Scroll Facebook or Instagram and you are most likely to find those drool-worthy, bewitching, colourful destinations that you will be mapping in your mind to visit some day. Whether you are a travel buff or not, exploring the outdoors and visiting places is a common activity that you all must be indulging in. While some take their adventures to a greater level by doing adrenaline pumping mountain biking on the edge of a cliff or squeal with delight when sighting a colourful poison dart frog in the Amazon rainforest, others find joy in simple pleasures by watching the glorious colours of the setting sun on a faraway island or relaxing in a beautiful sit-out while sipping wine and soaking in the beauty of an overlooking vineyard. All this is indeed exciting. Most of you may have already got your travel bucket list ready to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of your dream destinations. If you haven’t made yours yet, take cue from a few travel enthusiasts who have shared their list with Sakal Times.
ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE
Every country across the world has a distinct culture and tradition. Architecture shows some of this rich heritage. Shruti Ramteerthkar, an architect by profession and a visiting faculty at Dr B N College of Architecture, says that places with archaeological heritage fascinate her. Which is why she plans to explore Europe, especially places like Prague, Vienna and the Vatican City, and China too. “I want to explore some of the architectural marvels of Prague and Vienna. Another place I want to explore is China as they have a different kind of architecture, which is around 2,000 years old.”
Explaining further, she says, “In Prague, there is Romanesque architecture, from the 9th to 12th century, in stone and brick. They give out a rich and authentic feel to the place, also the narrow streets take you 1,000 years back. China is a blend of ancient and contemporary structures. While some of their architecture has historical significance, a few others like Beijing’s National Stadium — the Bird’s Nest (where Olympics 2008 was held) and the more recent Tianjin Binhai Library are considered architectural marvels.”
In India, Ramteerthkar wishes to see Rajasthan. “The construction is a blend of Maratha and Rajput architecture. I wish to see and study the different characteristics which help these monuments survive the extreme temperatures. Also, I find the architecture of Udaipur palace and Jodhpur city fascinating. While Jodhpur city is painted blue, Jaipur is painted pink, in order to respond to the climate and retain the culture, respectively,” says Ramteerthkar, adding, “I would also like to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival, which I have heard so much about.”
NATURE TO EXPLORE
Akshay Kasbe, a sales executive from Navi Mumbai, says that he wishes to travel to Machu Picchu in Peru for the archaeological importance of the place, Hawaii — to see the natural biodiversity under water and Meghalaya for its virgin beauty.
“Machu Picchu is situated in the Andean hills with the perfect masonry and distinct architecture which I would love to see. The ancient city presents the lost culture of the Inca Empire dating back to the 15th century. It would be an amazing thing to witness and experience the archaeology,” he says.
The top three sites of Machu Picchu that he would like to see are The Sun Gate; (Inti Punku) where the sunrise is spectacular, The Inca Bridge and Watchman’s Hut. Carved out of a cliff rock, the Inca Bridge was built for the Incan army as a secret entrance.
“In Hawaii, I want to go scuba diving and see the natural underwater biodiversity,” says Kasbe. Rare species of fish like Raccoon Butterflyfish, Millet Butterflyfish, Bluestripe Snapper, Yellow Tang, to name a few, are the underwater attractions in this Pacific state.
Closer home, Kasbe wants to visit Meghalaya or the abode of clouds. Meghalaya’s naturesque has pulled a large number of tourists from across the globe. “I am looking forward to a vacation in Cherrapunji, which has beautiful waterfalls, living root bridges and many more scenic places to explore. It also has beautiful valleys, and a unique culture too,” he says.
A content strategist in a digital marketing firm, Deepannita Ghosh is a food and travel blogger as well. Her travel bucket list consists of Australia, Bhutan and Gokarna, mainly for her culinary interests.
Ask her why Bhutan is one of the top destinations in her travel bucket list and she says, “The Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is known for its stunning landscapes, legendary ancient temples and fortresses, spicy yet delicious food, and colourful festivals. Bhutan excites me because it is a modern country yet medieval with one foot still rooted in its past. Bhutan is aware of the downsides of rapid modernisation and has decided to move cautiously without losing its soul.”
Talking about the dishes she wants to try, she says, “Bhutan is a country where rice is red, and chilies aren’t only a seasoning but the most important component in traditional food. Traditional Bhutanese food has been inspired by its neighbours, especially China, Tibet, and India. So for me, it’s like venturing beyond the comfort zone and taking the taste buds on a truly unique journey. I would like to try dishes like Jasha Maroo, Phaksha Paa, and the locally brewed Ara. Their national dish, Ema Datshi, is a fiery blend of green chilies smothered in cheese.”
Australia, another great travel destination, draws tourists from across the world for its wildlife, and new bars and restaurants. Ghosh has a long list of cuisines to try there too.
“The classic Lamingtons, Tim Tams, Chiko Rolls, Fairy Bread and Vegemite are amazing. The great Aussie Meat Pie, Sausage Sanger, Neenish Tart, Dagwood Dog, Chicken Parmigiana, Grilled Kangaroo, Barramundi, John Dory Fillets, Crab Sticks are all on my list. The modern culinary art that Australia offers is hard to beat. I am eagerly waiting to explore the desserts that look like modern art. With its feathery meringue centre, smothered in a tier of freshly whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit and tangy passion fruit pulp, Pavlova is my top pick. Iconic Aussie desserts and sweets like Ricotta Brownie, Lamington and Marshmallow Mousse Trifles, Honey Vanilla Slice with Honeycomb, Triple Honey Chocolate Trifle and Ripper Jaffa or the delicious Golden Gaytime slices are not to be ignored,” she says.
When it comes to diversity of cuisines, Gokarna, in northern Karnataka, India, has a lot to offer. “Gokarna is a picture-perfect choice with Kudle beach, Om beach, Half Moon beach and Paradise beach. With its pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes, Gokarna is a newly found hub for beach enthusiasts and hippies,” says she, adding, “This temple town is dotted with innumerable shacks that cater to the Indian palate as well as those who crave Continental. Apart from the classic Idli-Dosa, one can devour some unique dishes like Seafood Lasagne, Prawn Pizza on a banana leaf and Iced Nutella. Beaches are lined up with small restaurants offering all kinds of exotic cuisines, including Mexican, Israeli, English breakfast and Indian food as well,” concludes Ghosh.
US-based Akhilesh Camisetty, who works for Comcast as Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solutions Architect, chooses Japan, Greece and Indian Union Territory — Lakshadweep for his dream destinations. Ask Camisetty, ‘Why Japan?’ and he says, “I have grown up watching anime like Naruto, Bleach and several other series, so Japan is definitely on my bucket list. Another thing that fascinates me is the technology which is so advanced. I also find the colorful nightlife and the plethora of street food, including bizarre items like live octopus intriguing. Japan is also known for its fireworks, I want to witness the world record of Yonshakudama firework.”
Usually, the fireworks happen during July and August. Thousands of spectators descend on the Land of the Rising Sun to witness the magical display.
Greece is his second favourite. “I like sailing and this makes Greece an ideal destination to go with my partner. It’s a great getaway from the stressful corporate work. One of the things I would definitely want to do in Greece is get on a ferry, sit back and look at the vast blue sky. Another mesmerising thing about Greece is its distinct architecture like Santorini which is known for serene sights, romantic sunsets, multi-coloured cliffs, whitewashed buildings and black sand beaches,” he says.
According to Camisetty, there is no place like motherland, so taking a trip to an exotic destination in India is definitely on his mind. “India has many places to visit but a spot that is often left out for adventures is Lakshadweep. One thing I definitely want to try is snorkeling in the shallow, crystal clear waters. Fishing being a primary occupation there, restaurants have amazing seafood. This alone will drag me to this place.”
A THERAPEUTIC JOURNEY
Aniket Suryawanshi, Pune-based Motion Graphic Designer, feels Hawaii will have a therapeutic effect on his body and mind. “Offering a picturesque view, along with so many outdoor adventures, Hawaii definitely tops my travel bucket list. One can experience the soothing sounds of the ocean, the wind and the birds at this gorgeous island. As I have anxiety, I believe that these natural and relaxing sounds will instantly relieve my stress. Places like Maui and Oahu, which are best known for beaches, food and multicultural modernism, are undoubtedly the best options to relax and enjoy the sea food as well,” he says.
Another beach destination that he wants to head to is Bali in Indonesia. Fascinated with its beauty, he intends to make a vlog on this breathtaking island. “Bali is a colourful and amazing place to explore. Apart from nature, it is famous for its religious sites like the cliff-side Uluwatu Temple. I would like to make a vlog there to show nature’s beauty and I am sure it will have a calming effect on the viewers,” says the graphic designer.
“In India, I would like to visit Kolkata. The reason, of course, is the food! I am a foodie and Kolkata is a city where you get a variety of sweet and spicy food, and all kinds of delicacies. I am a non-vegetarian, hence I would love to have the famous Kolkata fish, maybe hilsa or rohu, along with the one called magur. The second most appealing thing about Kolkata is its culture. I find it very happening and joyful, so I would love to know more about it in detail and experience it by staying there for a few days. Apart from this, I would love to visit the Birla Planetarium, the Zoological Garden in Alipore, the cricket stadium like Eden Gardens and other iconic landmarks,” says Suryawanshi.