Travel Talk with Pallam Raju

Indian politician Pallam Raju has been a three term Member of Parliament and former Minister of Human Resource Development and Minister of State for Defence in Central government. He tells Nausheen Tareen that travel is a central part of his being and his sojourns over the years have opened his senses and stimulated his imagination...

Pallam Raju
Pallam Raju posing with kids in Japan

Travel is a central part of my being, whether its professional or personal. Since there has been such an abundance of travel in my life, primarily due to professional reasons, it invariably gets intertwined with my personal life and the distinction disappears. Travel as the saying goes ‘opens the mind’ and I can relate to it in more ways than one. Travel teaches you, opens up your senses and stimulates your imagination while giving you pleasure in real time.

Ladakh – Love at First Sight

Pallam Raju
Pallam Raju with his daughter on his first visit to Ladakh

One of my favourite destinations has been Leh/Ladakh in J&K and it has remained an all-time favourite destination. I first got to go there in the year 1995 along with my wife and 5-years-old daughter. Over the years however I have returned to Leh/Ladakh primarily on work but have always enjoyed the serenity and the starkness of the blissful and enchanting eternity called Ladakh.

Breathtaking Beauty

Mrs Raju during couple's first visit to Ladakh

The rarefied atmosphere which enhances and awes the senses, the contrasting lunar like landscape against the fertile banks of the Sindhu river and the mysterious yet spiritual Gonpas, all add to the allure of this exotic destination. The flight over the Himalayan ranges, the colours in the mountain strata and the approach into the valley with its raw beauty, all take your breath away!

Food Files

The food isn’t anything memorable to write home about but the Ladakh berry (also known as LEHBERRY) has been a nutritious supplement to the diet of the locals with multiple benefits. The High-Altitude Laboratory of DRDO has been doing great work to enhance the agricultural production with great success in cold desert conditions and this has been a boon to the local population.

Travel To Get Inspired

A travel buff, Raju says every destination he has visited has inspired him

I think there have been very few destinations that have not inspired me as I feel there is always something in every place one connects to. Be it the hills, the mountain ranges, seaside and riverside destinations, destinations that have history and culture, destinations where one connects to nature and the animal kingdom, all have their unique appeal and riches. The diversity of food offerings is also immense and it would be unfair to put your finger on any one thing except about fruits of the season in their respective locations.  Fruits have been the biggest natural joy in different locations.

Each destination has its own unique charm for Raju and insists one must travel with an open mind to appreciate it

Culture Curry – Northeast India

My numerous trips into Northeast India, especially the states of Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have been an enriching experience as far as culture is concerned. Beginning with the Rice Festival of Arunachal to the many fests across the region, it has been a rich diversity of experiences. The Polo game experience of Manipur with their short ponies, the bare footed and helmet less yet aggressive game, the rich Raas-leela dance and the 240 years of turbulent Manipuri history as depicted in the RKCS Art gallery in Imphal, the Northeastern Tribal museum in Shillong are all beautiful experiences that are indelible cultural experiences.

Godavari – My Home

The fertile Godavari delta is what I call home as I am from the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. It is truly as blessed land as it has everything that one can desire in terms of the beauty of different landscapes. It is a coastal area, where the Godavari River joins the sea. To the West and the North lie the hills of the Eastern Ghats and beyond that the agency areas which is home to numerous tribes. The plains are rich in cultivation and crops, paddy being the main crop while sugarcane, coconuts, Mango and oil palm are also cultivated in the region. The sea is bountiful with its rich resources too and so is the mighty Godavari river after the monsoon season.

Cultural and Spiritual Scene in Godavari

Godavari in Andhra Pradesh is a spiritual and cultural hub

The area has been a spiritual and cultural hub with several ancient temples which boast of a rich heritage and history. Two of the eighteen ‘Shaktipeeths’ are in East Godavari district and two of the five ‘Pancharamas’ or ancient shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva are in East Godavari district.

Kakinada Beach Festival Sagara Sambaralu that exhibits local arts and flavours of East Godavari district

Must Dos in Godavari

  • Staying in the resorts at Dindi (where the Godavari river meets the sea)
  • A cruise along the river Godavari into the Papikondalu (the agency area)
  • Interaction with tribal communities
  • A visit to the Coringa bird sanctuary
  • Trips to a couple of the mentioned ancient shrines are highly recommended
  • Observing the fishing communities at sea
  • A visit to the local weaving communities is also a culturally enhancing experience

More such amazing experiences on our facebook group Hop On and Hop Off

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