Growing up

Backpack Nirvana Delhi based travel photographer
Every pencil was dear to me in childhood. I don’t know how many pens I have lost after I grew up.


Growing up is a classic paradox of life we all have faced. When we were child, we always wanted to grow up. And after we grew up, we wanted to be a child again.The fact is we all know that we have no control over growing up (physiologically), and we forget that we have control to be a child always (psychologically). But not exactly child, or the world will put you in asylum.

So is there a way to enjoy best of both the worlds? I suppose there is – by growing up physically and keeping some of your childhood traits alive.

Think! As a child how curious you were. Your first instincts were always to touch a new thing, feel it, smell it, taste it. (Just don’t try this at opposite sex after you grow up, might be creepy)
It is all due to curiosity you had at that point of time. The curiosity to know the unknown.

If you recap reel of your life, this curiosity helped you learn new things. And as you learned, your self confidence grew. In fact what you are today is due to the things you learned out of your curiosity.
World calls it life experience.

So why stop after you grow up? Be curios, learn something new always!

Neelkanth Mahadev!

Backpack Nirvana New Delhi based travel photographer

Since childhood I have been intrigued by mythology. To me they were fairy tales going beyond human imagination and giving teachings of rightful way to live your life. And blessed I am with Hindu mythology, look at so many gods As BBC narrator once said “Why settle on one when you can have thousands”. But if you ask me to settle on one, I will choose Shiva. To me he is more human that god. He has a family to take care of along with completing his duties towards his acetic followers. But what I like most about him is his love for mountains. It seems he loved watching the world from above and observe it as an onlooker, as a third party. His judgement would not be clouded by worldly attachments.

Look at all the places dedicated to Shiva and you are bound to head to Himalayas. One such place close to Delhi is Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh. 21kms by car or 14 kms by road from Ram Jhula is an excellent place nestled among lower Himalayan foothills.

Though you may prefer car or jeep, I will advise once on foot even if it is downhill journey. You will be passing through Rajaji National Park, with some jaw dropping views of Rishikesh city. The route is full of wildlife, with different insects, birds and specially langoors keeping you entertained all the way. The place remains generally empty with the exception during Shiva Ratri and month of Saavan when devotees from all over India pour into these mountains. This will be good time to catch up with some really interesting people and hear stories from inside India which never breaks into prime time.
I have climbed this route many times and never have been disappointed. I have discovered something new, be it in a form of hidden waterfall, spider and bird show or a realization within which changed the way I look at life.

Backpack Nirvana New Delhi based travel photographer

Backpack Nirvana New Delhi based travel photographer

Backpack Nirvana New Delhi based travel photographer

Climbing this route makes me realize that we do not need to destroy this beautiful environment to call ourselves developed. None of us have understanding of any animal or plant language, then how can we say our encompassed listening to their side too.
The views I was talking about while climbing are getting frames of more and more buildings. Each next time I climb, I see more and more buildings. Each next time I climb, I see more forest being cleared up for man-made structures. There are people I have met, who are veterans of this route. They have seen more destruction than me and are very skeptical of new generation’s effort to save our natural history.

You all must be aware of the legend why Shiva got the name Neelkantha. He drank poison and gave us a toxic free environment.
How can we contribute to that legend. We can also get rid of toxicity from our lives. We can stop being part of blind consumerism. We can stop the wastage of time and resource of things that will not matter to things we love to do. Each one of us has the potential to make this world a beautiful place through our talents. It’s just the question of realizing and utilizing it.
As Amish said in his famous Shiva trilogy – ‘Har Har Mahadev’, can be very true if we can act towards it.

Everyone is Mahadev!

Backpack Nirvana New Delhi based travel photographer



Backpack Nirvana New Delhi based travel photographer

Culinary Colonization

chai samosa backpack nirvana india travel photographer

One of the unifying snacks combination of India is Chai – Samosa. It transcends the boundaries of region, case, sex, age. It doesn’t matter if you are a school goer, a house wife or someone who only sits only in air conditioned environments, you will always say yes to this snack combo, especially in winters or rainy season. With this combination in hand, there have been many talks of politics (national and office), movies, books, liberalization, and globalization. Then Species, cultures and languages going endangered or extinct.

However no one has paid attention to the two items in their hand. With liberalization and globalization we see onslaught of culinary items from foreign lands putting up a competition for local cuisine.

I have observed among the environment I live in, where both options are available. People now prefer a sandwich, burger or pizza with some fancy named drink to wash it down instead of chai-samosa. I am no one to judge which one is good. Calories conscious will tell you both are not good.

If I am samosa, will I feel culinary colonized by a burger taking over my turf. Or like those master masons I am secretly colonizing culinary kings of the other unknown plates around the world. Maybe find a restful place under a fork and knife.

Reflection – Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun's Tomb - Reflection backpack nirvana
Humayun’s Tomb – Reflection

I have been to Humayun’s tomb in Delhi many times and always have wanted to capture a different aspect of it. On researching online I found out many images captured as reflection of the structure. Most of them had captured reflections very sharply. I would not lie, I did try my hands as well. Some of them turned out to be good captures, but it did not satisfy me.

Then I thought why not capture the reflection in way, that it looks like a painting. So here is my execution of it. I will still like to improve on this and give another try sometime.

Technical Details –
f/8, 1/30sec, ISO-800, 55mm
kit lens on Nikon D3000

Duality (Varanasi)

backpack nirvana photographer new delhi
Duality in motion and stillness.

Does a place calls you or you call a place?

This has been my question since I started traveling. It has happened many times and I am sure with you as well, when you make all plans to visit a place but never make it. And sometimes without much effort you are traveling to a new place.

A second visit to Varanasi was on my plate for quite a few months. The first visit was to understand and capture the moments of this age old city. Which towards its culmination, ended with a promise of second visit. The incidents leading to this second visit brought back the question again. Though I had lot of difficulties settling on leaves, train schedules and finally finding a place to stay in busy tourist season. But once the dust settled, the ghats embraced me with their calmness and gave me time and peace of mind to ponder on answer.

Sitting on the ghats, you watch people pass by. Some passing in their mortal forms from one point to another. Some passing from this earth to some other earth, heaven, hell whatever you want to call it. You see the river passing by, the boats, the sun, moon, time pass by. And my mind diverts to another question – what exactly is passing by? What I am seeing as passing by or me who is passing by these moments in time? With each water drop, each boat, each second, each individual, I was the one who was actually passing by. I was passing in time for a better understanding me and the world around. Sitting at a single place I was able to draw a connection to the other dots on this big map.

This made me realize, that place is not a variable, variable is me. The places remain as they are. They just reflect my mind, my mood and make me feel as I want to be. And as soon as this thought entered my mind, the duality cleared. For all the questions I had in mind the answer was singularity. It was ‘me’. It’s not other people or places I need to understand, it’s me who need be understood.

So are all questions answered? No my friend! This leads to a bigger question.

What is I without ‘I’?