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28 UNESCO Sites in Nine Months!


Offbeat  (tags: UnitedNations, unitednations, world, interesting, unusual, women, pictures, environment, interesting, news )

JL
- 612 days ago - articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Architect Jai Bharati, talks about her experience of backpacking across India and a series of whirlwind trips to win the GoUnesco Challenge 2012.



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JL A. (275)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 7:46 pm
Architect Jai Bharati, talks about her experience of backpacking across India and a series of whirlwind trips to win the GoUnesco Challenge 2012.

For most of us with regular day jobs, hitting the road to explore new destinations, is a luxury that one just cannot afford. However, even the constraints of a 9 to 5 job, didn't deter Jai Bharati, a Hyderabadi architect, who won the GoUnesco Challenge 2012, which required contestants to travel to 28 of the UNESCO heritage structures in India within a year!

Her journey started in April, three months into the challenge already. "I happened to come across an article about the GoUnesco contest in a newspaper and I thought it would be interesting to take up this challenge. But it was already April and I was sceptical about being able to complete the task in just nine months. However, travelling across India is something that I've wanted to do since college. So I decided to participate," she says. The contest had just 10-15 participants initially, but eventually, around 50 backpackers joined the group to hit the finish line.

Bharati started off casually, making two trips a month on an average, as she had to balance these trips with her work. Starting off with Pattadakal in Karnataka in May with a group of friends, she landed in Mahabalipuram while she was making a trip to Puducherry with her family in June. It wasn't until September that she really took the challenge seriously. "At the beginning, it was really difficult to take days off from my full-time job. In September though, I was in a transition between two jobs, so I thought that this would be the best time to catch up," says Bharathi, who managed to complete majority of the sites in North India in those 10 days.

Breaking away from the group, Bharati then went on a solo journey to the rest of the sites, as she had originally planned. "I wanted to go solo since the beginning, but since my family was a bit worried about my safety, I would go to a few sites along with fellow travellers in the challenge. But after gaining a bit of experience, I decided to go solo and that was such an exhilarating experience!" she exclaims.

Travelling on a low budget — always on trains and buses — the "solo female backpacker" created quite a stir wherever she went. "Once, I even had to check into a star hotel to meet a client after returning back from a 13-kilometre trekking trip on a mule," she says.

It may have been arduous, but Bharati says she is glad to have made memories to last a lifetime, "Nanda Devi in Uttarakhand, also called the Valley of Flowers, is extremely beautiful. Although, the trekking during this leg of the journey was the most tiresome, I definitely want to go there again. I also want to visit Fatehpur Sikri."

Still on a high from all the travelling, the city traveller now has plans to hit all the 962 heritage structures across the globe. "On the New Year's eve of 2011, I was travelling in Kerala and somehow, the superstition worked for me and I ended up travelling the whole of 2012. I hope this effect lasts this year too," she quips .
 

Ann W. (15)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 3:37 am
Let's hope she finds a place that takes her breath away!
 

Gloria picchetti (291)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:17 am
I had friends in the Peace Corp in India. It's not exactly paradise and you should be young and healthy to travel outside there.
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 8:15 am
You cannot currently send a star to Gloria because you have done so within the last week.
 
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