What are the 3 top destinations that you want to visit? I have been asked this question umpteen number of times. My usually answer ‘Every place I have not visited is on my wish list’. I mean it. I am curious about every place that I am yet to visit. And I know I can’t see the whole world. But the fun is in attempting to see as much as possible. This time, when an interviewer again sent me the same question, I thought I should put an end to it – write a post on it and point all future questions to this post.
Top destinations on my must travel list
So here is my prioritized list of top destinations I want to visit. At the cost of repeating myself, I must say that ‘Everywhere’ is what my bucket list really is.
I am a self-proclaimed Indophile. I can explore India for the rest of my life. And I love reading about India. I have lived in 10 states of India and visited much more. This travel blog tries to focus on the lesser-known aspects of India, the multi-faceted aspects of its cities through various walking tours. In fact, I am writing this from the jungles of North Bengal where I am traveling at the moment.
India is a layered country, a country that I know best but yet on every step, it amazes me, surprises me and makes me fall in love with it all over again. So, India is and will always remain there on top of my list. Do not ask me which part of India. I like all parts of it – each for a different reason. India will always be on top of my list of top destinations – visited or yet to be visited.
The home of ancient philosophers and the ancient civilization of Greece fascinate me. Its architecture intrigues me. I know it has a wealth of islands that are extremely popular. But I want to see Athens where first Olympics were played. I want to see those ancient structures that became the model for many other civilizations. I did see a glimpse of Greek architecture when I visited Sanchi or the Greek Theatres that I saw in Amman Jordan. They only made me more curious.
Recently I discovered the ancient cultural roots of India in Thailand when I did the Ratchaprasong walk in the heart of Bangkok. Then Benoy K Behl wrote about Indian culture in Japan. This made me curious about exploring the parts of the world that had deep cultural connections with India. Indonesia with its Hindu culture has been intriguing me. I have also been looking at pictures of Hindu temples there and I can’t wait to see them.
I have seen a Mummy in Giu, and another in a museum in Hyderabad, so I am not that curious about Mummies. Pyramids though continue to intrigue. I have seen millions of pictures of pyramids and watched many videos. Am sure none of them give me the feeling that you get only when you stand next to a structure where people lived millenniums ago. Places that have mystery wrapped all around them tickle a certain part of your brain. And you must see the place yourself to get rid of that itch.
Angkor Wat and other temples are my sole reason for yearning to visit Cambodia. I have been studying temple architecture in India – be it terracotta temples of Bishnupur, Chola temples of Thanjavur or Nagar styles temples of Khajuraho. They all have such a lovely amalgamation of art, science, and aesthetics that you wonder where we lost all this in the name of development. I want to read the stories written in stone, understand the iconography and visit an unknown chapter from the past in Cambodia.
When I briefly lived in Houston, on one of my visits to San Antonio, I saw a film about the ancient Mayan civilization that happened in Guatemala. Since then, I have wanted to visit this ancient country. I know it may be nothing like its old self, but then past has a way of leaving it traces for the future generations. I am sure they would be there in Guatemala.
Apart from this my other top destinations to visit include Italy – for all its gorgeous architecture, Spain – for its ancient cave paintings, Japan – to visit all the Saraswati shrines, China – to do a bit of reverse Huan Tsang. The list goes on…