• Sinnadorai's bungalow Mangorange Pandalur
    Tamil Nadu

    A colonial stay in the Nilgiris – Sinnadorai’s bungalow, Mangorange

    It is the end of April. Although intermittent rains bring some respite from the summer heat in Bangalore, the heart longs for the solitude and bliss of the hills. Especially the Nilgiris, for I haven’t been there in 4 years. Thus, when the chance of spending a weekend in the lower reaches of the Nilgiris presents itself, I do not waste a moment. This bungalow, approaching it’s 100th birthday, is the oldest of the Murugappa group’s lovingly restored colonial heritage stays. It dates back to a time when tea first came to these hills, and in it’s heydays, housed the deputy manager of the estate. Bangalore to Sinnadorai’s bungalow, Mangorange We start…

  • Karnataka,  Travel Bag

    A road trip following the Kaveri

    The Kaveri (or Cauvery) has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. For peasants and the gentry, it is a source of life and livelihood, for pilgrims it is as sacred as the Ganges and for politicians, it is a pivot that might decide the fate of the next election. For tourists and travelers though, the river can be a source of great inspiration. For it is born in a spring adjoining a temple, been a witness to kingdoms and civilizations of great importance through the ages, it’s waters irrigate the great rice bowl lands of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A gently flowing river, I have often wondered…

  • Reflections at Pangong Tso
    Best of the Travel Bag Tales,  Ladakh,  Travel Bag

    Why a visit to Ladakh is incomplete without the Pangong Tso

    On the Pangong Tso .. Though the country is so barren, the lake has its beauties in the varied tints of surrounding hills and mountains, and the rich deep blue of its waters, becoming quite of an emerald green colour as they shallow near the shore.* Once in a while during your travels, you come across a place that is different from everything else you’ve ever experienced. It captivates your imagination and the mind, already lured away from the monotone of routine, is suddenly unshackled and left free. As the body relaxes and somehow starts breathing differently, every whiff of fresh air invigorates you, like never before. This strange sense of absolute bliss and…

  • Ladakh

    The Ladakhis

    Famous western explorer Marco Pallis, while on an exploratory tour of the region way back in 1936, had this to say about the peasants of Ladakh, although it can be taken as a description of the Ladakhis in general too. The inhabitants of these villages must surely be some of the happiest on the face of the earth. One can only pray that no zealous enthusiast will feel impelled to ‘improve’ or ‘enrich’ them, acting on some sociological theory worked out under totally dissimilar circumstances. Certain writers have alluded to the poverty of the people, doubtless referring to their lack of ready money and their rather spartan simplicity of life.…