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Blog | Photography

24 October 2017

KANDASSANKADAVU: Boat Race | Photo Series By Binto P Anto

The Kandassankadavu Boat Race is a kind of the popular traditional boat race in Kerala, called Vallam Kali. It is held in the Enamakkal Lake and Conolly Canal in Kandassankadavu of Thrissur District, Kerala, India. The race is conducted on the Thiruvonam day of the Onam festival followed by a 10- day festival. The trophy is known as Chief Minister’s ever-rolling Trophy.
Competitions are held for a few specific types of boat categories, namely the Iruttukuthi and Churulan boats. The tradition started in 1955 when the state of Kerala was formed. Due to fiscal problems, the boat race was discontinued by the organisers for a long time. In 2011, with the support of Government of Kerala, Thrissur istrict Tourism Promotion and Manalur Grama Panchayat the race was allowed to commence again. This popular boat race is an absolute delight.
Shot on: Nikon D750 + Tokina 16-28 mm | Tamron 70 – 200 mm.

 

Photos & Words by Binto P Anto

 

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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

 

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Blog | Photography

20 October 2017

Creative Head of the week: Roshan Ravindra Mandavkar

Roshan Mandavkar is a 20-year-old professional photographer who captures portraits, people in situations and real life events in an artistic manner. Roshan owes his inspiration to his friend with exceptional photo skills when he was in grade 9!

Sumedh Sawant is one of those persons who inspire him because of his will, determination, perseverance and the willingness to never stop learning.

 

As a kid, Mandavkar was very fond of painting which is art and very similar to photography, he says. During this time he came with an idea to click first and paint the same picture later. This is when he realised there is a lot more to than just taking a photo.

He believes photography is not only about creativity and clicking photos, basics are to be known. Roshan joined a photography institute to acquire the fundamentals of photography, he also got to meet people who were creative, had amazing vision, were willing to share and always willing to learn.

 

Roshan started out with a Canon 600D enough for his amateur days as a photographer graduating to a Canon 5D Mark III. He uses Adobe Photoshop CS6 for post-processing his works.

The young lensman imagines how a picture would look before clicking a photo. He then decides on the background, foreground, his subject and lastly the exposure.

He then compares the picture taken to his actual visualisation, if the picture is the way he had imagined he goes ahead otherwise he keeps clicking till he achieves the point.

 

Photos by ©Roshan Ravindra Mandavkar

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Blog | Travel

16 October 2017

Traveller of the Week : Akhtar Shaikh

Akhtar Shaikh, a simple human being who seeks happiness in the little things in life, loves to see the smiling faces of people when they see him like a twinkle in the children’s eye when he holds their little hands! ‘Connecting with nature, open skies, green boulevards and streams of water, birds chirping, colours of the mountain and the diversity in the culture of this country attracts me’, says the traveller.

 

A creative thinker, Akhtar loves to ride his Royal Enfield Classic motorcycle and has been an enthusiastic biker for 10 years now. A lover of creative forms of art, music, travelling and riding his motorcycle, he says, ‘I put my mind and soul into exploring new places and meeting new people and witness new culture, their living, food, personalities and all that while I ride to these places’.

 

Akhtar Shaikh

 

Riding solo is not only a sense of freedom for the happy traveller, it also helps in self-healing and self-development. Riding has not only been a hobby or a source of transport to move from one place to the other, it has also developed into a passion over time. Riding his 535 cc Royal Enfield Classic changes his interpretation of being a just a biker!

 

The traveller prefers travelling solo, group travel prevents him from self-reflecting which is vital in improving himself.

Riding solo is not only a sense of freedom for the happy traveller, it also helps in self-healing and self-development. ‘There’s a certain beauty in riding alone and engaging into your possibilities are limitless’, says the rider.

 

Travelling wasn’t full-time spree, ‘Initially, I used to travel on weekends or 1-2 days for an extended weekend and complete my rides. However, now I am fortunate and have the liberty to plan and travel as much as I can and whenever I can’ adds the solo rider. His family has been an immense source of inspiration and believe in him more than he himself would. A great support system and understanding from the domestic front have actually allowed him to perceive his passion and endure his dreams!

 

My family has been the most important source of inspiration and their Belief in me is more than myself and in fact that their complete support and understanding has actually allowed me to perceive my passion and endure throughout.

 

A planned traveller, everything ranging from servicing his bike, finalising the route and booking accommodation is a must. A checklist helps to minimize any breakdown and helps in a hassle-free trip. The traveller does believe impromptu trips to be a challenge for oneself and thrilling as well. Offroading into most of the hilly terrain of Maharashtra, Goa and Bidar come under the spontaneous trip category for Shaikh!

 

Akhtar has covered Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala.

Topmost locations worth every traveller’s while according to Akhtar are Leh, Spiti, Jammu, Rann of Kutch, Uttarakhand, Old Goa and Rajasthan.

 

 

The motorcycle traveller also directs in investing in a riding jacket if one’s a rider or a nice weatherproof jacket to keep oneself warm and cosy along with cash, camping equipment including a tent, good sleeping bag, water bottle, outdoor chair, a stove, kettle and maggi. Not to forget a good mobile phone for photography and videos, a GoPro or DSLR will do too!

 

‘Never ever give up and keep trying’ advises the rider! A lesson he has learnt during years of motorcycle trips, he also believes ‘Happiness is only real when it is shared’, a very famous quote by Christopher McCandless.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Akhtar Shaikh

 

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Blog | Travel

9 October 2017

Traveller of the Week : Jade Dsa

Jade has D’sa spent most of her time in Goa where she was born and brought up and then ultimately moved to Mumbai for an MBA degree, earning her a job in Business Development. ‘That Goan Girl’ was started when she couldn’t find a creative outlet in working 9 to 5 anymore!

She began documenting her travels and new restaurants incorporating her thoughts and opinions. An ambitious woman, Jade does not give up easily and also cannot be stopped easily from doing whatever she sets her eyes on.

 

Jade D’sa

 

Travelling has been a lifelong passion, she remembers reading adventure books as a child and watching movies. “I used to dream that someday I would also get the chance to explore the pyramids in Egypt, to touch the soft white sand on deserted islands of the Philippines, to try some street food in Thailand, to see Manhattan from one of its rooftops and ride in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia”, says D’Sa.

While she has been travelling between countries since she was practically a baby, her first real trip happened in Grade 9 to the historically beautiful Hampi in Karnataka.

 

Trying local food, visiting museums, experiencing the nightlife, and shopping requires her to travel solo since travelling with a group of people will only make it uneasy in terms of preferences. For her to travel with someone other than herself, the ability to vibe together matters a lot, says Jade.

 

Jade is a full-time traveller and a freelance digital marketer by profession. She tries to finish her face to face commitments at one time and then continues to travel on road. Her family has come to accept her unconventional work style.

 

D’sa plans her trips when and where required such as experiencing Diwali in Varanasi but when it comes to exploring rural Maharashtra or Rajasthan, she’s ready to leave in half an hour. ‘That has happened on several occasions!’, adds Jade.

The Northern Lights, Greece, Russia, Turkey and North India are her top must-visit locations.

Her five must-haves for travelling outdoors are comfortable clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, a light scarf, and water!

 

Jade loves every bit of travelling right from planning where to go, which mode of transport to get and also the feeling to get back home once the trip is over! She also loves to learn and loves the diversity of culture, food and the way of life truly fascinating.

‘Travel constantly challenges you by throwing you into unknown situations and that gives me a thrill’, says the experience junkie.

Jade D’sa has travelled to Karnataka, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat. She has also travelled internationally to Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada.

 

Travelling also comes with some life lessons which has taught Jade to trust her instincts over the time. It has also taught her to reinforce what she already knows but tends to forget.

‘Life is short and there’s no need to wait around to do something that makes you happy. If travelling makes you happy, then do it now and experience whatever you can, while you can’ says the traveller.

 

 

Whilst being invited to review a domestic airline’s new in-flight entertainment system, she was flown to Delhi for a few hours. Finding nothing to do at the Delhi airport, not wanting to kill time at a coffee shop like a normal human being, Jade decided to call a friend and ended up soaking Delhi in just a few hours. From trying Keema Parantha to taking in the sights at Connaught Place, saw the Red Fort and Jama Masjid and lastly, headed to Old Delhi where she tasted some fabulous Jalebi-Rabdi at Chandni Chowk, a good hour away from the airport while still catching the flight back to Mumbai at the nick of time!

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Jade D’sa

 

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Blog | Inspiration | Travel

10 July 2017

Traveller of the Week : Archana Singh

Archana Singh is a Brand Strategist by profession and a travel journalist by passion, who wants to travel around the world in search of untold human stories. She believes travel came naturally to her, thanks to her army background and army life, She hardly remembers when she started traveling, perhaps since the time she was born. However, her first solo travel out of India was in 2009 where she explored UK and Europe all by herself. Archana is a very adaptable traveler who can travel as the need arises and she enjoys Solo Travel the most as she gets to interact with locals and strangers more than when she is with a group.

 

Archana Singh

 

Currently as a full-time traveler, Archana hasn’t faced any problems as such because she had planned well in advance before quitting her job. Her family and office were very supportive of her decision. She is a mix of both a planned traveler and the one who makes spontaneous trips. While that’s limited to booking her flights and following a rough itinerary, she keeps her plans fluid and loves to go with the flow. Archana suggests the following places as the must go-to destinations:

Japan – for a unique mix of culture and modernity

USA: for the diversity and immenseness of a great nation

Philippines: for the unspoiled beaches and super friendly people

New Zealand: for the epic landscapes and adrenaline rush

Finland: for the winter wonderland and Northern Lights

 

Zipper hiking pants, comfortable pair of shoes, camera, curious eyes equipped with offline navigation app and an open but vigilant mind are the 5 must haves for traveling and stay outdoors according to Archana. She enjoys the most talking to strangers during her travel. Unplanned conversations have often lead her to serendipity. Her most endearing travel stories have come from impromptu conversations with strangers. And if there’s no one to talk to then she loves to read.

 

Archana has covered 23 states in India and visited over 40 countries across the globe. Travel has been a constant in her life from the time she was born. She states that her favourite lesson was shared by Chris McCandles, “Happiness is real only when shared.”  She absolutely believes in what he said and that there’s so much negativity in this world. And according to Archana, the only way to defeat that is by spreading happiness and positivity. Therefore, she always makes it a point to share the happy memories from her travels with everyone. Archana believes that Inspiro India is a great platform to share inspiring stories about people from different fields.

 

California

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Scottsdale, Arizona

Great Camps, Lake Placid, New York, USA

Grand canyon raod

North Arizona, USA

Mt. Fuji at Kawaguchiko Lake, Japan (1 of 1)

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Archana has just returned from a two months Solo Trip to the USA and during that period she states that she had some amazing experiences. And she narrates, ‘I was watching the gorgeous sunset at La Fonde Bell Tower in Santa Fe, New Mexico for which the heritage hotel is known for. After the dinner, I started walking back to my hotel. As I was passing through the lobby I heard Jazz music playing in the nearby bar. To my surprise, I saw three women in their seventies dancing freely in the lobby of the hotel (not bar) without caring if anybody was watching them or if they were not at the right place wearing the right clothes doing the right thing. All they cared about was having a good time together. To me that was the real essence of travel – travel without inhibitions. Travel like there’s no tomorrow.’

Words by Arvind Vairavan
Images by ©Archana Singh

 

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1 July 2017

Chanshal : The picturesque valley of himachal

I had this bug to in me to explore a new destination. I was not able to make my plan and suddenly, one day I spoke to my friend and thereafter we started our trip for Chanshal Pass. I had never thought of it in any corner of my head…!! Sudden plans are always full of energy with lot of adrenaline rush ….!!!!!!….WOOOO….!!! What a feel, can’t express in words…!!!!!!

 

The Chanshal Valley is also known as Chanshal pass and is acclaimed for its scenic beauty. It lies in between Dodra Kwar and Rohru in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. This place is approximately 160 km from Shimla and is accessible by road. All the way, we had wished the weather to be good as we didn’t want to get stuck because of snowfall.

 

I went in the month of December which is very unlikely for anyone to explore this region because of heavy snowfall. The best time to visit this valley is May to October because rest of the time there is heavy snowfall in the region so it becomes difficult to reach here as most of the roads are blocked. This region is also known for its strong wind flow and one needs to be behind rocks to avoid the cold air flow.

 

The take off point for Chanshal pass is from the pretty village of Larot around 32 km from Rohru, on the Rohru-Chirgaon-Chanshal-Dodra Kwar road. My trip was simply fantastic but because of forest fire the sky was not clear as it should have been during this month of the year. About 20 KM of last stretch is dirt and narrow which goes though Apple Orchids. I fought through the tough terrain and eventually made it to the summit. The last 20 kms took us more than two hours.

 

I witnessed the magnificent Sun rise at 6 ‘clock in the morning after a tough drive over the black ice from the village Larot. Unbelievable is the only word to express…!!!! All our tiredness just vanished as extreme cold wind cross our faces, which was heavenly…!!The mighty Chanshal Pass stood conquered; but proud nonetheless and we just stood there and savoured the thin air at 12,303 ft. The highest point of the Chanshal ranges stands at 14,800 ft.

 

The view from Chanshal Pass was fantastic a unique experience, which is very rare. There are good meadows to pitch one’s tents for night stay. There are no shops or hotels on the top so you can’t expect to have food there but cold water flowing from ice melting peaks.

 

After spending good long hours at the Pass, we descended to the other side of the Chanshal Pass to the village Dodra. The lovely grassy slopes of Chanshal Pass are its most unique feature. The Dodra and Kwar villages beyond the Chanshal are connected to Larot and Rohru by a daily bus service. The bus to Kwar crossed us at the summit.

 

 

Again, the road was tough with single road. We crossed the pine forest which were dry because of winters and was expecting snowfall any day from now. The drive and view was beautiful and all along the way we were talking that will come again during the month of May to witness the green part of this region.

 

Slow and steady, we crossed all the turns and not expecting anything from the front…BUT What a view…. Unimaginable view…!!! The Dodra Village…!! It lied in-between the mountain and hidden…!! Extremely extraordinary with its classic old architecture which was still maintained by the village…Just Beautiful …!! We felt blessed!!

 

We took a break at the Village Dodra for breakfast at the only one dhaba; The Negi dabhba. We had fresh and humbly sieved food. All our energy was back and got ready to explore more areas around the Dodra Village.

 

We were told about the Rupin River flowing down with some beautiful water fall nearby. We left our baggage at the Dodra guesthouse and started our drive toward the river.Explored the river and the water fall till the that evening, all was just nature with its beauty…!!

 

We took rest that night at Dodra Village and planned to rise up early to witness the Sun rise at the Village and to explore the inside the village as to shoot with natural light. The weather was cloudy during the night and if it snowed we will get stuck for at least a week. We were told by the villagers that it won’t snow and it might snow after a day or so.

 

Everything went just perfect, we witnessed tough drive, Sunrise at the Chanshal, classic village of Himachal Pradesh followed by sunrise at the village… All went as planned …!!! Only one wish kept on moving in our hearts to witness sunset at the Chanshal pass while going back.

 

We started our drive back and had a holt at Chanshal Pass for Sun set. Again out of the world was the view as if we were at heaven and next to The God…!! The sun setting with the clouds and giving it’s golden glow…felt extremely happy and satisfied with the shoots we took. It wasn’t easy at all, as the wind was extremely cold blowing in a speed so as we can hear the sound. Thick clouds were coming over the sky as if it might rain or snow. As it was getting dark we packed our photography equipments and started our drive back down toward the Larot village with tough drive with black ice on the way and then to Rohru.

 

We halted overnight at Rohru, and the first thing we hear that it snowed at the Chanshal Pass!! What a mixed feeling …!!!! We missed the chance to click snow or to be happy that we did not get stuck in the snow!!!!  Incredible Experience…!!! We will come again Chanshal !!!

Photos & Words by Jagjit Singh

 

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Blog | Travel

26 June 2017

Traveller of the Week : Shubham Mansingka

What happens when a usual guy who does all the normal things in his mundane life decides to let go of all his troubles and travel as a way of living? He graduates from being a usual guy to a happy one! Well, such is the story of our Traveller of the Week – Shubham Mansingka. He has given up his aforementioned old life and is now dedicated to blogging about his journeys, alongside freelancing as a travel writer, photographer and social media influencer for a living.

 

Shubham Mansingka

 

Shubham inherited the travel bug from his parents and he is proud of that. He vividly recalls his childhood trips with his parents who were avid travellers themselves. Having been introduced to the ideas, challenges and liberties of being on the go, he was quite used to it when he had his first solo trip to Ladakh. News claimed that we had a road that was higher than the mountains of Europe and that was motivation enough for him to start on a sojourn that was initially planned with friends but ended up being the start of his solitary journeys.

Once these ventures had begun, h never looked back. Over the years he became most comfortable travelling solo but has recently realised that travelling with other like-minded people in a company of 3-4 folks is quite interesting and insightful.

Shubham is one for spontaneous trips that do not necessarily involve ticking places off a list just for the sake of it. With a penchant for slow travel, he prefers to spend more time in a place learning about the local culture, food, customs and traditions of that vicinity. When he travels with other people and limited time, he then chalks out a rough plan but with a flexibility that considers changes according to the mood, weather and inevitable situations.

He believes that every destination has its own charm and the world is too big to make a concise list of just a selected favourites. But from all that he has seen the few places that left him asking for more, even though the list keeps changing, are – Zanskar & Ladakh, Kashmir, Goa, Rajasthan and Meghalaya. While he is out on these trails he never forgets to carry his must-haves that comprise of sturdy sports shoes, a lip balm, a warm hat to protect from the cold winds, a comfortably light backpack and most importantly, the never dying spirit of adventure! He would go on to mention a portable tent too but he prefers homestays more than anything else. With such zest and zeal, he has covered about 20 states in India and travelled to 3 South-east Asian countries. This being said, he is not a big fan of keeping counts and believes in meaningful trips.

 

 

Shubham’s life-enlightening travel journeys have transformed him into a full-time traveller. He, now, works from the road even though it has its own share of troubles much like life. But he doesn’t want it to be perfect either. Instead, he is of the opinion that that’s where the fun lies – to be able to take care of problems as they come and solve them to the best of his ability. Travel has made Shubham realise that if he works hard and remains true to himself, the whole universe will indeed conspire towards making things happen for him. It has taught him that life is not as rosy as it seems but if the road is one’s best friend, then everything is worth it. He has learnt a great deal not only about focussing on his work and not falling prey to petty shortcuts, but also living responsibly by helping communities and the desolates. It has made him a better human, he feels and is content with it. Ultimately it is about how wonderful the world is with all its goodness. From natural beauty to culture, local food of the people, folklores and traditional art forms, architecture and especially warm hearts are the best stories to live. He has faith in ‘the goodness of strangers’ which allows him to live in the moment and not worry about what’s about to come next. Travelling makes him seize the day!

An interesting story that Shubham would like to share with us is a heart-touching co-incidence. In 2015 when he had just spontaneously ended up in Turtuk and had no place to stay, a local named Obaidullah who had no mattress or blanket to share let him sleep under his roof with warm eyes. He had no bed to share for himself but he did borrow a mattress and a blanket for Shubham so he could sleep peacefully. A year later when Shubham visited the place again he resided in a newly built homestay. In a conversation with the owner of the property, he expressed his desire to meet Obaidullah again and thank him for his generosity. A cosmic fire of love was lit inside his heart as the owner went on to say “You know who was the person who gave the mattress to Obaid? Me.”

Such are the wonders of being on the road and exploring beyond the obvious!

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary
Images by ©Shubham Mansingka

 

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19 June 2017

Traveller of the Week : Divyakshi Gupta

Born in Punjab and brought up in Mumbai, Divyakshi has spent all her summer vacations in a tiny town, nestled in the hills of Himachal.

Divyakshi Gupta, our Traveller of the Week, is a self-confessed door lover, who has a penchant for architecture, loves long road trips and travels to off beat places to explore different cultures, and discover stories outside and within.

 

Divyakshi Gupta

 

Travel runs in her blood. Her grandfather loved nature, her mother is always game for road trips and her father has sailed around the world. Growing up in a family that inherits the idea of travelling inspired her at a very young age when she fell in love with nature. Divyakshi has no memory of her first trip but she vividly remembers walking on a riverbank with pebbles, making paper boats and trying to reach out to the ripest mangoes to pluck. Spending time amidst the scenic beauty of the mountains, taking long walks by the river and reading books that complement such natural elegance has made her the itchy-feet nature lover she is today.  From starting her career as a strategic planner in advertising she has now happily resorted to being a freelance travel writer and a blogger who narrates her stories. One can read about her ventures on www.quirkywanderer.com and consult her for likewise social media campaigns. That being said, she has already done about 12 travel trips in the first six months of 2017.

Not only does she love to travel but also likes the company of like-minded people. Nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts or bird watchers, irrespective of their age or location, they all have something to teach and inspire, she feels. With companions like these, the idea of travelling becomes enriching. She has her solo moments too even when she is in a group. Her favourite travel companion is her mother who she can beautifully enjoy silence with.

Divyakshi is of the opinion that coming back home is as dear to her as travelling. She questions the idea of ‘full-time travelling’ and wonders what that really means – is it being nomadic eternally or travelling non-stop?

The feeling of a homecoming for her is realised and valued even more when one’s continuously on the go. Travelling gives value to everything we take for granted in life otherwise and thus, returning home is the acknowledgement of that newly found realisation.

Travel plans for her can work both ways – planned or spontaneous. Sometimes planned trips go awry whilst instinctive detours can lead to remarkable learnings. Spontaneity leads to discoveries that become the highlight of one’s trip and provide opportunities for storytelling while planned trips ease out glitches, reduce risks and are economical.

 

Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh,

Myanmar

Kinner Kailash view

Valparai tea gardens

Venice

 

Divyakshi has a list of destinations that are her absolute favourite. She talks about them fondly with us.

  1. Kinnaur:

With its magnificent mountains, idyllic villages, warm people, great food, pristine rivers, and delightful orchards that place is next to a home for her.

 

  1. Rajasthan:  For its stunning architecture, vibrant colours, impeccable hospitality and the ability to make her travel back in time is close to her heart.

 

  1. Andamans:  This place for her is like paradise, she feels. The beaches are beyond beautiful, the forests are spectacular and the islands are mesmerising. She feels that it is highly underrated but is the perfect destination for her to unwind.

 

  1. North Sikkim, she feels, evokes the poet in her. The landscapes are surreal and the paucity of

oxygen makes it a little difficult but all the effort is worth it.  She can’t get enough of the tiny Himalayan villages and diverse forests with stunning lakes. Divyakshi expresses that North Sikkim is nature’s own painting.

 

  1. Offbeat forests near Coimbatore are a perfect detox. The thick tree canopies remind her of Amazonian rainforests where the sun doesn’t reach the forest floor. There isn’t any network there and she really doesn’t mind it. Forests of Annamalai, Parambikulam do that to her.

When Divyakshi is off to these places she never forgets her must-haves. Her list is quite interesting and enlightening as it talks not about material needs as much as it calls for a sound perspective. As told by her, her list comprises of an open mind, sensitivity towards surroundings, appreciation for local culture, a pepper spray to be her own hero, the ability to trust her gut, and well, her eyes as the best equipment.

Having travelled extensively in various parts of India like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, Andamans and Sikkim, she has had memorable trips internationally to Italy, Bhutan and Myanmar too.

Travel for her was an escape initially but eventually, it became her best teacher. Divyakshi feels that it is an exchange, between places, people, stories and her. It has made her open up, let go of her inhibitions, accept the world with open arms and most of all, it has bettered her as a human being, she feels. The biggest lesson Divyakshi has learnt from travelling is that we are all different and yet the same.

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary
Images by ©Divyakshi Gupta

 

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Blog | Travel

12 June 2017

Traveller of the Week : Dev

 

How many of us have been unsatisfied with our corporate lifestyle? How many of us have dreamed of leaving behind the monotony of life which has become a rut, to explore the world? How many of us have actually managed to do it? Well, our traveller of the week certainly has! He calls himself Footloose Dev, where Dev is his name and footloose is his way of life.

 

Dev

 

Two and half years ago, Dev was a shy corporate writer in Delhi. He loved his profession but not his job, so he tried switching jobs by running after the highly paid ones. But he always felt like something was amiss. Little did he know at that time that his growing discontentment was paving way for his new life. Dev could not conform to the society’s norm of taking life as it comes and eventually quit his job to embark on his first solo backpacking trip to Bhutan and North-eastern India, thus covering places in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. This trip gave him many firsts such as his first taste of sweet freedom and his first experience of living with a local family who extended the invitation after meeting him at a restaurant. After this adventurous jaunt of two and a half months, Dev was spoilt for life. He quotes Mary Anne Radmacher saying “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

From this point, the only direction to move in was upwards, figuratively and literally, as Dev proceeded to travel across almost all the Northern states of India by transitioning into a full-time travel blogger. He has performed everything from snowboarding in Himachal Pradesh to scuba diving in Goa.He has eaten everything from the traditional thalis in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to raw uncooked meat with blood dripping out of it, in Uttarakhand. Dev likes experimenting with his food. He has also sampled the exotic dish of jadoh in Meghalaya which is basically pig brain and intestine served with rice cooked in pig’s blood.

Apart from giving him memories that Dev will cherish for life, he feels that travelling has had an extremely positive impact on his personality. He finds himself to have become much more presentable and capable of being able to fend for himself. After having encountered so many different people on his long journey, he is more open to new ideas and philosophies. He describes his journey so far as pretty much hassle free except for the small mishap that occurred while backpacking across Europe. Dev was on his way back to the hotel after capturing the Bratislavian nightlife on his camera when he ran into 3 people who claimed to be Slovaks. They feigned curiosity about India and invited him to a bar which was pretty crowded. Unsuspecting Dev was engaged in a conversation by two of them, while the third person fled with his camera. Once Dev realised the same, he tried seeking out help but to no avail. He got in touch with the local newspapers who published this story which had left a bitter taste in his mouth. He even updated his Facebook followers about this experience. But what happened next restored Dev’s faith in humanity. Many people from Slovakia started contacting him on Facebook. They told him about how upset they were because of the incident and they offered to sponsor his stay the next time he visited Slovakia. They even donated money so Dev could buy a new camera and a guy called Peter gave Dev his Nikon D200 out of sheer kindness.

 

 

 

Dev definitely maybe a little more cautious now but the theft incident has done nothing to diffuse his enthusiasm or love for travelling. In fact, he is of the opinion that everyone should travel solo at least once in their lives and look for experiences beyond the guide book.  Since he prefers peaceful places, his top five must-visit destinations are:

Village of Nongriat, Meghalaya

The town of Basle, Switzerland

Lesser known beaches of Goa

Rome, Italy

Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

When it comes to travelling essentials, he cannot do without:

A headlamp

A dry sack

A first aid kid

Snack bars

A book

Footloose Dev, who is now a fearless and optimistic guy is definitely living the life of his dreams. He continues his cultural escapades as he finds it difficult to part with this kind of freedom which is like a drug. Here’s to hoping that this article inspires a few of the readers to follow his footsteps or carve their own.

Words by Khyati Bhuva
Images by ©Footloose Dev

 

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

5 June 2017

Traveller of the Week : Anshul Sharma

 

A computer science engineer by profession, a traveller by heart, she has quite a multifaceted personality that loves everything from cooking to gaming and from reading to photography. Meet our traveller of the week, Anshul Sharma, who is a daredevil by nature and can give you some major adventure goals. She has experienced the heart-stopping thrill of bungee jumping as well as the adrenaline flow from river rafting. Being a resident of Himachal Pradesh, it goes without saying that she knows best spots for paragliding amidst the beautiful mountain landscape.

Anshul Sharma

 

Anshul tells us that she has been fortunate enough to travel to different places since a very young age with her parents and has been on many trekking trips with her dad. These getaways fed her interest in travelling and gradually transformed into a full blown passion. However, now she prefers to travel solo as it allows her to sail on her own whims without being at the mercy of a fellow companion’s mood swings. But the only companion whose presence she doesn’t mind rather enjoys is her 10 months old Golden Retriever. She feels that travelling all by herself allows her the freedom to interact with the locals and sample cuisines of her choice. She endures a good amount of problems in terms of permission, health and monetary issues in order to feel enriched by different cultures. But her personal growth throughout the journey makes everything worth the trouble.

The trip that marked the beginning of her solo travel diaries was the trip to Mussorie where she also covered Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Dhanaulti.

Anshul is a fan of planned as well as spontaneous trips. She is of the opinion that both have their own charm. She has an enviable record of covering 22 states in India so far along with every single district in each state as well as international destinations such as Hong Kong, Macau and China. Her dream vacation was the one to Disneyland.

She recommends the following places as must-visit destinations:

  1. Disneyland
  2. Kinnaur
  3. Ladakh
  4. Udaipur
  5. Uttarakhand

She also provides us with a list of must-haves to make travel life easier:

  1. A pair of comfortable shoes
  2. A notebook and a pen
  3. Important identification cards
  4. A handy medical kit
  5. Your favourite munchies

 

Karsog Valley, Mandi

Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

Gata Loops, Leh–Manali Highway

Prashar Lake, Mandi

Masroor Rock Cut Temple, Nagarkot, Himachal Pradesh

Ladakh, India

Hunder- Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Hemis Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

 

While Anshul feels that travelling is food for her soul, she would not give up actual food for it because for her that’s one of the best parts of travelling along with being able to enjoy the scenic beauty. But no matter which part of the world she travels to or how many new friends she makes on her way, she does not forget where she comes from and holds her values in the highest regard. With the end of every new journey, she has gained the worldly wisdom of letting things go and always staying optimistic.

The most memorable travel story for Anshul is from the time she ticked off driving on the curvy roads of Ladakh and Lahaul-Spiti from her bucket list. And guess what, it wasn’t just memorable for her but for the original driver as well who was left in cold sweat.

About Inspiro India, Anshul describes it as a cool initiative. She likes the way we promote and inspire art & travel. She says that ”It’s building a beautiful free spirited culture for people who do not fit in a box. It inspires you to dream, create & set yourself free. You are not judged rather you are appreciated.”

Words by Khyati Bhuva
Images by ©Anshul Sharma

Follow Anshul: Instagram

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