Our car pulled into the main road of the village on a chaotic Saturday afternoon, when the tourist hordes were either busy cleaning off lunch plates or moving from one spot to another, browsing among the shawls and dream-catchers hanging from makeshift stalls.
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
~ Randy Komisar
No matter when we decide to travel in our lives, there will be some sort of sacrifice. It’ll either be ditching a fat bank balance when you are young in favour of an impromptu weekend getaway, carving out time with your family to make that holiday happen, or leaving behind job security to take the plunge into travelling full-time.
Hampi is a heady cocktail of mythology, architecture and cosmopolitan vibes. It’s not your typical getaway to lush greenery, snow-capped mountains or white-sand beaches. In fact, Hampi’s terrain is rugged, with boulders strewn around occasional patches of paddy fields and coconut groves.
“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.”
As we huffed and puffed our way up a steep hillside, and Pushpa didi darted up like a squirrel on a tree, all I could think of was the courage she possessed that made her change her little world in Munsyari.
I am a planner. I love planning every detail of my life; especially trips. I spend hours poring through travel blogs, listicles and Lonely Planet guides, before I step out with my backpack.
But travel planning for most people can be a daunting task. Where do I begin? Where do I go? What should step one be? And step two? It can get immensely stressful. More so if you’re planning it for two or more people.
It is the last prayer before lunch at the monastery and little Buddhist monks are giggling and fidgeting with their bowls in a hall overflowing with maroon robes. Flatbread and vegetable soup are soon served, even to visitors, and the chatter dies down.
The narrow lanes of Majnu Ka Tila, a small colony near Kashmere Gate, hide many Tibetan marvels – authentic cuisine, colourful traditions and some of the kindest people you will ever meet.
‘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.