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Inspiro India Official

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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Blog | Travel

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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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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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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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

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29 May 2017

Traveller of the Week : Priyanka Goel

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea and music in its roar;

I love not man the less, but Nature more.”

 

Priyanka Goel

 

As funnily filmy as it sounds, these lines did change her world upside down. Priyanka Goel was stuck in a 9-6 corporate job when one day after four years, she called it quits. She realised that she became an unhappy person who is mostly nagging and couldn’t explore many other avenues while having a regular HR job. One fine day, she chose to watch ‘INTO THE WILD’ and was drawn to those lines by Lord Byron like a moth to a flame.

Priyanka remembers vividly her first ‘real’ trip to Binsar, Uttarakhand in 2012 wherein she lay under a sky full of stars on cold green grass and felt, for the first time, like she’s a small but elemental part of this grand universe. It was her ‘interstellar’ moment, as she quotes.

Always aspiring to do something different and meaningful in life, Priyanka has now started photographing her travel trips. The quiet of the place, sound of the river passing by, birds chirping, star gazing, watching sunsets, seeing and clicking all this beauty in her camera,  all such things give immense pleasure to her. Travel gives her constant motivation to achieve more in life and helps her excel at what she does.

Not a full-time traveller yet, but she tries to escape as often as she can. Priyanka is also a fashion stylist and tries to take assignments that allow her to travel for long periods. For example, she was an assistant photographer on Kedarkantha and Animal Pass treks last year, was a  costume designer for an international movie shot in Dharamkot for a month alongside covering multiple destination weddings through her camera.

 

 

Nandgaon, Uttar Pradesh

Animal Pass, Parvati Valley

Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh

Hampi, Karnataka

Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh

Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh

Kedarkantha, Uttarakhand

 

Initially, her travel escapades weren’t approved by her mother as she called them ‘lifestyle issues’ but now she has come to terms with it and understands that this is Priyanka’s way of life and nothing can stop her from doing this.

Longing to travel solo for some time now, Priyanka usually prefers travelling in small groups of two or three people who she is close to. However, she absolutely loves the idea of meeting new people from all over the world.

Few must-visit destinations according to her are –

Pin Valley, Spiti

Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Hampi, Karnataka

Parashar Lake, Himachal Pradesh

Kedarkantha, Uttarakhand

Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh

Bir-Billing, Himachal Pradesh

 

While she travels and stays outdoors a lot, she makes sure to carry a few imperatives, like – a travel kit, medical emergency kit, high SPF sunscreen, Glucon D/Tang, a Swiss knife and energy bars or light snacks. She has travelled to multiple cities in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and made an international trip to Thailand but never without her ‘must-carry’ things, she mentions.

She shares with us that travelling has made her very particular about her health and fitness. She had been tested several times in the mountains, at high altitudes and other places. Thus, she realised that she can experience the beauty around only if she is fit and physically strong.

Priyanka tells us that she likes to travel for happiness and positivity as she herself aims to be remembered as a simple, happy person. She feels that she has only begun and has miles to go before she sleeps.

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary
Images by ©Priyanka Goel

 

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15 May 2017

Traveller of the Week : Akshay Dubey

Akshay Dubey, a full-time traveller and business head of Eccentric Outdoors adventure travel e-magazine is also a certified mountaineer from NIM Uttarkashi and a Limca Book of World Record holder. Dubey covered Mana Pass, Uttarakhand on a motorbike – which is the highest motorable pass in the world at 18399 ft in 2012 and well, broke records. He loves to travel on his motorbike or cycle and loves to explore the uncharted territories of India.

 

Akshay Dubey

 

In a conversation with us, Akshay recalls that he was not always like this. A major change in perspectives and approach to life was experienced by him during his trip to Ladakh as a college student back in 2008. He met many people from other walks of life and while interacting with them he built relationships, gained knowledge, and shared experiences that led him to feel an indispensable transmission of positive energy. He recalls this particular instance on the trip wherein he got drenched in the rain while on his way to Pangong Tso. He had no prior travel experience and was shivering badly. A Dhaba owner gave him shelter without charging him and that changed him. His faith in humanity was restored, despite the socio-economic differences in our country. Akshay and the Dhaba owner are very good friends now and still in touch. Every time he visits Ladakh, he makes sure that he pays his kind friend a visit.

 

Dubey prefers to travel solo as it helps him to push his limits. He feels that travelling is a medium to test your character and consistently push yourself to your limits so that you know yourself better. Last year in September, Akshay cycled 3700 km from Guwahati- Tawang-Shillong-Nagaland-Gangtok-Bhutan via Tiger Nest Monastery and Nepal.  It was one of his toughest journeys so far.

 

As a traveller by profession, Akshay travels almost every time. Yes, he faces problems in terms of food and inhospitable weather conditions but he thinks that these are all part and parcels of travelling. These problems make one strong and help fight the mundaneness of daily life. These help us find answers to those unsaid questions which never strike our preoccupied mind otherwise. Dubey feels that travelling is the best way to vent out stress, revive positivity and attain the meaning of life. Perhaps this is why he always plans his trip and does a lot of homework on destination, route and homestays. Rest, he says, is dealt with as it comes.

 

 

Having travelled to about 23 states in our country and Land of Thunder Dragon-Bhutan, Akshay expresses his utmost love for India as a travel destination. He mentions that it gives us the opportunity to explore the rich, diversified culture and teaches us multiple lessons on life, experiences on life beyond just four walls and how travelling can, indeed, change people’s lives. Akshay feels that everyone should travel because there is no greater learning in life than the lessons learnt while travelling. He feels that travel puts him in the right frame of mind to be generous, non-judgemental, appreciative of nature, and capable enough to handle adverse situations. According to him, travel heals us.

Akshay’s favourite five destinations are Ladakh/Spiti Valley, Munsiyari, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Lakshadweep. He says that the five things he never forgets to carry along on a trip are – a map, solar chargers, First aid kit, a flinter, and of course, his camera.
He applauds us for our good work. We hope we get to see him set many more records along with an example for the rest of us!

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary
Images by ©Akshay Dubey

 

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Blog | Travel

8 May 2017

Traveller of the Week : Neelambari Warty

Hailing from the city of dreams, a city that never sleeps, Neelambari Warty’s dreams go beyond the city. Partly a ‘life re-inventionist’, partly an explorer, she had been bitten by the travel bug quite early in her life. Her childhood was filled with frequent road trips and eventually, she took to travelling for the sheer love of movement. Now she is happily in love with little Italian towns while perpetually crushes over Ladakh.

 

Neelambari Warty

 

Neelambari gives shopping advice and does wardrobe makeovers for a living; a living that lets her be a traveller. Recent times have found her writing passionately about her travels more than any other mundane subjects and well, handling her 7 years old’s tantrums like a pro.

Now in Dubai, she had been shuttling between India and UAE for the last two years but every time she is in the country, she makes sure she pays a visit to the great Himalayas.

 

Veering off the beaten path isn’t just a way to break the monotony to her, it’s also a reminder of an unfamiliar freedom we all seek in our own lives.  Leaving for her first travel trip to bits and pieces of broken memory, she clearly recalls Ladakh being a game changer for her. The simplicity of the mountains, the valleys and the innocent ways of life shifted the entire paradigm of perceiving herself in this world. Her senses had been reigned in by the deafening silences and the overwhelming calmness of the place, all three times that she had been there and yet, she hasn’t had enough!

 

As a traveller, she prefers having company over going solo. She loves to meet new people and find out about their lives for there’s so much to learn from each traveller and the locals. It opens her mind and enlightens her, she feels. The newness of a particular village, town or a city in a person excites her. She keeps her arms wide open to love from diverse cultures. This keeps her dreaming about her next vacation, next travel plan, next escape even though she doesn’t claim to be a full-time traveller.

 

Neelambari remarks how every trip is unique. When travelling with family, she makes sure to check all reviews on TripAdvisor. Travelling in groups becomes a worry for her only when the weather turns unpredictable and itineraries have to be rescheduled. She expresses how temperaments and tolerance levels of individuals are put to the test during unseen events. Hence, she likes to be a planned traveller even though it’s a retreat to relax, she invariably ends up planning that well ahead.

 

A responsible traveller, she believes in minimising any negative impact on the environment along with balancing socio-economic conditions. According to her, a few must haves and must dos are; to use and buy local products as much as possible, carrying glass bottles to refill and reuse, anti-allergy tablets and ointments, eye masks for quick naps and not to forget a swiss knife.

 

 

 

Neelambari has travelled to about 15 states in India, visited Nepal and has done multiple international journeys. She inherits the lust to travel from her dad, and she hopes that more people follow suit to discover and form themselves.

Her list of top recommendations includes a visit to the Himalayas at least once a year, a visit to Maasai Mara to experience seamless nature and wildlife reserves, Italy for both food and history and the South of Germany for the fairytale castles, countryside and Bavarian culture. Clearly, she has a thing for lush greens!

 

Despite travelling far and wide, there are much more miles to go. Travelling has made her realise that one needs to get away and venture into unfamiliar territories from time to time. If this doesn’t happen then the monotony, as she puts it, becomes lethal and one can’t get in touch with the essence of life. No one is ordinary, ‘one must probe into the depths of their being through travelling!’

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary
Images by ©Neelambari Warty

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

2 March 2017

Interview with Photographer : Aniruddha Das

Aniruddha Das was born in Kolkata and is a true Bengali at heart. He loves the city and all that it has to offer which naturally makes him a huge football fan. He played the sport when he was younger and was even offered a semi-professional training though unable to pursue due to his knee injury. Out of pure love for football, he took up photography in order to get involved with the game any way he could!

 

Aniruddha Das

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

– Born and raised in Kolkata, I am a true blue Bengali. I love city and all it has to offer, which also made me a huge fan of football. I played the sport a lot in my childhood and adolescence and was even offered a semi-professional training, but due to a serious knee injury, I could not take it up. It was then, out of pure love, for the sport that I decided to take up photography in order to be involved with the game in some way or another.

Being a student of RK Mission Residential School at Narendrapur, I had the opportunity of watching the nature closely, getting inspired from the ambience there. I completed Computer Science Engineering from Kolkata, started working in Cognizant Technology Solutions, all the while working as a freelance photographer for the East Bengal Football Club, but soon gave up the former as it was photography that I always wanted to do.

 

Inspiro India: How did you develop interest in this field?

– As a child, I followed my father around as he captured the world, one moment at a time, using a film SLR. I even watched him develop films in the dark room, playing with chemicals to get the best result. Wanting to create something of my own made me pick up a camera, and I haven’t been able to put it down ever since! I still love the thrill of developing a negative. Even today, I shoot my personal projects, those close to my heart, with a film camera. It’s a different world out there; what a digital camera shows you is nothing compared to the beauty of the moment captured through a film camera, specially in Medium Format. Currently, I am using a Hasselblad 501c and it has become a passion project of sorts. A different story in every 120mm frame.

 

Brand: Nike

 

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

– Being born and brought up in Calcutta, there is a different kind of love and attachment that I feel for the place. However, being the kind of city that it is, though you’ll get the most amazing subjects to capture, there is very little opportunity to take this field up professionally. In terms of the exposure the city has to offer, I felt that had I stayed there, I would have never been able to expose myself to the kind of photography I wanted to do. It’s still a little amateurish; you can pursue photography as a hobby, but not as a profession. That’s when I decided to shift to Bangalore, where opportunities are in abundance. I currently work with 22Feet Tribal Worldwide, a digital solutions provider, and this has allowed me to work with a multitude of brands across categories. Talking about the satisfaction that this field provides, I’d like to say that there is no better job in the world! Traveling, taking pictures of people and places – it is a different kind of satisfaction, where you’re content on the inside, but always hungry for more!

 

Inspiro India: What is it about Sports photography that interests you the most? What has been your favourite photo location in India?

– Watching a game live from the stands is one thing, being on the ground where all the action is happening is another. The thrill of sharing the same space with the best sportsmen in the country and in the world is inexplicable – you have to be there to believe it! The best thing about shooting a match live is that you don’t know what’ll happen in the next moment. You’re amidst all the action, the tension, the sweat, alone with your camera and clicking away, when suddenly you’ll get the most brilliant shot, the one you’d always wanted but never really knew how to get! Speaking of my favourite photo location in India, I was given a running project and I had to choose the location for shooting it. After a thorough research, we finalised on Gurudongmar Lake (Sikkim), which is one of the highest lakes in the world. Once there, we realised that while it was the best place to shoot the project, it would also be the most difficult! The air was thin and the temperature was low, but the pictures were great!

 

Brand: Fastrack

Brand: Fastrack

Brand: Fastrack

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing work flow and the equipment that you use?

– My equipment depends on the kind of project I am involved with. While shooting sports, I
usually use two 1DXs with a Canon 70-200mm and a Canon 200-400mm mounted in each. It is always a struggle using two heavy systems but I prefer keeping it that way! While shooting fashion, portraits and landscapes, I like to use a Canon 5DS and in lenses, a Zeiss 35mm and 85mm and a Canon 50mm. The standard post-processing work flow is choosing the best photographs from the shoot and proof-reading the images at least twice with two different edits to get the perfect look for the project. Once the look and feel is set right (which is always the toughest and most confusing part), I choose the top 10-15 images from the lot and treat them all accordingly. This is where the artist in you comes to play – not only are you editing the shots, but actually creating the perfect photographs!

 

Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child?

– I always wanted to be a traveller. I love meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and exposing myself to all sorts of experiences that this world has to offer. The whole thought behind this is to grow as a person, and you can’t really do that if you’re stuck in one place all the time. When you travel a lot, you leave behind a piece of yourself wherever you go and take in a little of the place instead. Luckily for me, my work allows me to travel as much as I want, so I’m happy!

 

Brand: Nike

Brand: Nike

 

Inspiro India: What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?

– I don’t just enjoy being a photographer, I love every bit of it! The feel of the equipment between the fingers is something beyond compare. The smell of the studio, the process of developing negatives, the post-processing work, the final image – it’s all a part of the job and I love it. I get to travel, see and work with new faces, visit places and face challenges that I wouldn’t have otherwise faced had I been doing something else. Photography is something so close to me that it has become more of a journey than a profession. A journey that I am proud and happy to embark upon!

 

Brand: Wildcraft

Brand: Nike

Brand: Nike

©Aniruddha Das

 

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

– Every artist will always tell you to follow your heart, and it is true, however cliché it may sound. You’ll never be fully satisfied if your heart doesn’t get what it wants, so stick with what you do best and follow your dreams. To all inspiring photographers, I would just like to say that it is not the equipment; it is your creativity that matters. You can shoot the most brilliant pictures with a non-professional camera and a mediocre one with the most expensive and professional camera that’s out there. Become one with the equipment and know everything about it, so much so that if someone asks you to open a camera blindfolded, you’d do a marvellous job even at that!

 

 

Check out his full feature in January’16 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#24 – Download Free.

 

 

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