I have heard about déjà vu. Can’t say I have seen it yet. But sometimes there’s this thing which you hear all the time and don’t believe it until you see it. Kind of something that happened to me.
This post, again, is totally different (and quite long) from what you usually see on this blog. Instead of telling you about my observations, here’s a little of my experience. Lately I have traveled a lot, in the last 2 years specially. I like travelling. When it’s within your country, it helps you realize what you are. Makes you an outgoing person and boosts up your aspirations. Gets you closer to your country, your roots… or in my case, makes you fall in love with your country.
Here I am going to share my experiences from the 3 great journeys of my life. Starting from Delhi, then Mount Abu and ending up in the south, Mangalore. I was in first year of my college. Hadn’t really travelled much before except for a few places. Delhi is a place where many of my friends and relatives live. So I used my holidays for good and packed my bags to go there. That time, I didn’t have any expectation from the place apart from the fact that I did expect to see a lot of hot girls out there. 😉
It was December, a winter season in Delhi when you can’t see anything but fog in the morning. Driving a bike in that fog was one hell of an experience. We (I, my sister and her family), took our car to see India gate. This was basically the plan, which kept extending as we proceeded. Not only did I see a whole different side of the country with all the buildings like the parliament and the president’s house. I got to see all the things I had only studied once in my history book. The red fort, the Rajghat, the Qutub minar, the Iron pillar. Mesmerizing was the word when I saw the names of the soldiers carved on the India gate. For a moment the patriot inside me woke up. I felt like the proudest Indian alive.
A whole day travel was followed by a trip to Chandni chowk and Connaught place the next day. There I saw the real Delhi. Mostly filled with people from Punjab though, but there is a special feeling you get when you interact with a Delhite. I had a feeling somewhere in my mind that my hometown is a better place to be in… not that I was bias, but the security mishaps, other similar cases and the ‘safer earthquake zone’ were some points. After those 2-3 days, the feeling just vanished. Reason; I didn’t feel different. I was after all, in India! Nothing was different. The culture, the atmosphere and the people only made me feel happier to be an Indian.
All in all… Delhi:
Tourist attractions: Mind blowing
‘India’ factor: 10/10.
As a metropolitan: I have been to 3, this was the best.
If you are acquainted with a metro, Delhi is awesome. And the malls are too good to shop. Also, don’t miss any of the food joints you see. The paranthe wali gali to be specific is one hell of an experience.
(Don’t try to take the ratings seriously, they are as random as any of my posts)
Part two of my travelogue is my journey to Mount Abu. This was in the summers of last year. A random plan with the best of my friends. Here’s a tip, do NOT think of visiting a place in Rajasthan in summers. Though we did the same… but I was with friends, we didn’t even realize it was hot. Mount Abu is a place of temples. Near Gujarat, it offers a great variety of people. Typical Rajasthanis with long moustaches and the typical Gujaratis with no moustaches 😛
It was a short trip, but we managed to see all the temples and big tourist attractions the place offers. If we start counting the places worth a visit, the list is endless. Starting from the brahmkumari temple and the Shiva temples, we reach the Dilwara temple which is by far the best experience of my life. Each and every stone, every design… so wonderfully carved. Every step has its own story and each pillar has something to say. The markets there are not costly like we generally see.
In the Durga temple which is on the mountains, you get to see the different ‘roops’ of goddess and from the top you can actually see the whole city. (Just like Nahargarh in Jaipur, Rajasthan). Gurushikhar is the next destination which actually makes you feel on the top. And I still remember our guide’s words when we reached there. “You’re on the highest point in Rajasthan.” Feels great!
The evening can’t be better spent when you’re at the “Sunset point” and then the night at the Nakki Lake. The water totally compliments the calm atmosphere.
Mount Abu isn’t really a place where many people live. It’s kinda separated from Abu. So you don’t get to interact a lot. But you do get a cultural vibe from everyone around. Spiritually this place is the most enriching out of the three. When compared to delhi, the place is absolutely opposite both in culture and people around. But still you find one thing common. The ‘india’ factor. The fact that it is still your country and people around are ‘your’ people. You are never alone in the place and whatever language you speak, food you eat and things you do; you will find similar people around.
All in all… Mount Abu:
Tourist attractions: Top Drawer! Fantastic! Amazing!
‘India’ factor: 10+1/10. (And extra 1 for the beautiful preaching the people at Dilwara gave me)
As a city: Infrastructure might not be great, but hats off to the engineers who designed the road plan!
You’ll find hotels and food joints all over the place. Food here is good. And if you’re visiting without a plan, no worries, people there are the best to help you in every way.
The latest trip I had, was earlier this year. We all went to Surathkal, Mangalore in Karnataka. It was probably the best of the travel experiences I’ve had for many reasons. It was in south, a territory unexplored for me. It was a 10 day long tour. It was for Spic Macay, an organization dedicated to make you realize the strength of indian culture.
The 2 day train journey was tiring. But once we reached and settled, we realized the upcoming days were going to be even more tiring. Unlike the previous trips, this one was much disciplined and also we got to interact with thousands of people from all over India. The first five days went in seeing the various performances from the classical artists from the state and outside. The last day was a heritage walk where we explored the city. Saw all the places for which it is known for. For our surprise, it rained heavily.
The only thing I couldn’t handle was food. So here’s this point. When you’re from north india and don’t have a taste developed for south indian foods, the same thing which is heavenly for the people there, will become hell for you. I literally craved for good food. But the time duration was long enough to make me develop the taste for the food. Unlike Delhi, Abu or any other place, you won’t find people speaking hindi there. Finding anything which is even remotely related to anything from north india is tough. But soon you see that this is the beauty of the place. Even when it is like a whole different part of the country, it’s the love, the affection and a spiritual commonness you see in the people which binds you with them.
The food we ate primarily consisted of “Ghasi”, “Ayyangayi”, “Rasam” and “Rasayanam”. And I must say, the rasayanam was good. 😀
And you can’t deny the fact that we all love Dosas!
All in all… Mangalore:
People: Nice (They speak English so sweetly! 😛 )
Tourist attractions: Very good!
‘India’ factor: 10/10.
As a City: For the first time visitors, you just need to visit the beeches once before you start the trip, and you’re gonna love the place.
Food, beeches, temples and some more beeches. That’s precisely Mangalore for you. It might not provide you the best ‘tour’ of india, but it does give you the ‘different vibe’ you wanted.
I have also been to places like Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, M.P and almost every city of Rajasthan. One thing I found common in the aforementioned and the above places was that no matter how different the culture is, how different the food, travel or living habits of the people are; they are all the same loving bunch of people who have the same political and spiritual thoughts. Who will always welcome their guests with a great zeal, who will love the food they make and won’t mind adding a little extra spice anytime! Who will fly kites, the dates may be different. Who will always have interest in football and cricket. I salute the person who coined the term “Unity in Diversity” for India. For I don’t see a reason why we can’t be called that.
I’d like to end with one very good quote my friend harsh says. “If you are in any part of India and want to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, talk about Sachin Tendulkar.”
I am proud to be an Indian, and lately, I am proud to be writing about it. 🙂
You can also like this page of Harsh Snehanshu, who is writing a book “Routes to Roots” on India.