Recapping 2014 through the flashback posts, Flashback 2014: Part 1 and Flashback 2014: Part 2, made us realize that we had averaged at least one trip a month, which included three new countries and nine domestic trips. That isn’t too bad for a couple that also has regular jobs, what do you think? We would love to have an even more rocking 2015! We know not what the future holds, but there is no harm being tempted.
Every magazine is floating lists of ‘Top Places to Visit in 2015’ for whatever reason. Here is our list of domestic trips ..with our own sweet reasons. While we will not be able to visit all of them, even if we do manage to visit a few, we would be happy travellers!
Ranthambore National Park: Sighting the King of the Jungle!
I am confused – is the king of the jungle the tiger or the lion? In most locations, the two big cats do not inhabit the same forest area. So, each one has its space. In Kruger National Park, Africa, Simba, the lion, is the king and in Ranthambore, Sher Singh, the tiger, is the king!
Last year, Dad and I made a trip to the Gir National Park to sight the Asiatic lions. We were really lucky – eight lions and five leopards in three safaris. Even the guides envied our luck!
This year, Ankur and I have decided to test our luck again and intend to take a few safaris to sight the royal bengal tiger. We may or may not be lucky, but the efforts will be on during the year by visiting various tiger reserves. Step one is already accomplished – making bookings at the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan for a trip later this month. It is a short trip and we would be able to go on three safaris only. Keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that ‘Sher Singh’ does peep out to say a hello!
Hyderabad: Land of the Nizams
Ankur and I went to Luncknow in December 2014, our last trip of the year. While Ankur had studied there and I had been to the city earlier as well, neither of us had taken the effort to explore the history and architecture of the city of the Nawabs. Having done so now, I am enamored by the Indo-Islamic architecture and the influence that it continues to have on the city till date.
People rave equally about, Hyderabad, the city of Nizams- similar culture, food and history. The Lucknow trip has ensured that I visit Hyderbad to explore the architecture, culture and off course, savour the the ‘world famous Hyderbadi biryani’. Let’s not forget shopping for bangles and pearls… shopping is my favourite sport! I have a work trip scheduled to Hyderbad in the last week of February. Hopefully, I will be able to land a day early to explore the city and say a hello to the new born of a very dear friend.
Taj Mahal at Agra: India’s entry into ‘Man-made Wonders of the World’
Anyone who is visiting India for the first time wants to make a trip to visit this monument – a symbol of love, architectural wonder and opulence. And everyone should… it is worth all the effort! Ankur and I have been to to the Taj Mahal in the past, but we have never been here together. Also, we were much younger then and back then, our idea was to simply tell our friends that we have seen the Taj! We never invested time appreciating the carvings and the beauty of this magnificent structure. In all honesty, I was 13 years old when I visited the Taj last and plead ‘not guilty’!
We now want to visit the Taj together. Completion of the Delhi-Agra highway in 2013/14 has ensured that the trip to the Taj can be done in a day from Delhi. Obviously, we will we do our homework before we get there and be a little more enlightened on Mughal history, properties of marble, environmental issues that are making the monument lose its charms and local charms. Hopefully, we will be able to see the Taj as informed travellers and not as overly enthusiastic tourists that we were a couple of decades ago!
Reliving my childhood in Delhi: History and more…
I have lived over six years of my school life in Delhi. Delhi is the capital of the country and breathes history and culture. It has all that a big city could offer – grand malls, multi cuisine restaurants, street food, historical monuments and good infrastructure.
It seems like a long time ago… when I was about ten or so, Mom would pack a picnic basket for Dad and me. I would plonk myself on the rear seat of the two wheeler that we then had, and off we would go, exploring the monuments in the city. The Red Fort was my favourite. I would love drawing pictures of the Red Fort Lahori Gate in my art class.
Delhi is also the political seat of the country. Evening walks around the Parliament House used to be great. Being true, they weren’t much of walks. I would run all around while Mom and Dad would run trying to catch me. Ahhhh…fond memories! It’s always good to relive the memories, isn’t it? That surely does warrant a trip to Delhi during the year!
Aurangabad: UNESCO sites of Ajanta and Ellora
The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora are UNESCO protected world heritage sites, located close to the city of Aurangabad. Aurangabad is at a distance of ~ 350 km from Mumbai, about 6.5 hours by road. Almost halfway through is Nashik, the city that houses the Sula vineyards and makes us clink our glasses each time we are around.
We have planned a long weekend trip to Ajanta and Ellora numerous times, but have never honoured the plan. More often than not, we curtail our trip and end up at the Sula vineyard in Nashik, enjoying the bubbly. However, this year, we do intend to put a long weekend to good use by making a trip to Aurangabad. Considering that both Ankur and I love driving, the 6.5 hour drive should be a breeze. With no air travel involved, this trip should be easy on the pocket, Beside the sites of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurnagbad itself has a few monuments, which are said to have inspired the architecture of the Taj Mahal.
Goa… Sun… Sand… Surf
Everyone loves Goa! And when I say everyone, I truly mean everyone…everyone from India..and people from across the globe… the Russians, the Germans, the Portugese… everyone loves Goa! The tiny state of Goa has warm seas and even warmer people. There is something to suit everyone – historical churches, yacht parties, secluded beaches and delicious food. And there is something to suit every budget as well – house your self in cosy B&B and rent a bike if you are on a budget trip or stay in a luxurious five star property and spoil yourself silly if you are feeling rich.
Ankur and I have been to Goa at least a couple of times before we met each other. We went together for a long weekend in 2013 and caught up with some friends there. However, I haven’t fallen in love with the state the way people say I should. This year, we intend to make a trip to Goa and make an attempt to fall in love with the ‘Land of Merriment’, as most people call it!
Our list of must visit domestic destinations in 2015 hasn’t ended… part 2 is coming soon!
Cheers to a rocking 2015… looking forward to lots of miles… with lots of smiles!