As the year comes to an end and there is not much travel (work or leisure) planned for the rest of the five weeks left in the year, a summary of some of the new places visited this year.
I was in this town for just a couple of hours on work. As one drove in, through sugarcane fields, the first things one sees are the billboards of cricket bat manufacturers. Meerut has over 50 of the top sports goods brands, brands which many would have seen on the bats of cricketers or the sticks of hockey players or would have purchased for their kids from the local toy or sports shops. Then you enter the old town where the traffic has not moved since the 1857 War of Independence. Meerut was one of those many towns which fell to the Indian sepoys and there are a number of memorials to the martyrs all over the place with a bulk of them in the Meerut Cantonment area. There is a special park for Mangal Pandey as well.
It was late winter when I went there and the weather was just right for chai under the trees.
Lucknow – Kanpur
Another work trip, so there wasn’t much time to spend looking around the city. But the early mornings, a walk along Hazratganj offered some opportunities for photography. Dinner was, obviously, devoted to kababs and more kababs.
Kanchipuram was a half-day work trip but there was just enough time to indulge in some history stuff. The Pallava era structures of Kailashnatha and Ekambareshwar were visited. Another former imperial capital city in India was ticked off from the must-visit list. And sumptuous non vegetarian meals were had at Rama’s Mess.
Ranchi, the town of the second most important and powerful person in India, is a lovely small town with a small lake which the local cab driver proudly says is as big as the sea and a single long road which winds through the city linking the older parts of the town with the modern industrial areas. It was quite a pleasant surprise to see a prominent city square in an Indian city named after an Indian Army soldier, specifically a PVC.
Ajanta and Ellora
I had Ajanta and Ellora on my list for a long time. I decided to just take one weekend off and go and do it. And it was worth it. It was in the middle of the monsoon and the intermittent rain along with the lower temperatures made cave exploration much more bearable and fun.
While Ajanta and Ellora were the main targets of the trip, one also managed to have a look at Khultabad and Aurangabad. The walled city of Aurangabad is an interesting subject in itself, for those interested in the evolution of cities.
Southern Tamil Nadu
I spent two weeks roaming around southern Tamil Nadu – Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Madurai and places around them – and there is a whole list of new places there. A lot of stuff has been blogged about and one can read them here.
There hasn’t been much traveling since then. I suppose it’s now over to 2015 to see what is in store for me.