This post was originally written for & published in the Hindustan Times. As our jeep manoeuvres through the broken forest trail, a gale of wind blows off the hood of my jacket and whispers in my ear. Suddenly, I’ve forgotten that I’m cold and sleepy at an hour when even the sun is tucked in. I’ve been to Corbett before, but only on a tiger chase. Today, I want to unearth the mysteries of its wilderness.
Sitting across the Kosi River, I watch the sunlight dancing in the river, the water splashing over the rocks. Surrounding me is the Jim Corbett National Park, part in Uttarakhand and part in Uttar Pradesh. This Corbett adventure is part of Club Mahindra‘s travel blogging trips across India, and I feel privileged to be part of it this year. Three days ago, six of us bloggers arrived at the Club Mahindra Safari Resort, with dreams of looking a tiger eye-to-eye in India’s oldest tiger reserve.
We’ve all dreamt about Paris, about the charm in strolling along the River Seine, about marveling at the city’s architecture, about falling in love in and with the most romantic city in the world. Perhaps like everyone visiting Paris for the first time, my heart flutters in excitement as my flight touches down at Orly (Paris’ budget airport) and I brace myself for my first Eurotrip. I haven’t anticipated that now is when I’ll start to think of the city with my marketing hat on.
The year is 2010. It is a pleasant morning in the big town of Manado in Indonesia. The traffic is moving at a steady pace, men & women are crowding the Microlet (local transport van) interchange, and we are trying to haggle a ride to the ferry terminal in the four words of Bahasa we’ve learnt in the one day we’ve been here. We must be on our way to the little known island of Bunaken today.
Mcleodganj is perhaps every backpacker’s rite of passage to India. Except that it is so unlike India, I feel I’ve skipped a few legalities, missed a few stamps on my passport, and entered a world I was taught is forbidden.
I wrote this travelogue for exclusive publication on Clay, Club Mahindra’s travel portal. As I walk along the green fields of Pin, I smile in delight at the pink, purple and yellow flowers in bloom; I haven’t seen greenery for the last 3 days in the mountain desert terrain of Spiti.
As we drive into the heart of India, dubbed Madhya Pradesh, I awake my sleepy self to the sight of the Betwa River, a beautiful expanse of clear water vigorously flowing through a dam. I am suddenly kicked about venturing into an India that is far off the tourist circuit; Spiti & Hegdenagar feel like a long time ago.
I’m reminiscing about the winter of 2007, that I spent traversing the famous backwaters of Kerala and discovering the ways of southern India. Through my rusty memory, I remember the tranquility of the waters, the countless coconut trees along the coast, and a beautiful evening sky.
Cinque Terre is the collective name for five villages perched upon hills by the Italian riviera. The landscape here is truly unique; on a raised stretch of land by and above the azure waters thrives a whole civilization.
Greetings from Chamonix. If you can close your eyes and imagine yourself in the clouds, surrounded by stunning snow-capped peaks, you’ll be just a little close to what I’ve experienced in Chamonix. I use the word breathtaking perhaps too liberally, but if anything does justice to the word, Chamonix does it.