Kaziranga National Park – Trip down memory lane.

As we commence the second half of 2017, I decided to look back to the start of this year. 2017 began in Assam for me. A short trip to explore the National park and Majuli , which had been on my list for a while.

I never got down to writing or sharing pictures of the trip so decided what better time than now to do a quick throwback of my two days at the world heritage site enjoying the safaris and all that the sanctuary had to offer.




My first evening began with a jeep safari into the park. The safari lasted for about two hours taking us through the central zone of the park. The forest in itself is stunning and the water bodies make it even more magical.


My introductions were first made with this herd of deers , which soon become a common sight and keep you entertained through the entire ride.


My first sighting of the one horned rhinoceros . At the onset , I was anxious and super excited to spot them but as time passes by and you let the forest take you through its turns and allies, you enjoy the experience of just being there.




The evening light and sunset create magical hues and are a treat to the eyes , I could not stop myself from clicking through the entire evening.

Wohoo, I did manage a close sighting of these majestic creatures before the evening ended.


Catching the last light and taking in the vast landscape as I bid adieu to the park for the evening.


” Some journeys can only be travelled alone ” – KenPoirot.


I stayed at the very lovely IORA – the retreat and could not have asked for any better hospitality. Since I was travelling solo, they ensured my safaris were tied up with other travellers from the retreat . They went out of their way to make sure I was beyond comfortable and well taken care off.


I enjoyed the cultural night with bonfire and a scrumptious meal, and retired for the night. I was anxious and excited for the early morning safari at 6am!


My first view as I entered the western zone at the park. This is one of my fav. moments from the entire trip.

The morning elephant safari is surreal and I urge everyone to not miss it. Catching the first light surrounded by deers and rhinos at an arm distance is nothing short of a fairy tale. My own tryst with catching them up close.


Just one of the many moments during the morning! It was phenomenal:)


Bidding good bye to the baby and mommy rhino. I was over the moon and happy to have made the effort of waking up at 5 am in the freezing January cold.


Leaving you all with some sparkle and magic! Until next time, hope you guys feel  inspired to go and enjoy the wildlife as much as I did.

My 15 cherished travels from 2015

  1. Bhopal – The last day of 2014 was a road trip to Bhopal with my family. New Year’s Eve was spent with family, spreading love laughter and grace. The year began with exploring the city of lakes in absolute fog and cold.1.bhopal
  2. Corbett National Park – Over a span of 24 hours, I saw myself travelling from Bhopal- Indore flying across Mumbai-Delhi and finally ending it at my destination Corbett. Corbett was a work trip but the vast landscapes, the winding roads and the pure nature left me awestruck. Over two days we drove from one end of the jungle to the other and all I hoped was to revisit soon.2.corbett
  3. Dapoli – I have been blessed with friends and family who have been a part of my birthday celebrations. This year, I decided to take off for a two day trip to Dapoli, in the konkan belt. It was by far the quietest and most treasured getaway I could have wished for.4.dapoli
  4. Goa – Goa has been a destination I have travelled more for work and less for leisure. This time in Feb, work took me back to Goa. This trip with friends, colleagues, sunsets and beach therapy made for an introspective last working project.3.goa
  5. Jodhpur Jodhpur holds a special place in my heart. A city I stayed in for a month in 2013 felt more homely this time around. A work stint for 3 weeks with beautiful people, music, and soul left me renewed for the year ahead.                            5.1
  6. Darjeeling – Finally, the mountains called me. I was visiting this part of the east after a decade and I couldn’t have been happier. Tea gardens, pure rivers and the mighty mountains, was all I needed to feel alive again.6.darj
  7. Sikkim – My next destination was Sikkim. The snow, the high passes, frozen lakes were no less than a dream. Sikkim was splendid and truly gorgeous. I travelled with my mother through this belt and it was indeed a special experience of enjoying and learning through each other.7,sikkim
  8. Arunachal Pradesh – A state, I had been longing to visit and now urge everyone to go and explore. Arunachal is truly one of the most untouched, beautiful states of north east. The largest of towns are still developing. A taste of culture, beauty, heritage and stories is what filled my bags when I returned from this soulful experience. 8.arunachal
  9. Auroville – As June progressed, I was urging to take a short trip and I decided it was time for me to visit Auroville and Pondicherry. Auroville was my first solo trip of the year and it was everything and more I hoped for. Cycling across the town, spending time at Matri Mandir, attending workshops, trying out different cafes and meeting new people are some of my fond memories!IMG_20150615_111233
  10. Pondicherry – After Auroville, I spent a couple of days in Pondicherry and enjoyed the quaint cafes, boutiques and the french architecture. Much against my usual trips, I let Pondicherry be a laid back trip and gave myself the time and space to be.9.pondi
  11. Valley of Flower – My next trip was in September to one of my favourite states – Uttarakhand. I had been planning trekking to VOF and Hemkunt Sahib for the last two years and managed to do so finally this year. Trekking the entire circuit has been one of my biggest accomplishments and the most gratifying one. Entering VOF and being in that moment was a forever kind of love with nature. My senses, abilities, and virtues were all tested through this journey.11.vof
  12. Hemkunt Sahib –  This trek has definitely made me a stronger person. The 7km upward climb teaches you some huge life lessons. All I can say about this trip, that it was a journey inward for me in all its glory. I had never felt more blessed and one with my masters.12.hemkunt
  13. Rishikesh – Rishikesh has become one of the places I have grown to love and be fond off. The Ganges, aartis, exploring cafes, some amazing company of dear friends and long drives have made me a Rishikesh loyalist.13.rishi
  14. Madhya Pradesh – I had never imagined myself travelling through the interior parts of MP and camping and exploring places I had not even heard of. Work does have its perks 😉 A road trip from Khajuraho – Kanha. Camping by the Narmada, jungle safari, meeting Tara, the elephant and exploring the ruins of Khajuraho. This trip made for my most challenging and different experience of the year.14.mp 1
  15. Indore – This Diwali break we visited one of my old home towns Indore and Mhow to visit some family.  It brought back some old cherished childhood memories of growing up. This trip also landed up being my food trip of the year where I gorged on all the street delicacies of Indore. Added to that was a quick trip to Ujjain to visit the Mahakal Mandir. Both my MP trips showed me different sides of India that I had not personally experienced in my travels.IMG_20151114_125252.jpg


Here is hoping for a beautiful and inspiring 2016!



I visited Pondicherry, after spending three blissful days in Auroville in June’15. I was looking forward to relaxing and soaking in this beautiful town during my two days.

Here are a few of my recommendations that could help you further plan your trip:

  1. Stay and Visit – The best decision of my trip was to stay at the Aurobindo Ashram guest house. Even though, they are simple with basic amenities, the promenade view offered by this guest house beats any other accommodation. It comes with the added advantage of visiting the Samadhi from 5 am -11 pm and one can even be a part of the evening group meditations if staying at any of these guest houses. However, if you are visiting Pondy for leisure – Le Dupleix, La Closerie  and Palais De Mahe are a few worth visiting Hotels to stay or eat at , in the French quarters.

    View from my room

    View from my room

  1. Quiet and Peaceful time at the Ashram – My primary reason to visit Pondy and Auroville were for the Shri Aurobindo ashram and the Mother. My days began at the Samadhi and ended with the group mediations in the evenings. This had to be my best spent time across the two days. Photography is prohibited and phones need to be switched off while visiting the Samadhi. I further explored Pondy by visiting a few centres of the Ashram – the Paper Factory being my favourite.


    At the paper factory.

  1. Morning by the promenade – The Pondy promenade is the Marine Drive of Mumbai sans the cars and traffic. The traffic here in the evening is that of only humans. Best time to visit the promenade is during sunrise and for early morning walks. The view is breathtaking and makes for a refreshing start to the day.
  1. Walk, Cycle and Click! – The French quarter of Pondicherry is best explored on foot. If you are a lover of doors, windows, pop up colors – French architecture will not disappoint you. It is categorised by colonial villas, compound walls and stately doors with the bougainvillea flowers and trees adding to their charm.

    My fav window frame

    My fav window frame while walking the streets.

  1. Spend time at the beaches – Serenity beach which is about 8-10 kms from Pondy is a must visit and one can spend some alone time and enjoy the calmness of this beach. Paradise beach which is farther away came highly recommended but I sadly did not have enough time to visit it.
  1. Visiting the Church and Temples – A trip for me is incomplete without visiting its religious centres. I cycled around and visited the two most beautiful churches – Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculate Church. Both the churches have elegant architecture and provide a sense of calmness.                   Get blessed by Lakshmi, the Temple Elephant at the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple. Mornings are the best time to visit this temple and enjoy the hustle bustle of this area.IMG_20150618_140338
  1. The Tamil quarters – The French quarters are the most talked about and photographed area in Pondy. A little deep into the town, you will find yourself amidst chaos and a sudden shift in the setting of the city. The distinctive architecture – open courtyards, verandas and sitting platforms make for a welcoming change. The Maison Perumal property pays a great tribute to this way of life.
  1. Cafe Hopping – Pondy is a foodie’s paradise. I had gone with a huge list of cafes and places to eat at and here are some of my favourites: Cafe Des Arts for most relaxed time and best crepes and coffees, Satsanga for a quiet and wholesome meal, Villa Shanti for the best desserts, Rendezvous and Hotel Promenade for an evening meal. Bakers’ cafe for a scrumptious breakfast, Palais De Mahe for a relaxing lunch and Kasha Ki Asha for a healthy meal with a boutique to shop at.New folder
  1. Shopping and Boutiques – Pondy has some wonderful and slightly expensive boutiques. Kalki, Auro Shri, Habitart and are a few of my favourites. La Maison Rose also has some very unique and designer boutiques. I did succumb and pick up my share of paper lamps, jewellery and pottery products.IMG_20150616_144018
  1. A relaxing massage – I spent the last afternoon getting a traditional ayurvedic massage. I honestly went without too many expectations but returned more than satisfied. I would suggest adding one of these in your trips for a great holiday experience. Palais de Mahe has a brilliant in-house massage centre.

These are some of my reasons as to why Pondy and Auroville were one of my favourite trips this year and I hope to visit them again.

Moving Out of Comfort Zone – Following One’s Passion

The July of 2013, ended my decade long relationship with my home city Mumbai.

I came from an army family and being on the move and changing homes was something I grew up with. Mumbai however was different; a city where I grew up, made bonds for life, spent the best college years. I had an exciting, challenging job that brought the security and comfort that a 20 something year old needed. I was in a familiar territory, independent and in one of the best cities with particularly nothing much to complain about. Yet there was a miss, a fire that needed to be channelized elsewhere, routine that had to be de-constructed.

I was yearning for a change. I decided to quit my job and move out of Mumbai for good. It wasn’t anything close to easy but I knew it was time for something more. My original plan was to travel and explore options of further studies.

I moved to where my parents lived, with no firm plans and decided “to go with the flow”. It wasn’t an easy transition. I came from an extremely demanding, hectic work and social life and here I was, at home with abundant free time. The first few months were bliss, there was happiness and peace in finding my own and doing nothing but slowly, it got to me.

It was during this time at home, that I stumbled upon Spiti and Ecosphere and my first solo trip in India was planned. I have written a lot about Spiti and in a nutshell, nothing was the same for me post this trip.

I returned stronger, with a clearer mind, inspired and with that fire to do something more. This is when I knew, I was travel smitten. I felt alive and at peace.

My life, post the trip panned out much differently than I imagined. I soon began seeking the constant need to travel. The usual work life cycle and the luxury of a permanent job became secondary.

Read about my gifts from travel: https://freespiritedwanderer.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/my-reason-to-travel-earning-5-gifts-for-life/

I decided to postpone the idea of further studies and focussed more on this unrelenting urge to travel. I found balance by taking up a few freelance work projects which ensured a somewhat steady income, kept me on the move and yet connected to my passion.

2014, was definitely my year of travel and exploration. Blessed with a supportive family- I travelled extensively throughout India and a few countries abroad literally every month. The idea was to maintain a flow of journeys and trips, be it short breaks or volunteering and giving back to society – each trip expanded my understanding and perspective of life.

Read more about all my journeys in 2014:  https://freespiritedwanderer.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/adieu-2014/

 These past two years have been transformative. It was not simple to constantly be on the move or live out of a suitcase.

There is a high in exploring, learning, being a wanderer. But the idea is to not lose oneself or drift away in these journeys but to keep pushing, to keep that fire alive seeing the world through different eyes.

Leaving Mumbai was me stepping out my comfort zone. The universe took that one step and turned my life around.I am proud to say that I chose to live life on my terms, follow my passion and with no regrets but only gratitude. I have learnt and grown tremendously and even though I may not exactly know my future goals and plans, I could not have lived any better.

My biggest lesson has been- ‘to learn to balance’ – whether its work or leisure, relationships, attachments. It takes you a long way in life. Sometimes journeys without take us to journeys within.

I am sure this is only the beginning, and there is a lot ahead for me to discover and share.

I hope this urges you to look within and follow your passion with faith; knowing it may not be an easy path but definitely worth it. Travel became my passion, a way of life.



My travels and trips are more or less spontaneous and I consider them to be largely a calling or sign from the universe to go experience something new.

One such experience was my solo trip to Pondicherry and Auroville last month.

I had initially planned a two day visit to Auroville but a few hours into this paradise, I knew one would need at least a week – 10 days to soak into the magic of this alternate community.


With 3 days in my hand, I set out to explore and experience Auroville to the best of my ability:

I began by visiting the Visitors centre, reading and understanding the working and functioning of this community and booking my visit to Matri Mandir.

This was followed by renting a cycle that made my life much easier in exploring acres of land and forests. Auroville has cycle paths all across the centre and it makes cycling so much more fun and quite exhilarating.


I was keen on visiting as many cafes, farms, centres, and institutions that I could possibly in the given time.

I started off by spending some time at the Solitude cafe and learning about alternate farming methods and local produce.  A quick chat with the owner Krishna gave me more insight about their day at the farms,  their healthy meals and I discovered we  both shared a mutual love for music, and festivals.

My next few stops were at the international pavilions, namely Indo Tibetan Pavilion, Bharat Nivas– the structure and architecture of each of these places is magnificent. To imagine this township as a barren land with no life is next to impossible.

I then stopped by at the Savitri Bhavan and spent time reading about Mother and her journey in setting up Auroville.  Savitri Bhavan is a great place for  yoga,films, group meditations, reading and group recitations that take place during the month.

Next, I  decided to go and see the Matri Mandir from the viewing point. One can spend hours sitting under trees with the view of the Mandir and the perfectly maintained 12 gardens, each with a separate message by Mother on life.

Even though, my visit was during peak summer and I was practically burnt cycling during the day, I decided that I wanted to cycle and explore all possible paths .There was  sheer excitement in riding to an unknown destination.

I found myself cycling through the town and onto the highway, passing by cotton trees and flowers… 6 kms on the road and I passed by smaller lanes, houses, cafes enroute to Auro beach. Huffing, puffing and exhausted, I finally managed to  see the beach. I spent some time trying to get my breath back from cycling and the scorching sun shining brightly on my head.


On my return, I stopped by at Farm Fresh cafe, which I would highly recommend to all for heavenly fresh and delicious food. One can even shop for local products and handicrafts at this cafe.


You will also find the Auro Bakery, Tantos, Frite corner and Kopi Bar in this vicinity and I would recommend stopping by at all these for a healthy bite and wi- fi.

 I made my way back by late afternoon to the lovely Arka Guest housethe guest house is one of the best places to stay in Auroville. Centrally located with large, airy, clean rooms. They have  a library, yoga centre, wellness and massage rooms and a lotus pond adding to the list of its highlights.


The view of the guest house from my room.

I decided to cycle and explore other parts of Auroville – cycled through the dense forests, visited the Buddha garden and met volunteers, with whom I shared an evening cup of tea learning about the preservation of this 12 acre farm land and was humbled at the hard work put in by strangers from across the globe to preserve this land. One can volunteer here for long and short term or help out in the farm every morning during the visit.

As most of the town shuts by 6.30 -7.00, you will find very few places open beyond 8 p.m. An early dinner at the kiosk, which serves some of the best dosas I had ever eaten . I met with a few people who had been working and interning in Auroville and the happiness and satisfaction they shared about their jobs was overwhelming.

Back to my room and there was so much I did in one day and yet it was too little. New stories, thoughts and a book, I retired knowing I had an even more beautiful day waiting for me.

The next day began at 6 a.m. and I was off to Auro bakery for a perfect breakfast ride and food. With fresh baked croissants, Danishes and the smell of flour, I could not have asked for a better start. I sat for a while and cherished my long breakfast chatting up with Jena, the manager of the backyard cafe.


I made my way back into the Auroville centre and decided to go explore another area. and headed towards the Verite centre. The centre offers many working opportunities and a deeper Auro experience. For more details you can look up: http://www.verite.in/get.php

I had heard a lot about the Naturellement cafe in this area, however due to it being  off season; I found many places shut and this was one of them.

My hunt further led me to the Sve- dame residential area and to another cafe I had read about – Well cafe along with an Art shop – Wellpaper. WELL stands for “Women’s Empowerment through Local Livelihood”. This initiative was set up after Tsunami in 2005 to empower women from local neighborhoods to sustain themselves by their skills. I must admit my best meal was at this place – best hummus and homemade cakes I’ve ever had!


My evening was spent reading and enjoying the views at the La Terrace cafe above Solar Kitchen under a generous Caja tree -lovely place for some alone time, with a large section of coffees and teas to choose from. An Auro card is required for Solar kitchen and the cafe.


I spent the rest of the evening attending an Om Chanting session at  Savitri Bhavan , it was one my favourite experiences at the centre and I could not have asked for a better end to my last night there.

My last dinner was at the Right Path Cafe with some new friends from the session, learning more about volunteer experiences and life in Auro.

I ended my day with eagerness for the next morning  when I would finally get a chance to visit the Matri Mandir.

For all first time visitors, visiting Matri Mandir is like a guided tour inside the structure and details are shared about each of its pillars, the thought behind each garden, the flowers, the banyan tree and its significance.

The experience of the time spent inside the Mandir is genuinely something I have no words for. All I can say is that anyone who wishes to experience true silence or stillness must visit it once. Very few places actually help us to connect to what’s within us and this was one of those for me.

The  hours flew by and it was time to bid farewell to Auroville. I ended my visit  realizing there was a lot more to soak in, and even though I wanted to learn and see so much more, – the best way is to step back and live a little.


“The ego thinks of what it wants and has not.

This is its constant preoccupation.

The soul is aware of what is given

And lives in endless gratitude”. – The Mother

       Until next time, thank you Auroville…

Celebrating a Year to Thailand ..

It has been exactly a year to my trip to Thailand.  With all the memories popping up, thanks to Facebook, I decided to revisit some of the places through my pictures.

Since I had not blogged about my experience, here are a few images from my trip…hope you guys enjoy..


Hello Bangkok!


Street food… absolute love..

Stunning temples and architecture..

Stunning temples and architecture..

Floating Market- another interesting experience

Floating Market- another interesting experience

The Blue Lagoon - jumping into this was surreal.

The Blue Lagoon – jumping into this was surreal.

Perfect holiday - James Bond Island

Perfect holiday – James Bond Island

Some breathtaking landscapes during island hopping

Some breathtaking landscapes during island hopping

Stuck in a sea storm and yet this was one of my fav beaches

Stuck in a sea storm and yet this was one of my fav beaches


Celebrating at Patong

Some on the go cocktails..

Some on the go cocktails..


See you soon 🙂

An ode to Indian Army Soldiers – OUR SUPERHEROES.

I visited Arunachal Pradesh – land of the dawn lit mountains in April this year. Arunachal had a lot to offer and here I share one of my experiences of this trip.

One experience that stood out for me, and became an emotional connect was about the most selfless human beings working for the nation – Our Indian Army.

Born an army child, I have been blessed and privileged in many ways . I always admired and took pride in being an army kid, but my level of awareness about the life of these soldiers was limited to what I was shown.

Since dad was from Infantry, it meant I spent almost half my time without him being around us and it gave us a chance to visit him in non-family stations which broadened my horizon and understanding about their living conditions, routine, mindsets and life far away from our perceptions of proper civilization.

Arunachal brought back my childhood memories from visits to Jammu and Kashmir, Assam , to name a few. From my stay in the cantonment area, visiting a lot of the tourist areas which are actually maintained and protected by the Army. I saw another extreme of the lives of the soldiers who stay away from home in very basic conditions and lived by each other’s companionship.

I got a chance to see many war memorials and temples made in the honor of army officials who have lost their lives fighting and I was in complete awe of their spirit. They have left being an inspiration to many through these sacrifices.


Tawang War Memorial

I was deeply moved by the tales of Indo-Sino war of 1962, where the nation lost over 2400 soldiers due to circumstances created. They were made to fight the equipped and well prepared Chinese army. Our men were ordered to move in to areas without adequate clothing for snow and grossly insufficient ammunition and equipment. Our men have faced them in the ratio of 1:30 and had done a commendable job in this struggle.

The Army has made a beautiful documentary capturing the war and the spirit of our soldiers which not only left me with tears but goose bumps to see their heroism.

Even though this was supposed to be the summers, most areas and passes were still covered in snow, with routes being shut and frozen lakes that made amazing shots for me but at the same time, these were the camps for many army units. This is where they spent their time without proper logistics and connectivity.

The levels of acclimatisation and courage to brave up the cold and with limited amenities is not just overwhelming but made me wonder what all these men and women like my father are made off; to selflessly serve the country for the good of others.


Army settlements covered in snow at bum la pass

The most amazing part, I haven’t met a single person who would complain or garner sympathy for any of their work- they are all selfless and humble. They are willing to help in any way possible- a cheerful smile and positive words is what I have always been greeted with.

This post is not about gaining sympathy or letting them know how amazing they are but is my tribute to each and every one who has ever served in the Indian Army to know that we respect you, salute you and know that you are out there watching on our behalf to make us feel safe.

You are my Superheroes today and tomorrow.

You have made me proud in a way no one else can. Thank you dad

I hope we are all a little more aware and sensitive to them and treat the defence forces with a little more dignity.