It was 2007 when I first visited Pondicherry. I was still in college and it was my first trip with friends. We started early in the morning from Chennai with very little money in pocket and a heart full of enthusiasm, travelled for four hours in a crowded bus, roamed around the streets of Pondicherry under a hot sun and retuned back exhausted long after the sunset. Actually it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Probably because I didn’t know that it could be better. The highlight of my trip was the French colony of Pondicherry – I loved the beautiful streets lined with colourful houses and cafes. Neither of which I could enjoy to the full extent.complete article
If you are a wildlife enthusiast you may have heard of Bhitarkanika National Park. Or if you live in some specific cities of Odisha, you may have known of it as a weekend gateway. But mostly Bhitarkanika is not a popular name amongst tourists. I had stumbled upon it only due to my connection to East and even then getting all information about the place wasn’t easy. In fact I was only half-prepared when I made my trip and eventually it turned out to be the worst planning of my life. In fact, I wasn’t able to reach Bhitarkanika. So technically I have never been there. But you can learn a lot from a failed attempt as well and that is the knowledge I would like to share here today.complete article
Finally my north-east trip was over and it was time for me to head home, or in this case travel to Kolkata. The journey was quite straightforward and uneventful. But still in order to give closure to the whole series I decided to write this piece. Even though the journey took me little over two days, I will try to keep it short. So here it goes…complete article
I reached Kohima late at night, at least late as per Kohima winter standard. First view of the city for me was from across the valley while seating in the back seat of a car driving towards the city itself. The hills were illuminated by the lights from the streets and houses. Even through darkness of night I could make out the outlines of the hills as it waved over the community of lights making a sort of roofing on top of them. Looking at the vastness of it one could tell that this was not a hill station, but a city built on a hill. And that fit perfectly with the agenda I had in my mind.complete article
Last night had been cold and painful. A chilly wind blew relentlessly across the field outside and poured inside through the countless holes of my bamboo cottage. On top of that, my leg muscles screamed their presence with rigorous aching, an aftereffect from the cycling earlier that day. My stuff were scattered across the room, some on the other bed, some hanging and some inside the almirah. I knew I had to pack. But neither getting out of bed, nor engaging my legs into any activity sounded appealing at that time. So I gave in and let myself fall asleep under two warm blankets. This morning, however, was sort of a miracle. I woke up feeling neither cold nor pain. I was as fit as I ever could be and the thick fog outside meant that the temperature had increased significantly. I got up, got ready, packed up and walked into the foggy morning outside to start off my long journey for Kohima.complete article
The first time I was introduced to Majuli, it was through a picture I saw somewhere. There was a local man standing with his oar on a small boat and driving it through a pond full of pondweeds. The plants were glossy green, the water reflected sunlight and the picture seemed just perfect. What I immediately found interesting about this place was how beautiful it was despite its simplicity. Or rather it was beautiful because of its simplicity. It was a village in India, it could be any village in India – almost untouched by tourism it flaunted a rural lifestyle wrapped inside its scenic beauty. And that’s what I wanted to find when I planned my trip. Needless to say, I was more than satisfied.complete article
Second destination on my north-east itinerary was Majuli, The large river island. I had to reach there on the same day after leaving Nameri, which meant travelling 230 km on land and 12 km in water. While this wasn’t my most tiring experience in this trip, it surely involved most number of vehicles. This is the route I took: Hotel – Nameri Bus stand – Charduar – Balipara – Tezpur – Jorhat – Nimati Ghat – Kamalabari Ghat (on boat) – Hotel at Majuli.
Here’s the full story…complete article