You ain’t a Tourist; I ain’t a Traveler

 

Image source: www.hacklife.org
Image source: www.hacklife.org

This is not uncommon for us to find articles, blogs, quotes and pictures on the internet which make a comparison between a traveller and a tourist. There is no complication in defining the two words in different ways if they want. The origin of the word “Travel” is most likely lost to history, so all the definitions circulating today are mostly based on different perceptions. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word comes from middle English word “Travelen” , which means to torment, labour, strive or journey and the earlier from an ancient French word “Travailler”, which means to work strenuously or toil.

Also, as per Oxford Dictionary, the word “travel” means “To make a journey, typically of some length”; word “Traveller” is defined as “A person who is travelling or who often travels”; and the word “Tourist” means “A person who is travelling or visiting a place for pleasure”. Based on their definitions alone, the two words “Traveller” and “Tourist” are pretty much the same. The only difference can be attributed to the frequency or the purpose of travel. But, the meaning of both these similar words have been modified quite effectively over the years majorly owing to the way these have been used and shared on the internet between the users.

In a gist, the contrast that I established based on the new definitions passing rounds on web was that Tourists love to travel with everything planned well in advance, be it destination, routes, mode of transport, stays, expenditure, food, people accompanying them on their tours and everything which they feel is needed. Whereas, Travellers are the ones who take off for unknown destinations (pre-dominantly alone) based on their instincts without much of a plan and see things as they come across to them. Those are the definitions I believe to be fair to quite an extent in today’s scenario.

I am listing a few quotes from some renowned people, which can regularly be spotted on the social media networks.

“Please be a traveller not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what is right in front of you. Those are the keys to understand this amazing world.” –Andrew Zimmern 

“Tourists don’t know where they have been; Travellers don’t know where they are going.” –Thomas Theroux

“The traveller sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.” –G.K. Chesterton

“A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”- Lao Tzu

 

A post on the internet I came across also said:

“A tourist observes, sticks out, complains and is oblivious; while a traveller experiences, blends in, is curious and sensitive.”

You ain’t a Tourist; I ain’t a Traveler
You ain’t a Tourist; I ain’t a Traveler

There are endless quotes and pictures out there to promote travelling, which in almost all cases is someone’s personal opinion and which is great to have too. The not so great side is the way people have perceived it through these quotes and comparisons and how this difference is being portrayed all over the internet belittling the ones who plan their journeys in advance, The Tourists. Undoubtedly, planned travel can give you an equal amount of experiences and pleasure as an unplanned travel could, given you do the things the way you like them.

While travelling across India myself, I was all alone initially and I also did not plan my travel when I first left. But, there were months or days in between when I travelled with friends and family with the whole itinerary planned and ready. It pretty much kept on happening on and off during the whole year of my travel. That made me a traveller for a few months and a tourist for the others. I did not find anything inappropriate or undesirable in planning my trips once in a while. It is true that it takes a lot of time and efforts to plan (which has it’s own fun) and accomplish a trip that suits your taste. It is all worth it if it makes your trip as delightful, pleasurable and exciting at the end as you want it to be.

It’s irrational in my personal view to demean any of the two ways of travelling when in the end all that matter is the movement and experience we get out of it. Having the same idea, which is to see the world, I believe everybody has both a traveller and a tourist in them. If the new definitions are to be believed, I guess we need both of them while we move; it all depends on how you want to travel and who you want to be in that particular moment. The world is huge. Let us try both ways of seeing it.

                                                                                                                                                                        -Anant Gyan Singh


* © MagMug 2016 . Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Author and www.magmug.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content *

 

16 Best Road Trip Circuits Across India

16 Best Road Trip Circuits Across India

Get over ‘Best roads’ & ‘Best road trips across India’, we decided to make a detailed Road trip circuit across India. The best possible route on the maps, possibly the best season and approx. distance. While the argument for the best possible road trip is never ending, we have tried to cover as many famous and must visit tourist destinations across the nation.

1. Delhi Leh Circuit

Delhi Leh circuit

Delhi Leh Circuit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About: Gateway to heaven:- Passing through some of the world’s highest passes, this is one road to get high on your road trip.Often termed as rider’s Mecca, Delhi Leh circuit is considered one of the best trips to test your riding skills, endurance and mental toughness. From Heat waves of Delhi & Punjab to Bone Chilling winds across the cold desert of extended Tibet plateau. This is one MUST road to visit.

Route:  Delhi – Chandigarh – Manali – Darcha – Sarchu – Leh – Drass – Srinagar – Jammu – Amritsar – Delhi

Best Season: July – September

Total Distance: Approx. 3000kms

Detour: Shimla , Lahaul Spiti, Khardungla, Tso Moriri, Pangong tso, Dalhousie

 

 

2. Golden Triangle Circuit

About: India’s most famous tourist circuit:– The circuit draws maximum number of tourists than compared to any other circuit across the nation, with grandeur of Delhi, Jaipur & Agra in a single trip. No trip introduces you to Medieval History of India better than the Golden Triangle.

photo credit: mapmytours.com
photo credit: mapmytours.com

The Golden Triangle Circuit

 

Route: Delhi – Neemrana – Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Delhi

Total Distance: Approx.  900kms

Best Season: September – March

Detour: Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Bhangarh, Mathura , Ranthambore National Park

 

 

 

3. Rajputana Circuit

About: Royalty, Pride and Colours of India in a single trip:- Drive through the land of kings as you visit Palace of Bikaner, and then drive to the Golden land of Jaisalmer, take camel safari and spend a night at the desert before heading to picturesque Fort of Jodhpur, Mehrangarh. Head south to the only hill station of Rajasthan i.e. Mount Abu. Spend a night or two before leaving for the City of lakes Udaipur and take a moment to visit the magnificent fort of  Chittorgarh, before finally visiting the Pink city Jaipur. The complete trip of Rajasthan is a walk down of the history books, with astounding fortresses, camel safaris & elephant rides. Noise, spice, heat and colour, what more do you need to fall in love?

Rajputana cicuit
pic credit: mapsofindia.com

Rajasthan Circuit

 

Route: Delhi – Bikaner – Pokhran – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Mt Abu – Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Jaipur – Delhi

Total Distance: Approx. 2500kms

Best Season: November – February

Detour: Pokhran, Pali, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore National Park, Ajmer, Bhangarh,

 

 

 

 

 

 4. The White Desert Circuit

About: Kachchh, India’s wild west:– The flat, tortoise-shaped land (kachbo means tortoise in Gujarati), is a seasonal geographical phenomena. As the monsoon proceeds, this land is filled with sea water, then by fresh water and what is left  is a salt marshy barren land after it dries up and it is known as the Great Rann Of Kutch. The barren ,blindingly clear white land of Rann is nature at its harshest and most compelling. The wild west of India is full of rugged, fiery beauty. What appears to be an endless desert plain to the horizon, is in fact a seasonal island.
The dramatic settlement here, feels like Pre-Partitioned Pakistan, and tribal villagers produce some of the finest folk textiles.

pic credit : kutchtourguide.com
pic credit : kutchtourguide.com

Gujarat Circuit Rann Of Kutch

Route : Ahmedabad – Muli – Mandvi – Bhuj – Great Rann Of Kutch – Bhuj – Halvad – Bajana – Dasada – Ahmedabad

Total Distance : Approx. 1100 kms

Best Season : November – March

Detour : Rajkot, Porbander, Dwarka, Palitana

 

 

 5. Mumbai Goa Circuit (‘ Dil Chahta Hai’ Circuit)

About: From Bombay to Goa to Dil Chahta hai:- Mumbai to Goa road trip is every bollywood buffs’ dream drive. Get over driving on Mumbai Pune Expressway (You can cover it on way back). Begin your journey early from Mumbai and head towards unconquered fort of Janjira, taste some strawberries at Mahabaleshwar, before taking scuba dive at Tarkarli and finally spend a laid back weekend in Goa. It’s amazing to see that, between the two most happening places in the country, how the western ghats had kept its surreal, natural beauty intact. Complete your circuit taking NH4 highway via Kolhapur, Pune and Lonavala.

pic cresit: roadyatri.com
pic cresit: roadyatri.com

Mumbai Goa Road Trip

 

 

 

 

Route: Mumbai – Alibaug – Murud Janjira – Mahabaleshwar – Ratnagiri -Panjim – Belgaum – Kolhapur – Pune – Lonavala – Mumbai

Total Distance : Approx 1400 kms

Best Season : September – March

Detour : Harihareshwar, Dapoli, Ganpatipule, Tarkarli, Dandeli, Hubli

 

 6. Maharashtra Cultural Circuit

About : The Road to Evolution:- Left deserted for over a millennium, choked up by creepers and trees, Ajanta caves were not discovered until 1819. Two world heritage sites, within a span of 120 kms, Ajanta Ellora are history lovers’ dream. Riding from Mumbai; visit the mythological city of Nashik where Maha Kumbh is held, this is the place from where Sita was abducted. The roads are usually two way highways, but the attachment to history makes them unforgettable.Move forward to ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora, deroute to Lonar crater lake created by meteor. If time permits head to the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune and back to Mumbai via expressway.

pic cresit: indianjourney.com
pic cresit: indianjourney.com

Maharshtra Cultural Circuit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Route : Mumbai – Nashik – Shirdi – Aurangabad – Ellora Caves – Ajanta Caves – Lonar Crater – Aurangabad- Ahmednagar – Pune – Lonavala – Mumbai

Total Distance : Approx 1200 kms

Best Season : September – March

Detour : Trimbakeshwar, Bhimashankar, Karjat, Karla Bhaja Caves

 

 

 

7. North Karnataka Trip

About : An extension to Mumbai Goa circuit:- The road takes you through Karnataka’s western coastline. Start with a glimpse of Mountains of Chikmagalur and move on the coast lines of Udupi and Gokarna, wildlife reserve of Dandeli, temples of Hampi, Fort of Chitradurga and Urban Lifestyle of Bangalore. Once done, this trip leaves you satiated for months.

pic credit: wikipedia
pic credit: wikipedia

north karnataka trip

 

 

Route : Bengaluru – Hassan – Mangalore – Udupi – Gokarna – Goa – Hubli – Hampi – Chitradurga – Bangalore

Total Distance : Approx 1600kms

Best Season : September – April

Detour: shravanabelagola, Chikmaglur , Murudeshwar, Yana Rocks, Dandeli, Jog Falls

 

 

 

8. Mysore Coorg Circuit

About : Glittering Royal Heritage:- A walk across the English country lanes, covered by pines, to unspoiled jungles of Wayanad, this road trip leaves you wanting for more. While Mysore is South India’s most famous tourist destination and has ample amount of monuments to spot, Wayanad is often termed to be the most beautiful part of Kerala by their own. Ooty often termed as “Queen of Hill Stations” is a mix of Indian Hustle and Bustle with Raj era colonies to stay on.

pic credit: wikipedia
pic credit: wikipedia

mysore coorg ooty

 

 

Route: Mysuru – Madikeri – Coorg – Wayanad – Ooty – Bandipur National Park – Mysore

Total Distance: Approx 600kms

Best Season: October – April

Detour: Bengaluru, Bylakuppe, Bekal, Kannur, Bangalore

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Kerala Circuit

About : “God’s Own Country”:- The narrow curvy lanes along the backwaters  is where even your vehicle falls in love with Kerala. It has Spice plantations and Tea covered hills, elegant houseboats, ayurvedic treatment and friendly elephants and approx. 600 kms of coastline covered with palms, and fishing nets. It’s hard to deny the liberal use of the tagline “God’s Own Country”.

pic credit: keralatourism.com
pic credit: keralatourism.com

kerala circuit

 

 

Route: Kochi – Alappuzha – Kollam – Thiruvananthapuram – Kanyakumari – Thiruvananthapuram – Periyar – Munnar – Kochi

Total Distance: Approx 1200kms

Best Season: October – March

Detour : Bekal , Varkala, Guruvayur, Thrissur, Athirapally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Tamil Nadu Temple Circuit

About: Land of Temples:- No state in India has kept intact its civilisation of Dance, Poetry and religion as beautifully as Tamil Nadu has. Tamil Nadu is as dynamic as its tradition. With White religious tika, portraying their devotion to IT goers in Chennai , the ever ringing bells of Tirupati & Madurai to the peaceful ashram of Auroville and beach of Rameshwaram, this circuit takes you through a state which proudly distinct itself from rest of India.

pic credit: indiafilings.com
pic credit: indiafilings.com

Tamilnadu Temple Circuit

 

 

Route: Chennai – Tirupati – Vellore – Madurai – Rameshwaram – Tiruchirapalli – Pudducherry – Chennai

Total Distance: Approx 1600 kms

Best Season: November – February

Detour: Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram, Sriharikota, Coimbatore, Kodaikanal, Yeracud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Best of Eastern Coast

About: The Eastern Coastal Belt:- While country’s western coast is travellers’ favourite, a lot along the eastern coast had been left unexplored. Possible reasons could be many, but what could you benefit from, is a drive/ride along the unexplored territories of bay of Bengal. Riding through cities of Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Puri, Digha & Kolkata, one covers at least 4 different states with peculiar changes in architecture, culture and lifestyle. On way back, you can chose to visit Raipur, one of the fastest developing cities in the country or just fall back along the eastern coast.

pic credit: tripoto.com
pic credit: tripoto.com

Best of Eastern Coast

 

 

Route: Hyderabad – Vijayawada – Vishakhapatnam – Araku Valley – Puri – Cuttak – Digha – Kolkata – Raipur – Hyderabad

Total distance: Approx. 2500kms

Best Season: November – February

Detour: Digha, Jamshedpur, Bastar

 

 

 

12. India’s best Tiger Circuit

About: The land of Mowgli :- Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Tadoba This is the closest you could get to living with the tigers. Welcome to Madhya Pradesh, the king of jungles when it comes to tiger parks. These forests are so dense, yet so attractive that Rudyard Kipling decided to portray Mowgli into them. While Kanha is the most dense among all, the probability of spotting tiger is the highest in Bandhavgarh and Pench. With upcoming luxury stays and camps surrounding the jungles, the trip becomes more fascinating.

pic credit: mptourism.com
pic credit: mptourism.com

Tiger Circuit

 

 

Route: Nagpur – Tadoba National park – Kanha National Park – Pench National Park – Nagpur

Total Distance: Approx. 1000kms

Best Season: September – April

Detour : Chikaldara, Jabalpur, Satpura National Park, Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Romancing with the Mountains

About: Kanchenjunga in the backyard :- From tea plantation to Toy train, from Tibet border to Old Silk route. Exploring Sikkim gives you ample of moments to fall in love with the Himalayas. The roads are treacherous so, even a small distance takes a long time, but as said when the journey is beautiful, destination doesn’t matter. Visit Gurudongmer lake to see India’s highest lake. Pelling offers you a closer look at Kanchenjunga, and Zuluk takes you to the path through which silk travelled between Indian and China via the Old Silk Route. Plan well ahead because few places require permissions to be obtained, before visiting.

pic credit: banjaracamps.com
pic credit: banjaracamps.com

Sikkim Bengal Mountain Love

 

 

 

Route: New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling – Pelling – Gangtok – Gurudongmar Lake – Zuluk – Kalimpong – New Jalpaiguri

Total Distance: Approx. 900kms

Best Season: September – April

Detour: Sandakphu, Yuksom, Yumthang, Nepal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Best of North East Adventure

About: Road trip for brave hearts:- When experienced Dibrugarh to Pasighat Brahmaputra crossing is one of the most memorable experience compared to any road trip across the country. The north east compared to Leh circuit remains highly deprived of tourists and has lot many uncharted locations to be discovered. Start from Guwahati and head to tribal village of Ziro, it takes around 2 days but the driving could be a real test of endurance, accompanying some memorable mountain memories. If the time permits, visit Mechuka for its exotic tribes, 400 years old Buddhist monastery and snow capped mountains by the border. Come south to Dibrugarh and then Pasighat, follow west towards Kaziranga National Park which hosts two third of world’s one horned rhinos. Spare least 2 days for the park. The road from Kaziranga to Guwahati are well maintained and could be covered quickly.

pic credit: photos.wikimapia.org
pic credit: photos.wikimapia.org

Best of North East Circuit

 

 

Route: Guwahati – Tezpur- Ziro – Daporijo – Kabu – Pasighat – Dibrugarh – Kaziranga  National Park – Guwahati

Total Distance: Approx. 2000kms

Best Season: September – October, March – May

Detour: Shillong, Cherrapunjee, Tawang, Itanagar,  Mokochung

 

 

 

 

15.  The Buddha Circuit

About: Footprints of ‘Siddhartha to Buddha’:– Journey on this vibrant road trip across north and India’s two most populous states of Uttar Pradesh & Bihar. Start your trip from Bihar’s capital Patna and head towards Varanasi, the mythological city of India, spare some moment for Ganga Arti in the evening and look out for Babas and hippies involved in the enchantment of Lord Shiva. Head westward towards Allahabad where Ganga Yamuna and mystical Saraswati meets at Prayag. Road further west takes you to the Capital of UP and political hub of the nation, “Lucknow”. Have a gastronomical affair in the city of Nawabs before you say sayonara. Visit the birth place of Lord Ram at Ayodhya, heading to Kushinagar. If time spares, one can enter Nepal, covering places like Lumbini & Janakpur. By the time one is back to his/her base, irrespective to your belief, the realisation towards power of religion changes.  

Bodh Gaya
pic credit: wikipedia.org

Buddha Circuit

 

Route: Patna – Bodhgaya – Sarnath – Allahabad – Lucknow – Ayodhya – Kushinagar – Patna

Total Distance: Approx. 1400kms

Best Season: September – March

Detour: Varanasi, Chitrakoot, Lumbini, Kathmandu, Janakpur

 

 

 

16. Uttarakhand Circuit

About: Land of Gods:-  land of Snow capped mountains to Low land jungle, temples & ashram, bustling cities to quiet hill station. Uttarakhand has much more to offer. Hindus term Uttarakhand as ‘Dev Bhoomi’  the dramatic terrain covered with holy mountains, rivers and lakes. With twisting roads and unlimited trekking trails, Uttrakhand captures many mountaineers’ dream destination.

pic credit: trekkinginuttarakhand.com
pic credit: trekkinginuttarakhand.com

Uttrakhand CircuitRoute: Delhi – Almora – Nainital – Jim Corbett National Park – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Mussoorie – Dehradun – New Delhi

Total Distance: Approx. 1500kms

Best Season: Spetember – March

Detour: Roopkund, Ranikhet, Lansdowne, Gangotri, Badrinath, Chandigarh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why wait, grab your riding gears & saddle bag or car keys & backpack, and plan your coming weekend.

We would love to know other circuits and destinations, comment or mail us to update the list.

Everything you should know before you visit JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

Encountering one of the most ferocious hunter in its natural habitat, would be any adventurers dream vacation. Visit India’s oldest – JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK to fulfil your appetite for ever itching memory of some splendid landscape and diverse wildlife. And never fading experience with the Royal Bengal Tiger

About : Jim Corbett is the oldest national park in India, established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Taking its name from legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett (1875 -1955). The terai land is home to 200 tigers, about 300 elephants, bears, leopards, several species of dear and other animals. The varied landscape is a view in itself

Best Season : November to June

 Park remains closed from 15 June to 15 Nov. Some areas of  the park near the southern edge of the park are accessible all  year around via the Jhirna gate. However, there is relatively  little wildlife there.

How To : Ramnagar is the gateway to the Jim Corbett National Park. The town of Ramnagar is the headquarters of Corbett Tiger  Reserve.There are overnight trains available from Delhi to  Ramnagar. Also, there are trains from Varanasi via Lucknow and  Allahabad via Kanpur to Ramnagar. Reaching Ramnagar, one can hire a taxi to reach the park and Dhikala.

Corbett National Park is 86 km north of Ramnagar.  Visitors can move about in vehicles inside the park area after  making entries at the respective gates (Permits available at  Respective Gate) Permits for night halts are issued at the CTR Reception Office at Ramnagar.

Other places worth visiting in the region are the Crocodile Pool, Dhikala Machaan, Getheryo Library (Dhikala), Corbett Museum(Dhangadi gate), Corbett falls.

In The Park : Jim Corbett Park and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary together comprise the core area of 1318 Square km Jim Corbett Reserve.

There are 4 entry gates available

  1. Amdanda Gate (Birjani Zone)
  2. Jhirna Gate (Jhirna Zone)
  3. Durga Devi Gate (Lohachaur Zone)
  4. Dhangari Gate (Dhikala Zone)

Jim Corbett National Park Map

Safari Timing : The safaris can be booked in advance and are easily available via every resort at Ramnagar, but keeping in mind the delicate balance between wildlife, nature and humans, there is a limitation on the amount of jeeps allowed inside the park at one time. The elephant safari is an exhilarating experience; where you can travel through the unfamiliar terrain never visited before and explore the grasslands teeming with wildlife sitting on the backdrop of the enormous animal.

Morning: 5:30 am – 10:00 am

Evening: 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Accommodation : Forest Rest House – Plan & Book months in advance for best experience at Jim Corbett. All the places to stay outside the park are privately managed. All the places to stay inside the park are govt managed and are forest rest houses.

The government managed Forest Rest Houses are the only accommodation to stay in the park (No private resort has the accessibility for the same)

  • Dhikala
  • Bijrani
  • Khinnanauli – usually reserved for VIPs
  • Gairal
  • Sarpduli
  • Kanda
  • Sultan

Corbett Dhikala Forest Rest House (FRH) is the most popular and best place to stay in Corbett. It is perpetually booked months in advance.

Dhikala Forest Rest House (FRH) is the most popular and the largest forest rest house and is located in the core area of the Corbett National park. It is the best place to stay in the park. It is 52 km from Ramnagar and the entrance is via Dhangarhi gate. Visitors are only allowed entry via this gate if you have booked accommodation in core area of the park. Only those who have permit to stay overnight in the park are allowed to take the safari. Dhikala FRH and its annexe has rooms, dormitory accommodation, 2 canteens, mini-library and electricity.

If not staying one can travel into this area by a Canter which takes in 18 passengers and starts off from Ramnagar. This tour is called as Ramganga conducted tour and is permitted by the Corbett Tiger Reserve .

Dhikala Map

 

Quick facts : Jhirna, in the southernmost part of reserve is the only zone that remains open around the year.

 Sitabani tourist zone is not under corbett tiger reserve. In Sitabani, there is no limitation of vehicle. It’s a famous zone for bird watching. This is the only forest in corbett where we can walk inside the forest. Sitabani known for a temple and river.

Kaladhungi 26km southeast of Ramnagar, is where Jim Corbett stayed during his period. His stay has been now converted into a museum.

Nimbubhiji, en route to Dhikala, is by far the best place to sight a tiger at Corbett. 

http://www.corbettnationalpark.in/ is official Jim Corbett Park website. 

Park’s reception centre – 05947 251489

 

 

Bhangarh

 

BHANGARH: What if the stories aren’t just stories?

 On a Saturday night in New Delhi, after getting back from office, I and my then roommate thought of watching a movie to give us the feel of weekend. Not having many options on our laptops and having a taste for horror movies we played a movie called “Trip to Bhangarh”. I must say the movie was nowhere close to be good but was definitely enough to increase our curiosity in the infamous city of Bhangarh and the folklore associated with it, especially when we had heard so much about it. Being a fan of trips planned in the spur of the moment I was on my feet putting a couple of clothes in a small bag in the middle of the night. My roommate obviously was lazy but couldn’t see me go alone on a trip which had all the possibilities to turn out to be super exciting. So we left for the closest bus station which could get us to Bhangarh.

For those who are not familiar with Bhangarh, it’s a small town in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. Bhangarh Fort is located on the border of the Sariska Reserve in Aravali range, famous for being one of the most haunted places in the world.

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 So, we took a bus headed to Jaipur from Kashmere Gate bus station. We were told by the conductor that we had to get off at a small town called “Bahrod” from where we could find a bus to Alwar. It was a freakishly chilly night. We took our seats and the excitement of finally getting to Bhangarh took all the sleep away from my eyes. At around 4 in the morning the bus dropped us at Bahrod and it took another half an hour to find a bus to Alwar. The bus was jam packed with passengers but we managed to find us places to sit in corners. By the time we reached Alwar it was already 7 in the morning. We grabbed ourselves a quick breakfast and bought tickets for Bhangarh. This last phase of our journey was about to take 3 and a half hours.

     

The rickety bus took us amidst one of the most scenic views I had ever seen. The prepossessing forests of Sariska Tiger Reserve, mountains in the distance, camels on the sides of the road and long endless roads ahead made it hard for us to blink our eyes even for a second. We finally reached Bhangarh around twelve in the noon.

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 The first site of a board that said “BHANGARH, 3 kms” with an arrow pointing in the direction of the fort literally gave us goosebumps. This point is the closest to the fort where a public transport bus drops you, so we had to cover those last 3 kms on foot. Getting closer one can see the massive walls of the fort guarding the compound. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has put up a sign board stating “Entering the Bhangarh Fort before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited”, which added to the whole eerie feeling that we were experiencing getting closer to the fort. At the entrance one can find a lot of guides who are ready to take the tourists around the fort giving them facts and information about the history associated with it. Though we didn’t ask for the guide but one of them joined us anyway. The first thing that we noticed inside was the sheer number of langoors that were everywhere around. Getting intimidated by their size and sharp teeth I enquired with the guide if they bite or not, to which he replied that none of the langoor has ever bitten anyone inside the fort, which made me feel relieved. So, like other tourists we started clicking pictures of the intricately built temples, palace and the havelis, which is when one of the langoors came from behind of me and bit me hard around my knees. I was in pain, shouting at the top of my voice as my friend, the guide and other tourists looked at me in disbelief as everyone believed that langoors didn’t bite. By this time I was sure that I was the chosen one and I prepared myself for more of mishappenings that I believed was in store for me. I quickly checked the wound which was deep but I was in no condition ready to head back without exploring the fort. So I washed the wound and decided to get to a doctor once we got back to Alwar at night. The guide took us to the different parts inside the fort which was built by Maharaja Maan Singh I for his son Madho Singh in the 17th century. Now was the time for us to ask the much awaited question “Is this place haunted?” Initially the guide brushed aside the topic with a brief laugh but on further insisting and pestering he gave us all the details that we were looking for. He told us the folklore around the city of Bhangarh.

                                      

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According to the folklore, a wicked tantrik used to admire the beautiful Maharani Ratnavati and wanted her to marry him. So he replaced her massage oil with a magic lotion which apparently would have made Maharani to fall in love with him. But Rani’s alertness figured it out and she poured the lotion on a boulder instead which rolled and crushed the Tantrik to death. Just before dying the Tantrik cursed the city of Bhangarh that the whole city will be wiped out by the next morning and people here in Bhangarh believe that is what happened.

Another strange thing that the guide told us was people from across the district come to the fort to pray the djinns which reside there. And strangely, cigarettes and liquor are given as offerings to these djinns. No girl is allowed to even come near the temple of worship as it is believed that if the djinn fall for a girl he won’t let the girl be in touch with the rest of the world. We happened to pass one such temple where the prayers were offered. The person who was getting the prayers done was sitting in a corner and there was just a priest inside the temple with him who was performing the rituals. Drived by our curiosity we stood outside the temple to see what was happening when the man in the corner aggressively started shooing us off. The guide asked us to get aside and allowed us to see the rituals from where the man couldn’t see us. It is hard to believe but we saw the priest make 4 lit cigarettes disappear from his hand right in front of us. I am still not sure if that was an illusion, a trick or is there really something that we are completely unaware of. We were asked not to discuss about the whole thing till the time we were inside the fort.It was getting late as we had to get back to Alwar and then for Delhi so we clicked a few pictures got ready for the journey back and waited eagerly to share our experiences with the people when we got home. By the next early morning we were back in our respective offices in Delhi. It just took a day for us to experience something so amazing and strange. We left with just a bag with a couple of clothes in it, but we came back with a bag full of strange experiences and beautiful stories to share.

                                                                                                                                                         -Anant Gyan Singh

The First Ride : Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1

THE PAIN

Date :  19th October      motorcycle-riding-tips

It was 5 past four in morning, outside the window it was still dark and I was awake way early then planned, my head was pounding and my spine was still expecting the comfort of bed  but it was my arm which brought me to awareness in the death of night, my left arm was paining badly, excruciatingly . The source was undetected so was the cause. I tried to hold but in vain, was at someone else’s place, and had no choice.

                I called upon my friend who was dead asleep. “I need a Pain relief spray, mine is in saddle bag at your Garage”, he was worried but there was no help to come, most of the medicines were in other room where rest slept.  I had no choice but to tie my arm with the bungee cord and get back to sleep, I had less than an hour to get back on my way.

0700 hours; I checked my watch again, I was late…way late. My left arm was still in pain, I was tired but  low on time; I quickly massaged the relief gel, did my daily score and was at garage within next half hour. Quickly tied the luggage, wiped off the dirt, lubricated the chain, checked the oil level took some quick snaps, switched on the ignition key and kicked

‘Thug…Thug…thug…thug…’ and comes alive the goddess, relieving me from night of despair & agony.

‘JUNE’ had I named her “THE YOUNGER ONE”. The Goddess of marriage – voluptuous, luminous, strong, sexy and scrumptious was few to lionize.

580kms had we covered together, before reaching Vadodara (Gujarat) at 12:30 am last night. It had been a long day but not once had June showed any sign of weariness. Uneven surfaces, eye opening potholes, nerve breaking bumps we saw it all but none ceased our determination. We were good on schedule, 10 hours sharp, exactly what was planned.  775kms was the target for day 2, and if I felt brave enough 1000kms was the dare.

Few minutes more and I was set to move, tied my wrist watch loosely, I believed the strap had one of the wrong nerve and caused the pain. Shashank was guiding me to the highway. Few more minutes of quick but scrumptious breakfast and I bid adieu to the warmth of comfort and hospitality of a good friend.

“Voadodara to Ahmedabad is a bad patch, it would be night, by the time you reach Rajasthan, You must stay down at Udaipur or Chittorgarh “suggested Shashank.

At 100kmph and 15kms from Vadodara, I was yet not sure; stopping at Udaipur or Chittorgarh was never in plan but

With needles of clock already striking the Nine and Twelve, I knew another 775kms before sunset was a dream run.

 *© MagMug 2016 . Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Author and www.magmug.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content *

Biker diaries: 2 || The Royal Enfield fanatics

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Often I came across fascinating stories from history about royal men and their stallions who were as brave as them, as ambitious as them and as wild as them. I failed to understand how a human can and an animal can go along so well as if they were a single soul? What was that love which made them mad for each other, making them push all limits to stand by each other?

Then I met this special breed (as I define them) of men in today’s world who are insane to say the least for their machines. They love their bikes more than anything; take care of it like a family member. Guard it like a soldier on the frontiers and what not? And all this, for that amazing piece of metal which gives them immense pleasure merely by its sight.

Their every journey is defined and even planned for it. They can fight with their women for the sake of their machines. They can run away from everything if their urge for that ride calls.

When I see such crazy creatures, I can very much understand how and what kind of bonds did those royals from history had with their stallions. How did they manage to feel the pain of their animal? How well they understood every move, every heartbeat, and every breath of their companion? Why they preferred their cavalry over anything else?

Because they were the ‘Royals’ dying to take a taste of those ‘fields’, of vast lands, battlegrounds and never ending searches.
Those travellers, warriors and wanderers are the men who took birth time and again to become what we call as, Royal Enfield riders!

-Udisha M.

 

* © MagMug 2016 . Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Author and www.magmug.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content *

Biker diaries: 1 || The Royal Enfield fanatics

           

 

Biker diaries. That young guy who saves his pocket money to buy that helmet instead of branded clothes to wear for college. That newly recruit, who keeps his salary for the new upgrade his bike needs instead of throwing a party for his friends. That enthusiast, who avoids dating, because he has to spend on his next trip. That guy next door, who forgets to go to church every Sunday, but never misses an auto-expo. That middle aged man, who keeps his blood pressure and diabetes in control, not just for the sake of his health, but also for his wife’s approval for that Ladakh trip. That man in grey hairs, who never regrets that he hasn’t gone on pilgrim, but grieves for that one unexplored inch of land! That girl, who fought with her parents, to buy a bike for herself! That young guy, who never hears his mom when she asks him to clean his room, but makes sure not a bit of dust touches his bike! That insane fellow, who knows how to kiss the air and hug the scenery while he crosses them on his bike, That bunch of weird fellows who find solace under the cover of sky instead of comfortable bedrooms, Those weirdos are travel-sick, like you are homesick! And you know, who they are? They are the BIKERS!

-Udisha M.  On the request of my brother. 🙂

* © MagMug 2016 . Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Author and www.magmug.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content *