2010, like 2009 and 2008, blessed me with extraordinary travel opportunities. From tropical islands, to tropical rainforests, to snow capped Himalayan peaks to the central plains, I got a chance to be there in 2010. This year has been really special for me and I feel appropriate in highlighting some of my travels this year in honour of the Year ‘2010’. And it is doubly special as this also coincides with the ‘500’th post on ‘BE ON THE ROAD’.
Unlike the other years, I spent the first month mostly in town. But, I could sense a change in the pattern. May be, something big was in store for me.
I was on a cruise to the Lakshadweep Islands (Kadmat, Kavaratti and Kalpeni) in the Indian Ocean. I had great fun both underwater and on the surface. Then, I was enjoying the old coastal life of Cochin in Kerala. Then came the backpacking expedition to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Port Blair, Ross Island, North Bay, Viper Island, Baratang Island, Marine National Park, the supremely beautiful Havelock Island and the tsunami affected Little Andaman).
I was reliving my underwater memories of the tropical Islands.
This month saw me go on a parasailing trip with my friends to Hoskote, a town near Bangalore.
I went on a hot summer trek to Chandrayana Betta near Bangalore and nearly got lost. Then, I was off to Chennai for a family wedding and some get together with close friends.
I was on the road the entire month of June as I was chosen to be the official travel blogger for the road show of Tata Motors – ‘Tata Nano Superdrive’. This month long trip took me across 9 states and 18 cities in the West-Central-East corridor of India. I really loved this trip in spite of the fact that I was living in temperatures that were consistently above 40 degrees Celsius.
A motorcycle trip took me to Shiavanasamudra falls and Talakad temple ruins in Karnataka.
Cometh the monsoons and the trekker in me wakes up. Trekking trips took me to Chembra peak, Banasura Sagar Dam, Soochipara Falls in Wayanad, Kerala. Then, there was a drive to Auroville and Pondicherry. After sipping some vino, I made way to a friend’s wedding at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. Then, I passed by the temple town of Chidambaram and onto the submerged Danish beach town of Tranquebar on the east coast of India.
With the monsoons in full flow, I climbed the Thadiyendamol peak (highest peak in Coorg, Karnataka) a fifth time. With the same monsoon spirit, I trekked to Nalnad palace, Nilakandi Falls and Honey valley in Coorg, Karnataka, India. All the while, soaking in the aroma of coffee in the ‘Scotland of India’. The next few days saw me camping by the Emerald Lake in the Nilgiris and then off on the Nilgiri Toy Train to Coonoor and then to Kotagiri, the oldest hill station of the Nilgiris. On my way back, I dropped by Ooty too.
As the rains let up, my motorcycling buddies and I went on a long ride to Kolli Hills in Tamil Nadu. This place is famous for its 70 hair pin bends. Then in the latter half of the month, I got invited by Club Mahindra to go on a trip to Sikkim in the Eastern Himalayas along with a group of elite travel bloggers, writers and photographers. The final few days of October saw me riding to the Malgudi days town of Agumbe in the Western Ghats of Karnataka.
The beginning of this month was spent at Agumbe, a series of treks and rides around made it a great trip. The middle of November saw me go backpacking to North East India, the only place in India where I hadn’t left a footprint. This backpacking expedition took me to Meghalaya and the Cherrapunji circuit, trekking and birding in the Eastern Himalayas of Western Arunachal Pradesh and doing wildlife photography at Nameri National Park of Assam.
This month saw me continue the backpacking expedition of November. I got the opportunity to get close to the Indian Rhinoceros at the grasslands of the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. Got a lot of wildlife and bird photography opportunities. At the final leg of the trip, I paid a visit to the Hoolock Gibbons (the only Apes of India) at the Hoolock Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary near Jorhat in Assam and did some silk saree shopping before flying back to Bangalore. The latter half of December saw me getting back to the corporate world after a 26 month travel break. But, work doesn’t seem as boring as before as I have rich travel experiences to live by. But, I still need to keep travelling…Right?
Here’s Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year! Let 2011 bless us all with great travel opportunities! Cheers!!