10 Trips in Twelve Months: 2015, A Year of Travel

travel1I guess I took this quote literally this year… Yes we travelled and travelled a lot with as many as ten different trips sprinkled over the year.

The year began with a bang with a para-gliding event within the city of Barmer to increase awareness about adventure sports. Having the advantage of acquaintance with the staff conducting the event, I utilised the opportunity to the fullest and every time there was nobody queueing up for a ride I went and strapped up to fly again and again..

All strapped up for a fun ride in air
All strapped up for a fun ride in air

Hardly the adventure was over when we with friends planned an overnight stay at Khuri, a lesser known desert safari site few kilometres from the much popular Sam sand dunes at Jaisalmer. The best thing was that my post on Khuri “Oasis At Khuri” was picked up as guest post by HappyTrips a travel website launched by Times Internet.

Setting Sun as backdrop for our 'couple-clicks'at Khuri
Setting Sun as backdrop for our ‘couple-clicks’at Khuri

The weekend at Khuri was one of the best with all friends bonding over tea in kulhars, dal pakoras and at evening with beer that stayed chilled courtesy the dipping temperatures of Great Indian Thar desert in January night, around a raging camp-fire and kalbeliya dancers swaying to drum beats and folk songs.

The weekend of Valentine’s Day being second Saturday, was a day off from school and office so who was to stop us from planning another quick getaway? With plans of making it to Munabao Railway station, the railway transit point on the Indo-Pak border, to witness the passenger exchange across border when gates are opened , we decided to drive from Barmer.  However our hopes were dashed when we found that the train exchange would be over by the time we would reach Munabao (later we did see the glamorized version of passenger exchange in the movie Bajrangi Bhaijan). Undeterred we decided to go to Tanot Mata mandir and Longewala instead…the 1971 Indo-Pak war site much popularised in the movie Border.

Beyond the fence lies Pakistan
Beyond the fence lies Pakistan

Tanot temple is maintained by BSF and Army; even the priests are soldiers who take up duty on rotation.

Tanot Temple where devotees offer handkerchiefs to the goddess as remembrance...
Tanot Temple where devotees offer handkerchiefs to the goddess as remembrance…

With approaching final exams in school, I had no plans of travel but the selection by BlogAdda team, as one of the winners, saw me travelling to Delhi alone for India Today Conclave. I very obviously had a blast at the conclave and not once did I worry about the ongoing examinations!

After a brief lull, we found ourselves contemplating travel during summer-vacations…after all who wants spend a month and a half trapped in a house with an over-energetic-nothing-to-do tween who either wants to watch television whole day or eats your brain off by lamenting ‘what-to-do-next-because-there-is-nobody-to-play’!

Beginning the holiday with a visit to the exquisite Sun Temple at Modhera, the fine embroidered step well Adalaj Vav, the modern offering of two great minds artist MF Hussain and architect BV Doshi Amdavad ni Gufa all in and around Ahmedabad, we proceeded to Hyderabad finally culminating our spree of holiday with a drive at Tamhini Ghat!

Sun Temple at Modhera
Sun Temple at Modhera
The cave "Hussain Doshi Gufa"
The cave “Hussain Doshi Gufa”
Stepwell of Adalaj with intricate stone work
Stepwell of Adalaj with intricate stone work
Fort from the Bala Hissar gate
Fort from the Bala Hissar gate
Torrential rains at Tamhini ghat
Torrential rains at Tamhini ghat

Soon it was time to shift base from Rajasthan to Tamilnadu and we took up a tiring herculean road trip from Barmer to Thanjavur driving in our wobbling twelve-year-old Indigo Diesel Car. En-route we first visited the magnificent Jain temple at Ranakpur and city of lakes Udaipur. The trip lasted six days with overnight stays at Surat, Pune, Belgaun, Bengalore besides Udaipur before we parked outside the temporary quarters at Thanjavur!

Jain temple at Ranakpur
Jain temple at Ranakpur
View of palace from lake Pichola
View of palace from lake Pichola

Settling down in a new city, new house, new state where it is a task for us to make any conversation(because locals speak only Tamil and ‘kunjum kunjum English’ ) made us long for a break again. We flew all the away  back to Gujarat from Tamilnadu for a trip to Diu and Gir National Park.

Nagoa beach, Diu
Nagoa beach, Diu
Lioness paused!
Lioness paused! (Gir national park)

Its been almost three months in Thanjavur now. This place will be my home for next one and half-year and I have just begun to explore this historic town replete with colorfully painted temples. The Brihadeshwara Temple built by Chola kings and renovated later by Maratha kings is the biggest attraction of this town and I am yet to visit it…

Ceiling of palace of Serfoji Mahara, the Maratha King
Ceiling of palace of Serfoji Mahara, the Maratha King

A year of travelling has increased my appetite and feet itch ever more so for another such extravagance in the coming new year. I am already bubbling with excitement to visit Coorg, Hampi, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Chennai, Chettinad and other areas around my new place of residence…

Call it a dream… a hope…a desire that has taken birth deep in my heart with all this travel…Ah! to feature in Travel Magazines…Conde’ Nast, National geographic Traveller, Outlook Traveller, BBC Traveller…(this pitching thing really stumps me however….more like scares me no end! I find writing easier than pitching monster…..)

I have yet to learn to pen an eye-catching article befitting the magazines…

Yet the hope floats and dreams soar….

Even as 2016 knocks at my door!!

 

 “I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda.”

Also Read:

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/07/14/oasis-at-khuri/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/02/18/1971-battle-at-longewala/

https://astonishingindia.net/2014/08/11/the-great-indian-thar-desert/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/07/02/the-fire-altar-sun-temple-at-modhera-gujrat/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/11/14/two-days-in-ilaha-de-cama/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/11/23/born-free-in-wilderness-of-gir/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/09/30/a-poetry-in-stone-ranakpur/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/11/08/fast-tracking-through-udaipur-the-venice-of-east/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/07/07/a-rainy-day-drive-at-tamhini-ghat/

https://astonishingindia.net/2015/07/19/in-search-of-diamonds-at-the-shepherds-hill/

 “I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda.”

Comments

  1. quarksire

    cool :0 i happen to own a trike for flying like in the first pic above 🙂
    how fun huh! I even have skiis for mine in the wintertime also 🙂
    happy holidaZe 2 U ……..Q

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    shoma abhyankar

    🙂 even so… In India having any kind of small aircraft or flying snowmobile is not yet very common… we might have a broken car door in our garages but finding a wing might be rare :p

  3. Rakesh Pandey

    Hey, wow! Some traveling! You know, I should thank you. It’s because of people like you that lazy writers like me know about distant and exotic locations and plan their stories accordingly. I have never been anywhere except Bombay and Benaras, but have written stories with various locations as backdrop. Thanks to people like you! 🙂

    Keep traveling and regaling us with details and images. happy holidays and a prosperous New Year! 🙂

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    shoma abhyankar

    That is so nice of you and so modest giving credit to people like me who can write only facts. Your stories are so nice…. It requires skill to weave a fiction which keeps you glued. I have to visit Benaras once… Heard so much. Thanks for the appreciation…. It boosts morale.
    Happy Holidays and New Year to you too.

  5. Alok Singhal

    Astonishing…10 trips in a year! Wow, i envy you!
    I love traveling, but my job doesn’t allow the same. However, we do go out as much as we can. Hopefully, one day i will get to see the world!

    Stunning pictures, i would love to see the border to Pak!

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      shoma abhyankar

      It was possible because we were in Rajasthan at a place which was poor in connectivity to other parts of country. We perforce had to drive to a bigger city to board flights or trains so we chose to drive everywhere where we could.
      Yes you must. It gives such a sense of safety to see our soldiers guarding us everyday

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      shoma abhyankar

      Thank you Teny… Yes your trip to Delhi and Agra.. Let your new year be full of your fulfilment of aspirations too. And may we meet again at different trips as winners of many more contests in the year ahead 🙂

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