Maybe this is the travel blogger’s version of a mid-life crisis.
I have spent long nights in buses, watching forests in the distance get engulfed by forest fires spread by the acidity of dry pine planted on agricultural land. I have stayed at a heritage tea estate nestled in the Himalayas, where 2012 was the first time in its hundred and fifty years that the weather became too dry for the tea to be plucked. I have watched the Ganga wailing in Haridwar, reduced from India’s purest source of glacial water to a mere dumping zone for ashes, dead bodies, litter, plastic, wax candles, and whatever else we feed it in the name of religion. I have met a tribal family in North Kerala, who were forced to destroy their therapeutic home made of mud walls, cowdung floors and a thatched bamboo roof, in lieu of “government-given incentives”, and now sleep outside their concrete house every night because the natural temperature control is gone.
Of late, I’ve been reading so many thought-provoking, eye-popping, jaw-dropping, smile-evoking travel posts from around the Blogosphere, that I’ve decided to start this ‘Wanderlust in Words’ bi-monthly travel section to collect the best of the lot, and keep myself from losing my sanity (and hopefully yours too). If all goes well, each alternate Monday, you can come back here to find inspiration for your first solo trip, go on a visual journey somewhere across the globe, open up to the idea of long-term travel, indulge in a minute or two of someone else’s reality, and read something stirring on Incredible India, which seems to be on everyone’s travel list these days.
If you’ve ever fantasized about living in a remote village in the high Himalayas, experiencing the colonial charm of a hill station minus the tourists, savoring the country hospitality of India’s most hospitable culture, waking up to birds chirping on a farm, or finding the beauty of Europe’s alpine countryside in India, this post is for you.
In a country of 28 states, each with its signature culture, food, language, history & landscape, it’s not easy for a traveler to scratch the tourism surface of India beyond the golden triangle. The need of the hour, as recognized by Indian Tourism, UNDP and a string of social entrepreneurs, is to develop sustainable, responsible travel initiatives in high-potential regions of rural India.