Ghumakkar Digest – April 2014

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



Asha – A hard-core travel enthusiast, forever ready to embark on a journey to known and unknown places. Though India is my home, I have rushed to gaze at rest of the world whenever opportunity knocked my door. Dance, food, music and movies, and not necessarily in that order, are my other joys. Primarily I am a people’s person but do not mind a few days of solitude every now and then.



Vivek – I am one of the Ghumakkars and my aim to cover all India tourist places. I am Software Professional and working in Gurgaon. My hobby is painting and drawing.



Swapnil A Software developer by profession, Designer by choice and adventure seeker by nature. Tried my hand at bungee jumping, paragliding, white water rafting, snorkeling and camping. Have passion for driving, love the journey more then destination.



Nitin – I am an an avid traveler and have done many road trips in US, India and UAE. I am based out of Dubai and passionate about visiting historical places. My goal in next 3 years is to visit Europe and lap up the vast history associated with it!!



Abhinav I am from from New Delhi. By profession I work for a Shipping Company in Gurgaon. I love travelling a lot. Driving is my another passion. I love to cover long distances in my machine. I have traveled and explored a lot of places across India. Travelling and exploring new places always gives me a new high which I try to show in my travelogue.

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…………

Outstanding Orchha

Outstanding Orchha

Read the full story here –

Congratulations Abhijit. After “Sundari Shekhawati” and “Cool Coorg”, “Outstanding Orchha” was almost destined to win. Thank you. We hope to read more from you.

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?

Roopesh with his family

Roopesh with his family

Read the full interview here –

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!


  • Avtar Singh says:


    Its month long end to find another digest from Ghumakkar. Thanks Nandan to make us addicted of it. Like always, it is nice, crisp and to the point.

    Congratulations to all the new writers!!!

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi again!

    Its always been troublesome while writing from mobile, this time too it published without completion!!!

    Anyways, thanks Ghumakkar for giving me the honour! I feel humbled for getting the opportunity.

    Quite hopeful and enthusiastic to know something about myself which I did not know…. :)

    • Smita Dhall says:

      Congratulations Avtar! I have been following your stories and must say that this is a much deserved conferment. Looking forward to more travel from you!

  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    @Abhijit – Congratulation for your story Outstanding Orchha. Truly deserved to be the featured story of April, 2014.

    @Avtar – Many congratulation to our Featured Author for May.

    @Nandan – All my best wishes for your forthcoming trip to China. Travel well, enjoy your trip and take care.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    A very warm welcome to all our new friends in Ghumakkar.
    A very deserving honour for Abhijit for his superb story on Orchha.
    I feel very-very happy to see our adorable Mr. Avtar Singh earning the very deserving, Author of the Month title. His flawless and simple write-ups are just irresistible.
    CONGRATS to all very deserving friends.
    @ Nandan, Some stories from China will go live soon, right Captain!

  • Vipin says:

    A very warm welcome to all the new authors (Asha ji, Vivek ji, Swapnil ji, Nitin ji and Abhinav ji)…need to catch up with some stories here…:)

    Heartiest congratulations to Abhijit ji for the featured story…this is again left, but will read it soon…:)…& Avtar ji for featured author…you have always enthralled us with your subtle & fascinating writing style…look forward to learn more about you soon…:)

    Thank you, Nandan bhai for this monthly digest…need to back soon…:)

  • Smita Dhall says:

    Congratulations, Abhijit for the superb story of the month!

    Good digest, NJ!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Avtar – Heartiest congratulations. We would make our best attempt and our Editor, Vibha is already preparing her arsenal. :-)

    @ Anupam – Thank you. Yeah, at least a couple of logs should happen. Its been a while.

    @ Ajay – Sure. Insha Allah.

    @ Vipin – Thank you. Waiting.

    @ Smita – I guess all of Ghumakkars backend work belongs to all the editors.

  • Nitin says:

    I am being repetitive…. but thanks to everyone for the encouragement to us.. new writers! :)

    Congratulations to Abhijit and Avtar Ji. Thoroughly deserve the accolades!

    Nandan – I must say, admire your passion to write…. very crisp and concise!

    Looking forward to more stories….

  • Nitin says:

    Btw, April seems to be month of the rookies :) Many debutantes on ghumakkar….

  • Vivek Kumar Srivastava says:

    Congratulations Abhijit

  • Tarun says:

    A warm welcome to new authors and congratulations to Avtar and Abhijit,

    Nandan, Vibha and other editors: Your efforts are always appreciated.

  • ??????? ?????? ?? ???????? ???????? ?????, ????????, ????? ? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ??.

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    @ ????? : ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ? ??? ?? ??? ????-???? ??????, ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ? ??????? ?? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?????. ?????? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ??? :
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  • Avtar Singh says:

    @??????? ??, ???? ??????

    ?? ?? ????, ???-????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ???? ??? |

    ??, ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? , ?? ?? ???? ????? ????, ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? |

    ?????? ??? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ???????? ?? ?????? !

    ?? ???? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ??, ????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?????? –

    ”????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? , ???? ???

    ?? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ??????? !”

  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    Warm Welcome to all new writers.

    Congratulations Abhijeet Ji………….. and congrats Avtar Ji…. He is one of the best author on ghumakkar.

    Nice writeup Nandan Ji…… Thanks.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Nitin – Thank you. The editorial team tells me that I write because it was on my roster. We kind of move things between editors to keep it fresh, so you are definitely very very generous in your words. Keep them coming, it is very encouraging.

    @ Tarun – Thank you. That is what keeps us going.

    @ ??????? ??? , ???? ?? ?

    @ Saurabh – Thank you for liking it.

  • Vibha says:

    Great digest Nandan! Thank you for summing up the month so beautifully.

    A very warm welcome to all new authors. Hope to read many more stories from you all. Welcome to the family.

    Many Congratulations Abhijit! A beautiful story indeed.

    Congratulations Avtar ji! I will look forward to speaking to you…

    An awesome conclusion to the month indeed.

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Chinese can duplicate anything – by the time you get there they will have cherry blossoms there too!

    April was promising in the sense that we have a number of great writers joining us.

    Orchha post was the best and deservingly Abhijit gets the honour!

    Looking forward to visiting with Avtarji.

    Thanks for the roundup!

  • Congratulations Avtar & Abhijit !

    Sorry for late comment as I was very busy for the last one month.

  • silentsoul says:

    First apologies for late comments…. as everyone knows I was on a Tirath Yatra of Canada and soon would be presenting my story.

    Welcome to all new authors with a request to reply to comments on their stories and read n comment other stories to encourage all.

    Congrats Abhijit for your wonderful story.

    Avtaar paahji… ??? ???… ??????? ??? Had I been the editor, I would have selected you for this prize in your first story…. your stories are so refreshing and with a pinch of spiritual sweetener that at least I feel elated after reading them. Now this selection by Editors should be repaid by you, by more travels and more stories.

    and last but not least… great post with catching remarks by Nandan Jha… Anyone who has read Avtaar’s story will be sure that the award is for his outstanding contribution (…and not due to any “????? ” connection….. LOL (dont mind the joke pls) )

    • Avtar Singh says:

      @Silent Soul, Sir

      Thanks for your generous words. You are always been a source of inspiration.

      And the last line of your comment is like an icing ( or, rather cherry! ) on the cake.

  • silentsoul says:

    Tks paahji

    Nandanbhai…. if possible pls add a “Like” button in the posts.. that will increase the encouragement of all.

  • First of all Sorry for the delay..

    Warm Welcome to all new writers.

    Congratulations Abhijeet Jee and Avtar Jee.
    Nice writeup Nandan Jee Thanks for sharing.
    @ Nandan jee: Where is yearly Digest..Wait is too long. is it abandoned for 2013 .

    • silentsoul says:

      ?????? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ????… ?? ??? ????? ?? ???????? ?? ? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ??…?????? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ??…. ?????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Sorry folks for such a delayed response on this

    @ Vibha – Thanks. It is a collective effort so thanks to all.

    @ Nirdesh – I didnt find Sakura/Cherry Blossom during this trip of China but they are getting there. I have a sense that this was my last trip and for my next Visa interview (I always get this 6 monthly thing, quite a hassle) I think they would tell me that I am already there, why go.

    @ SS – Thank you. Hope to meet you soon and discuss more of what you wrote. hehe. And FB Like button is there at the top, right below the title.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Naresh – We never had a Yearly Digest but we did have a Ghumakkar of the Year post. This post was for celebrating the travel we all did over the past year, as well as felicitating a few who were Ghumakkars of the Year.

    Our process was to set a jury who would finalise the names from a list of shortlisted names. We have been pretty transparent on our process as well Jury names. For 2012, the jury members were Vibha (during that time she was not the Editor), DL Narayana and Manish Kumar (he writes at Ghumakkar and has a very Hind blog called ‘Musafir Hoon Yaaron’). Here is the story –

    Unfortunately. during our 2012 Ghumakkar of the year awards, some of the Ghumakkars felt that we have not done a great job at it and there were un-pleasant experiences. Our idea is to celebrate and spread the joy of traveling via our inspiring stories so we decided to take a break and think it over on how we want to do it. Hence there was no G of the Year for 2013.

    But you raise an interesting point. I would discuss this internally and see how best we can do something here.

  • aaochale says:

    amazing website i love it

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