2013 in travel: 12 cities, a handful of villages, 11 states & numerous stories

2013 was a year with a late start. we moved into a new house and with all the work that had us stuck in mumbai, we traveled only in the second half of the year. we went to 13 cities and a handful of villages (counting spiti as one city, though we went to five different villages there). i saw a lot, ate a lot, walked a lot and gathered a lot… of stories, experiences and faces… while they have all not yet found a place on this blog, they will very soon.

the first trip was to goa in june. we hired a car, drove more than 600 kms within the state, didn’t step onto one beach, didn’t go for one party and still had a blast. it was one of my most favourite trips to the land of the blue skies and never-ending sand. it resulted in some of my most popular posts. read about that trip here.

the coconut trees trees bend with the wind

towards the end of june we rushed to purushwadi, near nasik. this was to see the fireflies descend into the entire valley and result in a sparkling jugalbandi that went from tree to tree. read about it here. we were a little late, so learnt from our mistakes – read about that here.

goatherd at purushwadi

july was dedicated to jaipur
this was a trip for work… it was great fun as it was the first time i was visiting a city as a working tourist. (yeah, whatever does that mean, you say!) writing tours for audiocompass means that i get to travel to different cities, be the tourist and come back and write the tour for other tourists! it is more exhausting than it sounds; but definitely a lot of fun.

i’ve been to jaipur many times before, but my favourite experience this time was mubarak mahal… even though i had seen it before, the intricately carved marble, the pillars and the entire palace sitting their snugly on a raised podium captured my heart. it might be one of my most favourite monuments. read more about this trip on the audiocompass blog…

8 at city palace

august was a mom and mom trip (husband’s and mine) to kasargod, kerala and mangalore. mangalore was interesting given the historic sense about that city. we went to sultan batheri that overlook the river and imagined we were tipu sultan’s army standing guard. it was a great trip to a simple town – read about that here. later in kasargod, we visited bekal fort and stayed in a lovely homestay (we were the first guests ever!). more about those stories coming soon! 

september i went to goa again. 3 days on work and 2 nights on personal travel. saw a lot of old goa, studied it with marked attention and came back richer. walked around fontainhas, the latin quarter of panjim.

september was a packed month as i took off to varanasi on work. the ganga never ceases to amaze me – especially swollen like the stomach of a pregnant woman just after the monsoons.

in october, we escaped to the mountains and disappeared into the spiti valley. we experienced remoteness, emptiness and this arid landscape. i missed green so much. manali was just for a night, a pit-stop in our long journey.

after spiti, we went on to shimla. and seeing shimla after 20 years was great… it made me feel grown up just to say that right now! but there is still a charm in shimla.

we continued to amritsar and got sick on jalebis. we had 10 jalebis each one night. they were so good!

we ended up in delhi for a couple of nights. and went to hauz khas for the first time. all you delhites don’t raise those eyebrows. it was interesting, though a little too ‘done-up’. maybe i’ve missed the most beautiful period of its journey. we did go to the monuments at the end of haus khaz. those were lovely!

so much to write about this trip but not been able to. it’s coming up soon. watch this space.

at hauz khas

november was a quiet month, but december we made up by heading to chennai and ooty to meet family and then ending the year at a lovely organic farm in madikeri, coorg.

there is a huge backlog of posts. a lot of stories to tell. if i had to choose the trip of the year? it might just be way it ended – an organic plantation. 2013 done, i am even more hungry for what 2014 has in store… new faces, intriguing places and captivating stories.

i begin by heading off to the jaipur literature festival tomorrow – what a better note than rajasthan and a literature festival!

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