Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 1

India’s image as a travel destination took a serious beating in 2013. Reports of crimes against women dominated cafeteria discussions. A general air of gloom and despair had settled over the country and even the suggestion of women venturing out alone to explore this incredible land would be considered as blasphemy. Social media platforms were abuzz with warnings, advice columns and shared stories of uncommon courage. Foreign embassies had begun issuing warnings to their citizens about the risks involved in visiting India. Some popular online magazines and websites put India into the list of the world’s most dangerous countries to visit.

Although in the midst of all this chaos, many examples of incredible strength were brought to the fore, most people probably ignored Indian women travellers. These pillars of inspiration went about sharing images that made India so alluring to the world without once mentioning the phenomenal courage that they were displaying by proving the majority wrong. Their beautifully worded stories and brilliant photographs helped resurrect confidence in the hearts of many who till then had been skeptical.

Personally, I have been moved, inspired and encouraged by these women and this post is an attempt at saluting them for who they are. It would be impossible to list every Indian woman traveller in a single post and so this will be the first of a series of posts.

For this series, a set of questions were sent to Indian women travel bloggers with the aim of finding out a bit more about their lives and what motivated them. The underlying purpose of this series is to get more people from India and around the world to get inspired and seek out the many fantastic adventures and sights that India has to offer.

This, the first part of the series, features 7 of the top women travel bloggers from India.

1) LAKSHMI SHARATH (www.lakshmisharath.com)Lakshmi Sharath

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Since childhood I guess, but officially I’ve been travelling as a travel blogger for the last eight years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I have always been attracted to local cultures, heritage, people and sights & sounds of a place. I have been travelling and listening to tales from grandparents who were avid travellers. That got me hooked.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Security is always a big concern and one has to be very careful that you don’t get overfriendly even when talking to locals.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: There are several. It’s tough to recommend one, but I love rustic India. You will find something interesting everywhere.

Follow Laskhmi on Twitter@lakshmisharath

2) NEHA DIXIT (http://goodtimes.ndtv.com/Ndtv-Show-Special.aspx?ID=259&?ShowID=79)Neha Dixit

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Over 3 decades.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Travel! 🙂

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Men don’t take you seriously!!! Not that you need their approval but that’s who you deal with all the time.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Nagaland, because India is more than camel in a desert & backwaters! 🙂

Iceland – The northern lights changed how I view the universe.

Follow Neha on Twitter@NehaDixit_GT

3) SHIVYA NATH (http://the-shooting-star.com/)Shivya Nath

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 4 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Living in Singapore and escaping to the rest of Southeast Asia, first on a student budget, then as cubicle-bound soul!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Getting my family to accept me going solo. They still don’t feel comfortable for it, but my storytelling (story-making) skills have improved over time. 😉

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: There are so many, but Turkey is closest to my heart. This is why – http://the-shooting-star.com/2013/11/27/my-million-reasons-to-visit-turkey/

Follow Shivya on Twitter@shivya

4) ANURADHA GOYAL (http://www.anuradhagoyal.com/)Anuradha Goyal

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 40 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: My love for exploration.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Confined evenings and unavailability of washrooms.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Bihar in India.

Follow Anuradha on Twitter@anuradhagoyal

5) NEELIMA VALLANGI (http://www.travelwithneelima.com/)Neelima Vallangi

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 4 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: What started out as a simple vacation to Ladakh ended with me obsessing over mountains and nature. I love the mountains, the forests, the rivers, the waterfalls and everything natural. The natural diversity of India is so varied that it took me by surprise initially. Travelling in India has been amazing and the more I travelled, the more I realized there were more and more hidden gems waiting for me to explore, even in a country as well-explored as India.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Since I like to go completely offbeat and go to places where there is little or no tourist infrastructure but amazing stories to be found, I’d have to say getting to such places itself is a big challenge – remote places where there is no place to stay and even if it’s there, it is like a ramshackle. But not going isn’t an option either, so those days are filled with awe and dread at the same time. That is my biggest challenge.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: North East, I haven’t seen a place as exotic as the north east in India yet. It’s a shame so few people know or care about those states. I once had a fellow trekker ask me where in the world “Meghalaya” was! Bountiful forests, exotic yet hospitable tribes and the most amazing views of natural beauty make NE a must-visit for the intrepid explorer.

Follow Neelima on Twitter@i_wanderingsoul

6) SUPRIYA SEHGAL (http://www.supriyasehgal.com/)Supriya Sehgal

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: 2004 onwards.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: The idea of exploring places with cultural hooks by myself. To unearth a more deep rooted vibe than a touristic one.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Not too many at all; not gender specific atleast. Sometimes hotels and cabs are apprehensive to take a solo woman in India.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Mahe. Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and Kerala, its a brilliant pit stop for history enthusiasts. French speaking citizens, architecture, a veritable booze/petrol stop and an unassuming fishing village on the edge of the sea… Its simple and not overwhelming at all.

Follow Supriya on Twitter@supsonthemove

7) NISHA JHA (http://www.lemonicks.com/Travel/)Nisha Jha

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Around 18 years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: In my childhood, father’s transferable job took me to a new place every couple of years. The joy of meeting new people & learning about their culture/ languages interested me a lot. I guess that got me hooked to travel.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Not to lose my self confidence that I can go & do things all alone. I know quite a few people who don’t even have a cup of coffee alone in a restaurant.

I’ve done solo backpacking trips (note the plural) abroad and in India which ran into months and it’s a challenge to travel in an alien place without knowing the local language. As a backpacker, it multiplies. There are many factors… looking for a budgeted accommodation, decisions on the spot, safety issues, emotional issues, home sickness etc. Here I am NOT talking about pre-planned, pre-booked travels.

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Any destination is lesser known till you discover it yourself. 🙂

Jokes apart, can’t name of any single destination either abroad or in India.
Experience – I’ll ask the womenfolk to go solo at least once in their life. What solo means to me is planning, deciding, travelling, exploring on your own terms without taking any help from anybody…

Follow Nisha on Twitter@cemonde


As mentioned earlier in the post, this is just the first post of the series ‘Indian Women Travellers’ and subsequent posts will be published on the first week of every month. If you know of other Indian women travellers or travel writers who you think should feature here, please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section. 

Cheers! 🙂

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 1

  1. Happy to have read this well-written and awe-inspiring piece today. Even happier to see a friend from school mentioned here. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the post. Hope this will inspire more woman to travel.
    Thank you for introducing me to some new faces as well. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 2 | FeelFreeorFly India

  4. Happy to read this.let this be a motivation to women travelers.Exploring and enjoying the beauty of rare places keep you healthy ,relaxed and creative,specially when you travel alone on your own convenience and freedom.

  5. Pingback: Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 3 | FeelFreeorFly India

  6. Pingback: Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 4 | FeelFreeorFly India

  7. Staying is the most expensive part of traveling alone, you can always skip 5 star hotels and resorts and go for cheap home stays and dormitories.Being a densely populous country travelling in India is a challenge and often tourists, especially women must be well prepared.

    Kinnaur Packages

  8. Pingback: Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 5 | FeelFreeorFly India

  9. Pingback: Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 6 (Final Part) | FeelFreeorFly India

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s