Monthly Archives: May 2015

Image Credits: Creative Commons, Wikipedia uploaded by user Metanish

A trail to the Valley of Heaven!

One of the most exciting things for a traveler is always the beginning of a journey. The sheer joy you get when you are headed for a new trail is something which you can’t imagine without actually going through that experience, which I’m sure all of us would have. But it’s a notch above the rest, when that journey is to Himalayas.

Especially when the meandering trails happen to be as lovely as this. Tomorrow is the start of an all new journey after quite a while, since I actually went hiking in the Himalayas. While 6 months ago, the trip to Sikkim gave us the boost we needed to rekindle our love with the Himalayas, Feetonthemap and I made it a point that the next trip to Himalayas was going to be an amazing trek, something like this. And here we are today, with excitement galore, just one day to go and all set to drive into a wandering melancholy and figure out our journey as we go.

We’ll be trekking for at least 6 days, beyond wilderness that I just hope will have some enchanting snow caped mountains and lush green sights like the one above, even as we are at the onset of monsoon.

One of the things this journey is going to be about for me personally, is to seek a gateway towards exploration. To be one with nature in it’s true self. To learn some more from stories that it tells me. Obviously, since there isn’t going to be any connectivity, we’d most certainly enjoy a lot of time closer to nature, and that is only the beginning…

And the only thing I can do right now is hum my favorite song…

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”

Backpack Srinistuff

Hopefully I’ll share some stories as soon as I’m back. To find out on the go stories follow my Tumbleogue @ srinistuff.tumblr.com

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The Sheer Joy of traversing through Himalayas

Sometimes a distant memory of the past is the lost enchantment that you imagined on the road you traveled upon without having to wonder if you’d ever want to come back to your regular life…

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Sometimes a simple thing such as living in your backpack and wandering away the melancholia of your mundane life is what sets you apart from the beauty of the life lived upon a treading path of glory.

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Sometimes the sheer madness of the breathtaking view on your journey let’s you imagine a world of fantasy that you always tell yourself of the wonderful stories that last longer than eternal sights of nature to make you want to go back to the ‘Kingdom of Narnia’ again and again…

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Sometimes you just meet someone so interesting that it makes you realize  many things about yourself, and you strive harder to look for inspiration that is so close to your life, yet so far, you have to  seek out these journeys to eventually get there…

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Sometimes the best part about your travels is nothing but the amazing cuisine you enjoy, without having to worry about the calories you count or for that matter the taste… They’re just simply awesome and you like it that way…

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Sometimes you look around yourself, and you realize that you have woken up in a land unknown and a place that you are about to fall in love with, knowing that the view is so magnanimous that you’ll just have to try to let go of it after a few days with a heavy heart…

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Sometimes it’s the beauty of nature, the animals, the interesting folks, the enchanting culture and the divine spirituality that surrounds you, nothing can beat the simple joy of traversing through these enchanting Himalayas…

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Vintage delight at the Verandah in the Forest

One of the most interesting aspects of traveling is the opportunity to explore the unexplored and experience the inexperienced! Being a backpacker, I’m not so much into luxury, however if I get an opportunity every once in a while, I’d not hesitate to sit back and enjoy the relaxation galore. One such opportunity happened to present itself when we went to a much renowned, tourist attraction, yet very popular destination among hikers for the sheer joy of trailing down the woods. Yes, I’m talking about the ever so popular, Matheran!

A weekend destination in itself, this location is a regular, for people around Mumbai, Pune and has a very age old heritage and antiquity to itself. Discovered by the Britishers back in the 1800’s, left to the Parsis, this place now has become a tourist haven. But apart from it being a typical weekend retreat for tourists, there are certainly a lot of unexplored aspects of Matheran, which many people generally tend to miss out especially if you get caught up in the whole typical, sight seeing, visiting spots, the regular horse back riding or the toy trains which are most popular with breathtaking views across the mountains.

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We happened to get one such opportunity while we went on a long weekend to spend some quality reclusive time this summer. Apart from being close to nature, the little respite from the Mumbai heat was more than welcome.

The joy of walking, rather hiking across the woods, the ability to feel the shadows of the trees and see horses galloping around, the amazing view of the sunset across a dense array of mountains was something worth spending the quality time over the weekend. But all that apart, the most enchanting experience of this weekend was the brilliance and magnanimous feeling of being in a vintage property that’s age old and hasn’t really had the need for any kind of restoration.

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Originally, known as the Barr House, built by Colonel Barr during the early regime of the East India Company and later on inherited by a Parsi owner, it became the Verandah in The Forest, when it was acquired by Neemrana Group of Hotels as part of their amazing collection of Vintage hotels across the country.

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While you may not have connectivity, television, network, Internet at this hotel, what makes up for it is the amazing experience of being transported back into a time capsule, probably back in the 90’s where you have a huge hall within the hotel, where you can listen to an amazing collection of music, my favorite, Jazz on a CD Player. Read some vintage magazines, an exploration of the Parsi dynasty, treasured books off the library shelf.

The decor and the furniture within the room, is still from the 1800’s and has an enchanting style to it, that cannot be matched without any other experience in a luxury resort of sorts.

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The sheer brilliance of an antique, vintage experience, topped up with a courtyard of retreat and relaxation, brings joy to your tethered soul that needs space on weekends such as the ones we explored. The best part about this hotel, was that it’s a walk away from the famous Echo Point and Charlotte lake, amazing I must say for the magnificent view at Sunset.

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Not to mention the amazing experience that we had during our 4 course dinner sitting in the dining room, that probably resembled one of those from the movies depicting old regime of pre-independence British era. With the candles, the wall clock, the silver laden platter and cutlery gave us a feeling of the royal family dinner, one that you won’t get anywhere else, especially around here. The experience was one of it’s kind.

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Special Note: This trip to Matheran was an impromptu weekend getaway. A special thanks to the Neemrana Group’s The Verandah in the Forest for their warm hospitality and complimentary stay. The Verandah in the Forest is acclaimed as the second house to be built on the isolated Western Ghats, by the Britisher Captain Barr.

Now, with every facility in place, it is reputed to be second to none! A note on Neemrana Properties- All Neemrana properties are ‘non–hotel’ Hotels, as they were originally built for other purposes. All efforts have been made to maintain the old charm of The Verandah in the Forest while ensuring the basic comforts that have come to be associated with the changes in lifestyle since the 19th century. Neemrana offers guests a unique opportunity to lounge like never before.