Soul Journey

Manali: A Trip Full of Surprises at Every Turn

Writer - Harshit PandeyManali - one of the most popular destinations in India is flooded with tourists from around the world. The hill station is full of tourists be it any month of the year. I usually love to travel to places that offer peace and are not usually full of people taking selfies at every spot. However, I visited Manali for the first time in 2014 and it is the only holiday destination that I promised to visit once again during the time when it shows to enjoy the beauty of this place to the fullest. Manali is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and rivers. The major attraction among which is the distant and superb view of Pir Panjal and Dhaulandhar ranges. Another reason you will find a large number of tourists here is that Manali serves as the gateway to the nomadic lands of Ladakh through the Manali-Leh Highway which crosses Sarchu, Darcha and Keylong. Manali also serves as a starting point of many expeditions and treks to higher Himalayan mountain ranges.

A place full of magic: Shangarh

My exams had just ended and I was brewing travel plans in my head. A place so serene, a place so magical, that's what I was looking for. And then this happened! I couldn’t stop myself from visiting this place after I read about it in a WhatsApp group. A very spontaneous plan to visit Shangarh popped up among a group of 3 girls. Where one got busy elsewhere, the other two decided to explore this lesser-known place in the footsteps of Great Himalayan National Park.Set afar from the city's chaos, located in the pristine Sainj Valley is a quaint hamlet, Shangarh. Its seamless beauty, tranquil environment, natives' jolly faces and picturesque paths are sure to weave for you tons of memories. It did for me! I am a person who chooses the roads not taken, hence landed myself into the magical world of Shangarh. It is known to be one of the most beautiful meadows in Kullu’s region of Himachal Pradesh. in the footsteps of Great Himalayan National Park.

Myanmar: A Place Unique in itself

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation with more than 100 different ethnic groups, sharing borders with India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. With the opening of the land border a couple of years ago, and the ease of obtaining an E Visa, travelling to Myanmar from India has become quite hassle-free and affordable.I was lucky enough to have visited Myanmar for New Year’s, where we toured through the 4 big destinations, i.e. Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangoon, which also form the famous Golden Kite Itinerary of Myanmar.Each of these destinations is unique in itself, and while, Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country's largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century; Bagan, on the other hand, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to countless temples and Pagodas, including the Shwezigon Pagoda.

Jewel at the Heart of India: Panchmarhi

Pachmarhi, aka ‘Satpura ki Rani, situated at a  height of 2560 meters, is one of the jewels of Madhya Pradesh, India. Pachmarhi is one of the most beautiful hill-stations in India. The hill station is gorgeously endowed with natural beauty with a perfect balance of history. Satpura’s mountain range is believed to be the seven sons of Vindhya Ranges. Legends have it that their birth was to avert the path of the angry Narmada river which was overflowing and in its wrath was drowning the whole earth.  I didn’t know about the place until I visited my friend in Bhopal who was pursuing journalism from a university there. When I went to Bhopal, I was just going to meet my childhood friend whom I had not met in the months since he moved to the city. But, destiny has planned something else for us the moment I boarded the train.

My tales from Khajuraho

After chasing adventures in the mountains for quite some time, I was looking for a place that had serenity knitted in its streets, history in its walls and beauty in its eyes. It was then when all those class 8th history lessons about Khajuraho and its temples came to my mind. With a blink of an eye, I found myself booking a train ticket to Khajuraho. And that's how my journey to this age-old city started. 

A day in the Queen of Hills: Shimla

Shimla has always been at the top of my travelling list. Growing up, knowing the fact that the city is known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, I always thought of visiting the place to see the sky-high mountains and snow-capped peaks.  It was when I started working in Greater Noida, and became financially stable enough to plan a trip, I started calling my friends. Almost everyone refused to go on a trip in the coming one or two months. Some had just arrived from a trip last month and now had financial issues, while some had finances but were struggling to get a leave again. How difficult it is for a group of 4-5 people to go somewhere together even for 2-3 days. After a few days of struggle, I lost hope and went back to focus on my work.

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