Are there colorful butterflies in her stomach? Is she just fluttering around various lush towns of India to catch her sunshine (of course butterfly) and adore their honeyed cacophony? Meet Solo Traveler, an absolute Flutterby Dr. Pratiksha and her butterflying journeys.
- Number of States visited in India: – 12 States and 2 UT
(Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Meghalaya, Delhi, Daman, and Diu)
- Number of Countries visited: 1 (South Korea)
My life flutters around nature, travel- preferably road trips, photography, and butterflies. I believe it’s always the place that calls us; follow the call of place and you will gain the memories and lessons for a lifetime. It’s a mere illusion that we plan the trip; unless the place wants us to visit none of the planning would work!
- Tell us something interesting about yourself, how did traveling happen and your journey so far:
My hometown is lush green South Gujarat, however, I was born and brought up in Ahmedabad. Nature always fascinated me since a young age. I never missed that hour-long National Geographic episode on Doordarshan! School picnics and vacations to hometown always ended up in self-explorations along rivers, farms, and forests. Hence my choices for further studies became Botany and Zoology to feed my curiosities about nature. My interest in research world took me to the roller coaster rides of MPhil and Ph.D. in Plant Physiology. Along with studies, I was involved in NCC Air Wing, nature camps, rock climbing, and conservation related activities like tree plantation, vulture conservation, and bird rescue.
In the past, more than 15 years, wherever I have worked at whatever position, nature education trips and research came naturally to me, which I happily accepted as my career. As a freelance consultant, I get ample opportunity to travel and to sensitize younger generation and community as a whole toward nature conservation. My earning helps in traveling further to different places in search of butterflies. With my like-minded friends, independently we are documenting Butterflies of Gujarat.
- An enlightening or awkward experience you would like to share. What happened that day and on those roads?
Trek to Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
For three months prior to the trip, I have been down with allergic bronchitis. I was having difficulty in breathing and had a whole good list of allergens to live with. My sister asked me on the previous day of departure of the trip – Are you sure you want to do Valley of Flowers? Having climbed stairs to my room in Ahmedabad, breathless me could just nod head to convey YES!! From 170 ft something, I was aiming to reach between 11000 ft to 15000 ft with breathing problems; I felt it was being extra adventurous! But then the Valley of Flowers was calling and I must go…. butterflies are waiting!!
On 29th July I attempted the trek from Ghangharia to Valley of flowers at more than 11000 ft high. I was left much behind from my group of friends. I was accompanied by a trekker of Gio Adventures. Being a mountaineer himself the trekker knew the frustration of an adventurer due to a medical condition, and thus throughout the trek, he patiently moved ahead of me. After every few steps, I had to stop by to catch my breath. Exhaustion was taking over and I must reach the destination before the weather becomes unsupportive as hours passed by. For me, it was more the test of mental strength than a physical one. I never wanted any medical condition to refrain me from any of my quests. I could see that the sum total of the experience of all these years in the field of nature and adventure had come to my support today. The sole purpose of attempting this trek was to challenge me, to ensure that no ailments can ever stop me from traveling. With strong will power and of course the moral support of friends I made it!! I was content and happy at this feat over breathing problem, only to aim higher altitudes now.
Along with a breathing problem, I had recurring back pain, which at the end of the trip turned out to be due to renal colic. I was rushed to the hospital immediately after landing in Ahmedabad. Recently, on further diagnosis, it turned out to be APS condition. But I know the zest for traveling will always keep my chin up and take me to flutter around the globe!!
- Ah, I can’t get over this. What’re your favorite things to do or visit and why would you recommend
My solo trip to Assam in October 2012, those four days spent in Assam with warm and welcoming people with rich wildlife, everything will remain unforgettable for a lifetime. While at other places I had to chase butterflies, here they were coming and sitting on my hands, bag… all over. The time spent in Dehing-Patkai and Jeypore had been the best time ever with butterflies. Assam feels like another home to me now; friends have become family. I will be going to North East over again and again, for its pristine forests, awesome friends and of course, butterflies!!
I prefer to take paths less traveled, where I can avoid the tourists!! People like me must go to interior Assam, explore dense forests, small towns, and lesser-known yet breathtaking monasteries.
- Bucket list. Dying to visit places.
- North East
- Western Ghats
- Himalayan National Park
- Amazon Forest (Ecuador & Peru)
- South East Asia
And wherever I can get butterflies!! J
- Any advice you would like to give to the readers
Both have a lot to teach deep down to our souls!