Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
January and December 2013
I’m completing a full circle as I return to Hyderabad to bring in 2014. When I travelled to Hyderabad earlier this year, I didn’t know I was going to return soon. It seems to be the base-camp of my reunions. My life would have been incomplete without trying the historical Hyderabadi Biryani and I’m glad I got two chances at that!
Sunderbans, West Bengal
Here I met Nature. This place truly inspired me to get connected and spend more time in silence and amidst Nature. Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest mangrove ecosystems. What truly attracted me to the place was the lives of the people there. The locals are hardworking and self-sustaining. There is a lot to learn from the people in Sunderbans and how we can help to maintain the delicate balance in Nature.
May and November 2013
This year I travelled twice to Goa. In May, it was a getaway with my friends and in November, I explored Panjim by myself. It’s surprising the two trips have been. Even though I learnt a lot from my solo trip, I am convinced that Goa is a place best travelled in the company of friends.
Manali and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
The more I write about this, the more elusive it becomes. This was my first solo, backpacking trip. Manali has been a comfort zone (I often refer to Himachal as my home) but the experience in Spiti has changed me forever. After my stay in Sunderbans, I was itching to somehow feed my curiousity and contribute to the environment. I decided to volunteer with Ecosphere. The people I met are the most genuine and the memories we created are priceless. You know, it’s true: the mountains have a way of making us feel great by making us feel small.
This place would qualify as the centre of Buddhism in the country, even though it is not the most travel-friendly! The spectacular Mahabodhi Temple is spiritually surreal and a day could pass off in a matter of minutes there. It attracts large groups of people (both Indian and international) and a lot of disciples are seen chanting through the day around the Bodhi Tree. My favourite is the Butter Lamp House, where we can see a lamp lit for everyone’s prayers. Other attractions of Bodhgaya are the Great Statue of Buddha and Nalanda University.
I also travelled to Calcutta and Nasik this year, though I refrain from writing about them since it was a family and an official trip, respectively.
~What’s on your 2014 travel bucket list?