Eat, Pray, Travel

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Someone once said that the world is a book and if you are not travelling then probably you are stuck on one page. For those of you who get a heady rush getting a new stamp on your passport or when crossing a new destination off the bucket list every year, the one-of-a-kind travel festival is back in the capital to celebrate this passion.

The second edition of Travelista — India’s first travel film, photography and shopping festival — will be organised in the capital from October 11-13 at Dilli Haat INA over the Dusshera weekend.
The brainchild of 23-year-old Akshuna Bakshi, this festival aims to establish a platform for formally trained artists, young women designers and entrepreneurs to showcase their talent. Speaking about the conceptualisation of this festival, Akshuna says, “I was always fond of travelling to new places, learn about new cultures and capture it on camera. Being a travel filmmaker in the UK I realised that the genre of travel filmmaking and travel photography is very popular across the world, especially amongst backpackers. However, in India, very few people are aware of this genre and seldom document their tales and travel experiences on camera. So I wanted to start something that encourages more people and filmmakers to pick up their camera and shoot every time they travel.”
Travelista is a three-day affair that celebrates travel film, photography and cultural uniqueness of India under a common roof. According to Akshuna, a “travelista” is a person who loves travel and enjoys the culture, food, heritage, art and designs from new places. She says, “Our festival aims to serve as a platform to promote such elements in an exciting and unique way. The response to the first edition of the festival was amazing. We received over 200 films from all round the world and a huge number of photographs from India.”
When asked about this year’s highlights of the festival, the travel enthusiast informs, “The festival promises to be bigger, better and an absolute delight for travellers. Nomadic film screenings under the moonlit sky, funky rickshaws, roadside carts selling your favourite cutting chai and popcorn, a zillion shopping stalls and colourful art installations will be some of the attractions. In terms of shopping, one can grab a variety of things ranging from a saree with a Marilyn Monroe portrait, travel themed vanity boxes, kitsch tees and more. Whereas, for art lovers an exclusive art installation that attempts to fuse Indian and Japanese cultures through Madhubani art by artist Swayam Prabha will be displayed at the festival. The festival will also have a travel ‘Wall of Fame’ that will showcase photographs of people posing in various destinations across the globe.”
As the travel culture is picking up, many people want to explore unknown destinations. Speaking about her own travelling experiences, Akshuna says, “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and even travelled alone as a solo female traveller to countries like Scotland, Ireland, England and France. One of my memorable travel anecdotes is when I got to travel in the cockpit of a plane during a nine-hour flight from London. It was a dream come true, as the experience of admiring the world below from a cockpit was unbelievable.”
However, as an avid woman traveller Akshuna likes to stick to a few rules. She says, “Being a female backpacker especially in a diverse country like India, one should always have one’s guard up. It is better to travel with friends or in a group in India but if travelling alone follow some precious safety rules. You must be cautious at all times to not venture alone in dark places and research properly about a place before embarking on a trip. Always book with a trusted hostel or hotel and carry a pepper spray or keep a sharp object like keys or safety pins with you. But with a little faith, good research, adequate safety measures and most importantly an open heart, travelling could be an amazing experience for women.”

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