Girl on the Go

Tourists are planners, folks who stick to a programme, schedule and budget. Travellers are a different species altogether. "They set out and explore," reflects Sugandha Garg. It has been exactly ten years since Garg embarked on her journey as the curious travel host. She got her break with BBC's Haath Se Haath Mila, a show that took its cameras to small cities and rural parts of India and on the way, created awareness on various issues. For three years, Garg was on the road, getting acquainted with what she calls, an 'underrated country'. "Ten years of mapping the length and breadth of India and I still stumble upon places that surprise me," says Garg, who, at the age of ten, decided she wanted to be a travel host. While life is an adventure with hubby and MTV Roadies' Raghu Ram, with friend and model Indrani Dasgupta, Garg got to explore India a bit more through What's With Indian Men on Fox Traveller. Her latest road trip is now on Fox's other property, the quirky and unusual, It Happens Only In India, that airs every Sunday at 8 pm.

Unlike a regular travelogue, there are no luxury hotels, gourmet cuisine or cruise parties on this show. It Happens Only In India is all about the madness, unimaginable customs, freaky traditions and improbable heroes that make India unique. The series takes you to places that are off the regular tourist grid, like Bundi in Rajasthan, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Jamnagar in Gujarat, Bidar in Karnataka, Majuli in the Northeast and Gulnar in Srinagar. "A lot has been talked about India's diversity, but there's so much more to explore. Like having fried silkworms for breakfast or hunting your own rat (Musa) for lunch, chilli-eye rub for cleansing or a roadside dentist appointment, coffee processed from the droppings of a civet cat, Ulta Ramayana and Bhagvad Gita, which can be read only with a mirror, a dog temple near

Patiala, skiing in Gulnar, curry meen fishing in Kerala, trying emu egg omelettes and red ant chutney, watching watercolour nail artists and mustache artists, I have discovered so much that it has left me wide-eyed and open-mouthed," says the passionate traveller. As a single girl on a journey, she quotes Lonely Planet's observations — it's best to be well-clad, from head to toe. "This way, it makes everyone comfortable," says Garg, who feels that more than the cities, it's the villages and tribal areas that are more open-minded and welcoming. "Places like Almora and Nainital were far more evolved," says she.

It looks easy, but being a travel host is a tough job. Travelling, food and water can take a toll, and Garg says it's yoga that keeps her fit for her journey. "I am a yogi and the practice is excellent for travellers. All you need is your body and a mat. No running track or bulky machinery or dietary supplements," says Garg, adding how frequent trips and travels have made her a "better person, more flexible and adjusting."

When she's not travelling, Garg's acting projects keep her busy. She's excited about the sequel to Tere Bin Laden and her critically acclaimed film Patang, that will hit theatres this June. Garg's also working on an album of old songs with new visuals and there is a film script, a human drama. "Then there is India, its virgin territories left to be explored. There are miles to go," says Garg.

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