Dhanya Mary Varghese is well-known among Keralites as a model and actress. Though her debut was in a Tamil film, it was in a host of Malayalam films that Dhanya made her mark.
After her wedding, Dhanya kept away from acting assignments for some years, but now she has returned to the mini screen. Over the last few years, Dhanya was looking after family affairs, especially after the birth of her son. She has also been busy supporting her husband John, a businessman.
In between busy engagements, Dhanya says that she finds relief in short trips. The actress opens up on her travelling experiences to Onmanorama.
"The pleasure and knowledge one can obtain from a journey are priceless. However, many of the trips we plan do not take place because of John's hectic work schedule. But both of us are lovers of travel," says Dhanya.
While in school, Dhanya was keen to join the excursions. "But I never received the permission from home," she says.
Every time Dhanya asked her parents for their consent, she would be asked to wait till the next time.
"Finally, my travel dreams came true only after entering the film field," says Dhanya.
She travelled widely in India as well as abroad as part of film shooting. But Dhanya's trips were interrupted when her son was born. "My focus shifted to my son and I could spare time for nothing else," she reveals.
As her son grew up, Dhanya began travelling to nearby places with him. "Our most-frequented place is the beach. In the evening, I keep all other programmes away and take my son to any of the several beaches in Thiruvananthapuram, where I stay," she says.
Dhanya has also loved visiting Kumarakom and going on a boat trip, engaging in fishing and other activities there.
The regular long drive
Nowadays, Dhanya hardly finds time to travel, but a long drive from Thiruvananthapuram to Koothattukulam gives her much relaxation. This journey takes place at least once a month. Sometimes, the frequency is every week. Accompanied by husband John, Dhanya feels that the drive offers her much-needed rest during her hectic lifestyle.
The journey lasts several hours and Dhanya enjoys having food from various restaurants on the way.
"The trip is a sort of picnic for me as well as John," says Dhanya.
Most newly-weds eagerly look forward to their honeymoon and select their dream destination for the purpose.
Dhanya and John decided to travel to Hong Kong and Singapore for their honeymoon. "We booked a tour package. Hong Kong is the best place to feel the magic of a city and has attractions like Disneyland, Lantau Island etc." she says.
From Hong Kong, the couple travelled to Singapore. "My favourite location there is the Universal Studios. It offers visitors thrilling rides, shows and miniatures related to world-famous films like Jurassic Park, Transformers, Mummy Returns and others. There are numerous other activities too," reveals Dhanya.
Travellers will be greeted with some new attraction every time they visit Singapore. "I thoroughly enjoy trips to Singapore. Sentosa Island captivated me with its beauty. An atmosphere of peace and calm prevails on the island. Amazing sights like the artificial waterfall near Sentosa Merlion and the beautiful beaches draw travellers in thousands," says Dhanya.
Dhanya's favourite trips have been along with her family, but interesting incidents have taken place during journeys related to shooting also.
Once, the actress travelled to New York as part of a shooting assignment. As the shoot was held over some days, accommodation was arranged in the city. Meanwhile, Dhanya and other artists had to travel to another city for a programme and headed to the New York airport. After reaching the airport, the entire group, including the sponsor, somehow lost touch of each other.
Panic gripped Dhanya as the departure time of the flight was approaching and she frantically searched for the others in her group. After enquiring with many strangers and officials, she and Vineeth Sreenivasan made the trip. "But the others reached the destination hours later," says Dhanya.
During the New York trip, Dhanya enjoyed visiting several attractions of the city. " New York has a special charm of its own. It is the most densely populated city in the US. However, there is greenery also. The protected forests seen around New York are national parks," she states.
"What I admired most in New York is the stately Empire State building. The skyline of New York has retained its unique features even after the collapse of the twin towers thanks to the imposing Empire State building, one among the seven wonders of the modern world. A view from the top of the tower can give you an idea of the topography of the entire city," Dhanya explains.
"I want to travel to New York again and enjoy whatever I missed," she adds.
Though she has travelled several times abroad, Dhanya's trips in Kerala and other places in India have been quite less. "We mostly plan a journey to a destination in a foreign country. There are numerous places on our bucket list. But we can embark on a journey only when both John and I can spare our time," she says.
Dhanya also reveals her dream destinations. "I wish to travel to China, Nepal, Switzerland, Europe, and Kullu-Manali," she says.