86 episodes

The Musafir Stories is an audio podcast that documents Indian travel tales. Each episode, we share the journey of travelers in their own words and relive their experience with you, our listeners. The sole aim of our podcast is to share the rich experiences of traveling in India and inspire listeners to take the leap of faith, grab those backpacks and set out to explore the beautiful and exotic country, India!

The Musafir Stories - India Travel Podcast Saif & Faiza

    • Places & Travel

The Musafir Stories is an audio podcast that documents Indian travel tales. Each episode, we share the journey of travelers in their own words and relive their experience with you, our listeners. The sole aim of our podcast is to share the rich experiences of traveling in India and inspire listeners to take the leap of faith, grab those backpacks and set out to explore the beautiful and exotic country, India!

    Mangaluru with Sampath MK

    Mangaluru with Sampath MK

    This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Sampath Menon as he takes us around the coastal town of Mangaluru!

    Today's destination: Mangaluru, Karnataka

    Nearest Airport: Mangalore International airport (IXE)

    Nearest Railway Station: Mangalore Junction (MAJN)

    Prerequisites : n/a

    Packing : pack according to the weather, summers can be hot!

    Time of the year : Winter months from November to January is a good time

    Length of the itinerary: 3-10 days

    Itinerary Highlights:

    - Sampath starts off by speaking about the rich history of Mangaluru and the various names it has been known as over time - Mangalore, Manjaran, Kudla, Kodial, Maikala
    - Sampath calls out the various temples in the city, starting from Mangala Devi temple, after which Mangaluru is named, Kadri temple, Gokarnatheshwar, Venkatramana temple, Saravu temple among others. In the vicinity are temples of Udupi, Kollur Mookambika temple, Dharmasthala, Ananthpura lake temple, Shringeri mutt and Jain Temples of Moodbidri and Karkala!
    - Along with the temples, some iconic churches are a must visit - Rosario church, Aloysious chapel, Milagres church
    - Beaches in Mangalore are quite unique and a popular tourist spot. The important beaches include Someshwar beach, Tannirbhavi beach, Kaup beach, Suratkal beach, Panambur beach, Padubidri beach and St. Mary's island.
    - Don't forget to catch up on the international kite festival if you are in town during the event. Another new addition is a cycling trail along the coast!
    - Once you are done with the beaches, you can catch up on the Pilikula wildlife sanctuary a well maintained zoo.
    - Mangalore is also famous for the tiles -the famous Mangalore tiles with Albuquerque tile factory a possible visit.
    - Coming to the food choices, Mangalore is a world in itself. From Bonda juice (tender coconut juice), Mangalore bajji, Mangalore buns, patrode, Gole bajje, patoli, neer dosa, ghee roast, kundapur chicken, fish fry and the lest we forget the popular Gudbud ice cream!
    - Mangalore is also rich in culture right from the Yakshagana form or dance/performance to the hulivesha and Karadivesha dances. Dusshera celebration is also one of the popular festivals that draws in large crowds.
    - Nearby places like Udupi, Bekal fort and Chikmagalur are great options for a short trip!

    Links:

    Links to the blogpost:

    Why visit Mangalore:
    https://sampathmk.com/great-destinations-mangalore-india
    https://sampathmk.com/my-perfect-day-in-my-city-mangalore

    Pilikula Heritage Village:
    https://sampathmk.com/nikon-photo-walk-pilikula-heritage-village

    The vegetarian crocodile:
    https://sampathmk.com/in-search-of-the-vegetarian-croc

    Sultan Battery:
    https://sampathmk.com/sultan-bateri-tipus-watch-tower

    Mangalore Intl Kite festival:
    https://sampathmk.com/kite-festival-in-mangalore

    Moodbidre Jain temple:
    https://sampathmk.com/a-jain-temple-and-a-giant-statue

    Nearby Murudeshwar:
    https://sampathmk.com/that-trip-to-murudeshwar

    Nearby Chikmagalore
    https://sampathmk.com/a-few-days-in-chikmagalur
    https://sampathmk.com/chikmagalur-into-the-rains (Chik

    Nearby North Kerala:
    https://sampathmk.com/north-kerala-places-to-visit

    Bakel Fort:
    https://sampathmk.com/amazing-bakel

    Odhens sea food:
    Kannur: https://sampathmk.com/dog-cafe-dosas-more

    Oyster Opera
    https://sampathmk.com/oyster-opera-great-settings-good-food

    Nearby Dharmasthala:
    https://sampathmk.com/a-day-in-dharmasthala

    Link to the blog:
    https://sampathmk.com (https://sampathmk.com/)

    IG: @sampathmk
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sampath.menon.7
    Twitter: @sampathmenon

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    • 54 min
    Kartarpur Sahib with Abhishek Vaid

    Kartarpur Sahib with Abhishek Vaid

    In this episode

    #Kartarpur #Sikh #Gurunanak #pakistan #sikhism #pilgrimage #border #holy #gurudwara #love #peace #brotherhood

    ====================================

    Winners of the book giveaway contest on the Pondicherry episode: Mohan and Shruti! We will reach out to you shortly!

    ====================================

    This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Abhishek Vaid, founder of the Untravel Show as he takes us across the Indo-Pak border to the holy gurudwara of Kartarpur Sahib, the place where Guru Nanak spent the last years of his life!

    Today's destination: Kartarpur, Pakistan!

     

    Nearest Airport: Raja Sansi Airport, Amritsar

    Nearest Railway Station: Dera Baba Nanak

    Prerequisites :  You need an ETA - electronic transfer authorization to travel and passport is mandatory, even though there is no visa stamped on the passport. Look up the process and requirements on https://prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in/kpr/

    Packing :  Avoid carrying anything that you would not carry on a plane (carry-on) 

    Time of the year :  Round the year (but watch out for the political situation and COVID-19!)

    Length of the itinerary: 1 day

    Itinerary Highlights: 

    - Start from Amritsar and drive/take local transportation to Dera Baba Nanak. 

    - Complete your immigration formalities at this post, the experience is very hospitable. One can apply no earlier than 15 days before the planned date of travel.

    - A bus ferries you from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur, it is a short journey of 4kms. 

    - Make sure to carry 20USD/1800INR as the fee has to be paid at Kartarpur. 

    - Start early so that you get to Kartarpur around 9am. The latest you can get in is about 2pm since you have to return by 4pm IST. 

    - Each visitor is allowed to carry items up to 7kgs. Cameras and photography is allowed. 

    - Kartarpur is significant as the first guru and founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak spent the final 18 years of his life here. 

    - The corridor was opened after years of lobbying by both the governments and important members of the Sikh community. 

    - The corridor now leads to the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara which is one of the largest gurdwaras of the world. 

    - Built in white marble, the gurudwara complex has an elegant and simple look, very different from the Golden temple in Amritsar, one of the other important places of Sikh pilgrimage. 

    - The gurudwara is an epitome of calmness and tranquility, despite of its size and the crowds of people. 

    - The main shrine has day long prayers and darshan and the community kitchen/langar severs food to the pilgrims for the full day. 

    - The complex also has a well that is from the time of Guru Nanak devji, a monument of the Kirpaan or dagger as well as a small market to buy souvenirs. There is also a muslim shrine in the vicinity. 

    - One of the highpoint of the visit, besides the opportunity to pay homage to Guru Nanak is the chance to interact with Pakistani locals who travel here to interact with folks from across the border. 

    - The ambience is that of peace, calmness and friendship and very different from the Wagah border where patriotism and aggression is more evident. 

    - A great opportunity for not just followers of sikhism but others as well to visit a historical and religiously significant place across the border when the option is available! 

    Links:

    Link to the video log: 

    How an Indian can go to Pakistan | The Kartarpur Corridor Experience (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcoorOvh5G8) : 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcoorOvh5G8

    10 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE VISITING KARTARPUR SAHIB | Documents, passport stamping, fees etc: 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfGv-TQlIas

    Facebook: The Untravel Show (https://www.facebook.com/TheUntravelShow/) (https://www.facebook.com/TheUntravelShow/)

    IG: @the.untravel.show (https://www.instagram.com/the.untravel.show/)

    Photo by Ali Rizvi (https://unsp

    • 46 min
    Pondicherry - A Short History with Aditi Sriram

    Pondicherry - A Short History with Aditi Sriram

    In this episode:
    #beaches #cafes #French #colonial #folklore #aurobindo #ashram #photography #auroville #art #streetphotography #villas #quaint #finedining #unionterritory #UT

    GIVE-AWAY ALERT!!!

    ------------------------------
    Listen to the episode, answer 3 simple questions in the form below and stand a chance to win a copy of Aditi's book! Open for two weeks!

    https://forms.gle/Mmb5jgx5mzsTXT7K7

    Alternately, you can buy the book here!
    https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07PS1SLXP/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    =======================================
    The Musafir Stories mentioned in an article on the Wall Street Journal!! (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/5-travel-podcasts-to-cure-stuck-at-home-syndrome-11593094350) Thank you dear guests and listeners!!
    =======================================

    This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Aditi Sriram, a traveler, a teacher and author of "Beyond the Boulevards - a short biography of Pondicherry"

    Today's destination - Pondicherry a.k.a Puducherry

    Nearest Airport - Puducherry airport, PNY

    Nearest Railway Station - Puducherry railway station, PDY

    Prerequisites - Read the book!

    Packing - pack light for humid weather

    Time of the year -  Round the year, summers are HOT!

    Length of the itinerary - Depends!

    Itinerary Highlights:
    - Aditi talks about the backstory of the book and how she came about meeting the editors.
    - After covering how she got the lucky break, Aditi begins be drawing out the orientation of Pondicherry, some of it's historic milestones, the Arikamedu connection and the conquest by colonial powers, and the journey up until independence and beyond.
    - We talk more about the French connection, it's history and how it has played out in the modern day Puducherry.
    - Aditi speaks about the layout of the city, how the city was segregated into the various quarters and the distinguishing factors.
    - We discuss about unique identity of the town, some important citizens like Aurobindo Ghose and his journey, Auroville and the mother.
    - We also delve upon some of the popular folklore of the city, the Aayi Mandapam and it's connection to Napolean.
    - Aditi wraps up the conversation by calling out how even though POndichery is seen as a narrow strip of land comprising of the French and Tamil quarters, it has deep rooted connections to the history of the city.

    Links:
    Link to Aditi's book:
    https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07PS1SLXP/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    Aditi's Twitter: https://twitter.com/sriram_aditi
    Aditi's IG: https://www.instagram.com/sriramaditi/

    Photo by Vivek Sharma (https://unsplash.com/@vivekxr?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/s/photos/pondicherry?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

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    • 47 min
    Varanasi with Arjun Narayanan

    Varanasi with Arjun Narayanan

    In this episode:
    #spirituality #religion #temples #pilgrimage #history #ganges #uttarpradesh #aarti #food #alleys #streets #hinduism #jainism #sikhism #art #music #literature #streetfood #hippie #sadhu

    This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Arjun Narayanan, a journalist and host of Madraswallah Podcast!

    Today's destination- Varanasi, UP

    Nearest Airport- Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport

    Nearest Railway Station- Varanasi Junction railway station

    Prerequisites - preparation and research

    Packing - Dress appropriately as some of the temples might require modest attire

    Time of the year - November to February

    Length of the itinerary- 4 days

    Itinerary Highlights:

    - Arjun plans and reads ahead of time before visiting historically significant places like Varanasi.
    - We talk about the history and the religious significance of Varanasi, the deep relationship with Ganges and the beliefs.
    - Visit Sarnath, the place where Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon at the deer park. There is also a museum where you can explore ancient artifacts.
    - Temples to visit while in Varanasi: Sankat Mochan temple, Kashi Vishwanath temple, Kaal bhairav temple, Vishalakshi temple, Annapurna temple.
    - Ghats of Varanasi - best explored by walking, but you can take up a boat ride to cover them in number.
    - Important ghats include - Manikarnika Ghat, Harishchandra ghat, Assi ghat, Raj ghat, Guleria ghat, Dashashwamedha ghat among many others.
    - Watch the many aartis performed on these ghats, ranging from simple poojas to elaborate procedures, hymns and conches.
    - Explore the streets and alleys of Varanasi that offers a variety of street food. Some places visited by Arjun include Ram bhandaar for Kachoris, Blue lassi shop, Pehlwan lassi, Kachori gali, Poori sabzi, Ras waale aloo.
    - There are a number of book stores one can explore in Varanasi as well and check out some great books such as 'Bananas, the city of lights', 'Bana rahe Banaras' etc.
    - Varanasi also has a rich literary history like Munshi Premchand and Bhartendu Harishchandra who belong to Varanasi as well as a rich cultural history with artists like Bismillah Khan, Pandit Ravishankar, Pandit kishan maharaja, Sitara Devi etc.
    - Try to check out a music festival if you happen to be here during such events. Sankat mocha music festival (April), Dhrupad mela (February), Ganga Mahotsav (November), Kabir festival (December) are some music festivals of Varanasi.
    - Dussehra, Diwali and Dev Deepavali are among the popular festivals of Varanasi.
    - Also consider making a visit to BHU - Banaras Hindu University if you have the time for it. It is one of the largest universities of Asia. Popular are the model of the Kashi Vishwanath temple on its campus as well as Bharat Kala Kendra which is a popular museum.
    - Finally don't forget to check out some Benarasi sarees and try out the Benarasi Paan along with Bhaang from a government authorized outlets!

    Links:
    Link to the Madraswallah podcast:
    https://madraswallah.com/category/podcasts-2/

    Shout out to CreativeAudios.in. Check out their podcast on:
    https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yMmIwNzA5NC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

    Photo by Srivatsan (https://unsplash.com/@srivatsan?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on Unsplash (http://s/photos/varanasi?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

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    • 55 min
    Valley of Flowers with Susan Jagannath

    Valley of Flowers with Susan Jagannath

    In this episode:
    #mountains #valleys #trekking #flowers #nature #hiking #roadtrip #author #Uttarakhand #book #botany #mountaineer #Hemkund #pilgrimage #sikh

    This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Susan Jagannath, a best selling author and traveler as she takes us to the Valley of Flowers, with her new book titled 'The Valley of Flowers - The Ultimate guide to an adventure trek in the upper Himalaya'

    Today's destination: Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand!

     

    Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant, Dehradun 

    Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh

    Prerequisites: Physical fitness, carry a form of ID (passport for foreigners)

    Packing: Pack layers of clothes (warm, rain) along with hiking gear

    Time of the year: June to September

    Length of the itinerary: 10 days

    Itinerary Highlights: 

    - The Valley of Flowers (VoF) is a beautiful monsoon trek to the valley hidden in the heights of Uttarakhand in the Himalayan mountains, filled with carpets flowers, over 500 species that bloom during June - September

    - Susan heads to the Valley of Flowers with her band of friends in the month of August. The trip inspired Susan to write the book (the only previous book written about this was in the early 1900s by British mountaineer Frank Smythe who discovered this place)

    - The Valley is very close to Badrinath and the religious circuit of Chota Chardhaam. 

    - Given that the valley is situated at a high altitude (14400 ft), it is imperative that one acclimatizes sufficiently. Hence traveling slowly and stopping over at other interesting places like Auli is a great option. 

    - Gobind Ghat is the road head for the trek. One needs to trek from here to the base village Gangharia. 

    - The Valley of Flowers national park is open only between 7-5PM, so it is advised to head to Gangharia the previous day and rest before heading to the VoF. 

    - It is roughly a 10km trek from Gangharia to the VoF, so you will need to make the trip to the VoF and back the same day as staying there is not allowed. 

    - One can either trek or avail the services of porters or a mule. The porters can carry you in bags called pittoos. 

    - Options for food and lodging are plentiful in Ghangharia and around although the nicer places will need you to book accommodation  in advance. 

    - The Ecocenter in Gangharia has a documentary screening every few hours that gives you information about the flora of the place. There are options to hire local guides from the centre who are very competent and knowledgeable. 

    - Some of the flowers one can find are orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies, rhododendrons, Himalayan rose, Blue poppy, cobra lily amongst others. Best time is to visit after the monsoons since the flowers are in full bloom. 

    - The Pushpavati river and some smaller streams criss cross as you walk from Gangharia to the VoF where you have to register yourself and pay the fee which is good for 3 days. 

    - Milestones within the park include a big rock (baman pair), a glacier point and the grave of a botanist, Joanne Leigh. One can also trek to Badrinath all the way from the VoF with the help of a guide. 

    - Hemkund Sahib is a separate trek which also starts from Gangharia and leads tot he very sacred Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib. Hemkund Sahib is at a height of over 15,000 ft. So precautions for AMS are necessary. 

    - There is a langar service as well as accommodation for traveler in the Gurudwara. Other options around the area are Auli, Badrinath and the Chota CHardham locations.  

    Links:

    Link to the book:
    The Valley of Flowers: The Ultimate Guide to an Adventure Trek in the Upper Himalaya

    https://www.amazon.in/Valley-Flowers-Ultimate-Adventure-Himalaya-ebook/dp/B087V3YGTF

    Link to the blog:
    https://susanjagannath.com/basic-guide-valley-flowers-2/

     

    Shoutouts: Shabby and Man podcast!

    https://shabbyandman.podbean.com (https://shabbyandman.podbean.com/)

    Follow th

    • 48 min
    Bhubaneswar with Ayush

    Bhubaneswar with Ayush

    In this episode:
    #Bhubaneswar #Odisha #East #culture #temples #art #architecture #dance #odissi #tribal #history #art #Ashoka #Kalinga #Jagannath #rathyatra #rasgulla #buddhism #hertiage #walkingtour 

    This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Ayush Kumar as he takes us to another hidden gem in India!

    Today's destination: Bhubaneswar, Odisha!

    Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik Airport, BBI

    Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar Railway Station, BBS

    Prerequisites -  NA

    Packing - Pack according to the weather

    Time of the year - Winter months from November to Jan is the best time to visit!

    Length of the itinerary: 3-4 days to a week!

    Itinerary Highlights:
    - Ayush starts off by sharing important historical anecdotes about the city, the city that has been witness to some significant historical events like the Kalinga war!
    - Bhubaneswar is also known as the temple city and rightly so, has been home to over 2000 temples in the past. The important temples to visit include Lingaraj temple, Mukteshwar temple, Raja Rani temple, Parashurameshwara temple, Anantha vasudev temple - famous for it's serving of the temple food or Prasad!
    - Ayush also references the variety of food options that are indigenous to Odisha and their backstory, touching up the GI tagged foods like the Rasgulla!
    - Other culturally important experiences are the Odissi dance, the local music, Pottachitra (palm drawings), Bomkhai sarees, chenna poda sweet!
    - Other places of interest include Dhaulagiri that has some buddhist edicts from the time of King Ashoka. The region also has a number of rock cut caves that served as residences for the monks.
    - Not far away, there is also the Khandagiri and Udayagiri known to be Jain rock cut caves that have a number of inscriptions and served as residences for the monks.
    - The ancient city of Shishupalgarh, is another place that one can plan to visit while in Bhubaneswar. The excavations of this lost city from 1-2nd century BC was recently discovered and the findings continue to grow.
    - One can also indulge spending some time in the Odisha state museum, Tribal museum and Kalabhoomi museum. There are also miniature models of the Ratha used during the Rathyatra at the Puri temple is installed at the KalaBhoomi museum.
    - Nandankanan Zoo and Ekamravana are other places for ones who want to indulge in the outdoors and nature.
    - Finally, those who are short on time can partake in some heritage walks conducted by Ekamra Walks that covers the old city and temples.

    Links:
    Link to the Ayush's social media:
    IG: https://www.instagram.com/soul.traveller.kumar/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ayush.kumar.737448

    Cover art picture credits: Dhirendra Singh Rajpurohit (https://www.instagram.com/dsrimagination/)
    IG: https://www.instagram.com/dsrimagination/

    Battle music:
    Sota War (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/sounds/258207/) (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/sounds/258207/) by YleArkisto (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/) (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/) is licensed under CC by 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

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    • 48 min

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