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This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Shubhangi Jeswal, a traveler and adventure seeker as she takes us with her to one of her most memorable journeys to the mountains! Today's destination: Completing the Basic Mountaineering course (BMC) at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling Nearest Airport: Bagdogra, Airport, West Bengal Nearest Railway Station: Siliguri Junction railway station, West Bengal Prerequisites - One needs to apply online and via mail to be accepted to the HMI. The pre-requisites also include a full body check up that an individual needs to pass in order to sign up for the BMC. Also, please note that there can be a waiting period of up to 1 year for admission, so please plan accordingly. Packing - One can pack the necessary winter wear while travelling to the HMI institute in Darjeeling. However, equipment and other gear required for mountaineering will be provided by the HMI. The fee (7-8K INR) covers all the equipment and training. Time of the year - April Length of the itinerary: 28 days (10 days training at the HMI, Darjeeling; 5 day trek to base camp; 10 days of mountaineering at the glacier; 2 days for the return trip and Graduation ceremony on the final day!) Itinerary Highlights: * Shubhangi starts off her journey from Sikkim where she completed a pre-planned itinerary and reaches Darjeeling by a shared cab from Bagdogra! * The initial 10 day training at HMI has a daily routine consisting of acclimatization, PT (physical training), yoga and a strict diet. * At the end of the 10 day training, there is a medical check up again after which the participants are cleared to go ahead. * The traing is split up into 3 areas of importance - Rock craft, snow craft and ice craft. * Shubhangi advises one to prepare oneself better with yoga, breathing and some strength exercises to be able to carry upto 20kgs of equipment whie trekking. * The Himalayan Mountaineering institute is one of the first mountaineering institute and it was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. * The daily routine at the institute is very rigorous with the wake up bell sounding at 4:30AM, breakfast at 6:00AM, dinner at 7PM and sleep by 8PM. * Daily briefings were given by instructors to the class of 80-90 which was further divided into groups called 'ropes'. The rockcraft training was provided over the first 10 days at the institute. * Once this was completed, the team set out to the basecamp which is a trek of about 5 days where the group learned snow craft while trekking. * From the basecamp, the team trekked every day for 2.5 hours daily to the Rangthong glacier to practice ice craft. This was done for the next 10 days. Here, the team learns to use the different equipment like ice axe, cramp-ons, harness, ropes, decenders, jumars etc. * Shubhangi also gives us an insight into the grading system at the Institute, D for distinction, A for above average, B for average and C for below average. * Challenges faced during the daily training routines from food, to hygeine to family as well as the motivation to keep going. * Finally, Shubhangi talks about the joy of coming back, the graduation day and bitter sweet moment of leaving friends made over the duration of the course! Links: Donate for Kerala relief & rebuilding: []( Donate for Kodagu relief & rebuilding: []( Shubhangi's words: []( Link to the blog post: [](
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Johann Binny Kuruvilla, the face behind the blog []( So sit back and enjoy as Johann takes us to his hometown!! Today's destination: Kochi, Kerala! Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport Nearest Railway Station: Ernakulam Town Station or Ernakulam Junction Station Packing - Make sure to carry some rain gear if you are there during the monsoons/rainy season Time of the year - September to February is a good time to go! Length of the itinerary: 3 days Itinerary Highlights: * Johann begins by sharing his story about the journey from the corporate world to being a blogger and how one movie - Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna bhoomi inspired him to travel to the North East! * Johann begins the conversation by sharing some insights into the rich history of Kochi and how it was formed when the previously prominent port city of Muziris was wiped out by the flooding of Periyar river in 1341. * The itinerary begins at Fort Kochi, formerly known as Fort Emmanuel - established by the portugese explorere Vasco da gama in the 15th century. The fort was then ruled by the Dutch and later on by the British with the evolution of power. * A walk through the lanes of the fort city gives one a view of the beautiful colonial era houses mingled with traditional Kerala style houses. Streets such as Princess street, Peter celli street, Burger street blend in finely with the colonial vibes of the city! * Popular churches like St. Francis cathedral (where Vasco da gama was initially buried) and Santa Cruz basilica are a part of Fort Kochi. * Other interesting things to do are attending a Kathakali performance at the Kerala Kathakali center * The walk ends at the iconic Chinese fishing nets which have become synonymous with Kochi! * From here, one can take a tuktuk or bicycle to Mattancherry, where the locals traditionally lived. This place used to be a hub of local markets and commerce as well as house boats. * Make a stop at the Mattancherry palace - where the Kerala royals used to live, this was gifted by the Portuguese to the royals! The Dutch later on renovated the palace and hence it is sometimes referred to as the Dutch Palace! The palace also has a number of murals depicting the Indian epics. * Johann also speaks of the diversity of Kochi that includes Marathis, Gujaratis, Konkanis, Kutchi memons, Jews, Arab muslims, Jains and many more sects that live peacefully together. * The next pitstop of our journey is Thrippunithura, a historical area where the erstwhile Kerala royals lived. There is the magnificent Thrippunithura palace overlooking more than 50 acres of the fort. Sloped roof, large Dutch windows, British arches and the traditional Thacchushaastram style of architecture gives a unique flavor to the palace, which is now a museum. * There is also the Poornathrayesa temple in the vicinity, which is famous for the Vrishchikoltsawam festival. The procession of decorated/Caparisoned elephants carrying the deity is a prominent event of the temple in Nov-Dec. * The final pitstop of our tour is Ernakulam - the newer region of Kochi! This is the hub of all the commercial activity among other things. A lot of new projects like the Broadway - a walkway with a lot of shops and markets, the Ernakulam market, the Marine drive etc. There is also the Subhash Park where one can catch the beautiful view of the lakes and sunset. * One can also indulge in shopping at the Lulu supermarket, the biggest mall in India, to end the trip! Links: Link to Johann's blog: []( Link to th blogpost: []( Kochi heritage project on twitter: @Kochi_Heritage Kochi heritage project on facebook: @KochiHeritageProject Twitter: @binn...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to a pro traveler and blogger, Sharanya Iyer who blogs under the handle "TrulyNomadly". So sit back and enjoy as Sharanya takes us places! Today's destination: Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh (29km from the Indo-China border) Nearest Airport: Lilabari (North Lakhimpur) and Guwahati (Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport)and Mohanbari (Dibrugarh) both in Assam Nearest Railway Station: Silapathar (Assam) and Naharlagun (Arunachal Pradesh) Prerequisites - Inner line permit or ILP, can be obtained online ( or at the Guwahati airport. Packing - Warm clothes and rain jackets/rain coats are advisable. Time of the year - April Length of the itinerary: 4 days Itinerary Highlights: * Sharanya starts off her journey from Guwahati, from where she takes the Lachit express to the border town of Murkongselek, Assam. She then hailed a shared taxi to Pasighat at Ruksin gate (where one has to produce the ILP). * A 4 hour cab ride to Along or Aalo is the first overnight pitstop, also the last major hub before the border town of Mechuka. * She starts off for Mechuka the following morning in a shared sumo at 530AM(it's best to book the seats before hand, ideally the previous day) * The last major village before hitting Mechuka is Tatu. The Siko Dido waterfall is a notable point of interest about half hour before reaching. She finally reaches Mechuka by about 230PM after a long sumo ride. * For accommodation, Sharanya uses the services of Gebu Sona, one of the most popular home stays in the region (Gayboo's guest house). * After relaxing for sometime and freshening up, Sharanya set out to explore the town, the market area and the new monastery. It is preferable to hire a car to see around the village and nearby points of interest. * Make sure to pick up some lovely boots and woolens for a bargain, while checking out the market! * While at the homestay, get a first hand experience of an open kitchen, where everyone participates in chores and sits around the fire. * Delicacies include a number of beef and pork dishes. Chhang beer is a local millet based beer! * Rain plans to play spoilsport on Day 2 of the itinerary but turns out Sharanya has a bunch of activities to keep her entertained at the homestay. This included hanging out with the Bruce-Lee look alike and the locals. * The rain gods show some mercy the following day and Sharanya heads off to a small trek up the Samten Yongcha monastery, the 400 year old monastery that is older than the Tawang monastery. The monastery has a big Tibetan influence and has a number of traditional masks and Buddha statues. * The view from the monastery is a stunning mix of browns and greens of the rolling hills, blues of the river and whites of the snow capped mountains and clouds! * After spending some time at the Monastery, Sharanya and Gebu descend downwards, passing through beautiful rickety hanging bridges over the Yargyap Chu river (Also known as the Siyom river in some places) * The next pitstop is the Sikh Gurudwara built on the Yargyap Chu river, built by the army. Sharanya shares some stories and a meal with the armymen while sharing the Langar. * She moves on to the place where there is a Hanuman mandir and naturally formed sculpture of Hanuman! Sharanya also gives a try to making home-made jewellery at Gebu's house to end the day! * On the final day of the trip, Sharanya makes a trip to Dorjeeling village to a small monastery that houses a huge Buddha statue and then made a quick hike to a small cave which has a head impression that Buddhishts believe is of the spiritual teacher Rinpoche while the sikhs believe is that of Gurunanak while he was meditating at this cave. * Sharanya is introduced to a number of legends right from the crevasse in the cave to the little pools with the white, black and grey stones! * Mechu...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Chandroma Ray, who blogs at and loves to travel and blog when she's not wearing her corporate hat! Today's destination: Offbeat Ladakh! Nearest Airport: Leh Airport (IXL) Nearest Railway Station: Jammu Tawi (700 km from Ladakh) Prerequisites - Permits might be needed for some of the locations (Turtuk); checkposts will be encountered at the border villages like Turtuk. Make sure you acclimatize atleast for a couple of days before you set out to explore the region. Make sure to pre-book a vehicle if you plan on not using public transport! Packing - Warm clothes, shoes with good grip, first aid kit, Diamox for AMS (when needed), make sure you pack light! Time of the year - End of August - Early September Length of the itinerary: 16 days for the full Ladakh itinerary, but only the offbeat destinations like the villages of Alchi, Lamayaru, Dha and Turtuk are covered in this episode! Itinerary Highlights: - Chandroma kicks off her journey on the episode by taking us to the quaint and lazy village of Alchi, situated on the banks of the river Indus! - Points of interest are the old monastery of Alchi, dating back to the 11th century, and has a distinctive Kashmiri influence and has some great wall murals and paintaings. - Spend time exploring the pretty cafes in Alchi for some authentic Ladakhi cuisine! Make sure to have the lamb Mok moks (known as Momos in the plains), Khambir - the home-made ladakhi breakfast bread. - Just be aalsi while in Alchi, and slow travel your way to bliss! - Next pitstop at the moonland of Lamayuru that is famous for its moonscapes and is about 107 kms from Leh and is accessible by bus. - The village has the appearance of being in ruins and resembles the surface of the moon, gives one a feeling of travelling back in time. Best views can be seen during the early hours of dawn. - Lamayuru is also home to one of the oldest monasteries in the region that dates back to the 11th century as well. - One can also plan a visit around the Yuru Kabgyat Festival that takes place in the month of June/July, where the monks of the monastery put on huge masks and perform a variety of dances - A quick shout out to Sandeepa/Chetan and Neelima Vallangi for their brilliant posts about the region that helped Chandroma in planning the itinerary. - After spending a day in Lamayuru, heads off to the unexplored village of Dha to do something truly offbeat! - About 180kms from Leh, is this village that is the home of Drokpas - the descendants of Alexandar the Great aka the Aryans, and is cut off from the rest of the world! - The village is not easily located on Google maps either and the people of the village are not very welcoming to outsiders either. - After having a tough time finding a place to lodge, Chandroma and her fellow travellers finally managed to find a small hotel. On exploring further, they finally met a couple of kids who took them to a local museum which was quite a find with some historic artifacts of the region. - If one plans visiting the village, home-stays are not hard to come by, so it's better to pre-book and have a local contact if possible. - After spending a very 'different' evening and night in the village of Dha, Chandroma heads out to village of Turtuk, on the banks of the river Shyok which is one of the last villages of India! - Recaptured by India after the 1971 war with Pakistan, Turtuk is a village still trying to find its identity. The people of Turtuk are predominantly muslim and has a very different culture in comparison to the rest of Ladakh. - The village also offers some great scenic views of the river Shyok, the valley and a first hand experience of the Balti culture! The region has just been opened up to tourists from 2009\. - Chandroma signs off with a beautiful message about why one should check out these gems of Ladakh and not just the Pangongs and Nubras! Links: Chandroma's blog: [https://oneeartht...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Suyash Dixit, the Indian businessman who traveled to an unclaimed piece of land between Egypt and Sudan, called Bir Tawil and lay claim to the territory! And no, we're not kidding! Today's destination: Kingdom of Dixit aka Bir Tawil Nearest Airport: Abu Simbal Nearest Railway Station: N/A Time of the year - November, 2017 Length of the itinerary: 1 day Itinerary Highlights: * "I, Suyash Dixit, first of my name and the protector of the realm, declare myself as the king of “Kingdom of Dixit”. I call myself, King Suyash First from today. I declare this unclaimed land of Bir Tawil as my country from now to the eternity of time. I pledge to continue to work for the prosperity of my people of the country and this motherland." * This is no joke, an Indian guy from Indore, Suyash Dixit, put a lot at stake to travel to this unclaimed piece of land between Egypt and Sudan, hoisted his flag, sowed some sunflower seeds and declared himself as the ruler of the land - the land he calls, the Kingdom of Dixit! * Suyash gives a brief background about his personal and professional life and how this idea of traveling to and claiming this unclaimed land came into being. * We further discuss about the things at stake, the planning that went into this, the local support he recieved and the dangers he put up with! * Suyash gives a detailed description of the journey and the adventures he went through to achieve this feat. This includes, traveling to Abu Simbal as the only passenger on a commercial plane! * We also discuss the topography of the Kingdom of Dixit aka Bir Tawil, the size in terms of area, how Suyash hoisted his flag there, and sowed sunflower seeds to lay claim to the land! * Suyash also discusses the controversies that came with this adventure and how he dealt with them. * Finally, Suyash discusses his plans for this piece of land, the progress made since his journey back and how he hopes to develop this territory into a country! Links: Facebook page: @KingSuyashDixit Link to related article: [Telegraph article]( Link to episode with Road trippers club: [The Musafir Stories with Road Trippers Club!]( Contact RTC: website: []( Twitter: @roadtripperclub facebook: @roadtrippersclub instagram: @roadtrippersclub Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email: itunes - []( Google podcasts - []( or voice or google search "Ok Google, play The Musafir stories podcast" Saavn - []( web/audioBoom - []( Spotify - []( pocketcasts - []( castbox - []( Overcast - []( Stitcher Radio - []( TuneIn - []( RadioPublic - []( iHeartradio - []( Deezer - [](
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Saurabh from Mumbai, who authors the blog A season of Mountains under the handle []( Sit back and enjoy as we find out where Saurabh is taking us to today! Today's destination: Harihar Fort Nearest Airport: Ozar airport, Nashik or Mumbai Airport Nearest Railway Station: Kasara railway station or Nashik railway station Prerequisites - Medium level of fitness, make sure you're not acrophobic! Packing - Trekking shoes and gear, water for hydration, caps and energy bars. It's advisable to carry ones own food, but food is available at shacks outside the fort. Time of the year - December Length of the itinerary: 1 day Itinerary Highlights: * You can start early from a nearby station (Mumbai/Pune/Nasik) to reach the Kasara railway station. Once at Kasara, you can take a shared cab to Nirgudpada/Nirgudwadi - the base village for the trek. * Saurabh sheds some light on the history of this 800-1000 yr old fort and its strategic location overlooking the ancient trade route between Gujarat and Maharashtra. The fort has changed hands between the Yadavas, Moghuls, Marathas and finally acceeded to the British. * The journey starts off with a few nail-biting moments as the connecting trains were running late but Saurabh and group are re-united at Thane from where they head off the Kasara and reach the station at 7:30AM. * The group manage to find a cab to the base village round-trip but the journey is not without some adventure. After the suspense and some 'bollywood'esque moments in the Maruti Omni - the official kidnapping vehicle of bollywood! * After some comic relief, the group finally reaches Nirgudpada at 10AM and the cabbie agrees to return back for a pickup at 5PM. * The group is now looking at the majestic Harihar mountain and fort. In the vicinity, one can also see other peaks such as PhaniDhongar, Uttwad, Bhaskargad, Bhrahma hill, Brahmagiri Bhandardurg etc which are a part of the Trimbakeshwar mountain range. * A 1-2km walk from Nirgudpada passing through Kotewadi leads you to the Harihar fort, staring at the iconic rock-cut vertical stairway. * The 80 degree incline of the staircase and height of about 60m or 200ft, and steps that are almost 2ft hight, can take one about 2-20 mins depending on the fitness and skill level of the individual. * First stop at the Maha-Darwaza or Main Gate, a semi-circular door to the fort, and a view of PhaniDhongar, Uttwad and Bhasgad mountains and the valley beneath. The group enjoy lunch with a view at the Maha-darwaza, in the passage way with a beautiful breeze, overlooking the mountain range! * The group then proceeds to a helical staircase, with a sheer rock on the right makes for an adrenaline rush while ascending! There are also a number of trap doors, capable of holding off an entire army with just 5 soldiers! There are also escape doors, in case the fort is compromised by the enemy. * The passageway leads you to the plateau of the fort that has a Hanuman Mandir, a pond, a few water cisterns and a Shiv Ling (Shiva statue). One can get a view of the Brahma hill as well and a clear view of the peak of the Harihar hill with the Bhagwa Jhenda (Saffron flag) which is symbolic of the Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj. * A five minute trail leads you to the peak of the fort and one can enjoy a panoramic view from top of the fort, as well as a view of the base villages! After spending some time at the top, the group decides to start their descent back to the base village in order to make it in time for the 5PM pick up. * THe group runs into a jam on the staircase, a nightmare given that they were up against a 5PM deadline! * After all the adventure, the group makes it back to the base village in time for the pickup and end a memorable trek to an end! Links: Link to Saurabh's blog: [A Season of Mo...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Vineet and Deepak, the duo behind the sparkling new initiative called Road Trippers Club - A road travel club for road trip enthusiasts, beginners and those who love hitting the roads on four wheels - Camaraderie on four wheels! #KeepTheRhythmAlive Prerequisites - 4 wheels! Just sign up on []( and you are good to go! Packing - Specifics vary depending upon the trip. Once you have signed up and join a micro-group, the Team captain will breif everyone about the preparation and packing list. Time of the year - N/A Length of the itinerary: Depending on the drive, the trips vary from one day trips, to weekend drives to longer drives! The Mumbai chapter of RTC has done brunch runs, city drives, drives to Dapoli, Indore, Anjarle beach for the olive ridley turtle festival and many more shapes and sizes! Episode Highlights: * Vineet and Deepak share some nuggets about their history biking together, their first venture []( and set the context about how The Roadtrippers club came into being. * Procedure to sign up with RTC! Just log on to their website, [](, set up an account and sign up for a ride! No, there's nothing more to it! * Next steps after signing up for the drive involve following instructions of the team captain in terms of preparation, packing, costing, activities and more. The end to end planning, as well as booking of lodging, activities, treks and other fun stuff is done well before the ride. * All you need to be a part of the drive is a four wheeler - size, power, seating and everything else doesn't matter. You dont even have to own one, rent one or better, car-pool! * Bring your family, bring your friends, bring your partners, bring your pets! RTC does no discrimination about who you want to bring, only objective is to have a fun drive on four wheels! * The costs of the drive are equally shared amongst participants, there are no service fees, no management fees, no hidden costs - only additional cost is the GST! * You also get to enjoy great deals, discounts and the perks of traveling as a group! So the odds are you are getting a better deal with RTC than if you travel by yourself! * Not only do you enjoy driving with a group, you also have a safety net to fall back on in case of mishaps - The RTC community rides with you through rain and shine! * You also get to learn how to be a responsible driver while driving with RTC. Learn simple techniques like engine braking, changing a flat, dealing with switchbacks and hairpin bends, how to navigate in a ghat section and more, all while you enjoy a raodtrip! * Also stand a chance to be a part of special courses like the Women's day offroading event - Shifting gears, where a group of women had the chance to be a part of a certificate course on offroading! RTC believes in making a change on the ground, on the road and off it! * Interested in starting an RTC chapter in your city? All you have to do is reach out to the founders on the RTC website. New chapters coming up soon, follow the Roadtrippers club on their social media for more updates Links: []( []( Subscribe to the Writer & Geek show here: []( Link to the latest episode: []( Social media: Twitter: @roadtripperclub facebook: @roadtrippersclub instagram: @roadtrippersclub Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: []( email: themusafirstories...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Siddharth Keswani, an up and coming Youtuber who makes lifestyle, travel and food vlogs. Sit back and enjoy as Siddharth takes us on a speed date with Lucknow - the land of Nawabs and Kababs! Today's destination: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh! Nearest Airport: Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, LKO Nearest Railway Station: Lucknow Charbagh railway station Prerequisites - An empty stomach! Packing - N/A, just warm clothes if you visit in winter Length of the itinerary: One day! Itinerary Highlights: - Kick start the day early with a visit to Sharmaji's tea stall to savour some bun makkhan with Sharmaji's Kullad vali Chai! If you are up for it, grab a bite of the samosas as well! - If that didn't kick start your day, you can freshen things up by a visit to the Janeshwar Mishra park in Gomti Nagar - a vast expanse of 376 acres of green spread in the heart of Lucknow! One of Asia's biggest parks that boasts of water bodies, cycle tracks, jogging tracks, children's play areas and a wide variety of plant species! - After spending time in the vast expanse of green, it's time to head over to the heart of Lucknow - the old city! - Rumi Darwaza, a grand old gate built in 1784 during the time of Asaf-ud-daula, is inspired by Roman architecture offers a great photo op! - Within walking distance from the Rumi Darwaza is the Bada Imambara and Chota Imambara - two beautiful congregation halls built in the 18th century. The Bada Imambara boasts of the Bhul Bhulaiya, a huge maze or three-dimensional labyrinth where one can get lost in! The imambara also has other structures like a popular step-well and some beautiful mosques nearby like the Asfi mosque. - A quick ride away from the Imambaras is the Kudiya ghat situated on the banks of the Gomti River. The ghat, albeit not as popular as the ghats of Varanasi or Banaras, offers a great view of the early morning pilgrims, diyas and artis offering pooja and sadhus taking a holy dip in the river. The ghat is open from dawn to dusk. - You don't have to break a sweat to get about Lucknow either - there are plenty of options with public transport, buses, rickshaws or tuk tuks and ofcourse for the uber cool, the Ubers and Olas! And oh, did I mention about the ever expanding Metro/subway trains and e-ricks? Yep, it's a thing! - It's finally time for a brunch! And where better to be than Old Lucknow! Try out Rahim ki Nihari in the old city where you can sample Buffalo foot stew and SHirmal - piping hot broth also called as Paaya in parts of the country! Finish off the meal by drinking some Sulaimani chai and some makkhan malai on the side - a milk/cream based savory dish! - After this sumptous brunch, it's time to walk around a bit in another of the city's green patches called eco-garden on VIP road. It's best to spend an evening in the cool confines of th eco-garden that boasts of a kid's friendly artificial zoo, a lot of water shows and green houses. - After cooling down in the eco-garden, it's finally time to hit Hazrath Ganj, where the cool crowds hang out! Get introduced to Ganjing - Walking, shopping and eating around Hazrath Ganj. Siddharth also educates us and our listeners with some uber cool words like Bhowkal, Rangbazi and Rowla! Try saying that one more time! - Now it's time to binge again - Try out the basket chaat or katori chaat at a chain called Royal Cafe! A sovoury food served with friend potatoes, vada, curd, and a lot of masalas! - If you are up for some shopping, try out the chikan kari embroidered suits and kurtas that are synonymous with Lucknow! - once you are done shopping, it's time to finish the day on a high by eating Galauti kebab at Tunday Kababi - one of the most popular kabab joints of Lucknow. If you still have more room in your tummy, also sample the chicken Biryani. And if there is still room, then go for a lucknowi paan! Links: Link to Siddharth's Youtube channel:
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Reshma Narasing from the blog Reshma is an avid traveler and backpacker who has traversed the country solo and enjoys traveling to offbeat destinations. So sit back as Reshma takes us backbacking to Bir, Himachal Pradesh! Today's destination: Bir, Himachal Pradesh Nearest Airport: Kangra Airport Nearest Railway Station: Pathankot Railway station (and rest of the journey by bus) Prerequisities - N/A Packing - Warm clothes, hiking gear, hiking shoes, camping gear Time of the year - March Length of the itinerary: 6-7 weeks Itinerary Highlights: - Reshma starts the trip to Bir after completing her Nepal leg of the journey where she was on a press trip. - In Bir, she was volunteering for about 6-7 weeks with Zostel, a pan India hostel chain - Reshma volunteered at Zostel in terms of helping with social media marketing, customized tours, managing the reception among other things. - As this was a long term volunteering opportunity Reshma had a chance to slow travel in Bir in her free time. - One of the first activities she indulges in is a trek to Rajgundha. This is an overnight trek organized by Zostel where one gets to trek from Zostel, Bir and goes through a 360 degree scenic trail passing through the banks of Uhl river and virgin views of snow capped peaks culminating in take off from one of the world’s best paragliding sites. - The trek also takes one through the Barot valley, home to India's first hydroelectric dam. - Reshma and her friends make a stop at the quaint little village of Rajgundha where they cook together and spend the night star gazing around the bonfire. One can either spend the night at Zostel, Rajgundha or camp in the village. - The trek continues and culminates at the Billing paragliding take off site. One can choose to fly down to Bir on a glider! Ride back to Zostel on a jeep. - Another trek that Reshma did during the volunteering was to Gunehar river pool. Gunehar is a quaint village tucked away in the hills of the Kangra Valley. - A short day hike will lead you to a waterfall, which is at a height of 100ft. Walking amidst the lush terraced fields and getting a glimpse of the village life are the best parts of this hike, apart from the gorgeous waterfalls itself. - Monastery hopping is something that one can indulge in while at Bir.Palpung Monastery in Bhattu, Dzongsar Khyentse Monastery in Chauntra and Chokling Monastery in Chaugan are some of the popular ones. - Reshma also enjoys playing holi with the locals of Bir and gets to try out the local Kangdi Chai as well as the traditional Himachali attire! - For those interested in adventure sport, Bir is ofcourse the capital of Paragliding and was home to the 2015 Paragliding world cup. One can not just paraglide but also get certified to glide tandem and solo! - Bir is also popular for cycling marathons. One can participate in a half or full marathon during the peak season. - For the ones who are looking for more volunteering places like the Dharmalaya and the Deer Park institute offer some great opportunities. - The Deer Park institute has played an instrumental role in teaching ancient Indian wisdom traditions. They conduct workshops and activities throughout the year ranging from Yoga to well-being, and there are also a few volunteering opportunities open for everyone. - The Dharmalaya Institute has been promoting a productive and a positive living, where they conduct workshops on sustainable living. Here you learn to make use of natural resources to adopt minimalism. - For the romantic ones, there are innumerable places to catch beautiful sunsets by just walking a few minutes! Links: Link to Reshma's blog : Links to the blog post: http://thesol...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Saakshi, from the blog My Travel Recitals. Sit back and enjoy as Saakshi takes us to an offbeat island that is a unique marvel of nature! Today's destination: Majuli River island, Assam - the biggest river island in the world, it is a tranquil piece of land located in the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti is joined by the Subansiri River in the north! Nearest Airport: Jorhat Nearest Railway Station: Jorhat Prerequisities - n/a Packing - Nothing special! Time of the year - January Length of the itinerary: 2 days Itinerary Highlights: * Saakshi headed off to Majuli as a part of a blogger group that toured the island with Koyeli travels. * One needs to head to Jorhat, the biggest city from where one can head off to Majuli on a boat or ferry! * Enjoy the expansive views of the Brahmaputra river as you head off from the Nemati ghat towards Majuli in just over an hour. Make sure you catch a spot on the top floor of the ferry to enjoy the awesome photo ops along the way! * The views of the Brahmaputra slowly give way to tranquil islands, pure with lush green farms and thatched roof houses that takes you back in time. * The first stop on the itinerary is the Dakhin Pat Satra. A Satra is essentially a Hindu monastery whose origin dates to around 500 years when a Hindu saint Sri Sankardev settled in Majuli and preached a form of Neo Vaishnavism. * Although the satra has a lot of similarities with its Buddhist counterpart in terms of the monks and the hierarchy, they are nothing close in terms of the architecture which is influenced primarily by Assamese culture. * The next pit stop is the Samaguri Satra or the mask making Satra - an art form that is unique and popular in this region. Saakshi also has a chance to interact with Mr. Goswami, one of the drivers of the mask making culture who also happens to be a descendant of Sankardev! * Later in the day, Saakshi has a chance to experience the bhaona performances to enact Ramayana and other epics making use of the lovely masks prepared in the Satra. * Saakshi's satra trail is completed with a visit to the Kamalabari Satra which is popular for the Krishna bhakti bhaona performance by young monks of the Satra. All the dance moves and postures are connected to the maati (ground) and are performed in front of the Bhagvad Gita, the holy book. * Saakshi and the group retired for the day at the Dekasang Resort, a model resort based on the traditional Mishing tribe house. * The resort is on the banks of the Luit river and one has the opportunity for birding as well as a canoe ride! * Saakshi then visits a traditional Mishing family, the prominent tribe in Majuli and has a chance to interact with the locals and experience first hand culture and architecture of their homes! * Cap off this wonderful trip by sampling the traditional rice or Porag aapin and the aromatic Mishing rice beer called Apong! Links: Links to Saakshi's blog: Link to the blog post: Link to the accomodation in Majuli: Facebook: twitter: @mytravelrecital instagram: @mytravelrecitals Follow The Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email: itunes - Saavn - pocketcasts - castbox - audioBoom - Overcast - Stitcher Radio - TuneIn - RadioPublic -
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Prasanjit Kumar from the blog Behhind the Handlebar! So strap up and sit back as Prasanjit takes us on a ride to remember! Today's destination: Meghalaya! Nearest Airport: N/A Nearest Railway Station: N/A Prerequisities - The inner-line permit may be required if you are riding through some of the other NE states, however Meghalaya doesn't need one. Packing - Essentials list in the links below Time of the year - February Length of the itinerary: 29 days Itinerary Highlights: * Prasanjit did the trip as a part of his North East sojourn * The starting point for the trip was Mumbai from where Prasanjit, with his partner in crime, Muthu, headed off to the the North east. The first phase of the journey includes Arunachal, Nagaland and Assam. * Once the duo saw through the tough route through Silchar and made their way through to Meghalaya. * The first stop was the scenic Jaintia hills and Jowai. This offers some pristine views that are very untouched. * Head over to the offbeat Leshka dam to check out the lovely colors of water. * Next stop at the stunning Krang suri falls, yes 'that' iconic waterfalls you've seen in the pictures * Experience the crystal clear waters of Dawki next, another one that is popular in the media. * Prasanjit then heads on to his most favorite place from the trip - Nongkrem village where one can trek to see the root bridges * You can also visit Nongriat to see the famous double decker root bridges. * Finally, plan to spend the last leg of the journey in Cherapunji visiting the popular spots like Nohkalikai falls, Rainbow falls, David Scott memorial as well as a number of scenic hills and forests. * Experience the flavorful food of Meghalaya, sans the spicy masalas, but tasty nonetheless. * Prasanjit ends the trip by riding to Guwahati and flying back to Mumbai to attend to some urgent business. * Don't worry about the bike, Prasanjit comes back a few months later to do another 25 day trip covering sikkim! Links: Link to Prasanjit's blog - Link to packing essentials - email: Whatsapp:- +91 9987973057 facebook: Instagram: @behind_the_handlebar Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email: itunes - Saavn - pocketcasts - castbox - audioBoom - Overcast - Stitcher Radio - TuneIn - RadioPublic - A big shout on to Bijay's podcast, The Inspiring talk. You can check it out on your favorite podcast app or on the website
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Satyarup Siddhanta - a Bengaluru-based Bengali mountaineer.[1] On December 15, 2017 he became the first Bengali civilian from India to complete the seven highest summits in the 7 continents. He is the President and founder of ABETO – "A better tomorrow" foundation, and works as a consultant at Brady Corporation, India.[5] Today's destination: Mt. Everest, Nepal Nearest Airport: Lukla airport Nearest Railway Station: n/a Prerequisities - Required visas, training and certification, practice and acclimatization Packing - n/a Time of the year - May Length of the itinerary: 55 days from the base camp to the Everest summit and back Itinerary Highlights: - Satya shares the story of his early struggles from asthma as a kid and how he overcame this to start climbing. - Satya's speaks of his expedition to Mt. Killimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa and how he discovered the feat to the 7 Summits i.e. a challenge to scale the 7 highest peaks in each of th 7 continents (Mt. Everest in Asia, Mt. Killimanjaro in Africa, Mt. Elbrus in Europe, Mt. Aconcagua in S.America, Mt. Mckinley in N.America, Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia, Mt. Vinson Masiff in Antarctica) - Satya discusses his trek to the Mt. Everest base camp and how this turned into a dream to scale the summit of the tallest mountain in the world. - He then also discusses how the massive expenses related to the expedition played as a deterrent to his dreams and how he overcame the challenge. - Next Satya discusses the preparation and acclimitazation he underwent to scale Mt. Everest, he had to quit his existing job, take up two jobs, hire a personal trainer and overcome his sweet tooth in order to get ready for the Everest challenge! - Satya explains the duration of the Everest expedition and the iterations and acclimatization involved during the push to the summit. - The adversities that Satya had to face during the push to the summit are also discussed, this includes a fall in a bottomless crevasse, watcing a sherpa fall to his death while climbing, and members of other teams losing fingers due to frost bite as well as death. - Satya himself suffered from temporary blindness in the left eye while close to the summit, a failed oxygen mask and 3 failed cameras! - Satya finally describes the feeling of being on top of the world as well as the sights! - Final thoughts and tips. - Listeners can follow Satyarup on his social media handles below and contribute to his expeditions when fundraising takes place. Links to Satyarup's social media handles: website - facebook - twitter - instagram - Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email: Photo by Theodor Lundqvist on Unsplash
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Renuka Walter from the blog Voyager for Life! Renuka is one of the top solo women travelers from India and has worked with a number of brands and campaigns. Sit back and enjoy as Renuka takes us on her solo trip to Srinagar, Kashmir! Today's destination: Srinagar, J&K Nearest Airport: Srinagar International airport Nearest Railway Station: Srinagar Railway station Prerequisities - n/a for Indian citizens, but make sure to carry ID proof to show at checkposts Packing - Carry warm layers as the weather tends to be unpredictable. Time of the year - June, summers are quite enjoyable but winters offers different highlights. Length of the itinerary: 13 days of slow travel! Itinerary Highlights: * Renuka kicks off her journey with a visit to the iconic Dal lake and enjoying shikara rides. Dal lake is a vast lake spread over 15kms in the vicinity of mountains and gardens! Relive the memorable songs shot here right from Kashmir ki kali and Mission Kashmir to Jab tak hai Jaan and Fitoor! * Did you know, you could shop for all kinds of things while on a shikara! * Enjoy a night in the houseboat, enjoy the serene views and unique experience spending a night in the middle of Dal lake! * Visit the nearby gardens - Pari mahal, a seven storeyed terrace garden that gives great view of the city. * Visit the mughal gardens - Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Gardens & Chashm-e-Shahi that add in making Kashmir valley a heaven on earth. * You can also plan a visit to Asia's largest Tulip gardens, spread over 15 hectares - the tulips are in full bloom in March - April. * Enjoy other offbeat experiences like visiting cherry farms, apple farms and indulge in fruit picking activities. * Plan a city walk in the old city to view some brilliant architecture and the traditional marketplace with a variety of shops and bakerys. * Enjoy the traditional Kashmiri cuisine like Kashmiri wazwan as well as the more cafe oriented plum cakes and varieties of tea and kahwah! * Don't miss taking a walk down the boulevard road and enjoy the beautifully designed houses and villas. Links: Link to Renuka's blog: Links to related blog posts: Link to social media handles: FB: @renukatravelbuff Twitter: @renukawalter Instagram: @voyager_for_life Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email:
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Divyakshi Gupta, the Quirky wanderer!  Today's destination: Roadtrip to Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh. Kinnaur is one of twelve administrative districts in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, India. The district is divided into three administrative areas – Pooh, Kalpa, and Nichar(Bhabanagar)– and has five tehsils (counties). The administrative headquarters of Kinnaur district is at Reckong Peo.   Nearest Airport: Jubbar Hatti, 244km  Nearest Railway Station: Shimla railway station Prerequisities - N/A Packing - Pack warm clothes as the winters tend to be colder in the mountains! Also recommended to carry medicines for altitude related illness.  Time of the year - September! The apple picking season! Length of the itinerary: 2 weeks Itinerary Highlights:  - This trip was headed by Doreen, who is a seasoned traveler and expert tour leader. You can reach out to Divyakshi for more details about Doreen's tour groups.  - The trip is kicked off at Chandigarh from where Divyakshi and her group head out in 3 vehicles. First stop is at Fagu, which is a quaint village ahead of Shimla.  - Fagu serves as a pitstop for the overnight stay. Lodging at the HP tourism hotel - Appleblossom. ( - Head off from Fagu the next morning with short stops at Rampur, one of the bigger towns and centers of commerce in the area. Carry on towards Sarahan to retire for the day. - Sarahan is a  small village on the way to Kinnaur and offers beautiful views of the Shrikhand Mahadev mountains. Lodging at The Shrikhand ( which has amazing views of the mountains! - Make a visit to the much revered Bhima Kali temple and be wowed by the architecture! This also offers great view of a valley of flowers (not the Uttarakhand one!) on the way to the temple! - Divyakshi also gets a chance to visit bird pheasentry, that preserves some rare species of birds.   - Finally enter Kinnaur on NH22, yep the (in)famous National Highway 22! Welcome to Kinnaur!  - Make sure to take the blessings of Taaranda devi while entering the stretch! Enjoy the lovely views of the valleys, mountains and the Baspa and Sutlej rivers! - First stop at Sangla, stay at the lovely luxury experience at Kinner camps (, surrounded by Deodhar trees and a minute away from the river banks! The place is run by the lovely host, Mr. Dalip Negi! Must NOT miss!  - Make a visit to the Badrinarayan temple in Batseri, and enjoy the lovely architecture. If you are there in early September, do not miss the celebrations of the Phulaich festival, an annual celebration of the Kinnauris. - Batseri village is a small walk from Kinner camps where you can go visit apple orchards! - A day trip to Chitkul village - th last village on the Indo-Tibetan highway after which the China border starts! Enjoy time out on the banks of river Baspa, buckwheat fields, berries and more! - Also visit the Kamru fort, an old fort that was used by the erstwhile rulers of Himahchal and has a beautiful Kamkya devi temple as well! - Leave Sangla to go to Kalpa, the next pitstop of the journey. Lodging at the Grand shambala (, enjoy the hospitality by the host Mr. Prithvi Negi! - Local trips include a visit to the makers of kinnauri shawls, juice factory, authentic kinnauri jewellery, the Suicide point! - Enjoy apple picking sessions, yoga facing the mountains, the library where the only sound is of nature, and a hip cafe at the Grand Shambala!   Links: Link to Divyakshi's blog: Links to the blog post: http:...
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Neeharika Satyavada who is a digital strategist turned blogger from Hyderabad! Sit back and enjoy as Neeharika takes us on a roadtrip through Karimnagar! Today's destination: Karimnagar, TS Nearest Airport: Rajiv Gandhi Intl airport, Hyderabad Nearest Railway Station: Karimnagar railway station Prerequisities - n/a Packing - comfortable clothes and shoes as there might be some climbing to do at the forts! Time of the year - Monsoons is the best season to go see the forts and ruins surrounded by shades of green. Length of the itinerary: 2 days Itinerary Highlights: Day 1 ------ Molangur Fort -------------- - Built during the reign of Kakatiya dynasty/ Prathapa Rudra: 1163 - 1195 (12th centry) - This is also a transit point between Warangal and Elgandal - The fort is located on a granite hill and has unfortunately been a victim of incessant quarrying. Still no concrete efforts to stop the degradation - The fort also houses the Molang Shah dargah, named after a famous saint who visited the region - Additionally, two temples dedicated to lord Shiva are also present so is a well famously called as Doodh bawli Elgandal Fort -------------- - This is a magnificent fort on the banks of Manair river - It is famous for 3 minars that gives us some insight into the architecture of the kakatiya dynasty. The minars are a part of a mosque situated right on top of the fort. - There is also a small Hanuman temple while scaling up the fort steps which is functional. - The fort was eventually occupied by Qutub Shahi dynasty, the Moghuls and Nizams after a period of rule under the Kakatiyas and Bahamanis. - The fort was rebuilt in 1754 AD by Zafaruddhaula during the reign of Sikendar Jha. - Karimuddin was a khilledar and Karimnagar was named after him, gives us an idea of the significance of the fort and the rulers. - After spending the second half of the day at Elgandal, you can head back to Karimnagar town for lodging. The town also boasts of some silver filigry work and miniatures of charminar and other monuments. After spending the night at Karimnagar, you can head off to visit more temples on Day 2 Day 2 ------ Manthani ruins --------------- - This historical place is also known as Mantrapuri or village of hymns, center for vedic learning - It is famous for the Gautameshwar temple with Shiva as the residing deity. - The ruins have an eerie look about them, specially during the monsoons when the area is covered by lush green grass and moss. Situated on the banks of river godavari adds to the great views at the temple - This place has been famous as the home to 1000 brahmin families, often refered to as house of mantras (hymns) - The ruins are reminiscent of the scens from the Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book (Indian version) where Mowgli ends up a the ruins of the ancient temple. Nagnur ruins ------------- - These ruins are of Kakatiya and Kalyana temples, some built by the Chalukyas - The mainstay of the area is the Trikuta temple (3 idols of Shiva) - Lord Shiva is the residing god of the Trikuta temple. The temple is currently being restored and conserved. Other places of interest: - Dhulikatta (buddhist shrine) which has relics and stupas attributed to Buddhism. Links: Link to the blog post: More about the Guest: You can also reach out to Neeharika on her social media handles Twitter: @mapinmypocket Facebook: @mapinmypocket Instagram: @mapinmypocket website: email: Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email:
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Sarmistha Ghosh, from the blog Sarmistha is based in Pune and has extensively covered the state of Maharashtra as well as other Indian destiantions. In Sarmistha's own words - “You can always make money, but you can’t always make memories”. She wants to make the world her home and does not want to be confined to one place.  Today's destination: Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra    Nearest Airport: Ratnagiri airport Nearest Railway Station: Ratnagiri Prerequisities - n/a Packing - Pack light for a roadtrip. Make sure to carry enough sunscreen and shades. And save plenty of rooom in your car for MANGOES! Time of the year - Summer time for the mangoes, winters for the views! Length of the itinerary: One week Itinerary Highlights:  - Sarmistha starts off on her roadtrip from Pune, the first stop being Harihareshwar for the beach views! Below are the trip highlights: Harihareshwar (part of Raigad district) - Beautiful views of the casuarina lined beach - Two temples  Kalabhairav and Lord Shiva - Shriwardhan beach nearby is also popular for a variety of activities - MTDC resorts and hotels are conveniently located Anjarle - Another popular place for beaches with great views of the shoreline - The beach leads to the estuary of the river Jog, that is complimented by each side with mangrove forests. The Alphonso mangoes, also revered as the King of all fruits are found in abundance! - Cashew nut and mango trees line either side of the river Jog - Kadyawarcha ganapati temple is another popular attraction Harnai - This harbor town is famous for the fish market - Kanakadurga fort is a prominent attraction here. It was built to connect to the Suvarnadurga fort, another sea fort. There is a beautiful lighthouse here that you can visit.  - Suvarnadurga fort is on a hilly island and you'll have to take a ferry ride to get there - Visit the fish market to get a see fresh catch being auctioned by fishermen Karde - More beach views, this time a rocky beach which offers water sports. Great views of the moonlit beach from Sarmistha's accommodation. - Dolphin rides available from the beach.   - Sample the tasty local cuisine like 'Kombdi vade' - vada/puri with chicken is another speciality - ‘Solkadhi’ a digestive drink made of coconut milk and kokum. - 'Modhak' or a special kind of sweet that resembles dumplings, only much more savory! Guhagar - The Anjanvel fort or the Gopalgad Fort along with the lighthouse are places not to be missed - Experience home made konkani food with the likes of ‘gharghuti jewan’ (home-made meal), Gavran komdi (country chicken) and sea food like prawns, crabs, pomphret and other varieties of fish. - Tolekeshwar temple, Dashabhuja Ganesh Temple  and Velneshwar Temple are prominent temples of this region.  - Take the Tavsal ferry to get you across to the Jaigad creek and the Jaigad fort.  Ganpatipule - Famous for the temple of Ganapati that is located on the beach (Adevade beach).There is a Mushakraj idol at the entrance of the temple (mouse gaurding the temple) - A number of leisure activities are on offer at the beach.  - Lodging close to the Arevare beach with some beautiful views Ratnagiri - Make sure to have a pitstop at Ratnagiri city (a port city within the Ratnagiri district.) - Famous for the Ratnadurg/Bhagwati fort and the lighthouse - There are a number of mangrove forests and coconut trees all along the route to the fort. - Thibaw palace, King Thibaw deported from Burma in 1885 is also located here. Links: Link to Sarmistha's blog:   Twitter: @footlooseinme facebook: @footlooseinme Follow the Musafir stories on Twitter: @musafirstories Facebook: @themusafirstories  Instagram: @musafirstoriespodcast website: email:
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Chittra from the Masala Box, a blog where she shares her travels and adventures along with other musings of life! Today's destination: Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh Nearest Airport: Jabalpur Nearest Railway Station: Umaria Prerequisities - make sure to book your tickets for the safari as well as lodging well before time as it tends to fill up fast. Packing - Dont forget to carry your camera! Bug repellants are also a good idea along with sunscreen and shades. Length of the itinerary: 2 days Lodging at: Tiger's den resort Itinerary Highlights: - Chittra gives us a run down of her experience about getting to Bandhavgarh national park and her tryst with the big cat. - Chittra did two safaris during her visit to Bandhavgarh, an evening safari and a morning safari. They booked a jeep for both safaris. - Blessed with a great guide and driver, Chittra set off on her expedition into Bandhavgarh. - The evening Safari was not very eventful but Chittra still manages to catch a bunch of Langoors, wild dogs, deer and some birds. - The morning safari starts early in the morning, so be sure to be out by 5 am in order to get ahead of the pack. - After listening to some calls by langoors and deer, Chittra and her group decide to wait it out close to a place where they spot some pug marks as the group heard to interesting stories of Sita and Charger from the guide! - After an hour long wait, Chittra was lucky to capture one of her best shots to date, a tiger with a kill that walks past her jeep. It was Spotty, the mother tigress who was taking the kill to her cubs. A sight most of us aren't lucky enough to catch! - Chittra shares other tips while travelling to national parks and things to avoid. Links: Link to the blog post: Link to Chittra's blog: Link to the MP forest dept: Link to the lodging: More about the Guest: Chittra is an avid traveler who has been criss-crossing the map exploring new places, tasting different cuisines and constantly trying to understand different cultures of the place. Masalabox is not just a manifestation of her travel diaries and journals but also features quite a few funny anecdotes that encountered during her travels, some memorable moments from life, some moments of angst on the society, and some opinions on everything in the world! She also does a section on movie/play reviews called 'Musings of Life'. So sit back and enjoy as we unravel the stories in the masala box.
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Sachin Bhandary from Eccentrips. Sachin is building a startup that focuses on long term purposeful travel. Listen to Sachin talk more about his flip on the executive MBA - The 12 project and how he traversed India in 25 days and 25 trains, touching the 4 farthest railway stations - Kanyakumari (S), Ledo (E), Baramulla (N) and Okha (W)! Today's destination: India! Nearest Railway Station: Is not far away! Prerequisities - confirmed railway tickets! Packing - Pack light, make sure you carry locks for your bags! Length of the itinerary: 25 days! Itinerary Highlights: * Sachin starts off on the journey from CST railway terminal, Mumbai * Sachin heads towards the first milestone of the trip to the southern most tip of India - Kanyakumari, with stops at Sachin's native town, Udupi. Dont miss out savoring some delicious food on the Mandovi Express. * Next head towards the east of India, Ledo in Assam. The journey includes traveling on the Vivek Express, the longest train journey in India. This leg is not without drama, so make sure you stay tuned! * Head towards Baramulla in J&K as Sachin shares his experience with one of the locals in Srinagar where he spent a night * Final leg towards Okha in Gujarat as Sachin battles to stay sane and physically fit on this exhausing journey Links: Link to the blogpost: Twitter: @eccentricsachin facebook: contently:
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Saumy Nagayach, a Pune based blogger, photographer and full time software engineer who loves writing poetry as much as he loves writing code. So sit back and enjoy as Saumy takes us to explore some of the hidden gems of Madhya Pradesh Today's destination: Dhar, Madhya Pradesh Nearest Airport: Indore, MP Nearest Railway Station: Mhow, MP Prerequisities - N/A Packing - Pack light, weather can be hot in summers. Time of the year - December Length of the itinerary: One can do a day trip to Dhar, or spread it over two days to cover the place at a slow pace. Overall 5 day itinerary covering Dhar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Ujjain Itinerary Highlights: - Start off with the majestic Dhar fort, built by Mohammed bin Tughluq, in the 14th century. The fort is built of red stone and is located on a small hill. The walls of the fort can easily be seen from a good distance. - Places of interest are the Kharbuja mahal, in the shape of a musk melon, which was built inside the fort and is best known as the place where last Peshwa i.e. Bajirao II of Maratha Empire was born. From Kharbuja palace, one can see the whole city and Munj Sagar lake. The Munj Sagar lake was excavated by Raja Bhoja's uncle Vakpati Munja in 10th century - Check out the district archaelogical museum within the fort campus - it is one of the oldest museums in MP, built in the year 1902. - Next stop is the Bhoj Shala, built by the great Raja Bhoj, is a center for learning. The pillars and walls have stone carvings and people say that Raja Bhoj had written some literature/grammar/poetics there.Some of the Sanskrit inscriptions of those times were found in 1903 by an expert and then he researched more about it and gave this place the name "Bhoj Shala". - Lat Masjid is another point of interest which is unique in the sense that the mosque was built in 1405 by Dilawar Khan from the ruins of Hindu and Jain temples. An iron pillar used to be there which is now broken and is displayed outside the Mosque (the mosque is named after this iron "lat" pillar). - Make a quick stop at the Phadke studio. Raghunath Krishna Phadke was an Indian artist and many of his artifacts are installed at several places in India. Phadke taught the clay art to many of his students and a lot of his works can be seen at Phadke Studio, Dhar - Don't forget to grab some poha and poha jalebi for the road! Links: Link to Saumy's blog - Link to the blog post - Twitter @saumynagayach facebook - email - More about the guest - A novice photographer, an enthusiastic blogger and an IT Engineer by profession. Saumy also loves to write poems and tell stories around pictures. Photos featured in: National Geographic Traveller India Well known Instagram accounts like Maharashtra_ig, Splendid_India, Discover_India. Some of the best Travel/Photography Blogs of India.
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Swati Sinha from the blog Recipe for Travel! Swati is a working professional based in Bangalore, who blogs about her travel and experiences, with the aim of sharing and enjoying these experiences with more people. Today's destination: Shimla aboard the Kalka-Shimla toy train Nearest Airport: Chandigarh Nearest Railway Station: Kalka Prerequisities - The booking of the Kalka Shimla trains opens only a month in advance, so it maybe useful to work with a travel agent to book tickets. Packing - Warm clothes for the higher altitudes, pills for motion sickness may be useful. Time of the year - April Length of the itinerary: 5 days Itinerary Highlights: - The journey is kickstarted by flying in to Chandigarh, where Swati spends a day with her family exploring the famous Rock garden and Sukhna lake. Pal's Dhaba is a must stop eatery! - Leave for Kalka early morning to board the UNESCO world hertiage site declared Kalka-Shimla heritage train. The train is a meter gauge that covers about 100kms passing through 102 tunnels and innumerable bridges. Interesting legends around the Barog tunnel! - Arrive at Shimla in the second half of the day and explore the Mall road and surrounding areas! - Start early for the heritage walk next morning, organized by Sumit Vashisht from Shimla walks! Important stops at the Christ church by the ridge, State library, Bandstand, General post office, Scandal point, Vice regal lodge and President nivas. - Spend the rest of the day exploring Anna dale and Jhaako temple which is home to the 108 foot Hanuman statue towering over Shimla - Spend the final day exploring Chail and the Kaali ka tibba before returning to Shimla! Links: Swati's blog - Instagram - @recipe4travel Twitter - @recipe4travel facebook -
Comments (144)

Sharad Patel

Lovely episode, really took me to #Nashik and I have added it to my bucket list

Dec 23rd
Reply (1)


Hi... I've been watching your podcast for a while... it's very nice and I'm really enjoying it... keep up the good work. I would like to hear about kedarnath temple. Is there any podcast regarding kedarnath temple please replay. thank you

Jun 25th
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Akash Gupta

love to hear stories for travelers who not only know the importance of ethical travelling and maintaining a safe distance with wild animals but also are good story tellers.

Apr 7th
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Akash Gupta

loved the episode, I myself who is planning to do tapovan trek found it very informative and enjoying.

Mar 29th
Reply (1)

Sharad Patel

Enjoyed it ! Keep them coming

Mar 9th
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Abhishek Shah

great episode

Nov 19th
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Narasimha Tnc

that was awesome. my first listen here and felt a part and here to stay.

Nov 15th
Reply (1)

Sharad Patel

Too much context setting

Nov 12th
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akarsh dm

so inspiring so much love to our Karnataka bru!

Oct 20th
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Varsha Chauhan


Aug 24th

Chaitanya Arkati

please make podcasts on Tirumala and travelling places near Tirupathi and penchalakona Temple and water falls in Nellore district

Aug 19th
Reply (3)

Techie Topse

Lots of information. Specially the Passport stamp issue, all process to be followed to get permission and lastly the drone matter. Thank you a lot. The travel podcasts are sweet and very interesting to listen too. Keep up the good work guys.

Jul 21st
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Techie Topse

Best of luck to Suyash. Hope he will reach new heights with his passion. Lovely podcast.

Jul 13th
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Techie Topse

Awesome podcast. Got to know so much about history, religion, spirituality and culture of Varanasi. Thank you for making such an insightful podcast about the ancient Varanasi.

Jun 28th
Reply (1)

Shivani Rawat

thanks for such a savvy podcast!

Jun 19th
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Gaurav Dahiya

Really loved this episode!! Places such as Nagar and Vashishth are definitely not that popular, and I'm itching to go back to Manali again. You guys really do inspire that feeling of wonder in your listener, and that's really amazing. Continue making such episodes where you showcase offbeat places in popular destinations, these are very exciting!

May 20th
Reply (1)

Ramakrishna Avasarala

It should have been a busy travel season in India. But for the current pandemic most of us would have been spending the summer vacation in some place. This great travel podcast takes us to places and fills travel craving to a large extent. I have been listening to this for the past 3 months and am enjoying it immensely. The husband and wife duo of Saif and Fazia do a great research of the place and make the guest feel at home. The variety of topics and places covered is fantastic and always keeps you looking forward to the next episode. The ones I liked most are the ones on Kumbh Mela, The Autograph seeker a nostalgic portrayal of Kolkata, Sakhalin Islands and the road trip by 3 women to London. Great going Saif and Fazia and keep it on.

May 6th
Reply (4)

Nikhil Parmar

very nice and informative. Both the host are very good listeners and allow the guest to speak. Saif is a cool Host, the way he brings back the guest on Topic that viewers May be interested is really appreciated. Saif being a Muslim still gives a lot of info about the Places connected to Hinduism and Hindu good and that too very respectfully, I really enjoyed it.v Host also gives info regarding Bollywood movies is a nice stuff. Keep up Saif and Faiza. Thank you for such a cool initiative. I will be regular listener from now. Loved it 😍👍🏼

Apr 18th
Reply (1)

Nikhil Parmar


Apr 15th
Reply (1)

Shahid Shaikh

Really it's awesome podcast.

Apr 11th
Reply (2)
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