Yoohin Chala Chal Raahi!

Photo of Yoohin Chala Chal Raahi! 1/10 by Zinnia Sengupta
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Photo of Yoohin Chala Chal Raahi! 10/10 by Zinnia Sengupta

Yoohin chala chal rahi!

The best possible way to test the strength of friendship is a spontaneous road-trip. Armed with the bare essentials, a bunch of willing buddies, and adventure in your heart, set off on a voyage of discovery. Take your camaraderie to unexplored levels. Luckily for you, exotic India is never going to run out of fresh places to uncover! Here are the top 10 contenders:

  • McLeod-Ganj

Tucked away in the Himalayas, a few kilometers north of Dharamshala, McLeod-Ganj is a fascinating mélange of the old and the new. Besides being the humble abode of the Dalai Lama, this little hideaway throbs with activity all day (and all night) long, with a vibrant mix of hitchhikers, maroon-clad monks and nuns, volunteers, spiritual foreigners and of course, the quintessential Indian tourists. Walk into one of the many cafés here for some quality conversation and coffee; roam around the busy streets for that perfect Tibetan souvenir, or simply invigorate yourselves at any of the gorgeous rest-houses McLeod-Ganj offers. The Indo-Italo-Israeli-Tibetan food is the icing on the cake.

  • Rishikesh Rafting

This one’s for all the adrenaline lovers out there! Brave the fierce, frothing rapids of the mighty Ganges with nothing but a tiny raft, a crew of screeching friends and a smirking instructor on your side. Once you emerge from the freezing waters, craving for more, try your hand at the wide range of adventure sports, such as flying fox, kayaking, valley crossing, and the wildest of them all—cliff jumping! Huddle around the roaring campfire at night, gazing at the constellations above and you’ll realize just how beautiful life and friendship are.

  • Andaman Islands

Grab on to your friends’ hands tightly as you all dive into a heaven under water. Rainbow-coloured fish, mystic sunken ships, jet-black volcanic lava, and the famous coral reefs of Andaman will leave unforgettable impressions on your mind. Chill out on the immaculate white beaches, feasting on sea-food and banter. Start a volleyball tournament. Float your troubles away on the crystal-clear waters and emerge from the trip a whole new person.

  • Pondicherry

The French heart of India will warm your own hearts with its pure joie de vivre and serene beauty. Set off on a long walk to the beaches with your best friend, admiring the lovely French architecture, the Aurobindo Ashram, and the unusual mix of Frenchmen and locals on the way. Indulge in multiple cuisines at the plethora of food joints scattered across town and note down all the best recipes for later. Oh and did I mention that Pondicherry is also known as the Shopping Paradise?

  • Gangtok

This honeymooners’ heaven is also the perfect place to let your wild side loose with your mad gang. Whether you go trekking, eating, or clubbing—Gangtok will assure that there’s a twist in the tale. The duty-free goods are just an added bonus. Don’t forget to make friends with a yak as you take a bumpy ride on its back through this amazing hill-station!

  • Leh-Ladakh

Start working out right away, because a bike trip to Leh-Ladakh is going to need some serious muscle. Put your friendship and stamina to the ultimate test as you hike through glacial melts, freezing streams and the roaring Himalayan winds. As you come face to face with the stark realities of nature, hang on tight to your heart and hope it doesn't fly away.Take a break at the surreal Pangong lake and revel in the glorious view. You finally have a chance to put those dusty DSLRs to use!

  • Jaipur

Mere words cannot do justice to the countless hues of this singularly historic city. Be it art, architecture, literature, handiwork, nature or even raw, powerful spirit—Jaipur has it all. The breathtaking Jal Mahal, the scintillating Jantar Mantar, the extraordinary Pink City, the grandiose Hawa Mahal, are but a few of the endless gems in the city’s treasure chest. As for cuisine, it is common knowledge that Rajasthani food is not for the faint-hearted. Take your taste-buds on a roller-coaster ride with the spectrum of dishes this place offers. For anyone with a fondness for the written word, witness the Jaipur Literature Festival in January and find a haven for the wordsmith in you. Because Jaipur has a little something for everyone.

  • Coorg

Tired of slogging through yet another tough semester? Book tickets to Coorg and let the lazy out! Brew yourselves some refreshing local tea, grab the wooden chairs, and talk about nothing and everything with the people who know you the best. Hop to the local markets and pick out some lovely kadagas (bangles) for yourself or your friends. As you are engulfed by the green forests and the blue skies, your soul will rejuvenate itself without you even realizing.

  • Bhangarh, Rajasthan

Take your sleepover horror stories one step further and venture into the supernatural at the infamously haunted ruins of Bhangarh. Listen to the locals recount tales of unspeakable horror and the fates of the unfortunate souls who ventured inside after dark.The fact that this place is strictly out of bounds after sunset should be proof enough of its thrilling potential. Find out if the so-called brave ones in your group are half as brave as they claim to be!

  • Ganapatipule Beach, Maharashtra

A local favourite, the untouched beauty of the rocky beaches of Ganapatipule is quite rare in the commercialized chaos of today. Hop into a car and make your charming way to this tiny beach-town with a crew of your closest allies. Delve into the rich local history within the sands. A beach experience sans the noisy tourists and the ever-present litter could be the just the thing you need.

So call a squad meeting, pick your favourites from the list and hit the road! Time, tide and wanderlust wait for no one.

(Image Source: flickr.com)

Photo of Ganpatipule, Ganpatipule, Ganpati Pule, 415615 by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Andaman Island by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Bhangarh Fort, Bhangarh, Rajasthan 301410, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Gangtok, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Jaipur, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Kodagu, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Leh, Leh, Himachal Pradesh 175035, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of McLeod Ganj, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176219, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Puducherry, Puducherry, India by Zinnia Sengupta
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Zinnia Sengupta

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