The AdventureN 2017 Calendar Contest saw some remarkable photo entries and exceptional photography skills. We are over-whelmed with the kind of response we received on each category. It was more special because through this contest our hopes sprang to life; hope to see Adventure Sports flourish, hope to see more and more people participate in them. 

You all submitted entries in huge numbers and we thank you for the amazing enthusiasm and participation shown by all of you. The Day has come and here we are announcing the winners of our #AdventureClick contest.

There is a tiny little surprise but we’ll come to that by the end of this.

The winners for our early bird contest are:

1) Gaurav Gawand

On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. (Caption: Gaurav Gawand)
On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. (Caption: Gaurav Gawand)

2) Saurabh Malay

Malay Saurabh Early Bird

3) Dhruv Singh Jamwal

Me above the sun. (Caption: Dhruv Singh Jamwal)
Me above the sun. (Caption: Dhruv Singh Jamwal)

Our Popular Click category was based upon the highest number of likes garnered by a photo. So here it it!

1) Arun Kumar (189 likes)

We never noticed the beauty becuase we were too busy trying to create it...!!! (Caption: Arun Kumar)
We never noticed the beauty becuase we were too busy trying to create it…!!! (Caption: Arun Kumar)

2) Tiyash Mukhopadhyay (164 likes)

Majestic Queen Of The Himalayas.. The Kanchenjunga.. A fresh morning, starts with this view, makes the day king size (Caption: Tiyash Mukhopadhyay)
Majestic Queen Of The Himalayas.. The Kanchenjunga.. A fresh morning, starts with this view, makes the day king size (Caption: Tiyash Mukhopadhyay)

3) Rahul Chhabra (120 likes)

Another Sunrise.. Triund, Mclodganj 2015: Rahul Chhabra (Caption: Rahul Chhabra)
Another Sunrise.. Triund, Mclodganj 2015: Rahul Chhabra (Caption: Rahul Chhabra)

Now here is the surprise. Our panelists have been having a hard time selecting the winners for Critique Click. So pardon us for the winners of critique contest will be announced shortly. So till then, congratulations winners! And the rest of our participants, keep your hopes up and watch this space for more!

Nikita Abhyankar

By now, perhaps everyone has read and spoken enough about the couple who left their high-paying advertising jobs to travel the world and are ‘now scrubbing toilets’ for a living. They blog at HowFarFromHome.com

The first time I read about this couple in news, it made me feel sorry for them; gave the idea that they are regretting taking the decision they did and choosing a life of travel.

how far from home animals
Photo: How Far From Home Blog

Expectedly, other news publications followed suit and these are a few more headlines that I came across:

  • This couple quit their advertising jobs to travel the world – and now they scrub toilets for food Business Insider
  • The Couple Who Quit Their Ad Jobs to Travel the World Ended Up Poor and Scrubbing Toilets –Adweek
  • Nomadic couple who quit high-paying advertising jobs to travel, forced to scrub toilets to survive –NYDaily
  • Would you quit your job and scrub toilets to travel? This South African couple did –Firstpost
  • This Couple Quit Their Jobs To Travel And Now Scrub Toilets To Get By –Buzzfeed
  • Nomadic couple have to scrub toilets to fund their travels –Deccan Chronicle

Now, coming from a journalism industry where lives and jobs are hanging by the thread of click-baits, I preferred reading the original blog written by the South African travelling-couple Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnbergo.

Ohh and must I add, it was far from wimpy, whiny, or sad!

how far from home travel
Photo: How Far From Home Blog

The blog clearly shows that the Cartell-Dirnbergo duo knew what they were headed for. They write, “Although we knew it wouldn’t be easy, we are certainly learning fast that this isn’t for faint hearts, and we need to learn to react and adapt to everything that’s thrown our way.”

Nobody ever said that travelling or backpacking was a kid’s play. Every travel blogger that I have come across have had a story with similar patterns.

Get a high paying job – get stuck in the rut – realise you don’t want to do it – leave cushy job to travel and be a blogger – have a difficult financial life while having the best time of your life.

But most of people who are yet to have their awakening moment, read these blogs, see the pretty pictures and keep wondering how awesome the life of a travel blogger is. Seldom anybody sees the darker side of it. This is where it is most important to read the last part of this blog.

how far from home travel
Photo: How Far From Home Blog

“But even though we probably have more greys than when we started, dirt under our nails despite long showers, and cheap snack food as a main form of nutrition, this crazy lifestyle allows us to enjoy the freedom of exploring rich Swedish forests, never-ending Nordic fjords, Italian cobbled alleyways, and cosmopolitan cities. We have time to brainstorm our own ideas, and push our own creative experiments. It’s like heaven for us. Sure, wood needs to be stacked, and garbage needs to be taken out (it’s our version of a shit sandwich, as Mark Manson put it), but once that’s done, we’re free to explore, wander and be one with our meandering thoughts. You work under your own schedule, using (a lot of) spare time to jog around mirrored lakes, craft inspired creations and breathe the Arctic air. There’s nothing quite like swopping million rand advertising budgets for toilet scrubbing to teach you about humility, life and the importance of living each day as if it were your last.”

For this, I couldn’t be more thankful to the Cartell-Dirnbergo duo for showing the world what it is really like.

Growing is a part of everyone’s life and there are many who help us in that period of growth, growth could be in any area. But when we announced our first photo contest we had you guys who actively took part in our #AdventureClick contest and we must say bravo to you guys for making it a success. We have so far had a lot of entries and we cannot tell you how happy we are to judge them.

photo-contest

It is time for those who haven’t given #AdventureClick contest a shot to do so, go ahead and send in your entries, your best click will be rewarded and appreciated by us. All you have to do is post it on our #AdventureN Facebook page and hashtag #AdventureClick and your photograph might be the lucky one to feature in our 2016 calendar.

For more details click: https://adventuren.com/blog/adventure/adventureclick/

#‎AdventureN‬ ‪#‎AdventureClick‬ #‎TravelContest‬ ‪#‎KnowLimits‬ ‪#‎Yolo‬ ‪#‎Photography‬‪#‎PhotoContest‬ ‪#‎Contest‬ ‪#‎Hobby‬ ‪#‎Adventure‬ ‪#‎Travel‬

AdventureN Campaign Photo

India’s Adventure Click

Hey folks,

We are announcing our first-in-the-series photography contest for the budding talent in you!

The camera is a save button for the mind’s eye, said Roger Kingston and we couldn’t agree less. A picture speaks a thousand words and we want to be a part of your story, make it big even!

Our contest aims at showcasing your talents, and giving you the due credit for your art.

In 2015, Shivya Nath featured on our annual calendar, a story for each photo of every month. This is your chance to feature on our calendar for 2016.

Because we all like a little more, we also have cash prizes for our top 3 winners in both the below mentioned categories!

So go crazy folks, send us your best entry!

PHOTO CONTEST

WIN BIG:

– Five early bird entries will get a chance to win gift voucher worth Rs 500 each.

#PopularClick:

Tag your friends on your best photo. More the likes, higher the chances for you to win! Sounds simple, isn’t it?

1st Prize: Gift voucher worth Rs 5000/-

and similarly,

2nd Prize: Rs 3000/-

3rd Prize: 2000/-

FotorCreated final post

Likewise,

#CritiqueClick:

1st –Rs 5000/-

2nd –Rs 3000/-

3rd – Rs 2000/-

*Chosen by AdventureN Judging panel

What more, best three pictures would be showcased in our AdventureN 2016 Calendar. Best Entries would be showcased on our media channels.

EASY TO PARTICIPATE:

1)      Upload your adventure photo on our Facebook profile – https://www.facebook.com/AdventureNcom .

2)      Add a good caption to it. (If you can, share your story behind the photo (50-100 words)

3)      Lastly, make sure to mention #AdventureClick

4)      Do send us your photo on reachout@AdventureN.com.

THE THEME: LANDSCAPE

  • People enjoying nature
  • Hikers, backpackers, campers and other outdoor activities
  • Dramatic waterfalls, rivers, gorges, expansive mountain views,  wide-open vistas, storms, sunrises & sunsets and beaches
  • Wildlife landscape

Do Not Include: Macro photographs, portraits, fashion photographs, or product photography.

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

> Last date of Submission 31st August.

> Photos must be from India.

> To ensure eligibility for the contest, all entries must have a resolution of 5 million pixels or greater (5 megapixels) that must be made available upon request. Higher resolution files of 5 million pixels or greater (5 megapixels) will only be requested should an entry be pre-selected to be awarded a prize or an honorable mention. All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.

> Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified.

> Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are acceptable.

> No date restriction on when your photographs were taken.

> One photograph per person will be accepted. Extra photos submitted will not be judged. So share your best photo!

> Each image can only be entered once. Duplicates will be removed.

> Source material or proof of permission to use must be made available on request of AdventureN.

> AdventureN does not accept any liability for the publication of unlawfully reproduced images. Computer-generated or computer-altered images will not be accepted. Artwork and illustrations will not be accepted.

> Photos submitted must have been taken by the entrant. One entry per person. Image Usage Rights: Copyright will remain with the Photographer. However, AdventureN will be granted license for non-exclusive worldwide unlimited use for an indefinite period. Photo credits will be given to the photographer every time the image is used. (This applies to all images submitted, whether they win or not).

THE JUDGING PANEL:

> 3 popular pictures would be pictures getting highest amount of likes.

> 3 critically pictures would be those winning images which will be selected for technical quality, originality, artistic merit, and overall appeal.

> All entries will be reviewed by a Judging Panel of experts and their decision will be final.

#AdventureN #AdventureClick #TravelContest #KnowLimits #Photography #PhotoContest #Adventure #Travel

By Aditya Kunte

During my time in Varanasi, I have tried my level best to capture the essence of the ghats that I find so alluring. Photo: Aditya Kunte
During my time in Varanasi, I have tried my level best to capture the essence of the ghats that I find so alluring. Photo: Aditya Kunte

My trip to Varanasi began with an extremely hot, bumpy, crowded, and not to mention a very aggravated bus ride from Lucknow. It was the kind of trip that made me question my sense of self-importance (I had my first experience of a monkey bite, but more on that later). But it was also the kind of trip that made for a great story to tell. And a great story it was!

I reached Varanasi around midnight, too tired to be hungry or cranky even. My host at the Bhadrakali guesthouse, located in the heart of the city, was a god- send with his prompt and accurate directions to help me out.

I was always told about the grace and magnificence of the Ganges, and the sight of her next morning was when I saw her, shining bright under the morning sun in complete glory. All I had to do was stand in my balcony and stare at her; majestic, lazy, like she owned the place. And own it, she does.

Ganges, the way it is. Photo: Aditya Kunte
Ganges, the way it is.
Photo: Aditya Kunte

Varanasi holds Ganges in its name, although not directly. The city is said to have acquired the name from two rivers, Varuna (a tributary of River Ganga) and Asi (a small stream that flows besides the Assi ghats).

Ohh that wretched monkey. Photo: Aditya Kunte
Ohh that wretched monkey.
Photo: Aditya Kunte

While I was deep in thought looking at the Ganga, getting myself re-infused for exploring the city, I was greeted by a monkey, native to Banaras, who made my balcony his pit-stop. So as we both sat there staring at each other, the bolder amongst the two of us made the first move. He approached me with innocent eyes, gently took my arm in his hands, sniffed it and retreated back to his corner. I was elated! More staring followed. He approached me again, looking more innocent than ever. I was really hoping to hit it off with him this time. Maybe he would let me pet him; maybe a cuddle. Maybe even climb over my shoulders and call me daddy. So there he was, taking my arm again and I was more than willing to offer it to him, only this time, the little brat sinks his teeth whole into my arm! The bloody monkey bit me! First reaction – panic. Second reaction – still panic. Then came the disappointment and the feeling of rejection. I now know what it feels like to betrayed, and to be bitten by a monkey!

One of the most striking features about Varanasi is the Assi ghats. Plenty has been written about them and yet barely enough. To truly experience everything the ghats have to offer, I would recommend walking that every every possible time of the day. Each time is a different emotion.

 

The silent hope at dawn; the purposelessness of the afternoons; the energy infused evenings and a strange sadness at night. But all throughout, there was a certain sense of peace that the ghats brought along.

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My fondest memory of the ghat would be sipping on hot chai and staring at the river. Doing nothing. Just being. It is like an entire scene from Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan coming to life right in front of me.

Now, having Benaras shown to you by a Benarasi local is one thing but have it shown to you by a true Benarasi in love with his city is not something everybody can boast of. I would consider myself lucky to have found Piyush Rai, who filled me up on everything; from local gossip and Benarasi meetha paan to chat on streets and bhang thandai. The Benarasi babu does not hold anything back and for that experience of a lifetime, I will be eternally grateful.

The Ganga aarti at Dashashwamedh ghat every evening is one of the most awe inspiring aartis I have ever witnessed. A row of 10 priests performing the aarti in perfect harmony with humongous burning lamps is a sight to behold. Add to that the melodious chants, the rhythmic clanging of the bells and the collective energy of a thousand people that takes you into a state of trance. The aarti truly gives meaning to the ancient name of the city ‘Kashi’, that literally mean the ‘City of Light’.

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The tiny alleys of Benaras define wandering without a purpose, especially to somebody like me who quite likes and is attached to goals, targets and plans. The entire experience was strangely liberating, surreal even to say the least. It was interesting to note how I saw, heard and felt so much more without the burden of a destination.

To speak of the river itself, two things will remain with me forever.

Art, that lies in every nook and corner of the city Photo: Aditya Kunte
Art, that lies in every nook and corner of the city
Photo: Aditya Kunte

First would be watching the sun rise over the Ganges while gently cruising downriver in a row boat. If there was any way to freeze the moment; not just the picture, but the sights, sounds, weather and smells; and preserve it, I would. But perhaps the fleeting nature of that moment is what makes it so special.

The second moment would be the taking a dip in the Ganga! I’m not one to have an ulterior motive of washing away my sins. But the one thought that kept driving me was “aaya hunt oh dubki laga ke jaaunga!”

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There is no one way in which I can summarise Varanasi. You might have experiences far more different than mine. But the city is alive and there is only one way to find out how!

By Shraddha Mehta

Some Random snap of GHNP
Inside the Great Himalayan National Park (Photo: Shraddha Mehta)

It was late March when me, along with a few friends realised that it was high time we needed a break. And the first thought that popped in our minds unanimously was, ‘The mountains are calling and I must go,’ a proverb widely used by John Muir.

Photo: Shraddha Mehta
Photo: Shraddha Mehta

A Himalayan trek, away from Pune’s dry March heat seemed welcoming and thus was made the plan for Tirthan Valley and Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) where one can spot indigenous birds like Monals and the beautifully dotted red-necked Western Tragopan.

A high-altitude trek can be rather difficult (GHNP is at an altitude of about 4000 m AMSL). We would regularly practice at Sinhagad fort near Pune. Before we knew it, our date of departure had arrived and we headed towards Aut in Manali district from Delhi by bus on 19th May 2015.

Very sincerely, I could have walked towards the Nagini village with the picturesque Himalayas and the gorgeous valleys to my company, except that my sleep decided to hold a disobedience movement. Sigh!

Photo: Shraddha Mehta
Photo: Shraddha Mehta

I personally prefer homestays in the Himalayas. The hosts are very welcoming and the hospitality is beyond expectations. Day 1, we decided to relax and simply take a stroll around. We visited the banks of Tirthan river and a nearby waterfall later that day. The second location gave the feel of being on the sets of Avatar!

Avatar like scene
Photo: Shraddha Mehta

Next day post breakfast we reached Gushaini Village, the starting point of our trek. Filled with excitement, we started walking towards Rolla Campus (Altitude 2100 m) at about 11:30 in the morning. The path was not very steep, more like a regular uphill walk and by 5:30 pm we were at Rolla Campsite.

The next day was our real test of endurance. We started on steep walk at about 9:30 in the morning. The distance was only about 5 kms but the climb was tough with practically no spot to relax ourselves. After a rather gruelling trek we reached the Shilt campsite (Altitude 3100 m) around 2 pm. As soon as we set our sight on the view from our tent, that of the Tirthan peak and the adjacent ones, absolutely nothing else mattered. It was perhaps the closest I could reach to a heaven like view!

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We were to summit Rakhundi (Altitude 4,100 m) and descent to Ghuntaro (Altitude 3,400 m) the next day. For this, we started our trek early by 8:30 next morning. This one day of the trek was perhaps the toughest when we all pushed ourselves way beyond our limits and comfort zones. The walk seemed never ending! And by the time we reach Ghuntaro, it was 6:30 and we all were supremely exhausted, not to mention famished!

At about dinner time, the leader made an announcement that we would be resting at Ghuntaro for another day and return the same way we started. This was a disappointing yet right decision as the climb from Ghuntaro to Dhel was more difficult and strenuous. The weather went bad in night and it snowed.

The campsite was located on the slope of a hill within the area of barely some plain. It was probably the most beautiful campsite with rhododendrons surrounding it.

Shraddha Mehta

We sat back in our dining tent and chatted. Some of the members went for a walk further towards Dhel in the afternoon.

A day’s rest at Ghuntaro gave us the time to regain our energies. The next day we started our journey to Rakhundi and from thereon to Shilt. The walk was pleasant but the descent was a little difficult. We halted at Shilt for the night where it again rained the entire night.

Our team
Our team

Next day we decided to walk ahead of Rolla and camp at the gates of GHNP. We were hurrying off when the trek manager Roshan Singh spotted a snake which he mentioned as a Viper. We all took few photos and marched further. At Rolla, we took a good halt for lunch and then into the river.

Till Rolla, it was descent and then almost a plain walk. At about 4 pm, that day we reached the Gates of GHNP. The last member walked in and the rains started as if they were waiting for us to reach the shelters. Here we enjoyed campfire and the staff also sang some local songs for us.

Next day morning, we trekked to Gushaini Village and then to Manali with a quick stopover at Nagini to pick up our bags.

Rhododendrons

 

Trek in Tirthan Valley is not so popular as yet  and hence this part of forest is cleaner and peaceful and away from the clutters of commercialization. There are very few operators in this valley with excellent staff! We always felt especially cared for and the 9-year-old child on our trek was adored and looked after very well.

If I had to, I could mention a list of reasons why I would go back to Tirthan valley, but the most prominent of them all has to be the quest for the Western Tragopan.

Lakshmi Sharath

– A media professional, a traveller, travel writer , blogger and photographer.

And I believe that a rolling stone actually gathers moss.

After 15 years of sitting beside a desk in several media organizations, I decided to travel and see the world. I have covered five continents and been to over 25 countries and my passion lies in exploring the nooks of India as well.

Travel Writer

I was a columnist with The Metro Plus, The Hindu, one of the widely read national newspaper in India and my photographs and articles have been published in several popular publications and books, websites, newspapers, magazines and blogs such as National Geographic Traveller, India Today Travel Plus, Times Crest, Time Out Explorer, Deccan Herald, Hindustan Times, HT Mint, Sunday Express, DNA, Bangalore Mirror, Mumbai Mirror, Rediff.com, Yahoo.com, Sify, Go Nomad.com, Happy Trips, Jet wings, Platform, Terrascape, Complete Well Being, Windows and Aisles and Simplifly. I also edit travel supplements and blogs and have written for coffee table books as well. I have written and edited guide books as well. My photograph has been featured on the cover of Terrascape, a travel magazine published in India. I have also written and photographed a 16 page pull out on the Coromandel Coast sponsored by Neemrana group of Hotels and Terrascape.

Blogger

I have been blogging in the travel space since 2005 year and my blog, A Travel Blog of an Indian Backpacker has won several accolades including winning the Indibloggies -India’s best travel blog of the year in 2008. It has been rated on several lists among the Top Travel Bloggers in India and recently I was considered in the top 10 among 31 professional bloggers from India . An international blog from UK featured me as one of the 100 international travelers to be followed in social media in 2014. I am very active on twitter and Facebook with a follower base of over 12,000 in Twitter and over 5000 on FB and am constantly updating my trips on the go and uploading photographs. I have been recently in the list of Top 100 travel tweeters from around the world, the lone Indian in the list.

Recently I was the only Indian blogger to be part of an international contest organised by Citadines Europe, part of the Ascott group. I participated along with bloggers from Europe and UK, touring solo around Europe and blogging on the go while our posts were voted by readers from around the world.

Association with Tourism Boards

I have been invited by several tourism boards like Tourism Ireland, Singapore Tourism, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Jordan, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Canada, South Australia Tourism Commission to visit their country and state and write and blog about them. I have been invited to Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia on international blogger meets as well along with a group of bloggers from all over Asia. Recently I was one among two travel writers and bloggers invited by Jungfrau Railways in Switzerland along with over 100 media professionals from around the world to cover an exhibition match between Roger Federer and Lindsay Vonn in the snow at the Alps and I got to meet the legend himself.

KOL and Influencer

I have been featured in a video for Sennheiser Headphones and for Marriott Hotels and Resorts and have worked as a key influencer with brands like Thomas Cook, Lufthansa, Lenovo, Nokia Lumia, Revlon India, Airbnb, VIP, Opera Mini, Buyforexonline.com, CEAT Tyres, Mahindra Adventure, Active Holidays, Cuponation, Indigo Airlines, Lenovo among others. I have worked with international clients like Marriott and Citadines Europe, part of the Ascott group. I was recently invited to Dubai and Oman for the launch of Nokia Lumia 1020 along with a group of international bloggers from Middle East and South Africa An avid social media enthusiast, I consult travel companies and resorts like Club Mahindra, Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Orange County Resorts , Hoysala Village Resorts , Nature Zone , Munnar to promote their destinations through blogs and social media. I am the editor of the Club Mahindra Travel Blog – CLAY and I help them build a community of bloggers, manage the content and work on engagement activities like bloggers meet.

Media Coverage

Recently Femina profiled me as the travel blogger from India, in their issue – Made by You, a cover feature. Sunday Midday , a prominent newspaper featured me along with international travel writers, where I spoke about my passion in travel. I have also been featured by DNA in their list of travel bloggers who have made a difference . I have also been quoted in various articles in Times of India regarding travel and lifestyle. And The Hindu featured me in their story on travel blogging .I have also been featured in Lonely Planet as well as a contest winner for my stories. Recently I have been featured in an international podcast show, Daily Travel Podcast, my first ever. You can listen to the show here – Understanding India with Lakshmi Sharath

Media professional

When I am not travelling, I am a content and communications professional, a business head and start up specialist having worked in broadcast media for premier companies like TV 18 CNBC, Radio Mirchi and Big FM . I have launched and set up FM radio stations across India and produced and directed lifestyle, travel and entertainment shows for television.

Contact

I am constantly looking for challenges, projects and new initiatives across travel and media. I am open to brand associations and tie ups and content marketing initiatives. You can contact me for any exciting assignment, FAM trips and blogger meets. You can contact me at

Email lakshmi.sharath@gmail.com
Website www.lakshmisharath.com
Blog A travel blog of an Indian Backpacker.
Twitter www.twitter.com/lakshmisharath
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TravelwithLakshmi
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/lakshmisharath/travel-stories/
G+ Lakshmi Sharath
Instagram Lakshmi Sharath
YouTube Lakshmi Sharath