Now, being in your 20s can mean a lot many things. It is that decade from our lifetime which is packed with events and emotions at a speed that the young-and-restless are famous for. In the pre-25 phase, the late-teen hormones are settled but the roller-coaster ride has not stopped fully. We are still kids, man! Post-25 is a different ball game, albeit a slightly confused one. Not as grown up as 30, but certainly sailing in older seas expected to be, if not already, settled, package-d, married and perhaps with one bundle in the arms too. The 6 Indian travel destinations I recommend to both pre- and post- varieties are as follows –
6. Fishing in Cauvery Fishing Camp, Bheemeshwari:
This extremely beautiful camp located on the banks of the River Cauvery, about 100 kilometers from Bangalore, will help you relax, and learn a new skill. Far enough from the maddening crowds yet easily accessible for weekend tourists looking for a change, the camp is a perfect place to unwind, do nothing in the form of fishing and perhaps catch up on some reading too. Local fishermen guide you as you try your hand at fly-fishing, bait-fishing and spinning. Mahseer, carp and cat fish are the most popular fish to catch here (No, no matter how hungry you are after all the patience that fishing demands, you have to cook it first!). In case you are vegetarian, well, go and see others baiting around and enjoy the natural beauty side-by-side. A good holiday, especially for those with babies.
5. Kila Raipur for Rural Olympics:
This annual sporting event in Ludhiana district is a one-of-its-kind experience, brought to us by the Grewal Sports Committee, and racing on since the last 63 years. If you thought you can ride a horse, think again. Your 20 something sporting skills will be put to shame by the team of 6-year-olds to 70-year-olds with physical stamina that will make you cancel your hefty gym membership fee. Villagers from different areas have their own competitions, which include – kabaddi, kho-kho, cock fighting, cart races and even dog races. (Yes, stick to the stands, unless you want a free ride down the ground or a painful peck on the cheek!) Tent pegging is another famous competition here. Punjabi folk music and langar style lunch mark the event. And it continues to be quite a cross-cultural experience, with participants coming from USA, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and England.
4. Bhangarh, the haunted city:
This is stuff that real horror is made of. One of the spookiest ruins ever, near Alwar in Rajasthan, the town of Bhangarh with its haunted status is quite a place to visit when young and kicking (the latter may come in handy in case of encounters of the supernatural kind!). Myth has it that due to the curse of Guru Bala Nath, the whole town was vacated over night. The tomb of Guru Bala Nath is still found amongst the ruins. The lost city is open only during the hours of daylight and is strictly prohibited after sunset. (This is one rule nobody will dare to break.) Trivia – The ASI doesn’t have an official office here, though government regulations state that every historical site must. I wonder why?
3. Vihigaon Falls for water-rappelling:
The Western Ghats have many waterfalls and flowing rivulets. Vihigaon falls, in Kasara Mumbai is a unique adventure holiday that includes rappelling, down-climbing and river tracing in the midst of the thick forest. It’s the best way to overcome Acrophobia – The Fear for Heights, and get a little philosophical about your life. After all, being suspended at a height of about 100 ft with the only way down being one through a waterfall can make anyone re-examine their role and relevance of being alive, apart from making you practice some real sphincter control for most part of the descent.
2. Meghalaya for exploring caves:
You thought ‘Final Destination’ was the epitome of thrill? Well, pull up those falling pants, young man, and charge those torches. Some of the longest and deepest caves in the world are waiting to be explored in Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hills. Krem Mawmluh is one of the more popular caves located near Cherrapunjee. It stands tall at 4503 meters and 5 rivers make their way through it. And what luck, just a month back, 19 news caves got added to the collection of 1350 existing ones. Resolution and courage you surely need, and GPS you do not because it won’t help. It’s a perfect thing to do in your college vacations. Advisory – keep the volumes low, no matter how excited or lost you are. And resist the urge to etch that heart with your beloved’s initials inside.
1. Motor-Biking in the Ladakh Range:
Get those helmets out (no, not the Rs. 100 ones, please) and rev up your bikes. It is time for some mountain biking over the highest passes in the world, including Rohtang La, Baralacha La, Lachlung La and Tanglang La and the boss of them all, the Khardung La, standing proud at 18,380 ft. This is one ‘enroute’ that will keep you praying to the Almighty even as the best motorcycling road in the world tests your might. When you get a moment from balancing the bike, the surroundings will make you heart skip the remaining beats. The ride is treacherous and the route unforgiving. You better trust the bike as well as the rider. But many hair pin bends and slippery snowy crossings later, you will reach a high – not just the high altitude that the place promises you, but a high of the attitude-nal kind too. (Yes, you can take that helmet off now, it’s over, really! And stop shaking. You are indeed alive!)