travel diaries: jaigarh and nahargarh: 2 forts and 1 traveller

The tuk-tuk rattled and heaved as we drove higher up the jungle-clad deserted hill. We were just a few kilometres north of Jaipur, yet there was not a soul around. Or any sound. Except for the chirping of the birds and my noisy mode of transport.

In the distance I could make out the Jaipur State’s flag—the famous panchranga representative of the five Afghan tribes Mirza Raja Man Singh I, the Kachhwaha Rajput ruler, defeated in 1585 on behalf of the Mughals. A gentle reminder that the fort on which it was hoisted, Jaigarh Fort, still belonged to the Jaipur royal family.

Unlike the Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1720 served as a military fort and a hideout for the royal family in the event of war. It’s a stark and functional piece of military architecture. But with such stories inside its walls! Continue reading

travel diaries: hiking through the todra gorge

There are two choices for the hiker at Todra Gorge. You can either go up, scaling the burnt orange limestone crumbling cliffs of the High Atlas Mountains, higher with every step, or carry on along the canyon floor into its bowels, deeper ahead. Both have their own perks. A bit like life itself.

Since most people tend to climb up, and I like to do things a tad differently, I decided to walk on straight. It was a long walk. Some four-and-a-half-hours long.

I started at the most visited and dramatic section, a 10-meter-wide chasm shared by both river and road, and penned in with towering perpendicular cliffs 160 metres tall. Stretched over a length of 600 metres, the tourist crowds usually do their U-turn here and go back.

But should one venture on, the unfolding of the cliffs into craggy piles of rock up to 400 metres high that line a desolate sun-baked concrete road is surreal and unreal rolled into one. The only sound I could here as I trudged on alone under the ultramarine blue sky was the chirping of birds. They seemed almost glad for my company. Continue reading

cycling solo from kanyakumari to kashmir

Preface
advait_dikshit_kk_map

“Who am I? The question keeps beating inside of me.” We were sitting by a window overlooking Bandstand. “Everything I do, I think, is an attempt to answer this question for myself. Who am I? You need to be more like me, you know.” Advait was showing me how the Enneagram system worked. It was about two and a half years ago.

This post is about Advait Dikshit’s story. Or to be more correct, it is the story of what gave him some of the answers to his question. Advait is a change consultant. But that’s the outer part. He is also an adventurer.

The person inside is constantly experimenting with his own life—partly for the kick it gives him, and partly to overcome obstacles and, as a result, feel powerful. But we humans are too puny in the face of nature to deride ourselves that we could ever conquer it, and it would be merely feeding our vanity to believe otherwise. And he knows that, deep within. The experimentations, thus, are more of an attempt to find his authentic self, much like most of us would secretly like to do. But are scared of, for the answers that may show up or the awkwardness of experiments. Continue reading