Life in Bhagsu Nag – One of the Most Beautiful Villages in Himachal Pradesh

When you think about traveling to Himachal, do you think about visiting the beautiful villages in Himachal Pradesh — the evergreen state of fresh air and happy people? This story is all about the villages of Himachal.

I am living a dream life in BhagsuNag, a small, hippie village in the Kangra valley of the Himalayas. Bhagsu Nag is above Dharamkot village, which is above Mcleodganj, a town you must have heard about as Dalai Lama’s main temple is located here. Both the villages and Mceodganj fall under the district of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

When I came to Himachal, almost a month and a half ago, I didn’t know that I would stay put up in a village in Himachal for a month. As I arrived from Amritsar in Dharamshala on a rickety HRCTC bus, I straightaway went to the Vipassana center in Dharamkot(I know I still have to write about Vipassana as many of you are waiting to read). When Vipassana ended, I came out the deodar-dense ashram to realize that I didn’t connect with Dharamkot — a village full of stone, and Macremia jewelry stores and learners’ classes, hemp and regular cloth stores, restaurants and hotels, fancy cafes, and a popular Yak cheese sandwich shop. Groups of international tourists sat at the streetside cafes facing the walkers and sipping cappuccinos or masala chai while their stone-ring adorned fingers frantically rolled cigarettes or held joints. Whether I scooched through those tiny streets crowded by people standing on the street smoking or buying second-hand clothes and crystals during the morning or the sunny afternoon, the cafes fringing the streets seemed to be filled with the same people and a similar vibe. The place lacked the positive energy I was looking for.

Following my instincts which told me to get away from Dharamkot, I crossed onto the other side of the valley to arrive in the village of Bhagsu. I wanted to live, learn, and explore the Himalayas nestling this village which is popular amongst Indians for the BhagsuNag Shiva temple and a waterfall.

Also Read: India – In Stories and Photo Postcards

Read More

What Are Habits – Your Answer to Willpower

We all hope to become a better version of ourselves. I want to be a better writer. My partner wants to be a good coder. My friend wishes to be a good mother. You dream of winning a swimming championship. Someone fancy playing the piano as Lady Gaga plays.

One way to achieve these goals that I mentioned above is to possess the willpower to get up and do the thing, every day. Another way is to form a habit (I will explain what are habits as the article progresses) which you practice regularly to move towards your goal. I should develop a habit of writing daily. My partner can become an efficient coder by developing a habit of focusing on the quality of his code every time he codes. My friend has to create a habit of not losing patience when her child annoys her. You get my point.

But you might ask the difference between having the willpower to do these things regularly and forming a habit to practice them as a routine? Both ways need you to work.

To make this distinction clear, we will understand habits in detail.

Read More

A Complete Guide to Visas for Indian Citizens – Let’s Travel

When I started traveling with my Indian passport, the first thing I realized was that Indians cannot travel easily without applying for a few visas, no matter wherever we go. Whether I went to Southeast Asia or Europe or the UK, I spent days and months aggregating the required documents for a visa, filling arduous application forms, contemplating if I should hire a travel agent, requesting my employer for a NOC, asking the photo studio to print my ridiculous passport size photos quickly, rushing to the banks to get account statements, and still fretting if I would get a visa or not – I did it all.

The process of getting visas for Indian citizens haven’t relaxed, but as I travel more, I understand the visa requirements for Indian citizens better. Also, I have figured out that Indians can go to many countries which give visa on arrival for Indian passport holders (Thailand, Bolivia, Ethiopia, and more). Indian citizens can also visit countries where Indians can go without visa – nations such as Indonesia, Bhutan, Nepal, Ecuador et cetera. Some countries also give either free entry or a visa on arrival for Indians holding a valid UK, US, or Schengen visa, and Indians should be able to see these countries with ease.

My years of solo travel has allowed me to understand how to cross countries on an Indian passport and the places we can travel to while not feeling burdened by the visa process. I wanted to share this information with other Indian travelers. So I aggregated my personal travel experiences and a lot of research into this guide to visa for Indians.

I promise you that by the end of this article, you will feel much more confident about traveling the world without much hassle.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s go.

Read More

27 Writing Tips for Novice Writers – Write Better

I was one of the novice writers (I still am) until three years ago when I quit my investment banking job to experiment if I could write for a living. While I was over thinking about the integrities of my invisible writing career, I decided to travel to Chile and teach English there. People say that a new environment and immersive travel experiences provide you the right motivation to write.

Andean landscapes took my oxygen away, Chilean children stared at me when I enunciated the English name of their beloved palta, my host mother fed me pyramids of bread and cheese, and Spanish dumbfounded me. But during this chaos, I managed to write every day.

In the past three years, I have written (almost) daily, published regularly on my blog and on Medium publications, earned a living by writing for freelance clients, have published poems out of which one has been accepted in a book, have contributed to big and small websites, have send stories and articles to magazines and newspapers, and have become a top writer on Quora and a top Travel Writer on Medium.

Has writing been easy?

Are you joking?

Read More

How to Visit Machu Picchu on Your Own [With 2019 Entrance Fees and Rules]

 

If you are looking for how to visit Machu Picchu on your own, then you have come to the right travel guide. As all you dear readers know that I hate the idea of arranging tours and booking trips and getting into a group, I will be honest that I didn’t even look at the options of going to Machu Picchu with a travel agency. I took a bus ride from Cusco to a town near Machu Picchu known as Hidroeléctrica and then walked and hiked the rest of the way —which is around 16 kilometers and more than 3000 stairs —to the top of the Incan royal city sitting at an altitude of 2,500 meters.

I wouldn’t have even taken the bus from Cusco to Hidroeléctrica if I had known that I could have walked there all the way from Ollantaytambo, a UNESCO world heritage site and a village near Cusco. But I know now, and you, too.


cusco+to+ollantaytambo+Hidroeléctrica+google+maps

 

If you are looking for the cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu on your own, then let us continue this guide for I have many things to talk about.

Read More

Things to Do Around Cusco, Peru – Your Reasons to Never Leave

Located high in the Andes, Cusco is one of the most culturally significant cities of Peru. Once the capital of the Inca empire, Cusco is surrounded by the Inca ruins (including Machu Picchu) which are scattered in the Andes circumscribing the city.

Cusco is a city which can be what you want it to be. Any traveler can find a myriad of things to do around Cusco Peru as per her or his own taste.

During the 20 days I was exploring Cusco, I was never bored. Sometimes I was hiking in the uninhabited mountain valleys near Cusco, at other days I was in the plaza drinking chicha morada and soaking in the sun, while some evenings I was admiring the rainbows behind the baroque cathedrals only to end up drinking at a fun bar, some mornings you could find me elbowing the locals in collectivos on the way to the sacred ruins, once I was chatting up with fun Dutch and Argentinians in a minibus that drove us to a town near Machu Picchu, and the rest of the times I was packing my bag to visit the Amazon or some hike that I fancied.

Read More

Puno and Lake Titicaca – Exploring the Coolest Places of Peru

While traveling in Peru when I was climbing up the Colca Canyon near Arequipa, a traveler friend from the US asked me where I wanted to go next. I had heard about Puno and Lake Titicaca from the hostel people so I blurted out, maybe Puno. She said that she had heard that there are not many things to do in Puno, and most travelers skip visiting Puno; she was going straight to Cusco.

When my friend said that most people don’t travel to Puno, I felt thrilled. Though I have been to both offbeat and touristy places on my trips, Peru is a country with some of the coolest and remotest places to see which I definitely wanted to explore. While feeling unprepared to visit Cusco and join the mass of tourists who crowd the city hoping to see Machu Picchu, I booked a bus ticket to Puno.

Puno and Lake Titicaca were two of the coolest and most cultural places in Peru. While Lake Titicaca is one of the largest and highest lakes in South America, Puno is a small city that thrives on its bank. Though both the places are situated in the high Andes at an altitude of 4000 meters, they are not short of life.

Read More

Backpack Peru – With My One-Stop Travel Guide

What would I say about Peru that hasn’t been said before?

I wouldn’t say that you have to be brave to backpack Peru, though that is what many aspiring tourists assume for the country still appear rural and rugged. But I would tell you that you have to be ready to experience some things that you have never seen before. The landscapes and the cultures that I will talk about in the guide will describe why I am preparing you to venture into the unknown open-heartedly.

 

Raw-rugged Andes peaks, turquoise glaciers hung atop, deep canyons thriving with life, thick rainforests spread throughout the country, an arid coast bordering the Pacific and the land, giant vultures flying above in the sky, hundreds and thousands of ethnicities and languages and beliefs, roasted guinea pig sold as a delicacy, soft alpacas made into curries, a myriad of colors in a single piece of cloth, mix of Catholicism and indigenous religion flourishing in households, a series of rulers only to be paved out by the Incas and then the Spanish, rich produce of bright fruits and vegetables, vast reserves of silver, zinc, gold, and more, a lake as giant as an ocean and as blue as a sky, penis temples next to courtyards, hundreds of years old ruins worshipped by the indigenous and visited by the world, simple people with taut skin trying to make ends meet — these are the things Peru reminds me of.

Though most of the travelers started visiting Peru when as per an internet poll held in 2007 Machu Picchu was voted as one of the seven wonders of the world, now visitors want to see the entire stunning Perú.  During the entire five weeks that I backpacked Peru, mostly the South, I was trying to comprehend the stupendous landscape that kept unrolling in front of me wherever I went in the country.

Read More

Copacabana, Bolivia– The Town on the Shores of Lake Titicaca

I traveled from Cusco to Bolivia in an overnight bus, and Copacabana was, first, just a rest stop before La Paz. While I slept in the bus on an almost full bed, I kept an eye open as travelers had told me that the buses in Bolivia are theft-prone. The bus didn’t stop anywhere, and nothing unpleasant happened. Our minivan crossed into Bolivia, and though the bus driver was reluctant to bring us to Copacabana, he left us in the town( thanks to some Chilean travelers who almost made the fraud driver cry.)

After getting down at Plaza Sucre, I strode straight towards the Casa del Sol homestay that my travel friend Alison had finalized for our few days stay in the lakeside village of Bolivia. That was my first time in Bolivia, and I didn’t know that the country would later surprise me with its indigenous culture, delicious salteñas, historical sites and relics, imposing mountains that never leave you alone, high cities, and the consumption of an insane amount of coca leaves to keep it all going.

Recommended Read: My Comprehensive Bolivia Travel Guide

I trudged up the cobbled lanes with my rucksack, passed by the main market, crossed the Basilica of the Virgin of Copacabana, turned to the left, and descended a very steep lane to find the homestay nestled in sunshine for the weather was pleasant at that time of the year(March). I had been used to the high altitude (almost 3900 meters above sea level) for I was coming from Cusco and also had been to the many islands on Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side.

Read More

Hold on Even After Your Hands Bleed – For That Is The Only Way to Succeed

You would encounter sharp rocks jutting out of every mountain you wish to climb. Let me show you through my perseverant journey as a budding writer, that why do you have to keep going on even if your hands bleed. Never give up. Fight for your dreams. That is the only way to succeed. 

You start. You are exhilarated. You shriek at the top of your voice from the roof of your confidence. You laugh from your stomach. You give long motivational speeches to your friend about how they need to start living. You wake up singing a tune about the morning sunshine. You look forward to Mondays because life has taken a route that you could only dream about.

People say you are inspiring. They applaud you. Your friends like and share everything you post. They read everything you write. Some of them even help you correct the grammar. You are glad as being corrected by friends is better than being ridiculed by your other readers.

You don’t worry about the money, yet, as the savings save you. Your family is appalled by your decision. But they don’t say anything this time. The last time they did, their words dug a deep valley between you two.

Your Mac is your new Nietzsche. All your philosophy seems to pour out of it.

Read More