My Yatra Diary

Yātrā, in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites. And My Yatra Diary is Arti’s record of her visits to places of pilgrimage in India. Arti itself is an interesting  name with religious associations. It refers to kind of ceremonious form of welcome that is done at homes and temples both for dieties as wells as humans. And I welcome the New Year on my blog with a review of Arti’s blog.

Management theory says for a new entrant in any business to succeed, one must develop a niche of his own and emerge the top player in that niche. In that way My Yatra Diary I would say is emerging as the top blog covering the area of religious travel in India. As on now the blog focuses more on northern and western parts of India. Hopefully going ahead the blog will reach out towards the southern and eastern parts of the country as well.

The style of writing is simple and minimalist. As the clichéd saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’Keeping with this dictum, she lets the pictures do the talking most of the time. The writing is more like a commentary to support the pictures. All the basic logistic details needed by a traveler are provided. This includes details on places to stay, places to eat, cost of trip, accesibility and shopping.  Explanation of the myths associated with a place would be a hygiene element in any religious travel blog. This of course she provides. In addition she makes it interesting by starting off each blog post with a relevant quotation to set the tone. She also gives it a bit of personal touch by adding a little bit of her personal impressions. Her blog would serve as an excellent resource looking to travel to any of the places she has covered. However I would say her writing is closer to Lonely Planet than William Dalrymple. She gets a full 100% in her objective of providing information. In order to entertain readers as well, she has to add more drama and romance into her writings. She has to mesh all the elements together into a story that will charm readers making them come back for more.

The backdrop of the blog has been kept quite simple with the title bar prominently bringing out the theme of the blog. I especially like the title bar with the catch phrase ‘Let us explore India’ and 2-3 typical photos indicating travel to places of pilgrimage in India. I like the way widgets have been managed as well. The blog has not been cluttered with unnecessary fancy widgets. The ‘search blog’ and ‘related post’ widget are highly appropriate for this blog and improve navigability. In addition to the widgets, she has also provided labels and of course the archives are there for navigation. She also provides appropriate links to other posts within her posts. However I usually like a structured hierarchical navigation mechanism which most blogs don’t seem to provide. I would have liked it if there was some way I could select the state and then the district/city and from there see all the posts related to that district/city.

The interaction volume is quite high in this blog. I like the no nonsense way in which interaction is being handled. Readers are encouraged to pose queries about visiting the places mentioned in the post. All questions are promptly responded to. Any general words of appreciation or observations are just accepted without acknowledgement. And going by the repeat visitors, clearly the readers don’t mind not being acknowledged. She also steers clear of frivolous activity such as awards and tags. She has put a polite BUT firm note in this regard on her blog. This I feel kind of adds to the respectability of the blog. Maybe a separate static page for all generic queries unrelated to any specific post may possibly further improve interaction.

This blog is a must read for anyone wishing to travel to Northern or Western India and for those interested in knowing about places of pilgrimage in these areas. Find below five posts selected by her to give the reader a sample of her writings.

Kabirvad, One of the oldest living trees in India
ISKCON Temple in Delhi
Sunrise at the Neelkanth Peak
Magh Mela in Allahabad
My Tryst with evening Arti at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar

 If your a blogger and you like this review and feel you want a similar review for your blog, check out this post.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for taking the time out to write a review for My Yatra Diary... I feel honored. And it surely makes my day to be appreciated by a reviewer like you.

    I will definitely work on the hierarchical navigation part though I am not very sure on how to go about implementing it, hence it might take a bit of time coming but will try incorporating it.

    I will try to link this post up either in one of my blog posts or in the sidebar and will let you know here. Again, many thanks for all the kind words you have said here about me and my diary and for your valuable time, highly appreciate the gesture :)

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  2. Beautifully reviewed. I agreed with all the points that you have stated about her blog.

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  3. Glad you liked the review, Arti.
    Thanks, DS.

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  4. I am a regular at Yatra Diary and it is all that you have said it is. I like it more because it is all about pilgrimage centres and some of them are beyond my dreams. So it is like a virtual yatra for me.

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  5. With the high content of visitors thronging her blog, probably she's finding it difficult to acknowledge all comments...

    Nevertheless a good blog and a wonderful review!

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  6. @ Zephyr - You have hit the nail on the head.

    @Santosh - Possibly.

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  7. Nice review.

    I hope Arti has noted all your points and she would surely emerge with more and more yatras writings
    covering not only whole of India,but
    whole of world.

    Thank you and Arti.

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  8. Thanks, Rakesh. I hope the same too.

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  9. The review was great. It is one of my favourite blogs. Thanks.

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  10. Glad you liked my review, P.N.S

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  11. Wow !!! This was beautiful! Now I look at Arti's diary much better :)

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  12. Glad you like it Puru. Do look at my other blog reviews as well. Every one of the blogs I have reviewed so far is a gem in its own right.

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