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Winter destinations in India

Don’t we all love the winter season? A perfect hot cup of coffee by the fire or having some warm baked muffins while snuggling into your blanket, sounds like a perfect date with self.

While this is applicable for one category of people, here are we, the latter, who love to explore the beauty of Winters! From trekking in the snow of Kullu Manali to enjoying hot kachoris in the streets of Rajasthan, winter is an absolute paradise for wanderlusts.

As “Winter is coming” in India, here are a few shortlisted travel destinations for winter travelling, so read on and get ready to back your warmest sweaters!

  1. Manali-

In frame : Hidimba Devi Temple, Manali

Best time to Visit : October to February

Places to visit : Rohtang Pass, Mall road, Solang Valley, Jogini Waterfalls, Van Vihar, Hidimba Devi Temple, etc.

We’ve all added Manali to our bucket lists after watching Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, haven’t we?

Mesmerizing views across this hill station are sure to make you never want to return back home. Numerous trekking options in and around Manali, river rafting in river Beas, paragliding over the snow capped hills, resting your eyes on the beauty of the Rohtang pass, you sure don’t want to miss this one, this winter. Don’t forget the small eateries which provide free wi-fi as well as a great ambience to give you the best relaxing vibes you’ll ever need.

2. Goa-

In frame : Calangute Beach, Goa

Best time to visit : Mid November – Mid February ( winter season )

Places to visit : Tito’s Street, Calangute Beach, Baga beach, Dudhsagar falls, Casino Cruise, The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Fort Aguada, etc.

There’s no “best” time to visit the party capital of India, GOA, but for the winter lovers, it’s time to start packing by November! What’s more serene than laying on the cool beach sand with a fantastic vibe of the city that never stops partying? Want a relaxing trip? Goa! Want an adventurous trip? Goa! Experience the beauty of coastal India in winters as you visit old forts, churches  and monuments by sunrise, and take a stroll at the beaches with water splashing at your feet by sunset. Hippie shopping, going high yet carefree, jet skiing, many bucket List items are gonna get ticked here, this winter!

3. Udaipur-

In frame : Udaipur City Palace

Best time to visit : September – March ( Peak winter : November – February )

Places to visit : Lake Pichola, City Palace, Sajjangarh Palace, Eklingji Temple, Haldighati, Jag Mandir Palace, Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Shilpgram, Ambrai Ghat, etc.

Udaipur is a beautiful city in Rajasthan and is great to experience royalty, luxury and novel comfort on a budget! Beautiful architecture and lightings, this city is one of a kind. For all those who love heritage sites, this city will be a treat to the eyes. Don’t forget to have hot kachoris as your body soaks in the cold weather. Shop traditional Rajasthani items at Bada Bazaar and have a relaxing sunset view by the Fateh Sagar Lake. Pack your fanciest yet warmest clothes to visit Udaipur, this winter!

4. Gulmarg-

In frame : Alpather Lake

Best time to visit : October to February ( for winter & snow lovers )

                                March to June ( for a greener sight )

Places to visit/ things to do : Gulmarg Gondola, Alpather Lake, Ningle Nallah, children’s park, Strawberry valley, Seven springs, etc.

Heaven on earth, Kashmir is a must visit for every Indian. Experience the second longest and second-highest cable car in the world at the Gulmarg Gondola and don’t forget to trek across the scenic Alpather Lake. Skiing in the valleys of Gulmarg has been an ever loved activity for tourists and can never get boring for anyone! Although the peak season is from March to June when the weather is pleasant, it is an adventure to visit this place during the winters after the snowfall season in January/ February, to see thick layers of snow sheets everywhere. Get ready to have the best snow fight fun in Gulmarg, this winter!

5. Kodaikanal-

In frame : Kodaikanal Pine Forest

Best time to visit : Throughout the year! ( Peak winter : November – February )

Places to visit : Bryant Park, Coaker’s walk, Kodaikanal Lake, Silver Cascade Falls, Pine Forest, etc.

Kodaikanal, known as the princess of hill stations is a winsome treat to the eyes. One of the most beautiful hill stations of South India, this one’s a scenic trip and you’re sure to get loads of amazing pictures captured, because literally, this has been the shooting spot for numerous bollywood films!

Cycle around the Kodaikanal Lake ( you get cycles for rent right there ) and visit the Pine Forest for an enchanting view of the trees. The cool breeze and the aroma of the pine trees makes it an exquisite experience. Relaxing, beautiful and wholesome, this one’s a must this winter!

6. Auli-

In frame : Auli Artificial Lake

Best time to visit : December to February

Places to visit : Auli ropeway, Auli Artificial Lake, Gorson Bugyal, Chattrakund, Kwani Bugyal, Joshimath, Chenab Lake, Nanda Devi peak, etc.

India’s premier Ski resort destination is Auli, a small yet picture perfect town. A beautiful winter getaway, this place is a must visit for all the winter lovers during December as this place receives heavy snowfall, which is very hard to find in India. The slopes here that are as high as 9000 feet above sea level offer stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks; like that of Nanda Devi, Kamet, Dunagiri and Mana Parvat. There are a number of attractions here at the hill station. The most famous one amongst tourists is the ropeway. Don’t forget to trek your way across the magnificent lakes, to the scenic Bugyals, this winter!

7. Kanyakumari-

In frame : Thiruvalluvar Statue

Best time to visit : October – March ( mild winters )

Places to visit : Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari Beach, Mathoor Aqueduct, Triveni Sangam, Padmanabhapuram Palace, etc.

The southern tip of India, Kanyakumari, is the house to the Triveni Sangam, where the waters of the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal & Arabian Sea confluence. Miraculously, here you can see that the water of three seas does not mix, you can distinguish between the turquoise blue, deep blue, and sea green waters of the three seas, though the colors keep changing with the season and the day’s weather. Isn’t that so interesting and make you want to visit it even more? 

The beautiful architecture of the temples, the scenic sunsets at the beaches, gives Kanyakumari a beautiful mix of spiritual as well as adventurous trips and cannot be missed this winter!

8. Kutch-

In frame : Rann of Katch

Best time to visit : October – March

Places to visit : Rann of Katch, Dholavira, Gandhidham, Mandvi, Bhuj

One of the most out of the box experiences is visiting the salt marshes of Kutch, aka, the great Rann of Kutch. Do not miss the kutch festivals where hundreds of local artisans bring out the best culture of Gujarat and make it an exquisite experience for shopping, fun and memories! Winters make it very comfortable to enjoy and have a complete soaking experience of traditional Gujarati culture and food here. Empty your tummies, pack on the best traditional outfits, to visit the beautiful Kutch this winter!

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Iconic places for foodies

India is one of the richest countries in terms of culture and of course, FOOD! Here are the most popular and mouth watering dishes from across the country which you gotta add on your food travel bucket List right away!

Even international tourists do not miss visiting these super famous eateries!

  1. Paranthe wali gali, Delhi:

The paranthas at Gali Paranthe Wali are a mix of the traditional Punjabi paratha and the Bedmi poori (deep-fried stuffed Indian bread), which is cooked not on the Tawa but deep-fried in a kadhai.. It is served with spicy potato sabzi or curry and tamarind-banana chutney. You just cannot miss this one when in Delhi!

2. MTR, Bangalore:

Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, known more popularly as MTR, was established in 1924 and is one of Bangalore’s oldest and most well known restaurants. It serves one of the best Dosas and Idlis in Bangalore along with a generous amount of chutney and ghee!

Not even a fitness freak can resist this one!

3. Deena chat bhandar, Varanasi:

Varanasi is a paradise for North Indian food lovers. When it comes to street food, Deena Chat Bhandar tops every must-go-to list. You’ll get to savour a myriad of chaats here, but its most famous offering is the tamatar chaat. It has two outlets, both situated in Varanasi’s food hotspots – Dashashwamedh Ghat and Chowk. Deena Chat Bhandar has been wowing people for 5 decades and things haven’t changed a bit.

4. Dastarkhwan, Lucknow:

The Mughal’s Dastarkhwan in Hazratganj is the right place to sample authentic Mughlai fare from Awadh. From lip-smacking galawat kebab and mutton rogan josh to chicken biryani and shami kabab, this restaurant is a carnivore’s delight. A hub for Mughlai food lovers, the restaurant is frequently listed as one of the best places for Mughlai cuisine in Lucknow. You can enjoy a wide array of non-vegetarian dishes at a pocket-friendly rate.

You’re guaranteed to walk out with a wide smile and satisfied stomach.

5. masala chowk, Jaipur:

Jaipur Masala Chowk is an open-air food court in Ram Niwas Garden to enjoy the local flavors of Jaipur! Masala means spice and chowk means public square or an open area. The word hints at a place with a variety of shops and kiosks serving street food.

Must try : Pyaaz Kachori, Kulfi Falooda, Dal Baati Churma, Aloo Cholle Tikki, etc.

6. Ashok vada pao stall, Mumbai:

The vada pav is iconic to Mumbai, and Ashok Vada Pav at Prabhadevi has time and again been declared as the best in the city. This place has been serving vada pav for over two decades now and is truly the favourite of every Mumbaikar. India takes pride in Vada Pav as a street food, and as a tourist, you just cannot miss this one!

7. Joshi dahi bada house, Indore:

If you are in Indore, not seeing Joshi Ji swirling Dahi vada would be a big miss. The local people love Joshi Ji who is the owner of this eatery, for throwing Dahi vada in the air and catching it like a pro! Joshi Ji is one talented man! It’s something that every foodie should definitely try at least once. Eat this flying Dahi Vada, bite on the lip-smacking bhutte ka kees, sip Kadak Chai, and get lost in the amazing taste and conversations with the numerous  foodies who visit this place everyday!

8. Dindigul thalappakatti, Chennai:

The Thalappakatti Biriyani Hotel’s roots can be traced all the way back to 1957. The Rs 200-crore biriyani brand now has 40 branches across the world and is cooking up other plans of expansion. Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani’s core offering is the Mutton Biryani, chicken and minced meat biryani. Varieties like Chicken 65 Biryani, Paneer Biryani and Mushroom Biryani,among other options, are also available. The menu also has barbecues and other South Indian delicacies like Mutton Sukka and Karandi Omelette.

No non veg foodie traveller can miss this!

9. Hot stimulating cafe, Darjeeling (momos):

Darjeeling takes pride in this tiny, cozy place called Hot Stimulating Cafe, for serving one of the best Momos in town! Super popular amongst tourists, it’s a small place serving mainly vegetarian delicacies and also famous homemade root beer, served in bamboo glass. This is offered only to tourists and not to the localites. Thukpa is a must try here as well!

There, we just gave you 9 reasons to travel if you are a food lover. Even if you are not, make sure to include such local hot spots on your next trip to your favorite locations. Locals can give you the best recommendations and this will make you feel like a local #TravelLikeaLocal

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Importance of travelling annually

There are a few reasons why you should make sure you travel annually at least once. Preferably a solo trip, else with a group where you can manage some alone time without disrespecting them.

So what is your reason to go for your annual soul-searching solo trip?

Take your pick and plan your next travel according to your wish to either try a new activity like scuba, surfing, coffee painting, cooking or just opt for a healing walk in the hills and unwind your mind. You can check out our network of local guides to give your next vacation a purpose.

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BEST COFFEES TO TRY ACROSS THE WORLD

Is your morning incomplete without the perfect cup of coffee? Doesn’t everything seem so dull until you get the first aroma of coffee to start your day? Are you a travel addict + coffee addict? The answer to all these questions is here! Don’t be depresso, have an espresso! As you travel the world, do not forget to explore the different flavours of the world as well. Here are the best coffees to try across the world which have a distinct yet refreshing taste!

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Top 5 things to remember while Vacationing on your periods!

PERIODS! A nightmare for all ladies, especially for those who love to travel! Cramps, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, headache, back pain, heavy bleeding and whatnot! Periods are a total package to deal with and no woman wants to experience this on her lovely ME time trips. Unfortunately, not always things go as planned and your vagina chooses to surprise you. So here are a few things to keep in mind when travelling in and around your menstruation period.

  1. Menstrual Cups :

Menstrual Cups, being one of the most sustainable options, are a small and portable item you always gotta carry in your bag. Easy to insert, clean up, and re-insert, this is a life saver while travelling!

You can of course always go for tampons or pads, whatever is the most convenient for you, because your comfort comes first, especially on your leisure vacay time!

2. Pain Killers & Natural Pain Relief techniques :

Over the counter medications like Ibuprofen, dicyclomine; anti-inflammatory tablets are a blessing during periods to fight those spasms away. While travelling, stomach cramps and pain can cause a huge amount of discomfort and pain killers can be a good option, if used in limits. 

You can also consider investing in a good quality hot water bag which stays hot for a long time. These are very effective in relieving abdominal pain. For travel purposes, electric hot water bags are preferable as you can just charge them up anywhere you find a point!

3. Herbal Tea : 

It is a great idea to always carry a few herbal tea bags with you while travelling. You can just stop at any nearby eatery and arrange for some hot water,  just dip in your tea bags, and wallah, there you go with an instantly soothing cramp reliever! Also, remember to avoid unhealthy, oily food. Choose dry fruits or dark chocolate as a snack instead. 

Recommended teas for periods : Chamomile Tea, Ginger and Lime Tea, Raspberry Leaf Tea, etc.

4. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer : 

To avoid all the messy hassle while travelling on your periods, wet wipes are a great option for cleaning up instantly. It saves you when you just can’t find a washroom in a foreign town! Just keep a few wet wipes handy and don’t forget to maintain the hygiene with some hand sanitizer! 

5. Extra pair of panties!

Don’t forget to pack a few extra panties for any sort of emergencies! Your bleeding can be unpredictable and hence, packing a few extra essentials won’t hurt. Ensure they’re soft, loose and comfortable! Fancy and uncomfortable underwear is the last thing you need to bear on your painful days. Choose comfortable pants as well to come your tummy at ease.

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11 things every female solo traveler must do in Bali

Bali, Indonesia is a complete destination unto itself and caters to all of ones’ holiday needs. Whether you are someone who loves to relax by the beach and enjoy a sun downer or someone who is an outdoor buff, Bali is the perfect holiday destination for you.

Here are top eleven ways you can experience the best of Bali as a solo female traveler.

  • Hit a beach shack at Seminyak Beach

Bali has the most amazing sunsets, nothing like a gorgeous and relaxed sun-down at one of the best beaches in Bali. Most shacks play live music every day and the same coupled with a picture perfect sky makes this a must do in Bali.

  • Take a Surf lesson at Kuta Beach

Surfing is the most loved sport at any beach destination. We recommend taking a surf lesson with a reputed provider at Kuta Beach, an entire section of the beach is dedicated to beginner surfers. This one-hour session will leave you feeling gratified and confident like never before.

  • Yoga – at the beach

Bali is a popular destination for Yogis from all over the world, the yoga vibe is contagious and is a great energy booster. Nothing like a soothing 45 min yoga session just before the beautiful sunset.

  • Scoopy Ride

Bali has narrow roads and traffic that can blow you off a little. If you can ride a gearless two-wheeler, rent their popular ‘scoopy’ and ride around the town. In case you can’t ride one you can go as pillion on the local scoopy taxis.

Besides beating the traffic this is also the best way to enjoy the beach town breeze.

  • Active Volcano Trek

Mt. Batur sunrise trek offers you one of the most magical and unforgettable sunrises you will ever see. Scaling this active volcano in the wee hours of night/ morning will certainly make you feel like you are on “Top of the World”

  • Hit one of the popular beach clubs

Potato Head and KuDeta both beach clubs offer the best sunset views of Bali. An infinity pool to relax in, comfortable lounge set up, great music and awesome cocktails, you must find time to visit at least either of the two.

  • Cycle through the paddy fields

One of the most beautiful ways to enjoy the breath-taking paddy fields is to cycle your way through the interiors of Bali. You don’t need to be a fitness freak for this, the cycling is mostly downhill.

  • Ubud Art Market

A mix of culture, handicrafts, hand made goods and art, Ubud Art market is worth a visit.

Be sure to negotiate and you might find a perfect bargain.

  • Kecak Dance at Uluwatu temple

A trip to Bali is incomplete without a visit to one of the temples. Kecak dance ( a depiction of the Indian Ramayan ) is a must watch if you visit the Uluwatu temple.

  1. Scuba Dive

If you are a little adventurous do take out some time to discover the deep blue. Bali is a great destination for beginner divers.

  1. Spa it out!

Last but perhaps the most important, it’s a must to take a Spa in Bali. Nothing like a perfect Balinese Massage – Pure Indulgence.

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Items to carry on solo trips

What items to carry and what could be left behind was one of the most important, critical yet frustrating experience for me. So after my 5th solo trip, i created a list of my own. It used to have a lot more items in the beginning, but eventually i trimmed it to the bare essentials, rest I could manage during the trip from time to time.

I have carried some very funny stuff in the beginning,

like one time i thought a hair dryer was worth carrying along, or a travel iron for that matter

Keep a designated day bag or a carry on for everyday- This is the one you will carry along locally after reaching your destination also-

  1. Passport
  2. Transit tickets and passes (air, rail, road)
  3. Your ID card
  4. Your medical card with emergency contact number
  5. Extra photographs (There are a lot of forms which could be filled out there)
  6. Your cash and prepaid cards
  7. Your field notebook with research
  8. Emergency phone numbers for local authorities- The nearest police station and its contact number, the nearest hospital and its contact number.
  9. Travel money belt
  10. Medical kit

This will be a series of articles, next up I will list out the essential clothing items to carried along according to me.

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Medical kit for travels

So I started on lists but I feel this one deserves a separate list-

Medical emergencies or irritants can be the biggest spoiler in a trip and since you are traveling alone, you do not want any irritant to spoil your trip even a tiny bit. Assuming you are not a health hazard to yourself and to the society, these are all the items you might need to protect yourself from unnecessary illness and keep you going on enjoying your solo time.

  1. Pain Killer: For any untoward pain or a tiny injury that might happen while getting off the train or flight or hauling your luggage across the pathway of a dream villa. You don’t want any tiny injury or pain to spoil your trip.
  2. Balm: For any muscle pain that might irritate you.
  3. Antibiotics and anti-allergens: In case you get an infection from any water source or from something you eat.
  4. Band-aids: for the unavoidable bruises if any. Somehow i always end up getting bruised on my treks and camping trips.
  5. Metrogyl: for the stomach cures J
  6. Soframycyn: Skin cream

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How to choose where to go?

How to choose the next vacation’s destination?

That is how my mind runs when I am thinking about my next destination…

I usually have the most confusion and trouble getting through this part of my trips.

I am always fighting between the famous places where I want my friends and family to see I went and the places which are quaint, 

not so glamorous, but have that epic activity which I would love to do- like scuba diving. I fell in love with scuba diving on my trip to the Andaman Islands 4 years ago.

It was difficult mentally to strap on that BCD and think that it would be fine meandering through the water with all that weight around me. It was a huge mental block to ignore that fact that down underwater 10-15 Mtrs, I will have only the pipe attached to mouth to keep me alive.

But thankfully the 1 day of practicing inside a pool really takes out the fear of it and makes you much more comfortable knowing that there is a backup mouth piece and also an instructor.

But it is AMAZING, the feeling as soon as you get deeper than 10 Mtrs cannot be put in words. You feel different. The world is gone! It is just you your partners and this new totally different world out there. You hardly get the time to think about other things when you are scouring for the next thing to see down there.  Anyways, scuba diving will take another piece from me.

So it was quite some time ago when I decided I will travel according to my interests rather than what other people found pretty or astonishing. It was a way of making my vacation even more MY OWN. On my first trip I chose Yoga and learned the basics for 3 days. It was amazing. I returned a YOGI from that vacation

Likewise, I returned a Surfer from my second solo trip.

Now I travel according to the activity I want to do, subsequently I have done 3 more yoga trips. It doesn’t have to be a new thing every time for me. This one time I combined guitar lessons with Yoga on the Beach trip. It was the most eventful trip I have to say. I was pretty comfortable doing yoga by now and I chose this group of 15 women who practice yoga at the beach in Goa. Since one is in Goa, I decided I wanted to look for a guitar class in Goa, I am a basic strummer and can make the difference between a A-minor and a C-sharp

I enrolled for a guitar lesson by the beach for 3 days- twice daily and ended up playing a pretty decent version of smoke on the water.

Long story short- Choose who you want to be for the 5 days- a yogi, a guitarist, a scuba diver, a camper and choose the best place which gives you this opportunity to become a new version of yourself for the 4/5 days that you are there.

Choose a place which is inherently safe, usually the south of India and the North east and North Hills are the most safe in terms of statistics.

  1. Choose the activity that interests you- scuba, surfing, trekking, camping, yoga
  2. Choose the inherently safest place where this activity is undertaken
  3. Book your transport to the place in advance
  4. Find out the vendors facilitating these activities
  5. Find out about their reputation and past experiences of people if any
  6. Contact the vendor and ask for classes’dates and prices
  7. Find out if they take individual participants or have a batch requirements
  8. Usually they will ask you to come in a group so find out a few friends who are interested
  9. In case no one can make the time when you want to go then request them for adjusting you in a batch which already has a good number of people in it.
  10. Book and GO BE THAT DIFFERENT PERSON for a week!!