Travel

Family Road Trips in India – A Guide | Essential Tips, Hacks & Frequently asked Questions for Driving Holidays in India with kids & family

As a traveller and travelling couple for many years, we encountered a ‘major travel life moment’ after having our baby four years back. Happy as we were being parents, we wanted to experience the happiness and joy of travel & experiencing India with our baby. So we dived headlong into the adventure in the best possible way we thought it can be done – Taking Family Road Trips with our infant who’s now an experienced road tripper toddler of 4.5 years. As we shared our travel stories, we got many curious and incredulous reactions & queries. We realised that what we were doing was something people thought of, but didn’t try out due to many reasons, some of them genuine and some of them only mere mind blocks. As I answered many queries separately over the years to various friends & colleagues and also in various travel forums as an Indian Travel Blogger, I realised I needed to write a comprehensive guide covering all the Essential Tips, Hacks & Frequently asked Questions for Driving Holidays in India with kids & family’. Here is my guide to taking family road Trips in India in Question & Answer Format:

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Holi Festival in India | Celebrating Baithaki Holi in Kumaon, Uttarakhand

Holi is one of the most well-known Indian festivals the world over, characterised by playfulness, colours and bonding over poetry, songs & dancing. People from all over the world visit India to celebrate Holi, specifically the version played in North Indian region of Uttar Pradesh. There are many forms in which Holi is celebrated all over India, like West Bengal’s famed Shantiniketan ‘Dol’ celebrations or like Hola Mohalla in Punjab. In the hill state of Uttarakhand, Holi is celebrated over many days in the villages of Kumaon region in what is known as Baithaki Holi. This Holi, I travelled to Jim Corbett National Park in Ramnagar area of Kumaon and among many other experiences, playing Baithaki Holi was one of my most enjoyable & cherished experiences. Sharing my #baithakiholi experience with all readers here.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Family Getaway to Roopangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India | Driving Holidays in India

The best part of driving holidays or road trips is that one can set the pace of the holiday, relax and unwind whenever the mood strikes. Ofcourse, it takes a bit of last minute re-booking while on the road. On our winter family road trip through Mewar region (Route taken Delhi - Udaipur - Ranakpur-Kumbhalgarh-Mount Abu-Chittorgarh-Nathdwara-Roopangarh-Delhi), we decided to book ourselves a luxury or boutique hotel on our last leg of the trip, so as to treat ourselves to the best before we wind up the mega driving holiday. We chose to avoid Jaipur, which gets too touristy & crowded in December/January months and instead chose to stay at Roopangarh Fort in a small village around 25 kms off the main National Highway NH 8. It turned out to be a good decision as we absolutely loved the property, offbeat location in a small village, heritage property, view, laidback hospitality of the staff and interacting with friendly locals.

[caption id="attachment_5484" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Roopangarh Fort Hotel, Rajasthan[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Things to do in Amritsar, Punjab, India | Amritsar Travel Guide

Amritsar in Punjab is world famous for being the home to Harmandir Sahib - Golden Temple, the spiritual & cultural centre of Sikhism. Devotees and visitors of all faiths from around the world visit Amritsar and it is one of the most important cities in the state of Punjab. I have visited the city twice and both times it has been a spiritual, cultural and gastronomic delight. Amritsar is a historic city with a rich spiritual & cultural living heritage of 'Punjabiyat'  - spirit of being Punjabi. Here are the must do things or things to do when in Amritsar, Punjab:

  • Visiting Golden Temple - The Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib is the spiritual core of the holy city of Amritsar and every time I visit here, it is an uplifting spiritual feeling. A visit to Amritsar is incomplete without visiting the Golden Temple.
[caption id="attachment_3530" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Harmandir Sahib - Golden Temple, Amritsar[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Delhi to Palampur (Himachal Pradesh) Road Trip | Driving Guide

I had travelled with fellow bloggers & photographers on a road trip to Palampur (Himachal Pradesh) from Delhi some time back on invite from Himachal Heritage Village. While our experience of Palampur was pleasant, the drive from delhi to palampur and back was a nightmare. It was because of a bad driver mostly, but also due to some mistakes we made while understanding the directions on google map. So I am sharing my guide on DelhJi to Palampur road trip by self driving or hired car.

[caption id="attachment_5114" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Google Map Direction - Delh to Palampur[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Vijay Stambha in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India | Driving Holidays in India

Vijay Stambha (Victory Tower), for me symbolized the epitome of gallantry and royal charisma of warrior clans of Rajasthan. As a kid hooked to history and geography during my school years,  the very thought of constructing a ‘victory tower’ to commemorate battles won, was both chivalrous and romantic. Then I saw pictures of my cousin’s visit to Chittorgarh and and there was this one picture of him standing next to the shimmering golden yellow tower of  Vijay Stambh, looking quite inconsequential. It was from that moment, Vijay Stambha became a part of my travel wishlist. This January, I visited Chittorgarh, as part of  our 8 day  family road trip through mewar region of Rajasthan and ofcourse, I had the chance to fulfil my wish of seeing Vijay Stambha. It was sweet fulfilment of my childhood wish and in the best way possible, with my toddler. In think, in the years to come, when my kid grows up and reads about ‘Vijay Stambha’ in school, I will tell her with pride ‘you’ve been here already kiddo”.

https://instagram.com/p/BPpiURPBfOi/ (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Mount Abu in Rajasthan, India | Driving Holidays in India

The desert state of Rajasthan, among its many forts, palaces, aravalli mountains, sand dunes and havelis also has the lone ‘hill station’ of Mount Abu. Reading about Mount Abu in the geography textbooks in school, I was fascinated by the idea of a hill station in the dry desert state of Rajasthan and wondered how it would look like. I so wanted to visit it and on our 8 day family road trip through Rajasthan this winter, I finally visited Mount Abu. It was a bittersweet experience and I came away with mixed feelings.

[caption id="attachment_5035" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Views from Guru Shikhar[/caption]

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan | Driving Holidays in India

Kumbhalgarh Fort’s claim to fame is its majestic Fort Rampart Walls, which is said to be second longest wall after the ‘Great Wall of China’. We visiting Kumbhalgarh on a cloudy afternoon, driving in from Ranakpur, on our 8 day long family road trip through Mewar region of Rajasthan. The Fort did not impress me; however, the Fort rampart walls certainly, lived up to their fame.

[caption id="attachment_5016" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Main Entrance Gate of Kumbhalgarh Fort[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Ranakpur Jain Temple in Ranakpur, Rajasthan (India) | Driving Holidays in India

“Ranakpur turned to out to be the much needed respite from the maddening crowd of the city of lakes (Udaipur)” wrote fellow Travel Blogger Svetlana on her facebook update for Ranakpur. She was on a family holiday in Rajasthan (Udaipur specifically) and had taken a detour to this small town. Those lines (and the beautiful photographs) got me intrigued. We were in the process of finalizing our family road trip to Rajasthan and Udaipur was one of the destinations. I asked Svetlana about the logistics and she so graciously shared all the details. Udaipur turned out to be a mixed bag of pleasant moments and disappointments; the husband who wasn’t so keen in the beginning of our trip decided to take a detour to Ranakpur (and if possible Kumbhalgarh) on way to Mount Abu, on the last night in Udaipur (mostly to appease me and also to get over the disappointing experience of city of lakes). The visit to Ranakpur turned out to be one of the prettiest drives of our whole trip and the Ranakpur Jain Temple certainly bedazzled us with its serenity and beauty.

[caption id="attachment_5003" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Ranakpur Temple against morning sun[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar

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