2016 started with full zoom as I knew it is going to be one of my biggest years so far. I had decided to leave my job by then & was very excited to write my resignation email. The excitement was also towards my footsteps on getting into full time traveling & writing. Just like luck can have it, I started my travels in January on Western Ghats-my home.
Into the soul of a Forest: Hulivana
Nested deep in the rain forest, Hulivana is situated on the lap of mountains. Roller coaster Jeep ride through the forest, trek on all the mountains around, view of thick forest, eco-friendly environment, learning about birds & insects, friendly host & not to forget the yummy food. Everything together constitutes this place to be one of its kinds.
Highlights: Only place located in the forest, eco-friendly environment.
Tea & some conversations in Chikmagalur: Megur Homestay
Chikmagalur is always about coffee, that’s not true is what I realized during this visit to Chikmagalur & my stay in Megur Homestay. Situated around acres of tea plantations, coffee surrounded by it, view of Kudremukha/Kemmanagundi, stay in ancestral property which was owned by the locals of Malnad region. Not to forget to mention, of course a visit to Chikmagalur was mandatory when the year starts J
Highlights: Located on acres of tea plantations, local food.
Peekaboo with Nature: Bird of Paradise
A Garden full of Bird of Paradise flowers, Cauvery River passing by, beautifully built tree house, paddy fields view from the window, birds knocking on the door of the tree house, an old house with red oxide & stories to tell, local food. Bird of Paradise named after the flower, located in Coorg; is a place to get a break from city’s hustle & bustle & spot lots of birds while you are watching bird of paradise flowers.
Highlights: Tree House, Local Food.
Realization to achieve my dreams happened during my visit to Sri Lanka in 2015 & to commemorate this I decided to go to Sri Lanka for a longer time-a month. I traveled around the Galle Fort to mountains in Deniyaya & Haputale, misty village Mandaram Nuwara to a 400 years old village called Meemure, from a busy town Kandy to a sandy beach in Mirissa. Sri Lanka is one of those places that remain closer to heart, always!
Highlights: First trip for a long duration after quitting the job, visiting 400 years old village.
Volunteering is one of the ways to travel if you are on a low budget, but this concept seemed nicer when you are volunteering to an organization that is giving back everything they do to nature. Sadhana Forest is the first place I volunteered in for 10 days, 70 acres of dry land is converted to a dry evergreen forest which is now home for many animals & birds. There is no one person I haven’t mentioned about Sadhana Forest, it is an experience to stay & volunteer in there. Everyone should visit this place at least once or more 🙂
Highlights: First time volunteering, Vegan environment.
Our little own France is Pondicherry, stayed in an ancient house in Pondicherry & slow traveled the 3 days wandering around the cobbled streets, watching people cycling like old times, Vespa scooters adding some color on the road, bougainvillea flowers lit up on the streets, colorful row houses, shopping on the streets.
Highlights: French Colony, colorful houses, beach
Karuna Farm in Kodaikanal
While I was looking for a place to stay in Kodaikanal, I happened to stumble upon Karuna Farm & was happy to know that there was a job opening. I was super excited that I could work here & enjoy the freedom of being with mountains; I worked here for 2 months & 8 days watching the same mountains every day that looked different each & every moment when I looked at them.
Highlights: Eco-friendly environment, Community living.
Stayed in Mumbai for a while to catch up with few friends & then headed towards Matheran as I heard so many good things about this place. Matheran is the only eco-friendly hill station in Asia; commute is only by horse or by walk. Words wouldn’t give justice to describe Matheran, everywhere you look you can see lush green mountains & waterfalls running through.
Panchgani, another hill station around the Western Ghats is another beautiful sight where it has table land & Asia’s second largest plateau.
Highlights: Western Ghats tour, an Eco-friendly hill station.
Hyderabad was my dream place to visit since the day I saw a scene in a Telugu movie. Finally, I could visit as a friend was getting married; it is pretty much like any other city but carries a very nice vibe. The food was mind blowing; I sipped coffee at Minerva, glittered in the colorful streets of Char Minar & loitered in Golconda Fort.
Highlights: Food, Historical monuments.
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