Incredible India, India Travel, IndiaTravel, Rajasthan, Tourism, Travel

The Desert Lands of Bikaner

The depression has been killing me for the long time. It was more of a battle that I was fighting within myself, the heart brain conflict you can say, but more or less it was a conquest of evil over good and I was going through a lot of pain. Well for pain, it accumulates to my alcohol addiction, which I know is bad but gives me relief for the time being, and work schedule. The new job and the designation aspires me to do more but not getting much time for myself to explore and do more creative work is exactly very frustrating. It looks good in the starting phase but not for very long. I needed a break and that was all running at the back of my mind even when I was presenting some marketing pitch ideas. And I got one.

This time the focus was solely on discovering a city which I visited as a child and not since then, ever, until this time. Most of the time what happens is that I run after the mountains, the clouds, the greenery and the complete serenity but this time it was the barrenness if the desert that was calling me and hence I embarked on my journey to Bikaner in the state of Rajasthan, India. The city has a royal heritage and it is said that this is the very city which is the entry point of the Thar Desert. India as a country has diverse climate and regions and only one desert i.e. the Thar Desert.  I stay in New Delhi, because of the job that I do and the journey took some 7 hours by train to reach the Bikaner railway station. The journey was comfortable. Indian railways are impressive to many extents, the people and the landscape to everything. I interacted with some of the people who travel by that very train and sharing a cigarette with someone whom I never knew and I will never see, on a running train, was simply awesome.

Bikaner is one of the princely cities of Rajasthan. The city has its royal heritage dating back to the 1450s. It is said that Rao Bikaji is the founder of this city. Rao Bikaji was one of the five sons of Rao Jodhaji, who infact is the founder of the city of Jodhpur. When Bikaji arrived far and east leaving his father’s kingdom over a heated argument, he arrived in Bikaner and established the city and made it his kingdom. He built the ornate forts and other castles of the city, built primarily of red sandstone that withstood the passage of time. Today, the Indian government and the trustees of the forts spent lump sum amounts in their maintenance and also aid comes from the Indian government and the government of Rajasthan.

Rampuria Haveli


This fort holds the prestige of never been conquered and not even during the British rule. The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh during 1540s and has since then played a prominent part to contribute to the history of India. Bikaner as a princely state was always held of high grandeur until it got merged with the Indian union of states and territories post-independence during 1947 to 1948. The royal family of Bikaner used to live in this fort and rule the entire north western region of Rajasthan. The construction of the fort is believed to be so royal that in those times that marbles were specially imported from Rome to lay the foundation of the floors. Special Mughal craftsmen and architects were called to design the monuments and arches. This fort is stupendous in many extents and forget not, this fort has one of the two fighter planes that was used during World War I. The British gifted this to the then ruler of Bikaner for his loyal services. The rulers of Bikaner were believed to be loyal devotees of Karni Mata. Today it is commonly called the rat temple and lies some 45kms south of the city. Due to lack of time and unpleasant heat during day time, I could not manage to visit the temple but remains in my bucket list.


These are the places where the kings and queens were cremated. The royal cenotaphs are located some 8kms west of the city on the highway connecting Bikaner to the state capital Jaipur. The road to this place is extremely barren and arid landscape plus hot sands are a disaster, but worth relishing every now and then. Don’t forget to carry your polarized shades and plenty of drinking water if you want to visit these cenotaphs. Well history says that, it is simply a burial ground. But the architecture and the blend of Mughal and Persian plus Rajput arts make this place worth a visit. The cenotaphs are a shinigexample of Rajasthani arts and culture. It is also known as Devi Kund Sagar, which a lake that’s almost dried up. The cremation/burial ground is just adjacent to this lake. The floral patterns are seen throughout the place and during summer months, when you might be resting under one of the cenotaphs, sighting a peacock resting by your side is a common scenario. I missed the peacock though.

#KoteGate Market Place

Due to shortage of time and struggling finances, I had to call off the trip. Two important palaces I had to leave, primarily because those were closed on those two days and secondly I struggled with my expenditure. The market place around Kote Gate is highly vibrant and the most thriving one in Bikaner. It is believed to be one of the oldest market place of the city. From shops serving snacks and sweets to jewelry and clothing and garments, everything is available in those lanes surrounding the gate. This place is highly popular for the history buffs since the lanes are centuries old and the pillars of the old lanes have seen it all. Also for shopaholics, this, this, this is the place where you can spend heavily from buying some local food to souvenirs.


This is the most prominent Jain temple of the city and dates back centuries. It is believed that this temple has its existence prior to the formation of the present city. As I stated before that when the king fled the kingdom of Jodhpur to establish his own city in the far North West, he took shelter in this very temple as he and his army was thirsty and already many of his men died of hunger. It is believed that once a priest met a rich businessman of those times and he was told to keep a valuable object that the priest owned. But somehow the businessman lost it and when the priest demanded its return he was unable to give it to him and the priest said that to avenge the disappointment a temple must be built. Hence the merchant started construction of this temple. The entire depiction of arts, culture, sins and righteousness in Hinduism and Jainism is depicted in the walls of the temple. It is one place which just cannot be missed, especially those who love arts and wall paintings.

That’s much of it. This trip was mostly of a self-time-needed break for me. I wish I could have more time and sincerely wish that I could have spent less on buying good whiskey and rum. Being frugal is good but for unplanned trips when come to a sudden halt due to shortage of money, the reckoning comes that, what if had I been thrifty?

Bikaner is a place which can be covered in 3 to 4 days if the trip be taken on a luxurious scale. Else 2 days is maximum to cover the length and breadth of the city. It is a small city well connected by railways and roads to the rest of the country and is a military base for both the army and the air force. So, sighting army convoys and jeeps is a common sight. Yet, nothing to worry about, everything is okay for tourists. So do let me know if anyone is planning a trip to this city anytime soon, would be super happy to accompany you.

Incredible India, India Travel, Tourism, Travel

The Blue Mountains

Mountains have a different story to tell. They stand tall, firm, high up touching the clouds and also support livestock. People are also dependent on these mountains, at least the mountains in Northern States of Indi and Nepal protect the subcontinent from the dry winds of the Gobi Desert and traps the monsoon clouds. Well, Himalayas, the mighty Himalayas have helped us Indians in many ways and we pay our tribute to it by exploring the mountains. But there is one particular hill station that has an amazing charm to it. It was the summer retreat for the Britishers during the British Raj. Even today old buildings speak of the grand way the Britishers stayed there. The place is Mussoorie, some 500 kilometers from New Delhi and one of the many places where I would love to go countless times.

Mussoorie has a charm of its own. From dense thick forest cover to the clouds covering up the mighty Himalayas, the small hill town has appealed to me in countless ways. It is just a 7-hour drive from New Delhi and I have been there almost 5 to 6 times, but always with a gaze in my eyes and wondering to discover something new this time. If the weather conditions are perfect, Mussoorie is the ideal place for spotting the various mountain ranges and in turn giving it a blue hue. Whenever I feel an urge to go, this place pops up in my mind out of nowhere.

A silent walk by the Mall Road leads to the heart of the town. This part of the town is prone to good bistros and cafe. However it is very difficult to spot a good quality premium bar here, although most of the restaurants serve liquor. There is not many plces to view here, but circling Mussoorie one can plan a trip to countless places like Kanatal camping grounds, Dhanaulti, Chakhrota, Yamunotri, etc. to name a few. Some waterfalls are here and fetch large number of tourists. Increased tourism although has almost finished their natural beauty; all thanks to littering and plastics. The major one is Kempty Falls located 13km away from the city.

Kempty Falls, Mussoorie is a major tourist attraction.

But if one has a keen eye to observe nature, the blue hills can be spotted if traveled around the city. They are a pure delight and mesmerizes the human mind in many ways.


One just has to look for these. I somehow feel associated with this place and the mountains. Here’s a glimpse of the small town and the blue mountains. When I am depressed or when my travel bug kept biting, Mussoorie never failed to astonish me.


** Disclaimer: It is to be duly noted that I have not edited any one of the photos to give it a blue look and also didn’t shoot any of these photos in the Incandescent mode of my camera.


Incredible India, India Travel, IndiaTravel, Tourism, Tours&Travel, Travel

A Roadtrip Through the Heart of India

Madhya Pradesh, which is made up with two, words i.e. ‘Madhya’ which means Central and ‘Pradesh’ which means state. So Madhya Pradesh is located in the central part of India or you can say in the heart of India. Whenever the TV commercial for Madhya Pradesh Tourism used to get aired which said “Hindustan ka Dil dekho” which means in Hindi “See the heart of India”, made me curious to see and learn about this state.

India map displaying Madhya Pradesh which is the central part of the country. Image Credit :

I decided to go on a road trip through the heart of India. The route undertaken was Mumbai – Sanchi – Khajuraho – Orchha – Indore – Mumbai. A total trip of 2600 Kms in 6 Days. I left my home at early morning 6:00 AM so I can avoid traffic and can reach the highway by sunrise. One thing, which I prefer not to miss during my road trips are the sunrise. It’s always so mesmerizing to see the sun rise through the cloud and slowly the orange ball turns up int a huge ball as the clock ticks the right time, around 6-30AM in the morning.

My first stop was Bhopal, which was 772km away from Mumbai. It was a 17 hours’ drive from Mumbai. As it was 8:30 in the night when I reached Bhopal, I stayed in a small ‘dhaba’ or a motel. The stay along with the meal was charged just Rs.280. Sleeping under a sky on a highway with your luggage tied up on your motorcycle is totally a different feeling. As the morning sunrise hit me, I woke up to a fresh feeling and moved towards my next destination Khajuraho that was 332 kms away, but on the way i need to visit Sanchi Stupa also.

Sanchi Stupa situated near to Bhopal is just a 40 Kms drive. Sanchi is a Buddhist Complex, famous for its Great Stupas. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the Oldest Stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the great ruler King Asoka in 3rd Century BC. The original Construction of the stupa was overseen by Asoka. The Stupa has mostly Brahmi Inscription on it and mostly all of them talk about donations in small or big term. They all are of a great historical significance. It is to be remembered that it was King Asoka who solely is responsible for the spread of Buddhism from India to South East Asia.

Sanchi Stupa. Image credits :

After visiting Sanchi i went ahead towards my next destination Khajuraho. The distance of Khajuraho from Sanchi was approx. 350 Kms which I thought to get covered in 6-7 Hours. I reached the destination in the estimated time. I reached Khajuraho and decided to stay in a Hostel in Khajuraho. They charged me Rs.350 for a night, which was an air-conditioned dormitory. Someone truly said, “While you are on a journey, you will meet few people who will be a part of your travel story.” I meet three people from South Africa, Taiwan and China and we connected instantly. Therefore, we decided to watch the light and sound show which was an amazing experience followed by dinner in a nice restaurant.

The perception what people still have for India is still old and highly preconceived. They believe that in India they have Parda system still prevailing. They still believe that whenever we hear a song we start dancing on the street and many other things. As we talked and talked, I cleared their doubts with a few places to visit for their future trip to India. The next day i visited the temples, which I wanted to, visited from a long time ago. I was mesmerized by the architectural marvel of the temples. I think that I have never seen such magnificent and graceful temples ever. The architecture of the temples had Nagra style architectural symbolism. The main features of the temples are the erotic sculptures, which are on the walls of the temples. History states that at one point of time, the population was not increasing and the ruler felt that the dynasty and his kingdom can never flourish if such continued and hence decided to inscribe eroticism on the walls of the temples. Kamasutra theory and it is a world known fact that it originated from India.


Most of the temples in Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 BC. by the Chandela Dynasty. There were historical notes, which said that there were 85 temples by the 12th Century spread across 20 square kilometers, but now only 25 temples have survived. The Khajuraho group of temples were built together but were dedicated to two religion Hinduism and Jainism. The Khajuraho Temples represent one expression of many forms of art and are dedicated to Vishnu, which includes Vyalas, which are hybrid imaginary animals with Lion’s Body. Some 10% of these iconic sculptures and carvings are sexually themed and shows various sex positions. A common misconception is that the old carvings and structures depict sex between deities, However, the kama arts represents the diverse expression of different human beings. The vast majority of arts depict various aspects of everyday life.


After visiting and seeing Khajuraho I moved to my next destination, Orchha, which is 178 kilometers from Khajuraho. It’s Orchha where Lord Ram is still worshipped as a king and not as lord. The journey from Khajuraho to Orchha was a 4 hours’ drive. With no expectations in mind, I rode towards Orchha. I managed to find a guest room which charged me Rs.250 for a day.

Age old cenotaphs of Orchha. In view is the Betwa river.

Orchha is a historic town situated on the banks of the river Betwa. Bundel Rajput Chief Rudra Pratap Singh established it in 16th Century. The main attractions to see in Orchha are Raja Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, Ram Raja Mandir, Royal Chattirya and Chattarbhuj Mandir. The Mahals in the Main Orchha Fort has influences from Bundel style and Mughal style of architecture. As the great Mughal emperor Jahangir was close to Raja Rudra Pratap he built an entire palace for the stay of Jahangir as he was coming to Orchha for a visit. The ancient town of Orchha seems frozen in time, with its many monuments continuing to retain their original grandeur even to this day.

Jahangir Mahal of the great Orchha Fort

After Orchha it was time to return back to home so I decided to break the journey into two parts. First part Orchha – Indore and second Indore – Mumbai. As both the distance were almost equal. It took me 10 hours to reach to Indore from Orchha. Also while coming back, I crossed the Tropic of Cancer which was for me the best moment in this road trip. I reached Indore by 5:30 PM so in the evening I decided to go to the famous Sarafa Bazaar, which is famous for its street food. I was more excited for Sarafa Bazaar because it was covered in many food shows. After reaching Sarafa bazaar my mind was blown seeing the different varieties of unique street food. The taste of every item was unique and it was something, which I had never tried out before. It has a mix of all the flavors.

My companion and passion, Abira.

Now it was time to return home. Exhausted, drained yet replenished with a lot of experiences and meeting some amazing people on the entire course of the journey, it was a trip worth remembering. Traveling has always opened my eyes and mindset to brand new levels and it will continue to do so. It doesn’t matter where you go but what matters is how easily one can get used to the feeling that it is time to get lost and there’s no chain that can hold yourself back. Traveled through the heart of India and truly it’s incredible India.

Incredible India, India Travel, Tourism, Tours&Travel, Travel

Agra Fort – 11 Interesting Facts

Agra is a small city in northern India and situated at 225 kilometers from India’s capital city, New Delhi. The city is famous for the Taj Mahal, built by the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan when the love of his life i.e. his wife, Mumtaz died during childbirth. His love was so intense that he entirely made a mausoleum constructed over the grave of Mumtaz. Till date, the Taj Mahal or simply the Taj doesn’t fail to wonder the visitors and is a wonder of the world. A lot has been spoken about the Taj but what seems another important historical place, mostly remains in the shadows which is the Agra Fort. The Mughal dynasty ruled most of the vast plains of northern India from this very fort. It was in 1638 AD that the capital city of the empire was shifted to Delhi. The foundation stone of the empire started right from the Agra Fort which in its initial days was simply known as ‘Badalgarh’ which means the city of the clouds.


The entry gate to the fort also known as Amar Singh Gate.


Here are some interesting facts about the fort, which I recently visited with my parents and our guide was highly helpful in making us go through the history of the fort and its facts and figures.

  • The strategic location of the fort was of vital importance to every dynasty that decided to take control of Agra. It was Babur, who first captured the city and built the fort. After he lost his battle with Sher Shah Suri, the fort was taken over by the Suri dynasty who ruled till 1555 AD and finally was taken back by Akbar and he made it redesigned using red sandstone. So in a period reigning from 1526 to 1556, three dynasties took control of the fort.
  • Most part of the fort is made of red sandstone. It was Akbar who had a fantasy for red walls and architectures made of sandstone. He brought some 4000 plus premium sandstone from the quarries spread across northern India to build the fort as he wanted.
  • Upon entering the fort from the southern gate, visitors can see a 60-degree inclined walkway to move up to the main complex of the fort. However, it was made 60 degrees inclined so that during the siege the enemy elephants and horses can’t climb with great efficiency. Moreover, super heated oil used to be poured down so that the entrance gets jammed. This indicated brilliant usage of science and architecture of those times.


This is the area of 60 degree inclination. Hot oil used to get poured along the walls. The marks are easilly spotted in the picture.


  • Agra Fort was the symbol of power, strength, and resilience of those times. The fort runs parallel to the Yamuna river and the moat, till date, remains connected to the river. Mighty gates around the fort in its four directions, made it highly impregnable of those times.
  • The fort shows us a classic example of the lavish lifestyle of the Mughal kings. The Sheesh Mahal, made of Belgian glass, was of vital importance to the recreational activity of the Mughal kings. Although it is now closed for the visitors, but legends say that lighting a candle in one corner of the room would light up the room in numerous ways and the light rays criss-cross each other in a magnificent way, credits to the angular positioning of the glass.
  • Although it shows and is a classic example of Islamic architecture, but the fort has a separate section for Hindu temples and places where Hindu people would worship their gods. It was since Akbar’s wife, Jodha Bai, was a Hindu, so Akbar out of love and loyalty and faith in his kingdom had made Hindus equally accessible to the benefits of the fort. This certainly strikes a classic symbol of humanity, devoid of religion and its conflicts.


Hindu domed temple, much like the princely states of Rajasthan, inside the Agra Fort.


  • Today, much of the fort is covered in white marbles. It was Akbar’s son, Shah Jahan, who had an ever longing desire for palaces in pure white color, brought the white marbles from the various region in India and Iran and made the vital section of the fort reconstructed.
  • During the reign of Shah Jahan and Akbar, vital dignitaries from far-flung areas of the world used to visit the fort. A special section for such meetings of importance was made and it was called the Diwan-E-Khas. The fort was also the center of Islamic learning and literacy and was flocked by preachers and teachers from the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • The location of the fort is of such strategic importance that 80% of the fort, as of now, is under the control of the Indian Military and is closed to the public. So from this, we can clearly imagine on what basis the fort was built at that time.


The Taj Mahal, as seen from the Agra Fort


  • Agra Fort was plundered and looted by various dynasties once the Mughal power started to weaken. It was Shah Jahan’s famous peacock throne that had the world famous Koh-i-Noor diamond. It was Nadir Shah, a great Persian ruler who had an eye for the diamond. He attacked the fort and plundered and looted the throne and along goes the diamond from India to Persia and finally in the hands of the British.
  • Agra Fort is much devastated till date. The gold and ruby plated walls, gems embedded on them and all the luxurious and lavish Mughal decorations was dismantled and looted by the Britishers. Selling these items to traders the British started to gain money and supremacy over the region. Had those not been looted and plundered, the fort would have been a striking marvel, far more beautiful than the Taj Mahal.


All these walls were enalid with precious stones and gems. Some were even brought from the mines of the Middle East and Africa.


Located 3kms upstream from the Taj Mahal, the fort can be reached by rickshaws at a very nominal fare. It took us 40 rupees to reach to the fort and the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort can be covered in a single day. So we hired a cab and it costed somewhere around 5000 rupees for the entire trip. If anyone is in New Delhi and doesn’t make a trip to Agra then certainly the traveler is missing a vital piece of Indian architecture. Nothing is complete if the Taj Mahal is not visited. So here it is.


Maintenance work is going on, on one of the pillars.



Incredible India, India Travel, Tourism, Tours&Travel, Travel

I Don’t Love Delhi At All (Part 1)

Delhi commonly called as “Dil walo ka shahar hai ye” (the city for the people with a good heart and the romantics), is the capital of India. With an estimated population of 25 million people, New Delhi is the second most populous city in the world and the most populated in India. I moved to this city in 2012 and quickly adapted myself to the people, aura, and charisma of what New Delhi offers to its new inhabitants. But to be honest, I don’t love Delhi at all. I was born and brought up in Kolkata, another metropolitan city of India and the largest in the eastern part of the country is 1646km away from New Delhi. For the first time in my life, I ventured away from my hometown for my post-graduation and the only question that was running at the back of my mind was, where have I come? I just hate Delhi.

There is this highly prevalent English proverb i.e. Like Father Like Son. For me it’s somehow different, the thought process and looking at life, I am more of my mother. She is one woman who is always ready to explore and find love in discovering new avenues to monuments. She has that keen interest in seeing historical monuments that sometimes makes me stare at her with amazed eyes. History, rich architecture and New Delhi goes hand in hand, and hence her love for Delhi was never lost. Like mother like son, my mother sent me to Delhi for higher studies and I just don’t like this place.


After the horrific Nirbhaya rape case incident that sent a shockwave across the nation, the rest of India has presumed that people here are too much rowdy and have no mannerism at all. Girls’ safety in Delhi is a big concern and eve teasing is rampant, this is the notion that people have. Well, to be frank, after the rape incident happened, even I was thinking that where have I come? So one day I was stuck at Rajiv Chowk metro station. My debit card was not working at all and I was left cashless and to my sheer surprise, I had no balance in my prepaid SIM card. I had no other option than queuing in front of the ticket counter and ask the people for their cellphone so that I can at least call my banker dad and he can look into the matter. Out of nowhere, a young Punjabi guy just handed me 50rs and told me to stand in the queue. I never asked for money, but his subtle gesture spoke more than words can ever speak. Another thanks I will owe is to our honorable prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi. One sudden night I get to hear about banning of the currency notes. However, I cannot ban my passion for photography. So with a mere 250 bucks in my wallet, I ventured out to explore the lanes and by-lanes of Chandni Chowk. I didn’t realize when I ran out of cash that I had to keep walking and asking people for random directions to the nearest Metro Station. I reached out to a shopkeeper, a mid-age Muslim man, complexion was fairly fair and white beard, and asked him for the nearest metro station and the road to get there. Listening to my turmoil he again handed me a 100rs note and that too upon a lot of rejection requests that I had to accept it from him and the conversation ended with sweet words, “insaan hume banaya gaya hai insaaniyat dikhane ke liye” (we have been created a humans just for the sake of humanity) I can never forget the man and the help he did to me. See, I told you, the people who live in Delhi are very bad, they are rowdy, all sorts of miscreants and bad, terribly bad people live here, but hey, I have never faced such issues here. One thing is for sure, the people here know how to treat people. The people of Delhi never fail to amaze me. Thugs, people who pick pockets reside in every city. Then its bitter injustice for the Indian media to single out Delhi in every situation when an incident of rowdiness or rape is reported.


Delhi has been the pivotal point of India since ages. The sultans who tried to conquer India from time to time always had the priority to capture Delhi first, and then focus on the rest of the country. Delhi has seen change of thrones for generations. However, most of the time, Delhi and the surrounding region has stayed under Islamic rulers and their dominance. Five dynasties ruled over Delhi Sultanate sequentially, the first four of which were of Turkic origin: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90); the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320); the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414); the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51); and the Afghan Lodi dynasty (1451–1526). Much of Delhi’s architecture is a mix of every dynasty’s artisans. People from every dynasty contributed to shaping Delhi in a way that a blend of Indo-Persian to Indo-Afghan or Indi-Turkish architecture can be observed in the historical monuments of the city, most of which are in ruins, except the ones which have been recognized under UNESCO World Heritage Site program.



The picture shown above is the view of the great Safdarjung’s Tomb.


The above picture is of the Qutab Minar along with the tomb of a famous architect of that era.

From the stupendous beauty of Safdarjung’s tomb to the greatest and the tallest tower of that generation i.e. the Qutab Minar, rich heritage can be observed everywhere. The burial place of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor to rule India and undoubtedly Delhi, is today known as Humayun’s Tomb. It is managed by the Archeological Survey of India and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built in 1572, by Bega Begum, the first wife of Humayun and the manufacturing cost was stumbling 1.5 million rupees of that time. It’s a site of wonders.


Humayun’s tomb is rich in its design and architectural wonders.

In the second part of the story, I will continue stating why I don’t love Delhi at all where different sorts of foods have killed my taste buds totally. Feeling excited? Stay tuned for more!

Incredible India, Tourism, Travel

Lakshadweep – The Place of Dreams

The Evolution of the Name

People generally refer to Lakshadweep as a hundred thousand islands, hence implying the name as Laksha i.e. One lakh and dweep meaning Island in Hindi. Hence justifying the name for a hundred thousand islands or Lakshadweep. However history doesn’t suggest that. During the spice trade Kerala was at epitome of all the trade purposes. Traders from all around the Arabic nations used to gather at Cochin port of Kerala as it was considered as the hub of all spice trading before Vasco Da Gama made his epic voyage to India. These islands are only 220 miles away from Cochin and falls directly on the spice trade route by sea. So these Arabic people discovered these islands on their way and used it as a halting place from where they used to again start their journey towards the mainland. They named it as Lakshya meaning direction in Urdu and Hindi and Dweep meaning island in the same language. However as per their concern these islands were those which fall in their direction of the trade. During the time when the British ruled India the authority of these islands were given to the East India Company by the then rulers of Kerala. The British people named it as Laccadive. This name implied to these islands for a long years until in later 1960s the Indian government after its complete takeover of these islands named it as Lakshadweep and is the smallest union territory of India. Irony is the present population of India still considers these as a collection of hundred thousand islands while in fact there are 36 islands out of which only 10 are inhabited.


My journey for Lakshadweep began in 7th January 2015 when I boarded my flight to Kochi from New Delhi. Being a vivid lover of the mountains, the sudden plan of visiting the beaches was one which gave an adrenaline rush since I have always anticipated changes. It was only for a short stint that I managed my leave from my office and decided to get set and go. This perhaps was my quest for redemption, an act of re-energising me and an act of emotional attachment because of I’ll be seeing my parents after a long time. Deep inside I was preparing myself because I might become sea sick, after all I have to stay during the course in the ship only. Cigarettes, yes releases the pressure in nerves, had a pack or two and yes I was ready. Evening 7-30PM I was in Kochi and the next day will be something different. Ship will depart from Ernakulam Wharf in the early morning.

Kalpeni Island :- Embarkation process from the ship started pretty early which I did not expect.  Local fishermen’s’ boats ferried us to the island. Whoa! First impression of the island was pretty bad. I felt like I came to a place of massive colonisation. I saw small huts, broken boats lying along the shore and big boulders guarding the shoreline from the mighty waves. I was a bit awestruck in the beginning until I reached the other side. When I landed on the north side of the island I had to pinch myself to believe that its not a dream but reality. It seemed someone has painted the entire canvas, green tall coconut trees, shallow seas, and clear blue skies. Felt like I have visited the paradise on earth. In the distance there were small fishing boats and I managed to see the fishermen throwing the nets for their catch onto the shallow seas. I felt like there’s one giant blue canvas right in front of me. Blue and the various shades of blue. The Kalpeni Island has exuberant beauty. The roads are cemented and are narrow. The roads carve their way along the shore, the sea on one side and thick coconut cover on the other. This was the road I took while traveling to Zwaid from Koomel beach. Snorkeling is a vital attraction which is available in Zwaid, the southern part of Kalpeni island and on the north lies Koomel beach. Best part is lying down in wooden chairs placed along the koomel shore. Warm and cold winds blow throughout the day giving delight. Mother Nature is so closely observed here, from rich marine life to the breaking of waves along the coconut tree lined white sandy shore. Kalpeni people are rich in their culture and traditions. They have a separate language called Jasiri although these days spoken in major parts of the island group. Jasiri is a mix of Arabic, Malayalam, Hindi and Mahl. I came across a folk dance performance by the local men of the island. The song and their energy filled dance performance was so charismatic that I had to record it for viewing it later which I did and I don’t know how many times. Best drink available is coconut water and various other drinks made from coconut which is nothing but a pure delicacy. The dark waters of Arabian Sea and the jaded blue waters of the surrounding shallow seas are brilliantly spotted all along the Kalpeni island shoreline. Kalpeni is nearest to the Kerala coast or better the Malabar Coast. No mobile networks are available; hence getting lost is the feeling which can be easily derived from the experience.

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Kavaratti Island :- Kavaratti is the commercial capital of Lakshadwep. It is recognized as the capital city of all the 36 islands. The people of this island have a life of their own. They have their cars, buses for transport and even the roads are metalled and are pretty wide. So it can be considered as the largest of all the islands when it comes to area only to be followed by Agatti Island which has the airport of Lakshadweep. I did not have the permit to go to Agatti hence could not make out to that island although I wished to. Kavaratti is no more less than Kalpeni. The shallow seas are so wide that the ship had to anchor some 2km away from the island in the deep seas. Even the shallow seas are high in its tides and waves. It took almost 40minutes for us to be ferried to the island from the ship. The sea and the lagoons seemed bluer here. It seemed that the sky had cast its reflection right onto the sea. As I said it is the commercial capital, business has flourished far and wide in this island, from tanneries to mills and many others. Even they have a separate coconut production unit of their own. Snorkelling, Knee Boat rides, speed boat rides and kayaking is major water sports available. The most thrilling of all is the glass boat ride. The boat has a glass bottom and as it moves across the coral reefs the rich marine life is quite easily spotted. From schools of tuna to pilot fish, sardines, tortoise and many other species that do thrive in these reefs was unknown to me, thanks to that glass boat that made me realize the existence of the vast marine life surrounding Kavaratti. If you are a good swimmer then Kavaratti awaits your arrival.

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Minicoy :- This island was the last on the bucket list. I waited for long time to visit this island. I have read much about it in my school geography classes that the island is extremely rich in marine life and lagoons surround the island. That was some 15 years back. I was perhaps in my 7th or 8th grade that time. Now was my turn to see it in my own eyes as it is said ‘seeing is believing’. Minicoy stunned me completely as my first reaction was where the hell I am. Is this somewhere in India? I was so damn awestruck by its beauty. The first visit to the Minicoy lighthouse established by the British was so thrilling. I had to climb some 230 odd stairs to reach to the top to have a complete 360 degree view of the island and its shores. To my surprise the green foliage and the blue seas variety seemed much widespread here. The shore to my left had black water while the one to the right was a lagoon and plenty of lagoons to that side. Had my turn of doing scuba diving here for the first time. I had myself registered to their 1 hour of lectures on vital instructions and felt extremely enthusiastic to try it for the first time. Amazing it was. As the captain of the ship said that if someone has to try scuba diving Minicoy should be the island to try. He wasn’t bluffing I realised. Many other tourists tried it in the other islands but I felt pity for them as they missed the real beauty. The scuba diving experience was amazing. Prior to the dive with all those masks and a loaded oxygen cylinder, I felt like I am living my life to the fullest. As I stood in the shallow sea and listening to the vital instructions from the trainer it was a gigantic nervous excitement explosion which I could sense. Finally it was the time as I explored the magnificent sea bed with all the eels and other fishes that came close to me and I made some soft touches to their fins, and quickly they moved away. Once in a lifetime opportunity I must say and I entirely stumbled upon it and enjoyed my time to the fullest. Keeping the Scuba diving thing apart, I enjoyed some local made coconut drinks and tea of course. They made a fillet of some rice preparation with stuffed sweetened coconut inside which was a dish I have had never before. All in all Minicoy gave me plenty of memories to be remembered.

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As I entered my cabin in the ship for one last time I felt bad. I was just leaving paradise for the sake of my job, which sucks but pays me good but has no meaning at all. But got a reality check of career and making life. These islanders they also do have a life but of lesser expectations. Hence they are in peace. No violent acts or no squander of things, speaking my heart out literally I found some peace there in Lakshadweep which will remain in my fond memory for a long, long time.

Major Source of Income for the islanders

These islands are well known for the enormous amount of coconut production throughout the year. As it is known that coastal areas of India are all filled with coconut trees. Main production of these islands is only coconut and is the cash crop. The people has the advantage of utilising the large shallow seas which is filled with a rich marine life i.e. crabs and fishes. Fishing is the major source of income of these islanders and exporting coconut items and various other coconut by-products like oil, ropes, powdered coconut, etc. Alongside these two they have the privilege to work in government offices setup in the island, however on my visit found only a public works department office, a police station and only a telecom customer service office. Since Lakshwadeep falls under the Govt. Of Kerala so the islanders have the opportunity to work for the government in the mainland. However in the last decade various renowned universities of Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi (old Cochin) has established a particular quota for these islanders where they go for educational purposes so that they can establish themselves well in near future. Survey suggests that some have started basic business of their own in the island only.

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