#tripping: travel stories & road trip chronicles

To travel is to live. In our #tripping section, we chronicle interesting journeys, experiences and discoveries that are authentic and personally curated. Be it drive outs, road trips or travel stories from distant lands, we unravel different layers of a journey - the people & places, the art & architecture, the cuisine & culture, and more. So that you get an inside view of a new destination each time.

Alila Diwa Goa. An immersive experience of indulgence and self discovery

Imagine being in Goa on vacation and not venturing out beyond the confines of your hotel. Impossible, right? Well not quite, if you are at the Alila Diwa Goa - an award-winning luxury destination soaked in serenity and immersed in quiet sophistication. It’s a refreshingly different perspective of a Goan holiday, beyond the beaches, bars, flea markets and all-night parties.

An exemplary model of sustainable tourism, Alila Diwa brings into sharp focus a side of Goa that is often overlooked. Built around 10 years ago on a wild patch, it takes a minimalist approach towards design, aesthetics and luxury. Its character is reflected through preservation of the local eco-system and bespoke experiences that integrate seamlessly with the local community. Read more

ALT GOA. See Goa In A Different Light

Beyond the beaches and beer, decadence and debauchery, #ALTGOA explores the other side of Goa that is authentic, inspiring and purpose driven. A digital series of curated conversations with people who have been drawn to the alternate Goan lifestyle, made disruptive career choices, and eventually made Goa their home, it explores an emerging alternate culture that thrives on eclecticism. This is Goa in an altogether different light. A glimpse of its evolving culture, through its people and their pursuits. Read more

La Côte d'Azur de l'Est. Exploring Pondicherry with the All New S-Cross

Think white sands, blue waters, cotton ball clouds, delectable food and cultural vibrance. Chances are Pondicherry wouldn't be the first place to cross your mind. For far too long, India's little Parisian paradise down South has remained a highly underrated tourism destination. And thankfully so.

In a bid to take in the sights and sounds of the erstwhile French colonial settlement that has been relatively under the radar, we set out on a road trip to Pondy from Chennai taking the exceptionally pretty route along the East Coast Road (ECR). Our ride was the new Maruti Suzuki S-Cross SHVS Diesel, which we planned to test on the three-hour long drive and over our week-long stay. Read more

A solo trip to Amsterdam can be a powerful life lesson for every Gen Zer

From an Indian context, sixteen may seem rather young for a solo European sojourn, more so if you are headed to the liberal, uninhibited, trippy Dutch capital city. Because for someone on the cusp of adulthood, Europe’s city of sin can be a wonderland of sorts, when it comes to lessons in vices and virtues.

But I'm glad that I took my first solo trip to Amsterdam at sixteen. Thankfully, there was none of the awkwardness of age, nor any anxiety or exploding euphoria of being thrown into an unaccompanied adult world. What was in abundance was curiosity. And in my mind, I was prepped and ready for whatever the city would throw at me. Read more

#EuropeWithAirIndia: Long after you leave the city behind, Paris stays with you forever

One has to feel Marc Jacobs when he says “I envy people who go to Paris the first time". Because there is nothing quite like the first time. When I first visited Paris, I was overwhelmed by the renaissance architecture, wide boulevards, the river Seine and atmospherics heaving with art, fashion, music, culinary & culture extraordinaire. C'était un coup de foudre.

With so much to soak in, two days in the city wasn't going to be adequate. So when I had a chance to be back in Paris this summer for an extended stay, the plan was to do the city without a plan. No itinerary to follow, no bucket list to check off. Just some free flowing fluid days exploring one of the most beautiful and celebrated cities in the world at my own pace. Read more

The changing travel culture from millennials to Gen Z

When it comes to travel, millennials are the largest consumers today, generating over $180 billion as tourism revenue annually. Within the generation there are differences in attitude & behaviour, preferences & habits; making it impossible to cluster them as one homogeneous set. But a few trends do make them similar in some ways. For one, they are digitally savvy. Having grown up in the internet era, a significant part of their travel research and inspiration originates online. They plan well, consult both online and offline resources and leave room for flexibility. They are heavily inspired by social media, meticulously curating their own travels to be Facebook friendly and perfectly Instagram-able. Social media validation is often their ultimate travel goal. Read more

Resort Review: Ivy Green, Lansdowne #ShotOnHonorView10

Perched on a hill top, Ivy Green is an idyllic resort at Deriakhal, close to the cantonment town of Lansdowne. A salutary reminder of the once verdant hills of Garhwal, the resort stands apart from the others in the vicinity, thanks to its unique location. Cocooned amidst a thick pine forest, it is a cluster of cottages, log cabins and tree houses with angled red rooflines, built on multiple levels and stilts. A trek along a 300 metre stretch of kutcha road leads to the resort, and as one ambles up the rough path to the hilltop, Ivy Green springs up like a lovely surprise. It's an image straight out of Enid Blyton's Toy Town Tales. Read more

Resort Review: Rio Resort, Lansdowne #ShotOnHonorView10

A modern take on mountain living, Rio Resort is for those weekends when you want to get away from the humdrum of city life with your family and dog, and remain inaccessible to the rest of the world for some well deserved me time. Strategically located by the side of river Kho in the Pauri Garhwal region, Rio is nestled amidst scenic surroundings about 18 kms before the cantonment town of Lansdowne. The driving distance is about 225 kms from Delhi, and the 5-hour drive via Kotdwar is a breeze if you manage to leave the city by crack of dawn. Read more

Alila Fort Bishangarh with the Jaguar F-Pace: A hush of history. A hint of mystery.

It is rather tough to say no to a road trip to Rajasthan. Even more so, if your drive happens to be the Jaguar F-Pace. The rugged terrain across the princely state has an eclectic interweaving of heritage and history that makes for an impressive drive through, with the vibrant colours on local costumes adding a dash of cheer to the arid surroundings.

The Aravalli range boasts of an impressive list of forts and palaces along its 560 km long stretch, a majority of which falls within the state. There are several popular destinations to choose for an idyllic getaway, but anything off the radar is what gets us excited. The newly renovated Alila Fort Bishangarh is one such. An easy four hour drive from Delhi and one hour from Jaipur, it is a 230-year-old warrior fort originally built by the royals of the Shahpura-Shekhawat clan, standing atop a granite hill. The fort has now been arduously restored and converted into an exquisite 59-suite luxury heritage resort. The restoration took close to a decade and ever since it opened its doors in the middle of 2017, the resort has put Bishangarh village firmly under the spotlight. It features in the hot destination lists of GQ, Condé Nast Traveller, and Travel + Leisure for 2018, and has been rated as one of the Best Hospitality Design Hotels by Connoisseur Circle 2018. Read more

Clifton Heritage Homestay at Ayarpatta Hill. Where old memories make new stories. #ShotOnHonor7X

Think of the 'City of Lakes' and the mind wanders to a natural setting unpolluted by human intervention - pristine water bodies surrounded by meadows, woods, hills and clear blue mountain skies. But the hill town of Nainital which once boasted of the moniker, has evolved somewhat differently. The erstwhile summer capital of the United Provinces of Agra & Awadh boasts of a rich and illustrious history, but is a far cry from what it used to be in its heydays. Once a favourite retreat of the British, the overcrowded hill station is now bursting at the seams, with thousands of noisy tourists and honking vehicles making life somewhat miserable around the main town. 

However if you look beyond the surface, chances are that you may discover a few places that still retain the original glory of Nainital. Some of the heritage estates and bungalows for instance, are treasure troves from the colonial era. Painstakingly restored to offer immersive experiences into the past, they have managed to revive an interest in heritage tourism in the region. And make for a great escape for urban escapists like us. Read more

Prague: The free-spirited bohemian side of Europe

Prague (Praha in Czech) is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities of Europe. Here, time stands still as the past comes alive through a rich tapestry of architecture from different periods of history; with ancient palaces, cathedrals, church domes, gold-tipped towers and bridges forming the backdrop for an energetic and modern way of life. Vibrant with its music, art, fine dining and cultural acts, the city scores 10/10 as an alternate experience destination for the free-spirited millennial traveller. 'The City of a Hundred Spires', as the capital city of the Czech Republic is fondly called, Prague is a magical fairy-tale world of fables and folk tales, with a rich blend of Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic, art nouveau and modern styles of architecture. Attracting travellers, art lovers, students of architecture and history from across continents, it is a city that has stayed true to its unique form and style over centuries. Read more

Homing in at La Villa Bethany, Landour with the Discovery Sport

It is always tough to say no to Landour. The lovely little cantonment town in Uttarakhand has remained our unanimous choice when it comes to choosing an easy-paced and languid escapade. While other popular hilly destinations may fail to offer a rejuvenating experience with their cacophonous chaos and rampant commercialisation, Landour scores high with its lingering calm and natural charm. The deep woods, misty walkways, gabled roofs and quiet environs of this colonial outpost are reminiscent of a bygone era - with everything from its name to its temperament retaining an unquestionably British hangover. And what better way to get there, than drive up in a remarkable piece of contemporary British engineering; the Land Rover. More specifically, the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Read more

Vienna: the city of waltz, wine and wealth

To say that Vienna is a city with a rich history would be an understatement. As the capital of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries, it has always been at the centre of Europe, both politically and culturally. Some of the world's greatest artistic & intellectual influences have originated from the Austrian capital, which today is also home to many important international organisations. Vienna continues to be a shining example of what the world recognizes as 'the European way of life'. That it is prosperous and wealthy, is evident the moment you set foot in the city. An air of aristocracy hangs heavy as you walk through the city; past the grand architecture and Baroque castles, and along the gardens, promenades and parks by the Danube. After all, this is the city of waltz, wine and wealth - a testament to the city's long history of indulgence. Read more

#tripping: Raw encounters at Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary

Jim Corbett National Park has always been a favourite getaway for both wildlife enthusiasts and weekend revelers. India’s oldest national park in the foothills of the Himalayas is a protected area for the Bengal Tiger, and its proximity to Delhi makes access quite easy. Add to it a sprinkling of luxury resorts in the periphery of the National Park and you find half of Delhi holidaying there on an extended weekend. There is however, another side of the Corbett Tiger Reserve that is not as popular amongst tourists, but high on priority for true enthusiasts. The Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary is situated north of the Sonanadi river in the forest division of Kalagarh, and the 300 sq. km. forest area is a natural habitat for wild animals and birds, with an enviable variety of flora and flora. This zone is commonly known as North Corbett, and together with Jim Corbett National Park comprises the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Read more

#tripping: A weekend drive to idyllic Lansdowne

Delhi has its fair share of weekend getaways within a driving distance of 300 kms. Head out in any direction and you could explore a handful of destinations, each distinct from the other. And that's what makes it very tempting to take a road trip out of the city. One such destination that is worth a trip for some solitude and peace is Lansdowne - a scenic hill town in Pauri, Uttarakhand. Relatively unexplored, this cantonment town is about 242 kms from Delhi and a breezy six hour drive. Leave at the crack of dawn and you would be at Kotdwar, a small town in the foothills of Pauri Garhwal via Bijnor and Najibabad in five hours. From Kotdwar, it’s a beautiful 39 km drive through winding hill roads that take you to Lansdowne. Read more

When in Amsterdam, go Dutch

My first visit to Amsterdam was in the summer of 2014. A football program with ADO Den Haag FC took me there when I was all of sixteen. And it was love at first sight. After living in the tony neighbourhood of Wassenaar for three weeks, visiting Rotterdam and Leiden, I knew I was coming back for more. On my flight back to India, I remember looking down at the Dutch capital, determined to be back for those leisurely walks along the canals, munching Dutch-style fries.

This winter I was back in Amsterdam for five days during Christmas, for what was an unhurried and un-touristy visit. Travel Rule #1 for me has always been about slipping into the local skin and doing things that they would do - live, eat, browse and party their way. So in Amsterdam, I simply decided to go Dutch. Read more

Poland in Pictures: an alternative European experience

"Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still." - Dorothea Lange
These words often cross the mind as one travels through the southern region of Poland, where folklore and history take you back a thousand years.

Here, history is embedded in every corner. Beauty etched in each turn. And somewhere between the folds lies a magical, mystical and mythical experience of alternative Europe. Where 21st century city chic co-exists with medieval magic. And an unspoilt countryside of rivers, lakes, mountains and trails teases you to explore and discover. Read more

Kraków. The modern medieval city where hip meets the historic

When one thinks of a quintessential European experience, the mind usually wanders across France, Italy, Switzerland, or perhaps, even the Netherlands. It’s this fixation for the stereotypical, Facebook friendly vacation that can invariably suck the joy out of travel. But if you look beyond the tour operator’s predictable itinerary, you will find that there is more to discover in Europe on the other side.

The unexplored side of Europe veers towards the Central and Eastern parts that promise a ‘new European experience’. And it’s fast becoming the preferred path for the millennial and post-millennial tribe. Armed with a smartphone, Internet on tap, multi-currency travel card and minimal baggage, this generation of digital natives is changing the rules of travel. Read more

Fort Nalagarh with the Vitara #Brezza. Powered by #LeEco

The Vitara Brezza is back in our garage. A month after our extensive in-city review, we took Maruti Suzuki's sensational compact SUV out for a long drive this time, as there was still some juice to be extracted out of this one. Our road trip started from Delhi to Chandigarh via NH44. After an overnight halt we drove onward to Fort Nalagarh via Baddi, spending some time in between to explore different terrains nearby - hill roads, soft roads, tractor trails, alleys, steep inclines and such. Finally we drove back to Delhi via Chandigarh, having covered 1000 kms over 4 days in our Cerulean Blue and Pearl Arctic White ZDi+ variant, which is the top-end model equipped with all bells and whistles. Read more

5 things to experience around Kasol in Parvati Valley. Powered by #LeEco

The hugely popular hippie hub of Kasol is a place where backpackers, trekkers and assorted sorts pot around. Located in the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, the tiny village along the banks of the Parvati river sits at an altitude of 1640 mtrs. and is a great place to unwind, chill, explore and make new friends. Kasol is sprinkled with cafes, bakeries, bars and guest houses where you would find many Israelis; some transiting and others who have made it their home. The region has a largish Jewish settlement and a flourishing illegal drug trade neatly camouflaged behind dingy cafes, guest houses and music festivals that attract the globe tripper. The Israelis host fellow travellers and most of them usually keep to themselves. Often engaging in deep discussions on the state of affairs around the world over some music, drinks and Malana weed. Read more

Landour with #LeEco: A Photo Essay #ShotonLeMax2

Quiet, quaint and quintessentially British, the charming cantonment of Landour is a movie set straight out of the Raj-era. The 285 km drive takes about six and a half hours from Delhi, making it quite a perfect getaway of sorts from the fast paced city life, over a chilled weekend. Here, you are unlikely to bump into your entire hood in holiday track pants and bling. They would probably be in adjoining Mussoorie setting the Mall Road on fire. So if a more refined experience is your thing, head straight up to Landour. Leave at the crack of dawn and you could probably make it to Emily's for a lazy lunch. Read more

A Photo Adventure with #LeEco: #RoadTripToLadakh #ShotonLe2

No experience can be more enriching than an impromptu road trip. New people, new sights and a confluence of culture, community and cuisine makes for a heady concoction. And if it is a road trip to the high desert regions of Leh Ladakh through the Lahaul Spiti Valley, it is nothing short of an experience of a lifetime.

When our friend, avid traveler and road tripper Dhrubo Borkotoky embarked on a trip to 'get Leh'd', we couldn't resist arming him with the new LeEco Le2 Superphone. It was enough ammunition for a 10-day trip, with a 16 MP camera, 32 GB internal space, a 5.5" Full-HD display, an impressive battery life and perhaps the best audio output in a smartphone ever. Because music, memories and e-books in a single device makes for a great travel companion. Read more

Wanderlust tales from Assam & Meghalaya: Incredible India's best kept secret

The diversity that India presents can be a travellers delight. And the magical charm of the Northeast region remains one of its best-kept secrets. Take a trip across any of the seven states and you would be overwhelmed by some challenging terrain - rugged mountains, valleys, river bodies, floodplains and forests. With culture, cuisine and climate adding a layer of unique charm that is its very own. We took a fortnight off to discover some places around Assam and Meghalaya that we had never been to before. While some of the usual had to be done, we opted for a bit of the offbeat as well; like a visit to a silk weaving hub, taking a ferry to the world’s second largest river island, trekking through the country’s cleanest village and driving up to the Indo-Bangladesh border. And along the way we came across some stunning landscapes, great food and beautiful people. Read more

Romancing the Taj on a full moon night with the BMW 530D M Sport

Few monuments can match the beauty and enigma of Taj Mahal - the symbol of eternal love. However chaotic the city of Agra may be, the monument makes it a chosen destination for that quick getaway. And for the dreamer and romantic at heart, a visit to Taj is never the first and the only one. Many more follow. So when we recently had the BMW 530D M Sport in our garage once again for a review, the temptation of the Taj was impossible to resist. Driving one of the finest luxury performance sedan on the Yamuna Expressway, and timing it to see the Taj on a full moon night seemed like a perfect mid-week plan. Read more

We are looking for India: Ride with us to discover more

India is the greatest place to discover by road. Join us as we explore and go out 'Looking for India' - within and beyond. To unravel the layers of this incredible country through its cuisine, culture, architecture, art, music, people & trivia. In a journey of discovery that promises to be both engaging and intriguing.

'Looking for India' is a travel TV series. The pilot episode is produced by www.uk07films.com, and they have decided to do it their way - on a set of bikes and on limited budgets, to keep the experience real and relatable. The first ride begins on 31 January 2015. Read more

Discovering the Louwman Museum in The Hague, Netherlands

In Europe, a single family has the distinction of being one of the oldest and largest private collector of automobiles in the world. The Louwman Family's collection of more than two hundred odd automobiles have been assembled since 1934 over two generations, and are on public display at the Louwman Museum in The Hague, Netherlands. And when I visited the country, a trip to the museum was on top of my bucket list. Read more

Kausani & Almora in the BMW X5

Kausani is a picturesque hill station in Bageshwar district (Uttarakhand), at an altitude of 6,200 ft. It offers spectacular views of a 300-km wide panorama of the Himalayan range including the peaks of Trisul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli. This is the only place where you can see the Baijnath Valley below at 3500 ft. and the Himalayan peaks at 26000 ft. above, in the same frame. Read more

Twelve countries. 15,000 kms. 99 days: Bangalore to Paris in a Fiat Linea T-JET

An expedition from Bangalore to Paris that covers 12+ Countries, 15000+ kms in a short period of 99 days, has got the support of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The team L.I.F.E. (Little Indian Family of Explorers) will be the first ever Indian family to travel abroad in the powerful sedan Fiat Linea T-Jet, with Fiat extending complete support en-route. Read more

An oasis amidst the rocky Aravallis. Tarudhan Valley Golf Resort

We often have the urge to escape the humdrum of city life over a weekend in search of some peace and calm. Delhi being fairly well connected, you do get somewhere once you hit any of the four highways - the hills, the jungles or the desert. But regular touristy destinations are often too crowded and the off beat ones are just a bit too far away for an overnight trip. And some of them tend to lack basic vacation infrastructure that we spoilt city bred are so used to. But take heart. There are still places within a short driving distance that are waiting to be explored. Read more

The Golden City of Amritsar is best known as the prime abode of Adi Granth and the holy city of the Sikhs. Where the Harmandir Sahib with its four doors symbolizes openness towards every faith. And embraces one and all under the serene calm of its golden canopy, in an environment that is nothing short of magical. Just 30 km from the Indo-Pak border in the north-western state of the Punjab, the city is frequented by Punjabis scattered all around the world owing to familial connections and their spiritual relationship with the Golden Temple. But what is interesting is the fact that a growing breed of experimental travelers now have the city on their 'must-visit' list not just to seek spiritual solace, but also to revel in the eclectic cultural mash-up and gastronomic roller coaster ride that the city offers. Read more

Niketan Madhok is a top Indian fashion model and a well known face in the fashion & lifestyle celebrity circuit. He has worked with some of the best designers in the country and walked the ramp for Lakme Fahion Week and numerous Indian & international brands.  He featured in the 2004 hit music video 'Bheegi bheegi raaton mein' (with Anupama Verma) and subsequently did major print &  television campaigns for brands like Raymond, Sony mobile and Limca (with Sushma Reddy). His stint as one of the finalists on the reality show Big Boss Season 6 made him a household name in 2012. In this edition of #roadtripchronicles Niketan shares his thrilling experience of driving across Europe during the 2006 FIFA World Cup; specifically on the Autobahn. Read more

Keith Sequeira started his career as a RJ before becoming a successful VJ & model, and then stepped into the world of films with the critically acclaimed 'Sixteen'. The affable & well recognized face of the Raymond 'Complete Man' campaign has also been the host & anchor for several film, fashion & sports events, including the Super Fight League. In this edition of #roadtripchronicles he shares his experience of driving through the famous Daintree Rainforest region of Tropical North Eastern Queensland in Australia in 2013. Read more

Multifaceted actor/ writer/ director Kabir Sadanand is an avid biker and a road trip fanatic. In this edition of #roadtripchronicles he shares one of his many experiences of driving around the Himalayan region, and says it's a trip you can never have enough of. We couldn't agree more. Read more

International actor & model Joerg Steinmann has featuring in many films & advertising campaigns across Europe, South America and Asia, including a Mitsubishi television commercial. In this edition of road trip chronicles, he shares his experience of an epic journey across the United States from way back in 1989. Read more

Acclaimed fashion photographer Anand Seth shares his experience while driving up to Khardung la Pass in the Ladakh region, one of the highest vehicle accessible pass in the world. Read more
#tripping: travel stories & road trip chronicles #tripping: travel stories & road trip chronicles Reviewed by Raghav Sarma on Monday, June 24, 2019 Rating: 5


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