Her voice weaves love and depth to the simplest of lyrics, and she flits effortlessly between the melodies of hindustani classical and modern day foot tapping lines. Singer Shilpa Rao’s life has many dimensions, and one of the facets she holds close to heart is an innate desire to love, learn and explore. She tells us what’s on her travel radar.
What does travel mean to you?
I think the basic understanding of life cannot come from information by reading or watching something. I believe travel teaches you so much about what life actually is. Meeting different human beings, learning about their cultures, their way of life is something that can be only explored through travel. The connection it builds is what travel is!
Tell us a little about your hometown memories?
My hometown Jamshedpur is a beautiful place. We are South Indians but have lived here for almost five generations. It is one of the most beautiful places because it's also very advanced in terms of the education system, town planning, roads and medical facilities. But the connection I have with Jamshedpur is mostly being around nature, spending time with trees out there, being around family- those are the things I value the most.
Meeting different human beings, learning about their cultures, their way of life is something that can be only explored through travel. The connection it builds is what travel is.
What is your earliest memory of travelling to a place?
I think I started travelling very early with my parents. Travelling alone happened after college, mostly after I started singing for films; because of that I used to travel for concerts in India. I used to take an extra day to explore the place. For the same reason, I started travelling abroad pretty early in life as well, to places like Europe. Travelling happened very organically to me and it remains my favourite activity.
Do you like to explore local cuisines when you’re travelling?
Yes of course! I mean if you want to know a place then I think you need to walk around and you need to have food with locals. That is the best way to know a place and their culture. You should try all kinds of cuisine, wherever you are.
What kind of a traveller are you? ‘Kick back and relax’ kind or ‘explore the city like a local’ kind?
I don't feel the need to make a list or I need to go and see the places everyday and micro manage the day. Instead, I plan for my flights and accommodation and beyond that, I turn to locals for recommendations. I ask people about the place, its uniqueness - like art, museums, local food, etc. I sometimes don't do anything, I would just probably sit somewhere and chill; I am pretty much a very chilled out traveller.
Do you share your love for travel with your husband Ritesh?
Our biggest bond is music, food and travel. We did travel to a lot of places for 3 years while dating and he is an excellent travel partner. Every year, on 1st December, we go to Amristsar, that’s our thing. This is something we definitely love to do and intend to do it throughout our lives.
Bucket list destinations that you want to see?
I would love to go and see Lucknow because that's where Ritesh grew up. I have been there so many times but I would love to see it with Ritesh and see places where he grew up in and would love to show him Jamshedpur where I grew up. I have also been to Iceland and Ritesh has a very soft corner for Iceland so we would love to go there together. Then there is Russia, Cambodia, Japan, Australia and many more beautiful places on the list.
What’s your travel playlist like? Any recommendations?
If I travel to a place, and I’m in some cafe and the local music is playing, I keep listening to it and add that to my playlist. In fact, I don't carry a playlist but the place and its music becomes my playlist for that travel period.