NGT Rewind: A Book Lover’s Guide to Bengaluru, Karnataka’s Magical Spider and Walking Pilgrimages

The best of Nat Geo Traveller India from December 12-18. | By NGT Staff  
Bodh Gaya, Bihar
At Bodh Gaya in Bihar, a fig tree such as this one shaded Buddha on his journey to enlightenment. Photo: Diane Cook & Len Jenshel

What’s New

URBAN SAFARIS IN MUMBAI You’ve heard about heritage walks, but what about a heritage safari? In a city, no less! We joined an urban safari through Mumbai’s Fort area, and came away with a new-found appreciation of our historic hometown. More here.

KARNATAKA’S MAGICAL SPIDER A fantastic beast was recently found in the forests of Shimoga, in Karnataka—Eriovixia gryffindori, a spider that resembles the enchanted Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter series. More about the spider’s features and Potter-inspired name here.

Trip Ideas

WALKING PILGRIMAGES Start the next year reaping good karma with our pick of spiritual walking holidays around the world. They’re good for the mind and the sole. More here.

GUIDE TO MUMBAI’S ART DECO Did you know that Mumbai has the second largest collection of art deco buildings in the world, second only to Miami in U.S.A. Our guide helps decode the faces, curves, and motifs of the style that was all the rage in the 1930s, and tells you where to spot them. More here.

OTTER SPOTTING IN INDIA Otters are adorable, intelligent, and very helpful—they even aid fishermen to get their catch. India is home to the world’s smallest species, the Asian small-clawed otter. More on where to spot the playful creatures here.

BENGAL’S JOYDEB MELA If songs of love, freedom and poor sanitation defined Woodstock, the Joydeb Mela is West Bengal’s answer to it. Every January, the village of Kenduli, comes into the spotlight with the UNESCO-approved Baul singing tradition. The next edition is a month away. More on what to expect here.

BOOK LOVER’S GUIDE TO BENGALURU Bengaluru’s got fine weather, great beer, and a street full of bookstores. Pack light when you visit, because you’re going to have to cart a lot of books back home. More here.

USE YOUR AIR MILES TO SEE INDIA Booking flight tickets doesn’t have to be expensive. We share the easiest ways to score—and then spend—those air miles so you get the most bang for your buck. Broken down, by airline. More here.

NATURE GETAWAY: MALNAD Located a few hours from Bengaluru, the verdant region of Malnad is just the tonic city-weary souls need to reset their minds. Friendly homestays, bracing hikes, and exciting wildlife safaris all make for the perfect weekend. Bonus: Jackfruit pancakes! More here.

WALKING ON THE FROZEN ZANSKAR RIVER Every winter, Ladakh’s Zanskar River freezes solid into a blanket of ice, creating one of India’s most scenic treks, across the Chadar. This lovely story of a first-timer navigating the rugged beauty of Ladakh will warm your heart, and perhaps even inspire you to sign up too. More here.

PLAN AHEAD: JAIPUR LIT FEST One of India’s best literary events, the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival celebrates 10 years in January. For a few days, the Pink City will be flush with authors, book lovers, and aspiring writers, making for one chaotic, enjoyable mela. More here.

INSIDE THE BOEING FACTORY Today, we don’t think twice about hopping on a plane and zipping across the world. But have you ever wondered how those giant aircraft are made? More from inside the Boeing factory here.

Travel Reads

MOONLIT SERENADES IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH A trip to the Kameng River Festival in Arunachal Pradesh helped one traveller discover a whole new part of her country. She came away with memories that will last a lifetime courtesy moonlit serenades, river-rafting sessions, and mugs of homemade millet beer. More here.

HOME IS WHERE THE CHAI IS On International Tea Day, we shared one of our favourite columns that beautifully illustrates the power of a good cup of chai, anywhere in the world. More here.

BANDIPUR’S WILDLIFE WARRIOR Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve is home to sambar, langur, leopards, tigers, and sloth bears. Its forests are filled with nocturnal activity, not in the least because of D Rajkumar’s pitched court battle to ensure the animals don’t become roadkill. More here.

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