Hatu peak

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Hatu Peak (11000 ft asl) is the highest peak in the area. Trekking all the way upto the peak can be an interesting half day trek upto 8 kms oneway, is located at an elevation of 3400 m/12000 ft above sea level and is the highest summit in Shimla/Narkanda region of Himachal Pradesh, India.. Hatu Peak is one of the most popular among adventure lovers especially trekkers and bikers and is One of the most wonderful tourist spots. From the top of the peak, the deep furrows of the valleys make for interesting views. A truly intrepid climber could turn approaching the summit into a multi-thousand meter bushwack through dense pine forests that are predominant on the usually fairly gentle hill sides.

Hattu_Peak Hatu Peak is surrounded by Himalayan Ranges and it is one of the most fascinating attractions of Narkanda town. For the rulers of the erstwhile hill states, Hatu Peak was of great strategic importance because of its commanding position. It was accepted as a boundary between the states. The peak is surrounded by dense woods. The area has forests of fir and spruce, with a smattering of maple, aspen and cedar trees. Folks from various parts of the world come to Shimla and plan overnight stay around Hatu Peak. Hatu Peak is around 7-8 km total uphill drive from the Narkanda town. There are multiple trekking routes to reach the peak from Narkanda. Hatu Peak is Ideal for camping and offers a beautiful opportunity for star gazing in the night. The forest is also good for bird watching and meditation. 

HATU_TEMPLE Hatu Peak Travel Guide is full of references to the mesmerizing sceneries and serene spots. Hatu Peak has some attractions that should not be missed,  Hatu Mata temple is one of the holy destinations of this region. The Peak has a beautiful hillock on top of it from where you can look around in all four directions and observe the beauty of nature at its ace. There are many other interesting places located around Hatu Peak like Kacheri, Stokes Farm and Narkanda etc. To the north and to the east, the white capped mountains of the Himalaya are visible, even on an overcast day. The nearby highest peaks (both within Himachal Pradesh) are Deo Tibba (6001m — approximately 120km north near Chatru) and Kinnaur Kailash (6050m — approximately 100km east near Karcham). The Nandi Devi region is to the southeast, approximately 250km. The small hill station of Narkanda (at 2708m) is the start for the journey to the top of Hatu Peak.

Best Time To Visit :

In winter, this area is a modest ski area, so expect snow conditions. However, the trail is not sufficiently steep to require crampons at any point. Proper.  The best season to visit Hatu Peak is the apart from the skiing season, is the month of May, when the place temperature remains cool and comfortable and is apt for sightseeing. There are no particular timings for visiting Hatu Peak although trekking at night should be avoided.

How To Reach :

By Air : Shimla has a small airstrip located on a nearby hill top (in Jubbarhatti, about 23 km south of town). This airstrip is too small to support jets, so the only service available is from Jagson Airlines which offers single flight service into Shimla from Delhi on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

By Rail : The nearest Railway station from Hatu Peak is Shimla Railway station, located at a distance of 68 Kms from Hatu Peak.

By Road : Narkanda is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses.

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Zanskar Valley

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One of the least explored destinations in the country, Zanskar, located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.  The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya, an approximately 100-km-wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series, is one of the known Buddhist kingdoms of the western Himalayas within elevation of 12000 feet. The beauty of the Zanskar landscapes changed our definition of beautiful. Situated in the Himalayan range, Zanskar is popular with adventure junkies. A hotspot for trekking, paragliding and river rafting, Lamayuru to Darcha and Lamayuru-Padumare some of the popular trekking trails that pass around Zanskar.  Zanskar, which is the land of moonscapes and threatening paths, charms the best of wanderers, invites them with enthralling sights and enchanting landscapes, and turns them into a pro traveler for life. It also separates Kinnaur District from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. The highest peaks of Himachal are in the Zanskar Range.

Zanskar is famous for its high beautiful mountains and landscape. Zanskar is one of the most unexplored places in Jammu and Kashmir. Pleasant climate, landscape, snow-capped Himalayan Mountains and sparking rivers makes Zanskar a perfect holiday destination for worldwide tourists. Zanskar comprises a tri-armed valley system, The three arms radiate star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse where the region’s two principal drainage’s meet to form the main Zanskar River. Adventure is the main cause as to why people like Zanskar. River rafting and other sports are very famous here, and Zanskar is known for it clear waters. The spectacular Himalayan landscape and the lifestyles of the inhabitants attract many tourists to the hidden kingdom of Zanskar.

Tourist Attraction : 

Penzella Pass :

800px-Drang_Drung_glacier_seen_from_Pensi_La_pass Penzella Pass is the pass that divides Zasnkar valley with the Suru Valley. Penzella Pass is located at 4400 metres above the sea level in the Zanskar range of mountains. Considered to be an ideal camping ground for trekkers, the site is renowned for two greenish water springs. The region also has various species of plants that have rich medicinal values. Zanskar range, the slopes of the pass are covered with snow in the winter season. In summers, when the snow melts, a large variety of flora and fauna can be seen on the slopes of the pass. A variety of wildlife is also present here including the commonly observed Marmots and brown bears. The Pass is also flanked by glaciers on both the sides, from which engendered streams flow into the Suru and Zanskar river, creating a lovely sight. The Penzella Pass is open only during the months of May to September as the region sees heavy snowfall in other months.

Zanskar River :

Zanskar_rivers_February_2014 If adventure is what you love, Zanskar River expedition will be an adventurous experience like never before. River rafting probably is the most indulged in activity in Zanskar River. The rafting experience takes you through one of the most breathtaking gorges of the World.  One of the largest tributaries of river Indus, Zanskar River emerges from the north facing Himalayan slopes. Branched into two: Doda tributary, begins in close proximity to the Pensi La Pass and flows alongside the Zanskar Valley towards Padum, whereas the Kargyag river tributary forms the second branch emerging from near the Shingo La and Tsarap river. Due to the glaciers, the entire area of the river has been transformed into a U-shaped valley. The only outlet for the whole Zanskar hydrographic system is thus the Zanskar river, which cuts the deep and narrow Zanskar Gorge through the Zanskar range. Tourists can also visit the Abring and the Padam villages that are situated around the river.

Padum :

Zanskar_padum_Padum One of the most daunting treks in the valley, it runs through the heart of Zanskar Valley to finally reach Lahaul Valley in Himachal. Padum also serves as the abode to exotic flora and fauna. Once the capital of the ancient Zanskar Kingdom, the region still holds antediluvian relics like intricate carvings on a large rock situated on the banks of the river Lung-nak, dating back to 8th century. Its older section, comprising of inter-connected adobe houses and several high-rise chortens, surround a boulder-strewn hillock, site of the erstwhile palace and fort. Apart from these attractions, the scenic beauty of the surrounding areas from this region is too lovely to be put into words.

Zongkhul Monastery :

Ladakh_Lamayuru Zongkhul is one of the popular cave monasteries, which is used by Yogis for the purpose of meditation. The two caves here are the present monasteries, are said to have been used by the famous yogi for the solitary meditation. A footprint on a stone near the ingress of the lower cave is highly revered as that of the yogi.  Located near the village of Ating, this monastery is famous for murals believed to be painted more than 300 years ago. In the 4th month of the Tibetan calendar, Zongkhul Huchot festival is organised by the locals. It is believed that Naropa used to meditate in this monastery, which makes it a prime location as several other Mahasiddhas also meditated at this site. The monastery has number of shrines. There are images of Buddha, Padmasmbhava, Mitukpa and Mahakala. The monastery houses 15 monks and 23 novitiates. With no road access, trekking is the only way to reach the monastery. It lies on the Padum-Kishtwar trek route. The best time to visit Zongkhul monastery is between July to early November as rest of the year, the region remains covered with snow.

Rangdum Monastery :

f02a55ef51_b Rangdum Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery belonging to the Gelugpa sect, situated on top of a small but steep sugarloaf hill at an altitude of 4,031 m at the head of the Suru Valley, in Ladakh. Flanked by colorful hills on one side and dazzling white glaciers on the other, the region is a charming site. The Drang-drung glacier can also be seen from this region. this monastery looks like a fortress and in fact was used as one by Dogra armies of General Zorawar Singh.  It is an ancient monastery from 18th century and a visit is recommended. 

Most of the precipitation occurs as snowfall during the harsh and extremely long winter period. These winter snowfalls are of vital importance, since they feed the glaciers which melt in the summer and provide most of the irrigation water. Parts of Zanskar valley are considered some of the coldest continually inhabited places in the world. Owing to the altitudes the Zanskar valley is accessible only during the summer months. The winter months are too harsh for travel in Zanskar. The best time to visit Zongkhul monastery is between July to early November as rest of the year, the region remains covered with snow.

How To Reach : 

By Air : Nearest Airport is Leh (105 km), Flights from Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar connected to Leh 

By Rail : Nearest rail head is Jammu(700 km). After getting off at the railway station, one can take a shared bus to Zanskar Valley via Kargil. All Major city like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Jabalpur and Rishikesh are well connected to Jammu by rail.

By Road : There is a regular bus service from Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation from Leh and Kargil for Padum with stops at various points in Suru and Zanskar Valley.

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Dudhsagar Falls

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The majestic cascade of white water, gushing over the steep, nearly vertical face of the mountain from a spectacular height of 1017ft; is both breath taking and awe inspiring, making one aware that there are many forces in nature much more powerful that the human mind and body.

The name ‘Dudhsagar’ literally translates to ‘sea of milk’ which many believe is an allusion to the white spray and foam that the great waterfall creates as it cascades into the waters of the lake. The falls are at their zenith during the monsoon season, although they are a popular attraction all year round.

Location

This waterfall is located in the Sanguem Taluka of Goa, and falls into the jurisdiction of the Goa Forest departments since it is a part of the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. One can go by road or rail to Kulem railway station and then trek to the waterfall or hire a jeep with a driver to get closer in; however, there will still be a walk to reach the base of the falls.

Myth and Legend

There is an old legend that centres round the name of the falls. The tale goes that there was once a princess who was the daughter of the King of the Ghats. This young lady was as modest as she was beautiful and believed in purity of heart, mind and body. The legend goes on that she used to bathe in the lake near her father’s castle every day.

After her bath she and her handmaidens would congregate on the shores of the lake whilst the princess consumed a jug of milk. The jug, it is said was wrought of pure gold and inlaid with sparkling diamonds.

One day, as the princess was drinking her milk, a young and handsome prince was making his way through the nearby woods. On hearing the laughter and chatter of the ladies, he stopped to have a look. The princess was much abashed by her scanty bathing attire and her handmaidens poured the milk in a cascade in front of her, thus creating a curtain behind which she could don her clothes.

This cascade of milk, which preserved the modesty of the princess, is the namesake of the Dudhsagar falls.

Geographic Description

The river Mandovi, which is the main river of Goa, begins on the Deccan plateau in the state of Karnataka. Winding its way through the Western Ghats, this river plummets over the highest peaks on the border of Goa and Karnataka, thus forming the Dudhsagar falls. The waters form a deep green pool at the base of the falls, before continuing westward to join the Arabian Sea.

The Dudhsagar waterfall measures an impressive 310m (1017ft) in height and about 100ft in width. The waterfall splits into three streams as it pours over the near-vertical cliff face, thus forming a truly magnificent sight. This water fall is also known as Tambdi Surla to some of the local peoples.

The area around the falls is forested and falls into the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife sanctuary. There are a number of animals and birds that call this place home; and the keen observer may even be lucky enough to spot some. The roads to the falls are maintained by the Goa Forest Department, who charge visitors a nominal fee for entry and higher one for photography (Rs. 300 for a still camera and upto Rs. 5000* for professional equipment).

Reaching the falls

slider-dudhsagar-special-tour-falls-2 To reach this wondrous site, one must either go on foot or by rail. There is also a rather bumpy track that is suitable only for four wheel drive vehicles, but this track still requires visitors to trek about 1km to reach the base of the falls. There are jeeps available for hire which cost about Rs. 1200* and can carry 6 people at a time, the driver then waits at the drop off point for an hour and a half before bringing the visitors back.

The most adventurous trek starts from the village of Kuveshi. However, this trek is not available during the monsoon season as the trail crosses over the Mandovi itself, which is too rough and swollen during the monsoon months. There is also a trek that begins at the Kulhem/Collem railway station which is 11km long and offers tourists a picturesque view of the Ghats and valleys.

One of the preferred tourist treks is the one that begins at Castle Rock station in Karnataka. This trek spans about 14km of rough terrain and one should go prepared. There are also no places around the falls where food or water is available, making it advisable for visitors to carry their own.
From September to May, the tours often suggest making the trip an all-day affair with a picnic lunch surrounded by the natural beauty of the falls. There are even some tours which offer a one night stay at the base of the falls, camping in the open in tents.

During the monsoon season treks are the only way to access the waterfall since they are burgeoning with run off from the hills and can make the passage of a vehicle near impassable. Although reaching the falls in the monsoon season is difficult the sheer majesty and splendour of this natural wonder makes it worthwhile.

Image & Information copyright by goa-tourism.com & commons.wikimedia.org

Belum Caves

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The Belum Caves is the largest and longest cave system open to the public on the Indian subcontinent, known for its speleothems, such as stalactite and stalagmite formations. The Belum Caves have long passages, galleries, spacious caverns with fresh water and siphons. This natural underground cave system was formed over the course of tens of thousands of years by the constant flow of underground water on limestone deposits forming stalactites and stalagmites, siphons, water galleries etc. Belum Caves are situated in vicinity of the Belum Village in Kolimigundla Mandal of Kurrnool district in Andhra Pradesh state, India. These are considered as the second largest caves in the country, after the Meghalaya Caves. The caves reach its deepest point (120 feet from entrance level) at the point known as Pataalaganga. Belum Caves derives its name from “Bilum” Sanskrit word for caves. In Telugu language, it is called Belum Guhalu. Belum Caves has a length of 3229 metres, making it the second largest natural caves in Indian Subcontinent.

download Belum came to scientific attention in 1884 by a British surveyor, Robert Bruce Foote and from 1982 to 1984, a team of Germanspeleologists headed by H. Daniel Gebauer conducted a detailed exploration of the caves. Thereafter in 1988, the state governmentdeclared the site protected, and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) developed the caves as a tourist attraction in February 2002. Today, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of the caves have been successfully explored, though only 1.5 km (0.9 mi) is accessible to visitors.There are 16 different pathways, including the main entrance and there are deposits of quartz in the caves. The caves consist of black limestone.

The caves have three cavities, amongst which the central cavity serves as the entrance to the caves. These have numerous chambers, fresh water galleries and passages. The natural artworks formed by stalagmite and stalactite can be seen in the caves. The musical chamber, simhadwaram, patalaganga, mandapam, meditation hall and banyan tree hall are the main sections of these caves. Patalganga is considered as the deepest section of the Belum Caves. The Government of India declared the Belum Caves as a ‘Unique Eco-Tourism Project.’ Belum is part of a larger complex of caves carved out of the limestone deposits in the Erramalai region. Other caves include the Billasurgam caves, Sanyasula caves, Yaganti caves, Yerrajari caves, and the Muchchatla Chintamanu caves.

398px-Inside_the_caves As recorded in historical archives and from the evidence found in the caves, these caves were used by Jain as well as Buddhist monks at different periods of time. In fact, relics found in the cave point to human habitation in the caves up to 4500 years BC. The relics and artifacts found here have been classified and studied and are now exhibited in the Anantapur Museum. Belum caves are well known for different natural formations of stalactites and stalagmites in chamber-like sections formed by the flowing underground water.

The best time to visit Belum Caves is from August to December. Like many other caves, this Belum caves is also having some historical importance. The entrance fee charged Rs. 30 per person of Indian nationality whereas foreign tourists are charged Rs.300.00 per person.

How to Reach :

By Air : Nearest Airport to reach Belum Caves is Bangalore and Hyderabad are equidistant at 320 kms.

By Rail : The nearest railhead to reach Belum Caves is Tadipatri, 30 km (18.6 mi) away. There are daily trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Tirupati, Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore and Goa which halt at Tadipatri railway station. From Tadipatri, one can take a bus to the Belum Caves.

By Road : you can reach Belum caves via Kurnool by bus, car or taxi all are available.

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Wayanad

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Featured here is the first of the four trails in the northern district of Wayanad as conceived and promoted by Wayanad Tourism Organization (WTO) an organization taking the lead role in fostering a culture of ‘responsible and sustainable tourism’ in Wayanad.

Of the four trails, we would like to introduce first the ‘Outdoor Trail’, which would cover the following locations in the District of Wayanad.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Wayanad

Chembra Peak

Chembara_Peak,_Wayanad,_Kerala,_India,_South_Asia At a height of 2100 metres, the towering Chembra Peak is located near Meppadi in the southern part of Wayanad. It is the tallest of peaks in the region and climbing this peak would test ones physical prowess. The climb up the Chembra Peak is an exhilarating experience, as each stage in the climb unfolds great expanses of Wayanad and the view gets wider as one goes up to its summit. Going up and coming down the peak would take a full day. Those who would like camp at the top are assured of an unforgettable experience.

Those who require camping gear may contact the District Tourism Promotion Council, located at Kalpetta in Wayanad.

Neelimala

Located in the southeastern part of Wayanad, and approachable from Kalpetta as well as Sulthan Bathery, Neelimala is a trekkers delight, with options for different trekking routes. At the top of Neelimala, the sight is a breathtaking one with a view to the Meenmutty falls located near by and the valley in the foreground.

Meenmutty Waterfalls

Located close to Neelimala the spectacular Meenmutty falls can be reached through a 2 km trekking route from the main road connecting Ootty and Wayanad. It is the largest of waterfalls in the district of Wayanad, and adds to ones curiosity with its three stage falls dropping from about 300 metres.

Chethalayam

Yet another waterfall that attracts visitors to Wayanad is the Chethalayam falls, located close to Sulthan Bathery in the northern part of Wayanad. This waterfall is smaller in size when compared to Meenmutty. The falls and the adjoining areas are ideal locales for trekking and a haunt for bird watchers.

Pakshipathalam

Pakshipathalam is located deep within the forest in the Brahmagiri hills at an altitude of more than 1700 metres. The region predominantly comprises large boulders, some of them really massive. The deep caves found here are home to a wide variety of birds, animals and distinctive species of plants. Pakshipathalam is located near Mananthavady and a visit to the region would require a 7 km trek through the forest, starting from Thirunelli. Visitors to Pakshipathalam are to seek permission from the DFO- North Wayanad.

Banasura Sagar Dam

banasura_sagar_dam20131104172855_373_2 The dam at Banasura Sagar is reckoned as the largest earth dam in India. The dam is located in the southwestern part of Wayanad district and is close to the Karalad Lake. The project area of the Banasura Sagar Dam also has the start point for treks to the Banasura Peak. An interesting feature is a set of islands that were formed when the reservoir submerged the surrounding areas.

While you take in the captivating sights, sounds and fragrance of Wayanad, you may also shop for some specialities of Wayanad like spices, coffee, tea, bamboo products, honey and herbal plants.

For more details on ‘Outdoor Trail’ in Wayanad, please get in touch with Wayanad Tourism Organization.

Contact details:
General Secretary
Wayanad Tourism Organisation
Vasudeva Edom, Pozhuthana PO,
Wayanad, Kerala, India.
Pin – 673575
Tel. +91-4936-255308, Fax.+91-4936-227341
E-mail: mail@wayanad.org

Getting there
Nearest railway station: Calicut Railway Station is 62 km away
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport is about 65 km away

Lachung

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Lachung is a town and hill station in northeast SikkimIndia. It is located in the North Sikkim district near the border with Tibet. Lachung is one of the most exquisite villages in the valleys of North Sikkim.  Lachung has multiple reasons to make you fall in love with it! While its location at an enthralling height of 8,610ft and and approximately 125 km from Gangtok makes it a popular snow-destination in Sikkim, its untouched and surreal beauty makes it one of the scenic as well as charming tourist places in Sikkim. The beautiful snow-capped peaks of Lachung attract tourists from all over the world. Lachung is at an elevation of about 9,600 feet (2,900 m) and at the confluence of the lachen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means “small pass”.

If you are visiting Sikkim and don’t think that you will make it again in a long time to come, then do pursue a visit to Lachung. Because you may not again see such stunning views of snow mountains and rivers anywhere else. “Dr. Joseph Hooker in his ‘Himalayan Journal’ of 1855 mentioned that Lachung and Yumthang are the two most picturesque places in the whole of Sikkim and had even compared them to valleys of Switzerland.”

The Indian Army has a forward base in the town. Before the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, Lachung was a trading post between Sikkim and Tibet, after which it was closed down. The town’s economy has been boosted by tourism in recent years as the region has been opened up by the Indian government. 

Although most come and stay at Lachung to visit Yumthang valley and Zero Point the next day before returning to Gangtok, you should not miss out on the opportunities which Lachung itself offers. Start early in the morning from Gangtok so that you can reach Lachung by 12noon and have enough time to explore the near by area.

Tourist Attraction :

  • One of the nice places to visit here is the Lachung Monsatery (or gompa). It has wonderful wall murals and also several ancient statues.
  • Tourists use Lachung as the base to travel to Yumthang valley and its surrounding area such as Katao and Yumasamdong. 
  • You can spend some leisure hours sitting beside the Lachung-chu river, mesmerised by the beauty of the place.
  • The local monastery is also a nice place to spend an evening and learn about the local Buddhist culture.

As for the rest of North Sikkim, Lachung can be visited only by booking a package tour through a recognised travel agent. This is because you require special restricted area permit to travel here and the permit is given only to tourists travelling on a package tour. The package includes your travel, accommodation, food and sightseeing. 

Best time to visit :

Tourists come from all over the world to visit the town between October and May. One can get snow in Lachung till March/April and in May one can see wild flowers / RhododendronsThis is when the locals in their full traditional costumes eat, drink and perform many cultural shows. Beginning of December is also a great time as you can see the monks performing mask dance at Lachung monastery.

How to reach :

Nearest Airport is Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri , Bagdogra Airport is connected with rest of India by almost all domestic airlines. The airport is about 128 km away from Lachung. One can easily hire local cabs from Bagdogra to Lachung.

Lachung does not have own Railway station, Nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri. which is approx 127 Kms far from Lachung.  You can take Private taxis and Local Buses to Reach at Lanchung.

Lachung has a good road connectivity with nearby destinations. Direct buses are available from New Jalpaiguri and Gangtok, which can be availed to reach Lachung.

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Dawki City- Meghalaya

Umngot is the unexplored paradise of Meghalaya. (Photo Courtesy: Devanik Saha)

A small border town in the Jaintia Hills, Dawki and its famed river Umngot is a must visit if in Meghalaya. Dawki-Tamabil is one of the few road border crossings between India and Bangladesh. The small city, besides being a trade hub is also famous for its tourism scene, with many people flocking to the city in order experience a boat ride in its famed Umngot River and enjoy the nearby sights and sounds. Travelling to the North-East is something that always generates lots of oohs and aahs from whoever you tell about your journey there, or your plans. A day’s excursion from Mawlynnong, Dawki lies but 2 Kms from Bangladesh. Despite the fact that the area is located in a place that has been for years demanding development, one is amazed by the quality of the roads, and the road to Dawki perhaps epitomizes the idyllic hill drive. This had more to do with the area’s strategic importance as well as the limestone and coal mines. Some 500 trucks cross the border every day in peak season.

boats-on-umshiang Dawki river with greenish-blueish water so clear that one can see the bottom of the river even from as high as the bridge over the river. It flows very close to the customs checkpost at Dawki with Jaintia Hills District on one side and East Khasi Hills District on the other. As it enters the plains of Bangladesh it loses its beautiful color and becomes heavily strewnwith rocks and small boulders. It is the gateway to Bangladesh. Located at the end of the Guwahati-Shillong-Dawki Raod, Dawki is a small town well knownfor its sweet, juicy orange markets.

The umngot river is popular not only for its scenic beauty but also for the annual boat race which is conducted here in the month of March – April at Umsyiem.  Due to the temperate climate, this place is the house of different kinds of flora and fauna, seeing this large emerald-green serpent threading its way through the hills, with fishermen’s boats dotting its surface, right into the plains of Bangladesh, is a sight whose majesty echoes long after you leave it. The tourists visiting Dawki should not forget to taste the sweets and oranges of Dawki, as it is quite famous for the same. The surrounding greenery, the cold water of the river and the beautiful suspension bridge on the River Umngot make Dawki a place worth a visit.

88_full Dawki does not have any airport; the closest airport is the Guwahati airport.  Nearest rail head is at Guwahati from where one can either hire a cab or catch public or private buses either direct till Dawki or till Shillong.  Buses are also available for the 70 kilometres (43 mi) journey from Shillong. On the other side the Tamabil bus station, 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away, has regular bus service to Sylhet 55 kilometres (34 mi) away.

The place becomes heavenly in December with a pleasant temperature ranging from 12 to 20 degrees. Shillong is the only hill station in the country which is accessible from all sides. The water of Unmgot river in Dwaki is so clear that a boat floating on it, seems  like it’s flying in mid-air.  The river is not the only place here. Entertain yourself at some really amazing festivals organized here in DecemberTysim Festival, Baghmara, Pinjera Festival, Williamnagar and Tura Winter Festival, Tura. Try out the delightful Meghalayan delicacies such as Jadoh, Dohneiihong, Makham-Bitchi and Jhur Sideh.

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Majuli – A River Island

Majuli, the largest riverine island in the world, nestles in the lap of the mightly Brahmaputra. This is where the 15th century saint and fountain head of Assamese culture, Sankardeva, first established a Satra or neo-Vaishnavite monastery, born of insightful discourses with his spiritual successor, Madhabdeva.

Majulia Nature Majuli
Today, Majuli is the principal seat of Vaishnavite faith, culture and practice. The treasures of Majuli are undoubtedly it’s Satras. The first satra, set up by Sankardeva and Madhabdeva together, was Manikanchan Sanjog, now no longer extant. Subsequently, Majuli became the centre of 65 such satras. Of these, there are only 22 satras in Majuli today. Due to the annual floods and constant land erosion, Majuli today is only a fraction of it’s original size of 1256 sq. km. recorded by the Imperial Gazetteer in 1901. This has forced many of the sattras to shift base to Assam’s mainland.

Dakhinpat Satra Kamalabari Satra

Among those the main existing satras are Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh Satra, Auniati Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Benegenaati Satra and Samaguri Satra. These Satras are the treasure houses of the songs and dances initiated by Shri. Sankardeva like “Borgeet” Matiakhara, Jumora dance, Chali dance, Motua dance, Nande Bringee, Sutradhar, Ozapali, Apsara dance, Satria Krishna dance, Dasavater dance etc.

Satellite View A walk through the villages of Majuli is highly recommended to savour the warmth of the people and their simple way of life. Most of them practice agriculture, fishing and weaving. Boat making, dairy farming, pottery and handloom are other important activities. The weaving is particularly exquisite, making use of a whole range of colours in cotton and silk, found only in Assam.

Majuli also has an exciting bio diversity. If the visit is timed right, one can spot many rare and endangered avifauna species here, such as the greater adjutant stork, pelican and the whistling teal.

Majuli produces about a hundred different varieties of rice without a drop of pesticides or artificial fertilisers. Among the fascinating arrays gorwn is Komal Saul, a unique kind of rice that becomes edible after just 15 minutes of soaking in warm water. It is usually eaten as a breakfast cereal. Bao Dhan grows under water and is harvested after ten months while Bora Saul is a sticky brown rice, used to make pitha, the traditional Assamese rice cake

Getting There

Majuli is 20 kms fom Jorhat town. Buses ply regularly from Jorhat town to Neamati Steamer Ghat, the main ferryboarding point for Majuli. The entire journey takes about three hours, involving a half hour bus ride to Neamati Ghat, which has a few tourist information booths, lodging facilities and food stalls catering to transiting ferry-goers, and ferry ride to the southern tip of Majuli island. Though Jorhat remains the principal entry point, Majuli can be approached through Lakhimpur on the north and Dibrugarh on the east.

White Desert – The Great Rann of Kutch

The Great Rann of Kutch, is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and theSindh province of Pakistan. It is about 7,505.22 square kilometres (2,897.78 sq mi) in size and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. This area has been inhabited by the Kutchi people.

Location and description

White-Desert-FullMoon The Little Rann of Kutch occupies 4,953 sq. kms of land and is spread out in the districts of Surendranagar, Banasakantha, Patan, Kutch and Rajkot. The Little Rann of Kutch has a convoluted topography that varies from large marshlands sporadically cut by brown-grey patches of soil with a few small thorny shrubs. The Little Rann has to its credits one of the largest wildlife reserves in the country, the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Little Rann has been deemed as the world’s last refuge of the Indian Wild Ass known locally as Khur, hence it has been declared as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary.

White-Deserts Sunset in White desert Kutch

The bleak appearance of the land seems to be a camouflage when we realize that it shelters some unique species of animals. Little Rann also gives refuge to several migratory water birds like pelicans, flamingos, cranes, ducks and land birds like Indian bustards, sand grouse and frankolins. Apart from the wild ass the Little Rann is also home to some rare mammals like Indian Wolf, Desert Fox, and Nilgai.

White-Rann-of-Kutch The region is a paradise for bird-watchers who need to opt for marshlands to get closer to the birds. But for those who are interested in watching mammals have to take the dry deserts to get a better view of them. The best way to feel the pulse of this salty desert is a jeep safari. It is better not to take your private vehicle for such safaris since it is easy to get lost in these vast and desolate deserts. Most of the hotels in this area arrange jeep safaris at moderate rates for the tourists. Enroute you will find white patches resembling snow. But take a closer look, these white patches are salt crystals which will soon be collected by the salt pan workers known locally as Agarias. Take a bullock cart ride through the villages of Kutch in company of the local populace to know more about the local culture and local life.

White ran of katch-gujarat

Climate

This is one of the hottest areas of India – with summer temperatures averaging 41°C and peaking at 49.5°C. Winter temperatures reduce dramatically and can go below 0 °C (32 °F).

Threats and preservation

Although most of the marsh is in protected areas, the habitats are vulnerable to cattle grazing, firewood collection and salt extraction operations, all of which may involve transportation that disturbs wildlife. There are several wildlife sanctuaries and protected reserves on the Indian side in the Rann of Kutch region.

How to reach

By road: It is 130 km from Ahmedabad, 45 km from Viramgam, 175 km from Rajkot and 265 km from Bhuj, accessible from all of these by ST buses.
By Rail: Ballarpur railway station, about 197 Km from Bhamragarh and Ahmedabad about 130 Kms
By Air: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad.

Patna

Patna once called Pataliputra the capital of Bihar,is among the world’s oldest capital cities with unbroken history of many centuries as imperial metropolis. A very fertile arched stretch of land along the bank of the Ganga. The history and heritage of modern day Patna go back well over two millennia. Like Delhi, Patna too had been the regal seat of governance for successive kingdoms since ancient times. And to this day, it is the capital city of the state. As each ruler ascended in power and established dynastic glory, he gave his capital a new name. Thus, the ancient Kusumpura metamorphosed through Pushpapura, Pataliputra, Azeemabad and now into Patna, a continuous history ranging from 6th century BC to present times – a record claimed by few cities in the world. It was Ajatshatru the Magadha king who first built a small fort in Pataligram on the bank of the Ganga in 6th century BC, which later blossomed into the ancient glory still to be seen in the neighboring archaeological sites at Kumrahar. Bhiknapahari, Agamkuan, Bulandi Bagh and Kankar Bagh. Pataliputra dominated the political fortunes of the whole of north India between 6th century BC and 5th century AD, a fact established by archaeological excavations. After a temporary eclipse, in 16th century, Sher Shah Suri returned the city to its former glory and established the present Patna. After the decline of the Mughals, the British too found Patna a convenient regional capital and built a modern extension to this ancient city and called it Bankipore. It was in Gandhi Maidan in this area, that Mahatma Gandhi held his prayer meetings.

1. Golghar:

Alarmed by the famine of 1770, captain John Garstin built this huge granary for the British army in 1786. The massive structure is 29 m high and the walls are 3.6 m wide at the base. The winding stairway around this monument offers a brilliant panoramic view of the city and the Ganga flowing by.

2. Martyr’s Memorial:

A memorial to seven freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives in the Quit India Movement of August 1942, the Martyr’s Memorial is a modern sculpture facing the Secretariat, where they were shot in their attempt to host the national flag.

3. Gandhi Setu:

Asia’s longest roadway bridge.

Guwahati

Nestled in the Brahmaputra valley this state has Tantrik Shaktism, Shivaism and later Vaishnavism flourishing in its laps. From time to time people from different races, religion and culture have migrated to this place.

The Mohmmedan invasions brought Islam into the state. Sikhism flourished here, Buddhist communities have kept the flag of Buddhism flying high. The famous Gurudwara at Dhubri established by the ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur is held in the high veneration by the sikhs throughout the country.

With the advent of new faith & religion many temples and monuments were built all over Assam. Most of these architectural graduers belong to the medieval period and represent the architectural style of the Koch, Kachari and Ahom royal courts. These temples and monuments, spread almost all over Assam, bear silent witness to a glorious past.

1. Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra:

The Srimanta Sankardeva kalakshetra has been set up as a grand exposition of the life and culture of the people of Assam. Named after the greatest Vaishnava saint and the greatest integrator of the Assamese society Srimanta Sankardeva, the Kalakshetra is a multi-Arts complex.

It houses a Central Museum where cultural objects and day-to-day articles used by different ethnic groups will be preserved and exhibited, an Open Air Theatre with 2000 capacity to hold folk festivals and to present traditional dance and drama of the State, an Artists’ Village which offers the visitors and the residents an atmosphere of the village of Assam, the Sahitya Bhavan which is a library of rare books and manuscripts, the Lalit-Kala Bhavan which has sufficient space for exhibition, art and sculpture workshops, and a Heritage Park. The Kalakshetra has been chosen as the venue for many cultural activities.

2. Chandubi Lake:

A natural lagoon and fine picnic spot which is 64 kms. from Guwahati. The lake and its surroundings is an ideal holiday resort with the added attraction of fishing and rowing. The place is easily accessible by bus from Guwahati.The best season to visit is from November to April.

3. Hajo:

Located 32 kms. from Guwahati on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, it is a place where three religions meet – Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.

It has a large number of temples, the chief among them being Hayagriva-Madhab Temple. There is a belief that this temple contains the relic of Lord Buddha, while a section of the Buddhist hold that Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. Large number of Bhutanese visit this temple every year during the winter season.

There is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims here known as Poa-Mecca. According to mythology, the Pandavas had taken shelter in this region during their agyatvas or the period in hiding. One can see the stone bowl used by Bhima during this agyatvas.

Essential New Zealand

This package covers the scenic beauty of both the North & South Islands of New Zealand, where you get to discover locations like Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown and Christchurch , Waitomo Glowworm Caves & Milford Sound .

Day 01: Arrive Auckland

On arrival in Auckland, ‘The City of Sails’, you will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel.
Overnight stay at your Hotel in Auckland.

Day 02: Auckland

After your Breakfast, enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Auckland city including a visit to Kelly Tarltons Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter. The remainder of the day is free.
Overnight Stay at your Hotel in Auckland.

Day 03: Auckland – Waitomo – Rotorua

Enjoy your breakfast at the Hotel & travel south through the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. Enjoy a guided tour of the famous Glowworm Caves including an underground boat ride followed by lunch. Continue to Rotorua this afternoon.
Overnight stay at your Hotel in Rotorua

Day 04: Rotorua

Visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve to see boiling mudpools and roaring geysers. Following this, visit Rainbow Springs to see New Zealand’s trout, birds and wildlife before continuing to the Agrodome for a New Zealand farm show featuring sheep dog demonstrations, cow milking and an introduction to the stars of our sheep industry. The afternoon is at leisure. This evening enjoy an authentic Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert with Dinner.
Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 05: Rotorua – Queenstown

After breakfast at the hotel, depart on your domestic flight from Rotorua to Queenstown (Airfare is Not Included).
Overnight stay at Hotel in Queenstown.

Day 06: Milford Sound

After your breakfast at the hotel,follow the southern arm of Lake Wakatipu to Lumsden, and onward to Lake Te Anau. Enter the Eglinton Valley and travel through the breath taking man made Homer Tunnel to reach Milford Sound. Enjoy a cruise on this world famous fiord, dominated by Mitre Peak and the cascading Bowen Falls. Buffet lunch is also included on board today. Return to Queenstown.
Overnight stay at Hotel in Queenstown.

Day 07: Queenstown

Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel & a free day to explore the endless optional attractions available. Queenstown offers bungy jumping, jetboating, white water rafting, gondola rides and much more. Optional activities not included in the tour price.
Overnight stay at Hotel in Queensland.

Day 08: Queenstown-MT cook – Christchurch

After your breakfast, travel through the Central Otago region and onto the small town of Twizel. Continue north following the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Visit the ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ at Lake Tekapo before travelling across the Canterbury Plains to arrive in the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch.
Overnight stay at Hotel in Christchurch.

Day 09: Christchurch

Enjoy your breakfast and proceed to your morning tour of Christchurch, Highlights of this tour include the Anglican Cathedral, Town Hall, the Arts Centre, Canterbury Museum, the University, Botanic Gardens and the Avon River.
Overnight stay at your hotel in Christchurch.

Day 10: Departure Day

Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel. It’s time to bid farewell. Your arrangements conclude today with a departure transfer. We trust you enjoyed your Vacation!
 

Spainish Fiesta

Spain is a country with a rich, colourful and diverse history, a land of many varied regions and a people who are proud and welcoming. For many first-time visitors to Spain, the expectations are of frequently used and evocative media images of sangria, sombreros and bullfights. While all of these play a part within traditional Spanish culture, there is much more that makes modern Spain a progressive, diverse and cosmopolitan society.

 

Day 01: Barcelona

Welcome to Barcelona city!! You are in the Catalonian Capital! At Arrival you are met & are escorted to your hotel by our assistance. Transfer will be by luxury car, Mercedes or Audi, English speaking Driver. Accommodation in your hotel and welcome drink at your arrival.
Meals: None

Day 02: Day tour to Barcelona & Romantic Dinner @ Olipic port

Buffet b/fast and, in the morning, you will have a private Tour of Barcelona , by luxury car with driver English speak. The variety and wealth of Barcelona’s heritage provide a number of attractive routes through its various districts. This way, the traveller will get to know the most typical monuments of the city. Barcelona’s a cosmopolitan Mediterranean city. We will visit the façade of Cathedral, the façade of Sagrada Familia. A unique creation that has become Barcelona’s most universal symbol. Visit will continue to the Olympic Village, Columbus monument and will go direct to Montjuïc Mountain where you will be able to see the Olympic Stadium and Sant Jordi Palace. In the evening, a romantic dinner will be booked for you in front of the sea, located in the Olipic port, Barcelona, The most privileged views can be enjoyed from a wonderful terrace overlooking the Mediterranean where you can enjoy a menu with a great variety of traditional Paellas, and novel rice dishes which include the most appropriate ingredients according to the season of the year.
Meals: None

Day 03: Evening Flamenco Show

Buffet b/fast and free day of Barcelona, possibility to do shopping in ramblas area, to relax on the beach or go as an optional tour to Montserrat . Montserrat is a mountain, a sanctuary and a monastery founded in the 11th century, is located in a Natural Park 60 km on the west of Barcelona. In the evening, a flamenco show will be booked for you,quality show, direct heir to the purest of traditions. It is an authentic tablao show has no formal choreography, each artist, interprets individually his or her number and the rest follow the beat, marking the rhythm, accompanying it and strenghtening it.
Meals: None

Day 04: Transfer from Barcelona to Mallorca by flight

Breakfast and private transfer from hotel to airport to enjoy one of the nicest islands of Spain. Majorca is synonymous with world-renowned beaches and coves, but is also a perfect destination to enjoy countryside, golf, culture, water sports, entertainment… There are many reasons to visit this enclave in the Balearic Islands. Welcome arrival by transfer to your hotel. Accommodation at Hotel
Meals: None

Day 05: Leisure day @ Mallorca

Breakfast in your fantastic hotel with rooms sea view and free day. Possibility to relax in your hotel or in the beach, or add a optional tour in the island To explore their special personality and discover their most beautiful locations Or rent a boat to discover the island.
Meals: None

Day 06: Transfer from Mallorca to Barcelona

Buffet breakfast and free day. In the afternoon, back to the airport and accommodation in your hotel of Barcelona.
dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Meals: None

Day 07: Depart Barcelona

Breakfast and private transfer from hotel to International airport to take your return flight back home.
Meals: None
 

Magnetic Turkey

This package deal includes tour of western Turkey. You will be entering and leaving the country through Istanbul. You will be touring through: Gallipoli, Dardanelles, Canakkale, Troy, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Ephesus.

 
Day 01: Arrive Istanbul

Meet at the airport and transfer to your hotel. You will be given your room key and the rest of the day is yours to explore Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul.
Meals: Indian Dinner

Day 02: Istanbul City Tour

Pick up at 09:00am from your hotel for a day tour of old Istanbul city. Visit TOPKAPI PALACE The great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries housing an exquisite collection of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, the Holy Mantle; enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. SULTANAHMET IMPERIAL BLUE MOSQUE, HIPPODROME. After Indian lunch we will then take you to the GRAND COVERED BAZAAR. After the tour, transfer back to your hotel. Dinner at an Indian restaurant. Overnight in Istanbul.
Meals: Breakfast, Indian Lunch and Indian Dinner

Day 03: Gallipoli Battlefields

Depart early morning from Istanbul for afternoon tour of Gallipoli. The World War I battlefields of Gallipoli are now a serene site. Visit the Lone Pine Australian Memorial and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial, ANZAC Cove, Johnston’s Jolly and Gallipoli Museum. Overnight in Canakkale.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Day 04: Troy – Acropolis of Pergamum

This morning, step back in time as we visit Troy, home of the famed Trojan Horse. Then we tour the magnificent acropolis of Pergamum. Its impressive temples and Library made Pergamum a renowned cultural and political centre in its time. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Overnight Stay at Hotel in Melbourne.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Day 05: Ephesus – Kusadasi

Absorb yourself in history today with a guided tour of Ephesus and a visit to the Temple of Artemis. Feel the mystical atmosphere of the ancient city and theatre. Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey. At the carpet village we learn how the carpets are made by hand and what determines their value. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Day 06: Kusadasi to Istanbul

After breakfast you will have free time shopping in Kusadasi. Today we depart for Izmir Airport for our domestic flight to Istanbul and then back to home. We hope your tour was a memorable one and we would like to see you in the future in one of our tours again. Have a nice trip back home and thanks for choosing Travelxp India Pvt. Ltd.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
 

Camp Blue Bull, Orchha

orchha-mausolea Snow Leopard Adventures is pleased to announce the launch of Camp Blue Bull, an adventure camp in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh. The camp, set up by the Betwa River, offers guests an opportunity to combine the thrill of adventure with the rich cultural heritage of the region.

The name Orccha literally translates to, “hidden”. True to its name, Orccha lies obscured from sight amidst lush green dark woods along the Betwa river. The rambling ruins of Orchha have many a tale to tell. Legend has it that Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput ruler, Rudra Pratap Singh, when his capital Garhkurar fell to the Tughlaqs. In 1525, the ruler Raja Rudra Pratap decided on “hidden” Orchha as his capital as he wanted to protect his headquarters from further invasion. His successors reigned till 1783 in this state after which their capital moved to Tikamgarh. A destination on the cultural circuit, Orchha is easily accessible from Jhansi, Gwalior and Khajuraho.

The Betwa and Jamini Rivers and forests nearby make Orchha an adventurer’s paradise. Betwa is a beautiful river that starts from the Vindhya Range and empties itself into the Yamuna. The river is wide and its placid flow is intermittently broken by Grade I to Grade II rapids. The river is a kayaker’s dream and for those looking for some easy rafting. A thickly forested island that has formed between the Betwa and the Jamini rivers offers some exciting cycling/ hiking trails. The rock faces at the island are ideal for easy to moderate rock climbing/ rappelling/ bouldering while the forest trails are a nature lover’s heaven. The Orchha Nature Reserve, home to over 200 species of birds, also offers great trails for jeep safaris and cycling. Though tigers once roamed here freely, wild boar, blue bull and sloth bears are easier to spot now.

Accommodation at the camp is in comfortably done up safari tents and as usual safety, service and minimum impact tourism will be indelible parts of Snow Leopard Adventures operations in Orchha.

Activities possible:

  • Wilderness Orientation hikes
  • Cycling in Orcha
  • Rock Climibing
  • Nature Walk & Bird watching
  • Kayaking
  • Trekking
  • Rafting in Madhya Pradesh
  • Sightseeing of Orchha

Leopard Beach Tented Camp

leopard-beach-tented-camp1

Experience a holiday with a difference at the exclusive Leopard Beach Tented Camp. The sojourn at this camp promises you the thrill of the outdoors and the spill of White Water Running. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas 16 kms from Rishikesh, the camp is set up amidst picturesque environs by the holy Ganga River and is surrounded by a thick Sal forest.

Accommodation here is in safari tents and the camp is known for its utmost emphasis on safety, its efficient staff and its excellent cuisine.

Leopard Beach Tented Camp serves as an ideal base for adventure activities in the Himalayas. It is situated 16 kms upstream of Rishikesh on a secluded sandy beach by the Ganga River and is 250 km from Delhi. A thick Sal forest amidst scenic and picturesque environs surrounds the camp with accommodation in roomy safari tents with cots. The camp is known for its friendly and efficient staff and excellent cuisine.

Activities possible in the camp

  • Rafting
  • Rappelling
  • Nature walk
  • Bird watching in the surrounding areas
  • Kayaking on a placid stretch near the camp
  • Beach games like volley ball, Frisbee, water polo etc.
  • Trekking
  • Day hikes to the surrounding hills

Getting There

By Road:
Delhi – Meerut bye pass – Khatauli – Muzaffar Nagar bye pass – Roorkee – Haridwar. Once you cross Haridwar, drive towards Rishikesh. Our campsite, Leopard Beach Tented Camp is situated 16 kms ahead of Rishikesh at Shivpuri village. It is situated on the Devprayag-Badrinath road.

Just before reaching the village, there is a big bridge called the Shivpuri Bridge. Just after crossing the bridge, about one km. on the right side you can see a board of ‘Leopard Beach Tented Camp’.

By Rail:
Haridwar is the nearest railhead for Shivpuri. There are three trains from Delhi for Haridwar.

Dehradun Shatabdi: Morning Departure
Time: Depart Delhi 0655 hrs from New Delhi Railway Station. Arrive Haridwar 1115 hrs.
Depart Haridwar 1800 hrs. Arrive Delhi 2230 hrs.

Jan Shatabdi: Afternoon Departure (Does not operate on Sundays)
Time: Depart Delhi 1530 hrs from New Delhi Railway Station. Arrive Haridwar 1920 hours
Depart Haridwar 0623 hrs. Arrive Delhi 1105 hrs.

Mussourie Express: Overnight train
Time: Depart Delhi 2215 hrs from Old Delhi Railway Station. Arrive Haridwar next day -0550 hrs
Depart Haridwar 2230 hrs. Arrive Delhi next day at 0605 hrs.

Nizamudin DDN AC Special (Operates Daily)
Time: Depart Delhi 2355 hrs. Arrive Haridwar ? 0400 hrs
Depart Haridwar- 1025 hrs. Arrive Delhi – 1440 hrs

IND DDN Express (Operates only on Mondays & Sundays)
Time: Depart Delhi 1130 hrs. Arrive Haridwar ? 1647 hrs

Full Day Excursions:

Trek to Kunjapuri:
Drive for about an hour to the Kunjapuri temple, our starting point for the trek. Set amidst lush green forest, Kunjapuri offers fantastic and glorious views of the legendary Himalayan peaks like Banderpoonch, Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, and Trisul etc. The temple is dedicated to goddess Durga. A fair is held on Ashtami in this beautiful temple, built on flattened part of a hilltop. Thousands travel to receive her blessings.

Visit to Devprayag:

Drive to the holy town of Devprayag, which is at the confluence of two sacred rivers, the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda. Both the rivers merge here to form the Holy Ganges.

The Ganga is the most sacred river in the Hindu religion and a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga is said to wash away all sins.

Half-Day Excursions:

Local Sightseeing in Rishikesh:

A great pilgrimage center of India made famous by Beatles who stayed here in an ashram for 3 months. It is famous the world over for its yoga centers and spiritual missions.

We visit temples, ashrams, Yoga centers and the famous Laxman Jhoola and Ram Jhoola suspension bridges in Rishikesh, made famous by the Beatles who visited here in the 1970’s. At Rishikesh, the holy Ganga leaves the Himalayas and enters the Indo- Gangetic plains on its 2525 – km journey to the Bay of Bengal.

Trek to Malakunthi Village:
Drive for 12 kms upstream of camp to reach Malakunthi Village. Visit local cave temple and look at stalagmites and stalactites.

Bandhavgarh Then & Now

tiger-wildlife-bandhavgarh I saw my first male tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park in the seventies. The place was called Kill Khunta, since a bait was usually tied there to attract tigers. The baiting practice was thankfully stopped but the tigers do not go hungry at all. In that dusky twilight I could see one of the nature’s marvelous creation. The awe and admiration has never ceased since.

Back from from the brink of disaster, the little paradise was not throbbing with tigers as conservation practice had just been put in place. The aftermath of reckless hunting had come to a stop and recovery was on the way. Though isolated and fragmented, the reserve retained its glorious ancient past and amazing Sal forests.

There where few visitors, and the accommodation was limited to the Maharani’s Kothi for the privileged and the Forest/PWD R.H – rest house.

Eventually MPTDC stepped in and established the White Tiger Lodge. Then more tourists started to arrive with propaganda so created. The tourism infrastructure had been put in place with number of elephants for rides. The jungle roads were being maintained. This was the hunting reserve of erstwhile Maharajas of Rewa. It was the largest Kingdom in India during post independence period.

The discovery of white tiger in the adjacent forests had already opened the flood gates of popularity. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is situated in the Central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the finest places to see the tiger in the wild. The preserve is one of the most picturesque destination – little tiger haven tucked away in the deep recess of India’s wild heartland. Under the project tiger the area covered is about 1100 sq.km including neighboring Pan Patha Wildlife Sanctuary. The core now constitutes 600 plus sq.km as against 145 or so earlier.

On our earlier visits we could count around 60 plus heads of gaur or Indian Bison. Gradually we saw the numbers dwindle till the end came somewhere in nineties. This was a major blow to the habitat, the loss of a coarse grazer was irreparable. Rinderpest & FPL was the scourge carried by maddening numbers of live stock in the periphery. Though some gaur have been relocated from Kanha recently, we have to wait for success.

It was obvious from the sightings that the prey base was increasing. The sightings also confirmed that big cats in the park were on the increase. In few years the reserve was a conservation success – it still is.

Another noticeable fact was the increasing number of tourist as well as the hotel resorts. The park became number one tourist draw thanks to high density of tigers. The core area of the park is the finest habitat of the cats. Due to the slush and grass in swampy marshy areas hunting was easy.

The village relocation had taken place from within the core and some were due which eventually did not happen – Kalwa & Magdi. The edaphic grasslands left by the tribal communities inside were overtaken by the prey base. This was like bounty from heaven since the grass was much wanted fodder for the deer and the bison.

Ruins

The remains of ancient civilizations added luster to the splendorous jungle resort. The ancient man made caves still exist with petroglyph and Brahmi script on the walls. The forests experienced many warring civilizations throughout, as history unfolded. The dynasties left their marks on the ruins which are now ruled thankfully by the big cats. The place since evolution belonged to the wild denizens later intruded by humans.

The ancient ruins add esoteric touch to the wildlife haven. Sesh Shaiyya on the way to Bandhavgarh Hillock is right out of the fairy tale. Its pristine surroundings and springs are in reality best described as fairy tale settings. The reclining statue of Lord Vishnu besides the pond makes it a place of religious importance for the locals.

On the way up are the number zoomorphic statues of Lord Visnu some towering. Matsya AvatarVarah Avatar and so on. The Laxman Temple sits atop the hill facing the beautiful grasslands valleys and neighboring mountains. Picturesque indeed! The Bandhavgarh Hill is steep and about 800m MSL. the hillock are ideal breeding ground for Long Billed Vulture.

Bandhavgarh Fort at the top lies in ruins arch, man made reservoir, statues and temple remains are littered all over. The remains boast of exquisite and colorful sculptural practice & art of ancient India. They are an archeological find dating back two thousand years in the recess of this old country.

The plateau is extensive and give one an eerie feeling a spread of ruined civilization, tall grasslands and a haunting specter of open spaces, mystical and esoteric as of the pristine wild country. The alarm cry or the tiger roar can be unnerving as I have experienced often.

Priest & Tiger

The Old Brahmin Pujari was a legendary figure. He walked about 11 km to the Laxman Temple, under care of his family, since the Maharajas ordained. He must have been the most familiar figure for the tigers that walked aside him. He once told me that his meetings with tigers were often and it was you go your way and I go my way affair, strictly. He died a natural death and I believe his son has taken over.

Hills Glens & Rivers

Mahaman, Chur Bohera, Raj Bohera, Bathan are well preserved grasslands. There rivers criss cross Johilla, Charanganga and Umrar. Must visit for tiger sightings and landscape are Badi Gufa, Ghoda Damen, 10 No.GUFA and Andheri Jhiriya. The terrain is torturous and at places very steep. The safari is exciting over steep climbs, across grasslands and river beds the cliff tower over you all the time.

Forests

The abundance of SAL is evident but the park encompasses some of the finest bamboo slopes and mixed forests. The canopy is dense but withers as one moves along the periphery due to wood logging in the buffer.

Buffer

Once a large contiguous tract of forest the park is now isolated. Neighboring forests are Pan Patha, Gunghuti and the Sihora Forest ranges at some distance. the forests leading to Amarkantak and Achanakmar belt have been badly denuded hence there is no migration path for any species. All around the reserve forest are in a bad state and hence tiger habitat has been reduced. There are village surrounding the buffer and within with a large number of livestock. Except tourism alternative means of survival have not been explored.

Tiger Safari

Tourism in tiger reserves of Central India is monitored and well managed. I have seen tiger tourism grow from infancy and simultaneously the wildlife has increased as well. Tourism has benefited local communities which were until then dependent upon infertile lands. The need for accommodation has brought in many hotels. The established hotels of Bandhavgarh employ large number of youth. Most of these are from the local communities. Many get employment in the forest department as guides, chara cutters, guards and naturalists etc. Plus the park is a nature library many tourists come and go with greater understanding of nature, admiration for other life forms and desire to conserve or valuable heritage.

The Tiger

It has been one hell of a journey for the beleaguered animal. It has been ignominiously pushed back to small pockets along with associates. We have never ceased to destroy nature, we have overpowered other life forms and taken their land away. The majestic cat is silent and helpless observer as the axe continues to ravage his kingdoms all over the country.

AULI: Hill station in India

Auli is one of the less explore hill stations in India. Auli, located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, is a new entrant in the tourist map of India. Located in the cradle of snow-capped mountains, Auli is one of the very few places in India where skiing is a major pastime. Gradually Auli is growing like other hill stations in India. The bitter cold winds, the vast snow-covered landscape, the sylvan mountains, all add up to make Auli a skier’s paradise. Representing man’s constant endeavor to triumph over nature, Auli proves to be an ideal locale for the daring.

LOCATION OF AULI

Like many other hill stations in India Auli is situated in Uttar Pradesh. Auli is towards the north of the state and forms a part of the Garhwal mountain range. It is at a distance of 16 km from Joshimath, on the Badrinath route. The slopes, which are as high as 9000 feet above sea level, are covered with dense deodar and oak forests and this often reduces the velocity of the chilly winds to the minimum. The slopes offer a panoramic view of many a famous Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parvat and Dunagiri.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

If one is an adventure freak, the best time to visit Auli is during the winter season. The period from late November to late March is generally considered ideal for skiers. As the winters set in, the mountains seem to extend to the firmament with arms of snow. From December to March, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam conducts 7-day and 15-day courses for both amateurs and advanced learners.

TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS

Tour to AuliSkiers are naturally provided with clean stretches of 10-20 km of snow-covered mountain slopes. Besides, there is a descent of 500 m from the ridge over a stretch of 3 km. The forests on the slopes also seem to help the skiers by reducing the wind velocity. In the months of February and March, Auli often hosts the National Winter Games. In a planned move, the Government and local authorities have involved the local Garhwali people to explore the slopes that rightfully belong to them.

By eight in the morning, one can see the first of the skiers and other adventure seekers. Until about four o’clock in the evening, when it gets chilly, cold and dark, the skiers make most of the slopes. For the best part of the winter season, Auli is blessed by an unusually large number of sunny days, but there are times when it snows heavily. In the evenings, the activity shifts from the slopes to the bukhari-warmed huts and resorts (bukhari: a quaint, wooden stove). People then generally pass their time listening to folklore and reveling in the local music of Garhwal in the lamp-lit rooms or besides the bonfires.

Bandhavgarh National Park – National Park of Madhya Pradesh

Bandhavgarh National Park is spread at vindhya hills in Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh National Park consists of a core area of 105 sq km and a buffer area of approximately 400 sq km of topography varies between steep ridges, undulating, forest and open meadows. Bandhavgarh National Park is known for the Royal Bengal Tigers. The density of the Tiger population at Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India.

Bandhavgarh National Park was the former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and at present is a famous natural hub for White Tigers. White Tigers, now a major attraction around the world’s zoos, were first discovered in Rewa, not far from here. The terrain is broken, with rocky hill ranges, running roughly east west, interspersed with grassy swamps and forested valleys. .

Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the finest national park in the India and has the distinction of harboring the highest concentration of tigers per unit area of forest. The Bandhavgarh National Park is spread over on area of 448 sq km with a cross area of 105 sq km. At the center of the park is the bandhavgarh hill, rising 811 meters above sea level and surrounding it are a sloping valleys, These valleys end in small, swampy meadows locally known as “bohera”.

Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968. Since then many steps have been taken to retain Bandhavgarh National Park as an unspoilt national habitat for a variety of wildlife peculiar to the area. These includes gaur (Indian bison), sloth bear, leopard, porcupine, wild boar, sambhar and spotted deer, among others and of course, the tiger.

Places to visit:

Archaeological Richness of Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh was the seat of ex-rulers of Rewa State and its history dates back to 3rd Century A.D.Mythologically, the fort on Bandhavgarh hill is said to have been built by Lord Rame for his brother Laxman ,during the Ramayana period. There are a number of man-made caves(35) in Bandhavgarh with inscriptions and carvings, which date back to 129-168 A.D. Statues of various incarnations of all and attracts every tourist. There statues date back to 10-11 century A.D;

 

Places to See in Bandhavgarh National Park

1. Sidhababa – The Holy Meadow : The marshy is the abode of Sidhababa.Merger of hills, grasslands & riparian zone creates an edge which results in good sighting of wild fauna, especially sambar & chital.

2. Chakradhara – The Sprawling Meadow : Surrounded by the hillocks, this marshy meadow is rich in both flora and fauna.

Availability of food, water & cover makes it an ideal place for the sighting of wild animals including tigers.

3. Gopalpur – A Place for Bird Watching : Approach with a slow drive may give you moments of memorable sighting of wild fauna.Look for the kingfishers, storks, lapwings & stilts.

4. Shesh Shaiya – Origin of River Charanganga : This statue of lord Vishnu reclining on the seven hooded scrpent is the classic example of the architechtural treasure of the past. The vicinity around is rich in fruit bearing trees. Look for the rare Malabar Pied Hornbill.

5. Bari Gufa – Ancient Monument of Past : This is the biggest man made cave of the reserve dating back to tenth century.Apart from its archaeological importance, this cave is the abode of a variety of bats.

6. Ketkiha – Pendanus Point : This wet patch of aromatic plant ” Pendanus ” ( Kewra ) in the shadow of lofty jammu and arjun trees is the real treasure of floristic wealth of the Reserve.

7. Bhitari Bah – Tranquility in Wilderness : Blissful drive along the meadow will induce thrills of jungle and feeling of lingering relaxation.Look for the important medicinal “buchh”( Achorus Calamus ).

8. Three Cave Point – The Archaeological Remains of past : These caves visible from ganesh hillock road are the mute testimony of rich historical past.These caves are now used by wild animals for shelter especially by sloth bear.

9. Sita Mandap – The Bandhaini Hillock View : This marshy meadow is the origin of river Dammer.Look for the storks, vultures and herds of chital, samber and wild pigs.View of Bandhaini Hillock is an additional attraction.

10. Ghora Demon – Nature’s Beauty : Woody climbers of butea superba and Bauhinia wahlii amidst the giant sal trees offer spectacular view for the tourist.

11. Rampur Pahari – The Fort View : This is the biggest meadow of the Reserve.Look for the breeding pair of saras crane in the month of june.It harbours the insectivorous plant drosera.

12. Damnar River – Place to Quench the Thirst : This water hole surrounded by bamboo clumps is an ideal place to watch variety of hervivores and carnivores.

13. Charger Point – has been built in memory of Charger.Charger the beloved Tiger of Bandhavgarh, dominated the Tourism Zone for decade.He died on 29th September, 2000 & rests here in peace.

 

14. Rajbahera – The Bandhaini Hillock View : This marshy meadow is the origin of river Damnar.Look for the storks, vultures and herds of chital, samber and wild pigs.View of Bandhaini Hillock is an additional attraction.

15. Climber’s Point – Nature’s Beauty : Woody climbers of butea superba and Bauhinia wahlii amidst the giant sal trees offer spectacular view for the tourist.

16. Sehra – The Fort View : This is the biggest meadow of the Reserve.Look for the breeding pair of saras crane in the month of june.It harbours the insectivorous plant drosera.View of Bandhavgarh Fort is breathtaking.

17. Mahaman Pond – Place to Quench the Thirst : This water hole surrounded by bamboo clumps is an ideal place to watch variety of hervivores and carnivores.

Bandhavgarh Fort : The oldest fort in India, considered to be more than 2500 years. One-hour trek upto the fort is worth the effort. The charm of this trek lies in discovering these monuments in the jungle, unspoiled and unexplored. Some of the statues lie off the main path and so it is best to take a guide. Apart from the avatars, well worth seeing are three small temples of around the 12th century. These temples are deserted but the fort is still used as a place of worship. Kabir Das, the celebrated 16th century saint, once lived and preached here. The natural ramparts of the fort give breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. Vultures wheel around the precipice which also attracts blue rock thrushes and crag martins.The fort still belongs to the Maharaja of Rewa and permission is required to visit it. However permission is available locally and no trip to Bandhavgarh is complete without making an effort to climb up the fort. The staff of the resort carries your lunch while you are busy negotiating the trek upto the fort. Supplement charged

 

Taavraksh – A Leopard Country

Sariska-Alwar road takes to this enchanting site where pilgrims bathe in hot SULPHUR SPRINGS. Langurs (apes) stroll about and the bell of the scattered temples tinkle all day long. lt was the place of penance of Mandav Rishi. Incidentally this point is around 20kms off Sariska Tiger Reserve. As is known that Tigers and leopards do not normally share territories, hence Leopards around Sariska have found a haven in Talvraksh. To view this handsome mammal be present with our expert escort at the right time at the right palce and you will be really unlucky if do not see atleast 1 Leopard during your stay at Talvraksh.

TAALVRAKSH – A LEOPARD COUNTRY
Lying in the juxtaposition between wilderness and civilisation is a quiet place called Taalvraksh. What makes it very different from other places is the frequency of the leopard visiting this place despite having large human presence.

Taalvraksh lies just 20 km from Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in the North Indian state of Rajasthan and if one is coming Alwar city towards Sariska on Alwar – Jaipur State Highway a right turn would lead to Taalvaskh. This place is a paradox of sorts.

The leopards are sighted on the road going through this place and this is despite the fact that it is quite a busy road. From Alwar this place is about 30km ( apprx). There is relatively no forest area on the entire journey and one tends to believe that the possibility of seeing wildlife is rather small but please wait, a small area of dense forest cover is there just around Taalvarksh and has healthy langur and reches monkey population and also being a village, there are a lot of dogs hanging around the place. Hence prey population wise it is a typical Leopard habitat. There is the only surrounding this part of the jungle where there is permanent water available. All the surrounding areas is hilly and there is no water around this place. During summer months when temperature cross 40 degree centigrade, the leopards sighting also increases.

Corbett National Park

corbett-national-park1 Welcome to Jim Corbett National Park, the first wildlife reserve of India, extending over an area of more than 500 sq km in the Himalayan foothills. Corbett national park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park. In 1955-56 it has changed to Ramganga National Park and finally Jim Corbett National Park in the honor of legendary hunter-turned- conservationist, best known for hunting man-eating tigers and leopards in the Kumaon and lower Garhwal in the 1920s.

Corbett National park is known for its varied wildlife, and as the site for the launching of Project Tiger. Corbett National Park was one of the nine tiger reserves created at the launch of the Project Tiger in 1973. The original area of the Corbett National Park was 323.75 sq. km. to which 197.07 sq. km. was added later. In 1991, an area of 797.72 sq km was added as buffer area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It area includes kalagarh forest division and Ramnagar forest division.

The Main animals found in the national park wildlife found in the Corbett National Park include the tiger, elephant, chital, sambar, nilgai, gharial, King Cobra, muntjac, wild boar, hedgehog, common musk shrew, flying fox, Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of birds. Corbett National Park receives thousands of visitors every year. A variety of facilities are available to house tourists within and outside the park.

Other Attractions In Corbett
Ramnagar : Situated in the rich farm belt of Terai, on the southeastern fringes of the great forests, the busy market town of Ramnagar is the main administrative centre for Corbett National Park and Project Tiger. Ramnagar makes a fishing base camp. At Lohachaur, 15-kms north along the River Kosi, good anglers are in with a chance of landing the legendary Mahseer, a redoubtable battling River Carp. Permits to have a go must be sought from the Project Tiger office in Ramnagar; most resorts also arrange all inclusive fishing trips.

Wildlife Viewing : Chital, Sambar, and various other Deer species find refuge in the Savannah grasslands known as the Maidan, behind the campsite to the south, and Tigers are occasionally drawn in looking for prey. Two hour elephant rides, explore this sea of grass, rarely penetrating far into the deep jungles beyond; try to convince your Mahout or Elephant driver to venture in, as they can be quite magical. Come at dusk or dawn; in the heat of the day you probably won’t come across much more than deer among the tall grass. Tiger-sightings are few and far between, but you may be rewarded with fresh pug marks.

Jeep Safari in Corbett : Jeeps Safari, is the most convenient way to travel within Corbett national park, and can be rented for the park trips from Ramnagar, from the KMVN Tourist Lodge and other travel agencies . One bus each day goes to Dikhala from Ramnagar, stopping at the Forest Rest houses en route. Banking and other important tourist facilities are available at Ramnagar and Lucknow.
Note : Bring binoculars, remain quiet, and don’t wear bright colours or strong perfumes.

Best Time to Visit – Jim Corbett National Park
The best visiting season of Corbett is from November 15 to June 15. Corbett remains closed between June 16 and November 14, when the monsoons flood the river beds and cut the fragile road links.

Gulmarg : Skiing

Skiing, as an adventure sport, has come a long way in India. Introduced by the Europeans, it started out as a purely elitist sport, which provided the foreigners an adventurous respite from the heat of the plains. However, it has today become a sport of the common man. People from within India as well as all around the world flock to the country in large number to enjoy the pleasure of skiing. 

Gulamrg is the perfect skiing destination for many adventure seekers. One can hire all the equipment needed, such as skis and sticks, snow boots, mufflers, woolen socks, jackets, goggles, etc here. One can take skiing lessons from ski instructors too.

The time to enjoy skiing in Gulmarg is between November to February. The slopes in Gulmarg vary from 8,700 ft to 10,500 ft. One remarkable fact about Gulmarg is that it is the only heli-skiing resort in Asia.

Though not exactly an adventure sport, Golf is enjoyed as a relaxing activity by many. Gulmarg has the world’s highest golf course. Visitors can enjoy golf by obtaining a short-term membership at the Golf Club.

Gulmarg is also the place for enjoying long walks. One can walk through woods, and green hills. You can also check out Nanga Parbat and Haramukh.

Altitude

2,730 m above sea level

Languages

Kashmiri, Hindi

State

Jammu & Kashmir

Best time to visit

November to February for Skiing