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People, all of them western, often counter my amorous accounts of India with "escapism" - the concept of hiding from one's mundane daily life behind a wall of a fascinating but ultimately unsupportable lifestyle - like being in a punk band, or going to India, in my case. But this isn't one of those stories where you hole yourself up in an ashram to try and find something that isn't there or buy a one way ticket to Goa with the purpose of devoting yourself to the rave.
There is no doubt that Varanasi is one of the most compelling destinations in India and is as much a much-visit as Agra or Jaipur. If you're still not convinced, here are seven top reasons to visit the city at least once in your lifetime.
Tickets, maps, cash - check. But aren't you forgetting the most important thing? Your travel playlist. No impending adventure can be complete without a set of songs to accompany every moment, irrespective of whether you're hitching it by plane, train or automobile.
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India is one of the easiest places to be vegetarian. We use a lot of pasteurised butter (ghee) or cream in our food so being vegan is a little hard, but vegetarian, that is super easy. Imagine walking into a restaurant and seeing a menu that has the following dishes: veg paneer kadai, veg paneer tikka masala, veg jalfrezi, veg kolhapuri, the list goes on. Naturally, many foreign visitors have absolutely no idea what constitutes these dishes. So here our cherry-picked favourites...
Your driver will momentarily offer hope, claiming that the tiger is bound to still be there, waiting just for you. And then you'll zip zap zoom in a frenzy, thundering down foresty lanes and bumps and breaking a few bones in the bargain, all in the pursuit of India's national animal in the wild.
Aviation regulator DGCA is likely to take a call shortly on allowing domestic airlines to charge for check-in baggage while providing incentives for passengers who travel light. The Directorate Genera...
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We Indians just love to travel. An extended weekend coming up? We'll pack our bags and leave for the hills. But whether you are travelling alone or with your family, there can always be unforeseen cir...
On a recent visit to Mumbai, my friend and I were sitting in one of the numerous sea-facing cafes that dot the coastline when somehow the conversation turned to Kamathipura - the city's notorious red light district. Sitting in that posh café, Kamathipura seemed distant and unreal. Yet, according to my friend, it was just a stone's throw away.
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If you're an intrepid traveller looking for offbeat destinations that are far removed from the tourist trail, read on. In this list you'll find hidden mountain getaways, a haunted fort, a magnetic hill and a fascinating lake that's littered with skeletons.
If you're looking to save up on expensive roaming services and travel data cards - after all who isn't - help is on hand. In it's latest report, Hotelwifitest.com, an online portal that focuses on Wi...
India ranks 5th in the list of countries that visit Instagram the most, according to Alexa.com, a company that provides commercial web traffic data. Their research also shows that 4.2 percent of the...
Trekking in a vast country like India can be magical. You can walk through icy deserts and tropical rain forests, climb vast Himalayan peaks or run down expansive rolling meadows, all without ever cro...
Steeped in heritage and culture, distinctive architecture, old customs and traditions, Oman's unspoilt landscape beckoned the traveller in me at almost every turn and I happily gave in. I caught my breath more than once as I found myself gazing upon forbidding mountain faces, deep ravines, rocky arches, dramatic canyons, hairpin bends and sinkholes. Without a doubt, Oman offered me a delightful mix of the entire travel troika: beaches, mountains and deserts.
Once you know there is more to the world than you previously imagined, you cannot go back. You wonder what it means to be really alive. Travelling sets you free from the things you thought you couldn't live without, having found new things, indispensable to you: dreams and a passionate spirit.
The normal, saner members of our society travel with family or friends. The more daring ones travel with strangers and then there are some wanderers like myself, who at times prefer their own company over the company of others.
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There's a traveller within all of us. Each one of us wants to break free and shout at the top of our voice, "I want to see the world." But once you have finally acquired leave from work and made a decision to travel long term, panic often sets in. This quick guide is aimed to address some of the most common questions and concerns.
If you visit Gorur Dam in the monsoon months, you might just miss this church unless you go up close. But visit in the dry summer and you will see it in all its Gothic glory. Located some distance away from Bengaluru, in Shettihalli, the Holy Rosary Church is submerged by the Gorur Dam reservoir in the monsoon season and then stands tall for all to see when the water recedes in summer.
The satisfaction derived from tucking into a steaming plate of pliable momos is nothing short of paradisal when achieved at a particularly high elevated point, say about 2,004 m or to be more precise,...
Switzerland just earned the title of the World's Happiest Country in this year's World Happiness index. And the Swiss resort town of St Moritz is celebrating 150 years of existence this year. Two compelling reasons to find out what all the fuss is about!
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"How did your parents allow you to go?" is an often asked question. I still get this, even though I haven't been home for the past four months. The underlying question, I believe is, "How do your parents trust you?"
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Heated igloos and rustic log cabins dilly dally with snow igloos that boast of beds carved out of ice and unending fields of ice flirt with slanting trees entirely covered with snow. Tales of hibernating Polar Bears are narrated in hushed tones and reindeer sleigh rides are everyday business here.
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The Scopophile is not a voyeur in the plainly sexual sense. He is a voyeur of cultures, a wannabe Indiana Jones, a scholar (sometimes a pseudo-scholar), adept at conversations on books, art, and film. He is an anthropologist, historian, linguist and very, very often, a doctoral student. He is also self-obsessed, somewhat agnostic, myopic, a misogynist unaware, and actively political. He is a straight white man from the suburbs who has spent between three months and a year in some non-Western part of the world... And he is a self-titled expert on that country.
Travelling by myself also helped me uncover elements of my personality that had remained hidden until then. I spent hours listening to the stories of my co-passengers, made friends with strangers, had conversations with taxi-drivers, auto wallahs, and shopkeepers (something, the shy, reticent woman in me had never been able to do until then).
The train chugged through the countryside of Uttar Karnataka. The monsoons had kicked in and the ponds, lakes and reservoirs had started to fill. Life had sprung in every nook and corner and the earth was garbed in green. The terraced paddy fields swayed as the North West monsoon winds blew across the land. I was headed to Dandeli in the Western Ghats, home to the Dandeli-Anshi Wildlife Reserve and a natural habitat for black panthers, tigers, leopards, deer, sloth bears, bison and a multitude of birds.
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Visas were traditionally meant to serve several purposes. They had to easily communicate necessary information to authorities, such as validity and the terms of stay. They were often designed to prevent easy forgery. And they were occasionally used to convey aspects of a country's national character through visual symbolism and imagery. For all these reasons, the visa, in its brief heyday, was a little-appreciated masterpiece of modern design.
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Globetrotters from Switzerland shelled out maximum money for their stay in India among the foreign tourists in 2014, an 11 per cent rise from their spending on hotels against last year, according to a...
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China has developed greatly for the last fifteen years. From the country with the closed borders, China has become one of the leading economies in the world that gains its power every day. Albite, the country feels confident in the global marketplace and the political arena, its people still have a long way to go to change their perception of themselves: from submitting to the Western civilization based on materialistic betterness to finally realizing how spiritually-rich and strong they are as a nation, that can rarely be seen in the West these days.
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I've never thought about my race before I travelled to China. China has never been a top destination for tourists, but for me it was the land of the unknown that I wanted to discover. I arrived at Pu...
Chennai is associated with a number of things — filter kaapi, dosai, and the Tamil film industry come immediately to mind. While it isn't usually considered as exciting or fast-paced as Mumbai and Del...
Surya S Raju
And whether in an art gallery, religious monument or a public park or zoo, shhh up. Don't call out to animals to "smile" for your camera. Your spouses and kids can hear, right? No need to holler, "Champa, see, see, rhino"; "Beta, look, look, big lion". Uncles and aunties who insist they go on rides or emaciated ponies alongside their grandkids spare a thought for the poor animals.
There are many places that you may like, some that you may end up falling in love with, but there is only a handful that can actually connect to. You know the feeling of belonging somewhere, the feeling that it is your home? This is what I felt when I visited North Sikkim.
Once upon a time I used to be a regular normal person, a Mumbaikar. I did what most people did - worked from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and chilled over weekends. Then things changed. My travel bug grew tentacles and got the better of me. I wanted to travel and write. I realised that not only was there an India out there waiting to be explored, but there were experiences that needed to be narrated.