That time of the year where we pause to look back and see how we enriched ourselves this year. Looking back at 2015, this is how the year went by. A slow start that picked up pace towards the end.
I grew up in the foothills of Himalayas in Chandigarh, but it was after ages that Himalayas called me back. I spent two weeks in Himachal this summer – driving through Spiti Valley – crossing the most difficult roads with stones falling from top, wading through fast flowing nallahs and stopping my the most pristine of the lakes. Towards the end of the year, I got to visit Gulmarg and Srinagar – both these places were on my wish list since a long time but I must admit this visit just added a long list of destinations to be visited in and around Srinagar.
I re-visited Agra and Taj Mahal and highlight of the year was visiting Bundi and Chittorgarh. A small trip to Hubli-Dharwad gave me so much to write about Western Chalukyan Temples, Musicians like Dr Gangubai Hangal and Dr Mallikarjun Mansur. The year actually began with visiting Bijapur and admiring the Gol Gumbaj. Then came a small trip to Byndoor where I met incredible Chandravathi.
We kept exploring Goa throughout the year discovering lesser-known facets like Bonderam, Dev Deepawali, Arvalem waterfalls or a ride on the backwaters. Highlight though was the full moon night walk on South Goa beaches.
2015 was a year when I looked at this blog with some professional seriousness. All these years it has been a platform for my expression, for sharing the joys of travelling, connecting with fellow travelers and learning from them about new destinations or the new way to look at old destinations. It has been a place where I experienced magic like with the story of a Bihar boy or when unknown people wrote to me about how their lives were impacted. However in last couple of years I saw a commercial interest in the blog and travel blogging emerging as a career option that many youngsters took up voluntarily. So this year, I decided to open IndiTales for commercial associations. I did a couple of small campaigns with some leading brands in travel domain. I was invited by many tourism boards and hospitality brands to visit their destinations and properties. So, a decent beginning and hope to take it forward it 2016.
This was a year when I attended a few conferences – mostly as a speaker except one. Some of them are
Nation Innovation Summit, Mumbai spoke on ‘I for Innovation’
Startup Capitals Conference, New Delhi spoke on my book ‘The Mouse Charmers’
Startup Capitals Conference, Bangalore spoke on my book ‘The Mouse Charmers’
Gurgaon Story – Spoke on the ‘Backyard travels’
LitfestX on again ‘I for Innovation’
Goa Arts & Literature Festival – moderated a session on ‘Travel Writing’
2015 began with ‘Innovator of the Year’ award at National Innovation Summit in Mumbai and ended with ‘Best Digital Content’ award for Inditales at Digital Women Awards by SheThePeople TV and Axis Bank.
Those were the highlights of my 2015, tell me where did you travel in 2015.
Have a peaceful 2016.