Dawki River

Just across the border of Bangladesh flows the beautiful Dawki river with greenish-blueish water so clear that one can see the bottom of the river even from as high as the bridge over the river.

Mawlynnong, Meghalaya

Bequeathed Asia's Cleanest Village, Mawlynnong offers that sort of rich experience that cannot be measured in terms of money, convenience, accessibility or style. World famous for its Living Root Bridges.

Kaziranga National Park

World Heritage Site since 1985, Kaziranga is not only the homeland of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, but also provides shelter to a variety of wild lives, besides being a bird watcher's paradise.

Scuba Diving, Dawki

A short while underwater, followed by a long while to accept that you weren’t dreaming! That's scuba diving for you.

Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

One of the highest lakes in the world, the sacred lake is renowned for its pristine beauty and emerald blue water. It is surrounded by snow capped mountains and a glacier, offering experience of a lifetime.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Mawlynnong: God’s Own Garden!

‘God’s Own Garden!’ These words excite my senses in an unusual way. My eyes see images of colourful flowers and tall trees, my ears hear the sounds of birds singing their soft songs and my nose smells the sweet fragrance of wet mud.

Is God’s Own Garden any different from this description? Definitely not!

Mawlynnong is a small village located across the scenic Indo-Bangla Border. It is visited by tourists, both national and international, for its beautiful location; on the East Khasi Hills, overlooking the flat plains of Bangladesh.
What’s magical about this place is its serenity and an inexplicable sense of calm and peace. This is a result of the quiet ambience coupled with fresh air, mesmerizing views, steep climbs, flowing water and colourful flowers.

The people of Mawlynnong have taken the initiative to promote it as an eco-tourism destination and have left no stone unturned.

Mawlynnong’s locals, who belong to the Khasi tribe, ensure that their environment is clean and their way of living is sustainable to the environment.

The impeccably clean pathways of Mawlynnong greet the visitors with boulders of rocks at the sides and bamboo dust-bins at regular intervals.

Hence, Mawlynnong has earned the titles of ‘The Cleanest Village in India’ and ‘The Cleanest Village in Asia’.

But what captures everybody’s imagination are the meticulously and carefully constructed ‘Living Root Bridges’. These bridges are made of Bamboo and Rubber tree roots, which are intertwined by the Khasis over years. These bridges are mainly suspended above the numerous fresh water streams which lazily flow underneath.

Besides the bridges, there also are marvelous ‘Living Root Ladders’ which adjoin the steep cliff of Mawlynnong towards Bangladesh and provide a natural, accessible pathway for the Khasi people to the plains beneath.

One must also climb atop the “Sky View”; a tall bamboo tower which rises 60 odd feet above Mawlynnong and gives an exceptional view of Bangladesh below. The spectacular scene from the tower’s zenith is completely breath-taking! This viewing platform too is a consequence of the foresight and labour of the Khasis.

Natural wonders like this “balancing rock” and “shark’s jaw” also await travelers in Mawlynnong.

Another thing to look forward to is the Au Natural accommodation available in Mawlynnong. No fancy hotels and no pool resorts! Accommodation is offered by local villagers who are more than pleased to welcome guests to their houses.

But if you are willing to enjoy some alone time with the beautiful ambience around, there is a fascinating tree-house accommodation in Mawlynnong, made from Bamboo and Thatch. From one of its two houses, you also have a view of a small waterfall! You can sit in the verandah, sipping a hot cup of tea and enjoy the birds chirping and the trees swirling with the winds. You couldn’t have asked for more…

The sound of heavily pouring rain, the fast gushing river water coupled with the thicket of trees and the natural pathways cutting through the forest, makes it a perfect holiday destination; especially for people who want to escape the noise, hustle and bustle of big cities and towns.

This beautiful village is situated 90 kms away from capital city Shillong. Though the best time to visit Mawlynnong is from October to April, you can plan your trip in the monsoon season to enjoy the rains and the resulting greenery.

Other cities close to Mawlynnong are Cherrapunji and Guwahati. From here, you can book a jeep to carry you to your destination.

We recommend you hire a guide to take you to the most exotic cliffs, forests, pathways and people of Mawlynnong.

There’s so much more you can discover only by visiting the place. It is an abode of nature and truly, God’s Own Garden.

Do I need to say more? I’m positive that I don’t.

Mawlynnong is the best place for nature trails and casual swims. Escape into the lap of nature and bask in its beauty. We can bet that you’ll return with lots of happy memories!

Picture Courtesy: Timothy Allen

Friday, 20 April 2012

Top 10 Movies: That will make you wish you were far, far away from home

There are so many names that pop up in our heads when we think of movies that make us want to flee from the monotony of home and life in general.

Movies are one of the best mediums to transport you to a place which is miles and miles away from your theatre screen.
Some incredible travel-based movie names that are immortal are ‘Seven Years in Tibet’, ‘Salaam Bombay’, ‘City of God' and ‘City of Joy’.

No one can dispute the brilliance of these example-setting movies! It is a must to watch them and explore their destinations.
But if you want to catch up on a Fresh Stock of travel-movies, here are our Top 10 recommendations:
1. The Tourist: Set in the breath-taking background of Venice, follow Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp’s in their voyage and watch it twist and turn; from a perfect trip into a perfect trap! This 2010 movie very beautifully amalgamates travel with an engaging conspiracy, keeping your eyes glued to the screen till the very end!
2. Eat, Pray, Love: A successful novel which was made into a motion picture in 2010, Eat, Pray, Love is the story of a divorcee American travel writer who wants to explore the world, and to find herself through travel. She relishes food in Italy, learns spirituality in India and finds love in Bali.
3. Slumdog Millionaire: This controversial movie may be, in certain people’s opinion, misrepresentative of India. But considering we are exploring destination movies, we think Slumdog Millionaire incorporates journeys and places very subtly into its storyline, frequently exploring the shady and unseen nooks of cities. It leaves the viewer with a wholesome ‘feel’ of India, its trains, its monuments and its towns.
4. Into the Wild: This 2007 movie is a must-watch for all aspiring hitch-hikers, especially because it is based on a true story. After graduating, a college ranker donates all his earnings to charity and sets out to explore the wilderness of Alaska. On his journey, he meets many who shape his life in different ways.
5. Up (animated): You thought travel is all about actual sights, sounds and stories? Disney Pixar thought otherwise! Up is an animated travel (Yes, travel) movie which was released in 2009. And the expedition of Carl Fredrickson to Lost Island, South America, begins with tying a thousand balloons to his house! A must-watch for people who love both travels and cartoons.
6. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: Released in July 2011, this award-winning film directed by Zoya Akhtar, is a fine Bollywood travel movie. It is a story of three friends who explore Spain together and push their limits by indulging themselves in some nerve-raising adventures.
7. 127 Hours: Inspired from a true story, 127 Hours is a movie about a young mountaineer, his adventures and his ordeals while mountain climbing. This newest film of Danny Boyle was released in India in January 2011.
8. Outsourced: As the name suggests, this movie is inspired by the rising trend of outsourcing work, especially from America to India. Explore India through the eyes of an American who comes to India to train his new employees. Luckily, he finds an Indian friend who teaches him all he needs to know about Indian culture.
9. Chalo Dilli: Chalo Dilli is a 2011 road movie which emphasizes the primary Urban and Not-So-Urban cultures of India. The turn of events in the movie put an ambitious woman in the company of an obnoxious man on their journey to the country’s capital. This is an interesting and humorous movie which is sure to make you laugh while you witness the real India yourself.
10. Runaway Vacation: Know how it feels to trick your family into believing that a road trip to Colorado Rocky Mountains is better than a vacation in Hawaii? Join Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family in a road trip to see how a difficult journey can help bond a family and create lasting memories.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Life is a Journey… Keep Walking!

“Zindagi ek safar hain Suhana… Yaha kal kya ho, kisne Jaana!”

We've all enjoyed this evergreen song and sung along most of the times. But never have we wondered that the lyrics of this song are actually ingrained in reality.

It’s true this metaphor! Life, like a journey, can be either long or short. But irrespective of that, there are lots of places to see, lots of cultures to learn about and lots and lots of roadblocks to circumvent.

It’s so unconscious, but it’s a fact that we meet new people everyday and our conversations with them help us explore places we've never even dreamt of. They virtually take us there and leave us yearning to be there… for Real!

The same is true for traveling! Most of the cherished memories we have of a place is from the casual discoveries (like casual conversations) we make during the course of our travels. You can clearly recollect the cabdriver’s story of the origin of his tribe and you can actually point out that natural Mountainous herb that cured your churning stomach.

You probably will also ask your friends to visit a marvelous destination which you spotted by chance apart from the much-hyped locations that are promoted in Travel Guides.
It is such discoveries that make any journey, even the journey of life, so special and dear to oneself.

On the contrary, life is also difficult, full of challenges!

Journeys are no less challenging. Be it the inability to converse in a foreign language, or facing fatigue before you’re halfway through a trekking expedition or in the worst case, losing sense of direction in a barren landscape. Challenges of traveling can be just about anything! Once you’ve overcome one challenge, there’s another one already waiting to greet you down the road.

Yet, the idea is to keep moving forward.

Life never halts! Neither should travel. In either case, there isn't any option of calling it Quits.
So buckle up and Keep Walking…

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Scuba Dive the Summer away!

The summer is knocking at your doorstep and before you know you’re sweating profusely. The fans and ACs are put to some rigorous work, yet there’s something missing!
Coconut and straw? Paper fan? No…

What you’re missing is probably a nice dip in fresh and cool water.

Remember those childhood days, when you and your friends would jump into the river water without a care in the world?

Well this time, we’re bringing back the same fun and frolic into your lives with a breath-taking Scuba diving experience at Dawki, Meghalaya. Dawki River
’s greenish blue, crystal-clear water is absolutely enchanting, and would definitely entice you into coming back again and again!

Remember the scuba diving sequence in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
? It’s amazing isn’t it? If you think it’s the camera that makes the experience look so beautiful, you’re wrong. Take our word; it’s as pretty as it looks on screen, even better we’d say!

Wondering why Scuba Diving? Here’s why…

The Underwater life is a completely different world, with different habitants and different rules.
The creatures, the plants, everything will be a novel experience, something like never before.

What will take you by surprise at first will be the wide ranging mix of colour all around you. Something like a colour palette that has come alive! Each marine animal and plant exhibits a different pattern, a different colour, varied textures and various sizes.

To seek entry into this world, you need to learn to behave like the fishes; swim and glide like them, and along with them. It isn’t very difficult. Just let yourself loose and there you are: one amongst the numerous fishes.

The best part about Scuba Diving is that you get to come so close to the fishes and the turtles(if you are lucky), you can actually touch them!
The joy of being underwater, of discovering the flora and fauna of the marine world, is completely unique, something you would have never experienced before.

While you’re underwater, you’re completely disconnected from the sounds and sights of the world above. If you turn to look, you’ll probably just see sunlight penetrating through the water, that’s all! It’s just you and your fellow fishes all the way…

Be it the awe or love for the underwater world or the hope of discovering a lost treasure or simply the endeavour to make some new marine friends, whatever your reason is, come join us for this experience of a lifetime.

So, what are you waiting for ? :)
For more details, visit TripEngineers.com
Happy Holidays! :)

Monday, 9 April 2012

Kaziranga: Up, Close and Personal with the Wild!

We all belong in the wilderness, whether we believe it or not!
Our civilization has disillusioned us into believing that we’re different from the nature, from its plants and animals. But these are false perceptions which are all set to change in a land where animals reign and people enchantingly stare awestruck.

Welcome to Kaziranga National Park, one of the best national parks of India and a World Heritage Site.

Located in Assam, it is a paradise-on-earth for many endangered animal species including the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros. Interestingly, rhinoceros which were earlier found in abundance near most north Indian rivers, are now limited only to two national parks in India; Manas and Kaziranga, both in Assam!

Besides the Rhinos, this park is famous for its Elephants and Deer sightings. You can also spot many reptiles on the way, some of which may be eager to crawl over your shoulder and pose with you!

The national park is surprisingly very serene and calm, unlike the animal chases that are depicted on television! Everything and everybody is in harmony with each other. It’s as though the nature has magically tamed down the wild animals and excited visitors alike.

If you are under the impression that Kaziranga is just a Big Name, you’re wrong! It is indeed BIG, in every which way!

Ranging from its vastness in area and its 5 feet tall elephant grass, to the magnanus and overpowering Rhinos, Asian Elephants and Wild Buffalos, this place will make you feel like a dot in the ocean (read: wetlands!).

If you’re lucky, you can also spot the much endangered national animal, the Tiger, in this park.

The park also houses 52 odd mammalian species including 15 mammals you wouldn’t know even existed! For example, the Gangetic Dolphin, the Chinese Pangolin and the Flying Squirrel.

Also, if you’re willing to take your eyes and attention off the awe-inspiring animals, you can spot many of the 500 birds which have made this national park their home! So all you bird lovers out there, this is one of the best places for you to be in!

Animal sightings are commonplace at the Western and Central ranges of Kaziranga, whereas the Eastern range is mostly a niche reserved for a bird watcher’s delight.

This amusing experience of coming closest to nature can be enjoyed through a range of sight seeing options. You can choose to take a lazy river boat cruise or manoeuvre the park atop an elephant’s back. Many city-life-addicts would opt for the comfort of a jeep safari, also offered at the Park.

If you prefer the bird’s eye perspective, the Park Authorities have also built some observation towers around the Park to closely observe the wildlife.

Elephant safaris start at 5:15am and last for around 45 minutes. Tourists who take the elephant safari are accompanied by 1 to 2 armed rangers who safely escort the tourists around the park.

This is an ideal preference for people who want to go back in time and enjoy the safari, primitive style!

The jeep safaris, on the contrary, start at 7:00am and last for about 2 hours each, making it a preferred option for visitors who want to spend maximum time in the wilderness and probably never come out of it!

The best time to visit Kaziranga National Park is in the summer months of February to April.
At this time, many visitors come to Kaziranga to capture in their minds, the Best of the Wild.

So what are you waiting for? Kaziranga is calling… where art thou?