Last summer, two friends still in their teenage, went out to explore their motherland India. I was one of them, and my partner in crime was Aditya.
Right now, I am writing this post, with images from the presentation we gave at our college sharing our experiences and adventures with the community.
A quick background check: None of us had travelled solo before going on this 50-day long backpacking trip.
So after planning “almost” everything: taking care of the luggage, trip route and bookings in advance, we set out to experience the life-changing event.
Yes, all set for the most amazing 2 months of our life – in the freshmen year of the college. Our family was more nervous than us and WhatsApp groups had been created.
Our first checkpoint was a small, but very beautiful state Goa & Aditya had insisted me to plan 6 days for this state – All for a Kick Start!
The plan was to avoid beaches and focus on the mainland. Yes, we tried our best! 😉
The best way to explore Goa is to rent a bike and bump into different places every day. Btw, we stayed at The Jungle Hostel!
While coming back from Tiracol Fort which is on the Goa-Maharashtra Border, we found out a virgin beach filled up with small harmless crabs. We jumped into the sea for a quick bath and moved on then!
Our next stop was Hampi – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi and Hospet didn’t disappoint us, although Aditya was already sick of the South Indian food by then.
This Rickshaw (Tuk Tuk) driver took us to all the touristy spots in the day, but the evening was in our hands to explore the town on our own.
All this and we did read History of the places before visiting to discuss it with the friends we made.
From Hampi to Bangalore to the top of Sharavanbelagola, the journey didn’t tire us. Exploration was just getting real!
Mysore was our next stop & we stayed at the newly opened Sonder Hostel and were the first guests there – all thanks to my Google Skills 😀
Mysore is a place full of palaces and other exciting things. Read the guide I wrote for Oyo Rooms Blog here.
I always wanted to visit Meenakshi Temple as I had read a poem about it in my elementary school. And here I was standing right in front of the temple.
My friend Pragadeesh who did his JEE coaching from Madurai suggested me to try Jigartanda drink which is native to Madurai, and you should do that do when you visit Madurai.
Being a History buff, I somehow convinced Aditya to take an off-route to Thanjavur during very hot climate in Tamil Nadu. So we visited Brihadeshwara Temple, the temple from Chola Dynasty and moved on to Pondicherry!
I had already managed to get a host via Couchsurfing in Auroville, which is not far from Pondicherry. Kenny made us stay in his friend’s Tree House called RASTA CAFE.
The next day we volunteered in an Organic Farm called Buddha Garden and then visited Auroville Beach and Matri Mandir on a bike.
We stayed overnight at a friend’s house in Chennai and took a train to Guwahati next evening.
Since we had been granted a stay at IIT Guwahati hostel, we dropped off at Kamakhya Railway Station (4 AM) and it was filled up with devotees for the annual festival at Kamakhya Temple.
On very first day in Guwahati, we went to the banks of Brahmaputra River and boarded a ferry to an island with my old buddy Vivek and spent rest of the day shopping in the market.
Hajo is not a popular place among the tourists, but we were lucky to not ignore it and got some really good shots and made so many friends.
Next morning we took a taxi to Shillong and the best was yet to come! The best way to explore Shillong is to walk along the town.
After spending a day in Shillong, we met a very cool personality Sunny Paaji who’s a taxi driver in Shillong. He took us to the 7 spots in Shillong including the waterfalls and then to the nearby villages to explore Living Root Bridges and The Cleanest Village of Asia – Mawlynnong.
After coming back to Guwahati, we boarded our train to Benaras (Varanasi) and checked in at Zostel Hostel.
Next day was super-fun: Made friends with the roommates, took a city tour in Tuk Tuk, spent evening on a boat in the ganga river and then wandered in the narrow streets to find the famous Blue Lassi shop.
We boarded our late night train to Haridwar and hopped onto a tuk tuk which took us to Rishikesh. I was super excited to explore the Beatles Ashram in the Yoga Capital.
So we explored Rishikesh on feet and spotted a honey themed cafe to add to our delight! The next days were spent in Delhi at my brother’s place.
After spending 2-3 days in Delhi, the next destination on the list was Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh – To be covered by using public transport!
So backpacking solo to Spiti wasn’t an easy task, but an adventurous one. Covered all the major checkpoints like Tabo, Dhankar, Kaza and Kibber to name a few.
I had planned the trip in such a way that we ended up in Kaza on the birthday of Dalai Lama to witness the annual celebration. Lots of shopping – DONE!
The best part of the Spiti Trip was that we managed to hitchhike with two amazing friends who had a car. From Tabo to Manali – in a car! Even spent a night camping near the Chandratal lake.
Always looking for more. Here I sign off! 😀