2014 has been quite a substantial year for me as a traveller. Despite the financial hiccups, I travelled quite a lot. I discovered quite a few ‘new’ places and also had many offbeat experiences.
So without wasting a minute more, I’m going to list down my most stunning moments from the road this year –
1/Soaking in the bustle at Charminar
Charminar is a charmingly chaotic site in Hyderabad. It’s a place where you will be irked by the crowd around, but will not regret your experience. There is so much to absorb and photograph. I went there in the beginning of the year with an idea of exploring my backyard before heading to far-flung places. It was amazing!
2/Road-tripping from Hyderabad to Bangalore
Travelling from Hyderabad to Bangalore via road was perhaps the first major highlight of the year. The Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway is simply beautiful. In my opinion, the best time to travel on this route is in the months of March and April when the heat is still bearable and the views are rustically gorgeous.
3/Noshing through Bangalore
For a foodie like me, trying different cuisines is also a high. I think I was on an eating spree in 2014. I believe Bangalore is a great place for foodies – from traditional South Indian dishes to all kinds of exotic cuisines, the variety is immense. So, have your pick!
4/Making friends on the road
I don’t think I ever built such warm relationships ever before like the way I did this year! I came across many people on my long trip through Sikkim and Darjeeling, and recently in Hampi. Besides my lovely hosts and their acquaintances at various home stays and guest houses, I met quite a few fellow travellers who were great to get along with. We enjoyed conversations over tea and created endearing memories.
5/Trailing through villages
2014 has been a year of villages for me. I explored at least five or six of them – Assam Lingzey Village in East Sikkim, Darap Village and Yuksom in West Sikkim, Lamahatta and Dilaram Village in Darjeeling, and lately Anegundi in Karnataka.
Also read - 12 Reasons To EscapeTo Villages
6/Experiencing the Eastern Himalayan way of life
My sojourn in Sikkim and Darjeeling made me have a taste of the Eastern Himalayan way of life – their food choices, beliefs, traditions and culture. It was an experience to eat, drink and laugh with various ethnic groups of the Himalayas – Nepalese, Bhutia, Limboo and Gurung.
7/Staying at a colonial bungalow
Thanks to Goomtee Tea Estate & Resorts for hosting me at their colonial bungalow in Darjeeling. It was definitely an exceptional stay – a quiet vintage resort with the subtle aroma of freshly brewed Darjeeling tea in the air.
You can read the whole story here -- A Taste Of Vintage Era At A Tea Planter’s Bungalow
8/Taking photos of tribal people
The tribal people of Sikkim are unbelievably gracious. I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to take their photos. They wear beautiful jewellery and interesting attires, and their faces are so photographic. No wonder photography gets even more enjoyable and rewarding!
9/Exploring the wild beauty of the Himalayas
I was overwhelmed by the abundance of flowers and wild fruits in almost every corner of Sikkim and Darjeeling. Of course, I was happy as a photographer too. I spent lots of time in practicing bokeh photography.
10/Hiking in the rain
I hiked for around four to five hours on a rainy day in Darjeeling. It was an expedition to a lesser-known lake near Kurseong - Bhangzang Salamander Lake. The hike turned out to be even more beautiful because of the mist-clad tea gardens and the soft drizzle through the day.
Also read The ‘Secret’ Lake
11/Meeting the beautiful ladies in the tea gardens
I was aware of the delicious taste of the Darjeeling tea, but I didn’t have any idea about the ‘pain’ and ‘tears’ behind it. The women in the fields worked diligently and smiled for my camera without a trace of grievance on their faces. However, it’s a sad irony that the ladies who labour in the tea gardens of Darjeeling to produce the finest and perhaps the most expensive tea in the world are paid a measly amount of INR 90 per day!
12/Catching a fleeting glimpse of Kanchenjunga Mountains
Kanchenjunga range is a rage in Sikkim. Everybody looks at it without blinking their eyes! It is not seen easily during the summers, as it’s misty through the day. You have to get up really early to get its clear view. To be honest, I did not even care much to see it while everybody else kept humming about it. Well, I finally witnessed the splendid range from Lamahatta in Darjeeling, and yes, I was awestruck!
13/Bicycling through the countryside of Hampi
I bicycled after ages! I was a bit jittery when I started out, but the carefree vibe around put me at ease and I simply enjoyed myself. Many locals along the way waved a ‘hello’ at me, which was amusing as well as friendly. I loved the spontaneity of the trip.
Also read Top 9 Things To Do In Hampi
14/Romancing the sunsets of Hampi
I’m going to keep saying this over and over again that Hampi is a place for stunning sunsets and sunrises. I’d say keep everything aside – the ruins, the temples, the boulders and the river, and just surrender to the magical hues in the early morning and towards the twilight.
See Photos - I Witnessed The Best Sunset Of My Life…
So what was your most stunning moment from the road in 2014?
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