Niharika Arora is a 23-year old traveller who tries to squeeze in a travel whenever she gets the chance to escape from her studies of architecture. She considers herself to be a generally confused soul who is still trying to figure out what life is all about, and that’s how she chose her social media handles, ‘the_iffy_explorer’. She loves travelling through the mesh of self-exploration, where she plays the role of an architect who loves to write poetry, take photographs and travel.
She has come a long way from when the travel bug first bit her, back when she went for a family holiday to Cape Town in South Africa. It was only after that she began to love travelling and saw it as something more than killing time or vacationing. Though her time in Cape Town was very different from how she lives to travel now, it was the trip that ignited the desire within her to explore the world. “It will always be an unforgettable trip for me since it was here that I became aware of my dream to travel.”
Niharika’s top 5 travel destinations are Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, an underrated paradise; Pokhara in Nepal, a mind soothing place; Alleppey in Kerala, a place that gives the full tropical experience; Cape Town in South Africa, the beautiful city where she fell in love with traveling, and Gangtok, a gem in the north-east. These are just a few places across Niharika’s endless list. She has travelled to over 15 states in India, but insists she has many more cities to cover!
While travelling Niharika recommends one to invest in a good backpack, a tent, some good travel apps, a hardy toilet kit, a notebook and camera to record our unforgettable experiences! One such experience for her was in Chhitkul, Himachal Pradesh. She was on the most dangerous road in the world. While finding her way around, she reached a steep cliff and another time a graveyard. After driving for 3 hours, she finally reaches 6 am but had to sleep inside her car as it was freezing outside. She remembers falling asleep while hoping she wouldn’t wake up due to hypothermia!
“I’m at the stage where I would love to be a full-time traveller”, said Niharika. What she loves about travelling is that it is self-exploratory for her. It makes her aware of her own actions and desires, one of the reasons she loves travelling alone, plus, the only person’s tantrums who you must handle are your own! Niharika confesses she is more of a planned traveller, especially it’s a non-touristy place, just to get a lay of the land. But once she’s there, she spends her time as she pleases. Since she’s an aspiring architect, Niharika loves learning about various vernacular techniques of different regions. This helps her understand an area better. She especially loves travelling to places that are people-oriented. “It gives me way more satisfaction, it gives me more memories to cherish”, she says.
A trip that has had a lasting impact and taught her something extraordinary was at a time when she was watching a beautiful sunrise at Sarankot in Pokhara, Nepal. As she sat watching the sun dip lower, and as the rays danced on the tips of her skin, she felt an overwhelming sense of care for everything around her – the people, places, sounds. She remembers feeling like a soggy piece of paper that let the water sieve through it and got drenched in the process. The traveller was mesmerized by the beauty of the sunrise, could not believe something so beautiful happened every single day.
Words by Nitya Kuthiala
Images by ©Niharika Arora
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