Sunday, July 7, 2013

Travelogues and Travel-blogs

"Travel brings power and love back into your life" - Rumi
And travelogues instigate and lure some to Plan, Pack and Plunge into yet another adventurous travel while they offer glimpses of the world out there for the ones who don’t want to forego the  comfortable confines of their homes.

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple - Published in 2009, this book brings out the essence of 25 years of long and far travels that the author undertook in India - a mystic land for many. The unique nine lives chronicled in this book betoken the diverse belief systems that are prevalent in some parts of the country ranging from Rajasthan to Calcutta and from Bihar to Kerala. These are the stories of faith, conviction and reliance in response to their individual  spiritual calling.

Along the Ganges by Ilija Trojanow - Here the author recounts the journey of river Ganga from its inception in pristine snowcapped peaks of Himalayas till its maturity when it rushes to meet the ocean. From vivacity of youth in the mountains, poise of a young woman in plains to a veteran near the mouth of the ocean, the author witnessed all. Ganga is much more than a river for millions of believers and the author is mesmerised how amidst extremes of archaic traditions and miraculous modernity Ganga zigzags her way for hundreds of miles.

Hot Tea Across India by Rishad Saam Mehta - A travel enthusiast and writer Rishad Mehta follows the trail of that single beverage - TEA, which brings security of known in unknown and a bit of solace amidst commotion. He narrates his experience of traversing length and breadth of India from Leh to Munnar and from Rann of Kutch to Khajuraho. In his words, "If there is one certainty about roads in India, it is that - no matter where you are or what the hour is - if you want a cup of team you'll find a chai ki dukaan within a few kilometres."

One Life to Ride by Ajit Harsinghani - A travel diary of sorts, Ajit's motorcycling adventure through the mountain range of Himalayas is a wonderful write up on his experiences through various villages, across meandering rivers and through sloping steep mountains. The narrative is simplistic yet it beautifully brings out the signature earthiness of the mountainous terrain.

Into The Wild is a story of a recluse who renounced everything including his name (Christopher McCandless) to reinvent himself as Alexander Supertramp.  Wearing the armor of solitude, the vagabond found solace in being akin to nature in the wilderness of Alaska. The author Jon KraKauer tries to retrace the path taken by Chris in an attempt to unravel the mystery and intrigue that wilderness creates in some and the temptations of an unknown world which some find hard to resist.

Bill Bryson is one of the most acclaimed names in the field of travel writings. Whether it is - an adventure trek on Appalachian
Trail (Walk in the Woods),his report on a country which doubles up as a continent (In a Sunburned Country), retracing a youthful European backpacking trip from Scandinavia to Istanbul (Neither Here Nor There) or his report on his adopted country Britain - the land of Shakespeare (Notes from Small Island), Bill Bryson packs right proportion of information, facts, humour, wit and his hallmark panache in his writings.

A Short Walk in the HinduKush by Jack Kerouac was originally typed (in 1951) as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper which were later taped as 120 foot scroll and eventually was published in a book form. It now enjoys the status of being one of the most distinguished and compelling artifacts of American history written post World War II. It is highly regarded as a bible of road trips.

China Road by Rob Gifford - National Highway 312, length 4,967 km(3086 miles), from Shanghai to Khorgas, runs across the complete breadth of China from east to west. Rob Gifford journeyed route 312 for six weeks, passed through the old Silk Road which runs through the Gobi desert to Central Asia to Persia and to Europe.  He met competitive entrepreneurs, rural people, frustrated and angry citizens and witnessed depleting morality, weakening cultural values, modernity and excitement galore. China Road brilliantly brings out the heterogeneity of modern China as it marches forward to become the next global superpower.

Paul Therouxs Great Railway Bazaar is a wonderful accompaniment for those solitary train travels. Resplendent with detailed observations of people and surroundings, Great Railway Bazar captures the essence of train travels. The route begins from Victoria Station, London to Asia and through Trans-Siberian express. You never know, you might just see some interesting character portrayed so comically in the book pop out in front of you.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

While travelogues books have enjoyed a sincere fan following ever since, travel blogs have managed to create their own niche readership too. Well chronicled and updated blogs have a clear edge over the rest of the resources in a very significant aspect that the information is almost live on them.  Blogs are the individual creative spaces and the creators get the liberty of recording and showcasing  their jaunts to various places in the ways it catches their fancy. Food, lodging, transport, shopping, sightseeing, events, treks, hiking, sports, activities and much more, you name it and you are almost sure to find a blog where you'd be able to find relevant and updated information about any place on the same.

Homestay or regular hotel stay, lazing over a hammock or shopping for souvenirs on a crowded street, local food or same comfort food, nature appreciation or meeting new people, sitting by a gurgling river in solitude or enjoying the daring rides in a fun park, bird-watching or book reading, meeting locals or solitary confinement - whatever may be your preference you are sure to find someone like you who must have blogged about the best option to (not)engage in exactly the same activity.

In fact blogging is a boon for many in a sense that those who earlier used to capture the beauty of various places that they travel to in their eyes or in the shutterbugs now have an option to share it with the world and their ardent followers are not complaining either. They are the ones who stand to benefit from these travelers' records.
Sankara's - Be On the Road
Lakshmi's - Backpakker
ItchyFeet's -Traveholic
Poorna and Brinda's - Journey2Remember
Mridula's - TravelTalesFromIndia
Ekta and Puru's - MyYatraDiary
Arun Bhat's - PaintedStork
Anuradha Goyal's - AnuradhaGoyal
Bhushavali's - TravelBhushavali
Anita Bora's - AnitaBoraBlog
Anil's - WindySkies
Anil Yadav's - ClimberExplorer
Kiran's - AceGuide

are just a few from a long list of extremely interesting and worth following Indian travel blogs. The descriptions of their travels are fascinating and the photographs that accompany almost lyrical descriptions of a place are breathtaking. These blogs are true celebration of the wandering and vagabond spirits and we wish their tribe grows with each passing day and year. 

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