‘As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination.’
When you think of Kolkata’s old spelling (Calcutta), it conjures up images of the colonial-era, replete with its aura of sophistication and the grandiloquent structure of the Victoria Memorial.
I scrambled up one of the hilly terrains of Kumaon. It was freezing, I couldn’t feel my fingers, I was constantly slipping on wet rocks and breathlessness was slowly creeping in. There was a sharp blast of cold air, and I couldn’t have been freezing any more than I already was.
And yet, I’d take all of this over beaches any day.
Look up from your Facebook screens and take a glance at the majestic mountains. Forget tweeting for a while; hear the birds chirp. Tune out the constant blabber, and hear yourself think.
It’s time to break the technological tether, and embark on a new adventure. So, whether you are looking to fan your curiosity about other cultures, have an affinity for learning about history, or are simply looking to disconnect, here is a list of some amazing luxury resorts tucked away in pristine corners of the country.
Rishikesh has always been THE place for spiritual seekers and yoga enthusiasts, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of meditation classes. But today, this religious town on the fast-flowing Ganges, surrounded by forested hills, is conducive to a lot more than just limb-twisting and praying.
Rishikesh has slowly emerged as a hub for white-water rafting, backpacking and a revered gateway to treks in the mighty Himalayas.
Nestled between the Himalayas and the Shivalik range, Dehradun is a place like no other. Dew-kissed mornings, nights on terraces watching the lights twinkle in Mussorie, breezy drives and big lawns in every house characterize this valley. No wonder then that one of India’s most beloved authors chose to make it his home. Ruskin Bond’s fascination with Dehradun stemmed from his trips to the famous Paltan Bazar, the lush litchi gardens in every backyard, panoramic tea estates and walks through Rajpur Road, which is now full of swanky malls.
Gangtok should not be dismissed as just another hill station. For one, it is more relaxed than most hill stations its size and also, spotlessly clean. No overflowing garbage cans and no spitting on roads, rules that locals swear by. Monasteries stand in perfect harmony with the cafe culture of Gangtok and the cheerful vibe eventually rubs off on you. Gangtok is blessed with a handful of sights and doubles up as a base to many other excursions, but you should probably extend your stay here to soak in the charm of this easy and happy blend of tradition and modernity.
My love affair with the mountains continues with Kausani, a tiny hamlet perched high on a forest-covered ridge.
The mist lifts to reveal panoramic views of multiple snow-capped peaks and teaches me about the joy of missing out. (more…)
We got off at the Haldwani bus stand at 3.30 in the morning to be welcomed by a harsh and cold wind and a multitude of taxi drivers. After some negotiating and waiting of about 30 minutes for other passengers, we hopped inside a cramped Alto to begin our 3-hour drive to Ranikhet. A network of tar roads that snakes through the mountains and soaring pine trees calmed our weary souls.
Under a million stars in the pitch-black sky, I let the chilly breeze play with my hair. Surrounding me were the coniferous foliage and the sound of the noisy torrents.
Himachal is like God’s gift for those who seek to escape the stress of mundane lives and nestled in these mountains is the small and charming village of Kasol. Stunning scenery and crystal-clear mountain streams more than make up for the sweaty and treacherous journey to this place. Kasol is an easy base for numerous treks and also a summertime venue for trance parties.