ajesh Santhanam will not forget his recent trip to Bellary for a long time. He rode 670 km on his Royal Enfield, including a non-stop 270 km stretch. With the wind in his face, he cruised on highways and bumped through country roads. He wended his way through dirt tracks and stopped at roadside dhabas for chai and food. And every now and then, he took leisurely detours from his route to explore the abandoned ruins of a temple or a fort.
“Riding is like meditation for me. I feel one with the wind, the road and the bike. I find this very calming,” he says with a grin. 50
Rajesh is part of a growing tribe of urban Indians that is veering off the beaten track and finding new ways of travelling. In doing so, they are seeing things anew. So while many continue to throng ‘traditional’ tourist spots
October 2015 | www.spiceroutemag.com
like Singapore, Malaysia, Nainital, Ootacamund and so on, many other travellers are chasing a different flavour altogether - that of discovering unusual trails.
THE GREAT ESCAPE
For a large number of city slickers, travelling is an escape hatch that takes them away from the frenetic pace and stress of a corporate life and the travails of living in the city. Rea Mukherjee, from Delhi, loves to go to the mountains. “While picking a travel destination, I look for peace. Having lived in Delhi all my life, it feels good to get away sometimes.” The grind of the work-week is such that most people are drained out by Thursday, and eagerly look forward to the weekend. In fact, weekend planning is becoming increasingly important for many, and taking weekend breaks, increasingly common. The break may be in the form of a long drive, a short hike into the hills, a trip to the seaside, whatever. Road tripping is becoming popular too. Akshat Oswal, who lives in Pune, often takes off on road trips over the weekend with his friends. “We love to spend time on the road. It helps
People are realising the cathartic power of travel & its power to act as a placebo us hang out together and at the same time, enjoy the thrill of a drive.” More than ever before, people are realising the cathartic power of travel and its power to act as a placebo. Travelling helps them get away from the daily routines and pressures and to connect with their inner selves. It gives them time for introspection and discovery. Sumitra Senapaty spotted this trend at a very nascent stage and founded the Women on Wanderlust Club (WOW). It organises curated trips for women in small groups, giving them the benefits of safe travel, a customised tour plan and a chance to meet interesting people. Other companies too have come up, having spotted a business opportunity in this expanding section of the urban populace.
ENCOUNTERS & EXPERIENCES It is becoming fashionable to ditch the ‘usual’ and go in search of the