Corbett Calling

The forest was surprisingly quiet early in the morning, devoid of even the melodious chorus of birdsong that usually reverberates in the air. Dozens of chital (spotted deer) were grazing in companionable silence, looking up with a start at the sound of our jeep and then getting back to the business of breakfast. Grey langurs…

Smell the coffee in Coorg

When you think it is time to stop and smell the coffee, then you know it is time to head to Coorg. Officially known as Kodagu, Coorg lies in the heart of coffee country, indeed in the area where coffee is believed to have first come to India in the 17th century, hidden inside the…

Alphorn lessons in the Swiss Alps

Within moments of taking the alphorn into my hands – with the naïve idea of learning to play it – I understand why this instrument is jokingly referred to as the original Swiss mobile phone. The pure notes that come out of this instrument were indeed perfectly suited for locals to communicate with each other…

A perfect weekend in Ooty and Coonoor

Just a two-hour drive from Coimbatore lies the Nilgiris, also known as the Blue Mountains. Its heart is the hill station of Ooty – an anglicised abbreviation of Udhagamandalam – which is a bustling small city. In contrast, the nearby district of Coonoor offers beautiful heritage buildings and verdant surrounds. Sample both worlds with this…

Wind beneath my wings

The takeoff itself wasn’t particularly tough; it was the decision to board that took courage. This happened on a recent whistle-stop tour of Kumaon’s “lake district,” with Bhimtal as my base. Stopping on the hill roads one evening to stretch my legs, I was drawn to the bustle of people milling around a large parachute…

Faces from the trek

Some interesting people I met on the trek… Ram Mohan, our guide’s assistant warms his hands while making tea at Kacheru Beeru sips chai at his shop Dipender with his Aamir Khan smile Taking home fodder for the cattle The shepherd… and his sheep Naughty Sahil with his mother Heavy burden on young shoulders

Adventures of an intrepid trekker 2

Continued from here And so Manjhi. Just before the campsite is Beeru’s tea shop – now Manjhi is not an inhabited village, a few people from Agoda, 11 km away come there during “season” (meaning the summer months which sees some pedestrian traffic in the area) to graze their cattle and sell tea and snacks…

Adventures of an intrepid trekker 1

That’s me, folks. Intrepid I was, because I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. A gentle trek, he said, the guy organizing the trek. For beginners, he assured us. A mere walk. And so on. You get the drift. Ten minutes into the trek and I could not hear anything, even…