All posts filed under: Photo Essays

Hiking from Darjeeling to Sikkim!

On one crazy adventure from Darjeeling to Sikkim, we ditched the Darjeeling to Sikkim train and Darjeeling to Sikkim bus, and hiked across the border through tea estates, forests and remote villages! We impulsively decided to venture into the remote north-eastern Himalayas of India. At an organic tea farm an hour’s ride from Darjeeling, sipped the finest hand-rolled tea. Drank the local thomba brewed from fermented millets on chilly nights. Got a first hand perspective on the separatist Gorkhaland movement. And reminisced with the hill folk about the times gone by. Then we hiked in the mountains, through dense forests, past charming hill villages, along tea estates that dotted the landscape, barefoot across the Rangeet River… to cross the border into Sikkim! In Photos: Hiking from Darjeeling to Sikkim The Darjeeling Sikkim hike began along the tea estates of Darjeeling Organized by our hosts at Tathgata Farm. Carpets of green stretched into the horizon, as far as the eyes could see. We followed tea pluckers as they started their day Plucking the finest tea in India with their nimble fingers. The Darjeeling to Sikkim …

Hidden Treasures on a Road Trip in Maharashtra.

I had no idea what a road trip near Mumbai might reveal. Turns out, pristine lakes, virgin beaches and stunning villages await on a road trip in Maharashtra. I am transiting through Singapore on my way to South Australia as I pen this. Amid the excitement of visiting the land down under, I find myself looking back fondly at the last week, which we spent road tripping through rural Maharashtra. Just 2.5 hours away, this road trip near Mumbai revealed many hidden surprises! We drove along pristine lakes, stayed at a work-in-progress art village just off Panchgani, and lazed in the warm afternoon sun on virgin beaches along the Konkan coast. Here’s my visual ode to the state – and some ideas for your own road trip in Maharashtra: READING MURAKAMI BY PAWNA LAKE near Lonavala, finishing this picture of tranquility. A GORGEOUS SELF-CATERING ABODE IN PAWNA NAGAR  on a hill, overlooking Pawna Lake – making for a perfect stop on a road trip in Maharashtra. A PRISTINE OUTDOOR OFFICE by the mango trees, quaint …

In Photos: The Countryside of Northern Thailand.

There are very few places in the world that feel like home to me, and northern Thailand is one of them. I showed up there with a tired soul, on an impulsive trip that I hoped would rejuvenate me (Read: Going Back to The Places we Love). And what can I say? Thailand gave me the time, space and natural beauty to think, write, and appreciate the little joys of life again. I pen this post from a little gourmet cafe in Singapore, and these photos, taken with my Sony Cybershot camera, are to be my sunshine on dark and dull days in the year ahead. I hope they’ll make you yearn as much for the Thai countryside. *** 1. TEARING INTO THE POSTCARD THAT IS NORTHERN THAILAND  for such surreal views of the hills, river, paddies, and sunsets that are now etched in my mind forever. *** 2. SAMPLING HOME-COOKED VEGETARIAN THAI FOOD  at Ban Lom Jen Homestay – Penang Curry and steamed rice. Delicious! *** 3. MARVELING AT THE WHITE TEMPLE  of Chiang …

2013: The World Through My Lens.

Looking back at my travels in 2013 has left me filled with nostalgia. One minute, I’m hitchhiking in Bahrain, the next, walking on a glacier in Canada. I’m going down memory lane in Singapore, and joining the Fallas street parade in Spain. I’m indulging in the most delicious Thai food in Chiang Rai, overdosing on hoppers in Sri Lanka, and sipping gluhwein in Germany. What a year it’s been! Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Storytelling project || Instagram

Thar desert, Rajasthan India, sand dunes india

My 13 “Incredible India” Moments in 2013.

It’s hard to believe that 2013 is coming to an end. This is the year I truly, madly fell in love with the sheer beauty of India, despite the challenges that travelling here is laced with (Read: 120 Days on The Road). I experienced the “other” side of the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, ventured deep in the interiors of Assam and Rajasthan, and developed an unexpected fascination for life in the wild. In search of an India Untravelled, I met incredible people dedicated to preserving the country’s beauty, ecology, heritage and traditions. These are 13 moments from 2013 that make me all mushy about how much I love this crazy country. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Storytelling project || Instagram

Call of The Wild: Tadoba Tiger Reserve!

As a recently converted wildlife enthusiast, I landed up at Tadoba Tiger Reserve (Tadoba National Park) to be awed by its beauty, wildlife and eco lodges! Between my recent trips to sunny Seychelles and festive Germany, I was drawn by the call of the wild to Svasara Jungle Lodge at the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. My jungle adventures in Madhya Pradesh earlier this year made me a wildlife tourism enthusiast, but Tadoba National Park left me intoxicated. I can’t stop dreaming of forests brimming with unravelled mysteries. Or the sheer beauty and intricacy of their ecosystems. This is a visual journey through Tadoba Tiger Reserve, a world beyond ours: SVASARA, THE HOME OF A WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER  converted into a jungle lodge that is both luxurious and environmentally responsible. His family and their team of wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists have transformed the once barren farm land surrounding Svasara into a natural wilderness. The soil has been revived with organic farming techniques and a waterhole attracts wildlife right to its backyard! Also read: Wildlife Tourism: Are We Saving …

In Photos: German Christmas Markets.

I’ve forever romanticized about a white winter in Europe. The kind where I would watch snowflakes gently descend upon cobbled streets, and look poetically at the gloomy skies for a ray of sunshine. On this whirlwind trip across Germany with Lufthansa and German Tourism, I did just that. I sipped my first of many cups of gluhwein in Frankfurt, found myself in a time warp with Rothenburg’s medieval era festivities, fell in love with the colorful celebrations in Cologne and Berlin in the backdrop of quaint old churches, and revisited Dresden with much nostalgia. It was festive and charming, but just so cold, reminding me of What I’ve Learnt From Winter in Europe. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my way back to sunshine! *** 1. AERIAL VIEW OF DRESDEN’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS  from a Ferris Wheel! Glittery festivities lie in contrast against gloomy midday skies, symbolic of winter in Europe. *** 2. A LOCAL ARTIST’S WOOD-CARVING COLLECTION at Cologne’s Christmas Market aka Weihnachtsmärkte on the Alter Markt; wood-carvers, crystal painters, glass glazers, all showcased their …

Panna National Park Near Khajuraho: India’s Most Beautiful Forest?

On why I fell in love with Panna National Park – often called Khajuraho National Park due to its proximity to the Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh. Old forests of teak and acacia lay bathed in the warm glow of the morning sun. We drove along the vast expanse of the Ken River strewn with little islands, climbed up a plateau dotted with colorful igneous rocks, crossed bubbling streams and grasslands in shades of autumn, and arrived at the most picturesque sight – a 200 meter high gorge, with two majestic waterfalls, surrounded by dense greenery, and a stream winding in the valley below. Sitting on the rocks, we had tea and biscuits while watching vultures fly around the steep gorge! Panna Tiger Reserve (aka Khajuraho National Park) has broken my association of wildlife parks with wildlife alone. I hope these pictures, taken with my Sony Cybershot, will do the same for you! FOREST RIVER ISLANDS IN PANNA NATIONAL PARK  which look particularly lush just when the park opens on October 15th, after the monsoon …

A Visual Journey Through Goa in The Monsoon.

Goa in the monsoon is a whole other tropical universe – lush paddies, deserted beaches, flowing backwaters, so much to love. A few days ago, I reluctantly bid adieu to Goa, and followed my heart to Kumaon. As I snuggle up in a cosy room in what was once a hippie town near Binsar, I reminisce about my time in the hinterlands of Goa. Whizzing around the lush green landscapes of a Goan village, the cool breeze in my hair, a light drizzle splashing off my face and the salty aroma of the sea breeze. Goa in the monsoon made me feel a sense of liberation that I’ve tried to capture in this photo essay: WHIZZING AROUND GOA ON MY BIKE  With the wind in my hair, and lush green fields swaying in the backdrop. SOAKING IN THE SERENITY OF GOA’s BACKWATERS watching men fish, smoke and socialize. CRUISING THROUGH GOA’S RIVERINE BACKWATERS  with my host from Cancio’s House, on a speed boat. Definitely Goa’s best kept secret. GOA IN THE MONSOON SPECIAL: MR CROC, …

In Photos: Life in Hampi, Karnataka.

Nothing could have prepared me for the boulder-strewn landscapes, majestic ruins, pristine lakes, and lush greenery that surrounds Hampi. Staying in a community-run retreat in the village of Anegundi, on the other side of the Tungabhadra River, we rode in coracle boats, swum in village lakes, and drove amid the remains of the 14th century Vijaynagar empire. Luckily for us, we beat the crowds, witnessed the monsoons, and captured a glimpse of real village life in and around Hampi: Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Storytelling project || Instagram