Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand

Chardhams come with a special significance for any pious Hindu. If you want your sins to be washed way, at least once in your lifetime you must make a yatra to the ‘Chardhams’; that is what is commonly believed in Hinduism. Those who are unable to visit the greater circuit, make a yatra of the Chota char dhams of Uttarakhand and gather all the blessings of Almighty. Read on to learn in details about Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand.

Chardham Uttarakhand

Chardham Uttarakhand

Being guarded by the mighty Himalayan mountain range, the Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand, hosts four of India’s most sacred sanctuaries – The Char Dham. Literal meaning of the word Char Dham is the ‘four abodes of god. The Chardham include – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The common belief of the pilgrims about these places is that the Chardham yatra helps you attain Moksha (Liberation from Samsara, the course of birth and death) by washing out all your sins and crimes. This is why thousands of pilgrims opt for these places once in their lifetime to pay their tributes to these holy shrines.

Historical Background of Chardham 

The chardham Yatra was initiated for the first time by the great missionary Guru Adi Shankaracharya, thousands of years ago, back in the 8th century. Since then, pilgrims from across the globe have been visiting this place every year with the hope of attaining redemption. However, during the cold winter months the temples become out of reach of the devotees due to much snowfall.

The Yamunotri Dham

This religious shrine is situated at a distance of approximately 3164 meters above sea level.  This shrine is significant as it cleanses countless moods and spirits as it brings the origin of River Yamuna. The specialty of this place is that pilgrims can experience a mixture of hot and cold climate simultaneously. The cold weather is brought up about by the Himalayan environment that causes glaciers at peaks while the hot climate is brought about by the presence of thermal springs called Kunds of Goddess Shakti.

While starting from any of the main towns of Uttarakhand like Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun, it would take you almost a day’s travel. The shrine can be reached from Hanuman Chatti by a 13 km trek and by a 6 km trek from Janki Chatti. The best phases to visit this shrine in a year are from May to June and from September to November.

Yamunotri Temple

Yamunotri Temple

The Gangotri Dham

According to the Hindu Mythology, Goddess Ganga appeared in the form of the river after listening to the prayers of king Bhagirath, to wash the sins of his predecessors. It is believed that Gangotri is the place from where Ganga originated. The Gangotri dham was constructed after goddess Ganga. Built at a height of 3200 meters above sea level, the temple is situated at a distance of 100 kms from the Uttarkashi district.

The main shrine where the devotees are worshiping currently was constructed by Gorkha leader, Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th century.

The temple gate is opened to the visitors during Akshaya Tritiya (usually in the month of May) and the gate gets closed during Yama Dwitiya(Usually during late October or early November). During this time thousands of pilgrims soak themselves in the holy water of Ganga and enter the temple for offering their prayer to the Goddess. During the other 6 months of the year, the temple gate remains closed to common people. During this time Goddess is worshiped at Mukhwa.

Badrinath Temple

Another religious shrine that is extremely pious and a symbol of devotion to humanity is the Badrinath Temple that is located at a height of 3415 meters. It is present on the Garihwal hill which is located on the banks of the river Alaknanada. This is a holy shrine that has been built as a tribute to Lord Vishnu. The story behind the shrine being named Badrinath is that Lord Vishnu is believed to have meditated under the Badri tree for ages thereby giving the name to this shrine.

The shrine is an ideal pilgrimage spot especially for the devotees of Lord Vishnu. The deity here is composed of Shaligram statue and has Lord Vishnu in a meditating pose. The temple is believed to have been constructed way back in the 9th century by Adi Shankaracharya. The shrine is easily accessible from tourists coming from the major cities of Uttarakhand.

Shri Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

The Shri Kedarnath Temple is a holy shrine that is located a stunning height of 3584 meters above the sea level. It is situated in the district of Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand. This shrine has been built as a tribute to Lord Shiva. There is a belief that it was on the hills of Mandar that the 12 distinct forms of Lord Shiva namely the Jyotirlingas were dropped near the temple location.

These shrines called as Jyotirlinga shrines are highly recommended spots for pilgrims and Lord Shiva was believed to have appeared as a fury of light here. Pilgrims from all over the country visit these shrines to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya and it was King Kedar who privileged the same. The temple is open from the months of April to November after which the presence of heavy snowfall makes it inaccessible to pilgrims. During the extreme winter season, the deities are brought over for a 6 month period to Ukhimath where it is worshipped till April.

So, when you are seeking to go for a pilgrimage in pursuit of religious peace and bliss, opt for the Char Dham Yatra to feel the difference.

Famous Hill Resorts Near Delhi

Delhi is an important stop-over for tourists before they can move to other popular tourist spots. There are many hill stations located around Delhi and have great transport connectivity to the capital city of Delhi as well. So if you have a mind to visit any of these hill stations, visiting Delhi first is quite indispensable. Read on to learn more in details about the hill stations around Delhi

When the British made Delhi their capital, the sweltering heat in summer simply became unbearable and led to their developing hill resorts around Delhi. Their legacy survives and undoubtedly, the most famous of them all is Shimla, the queen of hill stations and their summer capital. Shimla still has remnants of British culture to remind us of the colonial past. That is not the only hill resort around Delhi. There are dozens, some very popular and some not so well known; some close by and some at a distance, but each a pearl in its own way. So take your pick.

Famous Hill Resorts Near Delhi

Famous Hill Resorts Near Delhi

Hill Stations According to Direction:
Go west to Himachal and it is a veritable paradise. Shimla, Kasauli and Manali are inarguably the most famous with Dalhouse, Kufri and Dharmshala equally popular. Then there are other less popular resorts such as Solan, Renukaji, Kandaghat and Chail. Go North to Kashmir and you have the ever-popular Yousmarg, Sonamarg and Gulmarg with Srinagar a city resort you can enjoy just as much as the more remote hill stations. Go North-East to Uttaranchal and here you have some lovely resorts of which Nainital, Kausani and Mussoorie are undoubtedly the most beloved of tourists. Then there are others such as Ranikhet, Kanatal, Binsar, Chamba, Ramgarh and Auli to keep you enchanted and cool during sweltering summer months. Haryana has Morni and Rajasthan to the South West has Mount Abu but this is at quite a distance. Your best bet would be to choose popular resorts located closer to Delhi.

The Not So Well Known
People rush off to well known spots but these can be crowded. Why not choose not-so-well-known spots for some peace and quiet? One such resort is Kangojodi, a pristine, unspoilt place where you can enjoy solitude. Everyone rushes off to Kullu but Tirthan in the same valley is about a day’s drive from Delhi and is more beautiful and enchanting. Not many have heard of Churwadhar, about 90 Km from Simla but it is off the beaten track and lets you commune with Mother Nature. Just as isolated is Chindi near Solan where you can lose yourself in the tranquility and recharge your batteries. Mandi is on the road to Manali and is a hidden sanctuary next to Prashar Lake

The Famous and the Popular

Auli
About 500 kms from Delhi, this charming resort is in Uttarakhand and its pride is the longest cable car that takes you on a 4 kilometer journey giving an enchanting view of the lovely terrain. You can go skiing or spend time by the world’s highest artificial lake.

Palampur

Palampur Himachal

Palampur Himachal

To the West of Delhi in Himachal Pradesh you will find Palampur, about 494 kilometers from Delhi. It is Nature at its unspoilt best with pine forests and streams gamboling playfully along the countryside. Visit Mata Bandla Devi temple and the village of Andretta while you are here.

Kausani
This endearing retreat is only 394 kilometers from Delhi, famous for its forests of pine and a lovely view of the Himalayas. You may want to explore the tea gardens of the Baijnath temples or simply lose yourself in the beauties of nature.

Kufri
Not so well known as Shimla but a beautiful spot about 380 km from Delhi. Kufri is home to the Himalayan Wild Life Zoo and also lets you enjoy skiing in season. You can ride a Yak or go trekking. It is as yet unspoilt and lovely beyond words.

Chail
Like Kufri, Chail, about 350 km from Delhi, is overshadowed by Shimla but has a distinct personality with the Chail Sanctuary in the vicinity. Most of all it is as yet unspoilt and is relatively calmer for a soul refreshing sojourn.

Nahan
You may not have heard of this reclusive retreat about 260 km from Delhi, located in the Shivaliks but it is picturesque and quiet, perfect for a soliloquy with nature. It is the nearest to Delhi and is a charming resort town that will win your heart.

Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar

If you love greenery, then it is Mukteshwar that will enchant you with its verdant scenery. About 330 Km from Delhi, Mukteshwar is close to Nainital and has green deodar forests as well as a wonderful view of the Himalayas.

Kasauli
This tiny hill hamlet in Solan district is only 295 km from Delhi and is cool rather than cold. Once you visit it, you will fall in love with this place and enjoy its marvelous serenity. You can visit the Baptist Church, Manki Point and Kasauli Brewery to pass the time or just walk on the gentle slopes.

Mussoorie
About 284 km from Delhi, Mussoorie is elegant, charming and enticing, bearing traces of a colonial past. It has a dreamy ambience unlike any other resort. The landscape is varied and has its own points of interest highlighted by the quaint and attractive houses dotting the slopes. You could take a trip to Kempty Falls, Mussoorie Lake, Jharipani Falls, Sir George Everest’s House and Gun Hill while you are here. Mussorie grows on you and you will want to tarry here awhile.

Ranikhet
Not many choose Ranikhet when they have options of Mussoorie, Dalhousie, Nainital and other famous resorts. Located about 279 km from Delhi in Almora district of Uttarakhand, Ranikhet is a medium sized town at an altitude of about 1870 metres. Places worthy a visit in the vicinity are the Army Museum, Ram Mandir and Chaubatia Gardens. Wander off and you can come across a variety of animals in the forests lining the slopes.

Nainital
Nainital is a resort town about 276 km from Delhi and the automatic choice of most people when they think of visiting a hill station. The weather is cool and visitors can have an enjoyable stay here, sauntering alongside Nainital Lake or taking side trips to the Naina DeviTemple, Naini Peak, Tiffin Top and Gurney House.

Kanatal

Kanatal

Kanatal

Only those who value peace and quiet will know the worth of Kanatal, about 300 km from Delhi. The view is marvelous and you feel as if you have the world all to yourself. Take time off to visit Kodia Jungle and the Tehri Dam while here.

Lansdowne
Lansdowne is located in Pauri Garwahl district of Uttarakhand, about 270 km from Delhi. What strikes you about Lansdowne is the presence of military. However, that is no damper to the lush scenery it presents and the somewhat laid back air it has. You could spend days doing nothing and still not feel bored. You can just as well go trekking, boating or bird watching. Take some time off to visit Tip n Top, the Regimental Museum, Bhim Pakora and the Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple. If you time your visit for the Autumn Festival the resort takes on a festive air and you will enjoy your trip all the more.

With so many hill stations accessible so easily from Delhi, you could well ask yourself before you decide as to what exactly you want from this trip. Do you want a lovely time? Visit some of the well known resorts. Do you want some peace and solitude? Pick resorts off the beaten track. You can always find accommodation to suit your taste and dining on local street food is always an adventure. As for transportation, there are plenty of buses that will take you to Delhi or you can join a tour or hire a private cab. On a Friday evening close your eyes, move the mouse on the map at random and click to select at random. Pack your bags and set off for a weekend of sheer delight.

Places of Tourist Interest Around Mumbai

The tinsel town of Mumbai and the scintillating Bollywood city is indeed a dream city for many vacationers from all across the nation and the globe. ‘Mumbai’ holds a significant place in the map of India not only as a famous tourist destination but also as India’s commercial capital. The ups and downs in the stock exchange market are mainly controlled from the commercial capital of Mumbai. However for a passionate traveler, what are more fascinating are the various tourist spots of Mumbai. Read on to learn more.

Mumbai is among the dashing locations of India for tourists. The historical appeal of the city isn’t much when compared to Delhi. Nevertheless, Mumbai does have its own trademark places that do appeal to tourists. So, if you are planning to gatecrash into Mumbai anytime soon, there are some places that you shouldn’t be missing at any cost. Let us have a lookup of some of those areas that are a must for any tourist heading towards Mumbai.

GATEWAY OF INDIA

Gateway of India, Mumbai

Gateway of India, Mumbai

This is the most reputed monument of Mumbai. The Gateway of India was constructed to facilitate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary who were visiting the city. People who reach Mumbai via boat are greeted by this looming monument. For those who want to start exploring the enigma of Mumbai, the Gateway of India is the best place to start your trip. The atmosphere around this monument has become electric in recent times with all kinds of things available here ranging from balloons to tea. A carnival like atmosphere prevails there in recent times. It is located in the Southern part of Mumbai in Colaba on the waterfront.

HERITAGE BUILDINGS
Some of the most enthralling heritage buildings can be found in Mumbai. So, while you are there, do not miss out on the chance to have a peek at those. These heritage buildings are stunning examples of the colonial architecture. Some of the best heritage buildings that you can find are Prince of Wales Museum, Victoria Terminus, Bombay High Court and Horniman Circle that is located in the Fort area. The main feature of the Horniman Circle is the fact that the gardens which are massive. They are a welcoming sight for tourists who are usually squeezed by the business of the city. There is a Khotachiwadi Village where you can view the historic homes with 18th century architecture. They are situated in around the Southern parts of Mumbai.

KALA GHODA ART PRECINCT
The term Kala Ghoda in Hindi means ‘Black horse’ and here it refers to a statue that used to be located in Mumbai in the past. It is called as Mumbai’s cultural center. This stretch is shaped like a crescent and is host to some of the best art galleries and museums in Mumbai. It is stuffed with cultural delights as well which includes some galleries on the pavements. You can roam around the place at will and ensure that you do not miss the reputed Jehangir Art Gallery. In February every year, the Kala Ghoda Association is used to conducting a 9 day fest named as the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. It is located in the Southern part of Mumbai between the Fort and Colaba.

JUHU AND MARINE DRIVE CHOWPATTY BEACHES

Chowpatty Beache

Chowpatty Beach

Travelling is a tiresome process and after a day out in the sun, every tourist wishes to put their feet up to relax. The beaches of Juhu and Marine drive are the perfect choice for this. You can view the beautiful locales as well as have a glimpse of the sunset. There will be many vendors selling different types of local snacks that are a delight to munch. Bhel puri, pani puri and pav bhaji are the best of the lot. Exclusive Juhu is located at a distance of about 30 km to the north side of the city centre whereas the Marine Drive Chowpatty is located in central part of Mumbai. It is just a short drive from the Gateway of India.

MARKETS AND BAZAARS
Mumbai is well known for the wide array of markets and bazaars of various kinds that are at your service. You can see a line of colorful vendors selling various things in these places. Street shopping is something that people visiting Mumbai are recommended to do as you are bound to come across reasonably priced stuff. The Chor Bazaar Thieves Market is immensely popular as you get all sorts of things here ranging from shoes and clothes to fresh food and spices. The architecture of the Crawford Market is a sight to behold indeed. These markets and bazaars are mostly located on Colaba Causeway, in Bandra at the Linking road, Church Gate near Crawford Market and Chor Bazaar that is located on Mutton Street.

BOLLYWOOD
Mumbai is the hub of the hot and happening hindi film industry that is glamorously titled as Bollywood. Near the Churchgate Railway Station, you can view the dynamic structure Eros Cinema that possesses a solid architecture. A lot of Bollywood films are filmed here frequently. If you want to see more of the live action, Film City that is located in the heart of Mumbai is another option. It is located in Goregaon in the western parts of Mumbai.

MAHALAXMI DHOBI GHAT

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai

This is a mammoth open air laundry that provides an incredible view into the interiors of the city of Mumbai. All the dirt in laundry that comes from different parts of Mumbai is gathered here. The washing is done with a great deal of effort by the Dhobis (local usage for washermen). The washing is carried out in big infinite rows of concrete troughs. Countless number of Dhobis performs this act for endless hours daily with help from the chemicals to clear out all the dirt from the laundry. It is located near the Mahalaxmi Railway Station in the central part of Mumbai.

MUMBAI DABBAWALAS
A dabbawala is a person who carries a container all the time. People who are used for transporting lunch boxes (dabbas) are usually called by this name. Such people can be spotted in droves in Mumbai as they go by their daily duty of supplying freshly prepared dishes to the workers in offices. This concept was initiated by the British rules but even after their exit, it has been continued in Mumbai mainly by people belonging to the business class. They can be seen around Mumbai near the railway stations mostly. The best place to view them is at the Churchgate terminus situated in the Southern part of Mumbai.

HAJI ALI
This astounding structure serves as a dual purpose – both as a mosque and also as a tomb. It was constructed in 1431 by a rich Muslim merchant named Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. He was also a known Sufi saint. His life took a drastic turn for the good after a visit to Mecca. This structure named Haji Ali also contains his body beneath it. The structure is located in the middle of the ocean. Haji Ali can be accessed only during a period of low tide from a long narrow walkway that is 500 yard long. It is located in the central part of Mumbai quite near to the Mahalaxmi Railway Station off the coast of Worli.

CAVES AND NATIONAL PARKS

Elephanta Caves Island

Elephanta Caves Island

Despite being an extremely busy city in terms of work, fun and travel, Mumbai does possess some amazing caves and a National Park as well which is not something you would expect considering the city’s dynamics. The National Park is definitely a place that you must visit at least once. You can view several ancient caves of Buddhists where hand carving is done a lot too. Lot of caves that are dedicated to Lord Shiva can be seen on the Elephanta Island. The Kanheri Buddhist Caves are located in Borivali at a distance of 40 km from the northern side of Mumbai city center. Elephanta island is about 6 miles to the eastern side of Mumbai.

These are some of the top tourist favorites in Mumbai and are recommended to every traveler who sets foot in Mumbai. Get to know about the diverse cultures of Mumbai through these tourist spots. If you haven’t been there yet, hurry up!

Places to Visit in Bangalore & Near Sightseeing

The IT Hub of Bangalore with so many top MNCs is one of the most populated cities of India with a mixed culture. The city of Bangalore is also a hot favorite tourist spot dotted with so many attractive visit-able locations in close proximity to each other. Therefore once you are at Bangalore, it will keep you busy always moving from one tourist location to another. Read more in details about the tourist spots in Bangalore.

Bangalore is one of the most happening cities in India. Be it in the field of development or partying in a holiday, Bangalore is always among the best options. People love to be in Bangalore both as a tourist spot as well as for settling down. So what are the main tourist spots in Bangalore that you should check out? Well we have a list of some of the best places. Have a look at those.

BANGALORE FORT

Bangalore Fort

Bangalore Fort


The hugely popular Bangalore Fort was built in the year 1537 by the feudal agents of the mighty Vijaynagar Empire who were also the founders of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda. This was initially a mud fort and was modified into a stone fort by Hyder Ali in the year 1761. The British seized control of the fort in 1791 and since then have dismantled it umpteen times for various purposes such as road construction, school construction, building hospitals and so on. So what now remains of this monument is its Delhi Gate along with the remnants of 2 bastions. Visiting the Bangalore Fort is a must for any tourist landing in Bangalore as it shall give you a view of the historical roots of the city.

BANGALORE PALACE
This is a famous palace made of stone and the construction was a lengthy affair indeed. The process started in 1862 and finished in 1944. In the year 1884, the then Maharaja of Mysore purchased the palace after being impressed by it. It is a massive 450 acre property that is located in a popular locality of North Bangalore. The Bangalore Palace is surrounded on all sides by a variety of trees belonging to several species. As much as 30000 paintings can be seen in the palace. Tourists visiting here are provided with an audio tour that provides them with info regarding the Mysore Empire.

BANNERGHATTA NATIONAL PARK
This is a massive park located over an area of 25000 acres. It is located at a distance of about 22 km from Bangalore city area. It is host to one of the riches sources of zoological reserves available in India as well as the world. Lot of wild animals can be spotted in this National Park such as tiger, lion, panther, deer and elephants along with a variety of reptiles as well. Birds also can be seen roaming around in the park. The forest department conducts Safari rides that allow the tourists to have a closer look at the wild animals in the park. The Zoological Park and the Biological Park located here are of utmost significance. Apart from these, you can also view a small museum that shows zoological exhibits as well as a conservatory of butterflies.

CUBBON PARK

Cubbon Park, Bangalore

Cubbon Park

The Cubbon Park is an exquisite green island that is located in the middle of the city of Bangalore. It was created in the 19th century. The British Chief Engineer of Mysore area, Major General Richard Sankey was the man responsible for the creation of the Cubbon Park. What started out as a 100 acre park eventually got extended to a 300 acre region. The presence of gardens consisting of thick bamboo adds another dimension to the beautiful park. Several heritage buildings can be viewed in the vicinity of the Cubbon Park and these do not affect the beauty of the place in any way. Some of the heritage buildings that can be seen here are the Sesadri Iyer Memorial Hall which has been converted into the Central Library and the Attara Kacheri that has now become Karnataka’s High Court. There are several places to visit in Cubbon Park and if you are with your kids, there is the option of Jawahar Bal Bhavan where kids can find pleasure.

INDIRA GANDHI MUSICAL FOUNTAIN
This is a dancing and musical fountain named as the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain which was set up in 1996. It is located in the heart of Bangalore city on the Raj Bhavan road. It is spread out on a 17 acre land that has been beautifully maintained by the Department of Horticulture, Government of Kerala. The fountain has been constructed using the latest technology available in multimedia mixed with variances of Indian-Western musical themes. Lovely patterns can be formed in three different levels and they give us an impression of a folk dance. This musical fountain is located on the opposite side of Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. It is pretty close to the Vidhana Soudha and Cubbon Park.

INNOVATIVE FILM CITY
Bangalore does have its share of highly entertaining places and Innovative Film City is one of those. It is an entertainment theme park which is located about 40 km from Bangalore. The marvelous atmosphere has drawn comparisons to the famous Disneyland of USA. It is spread over a distance of 50 acres and has something for people of all age groups. Some of the popular visiting areas here are the Teddy Museum, Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Mini Golf Field, Haunted Mansion, Bungee jumping and many other places too. A variety of food items are available at the lavish food court present here. There is a handicraft and Cultural Village too that can be seen here. The rate is Rs.599 which is a standard package while school children can avail discounts at different rates.

LAL BAGH

Lal Bagh, Bangalore

Lal Bagh

This is a wonderful botanical garden which was commissioned in the 18th century by Hyder Ali. His son, the legendary Tippu Sultan then modified it further once he occupied the throne. It is spread over 200 acres and you can see all kinds of trees here. A glass house that was constructed by the British can be seen here. Flower shows are conducted here twice a year on Republic Day and Independence Day respectively. A huge rock is present at the park and it is said to be about 3000 million years old! A 16th century tower built by Kempe Gowda is present on top of this rock. Overall, another must-visit place in Bangalore for any tourist.

MANTRI MALL
This was opened in 2010 and is the biggest mall in South India. It is situated at Malleshwaram which is known as one of the oldest residential areas of Bangalore. The mall consists of retail outlets of all the National and International brands in clothing, footwear, stationery, cosmetics, electronic goods, accessories, furnishings etc. The Mall has only one drawback and that is its location which at a very busy area of Bangalore. Therefore, entering and exiting the mall can be a difficult task for people. However, as mentioned earlier, the benefits are good enough for us to overlook this drawback.

MAVALLI TIFFIN ROOMS
The MTR brands are pretty famous and are known for the different types of ready mix food items offered by them. The MTR restaurant that is situated near the Lalbagh North Gate has always been a big craze among tourists even before the MTR brands hit the market. The Rava idlis, rava dosas, masala dosas and coffee at MTR are the best options for tourists. The coffee is served here on silver cups. There are 6 other branches of MTR in Bangalore and one in Singapore.

NANDI HILLS

Nandi Hills, Bangalore

Nandi Hills, Bangalore

They are an ancient hill fortress that is situated about 60 km from Bangalore city. It is a popular option for picnics among tourists belonging to all age groups. The presence of evergreen forests is its USP along with the presence of rich flora and fauna. The Nandi Hills are located at a distance of about 20 km from NH7. It is situated just after Devanahalli which is where the Kempegowda International Airport is located. Year after year, the Nandi Hills continue to attract tourists in droves due to its wonderful architectures and locales.

Delhi Tourist Attractions & Places to Visit

TOURIST PLACES ARROUND DELHI

Delhi has become a favorite tourist haunt these days because of the so many visit-able places that it has. The cultural and history of the city is too rich and variegated and that makes Delhi dotted with so many tourist spots. Also Delhi makes the base for traveling to many other significant tourist destinations. Hence you would actually find tourists making a bee line to the city of Delhi almost every day! More information on tourist places near Delhi is given in the article below. So read on

The capital city of India is one of lovely places for tourists. It can be split into two parts – Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of India before the British took over to construct a new city that came to be known as New Delhi eventually. The architecture of Delhi has undergone countless modifications over the years due to the felling of many constructions and renovation works. Delhi is best known for the monuments that you get to see reminding you of the ancient period. Another striking aspect of Delhi is the diverse cultures that you get to see along the length and breadth of the city. Apart from all this, all the major political activities of the country have their base here as it is the National Capital. Let us have a look at some of the most popular tourist spots in and around Delhi.

RASHTRAPATI BHAVAN

Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan

This is probably the most famous among the monuments at Delhi right now. It is the Official Residence of the Honorable President of India. The monument was constructed during the British Rule and used to be the residence of the Viceroy of India during those times. The construction took a mammoth 19 years to finish as it started in 1911 and was completed only by 1930. The design of the building was done by Edwin Lutyens. On the western side of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, you have the Mughal Gardens which are exceptionally beautiful and provide a lovely view. The monument is open to the public during spring time every year. Tourists have the option to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan and Mughal Gardens at a registration fee of Rs.25. If you are coming in a big group consisting of more than 30 members, discounts can be availed while children below the age of 12 are exempted from registration fee.

RED FORT
Another milestone of Delhi is the Red Fort which is a historical architecture. It is a massive monument that is made up of red sandstone. It extends over a whopping 2 km. It has a height difference of 18 m on the side of the river to the 33 m on the side of the city. Construction of this monument started in 1638 during the times of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and was completed in 10 years in 1648. Inside the Red Fort, there are a wide array of buildings namely the Pearl Mosque, Drum House, Hall of Public Audiences, European and Indian art forms etc. This masterpiece monument is a must-watch for every tourist visiting Delhi.

JAMA MASJID
It is a religious place that is located in Old Delhi. It is one of the most known Mosques in Delhi and is considered a must-visit place especially for Muslims. The architecture of Jama Masjid is exceptional and the stunning fact is that the area of the Mosque can accommodate 25000 people at a time which is incredible! The construction of the Mosque started in 1644 and was completed within 14 years by 1658. A total of 5000 people were at work for completing the construction. There are three gateways present along with four angle towers. Another stunning feature is the presence of minarets that are at a height of 40 m. They are made up of a mixture of strips of red sandstone and white marble. There is generally no entrance fee here but you shall have to take a ticket of Rs.200 for taking pictures inside the Mosque.

JANTAR MANTAR

Jantar Mantar Delhi

Jantar Mantar Delhi

This is another historical monument that is recommended to tourists visiting Delhi. It is situated at Connaught Place on Sansad Marg. This construction was one of the two observatories belonging to the great Maharaja Jai Singh. He ruled over Jaipur and this monument was constructed in the year 1725. The presence of a huge sundial is what dominates this structure and it is called as The Prince of Dials. There are several other instruments that can be seen in this observatory that help to find the paths of heavenly bodies. They can also be used for predicting eclipses. Construction started in 1724 and was completed in 1725. Jantar Mantar is known worldwide as an observatory that helps in analyzing Astronomy. There are several instruments available that helps to measure the graph of the astronomical universe as well.

QUTUB MINAR
Another hugely popular historical monument of Delhi is the Qutub Minar. Another feature of Qutub Minar is the fact that it is the world’s tallest minaret made solely up of bricks that have a height of 72.5 m! The construction started during the time of Delhi’s first Muslim Ruler Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in the year 1193. At that point of time, only a basement was made. His successor who was also his son-in-law was the one who initiated the addition of three more towers to the construction. The biggest significance of the Qutub Minar is that it remains among the earliest examples of the existence of Indo-Islamic architecture. There are some other structures that surround the Qutub Minar. As a whole, the area is called as the Qutub Complex.

INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTRE
Delhi is full of monuments – be it historical or art related. Another such monument related to the arts section is the Indira Gandhi National Centre. This is an institution that is financed mainly by the Government of India with sole motive of promoting as well as preserving art in its purest forms. It was inaugurated in the year 1987 by the then Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajiv Gandhi in memory of his mother Indira Gandhi who was a former Prime Minister as well.

BAHAI TEMPLE (LOTUS TEMPLE)

Lotus Temple Delhi

Lotus Temple Delhi

The Bahai Temple is another widely known Religious Monument present in Delhi. It is commonly known as the Lotus Temple due to its architecture that gives it a lotus shape. This temple is situated in the southern part of Delhi. It was designed in the year 1986 by an ace architect of Iranian-Canadian origin named Fariburz Sahba. The prominent feature of the Lotus Temple is the presence of 27 white petals. It is a very popular center of attraction among tourists while also having won several accolades in architecture as well as being featured in top magazines worldwide. October to March is the best phase of the year to visit.

NATIONAL SCIENCE CENTRE
While there are many places in Delhi for the lovers of history and art, science is another field where you can see structures or monuments as well. The National Science Centre is one such place that is totally devoted to lovers of the Science stream. It is basically a museum for science with the main intention of educating the people about the various aspects of Science and making them aware of the scope of science so that more people take it up in their lives either as a hobby or career.

INDIA GATE
Probably one historical monument that should be right up there in your priority list as a tourist visiting Delhi. It is a historical monument that was constructed in memory of the countless Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the First World War. The Indian soldiers were part of the British Army that had gone on war in what was one of the most brutal Wars in history. India Gate was designed by Edward Lutyens and was completed in 10 years. The basic architectural structure of India Gate consists of a 42 m high triumphal arch.

NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL PARK

The National Zoological Park, Delhi

The National Zoological Park, Delhi

Wild life is something that excites every tourist irrespective of his/her origins. Right from our childhood, we are always fascinated at viewing animals at the zoos. The National Zoological Park is a must-watch tourist spot in Delhi for the wide range of animal life that can be spotted there. It is a place that every Delhiite has visited at least once in their lives. While you make plans to visit Delhi, do jot down this place in your list of tourist spots that you are wishing to visit.

There are so many other wonderful monuments belonging to history, art, religion, science as well as wild life. It is not easy to make a list of the top 10 but these are some of the top tourist spots for you to visit in Delhi while you are there. Some of the other well known spots that you can also keep in mind are:-

  1. Forgotten Tomb of Mirza Ghalib
  2. Begumpuri Masjid
  3. Kalka Ji Temple
  4. Nizamuddin Dargah
  5. Garden of five senses
  6. Akshardham Temple
  7. Raj Ghat
  8. Haridwar
  9. National Rail Museum
  10. Lal Kot
  11. Mutiny Memorial
  12. Jamali Kamali Mosque

Overall, Delhi is one of the finest places in India for tourists. There is a wide range of places for you to visit in each possible stream giving you the best tourism experience. The diversity of culture as mentioned earlier makes Delhi a class apart from the rest.

Ladakh – The holy valley dotted with Gompas & Stupas

Summary: Set in the backdrop of the magnificent Himalayas, stands Ladakh, the mystic land of passes, rugged contour and serene beauty. The land of ladakh is stippled with Tibetan monasteries (the Gompas) and dome-shaped Buddhist monuments (the Stupas) and is rightly called the home of Buddhism in South Asia. In fact, the old Gompas and Stupas of Ladakh district stands as one of the prime attraction for travellers who visit this famous tourist destination in Ladakh. These ancient structures form contribute to the cultural heritage of the mountainous desert.

gompa in ladakh

gompas in ladakh

Gompas of Ladakh

In Ladakh, you will find more than a few hundred Gompas, all located in the remote edges of the mountainous terrain. Mostly, these Buddhist gompas or monasteries are accompanied by Stupas, the meditation center for the Buddist monks and nuns. Below is an account of the notable gompas and Stupas of the holy district of Ladakh.

Here’s a brief account of some of the notable Gompas of Ladakh :

Hempis Gompa:
Been rightly termed as one of the seven wonders of India, the Hemis Gompa is believed to have been constructed well back in the 11th century,. However, it was renovated once more sometime during the 17th century. It is placed at a distance of 45 kms from the capical city Leh, on the western shores of Indus river. This Buddhist Gompa is considered the richest and biggest among all the Gompas of Ladakh. This Gompa is considered to be the home of largest number of monks. Another reason why the Hemis Gompa is famous for is because of the Hemis festival that is organized over here every year during the month of July. It is a two day long festival which invites a lot of tourists to the place during this time. One can get a clear idea of the wealth that is there in the monastery from the numerous embellishments of gold, silver and other precious metals that are on show particularly during this time of the year.

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa:

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

Constructed way back in 1430, this Gompa got its name from its founder king Tashi namgyal, who had built it atop his palace. The most notable attraction of this ancient Buddhist monastery is a three storied structure of Lord Buddha. The laymen get a chance to have glimpse of Lord Buddha’s statue during daytime and also at the time of daybreak and dusk when the monks come over there to perform the routine prayer. The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is also famous for its large display of old manuscripts and fresco art.

Shey Gompa
The Shey Gompa was built atop the Shey palace (15 Kms to the South of Leh, the capital city of Ladakh) was built in mid seventeenth century. The picturesque location of the monastery and also the Shey palace invites a lot of traveller over here.A clear view of the Himalayan range can be obtained from the south and west of the fortress. A seated structure of Lord Buddha (Sakyamuni Buddha) made of copper and adorned with gold , is what makes this Gompa all the more special. The structure is 12 meters tall and placed in the second story of the old monastery. For the pilgrims a good time to visit the Shey Gompa is around the month of July, when they celebrate the “Shey Doo Lhoo” festival to register the start of the sowing season. Another festival that dots the Shey Gompa is the “Shey Ropla”, the festival that registers the start of harvesting season.

Thiksey Gompa

Thiksey Gompa

Thiksey Gompa

One of the most illustrious Gompas of Ladakh is the Thiksey Gompa. This famous monastery belongs to the Gelugpa orders and is located 19kms to the east of Leh. The Gompa hosts the largest Buddha statue of the holy land, 49 feet tall. There is a museum over here inside which you will get to see lot of Tantric relics and the symbolic 10 weapons which is believed to fight the evil forces. The Thiksey Gompa is also noted for the famous Gustor festival which is hosted over here every year from 17th day to the 19th day of the 10th month of Tibetan lunar calendar. One important attraction during this time is the mask dance which is considered holy among the Buddhists.

Stongdey Gompa
One of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh, the Stongey Gompa, serves as the home of almost 60 monks. Though earlier it is believed to have been the home of nearly 400 monks. Well back in 1050 AD, this holy place was set up by Lama Lhodak Marpa Choski Lodos and belongs to the Tsongkhapa order. Like the Thiksey Gompa, Gustor festival is an important attraction of the Stongdey Gompa as well.

Apart from these, there are numerous other gompas in Ladakh, the most notables being the Bardan Gompa, Diskit Gompa, Lamayuru Gompa , Alchi Gompa etc.

Stupas of Ladakh

Stupa – One of the most notable characteristic of the mountain desert of Ladakh. Most often than not the Gompas are coupled with Stupas which are usually the meditation room for the Buddhist Monks and according to the Buddhist culture the Stupas lead to the route to refinement. Ladakh hosts a variety of Stupas of various sizes.

Shanti Stupa

Shanti Stupa Leh

Shanti Stupa Leh

The most famous of all the stupas of Ladakh is the Shanti Stupa, founded in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist monk, hikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. This famous tourist attraction of the place, is a dome shaped structure located at Chanspa of Leh district. One gets a beautiful glance of the picturesque land from atop the stupa. It is located 5 Kms away from the city of Leh. A view of the Shanti stupa during sunrise or sunset is considered most extraordinary.

Votive Stupas
The votive stupas are not exactly the typical stupas notable for their theological importance but these are miniature structures built all over the mountainous terrain of Ladakh. These structures are observed by the locales as holy places from where they gain religious benefits. As a part of their offering to the deity, the local people of the place keep prayer bowls or wheels or the holy texts at these stupas.

Needless to say, all these Stupas and Gompas add an added essence to the otherwise desolated landscape.

Drass Valley- Make Your Tour of the Drass Hassle-Free

The small township of the scenic Drass valley has developed into a fond tourist spot these days. The location of this wonderfully cool and pleasant tourist spot is that it lies west of the famous Kargil on the road taking you to Srinagar. If you wish to gather more information on this fascinating tourist spot, the Drass tourism guide below might help. So read on.

Drass Valley

Drass Valley

Draped in style by the fascinating Himalayan mountain range, at an altitude of 3,400m above sea level, en route to Srinagar, lies the beautiful Drass valley. It is located 60 kms to the west of Kargil district, at the entrance to Ladakh, the land of passes. The town comes second (first in India) in the list of coldest places on earth where human civilization exists. The temperature over here drops down to as low as -40 degrees during winter, while summers are cool. The summer months are accompanied by frequent soft drizzles as well which make the climate all the more pleasant. It is during this time of the year the Drass valley attracts the mountaineers and trekkers who love to indulge into adventures, the most. Over the years the place has come up as an important tourist destination of the country.

How to Reach Drass:
One can travel by road, rail or air in order to reach Drass, however, flight or train would take you only to the nearest cities. The airport closest to the Drass valley is Leh, the capital city of Ladakh district while the rail station that is at close quarters to the beautiful valley town is Jammu. However, there are buses running back and forth from Srinagar to Leh or Kargil through NH1 which drop by Drass on its way. The usual halt time for buses is about 10 minutes. Such busses are available from morning till afternoon. However many get cancelled due to bad weather and other similar reasons. Another option to reach Drass is to avail Jeep or other cars. Best option for single travelers or those who opt for trekking is to avail shared cabs. If you are travelling in a group (say consisting of 7-8 heads) it is better to hire a cab or a car and set out for the journey to Drass.

An important point to remember: Travelers heading to Ladakh from Srinagar are needed to book their names at the Tourist Registration center in Drass.

Mountaineering in Drass

Mountaineering in Drass

Places to Stay:
The primary place of accommodation at this place is the government tourist lodge which hosts a varied range of rooms, from suites or deluxe rooms to executive or economical ones. Since hotel options isn’t much over here so a wise decision would be to book the rooms prior to your reaching the place. Rooms can be booked from the tourist registration center at Kargil. However, apart from this government run tourist lodge, a few other private hotels have also come up the valley in recent times.

Sneak peek into the small town of Drass
Visitors entering the town would be welcomed by a signboard that stands as a proof of the fact that Drass is the second coldest place on earth. The main town caps a distance of not more than 150 meters along the rugged terrain and highways. There are brightly colored wooden and brick houses, not much big, which stand on both sides of the narrow roads. Also, there is a fairly big mosque in the town where the local people offer their prayer.Apart from this, Drass hosts a number of monasteries and there is a common market place for people to buy stuffs for their regular use. Strolling along the roads is the best option if you want to take a tour across the town.

Eating options:
There are several hotels and dhabas over here where your pocket pinch won’t be much. Dry foods such as biscuits, fruits or the sponge cakes which is a specialty of the place are a must have if you are visiting Drass. Pure vegetarian dhabas are also available here.

Tourist Attractions:

The Drass valley is well acclaimed as a trekking zone for the mountaineers. If you are a pro and want to dive deep and lose yourself amidst all the adventures, opt for the long treks that Drass offers you. For the young guns who want to get a taste of risk in unexpected undertakings, short trek is a good option. One of the most sought after trekking option is the one from Drass to Suru valley. One gets a prefect view of the picturesque highland villages in course of the trek. On the way falls the Umbala pass which is a major tourist attraction. The place is covered by lush meadows with beautiful flowers on both sides of the pass, which make it look all the more attractive. The trekking takes 3 days to get completed and can be one heck of an adventure particularly if you are coming with a large group of people. It is pretty demanding to complete this trekking and requires a lot of physical toughness in you. Another trekking option is the famous 3 days long trek to the holy gumpha of Amarnath.

zojila pass

zojila pass

 Zoji La: The word ‘La’ means pass. One prime tourist attraction over here is the Zoji La. It is from the base of the Zoji la that the Drass valley starts. This pass is well known as the Himalayan entrance to Ladakh. Over the years, the local residents of the place are bearing with the hardships during winter and travel to and fro the Zoji La even during the snow cladded wintry months to facilitate trade. They also help in transportation of goods and assist travelers to cross the pass.

Puga Valley: This lake basin close to the Drass valley, located across the Polokonka pass, is notable for its hot water spring and Borax and Sulphur sediments. Every year hundreds of tourists and travelers take bath in the water of Puga hot water spring as the spring is considered to have medicinal value. Patients suffering from rheumatism and various skin ailments clean themselves in the water of this basin in order to cure their diseases. There are a lot of travelers who visit the place for this purpose ending up with positive results as well.

Drass had managed to get much bigger attention worldwide. This is due to the wide broadcasting that was done there during the LoC issues between India and Pakistan. This has put Drass into the folklore of Indian history. The beauty of the place and the locales here are stunning beyond words. The experience of being at Drass is much beyond a normal tourist spot trip considering the importance of the location. Enjoy the bliss of Drass along with its scenic locations and historical spots with your friends or family whenever you get.

Best Winter Holiday Destinations in India

Winter season is soon to arrive. Even before the winds turn really chilly and all your quilts, blankets, woolens are out of the wardrobe, you must have started planning for a winter holiday trip. Thus winter is not just about sipping from a cup of hot fuming coffee and peeping out from your blanket. Nature gets dressed differently during winter and thus you have lots to explore when you are on a winter holiday trip. So just check out the top 10 winter destinations in India below.

Winters are a time when the holiday spirit rises up in the best of us. The Celsius drops, there is a nip in the air, the heart yearns for romance and the eye seeks greener pastures; this is a perfect time to get your back pack ready. India being a beautiful country has a lot to offer to the discerning tourist in terms of winter travel. Here is a list of places both famous and unusual where you can head off to this winter.

Shillong in Meghalaya
Shillong bears a very strong resemblance to Scotland because of its pristine beauty and beautifully colored highlands. The name is derived from Leishyllong or the supreme divine power which emanates from the peaks of Shillong. There are several sets of waterfalls in Shimla; all of them astoundingly beautiful. There is the Crinoline Falls, Elephant Falls, Beadon Falls, Elephant Gaits and the 2 Gunners Falls. Each of these Falls have curious stories attached to them like it is locally known that the Elephant Falls was the favorite bathing place of Elephants.
Shillong has a very exciting night life and has lots of pubs, bistros and bars lining its tiny pebbled streets. This is a perfect romantic place to come with your better half. Tall Pine forests and fields of edelweiss makes Shillong a photographers delight. For the best effect, stay in a wooden cottage which has the capacity for hosting for a log fire. Shillongs beauty is best savored in chilly winter mornings amidst its abundant natural beauty.

Goa
In winters you will feel that you have stepped into an international festival circuit once you step into Goa. Caucasians, Negros, Latin Americans and South Asians flock the beaches in Goa as it is well known winter holiday destination abroad. Goa was a Portuguese colony in the past and has been under the influence of rich Latin and Portuguese cultures. There are several beautiful churches in Goa that have been marked out as world heritage sites by UNESCO.

Fort Aguada, Fort Tiracol and Basilica are the places to visit if you are interested in history. The Goa Science Center, Museum of Archeology and the Gallery of Portraits are some must see places in Goa.

For nature lovers there is Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Sanctuary and Cotigao Sanctuary. Salim Ali Bird Park has brightly colored parrots, kingfishers and mynas and is an ornithologist’s delight.

Rajasthan
Rajasthan is the name that most travelers would come up with when asked to name one of the best tourist destinations in WINTERS IN India. This is a land where everything is larger than life starting from the exotic palaces to the camels the heavily decked up local people wearing colorful attire and chunky jewelry. This is also the state where most celebrities (both national and international) head off to for holding destination weddings in the exotic villas in Udaipur and Jaiselmer.

Jaipur should be your first choice in Rajasthan and the city will overwhelm you with its abundance of pink in everything. The man made landscape is so colorful that you will never feel like putting the camera away. There are 7 major palaces and 4 different forts in Jaipur that you can explore with most of them offering amazing sites where you can sit and watch the sun go down.

After you have finished with Jaipur…head off to Udaipur which is the city of palaces. Udaipur holds camel races every winter which is a major tourist draw.

Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Ranthambore are some major places of tourist interest in Rajasthan too.

Gulmarg in Kashmir
Gulmarg has recently been voted by India Times as one of the most coveted winter destinations of India. The snow clad hills of Gulmarg are best experienced in winters when tourists flock here for seeing the world’s biggest Gondola ski lift. The acres long Golf course is also a major tourist draw here as there is the system of providing short term memberships. Horse riding and trekking are other winder sports activities in Gulmarg.
Gulmarg has umpteen flower valleys filled with Rhodendrons, carnations, daisies and wild roses. In winter there are flower shows organized every week which will enchant you with their beauty. Make sure you take your camera along.

Nainital and Pangot in Uttarakhand
Nainital is one of the most famous hill stations in Uttarakhand which offers a lot to the crowd avoiding nature loving tourist. Nainital has a lot of apricot and almond farms from where the produce is supplied to several other places in India. There are 7 different hikes in Nainital which can be availed by tourists who can go on long and exhilarating walks. Nainital is also a food lover’s Paradise as it hosts a lot of restaurants and cafes that serve delectable Uttaranchal cuisine.

If you drive 15 km away from Nainital you will reach Pangot that is a bird watcher’s paradise. 2000 separate birds’ species have been located and named in Pangot and the nearby areas. There are the luxuriant Cheena Peak forests that dot Pangot and beautiful tourist points like Kilbury and Snow View Point. If you want to go for picnics in winter then the lovely lake trio of Naini Tal, Nakuchia Tal and Saat Tal are the best places.

Kovalam
Kerala’s Kovalam beach has fine whitish sand unlike the yellowish coarse sand that is present in other Indian Beaches. 3 separate beaches are present in Kovalam which are arranged together in a crescent shaped structure. All the 3 beaches have facilities for Para gliding, sun bathing, hot oil massage and other beach activities.

Kovalam is a Panchkarma (ancient ayurvedic therapy) hub and it has many massage therapy centers. Treatments and beautification therapies are provided here using the 7 oils Ayurvedic process. Many foreigners also visit Kovalam in the winters for enjoying its oil massage treatments.

Havelock Island in Andaman
Some die hard Andaman fans claim that the Radhanagar beach in Havelock Island was one of the best beaches in the world. The distinctive pattern of the coastline in Radhanagar beach ensures that there is perfect stillness between the two subsequent wave crashes of the sea here. Many famous poets of India including the award winning author Amitava Ghosh had chosen Radhanagar Beach as the perfect place for going on a book writing holiday. This beach is surrounded from all sides by Mangroves which are populated by elephants. In fact elephants are found on hire here for the amusement of tourists. Don’t miss out on the lovely coral souvenirs which are sold on the Radhanagar beach.

Leh in Ladakh
If you are brave hearted and can bear the chill then do visit Ladakh’s capital town Leh in winters. This town is full of gaiety and fun all against a pure white backdrop. Leh is best experienced in the winters unlike the rest of Ladakh as it is fully equipped to provide tourists with the ultimate holiday experience. The Namgyal Monarchs have ruled Leh for ages till they were uprooted by democracy. The Stok Palace, Leh Palace, Tsemo Gompa and the umpteen monasteries make Leh an architect’s paradise.

If you love shopping especially exotic shopping then head off to Leh Bazaar where you can find chunky Tibetan Jewelry, Thangkas, fine shawls, lovely artifacts and handicrafts which are very different from the usual products found in India.

Corbett National Park
If you want to look at the stunning tiger in the eye in its own majestic setting then the Corbett National Park is your best bet. Winters see the maximum tourist traffic here as there are a lot of tiger and rare bird sightings in Corbett. Unlike other national parks in India, this one is highly organized and caters to tourists of all preferences and budgets. This is why you will get elephant ride tours, bird watching tours, jungle camp arrangements, watch tour night stays and much more here.

150 different varieties of exotic animals and 200 species of birds exist today in Corbett National Park making it a nature lover’s delight.

Amritsar
Amritsar is arguably India’s food paradise. If you are a foodie then Amritsar is heaven for you. The best paranthas and the sweetest jalebis in India are found in the tiny galis of Amritsar. Butter Chicken, Missi Roti, Palak Paneer and all other Punjabi delicacies are best sampled in Amritsar which holds food fests almost every week in winter.

Amritsari Macchi is a dish which has now gained entry into the best Indian cookbooks published in India. Don’t forget to sample Chole Bature and the Butter Kulcha when you are here

If you are interested in Indian History then Jallianwala Bagh and Wagah Border will interest you. The Golden Temple is a must see as its one of the best and the most beautiful religious monuments in India.

If you are interested in shopping then stock up on the beautiful yet super affordable textile found in Amritsar. Phulkari Dupattas are eternally in fashion and make great gift items too. Buy a few brightly colored ones from Amritsar to carry back home.

Best Season to Travel in Kashmir

Kashmir, the paradise of earth is the most visit-able tourist spots for people from all across the nation plus the globe. The mesmerizing mountainous terrain with snow capped peaks, undulating plains carpeted with soft grass covers, forests of pines and conifers, gurgling rivulets, the Dal lake, the house boats, the Shikaras, the apple orchards all give Kashmir a unique charm indeed. If you wish to gather info on the best time to visit Kashmir, just read on.

Jammu and Kashmir has been aptly called heaven on earth. Its majestic beauty has drawn hundreds of tourists from India as well as abroad every season. However due to its positioning in the Northern climes of India and its recent climate of political unrest has led many tourists to question themselves about the most suitable time to visit this beautiful state. The problem is that Kashmir has a different kind of beauty every season and choosing the best season to visit it is akin to choosing between roses and orchids; all seasons are beautiful and it entirely depends upon your preferences and convenience.

Winters

Winter in Kashmir

Winter in Kashmir

Months- December to February
Temperature-: -5 degrees to 8 degrees

The minimum temperature in Jammu reaches 4 degrees centigrade during the chilly winters. There is also a lot of snow fall around the upper climes of Kashmir. Srinagar which is the summer hotspot for tourists becomes extremely cold. The pristine white beauty of the landscape gives birth to a different kind of experience altogether.

Gulmarg and its surrounding areas are perfect for a visit in the winters. Snow sports like skiing, para gliding, snow skating and zorbing happens in the pristine valleys of Gulmarg. If you are interested in sports then Kashmir is best visited in winters. Early winters is a good time to visit if you want to experience the apple picking season in certain sections of Kashmir.

Winter flowers like rhodendrons are in full bloom and can be seen peeping out from under the snow. Wild duck shooting season popular since the British Raj is also on during the winters.

Spring

spring in kashmir

spring in kashmir

Months- February to April
Temperature-: 5 degrees to 10 degrees

Spring is heaven in Kashmir; every variety of fruit blossom like apples, almonds, cherries, apricots, plums, pears and peaches weigh down the trees. If you have never seen an apple blossom filled tree in Kashmir then you have not seen one of the prettiest vistas nature has to offer.
Flowers like roses, carnations, button daisies, rhodendrons, thyme and edelweiss fill up the meadows making the air fragrant and fresh.
Lohri which is celebrated in winters in the rest of the country is held in Spring in Kashmir. The beautiful people of Kashmir dress up in their best clothes and visit the various parts of the Valley. Bonfires are lit and the people of Kashmir indulge in singing, dancing and festivities. If you want to experience the true beauty of nature then Spring is the best time to visit. However make sure you book your tickets well in advance.

Summer

summer in kashmir

summer in kashmir

Months- April to June
Temperature-: 8 degrees to 18 degrees

Fruits have finally ripened in Kashmir during Summers and the blossoms of spring have matured. You will see tiny orchards all over the state brimming over with rich produce of strawberry, apricot, peach and cherry. Fruit picking (also open to interested tourists) is on. This is also the season when the flaming orange saffron is harvested and you will see entire miles of tiered saffron fields being harvested by Kashmiri women. Kashmir is at its most temperate in the summers and if you are not too fond of cold temperatures then its best to visit Kashmir in summers. Zorbing and Pony riding are the major attractions of summers in Kashmir along with trout fishing.

Make sure that your tickets are booked well in advance as maximum tourist traffic happens in summers. Tourists who are interested in Amaranth Yatra also visit during this time.

Monsoons

Months- June to September
Temperature-: 8 degrees to 18 degrees

Though the light rains against the lush hilly backdrop and the flower filled meadows does make it a lovely sight; Kashmir is best avoided in the monsoons. Some areas become slippery and treacherous and there is a chance of falling and hurting yourself. Landslides and water logging are also common during this time.

Kashmir in Monsoons is only for the young and adventurous.

Autumn

autumn in kashmir

autumn in kashmir

Months- October and November
Temperature-: 6 degrees to 10 degrees

Kashmir is a photographer’s paradise in Autumn. You will scarcely be able to stop clicking photos if you visit Kashmir in the Autumn. Chinnar leaves shed their golden leaves and the roads and pathways takes on amazing red, golden and fire orange colors. Agricultural fest is organized in Parampore in Kashmir which is very famous. This is also the season for handicraft fairs and festivals in Kashmir as well as the jam and the jelly making season. Don’t leave Kashmir till you have purchased some Kashmiri stitch shawls and delicious cherry and apricot jam.

Top 10 Tourist Places in Gujarat

Gujarat, has of late turned into a fond tourist hotspot. It’s dotted with many attractive places that enliven your mood and make history come alive. For wildlife lovers, for God seekers too Gujarat has plenty to offer. So when you plan for a holiday, consider visiting Gujarat at least once in your lifetime. Read on to learn the top 10 places in Gujarat.

Gujarat is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich States of India. Here is a list of top 10 places you should see when you come to Gujarat.

Ahmedabad

Iskcon Temle Ahmedabad

Iskcon Temle Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad besides being the fifth biggest Indian City is also one of the commercial areas of Gujarat. The city was founded by Raja Karnadev in the 11th Century and was named as Karnawati after him. Subsequently Sultan Ahmed Shah invaded the place in 1411 and gave the city his own name. This is why Ahmedabad has some of the fine examples of both Hindu as well as Muslim architecture.

There are several tourist attractions in Ahmedabad like Bhadra Fort, Teen Darwaza, and Hanging Minarets, intricate historical buildings, gorgeous mosques and pristine lakes. Sabarmati Ashram which was Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram is the hub for people who want to follow Gandhi Ji’s message.

For shoppers Ahmedabad is a great destination as it has an amazing collection of textiles and jewelry being one of the major exporters of both in India.

Vadodra

Vadodara

Vadodara

Vadodra is the cultural hotspot of Gujarat and is one of the most popular destinations of the state. Mughals used to rule Vadodra in the past which is why the place is still full of intricate architecture in the Islamic style. Later the Mughals were defeated by Maratha Gaekwad who used to serve as army generals. Subsequently Vadodra was the capital of the Marathas. The city saw many developments under the leadership of Sayajirao ii and enjoyed great prosperity even in British Rule.

There are lots of things you can do when you are in Vadodra like visit the Kadia Dungar caves, stroll around in Lakshmi Vilas Palace and take a round of Nazarbaugh Villa as well as Makarpura Palace. Sayaji Baug is a huge garden complex filled with hot blooms and 100 different vaieties of ferns. It also has a small zoo and a pretty toy train. Vadodra is a place that will take you back in time.

Sasan Gir National Park in Junagad

Sasan Gir National Park

Sasan Gir National Park

Gir National Park is the best place in Asia for spotting the royal lion in its natural setting. More than 70 Asiatic Lions are present in this National Park so most tourists report a spotting. Other exotic fauna in the Gir National Park are marsh crocodiles, sambar, fork tailed antelope, leopard, golden finches, hyenas etc so this place is heaven for animal lovers.

If you are seriously interested in lion spotting then April to May is the best time to visit. Apart from this park if you visit Junagadh then don’t forget to visit Junagadh Fort.

Bhuj

Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj

Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj

Bhuj is a place which is a historical wonder and one of the most visited places in Gujarat. Right from Mahabharata to Alexander the Great to Indus Valley Civilisation to the East India Company Rule; many historical eras have strong connections to Bhuj. Cultures have existed in Bhuj for more than 4000 years and each has left its own indelible mark.

Aina Mahal and Prag Mahal in Bhuj are the best architectural wonders in Bhuj as they were inhabitated by the maharao’s of Bhuj. Magnificient Chattardis (umbrellas of the dead royals) stand in the middle of the Rann of Kutch surrounding Bhuj. Kutch Museum is full of historical wonders and miniature models of the way royal life existed in Bhuj before. Bejewelled crowns, fierce weapons and antique royal furniture is also displayed in the museum. There are 19 craft villages which surround Bhuj out of which Bhojodi and Ajrakhpur is the most famous. 16 different forms of embroidery, batik and mirror work are present in Bhuj and its surrounding areas which is why so many international tourists target Bhuj.

If you are religiously inclined then Ramkund Stepwell, Nag Mata Mandir and the various Bhuj stone temples will interest you.

Rann of Kutch

Rann of Kutch

Rann of Kutch

You must already have heard Amitabh Bacchan mouthing the lines “Kutch Nahin Dekha Tho Kuch Nahin Dekha” on Radio and T.V. Kutch is full of pristine white sand and exotic fauna set against a backdrop of cultural extravaganza which happens every year at frequent intervals.

The Rann of Kutch is situated in between the Arabian Sea and the never ending Thar Desert. This is India’s only hot white desert with the other (cold) white desert being in Ladakh. Salt and sand together give this desert a mystical look; a fact that is again highlighted on moonlit nights. Rann of Kutch is submerged inside water in the monsoons; a fact which makes it very puzzling to Geologists. Head off to Dhordo where cultural extravaganza is held in moonlit nights. If you are ever in Gujarat during a full moon night, reserve that night for the Rann of Kutch.

Every winter migratory Flamingoes arrive from halfway across the world to spend a fortnight in this magical white desert. The desert is then dotted with shocking pink and looks like a polka dotted landscape. Other migratory birds like Bustard, Blue Bee Eater and Vulture are present here which makes this desert an ornithologist’s delight.

If you visit the little Rann of Kutch you will be thrilled to see the Wild Ass Sanctuary where groups of rare wild Asses are found.

December 2014 will host the Rann Mahotsav when painters, acrobats, dancers, performers, artists and snake charmers visit the Rann for a week long fest. Camel Safari, cock fights, wrestling match and live music give the desert a joyful look.

Mandvi

Mandvi

Mandvi

So you thought Gujarat was all about deserts, lions and traditional culture right? Well Mandvi will prove you wrong with its collection of lovely sandy stretches along the Ahmadabad Mandvi stretch. Water sports like sailing, Para gliding and swimming are organized around the beaches in Mandvi. The pristine blue waters of the Arabian Sea Coast are gentle enough for relaxing laps and this is why you can easily head off to the Mandvi Beach for a fun family vacation. The firm control of the Gujarat Government means that there is no eve teasing, no stray drug abuse, no filthy language and a perfect friendly environment on the beach.

There are beautiful spots in Mandvi where you can go for sightseeing and cultural immersion too. There is the Vijay Vilas Palace which is filled with grand old paintings while the Rukmavati Bridge offers you a glimpse into architectural wonder of Gujarat. If you have some extra time on your hands then do visit the Kasi Viswanath Beach too.

Satpura

Satpura Mountain

Satpura Mountain

Gujarat’s only and most beautiful hill station is Satpura which is at a moderate altitude of 1000 m in the very core of Dang District. This hill station is in a very high plateau on the famous Sahayadri Range. You will be pleasantly surprised to see cool refreshing climate and miles of emerald greens in the lovely land of Satpura. This place has come into the limelight recently when the Gujarat Government has started promoting it strongly. There are many amenities in Satpura like Boating facilities, cultural theaters, heritage hotels, ancient museums and lovely parks which are built to cater to the ever growing tourist traffic.

Bhadreswar

Bhadreswar Jain Temple

Bhadreswar Jain Temple

Bhadreswar is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Gujarat and many references to its spiritual importance are quoted in Mahabharata where this place was referred to as Bhadrawati. There are several Jain temples here which date back to more than 100 years. Bhadreswar is also known amongst architects because of the finest examples of Kutch architecture. Several books have been written about history of the 52 Jain temples in Bhadreswar. Several carvings, paintings and statues of historical importance are present in Bhadreswar.

Chanakya Mahadev Temple in Bhadreswar was established by Pandavas about 5000 years ago and this attracts a lot of ethnologists. Duda Masjid is also a great example of Islamic architecture.

Diu Beach

Diu Beach

Diu Beach

The Diu Beach is Gujarat’s summer capital. It’s the place where local people of Gujarat head off to for summer fun and frolic. As you well know Diu is a union territory but comes within the governance of Gujarat Government. This is a pretty fishing town where you will find every conceivable type of Fish being sold and cooked (a rarity in predominantly vegetarian Gujarat).

The most famous beach of Diu is Nagoa Beach which is located in Gangeshwar Coast. Boating and Parasailing are regular features here and it attracts a lot of tourists. You can also pay a visit to Lord Shiva temple situated near Goghala Beach when you visit Diu.

Porbandar

Hari Temple in Porbandar

Hari Temple in Porbandar

If you are a Mahatma Gandhi Fan then PorBandar will surely be in your tour list. This is where Mahatma Gandhi was born and several ashrams and institutes that teach the Gandhi way of life are established here. Porbandar is also an important port with its own dockyard situated as it is on the very edges of the Arabian Sea Coastal Line.

Tourists visiting Porbander should visit the Kirti Mata Mandir, Bharat Temple, and the Sudama Temple. Interestingly Sudama (Lord Krishna’s friend) was also born here.

Chowpatty Beach is where you can head off to for building sandcastles and sampling vada pao and kachori.

If you are a nature lover then the bird sanctuary hosting 115 varieties of birds is sure to attract your interest.