Actress Hima Shankar loves to travel alone, giving all her other engagements a holiday. She eagerly looks forward to each trip and gets 'fully immersed in it.'
Her involvement in the journeys is so much that Hima even keeps her mobile phone switched off. "Many people are afraid to undertake a solo trip, but I am not one among them," she says.
Encountering new situations and traversing different routes are thrilling activities for Hima. “I will be always prepared to face any situation head-on,” she says.
The dream trip to the Himalayas
Hima has visited several places, but the recent trip to the Himalayas was the realisation of a childhood dream. “Even while young, I wished to travel to the Himalayas as my own name refers to the mighty mountain ranges,” points out Hima.
“I used to call the Himalayas the 'alayam' - house - of Hima,” she adds.
It was this old wish that came true now.
A 'contract trip' to Badrinath
Hima's Himalayan trip was not a planned affair. When she reached Rishikesh, Hima met a biker who also worked as a guide. She entered into a contract with him, which said that he would take Hima to Badrinath, show her the places there and drop her back in Rishikesh safe. The contract was signed and Hima paid the biker the money. She then set out on her journey to Badrinath.
'Soaking in' the scenery
Hima looks forward to experiencing the places she visits, rather than enjoying them. “In fact, I want to immerse myself in the destination, which gives me most satisfaction,” she says.
During the Badrinath trip, Hima came across several amazing spots where she could do this. “These places gave me so much peace that I spent hours there,” says the actress.
“While I read a book, I imagine myself as one among the characters. Likewise, during a trip, I try to ‘dissolve’ into the place I visit,” adds Hima.
The sights at Rishikesh
Vasishta cave, where the sage Vasishta is believed to have conducted penance, and the River Ganges flowing nearby are among the several beautiful sights in Rishikesh. “It was so peaceful at these spots that I spent a lot of time there,” says Hima.
“The scenery of the place is indescribable,” she adds.
A thought-provoking sight
Whenever Hima reaches a new place, she tries to understand the local culture and customs. She speaks to the residents there for this. It is from them that she learns about the major attractions of the area. “Most of my journeys start this way,” says the theatre and film personality.
That was how Hima arrived at a spot during her Himalayan trip which presented a very unique sight. “There is a hot spring with a pond named Tapt Kund near Badrinath. Men and women together take a bath in the pond,” she says.
“An enclosed area is arranged nearby for the women to take a dip. However, nobody bothers to lock its doors. Most women have no inhibition in entering the pond clad in the bare of minimum clothes, but hardly anybody takes notice,” says Hima, who was moved by the sight.
“Even scantily-clad women were totally safe from the prying eyes of the onlookers in Tapt Kund. You can imagine what furore such a sight would have sparked in Kerala,” observes the celebrity.
“I too was glad to jump into the pond like the other women and became one among them. The culture of the place bowled me over. I have great respect for those people,” reveals Hima.
The night scenes in Badrinath
Though she toured Badrinath, Hima wants to see more. “My wish now is a bike ride to the place to enjoy the night scenes again. Nights at Badrinath offer a heavenly experience with the twinkling stars, the moon playing hide and seek behind the mountains and the intermittent snowfall,” she explains.
During the next trip, Hima hopes to spend an entire night soaking in the beauty of the place.
Sadly, she could not continue her journey in the Himalayas as her father became ill and rushed back to Kerala.
The Kashi journey
Another trip that Hima still remembers for the difference experience it offered was the one to Varanasi. “After visiting other spots in the city, it was night-time when we reached Harish Chandra Ghat where cremation takes place along the banks of the Ganges. But I did not evoke any fear in me. In fact, it was a different experience,” she says.
Many more places to visit
Hima eagerly looks forward to visiting several new spots. “Destinations abroad are also on my wish list, but now my focus is on knowing more about the wonders of India. There are many historical places and beautiful locations in India which I wish travel to, before planning a foreign journey,” she reveals.