Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is a must watch at IMAX Inox

Today it is 21 years since the first Harry Potter book was published by J.K. Rowling and it has been a world of adventures for kids and adults since then. There are probably a handful of 90’s kids who haven’t used a HP reference in their lives or been exposed to the world of magic through books or movies from the #HP series. Now, Harry’s story is over and Rowling has helped us understand the background of her magical renderings through the prequel story in her latest books.

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We have to say, it is one of the best things that could ever happen. A world of fantasy that draws comparisons with Narnia or LOTR by J.R.R.Tolkien, cannot just be left to go into oblivion, right?

We are so thrilled to have seen the second edition of Fantastic Beasts on a large screen with phenomenal surround sound in the cozy comfort of Inox theatre. While you may have your tickets booked already for the new release today or for the weekend, here is a little dope on what to expect without being too revealing.

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Drawing from where we left of in ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them’, the story starts with a series of events leading up to yet another adventure by Newt Scamander, obviously commissioned by none other than Albus Dumbledore. Fantastic Beasts 2 is however not so much about the younger Dumbledore, played by the phenomenal Jude Law. It is a story of untold emotions and memories, finding new creatures that will take your breath away as Newt sets on a journey to Paris to find Credence, the obscurus.

A few refreshing new faces add charm to the storytelling where you see Theseus Scamander, Newt’s elder brother come into the picture as a devoted yet headstrong Ministry Official. A turning point will come with the introduction of Leta Lestrange, played by the beautiful Zoe Kravitz. You may remember her from the role of Toast from Mad Max: Fury Road. The Lestrange family has been a key element of the plot even in the HP series and it is only admirable that the backstory is woven so well with Leta’s past having a serious impact on Credence’s questions about his identity. One more interesting addition is the character of Nagini, played here by the slender and pretty Claudia Kim. You know who Nagini is, don’t you? (Hint there)

The star-studded cast has Johnny Depp as Grindelwald who predictably does a marvellous job of being dramatic where its needed. Honestly we would have liked a little more of Jude Law as the charming middle-aged Dumbledore, but resting assured that there will be more of him in the next edition. That is all we are going to tell you about the story, period. Expect to have comic relief amidst the serious turn of events leading up to an unfathomable discovery of Credence’s true identity, as elaborated by Grindelwald which leaves us shocked and stunned. To tell you the truth, we still haven’t been able to digest, relate, emancipate or understand it. But we will leave it to you to believe or not.

Coming back to the wonderful movie experience at INOX, here is what we loved!

  1. Big screen – The Zouwu (You will know what it is when you watch the movie) looked so extravagant. The graphics of the movies is superb, which was made so much better on a jumbo screen at IMAX!
  2. Quality of the image and surround sound – A graphical, VFX heavy movies is not enjoyable if these two things are compromised. So glad we chose IMAX for this.
  3. Food & beverage – We could barely look away from the screen throughout the movie. It was keeping us hooked so thank to the staff at Inox, we had filled ourselves with huge tubs of popcorn and snacks while gorging on the crazy visuals.

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We watched Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald at Inox R-City Mall, Ghatkopar in Mumbai. It is a special theatre because of the beautifully lit lobby area which automatically transports you to a fantasy world. The interiors are absolutely gorgeous, especially the lighting design. Its a 7 star luxury experience of theatres, we would say.

So book your tickets now and go watch this much awaited fantasy film with your family, friends, kids of friends and everyone else at Inox!

Disclaimer: The Moonchasers attended a secret screening of the film on invitation and opinions expressed in the article are our own and not sponsored by the brand.

 

6 ways to have a Green Diwali this year

Diwali is the festival of festivals, celebrated across many Asian countries with much fervour, diwali is a celebration of love and light. A promise of success and prosperity, diwali has also essentially been celebrated with bursting wonderful looking firecrackers. We remember this from our simpler childhood in the small town of Durgapur,  when the rising AQI wasn’t in our peripheral understanding of the world.

Today, only about 10-15 years from those fiery, happy evenings, we are worried, concerned about leaving a planet with insufficient breathable air to our next generations. Let us admit it that we all caused it. In small ways, however, if each of us can start making changes with their personal choices, the world would definitely try to breathe again. So this Diwali, like the last few, we will celebrate only with candles and lights instead of burnt paper and gunpowder producing poisonous gases and adding them into our ecosystem. As it is, the others are not going to stop, are they?

We bring five recommendations of saying no to one time use products and instead choose a #GreenDiwali for yourself and your family.

Go cracker free – This is the most basic item on our list and should be on yours too. We know it feeds the mouths of little children in remote villages, but it also worsens the air they will grow up in. Make a choice, Say no to crackers. If not just for the air, for the poor pets who are currently preparing to get under the couch or crawl up on the bed to feel safe. Choose #poonchoverpataka this year instead!

Say NO to chemical products and offer healthy gifts to friends and family. Choose cruelty free products from The Eco Trunk – India’s first vegan, cruelty-free portal for lifestyle products that is kind to animals and humans alike. You can purchase a variety of products from apparel to home decor on their website.

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Price Range: Rs. 190 – Rs. 7,500

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For bamboo products and amazing eco friendly gift bundles you can also buy from the gift collection of Barenecessities Zero Waste India.

Price Range: Rs 1000 – Rs. 2500

Availability: Diwali Gift Bundle

Another option is Paul Penders’ which is an all vegan, cruelty free & 100% natural brand. They create products that are all natural and effective without any testing on the animals.

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Availability: Paul Penders

Price Range: Rs. 760 – Rs. 5,200

Consumable Gift Hampers

Love Sugar Dough is offering customised hampers filled with delicious cupcakes, cheesecakes, cookies, macrons for satiating the sweet tooth! Available in ranges of RS. 750 onwards.

Contact them here to order yours!

Celebrate with candles and lamps instead of wasting electricity. USE battery powered LED lights and cruelty free rangoli colours to add festive touches to your home!

Gift plants!

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Urban nurseries are the best thing you can start on your balcony today. It creates a positive space in your home and allows you to feel closer to life and growing things every morning. Much like a reminder of how beautiful life is. From potted plants to planters and accessories to compliment the love for gardening of your friend/relative is a thoughtful gift indeed.

Price Range – Rs. 150 onwards

Buying link: My Bageecha or Nursery Live

And something special for Delhi since they will be engulfed in dangerous smog post the celebrations:

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DETTOL SiTi SHIELD  PROTECT SMART MASK  AND MICRO FAN

Have a very happy, safe, prosperous and green Diwali! 🙂

Love,

The Moonchasers

Eco-friendly Grape County gives you a taste of luxury and beer in wine country Nashik

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What happens when an Architect comes across an intricately crafted space? I think they fall in love with their profession all over again!

This is what happened when we visited Grape County Eco Resorts in Trimbak, near wine country Nashik. On the lookout for eco-friendly stays around Mumbai, we found this Greenspaces initiative to exactly what we were looking for. Located just about 30 minute out of Nashik city, it is a quaintly crafted destination, perfect for mingling with the nature while enjoying a bit of luxury for your well deserved weekend getaway.

There is so much to say about the resort, which is spread across 150 acres, just adjacent to a vast area of reserved forest land. It is home to 35 different variety of birds and innumerable species of butterflies, in the specially built biodiversity park. Grape County is not just a hotel or resort; it is a getaway in itself. An artificially built lake, two large swimming pools overlooking the rolling meadows, multiple nature trails where you can spot a leopard print or two if lucky or come across a full grown Cobra (happened to us!) makes this place a treasure chest for bird watchers and naturalists.

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Staying true to their business, the property landscape was done by a famous design firm. One can take a bicycle ride or a pleasant evening stroll by the lake or have tea witnessing a gorgeous sunset from the watchtower!

 

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We however want to talk about the fantastic hospitality first! Grape County is an eco resort and eco living destination, bringing together nature enthusiasts from different cultures to relax and rejuvenate amidst wilderness.

The rooms are tastefully curated for the vast variety of travellers – Premium and Superior rooms best suited for couples and small families. The Suite rooms are huge, making for a spacious yet private space for groups of friends, groups of couples and big families! They also provide luxury tents for the nature lover in you, which can be accessed with a fun buggy ride inside the biodiversity park.

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Premium Room overlooking the lake

Our personal favourite will be the view from the humongous bathtub though! The small things that screams good hospitality are the little additions to the room amenities and decor. Organic toiletries, glass water bottles instead of plastic, solar powered light furnishings – you will get that feeling of being taken care of the moment you step into your abode here.

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Bathe with a view

Grape County is the country’s first star rated eco-resort, accredited by TERI. What makes it so?

The entire property makes their own power using the man made water reservoir, recycles 70% of everyday water used in the operation of the property, houses a biodiversity park to provide home to birds and butterflies and the company has planted 35000 trees after the property was built adjacent to the forest land. The forest and the property are separated by fences that you can cross only with a certified naturalist. Guess what! You can have a blissful sunset all by yourself while kayaking in the pleasant waters of the lake too!

 

We loved the food at Flambé restaurant, where you can not only taste a variety of food especially with the regular food specials the chefs bring in; but taste a wide variety of wine and craft beer. Surprising us with the range of sheer amazing beers from Great State Aleworks, Moonshine Meadery and WhiteOwl Brewery, they also invited us to the second edition of Oktobrew – a two day craft brew festival with music, shopping and camping under the stars! Who expected a beer festival in the typically known wine country!

As you all know we are big fans of craft brews and we think it is absolutely fantastic that Grape County is building a platform for Mumbai and Pune beer enthusiasts to experience new tastes while camping in the Nashik valleys. The 5 kickass bands that will be performing on October 20th and 21st are a big bonus to be there too!

We are giving away two passes on our Instagram page. Head there for your chance to experience a happening beer fest to celebrate Oktoberfest!

 

 

 

 

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to be open for International Tourists in Mumbai in 2018

Ganesh Chaturthi is only 7 days away. The city is gearing up for the biggest festival in the whole year. For an outsider, the celebrations remind us strongly of our own Durga Puja, a time when each and every one joins in the revelry. There is no bar on cast or creed, colour or race, rich or poor. With the arrival of Lord Ganesha, the devotees find a reason to sing, dance, revel and welcome good fortune in their homes.

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The festival has gained international popularity largely as a cultural subject, for great photography as well as an experience of a lifetime. A person who has danced in a Nakara procession at least once in their lives can vouch for that. India is extremely rich in preserving its heritage, traditions and are damn right serious about their festivals. We take our festivals very seriously and never let go of a chance to get dressed and enjoy with millions of people on the streets.

A subject of curiosity, Ganeshotsav attracts tourists from all over the world to come to Maharashtra during the nine-day festival and experience it for themselves. If you look at the works of culture photographers like Richard Anson, you already know that Indian festivals are all about colours. Ganesh Chaturthi is no different! See for yourself.

When it comes to arranging things better for international tourists, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has come forward with an initiative this year. With an aim to celebrate and promote the majestic Ganesh festival amongst travellers, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has made special arrangements for International Tourists at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai. A pavilion with the capacity of more than 300 has been set up at for the venue for tourists to observe and participate in the spirit and cultural fervour of Maharashtra.

Looking at the overwhelming response received in 2017 during the Ganesh Festival, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) are offering amenities like online registration facility, clean drinking water, mobile toilets, bus transport and refreshments.

With this alliance, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) aims to make Ganeshotsav an international event. Tourists can study and participate in various aspects of Indian culture and rituals. They also get to experience the 126-year-old heritage of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav.

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Commenting on the occasion, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra said, “It is a pleasure to showcase the best of Maharashtra’s rich culture and tradition. The distinct pavilion has been set up for overseas travellers to perceive our beloved deity Ganesha. The pavilion will include amenities like clean drinking water, mobile toilets, bus transport along with refreshment. Tourists can see the Ganapati idols from all over the city at Girgaum Chowpatty which will certainly showcase the transformation in the celebrations over the years.”

Shri Vijay Kumar Gautam (IAS), Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Maharashtra added, “The objective is to position this festival on the global map, so we are inviting international tourists to participate through MCGM registration facilities for the Ganesh festival. We have made a separate pandal for the International tourists at Girgaum Chowpatty. The tourists can catch a glimpse of the Ganpati idols from across the city. I am certain that the festival will attract a large number of International visitors in the state of Maharashtra.”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Suhas Diwase, Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said, “Ganeshotsav is a festival that has always brought individuals from different cultures and communities together. Tourists from diverse countries come to experience the Ganesh Darshan Tour of MTDC every year. We are happy to associate with MCGM to accommodate International tourists and give them an experience of one of the most popular festivals in the state.”

This only means that in 2018, more expats and international travellers can witness the fervour of Ganesh Chaturthi and Visarjan with better facilities. It is a great stride towards making a great experience out of the most popular festival of Maharashtra.

What is Overlanding? Here’s everything you need to know!

Ever heard of Overlanding?

By definition, overlanding is the concept of self-reliant adventure travel for long durations to remote locations, over the ground. The primary goal here is obviously the journey and not the destination. How many times have you read that phrase on Instagram? Probably more than the number of tough travellers who opt for overlanding in reality and make the fullest out of their journeys. Still, it is there and is very much booming. Because as many times as we say that traveling is about the journey, we tell ourselves there is much more than what we are doing.

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Image: MeetPlanGo.com

Well here it is about Overlanding, it is the history of where ‘adventure travel’ began. Centuries ago, when Australian herders used to travel long distances on the outback to herd their cattle, it was called ‘overlanding’. Much before adventure travel became the norm, it was further propagated by the road builders in Australia. Also to note, overlanding can be done by any mode of transport where the traveller sustains long distance journeys over the ground. However, motorized vehicles have always been held in high regard among self-sufficient travellers, majorly due to the freedom it provides. The Land Rover, Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Land Cruisers have been the favourites in this segment.

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Image By: BunchofBackpackers.com Atacama Desert Overlanding Experience

So to speak, has India been introduced to overlanding yet?

The answer is a solid YES!

Indian travellers have already made their mark on the global media front with their extensive travelogues exploring the nooks and crannies of this country. Even if not a public’s choice of traveling just yet, overlanding made its entry in India with Voyages Overland – a startup founded by Bhairavi Sagar and Col. Jaidev Singh Rathore.

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Overlanding is not your regular road trip – not by a long shot! At the heart of an Overland journey are safe and sturdy off-road capable trucks. It could be done in a car with roof-top tents as well. But it will be some time before the Indian traveller chooses that way and there are good products available to sustain a self-reliant journey across wilderness. Voyages Overland provides the overlanding experience in robus trucks converted to give the basic amenities for a long road journey.

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Bonnie – the passenger truck where you stay

The passenger truck a.k.a. ‘Bonnie’ is air-conditioned and comes equipped with a mini-fridge for those chilled beverages, personal lockers where travellers can store their daypacks, laptops and other valuables safely and roof seats to enjoy 360-degree views while on the road.

The camper utility truck a.k.a. ‘Clyde’ takes care of every other requirement one might have while on the road, including, a fully functional kitchen where all your meals are prepared, a washing machine for the long spells on the road – enabling you to travel light and five washrooms with both hot and cold water!

We cant wait to be on our Overlanding experience, and can bet it is very close to the top of our to-do bucket list. So when interviewing Bhairavi, we spoke about the feasibility and audience interest in overlanding. We also spoke about how this could change the way we look at traveling within or outside the country, just not by planes! She said, “We understood there will be challenges. Hence we provide guided Overlanding tours across India. We are the first in India to introduce Overlanding in the format where 4×2 heavy commercial vehicles have been modified as Passenger (a.k.a Bonnie) and Utility Trucks (a.k.a Clyde) which would be our vehicles when traversing India.”

If you are wondering about the amenities, don’t bother! They have got everything covered, along with five toilets! What more could you ask for? Clean toilets are the biggest deal-breaker for long road trips, which is why we carry Peesafe with us on all road trips!

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When asked about the value Voyages Overland brings to a traveller seeking an experience of a lifetime on the road, by himself, she said, “Value to our customers is brought by aspects such as, our fleet of two Trucks, which are designed such that they cover every aspect of being on the road and make the entire experience of a traveller memorable. These cater for all travel, boarding and lodging requirements which a traveller may need to address, specifically on the road in India, where there is a lack of infrastructure to support remote camping and overlanding. The central idea of Voyages Overland’s itineraries is to experience the outdoors like very few have, while never losing sight of the tenets of responsible tourism. Most importantly, Overlanding with Voyages Overland is a carbon-positive, eco-friendly form of travel. Our aim is to bring back the groovy fun into community travel, gathering stories, memories, and travel mates that last a lifetime.”

That says it al, doesn’t it? So what are you waiting for! Go book yourself an overlanding vehicle and head out. The road can teach us so much more than what four walls could, right?

Voyages Overland presently covers three different circuits in India, namely – Rajasthan, The Himalayas and Central India. This circuit is recommended for the lovers of culture, art, architecture those interested to see the vibrant colours of everyday desert lives. The circuit in Central India is perfect for Overlanders with an interest in spirituality, art, and wildlife. The circuit covering the Himalayan range up north provides for a good mix of adventure and tranquil nothingness along with tremendous stargazing and nature walk opportunities.

You can check out Voyages Overland itineraries here.

Note to reader: Overlanding is considered a religion. We read an interest account of an avid overlander talking about the influence of social media on changing the idea of overlanding to an off-road drive with 4×4 vehicles. You can read his story here.

Product Review – Himalaya Fresh Start Oil Free Gel facewash

Beauty regimes are terribly difficult to maintain for a person who has never been aware of the many products available, and emphatically lacking the knowledge of what to choose. It doesn’t mean we don’t have problems!

We are traveling like nomads, with packed and unpacked bags strewn around our house every week. To be honest with you, doing laundry is enough work already! Let alone packing skincare stuff in each bag. But like they say, where there is a will, there must be a way.

Himalaya Wellness has always been a basic go-to for us starting from shampoos, facewashes and even their latest face wipes which works wonders when you don’t have a setup to get ready on a crazy mountain hike. When they sent us a box of goodness with four variants of their #HimalayaFreshStart range facewashes, kid you not, I was elated. It gave me an opportunity to pack one each in each bag, just to avoid the hassle of transferring items from one to another!

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The gel texture of the facewash does wonders to an oily skin. The one situation i suppose all of you can relate to very very closely. After waking up from sleep, or coming back from a tedious day on the road, this product does amazing in removing that dirty extra oil on my face. Believe it or not, even the man who doesn’t like using any other products than a simple facewash found this thing so very useful!

We love the flavours too – Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry and Lemon. So much so that ended up gifting the lemon to a friend who has chronic acne and oil issues with her face. She reported no breakouts or side effects from using this natural product.

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There are many out there who are not as savvy as us when it comes to skincare regime and find it painful to choose from so many options available in the market. Himalaya Fresh Start Oil clear facewash is your one go-to if you don’t prefer using a lot of products. Having a clean face itself can add a lot to your skin health. Its a lot cheaper than fancy products and does it’s job really well, in keeping your face oil free. #StayOilFreeStayFresh this season with these fragrant and fruity range from Himalaya.

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Price: INR 75 for 50 ml / INR 140 for 100 ml

Product Description:
Himalaya Fresh Start Oil Clear Face Wash is a special formulation with an effective blend of Blueberry/Peach/Lemon/Strawberry and gooseberry. It contains natural beads to help remove excess oil and impurities, leaving the face soft, healthy and fresh.

Key Ingredients:
Fruit Extracts: Inculcating a rich store of nutrients and antioxidants that exhibit skin-conditioning properties.

Indian Gooseberry: The astringent properties in Indian Gooseberry help reduce excess skin oiliness. The tannins act as free radical scavengers.

Directions for Use:
Apply Himalaya Fresh Start Oil Clear Blueberry Face Wash on a moist face and massage. Gently work up a lather using a circular motion. Wash off and pat dry. Use twice daily for best results.

You can watch the video review here

You can get the Himalaya Fresh Start Oil Clear Face Wash range on BigBasket or Nykaa or at a store near you.

 

How to make the most out of your travels

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

The world today poses complex challenges to the average human being, more than what it used to be 10 or 20 years back perhaps. The constant need for staying connected to the world propagates through generations like a wildfire and we all are into it, all the time.  Traveling has opened up new avenues for those seeking clarity by untying themselves from the mundane, city life. In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, instant information sharing is standard practice, and traveling is a necessity to keep up with the lifestyle definition of a millennial.

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Traveling does open up the horizons of our mind, by showing us differences of lands, cultures, practices and offerings. If only our kind was more cautious to inculcate more of nature in the standard definition of a city life, this need would have never arisen. However, it is the age of seeking the world, ticking places off the bucket list that proudly sits on your fridge door!

So what can one do to ensure that they make the most out of every travel experience, no matter 100 kms away or 10,000?

Here is what we have tried and tested in our journeys. Hoping it would help you gather the best of wherever you go and what ever you do!

Find your perspective: Each new place that you set foot on, has something to offer that is only yours. Most often we rely on the internet, friends who have visited to know what to do, where to go. Each traveller is unique just like the place. Find out your likes and to-do when traveling to a new destination, own it and embrace the explorer in you. That way, you will have a great story to tell back home.

Rajwada Corridor

Have an open mind: Whether it be the food, language, clothing, markets or the people, have an open mind. Don’t let preconceived notions cloud your choices. Try new things. If you like it, great! If you don’t, let it become an experience. Observe your surroundings and try to absorb the vibe, you don’t have to always act like the others are, but it never hurts to welcome new experiences!

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A bit of knowhow: The history and traditions of a destination adds to the richness of your holiday extravaganza. Reading a little on the history of the place you are visiting will help you assess the do’s and dont’s, understand why something is there or is popular. It will also help you feel less like a tourist and more at home.

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Best time to visit: It may so happen that you end up missing out on the best things to see, best activities to do if you land in a bad season, at a gorgeous destination. Off season travel comes cheaper, but assess your priorities well and ensure you get to see what you want. Don’t end up burning a hole in your pocket only to find everything closed or inaccessible in the off season. A bit of research on the best time to visit a place will also keep you safe from the perils of a treacherous winter or harsh summer or worse, monstrous monsoons!

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Idols of Gauri Mata and Isar Maharaj

Interact with the natives: The best way to explore a new place is by interacting with the locals. Always remember you are a tourist in their home land, and approaching the locals for help on local timings, places to see, best eateries etc. will help you make a regular plan into something extraordinary. Traveling is nothing without the essence of the lifestyle of a place, so try to get the best ideas by talking to friendly, approachable locals. What could go wrong by asking a few touristy questions. Right?

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Be immersive, don’t just be a tourist: Gather memories via curating your own experiences. It is very important to make yourself and others feel comfortable with your presence. Try everything and only then you will be able to share your experiences with friends and family back home. Exploring a place like its your home will not only save the environment, but also add unforgettable memories to your travel diary.

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Be responsible: Vacationing like a mad tourist, destroying property, harassing others and being rowdy will not go well and may land you in serious trouble. If you have the opportunity to see a place in all its glory, its only fair that others after you get to experience the beauty in the same way. Try to carry your own water, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic and always remember to pick up your trash and dump it in a bin.

Lastly, take pictures! Take as many as you want, capture videos of happenings and add them to your travel diary. A good photo speaks volumes about a destination. What better than visual memories to transport you back to the same spot when life seems all mundane, again!

Published on Nationalviews.com