Our favorite Indian destinations

posted in: Asia, Cities, Culture, Heritage, India, Nature | 34

Last week, when I posted an article on my favorite place in Rajasthan, I realised that it really was one of my favorite but not the absolute one. I questioned myself – “if there was an absolute favorite that I would have picked in India – which one would it be?

With so much of variety in India – the nature, the heritage and history, it is quite difficult to pick that one place. It was a tough question and while I pondered, I put up the same question to a few fellow bloggers. It is interesting how similar the our reactions were –
“What? One favorite place?”
“Tough to pick one favorite, I have loads”
“I am not sure as I have lots of favorites… let me think and give you one favorite.
Eventually, as I insisted on picking one, here is what each one of us picked. Starting with Abhinav Singh of Abhinav’s Soul Window .
“I was born in Varanasi, but I was still an infant when we left it. I had zilch memory of the pious city, regarded as one the oldest and continually habituated city. Until my 27th birthday. I decided to discover and reconnect with my birthplace alone on my birthday. Luckily for me my birthday fell on Dev Deepawali. It’s a festival unique to Varanasi. All the river facing ghats are lit with thousands of mud diyas, the air infused with the scent of incense sticks, and delicate fragrance of marigold and rose petals. It was the day for Maha Aarti. The stage was set and performers hypnotized all with their well synchronized moves rhyming with conch shell sounds and bells. It was a surreal moment. A moment I could not have experienced anywhere but in Varanasi. It filled me with a positive spiritual energy. 5 years have passed and that moment has stayed. No wonder Varanasi is my favorite city. I feel blessed to be born in a city so culturally rich and ancient.”
Next, I checked with Mridula Dwivedi of Travel tales from India on her one favorite place in India.
Mridula or if I may say “Dr. Mridula” is an ex-professor, who quit her job this year to travel and travel blog. She says she does miss the salary but not the work. Her pick in India is Spiti and this is what she says about it –
“My favorite region in India is Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. It is the surreal landscapes that spell magic for me. I have been there thrice but I have still explored very little. It is a difficult to reach region. There is no civilian airport so road is the only way to go. There is more mud, water and stone than tar on the road. I have visited Kaza, Dhankar, Langza, Tabo, Komik, and a few other villages in the area. Homestay is an option in all the villages. And then there is Chandratal, the beautiful high altitude lake where tents are the only accommodation.  It is a must see region for any mountain lover.”
Dhankar-Village-Spiti.JPG
Interestingly, the next blogger on my list had the same choice – Spiti as her favorite destination.
Richa Gupta of Travel and Stories is yet another travel blogger who quit her corporate job to take it a little slower in life. Her passion for travel has taken her to various destinations where she feels that every part of the travel has given her a new perspective to life. Here is what she replied when I asked her to pick that one destination that was her favorite in India –
“It’s a herculean task to pick a favourite place in a country so vibrant and rich like India. To make my job a tad easier, I would make a pick from places I visited in 2015.
A week in Spiti Valley was one of my best experiences this year. I visited Spiti just after monsoons at the cusp of high and low season and it turned out just the way I wanted it. Low on tourists and high on pristine beauty. The monsoons had settled the dust and all one could see was endless deep blue sky, indomitable Trans-Himalayan range and clouds being moody every now and then. Initial 3 days were spent in trips to nearby villages and monasteries. But, soon after that I decided to settle-in with a book and lots of ginger-lemon-honey tea in Kaza. I spent the rest of week doing nothing but reading, walking and looking at those mountains!” 
Coming to my fourth blogger – the elusive Arti of My Yatra Diary . 
Arti is a 20 something blogger who is found traveling along with her best friend – her father. She claims that she has inherited a travel gene and that is what keeps her going. She took a while to decide her favorite destination 🙂 and well, this is she came back to me with –
Rishikesh...
River%2BGanga%2Bin%2BRishikesh.JPG
This is a town where countless yogis and sages of yore have performed penance and meditation in search of a higher purpose and meaning in life. This is a town where the tranquil banks of the Ganga have provided a solitary soundboard since times immemorial for many a bereaved souls to open their hearts and bandage any wounds. Today, the town… with the calmly flowing River Ganga, the shadows of the mighty Himalayas and ancient stories of legends and lore, is a major spiritual cauldron… where a multitude of faiths and beliefs simmer to open a new doorway to life and living and to experience a sense of peace like never before.” 
Last but not the least on my list was Millie of Millie goes. Carmille – Millie for short, is a backpacker who has traversed 5 of the 7 continents and continues her journey across the world. She has been to India and amongst all the places she has been to, she picks Pushkar as her favorite destination in India.  Check out what she says about it –
IMG_1524.JPG
“India is a place that not only borrowed me for a few weeks but has also stolen my heart! They say you either love it or hate it, and man did I love it! One of my favorite destinations was Pushkar, a town on the edge of the Thar desert. Home to the world famous Puskhar Camel Fair, it’s hard to find reasons not to love it here when the festivities start! From camel racing to tug of war with the locals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. It’s also a pilgrimage site due to the town being the only place in India with a Brahma temple. Legend says it’s because of a curse laid of the Hindu god by his wife! I can promise you though, this is one place in you in Rajasthan you don’t want to miss out.”
With that, it just leaves me to answer the question that I have posed to everyone – “Which is that one favorite place in India? ” For me, it is Hampi and I suppose this is why I feel that way about Hampi.
It is one place that is so un-discovered, under-rated and rich. Every nook and corner of this lovely town is filled with mystery, secrets and aura. As I went exploring here, I realised how talented and smart our ancestors were – given the amazing architecture that they had and the science that went into building things. 
Vittala Temple, Hampi

Take for instance – the exquisite sculptures of Vittala temple. This was not just a beautiful monument but was thoughtfully designed such that the pillars of the Vittala temple functioned as musical instruments for the Royal entertainment.  Each aspect of Hampi filled me with wonder and no matter how many days I am there, I always leave with this feeling that I have not seen it fully and which is probably why this destination keeps calling out to me again and again.
Well, that is it from us – bloggers. Would love to know from you – which is that one destination that is your favorite in India and why? Comment in below and let us know. 🙂
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