Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pushkar Camel Fair 2017

Like every year the Pushkar Camel Fair is back to attract tourists, camel traders, photographers, journalists from all over the world. For someone who has always been curious to know what this is all about , its a visual treat and you can only know by experiencing it in person!

Pushkar is a village in Rajasthan , India and is easily accessible  by road and train.The Pushkar Fair official programme events and fairground will run from around 8 November to 14 November. The full moon night, Kartik Purnima 2016, the focus of the religious and pilgrimage activities, is 14 November.

For more details go to

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The India festival calendar: April–May 2013


Gangaur – For those who want to pitch in some prayers in return for marital bliss, Rajasthan’s Gangaur festival provides just the occasion! Celebrated largely by women, Lord Shiva’s consort, Gauri is the focus of devotion on this day. Marital fidelity and welcoming of Spring converge during an 18 day period of fasting, followed by a feast on the last day. You can see small groups of young women going about with clay pots on their heads, with a lit lamp inside. The last three days are the peak of the festival when women bid farewell to the Goddess Gauri. The capital city of Jaipur is an apt location to witness this as a procession starting from the City Palace, goes past important markets and ends at Talkatora.

Baisakhi – If dancing to the rhythmic beats of a ‘dhol’ comes to you naturally, spare no time and head out to the Punjab on 14 April. The contagious vigour of Punjabis is bound to grip you as they celebrate the harvest festival of Baisakhi. Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple, is a safe bet to see the action at the Gurudwara, where the day also commemorates the formation of the Sikh brotherhood, Khalsa.  You can also see the village celebrations at close quarters by staying at Prakriti Farms (, 45 km from Chandigarh. Join in the festivities of Rail Majra village as street processions pass you. Get spoilt by the ghee dripping Punjabi food and the comforts of a typical rural mud house with thatched roof; perfect ambiance to feel the pulse of Baisakhi.

Pulikkali  – Small troupes of boys dressed in Tiger masks and bodies painted with stripes, scrounge the streets of Thrissur in the month of April. Pulikkali or ‘tiger dance’ dates back 200 years ago when the Maharaja of Cochin introduced this folk art as an annual performance during Onam celebrations to denote the vigour and the spirit of his army. Now performances are held in the centre of the town at Swaraj grounds in Thrissur. Stealthy movements and wild actions are induced in the dance to add interest. This year Pulikkali will be held on 12th April. 

Karni Mata- Deshnok village (30km from Bikaner) is abuzz with impassioned devotees of Karni Mata (an incarnation of Goddess Durga) during the Navratras. As the gates open at 4am, jostle into the temple much like its furry inhabitants, over 20000 rats! The Karni Mata festival usually falls in April, but was celebrated in March this year. The sight is still worth your time, if you can spot a white rat amidst the bustle of brown ones, who are also known as ‘kabbas’. Said to be the reincarnation of the Mata herself, if you happen to trample a rat, you have to replace it with one made in silver or gold. Don’t be alarmed if the scampering company has taken a bite of your ‘parasad’; their saliva smothered food brings plenty of god fortune.

Thrissur Pooram  – One of the grandest festivals of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram, brings about a complete metamorphosis in the otherwise sleepy town of Thrissur. The day is replete with enticing photo opportunities as parades of caparisoned elephants start from Paramekkavu Bhagavathy and Thiruvambadi Bhagavathy temples and converge at the Vadakkunnathan Temple at Swaraj Grounds. This temple lies in the middle of the city on a small hill. Religious ceremonies accompanied by musical instruments go on for the day till the much-awaited fireworks’ display starts in the evening. Make sure that you stay the entire night as the festival reaches a crescendo in the wee hours of the morning.

Bum Festival – The full moon, some alcohol and many whims construe the dates of ‘Kunde Habba’ or the Bum Festival!  You will not be giving your camera a rest with tribals dressed in bright colours and hurling playful abuses at the local deities! This is one of those many festivals in India, which has gotten lost in the elusive jungles of Coorg. It is help in April on a full moon night, and the dates can only be locally sourced closer to the festival.


 Urs, Ajmer Sharif – Quwwallis, massive preparations of sweets and brightly lit markets enliven the mosque area in Ajmer, as thousands descend on the town to commemorate the death anniversary of Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in May each year. Though the occasion is a solemn one, the atmosphere is upbeat as lakhs of devotees from all walks of life congregate here.

Akshaya Tritiya – For the ladies, Akshaya Tritiya brings about yet another reason to splurge on gold. While the modern day inference has been deduced to buying new jewelry for good luck, originally this festival has many somber conjectures: the birthday of Lord Parasurama and the day that Ved Vyasa started writing the Mahabharata. The predominantly Hindu and Jain festival is largely celebrated in South Indian cities and towns with large Jain communities. Akshaya Tritiya is slated for 13th May this year.

Moatsu Festival, Nagaland – Come May, and the quiet town of Mokokchung erupts into merriment to celebrate the Moatsu Festival. Members of the Ao tribe celebrate this to laud the harvest bounty as they complete the next batch of sowing. The annual cleaning of fields and houses takes about a week. The community immerses in gatherings by the fire, wearing their best attire and serving sumptuous meals of meat and wine. The festival is celebrated in the first week of May.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Places to travel 2013

Here is my list of places to go in 2017

  • Everest base camp
  • Japan
  • Srilanka
  • Arunanchal Pradesh
  • Hawaii

Friday, January 20, 2012

Around the world in 5 minutes

a time lapse video of his year backpacking all around the world. 343 days, 17 countries over five continents reduced to just five minutes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kashmir - Srinagar

. Upon arriving take your time to find the perfect houseboat to stay. As you probably are arriving late from either Leh or Jammu, spend the first evening just chilling on the front deck of the boat and soaking in the Kashmiri atmosphere.
There's nothing quite like Srinagar in the evening: the air fills with prayers from the numerous mosques around the city and the different coloured lights of the houseboats give the lake an evocative feel.
Visit the bazaars to the slightly bizarre brick tomb of Mother of Zain-ul-Adidin, to the astonishingly beautiful shrine of Shah-i-Hamadan (in the pic), to Sufi shrine Pir Dastgir Sahib and to a Sikh temple.

When visiting the mosques don't be shy about your camera. Do ask before taking any pics but at least in my case the attendants were all too quick to tell me to take photos before I managed to open my mouth. The oddest thing was that the most photogenic looking old men with either piercing eyes or a cool costume came to me and asked me to take their photo as if they knew I wanted to picture them.
Girls, do keep a scarf with you all the time if you intend to visit the mosques. It's mandatory. There's a sign at the Pir Dastgir Sahib saying visitors are not allowed in naked, but that's a serious understatement.

If you come here during the Ramadan  visit the silly secret cafes. There men, who are supposed to be fasting and keeping a way from cigarettes, make chimneys seem like a blast from the Middle Ages. You will recognise a secret cafe from the curtains on the door. It's like going back to sixth grade when the bad boys smoked behind the corner, away from the eyes of the teachers.

On your second day hire a shikara (a roofed little boat, with plush pillows to lie on) for tour of the lake. You'll see floating gardens (the lotuses are in full bloom in end of May), fishermen, floating markets if you get moving early enough (5AM), more of beautiful houseboats and the amazing reflections of the mountains and clouds on the clear, quiet lake.
On the way you can stop to Hazratbal mosque, which with its Taj Mahal -like features, is the only big mosque in the city which looks like a mosque. The others, Kashmiri styled square mosques with balconies are apparently unique in the islamic world.
A full day shikara tour will cost you 600-1000 rupees per boat

You should visit one of the gardens for which Srinagar is famed for. Other than that you find people trying to bring bout religion while you are casually speaking with with your houseboat owner or a local guide or a shikara....just get into it if u want to play around or change the topic!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mesmerizing Sikkim

Places of Interest in Sikkim


One of the six major monasteries in Sikkim, Phodong monastery is located in the North approximately 38 kms from Gangtok, 4 kms beyond Phodong is the recently renovated Labrang Monastery unique in it architectural design.

Phensang Monastery:
This monastery is situated on the gentle slope stretching from Kabi to Phodong with perhaps one of the best landscapes in the region. The Phensang Monastery, under the Nyingmapa Buddhist Order, was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo. It was gutted by fire in 1947 and rebuilt in 1948 hrough the efforts of the lamas. The annual festival of Chaam is performed on the 29th and 29th days of the tenth month of the Lunar calendar (Tibetan Calendar).

The place offers one of the most spectacular and closest views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and its ranges. A well located Tourist Lodge provides accomodation for visitors. The area also has a number of interesting short nature trails for 1 to 3 days along the higher ridges of the higher ridges of the surrounding hills. One can also savour the most graceful peak in the world, Mt. Siniolchu.

Chungthang:Phensang Monastery, Sikkim
Chungtnahg, on the confluence of Lachen and Lachung Chu and the starting point of River Teesta, has emerged as a major sub-division settlement in North Sikkim. It is the nodal junction for the two passes, Lachen and Lachung. The valley is believed to have been blessed by Guru Rimpoche and one can visit the Holy Guru Lhedo to see the foot and palm prints left behind by the Patron Saint. The place is rich in bio diversity with a large variety of orchids, plants and wildlife, is 95 kms from Gangtok, 23 kms from Lachung, 29 kms from Lachen and is predominantly a Lepcha region.

A Bhutia village with a unique loacl self-governing body called the Zumsa which substitutes the Panchayat. Lachung has emerged as a tourist destination with the soaring popularity of Yumthang Valley which is just 25 kms from Lachung. The village, spreads out on either side of Lachung Chu, has managed to retain its unique culture and tradition. The Lachung Monsatery on the slope opposite to the highway is a focal point of all religious function of the local inhabitants. To get a glimpse of the religious functions performed on auspicious occasion a visit to the Monastery should form part of the tour itinerary.

Yumthang Valley, SikkimYumthang, at an elevation of 11,800 ft and 140 kms from gangtok is a paradise for nature lovers with a fascinating blend of flora and fauna and breathtaking scenic granddeur. The valley is also the home of Singbha Rhododendron Sanctary with 24 species of Rhododendrons. Yumthang 'Tsa-Chu' or the hot spring of the left bank of Lachung Chu is immensely popular for its curative properties and healing power.

Lachen is situated at an altitude of 2750 mtrs. and about 6 hrs. drive from Gangtok. The Lachen Monastery Located on top of the village commands a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and country side. Resorts, hotels and lodges are available for accomodation.
Phodong Monastery, SikkimPhodong Monastery:

Guru-Dongmar Lake:
Guru-dongmar lake is considered as one of the sacred lakes of this State both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. The lake remains milky in color throughout and it is believed the Guru Padmasambhava had touched the lake whilst he visited Tibet from this area.


Namchi :
Temi Tea Garden, South SikkimNamchi, meaning 'Sky High', nestled among the hills at an elevation of 5,500 ft commands panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. Atop Samdruptse hilltop near Namchi, recently erected is the worlds tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava, the patron saint of both Hindus and the Buddhist.

Temi Tea Garden:
The one and only tea garden existing in the State produces one of the top quality teas in the international market. The tea garden is spread out on a gently hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view for the surrounding villages. The visit to the factory could be an eye opener for those wanting to know more about tea processing methods.

At the base of Menam Hill is Ravangla, a small township and transit to various tourist destinations in South and West Sikkim. It is also an upcoming tourist spot, and transit point for trekkers to Menam hill and Borong. There are accomodation facilities and numerous short nature trails. A trek down to the sacred cave 'Sher Chok Bephu', one of the four holiest caves in Sikkim, would be a memorable experiance.

Menam Hill:
Menam Hill, South SikkimMenam Hill towers above Tendong Hill on the other side over looking the ravangla Bazar settlement. Situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched in this part of the world. Mt. Khangchendzonga and its surrounding ranges looms above the dwarf the richly forested and rugged hill. On a clear sunny day, it is possible to see the plains of Bengal spanning across Kalimpong and Darjeeling Hills in the South, right across the Indo-China border towards the North. A short distance away is the legendary Bhaley Bhunga, a kind of rocky spur which juts out from the ridge top and remains suspended in the air above Yangang village.

Facing the snow-capped mountains is Borong, motorable from Ravangla or a trek via Menam. A picturesque village, its beautiful landscape and magnificent view is also host to the hot spring, Borong TsaChu'. The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to Tendong - Ravangla - Menam - Borong (5-6 days) is one of the most interesting trails scaling all the hill tops along the route. The trek can continue to Tashiding or terminate at Borong and drive back to Ravangla.
The Four Jewels of Sikkim

East District
Rumtek Monastery, SikkimThe capital city Gangtok is located here and it is the hub of all government activities. The world famous Rumtek Monastery, the Dharma Chakra center and the seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa is located here in addition to the alpine Tsomgo lake and Nathula Pass.

West District
The West District offers all adventure activities. river rafting, trekking, mountaineering etc begin here. The rivers Teesta and Rangeet attract white water rafting revelers in large numbers.

North District
The famous Shingbha Rhododendron sanctuary as well as the Khangchendzonga National Park is located here. During spring time, the meadows of Yumthang abound with wildflowers, which carpet the valley in a riot of colours. The Hot Springs and rich tribal culture and customs are other attractions. Khangchendzonga National Park, North District

South District
Most famous monasteries are located here. A 108 ft high image of the patron saint of Sikkim, Guru Padmashambhava is situated near the district headquarters at Namchi. Ravangla Base Camp offers trekking upto Maenam and Tendong Hill here. Varsey Rhododendrons Sanctuary is also located here

Suggested schedule:

Mumbai/Delhi - Kolkata (Train or flight)

Kolkata - New Jalpaiguri(nearest station for Darjeeling)

New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling (sharing cab)
Stay at Darjeeling : Hotel Broadway - Rs600 per day

Darjeeting - Kalimpong (sharing cab)

Kalimpong -Gangtok(sharing cab)
Stay at Mount Olive- Rs500 per day

Gangtok to Nathula Pass, Yumthang Valley, Lachen, Lachung, Rumtek can be easily accessable

Countries providing visa-on-arrival for Indians

Countries providing visa-on-arrival for Indians

AsiaAfricaSouth AmericaNorth AmericaOceaniaEurope
ThailandMauritiusEcuadorBritish Virgin IslandsCook IslandsMacedonia
BhutanSeychellesDominicaHaitiEl SalvadorGeorgia
CambodiaTogoBoliviaSt LuciaFiji 
MacauTanzania Saint Kitts and NevisNauru 
IndonesiaEthiopia St VincentSamoa 
IraqMadagascar GrandinesTuvalu 
NepalMozambique GrenadaNieu 
South Korea (Jeju)Djibouti Trinidad & TobagoPalau 
JordanSao Tome & Principe Montserrat Vanuatu 
Timor LesteUganda Nicaragua  
LaosGuinea-Bissau Turks & Caicos Islands  
 Cape Verde    
 Comoros Islands    

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gangotri-Gaumukh Tapovan Trekking

Gangotri-Gaumukh Tapovan Trekking
The Holy River Ganges is the most sacred river in the Hindu religion and its source at Gomukh on the Gangotri glacier and many other peaks. Gomukh is one of the holiest places for Hindu pilgrims who come here to witness the birth of Mother Ganga. The trek takes you to Gomukh (cows mouth), the mythological source of the River Ganges, which is at the snout of the Gangotri glacier.

Garhwal Himalayas
Duration: 11 Days.
Altitude: 4463 mts /14638 ft
Grade: Moderate to Challenging
Season: May - June & Aug - Oct
Day 01): Arrive Delhi
On arrival at Delhi airport met our representative and then transfer to hotel for overnight stay. 
Day 02): Delhi – Haridwar - Uttarkashi
In the morning board Dehradun Shatabdi train for Haridwar at 06:55 hrs. Arrival at Haridwar by 11:20 hrs. On arrival drive to Uttarkashi. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 03): Uttarkashi - Gangotri (3048 M/10000 ft)
In the morning after breakfast drive to Gangotri via a beautiful valley Harsil. Enroute take a holy dip in Gangnani hot water springs. Arrive at Gangotri by evening. Check in to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Gangnani: Further up on way to Gangotri about 26 kms from Maneri is the hot water spring at Gangnani, where one can have refreshing bath in the Kund called Rishi Kund. There is a temple near the Kund dedicated to the Sage Parashar, believed to be the father of Ved Vyas.

Harsil: Harsil is a beautiful spot to see the colors of the nature. The walks, picnics and trek lead one to undiscovered stretches of green, grassy land. Harsil is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Sighting here includes the Wilson Cottage, built in 1864 and Sat Tal (seven Lakes). The adventurous tourists have the choice to set off on various treks that introduces them to beautiful meadows, waterfalls and valleys. Situated amidst the incredible beauty of mountain peaks, Harsil is counted amongst some of the most beautiful places in the Garhwal region.

Gangotri: The shrine of Gangotri is situated at an elevation of 3200 m surrounded by deodars and pines. The original temple was constructed by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa. Every year people from all around the world visit this shrine. A number of ashrams and dharamshalas are located on the other side of the river. It is believed that Raja Bhagirath used to worship Shiva on a slab of rock "Bhagirath Shila" situated near the temple. Submerged in the river there is a natural Shivling where, according to mythology, Lord Shiva sat when he received the Goddess Ganga in his matted locks. A days trek takes one to Gomukh, the source of the mighty Ganges.
Day 04): Gangotri (3048 mts/10000 ft)- Bhojwassa (3792 mts/12440 ft) 13 kms trek/5-6 hrs)
Morning after breakfast we commands our trek further to Bhojwassa via Chirbasa (3600mt). From Gangotri we move along the beaten track towards Chirbasa, which is on tree line. The entire trek today is along the roaring Bhagirathi River. Beyond Chirbasa the terrain becomes really desolate and barren. In fact, it has been referred to as Artic Tundra by many trekkers. From Chirbasa we trek further to Bhojwassa, the entire trail passes through dense forest, Arrive Bhojwassa; there is a small temple and a potential campsite near down the river. We make our camp near river side. Afternoon free to explore the area and to enjoy excellent sunset on Bhagirathi group of peaks. Dinner and overnight stay in tents.

Day 05): Bhojwassa - Gomukh (3890 mts/12760 ft) - Tapovan>(4463 mts / 14640 ft)
Early in the Morning enjoy the panoramic view of Bhagirathi group of peaks. After breakfast trek to Gomukh (3890mt), the source of the Ganges. Gomukh is where the water of Ganga trickles down from the glaciers. The sages called it 'Gomukh', because in the distant past, it probably appeared like a cow's mouth. Explore the area and trek to Tapovan, one of the finest high altitude alpine meadows in the area. The trek from Gomukh to Tapovan is ascent steep, and as we climb, the view of the surrounding peaks becomes clearer. The appear to be just a stone's throw away. Tapovan known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base camp of the Shivling peak, Tapovan is a very pleasant surprised spot with a large meadow complete with bubbling streams, wildflowers and campsites. Herds of Bharal (blue mountain goats) are a common sight from here on mountain ridges. On the far side of the glacier the Bhagirathi I, II, III (6454mt), provide an equally impressive backdrop. It is also the little wonder where Sadhus and saints choose this spot for extended meditation during the long summer month. Arrive Tapovan and camp. Dinner and overnight stay in camp.

Gomukh: The Gomukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi (Ganges) and is held in high esteem by the devout who do not miss the opportunity to have a holy dip in the bone chilling icy water.

Tapovan: Tapovan is an ideal location for the tourists looking for peace and adventure. Tapovan is located on an altitude of 4463m / 14640ft above sea level. Tapovan is base camp for Shivlinga peak in Uttrakhand hills. One can also have a nice view of Bhagirathi peaks from Tapovan Meadow. Every year this place has been visited by thousands of tourist including foreigners for adventure activity like mountaineering & trekking.

Day 06): Tapovan (4463 mts / 14640 ft)  
Free to acclimatize, relax and enjoy the magnificent snow clapped peaks, flora & Fauna and mountain landscape. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Day 07): Tapovan - Nandanvan (Trek 4-5 hrs)
We trace back to Nandan van via Gomukh glacier. The route from Tapovan leads from the upper section of the meadow till down and onto the glacier. From Gomukh turn towards Nandanvan (4340m) and steering on right one will be on top of the Gangotri glacier. The glacier runs between two ranges and the landslides make a layer of rocky moraine on the ice which makes the walking easier. The glacier walk is very slippery and a slight lack of concentration would be dangerous. Huge crevasses gaped here and there. After a walking for about a kilometer there is a vertical ascent. Big rocks enroute offer grips and foot - holds but many of them are deceptive too. Dinner and overnight stay in tents.

 Day 08): Nandanvan - Bhojwassa(Trek 4-5 hrs)
Early morning enjoy the sunrise on high peaks. After breakfast trek down to Bhojwassa. Arrive Bhojwassa and camp. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.

 Day 09): Bhojwassa - Gangotri(Trek 4-5 hrs) – Uttarkashi
Morning after breakfast trek down to Gangotri, where our car will be waiting for us. Then drive to Uttarkashi. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.

 Day 10): Uttarkashi – Haridwar (170 kms/5 hrs) -Delhi
Morning after breakfast drive to Haridwar. On arrival transfer to railway station to catch Dehradun Shatabdi train for Delhi at 18:05 hrs. Arrival at Delhi by 22:45 hrs. On arrival transfer to hotel for overnight stay.

 Day 11): New Delhi- Departure
Transfer to the airport time to catch flight for onward destinations

Visit Ganpatipule

If you are looking for a beautiful, clean, pristine sea beach, far away from the mad, mad crowd, you will love Ganpatipule.
If you have the time and the inclination, there are a number of nearby forts to explore.
And of course, the famous 400 year old Ganapati temple is a major attraction.
Ganpatipule is a small village on the sea coast near Ratnagiri – 375 kms south of Mumbai.
It is not too close to Mumbai, not very well known and therefore not crowded.
The beautiful journey
The road to Ganpatipule runs almost parallel to the western coast of India.
You pass through towns and villages scattered across roads lined with red tiled-roof houses having large courtyards with different kinds of fruit trees.
And you get beautiful glimpses of the casuarina lined coast.
The 7 hour road journey is thoroughly enjoyable.
Things to see in and around Ganpatipule
The Beach
The clean, sprawling beach is wonderful.
The blue waters of the Arabian sea and the silver sands transform you into one of the fairy tale islands.
You can play around in the water or walk across the beach in the moon light.
Swayambhu Ganapati Temple 
                  Ganpatipule Swayambhu Temple                            
Swayambhu means ‘self appeared’.
It is believed that the idol of Ganesha in the temple originated by itself.
A lot of visitors take a ‘pradakshina’ or walk around the temple.
The one kilometre walk on the beautiful ‘Pradakshina Marg’ lined with trees and plants is enjoyable.
You get beautiful views of the beach from here.
Ganapatipule Market
Ganapatipule Market is small but interesting.
You can taste the local ‘Kokam’ sherbet, ‘Modak’ , Pav Bhaji, Chaat dishes, Wada Pav, Samosa Pav, Lime Water, etc.
Malgund is a small village, about 2 kms away from Ganapatipule.
It is the birthplace of Keshavsoot, the famous Marathi poet.
You can visit his old house and see his inkpot, writing desk and ‘jhula’ (swing).
Jaigad Fort
This legendary fort is only 35 kms from Ganapatipule.
Ratnagiri, 45 kms from Ganaptipule, is the land of the ‘Hapus’ or Alphonso mangoes.
It is also the birthplace of Lokmanya Tilak, the famous freedom fighter.
His house is now open to the visitors.
MTDC Holiday Resort spread over 45 acres of land near the coast is the best.
The rates are also quite reasonable.
Hotel Land Mark, a little distance from Ganpatipule, is another good hotel.
There are several other cheaper hotels.
Getting there
Mumbai to Ganapatipule – 375 kms
Pune to Ganapatipule – 331 kms
Ratnagiri to Ganapatipule – 45 kms
The nearest railway stations are Bhoke (35 kms from Ganapatipule) and Ratnagiri on (45 kms from Ganapatipule).
But the latter is more convenient.

Mumbai to Gokarna

Mumbai - Gokarna - Mumbai
One of the nearby getaways around maharashtra & konkan area...
Mumbai - Kumta- Managlore Express (nearest railway station)
Rs 400
Kumta - Gorarna town (state transport bus)
Rs 100
Gokarna town - OM Beach (auto - Rs120)

Stay at Namaste Cafe at OM beach resort(Rs1200 per day)

Return by train(Gokarna Rd - Lokmanya Tilak) Matsyagandha Express

Relaxation : FREE

Ladakhing and Leh'ing Around

From Mumbai to Ladakh

Mumbai - Chandigargh ( Flight)
Rs. 3200
Chandigarh - Manali ( Himachal State Transport Bus)
Manali - Leh ( Sharing Car/Mini Bus with a stop at Sarchu)
Where to Stay? Staying in Leh could be Rs 400 -500 per day - Mona Lisa Guest House at Changspa Road
Places around Leh:
Pangong Lake: Sharing from Leh - Pangong one day trip Rs 1500 per head
Nubra Valley : Two day trip : Rs 1600 + Rs 500 for staying at diskit
Travelling from Leh to Thiksey = Rs. 100 two way by state transport Bus
Leh - Srinagar (Overnight sharing Car /Mini Bus Non stop via Kargil)
Srinagar - Mumbai (Flight)

You can also try downhill mountain biking from World's highest motorable road, Khardungla Pass to Leh!
Contact any travel agent at Changspa Road -Leh for arrangements

Apart from above Rs 200 per day for food at a budget restuarant.

My way is the highway

My way is the highway

As World Tourism Day approaches on Sept 27, Sunday Times tracks desi backpackers — that often ignored group which is slowly making its presence felt

Atul Sethi | TNN

    Animesh Rawal doesn’t mind calling himself kanjoos, a miser. But then, being a kanjoos can sometimes be a handy trait, especially if you are backpacking around the globe on a shoestring budget. The Bangalore-based former IT professional with a fondness for languages —his profile says he is fluent in English, Hindi and Indonesian, conversational in Spanish, and can “convincingly make a fool of myself in French” — has set for himself the challenge of backpacking around the world in six months, without spending more than Rs 2 lakh from his pocket (expenses on beer excluded). “The myth that ‘Indians don’t backpack’ has been broken time and again by desis from all over the globe,” says the 20-something globetrotter intent on busting the myth further with what he calls the ‘Do Peti Challenge’ — the Rs two lakh-challenge.
    Rawal epitomizes the rising generation of confident, young Indian backpackers who are increasingly hitting the road, often in the truest tradition of backpacking — taking each day as it comes and savouring the journey as well as the destination.
    Akshay Chhugani, who set up the Indian Backpacker Company, a travel planning outfit targeting foreign backpackers coming to India, says he was surprised to get a lot of business from Indian customers. “Our clients are mainly the young, often those in the 22-26 age group. The concept is especially popular among college students who may have visited popular destinations with their families and now want to experience the flavour of backpacking, usually in off-beat places.”
    Interestingly, there are more women backpacking now — at least to destinations outside India. Yogi Shah, CEO of Mumbai-based The Backpacker Co, says the ratio of Indian women to men backpackers going abroad is 60:40. “Popular destinations for Indian women backpackers are Europe and the UK,” he adds. But desi destinations are catching up fast, too — notwithstanding the perception of the country being unsafe for female backpackers. Meha Ved, who got bitten by the backpacking bug five years ago on a holiday to Dharamsala, has since been on backpacking trips to Gaumukh, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Ladakh and Kashmir, accompanied in her trips by another female friend. “Although we seldom saw a single girl or a bunch of girls
travelling, it never bothered us
because people went out of the
way to help us. For instance, when we were in Kashmir during the Ramzan month, and wanted to taste kahwa — the Kashmiri saffron tea — the waiter at a restaurant told us that it was not being served due to Ramzan. But soon, he got us two steaming hot cups of kahwa from somewhere and refused to take any money for it.”
    Such incidents among backpackers abound. An Indian couple that backpacked across Europe last year reminisces being stranded at an obscure railway station in Italy when they heard a familiar tune. It was Salman Khan’s song from his latest movie! They located the source of the song to a shop selling Indian groceries and got directions and a complimentary hot Indian meal.
    Europe and the Far East have always been popular with Indian backpackers. But, interestingly, the
style of backpacking changes when away from home. “Indians, by na ture are flashpackers, especially when travelling abroad,” says Chhugani. Flashpacking is a term used for affluent backpackers who travel with technological gadgets and are not averse to splurging on accommodation or travel options unlike the quintessential back packer who doesn't mind roughing it out.
    But such distinctions may be getting fluid as backpacking itself becomes more broad-based and in tune with the times. Shah says this is reflected in many little things. “Earlier, hostels which backpackers used were bottom-of the-barrel. But now, hostels offer private room options and are more evolved. Also, many back packers hitchhiked their way around, but now it’s illegal to do so in many countries. And, unlike the past when backpackers could take off when they wanted, now it’s impossible to get visas unless there is a fixed itinerary.”
    Flashpacker or backpacker — the term may vary, but the reason for travelling doesn’t. Subhashish Roy, who makes it a point to back pack inside India at least once every three months, says the soul of the backpacking experience lies in going off on a trip where nobody tells you what to do. “For me, it essentially means experi encing the unknown, mingling with the locals and getting a fla vour of their lives,” he says.
    TV actor Ejaz Khan, another ardent backpacker, echoes this thought, but adds another dimen sion to it. “Backpacking is often
    highly educative experience
One of my most memora ble backpacking trips was when I, along with a friend, stayed in small village near Nasik. We bathed in ponds and experienced village life. Through our interactions, we were able to understand the conditions that prompted most young men in the village to leave for the cities. It in spired us to do something constructive for rural em ployment in the future.” This, then, may con tain the essence of the backpacking experience — learning more about how others live. As someone once said, “ travel because there is no greater teacher.” 

BLAZING A TRAIL More Indian women are backpacking, especially to destinations outside India