Lewa: Handpicked Africa…(Part II)

In the next morning safari, I was shamelessly focused on spotting the big cats. Tom wasn’t enthused, he knew cats are elusive, but out in early morning meant more chances. We hadn’t gone much, when we came across a small herd of elephants and in Africa, you couldn’t help but stop when you come across…

Lewa: Handpicked Africa…

The knee high dry grass glistened like burnished gold as first light stretched across the hills. The sky exploded into brilliant shades of oranges and yellows and a cold tension hung in the air. I pulled over my hood and shimmered in the anticipation of heat. It can get unbearably hot in the afternoons and…

Khonoma: The land out there…

This historic Angami – Naga village was the site of two ferocious Anglo – Naga war in 1879 – 80 and Indo-Naga war in 1956. Fondly tucked between towering mountain ridges, with emerald paddy fields carpeting the valley, Khonoma looks artistically traditional. Ever heard of a village that twice, brought the British army juggernaut in…

Majuli: A disappearing island

Fondly tucked between the sister rivers Subansiri and Kherketia and nursed by the mighty Brahmaputra, lies a landscape of Majuli, simply inescapable from the eyes of intrepid travelers. It is an island of pristine sublimity, offering vistas of freedom wrapped in nature’s warm embrace, unlocking the hidden mysteries, exciting imaginations, swaying as the river swells,…

Tales from a headhunters’ land

Conversing with a nonagenarian is like collecting some pages off the calendar or redrawing some history from a person who barely remembers what he had in the morning for breakfast. Indeed a tedious task. But, the moment you ask of his good old fighting days, the geriatric time machine turns a raconteur; the years dissolve…

Camping with lions in Masai Mara– II

From the beginning, I was sure, day 2 was going to be as exciting as day 1. We had by now, tick marked three of the #bigfive of Africa and we prefixed our agenda to first lookout for the remaining two of the big five and then try our chances on the migration yet again….

Camping with the lions – I

From our camp we could watch baby hippos splash and swill in the waters, while the adults watched us with suspicion. This was my first experience of camping in the wild, and we started with choosing the wrong place. It was only when Leena said “What if hippos come this way to graze?” that we…

Sandsational Zanzibar

A ramshackle fishing village, now sidelined by an ever increasing number of hotels, bars, guesthouses and bikini clad backpackers; drawn by pristine white sand beaches, turquoise sea, sparkling sunshine and an ever-lasting sense of liberation; Nungwi village is among the biggest draws in Zanzibar. By day, the sunbathing tourist slumber, indulge in lemongrass massage or…

A loud roar to #saveourtigers

I still remember my safari drive in Ranthambore National Park which ended with a happy note of seeing the most documented tigress and oft referred to as the face of tiger conservation, Machali. Our tryst had ended with the words of our safari guide – “These animals are so magnificently beautiful that it seems a…

Stone Town Zanzibar: A road to follow

Stone town, or the old town as locals call it, with all its clichés and a heady mixture of old and modern, gets you the required good start in Zanzibar. It gives you a heritage city look, as you look out over the rusted roofs atop crumbling white buildings, with their wooden shutters and intricately…

A painted doorway to the past

With every new step, I could find myself getting closer to the rich past of this town. The symbols are faded yet loud, the stories are forgotten yet live in every colour on the wall waiting to be read and when everything seems to have moved, one look at these marvels, takes you back ages. This…

Shekhawati: India’s Open Art Gallery

I know I am not admiring at Mona Lisa at the Louvre or wandering on the streets of Met; but there is something tantalizing in these streets which is making me do the comparison. It is not Sistine Chapel or any art museum of Paris, but it is surely an open art gallery. It is…

Quiet mountains of Namchi

Think of Sikkim and the images of snow clad peaks, terraced rice fields, lushly forested hills, misty clouds setting in the deep valleys, whispering falls and mesmerizing cascades fall before your eyes. Sikkim is a painter’s dream – a beautiful landscape sketched by the creator. With these thoughts we set out for this land of…

The indescribable: Lake Loktak

Never before had escapade to the countryside been so quixotic than one to countryside of Manipur. The vibrant images of blue-green hills, cascading rivulets, canals dotting the landscape, and carpet of flowers adorning the hills followed us. The smog of the Imphal city had thinned, sky turned azure blue and the plains were hued with…

Living on the edge: Imphal

A chubby faced Ima in the Imphal’s sprawling Ima’s market was talking in sing song Hindi and insisting me to buy her traditional Manipuri shawl. By then I had spent all cash I had with me and I chose to quickly drift through this group of sharp eyed Imas’ calling out from beside their towering…