to conquer the world in a wheelchair.

He created a modification kit to allow him to drive a car and has notched up over 200,000 kms driving up the Himalayas in Uttaranchal, Himachal and Ladakh. He has driven up to the Khardung La (pass) in Ladakh, then the highest motorable pass in the world. He has also practised flying powered hang-gliders. Here he writes about his experiences driving from Delhi to the Indo-Pak Border.

Growing up, deserts have caught my fancy a number of times. From movies like ‘Omar Mukhtar – lion of the desert’ to the Hindi classic ‘Lamhe’ and books and stories on deserts. I had no real experience of the desert except what I had read. Going to Jaisalmer, the essence of deserts in India and the beginning of Thar, had been my fantasy for a long time.
When I got a call from the Ability Foundation to go on an assignment to Jodhpur, I grabbed it. Jaisalmer was 300 kms away and the India Pakistan border another 140kms. Continue reading

Going on a cruise? Cruising tips & tricks…

By Rohini Mohan

Are you one of those people who dream of being on a floating Bohemia, your every need catered to, while you lie on your deck chair in the sun, sipping your margarita, with miles of deep blue ocean to feast your eyes on? Or do you belong to the category that develops a rash at the thought of being confined to a ship for days on end, herded together with a loud, milling crowd, your only respite being unbearably touristy, over-commercialized ports of call? My husband used to be a die hard category 2, but after a 5 day tryst with a Carnival Cruise vacation, he is slowly inching his way into category 1 – well, kinda… Continue reading

On the trail of the Tiger

by Nirupama Subramanian

It was 5.30 am on a dark December morning. The wind gnawed at my face and froze my fingers gripping the edge of the seat in the open Maruti Gypsy. I wished I had worn gloves. The cold was something I had not anticipated on our quest. We were at the entrance of the Bandhavgarh National Park, along with forty other jeeps, with one singular purpose- seeing tigers in the wild. I had seen tigers before, pacing restlessly behind the bars, resting behind high walls and deep trenches, separated by more than those boundaries from the humans that gawked at them. They were creatures that evoked only curiosity and provoked cries of ‘Hey, tiger, move from there’ from unruly spectators. We are masters of confined spaces, tigers are creatures of vast open territories. We have rarely met on neutral ground. Continue reading

A day on the river

By Rohini Mohan
I could wax eloquent about the pleasure of taking a ‘back to nature’ holiday. Or how living in the Bay Area allows me the freedom to execute on it at the drop of a hat. The mountains, the desert, a thousand rivers and lakes, a national park, the ocean, I just have to wish it and I’m there within a few hours.

A couple of weeks ago we were reminiscing about one of the best trips we ever took – river rafting in the Ganga from Shivpuri to Rishikesh. The thrill of riding some of the most ferocious rapids in the world, the excitement of sleeping on the banks of the river, the fun of camping in the wild outdoors – my son was most envious of our nostalgia. We wanted to treat him to the same experience, and both California and Google came through   dependably. An hour of research, a couple of phone calls and we were all set for a weekend rafting expedition on the American River less than an hour from Sacramento, in the heart of  Gold Country.

Bleary rendezvous at Frankfurt Airport

By Madhav Mohan

It’s that time of the year again. I am en route to India on one of my regular trips and I make yet another weary pit stop at good old Frankfurt airport. As arriving flights spit out people crisscrossing the globe, I am reminded of the Spaceports in the Science Fiction novels of yesteryear. Frankfurt airport could well be an intergalactic transit planet (or was it a white dwarf?) with hyper ships bringing in creatures from worlds light years away, on their way to some other exotic universe. I’ve traveled this route some years now and have long since ceased to be amazed at the sight of the throngs of Indians lounging in the transit area or sleepwalking past the Duty Free Stores in Terminal 1. But I never fail to get a kick out of the fact that I will typically meet 2 or 3 people I know.

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The Taj and the shameful state of Indian Tourism

By Rohini Mohan
A pervasive email campaign has been making the rounds to nominate the Taj Mahal as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
 
Over 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year- that’s about 8000 people a day.  Most of them get on a filthy train or stinky tourist bus from a distant location, fight a barrage of people, drink in automobile fumes, among other odors, and arrive dusty and derelict and consumed with frustration and fatigue at the first vista point. When they finally set their eyes on the “Miracle in Marble”…..it takes their breath away. The Taj is a flawless creation, probably the most wonderful manmade structure I have ever seen. However, if it were not for the one more obligatory trip I must make to see it with my son, I would be loath to brave another visit.
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The Great Ocean Road

By R. Arun Kumar

Imagine if you were asked, “When did you feel the happiest?” or its derivative, “What makes you feel full of life?” I might fumble with my reply if the question came out-of-the-blue, but when I am sitting behind the steering wheel of my car, peering ahead at an empty stretch of road that seems to go on forever, an azure blue sky beckoning me on, places crossed out in a folded piece of map waiting to be explored, the answer has always seemed so clear to me. I love the open road and all its possibilities…. Continue reading