“Element-ary,” My Dear Watson!

It is said that the divine reveals the glories of the universe through nature. Whereas nature is an unfathomable entity, change is the only constant. The myriad mysteries of the world of creation could surely be a topic of analysis and exploration behind the closed doors of 221B Baker Street. Although Sherlock would be utterly stubborn towards change of any kind, his insatiable desire for “mystery” inspired us to take a stab at a bit of demystification of the complex workings of this stunning universe we are a part of! What better way to “demystify” our universe than to travel it!

This World Tourism Day, we help you to satiate your desire for exploring the unknown by inspiring you to travel, thereby somewhat addressing the eternal longing of knowing. According to ancient Indian scholars, everything is consciousness (Brahman), and this conscious energy takes the form of solid material. According to them, there are five elements of cosmic creation that help bridge the gap between consciousness and solid matter. Consequently, all physical things are a manifestation of these five elements.

Earth ~ Prithvi     Fire ~ Agni     Water ~ Apas/Jala     Air ~ Vayu      Ether ~ Akash

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So, this World Tourism Day, travel to get in touch with the spiritual side of your being. Open up those senses to the greater possibilities of life and experience the magic of creation with GuestHouser.

Experience the magnificence of Earth (Prithvi) inside wondrous cave homes in India. Witness the glory of Water (Apas) next to the crystal blue waters of fresh water lakes around the country. Breathe in life-giving Air (Vayu) while lazing on windy, breezy beaches. Feel the heights of endless possibilities and the freedom of wide open spaces (Akash) on an adventurous trek. Experience the warmth and ferocity of Fire (Agni) around a crackling bonfire on those cold winter nights. Come let us take you on a journey that transcends the boundaries of mundane everyday life.

EARTH ~ PRITHVI

 Make a temporary home in an underground cave, in the protection of Mother Earth, in the warm cocoon of her embrace—Prithvi.

Arpora, Goa

Didn’t peg Goa for caves, did you? Featuring contemporary cave-esque interiors, this dwelling is perfect for the neo-troglodyte! 

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The bedroom is sheltered under a smooth alabaster ceiling that gently slopes down to cocoon it in a cosy embrace.

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The sleek washroom is modern and well-equipped.

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When you’re not hanging out inside, head outside to the pool to swim away all those worries!

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Seoni, Madhya Pradesh

This cave dwells in the lesser known wildlife park called Pench in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh. Myriad impressions of leaf fossils adorn the rocks that make up the walls of this cave.

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Inside, a sweet surprise awaits you in the form of exquisitely carved decor and a well-stocked bookshelf to keep the refined ones amongst you occupied.

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Even the washrooms here seem to promise an adventure!

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Idukki, Kerala

Flanked by a pair of gigantic rock boulders, the entrance to this cave house completely absorbs you into the troglodyte way of life.

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The main hallway boasts thrillingly unpredictable twist and turns…

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At the end of which a cosy bedroom is revealed!

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Mysore, Karnataka

Located in Mysore, this enormous rock cave features two loft bedrooms and comes with a snooker table.

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Furnished with everything one might need for a comfortable stay like a well-stuffed bed, this cave offers a rather luxurious experience for a cave getaway.

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A meticulously crafted tree mural is brought to life by the warm lighting.

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Meppadi, Kerala

Erstwhile abode of a tribal community of Western Ghats, this natural cave now houses a comfortable modern bedroom that is ideal for a little Flintstones-themed vacation.

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A little fire in a stone hearth built into the cave wall is ideal to warm yourself in case the cold of the cave gets to you! 

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FIRE ~ AGNI

Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

An 80-year old property, this cottage stands in a clearing amidst sprawling virgin forests in the South Gola range of the majestic Himalayas.

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With fireplaces inside the house as well as on the porch, the cottage ensures the chill never gets you!

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 Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Flagstone exteriors reflecting in the clear waters of the adjoining outdoor swimming pool, wooden deck chairs sitting on the poolside, and patio furniture in striped green create a scene that seems to have come alive straight out of a period drama.

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The bedroom is reminiscent of colonial splendour with its four-poster bed and a carved wood fireplace with a stone hearth.

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Kodagu, Karnataka

Surrounded by some sweeping vistas of the Kodagu landscape, this 110-year old heritage property exudes much colonial charm!

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Furnished with classic wood furniture, the room becomes cosier with a personal fireplace to keep you warm on those nippy nights!

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Pick a spot and get cosy!

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Wayanad, Kerala

Set in 4025 acres of tea plantations at an elevation of around 3000 ft in the Western Ghats of Kerala, this grand bungalow looks out to the undulating slopes of tea bushes, lush tropical forests, and mist-clad hills in the distance.

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Oozing class and elegance, the room is handsomely furnished, with a draped four-poster bed and a simple fireplace adding sophistication to its appeal.

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Sit back and relax in the emerald environs that abound here!

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Nainital, Uttarakhand

Set in the solitude of pristine hills, a few miles away from the humdrum of the main town, this luxurious cottage features a harmonious blend of rustic traditional architecture and reassuring modern comforts.

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From an artistic one flanked by sculpted stone pieces to a classic wooden one, the fireplaces in this property align with varied moods.

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The bedrooms are super comfy, boasting antique canopy beds and a sunshiny view of the glorious outdoors!

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Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Located a ten-minute drive away from the famous Botanical Gardens in Ooty, this is a dainty Colonial-era cottage, ideal for travellers who are drawn to rentals that are steeped in history.

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The spacious bedroom features an old-worldly cemented fireplace to keep you nice and toasty without ever leaving your room!

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Munnar, Kerala

Nestled in the midst of the cloudy Western Ghats of Kerala at an altitude of 7000 ft, this cottage sits in a lovely lush garden, lined with flower beds, perfect for a barefoot walk in the dewy grass in the mornings and evenings.

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The cottage features fireplaces in the rooms as well as in the common lounge, thereby ensuring you are always warm and comfortable, despite the chill outside.

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WATER ~ APAS  

Imagine waking up to a gorgeous sunrise by a lake, with the golden rays lending a stunning shimmer to the lake water and bird songs filling the air with a sweet soulful melody! Water can be serene, stoic, and peace-giving.

 Udaipur, Rajasthan

Discuss lakes in India and not start with Udaipur, the official city of lakes, that just does not happen! Set amidst the rugged Aravalis and blessed with the pristine Lake Pichola, the city has a lot to offer in terms of palaces, monuments, and temples. It is also a shopper’s paradise with colourful street-side stores vying for your attention.

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Part of a heritage property, not only does the room give you a view of the expansive lake with forested hills in the distance, it also lends you a peek into native craftsmanship, with stained glass inlay work and flower motif panels adorning the beautifully carved walls. Stocked with classic wood furniture, the property guarantees luxury at a reasonable price.

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Idukki, Kerala

Blessed with abundant greenery and rich rivers, Idukki is utopic for nature enthusiasts as well as for travellers in search of tranquillity.

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Standing beside a quaint lake shrouded by lush bushes and dense trees, this property is an ideal retreat for a quintessential Idukki vacation. Recline on the plush bed that sits facing the sliding glass doors, so your view of the scenic outdoors is never interrupted, or savour a hot cuppa in the balcony as mist engulfs the forest, making it all dreamy and romantic.

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Leh, Jammu & Kashmir

Leh attracts tourists from all the around the world who seek peace and a connect with nature. Guarded by snow-capped Himalayas and dotted with monasteries and stupas, the city casts a calming effect on you and takes you a step closer to understanding the Buddhist culture.

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Since nature is what brings you to this valley, usually, you may want to avoid conventional stays and rather make a well-appointed tent your temporary abode! Erected on lake shores with rugged hills on the other side, these tents let you admire the scenery as it evolves and changes hues during the day.

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Nainital, Uttarakhand

From one hilly town to another, welcome to Nainital! Famous for the pretty Naini Lake, this quaint town is the trusted retreat for a lot of travellers who seek respite from the scorching heat of the plains.

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Warm sunlight peeping into the room on a cool morning to wake you up and a pretty sight of the gleaming quiet lake to sleep to during the night, finding a stay at a better location in the lake town is a challenge of sorts. Whether you are visiting with family or just your beloved, this property is certain to give you memories that will stay in your heart for a very long time.

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Kottayam, Kerala

 It’s time to indulge in some luxury! Stunning views of the majestic Lake Vembanad, sweeping pool decks, and behemoth interiors combine here to create a mesmerising ambience for a luxurious holiday retreat. Seemingly floating amidst canals of backwaters, this sprawling property offers a stylish lake-facing suite and a sparkling blue pool.

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Spend the evening savouring a sumptuous dinner in the romantic lake-facing gazebo, or in solitude watching the sun set over the russet-hued lake.

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Haus Khas, New Delhi

Surprised? Well yes, our capital does hide this pretty cottage that overlooks the Hauz Khas Lake sitting amidst a dense cover of luscious trees.

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Featuring generous casement windows and a glass door set in distressed wood panels, and adobe walls, the cottage is rustic yet modern.

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A bucolic windmill feature accentuates the country appeal of the stay and lends it an artsy touch!

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AIR ~ VAAYU

Imagine the gentle caressing of the breeze to stir away all your worries and cares in a space that’s all yours.

Dona Paula, Goa

Once a secluded bay, Dona Paula is a rugged hammer-shaped harbour which now houses this lovely Greek-ish villa that provides an enigmatic view of the boundless Arabian Sea.

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A tragic love saga of a woman named Dona and her fisherman-lover Paulo precedes this quaint seaside town, who embraced death here to ensure their love remains eternal.

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Kozhikode, Kerala

Amidst rich coconut palms, a beachside buttress, and the seamless Arabian Sea, this homely seafront bungalow offers a serene retreat for your weary soul.

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With the cool sea breeze ever-present to create an ambience of complete rejuvenation, outdoor activities should be right on top of your itinerary here!

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Varkala, Kerala

Situated on the tranquil shores of Varkala, this oceanfront rental is a quiet getaway tucked 7 km away from the palatial Anchuthengu fort and an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu, which is over two millenniums old!

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A holiday here would be nothing short of absolute bliss!
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Daman and Diu

Situated on the legendary Chakrtirth Beach, these simple beachside cottages offer a gorgeous view of the sunset as it paints the sky a bright hue of fuchsia and transforms the deep blue sea into an expanse of burning russet. 

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Kannur, Kerala

Ideal for those who seek solitude in the infinite expanse of the sea, this isolated cottage is located in the quiet locales of Kannur and surrounded by vast swathes of coco palms and glistening white sands.

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Lie back with a cuppa or a good book and just watch and hear the waves crash to shore all day, as the breeze whispers sweet nothings!

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ETHER ~ AKASH

We all love being free, and freedom is synonymous with the boundless sky. Come get lost up where the big birds fly, and there is nothing beyond the blue blue sky! We can’t think of a better way to do this than by getting out there and going on a trek! Being blessed in abundance by nature with a rich diversity of terrains, India abounds in trek-worthy trails, some of which must be on every self-respecting trekker’s checklist.

Roopkund Trek, Uttarakhand

Nestled in the lap of Mt. Trishul at an altitude of 16,499 ft, Roopkund Lake is an amalgamation of pristine beauty shrouded in spooky mystery. Meant for the brave hearts, the lake reveals its hidden truth as the snow melts and the many human skeletal remains surface.

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Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/1_qyymqPiHQ/maxresdefault.jpg

The trek to the lake will take you through oak and rhododendron forests, pristine rivulets, and luscious meadows. Moderately difficult, the trek can be undertaken by an average trekker and takes about eight days to be completed.

 

Chandratal Trek, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

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Image source: http://www.potala-himalaya.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/hamta.pass.chandratal.2012.august.06.jpg

Aptly named Lake of the Moon, Chandratal Lake is situated at a height of about 14,000 ft and is a fairly easy trek, perfect for couples in search of a romantic yet adventurous escape. While the trek can be undertaken any time of the year, the months between May to October offer the best deal in terms of views. You can trek across Hampta Pass and be amazed by the striking change in landscape from lush green to a rugged brown with some snow here and there.

 

Chadar Trek, Ladakh, J&K

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Source: http://blog.whitemagicadventure.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_3069.jpg

Ever wanted to walk on water? This trek lets you! Meant to be undertaken in the months of January and February, when the serene Leh valley wears a snow blanket, Chadar trek involves walking across a frozen Zanskar river in Zanskar valley, and stretches over 105 kilometres with enormously low temperatures. Demanding you to win over some daunting hurdles, including climbing over icy rocks and taking shelter in caves during the night, the trek is quite challenging and equally rewarding. Go on, if you are in good health and are excited by challenges!

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Image source: http://www.trekkinginuttarakhand.com/img/valley-of-flowers-trek.jpg

Attention botanists and anthophiles, this particular trek is meant for you! A perfect monsoon adventure, the trek takes you 12,763 ft high to a sprawling expanse of bright flowers in various shades amidst the majestic Himalayas that surround it as gallant guards. The sight is so soul-nourishing that you may feel your eyes get teary out of sheer bliss! On your way back, pay homage at Hemkund Sahib and thank the lord for such splendour.

 

Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh, J&K

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Image source: http://ramailotreks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Markha-3.jpg

This is one trek that not only is a treat for the eyes but also takes you closer to the people and the culture of the region. Stretching across 80 kilometres, the trek lets you climb through Gandala La (4800 m) and Kongmaru La (5150 m) passes and spend time with the locals at Markha village. It usually takes anywhere between ten to fifteen days to be completed and is best undertaken in the months of August or September.

 

Chembra Peak Trek, Wayanad, Kerala

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Image source: http://www.wayanad.com/images/chembra4.jpg

At a height of 2,100 m, Chembra is the highest peak in Kerala and makes for a fairly easy trek through luxuriant meadows. While the mere nine kilometre stretch can be comfortably covered within a day, you wouldn’t want to do so, for the quaint heart-shaped lake atop, the Hridaya Saras, will actually take your heart away and you would want to spend at least a day on its shore.

 

Gandikota Trek, Andhra Pradesh

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Source: http://photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/2/2/4/7/highres_19808775.jpeg

No, we are not suddenly talking about the US, nor have we mistakenly put an image of the Grand Canyon! This wonder exists in Andhra Pradesh, about 360 km away from Hyderabad. With River Penne flowing across some enormous gorges in the Erramalai Ranges, Gandikota does resemble the world-famous canyons. Beginning at Gandikota Fort, the trek takes you across a mosque, temple ruins, and rocky trails that lead up to the edge where you can camp or make your way down gorge and camp on the grassy banks of River Penna. Pretty easy, the trek takes only about half a day and gives you an opportunity to witness a mesmerising sunrise and sunset.

 

Goecha La, Sikkim

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Passing through pretty rhododenderon forests, expansive Dzongri and Thansing meadows, a serene Samiti Lake, and the Kanchenjunga National Park, with Mt. Kanchenjunga as a constant companion, Goecha La trek takes you up to a height of 16, 000 ft in a span of about ten days. It is a little difficult but totally worth it, given the picturesque sights that meet your eyes at every turn.

 

Kumara Parvatha Trek, Kodagu, Karnataka

Kumara Parvatha Trek - Image Credit @ Kartik Kumar S

Source: https://www.indiatravelforum.in/attachments/kumara-parvatha-trek-image-credit-kartik-kumar-s-jpg.931/

Belonging to the Pushpagiri range of the Western Ghats, this trek takes you 1,712 m high to Kumara Parvatha, which holds the title of being the second highest peak in Coorg and the sixth in Karnataka. The trek is about 15 km long and is best undertaken in the months from October to February.

 

Great Lakes Trek, Kashmir

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Source: https://trekkashmir.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dsc_68734.jpg

Located in the ‘paradise on earth’, this trek borders on divine, as the two pictures above clearly show! The trail presents a total of seven glacial lakes spread across undulating plains and lush maple and silver birch forests. A must for every trekker, the Great Lakes Trek presents picture-perfect vistas one after another and makes you feel that this, perhaps, is where Gods reside!

 

 Dudhsagar Falls Trek, Goa

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Source: http://image3.mouthshut.com/images/Restaurant/Photo/-98177_7247.jpg

The grandeur of the falls speaks for itself! Combining an easy trail and amazing views of a ravishing milky-white fall gushing through a richly forested cliff from a height of 310 m, the trek becomes more interesting by an old railway track that is a part of it. Best undertaken during monsoons, when the waterfall is in its full glory, the falls can be visited through the year.

 

Elephant Falls Trek, Shillong

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Source: http://www.mapsofindia.com/india-tour/shillong/the-story-behind-elephant-falls/elephant-falls-shillong/

Named by a Britisher because of an elephant-shaped stone near the falls, Elephant Waterfalls are multi-tiered falls located in Upper Shillong. The trek up to the falls is relatively short and easy, with just slippery and loose rocks to be wary of. Once up there, you will be greeted by mist and the pleasant music of gushing water.

 

Sherlock may probably not care about travel, but he did tell Watson, ““I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of daily life.”

Nothing routine about travel, we say.