Follow the gram'mer
Drawing from a recent Airbnb survey that revealed social media to be a key driver for the Indian traveller, four popular city-based travel bloggers reveal their top off-beat Insta-worthy locations
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But it's hard to tell whether those words are fact or fiction on social media. That being said, it is easy to find comfort in constructed reality that is fuelled by hashtags and measured by likes. So, you can very well sleep in a messy bed only to wake up next morning, neatly organise the best luxury products you own, and click a #flatlay. Better still, head out to a restaurant and order food that looks great, even if it is perfectly insipid.
The herd mentality follows through wherever you go, as is evident in a survey conducted by Airbnb in late September this year which revealed, "A staggering 94 per cent of respondents consider social media when booking an accommodation. Whether it's for traveller reviews, recommendations or just pictures of the home, social media plays a large role in helping Indians find the perfect accommodation." So, we invite four travel bloggers from Mumbai — who don't just do it for the 'gram', but still churn out
Insta-worthy pictures at offbeat locations.
Hold the door
The type of pictures you post on Instagram are often in accordance with a trending hashtag. But Divyashi Gupta, 29, was onboard with the idea, way before the hashtag game. She had a strange fascination for doors. "It later became a trend for people to click pictures by them, and soon they started tagging me in it. But the pictures you see now are so heavily photoshopped; they're selling something that doesn't exist," she says.
My Insta Picks: "In Rajasthan, I went beyond the J's and visited Alwar and Deeg that are great for photographing colour. Similarly, Myanmar isn't usually on bucket lists, but it has this rustic vibe. Bagan (in Mandalay), for instance, doesn't have a single concrete building. I also like Obidos, a small town in Portugal where you can literally find props around, such as a cycle with flowers to pose with."
Follow her work: @divsigupta
Sar Pass, Kullu District in Himachal Pradesh
With nearly 90,000 followers on Instagram, 22-year-old Trishita Bhattacharya is one of the most popular travel bloggers in the country, but still doesn't depend on social media for travel planning. "I take cues from social media when it comes to travel but I research a lot until I find the best deal for myself and what suits my mote. I still prefer booking offline because all my plans are last-minute," she says. But Bhattacharya believes that even conventional travel routes have something unconventional to offer.
My Insta Picks: "I went for a trek to Sar Pass this summer. Sar Pass is part of the Parvati Valley in Kullu district and a lot of people don't know about this trek. For me, the view was absolutely stunning because I'm a city bred girl and we do not get to, see such spectacular views daily and sleep under the stars," she adds.
Follow her work: @overrated_outcast
Beyond the city
Bassein Fort, Vasai
"I'm not the backpacker variety. I won't be the one to post a picture of myself drinking by a beach in Goa," says Meghna Girohtra, 37, founder of Mumbai Instagrammers. "I go through various travel blogs. Instagram does help you to get a fair idea of the place but I wouldn't plan a trip around it. I also check out the geo tag to see what locals are posting about a place, but you have to filter through so many selfies," she laments.
My Insta Picks: Of late, Girohtra has been on trips to Mandwa and Vasai that she feels account for interesting landscape photography. "Vasai actually resembles Goa with the Bassein fort and the beach. The Mandwa port is also an
interesting place for clicking pictures by the containers."
Follow her work: @meghnagirohtra
Snapshots from the terrace
Khari Baoli, New Delhi
For Siddhartha Joshi, 37, the process of planning a trip begins with reaching out to people. "In my opinion, planning is good, and so is spontaneity. One must connect with a local, I do it all the time and explore the city with them for at least a day or so," Joshi says.
My Insta Picks: On his favourite offbeat spots, he mentions Khari Baoli, the spice market in New Delhi, Bandra's Reclamation area, Alwar fort in Rajasthan, as well as Deventer in The Netherlands. "Everyone knows Khari Baoli, but there's a terrace in the centre that you can get on to and the view from there is stunning," he says.
Follow his work: @siddharthajoshi
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