Clock is ticking fast and soon we would bid adieu to year 2015. The time is apt to reflect and celebrate the year & feel awesome and (also nostalgic) for the accomplishments of Year 2015 which was an incredible year for me both as a traveler and as a travel blogger. I got my first FAM trip with Chhattisgarh Tourism Board to explore My Chhattisgarh followed by two epic road trip one to Trans-Himalayan Region of Spiti Valley and another to the central of the India i.e. Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. If 2014 was the year of evolution for me, 2015 helped in consolidating my thought process and finding my true self in Traveling and Writing. Click here to read about my highlights of 2014.
It’s, truly, been a pretty amazing year filled with many highlights and memorable moments. I explored the unexpected in the lost and ancients towns of Central India – Sirpur and Barsur, got bowled by the surprises offered by the Chhattisgarh State, found the love of life in the natural water-beauties of Chandratal Lake, Chitrakote, Tirathgarh and Dhuandhar Water Fall, completed the holy grail of road tripping to Spiti Valley exploring High-Himalayan locations such as Kalpa, Nako, Kaza, Komik, Langza, felt closer to self at the Buddhist Monasteries of Tabo, Dhankar and Kee, and visited important Hindu shrines of Danteshwari & Mahamaya in Chhattisgarh, Hidimba Temple in Himachal and Pitambara Peeth in Madhya Pradesh.
As a traveler, road tripper, amateur photographer and blogger this was a fulfilling and rewarding experience. So, here come the top 10 highlights from my traveling in 2015.
1. Shimla to Kaza: Driving On The Most Dangerous Road Of The World!
Road tripping is my way of traveling, and since two years I have been taking up many challenging roads and have enjoyed it to the fullest. But this time, when I was planning The Road Trip to Spiti, I knew it would be different ball game as we would be driving on one of the most dangerous road which passes thru many notorious water streams such as Malling & Pangi Nullah and for miles and mile there would be no road.
So on ground, along the Satluj and Spiti River in High Himalayan region from Shimla to Kaza, during intense driving expedition on NH22 – the most dangerous road of the world, we were on different zone of thrill. For a road tripper in me, this was adrenaline pumping and thrillingly exciting as we managed this in our Hatchback. Click here to read more on my self drive road trip to Spiti valley.
2. Tribals of Chhattisgarh: Simplicity At Best!
Chhattisgarh State in central India is home to more than 40 indigenous tribes still sustaining with their ages old traditions & customs giving Chhattisgarh a unique identity and making it a real tribal planet on earth.
Meeting and spending a day with tribal people of Chhattisgarh was the highlight of Chhattisgarh Trip. We visited the local weekly market which is called Haat Bazaar to witness the everyday life of these tribals. Their humbled and centuries old ways of living exposed us to ancient cultures and history.
3. Chitrakote Water Fall: Niagara Of India!
During the FAM trip to Land of Surprises Chhattisgarh in central India, Chitrakote Water Fall stumped me with its roaring beauty. This is the broadest water fall of India and also famous as the Niagara of India due to its Horse-Shoe shaped structure.
With some awesome fellow bloggers, time spent next to water fall up to 11:30PM was the real incredible India moment for me when the voluminous roar of the fall intrigued my soul to the core.
4. Barsur: A Mystic Town From Central India!
During the trip to Chhattisgarh each day was full of surprise and visiting Barsur, the ancient town of 150 temples and 150 ponds was like seeing the unseen. Ancient and unique places of worship built by Tantra Centric Naga Clan of rulers were too good to be true. With its tales and folklores, it can easily be termed as the Mystic Town of India.
5. Surang Tila at Sirpur, Chhattisgarh: An Unexplored Structure!
This stupefying & soaring structure in the Lost Town of Sirpur was beautifully and magnificently grand. Earthquake hit stairs give it the uniqueness and tell the sturdy tale of this ancient grand structure which puts it at par with grand Bhojpur Temple in Central India & Konark temple on East Coast. Click here to read more about The Surprises of Chhattisgarh.
6. Kunzum Top: Holy Land For A Road Tripper!
Kunzum Pass or Kunzum La at 4950 mt ASL is a high mountain pass in Himachal Pradesh, India connecting Kullu and Lahaul Valley with Spiti Valley. It’s a perfect destination for road trip aficionados as after passing many ordeals you get the chance to feel the pristine beauty on either side of this alluringly scenic High Himalayan Pass.
Breathing the chillingly fresh air at 4590 meter in high Himalaya was most rewarding experience for the road tripper in me. Click here to read more on my trip to Kunzum Top.
7. Drive upto Chandratal: Scared for once!
Chandratal which literally means moon shaped lake (Chandra means moon & tal means lake in Hindi) is situated at a height of 4270 meters and 8 KMs away from the Kunzum Pass in Spiti & Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh.
From Kunzum top to Chandratal, the drive was the scariest one with heavily bouldered road but ended with a dreamy reward of reaching the fairyland of Chandratal Lake. A night spent under starry night at minus 6 degree near the lake was most thrilling experience of life. Click here to read more on my soul elevating experience of Chandratal.
8. Rohtang Top: True Joy of An Ultimate Accomplishment!
This photo is our trophy that we earned after completing the Spiti Circuit in our hatchback. The day when we self drove on no-road from Chandratal to Rohtang, we had to pass many ordeal like Pangi Nallah & many such water streams on mountain road. It was the most intense driving of my life with goosebumps raising thrill on each turn, testing my driving skill & mental toughness. So, reaching the familiar Rohtang was joyful and rewarding.
9. Bhedaghat: Land of Marble Rocks & A Smoky Waterfall!
Bhedaghat is an important tourist attraction of Madhya Pradesh where River Narmada takes a plunge to create smoky Dhauandhar Fall and then meanders through White Marble Rocks giving it a sobriquet of Grand Canyon of India. These rocks, on both side of the Narmada, stretch for 5 KM and present a majestic view to eyes.
Sailing amidst marble rocks in River Narmada was most colorfully vibrant experience as these rocks reveal mélange of hue and shades of colors changing with each degree shift of Sun in the sky. We sailed during Sunset Hours and golden hour display by Sun on these marblesrefreshed our senses with so many colorful impressions.
10. Walking on pebbled Spiti River: Lived the Cult!
During epic road trip to Spiti Valley, we drove miles and miles along Spiti River and in the changing landscape this river was the only constant. This river, flowing through rugged Trans- Himalayan landscapes, gives a touch of life to the otherwise barren land of Spiti Valley.
Near Dhankar, we went up to River Spiti and touched it’s chillingly cold water. While walking along the blue water of the pebbled Spiti, I felt as If I had become one with the nature. For travelers like us, this river has a cult image and thus we collected some pebbles from river bed as our souvenir from Spiti.
So, this was the summarized story of my candid travel in 2015 where i summarized top 10 amazing highlights. I am sure that these highlights will inspire the traveller in you.
At last, i would take this opportunity to say thanks to all of you beautiful people for enriching my life with ever flowing inspiration. I say thanks to every stranger i met during my road trips for guiding me and helping me. And, this all couldn’t have been possible without one person the companion of my life, my wife. I salute her for puttinng up me and bearing my madness even when there was no road, less oxygen, sub zero temperature and no sign of life for miles and miles.
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