Manushi Chhillar has travelled around the world and created memories for a lifetime. She likes to plan her own trips, tracing the history and taking in the art of a new place. In an exclusive chat with Travel + Leisure India & South Asia, the actor reveals that she loves travelling with a big suitcase! By Rashima Nagpal
T+L India: What do you think of free independent travel as a trend?
Manushi Chhillar: I’ve always been an FIT (free independent traveller), because I like making my own plans, travelling with my small group of people, and making my own itineraries. Some people like to try new food, some like to experience a different culture, some like to experience architecture, and some just like to take a break from routine. In fact, [at] a lot of places that I’ve been to lately, I’ve just gone there and then decided what I’m going to do. I enjoy playing it by the ear than have something fixed.
T+L India: When you were younger, what was travelling with your family like?
Manushi Chhillar: My parents have travelled a lot throughout India. We went on at least one or two trips every year as a family. Each trip used to be different from the other. Now there’s a lot more information on the internet—you can book your own tickets, hotels, etc. online. But back then, we mostly planned our trips with the help of travel agents.
T+L India: Tell us about a trip you planned yourself.
Manushi Chhillar: I enjoyed planning my first trip to Paris recently. It has everything I like to find in a place, except a beach (laughs). It’s got great architecture, a lot of history. The fact that Paris wasn’t bombed during the Second World War and preserves its architecture fascinates me. It’s got great art, so many museums. Looking at the works of Vincent Van Gogh and (Leonardo) Da Vinci was an overwhelming experience. I’d planned that I’d go to Disneyland, Moulin Rouge, and Champs-Élysées. And, of course, Paris has got good food and great wine, and offers a shopping experience like nowhere else.
T+L India: What do you think of Jaipur?
Manushi Chhillar: It’s my favourite city in Rajasthan. I grew up in Delhi, so I’ve been here many times. It has gotten crowded over the years, but I love the history it offers. Amer Fort is one of the most beautiful forts I’ve seen. Shopping is also fun, be it hunting for junk jewellery, bandhani dupattas, or other colourful knick-knacks. As a vegetarian, I love eating out in Jaipur!
T+L India: Do you like travelling solo?
Manushi Chhillar: I enjoy company. I enjoy experiencing a place with people around me. Solo travel is great for a day, but I get bored after that.
T+L India: Do you travel light?
Manushi Chhillar: No, actually, I almost always have excess baggage! I try to pack in as much as I can, because you never know what you might need.
T+L India: They say people make places. Does that resonate with you?
Manushi Chhillar: The essence of a place comes from its people. We’re all social beings. Even if we’re from different countries, speak different languages, our experiences are centred around the people of a region. Whatever flavours, interactions, or experiences a place has to offer is a representation of its people.
T+L India: What kind of travel experiences do you seek?
Manushi Chhillar: It depends on what I’m craving at the moment. But art, for sure—especially art that is attached to the history of a place. I absolutely love adventure.
T+L India: Has holidaying changed since you became a star?
Manushi Chhillar: Within India, it has changed completely. I look for places where I can find privacy. Outside India, not so much.