Udaipur

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Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, the lake city of Udaipur is known as the centre for performing arts and crafts. The famous Lake Palace, located bang in the middle of Lake Pichola is easily one of the most beautiful sights of Udaipur. Udaipur is also home to Jaisamand Lake, the largest artificial lake in Asia. The beautiful City Palace and Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace) add to the architectural beauty and grandeur of the city. The city is also known for its profusion of zinc and copper mines. The solar observatory in Udaipur is known as one of the best in Asia and has been modelled after the Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake in Southern California. Udaipur is also renowned for is miniature paintings. The Shilpgram festival, held sometime around the New Year manages to pull in great crowds of people interested in arts and crafts.

Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II as a new capital of the Mewar kingdom. It is located in the fertile, circular Girwa Valley to the southwest of Nagda, which was the first capital of Mewar. Until Udaipur was built, the capital of Mewar was Ahar, a flourishing trade town.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Udaipur

Udaipur City Palace

WE109225 The City Palace stands tall over Pichola Lake, having served as an abode for the ruling royalty. Construction was begun by Maharana Udai Singh and was continued by successive Maharanas who incorporated several palaces and structures to the complex. Interestingly, each addition preserved the original style of the design. Visitors enter the palace through Bari Pol (the Big Gate) which leads one to Tripolia (the Triple Gate) where it was once a custom to distribute the Maharaja’s weight in gold and silver to his subjects. It now serves as the main ticket office. The palace has numerous balconies, cupolas and towers that overlook Pichola Lake. The structure is just as beautiful inside as it is spectacular from the outside. Each palace is designed in a unique way, and decorations like mirrored tiles, paintings, glass work and ornamental tiles bring to life the opulence of the era. Today, the main section of the palace has been converted into a museum that houses a large collection of artefacts.

Lake Palace

222 (1) Now a hotel, The Lake Palace was originally called Jag Niwas Palace and served as a summer palace. Built between 1743 and 1746 on the island near Jagmandir Palace in Lake Pichola, the palace, which faces east, is a wondrous sight to behold. The walls made of black and white marbles are adorned by semi-precious stones and ornamented niches. Gardens, fountains, pillared terraces and columns line its courtyards.

Jag Mandir

223 Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island on the Lake Pichola. Also called the ‘Lake Garden Palace’, the construction for this began in 1551 and was completed around 1652. The royal family used the palace as its summer resort and for hosting parties. Interestingly, Prince Khurram – later Emperor Shah Jahan – was given shelter here when he rebelled against his father Emperor Jahangir. The palace had such an impact on Emperor Shah Jahan that it went on to become the inspiration for one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal.

Monsoon Palace

10 Located just outside Udaipur, this 18th century palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh of the Mewar Dynasty and is also named after him. Situated on top of Bansdara Mountain of the Aravalli range at a height of 3100 feet, the Maharana had initially commissioned it as a five-storey astronomical centre. However, his premature death brought the plans to a halt. It was then turned into a monsoon palace and hunting lodge. The elevation of its site means the majestic palace towers over the countryside while offering panoramic vistas to visitors. The palace belonged to the Mewar royal family for a long time and has only recently been handed over to the Forest Department of the Government of Rajasthan. It is now open to the public, who throng to the palace to soak in the beauty of the white marble structure with its high turrets, massive central court and exquisitely carved pillars. Beautifully illuminated at night, the Rajasthani architecture of this magnificent palace inspires awe.

Ahar Museum

225 Ahar Museum is in close proximity to an impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. The museum has a small, but rare collection of earthen pottery. You can also browse through sculptures and archaeological finds, a few dating back to 1700 BC. A 10th century metal figure of Buddha is a special attraction here.

Jagdish Temple

226 An example of the Indo-Aryan style of architecture, Jagdish Temple was built in 1651 and continues to be one of the most famous temples in Udaipur. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the structure is an architectural marvel with carved pillars, graceful ceilings and painted walls. This three-storied temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Park

227 For an evening out, the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Park is a great destination. This beautiful garden is built around Doodh Talai and provides a spectacular view of Jag Mandir, Lake Palace, Lake Pichola and City Palace. Musical fountains, a ropeway to the Karni Mata Temple and a sunset spot complete the outing.

Fateh Sagar Lake

228 Fateh Sagar Lake is a charming lake surrounded by hills and woods. This artificial lake was constructed by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678 AD and it lies north of Lake Pichola. It was later reconstructed during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh (1884-1930 AD) after the earthen bund (dam) was washed away in floods. The Maharana built Connaught Dam to commemorate the visit of the Duke of Connaught and the lake was renamed Fateh Sagar Lake. Fateh Sagar Lake is one of the four lakes in Udaipur and it houses three small islands. The largest among them, the beautiful Nehru Island, is popular with tourists; the second island has a public park and a spectacular water-jet fountain; the third island is home to the Udaipur Solar Observatory. All the islands can be visited by motorboats. The calm, blue surface of the lake set against the green mountains make Udaipur India’s ‘second Kashmir’.

Lake Pichola

229 Lake Pichola gets its name from Picholi village that got submerged when Maharana Udai Singh founded the city of Udaipur and enlarged the original lake. This artificial freshwater lake was created in 1362 AD and was intended to meet the drinking and irrigation requirements of the city of Udaipur and its neighbouring towns. Over the centuries, the area inside and around the lake has been carefully developed and has several palaces, temples, family manors, and bathing ghats (raised platforms usually found within a courtyard). This picturesque lake houses the Jag Niwas Island and the Jag Mandir within its waters. The famous City Palace (now a heritage hotel) is spread along the lake’s eastern bank, while the Pichola Palace is in the middle of the lake. From Bansi Ghat one can take boats to all the other parts of the lake, including Arsi Vilas Island which is a bird sanctuary as well as the Sitamata Game Sanctuary.

Saheliyon Ki Bari

230 Built by Rana Sangram Singh as a garden for women, Saheliyo-ki-Bari or the Courtyard of the Maidens is a popular tourist destination. Along with a small museum, it has several attractions such as marble elephants, fountains, kiosks and a lotus pool.

Gulab Bagh and Zoo

231 Gulab Bagh (Sajjan Niwas Garden) is the largest garden in Udaipur. Spread over 100 acres, the garden proudly displays innumerable species of roses, from which it also gets its name.

Sukhadia Circle

Sukhadia Circle lies to the north of Udaipur. It comprises a small pond that also houses a 21 foot tall, three-tiered marble fountain. Decorated with beautifully carved motifs, the fountain looks spectacular at night when it is lit up. The fountain is surrounded by gardens, creating a perfect oasis in a city bustling with tourists.

Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal

233 Dedicated to the study of folk art, culture, songs and festivals of Rajasthan, Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh, Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal is a cultural institution in Udaipur. Besides propagating folk culture, it also houses a museum that exhibits various artefacts of Rajasthani culture.

Bagore Ki Haveli

234 Bagore-ki-Haveli is located by Lake Pichola, at Gangaur Ghat. Amar Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar, built it in the 18th century. The massive palace has over a hundred rooms that display costumes and modern art. The glass and mirrors in the interiors are structured in classical haveli style.

Shilpgram

235 Situated 7 kms west of Udaipur near Lake Fateh Sagar is the Centre’s Shilpgram – the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex. Spread over 70 acres, and surrounded by the Aravallis, the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex has been conceived as a living museum to depict the lifestyles of the folk and tribal people of the west zone.

Udaipur Solar Observatory

The Udaipur Solar Observatory is built on an island in the Fateh Sagar Lake. Being surrounded by water reduces air turbulence caused by ground heat and makes the location perfect for an observatory. It is modelled after the Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake in Southern California.

Udai Sagar Lake

Udai Sagar Lake is one of the five striking lakes situated in Udaipur. Located about 13 kilometres to the east of Udaipur, the construction of this lake was started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh. The lake is actually a result of a dam being built on the river Berach to supply adequate water to the Maharana’s kingdom. Udai Sagar Lake is 4 kms in length, 2.5 kilometres in width and about 9 meters at its deepest.

Haldighati

337 Haldighati is a famed mountain pass in the hills of the Aravalli Range. The pass, about 40 kilometres from Udaipur, connects the districts of Rajsamand and Pali. The pass gets its name from the yellow-coloured soil of the region (turmeric is called haldi in Hindi). The mountain pass has gone down the annals of history as the site where the Battle of Haldighati was fought in 1576 between Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber who was the general of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The site of the battle lies at the south-west side of Nathdwara. Maharana Pratap fought a brave war, but his loyal horse, Chetak, gave up his life as the Maharana was leaving the battlefield. In 1997, the Government of India proposed and constructed the Maharana Pratap National Memorial, and it is today dedicated to the spirit and valour of the Rajput King. The memorial, a cenotaph with white marble columns, displays a bronze statue of the Maharana riding Chetak. Besides the battle, Haldighati is known around the world for its charity rose products and mud art of Molela.

Doodh Talai Lake

338 The road that takes visitors to Pichola Lake has another popular destination – the Doodh Talai Lake. The lake is nestled between several small hillocks which themselves are tourist attractions. The Deen Dayal Upadhyay Park and the Manikya Lal Verma Garden are part of the Doodh Talai Lake Garden. The Manikya Lal Verma Garden gives an amazing view of Lake Pichola and Doodh Talai Lake. It is among the more recent attractions and was built in 1995 by the Nagar Parhisad (Municipal Council) of Udaipur. One can reach the top by climbing steps or by driving up. Locals often go up the hillock to the Karni Mata Temple that houses a white stone idol of the goddess. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Park is a small garden on the adjacent hillock, developed by the Urban Improvement Trust (UIT) of Udaipur. Its highlight is Rajasthan’s first musical fountain, a popular attraction among the locals and visitors as well. The garden overlooks Lake Pichola and offers a spectacular view of sunset to visitors. A ropeway connects the tops of these two hillocks and takes tourists to the Karni Mata temple. This 4-minute ride is Rajasthan’s first ropeway and offers a panoramic view of the city.

Jaisamand Lake

343 Jaisamand Lake is renowned for being the second largest artificial lake in Asia. In fact, it used to be the largest artificial lake in Asia until Aswan Dam in Egypt was not constructed. Located at a distance of 48 kilometres from the city of Udaipur, it is also known as Dhebar. In 1685, Maharana Jai Singh built this lake during the construction of a dam on the Gomti River. Jaisamand Lake covers an area of 36 square kilometres, it stretches to a length of 14 kilometres and width of 9 kilometres. The massive dam was constructed on this lake also houses a centrally located Shiva temple. The summer palace of the queen of Udaipur forms a perfect backdrop to the Lake. There are six, intricately carved marble cenotaphs on its embankment. Jaisamand Lake comprises seven islands, of which, one is still inhabited by the tribe of Bhil Minas. Graceful marble steps lead to the water and you can enjoy a lovely boat ride in the mesmerizing waters. Jaisamand Lake is close to the Jaisamand Sanctuary which serves as habitat to various types of birds, panthers, leopards, deer, wild boars and crocodiles. It is definitely worth a visit.

Jugaad

380 Resembling an aggregation of leftover automobile parts, Jugaad is known for its innovativeness. This modified four-seater bike is an example of sheer intelligence by a retired army officer, Tahir Merchant. Amidst the vast expanse of the Thar Desert, Jugaad is surely something you must have a look at.

How to Reach Here

By air: Dabok Airport, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport is the closest at about 25 km northeast of the city centre. There are daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai on Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet.

By road: Udaipur is easily accessible by road from every major destination in India, including Chittorgarh, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Sawai Madhopur / Ranthambore, Jaipur, Bikaner, Agra, Delhi, Mumbai and Khajuraho.

By rail: Udaipur is connected by rail to several major cities in India including Chittorgarh, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Mumbai and Khajuraho.

Image & Information copyright by tourism.rajasthan.gov.in

Ajmer

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The city of Ajmer gets its name from ‘Ajay Meru’. Roughly translated, it means ‘invincible hills’. Nestled in the Aravallis south west of Jaipur, Ajmer was founded by Raja Ajaypal Chauhan in the 7th century AD. Till the late 12th century AD, Ajmer was the epicentre of the Chauhan dynasty. After Prithviraj Chauhan’s loss to Mohammed Ghori in 1193 AD, Ajmer became home to several dynasties. The Mughals in particular, fancied it as their favourite destination due to the presence of the holy Ajmer Sharif Dargah.

One of the early meetings between the Mughal King Jahangir and the Ambassador of the Court of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Thomas Roe, took place here in 1616. A few centuries later, the city was handed over to the British, making Ajmer the only region in Rajputana to be directly controlled by the East India Company. Ajmer is now regarded as an educational and cultural centre.

Ajmer is home to the famous Dargah Sharif, which houses the Tomb of Garib Nawaz, also known as Moinuddin Chisti, the founder of the Chisti order of Sufism. Ajmer is also known for Mayo College, one of the country’s first schools that was a stepping stone for British style of education. It is also a sacred city for Hindus and Muslims alike and is renowned for being a centre of history and culture and beauty.

ATTRACTIONS & PLACES TO VISIT AND EXPLORE IN AJMER

THE AJMER SHARIF DARGAH

3 The Ajmer Sharif Dargah is considered to be among the holiest Muslim shrines in India and is also a famous landmark in Ajmer. Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, the Sufi saint from Persia is enshrined here. In keeping with his secular teachings, its doors are open to people of all faiths and religions. Some say that Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti believed he was a direct descendant of Muhammad and preached his beliefs to the masses. While on his world travel, he was urged by Muhammad, in a dream, to visit India. He reached Ajmer, via Lahore, and made it his home from 1192 till his death in 1236 AD. The shrine was built by Mughal King Humayun in honour of this saint. You can step inside the Dargah through a series of massive silver doors that lead into a courtyard where the saint’s tomb is centred. Made of marble and gold plating, the actual tomb is guarded by a silver railing and a marble screen. During his reign, Emperor Akbar made a pilgrimage to Ajmer every year. He, as well as Emperor Shah Jahan, built mosques inside the shrine complex. Visitors to the shrine are awed by the atmosphere of peace and serenity that the combined effects of flowers, sweets and burning incense sticks create.

ADHAI DIN KA JHONPDA

5 The Adhai Din Ka Jhonpda was originally built to function as a Sanskrit college but was later converted into a mosque by Sultan Ghori in 1198 AD. An impressive blend of Indo-Islamic architecture, the structure was further beautified by Sultan Iltutmish in 1213 AD. Legend has it that the mosque is known as Adhai din ka Jhonpda (literally meaning, The Hut of Two and a Half Days) because of a two and half day fair held here during Urs in the 18th century.

MAYO COLLEGE

DPA-NMJ-144120 - © - DINODIA Mayo College is one of India’s oldest independent boarding schools. Founded in 1875, and named after Richard Bourke, the 6th Earl of Mayo, Mayo College was set up to provide the scions of India’s princely states with an education similar to that provided by the Eton College in Britain. John Lockwood Kipling, father of Nobel Laureate, Rudyard Kipling, as principal of Mayo College, furnished the design of the Coat of Arms which shows a Rajput and a Bhil warrior. The college building is one of the finest extant examples of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.

ANASAGAR LAKE

7 Anasagar Lake is a scenic artificial lake, commissioned and built by Arnoraj Chauhan, son of Ajaypal Chauhan, between 1135 and 1150 AD. Arnoraj was also known as Anaji, which gives the lake its name. Many years later, Mughal Emperor Jahangir added his touch to the lake by laying out the Daulat Bagh Gardens near the lake. Emperor Shah Jahan too, contributed to the expansion by building five pavilions, known as the Baradari, between the garden and the lake.

SONIJI KI NASIYAN

18 Soniji ki Nasiyan, also known as the Ajmer Jain Temple, is a wonderful example of ornate architecture, and is dedicated to Risabh or Adinath. Its entrance is made of red stone and the marble staircase inside is engraved with images of the holy Tirthankars – omniscient teachers of Jain faith who taught righteousness. Constructed in the late 19th century, this temple is counted among the richest temples in India. Its main chamber, Swarna Nagari (City of Gold), is aptly named so because of the several gold-plated wooden figures it houses within its walls. This famous architectural marvel finds a mention in Kurt Titze’s book, ‘Jainism: A Pictorial Guide to the Religion of Non-Violence.’

LAKE FOY SAGAR

9 A beautiful artificial lake that appears flat, Lake Foy Sagar was built by an English engineer, Mr. Foy in 1892 AD. Interestingly, this work was taken up to provide famine relief through wage employment to locals. Lake Foy Sagar offers a beautiful view of the Aravalli range.

NARELI JAIN TEMPLE

Nareli_Ajmer The Nareli Jain Temple in Ajmer, also known as the Shri Gyandoaya Tirth Kshetra, is situated on the outskirts of Ajmer on the national highway to Jaipur. This modern edifice is celebrated for being a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary architectural styles. It consists of 24 miniature temples in its vicinity. Known as Jainalay, they represent the Jain Thirthankars. The Nareli Jain Temple is an important point of pilgrimage for Digambara Jains.

SAI BABA TEMPLE

Spread over an area of over five bheegas (or over two acres) at Ajay Nagar, the Sai Baba Temple in Ajmer was constructed by Suresh K Lal, a resident of the Garib Nawaz City in 1999. It’s one of the most recent pieces of architecture and is very popular among all Sai Baba devotees. The temple is built with the purest form of marble that possesses the unique quality of a translucent stone, allowing light to pass through it. Every Sai Baba disciple should definitely visit this shrine once in their lifetime.

AJMER GOVERNMENT MUSEUM

The Ajmer Government Museum serves as one of the prime tourist destinations in Ajmer. The museum is housed within the magnificent fortified palace of the legendary Mughal Emperor Akbar, which was built in 1570. The museum is also known as Bharatpur Museum and is home to a rich collection of archaeological artefacts. Along with stone sculptures, inscriptions and armours, it features the finest paintings of the previous Maharajas of Bharatpur.

HOW TO REACH HERE

By air: The Jaipur Airport is the closest and is located 138 kilometres away.

By road: You can hop on to a bus from almost any city in and around Rajasthan and get here. These include Jaipur, Agra, Aligarh, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Barmer, Haridwar, Chittorgarh, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Nagaur.

By rail: Ajmer is located on the Delhi-Jaipur-Marwar-Ahmedabad-Mumbai railway line. It is well connected by rail as most trains on this route halt at Ajmer.

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Sardar Sarovar Dam

Sardar_Sarovar_Dam

Near Rajpipla, 1163 km away up the river from the sea, is Sardar Sarovar dam. At the reception center there is a map and an interpretation center. You can book a guided tour which will take you through six points around the dam site: a garden; the foundational stone laid by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961; a site with a side view of the flow of the water from the dam; a lake where boating takes place; the first lock gate of the main canal; a trekking site with a nature education camp for students. Near the site is also the Surpaneshwar Shiva temple that the Government had built to replace the original ancient temple that was submerged by the dam. At the foot of the dam is the Kevadia colony, where the employees of the dam live and where there are also places for visitors to stay. For more information http://www.sardarsarovardam.org/

1280px-Sardar_Sarovar_Dam_2006,_India At a height of 128 m and growing, Sardar Sarovar dam is the largest dam on the Narmada. The dam builders state their mission as “harnessing the untapped waters of the Narmada for survival of millions of people and environmental sound sustainable development of the western India by providing the essence of life-Water and Energy.”. The dam provides water for irrigation and drinking water supply, hydropower, and flood protection across the state of Gujarat.

Contact for Dam Visit Site :02640-232051
For Permision(Gandhinagar) : 23252381 Fax : 23223056

Narmada Canal

The dam will irrigate 17,920 km2 (6,920 sq mi) of land spread over 12 districts, 62 talukas, and 3,393 villages (75% of which is drought-prone areas) in Gujarat and 730 km2 (280 sq mi) in the arid areas of Barmer and Jalore districts of Rajasthan. The dam will also provide flood protection to riverine reaches measuring 30,000 ha (74,000 acres) covering 210 villages and Bharuch city and a population of 400,000 in Gujarat. Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation is a major program to help irrigate a lot of regions using the canal’s water.

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How to get there

By road: The Narmada river runs through Narmada district, along the border of Vadodara district, and through Bharuch district, emptying near the city of Bharuch into the sea. There are various sites along the way, and therefore various ways to visit the river. By road: Bharuch, Rajpipla, Chanod, and Dabhoi are accessible by buses. The Sardar Sarovar dam site can be reached by private vehicle.

By rail: Bharuch is the nearest railway station.

By air: The closest airport is at Vadodara.

Image copyright by upload.wikimedia.org 

Munnar

Munnar_hillstation_kerala

Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1,600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years, will bloom next in 2018. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Let us now explore some of the options in and around Munnar that would provide travellers ample opportunities to enjoy the captivating hill station of Munnar.

Eravikulam National Park Nilgiri_Tahr_1

One of the main attractions near Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. This park is famous for its endangered inhabitant – the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years.

Anamudi Peak Anamudi_1

Located inside the Eravikulam National Park is the Anamudi Peak. This is the highest peak in south India standing at a height of over 2700 m. Treks to the peak are allowed with permission from the Forest and Wildlife authorities at Eravikulam.

Mattupetty Mattupetty_Dam_reservoir,_near_Munnar,_Kerala

Another place of interest, located about 13 km from Munnar Town, is Mattupetty. Situated at a height of 1700 m above sea level, Mattupetty is known for its storage masonry dam and the beautiful lake, which offers pleasurable boat rides, enabling one to enjoy the surrounding hills and landscape. Mattupetty’s fame is also attributed to the dairy farm run by the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project, where one would come across different high yielding breeds of cows.

Pallivasal Pallivasal_estate_munnar

Pallivasal, located at about 3 km from Chithirapuram in Munnar is the venue of the first Hydro-electric project in Kerala. It is a place of immense scenic beauty and is often favoured by visitors as a picnic spot.

Chinnakanal & Anayirangal View_of_Anayirankal_Dam_area_from_Idukki_122049

Near the town of Munnar is Chinnakanal and the waterfalls here, popularly known as Power House Waterfalls, cascade down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic view of the Western Ghat ranges. When you have traveled about seven kilometers from Chinnakanal, you reach Anayirangal. Anayirangal, 22 km from Munnar, is a lush green carpet of tea plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. The Anayirangal dam is surrounded by tea plantations and evergreen forests.

Top Station Munnar_top_station

Top Station, which is about 32 km from Munnar is at a height of 1700 m above sea level. It is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. Travellers to Munnar make it a point to visit Top Station to enjoy the panoramic view it offers of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the spots in Munnar to enjoy the Neelakurinji flowers blooming over a vast area.

Tea Museum Le_musée_du_thé_(Munnar,_Inde)_(13694719014)

Munnar has a legacy of its own when it comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. Taking account of this legacy and to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala’s high ranges, a museum exclusively for tea was opened some years ago by Tata Tea in Munnar. This Tea Museum houses curios, photographs and machineries; all of which have a story to tell on the origins and growth of tea plantations in Munnar. The museum is located at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar and is worth a visit.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Aluva about 108 km and Angamali, about 109 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, via Aluva – Munnar Rd, about 108 km

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Jaipur – A Pink City

Rajasthan’s beautiful Pink City Jaipur, was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. Known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city, Jaipur’s bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. Western Rajasthan itself forms a convenient circuit, in the heart of the Thar desert which has shaped its history, lifestyles and architecture.

Jaipur - Palace Jaipur - Palace

Architectural Planning

Jaipur’s architectural planning may have been ancient, but its execution was definitely modern. Best represented by the City Palace complex, it brought together all that was excellent in Rajput and Mughal architecture, creating a new tradition that found wide currency over much of north India. As in the Mughal tradition, the durbar or court areas became much more open, characterised by a series of arched pavilions held on delicately crafted pillars. Ornamentation had always been a part of the state’s architectural heritage, now it became much more opulent. The private wings of the family also extended their entertainment areas. Since defence was no longer a primary concern, larger, more ornamental windows were built to over look the streets or courtyards outside these wings. Gardens were no longer planned within the internal courtyards only, but were added to the external vistas, and water, a basic feature of Mughal palaces and gardens, was utilised in a similar fashion, in canals and fountains.

Attractions

Jantar Mantar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and ‘focused’ tool. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.
Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.
An excursion through Jai Singh’s Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.

City Palace

Diwan I Khas City palace City Palace, Jaipur, which includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal palaces and other buildings, is a palace complex in Jaipur, the capital of the Rajasthan state, India. It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The Chandra Mahal palace now houses a museum but the greatest part of it is still a royal residence. The palace complex, which is located northeast of the centre of the grid patterned Jaipur city, incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers right up to the 20th century. The credit for the urban layout of the city and its structures is attributed to two architects namely, Vidyadar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, apart from the Sawai himself who was a keen architectural enthusiast. The architects achieved a fusion of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture.

Rajasthan Assembly Building

Rajasthan Vidhansabha The Rajasthan Assembly Building is one of the most modern legislature complexes in India. It is situated in Jyoti Nagar, Jaipur the capital of the state.
The exterior of the building has been provided with famous traditional features of Rajasthan such as Jharokas, Chhatries, Kamani, Baradaries, Arches, Todies etc. in Jodhpur and Bansi Paharpur stone. The interior entrance lounges have been decorated in the famous Rajasthani traditional art on walls and ceilings representing traditional art of four regions of Jaipur, Shekhawati, Marwar and Mewar.
The building is an eight storeved frame structure having height of 145 feet and floor area of 6.08 lac sqft. The main dome has a diameter of 104 feet. The assembly hall has a seating capacity for 260 members and a hall of identical capacity over it at fifth floor for future Vidhan Parishad (Upper House).

Ramgarh Lake

Ramgarh Lake Ramgarh Lake is an artificial lake situated near Jamwa Ramgarh in Rajasthan, India. It lies 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Jaipur and covers an area of 15.5 square kilometres (6.0 sq mi). At one time the lake was the main source of water supply to Jaipur city. It is a popular picnic spot, particularly after the rainy season. There are ruins of an old fort and temple of Jambwa Mata.[1]
During the 1982 Asian Games the rowing events were held on Ramgarh Lake.
The dense forest surrounding the lake and the nearby areas is home to a wide range of wildlife including lions, chital, and neelgai, and was declared a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of India in 1982.

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.

Almora Tours – Uttar Pradesh

almora-india Location
It is located in the Kumaon region of Uttar Pradesh

Known for
exquisite temples, rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, lavish cuisine and magnificent wildlife

Tourist Attractions
Almora fort, Nanda devi temple and Shiva temple, Peer park, Public museum.

Shopping areas
Lal Bazaar and Chowk Bazaar.

Climate

Summer max : 29°C min : 11°C Winter max : 15°C min : 4°C

Best time to visit

April to June And September to November

About Almora
Almora, an enchanting place in the Kumaun region lies in the east of Uttaranchal in India and offers breathtaking panoramic view of Himalayas and attracts tourists from all over the world to witness its enticing natural beauty. Almora is famous for its rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, delicious cuisine and wonderful wildlife.

Getting There
Air : The nearest airport from Almora is Pant Nagar (Nainital) from where regular flights operate during the summer.

Rail : The nearest railhead for Almora is Kathgodam.

Road : Almora is well connected with all-important cities by road.

Major Attractions in Almora
Nanda Devi Temple : This temple is hundreds of years old where images and statues on walls of this temple are intricately and delicately carved. Every year Nanda Devi Fair is organized here and people from all over the place come and participate in it.

Deer Park : This beautiful park is located some 3 kms from Almora where people generally go for an evening stroll.

Chetai Tem0ple : The Chetai temple is located 8 kms from Almora and is surrounded by dense fur and pine tree forest. The local people of the place have immense faith on the temple.

Delhi – Capital of India

Delhi is India’s main point of arrival for overseas visitors, and the major transport hub for destinations in the states of rajasthan, the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh as well as central north India. Delhi city, the showacse of India, has been the centre of political activity from time immemorial. The ancient fortness, majestic buildings and historic ruins find their modern counterparts in the tall skyscrapers, diplomatic enclaves and well-planned townships of New Delhi. The people here, their lifestyles, traditions and even the climate are a rich and varied mixture of all that is india.

From the tourism point of view, New Delhi benefits a lot from its history. The city was built to the south of the old city built by Shahjahan. Before the Mughuls came on the scene, Delhi was the headquarters of many dynasties that have ruled India or major parts of it. Tughlaqabad, Old Fort built by Humayun, the monuments at Mehrauli, and of course, the Red Fort are among the best known tourist attractions of New Delhi. Later additions by the British like the Viceroy’s House ( Rashtrapati Bhavan ), the parliament House, and Connaught Place are also among the highlights of the New Delhi tours.  

The city holds tremendous importance for the country, being the national capital. All the major ministries and the secretariats are located here as are the head offices of major government organizations. New Delhi is synonymous to the governance of modern India, much as Old Delhi was the center of political activities in medieval India.

Tourism in New Delhi comprises all the major historical places and monuments that are the relics of the past dynasties. These include the famous monuments like Red Fort and Qutb Minar, and a large number of forts, palaces and tombs built by the erstwhile rulers. The Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rajpath, India gate, Connaught Place, and the parliament House are some of the modern buildings which should be visited by tourists during New Delhi tours. In addition to the above mentioned spots, New Delhi is also home to a large number of religious places. The most prominent among these are the Jumma Masjid, the Akshardham temple, and the Lotus temple. New Delhi has been the residence of many prominent figures of Indian politics including the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his equally famous descendants. The residence of Jawaharlal Nehru is also a major tourist attraction of New Delhi. The memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the father of the nation, at Rajghat, and the memorials of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, both of whom were assassinated, are also some notable sites.

Climate

Delhi’s climate is, sad to say, infamously bad, combining the scorching aridity of Rajasthan’s deserts with the frigid cold of the Himalayas. From April to October, temperatures are scorchingly hot (over 40°C is common), and the monsoon rains deluge the city in July and August. With every air-conditioner running at full blast, the city’s creaky infrastructure is often stretched beyond the breaking point, with power and water outages common. In winter, especially December and January, temperatures can dip to near-zero and the city is blanketed in thick fog, causing numerous flight cancellations. The shoulder seasons (Feb-Apr and Sep-Nov) are comparatively pleasant, with temperatures in the 20-30°C range, but short.

Places to visit in Delhi:

Chandni Chowk – One of the main markets of Delhi, Chandni Chowk was once lined with beautiful fountains. But today the place is very crowded and congested. Chandni Chowk is located opposite the Red Fort. The Area has got the Digamber Jain Temple which houses the Birds hospital. On one end of Chandni Chowk is the Fatehpuri Mosque which was erected by the wives of Shah Jahan. Opposite the old police station or the Kotwali is the Sunheri Masjid from where Nadir Shah ordered his troops to plunder and massacre Delhi.

Old Delhi – The City of Shahjahanabad was the capital of Shah Jahan but little remains of that old city. The Old Delhi or the walled city served as the capital for many emperors. Today, remains of the historical city are the gates like – Kashmiri Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, Delhi gate. Near Delhi Gate is Feroz Shah Kotla, close to this is kept the Ashokan Pillar which was brought from Meerut by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.

The Ghats – Along the banks of Jamuna are located the places were the leaders and freedom fighters of India were cremated. The Raj Ghat is one of the most visited ghats. A simple square platform of black marble marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated after his assassination in 1948. To North of Raj Ghat is the cremation ground of Jawaharlal Nehru named as Shanti Van. The cremation ground of Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi are also in the vicinity. The cremation ground of Lal Bahadur Shastri is nearby.

Rajpath & India Gate – Flanked by ornamental ponds and lawns, Rajpath is host to the Republic Day Parade. The two secretariat buildings and Rashtrapati Bhawan on the Raisina hills are located on the two sides of this immensely broad road. Previously the Boat Club, besides the Rajpath, was host to many demonstrations and Rallies. India Gate is towards the eastern end of Rajpath .

India Gate is a 42m high stone arch of triumph. It bears the name of the 85,000 Indian Army Soldiers who died in the campaigns of WW1, the North-West Frontiers operations and the 1919 Afghan Fiasco. Below the arch is the memorial to the unknown soldier. India Gate is surrounded by green grass lawns and trees.

The Parliament House– Sansad Bhawan or the Parliament house is the supreme law making body in the country. It is the center of power and politicians decide the fate of the Indian Democracy here. Visitors are not allowed inside the house but when the house is in session, visitors may take permission to go inside and watch the proceedings of the house. The parliament consists of three halls- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the central hall. For the foreign visitors permits are given only after they obtain an introductory letter from the respective embassy.

Crafts Museum  – Crafts museums is at Pragati Maidan Grounds. Open from 10am-5pm daily.

Gandhi Darshan & Gandhi National Museum – Gandhi Darshan & Gandhi National Museum is across Rajghat and Gandhi smriti is on Tees January Marg

Dara Shikoh Library – Dara Shikoh Library is an archaeological museum in Civil Lines and is open from 10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Dolls Museum – A unique museum of Dolls is located near the ITO crossing on the Bahadur Shah Jafar Marg . These dolls are collected from different parts of India as well as from other countries of the world. These dolls reflect the tradition and culture of the region from where they come. Children Book Trust of India is In the same building. This is an organisation which is committed to provide quality books for the little ones.

National Science Centre – National Science center is located near Pragati Maidan. This center is famous for the models which can be operated by the visitor himself. Children are particularly fascinated by the mysteries of science. Open through out the week except on Mondays.

Humayun’s Tomb – Built by the wife of Humayun, Haji Begum in the mid 16th century, this red sand stone structure is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal. The structure is one of the best example of Mughal Architecture. Humayun’s wife is also buried in the red and white sandstone, black and yellow marble tomb. The entry in the complex is free on Fridays.

Old Fort – It is believed that the Pandavas had built their capital, Indraprastha at the place where the old fort stands today. This fort, now in ruins, was the seat for administration for many emperors. The legendary Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from here till he was defeated by Abdali in the battle of Panipat. A new light & sound show is held by the Department of Delhi Tourism every evening. Timings and Tickets are available from the tourist office.

 Safdarjung Tomb – The Safdarjang tomb is besides the of Safdarjang airport. This tomb was built by the Nawab of Avadh for his father. The structure is one of the finest example of architecture of its time and tells a saga of the last remnants of a dying empire.

Jantar Mantar – Few minutes walk from Connaught Place is is a strange collection of solomon coloured structures. These were built by Maharaja Jai Singh and is actually an observatory. Though not as large as its compatriot in Jaipur Jantar Mantar at Delhi also an attraction for the tourists. The astonishing part of these observatories is that they can calculate many astronomical movements very accurately.

Red Fort – Built in Red Sand stone this imposing fort is 3 kms in perimeter with the height of the wall varying from 18 to 30 meters at places. When the Red fort was being built Yamuna used to flow on its one sides and there were deep moats on the other. Today Yamuna flows almost a kilometer away from the fort and the moats have dried up. In the evening the Delhi Tourism organises a light and sound show which narrates the history of Delhi in context of the Red Fort.

The Lahore gate, the main entrance, has some emotions and sentiments attached with the Indian independence as the Tricolour flutters on the top of this gate. On 15th August the Indian Prime minister addresses the nation from here. As soon one enters in the fort from the Lahore gate There is a small Bazzar, here all kinds of items are available. This Shopping arcade was known as the Mina Bazzar and was open only to women on Thursdays’s during the Mughal era.

The arcade leads to the Naubat Khana or the drum house where the Musicians used to play drums on the arrival of Emperors or princes. Just above the Naubat Khana is the Indian war memorial museum which has a rich collection of armours, guns, swords, and other items related to war.

The Dewan-i-Am or the place of public hearing had a wall paneled with marble in laid with precious stone which were removed during the mutiny of 1857. The Dewan-i-Khas or the place for special hearing was the area where the emperor used to hold meetings with his ministers. Next to Dewan-i-Khas are the royal baths or the Hammams and Shahi Burj which are closed for public viewing. The white marbled Moti Masjid or the pearl mosque was the private mosque for Aurangzeb.

Qutab Minar – In 1199, Qutbuddin raised the Qutab Minar either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32 mtrs. it tapers to 2.75 mtrs. at a height of 72.5 mtrs. It is still the highest stone tower in India, one of the finest stone tower in India, one of the finest Islamic structures ever raised and Delhi’s recognised landmark. It was completed by the Sultan’s successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish. The tomb of Iltutmish, which he himself built in 1235, is nearby, Its interiors are profusely decorated with calligraphy, though the dome has collapsed.

The Gardens – Though Delhi is fast being converted into a concrete jungle, the Delhi Development Authority is trying best to provide the residents of Delhi with some greenery by construction of parks and gardens. The DDA has also installed some musical fountains at specific locations which are worth visiting. Being part of the Aravalies,

Moghul Gardens – The Mughal Garden is located in the premises of the President house. This garden is not opened to public viewing. During the spring seasons of February and March, when the garden is in full bloom people are allowed inside. This garden have some exotic and rare flower plants. The dwarf orange trees and numerous Rose plants are special attraction in the garden. The fountains add to the beauty of the place.

Rose Garden – National Rose Garden is situated in the Chanakya Puri area of the capital. This garden has some of the rare and imported rose variety. The best season to visit this garden is during December / January when the flowers are in full bloom.

Lodhi Garden – Adjoining the India International Center is the Garden, around the tombs of Sayid and Lodhi rulers. This garden is very well planned and has artificial streams. The Tombs of the rulers adorn the architectural style which was latter used in the construction of Taj Mahal.

The Zoo – The Delhi Zoo is located near the Purana Qila on the Delhi-Mathura road. Delhi Zoo has many animals which includes the rare and exotic white tigers. This place is particularly popular among the children.

Nainital – a glittering jewel in the Himalyan necklace, blessed with scenic natural spledour and varied natural resources

Nainital – The beautiful lake resort nestles amidst seven hills in a lush valley at an altitude of 1938 metres. In 1841, the British first discovered Nainital as a holiday resort. Today, the town has emerged as one of the most important hill resorts of India.

Nainital is a modem hill resort of northern India (336 kms from Delhi) connected by best-aligned and maintained roads from the railhead of Kathgodam. Railway line was laid upto Kathgodam in 1882. The road passes through forests where occasionally wild animals can also be seen.

Best time to visit:

Nainital is located in the Kumaon hills and the weather is very pleasant throughout the year except during winter months. The temperature is not very high at any time but in winters it becomes very cold. The climate of Nainital is regulated by the lake here which showers rain almost every afternoon. The best time visit the place is between April to June and then again in September October. The months of January to March are marked by the snowfall which is for a very short time. It is advisable that contact any local person before going to Nainital to watch snowfall.

Places to visit:

Nainital is divided into two segments, Tallital and Mallital, at the lower and upper ends of the lake, respectively. The North Mall running along one side of the lake, and the South Mall along the other, connect the two parts.

Naina Devi Temple On the northern side of the Naini lake is built a temple dedicated to Sati and is called the Naina Devi temple.Naini Lake or Naini Taal, the picturesque blue green lake is located in the district of Nainital. It is from this lake that the city of Nainital, the beautiful settlement by the lake, derives its name.
Dorothy’s Seat: at a height of 2, 292 m is a memorial to an English lady believed to have been killed in an air crash. The spot commands a sectional view of the town and the nearby region. The peak was known as Ayarpatta Hill. Dorothy’s seat is also known as Tiffin Top.

Naini Lake

Snow View Trek The Snow view point is located at a height of 2270 meter above sea level. It can be reached by the ropeway or the ponies available at Mallital.

Nanda-Devi Mela Nanda Devi Mela is a fair of great religious and cultural significance. August / September sees the whole area coming alive, when the festival held in honour of goddesses, Nanda and Sunanda, the patron goddess of Kumaon, comes around.

Hanumangarhi: It is a religious centre at an height of 1, 951 m. This group of temples is situated at a distance of 3.25 km on a motorable road. It is well known for it’s sunset view.This temple is dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman. This is a favourite picnic place. Just 1 km further is the State Astronomical Observatory, which stands on Manora Peak, 1950 metres above sea level. with satellite tracking cameras and a big telescope. It can be visited by prior appointment on certain days. It is four and a half kms from Tallital bus stand. It is 11 kms by motor road and looks out towards the plains.

St John-in-the-Wilderness Church: It is one of the earlieat buildings erected in Nainital and possibly the finest church in any Indian Hill station. The church was named by the bishop of Calcutta who came to Nainital in 1844, when the place was still very much a wilderness. This church contains a brass memorial to the victims of famous landslip. Bodies of few victims were buried in the graveyard here. The other two main churches in the Central Nainital are the Methodist Church on the Mall near the Flats and the Roman Catholic Church of St Francis, also on the Mall.

Manali

Famous as the “valley of the Gods”, Manali is an important hill station of northern india. It is the destination of thousands of tourists every year. Its cool atmosphere provides a perfect haven for the ones afflicted by the hot Indian summers. Besides offering quite a few places for sightseeing, Manali is also famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. The Hill Resorts of Manali offers an amazing array of picturesque spots to the tourists. For the adventure seekers there are sports ranging from skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. You may indulge in skiing at Solang Nullah (January-March) and Rohtang La (during summer). It is noteworthy that Heli skiing is possible at the deep snowfields. You may even get trained for Mountaineering and kayaking at the Mountaineering Institute at Solang Nullah. The Beas River is excellent for Kayaking. Trekking to the Solang Valley and Manalsu Nala are terrific. The slopes of Solang Nullah attract a lot of tourists in the summer season for the paragliding just like Beas offers excellent adventure activities in the monsoons for rafting. You nay even visit Larji, Katrain and Kasol for some unparallel angling experiences. While you are in the city the Kulluis in brightly patterned puttoos, Tibetan women wearing ankle-length rainbow-striped pinafores, Nepali porters, Buddhist monks, and even the odd party of Zanskaris, swathed in fusty woolen gonchas will not fail to catch your eye. The hubbub of Manali is so mystical and marvelous that every summer thousands of tourists from all over India and aboard throng the streets there.


Climate – The climate of Manali is very cold as it is located in the Himalayas and the snow line is not far from the place. The altitude of Manali gives it a climate, which is loved by one and all. The summers are cool and the winters prove to be very harsh. During the winters the snow line comes down and there is snowfall in the region and heavy woollen cloths are required. During the monsoon months due to heavy rainfall there are landslides, which hamper movement. The best time to visit Manali is May and October but one can visit this place during winters too.


Places to visit:

Heli Skiing

For high mountain thrills perhaps nothing can surpass the magic of heli- skiing. The sport is available in the area abound by the Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang Pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani Pass near Manali.

Hidimba Devi Temple

Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.

Mountaineering

Himachal Pradesh has some challenging peaks and each year expeditions are organised by the Mountaineering Institute at Manali. The Mountaineering Institute has regional centres at Dharamsala, Bharmour and Jispa, which organise adventure courses as well.

Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa

This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960’s. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.

Gulaba Camp

20-km from Manali, is this beautiful place famous for sightseeing, picnic and photography.

Malana Valley

In the valleys of Kullu and Manali below Chanderkhani Pass, situated at an altitude of 2,76m is a little hub of hundred houses. The village, which consists of 1,000 tribals, has an immaculate system of self-governance.

Manali Sanctuary

This sanctuary is located in District Kullu’s nearest town, Manali. The area of this sanctuary is 3,180 hectares. The sanctuary wasnotified on 26th February 1954, under the Punjab Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act, 1933.

Mountaineering Institute

The Mountaineering Institute located at Manali provides training facilities for basic and advance climbing both for Indian nationals and foreigners. This institute also conducts other adventurous sports activities like high altitude trekking, minor mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing, and high altitude rescue and relief courses. The institute has sufficient lodging and boarding arrangements and equipment can be hired for trekking purposes.

Naggar

Taken as an excursion from Kullu or Manali, Nagar also known as Naggar, is a very lovely village set on a hill surrounded by forests. Naggar was the capital of Kullu valley in the 16th century and the monuments in the region are witnesses to the glory it had once lived in.

Nehru Kund

It is a spring of clear, cold water, named after the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and is 6-km from Manali on Keylong road.

Temple Of Manu

Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.

Tibetan Temple

Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts centre.

Vashisth Village

Famous for the sweeping valley views and sulphurous hot-water springs, the large settlement of Vashisht, formerly known as Bashist, just 3km from Manali, is an amorphous jumble of traditional timber houses and modern concrete cubes, divided by paved courtyards and narrow muddy lanes.

Winter Carnival

Snow continues to play a major part in February’s festivals and Himachal’s Winter Carnival is also held this month. Ski slopes of Kufri, Manali and Narkanda come to life with adventure seekers competing their way downhill. For daredevils, Manali, as a base camp, offers best opportunity for Heli-Skiing.

 

Excursions from Manali

Rohtang Pass

(50Km.)
Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking.

Arjun Gufa

(5Km.)
On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the ‘Arjun Gufa’ or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practised austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.

Beas Kund

(50Km.)
It is the source of river Beas, at the Rohtang Pass and is easily accessible. The great sage, Vyas performed `Tapa’ here during the Mahabharat times. The place is still hallowed by the celestial light. It was because of this that the river got the present name of Beas.

Jagatsukh Temple

(6Km.)
It is one of the biggest villages in Kullu district. About 6-km from Manali, Jagatsukh is famous for its Shiva temple that is built in “shikhara” style and nearby is the old and interesting Devi Sharvati temple.

Kothi

(12Km.)
It is a pretty little village, 12-km from Manali on the Keylong road at the foot of Rohtang Pass. There are very fine views from Kothi, and the Beas River flows through a very deep and narrow gorge at this point. The well-situated Public Works Department (PWD) Resthouse is a popular place for overnight stays. Close to the rest house is an awe-inspiring gorge where Beas enters a chasm about 61m deep and just few metres broad.

Old Manali

(3Km.)
The old Manali area is located some 3-km from the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the livestock move at will.

Rahalla Falls

(16Km.)
About 16-km from Manali and 4-km away from Kothi, at the start of the climb to the Rohtang Pass, are the beautiful Rahalla Falls at an altitude of 2,501m.

Solang Nullah

(14Km.)
14-km northwest of Manali in the Solang Valley, this place offers Himachal Pradesh’s best ski slopes. The Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute operates a 300m high ski lift and the month of February is the best month to ski over here. HPTDC runs seven-day package for ski courses with accommodation in the Hotel Rohtang Manaslu in Manali. Courses are also offered by the Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute and the North Face Ski School.

Vashisth Hot Sulphur Springs

(3Km.)
This small village near Manali is famous for its scenic beauty. The village has a temple dedicated to Lord Rama and Vashisth Muni. The village has some hot water springs, which are said to carry medicinal properties. It is a picturesque little place, 3-km out of Manali but on foot the distance is a bit shorter.

Darjeeling

Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas.

Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir – all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS. 

Darjeeling – the name is derived from the Tibetian word ‘Dorje’ which means the precious stone or ecclesiastical sceptre, which is emblematic of the thunderbolt of indra, and ‘ling’ – a place, hence the land of the thunderbolt. The sceptre of indra is believed to have fallen at a place where now stands the Observatory Hill.

Darjeeling is a fascinating place, where the tourist can see Buddhist monasteries, visit a tea plantation, see how the tea is processed, go for a ride on the chairlift, go shopping in the colourful markets or go trekking to high altitude spots, near the border with Sikkim. Darjeeling has the unique feature of a toy train, which takes you from Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through the steep mountainsides. 

Places to see

 

Darjeeling has plenty of tourist spots in and around the city. Some of the most important are listed here.

The Japanese peace pagoda depicts the various stages of the Buddha’s life.Another attraction is the nation’s oldest passenger ropeway which connects North Point to Singla Bazar.

A visit to the Tiger Hills before dawn is a must for all Darjeeling visitors who want to see sunrise over the Mt Kanchenjungha. Tiger Hill is 2590 m above sea level and 11 kms from town (45 min).

Two kilometers from Darjeeling is the town of Ghoom which is the highest railway station in the world. It also has a monastery.

The Batasia loop (5 kms from Darjeeling) on the Darjeeling Himalayan railway is an engineering marvel and is another attraction even if someone doesn’t want to take the slow train ride.

The Tenzing Norgay Himalayan Mountaineering Institute trains mountaineers. It has a small museum as well. Adjacent to  it is the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.

The Lloyd’s botanical gardens is another attraction.

The two popular view points are Jawahar Parbat and the Observatory Hill which offer views of the Himalayan ranges.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park : Located adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. It is a high altitude wild life park and a new home for the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Deer, Deer Panda, Llama and birds. It is open from 8 am to 4 PM

The Dhirdham Temple, built in the style of Katmandu’s Pashupatinath temple adds to the varied religious architectural styles of Darjeeling. It is near the railway station.

Senchal Lake: A favorite Picnic Spot about 10 k.m. from the town. The lake provides water supply to the Darjeeling town.

Kerala : National Geographic Traveler selects Kerala as ‘one of the 50 must see destinations of a lifetime’

House Boat in Kerala
House Boat in Kerala

Kerala : National Geographic Traveler selects Kerala as ‘one of the 50 must see destinations of a lifetime’

Kerala has some of the pristine hill stations in India, with the entire Western Ghats dotted with evergreens, rolling grasslands, sholas and stretches of rejuvenating fragrance of tea and coffee plantations. The wilder side of Kerala has in store some of the best wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the country with a variety of plant and animal life unique to Kerala.

Glistening brooks and cascades that interstice the hills finally roll down to the coastal plains of Kerala where they laze through verdant stretches of paddy fields, coconut trees and feeds some of the splendorous expanse of backwaters and lakes.

Let yourselves cast away amidst the serene environs of a backwater islet, treat your body and soul to ‘Ayurveda’ – the sacred knowledge of life. Take a backwater cruise on a country boat with palm fringed land on either side and experience the many faces of the backwater life of Kerala.

Crave for Sun & Sand! .. come and embrace the golden sands of its immaculate beaches, pep up your spirits under the tropical sun and feel the pulse of its coastal life. You can also enhance your gastronomy skills or give a break to your taste buds and savor some of the ethnic dishes of the land.

The cultural mosaic of Kerala is studded with landmark monuments, palaces, forts, memorials, and places of worship portraying the socio-cultural and historical evolution of the land with indelible marks left by travelers from far-flung lands. Be part of its many festivals and celebrations to understand its significance, emotions and traditional practices of Kerla.

Extend your tryst with this spectacular geographical wonder called Kerala and experience its rich cultural heritage and enterprising denizens who are epitomes of hospitality, which adds vibrancy to its diverse and bountiful natural wealth. Visitors are given fullest value of money and time they spend in Kerala, which offers some of the best getaways when it comes to diversity.

Kerala – One of the 50 must see destinations of a lifetime – ” National Geographic Travel ”

Kerela – One of the 10 paradises of the World – ” National Geographic Travel ”

Kerala – One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century – ” Travel and Leisure ”

Kerala – One of the ten hot spots for the millennium – ” Emirates In-flight Magazine ”

Kerala – One of the ten love nests in India – ” Cosmopolitan ”

Kerela – One of the six destinations of the millennium – ” Khaleej Times ”
Kerala Tourism – Prestigious International Award for Leisure Tourism for the year 2000-2001, by Pacific Area Travel Writer’s Association ( PATWA )

Kerala Tourism – the best State that promoted tourism in India in the year 2001 – ” Outlook Traveller ” and TAAI

Kerela Tourism – Best Performing State Award for the year 1999 – 2000 – ” Government of India”

‘State of Enlightenment’ status accorded to Kerala Tourism by the ” NGT ” in its April issue

Kerala is the fastest growing Tourist destination in Asia
The world’s most feted travel hot spot

Find more about Kerala [ Click below to read more]:
About Kerala
Kerala Destinations
Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Wildlife
Kerala Beaches
Kerala Hill stations
Kerala Houseboats
Kerala Waterfalls
Kerala Hotels
India Ayurveda
Kerala Houseboat Cruises
Trivandrum
Poovar Beach
Alleppey (Alappuzha) Backwaters
Kumarakom Backwaters
Periyar (Thekkady) Wildlife
Munnar Hills
Kochi (Cochin )
Wayanad Hills
Lakshadweep Islands
Agatti Island (Lakshadeep)
Bangaram Island (Lakshadeep)
Kerela Travel info
Kerela History
Kerala Ritual Art forms
Performing Art forms
Kerala Tourism Acclaims
Cool Sites

Goa : Forever Hottest Tourist Place of India

goa1

The history of Goa is dominated by Portuguese colonization. Long before the British gained their first foothold in India, the Portuguese had arrived in India in search of spices and other lucrative products. They were among the first Europeans to colonize some parts of India. Before the Portuguese, Goa had been ruled by various Hindu and Muslim dynasties. Amalgamation of so many social and cultural influences has had a strong bearing on the everyday life, arts, and culture of Goa.

Early History of Goa :
The early history of Goa is quite obscure. References to a place called ‘Gomantak’ in the Mahabharata have been considered by some scholars to relate to Goa. Even earlier references have been claimed. The known history takes us back to the Mauryan times when Goa was a part of the vast Mauryan Empire. The region subsequently came under the Satavahanas, the Chalukyas, Kadambas, Yadavas, and the Vijayanagar Kingdom.

Goa under Islamic rule :
Goa came under the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century. However, the Vijayanagar Kingdom gained control shortly after this. Goa came under strong Islamic rule when the Bahmani sultanate of Gulbarga took over the region. After the disintegration of the Bahmani kingdom, the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur started ruling Goa.

Portuguese in Goa :
The Portuguese set foot in India in 1498. Vasco da Gama is said to have arrived in Old Goa after his famous landing in Calicut. In 1510, Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Adil Shahi king and gained firm control on Goa. Soon, the missionaries followed and started conversions among the local populace. Saint Francis Xavier arrived in Goa at this time. The period called inquisition (1560-1812), is an important part in the history of Goa. Forced conversions and temple destructions by the Portuguese were rampant during this period in Goa.

Goa under the Marathas :
In the 17th century, the resurgent Marathas, under Chatrapati Shivaji started making inroads in Goa, capturing forts and towns. However, they could not hold on to their victories, and the Portuguese prevailed.

Goan Independence :
The Portuguese remained in Goa even after India attained Independence in 1947. After a turbulent period marked by political negotiations, freedom movements, and finally, Indian military campaign, Goa became part of India in 1961.

Goa was governed as a union territory along with Daman and Diu till 1987, when Goa was granted statehood.

Goa travel guide

The search for the perfect beach destination in India leads to Goa. The small state located on the west coast of India is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the world. Goa offers you everything from golden beaches and serene rivers to medieval forts and churches. A great kaleidoscope of different cultures, Goa caters to the interests of tourists with different outlooks and expectations. Before you set foot in Goa, this online Goa travel guide will help you to have an idea of what to expect once you are there. Refer to the Goa travel guide from time to time for updated information about Goa.

Fast Facts about Goa :
Area : 3660 sq km (1430sq mi)
Capital city : Panaji (Panjim)
Language : Konkani, Marathi, English and Portuguese
Major religions : Hinduism, Islam and Christianity
Temperature : 20°C – 34°C.
Altitude : Sea Level – 1022 meters.

Major Tourist attractions in Goa :

Churches : Chapel of St. Francis Xavier The Church and Convent of St. Monica Se Cathedral The Convent and Church Of St. Francis of Assisi The Professed House and The Basilica of Bom Jesus

Beaches :Anjuna, Vagator, Calangute, Baga, Dona Paula, Varca, Colva, Bogmalo, Cavelossim.

Forts :Aguada, Chapora, Mormugao, Tiracol, Cabo da Rama

Major cities :Panaji, Vasco da Gama, Mapusa, Margao, Old Goa, Bicholim, Mormugao

Accommodation :
Being a tourism hotspot of India, Goa has numerous hotels that offer a wide variety of accommodation. These include five star resorts, budget hotels, as well as the cottages and beach side villas rented by the locals.

Climate of Goa :
Goa has a moderate climate that remains almost constant throughout the year. The temperature varies between 20 °C to 34 °C. Relative humidity stays around 60 %. The region receives considerable rainfall in the monsoon months of June – September. The best time to visit is between November and March.

Clothing and accessories :
Light colored cotton clothes, T-shirts, bandanas, shorts, three-quarters and Bermudas can be said to be the dress code for Goa! However, a few things are a must like sun-screen, hats, and sunglasses.

Transportation in Goa :
Goa can be reached by air, rail and the roadways. The infrastructure for all three modes is very good and there are numerous options of flights, trains and buses. Transportation within the state comprises tourist coaches, buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, motor cycle taxis and ferries. Water transport is an important part of the transportation network.