An Illustrated Walk: Walla Crag to Ashness Bridge, Lake District

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The woods were unexpectedly silent and I was relieved to see only one other car parked at the foot of the hill, looking quite out of place in its shiny blue. Considering that it was a dedicated National Trust car park, I had dreaded running into scores of other hikers who might have decided to set out on the Great … Read More

The rains in India

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It’s the season that brings a whole upheaval of emotions. Great big drops fall from the saturated sky, at that breaking point beyond which the earth can’t hold back anymore. These are tears of happiness, of sadness, of anger, of release. Some of us run into the streets with abandon – they say the first rain of the monsoon washes … Read More

A childhood made of dreams

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I don’t know where my parents procured the Magic Toothbrush from, but it remains, to this day, the single most fascinating thing I have ever seen in my life. My brother and I woke up one day to find that we had just willed the ‘changing colour’ toothbrush to jump straight out of the TV ad into our hands. We … Read More

Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya | Trekking to the double-decker living root bridge

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“Ow!” I cry, as a steel nail pricks my palm. Hurriedly withdrawing my hand from the railing, I put another foot forward on the suspension bridge, which sways from side to side. The river below me tumbles over the rocks and disappears into the Himalayan valley. The thick rainforest seems silently amused, as I gingerly make my way across. My … Read More

Thoughts on photography

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“You backpacked across France and didn’t take a single photo?” I asked incredulously. “Yes,” he replied, amused at my reaction. “But why?” “I was enjoying the experience,” he shrugged. I thought for a minute if I would (or could) do the same. Nah. I didn’t have the guts to. If I didn’t take a picture, I would probably always regret … Read More

Bird-watching, a first-time experience

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This story, titled “Bird-watching: A first-time experience”, first appeared on 2nd February 2016 in The Pollachi Papyrus. Read the story here. Ramya birding from a bullock-cart | Credits: Lingesh Kalingarayar My interaction with winged creatures has been almost entirely limited to crows, peacocks and pigeons. While crows constantly stole my food during the hostel years, a peacock once used my … Read More

13 must-have Indian food experiences

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This piece was originally done for the travel company GoMowgli, highlighting the food experiences a first-time traveller to India must have.  From the 36-course Kashmiri wazwan to the simple biryani of Tamil Nadu, India offers to your palate a mind-boggling variety of tastes and flavours. Much like its people and culture, Indian food is highly diverse, with each region having … Read More

On fear, fist pumps and freedom

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“Stretch your legs out in front of you,” the instructor said, as I hung suspended by a pulley, ready for my first zip lining experience. The rope I clung to for dear life connected one mountain to another across the gorgeous green valley of Cherrapunjee. I had decided to do this after agreeing to the the driver’s mysterious question,” Madam, … Read More

A night on an island in a tiger reserve!

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A version of this story, titled “Fiercely protected, fearlessly wild”, was first published by The Pollachi Papyrus on 21 October 2015. Read it here. Spread over 640 km2, and surrounded by forests on all sides, the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is home to a large number of endangered and endemic species – tigers, elephants, langurs, macaques, bears, bison, deer and various birds, … Read More

Why Coorg keeps calling me back

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This story was first published by Tripoto on May 26, 2015. Read it here Image credit: Ramya Sriram  Dark-leaved coffee plantations. Waterfalls cascading down hills. Pepper vines winding their way around tall trees.  Misty morning walks. Smiling peaceful people. If there’s any place that’s called me back again and again, it’s Coorg, nestled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. I … Read More

The family that travels together stays together!

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This piece was originally published on Tripoto on 5 May 2015.   www.tripoto.com/trip/the-family-that-travels-together-stays-together-6304 The first thing that comes to mind when I think of my childhood travels is a blue Milton water carrier that faithfully accompanied us on long train journeys. Along with carefully rolled chapathis, fried snacks and biscuits, it formed our portable kitchen, a place where us kids … Read More

Valparai: Waterfalls, wilderness and solace

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This story was first published by Yahoo! India Travel | Traveler on Mon 20 Oct, 2014 10:43 AM IST The link no longer works as Yahoo! just demolished their India travel section, taking away all the stories with it. Notes from an 80-km journey from the roaring Athirappilly waterfalls in Kerala to the forest-fringed tea plantations of Valparai in Tamil Nadu … Read More

Mint | The Bayon Temple, Cambodia

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A version of this story, titled “Facing up to the past”, was first published in Mint on Sat, Apr 26 2014. 12 11 AM IST. Read the published article here. The Angkor Smile The 216 faces of the Bayon seem to know something we don’t. J7  is  what  he’s  called  by  the  locals.  No,  he’s  not  a  rapper,  but  he  certainly  is  … Read More

Train ride of a lifetime

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This story was first published by Yahoo! India Travel | Traveler on Tue 5 Nov, 2013 12:05 PM IST. Read it here. (Update: This link no longer works as Yahoo! India recently shut down its travel section, taking away all the the stories  and comments with it.) Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram on the Konkan Railway, all of 3,149 km, is the longest trip … Read More

Hyderabad, India | Fingersmiths with a sense of style

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This article was first published in Mint on Sat, May 11 2013. 12 07 AM IST. Read the article here. Hyderabad’s calligraphers’ sleight of hand keeps an ancient art alive, and electronic printers at bay Mohammed Abid Khaleel engrossed in work at his shop. Photo: Harsha Vadlamani Opening his bottle of Camlin Waterproof black ink, Mohammed Abid Khaleel dips the nib of … Read More

Chikmagalur: Soaking up the Sahyadris

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This article was first published by Yahoo! India Travel on Wed 22 Aug, 2012 11:02 AM IST. Read it here.  (Update: The link no longer works as Yahoo! India Travel shut down recently, taking away all its stories and comments.) Karnataka boasts of some of the most beautiful ranges of the Western Ghats one can ever hope to visit. It shelters … Read More