Around a month back, I wrote about Sakura or the ‘Cherry Blossom’. It got triggered after a friend and a compulsive traveler gifted me a painting of the flower. If you do not know a lot about Sakura then please read March 2014’s digest, since it has a few pictures and some trivia. The greater context is that at Ghumakkar, it was almost similar to being into ‘Cherry Blossom’ since April became a month of new authors as well as a lot of new stories. I guess Sakura made me travel more by reading these inspiring tales of the existing set as well as the newly-joined authors. I wish I could make a visit to Japan instead of China where I am headed in a few weeks. It would at least be a short reprieve from this growing heat and at most, another stint of oriental sights and cuisines. Interestingly, Ghumakkar is not accessible from the public internet points and I have to find a work-around by routing my request via another country. Since we got a lot of new stories, let me get down to our good laundry list. To start with, please join your hands and welcome our new authors.
We had five new authors joining us during April 2014
Please welcome Asha, Vivek, Swapnil, Nitin and Abhinav. Within them, they took us to entire Kumaon, most of Kashmir, villages of Switzerland, a large part of Rajasthan and finally to snowy Shimla. A respite from the heat that we’re folded in with intermittent reminders of the ground realities. Welcome aboard.
In their own words
And barring Nitin whose family trip drive to Royal Rajasthan was steeped in history, everyone else took us to hills. If May heat is beginning to trouble you then read more about Kumaon and Shimla, here. The month started with this warm and happy log of Hongkong by Upanshu quickly followed by our unstoppable Ajay, who resumed his road journeys to western India and have shown us Bapu and Ba’s place, Khijadia Bird sanctuary and then Narara national park, both in the oil city Jamnagar. If you are too tired then get some solace at Takstang Monastery in Bhutan or enjoy the strawberries in Mahabaleshwar and can finally get lost in the quaint (but probably with all the modern gadgets) villages of Switzerland. Swapnil helped us understand the greater charm of staying in non-hotels and how we can all benefit from leveraging a great platform like Airbnb (pls put same bitly link).
If you are of adventure type then read this almost pushing log of getting lost in mid-air aka skydiving. Trust me, Shrinidhi has practically ensured that you would fill the indemnity form by the time you are finishing reading the log. And finally, time to get spiritual at Shravanabelagola in Karanataka and Ma Vaishno Devi at Jammu.
Among all the gems which got published this month, we had a hard time selecting the winner for “Featured Story of the Month” but every time, the story which wins kind of emerges out and makes it easy for us. For April, the featured story is “Outstanding Orchha” by Abhijit. A brilliantly told story of his visit to Bundeli gem. An excerpt from the story
………..Orchha is breathtakingly beautiful. Regal on appearance and serene in ambiance. Apart from Jehangir Mahal, the Raja Mahal, Rani Ki Mahal, Rai Praveen Mahal and Sheesh Mahal adorn the dusty hill tops of Orchha. The last named has been converted into a heritage hotel by M.P. tourism with limited accommodation and unlimited scope for improvement in maintenance. There is an interesting anecdote about the Rai Praveen Mahal. Rai Praveen was a courtesan and an accomplished poetess in the Orchha kingdom. For her legendary beauty, she was once sent to the “Harem” of Emperor Akbar against her wishes, as she was deeply in love with Raja Indramani of Orchha. On a face to face meeting with the great Emperor in the Mughal court, she recited one of her poem telling that only “a crow and a dog eat off the used plate of another”. Akbar was too smart and generous to understand the subtle hint and immediately ordered Rai Praveen’s return to Orchha in full honour. All other palaces have their attendant history as well…………
Read the full story here – http://www.ghumakkar.com/outstanding-orchha/
While we spoke about the all the stories, let me also take you through with the interaction we had with our featured author, Roopesh Kohad. We caught with him and here is an excerpt from what we discovered more of Roopesh and learnt many more things from him.
Ghumakkar: Six years and a few months! You wrote your first story Ladakh Nostalgia in 2008.
Roopesh: Yes, it doesn’t seem that long back though.
Ghumakkar: Time flies!
Roopesh: Yes, it does.
Ghumakkar: But how did you arrive at Ghumakkar? What made you write your first story?
Roopesh: I was invited to Ghumakkar by Nandan. We were in same organization in the past and I think he came to know about my travel interest and invited me. I was already maintaining a personal travel blog which started with an urge to write and document my travels, and thoughts to be relished later in life and for others to read. I would receive occasional comments on my blog but Ghumakkar gave me wider and relavant reach and community and I immediately jumped on to it.
Ghumakkar: We are so glad you did! Your stories talk about solo travels, travel with friends, and travel with family. Which one do you enjoy the most?
Roopesh: Is this a trick question?
Read the full interview here – http://www.ghumakkar.com/ghumakkar-interview-with-roopesh-kohad/
Thank you Roopesh for taking time and sustaining with us. I can only assure that Vibha would make every possible attempt when she talks to May 2014’s “Featured Author”. And that is a cue for sharing the ‘Featured Author’ for May and it is none other than “Avtar Singh”. Ta da!
Avtar’s logs have added a new and unique dimension to travel log writing and we hope to learn more about his spiritual self as we talk to him later this month. Congratulations Avtar.
May the month of May see us more often out of our homes. Please be extra careful of the heat and please do remember to welcome the new authors, thank Roopesh for talking to us and congratulate Abhijit for his outstanding story and to Avatar for being our “Featured Author”.
A happy welcome to the summer vacations around the corner!