Gulmarg

2776517390_d2140a4e2e_z

Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is situated in the Pirpanjal range in the western Himalayas. Gulmarg is one of the beautiful place that can be visited in Kashmir valley. Gulmarg literally means the meadow of flowers. The meadow of flowers About 50 kms away from Srinagar, it is a cup-shaped meadow 3 kms long, and over 2000 metres high. Then natural beauty of Gulmarg has attracted tourists since long. 

View_from_Gulmarg Originally named Gaurimarg (“the fair one”) by shepherds in honor of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the resort was renamed Gulmarg(“meadow of flowers”) by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his queen Habba khatoon in the 16th century. During the colonial rule over India, the British discovered the hill resort of Gulmarg in 1927. Gulmarg also hosted the British Resident and his fellow Europeans. The snow-clad peaks and the lovely landscapes of Gulmarg have provided background for several Bollywood ventures. 

The slopes of Gulmarg make it Asia’s only heli-skiing resort. Gulmarg is the main skiing resort for the adventure lovers. The skis, sticks, snow boots, woollen socks, mufflers, windproof jackets, goggles, caps and various other equipments and the Ski instructors are easily available in Gulmarg. Even the amateurs can enjoy the skiing with the ski lifts and chair lifts.

Tourist attraction at Gulmarg :

Apharwat Peak :

Apharwat_Peak A picturesque water body at the foot of the twin Apharwat Peaks, Alpather Lake is a stunning natural attraction. At an altitude of approx. 4,200 meters above the sea level, the Apharwat Peak is one of the most beautiful places to visit in and around Gulmarg.  The Apharwat peak is a trekking center and a must-visit for those who love trekking. It is a place which provides beautiful scenes to the tourists who visit here. this lake is frozen until mid-June and even later in the year one can see lumps of ice floating in its cold waters. Another noteworthy point is that the Line of Control (LOC) is only a few kilometers from this peak. From Gulmarg, you can reach the lake on a horseback through a well-graded track. The horse ride through snowy trails is in itself alluring enough to make you come again and re-visit.

Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve :

270px-Black-tailed_deer Home to numerous species of flora, fauna, & avifauna, the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is among the most popular tourist places to visit in Gulmarg for wildlife lovers. Biodiversity blooms here in its richest form. The conifers and green herbs give the entire sanctuary a scenic appearance. This offers ample opportunities to capture the animals in scenic settings. The reserve area is located at a distance of 48-km from Srinagar, to its southwest. Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is famous for its vegetation and wildlife. The reserve is spread over an area of 180 sq. km. The reserve houses upland and pheasant birds. Nature has blessed this sanctuary with expansive patches of conifers and green herbs that give it a scenic appearance. Here, you can catch sight of the endangered Musk Deer – the main attraction of the park. Also seen in this park are Hangul, Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear and Red Fox. The area has a large population of indigenous and migratory birds including, inter alia, Griffon Vulture, Blue Rock Pigeon Monal, Snow Cock, Kashmir Roller, and Jungle Crow. It is all together a different experience to be surrounded by rich Himalayan wildlife and there can be no better place to experience this thrill than in Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve.

Strawberry Valley :

Strawberry-valley A favorite destination of the yesteryear Bollywood movies, many important scenes of the Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Namak Halal were shot around this idyllic hill station. The idyllic Strawberry Field is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Gulmarg.  During summers, taste the freshest strawberry Gulmarg has to offer at Strawberry Valley. Walk down the valley to get through the unexplored part of Gulmarg. 

Ferozepur Nallah :

Ferozpur_Nallah Ferozepur Nallah is a captivating mountain stream flowing through verdant valleys between the beautiful Chinamarg and Nurpur Pass. Flowing through Chinamarg and Nurpur Pass, Ferozepur Nallah is situated 5kms from Gulmarg. Camping beside this stream is one of the best things to do in Gulmarg. Reached from the Tangmarg road, or from the Outer Circular Walk, this mountain stream meets the Bahan River at a popular picnic spot known as ‘waters meet’. The stream is reputed to be particularly good for trout fishing.  The duo of Ningle Nallah and Ferozepur Nallah are two mountain streams flowing through the lush green valleys. The grassy pastures on the sides of the streams put these attractions among the best places to visit in Gulmarg for camping and picnic.

Ningle Nallah :

Ferozpur_Nallah Ningle Nallah is a beautiful stream with flowing water right from the melting ice of the Apharwat peak. It is situated at a distance of 10 kms from Gulmarg. It is a popular picnic spot, which is situated about 8kms from Gulmarg. Ningli Nallah is a stream that has its origin in Allaptri Naag. The water formed by the melting of ice in Apharwat Peak and Alpather Lake is the main source of Ningle Nallah. After passing through mountains and valleys, this stream merges into the River Jhelum near Sopore. The grassy pastures on the sides of the stream are ideal for camping and picnics.

St. Mary’s Church : 

St_Mary's_Church_in_Gulmarg Boasting of fine Victorian style of architecture, St. Mary’s Church is one of the star attractions of Gulmarg.  A Victorian style Church, St.Mary’s is a small place of worship in Gulmarg. The church is famed for its stained glass artwork and utter peace. The verdant meadows, lofty alpine trees and towering mountains that are covered with thick snow during winters in the surroundings greatly enhance the beauty of this church. The church, which was built more than 100 years ago, in the beginning of the 20th century, is like stepping back in time. The attraction has become a point of interest for not just the religious travelers, but also the photography enthusiasts.

Shrine of Baba Reshi :

Baba_Reshi_Shrine3 The shrine of Baba Reshi is 500 years old and holds an important position as a religious place in Gulmarg. Named after a known Muslim scholar and Saint, Baba Reshi Shrine is 5 kms from Gulmarg and is located at a height of 2133 m above sea level. The saint after whom this shrine was built was a member of the court of King Zain-ul-Abidin. Shrine of Baba Reshi is one of the religious places to visit. People from all walks of life visit the shrine to seek blessings. It is accessible by a motorable road from Gulmarg.  Baba Reshi who spent his days in meditation and prayer here. It’s also an architectural beauty. What makes an immediate impression is the old Kashmiri architecture of the shrine – lattice work windows, intricately carved deodar pillars and exquisite craftsmanship. Tourists from different parts of the world, visit here to have a look at the Mughal and Persian style of architecture which makes up the shrine.

Seven Springs : 

Ferozpur_Nallah Seven Springs is famously known for seven natural outlets of water, a mesmerizing sight. The Seven Springs offer a majestic view of both Srinagar and Gulmarg valleys from the top. The famous Gondola cable car ride takes you from Gulmarg to the Seven Springs in Kongdori.

Alpather Lake : 

alpather-lake-3939 Located about 13 km from Gulmarg, the Alpather Lake is among the enchanting places to visit in and around Gulmarg.  A picturesque water body at the foot of the twin Apharwat Peaks, Alpather Lake is a stunning natural attraction. Alpather Lake is one exciting place for a day trip from Gulmarg.  Embraced by rocky mountains and endless meadows that are covered with wildflowers, this lake is doubtlessly, every nature photographer’s delight. The breathtaking topography and perfect setting for photography has made this destination a favorite among the nature lovers as well as photography enthusiasts. The lake also provides an adventurous opportunity to the visitors, who can take up activities like horse riding and ridge climbing. During winters, the lake remains frozen, and the surrounding fields get laden with snow. From Gulmarg, you can reach the lake on a horseback through a well-graded track. The horse ride through snowy trails is in itself alluring enough to make you come again and re-visit.

Khilanmarg : 

Gulmarg If you are visiting the “meadow of flowers”, then this place is one of the must visit for sightseeing in Gulmarg. Khilanmarg is 4 kms from Gulmarg. Khilanmarg is the famous spot for skiing in winters. From Khilanmarg, you can enjoy the views of the Kashmir valley and the Himalayan range.The place is surrounded all over from mountains and it provides a great view during spring season when it is filled with wild flowers. There is a view point in Khilanmarg with its spectacular vistas of the great Himalayas, that you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting Gulmarg.

Golf Course : 

kashmir-golf-tour-5676 What can be better than acres and acres of open green grass surrounded by mountains and peaks?  Golf Course in Gulmarg, situated at a height of 2,650 mabove sea level, is the highest green golf course in the world. This 18-hole golf course is completely managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation. This place was used to play golf by Britishers since 1911 and the golf course was inaugurated formally in 2011. Temporary membership, even for one day, is available at the club for the golfers. Visitors are allowed to take their cars inside for a ride and enjoy a ride in one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.

Image copyright by flickr.com, commons.wikimidia.org, indiaholiday.com

Lachung

Image result for lachung sikkim

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.

Image copyright by trekearth.com, darjeelingtourism.com, holidayiq.com, trekearth.com 

Nanda Devi-Mountain

Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India, and the highest located entirely within the country. Nanda Devi rises in Uttarakhand, India, at the height of 25,643 feet. It is the 23rd-highest peak in the world. It was considered the highest mountain in the world before computations in 1808 proved Dhaulagiri to be higher. Nanda Devi is one of the highest peaks in the Indian Himalaya. The mountain has two summits, the main summit at 7816m and Nanda Devi East at 7434m. The mountain itself in surrounded by a number of peaks over 7000 Meters making it an extremely difficult mountain to access. It is a great white double pyramid overlooking the sacred Garhwal region.

Image result for nanda devi mountain

History :

Nanda Devi is considered as the deity and is worshiped among the locals of the region. According to the legends, Nanda Devi was the daughter of the local king. A marauding king wants to marry her. When Nanda devi father refused to do so, he declared war against them. Her father was killed and she somehow escaped. She found refuge on the mountain, now named after her. Till then she is protected by the ring of mountains containing 12 peaks. The Nanda Devi East is also referred to as the Sunanda Devi. Sunanda Devi and Nanda Devi have both been mentioned in the holy ancient Hindu scriptures ‘Bhagavata Purana’ and these twin Goddesses are worshiped all over the Kumaon Himalayas as well as throughout the state of Uttarakhand.

Tourist Atraction :

first_rays_on_nanda_devi Tourists can make a visit to the Nanda Devi National Park, famous for its rare species of animals. Dominated by the imposing peaks of the Nanda Devi, the national park is famed to be one of the most spectacular wildernesses in the Indian Himalayas. This sanctuary, which covers an area of 630 sq km, is divided into two parts- the outer and the inner walls. The Nanda Devi National Park is home to many wild and endangered animals like the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, lingus, brown bears among others. This sanctuary is also a home to 312 different variety of floral species. The main vegetation in this region consists of pine, fir, rhododendron, and junipers.

Nanda.Devi.original.9143 The park has been notified as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper contribute to the rich floral system of the park. Tourists can indulge in nature walk or can for the wildlife safari along with the forest officer. The main attractions of the park include Brown Bear, Bharal, Common Langur, Goral,Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Musk, Indian Leopard, Serow and snow leopard. Apart from this the avifaunas of the park include Grosbeaks, Rose Finches, Ruby Throat, and Warblers.

The Nanda Devi natural park remains open from 1st of May until 31st of October every year.

Every year Nanda Devi mela is held at the Nanda Devi temple in the month of September. On this particular day people of this region pay homage to the Goddess Nanda Devi. This mela was started during the region of Raja Kalyan Chand in the 16th century.

Located in the Rishi Ganga River catchment, Nanda Devi north and Nanda Devi south are the two glaciers, which are approximately 19 km in length. The Nanda Devi glaciers originating from the southern slope of the Nanda Devi peak are the treat to the tourists eye. Several streams originate from these glaciers and forms the river Rishi Ganga.

How to reach :

Nearest Airport is New Delhi. From From New Delhi to Rishikesh Can be reached by both bus and car, From the town of Rishikesh one can take a bus to the small town in the Himalayas known as Joshimath and then take another 25 km bus or car ride to the village of Lata, which is more popularly known as the unofficial base camp for the Nanda Devi mountain climbing trail.

Image copyright by thousandwonders.net, trekearth.com

Agatti Island-Lakshadweep

Image result for agatti island information

Agatti is located 459km off Cochin. It is six km long and about a kilometre wide. In Agatti, coral growths and multi-coloured coral fishes abound in its lagoons. Agatti is perhaps the only island besides Minicoy that gets surplus fish as fishing is the main occupation. Agatti is a part of the Lakshadweep Islands, which is the smallest union territory of India.

Agatti is one of the Lakshadweep islands open to tourism. Visitors, however, are allowed to the Island under certain restrictions. They are required to obtain Entry Permit from the Lakshadweep Administration for entering or visiting the island. Entry Permit is issued based on the visitor having a confirmed place to stay. There are only two hotels or resorts in Agatti:

1. Agatti Island Beach Resort (AIBER) and  2.  Sea Shells Beach Resort.

4bf32aaab540ee6a652ddc45599c67e0

 A road runs through the island, which can be best enjoyed by hiring a bicycle available at many places.  Agatti Islands are visited as a getaway for its remoteness and crystal clear waters & White sand beaches. Scuba diving enthusiasts and activity centric guests arrive here to unexplore coral sites around the area and experience the remoteness and beauty. Activities at Agatti comprise swimming in crystal clear waters, snorkelling and scuba diving Deep Sea Fishing, sailing, glass bottom boat rides, water skiing and kayaking are amazing.

Recently reviewed tourist attractions in Agatti, which are great places to visit, are Museum,Bangaram Island. Agatti can be visited in summer, monsoon or winter

Museum, Agatti :

The museum in Agatti Island is located 2 km from the beach near a village. It takes around INR250 in an autorickshaw from the jetty. Motor cycles can also be hired to travel the 2 km distance. The museum is a government run museum which contains various replicas and sculptures of marine life. Various corals, shells, fish and aquatic animals are found in aquarium like enclosures. Trinkets like ornaments, headgear, clothing, etc. belonging to the tribes from different parts of the Lakshadweep islands are found in this place. In the entrance to the museum is a large cannon.

Bangaram Island, Agatti :

Bangaram Island is one of the inhabited islands in Lakshadweep. Boat tours to Bangaram take around 2 hours. There is a Bangaram Resort in this island. During a visit to the Bangaram islands, snorkelling, diving and scuba diving can be done. Lunch can be had on the island, or packed food can be arranged from Agatti. The area of the shipwreck beyond the reefs is a place full of fish and corals, where diving can be done. The trip to Bangaram Island starts at around noon and the return to the Agatti Island is possible in the evening.

Bangaram-beach(2)

Lunch can be had on the island, or packed food can be arranged from Agatti. The area of the shipwreck beyond the reefs is a place full of fish and corals, where diving can be done. The trip to Bangaram Island starts at around noon and the return to the Agatti Island is possible in the evening.

How to reach :

Lakshwadeep is connected to Cochin by sea route. Seven passenger ships operate between the two ports and it takes 14–20 hours for the passage. These ships have modern facilities that includes entertainment area, video shows, cafeteria and offer comfortable A/C accommodation.

Agatti airport is well known domestic airport situated in the southern end of Agatti island of Lakshadweep a union territory of India. This is the only airport in Lakshadweep that offers services to all island situated here.

Image copyright by indiantravels.com, pinterest.com, holidayiq.com

Kaziranga National Park

Image result for kaziranga national park gate

Kaziranga National Park is one of the prides of India. Kaziranga National Park is the name to exemplify the most popular conservation efforts to save the endangered species like one-horned rhinoceros in India. The park’s population of 1800-odd rhinos represents more than two-thirds of the world’s total.  Kaziranga National Park is spread over 858 sq.kms and is located in the floodplains on both sides of the Brahmaputra river. Patches of mixed deciduous forests are interspersed with vast stretches of savannah grasslands, wetlands and chars of river islands formed by the shifting course of the Brahmaputra.  Kaziranga National Park is Located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India.

In the heart of Assam, this park is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human presence. It is inhabited by the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears, and thousands of birds.  The Endangered Ganges dolphin is also found in some of the closed oxbow lakes.Forests is marked by the 41% of the tall grasses, 29% open jungle, 11% short grasses and rest is covered with the rivers and the water bodies.

Indian one-horned rhinoceros and also declared as a tiger reserve in 2006, holding the highest density of tigers in the world.

The park is divided into five ranges:

1. Central 2. Western 3. Eastern 4. Western-most Burha Pahar 5. Northern

The first four lie on the southern side of the river while the last is on the northern bank

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grassmarshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, criss-crossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, songs, and documentaries.

The terrain in the park comprises mainly of sandbanks, riverine lakes, Semi-evergreen forests, moist broad-leaf forests and grasslands. The park is spread in a massive area which makes it one of the largest protected forests in the Sub-Himalayan belt.

Climate & Rainfall :

The climate of Kaziranga Park is tropical,   The park experiences three seasons: summer.  monsoon, and winter. The winter season, between November and February, is mild and dry, with temperatures reaching a low 5 °C. During this season, beels and nallahs Dry up.  The summer season between March and May is hot, with a maximum temperature approx 37°C . During this season, animals usually are found near water bodies. The rainy monsoon season lasts from June to September, and  the average annual rainfall is 2,220 mm. During the peak months of July and August, three-fourths of the western region of the park is submerged, due to the rising water level of the Brahmaputra.

A Day in Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga National Park is one of the major wildlife tourist’s attractions in India. Thousands of travelers from different part of the country and world come here every year to unlock the doors of diverse wildlife and scout the exquisiteness of the natural empire. The perfect topography with a river and its varied grasslands winds through its entire length, Kaziranga promises an adventure that you will never forget. The tourism of Kaziranga is not just about spotting one of the many one-horned rhinoceros or tigers but also to watch the three giant herbivores that reside in the park called – The Asiatic Elephant, The Swamp Deer and the Asiatic Water Buffaloes. The park has also been demarcated as an important bird area by the Birdlife International in order to promote the conservation of endangered species.

Fauna & Flora :

Kaziranga National Park has chiefly three major types of flora as alluvial inundated grasslands, tropical wet evergreen forests and tropical semi-evergreen forests. But, the main characteristics of flora in Kaziranga are the dense and tall elephant grass intermixed by small swamplands left behind by the receding floodwaters of the river Brahmaputra. n addition to grasses and forests, the swamps of Kaziranga National Park have an abundant cover of water lilies, water hyacinth and lotus, providing a beautiful look to the surroundings of the park. Rattan Cane, which is a type of climbing palm, also adds to the natural beauty of Kaziranga National Park. 

-79159_7882 Kaziranga contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species, of which 15 are threatened as per the IUCN Red List. The park has the distinction of being home to the world’s largest population of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceroswild Asiatic water buffalo, and eastern swamp deer.  Kaziranga has been identified by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area.  It is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds. Birds such as thelesser white-fronted gooseferruginous duckBaer’s pochard duck and lesser adjutantgreater adjutantblack-necked stork, and Asian openbill stork migrate from Central Asia to the park during winter. Two of the largest snakes in the world, the reticulated python and rock python, as well as the longest venomous snake in the world, the king cobra, inhabit the park. Other snakes found here include the Indian cobramonocled cobraRussell’s viper, and the common krait. Monitor lizard species found in the park include the Bengal monitor and the Asian water monitor

Best Time to Visit :

The best season to visit Kaziranga National Park is between November and April. From 1st of Nov to 30th of April, the park remains open daily for continuous six months being the monsoons as the exceptional season to close the area for safety reasons by the national park management. You can see the migratory birds closely in a fine temperature.

Nearby Places :

Rowraiah (Jorhat) is Nearest Airport which is 97 Km away from Kaziranga, LGBI Airport which is 239 Km away from Kaziranga. The nearest railhead is at the distance of 75 kms from the Kaziranga National Park in Furkating. Government transports are available frequently from nearest cities and towns such as Jorhat (89 Kms.), Nagaon (96 Kms.), Guwahati (219 Kms.), Golaghat (73 Kms.) and Bokakhat (21 Kms.).

Image copyright by team-bhp.com, shikar.com, mouthshut.com, nelive.com 

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.

Image copyright by thequint.com, eccetrav.com, mridul-nandy.blogspot.in

Thar desert

Image result for the thar desert

The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is located in the Rajasthan  northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, to the west of the Aravalli Mountain Range. The Thar Desert forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. About 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining part in Pakistan. Thar covers an area of approximately 77,000 square miles.

It is the world’s 17th largest desert, and the world’s 9th largest subtropical desert. Thar constitutes one of the five major physical divisions of India.  The Thar Desert encapsulates a number of district in the state including theBarmer,Jaisalmer, Jodhpur. The Thar also manages to swallow certain regions of Gurjrat, Haryana and even Punjab. With such a huge and humbling stature.

The desert has a volatile climate, with temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and dropping to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. May and June are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures rising to 122 °F (50 °C). During January, the coldest month, the mean minimum temperature ranges between 41 and 50 °F . Only about 10 percent of the area is made up of sand dunes, while the rest of the geography includes rock formations, salt lake bottoms and fixed dune areas.

The Thar Desert extends between the Aravalli Hills in the north-east, The Great Rann of Kutch along the coast and the alluvial plains of the Indus River in the west and north-west, High and low sand dunes, sandy plains, low barren hills, etc characterize the landscape of the desert. The desert presents an undulating surface, with high and low sand dunes separated by sandy plains and low barren hills, or bhakars. Most of the sand dunes are forever in motion and keep on changing their shapes and sizes. The older dunes, however, have stabilized to quite an extent and may rise to a height of almost 500 feet.  The sand is highly mobile due to strong winds occurring before the onset of the monsoon. TheLuni River is the only river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited to 100–500 mm per year, mostly falling from July to September.

People and their Life in Thar Desert :

The desert of Thar is inhabited by a huge number of poeple. Animal Husbandry and agriculture contribute majorly to the economic status of the households. Huge projects of power and irrigation has made it possible for the deserts areas to undertake agriculture.The main population of this desert is of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.Urbanisation has not yet seeped in into the desert and a large number of families still live in ther huts made out of local and natural materials.The prevelant culture in the desert is full of color and joy.Folk Dance, Food, Music etc are all much appreciated in the desert. Rajasthan is also house to a large number of festivities including Holi,Gangour, Blaji Dham Yatra, Gogaji, Bhopaji Puja Ramdevji Yatra etc. About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert. A colourful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry. 

Bikaner and Jaisalmer are located in the desert proper. A large irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral, and hide and wool industries are prominent. The desert’s part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture, heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants who belong to different religions, sects and castes.

download thar-desert Yokoso-Thar-Desert-Tours-Jaisalmer_140714_image

Flora And Fauna :

Snakes and Lizards are usually the most common thing here with 25 and 23 species of them found in the desert respectively. Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India  are Bustard, the Chikara, the Black Buck,and other living things like birds, particularly the Quail and Francolin, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different conditions, and they are mainly nocturnal. 

Vegetation :

There is a Lots of variety of vegetation in the desert.  The natural vegetation of the Thar Desert is composed of the following tree, shrub and herb species ound in this areas are as much as 700. 107 of which are merely kinds of grass. The endemic floral species include Calligonum polygonoidesProsopis cinerariaAcacia niloticaTamarix aphyllaCenchrus biflorus. When there are good rains, crops are exaggerated, cattles too find themselves in good condition with abundant food and harvest.

Salt water lakes :

There are a number of salt water lakes in Thar desert. These are Sambhar, PachpadraTal ChhaparFalaudi and Lunkaransar where Sodium chloride salt is produced from salt water. The Didwana lake produces Sodium Sulphate salt. Ancient Archaeological evidences of habitations have been recovered from Sambhar and Didwana lakes which shows their antiquity and historical importance.

Tree species of Thar Desert :

Some of the essential tree species in the region of Thar Desert include: Acacia senegal, Albizia lebbeck, Acacia jacquemontii, Acacia leucophloea, Azadirachta indica, Salvadora oleoides, Tecomella undulata, Anogeissus rotundifolia, Prosopis cineraria and Tamarix articulate. Some of the small shrubs and trees are Calligonum polygonoides, Acacia jacquemontii, Ziziphus zizyphus, Ziziphus nummularia, Balanites roxburghiiCalotropis procera, Suaeda fruticosa, Aerva tomentosa, Clerodendrum multiflorum, Crotalaria burhia, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Lycium barbarum,Grewia populifolia, Euphorbia neriifolia, Cordia rothii, Commiphora mukul, Maytenus emarginata, Capparis deciduas and Mimosa hamata.

Desert for recreation:

Thar Desert provides the recreational value in terms of desert festivals organized every year. Rajasthan desert festivals are celebrated with great zest and zeal. This festival is held once a year during winters. Dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. The fair has snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels, of course, play a stellar role in this festival, where the rich and colorful folk culture of Rajasthan can be seen. Camels are an integral part of the desert life and the camel events during the Desert Festival confirm this fact. Evenings are meant for the main shows of music and dance. Continuing till late into the night, the number of spectators swells up each night and the grand finale, on the full moon night, takes place by silvery sand dunes.

Image copyright by beautifulword.com,hotfrog.in,indianturismadvisior.com,en.wikipidia.org

Shimla

In 1806, Shimla, along with Almora, Kumaon, Garhwal, Sirmaur, Dehradun and Kangra, was invaded and captured by Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal, Shortly later, the British East India Company with local kings went to war with Nepal from 1814 to 1816. At the conclusion of the war, as a result of the Sugauli Treaty, all these captured parts of North India were ceded to the British East India company. At that time, Shimla was known for the temple of Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi, and not as a city as it is today.

Not long after gaining possession of Shimla, the British began to develop the area. The Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first British summer home in the town in 1822. Lord Amherst, the Governor-General of Bengal from 1823 to 1828, set up a summer camp here in 1827, when there was only one cottage in the town, and only ‘half a dozen’ when he left that year. There were more than a hundred cottages within ten years.[4] Shimla soon caught the eye of Lord William Bentinck, the next Governor-General of Bengal from 1828 (later of India, when the title was created in 1833) to 1835. In a letter to Colonel Churchill in 1832, he wrote.

“ Simla is only four days march from Loodianah (Ludhiana), is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun (Hindustan).”

 
Day 01: Manali – Shimla

In the morning after breakfast you depart for Shimla (approx 249 Kms / 6 – 7 hrs). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. You can enjoy a stroll in the famous shopping place of Shimla town – The Mall & The Ridge.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 02: Shimla

In the morning after breakfast you are taken to visit Indian Institute Of Advanced Studies, Sankat Mochan Temple and Jakhu Temple. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 03: Shimla – Chandigarh

In the morning after breakfast you depart from Shimla for Chandigarh Airport (approx 350 Kms / 8-9 hrs) where you catch a flight back home with beautiful memories of your holiday.
Meals: Breakfast
 

Diu – Beach of Gujarat

A Portuguese colony like Goa, Diu is an off – shore island on the western coast, off the Gulf of Cambay. The coast has limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches, the best of which are at Nagoa. A massive fort built by the Portuguese dominates the skyline.

An island of breeze and beauty. The island of Diu, an erstwhile Portuguese colony, is situated off the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat bordering Junagadh district. It is an exquisitely beautiful getaway with golden sand beaches, dense palm-groves and historical monuments sans commercial exploitation and environmental degradation. Diu stands out, in marked contrast to other places, as a tiny island, where people have an excellent civic sense. With the magnificent serenity of its ambience, it is perhaps one of India’s last undiscovered jewels.

With a pleasant climate throughout the year, it affords unprecedented peace and tranquillity to tourists. The beautiful tiny island, is lying on the west coast of India, with a coastal length of 21 kms., is at a distance of about 930 kms. from Bombay. The word ‘Diu’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dweep’. During the period from the 14th to 16th century Diu was one of the best Sea Ports and a Naval base. Merchants of various lands carried on trade here.

Places to visit in Diu

Nagoa Beach – A perfect semi circle beach where the gentle lapping waves beckon you to wade into them for a fun filled time of swimming, gamboling or just lolling around the soft sand shores or to find you napping under the palm trees filled with the soothing breeze. The Nagoa beach is the most famous in Diu. Gomptimata, Chakratirth and the beautiful Sunset Point are the other famous beaches. A 20 min. refreshing drive from the town through the open arid land and dense coconut groves brings you to the Nagoa Beach. It is located in the Nagoa hamlet of the village of Bucharwada.

Gangeshwar Temple – is situated 3km away from Diu town in Fudam village. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, there are five lingas here that are located in the midst of the rocks on the seashore, and are washed by the waves of the sea. It is believed that these lingas were established here by the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata during their exile. The gentle sea waves offering their obeisance to the “Shiva Lingas” in stone have a mystic aura around them in the cave temple of Gangeshwar where the Lord makes his presence felt.
 

Ghoghla Beach – Ghoghla Beach is among the six beautiful beaches in Diu District. It also has facilities for water sports like parasailing, water scooters etc. The Golden sand beach undulates into the horizon while the Arabian Sea laps away at the edge as though imploring the sands to let it find its own peach. You can do swimming, sunbathing, parasailing, surfing etc.

St. Thomas Church – Museum – St. Thomas’s Church that has now been taken over by the authorities and converted into the Diu Museum. A huge edifice in gothic architecture was built in 1598. A part of it has been converted into a museum – an archaeological treasure house. It houses wooden carvings, statues, idols, shadow clocks and other important artifacts collected from various sites.
 

Diu Fort – Diu Fort is an expansive and imposing structure, situated on the coast of the island. It was constructed between 1535 and 1541 AD after the defence alliance concluded between the Sultan of Gujarat and the Portuguese. The fort commands a magnificent view of sea. Rugged yet gentle, fierce yet loving. The majestic structure stands on the coast of DIU as a sentinel. Once inside, you are overwhelmed by the gaunt majesty of the ancient stone work which transports you to a bygone era of gallant soldiers where time stands still.
 

St. Paul’s Church – St. Paul’s Church is the only active church till date. The church adorned with curiously treated volutes and shell – like motifs and the magnificent wood carving is considered to be the most elaborate of all the Portugese churches in India. St. Paul Church, built in 1691 is consecrated to our Lady of Immaculate Conception. In architectural style it resembles Bom Jesus Church at Goa. The dominant features are, no doubt, Gothic. The wood – panelling of the church is rated one of the best in church craftmanship.
 


 

Gomtimata Beach – is one of the best beaches of the region. Secluded and spread with natural white sand, it is located at the western corner of the island
 


 

Panikotha-Fortim Do Mar – Legend has it that this ship shape structure was one connected with land by an under sea tunnel. You can see this monument in famous bollywood movie “KAYAMAT”. it is a magnificent stone structure in the sea, built right at the mouth of the creek. It can be reached only by a canoe or a motor launch. Approximately one nautical mile from the Diu jetty, it also has a light house and small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea. The fortress makes for a beautiful view whether seen from the jetty, from the Fort, from the village of Ghoghla or from Diu proper.
 

Jallandhar Shrine – Jallandhar Shrine is located on a hillock close to the beach. This small shrine crowned with a dome, contains a niche wherein a stone carved face of Jallandhar is seen. Near by there is also a temple of Goddess Chandrika. The beach is at a distance of 1 km from Diu Town. This small shrine crowned with a dome, contains a niche wherein a stone carved face of the demon Jallandhar is seen. Nearby, is the temple of Goddess Chandrika.

TajMahal – One of the seven wonders in the world

Taj Mahal of India – “the epitome of love”, “a monument of immeasurable beauty”. The beauty of this magnificent monument is such that it is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come into the mind while watching the Taj Mahal of Agra is not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love which was the reason behind its construction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight. The very first sight of the Taj Mahal, the epitome of love and romance leaves one mesmerized.

Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love and romance. It is believed that the name “Taj Mahal” was derived from the name of Shah Jahan wife Mumtaz Mahal and means “Crown Palace”. The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, precious gemstones used and its picturesque location, all make Taj Mahal travel gain a place amongst the most popular ones. However, unless and until, one knows the love story behind the Tajmahal of India, it will come up as just a beautiful building. But, the love behind this outstanding monument is what has given a life to this monument.

Location: On the banks of river Yamuna in Agra
Year of Construction: 1631-1653
Built By: Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
Spread Over: 42 acres
Significance: One of the Seven Wonders of the World

Best Time to Visit: October to March (Winters)

The best time to visit Taj Mahal revolves around the weather of Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. As per the climate of Agra, the peak season for Taj Mahal visit is the winter season i.e., from October to March. Otherwise, there is no such thing as “the best time” to visit this magnificent monument. You may see Taj Mahal in any month of the year and it will come forward as breathtaking as it has always been. Infact, different seasons as well as different hours of the day lend a different aura to it.

Visit the Taj in the morning and it will come up with a pinkish glow to it. As the day passes, the pinkish glow turns into milky white by the evening. However, the radiance of the Taj under the moonlight is beyond any explanation.

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.

Ooty

Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the “Queen of hill stations’ among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 km away from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2623 metres.

The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers. Visit Ooty during this festival, when tea lovers from all over the world converge. An occasion not to be missed!

Climate:

Winter – Max 21ºC, Min 5ºC

Summer – Max 25ºC, Min 10ºC

 

 

Places to visit in Ooty:

Botanical Garden

Botanical gardens are a major tourist attraction for those who visit Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations of India. They sprawl over 50-acres and lie on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak, which is the highest point in Ooty.

Government Museum – Ooty

The Government Museum At Ooty The government museum, Mysore Road, Ooty has items of tribal objects, district’s ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1989, with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and visiting population of Nilgiris district. Tourist Information Admission: Free Timings: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm Closed On: Fridays, Second Saturdays and National Holidays Ooty The nearest airport is at Coimbatore (100-km). Ooty on the narrow gauge railway is connected to Mettupalayam, which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai on the broad gauge. There are regular bus services connecting Ooty to Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Calicut, Tirupati etc.

Hills and Views

Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the “Queen of hill stations” among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 kilometres from Coimbatore

Kalhatty Falls

The Kalhatty falls are located on the Kalhatty slopes at about 13-km from Udhagamandalam on the Udhagamandalam – Mysore Kalhatty ghat road. Also known as the “Kalahasti Falls”, the water here cascades down a height of 122m.

Kandal Cross Shrine

Kandal cross, a Roman Catholic Shrine considered, as the Jerusalem of the East is located in Udhagamandalam in Tamil Nadu. The Nilgiri Catholics consider it as the “Calvary of Tamil Nadu”.

Mini Garden and Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is situated about 3 to 4-km away from Charring Cross. Mini garden is also situated on the way to the boathouse where the children amusement park is housed.

Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

The Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary is located where the Nilgiri Hills, the offshoot of the Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats. The Mysore – Ooty highway runs through the sanctuary, following the course of the Mayyar River, which separates Mudumalai from Bandipur.

Ooty Lake

The beautiful Ooty Lake is a favourite haunt of tourists. It was constructed in the year 1825, through the initiatives of Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. This lake was built in order to provide an irrigation tank to the people.

Summer Festival

There is several beautiful hill stations in Tamil Nadu. With the Summer Festivals, the hills are even hospitable to welcome the visitors. The summer festival is held in the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’,

Tea and Tourism Festival

Akin to the nectar of the Gods is the Camellia Sinensia, which is a bush that gives fragrant amber ambrosia-a refresher and stimulizer. In other words, TEA.

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.