Tag Archives: Mountains

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

22 January 2018

Travel is liberating for his soul, discovering himself one travel at a time. | Traveller of the Week: Siddharth Soni

Siddharth Soni is a Delhi based architect who tries to juggle his life between a full-time corporate job and his passion for photography along with exploring the Himalayas. A trekking and mountain climbing enthusiast, he finds himself at ease in crowded streets, documenting lives and different cultures around him. A graduate of Cornell University, USA, he has been a passionate architect practising for years now. He also reckons photography, travel explorations and documentaries to be his true calling!

 

Travelling started quite unexpectedly for this one. Back in 2002 when he had just started college, his father pushed him to get out of his comfort zone and persuaded him to go on a Himalayan Trek, ‘The Valley of Flowers’. With no knowledge about trekking, it also happened to be his first solo trip! “I had little idea about what to expect. I did make some really good friends though and in a way, found myself in the middle of nowhere. Where I least expected it. A spark was lit and I promptly returned the next year, and it soon developed into a passion”, he says.

 

Siddharth Soni

 

The now well-versed traveller is comfortable with both group and solo travel expeditions. It started out with travelling with a group of 2-3 very close friends but he also believes solo trips to be great. “Most people never take the risk of solo and play it safe by going in a group. But then they don’t know what they are missing out on!”, says the traveller.

 

A part-time globe-trotter, he travels and tries to balance his full-time corporate job which often requires working overtime as well as tight deadlines. Notorious for convincing people to go on road trips, treks and to even quit their jobs to travel, Siddharth wants people around him to explore more and get out of the conventional city life.

 

The traveller is has been to every state in the country except for the North East, Bengal and Kerala. His 5 must-visit destinations include Ladakh, Rajasthan, Bolivia, Italy and Nepal. The landscape, heritage and cultural diversity at these places is like nowhere else on the planet.

A methodical planner, he often reads thoroughly about the places he intends to visit and does background research in order to not waste time figuring things out later. He draws his own maps, itineraries which often helps him manage his time. Spontaneous trips have often led him to waste time figuring things as well as bad experiences.

 

The Summit Ascent – Altitude 5200m, Stok Kangri Expedition

Varanasi

Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal – Main Summit

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Pangong Tso Lake

Barren mountains as seen from Shanti Stupa, Leh

Trishul Summit, Roopkund Trek

Crumbling Facades, Mumbai

Markha Valley, Stok Kangri Expedition

Varanasi

 

Soni believes, attitude and mindset to travel are what counts for one’s own betterment. ‘To try and push yourself and explore your own limitations. To talk to people and share stories and experiences’, he says. He travels with his DSLR camera, GoPro, hiking boots and his shorts, everything else being flexible!

 

Siddarth enjoys the quest to explore, observe and absorb. Wherever he goes, he tries to become a local to explore things like a local. Travelling is liberating for this traveller soul, to be a traveller and not a tourist is what is more important to him. He discovers himself whilst travelling. He says, “It has made me comfortable in all sorts of environments more sensitive towards, people and different cultures. Besides, there is no right or wrong way to travel. It is a means of personal expression and experience, unique for each person.”

 

One life lesson he has learnt is, “The small and temporal nature of our lives and problems in the larger scheme of things in life. To live in the moment and thoroughly cherish each moment for what it is”.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Siddharth Soni

 

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

15 January 2018

Know how travel works as a therapy for this week’s | Traveller of the Week: Tushar Panchal

Tushar Panchal, a 24-year-old is a Digital Account Manager at The Minimalist. An engineering dropout, the emotional sense of freedom and curiosity to capture untrodden places became his motivation to travel. His initial excursions were not initiated by passion but work. His first trip was to Hampi, a trip to Bellary for a client meeting, He wrapped up is work as soon as he could and went to Hospet bus station. At a public toilet, he went through a quick change of clothes and started his journey to Hampi.

He then covered the entire Hampi ruins and heritage sites within a duration of 6 hours. This is how he successfully completed his first trip with a second-hand DSLR he bought on OLX.

 

Tushar Panchal

 

Panchal has no specific preference when it comes to travelling, he can travel solo or in a group which entirely depends on the destination and the travel budget for the same. Not a full-time traveller, he has a full-time job and at times it gets tedious to take out time for travelling. He has sacrificed three jobs to fulfil his zeal to travel. His family doesn’t find his travelling agreeable because they are aloof from this field, and at times they are completely unaware of the places he travels to. This at times, causes friction, but nonetheless, doesn’t stop him from continuing on this path.

 

He has covered almost 13-14 states and 2 Union territories (Daman and New Delhi) but has yet to explore places outside India. His favourite travel destinations within India are- Spiti Valley, Hampi, Varanasi (which he plans to visit soon), Srinagar, Ladakh and Gokarna, which can be called “Corsica of India”. His favourite international destinations include Banff National Park, Norway, Iceland, Patagonia and Alaska.

According to him, the five must-haves on every trip are good shoes, sufficient amount of water, a camera kit and a Swiss knife.

 

The freedom to savour any natural landscape in its most raw form is what Tushar feels every traveller enjoys the most. Apart from that, every excursion is an escape from the bubbling social life we all live in urban spaces. For a person like him who lives in Mumbai, travelling becomes a therapy. Instead of going to a psychiatrist or counsellor and venting out your anxieties, Tushar feels, he visits different destinations and talks to them. It’s a conversational bond he develops with the destinations he visits; the thought might sound hippie but in this case, it is true! His upbringing amidst the chaotic life of Mumbai instigated an itch to document the serenity of calm spaces.

 

 

The plethora of experiences he has had while travelling has gained him multiple experiences which cannot be squeezed into a text. To roughly sum it up, he shares two quotes from “Into the Wild”, the first goes like this, “It is important in life not to be strong but to feel strong. At least once you need to measure yourself in the very ancient of human conditions”, and the second says, “If you admit that human life can be ruled by a reason, the possibility of life is destroyed”.

Words by Laveena Behl
Images by ©Tushar Panchal

 

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Blog | Photography

12 January 2018

Creative Head of the Week: Gitesh Gupta

Gitesh Gupta, also known as ‘Luke CG’ is a professional photographer who hails from the scenic hills of Kullu. His journey started from his engineering days with the first photograph he clicked from his brother’s camera. His fascination gave birth to a zeal to view the world through the lens of a camera. The episode made him realise the power of perspective and imagination combined with a single click!

 

Gitesh Gupta

 

For Gitesh, the premise of any concept is human emotion, which ranges from the bliss of happiness to dejection of sadness. He feels that photography is a similar journey- it is always about telling a tale through a picture and different types of software are the tools that aid the process. His work is heavily influenced by cinema. He is fond of sci-fi action, and movies that exhibit drama with excellent cinematic experience. There is a lot to learn, he says, from the nuances of such sources- about lighting, camera angle etc. He finds in it interesting visuals and concepts in motion and a great source of learning. Thus trying to implement all of it in his work, in an innovative way.

He is largely inspired by events happening in his surroundings- bustling streets, clouds-anything and everything so to say. He also draws inspiration from another artist’s work. All of it encourages him to create a definitive work of his own. Music is another important feature that adds a cherry on the top of all his hard work.

 

When asked about his post-processing, perfection at first glance, he mentions that it all depends on how one sees things. He thinks of it as a puzzle, which has to be arranged in a  perfect manner, conjoining the right pieces, which don’t make him feel scared about the process, unlike many other people.

He compares post processing to cooking- some like it spicy, some like it sweet, but an excess of flavours might upset one’s tongue. In the same way, one has to be efficient while making use of different kinds of software available due to improved technology, he adds. The Creative Head puts to use his Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 6D cameras along with Canon 70-200mm f2.8, Canon 85mm 1.8, Canon 16-35mm f4 and Sigma Art 24-35mm f2 when it comes to picking the right lenses. Phottix Indra500 and 120cm Octabox for the lighting. 

He primarily uses Adobe Photoshop CC for editing along with Wacom Tablet on his iMac 27. He feels Pen Tablet makes life much easier by aiding a precise selection as well as blending different elements together. He also recommends people to try one for retouching.

 

A typical day in his life is indeed scenic with a life in the mountains. Gupta prefers working late at night for editing as it is more peaceful and can focus better on ideas. His daytime is spent in regular official work-queries, e-mails, phone calls etc.

His favourite subject to click is a ‘yes’ to the camera by the subject. The attraction lies in the mysterious ways the eyes try to speak. Gitesh does not have a favourite location but he desires to explore the picturesque landscapes of Iceland and New Zealand.

 

The photography mantra he shares with our readers is to “Learn+Shoot+Practice+Repeat”. The first shot, Gitesh Gupta says, is never perfect-one, one has to rigorously practice for it.

For better results, he mentions, one needs to click a good-quality picture with the camera, and the post-processing edits can add finish to it. 
His message for people struggling in the field of photography is to never search hopelessly for the answers but figure out the right questions which will finally lead you to the solution.

Words by Laveena Behl

 

Images by ©Gitesh Gupta

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

8 January 2018

The traveller who has visited 80 countries and gives everyone some serious travel goals. | Traveller of the Week: Abhilash Surendran

Abhilash Surendran hails from Kozhikode district in Kerala right next to a former French colony called Mahe, he calls them both home! Abhilash has quit his corporate job twice to become a full-time traveller and travel blogger. Having failed the first time, the second trial seems to be going good, he says, ‘I had not strategized properly on the pitfalls of travel blogging’.

 

Surendran considers himself to be a mix of an orthodox and offbeat traveller. He enjoys visiting tourist places as well as places unexplored by the crowd. ‘After visiting 80 countries around the world, and almost every part of India, I think every place however touristy, crowded, dirty or polluted it is – has its own charm. It’s always up to the visitor to figure it out’, he says giving everyone some serious travel goals.

 

Abhilash Surendran

 

In 2008, the now travel junkie went on his first solo trip. While working in an MNC in Chennai, he was asked to move to their office in Manila, Philippines. A scary prospect at first, he accepted. ‘Living in the Philippines ended up changing my life!

After the Philippines, I was hooked. I started backpacking to other parts of South East Asia, came back to India to do road trips around my own country, went discovering Europe, Oceania and the Americas. And I don’t think I am stopping anytime soon’, he says.

 

Abhilash loves travelling solo and makes friends in places he visits and does short travels with them as a group to nearby places, a much better way to get to know the places from the eyes of a local rarely on the tourist trail.

 

The biggest challenge for Abhilash is family! He left a well-paying job in Singapore before he changed his profession of becoming a traveller. His family was definitely not happy with his career choice. They are now fully convinced and supportive of the idea.

 

For International trips, the traveller makes it a point to have a general plan in advance for cheaper flight tickets. ‘Like, I will spend 3 weeks in Germany. But what I do in those 3 weeks, is quite flexible’, mentions the travel blogger.

In India, he travels on his motorbike, riding solo around the country which also means he can go with the flow and do a little bit of research about the offbeat places he’d like to visit and save it to google maps. Whenever he is in the area, he makes it a point to visit the pinned locations!

 

The traveller’s 5 must-visit locations would be, firstly, Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Lohit, Anjaw and Changlang Districts are untouched and have amazing natural beauty!

Outside India, Jordan. The Bedouin culture and hospitality is amazing. Also, sights like Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash etcetera are not only historic but also out of this world. Serbia, one of his favourite countries in the Balkan region is full of delightful people, amazing food and easy to travel or hitchhike. Next is Timor Leste, the untouched and the latest country of ASEAN, the country gets only 10,000 visitors every year. A complete adventure to travel to, he was surprised to visit villages where he was the first tourist they had ever seen!

Last but not the least, San Marino. A country surrounded by Italy, it is the only country in the world where there are more people than vehicles. The pristine city views are straight out of a renaissance movie set.

Now, on to his 5 must-haves for travelling and staying outdoors.

In India, he prefers to travel only on his motorbike as it makes any place accessible. Second would be, a sturdy and multi-purpose backpack. Not to forget, offline maps, he suggests an application called maps.me! A sleeping bag, if one is into camping outside.  Finally, a will to be flexible and adapt to situations is a must! The ability to accept different cultures, mindsets, people and the ability to get along with them makes the journey much more fulfilling.

 

The traveller loves meeting the locals on his expeditions. He does admit places, monuments and nature are great for photographs but one can only learn about the place through the eyes and the mouths of a local.

Abhilash prefers to listen to the natives and explore the not so ordinary sites, he remembers his earlier days of chasing the touristy spots, unlike today.

 

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Andorra, Europe

Brahmaputra, Guwahati

Cairo, Egypt

Istanbul, Turkey

Seria, Brunei

Varanasi, India

 

Surendran has covered all states except Mizoram, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh. Outside India, his travelling has been in circuits as he usually travels for longer durations. ‘I started with the Banana pancake trail of South East Asia, which covers countries like Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Then there is the Indonesia island circuit, taking you through the islands of Java and Borneo’, he adds. In Europe, time was mostly spent doing the Baltic trail (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) or the Balkans stretch (Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, etc).

 

 

One life lesson he has learnt through travelling – ‘That the world is not what you read about in a magazine or newspaper. I am not going to lie, I had many of my biases shattered in different places that I have visited around the world. These biases were formed by media, or opinions of friends, over the years, and only when I visited the place did I know how wrong my understanding was’.

For example, he says before visiting North East India, he perceived the tribes to be orthodox and not set in present times. But once he actually arrived, he was greeted with friendliness and generosity! A much more modern mindset than the rest of India, he says the entire country can learn a thing or two.

Also, media often portrays the Islamic countries around the world as orthodox and conventional. Whilst travelling to Bangladesh, Brunei and the Middle-East, the traveller made a note to wear decent clothes hiding his tattoos as not to offend anyone. He was blown away instantly by attending the craziest house party in Dhaka! The youth did have fun but unfortunately, the media portrays most of the countries in a much different light than usual which shouldn’t stop one from exploring and travelling all the countries out there!

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Abhilash Surendran

 

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Blog | Travel

6 January 2018

One of a kind scooter rider on a mission to explore the unimaginable

Narender Kumar Gautam is a primary school teacher in Delhi with a passion to take his Bajaj Bravo 2 Strokes Scooter to rides unimaginable. A scooter gifted by his father which is now 17 years old, Delhi is his home.

 

Narender Kumar Gautam

 

Narender first got hooked on taking his scooter on rides when he came across a travelogue on a travel forum where 2-3 guys were riding scooters in the remote and rugged valley of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh with a Mahindra Scorpio as their back up vehicle. ‘I was very thrilled to see scooters in the tough terrain of Spiti. That scooter travelogue encouraged and inspired me to travel on my two wheels’, he says. Within five minutes of reading the travelogue, Gautum decided to ride his Bajaj to the high mountains and use it for long-term touring. Since then, he has never looked back!

 

The scooter rider prefers to travel solo but also travels in groups sometimes. Narender Kumar Gautam shares his 3 most memorable scooter rides, starting with his very first ride when he scaled 18,953 feet altitude on a mountain pass – Marsimik La in Ladakh in June 2016. No scooter had ever reached such heights, he says. Riding his scooter to this high pass was his long pending dream which he realized in June of 2016.  Marsimik La pass, located very near to the border of China, it is only 42 km away from Pangong Lake in Ladakh. A very steep road, totally broken and unmarked, he finally reached the pass, alone. ‘Fast cold winds were blowing and it was goosebumps moment for me. I offered my prayers in a small temple at the pass and thanked God for this’, he reminisces. It is also his best memory so far!

 

The second ride was in September of 2014 when he crossed the treacherous and remote Umba La Pass which connects Drass to Suru valley bypassing Kargil. A very remote area, very few people have been there he mentions.

 

Last but not the least, the third memorable ride was when he rode his scooter along the China border via Chushul. He reached Hanle from Pangong Lake in Ladakh, a very thrilling ride experience. The road was sandy and there were no milestone or signboards. ‘I was riding between the Indian and Chinese army bunkers as told by locals’, says Narender.

 

The rider makes a brief plan in his head in advance before he commences his travels. Generally, he includes new places on earth and brings forth places for other riders so they can explore as well.

 

5 must-visit destinations according to him are- Mustang Valley in  Nepal, Ladakh, Mana Pass in Uttrakhand, Nepal-Lahsa Friendship Highway in Tibet and Karakoram Highway in Pakistan.

 

Not to forget, his 5 must haves on a journey of exploring this wonderful planet, number one would be passion! Knowledge about routes and places, sound knowledge of the vehicle, to be aware of basic amenities and hardships on the road and to carry spare essentials.

 

Scooters are disappearing very fast and there are difficulties in finding spare parts in case of a breakdown admits the rider. ‘Its a very grave concern for a scooterist’, he says when it comes to the difficulty faced when touring on a scooter in India. Also, the best part is that scootering makes one a unique rider among majority bikers. There is a level of respect one receives from people when one travels on a scooter. Such appreciation is the best reward for a scooterist according to Narender.

 

Baralacha Pass, Himachal Pradesh

Malling Nako, Spiti Valley

Fotu La Pass, Ladakh

Mustang valley, Nepal

Maganetic Hill, Ladakh

Key, Spiti Valley

Leh-Manali Highway, Ladakh

Photos by Narender Kumar Gautam

 

Narender has also ridden to Sach Pass and Ladakh via Pangi Valley, both dangerous roads to be on. What makes him get away with that on a scooter? He says, he rides sensibly and prepares his scooter well. ‘My scooter broke down in Pangi valley but I managed to get it repaired and continue my ride and complete it’, he adds. Sach Pass and Pangi are treacherous roads, no doubt, but a very safe and slow ride will surely overcome the tough terrain he believes.

 

The one of a kind scooter rider shall never run out of stories, one such interesting excerpt from his rides is when he was travelling solo to Suru and Zanskar Valley in Ladakh. The bad weather and snowfall did not go hand in hand with his scooter’s performance. Suddenly, he saw a pack of three wolves staring at him. The cold weather and fright shivers made him sweat. Alone for 50-60 km, there was no one. He stayed put and after a few moments later, the wolves went away. He breathed a sigh of relief!

 

One lesson the rider has learnt from his years of touring on the scooter is ‘Patience’! Narender Kumar also adds, his rides happen to give him a sense of content and peace.

 

Words by Harpreet

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

4 January 2018

Interview with Photographer: Jassi Oberai

Meet Jassi Oberai, a pharmacist living his dream life by capturing the beauty of nature and everything that comes his way. 

Jassi Oberai

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

– Photography happened to me suddenly. I did not plan to be a photographer. In one of my corporate trips to Corbett, I bumped into a wildlife photographer and my 5-minute interaction with him changed my life. The irony is that I don’t even know his name or remember him. But once I picked up my first DSLR, there was no looking back.

 

Inspiro India: Can you talk a bit about your travel photography and way of working?

– Unlike earlier, today my travel photography is mostly on the photo tours that I organise and conduct. And that poses a huge challenge because when you are leading a photo tour, the priority is participants and not you. I have managed to fine-tune the act of balancing.

 

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any problem while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

– Well, nothing except for weather challenges and that is what makes photography ever so exciting. I remember one incident while I was trying to shoot a seascape in Bali. After identifying a spot on the edge of the rock on a beach, I waited for almost 15 minutes to check how far the strongest wave reaches. And I thought I was safe. I set my tripod and camera with ND filter on it and the moment I looked through the viewfinder to do fine tuning before I finally press the shutter, a strong wave came out of nowhere and totally drenched me along with my camera. The camera was dripping wet and so was I. Luckily my camera was waterproof so no damage was done. It took me another half an hour to create one image and obviously it is highly satisfying to see the final result.

 

Inspiro India: Which genre of photography interests you the most and why? What are your top three favourite photography locations?

– I am in love with nature and Landscape Photography excites me the most. My top three favourite photography locations are Iceland, Norway (still on my bucket list) and Ladakh.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, what would have Jassi been doing?

– I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Honestly, I always wondered why people look down on a salaried job but the moment I took the plunge I realised why people do that. There is nothing better and satisfying than living your dream and making it come true. There was a time I wanted to become a doctor, I became a pharmacist instead, spent my better-salaried life selling financial products and managing teams but nothing more satisfying than capturing the beauty of nature through my lens and making it eternal.

 

Inspiro India: How would you describe your photography style?

– Freestyle. I like shooting almost everything that comes my way. But yes over a period of time I know that some genres are beyond me like street, product and food photography.

 

Inspiro India: Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in landscape photography? What are you looking forward to purchasing next?

– Landscape Photography is all about patience. You identify your frame, set it up and wait. Sometimes you have to go there another time or day to get the best shot. One thing people must understand is that Landscape Photography is certainly not photojournalism. You have to be good at post processing to create breathtaking images. When creating slow shutter or long exposure landscape images, accessories like, tripod, ball head, ND filter system are of extreme importance.

 

The list of equipment to be acquired is long and expensive.  But yes I am looking forward to own support equipment to shoot my timelapse.

 

Inspiro India: What did you want to become when you were a child? What dream is still on your bucket list?

– As a child, I wanted to become a Doctor. My dream is to influence as many as I can with my art and impart photography education. And I am relentlessly working on that.

 

Inspiro India: ‘Studio Light’ or ‘Natural Light’?

– Natural Light any day. I somehow don’t like the artificial studio set up.

 

Inspiro India: Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?

– My favourite is the recent image of ‘Northern Lights’ taken in Iceland. Though I was lucky with Northern Lights with almost daily sighting but somehow good composition was eluding me. While we were at the fag end of our tour, we decided to try a new spot, Black Church and viola we got what we were looking at.

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow? Which camera do you shoot with? Your favourite lenses and other equipment that you use?

– I use Adobe Photoshop and NIK Plugins to process my images. I shoot with Canon 5D Mark IV camera and my favourite lens is my newly acquired Canon 16-35 f/2.8L III USM wide angle lens.

Favourite Photograph // Northern Lights

Photos by ©Jassi Oberai

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

– Don’t be in a hurry. Embrace patience and keep moving towards your goal. Put skill enhancement on a priority list of gear buying syndrome. A good camera will give you better result only if you are skilled enough to extract the best out of it.

 

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Blog | Travel

1 January 2018

A local weekend traveller on a mission to explore Himachal. | Traveller of the Week: Neha Ralli

Neha Ralli is a weekend traveller and a hobby photographer. She was born and brought up in Kullu (Himachal Pradesh) and loves star gazing, talking about extra-terrestrial lives and its possibilities. She likes to write poetry when she is in the right mood.

Neha feels that curiosity to see something new, meet new people and know more about fellow human beings and this wonderful creation called Earth is what led her to choose this path. She says, “My first trip was my school trip to a place called ‘Dyar’ in Kullu. We trekked a little and reached this beautiful place surrounded by Deodar Trees’, she was awestruck. At the young age, she had no words to describe what she felt. Now when she thinks of it, it makes her calm and happy.

Neha Ralli

 

She likes to travel with her family and friends but believes that solo travelling is also a unique experience. However, mostly she prefers company while travelling. Being a working woman, Neha manages to take out time for her hobbies as she works in Himachal Pradesh itself. Time had become an issue while she was working in Chandigarh and this prompted her to shift back and live close to nature for mental peace and to be closer to her family.

She loves to go on spontaneous trips and rarely plans her trips as she feels that spontaneous trips have always been the best for her. Currently located in Himachal, she is trying to see it extensively. The idea of not being well versed in her own land has bothered her for a long time and therefore she usually travels in Himachal itself. According to her, a person should visit these 5 places for a unique experience, Kareri Lake (Dharamshala), Kaisdhar (Kullu),  Lahaul, Bhrigu Lake (Kullu) and  Prashar Rishi (Mandi).

Ralli also lists down 5 essentials for travelling and staying outdoors:

  1. One should be acclimated to the high altitudes
  2. Weather on mountains changes drastically, so one should always keep warmers and raincoats in the bag pack in case there’s a plan to camp.
  3. It’s very dry on the mountaintop and therefore one must keep moisturizer or Chap Stick as skin gets dry in the extreme weather conditions.
  4. Keep a swiss knife for multipurpose use and a lighter to start a bonfire.
  5. Always wear sunscreen to avoid skin burn. Try and keep the bag as light as possible. Do not take things you will not use on your trek. Always remember “Keep it Light”.

In addition to this, she talks about things that one should not do when in outdoors:

  1. One should always carry a litter bag along and not throw wrappers and bottles on mountains.
  2. Noise or use of loudspeakers while camping should be avoided because it attracts wild animals and disturbs the environment.
  3. One should not do anything that hurts the sentiments of the locals.
  4. It is important to put out the fire before you leave or sleep.

 

According to her, the best thing about trekking is that one can forget all the worldly chaos which has been left behind. One keeps climbing because there’s simply more to see in life. The curiosity to see what’s next after a turn, the feeling of knowing that the mind is finally at halt of random thoughts bothering you is something that drives her. She aims to visit various places in Himachal and learn everything she can about the divine land know as Himachal Pradesh.

 

Dharamshala

Palampur

Pong Dam, Kangra

Tattapani, Shimla

Triund, Dharamshala

Gulaba, Manali

Kasol

Triund, Dharamshala

 

Travelling has taught her that humans are quite vulnerable. “We keep fighting on trivial things and issues. We keep grudges against each other. We keep focusing on things that make us less human. We won’t get many chances to live. So why not make the most of it. I got my second chance, and I’m living it in the best way possible,” she said. Sharing a personal experience, she said, “Once I reached on top of a mountain and saw the vast city land, so small and nonexistent human life. No noise, not even birds chirping. At that time, I realized that the issues we all are fighting for, why are they even there? We are all humans in the end. We all have to die one day. I am sure we can all get along if we keep in mind that we all have to live together like a big family in our home called Earth.”

Words by Laveena Behl
Images by ©Neha Ralli

 

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Blog | Travel

11 December 2017

Traveller of the Week: Tanya Khanijow

Tanya Khanijow started travelling and learning photography in 2016, she started off by expressing herself through her content on social media one frame at a time.

A traveller, blogger, vlogger and content creator, she loves to travel and find her self in different places every now and then. ‘What really drives me and encourages me to keep going is a never-ending need to explore and see the world’, says Tanya.

Tanya Khanijow

 

Tanya has always liked travelling from early childhood from the time her dad got posted to a new location, courtesy Indian Army.

Through the Indian Army, she has had the opportunity to stay at some of the most pristine locations in India. ‘I’ve changed as many as nine schools. And to be honest, I loved it. It provided me with a new perspective on a place, and people when I was as young as 3-4 years. I learned early on in life, the value of travelling and change’, she says.

 

During her college days, Tanya would find herself making plans on the spur of the moment to travel to different places. She would save her monthly allowance and hustle to travel. She has travelled in local trains, public buses, rickety mountain vehicles,  the list is endless.

 

Tanya has always loved the natural environment more than the comfort and education imbibed in a classroom. With that started her tryst with travel.

Not a full-time traveller yet, she spent 2017 working as well as travelling, intending to travel full time from next year.

Also a spontaneous traveller, she doesn’t plan the destination or things to do in advance. If she sees there is free time available on her calendar, she takes seconds to decide the best place for the time and plans economically by booking cheap flight tickets, she then skims through blogs and web resources for a brief basic idea of the culture, geography and differentiating factors of the place.

5 must-visit locations according to Tanya would be, Alappuzha in Kerala. The backwaters of Kerala are beyond beautiful and one must experience village life and a little by the water lanes. ‘Try living with locals and riding on a slow-paced boat instead of a motorboat. And don’t opt for a houseboat. Houseboats are large and can only traverse in broad canals. You’ll miss out on the village life experience’, stresses the travel junkie! Her next pick would be ‘The Himalayas’, right from North to West to the East, the entire stretch of the Himalayas is beautiful and unique, she personally feels, people who have not experienced it have missed out on something so far. Right from Uttrakhand to Valley of Flowers, Roopkund Trek, treks like Kareri lake, Bhrigu lake, Parashar lake in Himachal and recently the eastern side of Himalayas in Sikkim, it has always left her awe-inspired. Next is the white salt desert of Runn of Kutch – ‘One word, WOW! It’s beautiful, unlike anything. Especially the sight of a full moon during the night against the white sand’, she says.

 

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

enroute Udiapur

Pondicherry

Alleppey, Kerala

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Bhrigu Lake, Himachal Pradesh

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Vashisht, Himachal Pradesh

 

Khanijow travels with a lot of camera equipment and instils everyone to have a dedicated space or compartment for everything whilst travelling. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, paper soap, sanitizer and tissue paper are must-haves.

Battery pack, tripod, selfie stick – very useful commodities for travelling solo, especially if one is worried about running out of battery without a source of power for hours.

 

A big fan of chasing after sunrises and sunsets, she really enjoys waking up early and catching the morning action. It goes without saying, she loves travel photography and also her new found love for making videos.

 

A pretty impressive figure, 18 states have been covered by Khanijow along with a few international trips to countries such as China, USA, London, Aruba and Bhutan.

 

‘I think every lesson that I’ve learnt while travelling has been life-changing. But if I’ve to pinpoint one if you travel, you will change your life forever, for good’, is one life lesson she has learnt whilst travelling.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Tanya Khanijow

 

Follow Tanya:  Instagram | Youtube

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Blog | Travel

2 December 2017

Exotic visual tour of Indian marvels | India in Pictures #002

India is a country where various dynasties have conquered and vanished through the centuries, but the beauty still remains in the form of architecture, food and people themselves!

Cultures, traditions, celebrations and manifolds of landscapes make every corner turn into a new discovery, be it a local or visitor!

Here is a series of visuals by Creative Heads from all over the country.

 

Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan // ©Ankit Kumar

 

Nandgaon, Uttar Pradesh // ©Mohit Tejpal

 

Dal Lake, Srinagar // ©Nissar Rafiquee

 

CST, Mumbai // ©Yash Sheth

 

Sam Dunes Jaisalmer // ©Tanvi Sharma

 

Pahalgam, Jammu & Kashmir // ©Manali Jain

 

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh  // ©Abhishek Kumar Singh

 

Bhabha Valley, Kinnaur // ©Ashish

 

Kochi // ©Ravinder Singh

 

Munnar, Kerala // ©Rejish

 

 

Featuring series of inspiring images by Creative Heads from all over the country as ‘India in Pictures’.

 

Rules to submit for ‘India in Pictures’ here .

 

Check out our previous series of inspiring images here – iidailyinspiration#147

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Blog | Travel

27 November 2017

Traveller of the Week: Neer Patra

Neer Patra has always been on a travelling spree, right from his school days in Varanasi to his graduation from Allahabad and then pursuing an MBA from IBS Hyderabad.

Originally from Odisha, Neer is an Investment Banker living in Delhi for the past 6 years. He has always wanted to visit as many places as possible in his lifetime which also happens to be his goal for now.

 

Neer Patra

 

Neer also wants other people to travel and explore our beautiful city, a reason why he started sharing images from his travels on social media. He also admits not everyone can visit every place, so he makes it a point to showcase them through photography. He doesn’t mention or portray himself to be a traveller or a photographer. He hardly takes his camera out when visiting a town and steers away from mentioning anything in his social media bio.

 

‘I think leaving for one place and then reaching another, where everything, people, culture, food everything is different from your last visited place and that’s motivation enough for anyone to go to new places and explore more’, says the explorer.

 

The cycle continues, it is deep-rooted in him since childhood which is why he can never stop exploring new places in the world. A thought vested in him during the times he’d visit his hometown twice a year whilst his father was posted in Varanasi, the entire 24-hour train journey passed through 3 different states. A long 6-7 hour road journey by bus crossed multiple villages. The constant travels to his hometown and his very first trip as a student to Chittaranjan, a small city in Bihar is where his love for travel was born! ‘If you talk about my very first trek or encounter with mountains, it was my schools days of grade 9 when I was NCC cadet and went to Dhanlauti in Uttarakhand for 11 days of trekking and camping’, he says.

 

Though not a full-time traveller, Patra loves his job and makes it a point to travel twice a month. Not so fond of travelling in big groups, hiring a travelling or trekking agency for his expeditions is a strict no-no. He loves travelling solo or with 1-2 people only if need be which is a personal choice as well.

He does admit travelling with a group to be good fun,  as one meets like-minded people which also helps in minimizing travelling expenses. ‘But I feel like going solo gives me a lot of confidence and helps me to believe in my own ability to make decisions. It makes me feel more independent’, says Neer Patra.

 

‘I always believe a well-planned travel cannot go haywire especially when you keep going to mountains, you have to have A or B plan ready’, says Neer. It makes a person mentally and physically strong to take on the challenges to be faced in the mountains. Sometimes a spontaneous trip may end up in emptying one’s pockets, where a planned trip is more budget friendly.

 

The traveller shoots with a Nikon D810 with a wide angle lens of 14-24 mm. He also likes to use his 85 mm lens which makes a part of his must-haves for travelling. A medicine kit, headlamps, GPS, some dry fruits and vitamin bars are a few essentials to carry along!

 

Patra loves trying local delicacies, learning their language and the culture and story associated with the place.

He has travelled to more than 20 states of the country and wishes to explore the northeast region of India. He is travelling to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh next month, ticking off two states from the northeast!

He also deems Kerala and the ‘Seven Sisters of India’ to be a must visit for all the travellers out there, not to forget, Norway and Greenland if you’re planning an international trip!

 

Taj Mahal, Agra

Varanasi

Zanskar River

Nubra Valley

Chadar Trek

Key Monastery, Spiti

Stok Kangri

Varanasi Assi Ghat

Chadar Trek

 

One of many interesting stories during his travel was during his recent expedition to ‘Stok Kangari’. Not sure if he’d be able to reach the top, he was told by many locals that he’d be the first one in this year to climb in the month of May. Where half of the climbers returned half way from the incredibly tough trek as said by the locals, he kept going only because he was travelling solo with a local guide and porter-cum-cook!

‘It wouldn’t have been possible if we had come here with a group because in the mountains, most of the time you end giving up only because the fellow trekker has given up’, said the local guide to Patra once they were on the top!

 

Last but not the least, ‘The world is beautiful and you cannot see everything in your one life’, is what Neer Patra has learnt from his years travelling around the country.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Neer Patra

 

Follow Neer:  Instagram | Facebook

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Blog | Travel

21 October 2017

Chandernahan Trek: A Hidden Paradise in Himachal Pradesh

Intrigued by an Instagram post on Chandernahan trek, our adventurous traveller friend Harish Sharma was fast to elope into the throes of beauty at Chandernahan. With backpacks, a childhood friend and a cooked up story about leaving for a friend’s sister’s wedding to convince his parents,  Harish left home with quite an itch in his feet.

 

He boarded an HRTC bus from Shimla to Rohru and the journey was filled with bumpy rides, unplanned night stays, the random surprise of a new company, and unknown paths.

After a bus to Rohru, then Rohru to Chirgaon followed with another two-hour journey from Chirgaon to Tagnu village, they commenced walking to a nearby village called Janglikh. That is where they had to start trekking for Chandernahan via Dyara Thach and Litham.

 

It hadn’t been a smooth journey as it is, with collapsed bridges, long walks, heavy rainfall and unplanned delays. It had already been half-past five in the evening and the villagers recommended that they stay the night there as they can’t reach Dyara Thach the same night. Being the rebels they are, Harish and his entourage started trekking right away and they were glad to have done so as the trek up was lush with greenery and the beautiful landscape enveloped them with magnanimous streams of water flowing down the mammoth mountains. The dense forest with deodar trees and the green meadows were worth the trouble.

Finally, they reached Dyara Thach around 8 pm and set camp with packed paranthas from Chirgaon and a sky full of stars. That’s everything they needed to devour!

After a well-deserved slumber night, they started out early the next day to reach Litham and yet again, everything around left them spellbound. It was no less than the landscapes they see in the movies, except it was even better to experience the cool breeze and the raw beauty of nature, in reality, the trek seemed easy and upon reaching Litham within two hours, they got into a conversation with an amiable Shepherd with interesting stories to tell. He guided them further to reach Chandernahan. That 2 km trek was a steep climb up the mountains and took them about an hour.

 

 

Finally, Harish and his friends reached Chandernahan and what they saw from up there can’t be put into words, they say. At an altitude of 4000 metres, they were surrounded with snow in the month of June. Except for beautiful brooks flowing with a delicate magnanimity, there was nothing to touch their own sweet solitude.

 

There are seven lakes in Chandernahan and mostly, the people of the valley walk on the frozen lakes barefoot and never go beyond three lakes because of a religious belief that all their Gods originated from these lakes. When Harish and his friends went to the frozen lakes, there was nobody to see if they went without shoes but they decided to respect the beliefs and launched into the lakes bare feet.

They were like kids running and chasing each other on the glacier with feet all bare and well, it was indeed fun and adventurous.

 

By noon that day, they had found and enjoyed all the lakes, breathed in the stupendous view, filled their lungs with air as pure as it gets and finally, decided to head back.

 

The journey back was as eventful and tiring as before, or even more. But this time these boys were taking back what they had come for. An experience where they followed their heart, treated their eyes with everything heavenly and satisfied their souls.

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary | Photos by Harish Sharma

 

Check out his full feature in July’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#40 – Download Free.

 

 

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