Sunday, 29 March 2015

Top three places to visit in Ladakh this summer

Are not you jaded of your regular schedule in your life? Going to office everyday from 9am to 5pm, taking your kids to the nearest park, your wife to shopping and sometimes even your dogs for jogging. Is it all you want in life? Or there is something you are missing badly. Off course we all know that the all these works are integral part of our lives and it is our responsibility. But we all human being need a refreshing change or a break in our lives in some way or other way. And there is nothing better than travelling.
So we, India within India holidays, bring you some special and one of the best holidays. When whole India simmers this is the place to be at and chill either solo or your beautiful wife and kids. I am talking about Leh-Ladakh.

Although it is very difficult task to select top three destinations when we talk about Ladakh. Because whole ladakh is spectacular. Every place has its own beauty, own identity, own scenic. Yet there are some destinations who stand out for travellers. And almost every one pay a visit to these places. 

1. Korzok: Without visiting Korzok your visit to Ladakh is not complete. Korzok is the last village in eastern part of Ladakh towards china boarder has its own identity. Identity of one of the greatest landscape with all-in –one-package. You witness here one of the oldest Monastery, breath-taking landscapes, beautiful lake, full of wildlife, dense flora and fauna and what’s not. Wherever your sight travel you just witness picturesque beauty. A haven to the photographers. You find here everything which make you feel exciting and keep you on your toes all the time to discover more about this place. 
Once you arrive here you never feel like going back. Korzok embraces you with full gratitude and pleasure, and gives you a sense of belongingness. You feel a freedom here.
The route you take to go to Korzok is even more eventful and happening than the place itself. The snake like road, amazing landscapes, river, mountains, hot spring, wild life and the list goes on. 

2. Hamis: One of the oldest and biggest monasteries in Ladakh. It is not very far, only 40 km from main city. It is a kind of different plateau. More greener and more beautiful. The monastery gives it unique dimension to its beauty. The overview of the entire village and surrounding places is just amazing. Monastery itself is a unique architectural example.
If you are religious this is a perfect place for you. You can just be a part of group who perform prayer here. And if you are a religion explorer, you cannot find a better place than this.

3.  Lamayuru: A moon land on Ladakh plateau.  Lamayuru is located on the main Kargil-Leh highway on a steep rock mountain. Lamayuru is amongst the oldest monasteries in Leh and is believed to be in existence along the same time as Alchi monastery, pride of Ladakh. Lamauru monastery is about 125 kms from Leh and can be visited on the way to Leh from Srinagar if you are traveling by road. Though almost in ruins Lamayuru monastery is home to about 150 monks of Red-Hat sect of Buddhism. It is believed to have housed more than 400 monks in earlier times.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Where tradition dominates and culture rules...

In an era where quite a few number of tribal communities are leaving their tradition nd culture behind, moving away from age-old-tradition towards mainstream of civilization where they have access to water, electricity, healthcare and other public utilities, some of the tribal communities still continue with their so called endogenous heritage. Many examples can be observed where some tribal communities joined the mainstream successfully. And today they are enjoying the same services which were not accessible to them few years back and beyond their reach.

However it is not a story of all the tribals. There are many such tribal communities exist across India which are still not prepared to give up the life style, they have been following from centuries, and join main stream. May be they are not comfortable with the idea or may be their living do not allow them to do so or they may not be getting enough support which is needed or there may be other reasons too. Even today these people wear colorful attire, follow age-old-tradition so passionately like nothing else, carrying their endogenous but endangered skills, and love for their community.
I witnessed such a community few months back in Banni region of Kutch in Gujarat. There are many tribal communities one can witness in this region, but the one which stands out for me is Jat community.

The Jat community is a cattle-herding nomadic Muslim community who migrated from Sindh region where some members of the tribe still reside. The tribe is largely known for its finest art and craft work, elegant leather work, great embroidery, fine wood carving. The community is very good at pastoral work. Even today they own cattle, and sell milk and butter which is the large source of their livelihood.

The tribe still continue with their tradition. Women wear headscarf to cover their head, and often their face. They wear gold nd silver heavy and weird jewellery in nose, ears nd neck. Also on head which gives them a completely different look. On top of this they wear colourful attire. Girls in community are not allowed to talk to strangers untill they get married. Older female can talk but it rarely happens. It is also male-dominated society as many others in India. 😊

Monday, 16 March 2015


Isn't it humours when u learn that a village has been named after a fruit "Strawberry". Well do not raise your eyebrows; I am indeed speaking my mind.
Such a think has happened in Meghalaya. A village called Sohliya has been named after Strawberry. Today visitors know this village as a strawberry village, even local people started calling it Strawberry village knowing the fact that it has already started bearing sweet fruits in form of cash inflow. It is indeed a catchy word. Strawberry is not a common fruit in this area, still giving strawberry name must have some good reasoning.
Sohliya is neither an easy name to remember nor catchy to attract tourist. So the smart people came up with this pretty idea of giving Strawberry name. But how come strawberry, not any other fruit name which villagers grow there.
I inspired a lot from this whole development/story. It is a great example for the villages who do not have much to sell. I am also thinking on the same lines and considering of giving my village a new name and possibly it will be PAPAYA. But the taste of both fruits do not meet. Well I do not know which one is more sweet. I leave it completely up to you people and your taste buds to decide.
A graduate village man succeeded in growing best quality organic strawberry in his farm after a lot of hard worked and struggle. Farmers learned the techniques and almost everyone started growing strawberry in their small or big farms. Today they earn cooperatively far better than ever before.
So some like minded people suggested strawberry name to the villagers and people accepted it wholeheartedly.
Now only the name "Strawberry" has been paying off handsomely. Tourist inflow started into the village with curiosity to learn more about it.
There is not so much, but certainly not less either to feed tourist's eyes. You can witness off course strawberry farms but tea gardens, flower gardens, tea making factories are the centre of attractions. Besides it is very silent place. One hardly can be contacted as there is no mobile network nd internet connectivity. Only sound which replaces ur irritating mobile ring is the sweet sounds of birds. "If you are lucky you might see wild birds", as I my friend Deepak put it.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A trip to the cleanest village in Asia and God’s own garden

A trip to the cleanest village in Asia and God’s own garden

Being a nature lover, I always cherish visiting different but beautiful places. There is such a place which has been on my radar for quite a long time now. I did comparatively descent research before making my mind up of visiting this place. It is such a wonderland, like a bastion on earth. People call it - God’s Own Garden. Any guess until now?????

Let me throw one more clue. It has won the status of being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003. I am dam sure my backpacker friends have until now got the answer. Yes, you are right. It is none other than “Mawlynnong”.

Mawlynnong, a very small village with only 70 households, in lash-green East Khasi hills in Meghalya is ice on a cake and a treat for eyes. It is 90 km distance from Shillong airport, and one and half hour drive by taxi takes you there in the village.

The community is so friendly and receptive that you do not feel a stranger even for a single moment. The people have really learned the art of hospitality.

I reach in the village in the evening and I am stumped. This village not only the spotless clean, but one of the prettiest villages I have ever visited. The community leader received me and take me to the community-build guest-house. A beautiful place to stay with bamboo-made Machan just in front of the guest-house, a part of it.

I had my morning tea on the Machan, sitting on bamboo-made-table in very calmness, except mysteriously sweet bird songs. I really loved that part.
The clean pathways in the village are bordered by beautiful flowers plants and trees. All households have their own small but beautiful architecture gardens with full of colorful flowers. I really mesmerized to see that. To keep the village clean the villagers have put the bamboo-made basket almost everywhere in the village.

Do not even think for once that it’s all in the village. Mawlynnong has a lot more to offer you. Two tree houses, sky view, in the village, privately owned, to watch the village view and plains of Bangladesh. It is a marvelous place to be on the top of the tree and watch the plains of our neighbour country Bangladesh as well as the village. Although you have to pay Rs. 20 for the facility. But it is more than worthy to pay the amount.

The last but not the least is a marvel on the crown of Mawlynnong – a living-root-bridge. Have you ever seen such a thing from that close? My god, it is just amazing. But there are many such living root bridges, even a two-story bridge, but you need to track for a while for that. To me it truly represents the bonding of people with nature. Here it seems that nature loves you so much and embrace you tight that you do not want to part away. A must visit place………..

It is time to see off the villagers. It is the simplicity and warmth of people that make Mawlynnong so special. It will always have a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Most Beautiful Villages India (MBVI)

The movement of “The Most Beautiful Villages” has started in France in 1981 when the association of "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" was established there. Now the movement has spread in several countries, such as Belgium, Italy, Canada, and Japan. The aim of the movement is to promote the rural tourism by recognizing and registering the beautiful countryside spots by the standard set by the association. This effort is to create a completely different style of tourism.

The Japan Foundation, along with some its partners is trying to bring the movement of "Most Beautiful Village" to India. You can also contribute through sharing info of beautiful villages where you have been visited. 

You can always write me your ideas/suggestions at 

Lets come together for a better cause of empowering people who deserve the most.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015


Did you ever think of spending some quality time of your life deep into outskirts of India? I mean rural India, amid beautiful villages which may lie somewhere between beautiful mountains, between dense jungle, or somewhere in between desert like western Gujrat and Rajasthan, where you can stay and live close to the beautiful nature, feel and experience the charm of it, and soak it inside.  
I am sure you want to go/visit, if given a list of beautiful villages and an opportunity to stay in such villages.

Ok…………we are doing it; doing it with purpose and convection. We are running a campaign called “Most Beautiful Village in India (MBV-I)” to identify as it name suggests the most beautiful villages across India. It is an effort being made to preserve indigenous culture, rich heritage, enhance the beauty further and strengthen the community to make it sustainable.
It is a process of identifying at least 10 villages this year and bring them all at a single platform so that they can promote themselves; share their greatest assets and qualities with world, make them aware that they have something you are looking for desperately -the calmness, where you feel like never before- aesthetic, happiness and joy, and the charm of being a part of a new family.
We’ll make it possible with your help. If you ever visited such a place and truly believe that it can be considered “Most Beautiful Village”, please do write us about it. Also why it may be considered one of the most beautiful villages -few special things about it. It may be art & craft, vibrant culture and life style, natural beauty, rivers, lacks, house style, water fall, Jungle, food and the list goes on. The list is not a last list so it can be added/deleted/modified.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A story behind the most haunting village: Khuldra 

Today I am going to tell you a true story; a story of a Prime Minister, his love and the consequences afterwards narrated by a local villager.

Some 300 years ago, there used to be a Prime Minister of Jaisalmer, Salim Singh, the powerful and corrupt prime minister of the state. He was known for his lovemaking and his madness. While vising a town Khuldra, a village belonged to Paliwal community, 20 km north under the state of Jaisalmer, he fall on the daughter of the village head and he desired to marry her by force. He threatened the villagers with serious consequences, if they rejected his wish. Instead of accepting to order of the tyrant, the villagers held a council and villagers of 85 villages left their ancestral homes and vanished in the same night.

But this was not the end of the story; before leaving they put a curse on Khuldra that no one will ever be able to settle in their village afterwards. To this date, the village remains barren; left almost the same as inhabitants had left it centuries ago. It is said that people who tried to stay there at night were chased away by strange paranormal phenomenon.    

Keep following the blog for part-II of this story which is a personal experience at night in the village....