2019 Flashback - 10 Moments During my Travel that I will Never Forget
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Another year has now ended with the start of the new dawn of 2020, giving us so many opportunities and hopes to fulfill our dreams and goals. I had a great 2019 with so many awesome memories, great life experiences, lots of learning and silly mistakes. I had met a lot of people and learned about a few new cultures and definitely "the food" 😋 . To be exact, I had a total of 33 visits to different places including an international trip to Sri Lanka.

Since I started blogging recently in July 2019, there are many trips before that I had not published. I am going to talk about all my best moments of 2019 including the not published trips.

It was not easy for me to pick the best 10 moments out of hundreds. Still, I have tried my best to pick one of those which were really awesome, filled me with life and experience and even if I repeat them in the future, I will still remember the first one!

  1. 40 seconds paragliding in the glazing white Solang Valley
  2. Riding solo to Gurudongmar Lake in extremely cold weather
  3. 20 km trekking to the Dudhsagar falls in heavy rain
  4. Best sunrise of my life at Manjakuttai Viewpoint in Yercaud
  5. Climbing 1200 steps to the top of the Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka 
  6. My very first entry to the Amazing Himalayas
  7. The surprise finding of "Arulmigu Bannari Mariamman Temple"
  8. My ride gave up at 17000 ft. above the Sea Level
  9. A scary meeting with the "Monitor Lizard" in Mihintale
  10. A new friend from Kandy, Sri Lanka

40 seconds Paragliding in the glazing white Solang Valley

Solang Valley received plenty of snowfall in mid-December and became one of the best places to visit to enjoy the snow. During my visit to the valley, I had done a few adventure sports and paragliding was the best of them! It was my first time to fly in a paraglider so I chose the short flight which was just about 40 seconds! 

Those 40 seconds of the flight made my whole Manali trip successful! While my pilot was tightening the knots of the paraglider and asked me to run down the hill without stopping, I did not get scared of falling. There was just one thing in my mind - "Today or never!" 

Just after running, when I thought we were falling and in the next moment, I found myself flying high over the Solang Valley with one of the best peaceful moments of my life and embracing the snow. I was just enjoying my breath and wasn't scared of falling. 

Paragliding in Solang Valley, Manali
Paragliding in Solang Valley, Manali

The experience and peace definitely made it the first item of this list! You can read about my experiences to Manali in my blog - Short Weekend Trip to Manali in the Snow

Riding solo to Gurudongmar Lake in extremely cold weather

I love visiting places on a bike! Wherever I go, I prefer a bike no matter what is the length of the journey and how many roadblocks I get! Visting Sikkim solo and riding till Gurudongmar was a turning point in my life. I had gained a lot of experience from that trip. It was my first long trip on a bike.

Gurudongmar Lake is the northernmost point from the Lachen in North Sikkim at a height of 17000 feet from the sea level. Visiting the lake is only allowed till 12 in the noon due to heavy and cold winds late in the afternoon. You also need a government-issued permit to visit the North Sikkim.

I started from Lachen to Gurudogmar at 5:30 am. Due to bad weather and roads, it takes around 5-6 hours to reach the lake. By the time I reached the last check post which was 15 km away from the lake, it was already 11 am in the morning. The temperature was -15℃ and I was not prepared for it. The wind was going inside my helmet and I was not wearing proper gloves to hold the cold! Somehow, I made it to the lake which was already frozen! The experience was amazing. It was so cold that I was not even able to speak properly.

No matter how many challenges I faced to reach there but it became one of the best moments of my life and I felt a huge satisfaction. When I was facing extreme cold and had a little demoralization, this song was humming in my mind - "Kar Har Maidan Fateh!" from the movie Sanju!

Take a look at the awesome view of the frozen Gurudongmar Lake that was witnessed live by me!

After coming back from the lake, I stopped at the checkpoint again where Army canteen was offering a hot kiln set up to keep the body warm with a bonus of unlimited tea!

Read about my story of the visit to North Sikkim - A Road Trip to North Sikkim - Gurudongmar, Lachung, Yumthang 

20 km trekking to the Dudhsagar Falls in heavy rain

Dudhsagar Falls, Goa is around 75 km east from Panjim is one of the highest and beautiful waterfalls in India. It is named Dudhsagar as it falls from a height of 320 meters (approx. 1017 ft.)  and the water dropping into the river looks like milk. 

I visited Goa in Monsoon season with my friends when the only way to reach Dudhsagar waterfall is trekking from Colem. The waterfalls are at a distance of 10 km from there. The spectacular view of the falls with the train passing glitter your eyes and make you stay there forever!

During our visit, it was heavily raining. We hired a guide to show us the path which was going through plains, crossing rivers on bamboo bridges and mountain rocks! We also had a nice lunch in between at Saunalim which is 3 km from the falls. 

Overall, I had an amazing experience as it was my first "real adventurous" trekking! I will suggest this at least once in your life. The satisfaction of reaching falls after the 10 km trek is stunning! 

Bamboo Bridge on the way to Dudhsagar Falls
Bamboo Bridge on the way to Dudhsagar Falls

Astonishing view of the Dudhsagar Waterfall in heavy rain
Astonishing view of the Dudhsagar Waterfall in heavy rain

Overall, it was a nice adventure with lots of memories! Read my full story of the trekking here - 20 km Trekking at Dudhsagar Falls, Goa In Monsoon

Best Sunrise of my life at Manjakuttai Viewpoint in Yercaud

I have been always a big fan of sunrise and sunset. Whenever I have got a chance, I didn't miss it! Visiting Yercaud was a sudden plan. My friend was getting married and I was not able to attend it due to marriage at my home. So, we decided to go on a short trip to Yercaud which was in the middle for both of us. 

While we visited a lot of places in Yercuad, Manjakuttai was definitely the best one! The viewpoint is facing towards the east and is best for the sunrise! We started at 5 am from Yercaud to Manjakuttai. It takes around 20 mins to reach there. The sunrise time was 5:45 am. But waking up at 5 am was totally worth it. The sky was clear and we witnessed every single moment, starting from the very first ray of light touching the Manjakuttai to the full sun coming out of the mountains!!!

The sunrise was exactly the same that we used to drew in our artbooks when we were in school - half sun coming out between the two mountains and rays expanding their horizons all over the village, and birds chirping and singing with beautiful voices!

It was the best sunrise of my entire life that I had witnessed. I am never going to forget this moment.

A glimpse of the sunrise at Manjakuttai
A glimpse of the sunrise at Manjakuttai

Read about my exciting story of a weekend in Yercaud at Yercaud Visit - A Perfect Getaway for a Blissful Weekend

Climbing 1200 steps to the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sri Lanka

Visiting Sri Lanka in 2019 was the part of my own rule - to visit at least one new country in one year! I chose Sri Lanka because of its beautiful terrains, the rich cultural history of Buddhism and getting a visa to Sri Lanka was one of the easiest things I had to do to plan my visit. The other reason to visit Sri Lanka was the shortest flight time from Madurai, just 45 minutes!

I visited a lot of places - Colombo, Anuradhapura, Mihintale, Sigiriya, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in five days visit. Sigirya became my favorite place to visit there because of its natural beauty, amazing architecture and strong history! With a history from 3rd Century BCE and a height of 200 meters, Sigiriya Rock is standing in between nowhere near to other mountains or similar rocks. It is said that this rock was the result of a volcanic eruption.

To visit the top fortress, I had to climb 1200 steps which were the maximum number of steps I had climbed to reach anywhere in my life. Climbing 1200 steps is like literally climbing to a top of a 120 floors building. It took 40 minutes for me to reach the top. Every single step towards the top was a victory in itself and reaching to the top was a satisfaction! No doubt that it became one of the best moments of 2019 or the entire life!

Unfortunately, I could not spend a lot of time at the top due to heavy rain and had to come back sooner! I will visit again to fulfill this dream as well. Let me know if you are interested to go there. 😉

200 meters high Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka
200 meters high Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka

Know about cultural sites in Sri Lanka at A Tour to Famous Cultural Sites in Sri Lanka

My very first entry to the Amazing Himalayas

Whether you live in India or anywhere in the world, visiting the Himalayas is the dream of almost everyone! It was my dream too to visit in the heart of the Himalayas and enjoy the "Him" meaning Snow. I got this chance in April during my visit to North Sikkim. I started to see the snow mountains from Mangan. The real entry to the Himalayas started from Lachen!

I started at 5:30 in the morning. Sunrise happens early in north-east India due to which the daylight was good! After riding for some time the snow mountains had started. First, the green mountains with snow all over them then muddy mountains with snow and at last, the most awesome rocky mountains full of snow with the mesmerizing beauty and satisfaction! I can never forget this moment! I was feeling proud to visit the most amazing thing in India!

Green mountains with snow in the Himalayas
Green mountains with snow in the Himalayas

Muddy mountains with snow in the Himalayas
Muddy mountains with snow in the Himalayas

Beautiful Rocky Himalayas, North Sikkim
Beautiful Rocky Himalayas, North Sikkim

The surprise finding of "Arulmigu Bannari Mariamman Temple"

I went on a solo bike trip to Adiyogi Shiva, Ooty, Masinagudi, and Bandipur in the last quarter of the year. It was my last day of the trip when I started from Bandipur. It was already 4 pm and I had to return the bike by 9 pm. The route from Bandipur to Coimbatore is all hills and it takes more than 5 hours and with low visibility in the night, it can take more. So, I found an alternative route from Bandipur to Coimbatore via Chamrajanagar, Karnataka. In this route, you need to travel north for some kilometers and come back to the south but it is mostly plains and takes lesser time. 

The route is awesome. I got to see a little bit of Karnataka, the area where famous Sandalwood smuggler "Veerappan" used to stay and beautiful Kaatu Bannari Viewpoint with dangerous 14 hairpin bends. As I was coming down the mountains, the sun had started to go in the dark. After a few kilometers, I decided to take a break for tea and found this pretty temple on my side with the name - "Arulmigu Bannari Mariamman Temple". The temple was huge and open with colorful walls and pillars. The beauty of the temple was splendid. It was very calm there. I went inside the temple for the darshan and stayed there for 20 minutes. I was feeling lucky to find such an awesome beauty on my way back!

Bannari Mariamman Temple, Bannari
Bannari Mariamman Temple, Bannari

Bannari Mariamman Temple Inside, Bannari
Bannari Mariamman Temple Inside, Bannari

My ride gave up at 17000 feet above the Sea Level

It was my same trip to North Sikkim and I was traveling to Gurudongmar. After crossing the last check post at 16000 feet, the route was clear and straight towards the Gurudongmar lake for about 15 km. After covering 14 km in the wind, there was a steep climbing in the mountains towards the lake. After moving for another 300 meters my bike started giving hiccups due to lack of oxygen.

It started a couple of times after many retries and moved another 100 meters but then it "gave up".  My bike refused to start and after many tries, it did not even make a sound.

Unfortunately, I had to give up too. I tried dragging it to the lake but due to lack of oxygen, it was harder for me also. Finally, I left it on the hill and took a ride in a Bolero to reach the lake.

My bike stuck at 17000 feet, Gurudongmar
My bike stuck at 17000 feet, Gurudongmar

A scary meeting with the "Monitor Lizard" in Mihintale

It was my trip to Sri Lanka in October. As a part of my tour, I visited Mihintale on the third day of my visit. Sri Lanka is famous for snakes, monitor lizards, and elephants.

From the bus stand in Mihintale to the famous Mihintale temple, I took a Tuk Tuk ride. The route was pretty with beautiful gardens and a small jungle. After reaching the temple, I was so attracted by the route that I decided to go back to the bus stand by walk.

After my 1.5 hours of the visit, I was heading towards the bus stand and after just 200 meters in the jungle, I saw a monitor lizard crossing the road. It was a big one, around 1.5 feet in length! While he was crossing the road, I calmed down my steps and moved forward very silently. There was another surprise waiting for me on the side of the road. As I moved my neck towards the left, I saw a snake going into the jungle from the road!! Well, this literally increased my heartbeats and I was wondering and questioning myself that why would I come to this path on foot! There were monkeys as well on the road. I picked a stick to keep them away. It was my first meeting with a monitor lizard and I will remember it forever!!

Monitor Lizard in Mihintale, Sri Lanka
Monitor Lizard in Mihintale, Sri Lanka

A new friend from Kandy, Sri Lanka

On the fourth day of my Sri Lanka visit, I went to the famous city of Kandy and spent my day visiting the Sacred Temple of Buddha's Tooth Relic and Asia's largest botanical garden - Royal Botanical Gardens. Visiting these places itself had taken my whole day. Luckily, I got a few hours left before leaving the city and start my next destination. As I was on a tight schedule, I was trying to cover maximum places.

In these couple of hours, I planned to visit the famous Bahirawakanda Buddha Statue temple of Kandy. To visit all the famous tourist sites, all foreign tourists have to pay a certain amount of entry fee. While purchasing the entry ticket at Bahirwakanda temple, I met an amazing ticketing executive - Sujit. He was very kind-hearted and a very big follower of Buddhism. He told me a lot about Sri Lankan history and how Buddhism traveled from India to Sri Lanka. He also told me that one day he wanted to be a tour guide in Kandy and was learning different foreign languages like Spanish, French, English and even Hindi. His native language was Sinhala, the first main language in Sri Lanka.

He also told me a list of rulers and kingdoms in India through which the Buddhism religion was passed with the time! He was just 27 years old! We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to remain in touch. I still talk to him and take updates! He also planned to visit Bodh Gaya, Bihar in India - the birthplace of Buddhism.

These were my best 10 memorable moments of 2019 that I will never forget in my life. I had more amazing moments which I enjoyed during my travel.

Please tell about your memorable moments of 2019 in comments! Thank you for reading my blog!!


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