Slow Travel, Immersive Tales

Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave – Treasure trove of Indian Mythology

“If you will not visit these caves, you are not a true Indian”. Some other time, I would not have liked this absurd comment to my eight year old kid from a stranger lady. It is difficult for me to digest how someone may consider visiting a cave complex as a test of person’s love and loyalty for his country. However, on that day, I was not really unhappy about the comment.
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Kareri Lake Trek with Kids: Prologue

Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh has all that Himachal offers; scented air, blue skies, white peaks, tall trees but it is heavily touristy as well. His holiness Dalai Lama also calls it home and you get a heady cocktail of people. Everywhere. To make it off beat or to say customise it to our palate was not that difficult. We threw some ancient ruins and a high altitude trek to Kareri Lake in the itinerary. The base was of course touristy Mcleodganj, which offers delightful people watching time and tasteful food to make for its hopelessly crowded space.

Kareri Lake- the destination.

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Spoilt for choices at Chambal National Sanctuary

I also live here in CNS

“It is not a season for Chambal. The best season to be there is from October to March when migratory birds make it their winter home. All the migratory birds have, well, migrated. Mugger crocodile and Gharial only are not alluring enough for me to make a trip. ” Reasoned Manish, my husband.

“I know. But there will be resident birds and I want to see our National Aquatic Animal, the Tiger of the Ganga.” Argued me.

“This ‘Tiger of Ganga’ is more difficult to spot than the ‘Tiger’ itself. And there will be a few, only a few, local birds.”

“Yes, but you know, places when visited in off-season, reveal their true local colors. And I do like solitude. With all the birders having gone, Chambal will be entirely to ourselves.”
He did what he always has to do- surrender to the wishes of the travel organiser of the house and that set us for an off season trip (in mid-April) to National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS).
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Parsis in the Matheran Memory

The long shadows of the evening and morning is not the only time when trees of Matheran provide shade to the seeking souls. The abundance of trees, their tall stature and ever-branching canopy casts spell binding shades even in noon and afternoon. The absence of vehicular traffic means no hindrance of any kind to the eye and ear and no holding of hands for kids. That sets Matheran as a perfect place to take never-ending walks without any time or destination restrictions, even with kids.

Bungalow in Matheran

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The Khmer Capital of Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom is the remains of the capital city of the great Khmer Empire. It literally means “the great city” in Khmer. This imperial compound lies on the west bank of the Siem Reap River, a tributary of Tonle Sap. It is a square walled area and was the last capital city of the Angkorian Empire. This complex was built by Jayavarman VII after recapturing Angkor from the Cham invaders in 1181. He built this around existing structures, like Baphuon and Phimeankas; he also constructed one of Angkor’s greatest temples, Bayon, set at the centre of the city. There are five entrances to the city, one at each cardinal point and the victory gate.

We drove by Angkor Wat and entered Angkor Thom through the South Gate by another bridge over another moat. On that bridge, the railings were sculpted into the Devas and Asuras, taking part in Sea-Churning. The gateway was crowned with four faces, while the fort walls extended on both sides.

Entering Angkor Thom through the South Gate

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Being a Guest in Wayanad

It is a delight to live in Bamboo Villa at Trikkapetta in Waynad. The house does not have a concrete boundary wall. That omens well. A small wooden gate hinged in the green hedge takes us in the compound. There is a small pond at the entrance, brimming with fish and lily. A bridge above it takes us inside the house. The house is stilted. Yes, you read it right. There is another big pond on which the house stands and the pond is, well, a fish garden, like a kitchen garden. Inside the house, there is a sit-in-out which opens to the fish-pond below. Ducks quake and that is the only sound which rises above the squeals of my younger one and dinner table talks when all are at home. At other times ducks try to enhance the sound of silence. The owner has a shop and many other community activities, the land lady Sreeja goes to work at Bamboo Craft Centre after finishing house hold work and two daughters are busy with school and college.

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