Traffic. Loud screeching noises. Your face in someone’s armpit. Mumbai may be our hometown, and we love it but it can be too crowded and chaotic even for us sometimes – especially in the slick summer heat. So when we found out we could drive 2-hours away (an hour and 45mins, if you leave early enough) to enjoy ten acres of seclusion, spa sessions and silence at Anchaviyo Resort – we jumped in a car and took off. In the Palghar district of Maharshtra, its strategic location through a nearly 7km long isolated path of vegetation makes it an ideal hidden, yet accessible gem.
When someone tells you that you “have to go to Amsterdam” in winter you don’t moan about how cold and windy it’s going to be, instead you pack all the warm clothes you possibly have and make the most of a winter vacation. I’ve always despised the cold, I mean who doesn’t love Margaritas on a beach but skiing on a mountain or sipping on mulled wine in a quaint little town in Switzerland is equally (or more) impressive. Each vacation, whatever the weather may be relies on what you do and how you experience it and a little tip, once you’re in the minuses example -1 and survived; all the minuses are endurable.
Camp on Krakatoa, a volcanic island in the middle of nowhere. Yes, please. Stroll into a cave filled with a million cockroaches and bats glaring at you in Borneo? Sounds wild. Break into a haunted house in Mussoorie in the dead of the night? Hey there, Casper.
While daredevil might be a bit of stretch, when it comes to doing something exciting (or life threatening, according to our parents), my answer is always yes. So, when I heard of eco-lodge Wild Brook Retreat, cut off from the power-grid, set in a wild-life infested jungle in Uttarakhand, prone to leopard and panther drop ins, I planned a weekend getaway just as winter was coming.
I like getting drunk over the weekend like any other self-respecting corporate slave that’s usually attached to her desk. But my Grab Your Globe alter-ego basically can’t sit still – and that makes settling for knocking back brunch-time margaritas, every Sunday, difficult. Even when I’m stuck in the city, I’m itching to “do things” – beyond bar nights and book clubs, flying all the way to flamingos.
And that’s how I agreed to wake up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning (hungover) to chase certain long-legged blushing hotties. Yep, I’m talking about the flamingos that live in the mud flats of Sewri. And if they can fly over 600km to get to their winter home, I could wake up pre-sunrise to meet the flaming feathers, right?
A part of Pakistan until 1971, opened to tourists only in 2010, this hidden gem in J&K is a gateway to the formidable Siachen Glacier, offers a view of Pakistan’s army bunkers and the chance for thrill-seekers to unearth forgotten wonders
You won’t find any sari-clad Kajol lookalikes running across the snow-topped mountains, seemingly oblivious to the cold, but in the last few years Leh has made the jump from off-the-radar escape to mainstream holiday destination for even Himachal-bound honeymooners. Whether it’s the capital city that’s now teeming with part-of-a package-tourists in popular months, to the unreal Pangong Lake dotted by too real biscuit-wrappers to enthusiastic camel-riding tourists in the Nubra Valley, Leh’s mass-virginity has been taken.
But the mountains keep some secrets, still. And there remain places hard to reach, and harder to live in… dusty old villages where royalty tells the tale of it’s slow demise in its own tongue, and the number of households are less than 500. The sleepy, near forgotten village of Turtuk is one of them. Here are seven reasons to visit the tourist-light, lesser-known village in the Leh district of Jammu & Kashmir.
The mountains are calling – and we do all the groundwork for you so you can explore the prettiest, chillest spots in Himachal Pradesh and J&K, the best way possible
The sound of silence can be deafening. Blue skies can offer a virtual spectrum of the cool colour. And you’d be surprised at just how many kinds of green you can find up in the mountains. But the best way to let yourself be surprised by India’s epic mountain states is to road trip through them – turning minutes into infinities. We chart our done-and-dusted route from Kasol, Himachal Pradesh to Leh, Jammu & Kashmir. Prepare yourselves for endless dusty stretches, picture-perfect panoramas, ceaseless chai stops and the liberation of just being, on the road.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than driving 5 hours away from an overly populated city and in to the green arms of Mother Nature. The air is crisp yet slightly smokey from nearby village woodfires, the trees spindly with silvery white trunks yet losing much of their greenness due to the onset of the dry season and birds flying low guiding you to your haven . This space looks raw yet inviting and as you drive on the makeshift rocky road you reach a gem in the middle of the jungle – The Serai Bandipur.