Flashback 2017 – I made 2017 a year of travel, take a leaf from my book and plan a ‘travelsome’ 2018 for yourself

No.of days travelled – 48

No.of UNESCO sites covered – 6

2017 has been the most eventful year of life since my birth. I got married and shifted to a new city where I have no ties. I learnt how to cook my own food. I realised doing the dishes is the worst chore of daily life. I tried making friends in the city and failed miserably. I printed my own business cards and monetised my blog.

I travelled to various places all through the year. Except April and November, no other month could be considered a ‘lean’ month travel wise. Now that I and my boyfriend, oops, husband, live in the same city, I have a constant travel partner in him. Previously, when we used to live in different cities it was really troublesome finding a travel partner. Most of my friends are lazy with minimal interest in travel. Others who are interested run it as business, and they lack the journalistic approach – my approach. Travelling with me is no easy job. It’s hectic, it’s demanding and it’s anything but a ‘holiday’.

291 Kaas Pathar - Maharashtra - India - Mumbai daytrip - Mumbai Weekend - Satara - Unesco - Valley of flowers - Travel - Azure Sky Follows
Location: Kaas Lake

Save a few, most of my 2017 travel getaways can be categorized as Mumbai Getaways. I started from my own backyard and I am not ashamed of it. Team Sayan-Tania were short on budget, experience and expertise; so starting from our own backyard was like interning to gain experience before you pitch yourself for the high end jobs.

At this point I would like to clear the air. Backyard travel was in no way less exotic. We managed to explore some risky terrain on hikes, visited a seasonal flower plateau which is also a UNESCO World heritage site and savoured the beauty of monsoon in India.

219 Kaas Pathar - Maharashtra - India - Mumbai daytrip - Mumbai Weekend - Satara - Unesco - Valley of flowers - Travel - Azure Sky Follows
Location: Kaas Pathar

Here is a quick throwback to all the glorious travel moments from each month:

January – The month I got married in a typical, authentic Bengali wedding. The blog transitioned from “I” to “us”. For our honeymoon we went to Darjeeling, the queen of the hills. Darjeeling was bone chillingly cold at that time, but the third highest mountain peak of the world, Kanchenjunga, blessed us with a glimpse of its majesty. We had ample opportunity of filming the Darjeeling Toy train which is a UNESCO World Heritage.

Batasia Loop- Toy train- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Location: Batasia Loop, Darjeeling, West Bengal

February – I shifted my base from Kolkata to Mumbai. Frankly speaking, this is the greatest change that has ever happened to me in my life. Sayan is a man of few needs. I understood what ‘few’ means when I entered the apartment in the new city for the first time, a city where he had been living for one and a half years. The apartment had: one spoon, plate, bowl, some salt, induction cooker, a very few utensils and a mattress. I am so thankful to the people who gave us cash vouchers as gifts on our wedding. We spent all the money on buying stuff for our new home in a new city, Mumbai. The latter half of the month was used to explore popular corners of Mumbai – Marine Drive, Gateway of India, Bandra and another UNESCO world heritage site – the Elephanta caves.

Bandstand - Bandra - Mumbai - Maharashtra - The Azure Sky Follows
Location: Bandstand, Mumbai

March – One of my life’s biggest travel disappointments was visiting Lonavala, the overrated weekend spot near Mumbai. Lonavala is good in monsoon; in all the other seasons, it is miserable. The brown hills, dried-up waterfalls and the blazing Sun mocked us. We almost suffered another heat stroke while attempting to visit Sanjay Gandhi National Park under the blazing Sun in the month of March.

Lonavala - Mumbai weekend - Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee Banerjee
Location: Khandala, Maharashtra

April – A month in which we stayed low, owing to March’s unpleasant experiences of exposure to extreme heat. We dined outside and pigged out on some restaurants which served unlimited kebabs and desserts, the two loves of our lives.

Tania Mukherjee Banerjee - Azure Sky Follows - Foodie_tania - 10 Barbeque Nation CBD Belapur
Location: Barbeque Nation, Mumbai

May – In the far end of May, just after Mumbai saw its first pre-monsoon showers, we ventured out to another popular weekend getaway from Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar. We were very scared that Mahabaleshwar would turn out to be another overrated destination like Lonavala and we would return home heavy hearted with yet another travel disappointment. Glad to say, Mahabaleshwar charmed us with its sinful strawberry cream drink, whistling Malabar thrush and rustling leaves of the trees in the forest.

Mahabaleshwar - Mumbai weekend - Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee Banerjee
Location: Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra

June – A few bouts of shower brought relief to heat tormented Maharashtra. We thought it was the right time to explore the UNESCO World heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. We caught a night bus and set out for our great adventure. We read up a lot of literature on both the caves but alas, our study was not sufficient and we were utterly overwhelmed. I believe no amount of study could prepare anyone for a visit to the Ajanta-Ellora caves.

Ellora cave 21- 5
Location: Ellora caves, Aurangabad

July – Monsoon was in full swing with non-stop rainfall for weeks in Mumbai and various parts of Maharashtra. This situation snatched from us the opportunity to travel far and away but it gave us the opportunity to discover our actual backyard. Literally. We went on walking tours from our home to the nearby hills of Navi Mumbai and had our own set of adventures just a walking distance away from our apartment. We took a dip in the seasonal stream, skied down muddy slopes and chased waterfalls.

12 Kharghar -Fanaspada Waterfall - Small waterfall - Kharghar golf course - Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee Banerjee
Location: Fanaspada waterfall, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

August – August was all about trekking and taking risks. We scaled the badass Kalavantin Durg and the highest peak of Maharashtra, Kalsubai. The Kalavantin Durg happened randomly. According to us, and our fellow climbing partner whom we befriended while on the trek, Kalavantin is one of the most treacherous treks in India. Don’t take our friend lightly though, as he belongs from the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh and is an experienced trekker. Kalsubai, on the other hand was easy but a long stretch. Its base village, Baari, is where we experienced the breathtaking hospitality of rural Maharashtra. Bhandardara Lake, a few kilometres ahead of Baari, blew us away with its emerald green water against the smudged green backdrop of Maharashtra.

22 Baari - Kalsubai trekking - maharashtra - mumbai weekend - india - Tania Mukherjee - Azure Sky Follows
Location: Baari Village, Maharashtra

September – This was the month when we were away from our Mumbai home for almost the entire month. We had back-to-back trips to three places different in so many ways. First up was Kaas Pathar, a plateau which blossoms with a myriad of vibrant hued wildflowers post monsoon. Kaas Plateau is also a UNESCO world natural heritage site. Hyderabad, the city of Nawabs enticed us next. We covered the old city of Hyderabad extensively and found magical locations from the pages of history inscribed all over the city. Did I tell you the food was heavenly? Kolkata, our hometown was our next stop from where we went for a quick daytrip to Bishnupur with family.

233 Kaas Pathar - Maharashtra - India - Mumbai daytrip - Mumbai Weekend - Satara - Unesco - Valley of flowers - Travel - Azure Sky Follows
Location: Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra

October – Half of October was spent in Kolkata and the other half was spent in a not-so-enjoyable corner of Maharashtra where we were sent to on a work trip. I got chased by a chameleon, spent a considerable part of day without drinking water, ate absolutely disgusting food and spent a day without network connectivity.

Bishnupur - Mumbai weekend - Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee Banerjee
Location: Bishnupur, West Bengal

November – Honestly, we faced an acute cash shortage during this month and decided to use this excuse to rest our ached muscles. Surprisingly, I realised I no more cook bad food. I dived into the art of cooking and my passion grew so fast that I floated an entire Instagram channel and expanded my blog to include the food niche. I toiled for my blog and pitched to editors of print and media outlets who pay and respect the work of freelance journalists (and they are rare) .Eventually I grasped the frustration of living a life with uncertain income.

119 Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad - Telengana - Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee Banerjee
Location: Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad

December – December opened on a pleasant note with a getaway to the Portofino of India – Lavasa. We celebrated some romantic time on the European cobblestoned street by the promenade with colourful buildings built in the style of Portofino city. The ochre yellow sunset only added more drama to our romantic rendezvous. Hyderabad called us again in mid December and we filled our itinerary with visits to Salar Jung Museum and the Golkonda Fort.

96 Lavasa - Dasve - Pune weekend getaway - Maharashtra - Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee Banerjee
Location: Lavasa, Maharashtra

The last weekend of 2017 is already spent in chalking out our travel trails on all the long weekends of 2018. Let’s see where 2018 takes us.

Wish all my readers a very happy new year 2018! Keep travelling, keep living!

Dear readers, how was year 2017 for you? What plans do you have for 2018? Comment and let me know!


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