Ten Best Monsoon Destinations in India
Munnar: Munnar is around 600 kms from Chennai and is the perfect destination to visit during the monsoons. When it rains Munnar`s beauty increases manifold and it gets cold even in the months of June, July. Inspite of the rains, surprisingly the roads are not all that bad. There is an added charm in enjoying the mist and fog all around and visiting the soggy sightseeing points like Mattupetty and Kundale.
Alleppey aka Alappuzha experiences heavy monsoon showers and if you just love rains then it`s a perfectly cool idea to visit Alleppey during monsoons. During the monsoon the famed backwaters of Alleppey reverberate with the sound of the popular snake boats. It`s an invigorating experience to smell the rain-drenched moist earth and watch the rains lashing the backwaters from the cosy comforts of a Kettuvellam.
Tamhini is not at all a bad idea to visit during monsoon especially for the residents of Mumbai and Pune. Tamhini ghats, a picturesque place ensconced in the Western Ghats is just around 70 kms from Pune. Huge crystal clear waterfalls, variety of terrains, lush greenery, lakes, dense Jungles all combine to give a heavenly feeling. The road to Tamhini is also equally breathtaking surrounded by beautiful Sahyadri ranges.
Lonavala a favourite attraction for the Mumbaikars attains its zenith during the rainy season, when the other hill stations in Maharashtra are abandoned. Lonavala is at its best during the monsoon season as the whole countryside turns green, lakes and ponds brimming with water, myriad waterfalls gushing down ravines, mists enveloping the valley. it`s a heavenly out there.
Shillong which receives heavy downpour during the monsoons is full of life. Though the rains here last longer than the other parts of India , but it is the time when Shillong is at is cleanest best. Cascading waterfalls, cheerful women, low lying clouds, soothing winds and lush green forests greet you. Cherrapunji, once the wettest place on Earth is some 37 km ahead of Shillong is also worth a visit.
Just 69 kilometers from Kullu and 5 km from the Jalori Pass lies the breathtakingly beautiful yet undiscovered Shoja in Himachal Pradesh. It`s a great place to chase away the monsoon blues. Unending slopes of emerald forests, thickly wooded mountainside, snow-clad Himalayan ranges in the distant horizon- nature is at its best in this small hamlet located in the Seraj valley. Enjoy the walks here in the forests and meadows, just after a fresh drizzle.
One must land up in Goa in monsoons to see the wondrous workings of nature. With the Arabian Sea coastline on its west and the scenic Western Ghats on its east entire Goa becomes resplendent with a divine beauty. Though the Sea gets turbulent with unabated rain but the lashing of strong winds and high waves is a rare experience. A great attraction is the Dudhsagar Falls on the Goa-Karnataka border. A train journey( Vasco Da Gama- Londa) is also worth.
A destination which is the star of the monsoons is the Jog Falls in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. 400 kms from Bangalore it is India`s highest waterfall. The falls which are at their majestic best between July and October plunges into the valley from a height of 1000 feet. The whole vicinity of the falls is a spectacular sight with deep valleys, rolling hills and rainbows briming in the horizon every now and then.
If you are an adventure freak then Coorg in the rains, is tailor made for you. The monsoons here stretch for a considerably longer period. It gets its full quota of rainfall from southwest monsoon and Northeast monsoon. The weather is cold and the sight of the hills and valleys drenched and draped in mist, lush green vegetation, swollen streams, gushing rivers and cascading waterfalls are too much of a temptation.
Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala is a great place to visit during the monsoons. Most of the hotels dish out discounted rates during this time. From the beach side hotels you can enjoy the constant downpour as the Sea is too rough for a swim. There are many things to enjoy. Thunderstorms rolling in from the ocean and then colliding against the mighty Aghastya Hills (western ghats)-just around 40kms from Trivandrum or the picturesque sight of swollen rivers speeding into the sea.
Ten Best Enjoyable Drives in India
Mumbai Pune Expressway: Mumbai Pune Expressway connecting Mumbai with Pune is a delight for the drivers and an enjoyable drive. The smooth road passes through some really beautiful spots, surrounded as it is on both sides by the Western Ghats. During monsoons, this route is absolute bliss resplendent with abundant greenery, misty mornings and many waterfalls on the way. Vast number of tunnels adds to the excitement of driving through this 93 km expressway.
Drive from Mumbai to Goa, National Highway 17
Mumbai to Goa , the 582 km stretch is a trip worth trying. The NH 17 connecting the two places is a picturesque drive. On the way the landscape consist of hills, coastlines and grasslands. There is always this temptation to get off the highway take small diversions and explore the mesmerizing coast on the west side and the green hills to the east. Watch out for the route ahead from Alibag as the Arabian Sea coastline takes the centre stage.
Drive from Vadodara to Ahmedabad National Expressway 1
National Expressway 1 (NE1) connecting Baroda to Ahmedebad makes one happy to have taken a decision to be in the driver’s seat. The Expressway is road is fast, flat, and smooth. Without any exaggeration it is one of the best roads in India. For most parts the 95 km long expressway is arrow straight and cuts down traveling time to just 1 hour.
Drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer through the Deserts
A drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer some 300 odd kms away is a trip of a lifetime. Motoring through the sand dunes and difficult terrain on both sides requires considerable skills. You will get enamoured by the rapidly changing vegetation on the way and the increasing heat. There is a chance to get off the highway and climb the sand dunes to get a feel of the real desert stands.
Chennai Pondicherry East Coast Road
The East Coast Road, aka ECR is a 113 km highway connecting Chennai with Pondicherry. The road is a driver’s delight and a hording on the way sums up this joyous feeling - "Sometimes the road becomes the destination". The expansive highway gives the feeling of a tarmac. The road winds its way along the Bay of Bengal on the left which glistens with the rays of sunlight. The ECR is dotted with a mélange of luxury resorts, quiet eat outs adventure sport arenas and tourist spots thus earning the reputation of ‘potpourri highway’.
Leh Manali Highway
The 475 km long Leh-Manali Naqtional Highway 21 connects Leh and Manali. This spectacular albeit dangerous road crosses some of the highest mountain passes in the world. This includes Tanglang La (5,325 m), Lachulung La (5,059 m), Baralacha La (4,892 m) and Rohtang La (3,978 m). This road is open during the months of June to mid-October after which the road would be again covered with snow. The scenery changes amazingly as one moves from Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh. With high terrain and barren lands on the way this trip gives loads of excitement, adventure and bliss.
Drive from Tezpur to Tawang
Tezpur in Assam to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is around 350 kms. This almost 12 hour journey is a feast for the eyes and loaded with adventure and a bit of fear. High ranges, streams between the ridges, sharp hairpin bends, rivulets running alongside the road, thick fog, dead ends all make the journey memorable. On way to Tawang the road passes through Bomdilla(9000 feet), Dhirang, with an ancient dzong (fort) and the Sela Pass (13,714ft). Watch out for the hairy Yaks grazing on the vegetation.
Drive from Chalakudy( Kerala) to Valparai( Tamil Nadu)
One of the most scenic road of south India is the road to Valparai in Tamil Nadu from Chalakudy. The 110 km stretch passing via Athirapalli, Peringalkuthu, Sholayar and Malakkiparai(Malakkiparai (highest tea estates in India) has some of the most dense green jungles in India. The innate calm and silence of the stretch is accompanied with the constant droning of Cicadas. Glimpse of Elephants and other wild species the drive cannot be more adventurous than this.
Drive from Chandigarh to Manali, NH21
A drive from Chandigarh to Manali is an awesome stretch covering a total distance of approximately 320 kms. Hitting out from Chandigarh you would be in the densely wooded Shivaliks, the greenery around is amazing. From midway onwards the ascent starts with lovely curves, rivers and the spectacular streams. The Mandi to Manali leg of the drive is truly pleasant, as the road meanders along the River Beas right up to Manali. Just before Manali a plentiful of apple orchards presents a beautiful sight.
Drive from Mysore to Ooty
Driving from Mysore to Ooty a total of around 160 kms is a sheer pleasure as the drive takes one through some really scenic spots. After you reach the historic Shrirangapattana and then Gundlupet another 10 kms and the road goes inside the Bhandipur National Park. Here you are sure to spot wild animals including Elephants, Deers, wild Cats et al. Then as you ascent from Masinagudi Ghats up to the Nilgiris, the road with 36 hair-pin bends offers stunning views. It’s a trip worth remembering for life.
Dakpathar: A Picturesque Town
While Delhi experienced its hottest days, we – my companion and me - decided to go on a short weekend to a place called Dakpathar, which is off the main tourist route but could be a nice getaway if you are looking for some quiet moments. You can also avoid the “tourists” heading toward “hill stations” to cool their tempers.
My first encounter with such “tourists” took place at a mid-way eating joint. It was so crowded that we gave up any idea we had of washing down mix veg pakoras with garam chai and had to make do with a fruit cake and a mango drink. Certainly, not a very good combo for breakfast. But we were helpless. As we approached Shivalik hills, I could feel the excitement I usually get when I enter the "hill region".
My companion, who had a nice time learning Hindi by reading sign boards and hoarding, like “Kurkure Fruit Chaat”, did not like the idea of ‘traffic jaam’ on the mountain roads. But what can one do? We Indians are always in hurry. Some just keep inserting their cars wherever they can even if it means that such thoughtless actions by them just make the situation worse.
This was my first experience of hill driving. While we were stuck on the winding slanting roads, I learnt a few lessons in driving on hairpin bends. Barring few bruises to my car’s front bumper, I think I could manage it well.
Anyway, finally the vehicles managed to make their way into Doon and I had my eyes fixed on finding the signboard for bypass road to Paonta Saheb. That was the road I had to take to reach my destination.
After checking into our rooms, we just rested till the evening. In the evening we decided to check out the barrage and the picnic spots around it. It was an amazing sight of two rivers coming out of mountains to form a sangam. Dakpathar is known for its Power Plant. As the evening set in, locals as well as visitors like us had begun to gather in the park on the banks of river. But the park was in a very bad shape. Garbage was thrown everywhere. Those responsible for the upkeep of the park, devoted to goddess Yamuna, seem to have turned a blind eye to the wrongs done to it.
Next morning we started early to see Asan Barrage, which attracts migratory birds in large numbers during the winter season. A water sports resort has been developed at the Asan Barrage by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN). Created in 1967, the barrage is popularly known as Dhalipur Lake. Located some 43 kms from Dehradun on Chandigarh-Shimla highway, the resort offers facilities like water skiing, boating, rowing, kayaking, canoeing etc. We proceeded to see the historic Paonta Saheb gurudwara, which is in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh on the other side of river Yamuna. The drive along the canal was an experience in itself. While on our way back, we decided to visit Kalsi, about 5 kms from Dakpathar, which has an Ashoka Pillar Rock Edict, built in 450 B.C. The pillar represents the post-warfare era when king Ashoka converted himself to the Buddhist faith. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected edict at Kalsi is made of quartz which is 10ft long and 8ft broad.
How to Reach: Dakpathar is 45 kms from Dehradun on the road to Chakrata. You can take Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Dehradun and further journey can be done by bus or taxi. If you are planning to take a car journey, make sure you leave early in the morning.
Where to Stay: The best place to stay in Dak Pathar is the GMVN run guest house. It’s located near the barrage offering beautiful views of mountains and Yamuna river. The guest house even has a swimming pool too.
The Majestic Humayun`s Tomb
Indian capital New Delhi is known for its historic monuments like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Jama Masjid, Old Fort and Humayun’s Tomb etc. Of all the monuments that dot Delhi Humayun’s Tomb is perhaps the most well-maintained one. When you first come face to face with the majestic monument you can’t help but say: "Oh, I’ve seen that somewhere! It looks like the Taj Mahal, that famous monument to love."
Well, before you stretch your brain too far, let the truth be told. It’s the Taj Mahal that looks like Humayun’s Tomb. The red and white building is regarded universally as the precursor to and an inspiration for the Taj.
Humayun`s Tomb, the beautiful structure, tucked away in New Delhi’s Nizammuddin area, has undergone a facelift. Believed to be a trendsetter as a garden mausoleum in the Indian subcontinent, this 16th century tomb of Mughal emperor Humayun now sports dazzling light displays, clean fountains, landscaped lawns, and wheelchair ramps. It not only houses the remains of Humayun but also the remains of nearly a hundred members of the Mughal clan. On a hot Sunday evening, birds could clearly be heard singing. The clean, cool breeze was a welcome relief from the hot, crowded, and stifling Delhi streets outside the Tomb compound. And, as every painting has its own creative master and touch-up artists, the Humayun’s Tomb was the brainchild of the emperor’s widow — Haji Begum — who built it in 1565 during Akbar’s reign at a then sum of Rs 15 lakh. The tomb is also probably the first of its kind which is sensitive to the needs of the physically challenged — a ramp at the garden’s entrance built specifically for wheelchair users as also bridges across water channels to make the garden accessible to the disabled.
Hidden from a full frontal view by the lofty double storeyed gateway, the tomb’s full grandeur is for the taking as the visitor first enters through the archway. What greets the sight is a w-i-d-e expanse of a red sandstone structure topped by a white marble dome, set in the centre of a huge square garden, enclosed by high walls on three sides, with the possibility of a river as its fourth boundary.
Cut into four squares by causeways and water channels — which give it the name Chaar Bagh — each square of the garden is further divided into smaller squares by pathways — a feature ubiquitous to all Mughal era gardens. The amazingly advanced engineering skills of the era are amply demonstrated through the fountains, which work on an extremely simple and effective principle.
Entrance to the tomb`s chamber is through the south entrance while the other three sides are covered with mesh wire in white marble. In the quietude of the central chamber lies the tomb, though the actual resting-place of Humayun is directly beneath in an underground chamber. Several members of the Mughal royal family lie buried in the mausoleum and many tombstones are seen on the terrace.
If you have enough time on hand then don’t forget to take a boat ride near the Old Fort. Adjacent to this fort is Delhi Zoo, a favorite with the children. You can also pay a visit to Nizamuddin Dargah. The Dargah is the mausoleum of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. Thousands of people of all religions visit it everyday. The Dargah complex also houses the tombs of Amir Khusro and Jehan Ara Begum.
How to Reach: If you are coming from outside Delhi, you can easily reach Humayun’s Tomb by cab or auto or city bus as it is just off Mathura road between Delhi Public School and Nizamuddin Dargah. It’s easily approachable from New Delhi railway station, Nizamuddin railway station and Connaught Place.
Ten Best Railway Journeys in India
Kalka Shimla Railway: A beautiful toy train runs between Kalka and Shimla. Meandering through the hills and rich vegetation of Deodar and Pine trees the train journey is through 102 tunnels and 800 bridges. The total journey time between Kalka at 656 above the sea level and Shimla at an altitude of 2,076 meters is around 5 and a half hours. The 96 km Km Kalka Shimla Railway track was declared as world heritage site by UNESCO in 2008.
Kangra Valley Railway
Though Kangra Valley Train can be undoubtedly said as one of the best hill trains of India, still it is not so popular among domestic tourists. The 164 km long meter gauge train service originates from Pathankot in Punjab and ends at Joginder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh. The trains traveling at a very slow speed on this route passes through valley, rivers and many scenic places. The best part of the journey is left towards the last stretch when with a little luck snow capped Dhauladhar hills are visible.
Darjeeling Himalaya Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway one of the engineering feats of the world originates from New Jalpaiguri, the plains of West Bengal to Darjeeling the charming hill station nestled in the Himalayas. During the course of the 88 km long journey the train passes through breathtaking scenarios consisting of dense forests, verdant valley, lush green tea gardens, snow capped peaks et al. DHR is also accorded a world heritage status by UNESCO.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) a 46 Km long journey on Meter gauge railway track connecting Mettupalayam (1069 ft) at the foot of the Nilgiris to to Ooty Udagamandalam at 7228 ft. Trudging along at speed of 10.4 kph the toy train passes through some 250 bridges and 16 tunnels. The whole journey is an amazing experience as it runs across tall girder bridges, green hills and through rolling tea estates. NMR is also a world heritage site.
Matheran Hill Railway
Matheran Hill Railway connects Neral on the Mumbai- Pune route to Matheran, the beautiful hill station. The distance of around 20 kms is covered in a time period of one and half hours over a narrow gauge track. The train ride is a great experience as it zig zags up the side of the hill passing over large swathes of forest amid the beautiful Western Ghats. The train service was started way back in 1907.
Kottavalasa Kirandul line, highest BG line in India
A train journey from Vizag to Kirandul in Chattisgarh state is an experience of its own. It is supposed to be the highest Broad gauge train line in India with Shimiliguda at 996.32 mt above MSL, being the highest broad gauge station of India. The passenger train on this beautiful stretch passes over 84 bridges and 58 tunnels. The famed hill station of AP-Araku Valley falls on the route.
Konkan Railways connecting Mumbai with Kerala passing through the Konkan Coast is perhaps India`s best railway route in terms of enroute scenery. One of the engineering feats of Indian Railways, the 760 km route starting from Roha to Mangalore passes through 92 tunnels and 1,998 bridges. Best time to board the trains is undoubtedly after monsoons, with greenery and streams all around. Mandovi Express is a good option for the views.
Jammu-Udhampur Rail Link
The Train journey between Jammu and Udhampur is very scenic with hills and a series of tunnels in between. There are some 158 bridges and 10 tunnels on the route. So buy a ticket and set out on journey to see how the trains pass on some risky terrain.
Jaipur- Jaisalmer Train Ride
A train ride from Jaipur to Jaisalmer is great way to see the vast barren stretches of Rajasthan deserts. A few hours from Jaipur and the setting changes completely with rustic landscapes, colourful settlements of mud huts with red clay bricks, grazing Camels- all in the barren patch of flat desert.
Vasco Da Gama – Londa, Dudhsagar Waterfalls
On a train journey from Vasco Da Gama to Londa Junction you will pass through the unforgettable falls at Dudhsagar. The slow climb of the train takes you through Ghats and thick forests that brushes past your train. Nearing, you can have an occasional glimpse of the massive falls, through the trees and then finally after a huge loop around a horseshoe shaped "glen" the train passes right next to the falls. Best time to enjoy and get the best pictures is genuinely after the monsoons.
Ten Best Lakes in India
Berijam Lake, Kodaikanal: Berijam Lake is just 21 kms from the picturesque Kodaikanal hill station located in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Surrounded by tall pine trees the lake carrries pure water. The forested area around is an attractive picnic spot. The main attractions here include boat ride and fishing. Permission is needed though to enter the forests.
Punganoor Lake, Yelagiri
Punganoor artificial Lake-cum-Park is without doubt the prime attraction of Yelagiri hills located in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The water is clear here and without any foul smell. Surrounded by hills, the lake and the adjacent Nature Park offers enough reasons for having a perfectly relaxed holiday.
Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar
The Venna Lake constructed in 1842 is within a walking distance from the Mahabaleshwar town and a major attraction for the tourists. Spread over 28 acres, with an average depth of 10 feet, the lake offers excellent boating facilities. The area around the lake has lots of greenery which adds to the beauty of the lake.
Saputara Lake, Saputara
Saputara Lake located on the base of Saputara hill station is the centre of attraction of the only hill station in Gujarat State. The 21 m depth Lake amid the picturesque hilly surroundings remains abuzz with activities all the year round. Different types of boating are the main attractions of the place though the surroundings provide equal opportunity for merry making.
Nakki Lake, Mount Abu
Nakki Lake is located in the heart of Mount Abu, Rajasthan`s only hill station. The lake offers excellent boating facilities and enjoying the proceedings amid the setting sun is a special feeling here. A children’s park and a statue of Swami Vivekananda marking the monk’s advent at Mount Abu are the other attractions here.
Sattal Lake, Bhimtal
There are actually a cluster of lakes at Sattal just 23 kms from Nainital and 4320 feet above the sea level in the Kumayun Himalayas. This quaint and idyllic place boasts of 5 lakes. The first is the Nal Damyanti Lake, followed by Panna Lake and then the three lakes- Ram, Laxman and Sita. The lakes are surrounded by dense oak forests and there is a feeling of bliss all around.
Prashar Lake, Mandi
Prashar Lake located in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh is a high-altitude natural lake just 42 km from the main Mandi town. The lake is situated at 2,730 metres above sea level. Near the lake is a temple dedicated to sage Prashar with a unique three-tier pagoda like structure. The lake can be accessed through a beautiful trekking route from Bagi.
Changu Lake, Gangtok
Surrounded by Alpine forests Changu Lake meaning the "source of the lake" in local language is located just 35 kms away from Gangtok. This 1 km long oval shaped lake is situated at an altitude 12,310 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. This lake remains frozen during the winter months. Tourists need a permit to visit this lake as it falls in the restricted area.
Kalagarh Dam Lake, Corbertt National Park
The 80-sq km Kalagarh Lake created as a result of the construction of a dam by the same name is situated at the south-western side of the Corbett National Park. The scenic lake during the winters is home to a large number of migratory birds and attracts bird watchers in droves.
Tamdil Lake, Aizawl
Tamdil Lake in the beautiful north east is located just 85 km from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. A beautiful natural lake amidst lush green forest, it is an ideal picnic spot and offers boating facilities for the tourists.
Ten Best Waterfalls in India
Hogenakkal Waterfalls, Krishnagiri: Hogenakkal Waterfalls is situated in Dharmapuri District of Tamil Nadu, in close proximity to the Karnataka border. The sound and sight of the roaring Cauvery, dashing against the rocks as it enters the plains is a spectacular sight. A boat ride through the turbulent waters is the USP of the place.
Jog Falls, Shimoga
Jog Falls the highest waterfalls in India is located in the Shimoga district of Karntaka. River Sharavathi after flowing over a rocky bed takes a leap from an 800 feet high steep cliff in four separate streams. The thunder of this awe inspiring sight can be heard from quite a distance away. The best time to visit Jog Falls is just after the monsoons.
Courtallam Waterfalls, Tirunelveli
Courtallam waterfalls are located in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. Known as the spa of south, Kutralam or Courtallam Falls are part of the Western Ghats and the water of these falls is supposed to have curative powers. There are total of 9 falls in Courtallam.
Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Yelagiri
Jalagamparai water falls is located in the Yelagiri hills of the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The waterfall flowing down from a height of 15 meters is on the river Attaru. The falls can be reached after a trek of 6 km from Nilavoor. Best after full feed of monson rains.
Dudh Sagar Waterfalls, Sanguem, Goa
Dudh Sagar waterfalls is situated in Sanguem taluka of Goa. It is just 60 km from Panaji. Perched on the Western Ghats, the 310 meters high Dudh Sagar waterfalls looks like Milky streams gushing out from the rocks. It offers unparalleled beauty when in full flow.
Athirappilly Falls, Thrissur
Athirappilly Falls is located in the Thrissur district of Kerala, at the entrance to the majestic Sholayur ranges. During monsoon the place is a sight to behold as the Athirappilly falls turns into a blur of spray. A popular picnic spot, it joins the Chalakkudy River after plummeting from a height of 80 feet.
Iruppu Falls, Coorg
Iruppu Falls is 14 km from Nagarhole National Park in the Coorg district of Karntaka. Irpu or Iruppu Falls is located on outskirts of the Brahmagiri hill range and acts as the gateway to the range. The falls formed by Lakshmana theertha, a tributary of Cauvery looks majestic as it jumps down from a height of 170 ft.
Dhuandhar Falls, Jabalpur
Just 23 km from Jabalpur, the Dhuandhar falls (smoke cascade) where an angry Narmada river plunges through a narrow rock with a powerful roar. It is a spectacular sight awaiting visitors. The thunderous sound is audible from a long distance away. From the Dhuandhar Falls, the Narmada flows into a ravine of marble rocks in Bhedaghat.
Corbett Falls, Corbett National Park
Corbett Falls is located close to the Jim Corbett National Park just 3 kms from Kaladhungi. A one and half km walk along a narrow trail leads you to the Corbett Falls. The waters cascading from the height offers tranquility to the tired souls.
Jang Fall, Tawang
The Jang Fall aka Nuranang Water Fall amid green mountain valley is located at a distance of about 40 kms from the famous city of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. It is quite close to the Jang village. The Jang Falls, apart from providing captivating natural beauty also generates hydro electricity. A trek of 200 meters from the micro hydro power station takes you to the base of the Jang Fall, on the banks of the Tawang chu river. Best time to visit is from mid September to mid November.
Ten Best Dams in India
Neyyar Dam, Kerala: Neyyar Dam is located in the Thiruvananthapuram district and is just 30 km from the state capital. This vast reservoir is a fun place. Water falling over from a depth of 100 feet is worth seeing. Other attractions include deer park, lion safari park, crocodile breeding and rehabilitation center.
Banasura Sagar Dam, Kerala
Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earthen dam in India is located 21 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad District of Kerala amid the Western Ghats.Tourists are presented with a mesmerizing sight of a large expanse of crystal clear water bounded by a hill on one side.
Mattupetty Dam, Kerala
Mattupetty Dam is located about 13 Kilometers from Munnar on the way to Top Station, a hill station on Tamil Nadu- Kerala border. This 160 feet high dam in the Idukki district of Kerala is built on a tributary of Periyar River. The lake created by the dam is a picnic spot also offering boating facilities.
Linganamakki Dam, Karnataka
The Linganamakki dam is located in the Sagara taluk of Shimoga district Karnataka. The dam is built over the Sharavathi River. The world famous Jog Falls is just 6 kms from here. The Linganamakki reservoir along with the Sharavathi backwaters is a great place to explore for the tourists.
Mulshi Dam, Maharashtra
Mulshi Dam about 40 kms from Pune is located in the Mulshi taluka (sub-district) on SH 60. It`s a dam on Mula River and the lake formed with the backwaters is called as the Mulshi Lake. The picturesque Sahyadri ranges, in Western Ghats lend the place a serene, yet majestic atmosphere.
Jayakwadi Dam, Maharashtra
Jayakwadi Dam is located 4 kms, north of Paithan town which in turn is about 56 km south of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. This earthen dam on Godavari River and the lake known as Nath Sagar is a treat for nature lovers. During season it is home to a large number of resident as well as migratory birds.
Selaulim Dam, Goa
Selaulim dam in Sanguem taluka, is about 12 km from Curchorem and 2 km from Sanguem town. This vital dam in South Goa is also an important eco-tourism spot and attracts scores of tourists.
Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh
Pong Dam aka the Maharana Pratap is near the quaint yet picturesque Dehra Gopipur in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.Constructed over the Beas River this man made reservoir is home to a large number of migratory birds. Angling opportunities also exist in the waters of Pong Dam.
Tehri Dam, Uttarakhand
Tehri Dam generated much controversy, with the environmentalists vehemently objecting its construction. Tehri dam built on the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana River is located near Tehri Town in Uttarakhand. The dam with a massive artificial lake is now a major attraction for tourists.
Hirakud Dam, Orissa
The Hirakud dam reservoir (HDR) 30 km from Sambalpur, Orissa has the distinction of being one of the longest dams in the world. Built across River Mahanadi, it is also a haven for migratory birds during winters.The waters of this expansive Dam can be viewed from two revolving towers Gandhi Minar on the northern end and Jawahar Minar on the southern end.
Ten Best Nature Destinations
Coorg the Coffee Country: Coorg, the former summer refuge of Brits, lying in the Western Ghats is laden with unsurpassed natural beauty where you can find some of the most verdant coffee plantations of the world. Let loose yourself in the coffee plantations and have the most relaxing holiday ever.
Darjeeling where Tea is just not another drink has the right climate and topography to produce the finest teas in the world. The verdant tea plantations grown on the the terraced slope of low hills with woman plucking tea leaves is a bewitching sight. A holiday to Darjeeling takes you back on another era.
Nasik is not only famous for the Kumbha Mela, but also a place that produces India`s finest wines. A tour to the Nashik vineyards is an enthralling experience no matter if you are not a wine connoisseur. A trip to Nasik vineyards is a must for getting enlightened on wine appreciation basics.
Strawberry fields, Mahabaleshwar
A 6 hour`s drive from Mumbai takes you to the Strawberry country of Mahabalaeshwar. You can join the farmers in plucking strawberries from the bushes and visit nearby Strawberry processing units.
Apple Orchards of Manali
A one-of-its-kind tour of the beautiful orchards in and around Manali, seeing the raw and ripe apples dangling from the trees is an amazing experience. The view of acres of lush green apple orchards looks stunning and just out of picture perfect post cards.
Cashew Orchards of Goa
A trip to the cashew orchards makes you realize that Goa is not all about beaches. A tour to the cashew orchards start with drinking the delicious feni. Visiting Cashew processing units as well as the feni distillation units is also part of the fun.
Flower Orchids of Gangtok
The Orchid Sanctuary in Deorali is just few kms from Gangtok. It houses more than 200 varieties of exotic orchids. The summer months of April and May offers an awesome view of the place. A visit to the orchid sanctuary Orchidarium on the road to Rangpo is also highly recommended.
Kinnow Orchards of Hoishiarpur
The weekends from Chandigarh can take you to Kinnow Farms at Hoshiarpur just 130 kms away. A holiday spent in the verdant Kinnow Farms is a rare opportunity to have an insider’s view of the rural life in Punjab.
Konkan Mango Tours
The Ratnagiri and the adjoining districts in the Konkan region of Maharashtra are bestowed with acres and acres of orchards of world famous Hapus ( Alphonso) mangoes. A visit to these orchards is an adventurous experience with a ride in bullock carts, plucking a few yourselves and much more.
Chiku orchards of Bordi- Dahanu
Just 145 kms from Mumbai a trip to Bordi-Dhanu is a perfect Mumbai weekend trip to explore the multitude of Chiku farms that dots these places. Dahanu has been home to a large number of Chikoo farmers. A trip to the Chiku plantations is a great way to get close to the nature.
Ten Best Bridges in India
Vidya Sagar Setu, Kolkata: The Vidya Sagar Setu, connecting Kolkata and Howrah is the second bridge built over river Hooghly. The bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in India looks magnificent in the night.
Coronation Bridge, Siliguri
In the north east, the Coronation Bridge, also called the Sevok Bridge, connects the hills of Darjeeling to the plains of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. The bridge crosses the Teesta River at its confluence with the Rangeet River.
Naini Bridge, Allahabad
The bridge built over the Yamuna River, is one of the few cable stayed six lane road bridges in India. It connects Allahabad with Naini. The bridge looks splendid in the night.
Mandovi Bridge, Panjim
In the west coast, linking the towns of Panjim to Porvorim in Goa is the Mandovi Bridge. In the night the lights from the bridge getting reflected in the waters of the Mandovi River is wonderful.
Kali Nadi Bridge, Karwar
Kali Nadi Bridge is built over the Kali River in Karwar, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. Karwar is 520 kms from Bangalore. The bridge is a gateway to Goa from Karnataka.
Pamban Bridge, Rameswaram
The Pamban Bridge aka Indira Gandhi Bridge connects Rameswaram to the Indian mainland. It lies on the Palk Strait. A walk on the bridge is memorable with the view of the sea and the string of islands located to the left of the Pamban Island.
Mathoor Hanging Bridge, Kanyakumari
Mathoor hanging bridge was constructed across the river Parazhiyar and the Pattanamkal canal (trough canal). Located 50 km from Kanyakumari it is the longest and tallest trough bridge in Asia. The view of the river below and the greenery around takes your breath away!
Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh
Up north, Lakshman Jhula, the perennial favourite of the tourists is a hanging bridge across Ganga. The bridge is 450 feet long and is constructed at a height of 70 feet from the river. The landmark bridge presents a wonderful sight of the river below, the temples and the Ashrams around.
Dera Gopipur Bridge, Dehra
The Beas Bridge or DeraGopipur Bridge is the main USP of Dehra a small town in Himachal, 537 kms from Delhi. It`s a huge bridge connecting Dehra to Gopipur. The green waters of Beas against the backdrop of lower Shivaliks make the visit worthwhile. The rain fed Beas looks majestic after the monsoon.
Bridge No. 226 on Kalka Shimla Railway, Kalka
The Kalka Shimla Railway line is full of breathtaking stone bridges. A bridge that deserves special mention is the 97.4 m long and 19.3 m high bridge no. 226. It lies between the Sonwara and Dharampur stations. This arch-gallery bridge is the longest such bridge on the Kalka Shimla Railway(KSR).
Ten Most Underrated Beaches of India
Tarkali Beach: Tarkali Beach is located just at the Maharashtra - Goa border 6 kms from Malavan. The beach here is a narrow stretch but with pristine waters, which makes visible the sea bed upto 10 feet. The best part is that still today the beach is not abuzz with tourist activities seen in other beaches offering water sports activities.
Forget Goa and Kerala just 6 kilometers from Udupi in Karnataka lies a totally different worl. Malpe beach, though not exactly quiet as locals and tourists hit this beach regularly. Be it the silent morning walks along the moist sands or the carnival like atmosphere in the evenings Malpe would charm you in many ways.
Again in Karnataka, Marvanthe Beach is near about 40 km from Udupi. Notwithstanding the large number of boulders placed to stop erosion, this beach is genuinely more beautiful than either Malpe or Kaup. Here you will encounter one of the rarest natural beauties, that of a road in between a river and a sea. The scenic National Highway 17 runs in between the Arabian sea and the Souparnika River.
Payyambalam Beach just 2 km from Kannur town in northern Kerala is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala, but not much of it is known outside local circles. At the entrance you will find a garden with a massive sculpture of a mother and child. A walk along the shore to a more secluded spot can be the perfect setting for watching the sunset in the evenings.
Muzhapilangad Beach located 8 km from the Thalassery(Tellicherry) town in Kannur district is one of the longest beaches in Kerala. The 4 km long beach is the only drive-in beach of the state. So you actually can have an awe-inspiring drive right upto Kannur from here. Huge black rocks, palm grooves add to the beauty of the place. Shallow waters here makes it perfect for swimming too.
Bekal Fort Beach
Recall Mani Ratnam`s Bombay yes that magnificent rain drenched fort and the surrounding beach in the song "Tu Hi Re" was at Bekal 14 kilometers from Kasargod. To one side of the fort lies the shallow beach with silvery sands. A beautiful walkway, rock garden and a Children`s park surrounding the beach have made the place attractive to the tourists.
Rushikonda or alternatively Rishikonda Beach is located 8 kms away from Vishakhapatnam. This golden beach away from the cacophony is just right for taking peaceful strolls. Pony rides are available in the morning and evenings. Right in the beach itself is the Sapta Rusheswara Temple built in 14th century AD.
Clear blue waters, fishing boats doting the horizon and more importantly few tourists that`s what sums up Mandarmani, a quiet vrigin Beach near Digha in West Bengal. This recent discovery is 180 km from Kolkata and perfect for a no funfare and no frills holiday. A major attraction of Mandarmani Beach is a 13 km long motorable stretch and delicious seafood at reasonable prices.
Chandipur Beach on the Orissan coast offers a one of its kind experience. In this rare phenomena the water during the low tide recedes as back as 5 km. There is no sight of the sea except for the sound. While during the high tide there is almost waist deep water till the shore. This coupled with the bewitching sight of sunrise and sunset makes for a memorable visit.
Tranquebar Beach aka Tharangam Padi Beach on the Tamil Nadu Coast is 296 kms from Chennai on the east coast road. Not many know that the clean Tranquebar beach has been given recognition as a " Ozone Rich Beach ". Once a Danish bastion the vast beach still contains enough landamrks to testify to this fact. A Danish fort now converted to museum, ruinous temples and a beautiful heritage hotel (Bungalow on the Beach) are the attractions of Tranquebar Beach.
Ten Most Beautiful Gardens in India
Brindavan Gardens, Mysore: On the down stream of Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, 20 km from Mysore lies the beautiful Brindavan Gardens. The garden with an area of 60 acres stands out as one of the primary tourist attraction of not only Karnataka state but India as a whole. Well planned lawns, innumerable pools, fountains and flower beds are the attraction of the Brindavan Gardens. The garden is laid out in three terraces with evenings providing the real charm when the innumerable fountains and flower beds get illuminated. A pond inside the park provides boating options.
Sim Park, Coonoor
The Sim`s Park is an important landmark of Coonoor. This 12-hectare park, was founded by Englishmen Major Murray and Mr. J.D. Sims in the year 1874. Sim Park boasts of a collection of over 1,000 plant species, this include pines, magnolia, tree ferns, camellia and some very rare and old trees. Coonoor`s Sim Park is a natutral garden and plays host to a popular annual Fruit Show. It is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll amid sylvan surroundings.
Botanical Garden, Ooty
Ooty botanical garden covering an area of over 55 acres is home to several rare species of trees. It boasts of more than 2000 species of plants and trees from all over globe. The garden is a favourite with tourists with nurseries, green houses, ponds, walkways and terraces laid out in a well planned manner. Some of the attractions here include a Lilly pond with colorful flowers, a one of its kind Cork tree, a fossil tree trunk which is believed to be 20 million years old.
Indian Botanical Garden, Kolkata
The Indian Botanical Garden is located at Shibpur in the Howrah district just 10 km south of Howrah Station. Established way back in 1787, the garden with an area of 273 acres lies on the west bank of the River Hooghly. Innumerable birds have made this garden their haven. One of the prized attraction of this Botanical Garden is the world`s largest Banyan Tree.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Gangtok
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden is located very close to Rumtek Monastery and is just 24 kms from Gangtok. The garden under the aegis of Forest Department was established in the year 1987 and is a big hit with the plant enthusiasts. Several species of plants typical to the Himalayan range thrive here including the Bamboos. Over 50 different species of tree can be identified here. A dedicated area of the park is marked for children to enjoy.
Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi
Lodhi Gardens is located between Lodhi Road, Amrita Shergill Marg and Max Muller Marg well within the scenic ``Lutyen`s Delhi.`` Spanning 80 acres this park is host to Four Monuments belonging to the era of Delhi Sultanate. A popular place for health freaks and lovelorn couples the park has a spiral shaped lake, a Glass House and a National Bonsai Park. Lodhi Gardens is one of the few places left in Delhi to hear the chirping of the birds and feel the whiff of a fresh breeze.
Nishat Bagh, Srinagar
One of the few surviving Mughal Gardens in India Nishat Bagh was built by Mughal Empress Nur Jahan`s brother Asaf Khan, in 1633-34 AD.Just 11 km from the Srinagar the garden offers a splendid view of Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan hills serving as the backdrop. This terraced garden ascends from the shore of Dal Lake in the direction of the Himalayan peaks. Pavilions, lavish fountains and a reservoir are the primary attraction of this once pleasure garden of the Mughals.
Gulab Bagh, Bihar
Gulab Bagh aka Sajjan Niwas garden spread over 100 acres is located on the banks of Pichola Lake on Lake Palace Road to the southeast of City Palace complex. It is one of the best gardens in India. During 1850`s, the Maharana of Mewar Sajjan Singhji took the initiative for building this magnificent garden. A remarkable array of roses and the arrangement of flower beds is the USP of the place. A must visit if you love nature.
Hanging Gardens, Mumbai
Feroze shah Mehta Gardens aka Hanging Gardens is actually a terraced garden sprawling on the slope of the Malabar Hills. It serves as a much needed retreat for the Mumbaikars. The garden offers a scenic vista of the dazzling Mumbai city. Apart from that it also offers a a great view of the sunset across the horizon of the Arabian Sea. Children would love the hedges fashioned into the shape of different animals and a striking flower clock in the middle of the garden.
Pinjore Garden, Chandigarh
Pinjore gardens aka Yadavindra Gardens, is situated about 20 kms away from Chandigarh. The gardens built in the distinct Mughal style also has a mythological connection attached to it. It is said that the Pandava brothers had rested here during their exile days. Covering an area of 100 acres it encompasses a zoo, plant nursery, Japanese garden and picnic lawns. It also serves as the venue for hosting an annual mango festival.
Valley of Flowers
The Valley of Flowers are comely beyond chimera and imagination! Garhwal`s best-kept-exquisite secret en-wrapped in Chamoli, abutting the Nanda Devi National Park is a recent, is fast catching the fancy of the tourists pan India. 595 km from Delhi, the Valley of Flowers is located at 3,200 to 6,675m. The entire Valley of Flowers is bedight with variegated species of flowers, rolling meadows, flowerful pastures, silver-streaked streams and strong scent that envelopes the valley in intoxication. The dew-draped mornings and flowers and brumous milieu of the valley attracts even more visitors. Valley of Flowers National Park is a World Heritage Site located in the West Himalayas. A number of rarefied flowers such as Bramhakamal, Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily, Rhododendrons, so on carpet the valley in a riot of colours attracting hordes of tourist, from near and far.
The Route to Valley of Flowers
The nearest point and the centre point to access Valley of Flowers is Delhi. Tourists from other parts of India, besides Delhi and adjoining area, can halt at Delhi and continue their from New Delhi. New Delhi to Rishikesh is a 6-hr trip by bus; trains might take slightly lesser time as compared by bus. A overnight break at Rishikesh advisable. Further to this, Rishikesh to Joshimath takes almost 11 hours to reach. From Joshimath reaching Govindghat requires 1-hour-bus ride, followed by an arduous trek of 14-km trek from Govindghat to Ghangria area, which is base camp to Valley of Flowers 3 km from Ghangria.
Joshimath to Ghangria
Joshimath to Govindghat is a toilsome stretch of 21 km of winding steep climbs along the pathway of Alaknand river. After alighting at Govindghat, travellers need to trek a base town which also serves as Hemkund Sahib starting point. The trek to Govindghat is adventurous and scary at the same time. On the trek that leads to Govindghat, the air reverberates with sacred praise of the lord: Sat naam wahe guru! The winding steep to Ghangria moves along the Lakshaman Ganga River all along. The trek is facilitated with all relax points where pilgrims can sit and breath in fresh mountain air and sip hot tea at spots like Bhyundaar and Pulnar Village and so on. Just after 12 km of trekking, the milestone/signpost displays Ghangria`s distance from the spot.
Ghangria is a small village by the side of Lakshman Ganga river that also doubles up as a base for trekkers seeking Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. That is why Ghangria is lined up with lodgings and accommodations by the side of ridge. Ghangria gives a look of the crowded bazaars just like the scene of any other hill station. And, there dots the ambiance a beautiful Gurudwara. Besides, there GMVN guesthouse will have to be booked in advance. The Valley of Flowers are 3 km from the Ghangria Village. The Village is a claustrophobic village without electricity and cellphone coverage
Reaching to the Valley of Flowers
The left fork from Ghangria leads to the Valley of Flowers. The best way out is take ponies, which are allowed only to the entrance gate of the Valley. The entrance is the iron bridge that suspends over the Pushpavati River that joins Lakshman Ganga. This is also called as Dwari Bhitar by the locals, and this is the gate that opens up to the floral quintessence, presented in chord of colours. Beneath their emblazoned skin the flowers are also infused with medicinal properties that have proven a cure of flatulence, diabetes, epilepsy et al. Girdled all sides by the snow-capped Himalayan ranges, the Valley of Flowers is far more pleasant and difficult to believe than its description. The valley is riot of colors, smell, sounds and flowers. Inside there is mauve Impatiens, the white Paenia sunlight yellow Marsh marigold with its flat smiling face. Everywhere there is a heady fragrance of flowers in the Valley and scene keeps getting comely with shallow streams on the shaky logs. The trip to Valley of Flowers – the garden of Indra- is one of the amaranths.
Ten Best Places to Spot Elephants
Punathoor Kota Elephant Sanctuary, Guruvayur: Indulge in Elephant watching at Punnthur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary, which is just 3 kms away from the Guruvayurappan Temple. Managed by the Guruvaur Devaswom Board, it houses a good number of Elephants. You can see these giant creatures everywhere in myriad poses- flapping ears, swaying Trunks, getting a bath in the pond. You can photograph them, draw them in canvas but do not indulge in any buffoonery with them. Though you can bring in Bananas.
Theppakkadu Elephant Training Camp, Ooty
Just 68 km from Oooty is the Theppakkadu Elephant training camp inside the Madhumalai Forest Sanctuary within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is one of the biggest Elephant camp and is home to around 25-30 of the Pachyderms engaged in various forest activities. You can be part of the feeding shows in the evenings which is a real crowd puller.
Dubare Elephant Camp, Madikeri
Sandwiched between the Dubare reserve forest and the south bank of the Cauvery lies the Dubare Elephant training Camp in the eastern Kodagu(Coorg). Open throughout the year the Elephant lovers can spend hours observing them closely and participate in activities such as feeding and bathing. A special attraction here is the Elephant Interaction Programme.
Kabini Forest, Mysore
If you want to see Asiatic Elephants in their wild passion, raw intensity and natural habitat then head for Kabini. Kabini is all about Elephants, some 250 of them or more, roaming free. Kabini lies in the south-eastern end of Nagarhole National Park just 69 km from Mysore. The forest reserve is spread over 55 acres and comprises forestland and water bodies and is one of the best places for sightings of large herds of Elephants.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady
Lying close to the plantations, in the Cardamom hills region Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary spreads across 777 sq kms. It is one of the most fascinating Jungles to spot Elephants. The sanctuary has a large number of Tuskers. This is the only Sanctuary where you can take a boat ride on the lake and view the herds of wild Elephants playing around.
Kodanad Elephant Camp, Kalady
Kodanad is a a major Elephant rescue and care centre which is just 30 km from Kalady on the MC Road. From close quarters and without any fears you can watch Elephants having a bath, baby Elephants indulging in antics. Elephant rides are also available. Entry fee is just Rs 2.
Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary, Bhubaneshwar
Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary is around 20 km or a half an hour`s journey from Bhubaneswar. The sanctuary covered with dense bamboo and kochila trees is home to a strong team of Elephants nearing 70. Many watch towers are constructed inside the sanctuary at vantage points to spot Elephants. From the Kumarkhunti Watch Tower you can watch the Elephants inside the waterholes, bathing and frolicking with the birds.
Dalma Elephant Reserve, Jamshedpur
Dalma Elephant Reserve some 40 km from the industrial town of Jamshedpur is spread over 195 square kilometers. Inspite of the presence of some 90 Elephants, yet it does not quite figure in the tourist circuit. The Pachyderm presence can be felt mainly around the lake deep inside the thick forests. A forest lodge inside provides accommodation.
Rajaji National Park, Haridwar
Rajaji National Park covers 3 districts of Dehradun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal and is spread over 825 square kilometers. It is famous for its Elephant population. There`s a dedicated Motichoor elephant corridor connecting the eastern and western parts of the Rajaji park. The reserve boasts of 10 million-year-old fossils of 50 species of Elephants.
Sahakari Spice Farm, Goa
Those who think that Goa is only about sun and sand a visit to the Sahakari Spice farm, located on the Ponda Belgaum Highway brings in a welcome change. This Spice farm is also a great place to enjoy in a bit of fun and frolics with the tamed Elephants. Watching the Pachyderms take bath, scrubbing them, kids getting splashed with water sprayed by the Elephants, feeding them, Elephant rides all add up to the fun.
Ten Most Underraterd Caves in India
Udayagiri Caves, Bhubaneshwar: Udayagiri Caves, totaling 18 are located just 10 kilometers from Bhubaneshwar. These caves were once home to the Jain Ascetics nearly 2000 years ago. The coarse sandstone structure consist of both natural rock shelters as well as those curved out from the rocks. The caves can be accessed by a flight of steps from the base of the hill.
Mawsmai Cave, Shillong
Mawsmai Cave, aka Krem Phyllut, is situated around 56 km from Shillong close to Cherrapunjee. Mawsmai Cave is a large cave with narrow openings on both ends. The Cave is filled with amazing sight of stalagmites and stalactites kind of rock formations. The inside of the cave is dark and consist of big amphitheater-like halls with endless number of galleys of different shape and size.
Bagh Caves, Mandu
Remarkable Bagh Caves are located 50 km from Mandu on the road between Indore and Vadodara on the bank of Baghini river. Inscriptions found inside the cave point the origin of the caves to 4th /5th AD. The seven rock cut caves consist of Viharas stupa in chaitya hall and residential cells. Sculptures of Buddha and Boddhisattvas found inside the cave points that the cave belonged to the era, when Buddhism was prospering in Central India.
Edakkal Caves, Wayanad
Edakkal Caves are located 12 kilometres south-west of Sultan’s Battery in the Wayanad District of Kerala. This cave on the Ambukuthy Hill range is assumed to have been inhabited at various stages in history. These caves feature 3 distinct sets of petroglyphs, with the earliest assumed to date back to more than 5000 years. The cave is on 2 levels.
Vallam Caves, Chennai
Vallam Caves are located just around 56 km from Chennai very close to Chengalpattu. These cave Temples carved out of giant rocks were built in the time of Pallava King Mahendra Varman and contains some of the oldest Tamil inscriptions dating between AD 610 and 675. 3 Caves stand on a small hillock. A flight of steps leads to the top from the base of the hill. The main cave is bigger than the other 2 and Dwarpalaks stand at the entrance of all the 3 caves.
Sittannavasal caves, Tiruchcharappalli
Sittannavasal caves are located 16 km north west of Pudukkottai town just 50 km from Tiruchcharappalli. Sittannavaasal is renowned essentially for its rock-cut cave temple housing some of the earliest and rare surviving Jain murals. The Sittannavaasal cave temple belonged to the period when Jainism was at its peak in Southern India and dates back to around 1st century (based on the Tamil-Brahmi inscription found on the cave floor). It is the only place where Tamil inscriptions in the time frame from 1st century BC to the 10th century AD are found.
Bedsa Caves, Lonavala
Bedsa Caves lies around 15 kms from Lonavala and 56 kms from Pune. Another fine specimen of Buddhist Cave and rock cut architecture, yet it is not very popular with the tourists. The USP of Bedsa Caves is the beautifully executed Chaitya which dates back to 2nd century BC. The Chaitya consists of four pillars, with carvings. On either sides of the main Chaitya you can notice water tanks dug on the rock surface.
Kedareshwar Cave, Kalyan
The huge Kedareshwar cave-temple is located within the ramparts of Harishchandragad Fort, to the right of Harishchandreshwar temple. It is some 86 km from Kalyan. The cave houses a Shiva lingam, surrounded by chilling waist deep water. The temple stands just on a single pillar as out of 4 supporting pillars 3 is broken.
Badami Cave, Hubli
The Badami Cave Temples carved out of soft Badami sandstone essentially consist of 4 caves. They are located in the Bagalkot district 128 km from Hubli. Dating back to 6th century they stand on a hill cliff. The four caves simple in style represent different religious sects. The entrance is like verandah supported with stone columns and brackets leading to a columned mantapa. The sanctum sanctorum is cut deep into the cave. The idols found inside are dedicated to gods of Hindu and Jain pantheon.
Jogimara cave, Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh
Adjoining the Sitabengra is the Jogimara cave made by cutting the ancient Ramgarh hills. The cave 15 ft long, 12 ft wide and 9 ft high houses a a rich heritage of paintings on its walls and roof. Considered as finest specimens of of cave paintings in India, the paintings depict several figures of saints. The Cave is supposed to have been carved out in 2nd or 3rd century B.C.
Life is synonymous to sailing on the labyrinth of backwaters! Not just the ripples of emerald green and mud grey hues, the backwaters in Kerala are life to the locals who earn their living on the water. The unusual ecosystem of nature where the confluence of freshwaters from rivers with sea waters of Arabian Sea creates a stretch of 900 km of backwaters is only seen in coastal regions Kerala — the god’s own country. Kerala’s this coastal region constitutes a natural network of more than forty rivers, estuaries, lake and canals, which also link the quay-side towns by the means of backwaters. Pleasances to the eyes, the backwaters are embedded into the lifestyle of the local dwellers whose sole occupation thrives on the backwater produces of paddy, toddy, coconut, kettuvollam (the local houseboats of Kerala). The Kerala backwaters are naturally interpenetrated with oodles of freshness and a muckle of tiny aquatic species like mudskippers, crabs, frogs, water birds, terns, kingfishers, cormorants, otters and turtles.
Renowned for its palm-fringed shorelines and green charm, the Kerala backwaters have often caught the fancy of poets and writers and have been captured on the celluloid screens countless times. Tall coconut trees silhouetting the banks of waterways against the setting sun is less than described beauty of the backwaters, the same inland waterway that garbs up in mesmerising green hues only to be etched in the minds of travellers. During the past few years, backwaters have seen a raise with honeymooners flocking to these destinations and so has successfully seeped into wayfarer’s travelogues.
Kerala Backwater Destinations
The land of lakes, latex and letters, Kottayam greedily annexes those exotic backwater destinations. Amaranthine memories await you here while you sail along the cruise of lifetime. Take a trip to legendary Punnamada Lake that leaves you enchanted with the most beautiful moments of your life. There are much more opportunities that allow you to indulge in sporting activities like angling or fishing or exchange smiles with the toddy tapers at work.
A coastal township near Arabian Sea is a poetic introduction to Alleppey Backwaters. Spend one night at on the house boat and carry home handful of memories. You can visit the 400 year old Champakkulam church, one of the 7 churches established by St. Thomas. The Chavara Bhavan, located 6 km from Alleppey, is another interesting place to visit.
As long as you haven`t visited the Thottappally Backwater you have skipped major beauty piece meal in God`s Own Country. As you sail along you can see the typical wooden houses lined near the bank and visit the "Chavara Bhavan" the ancestral home of the blessed "Kuriakose Elias Chavara". Located 6 km from Alleppey, this house has preserved intact a historically important 250 year old beacon of light, in its original and primitive form.
Try creating schism in the clusters of island held together at Kumarakom backwaters. It appears as if Kumarakom is a cluster of islands, but in truth is just one Island formed due to the Backwaters. Embark on the houseboat cruise from Alleppey to Kumarakom and collect many amazing sight of women fishing with their toes for the Karimeen fish and collecting them in the terracotta pots. As you sail through the Astamudi Lake you are distracted by the screech sound of the both resident and migratory birds. And that is the most beautiful experience that you will ever have.
There is no time to breathe in Kerala because if you do that you would be missing some panoramic views. The experience of going on a two nights cruise from Alleppey to Alumkadavu is awaiting you at Alumkadavu Backwaters. The famous Chinese Fishing nets can be seen at Kayamkulam Pozhy as you sail along the Alumkadavu Lake. Enjoy a quiet time trying your hand in Angling, where you will be provided with rods on request.
As soon as you begin your journey on the house boat to Alleppey, the Kidangara happens to be your first stoppage on the flowing water. Spend the night on the house boats just to wake up in paradise by the sound of sweet twittering of the birds. It`s beautiful in the real sense.
Kasargod, North Kerala, is a beautiful destination of the backwaters. The place offers ample of opportunities for backwater cruises. At Kasargod two important backwater cruises destinations are Chandragiri and Valiyaparamba. Chandragiri, 4 km from Kasargod, sprawls around Chandragiri Fort and the cruise for here begins at Chandragiri Bridge. Valiyaparamba is another scenic stretch of backwater with slice of green ambiance and avian guests.
Settled magnanimously by the side of Kerala’s backwater, Kozhikode is blessed with endless attractions, all which can be toured on the houseboats Kozhikode Beach, Pazhassirajah Museum, Art Gallery, Beypore, Kappad Beach and Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary are some of the Kozhikode’s attractions.
Myriads of, big and small, waterway criss-cross the Kuttanad region, famous for fields of cassava, banana, yam et al, and inundate the low-lying regions near by. Kuttanad can be aptly described as ideal place for backwater freaks, a place where endless water bodies join to make it a haven among its tourers. Along the houseboats one is trailed by flocks of ducks, coir workers processing coir look up from their tasks and wave as you pass by, otters and water birds can be seen on the edges of the waterways, and the sound of rippling water is a soothing lullaby as you sail along on a houseboat through the backwaters of Kuttanad.
Kerala’s ancient port and trade route, Kollam is the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. This ancient trade city of Kerala spans splendiferousl on the Asthamudi Lake. Backwaters in Kollam extend from Ashthamudi Lake to Alleppey. The boat ride from Kollam to Alappuzha takes 8 hours and is a delightful ride, with lotuses and water lilies growing in the water, water birds calling from the banks and otters splashing and playing in the water.
Top 10 Decisive Battlefields in India
Kargil, Jammu & Kashmir: The cold and hostile mountain terrain of Kargil, some 230 km from Leh became a fearsome battleground. It was witness to India`s toughest battle in recent times. The mission which lasted for almost 60 days between May to July 1999, was to dislodge well-entrenched enemy troops from the heights across Indian territory. After 10 years Kargil is now teeming with tourists.
Unquestionably "Mother of all battles" Kurukshetra lies 160 km north of Delhi. The 18 days war fought between the Pandavas and Kauravas in the epic Mahabharata saw the Pandavas led by Lord Krishna emerge triumphant but not before many casualties on both sides. Kurukshetra is now a centre of pilgrimage.
The fertile plains of Paniapat, 90 km from Delhi was the site for 3 pivotal battles which changed the course of history. 1526 AD set for the Mughal rule in India. 1556 AD Akbar became firmly entrenched as Emperor of India. The last battle of Panipat fought in 1761 AD saw Marathas decline as a military power. Disappointingly this industrial town known for the handloom products and `Pachranga` pickles now bears no testimony to the bloody battles staged here.
Plassey, West Bengal
Plassey a village having extensive mango grove is 150 km from Kolkata. It is located in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal. It was here on a hot June 23rd, 1757 the army of Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal and forces of the East India Company under a shrewd Robert Clive clashed. The battle that lasted only for few hours, saw Siraj defeated and killed. The outcome of this battle paved the way for furthering British ambitions in India.
Colachel, Tamil Nadu
Colachel a small fisihng harbour that is 40 Km from Kanyakumari on the west coast road is a place where Indian rulers had one of their finest victories over the colonial invaders. Travancore Army under King Marthanda Varma and the forces of Dutch East India Company led by Admiral Eustachius De Lannoy clashed here on August 10, 1741. This defeat of an European naval force by an Indian ruler is something unique. As a result of this defeat the Dutch never again rose to be a substantial threat in India.
Tarain now known as Taraori or Tarori is a small place in Haryana that is 16 km north of Karnal. This obscure place was the site for two most important battles which had an impact on Indian history. In 1191 and 1192 AD the armies of Mohammed Ghori and the Rajput ruler Prithviraj Chauhan clashed. While in the first battle Ghori had to retreat but in the second Pritviraj was defeated thus making way for a floodgate of invasions.
Srirangapattana, just 19 km from Mysore was the scene of the last and decisive Fourth Anglo-Mysore War between Tipu Sultan and the British forces under General Harris. The British had laid siege of the city . On 4th May 1799 AD a fierce battle erupted and Britisher through a breach on the wall entered Srirangapatna. Tipu was killed and a memorial is marked inside the fort where he ultimately fell.
Haldighati lies 40 kilometres from Udaipur in the Aravalli Ranges of Rajasthan. On June 21 1576 AD the valiant warrior Maharana Pratap Singh of Mewar put up a brave fight against numerically superior forces of Mughal Army of AKbar commandeered by Raja Man Singh in the mountainous pass of. The battle lasted only for 4 hours and Pratap had to flee the battlefield but not before inflicting a heavy damage on the Mughal Army.
Talikota lies about 80 kilometers to the southeast of Bijapur in Karnataka on the banks of the River Don. It was here that the famous Battle of Talikota was fought. On January 26, 1565 AD the combined armies of the Deccan Sultanates- Ahmednagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur and Golconda, clashed with the Vijayanagara army at the rocky terrains of Talikota. The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated and the whole city plundered. This decisive battle made sure that Vijayanagara, the last large Hindu kingdom collapsed.
Wadgaon-Maval on the highway to Mumbai, 50 km from Pune is witness to the famous Battle of Wadgaon where on January 14th, 1779 AD the forces of East India Company was defeated by Maratha army, led by general Mahadji Shinde. Consequently on January 16th the British had to sign a humiliating surrender treaty. The Marathas under a shrewd strategy allowed the English to climb the ghats, trapping them inland and then cutting off the supply lines with Mumbai at two places leaving them weak and helpless.
Top 10 Zoos in India
Mysore Zoo: Mysore zoo aka Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is located at 3 km from the City Bus Stand and just 2 km from the Mysore Palace. Set up by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar, the century old Zoo is spread over 250 acres of verdant greenery. Some of the animals housed here include striped Hyena, Jungle cat, Asiatic black bears, African Elephant. It is the only zoo in South Asia to host a Gorilla.
Located near PMG junction as an annexe to the Museum by the Maharaja of Travancore, the Thiruvananthapuram, Zoo is spread over 55 acres. It is the second oldest zoo in India. Comprising lakes, lawns and woodlands, the zoo is part of a well-landscaped botanical garden. Animals are kept mostly in open enclosures, including Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion and the Royal Bengal Tiger. A reptile house is a special attraction of this Zoo.
Covering 1,600 hectares and with almost 3,000 visitors a day the Arignar Anna Zoological Park or Vandalur Zoo as it is best known is the most sought after destination in Chennai after the beach. Due to abundant space and lush greenery, the animals are kept in large enclosures, thus giving them enough space to wander around. The Chennai Zoo is a specialty breeding place for the rare Lion Tailed Macaque, found only in the Western Ghats.
The Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad is spread over 380 acres of lush green land. It is home to numerous species of birds, animals, reptiles and fishes. Here you can spot the rare white-backed vultures. Some of the special attractions of the zoo includes the Lion Safari and Tiger Safari Parks in an almost natural forest setting, children Train and Elephant rides.
Founded in 1957, Assam state zoo is the largest of its kind in the North East, The Zoo cum Botanical Garden is spread over an area of 1.75 square kilometers and located on the R. G. Baruah Road. The Assam State Zoo has a large variety of animals that includes Black headed Oriole, Capped Langur, the great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tigers, Bears, Asian Elephants etal.
The Darjeeling zoo aka Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park was adjudged as the best Zoo in India in 2008. Established in 1958 the Zoo is located on the slopes of Jawahar Parbhat just below the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Darjeeling Zoo is best known for housing some very rare animals not to be found else where. These includes Red Panda, Snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan salamander, Himalayan black bears, Siberian tigers etal.
Nandankanan Zoo, Bhubaneshwar
Nandankanan Zoo is situated in the cordial environs of the Chandaka forest, just 25 km from Bhuvaneshwar. Covering a huge area of 362 hectares of forest area, the Zoo is most famous for its White Tiger population. The Zoo is running a successful breading program for White Tiger, Black Panthers, Gharial Crocodiles and Pangolin. Lion safari Tours are very popular with the visitors here. Other rare animals housed here include Manipuri Deer, Wild Ass and Hippopotamus.
Bharat Ratna Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo Nainital is the only Zoo in Uttarakhand state. It is located n the hills of Sher ka Danda 2 km from Tallital Bus station. This Zoo at an elevation of 2100 m above msl houses some of the animal species found only in cooler climes and includes Siberian Tigers, Himalayan Palm Civet, Hill Fox, Snow Leopards, Silver pheasants.
Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden aka Sakkarbaug Zoo at Junagadh, is the oldest in Gujarat being established way back in 1863 by the Nawabs from the princely state of Junagadh. Sakkarbaug Zoo houses over 500 mammals and birds along with 111 reptile species. The main claim to fame of Sakkarbaug Zoo is for its commendable work on the breeding of Asiatic lions earning it the status of the largest breeding center in the country.
National Zoological Park(NZP) covering an area of more than 200 acres is one of the bigger zoological parks in. Setup in 1959 it has a varied mix of animals and birds. The rare Manipur Brow-antlered deer is the logo of the Delhi Zoo. The USP of the Delhi Zoo is well kept and large enclosures. Hoolock Gibbon, White Tiger, White Buck are some of its prized possessions.
Ten Most Unusual Museums in India
Sri Rallabandi Subba Rao Government Archaeological Museum, Rajahmundry: Sri Rallabandi Subba Rao museum finds merit for its nondescript entity as nearby people are oblivious of this treasure trove of antiquity. Located on the banks of Godhavari it is well ensconced from the public view. The Museum has a good range of outdoor exhibition of sculptures, well-preserved palm leaf manuscripts, number of stone inscriptions, ancient and medieval coins. Making it one of the most remarkable small museums not only in Andhra Pradesh but whole of India.
Kaladhungi Museum, Corbett National Park
Kaladhungi Museum aka Jim Corbett Museum located in Kaladhungi is place associated with the famed hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett. The museum housing some of the memorabilia associated with him is in the same Bungalow where he lived once. The articles include his personal effects, rare photographs, paintings, personal letters, original manuscripts, period furniture, etal.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi
The Museum of Toilets located in Palam, New Delhi is an unusual museum of its kind in India. Conceptualised and started by Mr. Bindheshwar Pathak an international expert on sanitation, it traces the evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to modern times. On display are various types of Toilets and photographs of designs around the world. It is not just a simple Museum but part of a programme to educate people about the importance of sanitation as well as providing cheap sanitation solutions.
Wax Museum, Baywatch, Kanyakumari
Wax Museum, Baywatch, A Desi version of the London’s famous Madame Tussauds wax museum, it is located inside Baywatch amusement Park in Kanyakumari. You can see and get photographed alongside the celebrity of your choice. Some of the statutes here resemble original personalities closely while others can be termed as only `poor copies`. The celebrities here include Manmohan Sigh, Amitab Bachchan, executed ex President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, Mother Theresa, Tamil superstars like Rajanikanth, Mohan Lal, Tamil Nadu’s former CM J. Jayalalitha etal.
National Rail Museum, New Delhi
National Rail Museum located in Moti Bagh, New Delhi is a one-of-its-kind museum in Asia. Spread over 11 acres, the museum has a wide and varied collection. The collection consist of antique steam locomotives, records, carriages, models, photographs, coat of arms, documents, saloons etal. Both live exhibits as well as working/non-working models can be found. Added attraction is a toy train running around on its grounds.
Jawahar Toy Museum, Pondicherry
Jawahar Toy Museum is located near Gandhi Maidan next to the old lighthouse on Goubert Avenue. It is a treasure house for children with an excellent collection of costume dolls representing the various Indian states. All the dolls are neatly labeled and dressed in colourful attires. Other attractions include a little fairyland with a tiny Ganesh which lords over all the proceedings.
Archaeological Museum, Lothal
The Archaeological Museum at Lothal near Ahmedabad throws light on a very important facet on the history of our civilization. The museum displays artifacts recovered from the excavation conducted from 1952 to 1961 shows evidance that Harappan culture was flourishing in modern Gujarat before the birth of Jesus Christ. The displayed objects include beads, terracotta ornaments, painted potteries, animal and human figurines, potteries, bronze tools etal.
Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad
Situated in Ahmedabad Calico Museum of Textiles is one of the best Textile museums of the world. It is located within the impressive precincts of Sarabhai House. It has a remrakable and well- labelled collection of fabrics through different centuries. In the various galleries are located traditional textile artifacts sourced from all over India. There is a Religious Textiles gallery, historical textiles gallery making this unusual museum a popluar attraction of Ahmedabad.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum located in the old city of Pune near Shaniwarwada Palace houses nearly 2,000 utensils and objects d`art comprising stone, metal, wood, and earthenware of daily use with neat cataloging, culled from the remotest corners of the country. What makes this collection unusual is that Kelkar was an ordinary man of humble means. He used his income, sold off his wife`s jewelery to collect all the most unusual items. A rare feet indeed.
Island museum, Nagarjunakonda
A 3.5 hours journey from Hyderabad takes one to probably the only island museum in the world, that is located in the midst of the Nagarjuna Sagar lake. Incidentally Nagarjuna sagar Dam is claimed to be the world`s largest masonry weir while the lake is supposed to be the 3rd largest man-made lake. In this unique island museum, given the shape of a Buddhist Vihara, are housed a mind boggling range of relics of Buddhist art and culture including a small tooth and an ear-ring believed to be that of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Top 10 Sacred Dips in India
Triveni Sangama, Bhagamandala: Bhagamandala is a small pilgrim town, and the confluence of three rivers Cauvery, Kannike and Sujyoti(underground). A dip in the Triveni Sangama(confluencing point) is considered very auspicious. People after the bath offer puja at the Bhagandeshwara temple complex and then proceed to Talacauvery.
In Nashik a bath in the river Godavari is considered very sacred. Be it Lord Shiva`s worship during the Hindu calendar month of Shravan or Makar Sankranti thousands take holy dip here to cleanse their sins. After a dip people do darshan of Lord Shankara in the Kapaleshwar and Someshwar temples.
Mayiladuturai a sacred pilgrim town in Nagapattinam district is located on the banks of River Cauvery. Thousands of pilgrims and devotees take a holy dip here and worship Lord Shiva at during the various festivals in the Tamil Calendar with the belief of attaining Moksha.
Ayodhya on the banks of ancient Saryu River is supposed to be the birth place of Lord Rama. Large number of people congregate here during festivals like Sawan Jhula Mela, Ram Navami, Nag panchami to take holy dips and absolve themselves of sins.
Allahabad is famous for the ‘Sangam’ the site for the holy confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Sarawasti. According to Puranas, it was at Triveni Sangam that drops of Nectar fell from the pitcher, held by the Gods. There is quite a spectacle during the solar eclipse or the Kumbh Mela held once in 12 years as it draws huge people desirous of purifying their souls to the waters here.
Ganga Ghats, Varanasi
Despite the not so clean waters of the Ganges, devotees thronged the various Ghats of Varnasi, the city of Lord Shiva for a holy dip. Be it daily ritual or any special festival, Varanasi is the place for all to purify themselves and attain liberation from the pangs of birth and death.
Ganga Sagar, Sagar Island
Ganga sagar is the end of the 2700 Km journey of Mother Ganga to get merged with the Bay of Bengal. Taking a dip here is of tremendous significance as it is believed it will purify all the accumulated sins. After the dip, pople head for the Kapil Muni ashram. Makar Sankranti sees heavy rush.
River Tapi flowing through the city of Surat is considered very sacred as Rama had taken a holy dip here to accord ``moksha`` to his father King Dashrath. A bath during the solar eclipse assumes significance as the Tapi River is said to have arisen from the sun. Tapi is known as Suryaputri and Surat, Suryanagri. So this celestial event is the coming together of father and daughter.
Kudala Sangama, Bagalkot
Kudala Sangama Sukshetra is located in Bagalkot District 15 km from the Almatti dam. It is a sacred confluence of two big rivers Krishna and Malaprabha. Devotees take holy dip at Kudalasangama and then as per tradition visit Kudalasangameshwara, Basavanna`s Aikyamantap and other shrines. It is an important pilgrimage center for people of Lingayat faith.
Har ki Pauri, Haridwar
Har ki pauri is one of the most sacred ghats in India. People coming to Haridwar take a holy dip here before initiating their worships and offerings. It is also called as Brahmakund. Besides the routine dip auspicious days in Hindu Calender sees thousands thronging the Ghats.
Top 10 Fruit Capitals of India
Nagpur (Oranges): Nagpur is synonymous with Oranges. In the Nagpur district alone Orange is cultivated in 20,965 hectares area, while in total Vidharva region 80,000 hectares are under Orange cultivation. There are 2 seasons of Oranges, Ambiya and Mrig with the Oranges of Mrig season being bigger and sweeter.
Ratnagiri (Alphonso Mangoes)
Ratnagiri region of Maharashtra boasts of some finest orchards that produces Alphonso, the king of all Mangoes.The fertile alluvial soil of Ratnagiri produces succulent and incredibly sweet Mangoes also known as Hapusor. During season the markets of Ratnagiri are full of this wonderful fruit.
Nashik is known all over as the grape orchard of the country. The relatively cooler climate of Nasik is perfect for cultivation of quality Grapes. Grape cultivation began in Nashik as early as in the 14th century. The seedless variety of Nashik is very famous in India and abroad.
Mahabaleshwar an acclaimed hill station is also the Strawberry capital of India. Visitors are greeted with numerous Strawberry farms across the town. The main season is May-June for the Strawberries to ripen. Tourists can visit the farms to have a look at the farm fresh berries and pluck the tender fruit from the bushes.
Jalgaon district lying in the north Maharashtra, has earned the reputation of the "Banana Capital of India". Jalgaon contributes to more than 16% of India`s total Banana production. The district has 48000 hectares of land under Banana plantation. The sweet Basrai variant is very popular in the domestic market.
Bordi- Dahanu (Chiku Orchards)
Just 145 kms from Mumbai at Bordi-Dahanu there is a multitude of Chiku farms dotting the landscape. Dahanu has been home to a large number of Chikoo farmers for a long number of years. A trip to the Chiku plantations is a great way to get close to the nature.
Goa (Cashew Nuts)
During season the hills and vales of Goa are aromatic with the sweet smell of the ripening cashew apples. The Goan cashew nuts fetch a premium price due to its excellent quality. Also, from Cashew apples comes Fenny, synonymous with Goan culture.
Guavas cultivated in the orchards of Allahabad, the city of Triveni Sangam enjoys a heavy demand due to their delicious taste. Atleast seven varieties of Guavas are famous, of which Allahabadi Safeda and Surkha are outstanding in taste, shape, size and colour.
Kotgarh, the land of Apples is located 82 km from Shimla. It is here that the apple revolution of Himachal made a start with an American missionary planting the first seeds. The sight of Apple trees with the unripe fruit dangling soothes the eyes of visitors. Tthe delicious and juicy red Apples are popular the world over.
The district of Siliguri on the Himalayan foothills is a traditional Pineapple growing zone. Bidhannagar, located around 45 kilometres from Siliguri, is famous for its juicy Pineapples. Pinapples from here are popular all over India besides being exported to Nepal and Bhutan also.
Top 10 Sweet Capitals in India
Petha, Agra: As famous as the Taj Mahal is a sweet meat preparation of Agra known as Petha. Made with white pumpkin, more than 50 mouth watering varieties are available all over Agra. Famous varieties that do a brisk sale include Angoori Petha, Cube Petha and Mango Petha.
Brijbhumi Mathura is known for a very special sweet dish that is a favourite with the Bal Gopal as well as his devotees who throng this pilgrim town. Gokul ke Peda or simply Peda is made with Milk Mawa and pure Ghee. Peda of Mathura and Vrindavan are light brownish in colour, has a wonderful flavour and the tastes divine.
All of us are aware of the (in)famous saying ``Delhi ka laddu jo khaya pachtaya, Jo nahin khaya pachtaya``. Leave alone that, Motichur Laddus of Delhi made of pure Ghee and with a Kesar flavour is simply irresistible. Shops located in Old Delhi like Bikaner sweets, Ghantewala or Kaleva in Gol Market are famous for the ubiquitous Laddus.
Bal Mithai, Almora
Bal Mithai a sweet dish prepared from Khoya (Condensed Milk) and decorated with small white sugar balls is a popular sweet dish of Almora. Anybody visiting Almora invariably purchases a packet of Bal Mathai. There are about 60 to 65 shops in Almora which prepare Bal Mithai. Khim Singh Mohan Singh is a famous sweet shop selling this mouthwatering sweet.
Mawa Kachori, Jodhpur
Mawa Kachori, a sweet made of Mawa stuffed in Kachori originated from Jodhpur. A trip to Jodhpur is a waste without tasting Mewa Kachori the local delicacy. Sweet shops around Sojati Gate sells the famous Mawa Kachori dipped in sugary syrup.
A typical Marathi delicacy is a semi solid soft fermented dairy product called as Srikhand. Pune is especially famous for this sweet dish. Out of the many shops selling Srikhand, Chitale bandhu mithaiwale`s shop at Sadashiv Peth delights the Srikhand aficionados with its taste.
Khaja made with maida, ghee sugar and milk is said to be Lord Jagannatha’s favorite dish as well as speciality sweet of Puri. No wonder that during the Rath Yatra the streets of Puri are lined up with stalls selling Khaja. Eating Khaja in palm-leaf packets adds up to the flavour.
Contrary to popular belief it is not Kolkata but a village called Pahala in Orissa between Cuttack and Bhuvaneshwar on NH 5, which is famous for the original Roshogolla. Buses, cars line up the stalls on the highway tasting this sweet dish. The Roshogollas in Pahala are soft, creamy but not spongy yet more delicious than their Kolkata counterparts.
Kolkata deserves the accolade of "sweet capital of India" for its mind boggling range of sweets, Sandesh made of Chhana is one such special sweet. Sweet Shops across Kolkata sell different varieties of this mouth watering sweet. Popular varieties include, Dilkhush, Abar Khabo, Nalen Gur, Kada pak, Tal sansh. Jalojog and Bhim Nag are the famous Sandesh makers
Mysore Pak, Mysore
There are no guesses for this. The sweet takes its name as it was in the royal kitchens of the Mysore Palace that Mysore Pak was first created. Mysore pak is made using Ghee, sugar and besan flour. Guru Sweet Mart on Sayyaji Rao Road at the entrance of Devaraja Market is a famous name for this popular sweet.
Top 10 Hot Springs Destinations in India
Vajreshwari, Maharashtra: Vajreshwari located at the foot of Mandakini Mountain has several Hot Springs strewn across Vajreshwari, Akloli, Ganeshpuri and Satvalli. The temperature of the hot springs here varies from 43 to 49 degree C. At the hot springs in Vajreshwari there is a provision of hot springs baths in exclusive and closed baths known as "Kothawalla Baths".
Bakreshwar, West Bengal
Bakreshwar a famous pilgrimage spot is located on the edge of the Chhotanagpur plateau. It boasts of 10 Hot Springs, naturally rich in therapeutic minerals. People from far and near converge hear for a bath. The natural springs of Bakreshwar are also sources of Helium gas. Important ones are Paphara ganga, Baitarini ganga, Khar kunda etal.
About 50 km from Berhampur lies the Taptapani Hot water Spring located on a densely forested hill. The waters of the natural spring of Taptapani is said to contain medicinal properties that cures skin ailments. A pond is constructed next to the Hot Spring for taking bath.
Atri located at a distance of 42 km from Bhubaneswar, is well known for its hot sulphur springs. The Hot Springs with sulphur maintain an uniform temperature of 55°C throughout the day. A bathing complex adjoining the hot sulphur springs is there for all to try alternative cures or just the fun of it.
Thingbu and Tsachu, Arunachal Pradesh
Thingbu and Tsachu Hot Water Springs the twin healing hotspots are on the Tawang – Jang road in Tawang District. Easy accessibility makes the warm, sulphur-rich water of the Hot springs a favourite for the tourists as well as those desirous to cure skin diseases.
Yumesamdong near to the Chinese border, in the picturesque north Sikkim is well recognized for its Hot Springs. There is not less than 14 sulphur Hot Springs in the region of Yumesamdong. North Sikkim. The Hot Springs are not out of bounds and offer a chance to take a dip in any among the 14 of the area.
Maniakaran, Himachal Pradesh
Manikaran, at 1829 m above msl is famous for its Hot Springs. The water here is said to contain high dose of Uranium and radioactive minerals besides Sulphur. The temperature of the water is above boiling point. One can have a bath here within the premises of a Gurudwara and two other privately-owned tanks. Manikaran is 70 km from Manali.
Vashisht, Himachal Pradesh
Just 3 km from Manali are located the hot springs of Vashist in a small village.The natural sulphur Hot Springs are managed by the government. The sprouts near the Sage Vasisht Temple fall into a tank within the temple and there are separate bathing areas for men and women.
Gaurikund is situated at an elevation of 1982 meters and is the commencement point of the holy trek to Kedarnath. The natural thermal springs here is allowed to fall into a Kund. The Kund itself has a mythological connotations attached with it. A sacred dip is considered auspicious here.
Panamik, Ladakh, J&K
Panamik in Ladakh is around 9 km from the beginning of the Siachen glacier. The Hot Springs at Panamik with visible water bubbles is very hot so there is no question of getting near or touching it. The rocks around the hot spring are very slippery because of presence of green algae and sulphur coating of the water.
Ten Best Ropeway in India
Maa Mahakalika Udankhatola, Pavagadh, Gujarat: Maa Mahakalika Temple, is a famous pilgrim centre, located at Pavagadh in Panchmahals District of Gujarat. The temple stands on a cliff amid dense forest. It is one of the Shakti Peeths. The ropeway here is in operation since 1986 and takes the pilgrims from Manchi to the hill top near the Temple in 6 minutes flat.
Maa Ambaji Udankhatola, Ambaji Town, Gujarat
Ambaji is nestled in the Aravali Hills at a height of 1600 feet from sea level. Maa Ambaji Temple is one of the holiest temples in Gujarat as it is counted among the 51 Shaktipeeths. For a comfortable journey to the temple Maa Ambaji Udankhatola at Gabbar Hill is a good option. Pilgrims by using the ropeway can reach the hilltop in only 3 minutes.
Saputara Ropeway, Gujarat
Overlooking the hills and a lake a ropway connects Vaity Hotel to Sunset Point, situated across the valley. Private Vehicles take passengers from the main roundabout up to the boarding point. There after is a majestic ride of 15 minutes in the cable car with a splendid view of the city and the valley below.
Mansapurna Karni mata Ropeway, Udaipur
Relatively new, the ropeway in Udaipur is fast becoming the most important attraction. The ropeway in the form of 6 Seater Gondolas links Deen Dayal Park, Doodh Talai and Machhla Hill top. The ropeway takes passengers from the bank of Lake Pichola and covers the distance in 4 minutes, giving on the way best views of Lake Pichola, Palace and Aravali mountains.
Raigadh Fort Ropeway, Maharashtra
Raigadh Fort was the capital of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Due to its location atop a steep hill trekking up to the fort was difficult. That was till 1996 when the Raigad Ropeway provided an easy access to the Fort. The Ropeway offering a majestic view of the area surrounding the fort lands passengers at the upper station near Mena Darwaja.
Maa Mansadevi Udankhatola, Haridwar
Maa Mansadevi Temple located on top of Shivalik hills is one of the most important Sidhpeeths in India and a major land mark of Haridwar. Maa Mansadevi Udan Khotala operating since 1981 takes of near Har-ki-Pauri from the base of the hill and lands the devotees to the hill top adjacent to the Mansadevi temple in just about 3 minutes.
Maa Chandidevi Udankhatola, Haridwar
Maa Chandidevi Temple is also a Sidhapeeth and one of the most ancient temples of North India. The tempe is located atop Neel Parvat in Haridwar. The ropeway takes passengers from a point near Gaurishankar temple on the Nazibabad Road that is 3 Kms from Har-ki-Pauri and lands them near the gemple in just 5 minutes.
Joshimath-Auli Ropeway, Uttarakhand
A 3.9 kms long ropeway that is supposed to be Asia`s highest and the longest links Joshimath with Auli It covers a difficult track distance of 4.15 kms in 22 minutes. The ropeway ride is worth every penny as it passes over breathtaking scenery as the starting point Joshimath is at an altitude of 6254 ft in and Auli is at 9896 ft.
Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car
Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Ropeway is India’s oldest passenger cable car being introduced in the British days as transport between Darjeeling and Rangeet Valley. The ropeway takes of from North Point about 3-4 kilometers north of Darjeeling and ends at Singla Bazaar. The ride of 8 kms takes 45 minutes and gives magnificent views of the lush green tea gardens below.
Malampuzha Udan Khotala, Kerala
To get the best view of the Malampuzha Gardens, the Vrindavan of Kerala clamber up to the ropeway. First of its kind in southern part of India, the Passenger Ropeway offering 20 minutes of ecstasy in the sky gives a panoramic view of the beautiful landscapes from a height of 60 feet.
Top 10 Dussehra Capitals of India
Durga Puja, Kolkata: Mother of all celebrations, Durga Pujo in Kolkata is a an event that makes the whole city undergo a huge makeover and see frenzied activity 24x7. Teeming people, huge pandals- domes, minarets, mountain cliffs; brilliant lighting depicting current affairs; wafts of crispy Chicken/Mutton rolls tempting the olfactory and visual senses make the 3 days of Durga Pujo in Kolkata an event to remember for life.
Ramleela, Ram Nagar, Varanasi
At Ram Nagar 15 km from Varanasi seat of the erstwhile rulers of Benares the Ramlila is quite unique. The Ramlila performance is conducted in multi-stage theatres spread over 31 days and Sadhus called `Ramayanis` recite the Ramayana. The "Ramnagar Ramleela", attracts lakhs of people every year.
Durga Puja, Mumbai
From a humble puja initiated by Bengalee goldsmiths, Durga puja is a big budget affair in Mumbai. Today there are more than 100 Sarbojonin Durga Puja held across Mumbai and its sparawling suburbs. Andheri, Santa Cruz Vashi, RK Mission at Khar are some of the places of prominent Durga Pujas.
Ahmedabad is arguably one of the best places to enjoy Navratri, the atmosphere is electric and full of revelry. At least seven to eight major Rasa-Garbas, Dandia ras are organized in the city. At the Dandiya show organised by Ahmedabad YMCA 4 to 5000 people attend each night during the nine day long festivity.
Dussehra Mela, Kota
During Dussehra, a big mela is held to mark the occasion. Contrary to other festivals in Rajasthan the Dussehra mela held for 3 days at Kota is not overrun by tourists and foreigners. In the last day the effigies of the Ravana clan are burnt. Food stalls, Rajasthani handicrafts, joy rides are the prized attractions.
Dusshera, Jagdalpur, Bastar
The Dussehra festival at Jagdalpur a primarily tribal belt is unique in its perspective and significance. The Dussehra begins with worship of Kachhingudi, a local goddess. A pre puberty girl of the weaver cast is ceremonially married to the priest of the shrine. She goes in a trance and grants the wishes for a safe conduct of the celebration. On the 10th day a Rath procession according to local custom is undertaken.
For 10 days the peaceful image of Mysore takes a backseat. Mysore erupts into life and every street gets bustling with streams. The most striking part of the Dasara celebrations is the Vijayadashami procession held on the last day. Goddess Chamundeshwari kept in the golden howdah of an elephant is moved for 2.5 miles beginning from the Palace grounds.
Ramlila, Durga Puja Delhi
Delhi has a heady mix of Ramlila and Durga Puja. With atleast 1000 Ramlila and 250 Puja pandals events held in the city attracting droves of people. Durga Puja commenced in the capital before independence with The pujas at Kashmiri Gate, New Delhi Kalibari, Chittranjan park being the prominent ones.
It would not be any exaggeration to say that Katra is the Navaratra Capital of India. It is a tradition for the last 100 years. Katra wears a festive look during the full nine days of Navaratra. Shops and houses are decorated with lights and flowers, arches get erected at different places and the place reverberates with "Jai Mata Di" chant.
Kullu Dussehra a week-long festival is an international event with large number of people pouring in to witness it. The festivities revolve around the local presiding deity Lord Raghunath. It begins with arrival of goddess Hadimba from Manali along with other deities in colourful palanquins. Around 250 gods and goddesses take part accompanied by processions.
Top 10 Fabric Hotspots in India
Batik Work, Shantiniketan: Tagore`s own country Shantiniketan around 215 km from Kolkata is famous for the fine art of batik. In the Visva bharati University Batik art was introduced as a subject. Batik is a process of decorating cloth. It involves covering a part of the cloth with a coat of wax and then the cloth is dyed. Saris, dress material, bags, scarves, garments and dupattas are made in Batik designs all over Shantiniketan.
Muga Silk work, Saulkuchi
Sualkuchi located in Kamrup District on the bank of the river Brahmaputra about 35 kms from Guwahati is a place known as the silk village of Assam. The weaving tradition here can be traced back to the 11th century. The Muga silks weaved here are not dyed and is naturally golden-coloured.
Sambalpuri Textile, Sambalpur
Sambalpur in western Orissa is famous for the Sambalpuri handloom textile. The Sambalpuri Sarees are made using tie and dye method. Typical motifs include Fish, conch shell and flower done on both silk and cotton fabrics. Srimati Indira Gandhi was very fond of Sambalpuri Saris.
Mashru Fabric, Patan
Patan situated 130 km from Ahmedabad in Gujarat is not only famous for the Patola saris but also a distinctly unique fabric called Mashru. Patan is the main trade centre for Mashru weavers. Mashru has two faces, cotton on the reverse side of the fabric and silk on the outer. It would be interesting to note that the fabric was developed out of strict religious laws pertaining to Shar’ia.
Bandhani-Tie and Dye, Kutch
The Kutch region in Gujarat comprising Anjar, Mandvi, Bhuj, Khavda, Dhamanka, Tera and Bara produces the finest Bandhanis in India. Bandhani-tie and dye is the traditional handiwork of the Kutchi people. The process of tie(Bandhana )-dye done on cotton, gajji silk, fur, muslin is a relatively simple process but very difficult and time consuming.
Apart from Lucknavi cuisines, Nawabs and mannerisms the Chikankari of Lucknow (a work of embroidery) is famous in India as well as abroad. The old Lucknow area is famous for the Chikankari work. It`s a delicate and complex process of embroidery using primarily muslin clothes. Hazrat Ganj, Chowk area of old Lucknow has the maximum number of Chikan shops.
Banarasi Brocade, Varanasi
Varanasi the city of "Moksha" also excels in the fine art work of brocades with intricate designs of silk and gold threads. The Banarasi brocade also known as ‘Kinkhab’ is made by interweaving colored silk and gold threads. The resulting brocades in attractive designs are gorgeous and fascinating. There are around 10,000 shops selling Banarasi sarees in Varanasi.
Temple town Srikalahasti in Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh just 60 km from Tirupati is famous for the Kalamkari style of textile printing. The word Kalamkari is derived from two Arabic words – Qalam meaning pen or stylus while Kari is work or craft. The 3,000-year-old craft which relies on free-hand drawing depicts mainly Hindu deities and mythology.
Silk city, Kanchipuram
The city of thousand temples and Sankaracharya Math, Kanchipuram is also known as Silk City. Nearly 3/4th of Kanchipuram`s population earns livelihood though the Silk Saree industry. The Kanchipuram Silk Saree and fabrics are hand-woven and contains elements of pure gold and silver. Several shops stocking those famous Silks are located on the road to the Sri Varadaraja Temple.
Kasuti Embroidery, Dharwad
Dharwad located 425 km northwest of Bangalore is famous for a traditional form of embroidery practiced in Karnataka known as Kasuti. Kasuti or Kashidakari is essentially an ancient form of embroidery going back to the 8th century. Kasuti work is being done entirely by women.
Top 10 Scenic Golf Courses in India
Shillong Golf Club: Developed during colonial times the 19th century Shillong Golf Club in the shape of an Eagle is also known as the Gleneagles of the East` after the Gleneagles Course of Scotland. Carved out from dense pine forests the course basks in the glory of natural beauty. The highest point on the course is 4,750 feet above sea level.
Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club
A touch of the regal splendour of royalty and a marvelous palace in the background that is the Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club, a private property of the erstwhile royals of Baroda. Developed in the 1930’s and thoroughly revamped, the 18-hole facility is situated in the Lakshmi Vilas Palace grounds.
Naldehra Golf Club
Less of golf but oodles of scenic splendour that`s what Naldehra Golf course is all about. Perched at an altitude of 6,700 feet it is a legacy of the British rule and is one of the oldest golf courses in the country. A favourite of the tourists visiting the place the “Nal Deo” shrine is located inside the course on its north-western edge.
Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar
With Dal Lake sitting behind in the distance, beautiful hills as the backdrop, hilly trees and shrubs yielding exotic fruits in the middle, the Royal Springs Golf Course (RSGC) is beauty personified. Truly it can be said that the captivating natural beauty is a distraction to that perfect teeing off.
Golf Club, Pahalgam
The Golf Club of Pahalagam at 2400 meters above the sea level is not very big but conveys a sense of calm. The Golf course which is known as the plateau locally, is nine holes and situated at an expanse of relatively large plain area amidst scenic settings. The plateau is just at a short distance from the confluence point of two rivers from Aru and Sheshnag.
Gulmarg Golf Course
Touted as one of the highest in the world the Gulmarg golf course at an elevation of 2650 m must also figure out among the most scenic courses in the world. A contribution of the Britshers, the Gulmarg Golf Club began in 1911. Located on the meadows, the turf gets buried beneath six feet of snow during winters.
Chikmagalur Golf Club
Spread over 56 acres the Chikmagalur Golf Club with a 9-hole course lies at the foot of the Babubudanagiri range across the Western Ghats. For those who prefer playing golf and enjoying a stay amid coffee plantations, the club offers luxurious stay options. The Golf club is just 10 minutes drive from Chikmagalur town.
Pollibetta Golf Club
Located amidst the Coffee heartland in southern Coorg, the Pollibetta Golf Club with a 9 hole course is one of the prettiest course in India. The course is easily accessible from all the Tata coffee owned bungalows. The golf course is interesting a lot with deep water bodies in between the tee and the green and some holes particularly into wild.
Kodaikanal Golf Club
Kodaikanal nestling 7000ft. above sea level in the Palani hills is not only a favoured destination for honeymooners but home to one of the most scenic courses in the world. One of the oldest in India it was founded in 1895. The 18 hole course with cool breezes blowing off the cliff face is also a place where sights of Eagle, Barking Deer and white-stockinged Bison are not uncommon.
Ootacamund Golf Course, Ooty
The Ooty or Ootacamund Golf Course located in the beautiful Nilgiris Hills is said to be the finest natural golf course in the world. Built at an altitude of 7,600 feet the Ootacamund Golf Course is over 100 years old. The thickly wooded course with a breathtaking view across the hill ranges boasts of numerous Fir, Eucalyptus, Oak and Rhododendron trees.
Top 10 19th Century Hotel Buildings in India
The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata: The Oberoi Grand built in the late 19th century and often affectionately called as the "Grande Dame of Chowringhee" is one of the vintage buildings in the City of Joy.The hotel was originally known as Mrs Monte’s Boarding House with the address 13, Chowringhee Street. No two rooms are identical in the hotel in terms of dimensions. In 1939 at the start of WW II the British Army was lodged here.
The Taj Nadesar Palace, Varanasi
The Taj Nadesar Palace located in Varanasi, was originally a palace built in 1835. Built by the British East India Company and subsequently acquired by ruler of the princely State of Benares, HH Maharaja Prabhu Narain Singh. The palace derives its name from Nadesari Devi whose shrine stands till today inside the palace.
Ayisha Manzil, Tellicherry
Ayisha Manzil a guest house belonging to the colonial era was built in 1862 by an official of the East India Company named Murdoch Brown. Ayisha Manzil was once known as the "Judges Bungalow". In 1900 at the start of 20th century it was taken over by a local trading family of Tellicherry. The Moosa family as they are known runs this property.
Jehan Numa Palace Hotel, Bhopal
Jehan Numa Palace located very close to Bhopal`s city center was built in the year 1890. It was during Nawab Sultan Jehan Begum`s reign when her second son General Obaidullah Khan, Commander-in-Chief of the Bhopal state Force built this magnificent palace. Nestled on the slopes of the Shama hills the palace hotel stands on five acres of lush green land.
Hotel Jhalamand Garh, Jodhpur
Hotel Jhalamand Garh just 7 km from Jodhpur in the village Jhalamand was once a castle belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Jhalamand. Built in the 18th century it is now a heritage hotel. Retaining the archirtectural integrity of the bygone era the palace hotel also features "Darikhana" or "Diwan-E-Aam" taking the boarders to the bygone royal era.
The Riverside Palace, Gondal
The magnificent structure of the Riverside Palace was built in 1875 by Bhojrasinghji belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Gondal. The palace may not very opulent still one gets a good taste of the royal splendor. The huge iron gates, verdant gardens, antique furniture all points to the era that was.
Nilambagh Palace, Bhavnagar
It was in Year 1875 that Nilambagh, originally known as Huzoor Mahal got constructed outside the confines of Bhavnagar city for the young prince Raja Takhtasinh Gohel. Nilambagh meaning Turquoise garden was thrown open to the public as a hotel as late as 1986.
Mandav Gadh, Visavdar, Junagadh
The Mandav Gadh Fort palace now a luxurious hotel is located at Visavdar in the Junagadh district of Gujarat. Construted in 1842 by the Nawab of Junagadh, subsequently it came into the hands of the Kathi warrior chieftain, Bapu Hasur Wala.The fort has 3 imposing arch gates.
Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur
Udai Bilas Palace located amid the Gaibsagar lake on one side and a forest on the other has a history dating back to the mid-19th century. Maharawal Udai Singhji-II, is credited for building this magnificent palace. Udai Bilas Palace has its wing made of bluish grey stone "Pareva" while the Ek Thambia Mahal is known for its exquisite Rajput architecture.
Sariska Palace, Sariska
The Sariska Palace now a heritage Hotel was built by Maharajah Jai Singh of Alwar. The palace standing at the entrance of the Sariska National Park was constructed sometime during the late 19th century as a royal hunting lodge.
Top 10 Holy Foods (Temple Prasad) in India
Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra: At Vaishno Devi the Prasad has to be bought. Devotees mainly buy from the Bhaint Shops managed by the Shrine board. The Prasad consist of sugar balls, puffed rice, dry apple, dry coconut etal. They are beautifully packed in eco-friendly jute bags in various denominations. There is also facility of despatching prasad by speed-post.
Sri Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati
Sri Vari Laddu better known as Tirupati Laddoo is offered as Prasadam to the devotees after the completion of worship of Lord Venkateswara. Tirupati Laddoo essentially made in 2 types is distinct in terms of size and flavour. Recently Tirupati Laddoos have been awarded geographical copyright.
Mahadeva Temple, Mazhuvanchery, Thrissur
At the Lord Shiva Temple situated in the campus of National Heritage Centre (NHC) at Mazhuvanchery Village near Kechery in Thrissur, Prasad distributed to the devotees include textbooks, CDs, DVDs writing material and informative brochures as Prasad. The temple authorities believe that disseminating knowledge is actual Prasadam.
Sree Krishna Temple, Amablapuzha
In the famous Sree Krishna temple at Amablapuzha located near Thiruvananthapuram, Palpayasam is a sacred offering made to the deity. The Payasam is made of rice, milk and sugar and distributed to the devotees. Its preparation is a closely guarded secret handed down to traditional cooks over generations. Devotees vouch for its distinct taste.
Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, Palani
The Panchamritham Prasadam of Lord Murugan temple in the Palani hills, Tamil Nadu is very popular. Made out of five fruits, jaggery and sugar candy it is considered as the oldest form of jam. The Panchamritham is now manufactured in an automated plant located on the foothills of the temple.
Azhagar Kovil, Madurai
Azhagar Kovil aka Alagar temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is situated 21 km from Madurai. The Kallazhagar temple distributes Dosas as Prasadam to the devout. The grains offered to the temple are made into crispy and unique Dosa. It is offered to Gods first and then distributed to visitors.
Jagannath Temple, Puri
In Jagannath Temple Puri, the Prasad is called "Mahaprasad". The temple kitchen of Lord Jagannath offers food to I lakh people daily making it perhaps the largest kitchen in the world Mahaprasada consists of 56 varieties of cooked and uncooked dishes are offered to the deities first and then sold to public at Ananda Bazaar.
Kamakhya Devi Temple, Guwahati
Every year during the Ambubachi days, coinciding with the seventh day of the Assamese month of Aahar, a 3 day fair is held at the Kamakhya Temple. For 3 days the temple remains closed. On the 4th day there is heavy rush to receive an unique Prasad– small pieces of cloth supposedly moist with the menstrual fluid of the omnipotent Goddess Kamakhya.
Karni Mata Mandir, Bikaner
In the famous Karni Mata Mandir synonymous with rats moving freely inside the temple complex the Prasad offered to the devotees is one of its kind. Prasad is offered first to the rats and then it is given to the devotees. It is believed that the Prasad laced with rat saliva brings good luck.
Khabees Baba Temple, Sandana, Sitapur District, UP
In Khabees Baba temple in Sitapur district, around 80 km from Lucknow there are no idols or priests. Devotees offer liquour to two slipper-shaped structures on a raised platform to worship a clairvoyant saint living here 150 years ago. A portion of the liquor offered is collected and distributed as Prasad to the devotees.
Top 10 Unusual Temple in India
Hadimba Temple, Manali
Hadimba Temple in Manali is rather an unusual Temple. Erected in 1553 AD this four story wooden temple is dedicated to a Rakshashi named Hadimba. Hadimba of course is the wife of Bhima the second of the 5 Pandava brothers. The temple in pagoda style is located in the middle of Dhungiri Van Vihar. It is believed that it was here that Hadimba had meditated and she became Devi Hadimba.
Kali Singh Temple, Muzaffarnagar District, UP
There is an unique Temple in Uttar Pradesh`s Muzaffarnagar district which is dedicated to cattle. The temple is known as Kali Singh Temple is perhaps unequalled in India. Here devotees coming from far off places offer prayers as well as milk for the animals. Women prepare Kheer from their milking cattle inside the temple premises and offer it to the deity.
Gandhi Mandir, Sambalpur
Bhatra lying on the outskirts of Sambalpur town in Orissa may be an otherwise sleepy village but for a temple that has nationwide attention focused on it. In 1974 it had a temple with the bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi installed as an idol here. Gandhiji`s teachings and writings are discussed here as part of daily ritual along with conducting morning and evening Arti of Gandhiji.
Bharat Mata Temple, Varanasi
Varanasi is the land of innumerable Temples dedicated to Gods and Goddesses of Hindu pantheon, but a temple here has a shrine dedicated to Mother India. Bharat Mata Temple located at Kashi Vidyapeeth Campus near the Sigra crossing was a temple built in 1936 and inaugurated by none other than Mahatma Gandhi. The temple in the shape of pentagonal cone has five pillars to support the structure. Inside it lies a marble structure of the map of India with right contours showing hills, ocean and lands.
Ravana Temple, Ravangram, Vidisha
In the Ramayana, Ravana the demon is abhorred as a villain who kidnapped Sita and in the procees met his end at the hands of Lord Rama. This may be true for all but not in the small temple in Vidisha district’s Ravangram village where there is an ancient 10 feet idol of Ravana in a reclining position which is worshipped. The idol is said to belong to the period between the 9th and 14th century. During Dusshera as the whole world burn the effigies of Ravana, but the Ravana Temple reverberates with the chant of "Ravana Baba Namah".
Chinese Kali Temple, Tangra, Kolkata
Tangra in Kolkata heartland is a small Chinatown for it is home to a large number of Chinese population living here since generations. Though they are predominantly Buddhist and Christians but here stands an unique symbol of cultural syntheses- a Chinese Kali Temple. Revered by the Chinese community, this Temple during Kali puja offers a bhog of Chinese favourites- noodles, chopsuey.
Trishund Ganapati Temple, Pune
An unusual Ganesha Temple lies in the labyrinth of narrow lanes in the ever busy Somvar Peth area of Pune. The Ganesha idol here has three trunks. Known as Trishund Ganpati temple, a plaque placed above the sanctum refers that the temple was constructed by Bhimjigiri Gosavi in between 1754 to 1770 AD. This is also supposed to be the only temple in Pune that is built in stone masonry.
Gavi Narasimha Temple, Denkanikota, Hosur
Gavi Narasimha Temple located on the outskirts of Denkanikota in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu is an unique temple. Located just 70 km from Bangalore the temple is atop a hill but the sanctum sanctorum is underground, in a subterranean cave below the level of the temple complex. Devotees have to a take a dozen odd steps below to have a glimpse of the Narasimha with his consort Lakshmi seated in his lap carved as a bas relief on the walls.
Mannarshala Temple, Harippad, Alappuzha
Mannarshala Temple located at at Harippad just 32 kms south of Alappuzha is an exceptional temple dedicated to Snake worshipping. The Temple is said to contain 30,000 images of Snake-Gods. Covering 16 acres of dense green forest grove the Temple of Mannarshala is also exceptional as here the holy rituals are performed by a priestess and not a priest.
Parabrahma Temple, Ochira, Kollam
Parabrahma temple is located at Ochira, on the border of Alleppey and Kollam district on the west side of National Highway 47. The Temple well spread out in 36 acres of huge campus is an unique place of worship as there is nothing inside the premises in the conventional form of a temple. Mostly the Temple consists of open land with a few "Aal thara" (banyan trees having a base foundation). Devotees come in droves here to essentially worship these foundations.
Top 10 Aquariums Stores in India
Taraporewala Aquarium, Mumbai
Built in 1951 the Taraporewala Aquarium is, situated very close to Marine Drive. The Aquarium maintained by the the Maharashtra State Government houses an enormous variety of marine and fresh water including the deadly Piranhas, huge sea turtles and several varieties of coral fishes from the Lakshadweep Islands. Photography is prohibited here. The Aquarium is closed on Mondays.
Marine Aquarium, Chennai
The Marine Aquarium housed at the Marine Biological Station inside the precincts Zoological Survey of India is located on the Santhome High Road in Chennai. The aesthetically laid-out Singapore-style aquarium is fully air-conditioned with a perfect lighting arrangement. The aquarium houses 18 glass fronted tanks with an extensive collection of marine organisms.
Datda Sea World, Mount Abu
Something of a surprise for a hill station the Datda Sea World is touted as the largest Aquarium in India, consisting of 100 small aquariums. It houses several varieties of fishes imported from abroad including Pakistan. Apart from the fishes the Aquarium also houses a vast collection of seashells easily numbering around 10,000 or so procured from all over the globe.
Government Aquarium, Bangalore
Run by the department of Fisheries the Government Aquarium is located on the busy MG Road stretch in the heart of Bangalore. Opened to the visitors in 1983 the aquarium houses around 70 varieties of fishes. Fishes including exotic varieties like Striped Loach, Kissing Gouramy, Buenous-Aires Tetra, Serpant Treta are brought here from as far as south America and Japan. It is closed on Mondays.
Marine Aquarium and Museum, Ratnagiri
In 1958 the Marine Biological Research Station of Ratnagiri established the Marine Aquarium and Museum. It is located on the Ratnagiri – Bhagwati Mandir Road, next to Mandavi Beach. The Aquarium houses both marine as well as freshwater species. Along with the Aquarium there is also an unique fisheries museum comprising important specimens inside the premises of Marine Biological Research Station.
Marine Aquarium, Digha
The Marine Aquarium at Digha under the aegis of Marine Aquarium & Research Center is located on the Foreshore Road in Digha, West Bengal. The state-of-the-art Aquarium is equipped with advanced sea water circulation system and filtration unit. The exhibits at the aquarium are categorized into three divisions, the species important in terms of conservation, the local marine species and those belonging to freshwater.
Zoo Aquarium, Nandankanan
The Aquarium at the Nandankanan Zoological Park is supposed to be India’s largest Zoo aquarium. It comprises four marine and eleven fresh water aquarium. The Aquarium for hassle free operation is equipped with in-situ filtration and recycling mechanism. Along with the huge variety of marine and fresh water species to create awareness education materials like translides are also on display here.
Marine Aquarium, Mandapam, Ramanathapuram District
The Marine Aquarium under the control of Regional Centre of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute is located at Mandapam near the famous pilgrimage of Rameshwaram. Attractions here include a wide variety of rare fishes. A prized attraction in the Aquarium that draws a large number of visitors is the lionfish, one of the most spectacular marine species.
The Aquarium, Portblair
The Aquarium or Fisheries Museum at Portblair is a must for those visiting the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. On display are around 350 species of sea-life along with rare varieties of coral. The Aquarium was thoroughly refurbished after the havoc wrecked in by the killer Tsunami. The Marine aquarium exhibits here include marine species peculiar to the islands and found in the Bay of Bengal and the Indo Pacific. It is closed on Mondays.
Aquarium Bagh- e-Bahu, Jammu
Touted as the subcontinent`s largest underground aquarium and also perhaps the most dramatic (shaped like a fish) the one at Jammu`s Bagh-e-Bahu draws a large number of tourists. The aquarium-cum-awareness centre has 24 aquarium caves this includes 13 small caves to hold freshwater species, 2 large caves that houses marine water fishes and 9 aquariums of medium size for marine as well as fresh water fishes. On display here is 400 varieties of freshwater and marine fish.
Top 10 Spookiest Places in India
Road to Marve and Madh Island, Mumbai: A narrow strip of road with mangrove trees on both the sides leads to the Marve and Madh Island on Mumbai outskirts. The road stretch has seen many fatal accidents. It is alleged that a women in full bridal wear distracts the drivers especially during nights of full moon thus resulting in tragic accidents. Reports of uncanny activities in the dead of night as experienced by locals and staff of beachfront hotels have foxed the authorities for long.
Grave of Alice Richman, University of Pune campus, Pune
The University of Pune has a lush verdant campus greened by a canopy of trees. The campus is also dotted with stone buildings from the colonial era. On one corner of the campus lies the grave of Alice Richman a British / Australian woman of Pune during the colonial era. The way Alice died is shrouded in mystery. Some say cholera, others sucide still some others say she died in the garden while riding a horse. Whatever is the cause of Alice’s death she was buried here. If the old-timers are to be believed she still prowls around her grave in a white dress.
The Writers Building, Kolkata
Writers Building or Mahakaran located at Dharmatala rechristened as the BBD Bagh happened to be the residence for the junior writers of the East India Company. A place which has seen a bloodbath during the freedom movement is bound to have its share of paranormal activities. There are a lot of vacant rooms here and it is believed that spirits of British sahibs still roam here at night. According to hearsay in the late evenings, a barrage of unusual sounds is heard inside the building premises.
Nirala Nagar, Lucknow
Blame it on the government a decision to set up a colony in 1960 by Lucknow Improvement Trust over an area where there was a large crematorium, 2 graveyards, six mazaars, a peepal tree where the people deposited ashes of the dead and a lone temple. It invited trouble for the residents of Nirala Nagar. There are some houses here where something tragic happened with the owners. There is another area where widows stayed sans any trouble. Young people are hardly seen and the whole colony wears a look of moroseness.
Lothian Road Cemetery, Delhi
The oldest Christian burial ground of Delhi the Lothian Road Cemetery, near the Lothian Bridge, near Kashmere Gate ISBT is a numero uno spooky place of Delhi. Many residents of the city have purportedly seen weird things. Out of the many stories doing rounds the three used to be most common A British soldier refused love blew up his brain and he has been seen walking carrying his head in his hand, then there was a child who carried his own bier and finally a woman draped in a white dress moving lazily with a cradle in her hand. With rapid urbanization these stories are somehow on the ebb.
Bhangarh lies in between Alwar and Jaipur on the outskirts of the Sariska Tiger Sanctuary. The city amid the Aravalli hills is in ruins as all the inhabitants have abandoned this Rajput principality. Even a signboard put up by ASI in Bhangarh placed 1 Km away from the Bhangarh fort prohibits people not to venture anywhere near before sunrise and after sunset. The place deserted since the 17th century is believed to have been cursed by a Tantrik when refuted by the Princess of Bhangarh. Many people swear by the paranormal activities witnessed in the fort area like musical and dancing sounds. The place continues to remain clothed in mystery.
Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), Devanahalli, Bangalore
Though nothing substantial proof exists ( if ever they exists at all?) rumour mills are abuzz about a ghost of a lady who prefers the Devanahalli Airport. The various incidents like a pilot spotting a lady in the middle of the runway, a lady in white spotted taking a stroll around the cargo area or the airport lift operating on its own have left the authorities flummoxed. Even the Taxi drivers are not spared who had found a ghost occupying the seat during the middle of the night.
Graveyard on Road No. 12, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
Banjara Hills, residence of Hyderabad’s rich and famous has a graveyard on road number 12 with a reputation of eerie happenings reported by some of the passerby. It is alleged that late in the night the streetlights switch off by themselves and there is a drop in temperature by 5 degrees. Some have complained of repeated tyre punctures. Those who had these uncanny experiences dare not take this road again.
Broken Bridge Chennai
From the Theosophical Society compound wall just a 1 km or so on the slum road comes a bridge that practically leads to no where. Elphinstone Bridge popularly called as broken bridge across Adyar river and ends abruptly after extending into the middle of the backwaters. It’s a popular shooting spot in the day time but as darkness descends the bridge is deserted, no lights no sight of humanity nothing. No body has sighted anything but why take the risk? Thus warns the locals.
Spread over 300 acres, 17 thousand tech and associated workers, more than 140 companies that’s Technopark most important hub for technology in Kerala. So what is it doing here? Hold on an employee of a company inside the hub had a ghostly experience at the back gate on the Karyavattom University campus road. This is not all from other building spooky sounds and haunting cries were reported.
Top 10 Imposing Stations in India
Chikbalpur Railway Station: Chikballapur Station on the Bangalore-Kolar rail route is in operation since the days of the Raj. Infact Indian Railway is still continuing with same building with tiled roofs with the pattern of a bungalow. Station Code: CBP
Egmore Railway Station
The busy Egmore Railway Station completed a 100 Years on June 11th 2008. The imposing facade combines perfectly Indo-Saracenic and Dravidian architectural elements. The design of this 300 feet long and 71 feet wide structure which began in 1905 was done by Mr.Henry Irwin and was built by Mr.Swaminada Pillai. Station Code: MS
Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station
One of the landmarks of Trivandrum, The building of the Central station Railway Station at Thampanoor was inaugurated on 4 November 1931. The massive granite building without using any bricks was constructed in just three years. It had cost Rs.40 lakh. at that time. The building with a floor area of 17,236 sq. ft was built by the Maharajah of Travancore. Station Code: TVC
Kachiguda Railway Station
Kachiguda Railway Station is one of the three Stations in Hyderabad. The station constructed in the year 1916 by H.E.H. Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam of the erstwhile Hyderabad State is architecturally most imposing in the entire South Central Railway. It served as the HQ of the Nizam`s Guaranteed State Railway of that time. The station built in the Gothic style of architecture also combines traditional Muslim architecture evident from domes and minarets. Station Code: KCG
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Mother of all railway buildings in India, Victoria Terminus Station rechristened as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (VT) features in the world heritage list of UNESCO. The building is the finest specimen of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India and also combining themes from traditional Indian architecture. The building work started in 1878 took 10 years to complete to eventually become the symbol of Mumbai. Station Code: CSTM
Morbi Railway Station
Morbi lies in Rajkot district just 64 km from Rajkot and was the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Morbi. Constructed by Morbi State Railway, the Morbi Station was opened on 22nd January 1935. It resembles a palace in its imposing architecture with judicious combination of Indian and European architectural elements. Station Code: MVI
Nagpur Railway Station
The main building of Nagpur Railway Station is made up of pink sandstone just like other colonial structures of the Orange City such as RBI, High Court and other prominent buildings. The building on the western side was constructed in 1867 and is declared as a heritage site. Station Code: NGP
Bikaner Railway Station
The Bikaner railway station is a small structure but the construction is heavily drawn from the famed Rajput architecture of the city. The building is painted brick red with white outlines around the bricks. The walls resemble parapets of fort bastions. Station Code: BKN
Charbagh Railway Station
Charbagh Railway Station in Lucknow resembling a palace has a strong Mughal architectural influence. The station was built in 1914 at a whopping cost of Rs 70 lakh. The Station building undoubtedly one of the finest in India has two unique features. From an aerial view the building with its big and small domes resembles a chessboard. Second, from outside the station building very little sound of train can be heard. Station Code: LKO
Cuttack Railway Station
There is something unique for Cutack Railway station in terms of architecture. The station has been modeled as a replica of the nearby historic Barabati fort. The bastions, domes constructed in sandstone look every inch a fort. Station Code: CTC
Top 10 War Memorials in India
Jammu War Memorial: The country`s largest and newest War Memorial was recently inaugurated in Jammu. Known as Balidan Sthambh, the memorial came up on a 20 acres plot at Bahu Rakh area of the city. The memorial immortalizes the supreme sacrifice made by the martyrs of our security forces in post independence wars and counter-insurgency operations in the border state of J&K. It boasts of a 60-metre tower designed like a bayoneted-rifle along with a necklace of 52 pillars where over 8,000 names of martyrs are inscribed on black stones.
Chandigarh War Memorial
The Chandigarh War Memorial located at Sector 3 Bougainvillea Garden was dedicated to the nation on August 17, 2006 by the then President A P J Abdul Kalam. This War memorial has names of 8,500 martyrs from the 3 services etched in gold lettering on black granite walls. Built by an unique citizen- institution initiative the Memorial had cost Rs 78 Lakh.
Martyr Memorial Dharamsala
Set amidst the pine groves the Martyrs Memorial (Shaheed Samark) at Dharamsala is built on the entry point. It was dedicated to the people of the state on on 28 Sep 1977. Inscribed on the murals in golden letters are the names of all those Himachali Martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting aggressions by Pakistan in 1947-48, China in 1962, again by Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and during peace operations of United Nations.
War Memorial, IMA, Dehradun
Inside the hallowed precincts of Indian Military Academy Dehradun,close to the Chetwode hall lies a War Memorial. The face of the main structure replicates the Chetwode Tower. The War Memorial is in remembrance of the martyred soldiers of the nation. It was inaugurated on 17 Nov 1999 by the legendary Army Officer Field Marshal Sam Hormuzji Fromji Jamshedji Manekshaw, MC. There are names of numerous officers from the academy who have laid down their lives.The sanctum sanctorum has a bronze statue of a Gentleman Cadet carrying a sword.
India Gate, New Delhi
Mother of all War Memorials, India Gate originally known as All India War Memorial was constructed during the British rule to commemorate those Indian soldiers who laid their lives during WW I and the Afghan Wars. The imposing 42 meter high Arch built by Edwin Lutyens has names of the soldiers who died in the wars. Since 1971 there is Amar Jawan Jyoti that burns as a tribute the dead Indian soldiers of Indo-Pak war.
War Memorial, Drass
To commemorate the Martyrs of "Operation VIJAY 1999" a War Memorial has been dedicated to the nation at Drass in the foothills of legendary "Tololing", some 150 km towards east from Srinagar. The memorial is dedicated to the war heroes belonging to 33 different units of the Army`s 8th Mountain Division who sacrificed their lives during the Kargil conflict, in the Drass-Mushkoh region.
National War Memorial, Pune
National War Memorial at Morwada junction in Pune was first inaugurated in 1988. Maintained by Southern Command the memorial is built amidst a beautifully landscaped and well maintained garden. A 25 feet pillar represents the memorial. The names are engraved in stone of all the soldiers who made the sacrifice for the nation. An unique feature here is the daily flag hoist and downing carried out at 6 am and 6 pm. A Vijayanta Tank on display is an added attraction.
Jaswant Garh, Arunachal Pradesh
Jaswantgarh 14 km away from the 14000 ft high Sela Pass on the way to Tawang is an Indian army Memorial built to honour Rifleman Jaswant Sing Rawat of 4 Garhwal Rifles. This extraordinary brave soldier of the Indian Army fought the Chinese Army single-handedly to keep the advancing Chinese at bay for three days till he was captured and killed. The quaint memorial has a plaque describing Rawat`s heroics. The temple-like memorial on the roadside houses a garlanded bronze bust of Jaswant Singh along with some of his personal belongings. An earthen lamp keeps burning day and night before the portrait of this slain braveheart.
Tawang War Memorial
Nestled among the snow-capped peaks, overlooking the imposing Tawang-Chu valley the magnificent Tawang War Memorial stands tall at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Built as a tribute to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian war it was dedicated to the nation by GOC Eastern Command, Lt. Gen. H. R. S. Kalkat in the year 1999. The imposing 40-foot-high multi-hued war memorial is coinstructed in a stupa design and is locally known as Namgyal Chortan. Built at a cost of about Rs 15 lakh, it has names of 2420 Indian soldiers etched in gold on 32 black granite plaques.
Darjeeling War Memorial
War Memorial or Gorkha War Memorial is a tribute to the memory of the the brave Gorkha warriors of the region who sacrificed their precious lives for the country in all wars and operations since Indian independence. The War Memorial at Darjeeling is on the path of the famed Toy Trains of DHR as the toy train charters its way around the memorial making a circular loop along Batasia to gain height. The memorial was dedicated to the Darjeeling people 22nd March, 1995. In the centre of the memorial, a 30-ft high cenotaph (black granite) engraved with the name of the martyrs stands tall.
Top 10 Sound and Light Shows in India
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, Madurai
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace is situated 2 kms south east of Meenakshi Amman Temple in the temple town of Madurai. It is one of the important palaces to be built by Thirumalai Nayaakar in 1636 AD. The newly-digitised Sound and Light shows are held here in the evenings in both Tamil as well as English narrating the story of Silappathikaram.
Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
The Sound & Light Show light up the evenings of the enchanting Golconda fort 11 km west of Hyderabad city. It takes you right back in time, narrating Golconda`s history glory and grandeur. The Show is conducted in English, Hindi and Telegu.
Chandragiri Fort, Tirupati
12 km from Tirupati and about 54 kms from Chittoor town lies Chandragiri, the last capital of the famed Vijayanagara Kings. The remains of the lower fort contain two palaces nmely Raja Mahal and Rani Mahal. To narrate the tales of this once grandiose fort a sound and light and sound show is organised inside the precinctsa of the fort in English and Hindi.
Cellular Jail, Port Blair
An hour sound and Light show in the evenings at the notorious Cellular Jail in Port Blair is remarkable for its sheer evocative power. It takes the spectators on a poignant journey back in time. Cellular Jail`s dubious history is narrated with an old banyan tree taking the center stage. Through this mute witness the narrative recounts the tales of ferocious atrocity, sordid end of Indian freedom fighters who languished in the confines of the four walls of the dingy cells.
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
At Victoria Memorial in Kolkata son-et-lumiere is held every day in the evenings. The show in both Bengali and English is titled Pride & Glory - the Story of Calcutta, depicts Kolkata?s past and present and its unique cultural heritage.
Khajuraho Temples, Khajuraho
With the Son-et-lumiere, the daily evening Sound and Light Show at Khajuraho`s millennium old temples take on an added glitz. The spectacular narration of the life and times of the Chandela rulers by Amitabh Bachchan takes on the creators of the magnificent temples of Khajuraho along with other interesting stories related to the temple.
Gwalior Fort, Gwalior
The impressive Gwalior fort is 3km long lies north of the Gwalior city, on top of a hill. Sound and light show takes place in the evening at Man Mandir Palace to the left of the Elephant Gate as you enter the fort. The narration is by Amitabh Bachchan in his trademark baritone. Ravishankar?s Sitar tunes also add to the attraction.
Chittaurgarh Fort, Chittorgarh
Every evening the ramparts of Chittaurgarh fort comes alive with the the Sound and Light Show. The show lasting 58 minutes, in both English and Hindi, blended with the Rajasthani folk music touches the history of Chittaur. Starting with the 6th century King Chitrangada who scouting for a safe land for his capital chose Chittaur, the valour of Bappa Rawal, beauty and exemplary sense of pride of Rani Padmini, the versatility of Rana Kumba, the Krishna Bhakti of Meera, treacherous plan for killing young Udai Singh and exemplary sense of duty and sacrifice by Panna Dhai et al are all narrated in an engaging style. braveheart.
City Palace, Udaipur
Son-et-lumire show at the City Palace`s Manek Chowk in Udaipur draws on the dynasty`s 1,500-year-old history. The spectacle of voices and visuals narrates the history of Mewar from the days of its founding father Bappa Rawal to to time of establishment of Udaipur in the 16th century. The show running for 1 hour is in both Hindi and English.
Lal Quila, Delhi
The Son et Lumiere or the sound and Light Show at Red Fort in Delhi is purportedly the first such initiative in the Asian continent started way back in 1965. The show in both Hindi and English highlighting particular phases of Delhi`s history are held here in the evenings. The cacophony of Meena Bazaar, the waters of Yamuna, the advancing horses of Nadir Shah all comes alive in this engaging audio visual.
Top 10 Tree Houses in India
Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, Ariyankuppam
Just 8 kms from Pondicherry, On the Cuddalore main road, the Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort run by PTTDC offers accommodation options on three amazing tree top houses. The three tree top houses equipped with all modern facilities are named as Sunrise Panorama, Palm House and Nest Bird. A perfect setting for adventure loving folks, all the 3 tree top houses built like a hotel room gives a heady experience.
Green Magic Resort, Vythiri
Green Magic Nature resort is located 65 kms from Kozhikode at Vythiri distirct Wayanad. Nestled in the midst of cardamom and pepper plantations the tree houses are built on trees and comes with all basic facilities. On offer are 4 double rooms in two tree houses. The tree houses 86 feet in height can be accessed by an indigenous cane lift. On offer are double beds with attached bathroom, wash basin with running water, telephone, carpeted veranda and sit-out. A hanging bridge connects the tree houses.
Ela Ecoland, Munnar
Ela Ecoland located at Mankulam Road, Kallarin Munnar, provides tree house accommodation. Ela`s Tree Houses comes with a Double bed with attached bathroom, carpeted veranda and sit-out. The Tree House is 86 feet above ground level and be accessed by the wooden steps. The Tree houses are built on 5 tall trees and surrounded by a thick plantation of cardamom, coffee and pepper.
Wild Canopy Reserve, Masinagudi
Wild Canopy Reserve is situated adjoining the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary and Bandhipur Project tiger Reserve and National Park. It is just 8 kms from Masinagudi. On offer are two deluxe Tree houses, built on huge jamoon tree. The tree houses are 40 feet high and come with all amenities needed for a comfortable stay including hot water in the toilets and cupboards in the bedrooms.
Horbill Resort, Dandeli
Hornbill Resort embedded between thick forests and the serene River Kali flowing, offers treetop houses that are 40 feet above the ground. It`s quite an experience as the tree house leans into the river and at night seeing the moonlight falling on the flowing river with the sound of water adding to the excitement.
Carmelia Haven, Thekkady
Carmelia Haven located at Vandanmedu, Thekkady amid thick cardamom plantations offers Tree House to the guests with an adventurous streak of mind. Termed as Erumadam the accommodation consists of a tree top wood cabin with an attached bathroom and a balcony.
Eagle Eye Holiday Home, Chikmaglur
Eagle Eye Holiday Home located at Hoscodu Estate, a sprawling 130 acre plantation in Chikmaglur District is exactly 48 Kms from the Chikmaglur town. It offers 750 sq. feet Tree House that is built entirely from wood and bamboo. The tree house features a Portico, bedroom and an attached bath and a toilet.
The Machan, Lonavala
Located amidst thick vegetation of tropical forest in the Western Ghats, the Machan is a unique tree house in Jambulne, Lonavala. The resort is at a 2.5 hours drive from Mumbai. On offer are 3 Bedrooms, 2 Full Baths and a Living Room that is let out only as a single unit. The Machan a Nut and Bolt steel structure clad in wood has four levels namely the main Deck, the Hanging Room, the Loft and the Crow`s nest. The structure is strong and has designs that ensure protection against high wind speeds and earthquakes.
Tree House Resort, Jaipur
Tree House Resort located at Nature Farms on the outskirts of Jaipur and just a three hours drive from Delhi offers luxurious tree houses with every type of creature comfort. Built atop strong, sturdy Keekar trees, this is the only natural tree house resort in Rajasthan. Air-conditioned rooms, TV, comfortable mattresses, fresh linen, sleek furniture, yellow lighting and perfectly functional attached bath rooms are the highlights of this place. Meals are also part of the deal. Night Safari is an added attraction here.
Ashoka`s Tiger Trail Resort, Jim Corbett National Park
Enjoy watching wildlife from one and the only tree top cottage in Corbett at a height of 50 feet above ground. Ashoka`s Tiger Trail Resort located at the buffer zone Jhirna on the southern periphery of the wildlife sanctuary offers accommodation in Tree top cottage. The air-conditioned tree house overlooking the jungle provides uninterrupted view of wildlife and a real sense of adventure.
Top 10 City Bus Tours in India
Delhi Darshan, DTC, Delhi
Delhi Transport Corporation, DTC in short has a daily sight seeing Tour of the city of Delhi. It starts from Scindia House. After picking up passengers from Delhi Tourism office at Baba Kharak Singh Marg and ITDC Office at Janpath the bus takes the tourists on some of the prominent landmarks of Delhi. These include Red Fort, Raj Ghat, Birla Mandir, Qutab Minar, Lotus Temple, Humanyun`s Tomb and Akshardham Temple.
Hop-On-Hop-Off Service, Chandigarh Tourism, Chandigarh
The Chandigarh tourism`s open roof hop-on hop-off bus takes tourists around Chandigarh for a tour of all the main spots of the "Planned City". The places covered include Sukna Lake, Rose garden, Rock garden, Punjab University, the Secretariat etal. The special point of the Hop-On-Hop-Off Service is that by buying a single ticket a person can board or disembark as many times as he wishes. Thus having the flexibility to see a particular spot at heart`s content. The service starts from Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17 near the Bus Terminal. Bookings can be done at Citco Tours and Travel Wing, located at ISBT Sector 17.
MTDC Tour, Pune
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, MTDC in short offers a conducted tour of the important tourist attractions of Pune. The duration of the tour is for 4 hours. The places covered include Shaniwar Wada, Saras Baug, Raja Kelkar Museum, Aga Khan Palace and the Parvati Temple. The tickets for this tour can be had at the MTDC office at Sassoon Hospital Road or the counter operating from Pune Railway station.
Open Deck Bus Tour, MTDC, Mumbai
Visitors to Mumbai are up for a pleasant surprise as they hop on to the Open Deck Buses to take a tour of some of the prominent and historic locations in South Mumbai. Two Buses Neelambari and Vibhavari takes the visitors passing through archeologically important buildings like Western Railway HQ, Convocation Hall of the University of Mumbai, Old Secretariat, Rajabai Tower, High Court, CST Railway Station, Thomas Cook Building, Asiatic Library, Flora Fountain and the Gateway of India. Trips are operated over weekends and tickets can be had at the MTDC counter at Gateway of India and MTDC Main Reservation Counter at Madame Cama Road.
BMTC Bangalore Rounds Bangalore
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation aka BMTC offers swanky AC Buses for daily sightseeing tours. The modern buses with seating capacity of 35 persons offer high levels of comfort that includes vents for perfect, airflow, well-cushioned reclining seats, ample legroom, LCD monitor in front of each seat et al. A good quality public address system is in place to describe the sights on the way. The trip originates from Kempegowda Bus Station and covers Iskcon Temple, Sanky Tank, Vidhan Soudha, Vikasa Soudha, Kavipuram Cave Temples, Bull Temple, Tipu`s summer palace, Lalbagh gardens, Karanatak Emporium(for shopping), Brigade road, M G Road, Chinnaswamy stadium, Vishveshwarayai Museum, Venkatappa Art Gallery and Cubbon Park.
City Sight Seeing Tour, APTDC, Hyderabad
In Hyderabad, the city of pearls, APTDC conducts a daily City tour. The tour starts from CRO, Yatrinivas, Secunderabad and terminates at magnificent Lumbini Park. The tour covers Birla Mandir, Qutub Shahi Tombs, Golconda Fort, Salarjung Museum, Nizam Jubilee Pavilion, Chowmohalla Palace, Zooological Park, Charminar and Mecca Masjid (only drive around).
HOP- On HOP- Off Tour, Tamilnadu State Transport Corporation, Chennai
A HOP on HOP off Tour is offered by Tamilnadu State Transport Corporation (Villupuram). The tour coming with the usual facility of alighting and disembarking at will takes the passengers to the most prominent places in Chennai. The tour covers High Court, St.George Fort, Marina Beach, Vivekanandar Illam, Santhome Church, Kapaleeswarer Temple, Theosophical society, Besant Nagar Beach, Ashtalakshmi temple, Tidel park, Guindy Children`s park, Birla planetarium, Panagal Park, Valluvar Kottam, Government museum and Ripon building. Tickets can be had at the counters of Metropolitan Transport Corporation and Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation.
Puducherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation, Pondicherry
The local sight seeing tour conducted by the Puducherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation is a nice way to explore Pondicherry if you are on short on time. PTTDC`s daily conducted tours covers important places in and around Puducherry. The tours starts from Beach Office and new Bus Stand. On offer are both half and full day trips. A full day trip including lunch is also available.
Nagara Darsan, KTDC, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation conducts daily half day sightseeing tours in air-conditioned coaches of the state capital Trivandrum. The tour of 5.30 hours duration starts from the Tourist Reception Centre located at Thampanoor. The itinerary covers Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Puthenmalika (Kuthiramalika) Palace, Shangumugham Beach, Veli Tourist Village and Museum, Zoo and Art Gallery.
Hop-On and Hop-Off, OTDC, Bhubaneshwar
The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation`s (OTDC) Hop-on and Hop-off service takes the tourists on a sightseeing spree of Bhubaneshwar. The spots covered include State museum, Rajamahal, Master canteen Square, Rammandir, Ekamra Haat, tribal museum Regional Science Centre, Isckon temple, planetarium, Nicco Park, National museum of natural history, Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves and others.
Top 10 River Cruises & Boat Rides in India
Kolkata Varanasi on the Ganga: A 12 nights on Board in the ship operated by RV Bengal Pandaw has created ripples among cruise enthusiasts with its innovative tour. The itinerary has the right mix of colonial India, Nawabi heydays, ancient temples, spirituality, Buddhist heritages and much more. Places covered include Chandernagore, Murshidabad, Fararka, Rajamhal, Vikramshila and Patna. The cruise with various attractions onboard is an epitome of luxury travel.
Cruise around Sunderban
Sunderban, the home to the Royal Bengal Tigers is also the largest contiguous mangrove area in the world. A 3 night 4 day tour operated by Vivada cruises takes to the interiors of this magical forest and Tiger reserve. The river cruise tour is interspersed with a mix of interesting activities that include wildlife, sacred pilgrimages and acquaintance with village life among others. Places covered include Namkhana, Netidhopani, Sajnekhali, Bali village etal.
Brahmaputra River Cruise
A 10-night river cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra is operated by Assam Bengal Navigation. The tour originates at a river ghat located between Jorhat and Dibrugarh, and ends at Guwahati. The cruise takes one to the Majuli Island, supposedly the world`s largest river island, Kaziranga National Park, Silghat, Tezpur before anchoring at Guwahati.
Boat Rides, Chilika Lake
The best way to explore Chilika, the largest inland brackish waterbody in Asia is by boat rides. Boats from Balugaon, Barkul, Rambha or Satpada ferry passengers to the various islands like Nalabana, Kalijai, Brahmapura et al. Private boats as well as ferry services by Inland water Transport Department are available.
Rajahmundry, Bhadrachalam Godavari River Launch Journey
The launch journey on river Godavari from Rajahmundry to Sriramagiri or Kunavaram near the temple town of Bhadrachalam is one of the best tourist attractions of Andhra. The 100 km cruise takes nearly 13 hours. The journey takes one through various temples and hills along River Godavari. Important places in this river journey are, Pattiseema, Maha Nandiswara temple, Polavaram Project area, Papi Hills, Perantallapali, Sri Rama temple at Sri Ramagiri et al. A special attraction of the tour is the early morning sunrise on embarking from Rajahmundry.
Yanam River Cruise
Yanam on the eastern coast is under the administrative control of Union Territory of Puducherry. Yanam offers cruisers on River Vasishta, one of the seven distributaries of River Godavari before it joins the Bay of Bengal. Luxury cruises on the river and sea gives spectacular view of the rural landscape, islands, back water and river confluence points. A luxury cruise "Shuddha Saveri" is operated by M/s Saveri Projects Private Limited.
Boat Cruise on the River Ganges, Varanasi
A boat excursion on the holy waters of River Ganges in the sacred city of Varanasi is an experience to cherish for ever. Be it an early morning sunrise or a cruise during the twilight hours The ghats of Varanasi are always thriving with activities. So from offering worship to the sun god amid chanting of vedic hymns, cremating the dead on the banks, holy men meditating, eveninig Arti of the Ganga Mata a boat ride is a nice way to understand the ethos of Varanasi.
Boat Cruise, Sangam, Allahabad
Triveni Sangam is the place in Allahabad where Ganga, Yamuna and the third invisible river Saraswathi merge together to flow as one. A boat ride to reach the spot where the rivers merge is a fascinating experience. Yamuna has a dark colour somewhat bluish-black. After few more minutes you could see the Ganges with a kind of muddy colour. The best part is perhaps to approach the place where a distinct line separates the 2 waters.
Cruise on River Mandovi Goa
Goa is not only sand and surf the cruises on River Mandovi are equally attractive and popular with the tourists. Goa Tourism Development Corporation operates various cruises from the Santa Monica jetty in Panaji. From the boat one gets to see beautiful sights like that of Adil Shah Palace, colonial buildings belonging to the Portuguese era, Miramar Beach, shoreline of Verem and Betim on the river`s northern bank before coming back to the Santa Monica Jetty. Onboard there is live music and dance to jig things up.
Alappuzha-Kochi Backwater Cruise
A backwater cruise, in a luxurious houseboat from Alappuzha to Kochi is very popular. The route passes through, magnanimous Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater stretch in Kerala, then to the Kuttanad region popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala, Kumarakom, Vaikom, Kumbalangi and finally Bolghatty Island.