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A glorious view of Mulshi Lake on a stormy afternoon

A huge waterfall had my jaw hit the ground no sooner did I enter the gates of Atmantan near Pune. I was quickly apprised there were close to 30 waterfalls around the property that was set on a hilltop by the banks of a brimming Mulshi Lake. It was late July and I had just returned from self-inflicted sufferfests in the mountains of Nepal and India followed by a hectic work schedule. I was ripe for a short, quiet break! So when I got an opportunity to experience Atmantan's Wellness Retreat, a new property ushering in the concept of wellness holidays in India, I didn't have to think twice.

A portmanteau of Atma(Soul), Man(Mind) and Tan(Body), Atmantan is an integrated luxury wellness resort situated in the lap of Sahyadris. Overlooking the stunning Mulshi lake, the resplendent scenery offers a perfect setting to the healing of mind, body and soul. Encompassing a variety of solutions like the inviting 3-day Spa Life where the aim is to relax and rejuvenate at one extreme to the demanding 14-day Fitness Challenge that’ll build endurance at the other end of the spectrum, the wellness packages cover a wide array of treatments and therapies, all with a singular goal of achieving better living through a mix of holistic, healthy and alternative treatments.

Monsoon special; one of the most impressive waterfalls seen around Atmantan Property

Feeling the pinch of extensive travels, I opted to do nothing other than relax, something similar to the beginner Atmantan Living package. Comfortably housed in a room with ceiling-to-floor glass windows, I was sleeping, waking up and relaxing to the view and sound of low-hanging storm clouds relentlessly pounding the vast lake below and the green mountains in front of me. While it poured like heaven’s flood gates opened up, I spent my days letting the stress wash away bit by bit through indulging herbal baths and invigorating spa therapies. If I were staying here longer, for a week like most guests do, I would’ve also consulted the many therapists here who would’ve then advised and formulated a plan to ranging from fitness activities to diet and everything else in between.

The revelation that wellness is a serious business at Atmantan came via an odd conversation, when I was told that children below 14 years are not allowed in the resort. In a society where even the proposal of having child-free seats in a plane drew much ire from all corners of the internet, having a resort where kids aren’t allowed frankly left me impressed. The logic being it is hard to cater to children and their special needs while making sure the rest of the adults are not disturbed and well treated.

Vistara, the main dining area at Atmantan with a view to die for

However, the biggest revelation at Atmantan turned out to be that healthy food doesn't have to be bland and boring. Frankly I was not looking forward to healthy eating because I love my food to be spicy and delicious. I mentally prepared myself, expecting to be chomping on sprouts and salads but what a surprise the food turned out to be! The quantities, measured to provide the right amount of calories each meal, were insufficient to my eyes but my stomach thought otherwise. Using only Olive oil or rice bran oil and spices in limited measures as well as removing simple carbs to be replaced with hi-protein food, the chefs here have carefully curated a menu that doesn't disappoint even the foodies among us! And unlike me, if you love sweets, fret not; sugar is replaced with either honey or jaggery or Stevia extract for the more conscious but desserts are served without fail.

Selfie, err, Self Portrait
As with everything else at Atmantan, due diligence is taken in providing a conducive environment that allows for ignoring the stress and work from back home. WiFi is provided only inside the rooms and not in any other enclosures including the cafe and dining areas. Without even trying, the partial digital detox inadvertently became the soothing balm to my frayed nerves.

Away from my laptop, I spent most of my free time gawking from the many balconies, pavilions and open areas overlooking the lake or the mountains behind. Initially, I was afraid I might have to find refuge indoors, missing those stunning vistas in that pouring rain but the huge glass panels everywhere in the resort made sure the downpour didn't dampen or obscure my days in any way. In fact, what's a better time to do nothing, if not monsoon?

I have never taken to the idea of Staycation or Wellness Holiday before but I can now fully recommend it for the tired soul. I think it works because I apparently came back with a new glow as a friend pointed out.

Make it happen:
My room at Arjuna Grove, that yellow sofa was one of my favorite spots

View of lush green Sahyadris from my room(L); Waiting out the torrential downpour at Atmantan(R)

Spread over 40 acres with 106 rooms, Atmantan is a multiple-award winning integrated wellness retreat that deftly combines traditional and alternate healing therapies (Ayurveda, Pranic Healing, Acupuncture etc) with modern fitness routines (Yoga, Spinning, Gym Workouts etc) to heal the mind and body. For instance, this October, Atmantan Wellness Centre celebrates anti-aeging month where Dr. Liana Nenacheva, Master in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, would be conducting non surgical cosmetic acupuncture therapies in addition to the existing wellness packages.

Atmantan is at a distance of 170 kms from Mumbai and 50kms from Pune. Room rates start from Rs. 19000 and a minimum of 3-night stay is required. For more information, visit https://www.atmantan.com to #betransformed.

Note: I was hosted by Atmantan for the duration of my stay here.
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There was a time when my mailbox was filled with questions about how to get to some place I'd written about or asking me to plan an elaborate, personalised trip for free, very very quickly. However, things have changed over the past few years and one of the most common I emails I get these days is about travel writing. From pitching an idea to finding out the editor's contact, there's a lot of stuff that can feel overwhelming about this line of work. But once you figure out the workflow, the process eases considerably. So here's a quick and brief guide to the entire process from travelling to publishing. I've already added few helpful links as resources in this post. But feel free to google more on specific steps to find out more, the internet is filled with insightful advice on every aspect of freelance writing.

Let's take a look at eight quick steps to getting published.

1. Travel
Self-explanatory but still I’ll expound. Easy thing to do here is going to interesting but rarely covered places. Hard thing is going to the same old destination but finding unique things to do. Either way, travel well to find fascinating places.

2. Think of a story idea/find an angle
Now comes the hard part. Think of a unique slant or angle to sell your travel story. Why should an editor or a reader be interested in your pitch? What’s the new angle you’re bringing to the table? Finding a marketable angle to your story is what will make or break the deal for you. You can't sell a destination or a travel story without a timely or an interesting hook. So work hard on that one.
Related reading:

3. Find a suitable publication
Once you’ve figured out an angle, look for a suitable publication that’ll be interested in a story like yours. Pitching a longform narrative to Lonely Planet is as futile as pitching an exhaustive guide to BBC Travel. Finding the right publication is the key to making a successful pitch. Steps 2 and 3 are interchangeable though; either think of a story angle and find a matching publication or pick a publication and think how you can tweak your story to match their publication style.

4. Find the right editor to pitch and figure out the contact details
This is where I believe most newcomers hit a wall. Finding the right editor to pitch and figuring their email seems like impossible but all you need is some tricks really. Mastheads(a printed list of staff positions) are available on the websites of most magazines and for newspapers, LinkedIn as well as Google is a good place to start.
Related reading:

5. Craft a Pitch and hit send!
Once you got editor’s email sorted, focus on writing a kickass pitch. That it should be concise and interesting is a given. But also focus on why the editor/readers should care about this idea and why you’re the right person to tell this story. And then hit send!
Related reading:

6. The agonizing wait, follow up and re-pitch.
If you don’t hear back within a week, follow up and then once more before taking it somewhere else. Most editors just ignore the email if they aren’t interested in commissioning the story. Don’t take it personally because the pitch might have been rejected for a variety of reasons that you’ll never know about for sure. So, for the sake of your own sanity, just ignore that gnawing sense of dejection and rework on your pitch to send it to another publication. Repeat the process till you get a commission.
Related reading:

7. Get a commission. Start working on the story.
Here comes the exciting part. Your story is commissioned and you have to actually sit down to write the whole thing. Daunting as it sounds, get to work as soon as possible and keep it aside for a day or two before reworking on it with a fresh perspective. Edit your work carefully to remove all the fluff. Also it helps immensely if you can provide the images to go with your story, maximizes your chance of getting a commission. So if you have good images to support the text, prepare those images and send an online link for the editor to view. Make their job easier and they’ll love you for it!

8. File the story. Work on edits. Enjoy the glory!
Once you’ve filed the story, wait to hear from the editor on the edits required. Don’t fight every change but be reasonable and object to changes that you feel aren’t keeping in line with your story. Once the final edits are done and dusted, wait with baited breath to see the story go live. Because irrespective of whether you’ve been in this field for a decade or just starting out, the thrill of seeing your byline never really fades. That’s it, there’s no glory. Sorry!

Suggested further reading:
Also read: 9 questions you asked me about Travel Writing
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Last week I asked you to ask me anything on travel writing and these are the questions that made the cut. So let's get on with it and I hope you find this helpful!

1. How did you get started as a travel writer?As someone who had no training in writing or mass communication, I took to blogging before writing professionally. I started my blog in 2008 to record my travels. But more importantly to write quick guides for those asking me same questions again and again about my recent travels. While I never had the idea of writing professionally in mind at that point, publishing on the blog helped me hone my non-existent writing skills.

Four years later in 2012, I visited a small village near Kodaikanal that I was driven to write about, not for money but just to get the story out. So I googled and sent the most stupid pitch I’ve ever sent to The Hindu. Surprisingly, the editor accepted the story and it ran in Metro Plus. That’s was my first print publication, for no money.

Few months down the line in the same year, National Geographic Traveller India edition was launched and I saw some of my blogger/photographer friends’ images get published in the magazine. I was green with envy and wanted a piece of the action myself. Who here hasn’t dreamt of publishing with the iconic yellow box? So I quickly googled “how to pitch a photo editor”, “how to find an editor’s email” and shot this amateurish mail (see image above). To my shock and surprise, I got a response, and a positive one at that! I took a chance and asked the photo editor to introduce me to the deputy editor. She did and I googled some more on “how to pitch a travel story” and fired my first pitch for a story. I was a published travel writer with a brand new story featuring words and images by yours truly in January 2013. And that’s my how my journey began. Since then I've written consistently for a small but niche selection of national and international publications. You can see all my published work here - https://neelima.contently.com/.

2. How difficult is it for new writers to get published in magazines?I wouldn’t say it’s difficult but I wouldn’t say it is easy either. Thing is, it is quite possible for a new writer to get published in a publication. The important thing to keep in mind is that you should have a great story to tell, know how to sell the idea and you’ve found the right publication for your story. I think that’s where experienced writers have the edge over new comers. They’ve enough experience to glean an idea from a trip or vacation. A week spent in Nepal is not a story idea; it is a trip report. A week spent in Nepal chasing an elusive mountain or rarely covered cuisine is a possible story idea.

3. Do you have any advice for emerging writers/bloggers?If you’re an emerging writer, write as much as you can and edit your work with a vengeance. I always assumed that writing well is an innate skill. But soon I realized great writing happens with a lot of practice than just talent. So it is quite possible to hone your craft, might take a lot more work for some of us but the good news is that we can all get better at this. So start a blog or open an account of any public platform and publish your writing to an audience. I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to get direct and instant feedback. Also, invest as much time in reading good stories.

If you’re an emerging blogger, hone your writing by practicing as much as possible but also understand the nuances of writing for a publication vs. writing for a blog. Both are very different requiring unique styles of writing and approach. Read this helpful post detailing the fundamental differences between travel writing and travel blogging just published by my friend Lakshmi Sharath. Decide if you’re in it for the long haul because both require quite a lot of effort and there’s very little intersection in the kind of work you’ll do in each one of these fields.

And read up on the art of story telling!

4. How do you decide what stories you want to tell and what you want to skip while writing about your travels?Before pitching any story to a publication or writing about it on my blog, one question I ask myself is “why will anyone care about this?” Let’s say I had a brilliant epiphany on my recent trek and I want to tell everyone about it. But why would you be interested in it unless it is funny or revealing or surprising or relatable or evokes an emotion that’s not boredom in the listener?

Our adventures seem great to us because we have a whole lot of context to process it but it is very difficult to translate that feeling to an external audience. So you’ll have to ask yourself, what will the reader take away from this story? If it’s five minutes of a monologue about how great my trip was or me dealing with what I thought were great adventures but were really quite normal, I’d skip that story. A good story should inform or inspire or surprise the reader in the very least. At best, it can take you along on a fantastic journey to discover other worlds within our world.

5. Do you take lots of notes while travelling?I used to but now I’ve gotten very lazy. I need to up my game in taking notes diligently. Because it’s most important task for any writer, to be able to notice and reproduce those little details that make any scene or story complete.

6. How do you find balance between documenting travel vs. enjoying?Oh the eternal paradox! I haven’t found that balance. I am always at odds on whether I should be taking notes/photographs or just enjoy the moment. More often than not, the latter wins but only due to my own indolence. But it is an occupational hazard you simply cannot escape, to have your head buried in a phone or notebook as a travel writer.

7. What is a good pitch? What are the main components of your pitch, what format do you deliver it in, and how short do you generally keep it?I guess a good pitch is the one that gets you a commission! ;)
Cheekiness aside, a pitch should have these three things to make a sale -
  1. A concise story idea with a unique angle. It doesn't help to say I went to Rajasthan. I did this and I went to that place. I want to write a story for your magazine. You should have an angle. Think about it, have you ever read a travel piece which talks about all the places writer went to and what he saw? Exactly. So read the publication, target the section you want to write for and think of a story idea that matches that particular section. If it's a newspaper with no particular sections, think of a clear and unique angle to write the story.
  2. You will need to prove your writing skills to a large extent through the pitch itself if you are just getting into publishing because you'll have no previously published stories to substantiate your claim that you can write a story well. Have a strong lead and do not cram the pitch with unnecessary details. Save that prowess for later when you get the commission.
  3. Lastly, you should end the pitch with your qualifications, where you say why you are the right person to do this story. You can tell what other publications you have written for. It is alright if you never written for any publication before. You can say I worked in so and so field, which makes me an expert to write this story or anything else that might work in your favor in convincing the editor to assign you the story.
The general guideline is to keep your pitch within 2 paragraphs but if you're pitching a complex or nuanced story, you can always ignore that rule and write a longer query. But make sure you don't go overboard with providing unnecessary details that'll tire/bore the editor. See a sample pitch of mine here.

8. Which all publications should I contact to get my articles published? How to find such publication firms?Totally depends on what kinds of stories you want to write. Looking for the selection of magazines available at airport bookshops is one way to find out about all sorts of niche publications apart from the famous travel magazines. The other way is to Google. Wikipedia can be of great help to figure out regional publications. You can also look at other writers’ portfolio to see their published clips, gives you a fair idea on the available market in a similar field.

Here’s a helpful resource on the various markets available for pitching - Where Travel Writers Can Get Published: 16 Places to Look for Sales Leads

9. What is the basic skill or practice that one should work on to improve our writing?I’d say writing and reading daily. Invaluable!

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Over the past seven years, I've climbed several mountains and crossed many passes for the smallest glimpse of Himalayan splendour. Once I hiked for a whole week only to get a 10 minute view of Kanchenjunga and more recently travelled and hiked to the farthest corner of Uttarakhand for exactly an hour of clear view. Needless to say, every one of those journeys was priceless and I'd do it in a heartbeat again.

From the jagged pinnacles of Rajrambha in Uttarakhand to the crested peaks of Kanchenjunga all the way in Sikkim, these images feature the many moods of Indian Himalayas that drew me to its chilling heights year after year without fail. If you're a fellow Himalayan obsessor like me, these images will take you back to your favorite mountains. And if you know someone like that, it would be a perfect gift for them.

And if at all you find yourself balking at the prices, do consider that I've spent a lot of time and money on making these images. If you choose to, you will be paying me for the effort or skill involved and not just a markup over the actual cost of printing and shipping. :)

This festive season, gift your loved ones or yourself some wanderlust?
Use discount code "FESTIVE" to get Rs.1000 off on prints.

View images here and place your order below (scroll down)

Available Print sizes and Pricing -
8" x 12" - Rs. 2500
12" x 18" - Rs. 5000
16" x 24" - Rs. 7500
For larger size print pricing and availability, please mail me at neelima.vlg@gmail.com

Paper options -
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Place your order here :

Kanchenjunga, Sikkim

Morning Glory, Almora

Panchchuli Massif, Munsiari

Moonlit Changthang, Ladakh

Crepuscular Symphony, Munsiari

Pinnacle of Dreams, Munsiari

Frozen in Time, Ladakh

Crowning Glory, Uttarakhand

In the Shadaow of Moon, Zanskar

Valley of Gods, Munsiari

Arc of the Magnificent, Uttarakhand

The Allure of Kanchenjunga, Sikkim

Valley of the Wonder, Ladakh

Secret of Ice Mountains, Ladakh

Morning Raga, Sikim

The Might of Panchachuli, Munsiari

The Might of Panchchuli - 2

Kingdom of Dreams, Almore

Kingdom of Dreams - 2

River of Life, Spiti

Terms and Conditions -

  • All prints will be carefully rolled and shipped in cardboard core cases
  • In case the selected print quality isn't reaching a desired standard, I reserve the right to cancel the order and refund the full amount within 14 days of purchase. 
  • Prices inclusive of all taxes and shipping costs. 
  • Sale applicable only within India.
  • Unless I'm travelling, the print will be shipped within a week of placing order.
  • If I'm travelling, the prints will be delayed till my return to network connectivity. If you need prints by a certain period, be sure to drop an email to me before making the payment.

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{ Hiking the Lycian Way, a long distance trail in Turkey }

In the winter of 2015, I set out of one of my biggest adventures yet. The challenge was more mental than physical, but it was nothing like anything I had done so far. Along with a friend, I decided to hike a way-marked long distance trail called The Lycian Way in Turkey for a whole month, independently. There, that word posed the biggest challenge. We planned to carry our own tent, food and other camping equipment and be our own guide while navigating the coast of ancient Anatolia in southern Turkey! Carrying a backpack which weighed at least 15 kilos, we aimed to cover anything between 10 to 20kms each day and stay overnight at a mix of wild campsites and pansiyons(guesthouses).

What excited me about this particular hike is that it is a long distance trail, 500+ kms long between Fethiye and Antalya, peppered with ancient Anatolian ruins in the middle of wilderness. That as well as the going on a week long adventure is so different from doing something for a whole month. Besides, hiking just with a friend (Melanie, whom I met in Mongolia a year before) made it all the more exciting and interesting as we both women independently try to find our way, tackle the abundant shepherd dogs, camp in the wild and walk, walk, walk and then some more for all of three weeks. My friend had been hiking for a week already starting from Oludeniz while I joined her at Kalkan. Armed with a very helpful German guidebook written by one Mr. Michael Hennemann and a GPS app on iPhone, we went on to hike the rest of the trail together, about 300-odd kilometers to the end.

Also, I'm running a sale on Fine Art Prints of Photographs this week! This festive season, gift your loved ones or yourself some wanderlust? Use discount code "FESTIVE" to get Rs.1000 off on prints.
Check out the images for sale here PRINT SALE - EPIC INDIAN LANDSCAPES!

Read my journal entries from each day as written while on the hike to see how it went. As expected, it turned out to be an adventure of a lifetime with many learnings and mistakes. It's a massive post, I've given you the heads-up for the record. Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join me on this loooong virtual hike through daily byte-size updates. Or just skim through for 25+ images from the hike.

Day 1: The Litmus Test (Kalkan to Bezirgan | 9 km | 860m ↑)
Glorious double rainbow (my good omen) over the town of Kalkan wishing me luck on this new adventure.

Unfortunately, it has become quite usual for me over the past few years to land up in an adventure without any preparation. No points for guessing I arrived in Turkey with zero preparation to hike 300+ kilometers over 3 weeks with a 16 kilo backpack weighing me down. So day 1 turned out to be my litmus test. As we set out on the hike to a small Turkish working village in high mountains called Bezirgan, a beautiful rainbow showed up. I took it as a good omen despite the troubling dark skies. As we started the climb, I could feel the full weight of my oversized backpack and my unpreparedness. Huffing and puffing in the intense heat, I scrambled over the thirsty landscape where nothing grew apart from short bushes.

On the far distance, the beautiful Turkish coast shimmered but I was in no position to enjoy the views. I wondered how I would climb up to 1800m high few days later if mere 800m was doing this to me. But as someone with some experience in the outdoors, I knew you get used to everything over time. As the day passed, we reached our destination with great difficulty dragging that backpack and many doubts in my mind when heaven's gates opened up and it poured like hell!

Thankfully, we found a shelter for sheep that protected us from the intense rain and later, a small 12 year old girl called Miné took us under her wing and offered us food and shelter for the night. Despite the afternoon ordeal, what started as a glorious day with a rainbow ended just the same way with the kindness of the Turkish people. Some start that was, phew!

Day 2: Two Surprises - One pleasant and the other not! (Bezirgan to Gokcoeren | 19 km | 300m ↑)
Rugged coastal landscape along Lycian Way, Turkey

Bidding goodbye to our wonderful hosts who were quite possibly the poorest in the entire village but incredibly kindhearted, we left for our next destination on the trail. With yesterday's ordeal still fresh in my mind, I was worried how could we possibly be hiking 15 to 20kms each day over the next few weeks along the Lycian Way. But our day had already gotten to a bad start when the Turkish timezone played a big prank on us. Thing is, while rest of Europe moved to Day Light Savings time, Turkey didn't because the President wants an extra hour of sunlight for the upcoming elections. But the internet and telecom network didn't care. So our 6.30 alarms rang at 7.30 and our 8.30 departure became 9.30, which was very late for hiking.

Huffing and puffing in the heat, with almost 17kms ahead of us to the next village, we cursed the unpleasant start. And then came the pleasant surprise, a chance detour that saved us a ton of energy and time. We reached the village of Goekcoren just in time and a friendly Pansyion(Guesthouse in Turkish) owner (who was already tipped of our arrival by a hunter we met on the way) came to the trailhead and picked us up. As if a hot shower and a comfortable room wasn't enough to soothe the day's exhaustion, we were treated to the most amazing dinner ever! The best part about Turkish meals(except for breakfast which is full of veggies and cheese) is that it is so similar to Indian cusine! I'm loving the food and that's a very very good thing.

Day 3: First encounter with the magnificent Lycian Ruins (Gokcoeren to Cukurbag | 20.5 km | 300m ↑ 1000 ↓)
Lycian Ruins of Phellos on a hilltop in the middle of wilderness

When Melanie suggested this hike, one of the biggest draws of the Lycian Way to me were the ruins. This entire coastal region is peppered with plenty of ruins, necropoli, amphitheatres, sacrophagi belonging to the ancient region of Anatolia. And the best part? The ruins are scattered all over the mountains, surrounded by dense forests and many can only be reached on foot and almost no one bothers to come there except for the Lycian Way hikers. While the sites lower to the coast are still maintained and restored by the archaeology department, the ones high up in the mountains are all for you to discover.

This means, you can act as Indiana Jones when you stumble upon a piece of this ancient ancient history! Also, this was a long and exhausting day of finding and following the very confusing trail markers. And I developed a slight pain in the right knee, something I've never felt before. Hoping this doesn't progress into a worse situation over the coming days. Today, we camped in the outskirts of a village in our little green tent for the first time. Exciting times ahead.

Day 4: Paying the Price for Packing Poorly! (Cukurbag to Ufak Dere | 18 km | Rolling Terrain)
Campsite for the day, a secluded beach in Ufak Dere

After 3 days, I'm slowly getting used to the idea of getting up every morning and walking till your feet hurts like crazy. Meanwhile, I've packed some unnecessary extras which are pulling me down. Every little bit counts in the mountains, so today we got down to the beautiful coastal town of Kas where I paid a small price to send some stuff back home to India. Knee pain is the same, at least it hasn't deteriorated but its presence bothers me. My backpack is lighter by 2 kilos and that's additional food and water space for when we go up in the mountains! Yay!

After sending my stuff back to India in Kas to lighten my 16-kilo backpack, we hiked more towards the campsite of Ufak Dere which is located by the side of a beautiful secluded bay. The hike was long and tiring, no surprises, but the view in front of us made it all feel worthwhile when we arrived just in time for a sunset.

Day 5: Getting used to the rigors of long distance hiking! (Ufak Dere to Aperlai | 18.5 km | 300 ↑)
Beautiful coastline along Lycian Way in southern Turkey

It's hard to believe that is already Day 5 of hiking, meaning I'd have been hiking for nearly a week soon. When I agreed to do this hike, the challenge here, unlike other Himalayan expeditions I've been on, was to keep at it for a whole of 3 weeks. 3 weeks is a long time to keep doing the same thing, over and over again, especially for someone who gets bored very easily. I thought, this could be a very good practice for some other bigger and longer expeditions I might plan for later in future. Not too far from civilization but also not too close to it, I felt Lykia Trail would be the perfect ground to train myself and test the waters when it came to long distance hiking.

Along with that, hiking with just another person was a new challenge I've been dying to try for a while. Without a support team, hiking by yourself and taking decisions in the outdoors day in and day out is wildly exciting. Besides, views like this that come way too often on the Lycian Way are excellent motivators to keep you motivated. Hoping that one of these days, we'll get to camp on one such beautiful beach.

Day 6: More ruins and More beaches, all incredible! (Aperlai to Ucagiz | 8 km)
The pretty coast of Ucagiz as seen from the ruins of Simena

Waking up early is always a challenge for me. While I manage barely on week or two week long Himalayan treks, the thought of waking up early for nearly a month at once makes me hide under the sleeping bag and never get out. But, by this time, I've learnt that starting late, especially during the winters where the daylight hours are so short, is turning out to be detrimental. So, for the past 2 days, I've been trying to get up and about as soon as possible. I haven't been able to start at 7 as planned yet but starting a bit early than usual. Melanie, on the other hand has no problem waking up early and is quite on time. Hopefully, I'll get there soon.

Today's view, is of the beautiful town of Üçağiz seen through the ruins of Simena at sunset. In case you haven't noticed, Turkey's coast is wildly beautiful and some villages like Kalekoy are so chilled out that I can totally imagine spending a month lazing around there.

Day 7: A lovely, pristine beach full of Pebbles! (Ucagiz to Andriake | 13.5 km)
Rewards of hiking, pristine beaches all to yourself!

Walking in the searing heat with a heavy backpack feels normal now. We've been hiking anywhere between 10-20kms per day depending on the terrain and the camping/pensyion options.

Today, on our way to a beautiful camping site by the beach, we passed by this lovely beach near a bay with the clearest waters and shore that was full of white pebbles. It's hard to find a place of such solitude in a place as popular as the Turkish coast but that's the best part about hiking, it takes you where few go to!

Day 7: Time for some peace and quiet!
Chilling out at Andriake Campgrounds where you can get good food and relax

After hiking for nearly 100kms over the pas 7 days and climbed quite a bit of mountains, we are resting for a day at this wonderful camping ground called Andriake on the Turkish Coast. While Kate Clow, the lady who marked the trail few years ago, has written a guide book, it's unfortunately outdated and hard to use. Thankfully, a German guy has written a much better and detailed guide on the Lycian Way which my hiking partner Melanie has bought.

The book's been of great help, that along with a hiking app on her iPhone has been guiding us greatly for the past week. Meanwhile, I'm putting up my feet and tasting Turkish beer today!

Day 8: The scary faces of Magnificent Myra! (Andriake to Myra and back | Day trip)
Amphitheatre at Myra, an ancient, now-ruined Greek town in Lycia

So turns out I have hiked nearly 100kms till today, sounds a bit unbelievable but magic happens when all you focus on is putting one step in front of the other.

Today is our rest day, we prepare ourselves to carry ourselves and 20kilo backpacks up into the mountains where we have to camp for 2 straight nights. But we couldn't miss the opportunity of exploring one of the largest Lycian ruins on the hike at Myra. One of the biggest and most important Lycian port cities, Myra was founded as early as 1st Century BC!

Today, all that remains of the glorious city is a huge amphitheatre(where I can totally imagine a GOT scene happening) and spectacular rock-cut tombs carved into the face of a whole mountains. All this splendor notwithstanding, the thing that intrigued me most were the scary faces carved all over the place. More pictures of that later.

Day 9: The big climb and the HEAVY backpack! ( Andriake to Alakalise | 14 km | 1040m ↑ 225m ↓ )
Campsite by the ruins of a church at Alakalise, high up in the mountains!

We loaded our backpacks with 3 litres of water each and food for 3 whole days, that is 7 meals, and started climbing up to the ruins a church at this place called Alakalise. The climb was brutal, as expected. We had to climb to 800m today and camp there and push off for another huge climb the next day.

Huffing and puffing we reached the first village where we saw plenty of people gathered outside, only to realize it was national elections. Another pleasant walk along a well paved mud road led us to the campsite where this Turkish man, Ibrahim, came running to our tent and was so amused by our gear that he just welcomed himself into the tent and started rolling around on the mattress and the pillow.

It was incredibly funny! Later, he invited us to his home nearby and offered us warm and super delicious "Ekmek", Turkish rotis and honey which was delectable. I was worried we'd feel lonely camping up in the mountains but with people like these around, seems my fears were unfounded. We slept under a super starry sky thinking of the 100m climb and 18km walk ahead of us the next day!

Day 10: The long, long hike up and down a big mountain! (Alakalise to Belos | 22 km | 1145m ↑ 1075 ↓)
It was early November and we got to see fall colors in Turkey!

We woke up to an incredibly cold morning where our hands almost froze as we packed up our tents and campsite. Cooking our quick and standard breakfast of porridge with some apples offered by the shepherds, we set out on the long hike along super confusing trail towards the 1800m+ Mt Merdiven.

The walk up was tiring and finding the frequently missing trail was infuriating but slowly we trudged up to reach a metal road beyond which we decided not to follow the trail and just follow the road instead that goes right by the trail side. The views of the coast and the verdant mountains were stunning despite the heat and long walk.

Our GPS had misinformed us and tricked us into thinking the campsite was closeby. It was almost 3.30 when we realized we had atleast 600m more to descend and 4kms at least to our original intended campsite. We arrived at a green patch at almost 6 in the evening, completely tired to the bone. We just set up camp, cooked dinner as fast as we could and collapsed inside our tents while presumably goats chewed on our tent all night long. We were too tired to be bothered!

But hey, the big climb's behind us now! Yay!

Day 11: The Road to Perdition! ( Belos to Finikke | 11 km | 300m ↑ 1100m ↓)
Parts of the trail can be skipped in favor of tarred roads, like this one to the town of Finikke

It certainly seemed like hell because the road to Finikke, the next stop after the big mountain push, was in the far horizon and just stayed there. With my right knee still troubling me and the left knee following suit, it has become incredibly hard for me to tread on descents. And tarred roads are the worst, my knees are just not able to take the full weight of me and my backpack together. Walking down on the steep descent towards the town, we saw a man pass us by who enquired if we were going to Finikke. Just minutes after he crossed us, he made a call. Melanie, pictured here, was quite right and quick in guessing that he would've called a pensyion(guesthouse) owner.

Normally, we do get plenty of offers to hitch a ride in the many vehicles passing us by. But this day, after we said no to one ride, none stopped by us. And I was quite disappointed that we weren't getting any lifts today when I could totally use one! What's the point of walking on a tar road right? Just then a car arrived from the opposite direction and stopped near Melanie who was ahead of me. Turns out it was the Pensyion owner and he came all the way to pick us up! How very cool! That's a thing here on the Lycian Way, if someone sees you hiking to the next village, they usually call the pensyion owners who come to the trailhead to pick you up. In this case, the owner saved us more than 5kms of walk on the tar road and I couldn't be more thankful for that!

Today we rest a bit.
Tomorrow, to the lighthouse!

Day 12: The most amazing coastline to Cape Gelidonia! (Karaoz to Gelidonia | 8 km | 200m ↑ 0m ↓)
Camping above the cape coastline at Gelidonia Lighthouse

Today was a much needed lazy day! We had a very slow start to the day as we were walking just 8kms today, the least we have walked in a day so far. Today's destination was the lighthouse at Cape Gelidonia which is the southernmost point on the Lycian way and is situated along a stunning coast. Skipping the super boring part along the road, we took a taxi right upto the trailhead so we could just enjoy the good part and the views were unbelievably amazing. The coastline was full of clear blue bays and dense greenery.

We had a lazy lunch under a tree by a blue lagoon, then walked leisurely eating fresh grapes and oranges from the orchards and stood spellbound whenever views like this showed up. This part of the coast is sparsely populated and looks very rugged and beautiful. Little before evening, we arrived at the lighthouse and it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever camped. We cooked our dinner looking at a stunning sunset and waited on the benches until the stars came out. It was all incredible, this will go down as one of the most memorable experiences on the whole Lycian Way hike!

In our little green tent, we slept to the sound of roaring wind, crashing waves and the blinking lighthouse!

Day 13: From Magical Forests to a Seaside Ghost town! ( Cape Gelidonia to Adrasan | 22 km | 380m ↑ )
The beautiful but deserted beach of Cirali, it's a party town in season but we were late

Once inside the tent the previous night, the geniuses that we were, we realized we pitched the tent in the wrong way inspite of planning to wake up to a sunrise view. We chose the right side of the mountain but not the right side to which the tent opens! Either way, the sunrise wasn't nearly half as spectacular as the sunset and it wasn't that cold so we dragged ourselves out of the sleeping bags as well. Today, we walked on the most well-marked trail we have encountered so far and through magical pine forest that was full of wildflowers.

The walk wasn't too tiring and we were looking forward to arriving at the coastal town of Adrasan to chill and relax a bit before another strenuous climb ahead of us. But even as we arrived into the town, it looked bleak and desolate. Once we reached the main road, we only found unkempt cafes and hotels, closed one after the other. The entire town looked abandoned, quite recently!

Turns out, the normally bustling tourist hotspot of Adrasan closes down for all of 6 months when the tourists stop coming during the rainy season. And that is now. With great difficulty, we found one open place where we're staying for tonight. Looks like we'll be heading to another ghost town tomorrow but for tonight, we sleep well and comfortable.

Day 14 - "Too many Germans. Too many Russians. One Hindistani." (Adrasan to Cirali | 14.5 km | 700m ↑ 700m ↓)
A friendly Turkish Man we met on our way

From the ghost town of Adrasan, we started to the next supposedly "buzzing" beach town of Chirali. But the catch was that we had a 700m pass to cross and 16kms to cover.

The climb was through brilliant pine forest where we climbed at least three small hills before reaching the pass. This meant, tons of up and down despite it being a climb. With all the salts I was losing everyday, my calf muscles have started cramping these days. Knee pain still continues but it's in check. By midday, we reached a lovely plateau where we met a friendly Turkish man who was some curious about my skin color...
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India like you've never seen before series - Flash Print Sale

Finally, it's here! But it will be gone in 5 days.

Collected over a decade of wandering across India as well as countless hours spent on foot and behind the lens, I have managed to capture few serendipitous moments of magic in the farthest and most remote corners of our country. You can now take home a piece of that magic if you wish through this inaugural print sale.

And if at all you find yourself balking at the prices, do consider that I've spent a lot of time and money on making these images. If you choose to, you will be paying me for the effort or skill involved and not just a markup over the actual cost of printing and shipping. :)

Available Print sizes and Pricing -
8" x 12" - Rs. 2500
12" x 18" - Rs. 6000
16" x 24" - Rs. 9500
For larger size print pricing and availability, please mail me at neelima.vlg@gmail.com

Paper options -
Epson Premium Luster Photo Paper (Glossy)
Epson Enhanced Matte Photo Paper (Matte)

Terms and Conditions -

  • All prints will be printed between August 27 - 31st, 2017 and will be shipped (carefully rolled in cardboard core cases) between September 1 - 9th, 2017.
  • In case the selected print quality isn't reaching a desired standard, I reserve the right to cancel the order and refund the full amount within 14 days of purchase. 
  • Prices inclusive of all taxes and shipping costs. 
  • Sale applicable only within India.
  • Sale ends on 27th August 2017, 11:59 PM IST.

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Place your order here -

Sharavathy Valley, Karnataka

Ayyankere Reservoir, Karnataka

Western Ghats, Karnataka

Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka

Winter Passage, Jammu & Kashmir

Starry skies, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Blue Ocean, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Himalayan Dawn, Sikkim

Mt. Trishul, Uttarakhand

Rhododendron Dreams, Sikkim

Sahyadri Green, Maharashtra

Gorgeous Garo Hills, Meghalaya

Kumaoni Secret, Uttarakhand

Monsoon Magic, Meghalaya

Pangong's Perennial Blue, Jammu & Kashmir

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Frozen Pangong Tso, Jammu & Kashmir

Surreal Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

Uprooted, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

Pin Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Fairy Tale Land, Kanha National Park

Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh

Peek-a-Boo, Kanha National Park

Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya

Sathodi Falls, Karnataka

Siko Dido Waterfall, Arunachal Pradesh

Kanchenjunga Dawn, Sikkim

Chakrata, Uttarakhand

Changs pa Nomads, Jammu & Kashmir

Mallali Falls, Karnataka

Kinnauri Charm, Himachal Pradesh

Pine Forest, Himachal Pradesh

Monsoon Mountains, Meghalaya

The Yellow House, Himachal Pradesh

Reflections, Jammu & Kashmir

P.S - Don't forget to share print sale details with those who might be interested!
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As our definitions of vacations have changed from hectic, see-everything-you-can sightseeing holidays to leisurely travels where we would rather not see hordes of people blocking our view, the wide open spaces of the world seemed to have shrunk but thankfully haven’t disappeared altogether. It’s time for us to start experiencing destinations in a whole new way by stepping beyond the cliché and exploring the hidden gems around popular spots. Kerala is a hot favourite among travellers and naturally gets a lot of attention. That means it can feel crowded and all too familiar at times. Fortunately, the state has enough sights and secrets to hold those who stray off the beaten path, in rapture. Including the likes of hiking in the flourishing hills of Nelliampathy and a walk among the humbling Dolmens of Marayoor, here are few offbeat ways to experience the best of Kerala.

Walk among the ancient Dolmens of Marayoor
In an unassuming town called Marayoor, 42 kms away from Munnar, a secret of historic proportions is waiting to be unraveled by anyone who is willing. Ancient dolmens that have miraculously survived the test of time (over 5000 years to be precise) can be found littered on a rocky slope at the edge of this particular village. Dolmens are megalithic structures from prehistoric age where large slabs of stones are stacked together to form tombs. Given these are structures from thousands of years before, there is little information available but the idea that something from another time has survived all this while is most intriguing. Located on the barren slopes of a hill overlooking the town of Marayoor and Pambar river, surrounded by the looming hills of Western Ghats, it is hard not to get drawn to the intense energy of the place. It helps that the drive to the town of Marayoor from passes in immensely beautiful as well, including the famous section through the rare and natural Red Sandalwood groves on the way.

Fall in love with the misty peaks of Nelliampathy Hills
The first glimpse of Pothundy Dam on the way to Nelliampathy Hills is a great preview of the spectacular scenic beauty of this little-known hill station located 60kms away from the town of Palakkad in Kerala. The glimmering water of the reservoir is surrounded by lush forest and pointy hills that extend till the eye can see; it looks particularly impressive on a stormy day. Even though a lot of the forest here has been converted to massive tea, coffee and cardamom plantations, there’s still a huge swathe of forest that’s pristine and where wild things roam free. With the help of a forest guide, a hike to one of the viewpoints inside the protected area offers stunning vantage point views of the valleys below the windswept slopes.

In case you are headed to Kerala soon, there are some exciting cahback offers on MakeMyTrip with Citi cards. You can avail these offers on flight and hotel bookings. Check them out here. I have been using these offers quite diligently!

Sip in the stunning views from Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
While the usual reason to visit Kolukkumalai Tea Estate on Kerala-Tamilnadu border may be sampling a cup of the delightful organic hand-rolled tea, I offer another incentive. Stunning views of a Tea Garden dwarfed by rugged mountains and surrounded by deep valleys! At 8000ft, this has to be the world’s highest organic and orthodox tea processing estates that eschews machinery to Cursh-Tear-Curl machinery. A sad excuse of a jeep trail winds through the tea plantations to climb to this estate and the road is as bad as it can get. The trail then crosses over to the other side to reach Kolukkumalai. The journey, though backbreaking, offers full redemption in the form of extraordinary views. From here, we can see the mountains and villages in Tamilnadu. The tea factory here has been standing since 1930s and is still in use to produce tea in the orthodox seven-step process.

Spend some quiet moments on the banks of secluded Sita Devi Lake
Nestled between lush forests of Devikulam, yet another little known hill station in the vicinity of the more famous Munnar, Sita Devi lake is a small but idyllic water body which can only be reached on foot. What it misses in grandeur, Sita Devi lake more than makes up for it with its incredible serenity. Without any of the ugly manifestations of so-called development, the lake is pristine as it comes, surrounded by lovely groves immediately and tea plantations in the far distance. Even the hike along the dense forest and by the stream is equally enjoyable as the destination by the end. The hike starts from one of the estates in Chinnakanal that’s at a distance of 22kms from Munnar, and is an easy one-hour effort, quite suitable for beginners.

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Marvel at the heart-shaped lake on Chembra Peak in monsoons
While Chembra Peak is a great hike during most part of the year, it is only in the monsoons that the grasslands covering the higher reaches of the mountain transform into a lovely carpet of green. Between that glistening expanse of swaying grass, the heart-shaped lake of Chembra shines like a jewel. As you go higher up on the trail, a view of the lake below and its iconic shape becomes more and more detailed. The starting point of the hike to Chembra Peak is situated at a distance of 8kms from the town of Meppady and the period just before or right after monsoon is the best time to hike here. At 2100m high, in theory, it the lure of scaling one of the highest peaks of Wayanad that may draw the traveller to Chembra Peak, but it is the heart-shaped lake that eventually steals your heart.

Have you been to any of these places? Or perhaps you have more secrets from Kerala you'd like to share with me?
Note: This post contains sponsored links.
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Indian Skimmers flying over River Denwa in Satpura National Park

Did you know apart from the usual jeep safaris, Satpura also offers walking, canoe and night safaris? You'd be spoilt for choice!
Waiting patiently at a watering hole that's known for leopard sightings, we sat quietly, observing the parched jungle bleed its amber appearance into a sinister darkness until the moon rose. Four vehicles waited in quiet anticipation without the obligatory "Kuch dikha?" exchange, a scene you'd be hard pressed to find in any other Tiger Reserve. The sun had almost set. A barking deer inched closer to the water, wary of the humans yet cautiously proceeding. Later, a tree pie got its fill. It was calm out there except for the occasional peacock's call. None shifted in their seats out of frustration or boredom. That is Satpura for you, quiet and natural.

Madhya Pradesh's criminally underrated national park, Satpura is stealthily coming up as an excellent escape for nature lovers. Those who can see the forest for what she is and not only as a sum total of its inhabitants, Satpura is where you should go once you've seen a Tiger. Because it is only here you'll be taught to see and experience the jungle as it is, without the pressure of chasing the big cat. But of course, big cats and big bears abound here along with pretty birds and sneaky reptiles.

Come with Forsyth Lodge and me as I tell you how I fell in love with this unlikely national park that's setting new standards for responsible wildlife tourism.

Walking Safari inside the core area of Satpura National Park

Being on foot inside a teeming forest is a great leveller; it takes away all our unjustified pride and fills us with deep humility.
The moon had risen as well behind us already. We drove though the buffer zone that night under a moonlit sky. Nightjars relentlessly called out. Indian gerbils scampered by our side and an Indian hare ran into the rocks startled by the sound of our vehicle. Green eyes flashed in the bushes; we strained our eyes and ears to see if we could find the creature. Nothing but the emptiness of a shadowed forest stared back at us. We drove later through a meadow; the stench of a dead carcass filled the air. Twice actually.

Now Satpura is one of the very few national parks in the country where night safaris are legal. Realizing the need to engage the wildlife enthusiast holistically and not just take them on a big cat chase, the folks working in Satpura have convinced the government to allow night safaris in the buffer zones. From screeching insects to metronomical call of nightjars and glowing eyes to rancid stench of a recent kill, the jungle felt through our other senses without the aid of sight is an inherently primal and deeply invigorating experience.

The next morning, we drove leisurely observing Spotted Owlets, Plum headed parakeets, White throated kingfishers, Scarlet Minivets, Serpent Eagle, Jungle Fowls as well as the blazing red leaves of Kusum tree, tightly-packed cream coloured flowers of Giriya tree set against the blue sky and the yellow Mahua blooms that filled the air with a sweet aroma. Meanwhile, a Honey Buzzard circled high above the trees, using the hot air thermals to rise up and look for prey.

Driving into the sun, morning safari in Satpura(left); Indian Gaur crossing the track(right)

Canoe Safari on the Denwa River

Come to Satpura for a more holistic experience of the jungle.
- Forsyth Lodge's General Manager, Deepanker Mukherji.
Almost wandering aimlessly, we stumbled upon one spot where the foul smell of a recent kill filled the dry air. We drove past the stench in a hurry, the forest uncharacteristically hushed. Neither a single bird song nor a distant alarm call pierced through the silence. Nothing except the steady rattle of the engine broke the silence of the forest.

Suddenly, Aadhar Singh, our expert forest guide lifted his arm and nonchalantly announced, “there’s a Tiger, let’s go back!”. To put things into perspective, there are probably 50 tigers spread over an area of 1200 sq kms of core area and we may have just gotten a chance to see one! Crouching between the dried undergrowth, white stripes and lazy eyes stared back at us. We stared back in quiet disbelief. "Mahina guzar jaata hai yahan ek Tiger dikhne mein”, Aadhar Singh grinned, quite pleased with the sighting. "Badi billi mili, badi billi" his voice cackled on the phone later. We stared in disbelief still; the rarity of the moment hadn’t sunk in yet. The Tiger, not used to the prying eyes of humans, quietly moved into the thicket and we left with a profound sense of gratefulness then. Satpura had already set unrealistic expectations at this point.

Night safari in Satpura's buffer zone, one of the more exciting and offbeat things to do here

Radhe Lal, in first picture, was our guide one morning and instinctively knew exactly where the leopard might head and retraced our way even though the rest of the vehicles raced ahead after hearing the alarm call. We arrived at a clearing where a cub was resting mere 10 feet away from our vehicle. We were the first to report the sighting and had a good 10 minute audience with the sneaky cat before others came along. Aadhar Singh, in second picture, spotted a Tiger hiding in the jungle with such a flair that it almost seemed as if he conjured it out of thin air. A Tiger in Satpura is a rarity yet the jungle was feeling magnanimous that day! It was the first Tiger sighting in a month and we were the only ones who got unbelievably lucky.

The next morning, Radhe Lal, a lean man with a keen understanding of the forest and an air of assurance about him, was our forest guide. Little could surpass the previous day’s sighting but the forest was feeling generous with the poor humans who braved the searing summer heat of central Indian jungles. In quick succession, we first spotted a black bear scurrying into the bushes and minutes later we also happened to track a leopard cub crouching by the grass.

When we set out on an evening canoe safari on the brimming waters of Denwa River later that day, river terns and many other water birds created quite a spectacle on the islands trapped between the flow. But there was one standout, the spectacularly orange-beaked Indian Skimmers. Their long bills glittering like jewels in the evening light, we were told Skimmers are only seen here apart from the risky Chambal river region, their primary breeding ground. So it was quite special, to be able see them skim the waters here in Denwa.

One of the more exciting things to do in Saptura is to take a walking safari inside the core zone. Being on foot inside a teeming forest is a great leveler; it takes away all our unjustified pride and fills us with deep humility and an awe of the great wilderness. That particular morning during our short walk, we knew for sure that a leopard saw us move through its territory and stealthily walked past us. How do we know? Fresh pugmarks on the trail we treaded just minutes before. Relief was the bigger emotion than missing the action then.

Tiger with its kill(left); Leopard cub looking for a hunt(right)

Sunrise over River Denwa

Satpura's many folds of mountains stretching as far as the eye could see(left); Fantastically camouflaged Nightjar with its egg right by the side of a jeep track. The guides in Satpura are attuned to observing all sorts creatures because they're not focussed on Tiger alone.

Satpura’s landscape, the forest and its inhabitants are definitely special. But it was something else that left a lasting impression on me - the strong sense of ownership and a great respect for the wilderness in the community that worked in Satpura. It was Deepak, a young naturalist from Kerala interning with Forsyth at the time of my visit, who first offered a shining example of the ethos of Satpura and the wonderful way the tourism is managed here. Observing the bear frantically move deeper and deeper into the bushes one morning, Deepak said, “The bear is stressed. Let's not worry it more now that we've had our sighting.”

It was nice to hear those words; see that concern for wildlife. “When there's a Tiger sighting, all the other animals go into hiding for fear of the apex predator. The forest goes eerily quiet for 2-3 days right after. So we're not always excited about a Tiger sighting”, he helpfully added. Not just that, all the forest guides here are all part time workers and villagers who grew up in and around the national park. During a walk along the banks of Denwa one evening, I casually commented to one of the forest guides, Khet Singh, about the trash in the river. He personally felt responsible for it, apologised and collected the plastic trash lying around, stuffed it in his pocket to dispose later.

These guides could spot a big cat or a small spider with equal and admirable effortlessness as well as interest. They are all young and their energy is palpable, what they're missing in wrinkled experiences balances out with their high enthusiasm! It was surreal, to see how much these guys were in sync with the forest and her cues. I only wish more of us could learn to understand nature so intimately.

If I have to think of one phrase to describe Satpura, it'd be “a box full of surprises"! Once you’ve had your fill of Tigers, head to Satpura and see what the jungle feels like in all its glory.


Spotted Owlet peering through the blooming branches of Mahua tree(left); Indian Giant Squirrel deftly leaps between the barren branches(right)

Make it happen
Stay at Forsyth Lodge in Satpura

Set at the edge of Satpura National Park, Forsyth Lodge is an eco-friendly lodge spread amidst 44 acres of reclaimed jungle. There are 12 cottages featuring earthy style that offer great comfort and luxury within the wilderness but built in ecologically responsible ways. From your room, you can watch the stars at night as well as observe wildlife during the day. More details here - http://www.forsythlodge.com/

Spend you time between jeep, walking and canoe safaris as well interacting with the knowledgeable naturalists as well as guides at Satpura National Park.

Note: My trip to Satpura was sponsored by Forsyth Lodge, opinions are my own nevertheless.
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