So you have got a big, bright, sparkly (or minimal, because that's in) rakhi bedecking your wrist and you are in a fog wondering what to gift your sister? Please her inner Goddess and book her a surprise trip! And fret not. Unlike chocolates and clothes and jewels, you don't need to panic wondering if or not it will be to her tastes because a good trip is a good trip. Period. India's geographical and cultural diversity ensures that no one is disappointed. From beaches to jungles to mountains, from do-nothing getaways to adventure escapades and the list never ends. Nudge her to take a break from the stress of everyday life and send her on a rejuvenating break!
She cannot survive without a daily dose of thrill and what is better than the Sar Pass Trek. Why? Because it is a high-altitude trek + 3 km of glissading + 20 ft of rappelling all rolled in one! Forests so thick that little sunlight gets to trickle in, wind-swept grasslands and pillowy snow mark the trail. Adding to the adventure is a treacherous stretch post Nagaru. A narrow strip of trail bordering an almost vertical drop needs to be crossed! The Sar Pass trek will keep her bobbing on adrenalin. And then there is creamy Kasol! Need we say more?
Trekking across the Sar Pass
Everything that catches her fancy requires the least amount of movement. She loves to read under the boundless skies. She loves to watch sunlight drip through the foliage. She loves the birdsong, the sweet scent of chill in the air. Send her to Rinchenpong or Chalni Chinna where she will have acres of wildflower sprinkled grasslands and ancient forests that celebrate solitude. In-between her reading and writing sessions, there will be food: homely, traditional, cooked-with-love food. PS: Sounds too lazy? We have short hikes for her too but let's just drop that Easter Egg on her head (after all, you are her brother)! Don't worry; she will love them. Mountain walks, everybody loves them.
View from Chalni Chinna
What better than a birding tour for the chirpy sister! Send her to Chilika Lake that borders the Bay of Bengal in Orissa. Every year, during the peak season of November-December, the lake plays host to over 300,000 birds. A number of migratory birds come all the way from the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas. Rare birds like Spoonbill Sandpiper, the Asian Dowitcher and the Goliath Heron have been spotted here. Large flocks of Gadwalls, Shovelers, Pintails, Coots and Great Crested Grebes can be seen. Flamingos flaunting their pink plumage adorn the edges of the wetlands. Guided boat rides are the best way to experience the diversity of avi-fauna. Local experiences like boat-making, bamboo works, pottery and fishnet making in the village of Mangalajodi are also part of the trip.
Pheasant tailed Jacana
She sits with the line in the sparkling waters of a mountain stream, waiting. A soft eddy whistles through the woods. She is still waiting. The whiff of food stains the clear mountain air. She is still waiting. And then piercing the blue, "gotcha" and a fat trout hangs from the hook! This is the art of angling, aka patience. The icy waters of the Jibhi and Tirthan rivers are home to trouts, including the much coveted rainbow trouts. The Uhl River at Barot is swarming with brown trouts and short treks through quaint villages enhances the experiential quotient. The environment is abundantly endowed and hours by the river, perched on a bleached boulder with snowy mountains behind, pass quietly. And if you're raising your eyebrows at the population of fish courtesy the number of times we used "waiting", well, we are just over-dramatizing!
Fishing in the Uhl River, Barot
So your sister is a proud advocate of all things green? She prefers recycled goods to everything else and wouldn't hurt the environment, not even a wee bit? Her tantrums are mostly centred around one thing: the yearly holiday has got to be an eco-tour! If she will have none of anything else, book her a trip to Purushwadi or Dehna, two villages in Maharashtra that celebrate Mother Earth. Guests can participate in short hikes and local livelihood activities and join the villagers in the fields. Bhakri making workshops are also a part. In Dehna, an initiative called "Story of Rice" is run. It aims to inculcate in us gratitude for our staple food. And you get extra points if your sister has a thing for earthy design ideas because this is the place to be if you are looking for original distressed wood furniture. PS: The dregs of the fire-fly festival is still lingering in Purushwadi. Hurry!
At Purushwadi, Maharashtra
Gift her a balm disguised as a holiday to a far-flung corner of the mountains, aka stress-buster, where the solitude is so absolute and the greenery so boundless that her nerves self-soothe. Hidden in the mountains, 38 km ahead of Mussoorie, this little hamlet offers a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway. Charming walks in the mountainside with the sun and clouds playing hide and seek, a delightful picnic in the rhododendron-laced Kodia Forest, fruit picking and a visit to the Surkanda Temple are highlights of this trip. An exhilarating bike ride in the crisp mountain air adds another feather to the cap.
Exploring the Kodia Forest
If splashing wildly in frothy water, tumbling down swift currents, icy sprays drenching her face is what thrills her, a rafting trip on one of the country's most unruly rivers is something she'll love. The Kali River originates near the Lipu-Lekh Pass, at a place called Kaalapaani, and rushes unbridled through thick tropical forests. It delineates the Indo-Nepal border. Isolated villages, sandy beaches, waterfalls and terraced fields mark the route. The entire region has a very rich wildlife and animals like leopard, bear, elephants and monkey can be spotted. The Mahaseer, a big gaming fish, inhabits these waters. Alternatively, you can also send her to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands for the ultimate beach experience. Located in the Bay of Bengal, these islands are the perfect example of sun and sand. Getting a tan or going for a scuba diving, Andaman will complement both the lazy and adventure sides of her. The perfect mishmash of backroad drives, treks to mud volcanoes and snorkelling in warm tropical water awaits her.
Rafting in the Kali River
Send her to jungles of Bandhavgarh National Park not because she mothers a protective spirit but because sometimes she needs being protected too. The ancient trees with trunks etched with moss and lichen, the secret magical creatures of the forest will cradle her in their quiet, all-encompassing embrace. The jungle is expansive; forgiving. The wilderness contains the strength to absorb our deepest hurts, our deepest fears to heal our soul. Unlike any other park, Bandhavgarh started with zero tiger population but intensive conservation and breeding efforts have given it the distinction of the highest density of tigers in the country. Apart from the wildlife safaris - apart from big cats, there are Gaur, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Blue Bull, Hyenas, Dhole, Jackal and Indian wolf - enroll her for a painting masterclass with the renowned painter, Kay Hasall Tiwari. The powerful, positive vibes will be her muse.
A cub sniffs a tree at Bandhavgarh
What can we say about a trek that boasts of silent forests, wildflower spangled alpine meadows and lakes, each a different shade of blue, all against a background of icy peaks and crisp, azure skies? What more can we possibly say about Kashmir, or the mixed notes of flora and spice that laces its sweet, cold air? Inspire the romance, the art, the poetry that is slowly getting obscured by the mundaneness of everyday. Incite her beautiful heart. Set the goddess in her free. Because she deserves the best of everything.
Can you argue against the fact that Tibetan markets present some of the finest photographic opportunities? And when it is Tibetan markets with a backdrop of snowy Himalayan peaks, the creative spirit starts running amok and you can't decide what to click and what not to and more so when you are instructed by the well-known photographer, Rajiv Chopra? If she never leaves the house without her camera and babies her lenses, this is THE trip for her! Emphatic displays of chunky jewelleries, semi-precious stones lined on dusty black suede, ornate thangkas, fashion a là mode and polished antiques will lure her to shop fronts. Then there are food stalls plating steaming momos and bowls of smoking soup and ofcourse the striking artwork of the monasteries. And we haven't even started on the landscape. We will take her to vantage points at that perfect hour of the day when the ambient light is just perfect. An excursion to the Pong Dam and Norbulingka Institute is also included.
Rock cut temples at Masroor
Do you even need a particular trip, an itinerary, an objective when your sister is your best friend? Anything clicks! Be it a gruelling trek or a lazy safari, anything! Go ahead, skip the jewellery-clothes-gizmo (that's so passé) and gift her a holiday!
On the Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh
If you have an idea and don't see it on our catalogue, give us a call or shoot us a mail and we will be happy to help you gift-wrap a customized experience.