SlowRover Snapshots #24

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Title: The Appus of Mysuru
Location: Dasera Parade, Mysore Palace, Karnataka

I cannot think of any other place in India that celebrates the Hindu festival of Vijayadashmi (Dussehra/Dasera) with such zeal and grandeur.
The celebrations last for the entire duration of the holy Nine-Nights (Navratri) and is marked by the famous ‘Jumboo Savari’ or the Dasera procession at the iconic Mysore Palace.
YES, I attended this festivals for catching a glimpse of these Majestic Elephants (lovingly called as Appus!) and NO, I was not disappointed! Appus have a knack of cheering you up!

SR Travel Tip: Mysuru is famous for its grand palace that is lit up by TEN THOUSAND light bulbs during the Navratri celebrations! You cannot afford to miss the sight of this palace if you’re in Mysuru during Navratis!

Additional Readings: There is much more to the Mysuru Dasera Parade than what the article captures. Read this and this if you are interested to know more about this 400 years old tradition.

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SlowRover Snapshots #23

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Title: The Colours Remain
Location: Jamali Kamali, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi

Beyond the bustling lanes of Mehrauli, in the domineering shadows of the Qutab Minar, lies a oft forgotten gem known as Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Despite being widly covered by the plethora of the Indian travel bloggers, it still remains way from the eyes of the usual tourist.

The tomb of Jamali Kamali is arguably the most famous (and supposedly haunted) structure of this 20o acre park. Some say that the two tombs at the Jamali Kamali Mosque are of a gay couple called Jamali and Kamali, while other sources rubbishes the claims and address them as husband and wife. While the scholars are busy trying to refute such scandalous rumours, I couldn’t help but get enchanted by the intricate colourful engravings on the inner walls of this Tomb. Whatever the truth, Jamali Kamali did leave behind a colourful legacy.

SR Travel Tip: The Mehrauli archaeological park also hosts other historical marvels such as  Balban’s Tomb, Rajon Ki Baoli,  and Metcalfe’s follies. A weekend sojourn to this hidden gem of Delhi is highly recommended.

Further Reading: Djinns of Jamali Kamali  || Saga of Jamali Kamali


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SlowRover Snapshots #22

Bamboo Skywalk (Meghalaya)

Title: The Bamboo Skywalk
Location: Nohwet Village, Meghalaya, North East India

You’ll rarely find its mention in any Meghalaya itinerary found online or in travel guides. Neither will the locals persuade you to give this hidden gem a visit.

But find it, you must!

This Bamboo Skywalk is located  in beautiful Meghalayan village called Nohwet, at a distance of about 80 kilometres from Meghalaya’s capital city-Shillong. Sadly, this village is often skipped by tourists who prefer the proximate (and more famous) village of Mawlynnong (Too mainstream, I tell you!).

Each year, two brothers build a bamboo skywalk/view point, more than five stories above the ground, with their bare hands.  For a nominal fee of 20 INR you can, from atop this skywalk, witness the true consequences of the world’s most profound monsoon (this is the wettest region in the world!)- a 180 degree view of numerous waterfalls, more than you can bother to count,  and the mirror-like the flooded plains of Bangladesh.

Want to see more of Meghalaya? Click here and here to access more images from this beautiful state.

SR Travel Tip: If you ever get a change to visit the godly Indian state of Meghalaya, keep a day exclusively for Nongriat Village– home to the double decker living root bridge of Meghalaya! Click on the hyperlinks to access more amazing content from us.


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SlowRover Snapshots #21

Tibetan Monks of Nepal

Title: The  Monks
Location: Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

You need to traverse a total of 365 stairs to reach the Monkey Temple of Kathmandu- ‘The Swayambhunath’. The climb is  steep, often disclosing an impossible to climb gradient of ascent. But once you reach the top, it is a sight to behold. The entire city of Kathmandu is in front of you, showcasing its sea-like expanse against the background of the mighty Himalayas.

Despite being a Hindu temple, the temple complex is usually maintained and frequented by Buddhist monks who perform their traditional rituals daily. The ceremonies are not only elaborately orchestrated, but also colorful.

-Vibhav


SR Travel Tip: Another must visit place in Nepal is the town of Pokhara. Located beside the beautiful Phewa lake, Pokhara boasts of magnificent landscapes and exotic eateries.


Want to see/know more about Nepal? Click here
PS- Click on the hyperlinks to discover exciting secret content! Let us know which one you liked best! Happy browsing! 
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SlowRover Snapshots #20

Ross IslandTitle: Old and New
Location: Ross Island, Andaman, India

Beauty, it is said, lies in the eyes of the beholder. All things are beautiful, however, it is us who should be able to see the magic within.

Ross Island is a perfect example of this apparent subjectivity. An island, which was once the seat of the mighty British Empire, now lies in ruin. But they say the ruins have an ability to speak to your soul; to fondle the emptiness within.

And Ross Island does just that. The island, deserted decades ago, is now full of dilapidated structures reminiscent of the glorious past.

However, if you look close enough, you’ll manage to find beauty in this negative place.

-Vibhav Bisht

Want to see/know more about Ross Island? Click here!


SR Travel Tip: Andaman is a treasure trove of travel escapades. We highly recommend an sunset dip in the most beautiful beaches of all – The Radha Nagar Beach of Havelock Island.


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SLOWROVER SNAPSHOTS #19

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Title: Colours of the Dal Lake
Location: Srinagar, Kashmir, India

Cozily perched in the lap of one of the most beautiful valleys of nature, the Dal Lake possesses the wizardry to enchant even the most reluctant tourists.

The ‘Shikaras‘, or the small boats, that ply across this calm body of water are considered the highlight of this region. A sight of a distant, yet visibly colourful, shikara with its reflection etching the mirror-like surface of the Dal lake, and the hues of setting sun being reflected in the background. It seems that the term ‘Heavenly‘ was coined exclusively for such experiences.

 

-Vibhav

SR Travel Tip: If you get a chance to visit the Kashmir region of India, make sure you try the renowned ‘Wazwan‘ multi-course meal of Kashmir. Being a foodie myself, I can vouch for ‘Wazwan’ being one of the best food experience in India.

 

Want to know more about Kashmir, India?
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Also, if you liked this post, you’d love this page as well. Click to check it out!


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SLOWROVER SNAPSHOTS #18

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Title: Her First Smile
Location: A village near Munsiyari, India

Her name is Keenu. She, alongwith some other naughty kids of her village, had come to visit us, while we were camping a few hundred meters away from their remote Uttrakhandi Village near Munsiyari.

While the other kids were busy running around our tents, little Keenu had her eyes fixated on my cell phone. It suddenly dawned upon me that it was probably the first time that she had come across this miracle consumer product. Not only was she delighted by the bubble like icons on my phone screen, she giggled each time the phone made sounds.

Perhaps her major delight was reserved for the last. For when I finally started my phone camera on ‘selfie mode’, she gave an expression that was part happiness and part disbelief. After all, this was the first time she was watching her own face on a phone screen! I’m glad I pressed the click button right then.

Not all selfies are bad, ay?

 

 

SR Travel Tip: If you ever visit Munsiyari in Uttarakhand, India, do not forget to visit the ‘Master Ji’s’ Museum. An overnight trek to the Khaliya Top is also highly recommended.

 

Vibhav

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SLOWROVER SNAPSHOTS #17

Coffee Seller

Title: The Kaapi Innovator
Location: Manamadurai Junction, Tamil Nadu, India

 

The compartment was abuzz with a distinct sound. Our train had  stopped at Manamadurai Junction, a small station that falls on the route from Madurai to Rameshwaram.

Throngs of coffee sellers bombarded our peaceful journey with an incessant sound of business.

“Kaapi, Kaapi, Kaapi” they cried in unison, trying to sell the world’s favourite drink in a local accent (Kaapi is a phonetically corrupt term for ‘coffee’). One of the sellers parked his minimalist coffee store by my window. He had managed to customize a rod of iron to be used as a makeshift coffee stand (See Picture).

Need is indeed, the mother of all inventions.

SR Travel Tip: If you ever visit Tamil Nadu, we recommend you to visit Dhanushkodi, a ruined city that was destroyed by a cyclone in 1964. The eerie walls of the ruins, accompanied by the incessant sound of ocean waves lashing against the nearby shore – Can’t be missed .    

Vibhav

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SlowRover Snapshots #16

Kolkata, Fisherman,

Old Man and his Fish

Title: Old Man and his Fish
Location: Gangasagar, West Bengal

Each day millions of Indians use boats to traverse mighty water bodies of the Great Indian Plains. On one such boat ride, I noticed this peculiar man. He had his hands inside two containers while vigourously shaking the what was inside. After witnessing this strange, incessant act for more than 15 minutes, I went ahead and inquired about the reasons for his actions.

He replied “I am transporting freshly caught fish in these vessels. If I don’t  keep stirring the water inside, the fish will suffocate and die withing minutes. I must do whatever it takes to keep them alive and fresh!”

“And what will you do with the fish when you get down from this boat?” I inquired further.

“Kill them.” came the reply.

I gave him a gentle smiled and walked to the other side of the boat.

Little ironies that fill our lives.

 

SR Travel Tip: If you ever visit West Bengal, We strongly advise you to visit the Sunderbans. It is the world’s largest delta and a home to the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Vibhav

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SlowRover Snapshots #15

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Behroopiya at Vrindavan

Title: Behroopiya
Location: Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

He claims to be Kishan from a small UP village- I doubt if either of that is true. For he is a Behroopiya; ‘an Impersonator’. A man with no identity, yet identifying himself with everyone around him. He chooses to live a part of their lives- people he meets on the streets, people he watches in the movies, everyday. Some days, he’s a vagabond sadhu, seeking alms from the passerbys while giving them fake blessings. Today, he chose to be an army man wearing a Behroopiya name tag. Wonder how many lives he’ll save today on the streets of Vrindavan.

SR Travel Tip: The birth place of Hindu God Krishna, Vrindavan is not only one of the holiest cities in India but also a veritable pastiche of different cultures which is best reflcted in food. SlowRover recommends a stay and a meal at MVT Restaurant and Guest House while you’re here. 

-Vibhav

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SlowRover Snapshots #14

The narrow passage through the green cover looks like an entrance to Anaconda's lair

The narrow passage through the green cover, with knobbly branches stretching out their arms, definitely looks like an entrance to Anaconda’s lair

Title: Anaconda’s lair in Kerala
Location: Poovar, Kerala

I hope you won’t judge me for admitting that I haven’t seen any of the movies of the Anaconda franchise. Sure I have seen a scene or two while surfing channels but my attention has always been stolen by Colin Firth playing Darcy or Ellen’s wisecracks. So, I was surprised when during a backwaters tour in Kerala, my guide told me that the third part in the series was partially shot there. But I wasn’t amazed. In fact the dense, ghoulish green cover made it an apt setting. The presence of solitary, abandoned vessels further strengthened my beliefs.

An abandoned boat - a sign of imminent danger?

An abandoned boat – a sign of imminent danger?

I do know now that Anaconda was shot in Romania (thanks to Google and lots of scandalised friends). But I think the location would be just too apt. Take the hint Hollywood!

SR Travel Tip: Try to visit Kerala between the months of May-August. The humid climate keeps most tourists away (not all, of course). I stayed at the Over the Hill Resort and would definitely recommend it for its services and tasteful architecture.

-Swetambara

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SlowRover Snapshots #13

CharlesBridge (1)

Title: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

I was celebrating Halloween in Prague. As I walked on the Charles Bridge, I stopped at one of the most popular of the 30-odd baroque sculptures adorning the bridge – John of Nepomuk. He was the vicar who was unceremoniously tossed into the Vltva river sometime in the 14th century. Instructions for the King, describes how a jealous King Venceslaus had tried to find out the name of his Queen’s alleged lover from the vicar who refused to betray the seal of confession and invited the King’s wrath.

He became a martyr and was the Queen’s bridge over troubled water.

SR Travel Tip: Take a long walk on the Charles Bridge and it will be difficult to not be overpowered by the delicious scent of fresh trdelník in the air. Krusta is one good place to try the traditional Czech pastry.

-Swetambara

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SlowRover Snapshots #12

Breaking the Hula-Hoop World record

Breaking the Hula-Hoop World record

Title: Breaking the Hula-Hoop Record
Location: Pokhara, Nepal, Asia

Backpacking in Nepal is a serendipity in itself. I met this little guy during a backpacking expedition in Pokhara, Nepal. Busy playing with his hula hoop outside his father’s shop, he noticed me after quite some time. “Do you know what I am doing bhaiya (brother)?– I am trying to break the hula-hoop world record!”

I don’t know whether he succeeded in his mission or not, but I hope he never gave up trying.

SR Travel Tip: If you’re ever on a backpacking holiday in Nepal, SlowRover advises you to cover the scenic Annapurna Circuit.

-Vibhav

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SlowRover Snapshots #11

The Beach

Watching The Sunrise

Title: Watching the Sunrise
Location: Kalapatthar Beach, Andaman Islands, India

Clicked at one of the most magical places to witness a sunrise – The Kalapatthar Beach (The Blackstone Beach) of Havelock Island in Andamans. Thousand of stones, black in colour, are spread across floor of this sandy beach. Imagine watching the sun rising from the distant horizon while being perched on one such stone.

SR Travel Tip: While Kalapatthar is a sunrise beach, make sure to watch the sunset from the world renowned Radhanagar beach of Andaman (Pics here). Also, try Garlic Butter prawns at Anju Coco while you’re there!

-Vibhav

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SlowRover Snapshots #10

Lama, renunciation

Little lama and a lesson on renunciation

Title: Little Lama and a Lesson on Renunciation
Location: Ladakh, India

While exploring the Hemis monastery, I ran into this young man. Instantly, my hands whipped out my camera, thinking about how good his red robes would look against the white. But he shook his face in anger and turned away. But as I stowed away my camera, he beckoned. He simply took the chocolate I held in my other hand and asked me to proceed with the photo.

So, by renouncing a bar of chocolate I managed to click this image.

SR Travel Tip: Don’t plan a trip to Ladakh which doesn’t have Pangong Tso in the itinerary. You could enjoy amazing street food in Leh, but if you want to have a sit-down dinner, head to Gesmo or Bon Appetit.

-Swetambara

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