MINDFUL TRAVEL

My mind continuously travels and has an unimaginable speed of peeking into my past and quickly diving into my unknown realm of future, weaving my coveted dreams only to be distracted with a sudden sound and bang, I am in present. Yet, it continues my voluntary journey.

The moment I am back in the present, I consciously start planning my next visit, as most of the times, to lesser-known undisturbed territories that are full of nature’s magnificence. After the humdrum of city life soaking into the purity with no social abiding law gives a sense of liberty. A moment to be truly me appreciating God’s gifts.

It is there I get a sense of real belonging. My senses merge with nature’s five elements in complete union. The burbling of stream, the gentle swishing of leaves, the tall and short trees, the natural light, sitting under the various shades of the sky on a rock takes me into complete bliss. The walk encountered with few people in the same spirit ignites the rejuvenating spark.

 In continuity and tirelessly, I am never bored with the flora and fauna; the wildlife, landscapes, scenery and the countryside; each location has ample to offer and teach. My yearning is the same. I come back as a humble and grounded person.

Neelam Jayneel is a life coach and a counsellor with a vast experience in hospitality, human resources, FMCG sector and writing. She loves to help people achieve their goals and to pave a way forward for humanity. she has the joy of spiritual awakening through regular meditation that has provided a sense of inner calm and looks forward to impact as many people’s life both professionally and personally.

MY ENCOUNTER WITH THE BIG CAT

RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK

I clambered in the vehicle with pure elation. Light pink and purple hue swayed across the sky as our safari gypsy speeds up to 90 kilometers an hour in the next ten seconds. I seized the seat handle slipping from my grasp and bearing the wind hitting me to the bone, I momentarily forgot it was April, the gateway month to the great Indian summer.

Swaddled in a blanket, over a roller-coaster road hemmed by lush green fields, opening into widely spaced trees in a few miles and small craggy peaks formed the recurring backdrop, only if you could open eyes to see.

Buffeted by strong winds that made a walloping sound forced us to shut our eyes. Soon, we yelled to hear each other and from time to time our blankets loosen open until we fought it back into place. We started the process and slowly the enthusiasm faded as the jeep nudged over uneven roads. Lost in the moment, I gripped onto hot tea flasks and turned a blind eye to how cold I felt.

Listening to the wailing wind and murmur of branches we bent behind a mountain and continued on a wooded trail until the car stopped for a short haul and we saw before us the forest gate inked ‘Ranthambore Tiger Reserve’.

A gentle wind caresses our face, “ oh, the monster has passed” said our travel companion, an Australian who had flown 7,000 miles out in the Indian wilderness to spot a tiger with his wife.

I collect myself, letting my body relax and my husband getting ready veiling under the dusk mask.

My eyes popped out seeing the bazooka, NIKKOR 200–500mm f/5.6E ED VR that my Australian friend unfastened from his camera backpack.

It’s 7 in the morning and I felt a perfect stillness in the forest, a sort that you get nowhere else, but in the woods after a snowfall or in a desert after a devastating sandstorm.

We barely caught sight of the tiger limping hurriedly into the deep bushes, everything from back and in five seconds. Albeit we missed the encounter. The spot bombarded with stories from other guides of the epic duel between two tigers over territorial supremacy.

The forest trails would follow fortress gates and many historic ruins reminding you of the hunting grounds of Rajput royals of India.

Our driver Ravi started bending sideways while controlling the steering. Struck by the same impulse, we peered over the side of the vehicle to see a remarkably big pug mark next to three tiny pug marks in the dry road.

We laboured a few miles up a mountain. I can never forget passing through a narrow trail bordering right by a deep drop and on left spiky twigs sprouting out from the ridge. We scooted under the tunnel of bushes fearing of mishap and imagining a tiger can easily cloak under the golden foliage.

No trees fell nor felines, all that fell on us was the lung filling smell of chlorophyll while pushing through low branches. We reached the spot; a rectangular stretch of rocky upland bounded by an escarpment in the front and a forest in the back. Those iconic oranges and black stripes mysteriously move from the thickets.
We were way behind, there were dozens of more jeeps before us who got lucky securing vantage points. Even our cameras failed to capture the tigress and her cubs. We all held our breath and waited.

Gauging the scenario, holding the camera tight telling oneself that the tigress was out there, most likely eyeballing everybody from the bush. Adventure is not over. After an hour, we finally made peace with reality, it was not our day.

In dampened spirits, we returned for the gates. I stood for a second catching my breath to see something come into sight. My eyes widen as the thing comes closer. Our driver announced ‘ tiger, tiger sitting here’.
My eyes open wide, I couldn’t believe it! It’s a tiger, a huge sized seating on an eye-level ridge distanced by 70 meters from us. The bazooka suddenly turned nonfunctional at such a close distance.
He throws his legs over the rock base and moves his body gracefully forward. He gave me time to adjust my lens and I saw a jaw stretching move through the viewfinder. All those moves of a tiger we grew up seeing in National Geographic.

The heart-thudding stare of the tiger couldn’t make me move, next to me the water hole was the true mirror. There was no one except us. It felt magical, indescribable and within I felt ‘This moment is mine’.
Only I followed his gaze to find a procession of jeeps standing behind us. The tiger gets up soundlessly and bounds ahead gallantly into the forest.

On our way back, Ravi overstated the entire event by saying “ he could smell the tiger”. Though I couldn’t agree to his concocted stories. It truly took a while for my heart to return to its usual pace but even much longer for the grin to fade off. I thanked my lucky stars for granting me the moment and my best tiger click. They say you stand a better chance of spotting a tiger if you’re in a gypsy against a canter, near the lake, in the morning against an evening safari or during the summers when animals come near watering holes.

These are some of the telltales of our Indian jungles, but I say, you see it only if you’re destined to see it.

Satarupa Mitra Datta is a travel writer and has worked extensively in television channels (both in fiction and non-fiction genre). She has been instrumental in writing compelling scripts for travel shows in India. She aims for travel writing that communicates a strong sense of place, character and discovery. She designs her own trips and itineraries relying on local guides and community non-profits as well as individuals who conduct heritage walks or gifted chefs taking on a food tour, giving travelers the opportunity to engage in cultural exchange.

Instagram Handle

https://www.instagram.com/satarupamitradatta/

Six Reasons why you should Travel to the Mountains

We should feel blessed that it has become easy today to access the beauty of the mountains, an overnight journey from Delhi and you are amidst the big mountains grasping the fresh cool air into your lungs and witnessing the vistas of incredible nature.

We want to highlight six reasons why you should travel to the Mountains:

  • Good for Physical Health: Travelling to the mountains and indulging in activities such as; nature walks, hiking and trekking can boost your overall health. The high altitude of mountains causes the heart and lungs to work more than the usual routine which builds up your cardiovascular strength and thus spikes up your endurance levels. Plenty of sunlight enriched with Vitamin D is essential for the body to function effectively which you receive in abundance in the mountains. Also, indulging in outdoor activities gives a true reflection of your physical well being which you sometimes don’t realize in the busy city life and this realization gives a message that taking care of your body is paramount to live a better life.
  • Good for Mental Health: According to research, spending time in wilderness and nature benefits mental well being. It detoxifies the mind by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain known as dopamine and serotonin which are responsible for reducing stress and anxiety and ultimately creates happiness. Nature not only heals your body and mind but also purifies the soul. So, whenever you want to relax in peace amidst nature, get disconnected from the hustle-bustle of city life, keep in mind that mountains are the best places to do so.
  • Activities in mountains: From off-road biking, mountain biking, paragliding, trekking at high altitudes, climbing on rocks, river rafting, skiing on snowy slopes, mountains never score low on filling you with adventure and thrill. If you are not an adventure junkie, mountains have other exciting offers for you; camping in forests, chilling beside a river or a lake or sitting on a cliff and admiring the breathtaking view of the valley, meditating in a rock cave to taking a cold shower in a waterfall or relaxing in hot water springs, there are countless things you can do in the mountains which give a memorable experience.
  • Nature at its best: The true beauty of nature can be witnessed in the mountains which harbours a wealth of flora and fauna. Lush Green Forests, gushing rivers and waterfalls, magnificent Lakes, stunning meadows and exquisite glaciers glorify the beauty of the mountains. The dynamic weather conditions make it more dramatic; you never know when a clear sky will be enveloped by quaintly shaped clouds and after a while, the valley would be filled with rain or snow and even a rainbow. The mountains make us realize that we are very small in comparison to nature, we will eventually leave the earth, but the mountains will stay forever.
  • Bonding and Knowledge: A trip to the mountains with friends holds a special place in the journey of friendship. Mountains help us bond and know each other well and leaving behind joyful memories that stay in the heart forever. Along the way, we get a chance to meet new people and make new friends. We also receive valuable knowledge by watching the lives of mountain people and their traditions, culture, language, way of living and surviving which helps in expanding our mind and intellect.
  • Budget-Friendly: A trip to the mountains would rarely dig a hole in your pocket. Are you thinking of a holiday in the mountains but worrying about the money? Then let me inform you that taking a holiday in the mountains is quite cheap compared to a beach vacation? With plenty of options for budget hotels, hostels, home stays and budget travel companies that exist today, you can plan a mountain trip at a nominal cost. 

So after when we get our freedom back, use it wisely, use it for going to the mountains.

ROBIN RAO

3 BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MOUNTAIN LOVERS


For all the mountain lovers, just like us, there is some relief despite the grave situation we are facing. We know it is not easy to let the adventurous bug be suppressed. The trekking season usually starts in May and ends in October. A period of five months full of exploration, camping, hiking, trekking, discovering new trails, Off -roading and making new friends has gone down the drain.

But we have got you covered with three gripping books written on the Himalayas covering the entire region, if we can’t travel temporarily, we can read about the adventures and plan for later what we have missed, so check it out.

A Bond with The Mountains by Ruskin Bond

The famous mountain man Ruskin Bond wrote this book back in the ‘90s and the book was first published in 1998. Simple, innocent and childlike, the story will probably make you fall in love with the mountains like a child’s unstoppable enthusiasm. Things like wayside stations, children waving at the train and the people in it, the exotic plants in the hills, birds, leopards, deodar trees, rhododendron plants and fireflies. A must – read in times like these when we are frustrated with overthinking about the economy, career and profundity, not realizing that; it’s the simple things usually that are most profound.

The Land of Moonlit Snows & Other Real Travel Stories from The Indian Himalaya by Gaurav Punj

If you are someone who has hiked and trekked a number of times and are ready to take the next step, this book is for you. The book covers real stories of Gaurav Punj, his wife and a few of like minded friends journey to upper Himalayas – Leh, Ladakh, Spiti, Kalpa, Sangla, Jolinkong, Kugti and Sikkim. The simple life of people in the mountains, their hospitality, culture and festivals, tips and information, raw adventure, and good humour. Gaurav has written an authentic and interesting travelogue covering his adventures that will help us all adventurers, so you can’t afford to miss it.

Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood

Levison Wood, ex British Army and now a full-time explorer, writer and photographer walked the most dangerous and rugged terrains of the Himalayas. From Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan, meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala – the Central Tibetan Administration headquarters. Meeting nomadic tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan border and reminiscing hitchhiking times in Nepal at the time of political conflict. Most of the journey is done on foot because as Levison Wood says – travelling on foot is the only way to really explore the back country and villages hidden from the main trails and roads and there is a unique bond that unites walkers everywhere.

We hope these books bring you joy and make you dream about the mountains more often. You have a book to recommend and join The Inner Outdoors community?  Email us at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com with “TIO” in the subject line.

Jayant Jayneel

HE/SHE TRAVELS WINNER

Why do I travel? It makes me free and digs deep within. It eventually and constantly lets me know; nature is always around us no matter whatever you do and wherever you go. Travelling gives me chills and makes me feel alive. Travelling is not just about reaching a particular destination, it’s about the journey you take where you get an opportunity to feel and see new experiences.
While travelling, we take so much with us, our bodies longing for relaxation to a broken heart and so much more. We try to live every moment to overcome all our fears and sadness, and when the journey is over, we come out as better and evolved human beings.
I heard someone say ‘This world is a beautiful place, and we have very little time to see and experience it all’. So, pack up your bags and travel, but live your travels and choose to take the positives along with you.
It is all about the mindset.

Rohan Kataria

Instagram Handle

https://www.instagram.com/rohaan_kataria/

Pin Parvati Pass – A Must Do for Experienced Trekkers

What can I say about Pin Parvati pass? It is a dream. One of the best treks I have ever done in my life. Pin Parvati offers everything a trekking enthusiast expects from the mountains. This trek is magical and ideal for adventure lovers, as it fills you with thrill and a high dose of adrenaline. The Trek starts from the Green Parvati Valley in Kullu district and ends in deserted Spiti valley. Let me be very clear. Pin Parvati Pass trek is not for beginners because of the difficulty level. It falls in the challenging category.

It is challenging because of the following reasons:

  1. It is a 7 days’ trek with high intensity and a distance of almost 100 km. That means on an average, one needs to trek for 4-6 hours each day which is not easy at high altitude. A person should possess good physical fitness to complete this trek
  2. There is no communication and help if something goes wrong in between the trek. For example –  falling sick, mountain sickness or any major injury. There is a good amount of altitude gain every day on this trek, with maximum altitude being 17,500 feet at Pin Parvati Glacier
  3. There is no mobile network connectivity for around 8 days, no civilization and help, so one needs to take extra precaution
  4. This trek offers walking on different kind of terrains, which becomes treacherous. Walking on steep, narrow trails, ridges, stones, glaciers, crossing multiple streams and rivers

If you are an experienced trekker you needn’t worry about these difficulties and can handle most of it. But trust me, this trek is worth all the mental and physical effort that a trekker faces during this journey as each day is filled with new beautiful places which you would have rarely seen. I was fascinated by the beauty of mountains and nature which you encounter during this trek. The campsites are so beautiful you will want to make it your home.

Why should you do the PIN PARVATI PASS trek?

  • If you have prior trekking experience and want to take it to the next level, then Pin Parvati is the trek that can add a lot of weight to your ‘Trekking Resume’. The trek starts with gradual ascent and Parvati river flowing on the side. The trail comprises of crossing forests, walking on steep paths continuously, snow, slippery ice, moraines for hours at high altitude and hot sun which is really exhausting but worth all the effort because of spectacular views.
  • If you are in love with the beauty and thrill of high altitudes. This trek starts from an altitude of around 7500 feet and with each passing day there is a gradual altitude gain and reaches maximum of 17,450 feet at Pin Parvati Pass.

As you go higher, the landscape and terrain changes with the altitude. From lush green Parvati Valley to crossing a vast glacier and ultimately landing up in deserted rough terrains of Spiti Valley, the thrill never stops.

  • You want to Camp every day in a Different Terrain and Setting.

Conclusion:

Pin Parvati Pass trek is a versatile trek. Each day you will get a chance to camp in an entirely different setting.

On the First day you camp at Kheerganga, a place famous for hot water springs.

Second day the campsite is at – Tunda Bhuj with green lands on one side and huge waterfalls falling from humongous mountains on the other side.

On the third day you enter the Valley of Flowers and camp in the middle of a place called Thakur Kuan.

On the fourth day, you reach a place called Odi Thatch which is usually described as the Big Garden. It is nearly as big as a football ground, no exaggeration. All the sides are surrounded by snowcapped mountains.

The tents are pitched in this big meadow with a breathtaking night sky and the milky way galaxy.

On the fifth day you will reach a beautiful lake called ‘Mantalai Lake’. This is one of the major attractions of this Trek. This Lake is the source of Parvati river and considered to be a holy place. A paradise where you can sit beside the lake and enjoy its beauty.

On the sixth day, you start trekking towards the glacier and around 5-6 hours of trekking you camp for the night just at the base of the Pin Parvati Glacier.

On the Seventh Day you cross the vast Pin Parvati Glacier, Ice walls and magnificent views of snow-covered mountains and peaks of the Himalayas and finally after some time you are at the top of Pin Parvati Pass.

Reaching at the top is quite satisfying and a feeling of accomplishment. The views from the top are truly remarkable and you cannot stop appreciating the art of God who has created this beautiful nature.

After crossing the glacier, you enter the Pin National Park of Spiti Valley and after crossing a couple of water streams you will reach the final camp.


Robin Rao is a passionate mountaineer and a fitness enthusiast. He started rock climbing at an early age and then started mountain trekking and climbing avidly in the Himalayas.. His passion for outdoors made him discover another passion in his life i.e Fitness.
Staying Fit has become his priority now and he truly enjoys his passion by indulging regularly in Fitness activities like cross fit, functional training, cycling and running. He is also associated with Decathlon Sports India as a Brand Ambassador.

Instagram Handle

https://www.instagram.com/cliffclimber_/

MUSSOORIE! WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Do you remember your first trip? what is it that influenced you to travel? was it a place? A specific experience? Or just various people you met in your travels? Do tell us, we are curious. Read our Head Of Copy Jayant Uppal’s story on his love with the world of Travel began.

Jayant Jayneel

1990, Mussoorie, somewhere near Kempty Falls. It was my birthday and my parents took me on my first trip. With a heavy heart, I have to say that my parents are not together anymore, as much I desire togetherness and a strong familial bond, some things are inevitable and they are not meant to be. But then, on the other hand, some things are certainly meant to be and so deep-rooted that no matter how many ever times you go off track, they will lead you on the trajectory you’re meant to tread on. My first trip has made me into the traveller I am. The way I look at the mountains, the way I talk to them, the way I’m so comfortable in their presence, the endless conversations I can have with people while I’m travelling is all because of this trip. Maybe my parents trained me, maybe…

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SHE TRAVELS

She is out of the bus and inhaled as much mountain air she could. She fretted the dirt from her lungs of the city’s polluted air. The chores and tea break is over and everyone is going back to board the bus, the driver started the bus and she put herself back to sleep patiently waiting for her destination. The patience is worth all the inevitable pain and trouble that the bus travelling entails; back ache, nausea and dizziness. It is inexplicable how she longs for the mountains, but if put to a very simple theory, it is as equivalent to how a young woman feels and desires to wait for the right man and her first kiss. Maybe that is how she is feeling.  To her every onset and eventuality in the journey of life is nothing, but a step further towards it. As if the whole life is a mountain and the current moment is the peak. As if all our lives are waves of thoughtless storm and the present moment is the shore. Everything that has happened and everyone and everything she becomes is one step closer towards – This Calling!
As if all the paths she has ever walked upon, were to reach the peak of this moment.

HE TRAVELS


He packed his bag pack with a few basics, windcheater, hiking poles, some other trekking essentials and booked a one-way ticket after a lot of struggle with the availability, but struggle, for him is always ephemeral as he has mastered the art of overcoming every obstacle with dedication and endurance. He managed to book a ticket for the last bus of the day.
He wants to escape, escape to explore diversified things. From meeting honeymooners, attending wild parties, indulging in adventure sports seeking peace and serenity. He has a special affinity for the mountains. His previous trips being transformational. He thinks the hills soak the person in its extraordinary magnificence. But he has higher intentions. His sole purpose is to brush up his mind in the lap of Himalayan mountains and start afresh. To him, peace, perspective, and wisdom are best derived from the mountains, and they generously impart it to the surrendered beings who seek to live life to the fullest.
He thinks the mountains stand mighty and majestic despite all weathers, making a person drawn innocently towards their mystical aura that exudes compelling purity and sanctity, enveloping the earth entirely in its inextricable fold.

HAPPY HOLI 2020

We hope this Holi onward, everyone will tune into the colors of adventure. When the weather is pleasant with balmy breeze, the mountains and the river on either side are your personal trainers pushing you to go forward and explore more amidst the lush greenery. You get mesmerized with such amazing scenic beauty: water, mountains and greenery all together. There is no one but just you on the street with birds above flying and guiding you on the path and you finally stop to take a good view and inhale fresh air. This is the best way to enjoy colours, colours of adventure. This is the way we want you to celebrate Holi every year. So, are you game?

We are organizing some mystical adventure trips next month, on the sweet occasion of Good Friday. So feel free to contact us at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com