Tag Archives: Nepal

By

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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By

Inspiro India Official

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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