India loves complexity and diversity. For the traveler there are numerous areas requiring either Protected Area Permits or Restricted Area Permits. Each varies in its entry requirements, some are simple paperwork on arrival, some are more challenging and require advance planning.
The Traveler’s Century Club, of which I am a member, calls out 4 Indian territories as ‘countries’. The Andaman Islands I had previously visited (see my posts on Amandman Islands Why Go, Practicalities, Ross & Viper Islands, the ‘Angkor Wat of British Rule’ and Port Blair and Mt Harriet of the 20 rupee note).
This past week I rolled through the remaining 3. Lakshadweep, the island paradise swallowed by lawsuits. Kashmir, a land of division and heartbreak. And Sikkim, nestled between Nepal and Bhutan.
I was only able to take 2 days off from work this week and needed to be back some evenings to my friend’s in Delhi for remote meetings so it was packed.
Monday to Lakshadweep via Cochin and back Tuesday to my friend’s in Delhi.
Wednesday to Srinigar, Kashmir for a fly in, fly out day trip.
Thursday to Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal, then 3.5 hours ride up to Namchi, Sikkim, and back down routing through Darjeeling for an overnight and Friday midday back again to Delhi. Exhausting.
There are understandable criticims of rapid travel like this, and chasing the Traveler’s Century Club in general, however I love that it gets me to explore places that may not even be in the guidebook.
The next several posts will address each in turn as I spend another week in India on more traditional tourist destinations.