If you feel Benares is just an old, religious city and nothing more, think again.
The beauty of Benares is that it lets you decide how religious you want things to get. Just grab a seat at the Assi or Dashashwamedh Ghat and witness the hypnotic Ganga aarti. You aren’t expected to do anything more, unless you want to.
There are around 80 ghats here -like multiple short stories, which together form one great book. While some have hoards of people visiting; the quieter ones, such as Chet Singh Ghat and Rana Mahal Ghat, let you enjoy your peace. Then there are those, which are meant specifically for cremations. It may seem overwhelming, but here, death is as natural as breathing - which it is.
The magical Ganga Aarti, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Benares
Morning Vibes, Chet Singh Ghat, Benares (Photo Courtesy: Anujay Mathur)
If you love to hike wherever the trail takes you, to share chai and maggi with absolute strangers or to have long conversations with mountain dogs- this little town is for you.
The highlight of this trip is the Triund trek. Contrary to what the locals say, it easily takes 3-4 hours to reach the top. During April-May, the entire trail is covered with beautiful rhododendrons. At the top, you are so close to the snow-capped mountains that you can literally hear them talk!
The town does get pretty crowded. But if you manage to find a corner of your own with a mountain view, be it a roof-top café, or a spot on the trail, peace will be an instant experience.
The whole idea of loitering on a scooter all day, hopping from one beach to another, is enough to get you high.
Enjoy that relaxed nap straight on the sand, after a swim and eat delicious Surmai during the day, or reach new highs, listening to the sound of waves and psychedelic music during the night –this place defines the word ‘trippy’.
Anjuna and Vagator beaches have always been the mecca of the popular hippie culture in North Goa. But with hidden gems like Butterfly beach, South Goa is where you should be vrooming your scooter to next. That is, after a dip at the Arambol Sweet Water lake!
The dream ride, Goa
Sunsets to die for, Gonsua beach, South Goa
Beach, please!, Anjuna Beach, North Goa (Photo Courtesy: Deepika Pathar)
Tranquility, Arambol Sweet Water Lake, Goa (Photo Courtesy: Deepika Pathar)
Sun-downers in Udaipur are perfect to describe tranquility at its best. Find yourself a roof top café or, if you're lucky, head to the lake-facing terrace of your hotel. The orange hues in the sky will gradually turn to night, bringing a gorgeous view of lights all around.
Since the city is in Rajasthan, experiencing the food-high is a must with options like Daal Baati, Kachori and Mirchi Bada. And, because music is one of the fastest ways to attain to nirvana, visit Bagore ki Haveli for the intense, rajasthani folk-dance performance.
City Palace, Udaipur
Lake Pichola, Udaipur
Midnight photo walk, Daiji Bridge, Lake Pichola, Udaipur
This city is divided into two parts by river Tungabhadra- one, which contains the old temple ruins and the other, which is your own paradise. On this side, even if you stand in the middle of the road, strumming a guitar, no one will care.
The Coracle boat-ride at the Sanapur Lake is trippy experience. You can even jump in the lake for a quick swim. Mopeds and cycles are the preferred modes of transport, to explore enormous rock boulders, ruins and paddy fields. Feel free to take a nap on one of the rock boulders - you’re your own boss here!
Vitthala Temple, Hampi
Coracle Boat, Hampi
Paddy Fields, Hampi (Photo Coutesy: Megha Choudhury)