Explore the Unexplored is written for ‘The Perfect Road Trip’ contest by Ambipur air freshner and Indiblogger.in
I love to roam around different places, meeting people scattered across the diverse geographical regions. I have been an avid traveler who loves visiting new places and learn about new cultures. I have visited many places across India, eaten multiple cuisines, and explored the new horizons. A wanderer, a vagabond am I! IT lives are measured in releases or quarters. Likewise, there are 4 quarters in a year.
We get an adequate amount of ‘offs’ after the end of each quarter. So, I would love to tell you how the idea of trips and travel culture originated in our group. We are enthusiasts and zealous like-minded people whose dictum in life is to enjoy and cherish life to the fullest. Albeit tensions and struggles in life, one sometimes needs to stop fretting about releases and projects.
So we decided that we would refresh ourselves post quarter by visiting new places. This gave rise to our group of Stebu, Gubbi, and Shambu visiting and exploring many new places like Ooty, Shimla, Gangtok, Kolkata, and Aleppo, and so on.
One should lose themselves, far away from where people reside, in a world where you saunter around in sheer solitude with likeminded people. Gubbi and Shambu are my trusted confidantes. I have never hesitated to knock their door for help. Gubbi is our trip planner and Shambu – our lover boy and me the shutterbug. This trip culture in our group is infectious as others got inspired by us and started their own adventure club.
A few of our last trips have provoked us to visit new places in a quick turnaround time. So that was how we visited Goa soon after visiting Mahabaleshwar within a gap of 2 weeks. Our plans are not fixed nor are they the results of intense brainstorming in identifying new places. We close our eyes and what comes in front of our eyes is our next travel destination. Visit places where you have never been before, roam streets like you are visiting it for the last time.
Shop for items and collect souvenirs from all the places where you go, click pictures and keep them as a memento. This time the task of identifying and planning the trip was given to me.I had to make it perfect, well- planned and at the same time exciting! Being a perfectionist and a true lover of Mother Nature I have been deciding and planning things from a week now. And today was the day when I would share my plan with my buddies. I am confident that it’s going to be an impeccable and enthralling road trip!
“The task of making a trip perfect or imperfect is in our hands. That’s not rocket science! All that matters is Zilch! You don’t require a PhD or any certification to do make a trip perfect”.
I had been saying these motivating words to myself all this while. I am lucky that I have an amazing group of friends. Coders and Analysts by profession and wanderers by passion, we belong to that race of people who want to enjoy every bit that life has to give us. My job in selecting a destination was a bit difficult. Our base in Mumbai – the city of dreams.
So I wanted to select a place which we would be visiting for the first time (like it would be for the last time). I would need to take care of the fun quotient and other parameters while I work on my plan .As I search my destination, I would also need to focus on the historical and geographical importance of that location so that we could enjoy the trip, making it perfect! Finally, after some research, the place that came in front of my eyes was- LADAKH…say LAAAADAAAAAAKHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Yes! Ladakh is a beautiful tourist spot located on the banks of the Indus River in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir. What makes Ladakh special is its scenic beauty at any season of the year. I am sure my comrades would agree with me. You might be wondering Mumbai & Ladakh are two poles distant apart. Who cares? A group of travel enthusiasts doesn’t need to fret about the distance when it comes to travel.
They are the most trivial thing for us. The longer the distance more would be the fun while traveling. We don’t require a flight for we don’t wish to get lost between the clouds. We don’t wish to board a train to Jammu Tavi for I don’t wish to ignore most of the scenic beauty of the beautiful places that we encounter during our journey. We would prefer a road trip to Ladakh.
A road trip is the best when it comes to admiring and enjoying every single bit of a place. When one road leads to another around the serene nature, it’s most likely that traveling becomes more beautiful than the destination. And this precisely was my purpose, my desire!
Mumbai and Ladakh are mere 2000 km apart. But in between these two places rests different other places of great importance. Our trip would be en route Delhi and it shouldn’t take more than 60 hours to reach Ladakh even if we halt in between. Gubbi’s Mahindra Scorpio would suffice especially considering its effectiveness when it comes to long journeys.
It has a good ground clearance of 180 mm which is good when it comes to adventure trips and a fuel tank capacity of 80 liters should be more than enough. We could utilize the back section to store our stuff. Since we are only 3, we would have a large amount of free space. On our way to Ladakh, we could play some really good music so that we 3 don’t get bored. Can’t wait to kick start from Mumbai to Ladakh en route Ahmadabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Panipat, Chandigarh, Manali, Keylong, and many more – known and unknown places in between. It would start from Mumbai via the NH8 highway.
Aforementioned, we believe in the concept of getting lost. Once you get lost, you get to explore things by yourself. You get to meet new people and follow them minutely to find out the place and learn about it. We would be treading north westwards to reach our destination. I named it LA-DEKH (instead of Ladakh). The rear section of the SUV would be hosting the tent which would be required on reaching our destination.
We plan to explore Gujarat too by traveling through Surat, Baroda till we reach Ahmadabad via NH8. It would require around 550 km to reach Ahmadabad. On way, we can acknowledge our hunger by visiting the Lemon restaurant which is around 0.25 km from Ahmadabad. I would capture the sceneries and most amazing places on my Nikon DSLR. Souvenirs are a must for they are such tangible memories and of course the cam memory card would not be left with any space.
After traveling 550km, we must have witnessed most of Gujarat. Now, from Ahmadabad, we would move on to reach Jaipur en-route Udaipur and Ajmer. We would take food and snack breaks at restaurants and hotels identified during research and analysis. We would require around 10 hours to cover the 670 km to reach Jaipur.
We could reach it by taking the NH8 and NH79 route. My camera would capture the beauty of Rajasthan and Punjab as we move on. We would stay in Delhi for someday to refresh ourselves. We would resume our trip from Delhi to reach Chandigarh and then Manali. We could halt at different ‘dhabas’ and eat different North Indian foods. There is a famous shop called ‘Bhatt Ji ka Bhutta’ in Punjab where we could enjoy tasty corn at a reasonable price.
And the Himalayan adventure journey would kick start from here. Needless to say, the best is reserved for the last. The divine sight of the snow-clad Himalayas which hosts Ladakh, the hugging clouds, the whites and waters, the lush greens each step towards the destination would make us love it more.
By then we would have covered North-Western India to reach the Little Tibet. They say the best time to visit Ladakh is from June to September. The roads would be rocky and rough. The best thing would be to carry spare parts of vehicles so that we don’t face any difficulties in our trip. I usually love to strike a conversation with people around me. That is the most amazing way to know the world.
We would love to meet monks in Ladakh and visit different places of importance. Hemis Gonpa is the biggest and the important monastery in Ladakh and we would love to get a glimpse of it. The mesmerizing landscapes and the picturesque view of the snow-clad mountains can soothe anyone’s eyes. And after capturing all those moments and memories it would be time to return back. Later on, we could camp at the Nubra valley.
It would be a complete delight to sip the infamous black tea in the highest cafeteria of the world. The ‘Highest Cafeteria of the World’ is 18,380 ft. above sea level. We would travel along the banks of the Indus River and then drive till the Pangong Lake whose one-third part is in India and rest in China. We could sit on our care and enjoy the pleasing sight of the Pangong. It would be celestial to see something so beautiful where the waters of the lake change to seven different colors within every 15 to 20 seconds. Driving through the rocky roads would be thrilling and an amazing experience.
|(Stand by the riverside, admire its beauty and scream how much you love it!)
The return path would be the same. But not actually. If we still have ample time left then we could return via Ludhiana, Delhi, Mathura, Agra, Gwalior, Indore, Dhulia, Nasik, Mumbai route. That would be a hell lot of new places to visit. Overall it would be fun and of course, visiting a place and getting lost in the sight of the magnificent landscapes, snow-clad mountains, lakes would be a trip to remember.
So a trip where we get to explore new places, meet new people, learn and witness new cultures and admire the beauty wherever our Scorpio takes us would be a perfect trip. So such a trip would be a perfect road trip for me. At the end of the day, all that matters is what you made out of it. It was a trip to get rid of a frustrating IT life which would help us to rejuvenate and refresh ourselves to boost us for the next release. Many people have different views when it comes to describing a trip as a perfect road trip. For me, I would talk about the satisfaction, entertainment, and enjoyment factor when it comes to rating a trip as perfect.
Such kind of trip would be a perfect trip where you have nothing to lose but only special memories to cherish – of visiting new places, meeting new people and exploring the scenic beauty of northwest India. Driving through the unknown memorable roads and exploring the unexplored roads would be a perfect road trip for me. So it’s time to explore the unexplored, make it a perfect trip.
The same day, I discussed the plans with my friends and they were happy about it too. I gulped the glass of cold water as I explained my idea to my dear road Romeos. Gubbi got up and said, “but you forgot a thing.’” I looked at him with questioning eyes. “Remember the sick smell in the car last time?” he said. He took a sip of the red wine and said, “I can’t let that spoil my trip this time.” I smiled and said, “Ambipur air fresher hai naa! Don’t you worry about the good ambiance in and out!” Shambu gestured me a thumbs up and nodded in agreement.