NGT Rewind: We Know You’re Busy, so we Rounded up our Best Stories of the Week

Nilgiri getaways, Grand Canyon treks, and our favourite travel books. | By NGT Staff  
The Grand Canyon provokes two major reactions: the urge to protect it, and the temptation to make a whopping pile of money from it. Photo: Pete McBride

What’s New

MEET SHILLONG’S XMAS FROG The Xmas frog—scientific name Raorchestes shillongensis—is so tiny, it fits in a raindrop. It’s also the star of a 20-min movie, made by Green-Oscar winning filmmaker Ashwika Kapur that releases on YouTube on Dec 25. Watch the story of Thumbelina, a tiny female seeking the frog prince with the strongest genes. More here.

THE PERFECT PICTURE Great travel photos have the power to transport viewers to distant lands. And the winning images of the 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year contest do just that. Click through for intense portraits of China’s Yi people, gorgeous Mongolian horses, and aerial views of Ethiopia’s scorching Danakil Depression. More here.

WILDLIFE WIN The Uttarakhand High Court ruled that national parks and sanctuaries in the state are to have an additional10km zone, in which no new construction will be permitted.  More here.

Trip Ideas

WHAT’S UP JOEY? Kangaroo Island in Australia is home to seals, koalas, penguins, wallabies and baby joeys emerging from their mama’s pouches. As this writer says, “It feels a bit surreal. I haven’t seen my first tiger in India, yet here I am, sizing up a herd of wallabies.” More here.

RAJASTHAN GETAWAY: ALWAR Just a three-hour drive from Delhi, Alwar in Rajasthan, has all the ingredients for a perfect weekend getaway with the charms of a small town. Visit for its historic forts, delicious food, and even tiger safaris. More here.

CAFÉS WITH A SHOT OF HISTORY Cafes and coffee shops are great places to glimpse local life over a good cup of joe. But sometimes cafes themselves are worth lingering over for their storied past. We’ve picked some of the most iconic cafes around the world that have served the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and The Beatles. More here.

NILGIRIS GETAWAY City-weary folks in Bengaluru and Chennai, look no further than Avalanchi. The sylvan town just south of Ooty is the ideal place to fall in love with the great outdoors all over again. More here.

Travel Reads

VALMIK THAPAR ON TIGERS Most of us are lucky to spot a few tigers in our life. But Valmik Thapar, one of India’s leading big cat conservationists, has had intimate encounters with the country’s tigers, especially those of Ranthambore. His new book chronicles those experiences, including his times with star tiger, Machli. More here.

DANCING WITH KARNATAKA’S BHOOTHAS What exactly are bhoothas? Some say they’re an army of spirits created by Shiva. Others use terms such as “devil worship” to describe the bhootha practice. But really, bhoothas are Earth spirits, closely tied to the seas, rivers, and forests. Watch them unleash their fury in temple courtyards in Karnataka and Kerala. More here.

FEASTING ON LITTI CHOKHA Littis are to Bihar and Jharkhand what vada pavs are to Maharashtra—iconic street foods that appeal to everyone. The preparation has even inspired Bhojpuri songs. But what’s all the fuss about? More here.

LOOKING BEYOND THE TIGER IN CORBETT Tigers might be the stars of many Indian jungles, but these landscapes hold many more treasures. As one traveller discovered in Jim Corbett National Park, the moment you stop looking for the tiger, the forest’s immense treasures reveal themselves to you. More here.

GRAND ADVENTURES You’ve seen dozens of breathtaking pictures of the Grand Canyon. But what secrets do those gorges & rivers hold? Two adventurers set out to learn more about one of America’s most beloved places. More here.

CHRISTMAS BAKING One of our favourite things about Christmas is the delicious goodies. Top of the list is stollen, a yummy cross between bread and cake, that’s loaded with raisins, nuts, orange rind, and rum. One traveller learns the secret of good stollen in Dresden, the German city where it was born. More here.

SEEKING HOME Forced to leave her childhood home of Sri Lanka, one writer discovers the familiar in unexpected places. More here.

TRAVEL BOOKS WE LOVE Short of getting on a train or a flight, books are our favourite way to see the world. The Nat Geo staff picks their top reads that leave a lingering sense of place. More here.

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