Trippy Travelette

A digital marketeer by profession, I was bitten by the travel bug when I was 18 years old. My Mother had gifted me an envelope that had to and fro rail tickets to Gujarat. I had studied in a boarding school in Gujarat and was more than happy thinking about the reunion with my girlfriends who were still there in Ahmedabad and Anand. I was travelling alone but being backed up both morally and financially by my mother, I was a bit relaxed. That trip was where I first experienced the urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.” There was no looking back post this! I was falling in love with the idea of picking up the bag and leaving for the unknown! The travel experiences started becoming a reminder of human insignificance and frailty. Today, I am most particularly in love with Himachal Pradesh. The landscape, the culture and the people here have become a special part of my life. And you will see most of my travel experiences talk about the same. A complete tea addict, nothing gives me more joy than a 'pahadi chai' with some butter toast! Looking forward to exploring and exchanging awe inspiring stories. Happy Travelling!

An Ordinary Ladakhi Tale | Day 3 | Sarchu to Leh

Day 3 of our trip was a mix of good and bad. A little after Sarchu, Ram’s Bike had an issue. The axle that holds the tyre together broke. Bantu had not kept its spare as in his lifetime he had never heard of the axle breaking off! We stopped almost all bikers to ask if they had a spare part, but unfortunately, none of them did. Few of them didn’t even know that such a part even exists. It was heartbreaking for Ram as he had to leave his Bike here and travel in Gypsy till Leh. Between Sarchu and Leh lies two remarkable stretches of land – the Gata Loops and the More Plains. It is a series of twenty-one hairpin bends that takes you to Nakeela Top. On one of the turns, you will see a pile of water bottles. The story goes like this – several…

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An Ordinary Ladakhi Tale | Day 2 | Jispa To Sarchu

Next morning, we started our day with Yoga and some basics of Kalaripayattu (the ancient martial arts). This was day 2 of our trip and we just had to cover about 86kms. We crossed Darcha, ZingZing Bar, Suraj Tal and Baralacha La to reach Sarchu. Situated at an altitude of 16,040 feet, Baralacha La is a high mountain pass in the Zanskar region. You could get a peculiar type of headache because of the altitude. And to cure it, you could either take Diamox or just have another cup of Tea and relax! 😊 Sarchu lies on the boundary of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Also known as Sir Bhum Chun, the barren grandeur of this place is similar to the Ladakhi landscape. The weather here was cruel to the core…the people and the tents were the victims of it! After dinner, we were strolling around, talking about love,…

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An Ordinary Ladakhi Tale | Day 1 | Manali to Jispa

We left Manali a little after noon… Crossing Rohtang Pass, we entered the beautiful Lahaul and Spiti Valley. We stopped at Koksar for Tea and a plate of juicy Mutton Momos. The temperature had started to drop and we decided to add beanies and gloves to our warm clothes’ stock. We stopped at Tandi to fill-up fuel but unfortunately the petrol pump was closed. This petrol pump is the last one on the way to Leh. But we were hopeful that we will be able to get some fuel arrangement done in Jispa. We reached Jispa around 9pm. The host at Nomadic Camps welcomed us with the warmest of smiles, interesting stories and good food! The tents had all basic amenities and was comfortable. We also tasted the local alcohol made of Barley, known as Aara. As we gulped it down, we could feel ‘strong’ written all over it! I…

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An Ordinary Ladakhi Tale | Day 0 | An Intro

The Epic Route

Please don’t kill me for the title! But to be honest, all the blogs and notes that I have read that talks about people’s experiences and trips in/to Leh-Ladakh has such fancy words… This was my 3rd trip to Leh-Ladakh and I don’t think any of those big, fancy words is able to justify what one feels! So, instead of browsing through the dictionary to come up with a better and bigger word, I have decided to call that feeling as ordinary. At times, just an ordinary feeling is what you need… The way one gets up early just to take a walk around the town…to steal the morning sun rays and the ghost-town sort of a look of the valley…the first cup of Tea…the way the river dances when it pours…the way the words of a book make sense…the sparkling lakes, the majestic mountains, the tricky roads…every second acting…

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An Ordinary Ladakhi Tale | Day 9 | In Manali

Next morning, we headed to The Lazy Dog for breakfast. But surprisingly, the staff was extremely rude and we left the place but not without giving them an honest feedback of their behavior. We were back at our favourite place, Café 1947. We had to wait for 20 minutes for the café to open but it was all worth the wait! After a delightful brunch, we were back in our rooms, happy and excited to find 2 tattoo artists waiting for us! It was one of the most random decisions that we took… I think somewhere during the trip, Pooja mentioned it in the passing…we should get a tattoo done…. And a week or so later, we were staring at Ankur and Vikas from Yama Tattoos arranging their equipment in our room. It was already 3pm and we had a bus at 4:30pm…for a second, we didn’t mind missing the…

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An Ordinary Ladakhi Tale | Day 10 | Back In Delhi | Rewind

How I long to be in the hills again… the city life, the 9 to 5 ordeal, is a web of complications… How I long to be with simple, uncomplicated beings… the madness, the chaos, the competition, it gives that adrenalin rush at times – to achieve things, to do the work better – I have often heard the city dwellers call it as passion…. How I long to be in the lap of nature, staring at the mountains and sipping Tea, not many souls around… A traveler tempo passes by, honking – it reminds me of the traffic in the city, the obsession with excuses and phones…. How I long to be treading unknown paths, meeting strangers, exchanging stories…. For now, the city life seems inevitable… Until next adventure… How I long to be in the hills again with all of my secrets, my scars, my sorrows…. How I…

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Sweet Escape To Chail

It was 3:30 am…Irk in my Mother’s voice told me that it might have been her 10th attempt at waking me up. There was unusual chaos in the house. It looked like those lets-leave-for-the-airport-drama scene from the movie, Home Alone. Just that there was no chance in hell that I would have missed this trip! We reached the station at around 5:00 am. And the journey began with the rhythmic clinking sound of the metal wheels. We were travelling in a non-ac /second seating (2S) for the first time. And it was an experience in itself. Getting down at every stop just to stretch ourselves and get a cup of kadak chai…talking to our co-travellers, making a mental note of what all they have been upto in their life…commenting on both the landscape and the lifestyle that we could see outside of our windows…the sound of the vendor shouting ‘tea-coffee-chips-thanda’…

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Cafe1947: In Rhythm With The Voice Of The River

The bridge over Manalsu River is a gateway to a magical world. This part of the town is famously known as Old Manali and it has a series of uber cool cafes. But the one that will win your heart is Cafe1947. Owned by brothers Ankit Sharma and Abhishek Rune Sharma, the café is cozy and exhibits a magnetic vibe… And here are the reasons why the café is a must visit. Location: While the indoor seating is warm and comfortable, the outdoor seating provides a superb view of the river. During daytime, you can see various sports activities being carried out at the river side. You can chill here for hours while playing cards or tickle your mind with the board games that they have. Amazing staff: All smiles and quirky remarks – that’s what the staff here is equipped with! They are friendly, super-efficient and would always give you…

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Sethan Village: A Magical Paradise

“Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder–no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.” It was 4am when we experienced season’s first snowfall. A thing of wonder…little flakes of happiness…it was a magical event! The valley was draped in white! We were in no rush to experience anything else other than the magnificence of the day. We were more than happy about celebrating white Christmas! We were at Sethan Village in Hamta Valley. Sethan Village is located about 15kms from Manali and has just about 15-20 houses. One can see towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village. It is believed that inhabitants of this village were originally from Tibet and they were given land permit/grant by the then Government of India. The first day we reached here, we went out for…

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Wanderlust: Tracing Where It All Began

It all started with my 18th birthday. I had just come back from college and I saw my mother smiling and acting funny. Upon asking what it was all about, she told me to open the white envelope placed on the table. Little did I know that the content of the envelope will change my life forever! It had to and fro rail tickets to Gujarat. It was the month of October and was indeed the best time to visit the state ‘coz of Navratri/Garba celebrations. I had studied in a boarding school in Gujarat and was more than happy thinking about the reunion with my girlfriends who were still there in Ahmedabad and Anand. I was travelling alone but being backed up both morally and financially by my mother, I was a bit relaxed. Going to the best of restaurants, saying ‘table for one please’, sitting at Crosswords for…

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