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MADHYA PRADESH TIGER TERRAIN LADAKH DECODING LANDSCAPES

I S S U E 7 • N AT G E O T R AV E L L E R . I N

WHERE TO GO IN 2017

SEOUL TO MALTA, COLOMBIA TO CANADA, 20 MUST-SEE DESTINATIONS


n a t i o n a l g e o g r a p h i c t r av e l l e r i n d i a

january 2017

Contents Vol 5 Issue 7

T r av e l i d e a s f o r 2 0 1 7

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63

Wild Bounty

Thanks to relentless conservation efforts, the tiger population in India is up significantly. Visiting Madhya Pradesh’s stunning national parks is one way to keep that number growing By Neha Dara

Where to Go in 2017

From South Korea to Switzerland, Canada to Colombia, we celebrate 2017’s must-see destinations around the world. Here’s our pick of 20 places to visit in the new year

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Every Rock Tells a Story Decoding landscapes in the geological goldmine that is Ladakh offers new perspectives on an old favourite By Kamakshi Ayyar

63 Moscow, Russia

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national Geographic Traveller INDIA | january NOVEMBER 2017 2016

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Journeys


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voices

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • ` 1 5 0 • VO L . 5

22 Inside Out

From Bengaluru

118 Beach views, seafood, and ancient dances

Lessons in generosity and contentment at a mountain retreat An illustrated travelogue on the temples of Angkor in Cambodia

n av i g at e

26 The Insider

Palaces, scones, and literature in London

34 Detour

Birdwatching and dolphin-spotting in Narora, Uttar Pradesh

40 The Connection

A familiar script at Vietnam’s My Son ruins

42 Go Now

A cold, fishy, aurora-viewing adventure in Norway’s Lofoten Islands

44 Take Five

in Kannur

MADHYA PRADESH TIGER TERRAIN LADAKH DECODING LANDSCAPES

WHERE TO GO IN 2017

SEOUL TO MALTA, COLOMBIA TO CANADA, 20 MUST-SEE DESTINATIONS

On The Cover The tiger is the star of the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, bringing thousands of visitors to the state each year. Photographer Rajarshi Banerji captured this moment at Kanha National Park, one of the state’s more popular tiger-spotting destinations. Visitors who come here in search of the big cat, return enthralled by the plentiful forest.

Stay

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A lush green oasis in Gujarat’s Little Rann of Kutch

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Head to Karaikudi for heavenly spreads and heritage excursions

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Inspired spaces where artists and writers once lived

46 Local Flavour

Singapore’s sweetest start begins with a bolt of kopi and a spread of kaya

48 Adventure

Cold feet and raging fear: rafting the Nile in Uganda

50 The Experience

Hops and thrills at the oldest Heineken brewery in Amsterdam

regulars 16 Editor’s Note 18 Notebook 122 Inspire 128 Travel Quiz january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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PETER MACDIARMID/GETTY IMAGEs (museum), carl pendle/photographer’s choice/getty images (toast), Peter Stuckings/lonely planet images/getty images (birds), rajarshi banerji/age fotostock/getty images (cover)

24 Book of Hours

Short Breaks

I S S U E 7 • N AT G E O T R AV E L L E R . I N


Editor’s Note |

n i lou f e r v en katra m a n

Food for Thought

E

Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes a miss. But these recommendations always add to my travel experiences

ver since I can remember, people have been giving me tips on what I should eat when I’m travelling to a new place. For Maharashtra, the state in which I live, I’ve received plenty of food advice. In Karjat, you must eat the local batata vada. If you go to the hill station of Lonavla, it is decreed that you must sample and return with some chikki. If you happen to travel to Bhandardara or Varangushi, you must gorge on the excessively sweet peda sold there. So popular are these pedas that locals crush them into tea instead of adding sugar. Friends have even mentioned that when I’m in Mahabaleshwar, I must try the corn patties. Where? I’m not really sure. Looking at all of these recommendations objectively anyone can tell that none of them are in any way connected to the special produce of the place. None of them identify an actual establishment that does an amazing job of making any of these dishes. Then how and why have these places come to be associated with each of these specific items? My guess is that such widespread perception about a particular food item from a place starts with one local restaurant making an exceptional dish. This quickly becomes well known and travellers spread the news to others by word of mouth (and the Internet of course). Very soon other joints in that location decide to cash in on the success of their competitor and start serving the same (or similar) item. Lines get blurred over time, and what was once excellent chocolate walnut fudge from a particular

shop in Lonavla soon becomes, by association, something the entire town is known for. It doesn’t matter anymore where you buy it. It doesn’t matter if it tastes good. It’s only significant that it’s linked to the place and is designated a must-have. We have all heard of dishes linked to specific establishments, even at destinations we’ve never visited. And we happily pass the untested suggestions on. As soon as I said I was driving from Johannesburg to Hazyview, during my Christmas break in South Africa, along came the recommendation to try the pancakes at Harrie’s in the town of Graskop, a 30-minute drive from Hazyview. I did. The pancakes left a lot to be desired and my family and I came away disappointed. I make pancakes regularly at home using Nigella Lawson’s easy recipe, and even if I say so myself, they are better. But when I looked up the Internet, I saw that Harrie’s is super popular. This is true of other places I’ve been to as well. Around the world, gastronomical perceptions about a particular food or restaurant continue to persist despite evidence against their veracity.  So does Shree Datta’s at Panvel serve awesome kothimbir vadi? I don’t know, I haven’t tried it. But I probably will if I’m in the area. Does Lucky Dhaba outside Jalandhar serve lip-smacking aloo parathas? Yes, I can vouch for them. Do both Pat’s and Geno’s in Philadelphia serve the best Philly cheesesteaks in that city? Indeed. I can repeat that recommendation over and over again. Does all of Italy serve good pizza? Definitely not. I’ve eaten some really terrible slices in Rome. Yet, every time I travel and someone suggests a must-have, I’m happy to hear it. Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes a miss. But these recommendations always add to my travel experiences and enhance my gastronomic repertoire.  So the next time you or any one you know is headed to Macao, ask them to get you egg tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery or Café e Nata. At home, bake them for ten minutes, sprinkle cinnamon powder, and devour. I did this two weeks ago and still can taste their yummy goodness. Likewise, have at least one plateful of dumplings if you are anywhere near a Din Tai Fung outlet in Asia.  And of course there will be the occasional kachori that is mediocre, the tandoori chicken dry as cardboard, the chewy modak I wish I hadn’t bitten into. But just for those moments when the prawn masala fry at Alibaug’s Sanman restaurant or the chikoo ice cream in Gholvad satiates my taste buds, I think it’s worth listening to all the food tips that come my way.

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National Geographic Traveller India is about immersive travel and authentic storytelling, inspiring readers to create their own journeys and return with amazing stories. Our distinctive yellow rectangle is a window into a world of unparalleled discovery.

national Geographic Traveller INDIA | january 2017

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our mission

Caption xxxxx xxxxx.


insi de ou t

Without Frills Lessons in generosity and contentment at a mountain retreat

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came upon paro Devi as she was praying, hands clasped together under her chin, her face turned towards the setting sun. She wore a long black skirt and a red shirt, thick silver bangles around her wrist and a bemused smile on her wrinkled face. She did not seem ruffled by 14 strangers descending on her cottage, petting her dog, feeding her goats, and asking questions about the glorious pink and yellow plants that grew outside her house. We peeped through the mud door into the simple room where she lived with her husband and daughter. She grew millets and amaranth in the plot of land surrounding her house and some vegetables during the season: cabbages, spinach, carrots, and cauliflowers. Sometimes, she went to nearby temples, but most of her life was spent in that little house in that little village. She pulled out a steel plate and placed two puris stuffed with potatoes on it and passed it on to us. “eat,” she insisted. this was probably her family’s dinner and we demurred. “you must eat,” paro Devi commanded, and we tore small pieces of the delicious puri and passed around the plate feeling humbled and abashed. in that moment, i felt that i was in the presence of a simple joy that passed from the giver to the receiver and enveloped us all in a gentle glow that filled our stomachs and hearts. i was on a retreat in uttarakhand’s Garhwal region with a group of yoga and adventure enthusiasts, all longing for a peaceful getaway from the bustle of the city. the Goat village, where i was staying, was a cluster of rustic cottages with mud walls and stone roofs, not very different from paro Devi’s dwelling. it was rather different from the kind of places i’m used to staying at during my holidays. i consider electricity and hot water bare essentials. an excellent Wi-Fi connection has become mandatory along with a power socket to charge my phone. room service is welcome. these amenities, i’ve come to believe, are essential to my well-being. at the Goat village, the only source of light at the cottage where i was staying, was a small solar torch that was charged during the day and gave off a dull white light, just enough to illuminate a few metres around it.

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national GeoGraphic traveller inDia | january 2017

Nirupama Subramanian is a columnist and author of two novels, Keep The Change and Intermission. She has also won the Commonwealth Short Story Competition prize in 2006 for her short fiction.

except for a single bed and a small side table, my room was bare. the icy water froze my fingers as i brushed my teeth. i started the morning with yoga practice under the pale blue umbrella of the sky, flanked by purple mountains on either side. later, i got my hands dirty clearing a patch of land to plant onion seeds, and pulling out plump radishes from another section. it was hard labour for a city slicker whose idea of work was putting fingers to a keyboard. yet in the evening when we set out for a walk in the nearby village i felt content about a day well spent. that night, we sat around a bonfire under a sky liberally sprinkled with stars and spoke about happiness. the village girls who helped out in the kitchen, the grizzled gardener who had survived an attack by a bear, and the pretty young things who liked partying, were all unanimous in their testimony that money did not bring them happiness. Family, friends, a quiet moment with a loved one, doing something we liked, helping others, these were the things that brought us joy. yet, i realized, that we city dwellers spend most of our time chasing material comforts, the badges of success that seem so important to our survival. access to an alternative lifestyle, so different from the rat race of the city, made me conclude that we give too much importance to the external trappings of our lives. a new dress, the latest phone, an extra helping of chocolate cake, these give us moments of pleasure that flit off like fireflies into the night. We know this, we know too that we want something deeper and more meaningful, yet we cannot get off the treadmill, we keep running. Sometimes, we pause. We take a trip not to gaze at the wonders of the world but to reflect within. We use this pause to learn not just about the world but also ourselves. i realized that it was possible to survive for three days without looking at my phone. i learnt that a cold water bath does not lead to instant pneumonia. i learnt from paro Devi that scarcity and abundance have more to do with a feeling in our hearts than the actual possession of goods. as i gazed up at the vast night sky, i simultaneously felt like a tiny insignificant speck in the cosmos and deeply connected to the fabric of the universe. i recognized too that the only thing i needed to fear was an impoverishment of the spirit. january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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Museum Mayhem There are two types of museum-goers in the world. Those who enjoy the history lessons they bring, and those who make you consider gentle manslaughter. Guess which one Sidin Vadukut’s piece is about. See Travel Talk > Columns

where to go in india in 2017 Where to travel in India during the new year, from lesserknown beach destinations in Tamil Nadu to a newly certified UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sikkim. See Getaways > Inspire Me urban safari We joined Khaki Tours on their new jeep safari through the old Bombay neighbourhood of Fort, and returned even more in love with the metropolis. See Trip Ideas > Cities

Go to natgeotraveller.in for more web exclusive stories and travel ideas

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Wishing Well This tree of wishes immediately caught my eye as I walked through the incense-heavy A-Ma Temple in Macao. Little red baubles with prayers scrawled on them were tied to poles encircling the tree. They ranged from “I hope I find my Mr. Right soon” to wishes for a long and happy wedded life, good health, and good fortune. A particularly cute one written in a child’s spidery scrawl asked for a little puppy for Christmas. Unable to resist, I got myself a little trinket, wrote out my note, and tied it with the others. Now as I sit at my desk, over four thousand kilometres away from Macao, it is strangely comforting to think about my little wish fluttering in the wind and being watched over by an ancient goddess of the sea. —Senior Associate Editor, Diya Kohli

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national Geographic Traveller INDIA | january 2017

Happy Places At the December NGT Meetup in Mumbai, radiologist and cyclist Aditya Daftary, travel blogger Kaushal Karkhanis, and actor and aviator Gul Panag chatted with NGT India’s Deputy Editor Neha Dara about places that bring joy. ■ Goa oozes happiness. It is great for many activities including windsurfing, kayaking, and stand up paddling. Despite being famous for seafood, it offers numerous vegetarian and vegan options. ■ Places that foster women’s safety inspire great journeys, be it Shillong in Meghalaya, or the mountains of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. ■ Sometimes, returning to destinations and sharing them with your loved ones makes for the best memories. ■ Travelling in groups can boost bliss. You end up sharing passions and picking up new skills in the process. ■ Look for offbeat experiences in touristy places. You’ll be surprised at what you can uncover.

Next MeetUp: 13 January 2017, 7.30-9 p.m. Venue: Title Waves bookshop, Bandra (West), Mumbai.

Company School term details Trichinopoly Style/Wikimedia Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa) (illustration)

bengaluru for booklovers Church Street is sacred ground for bibliophiles. Our guide tells you how to score the best discounts. and where to grab a bite when you get the munchies. See Trip Ideas > Cities


Food For Thought

Bite of History

Today, they are baked for Anzac Day on April 25, which commemorates the army corps who died fighting at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915. It doesn’t matter what the true origins of these biscuits are; the fact is they are delicious. And I fully understand why Aussies love them. —Online Features Writer, Fabiola Monteiro

The Find

Mad About Gaudi Instagram of the Month

High on the Himalayas I’ve been fortunate to fly over some beautiful landscapes on my travels, but none have compared to the staggering beauty of the Himalayas. Earlier this year, I visited Ladakh as part of a team that comprised NASA scientists and researchers out to compare the region’s geological features to Mars. As we got closer to Leh, the landscape changed from plains to cloud-piercing mountains, some a deep brown, others covered in snow. Small settlements poked out of hillsides, their solar panels glinting in the sun. And occasionally, we would pass these large greywhite ribbons (in picture) that I thought were rivers, until I was told that they were actually glaciers! I spent the next ten days getting close to these mountains and valleys, and came away completely in love with the Himalayas. —Online Features Writer, Kamakshi Ayyar

Barcelona gripped me with its chimneys that resemble Darth Vader, buildings that look like swirling seas, and skeleton-like balconies hanging from homes. This September, I planned my trip to the Spanish city as an Antoni Gaudi pilgrimage. I wanted to walk along its streets and get inside the mind of the whimsical, controversial artist who changed the cityscape forever. One morning, I visited Park Güell. At its entrance stood two buildings resembling gingerbread houses. As I walked further in, the world was but one large canvas of trencadís, the traditional Catalan mosaic of colourful ceramic tile shards that Gaudi used extensively in his work. A salamander-shaped fountain was covered in this mosaic, as were curvy roofs, park benches, even the ceiling of the park’s hall with its grand Doric columns. I bought this trencadís pendant at the gift shop. Wearing it makes me feel close to Gaudi’s favoured design style. And to his unshakeable belief even in his most outlandish ideas. —Associate Editor, Kareena Gianani january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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millefloreimages/istock (biscuits), kamakshi ayyar (clouds), kareena gianani (pendant)

Last September, my colleague and I spent two days roadtripping across Kangaroo Island in South Australia to spot the wildlife it offers. There are no cafés or restaurants in the interiors of the island. Fortunately, our guide Scott had a basket full of boxed salads, ready-to-grill chicken, cans of Coke, and a flask of coffee. My favourite from his magic basket was a small tin of home-made Anzac biscuits, prepared with oats and desiccated coconut. Each morning, he’d pick us up with a full box, and by evening, they were polished off. They were the perfect on-thego snack to satisfy hunger pangs. Not only were they yummy—I learnt that I was biting into a piece of history as well. The biscuits share their name with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) because it is rumoured that they were eaten by soldiers during the First World War. The story goes that soldiers’ wives packed them for their husbands because they were nutritious and long-lasting.


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T he I n s i d e r

navigate 42

detour Birdwatching and dolphinspotting in Narora, Uttar Pradesh

go now Aurora borealis casts its magic over Norway’s Lofoten Islands

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adventure Cold feet and raging fear: rafting the Nile in Uganda

London Calling

B

rexit may have been controversial for the Brits, but travellers eager to visit London have reason to celebrate. Politics aside, the aftermath of Brexit brings tourism benefits to Indians because of a favourable exchange rate and more affordable airfares. Anglophiles drawn to the English capital will find that the city is still an eclectic mix of royal, modern, and indie. Even native Londoners would need more than a lifetime to uncover everything that their city offers. Venturing beyond the historic centre and popular must-see spots can feel as though you’ve wandered past a series of connected villages that sport football

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scarves as flags. Sometimes, it can seem like you’ve even, in the tradition of British television treasure Doctor Who, traversed through time and space itself. In spite of the current legislative upheaval, visitors will discover a welcoming city. Diversity is diffused throughout London’s 60,000 winding streets, from the experimental artist spaces to neighbourhood ethnic eateries to the stocked stalls that line Saturday markets. In London, hipsters, global finance leaders, and expats convene as equals with a pint in hand at the local pub. And that, Brexit or not, is a pretty great deal. —Kaley Sweeney

national Geographic Traveller INDIA | january 2017

DESIGN PICS INC/National Geographic Creative

Palaces, Scones, and Literature in the English capital


see i t

If you liked: London Eye Then try: Sky Garden

If you liked: Buckingham Palace Then try: Eltham Palace

The recently opened, and free, Sky Garden in the 20 Fenchurch Street tower hosts evening live jazz amid a garden of palm trees, lavender, and rosemary. Early birds can test their balance during the garden’s morning yoga (skygarden.london; Mon-Fri 10 a.m.6 p.m., Sat-Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m.).

The childhood home of Henry VIII, Eltham Palace served as one of England’s largest and most frequented residences for royals from the 14th to 16th centuries. Today, walk over its moat on London’s oldest working drawbridge (www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/ places/eltham-palace-and-gardens; check website for timings; adults £13.60/`1,164, children below 15 years £8.10/`693).

If you liked: Natural History Museum Then try: Museum of Zoology

If you liked: Westminster Abbey Then try: Neasden Temple

Tucked away in University College London, the Grant Museum of Zoology specializes in natural history and animal anatomy. The site provides a home to about 68,000 preserved specimens, many of which are extremely rare (www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/zoology; open MonSat 1-5 p.m.; entry free).

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London, or Neasden Temple, is a Hindu temple in North London where the Indian-style marble meditation room may make you believe you’ve gotten off the Tube and landed back in your own country (londonmandir.baps.org; Mon-Sun 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; entry free). —Kaley Sweeney

A Very Crumbly Scone Crawl For cuppa conservatives, Candella is everything you could ask for in a traditional tea shop. Order the cream tea, which features two warm, fluffy scones filled with raisins and dusted with powdered sugar (34, Kensington Church St; open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.). At the Milestone Hotel, settle into one of the leather armchairs in the Conservatory, a black-and-white lounge with windows for walls, and savour a maple-cured-bacon scone paired with a pint (www.milestonehotel.com; open daily 8 a.m.-11 p.m.). Finally, follow the fanfare to Kensington Palace’s The Orangery for an orange-and-currant scone and sips of the aptly named Afternoon at the Palace tea blend (www.orangerykensingtonpalace.co.uk; open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). — Hannah Sheinberg

january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

amer koseli

Famished from a day of trying to spot Will and Kate? Take a break for clotted cream and jam

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Tak e F i ve

Artistic Origins Inspired spaces where artists and writers once lived By Kareena Gianani Six decades after her death, a cobalt blue building in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighbourhood still channels the fiery spirit of Frida Kahlo. The iconic painter spent a significant part of her life in Casa Azul (Blue House), which is now a museum brimming with her personal belongings and artworks like “Vida La Vida.” For Frida, art was poultice to the life-long agony she endured due to polio and a debilitating road accident at 18. Her wheelchair sits facing an easel, with her paints beside it. The plaster cast corset she wore after the accident is a poignant reminder of how pain shaped her painting. Her deep love for indigenous Mexican art shines through her collections of folk art, in particular of Judases made of papier mâché, which are usually burnt in Mexico during Easter. Visitors can see her signature wardrobe—loose blouses, long skirts, and flowery headpieces—inspired

by traditional Tehuana folk attire. Casa Azul also has objects that evoke Frida’s passionate but turbulent marriage with painter Diego Rivera: Miniature cups on the kitchen wall are arranged to spell out the couple’s names, while neatly arranged files in another room hold their letters. (www.museofridakahlo.org.mx; Tue and Thurs-Sun 10 a.m.-5.30 p.m., Wed 11 a.m.-5.30 p.m.; entry MXN120/`400 on weekdays, MXN140/`470 on weekends.) Salvador Dalí House-Museum Spain

A penis-shaped swimming pool, a stuffed polar bear gleefully holding a lamp, and giant eggs on roofs would be out of place anywhere except in Salvador Dalí’s home. The seafront house at Port Lligat in the Spanish town of Cadaqués, where Dalí lived from 1930 and 1982, is a window to the artist’s mind. Visitors can walk through the home, converted from seven fishermen’s huts.

Dalí described it as “…a real biological structure… Each new pulse in our life had its own new cell, its room.” Visitors can see two of his unfinished works, while in other spaces two projectors play Dalí-themed films on loop. Outside, in the olive grove, is a round structure known as the Pots Tower which was used by the artist as a secondary workshop for his sculptures. Dalí stuck clay pots with holes on the tower’s facade so that they whistled when the wind blew over them. (www.salvador-dali.org; entry adults €11/`815, children under 8 free; prior booking required; check website for opening timings.) Claude Monet’s House and Gardens France

Walking through Claude Monet’s home garden in the village of Giverny is like plunging into the reds, yellows, blushing pinks, and dreamy lilacs of his paintings. It was here, 75 kilometres northwest

From water lilies to portraits, Claude Monet’s cosy studio-turned-living room maps different stages of his career.

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national Geographic Traveller INDIA | january 2017

Photo courtesy: Fondation Claude Monet, Giverny/Droits réservés

Museo Frida Kahlo Mexico


of Paris, that the passionate artist and gardener found ceaseless inspiration for his evocative works. Monet lived in this house in northern France for 43 years, from 1883 to 1926. Visitors can walk in the garden Monet lovingly tended, arranging beds of oriental poppies, peonies, tulips, and irises in ways that accentuated their shades, just like on his palette. Inside the house, Monet’s favourite sets of crockery adorn his dining room, while another room displays his collection of Japanese prints. The studio holds a selection of his paintings, including some from his Water Lilies series. Loved for his surreal renditions of light and reflections on water, Monet also constructed a water garden near his home. A quaint green Japanese bridge arches above the pond, framed by white lilies, maple trees, and weeping willows. It is a scene Monet depicted very often with his brush for his Japanese Footbridge series. ( fondation-monet.com/en; open daily between 24 Mar-1 Nov, closed for winter; 9.30 a.m.-6 p.m; entry adults €9.50/`705, 7-18 years €5.50/`410, under 7 free.) R.K. Narayan’s House Mysuru

Writer R.K. Narayan’s home in Mysuru is without grand embellishments and surprise twists: much like his stories in Malgudi Days. Instead, the two-storey

bungalow is chock-full of glimpses of his private life. Some walls of the home are lined with Narayan’s quotes and sepia-tinted family photographs. Visitors can walk through rooms that hold his personal effects like books, spectacles, woollen coats, and shawls, and even spy the laundryman’s initials still visible on the collar of one of Narayan’s shirts. Light floods the study through bay windows overlooking a frangipani tree. In My Days, his autobiography, he writes about how the windows afforded him views in every direction, “…the Chamundi Hill temple on the south, a variety of spires, turrets, and domes on the east, sheep and cows grazing in the meadows on all sides.” (D 14, Vivekananda Road, Yadavagiri, Mysuru; open daily 10.30 a.m.-5 p.m.; entry free.)

week before his death, drawings by his brother and children, the chair he read in, and the books he referred to while working on War and Peace. Tolstoy’s personal library, which has over 22,000 books and periodicals in 40 languages, is part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Visitors can pay homage to the writer at his grave, which is an unassuming mound at the edge of a ravine on the estate. (ypmuseum.ru/en; opening hours vary with season; estate entry adults RUB50/`53, free for visitors under 16; guided tours of estate and the Tolstoy House in English must be booked a month in advance and are priced from RUB4,000/`4,200 for a group of less than 15 people.)

Leo Tolstoy’s Estate Russia

About 200 kilometres south of Moscow is Yasnaya Polyana, the family estate of Leo Tolstoy. It was amid the parks and fruit orchards of the 1,018-acre haven that the Russian writer wrote his classics Anna Karenina and War and Peace. Tolstoy’s home, the servant’s quarters, and the building he turned into a school for peasant children, now form a museum. The objects on display evoke touching details of his life: A label for a medicine prescribed to him a january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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miguel tovar/stf/contributor/latincontent wo/getty images (kitchen), raphael gaillarde/contributor/gamma-rapho/getty images (egg), vyacheslav erdneev/alamy/indiapicture (building)

Traditional Mexican crockery adorns the kitchen at Casa Azul (left), where Frida Kahlo loved cooking meals over firewood; Seats shaped like lips and eggs atop roofs (right) at Salvador Dalí’s home in Port Lligat seem right out of a surrealist painting; In addition to visiting Leo Tolstoy’s home (bottom), visitors to the Yasnaya Polyana museum-estate can catch temporary art and literature exhibitions.


in focus 63

63 Marrakech, Morocco

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national Geographic Traveller INDIA | february 2016

world Twenty exciting destinations for the year ahead

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jammu and kashmir Decoding Ladakh’s jaw-dropping landscapes

andrea pistolesi/photolibrary/getty images

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madhya pradesh Go see the tiger and help save the jungle


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20 Must-See Places for 2017

Best for Culture: 1 Papua New Guinea 2 Chengdu, China 3 Guadeloupe 4 Georgia 5 Canton Uri, Switzerland 6 Cradle of Humankind, South Africa 7 Malta Best for Nature: 8 Baja California National Marine Parks, Mexico 9 Via Dinarica, Western Balkans 10 Ecuador’s Cloud Forests 11 Kauai 12 Finland 13 Banff, Canada Best for City Life: 14 Moscow 15 Madrid 16 Anchorage 17 Cartagena 18 Hamburg 19 Marrakech 20 Seoul

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY MUTI

Our editors and explorers picked the world’s most exciting destinations for the year ahead. Follow the numbered illustrations on this page to launch your journey.

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In Focus | where whe r e to g go o in i n 2017

Culture G lo bal en cou n t e rs on a loca l l ev el

1 Papua New Guinea Why Go Now: Unprecedented access to remote villages

new sea kayaking expeditions allow visitors to paddle between out-ofthe-way villages and stay overnight in local guest houses (www. tufidive.com). And Walindi Resort will offer liveaboard dive trips in 2017 to the outlying Witu Islands and Father Reef, both packed with whirling schools of big colourful fish (www.febrina. com; 7-night stay on liveaboard $3,130/`2,14,470 per person double occupancy). —Maryellen Kennedy Duckett

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Time ignored much of Papua New Guinea, or P.N.G., an isolated and rugged Garden of Eden. Located in the South Pacific north of Australia, P.N.G. includes the eastern half of the world’s second biggest island, New

Guinea, and about 600 small islands. For indigenous cultures in secluded villages, life goes on pretty much as it has for centuries. Recent grass-roots tourism initiatives, such as lodging and travel website VillageHuts.com, make it a bit easier for adventurers to visit P.N.G.’s untamed rainforests—home to threatened tree kangaroos and Queen Alexandra’s birdwing, the largest butterfly in the world—volcanic fjords, and vibrant coral reefs. At Tufi Resort,

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Tribesmen in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, take part in a sing-sing, a tribal gathering full of chants and dancing. january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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In Focus | whe r e to go i n 2017

Nature W i l d exp er i e nc es i n t h e g r e at ou t do o rs

8 Baja California National Marine Parks, Mexico Why Go Now: Applaud a conservation success story

Guadalupe Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, and San Ignacio Lagoon marine reserves. Today, San Ignacio Lagoon is the primary calving ground for eastern Pacific gray whales. And Cabo Pulmo—widely considered one of the world’s greatest ecological comeback stories—teems with marine life, its total fish biomass rebounding more than 400 percent since fishing was banned in 2000. —Maryellen Kennedy Duckett

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Close encounters of the ginormous marine kind are common in the waters off Mexico’s fingerlike Baja California peninsula. Baja is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the

east by the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), where behemoths of the sea—whales, great white sharks, and manta rays with wingspans up to 20 feet—and a variety of fish congregate. Twenty years ago many of these species were on the brink of extinction due to overfishing and pollution. Partnerships between local communities and the government helped turn the tide with the creation of Cabo Pulmo,

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Cabo Pulmo, in the Sea of Cortez, is known among divers for the thousands of jacks that school together here. january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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In Focus | wh whe e r e to g go o in i n 2017

Cities W h at ’s hot i n t h e Wor l d’s cool est plac es

14 Moscow, Russia Why Go Now: Unpeel history 100 years from the Bolshevik Revolution

“Soviet Versailles.” In Gorky Park, view the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s first triennial (March 10-May 14), featuring works from Russia’s vast and diverse artistic landscape. And even though life back in the U.S.S.R. isn’t something modern Muscovites are likely to celebrate, the Communist propaganda poster collection is reason enough to visit the Russian Contemporary History Museum. —Maryellen Kennedy Duckett

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Like a matryoshka nesting doll, Russia’s splendid capital city reveals itself in layers. At Moscow’s core, Red Square, the imposing Kremlin complex (with previously offlimits areas set to open to the public in 2017),

and the candystriped domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral remain popular attractions. To explore the city’s less touristed outer rings, ride the Metro (famous for lavish architectural details such as stained-glass panels and intricate mosaics). Browse galleries at Winzavod, a former wine-bottling factory turned contemporary art centre. Meander around the newly redeveloped VDNKh, a nearly 600-acre Stalinist exhibition centre once dubbed the

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Brightened by the State Historical Museum and Kazan Cathedral, Moscow’s Red Square is far from monochrome.

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short breaks 118

from bengaluru Beach views, seafood, and ancient dances in Kannur

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stay A lush green oasis in Gujarat’s Little Rann of Kutch

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stay Head to Karaikudi for heavenly spreads and heritage excursions

Theyyam dancers are said to be possessed by the spirit of the gods they represent. They return to normalcy only when their headgear is taken off.

Mussels and mysticism in coastal kannur | By Aysha Tanya

L

ocated in Kerala’s Malabar region, Kannur is just coming into its own as a tourist destination. With an international airport scheduled to open in mid-2017, rapid change is around the corner. For now however, it remains a sleepy town, the kind where you sometimes have to get out of your vehicle to coax a calf off the middle of the road. To the tourist in search of an action-packed holiday Kannur has little to offer, but it welcomes with open arms those who want to slow down. The best thing for a traveller to bring to Kannur is the

willingness to embrace relaxation as a way of life: the townsfolk take midday naps and the streets are completely empty by 9 p.m. While it may sound like a place straight out of an Enid Blyton novel, note that that it is also a Marxist stronghold and known for political violence. When I tell fellow Malayalis I’m from Kannur, I often see them shudder just a little bit. Bandhs are frequent. If you encounter one, make like a local: put your feet up and enjoy a quiet day indoors, it is the quintessential Kannur way.

The Vitals The nearest airport is in Kozhikode (previously Calicut), 115 km/2.5 hr south of Kannur, along the coast (taxis `2,600-3,200 one-way).

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christophe boisvieux/age fotostock/dinodia photo library

Take it Easy


Relaxing Holiday

2+

Bengaluru

315 km

Kannur

D ay s

five ways to explore History Lesson Built in 1505 by the first Portuguese viceroy, Don Francesco de Almeida, St. Angelo’s Fort is one of Kerala’s better-maintained historical sites. The fort, complete with a moat and secret tunnel, is a popular haunt with newlyweds looking for a scenic spot to take a few romantic photographs. Come here in the evening for a quick history lesson, and stay for views of the colourful boats docked at Mapila Bay (Burnacherry; open 8 a.m.-6 p.m.).

Spa Time A trip to Kannur is incomplete without an Ayurvedic massage. Asokam Beach Resort has several treatment packages for longer stays. For a few hours of relaxation, there’s a day spa package that offers a full day of treatments tailored to specific needs, after consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor (Payyambalam Beach Road; ayurvedaresort.co.in; 94460 70373)

In a town with strong opinions and divisions, there’s one thing everyone agrees upon hands down: Odhen’s serves the best naadan or local set lunch. Located on a narrow street, the restaurant is just a handful of no-nonsense tables with uncomfortable stools. This is a place for serious eating: the next person in line is always standing and watching over you, ensuring you finish and leave without wasting time. Seafood lovers in particular are in for a treat. It is the fried fish that makes this place the town’s most popular lunch destination. The secret is in a special masala which the elderly couple who own the place grind early in the morning before the rest of the staff arrive. Be sure to also try the mussels, squid, shark, and shrimp. (Onden Road; near St. Michael’s school; fish meal for two around `250; open 12-4 p.m.; no reservations, so go early to get a table.) If you prefer to linger over your food, head to Sahib’s Grill Kitchen, Kannur’s neighbourhood hangout where everyone knows everyone. The relaxed setting is perfect for conversations savoured over the wholesome bistro-style fare. The exposed brick walls, high ceiling, French windows, and retro music give the place character and warmth (www.sahibsgrillkitchen.com; open 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; meal for two `750). Kannur has a bakery on every street corner. Sheen bakery sells excellent puffs, or “pups” as they are called. The egg puff is exceptional—flaky pastry that crumbles at first bite, with an eye-wateringly spicy filling (sheenbakery.com; egg puff `20).

Room with a View Kanaka Resort—across the road from the beach—is quite possibly one of the most picturesque places to stay in Kannur. It’s like a homestay, with only a handful of airy, spacious rooms with beautiful views. Deluxe rooms

Payyambalam beach (top) is popular with families for its camel rides and vendors selling ice cream; St. Angelo’s Fort changed hands from the Portuguese to the Dutch to the Arakkal royalty, and finally to the British who controlled it until 1947. Odhen’s seafood lunches (bottom) are popular for their fresh catch marinated in a special masala.

come with a desk and chair, perfect for penning a letter to a loved one. Sample some of Kannur’s must-tries for breakfast: puttu (steamed rice flour) and kadala (black chana curry). The best part about the resort is the sprawling terrace that overlooks the ocean. Be sure to catch a sunset here (Payyambalam Beach Road; www. kanakabeachhouse.com; doubles from `2,750).

Dance with the Gods Located 16 kilometres from town, Parassinikadavu Muthappan is one of the most important temples in the north Malabar region. Sitting on the bank of the Valapattanam River, it is dedicated to the deity Sree Muthappan. This is a good place to see Theyyam, the ritual dance performance that the Kannur and Kasargod districts are famous for. Some believe this fascinating tradition goes back to an ancient Dravidian era. Dancers narrate stories that range from local myths to tales about village ancestors and folk gods. This form of ritualistic music and dance is set to the beat of a chenda or drum, and performed at the temple every day (Parassinikadavu; 30 min from Kannur; ritual dance at sunrise and sunset daily). january 2017 | national Geographic Traveller INDIA

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Eat Local


Inspire |

Franc e

Iceland

Finland

Russia

Estonia

Latvia Lithuania

UNITED KINGDOM

Belarus

Kazakhstan

GERMANY Ukraine

Les Catacombes

Moldova

france Georgia

sPAIN

Azerbaijan Armenia

Bulgaria

Iran Turkey

TRNC

Les Catacombes

Cyprus

Syria

Iraq

Lebanon

Paris, France

Buried deep beneath the streets of Paris’s 14th arrondissement is a darker side to the City of Light. Twenty metres below 1, Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy lies Les Catacombes, an ossuary buried amid rock layers formed over 45 million years. The catacombs are located in the same limestone quarries that provided the stone used to build this city. Visitors descend 130 steps and pass through an entrance marked with the words: “Stop, this is death’s empire!” Bones of millions of Parisians line the walls of the maze-like passageways and form installations like a barrelshaped pillar of skulls and tibia bones. These skeletal remains were transferred here from around the city between the 18th and 19th centuries after Paris’s congested cemeteries were deemed a health hazard. Despite its rather macabre history, long queues outside Les Catacombes are not unusual. In fact, it has been the site of several cultural events over the years, including a night concert in 1897 when over a hundred people gathered underground to listen to Chopin’s “Danse Macabre.” Today, it often hosts cinema screenings, concerts, and parties (www.catacombes. paris.fr/en; Tue-Sun 10 a.m.8.30 p.m.; last entry 7.30 p.m.; entry adults €12/`870, children between 4-17 €5/`360). —Kareena Gianani

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National Geographic Traveller India January 2017  

Preview of the January 2017 issue of the Indian edition of National Geographic Traveller.

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