FOREST BATHING IN THE BEAR COUNTRY

A hike in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is a chance to come face to face with bears and ethereal blue glaciers while slowing down and plugging into the therapeutic powers of the natural world

Hiking in the lush and inviting Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska
The Tongass National Forest is a buffer against climate change, absorbing around eight percent of the nation’s annual global warming pollution and storing an estimated 10-12 percent of all carbon in USA’s national forests. However, it continues to be threatened by ongoing congressional attempts to clear-cut rare and valuable old-growth trees.

In the heat of idleness, I often envision myself in the middle of nowhere, lost in the deep, dark woods, full of magic and mysticism. Taking deep breaths to smell the fresh forest air and damp soil, placing my hands on the trunk of a tree, listening to the ambient sounds of birds, dipping my fingers in a stream to feel the chilled water and soaking up the sublime serenity, I am at the peak of bliss, calm and contentment. Such is the tonic called “nature”!

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BEYOND THE JUNGLE OF KANHA

A jungle safari (or many) is definitely on the top of your list when visiting one of the most beautiful national parks of India – Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh – and it should be so, unquestionably. But while chasing the call of the wild, you’re likely to miss out on the little delights the nearby villages dole out.

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While the trend of ‘do it like a local’ isn’t going anywhere, I list down some meaningful experiences to make sure your trip to Kanha is etched in your memory for all the right reasons. And the best part? Your phone doesn’t work at most locations. That’s a sure sign you need to “switch off” from the chaotic city life!

Put up in a Gond-inspired hut
You’re never going to feel like a local if you’re staying in an apartment-style hotel, no matter how luxe the rooms and facilities may be. Instead, put up in a cottage inspired by traditional Gond (Adivasi people of central India) architecture, made using locally available materials such as mud plaster, stone, terracotta tiles and rough-hewn timber beams.

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Tucked away in the little tribal hamlet of Narna, these eco-friendly huts boast of furniture made from waste and recycled wood and blend in seamlessly with acres of natural forest around. Kanha Earth Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris borders Kanha’s buffer zone, and makes for an ideal option.

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