Thanks for initiating this letter exchange! Let me introduce myself, I am Ananya and I am currently in my final year of undergraduate studies. I reside in Bangalore. Coincidentally, I too like travelling and I have a deep interest in learning about different cultures, geographies and simply exploring a world that isn’t mine! I also love reading books (mostly non-fiction).
I saw the picture you had sent of Elephant stairs from Lahore Fort and if just a photograph piques so much curiosity, I can only imagine your wonder when you first entered it! I can also relate to how you connect your travel tours with the history of the place you are visiting- the thought of picturing a different era in the same soil on which you stand definitely gives me goosebumps. Since I like to read books on history too, Pakistan carves a place for itself in my bucket list, with a special focus on the Indus Valley Civilization sites. I have read a lot about how it was discovered and the grand excavations of long buried cities, but seeing them with my own eyes will be a revelatory experience. Do let me know of any other similar must-visit place too!
You are correct! Taj Mahal, Agra Fort etc cannot be excluded from your Indian travel itinerary. In case you are interested in wildlife and ecology, I would highly recommend the dense forests of Western Ghats down in South India. Dotted with hill stations and wildlife sanctuaries, they are nature at its luxurious best, but also a gentle reminder as to how fragile the environment is and how much treasure it hosts.
Train journeys hold a special place in my heart. During my younger days, I used to make a lot of friends, watch acres of farms whiz by and fall asleep to the lullaby of the train’s rhythm. Sadly, I am a nervous flyer so air travel is never pleasant. But for shorter distances, I highly prefer car trips for the freedom to stop wherever we want, explore the food of a roadside dhaba [a traditional Indian hotel] and play games along the way!
Winter has arrived in Bangalore too, with a sudden drop of temperature. A few weeks back, the rain just did not stop, even for days and waking up proved to be a difficult task when you could just continue sleeping with a blanket. I am curious as to how the summer is in Rawalpindi though? When I was a child, summers in Bangalore were quite tolerable, but over the past few years, temperatures have skyrocketed. Also, is your University planning to go offline anytime soon? Mine has and it has been nice to meet people again but with new variants coming up, I hope and pray that the world finds a way out of this soon :).
It was a wonderful feeling writing to you for the first time! At the start of the letter I was quite uncertain on how to frame my thoughts, but I adopted your idea of writing to a dost and turns out it went well! For now, this is all from my side, dearly awaiting your reply to my letter! Until then take care!
P.S : Your picture reminded me so much of a recent trip I made to Hampi, a medieval city in my home state of Karnataka, that I just couldn’t resist attaching these pictures I took! Please take a look and let me know what you think 🙂