Sunday, 28 April 2019

Don't Hesitate! Travel Solo.

 Don't Hesitate! Travel solo

''Solo travel not only pushes you out of your comfort zone, it also pushes you out of the zone of others' expectation''
                                            --Suzy Strutner


There are myths about traveling solo specially in India. It is said specially for women that safety is a big issue which I agree and disagree at the same time. I believe that the safety lies in travelers hand. This article will give you an insight about the safety tips for solo female travelers.
Lets start with the most common thought -

What is solo traveling?
Solo traveling means exclusively traveling alone with all necessary arrangement done by you. Solo traveling has become like a fashion and hobby in these days. I found bulk solo travelers while browsing social media but don't understand how do they take fancy stylish photographs when they travel solo. Solo traveling is not always picturesque and photogenic moreover it faces challenges and obstacles.
    Photo credits to tales of a backpacker

Why do we need to travel solo?
   Picture credits to adventure nation

First and foremost it is not a necessity that we need to travel alone . for male travelers it is very simple to travel alone or in a group but when it comes to a female traveler the so called taboo of traveling alone stand out prominently shunning the capability of a female traveler. 
As a female traveler I suggest that all female enthusiasts should give it a try to understand the 'Self' better. To discover the potentiality and make yourself confident you should travel alone. It will not only help you to boost your personality also somehow you will know more about yourself and off course your strength and challenges. 

What are the preparations for traveling solo?
photo credits to time management ninja

The preparation is everything when it comes to solo traveling. There are few things which we need to prepare before starting the travel -
1. Research well -  Make sure that wherever you are going you are aware of that place . The basic research is very important for a solo female traveler. You should jot down the transport facility, timing of public transport and names of the places and hotels. Have a basic idea about the local culture which will help you to understand about the food habits, clothings and modes of communication.

2. Say yes for a social accommodation-  This is most important. For a female solo traveler the accommodation must be a safety question. Do not choose a lonely or remote place to stay. Choose a place in a populated location with a verifications and survey done through ratings. Always try to connect to the fellow travelers have already been to that place to develop better understanding.

3. Try to dress like Local- This is very helpful at times when you visit the religious places. Do some research before traveling . Like,  If the locality demands a full sleeve cloth then go for it or if the demand is to cover the hair then do that willingly. there is no harm in showing respect to different practices. Also it will not draw attention when you are left alone.

4. Do not act limitless- It is very important to have control on your behavior. This can result a successful trip or else things will fall apart. Traveling alone tends to make you feel liberate and your soul act like a film scene where you get drunk and find your self by staying alone on a sea shore or on a street side. These wont work in real life at all. Act responsibly after all our safety is on our hands.

5. Do not disclose your address and personal details- While traveling you will be meeting different people and some you will find really easy going to share about you but control your instinct and do not share where you are staying, your phone no and any other details. Stick to the purpose and enjoy in limit. 

6. Use technology-  There are many advance application which can help you in some sticky situation. Always share your location with your friend and family to keep a record. Check this website for better understanding  : http://thetruthspy.com/top-phone-tracker-apps/

7. Able to read the situation- The most most important thing is to understand the situation. This is the most important where you have to trust your instinct. If you feel any discomfort or scruple in the situation get the hell out of there at any cost. Act maturely and always be mentally strong to face challenges. 


At the end I would like to say that traveling alone is completely safe if you research well and stay connected with other fellow travelers. After all we all should live our 'Me and My' moment. Isn't it?

Thanks for reading guys!!! See you soon.






































































Friday, 19 April 2019

Happy Travel With PERIOD


­čö║Traveling with Period ­čö║

The most common saying - 'Health is wealth' stands successful when you really take care about your heath in all circumstances. This blog I am going to dedicate to all my female travel enthusiasts considering it would be a valid topic to discuss. 

Being a female traveler one thing which always bother me is my period dates. Whenever I plan any tour I need to calculate meticulously about the travel dates with an exclusion of period dates. If you can avoid the dates and plan your trip then it's not a problem but sometimes it's unavoidable due to the tickets, resuming job and many more things. 

Those who are really passionate for travel and do not want to compromise then this blog could be helpful. 
Let's Start!

First leave the misconception that you could not trek with your period. It is completely okay to travel and trek with your period.
You are more strong than you think. 

Things you need to choose!
  • Menstrual Cup - Its a great option but used very infrequently in India because we are still doubtful about it or we don't want to opt for new things!! This is a healthy practice which will make your travel safe and hygienic. The most fascinating thing is it's reusable for many years. For first few times it would be little uneasy but after two or three times it would be smooth . It's the same when we started using sanitary napkins and became habituated. 
Image result for menstrual cup
Photo credits- slate.com
  • Made of Flexible rubber which can be sterilized  for 3-5 minutes.
  • Comes with variety of sizes which suits your age, flow amount and childbirth history. so it's easy to choose.
  • You can wear it up to 12 hours.
  •  Wash it with clean water, wipe it and let it dry for the next use.
  • It's completely easy, hassle free and cost effective.
Best in business - Diva cup (Eco friendly, BPA, latex, plastic, chemical and dye free)
To learn the usage, click on the link: https://divacup.com/

  • Tampons for better hygiene - This is a better option than pads which is more hygienic and made out of cotton. 
Image result for tampons
  • Sometimes it comes with the applicator which helps you to put it properly.
  • Don't leak. 
  • Can be worn in rain, river crossing and while having water sports easily.
  • It's easy to take out as there is a string attached to it.
  • You can wear it up to 8 hours. Try to change it frequently and you can use it overnight.
  • Budget friendly. These comes in various prices so it is easy to afford.
After all it is all about your practice. Give it a try !
For better understanding and video manual visit this website:

Maintain proper hygiene: In this let's focus on some basic hygiene tips and how to pack those for your journey.

  1. Things you need to carry - News paper (cut it into small pieces).
  2. Double Zipper lock plastic pouches (to carry used sanitary napkins in case you are not using the above options).
  3. Never ever throw the used products in the wild as they are made of non biodegradable materials and can cause serious pollution. Be responsible by wrapping it properly with news papers and put it in a zip lock pouch. Through them where you found a disposable bin. 
  4. Carry Hand Sanitizer (use it wisely to clean you hand), tissues and easy cramp relief roll on.
  5. A soft kerchief.
  6. Talcum powder.
  7. Keep your travel pack easily accessible. 
At the end it is completely on you how you want to maintain or what ever is convenient. My personal experience was smooth with these products. Remember, Nothing can stop you from travelling. These above options will help you to not compromise  with your exciting travel plans. After all we all deserve a clean and happy summit. Don't you think so??
HAPPY TRAVEL!! Feel free to write back.

Thank you for reading!! See you soon guys.







Saturday, 13 April 2019

YAYAVAR Club - A leading community for travelers.


YAYAVAR Club 
 A leading community for travelers.

     Yayavr club

You all must be wandering why all of a sudden I am talking about a travel club when I prefer to travel solo!!


Well, Yeas! I came across with some amazing facts about this club and their vision about responsible and sustainable tourism. I thought of sharing a glimpse. Let's take a look.

What makes their ‘VISION’ unique?
Not only they have preferred to unveil the rare destinations also they are very keen towards preserving the local cultures and practices while traveling. Few things which I liked the most about the nature of this club are -
 1.  They give platforms to the new start ups and travel enthusiasts to make travel plan, guide treks, promoting travel companies and hotels etc which rarely we found in these days.
    
      2. They give the open access to the travelers to reach out to the locals which benefits in both ways. The travelers experience the unique cultures and habits of locals and prevents from losing their ethnicity.

      3.  They always engage local people to plan trips so that they get benefits after all locals are the best to guide you about their places.

      4.  Overall Yayavar club will provide you to live like locals being in their places which stop affecting the local community.

Isn't it amazing!! Their strong vision helped them to achieve a great number of followers and a family of 10,000.

Are they ‘DIFFERENT’?
Oh yes! They are completely.  Otherwise in these present days with the competition of million travel clubs they are growing with a tremendous pace with a decent number of followers.

Being a Non profit organization they work on No profit no loss technique. As part of their exploration group they divide all costs equally which directly benefits the locals with an extra effort of wellbeing of the ecology of those places. Apart from this they are on their way to develop a complete self help/guide platform to give a first and fresh experience which other travel clubs barely gives.

Now when it comes to me I thought of why not to give a try when I personally believe in sensible, sustainable and responsible tourism. Sometimes when you really can’t make it alone you need some encouraging souls to take it forward and inspire you to be a part of it.
So my dear travelers, It’s time to make your choice! Your choice can make a difference and you can be the integral part of a responsible travel community.


For more information click on the below links


Thanks for reading! See you guys soon.


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Twin Monolithic architectures: Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves


Udayagiri & Khnadagiri Caves
                                              ----Symbols of religious diversity in India


Hello Friends!!! have you ever thought about a city which is rooted and drowned in Hinduism but responsible to protect the diverse religious characteristics of India by preserving these twin caves call 'Udayagiri & Khnadagiri'. 

    
    Udayagiri caves
    Photo@sahelibasu

Situated in Bhubaneswar these heritage architectures are the major tourist pooling sites. While going home to Kolkata I had a 6 hours break in Bhubaneswar. So, as always I pulled out all possible information about the near about side scenes.

I decided to visit Udayagiri & Khnadagiri as I am very passionate towards historical and religious architectures. lets take a quick look about the history of it. The exact location is in Bhubaneswar, khurda district. These two are the earliest rock cut Jain caves which were curved by Jain monks and artisans from the times of king Kharavela.  These two monumental caves are not only manifests the genius architectural sense of ancient India but also shows the early inscriptions of love, tolerance and religious description.


   Udayagiri cave view
   photo@sahelibasu

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are believed as wonders among all the monumental architectures from first century BC.  There are multiple caves located in Udayagiri premises. Udayagiri means - hills of sunrise. The main purpose of these caves were shelter, meditate and prayer in solitude. The different caves depicts various scenes like royal procession, hunting expedition, court scenes etc.

The most beautiful and largest cave is 'Rani Gumpha' or Queens cave.  There are other several caves as well like 'Haaati gumpha', 'Alkapuri Gumpha', 'Jaya vijay Gumpha' etc. They all are numbered clearly to avoid any confusion.

Part of Udaygiri cave
photo@sahelibasu22

All the caves are carved in sandstone and each one is different in character also their rooftops are very low in height. You can experience the silence and sacred feeling of the place. This gives you an unique feeling like the whole evidence of history or a spectacular architecture of first century BC is standing still between a full fledged on growing metro city. the site was giving me a feeling of changing time, progress, urbanization and a lost past. These monumental heritages bridged the history and time together. These helps us to remember the glorious past of India and an endeavour to cherish the diversity which signifies our beloved India.

You may experience a spectacular view from the top of Udayagiri cave. The thin white line of urban architecture from a stone carved cave builds a connection between centuries of history and religion.

View from Udayagiri cave
photo@sahelibasu

Khandagiri : Its very close to the Udayagiri cave. From the main road one can see the easy trails. They are marked very clearly from the entrance to the summit.  The caves of Khnadagiri are located at the height of 118 ft. There are several caves resides in a single premises. 'Khandagiri' means broken hills. There are 15 caves in Khandagiri.

A heritage of 2000 years old was the shelter of many Jain scholars. The caves are beautifully carved with inscriptions, motifs and relief sculptures. These caves presents the first occupation of Jain and Buddhists.
    Khandagiri cave 
    Photo taken from Tripoto.com

These two twin caves are the primary attraction of Odisha tourism. Good to see the maintenance and the security provided by the state government. Hope it remains same.

Thanks for reading!! See you soon guys.




Thursday, 28 March 2019

Digha , A sun shining weekend gateway


DIGHA
A perfect weekend gateway


Digha : A perfect weekend gateway for family and friends. If you love beaches and want to spend your weekend with the sea and sand than You must visit Digha . It's a coastal resort town in the east Indian state of West Bengal, border of West Bengal and Odisha. 
It's easy to reach Digha from all parts of India by train and flight. For flight one need to book it CCU(Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose) from there head to Howrah railway station to access trains. There are five trains which one can avail for Digha.

     Digha beach
     Photo @sahelibasu

1. Tamralipta Express (train no: 12857)
2. Paharia Express (Train no : 15722)
3. Howrah - Digha super AC express ( Train no: 12847)
4. Kandari Express (Train no: 22897)

All train takes more or less 4 hours to reach Digha from Howrah. As it's a very popular vacation destination so there are many hotels with different budget. In these days through OYO you can get great deals on single occupancy or double occupancy. If you really want to avoid the rush and crowd then avoid the festival times. Otherwise this place has much more to offer and you can experience the best view of Bay of Bengal.
Digha beach
 photos@sahelibasu
                                                                                                                               

Places to visit: 
1. Shankarpur: A small beach village with an wide open view of Bay of Bengal. It is a regular fishing harbor located 14 kilometers in east of Digha.  Do not miss the red crabs on the beach. It looks mesmerizing when millions of them are out on the warm yellow sand bed. 

2. Talasari: It is approx. 8-10 km from Digha. It is the conjunction of Subarnarekha and Bay of Bengal. The place offers the lush forest of palm trees and mangrove forest. once you cross the mangrove you can access the beach.
















Mangrove forest in Talasari beach
photo @sahelibasu

















Subarnarekha river in low tide
photo @sahelibasu
















Talasari beach
photo @sahelibasu


There are other two places for beach lovers . First one is Mandarmani and the other one is Taaj pur. These two can be traveled separately. Otherwise if you are planning for a long trip you can destined those places by giving one day gape in between.

Ending the Blog here ..... will be back soon guys. All the best!.








   

Friday, 17 August 2018

BHUTAN : One step closer to my soul


KUZOOZANPOLA :  BHUTAN 

one step closer to my soul


Less words, lifetime memories and heart full of happiness.

Bhutan has everything of it's own. It is complete within itself quite successfully. So to experience that difference I planned out a small trip to Bhutan. If you are planning for a short trip to Bhutan remember few things which will help you out always:

1. Never take a guide, be yourself (follow the traffic rules).
2. Travel in local bus to experience the authenticity of Bhutanese people, which will change your all misconception of living life and the best way to see the difference between our country and Bhutan.
3. Go for local food .

Lets start the journey.


There are several routs to reach Bhutan. It is always better to start your Journey from The India (for my overseas friends). In India there are few routs which will take you to Bhutan without any hassle.
As I live in Hyderabad I choose a morning flight  for kolkata (CCU) and started my journey from there. Train is my most comfortable and favourite vehicle so I booked my tickets prior in Kanchankanya Express (train no 13150) from Sealdah (boarding time: 8.30 PM) to Hasimara (destination time: 10.46 AM). There are many trains which are connected to the north Bengal from where Bhutan is easily reachable. 

Next essential thing is the PERMIT or VISA. India, Bangladesh and Maldives citizens are the luckiest one to travel in Bhutan without Visa. only the thing needs to be done is the Permit. Now there are various ways to make the permit. Those who are flying from India to Bhutan can easily get the permit done in The Paro international airport immigration service. I made my permit after reaching Phuentsholing. Phuentsholing is the border of India and Bhutan. 

closer view of Bhutan gate.

I took a share auto from Hasimara railway station which took only 40 rupees in INR and dropped me to the Phuentsholing border by 30 minutes. I had to rush because the Immigration office closes at 5 PM (originally 4.25 pm IST). Few things you required to make your permit such as-

1. Hotel booking receipt.( book from any hotel booking site where you don't have to pay initially, later you find your hotel as per budget like booking .com).
2. Complete travel plan on a white paper. ( from the starting date to ending date with places).
3. Identity proof (passport/ Voter ID) and passport size photo.

You need to fill up the Immigration form by stating the dates, purpose and ID no etc. Attach all your documents carefully along with the form and submit to the collectors. You need to go through a basic verification while submitting the documents. Once the documents are submitted you need to wait for at least half an hour for the final call where you will be actually appearing for the identification. It wont take more than 40 minutes. All total keep 2-3 hours for your permit depending on the rush. 

The most important thing to remember is the duration of permit is maximum for 6 days. If there is any extension required can be done from Thimphu Immigration service center. 
As I finished my work little late so I had to stay back in Phuentsholing. There are many hotels in Phuentsholing in reasonable prices. I stayed in a hotel call 'Karma' . The charge is 500 fr single and 800-1000/- for double. 
Another important thing is to buy a local sim card which can be issued from Phuentsholing. They will charge 100-150 with the talk time and you will get a pre activated sim card. 
Next day I started my Journey to Paro from Phuentsholing. You need to reach to the bus stand little early or better if you can buy the ticket in last night. Bus is the best mode of travel ,suggest not to travel in cab because its quite expensive and boring. The bus fare is 210/- per person from Phuentsholing to Paro which is approx 7 hours journey with the lunch break.

Phuentsholing bus station

Here starts the journey ........... The landscapes are lustrous and picturesque. you will be crossing several mountains on your way to Paro and the believe me this journey will be the most remarkable and memorable journey of your life.





view from the bus 
you can fill the change of weather very easily. The roads are beautiful with its surprising turns and twists which will make your mind and soul calm and peaceful. In between the bus took a halt for the lunch break. you can have your lunch with in 100 rps. They will serve you hot brown rice and any curry (veg/ non-veg). with this yummy lunch and a breathtaking journey I reached Paro around 4 pm and started searching for hotels. there were few localities from Paro in the bus so I got helpful information from them regarding hotels. After a quick search I found a very good hotel call 'Hotel All Season' and booked a single room fr 600/- per night. They have a restaurant inside so you can have your meal there also. After a quick refreshment I went out to explore the beauty of Paro. It's a town with good and humble people, breathtaking views of snow capped mountains, monasteries and few rivers.
                       
  
Beautiful Paro

I was truly amazed to see the beauty of Paro. As I was very excited for the next day trek to the 'Tiger nest monastery' , I started accumulating data related to the journey such as cab service, ticket fare, timing etc. I booked a cab for the next day which asked for 1100/- for the pickup and drop. It was quite a far so I agreed. My pick up time was 7.30 am in the morning and here I go for the most awaiting trek of my life 'Paro Taksang'.
The Tiger nest monastery has its ancient Buddhist mythology and the story of guru Rinpoche made me so curious to visit 'Tiger nest'. It is considered as one of the sacred Himalayan Buddhist site and was built on 1692. So my driver dropped me at the foothill from where I bought the entry ticket (500/-). Few things are important to carry - water bottle, cap, sunglass, dry fruits or biscuits and a full sleeve jacket/ T-shirt (visitors are in sleeveless not allowed in the Monastery) . It's better that if you keep one whole day for this trek and always recommended to start the trek early because the weather at the mountains change drastically. Near the ticket counter you can borrow walking sticks (50/-) or you can carry your own. Walking sticks are very helpful to balance your body weight and support on the stiff trek. The highest elevation is 10,232 feet.The whole trail a bit stiff you can complete the trek within 6-7 hours including the visit in the Monastery.


Starting of the Tiger nest trek
The whole trek includes uncountable beautiful spots. The lush green jungle of Pine and in between the you could see the mountains are popping up.
                                           

on the way to Tiger nest

Dodging the mules and horses I was making my way to the top. It was quite exciting and you could see the that the Monastery is on the other part of the mountain and you need to trek down and up again to reach the destination.

  close view of Tiger nest

Once you reach the Monastery you will found a check post where you need to show your ticket and keep all your belongings except money. Phone is strictly prohibited inside. inside the Monastery there are six different temples where you will find a mixed feel of history, faith, believe and thrill. The constructions, paintings , architecture, signs and symbols all will take you to the revealing mystery land from where you will never want a return. I completed the visit by 30 minutes and started trek down. It was an awesome experience where your expectations of trekking meets an adventure with a touch of history and myth.

I was a bit tired after the trek and reached to my hotel and decided to make few sketches of beautiful Paro.
   
sketches of Paro
If you are a nature lover and want to see the beauty of nature then it's recommended to spend more days in Paro rather than Thimphu and Punakha.
Next day I left for Thimphu as I needed to extend my permit from the Thimphu Immigration office. As I mentioned before that bus is the best transport to travel in Bhutan so I boarded in the bus and reached to Thimphu which took two and half hour.

 
Busy life at Thimpu

The modernization has touched Thimphu and the population is more though it's amazing to see that the cars don't blow their horn and people crosses the roads by following the zebra crossing only. What a blessed country!! It was not that hard to find a hotel in Thimphu. I got a room for 800/- and made my permit extended for three more days. At the evening I explored the local markets and bought some souvenirs for friends and family.

Next day I decided to visit the Buddha point and planned to leave for Punakha. Though the Buddha point was made for commercial purpose but I was very keen to see the Buddhist jataka paintings inside the museum. The gigantic golden sculpture of seated Shakyamuni will mesmerized you. Its almost 177 feet in height and creates a surreal effect with the wide open blue sky and mountain as a backdrop. Cab is the only option to visit the place and it's easily available.

                     
Buddha point, Thimphu

View from Buddha point

After experiencing the amazing view I went to the bus stand to catch my bus for Punakha. The journey was beautiful and crossed several mountains to reach to Punakha.

 
On the way to punakha

Punakha is another beauty of Bhutan. This place is quite rural and population is also less. the main source of income is cultivation. The beautiful juncture of Pho and Mo chu river is truly sublime. The main attraction is Punakha Dzong , A 17th century fortress. It serves as the administrative purposes and religious purposes. The lush green Punakha valley is mesmerizing.


Punakha Dzong

There are few more places in Punakha which should be in your bucket list. I could not complete because of my limited time. Places like - Chimi Lakhang, Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, Talo, Punakha ritsha village etc. All these places are holding the untouched beauty of nature , peace and harmony. The nature is so well preserved here that feels like a fantasy land on earth. I returned on the next day to Thimpu as I had to back to Phuentsholing to end my journey.

Here comes the end of my journey. If you have any queries related to trip feel free to write at
sahelibasu22@gmail.com

All photos taken by saheli Basu



   

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Paigah Tombs : The lives lost in alleys

Paigah Tombs: The lives lost in alleys 


The history stands still between the creepers of our daily life. The time runs and takes its necessary action  for change whether it's good or bad but the memory stays. I am grateful to visit one of the rarely visited place -" Paigah Tombs", Hyderabad. My love and passion for the Islamic architecture added another feather on the hat by visiting this quiet, peaceful, solitary and pleasing site. 

When I checked about it in the Google before visiting did not think that I will be proven so wrong . As I wanted to make my Sunday little active so traveled to the Paigah Tombs seeing the most trustworthy and all time favourite Google map. While travelling I could not believe that a heritage site which was built over 200 years ago exists in between the over crowded area (Santosh nagar) in Hyderabad. The narrow passages leads mysteriously to the graves of the ancient ancestors. The whole site is so misfit to it's surrounding and that is why it stands out 'Uncommon'.


                         



The site is the best example of the simplicity infused with the intricacy and exquisite explanation of decor.  The diversity echoes in each and every corner of the site. The extensive manner of decoration shows the influence of Greek, Persian, Deccani and Rajasthani styles combined with the Indo Islamic style. The Noticeable thing is the use of 'Jali' which is quite common in Islamic architecture but here the varieties of jali creates the exaggeration of beauty. 


                                           


It was Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh who gave the Paigah nobility. He was given the title of the 'Shams -Ul-Umra' (the Sun among the masses) by the Nizam II. The Paigahs were the most influential and aristocrats among the royal families of Hyderabad Deccan. They were administrators of the Nizams. Their contributions in managing courts, armies, palaces made themselves the 'Right hand man' of the Nizam family. It was since 1797 that two families started inter marrying and strengthened their bond.

The major complex of Paigah Tombs consists 27 major  tombs stunningly executed with the fine inlay work and marble craftsmanship. The geometric design on the tombs are really noticeable and each tomb is unique and executed differently maintaining the Islamic culture.
The different flower motifs as border shows the detailed observation and intricate detailing. Each and every corner of the site explores uniqueness.

 

The open premises leads to the one block to another. while walking in the corridor I was feeling so blessed and was trying my best to penetrate the essence of the heritage inside me. I was trying my best to experience the difference which I felt crossing the tombs. It was an unusual experience to be the spectator, thinker and imaginator at the same time. I was struggling to be consistent while my mind and soul were drenched into the mist of imagination.

The presence of a Mosque inside the tombs premises made it very interesting. It is said that at the noon the whole Mosque's reflection falls in the water. So I tried my best to capture the shot.




As an artist I found this place fascinating and also it encourages us to know more, more about the time, history and the evolution. This place makes a difference of being uncommon into the commons. 

Photographs taken by Saheli basu.