Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Ladakh

The mystic land of Ladhak has lots to offer to a tourist. Explore its craggy topography kissing the sky, the green sprawling vales, the pellucid lakes of crystal-clear blue water and you’ll indeed feel you have arrived at a land detached from the chaos of the surrounding world. Read on to learn about Ladhak’s top 10 tourist destinations

Ladakh is a mystical and mysterious land and is meant for the discerning tourist who is jaded of the overcrowded usual tourist routes and wants to sample the exquisite untouched beauty of the land of Monasteries; Ladakh. To explore Ladakh well you need a minimum of 15 days as there are innumerable places of interest which are pretty inaccessible and require a lot of time to travel. However if you are short on time but still would like to see the principal attractions of Ladakh then the Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Ladakh are shortlisted for you.

Tourist Attractions in Leh-Ladakh

Leh Town

Leh Town

1 – Leh: The Capital town of Ladakh

You will anyway be visiting the town of Leh as the only airport in Ladakh lies here. This is an ancient mystical town full of opportunities for sightseeing and shopping. Visit the Namgyal Peak which was the victory peak for the Namgyal Monarchs who ruled over Leh for centuries. The Stok Palace and the Leh Palace are the places in which the Ladakh Monarchs used to stay. The Tsemo Gompa with its intricate paintings and huge Thangka is also an un-missable attraction of the town and so is the smaller Avalokiteshvara Monastery just below it.

The Leh Bazaar is ideal for a shopping expedition (you won’t find much of shopping opportunities in rest of Ladakh). The top buys here are silver artifacts, chunky Tibetan jewelry, Pashmina shawls, Prayer Wheels and Thangkas. Book a vehicle (preferably a Jeep) if you want to see the rest of the Ladakh well because Leh is where all tourists make conveyance arrangements too.

2 – Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh

The Pangong Tso Lake is unlike anything that you have seen in the rest of your life. For starters it’s an exhilarating but difficult journey as you have to cross the Chang La which is supposed to be the third highest motor able road in the world and you will have to climb to an altitude of 17,500 feet to reach there. The view is astounding and you will scarcely be able to put the camera away. Pangong is actually an army outpost besides which lies the huge Pangong Tso lake; the most beautiful Lake in Ladakh. If you are in Ladakh during winters then it’s possible to have a “walking on water experience as the Lake solidifies to ice. During summers you will be able to see robins, pelicans and red breasted cuckoos flying over the lake. There are an amazing range of flowers which grow right beside the lake making it an amazing experience.

Zanskar Valley

Zanskar Valley

3 – Zanskar Valley in Ladakh

Zanskar Valley is about 5 hours from Leh and its better to ride up there by car as there are lots of places of interest here. This is called the Virgin Valley because of the unspool innocence of the landscape. If you are interested in adventure sports then you will enjoy the white water rafting trip from Zanskar to Phey village.

The Bardan Gompa and the Karsha Monasteries are the two famous monasteries of Zanskar Valley. 100 different Buddha incarnations are depicted in the Karsha Monastery which is situated right besides the beautiful Doda River. Padum village with its crooked little houses with rose and apricot gardens and the lovely Khar palace is also a must see attraction here.

4 – Nubra Valley: Paradise in Ladakh

Caravans of merchants used to carry spices, silk and condiments along the famous Silk Route of which Nubra Valley was a major stop. For an authentic experience ditch your car for half an hour and hitch a ride atop the 2 humped Bactrian Camels that are found on hire there.

If you feel uncomfortable maneuvering the unnaturally high altitude and extreme temperature of Ladakh then Nubra Valley will provide you with a breath of fresh air. For starters the altitude is lower here and you will have a break from the rarified atmosphere in the rest of Ladakh. This is the most beautiful area in Ladakh and takes 5 hours by Jeep from Leh.
The Diskit Monastery is the biggest Monastery in this area with gleaming chortens, Mani walls, Thangkas and carved Tibetan inscriptions. Diskit Village has lots of shops (in case shopping fever has hit you) and plenty of good restaurants serving world cuisine.

Brokpa Villages

Brokpa Villages women with her kids

5 – Brokpa Villages of Ladakh

If anthropology and culture fascinates you then the Dha and Baigdandu Villages which are a part of the cluster of Brokpa Villages will fascinate you. Centuries ago when Alexander the Great along with his magnificent army had conquered the rest of the world before being demoralized and turning back at the frontiers of Ladakh; some soldiers of his army stayed back. The soldiers were enchanted with the loveliness of the land and being too tired to travel all the way back, they married local beauties and opened inns, pubs, bookshops and hotels here. There is complete prevalence of European culture here with dating, open relationships and independent existence being the norm. Sample the local pancakes and honey, look at the apricot and cherry orchards and see the villagers dressed up in the red feather and bead costumes dance; it’s an experience of a lifetime.

Incidentally, these villages are nearer to Srinagar Airport (5 hours) than the Leh Airport (8.5 hours).

6 – Sumur Nubra Sand Dune Park in Ladakh

Sumoor Nubra is India’s only cold desert park. It’s about -6 hours from Leh Airport and is reachable by Jeep or Volvo Bus both of which you can avail from Leh. Once you reach the Sand Dune leisure Park, make sure you attempt the Bactrian two humped camel ride across the park premises. This camel is peculiar only to this region and you will feel like a nomad experiencing the charms of the desert. Mountain climbing is done on the rocky mountain and there are opportunities of biking too. Overnight camp stay in full A.C tent with excellent food, wine, music and cultural programs is arranged by the Sumoor Nubra management.

Nubra Sand Dune Park

Nubra Sand Dune Park

7 – Uleytokpo: Monastery Village in Ladakh

Uleytekpo besides being one of the prettiest villages in Ladakh is home to 3 of Ladakh’s famous Monasteries; Alchi, Lamyaru and Rizdong. The luxury Uley Resort is situated over here which offers the last word in exotic comfort amidst picturesque surroundings.

Alchi Monastery has 4 main areas of interest; Ringchen Zangpo monument, Chortens, Dukhang (prayer hall) and Manjushri Temple. Don’t forget to visit the Mangyu, Sakymuni and Vairocana temple complex nearby. Lamyaru Monastery which is one off oldest monasteries in Ladakh shouldn’t be missed.

8 – Confluence of Zanskar and Indus Rivers

The confluence of the Zanskar and Indus River is one of the most beautiful places in Ladakh. The waters of the Indus and Zanskar are distinguishable by the different strains of blue coloring. Many adventure tours and travel organizers set up camps at this point. If you visit this place between July to September you can participate in the river rafting activities which are a thrilling experience in themselves. Fishing, Bird watching and photography are the other major activities here. Ladakh is home to more than 50 varieties of birds many of which are now endangered like Golden Eagle.

9 – Magnetic Hills in Ladakh

People from all across the world come to see the famous Magnetic Hill in Ladakh which defies gravity. Just leave the park in neutral gear and watch it climb uphill at a speed of 10 km per hour on its own. This place is the only area in the world where vehicles climb up a hill even when engine is turned off. This is because the Hill has special magnetic properties. The Magnetic Hill is 30 km away from the capital town of Leh and is one of the most curious places in Ladakh.

10 – Hemis National Park in Ladakh

Hemis National Park in Ladakh

Hemis National Park in Ladakh

The strangest thing about Ladakh is that there are no parks except the Hemis National Park which is incidentally the largest ecological reserve in India. Set in a sprawling 1290 square miles this Park leaves a beautiful impression on the mind.

Rare forms of wildlife like Snow Leopard, Tibetan Ibex, Argali and Ladakhi Urial are found here. The birds to watch out for are Lammergeier vulture, Robin Accentor, Fork Swift, Crimson billed Cock, Golden Eagle, Tibetan Snowfinch and Himalayan Griffon vulture. There are beautiful Tibetan handicraft selling shops inside Hems national Park. Another must see attraction here is the large and superbly beautiful Hemis Monastery with its ancient Thangkas and tall Buddha statues.

Top 10 Best Beaches in India

A beach side vacation has a charm of its own. The frothy waves dashing and breaking against the craggy shore or the sketchy silhouette of the sea against the backdrop of the sublime blue sky all might seem so very fascinating to you, that whenever you get a chance for vacation it is always a beach side that you choose. Our country India is dotted with many marvelous beaches for you to spend your vacation. Read on to learn more.

When you think of a holiday destination for a fun time with friends or a relaxed vacation with family then beaches are the best option. However tempting Bali or Philippines might sound to you, doesn’t be disappointed if you don’t have the budget to travel abroad for holidays. India has some awesome beaches with picture perfect scenery and a range of exciting beach activities. Sometimes it become difficult to choose the best out of so many tempting beaches…so here is some help for you!

Kovalam Beach Kerala

Kovalam Beach Kerala

1 – Kovalam Beach in Kerala

Reputed to be the most beautiful beach in India, Kovalam attracts lots of overseas tourists thus bringing in foreign currency to India. The beaches of Kovalam have whitish sand and the pristine blue waters make for a sublime sea bathing experience. There are 3 beaches all arranged in a crescent shaped structure in Kovalam. Kovalam beaches are great for sunbathing, enjoying hot oil massages and munching on sumptous sea food. Kerala is an internationally famous massage practicing state and the foreigners especially visit the Kovalam beach to enjoy traditional Ayurvedic oil massages. The lighthouse on the Kerala beach offers a magnificent view of the entire city of Kovalam and its infinite clusters of coconut groves.

2 – Kapu beach in Karnataka

Kapu beach is situated in Udipi district of Karnataka and it is known as the favorite beach for students. There is a famous lighthouse on the Kapi Bach which was built in 1900 and it is filled with inscriptions of hundreds of lovers who have tried to scribble their names into infinity. The normally placid Arabian Sea takes a vivacious avatar in the Kapu beach and you will be able to hear its hearty roars even before you actually enter the beach. The Kapu Beach is great for buying funky kinds of swimwear, artifacts made of coconut shells and sea shells. Go up to the lighthouse to click some great pictures of the surrounding town.

baga beache goa

baga beache goa

3 – Baga Beach in Goa

If you are under the age of 30 and have visited Goa then it’s highly unlikely that you have missed out on the Baga Beach. This is where those famous Bollywood sequences of Goa Parties and infamous rave parties happen. Thousands of tiny shacks line the shores of Baga beach with their wares selling everything from stuffed omlette to crazy beach wear. You will always find all types of imported and Indian liquor brands, cigarette brands and weed (not the plant!) on the beach. If you are going there during the day visit Zanzibar while St. Anthony is great for Karaoke every night. There are also some great pubs like Kamakis and Café Cape Town on the beach.

4 – New Digha Beach in West Bengal

The Bay of Bengal is way more lively than the Arabian Sea giving the beaches of Bengal a spunky twist. New Digha beach in Bengal is where people from Bengal head off too to enjoy their weekends with family and loved ones. The old Digha beach is clumsy and dirty but the Beaches of New Digha and Mandarmoni are beautiful and tranquil. You will find a lot of shopkeepers selling cashew nuts, inexpensive trinkets and sea shells on the beach. This beach is extremely crowded during weekends and public holidays. Don’t miss the curried crab and fried pomfret if you happen to visit New Digha Beach.

5 – Radhanagar Beach in Havelock Island at Andaman

Not only is the Radhanagar Beach one of the best beaches in India but some loyalists claim that it is one of the best beaches in the world. The specialty of the Radhanagar Beach on the Havelock Island is the alternative sounds of wave crashes and silence which can be heard. The waves are so perfectly timed here that between two sets of waves crashes on the shore there is perfect beautiful silence. There are thick mangroves like forests around the beach which are extremely picturesque. Elephants are found on hire for providing the tourists with elephant rides along the length and breadth of the beach. There are lovely coral souvenirs sold on the Radhanagar Beach.

Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach

6 – Mandrem Beach in North Goa

Most beaches in Goa are overtly crowded and are primarily meant for the younger generation of people who love parties. The Mandrem beach in North Goa is a welcome exception. This is one of the most peaceful and exclusive beach experiences you will have and it is almost like entering a private beach zone. You will see lots of foreigners here snorkeling ad watching the hordes of beautiful white storks that dot the beach. This is one of the best beaches for snorkeling and having a great scuba diving experience. Get a lovely underwater life guided tour on the Mandrem Beach in Goa.

7 – Murudeshwar Beach in Karnataka

Murudeshwar Beach in Karnataka has lovely white sands and beautiful blue waters. This is one beach which can give any foreign beach a run for their money. On one side there is the roaring sea and on the other side there is the stellar range of high hills which lie to the east of the beach. There is a huge statue of Shiva which is a whooping 123 feet in height and this is a must see tourist attraction. The Murudeshwar beach hosts a lot of amazing activities like Buffalo races and cock wars which are peculiar only to this beach in India.

8 – Kasaragod Beach in Kerela

Kasaragod Beach in Kerela has one of the historical monuments of India situated on its shores. The Bekal Fort is a mere 15 km away from the sea line of Kesargod beach which is why the beach is sometimes referred to as the Bekal Beach. The landmark of this beach was earlier the fierce war capital of the glorious legendary ruler Tipu Sultan. The Bekal Fort was also used as a colonial arms storage place of the British. Plantations of Palm trees along with installation of two gorgeous murals on the beach have given the beach a wonderful new look and enhanced its beauty to a great degree. To the Western side there is a circular platform that provides a mesmerizing view of the entire beach and the overlying town.

Puri Beach in Orissa

Puri Beach in Orissa

9 – Puri Beach in Orissa

Puri Beach will thrill you with its magnitude. This is not a soft romantic beach…it’s the epitome of strength and ferocity as the night sounds of Puri Beach can be heard miles around. The Puri Beach is thronged by the entire eastern part of India whenever summer vacations or Puja vacations happen as this is one of the most remarkable Holiday destinations in India. The best part of visiting this beach is that you can tour the nearby famous Jagannath temple and visit the Orissa textile centers for a round of saree and salwar kameez shopping. Silver filigree work jewelry in Orissa is also famous in case you are interested for jewelry shopping.

10 – Agonda Beach in Goa

Agonda Beach is one of the best beaches to visit if you are on a tight budget but still want to have a fabulous holiday. This wonderful beach of Goa is a lovely relaxed place with lots of decent tourist shacks available. The simplest of shacks are available for less than 500 INR. Coconut water, beer, feni and fried fish are available for very affordable rates and you can simply sit and look at the splendid sea-scape till eternity. This is one of the safest beaches in India as the waves are gentle with hardly any cases of drowning registered in the last 10 years.

Narkanda and Offbeat Places Around

Narkanda owes its initial importance to the construction of the Hindustan Tibet Road. Originally styled ‘The Great Hindustan Tibet Road’, this road connected the Gangetic plains from the town of Kalka to the Tibetan border. It was Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856) who ordered work to begin on this in June 1850. Various reasons are cited for the initiation of the road. The system of ‘begari’ prevalent in the hills, where unpaid laborers were pressed into service – including for the transport of timber and files to Shimla – is said to have upset the Governor-General so deeply that he wanted to improve the track these men trudged. It is also believed that Lord Dalhousie wanted to create trade ties with Tibet – and this felt to be the real reason for building the road.



Narkanda was an important staging post on this road and was the highest point between Shimla and the valley of the river Satluj. From this point on, till it began rising again for the final leg, the road was largely downhill.  The second impetus of growth came in the first half of the twentieth century, when apple product began in Kotgarh-Thanedar belt a few kilometers from Narkanda.

The peak of Hatu (Hattu), above Narkanda, is amongst the highest in the mid-Himalaya. These heights mark the line before the hillside moves down to the valley of the Satluj River. The peak can be accessed by a narrow motorable road from Narkanda which is functional during the summer months. Alternatively, there is an 8 kilometer hike trail that passes through dense woods of cedar, spruce and oak; if you are a good walker, this is a far better option as it will unfold vistas that remain screened by windshields. The view from Hatu is absolutely breath taking. Below lies the river valley and the hillside that reaches down, is covered with thick forests, little villages, apple orchards and terraced fields. Across, is the magnificent spread of the greater Himalaya with a permanent cover of snow; the Kinner Kaillash (one of the legendary abodes of Lord Shiva), the Shrikhand and the Kullu ranges are all clearly visible from here. The temple of Hateshwari Mata of Hatu Peak is dedicated to a local embodiment of Devi Durga.

Hatu Peak

Hatu Peak

From Narkanda one can visit Thanedar and Kotgarh. Harmony Hall at Thanedar, is not exactly what one would expect to find in a little village in the Himalaya, howsoever prosperous. It stands on top of a hill, surrounded by apple orchards. It is an unusual piece of architecture that draws from the local style of interlocking horizontal wooden beams packed with dressed stone, and is combined with elements of the ‘western’ architectural experience – high chimney-stacks and large windows. It also speaks worlds for Satyanand Stokes, the man who built it – a man who came from an entirely different background and made this house in what was then a ‘back-of-the-beyond’ in the hills. Stokes left an indelible mark on the lives of the people with whome he lived. The contiguous settlements of Thanedar and Kotgarh form the core of Himachal’s apple – growing heartland. This pocket of charming mountain countryside is also reputed to have amongst the highest per capita incomes in South-east Asia. And all this prosperity is due to stokes, who introduced the American varieties of apple in the area and modern systems of marketing and packing. Apples apart, soon after the repressive Rowlatt Acts were passed in 1919, stokes became an active associate of Mahatma Gandi and was even jailed for his role in India’s struggle for freedom.

The collection of some half a dozen large and small villages that lie below Thanedar – and named after the main hamlet – give the name to the area below, ‘The Kotgarh Valley.’

The setting of Kotgarh predates stokes and this was a tract where many fled to escape from local oppressors. Then some two centuries ago, during the ‘Gurkha Wars’ that the British first came to this area. The little wooden church of St. Mary at Kotgarh predates the apples. A school was established here in 1843 and the church built in 1872; this was run by the Moravian missionaries and the Church Missionary Society. While this may be what more recent times have given the area, apart from the forests and magnificent views that hold the deep valley and the snow-ranges, nature has given Kotgarh a small lake, Tani Jubbar and by its side is a small temple built of wood and slate. This is the site of a local fair held at the end of May.

Kotgarh Valley

Kotgarh Valley

Substantially populated by Brahmins, the village of Nirmand lies across the valley of the river Satluj and is the largest village in Himachal. The word ‘Nirmand’ is regarded as a derivative of ‘Nir – mund’, or without a head and is closely connected with the legend of Parshrama, who is regarded as the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu – and is the one just before Ram. Parshurama was one of the ten sons of the sage Jamadgani and his wife Renuka. One day the sage was beset with doubts about his wife’s fidelity and commanded Parshurama to kill her. Nirmand has also been a major centre of the ‘bhunda’, human sacrifices as it once existed in the hills.

From the banks of the Satluj, the road to Nirmand rises in zigzag snips. The first section is through bare rock and scraggy bushes. These weaves of tarmac hold the training camp of one the few mountain batteries that still uses pack animals. One of the oldest records from the hills of Himachal comes in the shape of what is called the ‘Nirmand Copper Plate’. This plate records a land grant dated to the seventh century.

Narrow streets wind their way through the few acres that form the core of this village that may well have been inhabited for a millennium and a half. The path to the Kothi of Parshurama slices through the heart of the village. En route lies the sacred ‘Latta Baoli’ whee clear spring water gushes into a small tank. Then is the tiny – but remarkably elegant – temple of Shiva that is barely the height of a child but has perfectly classical proportions. The temple of Parshurama has a pent-roof and age-old lines of wood and intricate carvings make its façade. Here lies the mythical axes of Parshurama and several other items of dress and armour that are attributed to him – and are only take out their cave at the time of a bhunda – which is still held as ritual every few years.

Important Towns & City of Kashmir

Srinagar is the capital city of the valley. Important towns on national highway and other locations are:

Pampore: - Lat. 340.1’ Longitude 740.58’
Pampore, was founded in the first quarter of the 9th century by King Padmadutt. Due to its central location in the valley the city grew in importance and is frequently mentioned in Rajatarangini.

Presently the town en-route National Highway is situated on the right bank of river Jhelum, about 10 kms in the south-east direction from Srinagar. Pampore, a tehsil headquarter of Pulwama district, is a sub – urban area which is growing fast as an industrial centre. Government joinery mills, Bharat Petroleum Gas Terminal, Steel Authority of India and Silk Research Centre are the trading centers. Jamia Masjid and the shrine of Shah-i-Hamdan (RA) and Shoka Baba (RA) are most famous. The pampore karewa in its southern side is called the Sona Krund (Golden Basket) Wudar, and is devoted to saffron cultivation. Saffron a cash crop fetches a very good price in both local and international market. 10gms of high quality saffron coasts between Rs.2000-3000.

Vigne has observed that the long ridges of limestone strata in the neighborhood of Pampore are very remarkable.

Pampore is nowadays a trading centre with a good market. It is also famous for its brick kilns on the opposite side of river Jhelum. The limestone deposits in Khrew area of Pampore are famous as they provide the raw material to all the cement factories confined to this area.



Awantipora: Lat. 33.055’ Long = 750.3’
Awantipora town en-route Srinagar – Jammu National Highway, occupies the famous site of one ancient capitals of Kashmir. It lies on  the right bank of river Jhelum at the foot of Wusturnan hills and is midway between Anantnag, Pulwama and Srinagar district. Tral, a tehsil headquarter, lies at a distance of 10 kms from Awantipora, towards its east. It is about thirty kilometers from Srinagar city.

Awantipora, as the ancient capital was founded by the famous king Awanti Verma, who reigned from 854 A.D. to 888 A.D. The only traces that remain of its former greatness are the two temples. Both were dedicated to Mahadeva, under the title of Awanti-Swami, and Awantiswara. These two temples are situated on the bank of the river one at Awantipora and other near the village Javbior. They are now shapeless masses of ruins, but the gateways of both are standing. They are commonly referred as “Pandow Larey” i.e. the houses of Pandvas. Awantipora was a flourishing city upto 12th century A.D., when it was destroyed and burnt down by Damars (Feudal Hindu Tribe).

Nowadays, Awantipora a tehsil headquarter of Pulwama district is developing fastly as a trade centre. It is a growing knowledge centre, as Islamic University of Science and Technology has been established here.  It is the base for Army Airport; it is also famous for the shrine of Syed Mantaqi (RA), Jamia Masjid and the Gurudwara, all the three lie on the highway side.

Bijbhera or Vij – Beara: Lat. 330.47’, Long. 750.9’
Bijbhera or Vijbeara is said to have been founded by King Vijaya (69-61B.C.). Bijbhera, a tehsil headquarter of Islamabad (Anantnag) district is connected to Srinagar, Islamabad, Pahalgam and Shopian by road. This ancient town of considerable importance is developed on both the sides of River Jhelum which are connected by two concrete bridges.

Bijbhera is famous for its various gardens especially the “Padshai Bagh”, which was laid by Dara Shikoh. The garden regained its past glory during the reign of Mufti Mohammad Syed, when enough funds were spent for its maintenance.  Bijbhera is developing as a trading centre for fresh fruit especially the apples. There are various shrines and the shrine of Baba Nasir-ud-Din ‘Gazi)’ (RA) is the largest and most famous. It is situated on the left bank of Vyeth, near the Jamia-Masjid. The temple  on the left side or river Jhelum and the newly constructed Gurudwara by Sikh Community both on National Highway are the pilgrimage sites.

anantnag railway line

anantnag railway line

Islamabad (Anantnag) – Latitude 330.44’, longitude 750.12’
Islamabad (Anantnag) after Srinagar is the largest town in the valley of Kashmir. It is district headquarter. Its ancient name was Anyech. It is called Islamabad by Muslims while Hindus refer it as Anat Nag. Islamabad is situated about one and half kilometers from the right bank of river Jhelum, near the confluence of the aripat. It lies under the western side of an elevated karewa, upon the edge of which is a conical hill overlooking the town. From its foot flows the fountain of Anat Nag. Another spring Malkh Nag is impregnated with sulphur. The famous shrine of Rishi Malu (RA) is in the centre of the town. Anantnag is famous for its gardens and springs. It is a market town and a trading centre. It is a home of traders, businessmen and artisans especially handicrafts.

Anantnag is the knowledge hub of South Kashmir. Various professional and degree colleges and technical institutions are established here. The K.P. Road (Khanabal – Pahalgam Road) has developed as a new and modern market in the field of economy, education and health sector. The south campus of the University of Kashmir is located h ere. Two gardens i.e. Wazir Bagh and Sherbagh are developing as recreation grounds. During Auranzeb’s rules, Islam Khan (1664 – 65 A.D.) the Governor of Kashmir laid out a garden for the Mughal Emperor, who named the place after the governor as Islamabad.

Qazigund, an important town en-route Srinagar – Jammu National Highway is located at a distance of 30 Kms from Anantnag. It lies at the foot of Pir Panjal Mountains close to Banihal Pass. It is a stop over for passengers traveling from either Jammu or Srinagar. It is often referred as the Gateway of Kashmir. It has developed as a food market for passengers. The railways in Kashmir are operating from Qazigund to Baramulla on the flood plain area. A tourist cafeteria, tea stalls and Dabas providing eatables are always ready to serve the passengers.



Kulgam – Latitude 330.45’ and Longitude 740.14’
Kulgam, now a district headquarters carved out of Islamabad district, in 2006 A.D. is at a distance of 70 kms from Srinagar and 17 kms from Islamabad. It is picturesquely situated on the Southern side of table land overlooking the left bank of the Vishav, whose bed is spread out here and divided into several channels.

Kulgam is famous for its streams. Two famous shrines i.e. Syed Hussain Simnani and Shah Hamdan are located here which attract a good number of devotees to offer prayers. One Degree college and an ITI cenre are located here to cater the needs of students. It is an important business centre and is famous for apple production. A fruit mandi has been established here for the benefit of fruit growers of the locality. A modern fruit mandi caters to the needs of local merchandise especially the apple and walnuts.

Nature has gifted the Kulgam area with favorable agro-climatic conditions, suited for agriculture in its lower belts and fruit culture in the upper belt. On account of fertile soil and rich productivity, it is considered as the “Rice B owl” of Kashmir. Livestock and sheep rearing is a subsidiary occupation of the area.

Shopian – Latitude 330.44; and Longitude 740.53’
The beautiful tow of Shopian is on the south-western side of the valley in close proximity of Pir Panjal mountain range. It is situated on the right bank of famous Rambiara, a wide but a shallow stream. It lies at a distance of 51 kms from Srinagar and 20 kms from PUlwama. It is a picturesque town, with a very good economy. It is a famous production centre for famous Kashmiri apples, which fetch a very good price in both local and international markets. Shopian is known for its indigenous “Ambri” apple which is famous due to its flavor and taste.

The Shopian market is famous for its quality products and goods. The Jamia Masjid of Shopian is famous for its architectural design which resembles the Jamia Masjid of Srinagar. Due to re-opening of Mughal road, Shopian again excels as a trading centre and a connecting ling between Kashmir and Jammu division of the J&K State, as the route is all weather road.

Shopian Apple Orchards

Shopian Apple Orchards

According to Drew, Shopian is the distortion of “Shah Payan” i.e. Royal story. Shopian has been an ancient town of Kashmir, since it is situated on the famous Mughal road.

Pattan a famous town, enroute Srinagar – Muzaffarabad National Highway is about 27 miles from Srinagar city towards north-western side. It is located at the base of a table land. The ancient name of the town was Shankarapura. The ruins of two ancient temples are still standing here. Pattan is developing as a sub-urban area due to its location.

Sopore is the most rich and developed town of Kashmir valley in terms of its economy. Sopore, as a tehsil headquarter falls under the jurisdiction of Baramulla district which is about 25 kilometers from Sopore. Sopore is almost 55 kilomters from Srinagar towards north-western side. Sopore, as a progressive town, due to its apple production and trade and commerce surpasses the other areas of the valley except the capital city of Srinagar. The town is built upon both banks of river Jhelum a few kilometers below the spot where the river leaves the famous Wular Lake. Sopore was founded by Sura, a minister during the reign of Avanti Varma, and was called as Surapura. Sopore, has a very good connectivity of roads which lead to Srinagar, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Gulmarg and Karnah etc. sopore, is developing fast as a modern trading and knowledge centre. Several professional institutions are established to provide technical education in both public and private sector. The market area is quite splendid and is doing a brisk business all round the year.

Baramulla is one of the three old districts (Anantnag, Srinagar & Baramulla) of the valley of Kashmir. It is situated at the mouth of the famous gorge by which river Jhelum leaves the valley of Kashmir. It is at a distance of 90 kms from Srinagar on the Srinagar – Muzaffarabad National Highway (Jhelum Valley Road).

baramulla railway

baramulla railway

Baramulla is often referred as Varmul. The town is inhabited by two religious communities i.e., Muslims and Sikhs respectively. The cantonment area lies to the west of the town. Before partition in 1947, Baramulla was the most important trading centre and an exit point for the Kashmiri trade and commerce.

Bandipora a newly created district is situated at an average height of 1701 metres from sea level. It was carved out of Baramulla district during 2006 A.D.

Bandipora since early times almost served as a port. It used to be one of the important places of the old Kingdom known as Khuaihom. During Mughal period, there were two main ports as the source of communication between Srinagar and the Central Asian states for commercial purposes. These ports were Aloosa (Ghat) and Nasoo (Bandipora). The route to Central Asia traversed through Aloosa and once Mughal emperors conferred the area of Khuaihom as “Jagir” to the family of Bandey’s in Srinagar since then the area has come to be known as Bandipora. Bandipora is also referred as the “Galaxy of Gilgit and Astor”. Bandipora is situated around the north shore of the Wular Lake, in front of the mountains. Wular Lake, the largest fresh water lake of Asia, is located here and is famous for fishing. The area is famous for Nadru, Singhara and Pachi (used for Kashmiri mat – wagu).

Ganderbal the famous town is flanked by district Baramulla in the west, Srinagar in the south, Bandipora in the north-west and Kargil in the east. It has a unique geographical location. The famous Nala Sind traverses through its centre, which is a store house for the finest form of sand, used for construction purposes. The Ganderbal power house, on the Srinagar Leh National Highway is one of the oldest power houses supplying electricity. The central university and the physical education college campus is the added attraction for Ganderbal.



Lying at a distance of 37 kms from Srinagar city is one of the famous towns of South Kashmir. Its original name was Panwargam, & district headquarters. It is famous as a production centre for milk and vegetables throughout the valley. The famous Mughal road leads through this town. The town is connected with Shopian, Anantnag, Srinagar and Budgam area. The army air port is very close to the town at Malangpora. The industrial site of Lassipora in the vicinity of Pulwama town in developing at a fast rate.

Lying in the lap of lofty mountains from three sides, the beautiful Tral valley is at a distance of 40 kms from Srinagar city and ten kms from Awantipora. The town is famous for its shrine of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, the famous saint who was instrumental in the propagation of Islam in the valley. The shrine is located in the heart of town. Tral is very famous as a production centre for Almonds and Honey. Beautiful tourist locations outside the town are Shikargah (3 kms from Tral) and Nagaberi (20 kms).

Budgam owes its name to its dense population, i.e. Bud = Big, Gam = Village. It is now a district headquarters, which was carved out of Srinagar district in 1980 A.D. The famous Chinese traveler, Hiuen Tsang, followed this route to reach Poonch. Old records refer to the area as “Pargana Deesu”. It is the home of one of the noble Shia family called Aga. The village Kanihama, of Budgam, the home of famous Kani Shawl was an important trade centre during Dogra rule.

It is one of the most famous towns of Kashmir valley, which lies at a distance of 29 kms from Srinagar city. It lies on the north-west side of the valley. The town is built on one of the many bare sandy ridges by which the Pir Panjal range subsides into the level of the valley; these ridges are usually more or less flattened at the top, but have steep and almost perpendicular sides, which are here and there furrowed with rain channels. The town is built somewhat in the form of letter. The place is very famous for its shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Rishi, popularly known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir. Sheikh is one of the tallest saints and the founder of the Rishi order in Kashmir.

Uri, a border town, is at a distance of 101 kms from Srinagar and 46 kms from Baramulla and is situated on the banks of river Jhelum. It was an important station on the Jhelum valley road before partition. With the opening of the said road, the place is gaining importance as a check and entry point for the merchandise coming in from Azad Kashmir and going out from Indian Kashmir. The river Jhelum flows along its northern side, resulting tumultuously through a deep and rocky gorge.

Uri Kashmir

Uri Kashmir

Uri is a tehsil headquarter of Baramulla district. The road from Uri leads to Poonch via Haji Pir Pass. Uri is strategically an important location, since it is very close o the LOC (line of control) between India and Pakistan. Pahari and Gojri are the common languages.

Uri is famous for its Uri Hydro Electric Project, which as a capacity of 480 MW. The project is situated on the river Jhelum along Jhelum valley road. It is spread over a distance of 20 kms. The project was constructed by NHPC with Swedish collaboration. It utilizes a drop of 257 metres in a river length of 16 kms to generate 480 MW of power with a discharge of 8000 cusecs. Head race tunnel which is 10 kms long is the biggest component of the project. It leaves the river at Boniyar and reaches Lagama, the site of underground power house with a capital cost of Rs.240 crores (221 crores for main project, 16 crores for transmission system upto pooling point in the Northern Grid). Uri project is one of the biggest power projects construed in the Kashmir valley so far.

Aishmuqam is a famous town is located at the foot of a hill enroute Islamabad – Pahalgam road. It is at a distance of 70 kms from Srinagar and 20 kms from Islamabad.

The town is famous for its cave and shrine of famous saint Zain-ul-Abidin Wali, on the left side of Lidder River. To reach the shrine one has to climb a flight of steps. From the top of the shrine, one can watch a magnificent view of famous Lidder valley.

Places to Visit in Gujarat

Gujarat offers all that a national or an international tourists looks for – a wide range of destinations beautifully enlisted in this post, strong logistic connectivity, excellent communication facilities, adequate health infrastructure, round the clock power supply even in the remotest area, safety and security and above all the hospitable nature of the local people.

Gujarat Tourism

Gujarat Tourism

The variety of landscape that Gujarat is bestowed with is a complete package in itself. This is a place where you have the white desert and also the longest coastline, the archeological destinations and the Asiatic lions, the Buddhist relics and the remains of ancient civilization. Gujarat also has many beaches, hillocks, forest lands and ecotourist spots hiteherto unexplored. Such destinations have their own charm for a special class of tourists who have a passion for less explored places.

The Gujarati delicacies have been an all time favourite for the visitors coming from various parts of the globe. A wide range of handicrafts and traditional wears and the tribal and folk art forms have always charmed the international spectators in various events abroad as well as the visitors to Gujarat. The Navratri and kite-flying festivals (Patangotsav) are global events wherein every citizen of the state participates with fervor and delight.

Gujarat also has India’s first Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch with fine coral reefs and a rich marine life, and its coastal waters are believed to be among the most important breeding areas for the Whale Shark and the Dugong in South Asia. Five bird sanctuaries ratify Gujarat’s position as one of the most prolific bird watching areas in all of Asia.

Wherever you go in Gujarat, the thrill, the zeal and the enchantment makes this land a place where one craves to come but denies to depart.

Tourism in Gujarat

Somnath - Enlighten your being
Explore one of the twelve Jyotrilinga shrines of Gov Shiva where you soul gets elevated with the chanting of prayers and the roaring of the waves. This ancient temple is believed to have been ingeniously built in 4 phases – first in gold by Lord Soma, in silver by Ravi, in wood by Lord Krishna and in stone by King Bhimdev.

somnath temple

somnath temple

Modhera - Bathe in sacred sunshine
Intricately carved and articulately designed this historic Sun temple is dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God Surya. What is remarkable is that at dawn during the equinoxes the sun’s rays illuminate the sanctum sanctorum.

Pavagadh - Visit the picturesque pilgrimage place
Pavagadh is one of the biggest tourist and pilgrimage place in the state of Gujarat. Located at a distance of 55 kms from the city of Vadodara, the entire area is manly forest land and very picturesque. There are also many sacred sites which attract millions every year. Maa Mahakalika Temple, Machi Haveli, Temple of Kali and Sadanshah Phir Dargah are sites worth visiting.

Laxmi Vilas Palace - Live the bygone era
Visit the extravagant Maharaja Palace which is four times the size of the Buckingham Palace and was built by Maharaj Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. Within this royal palace, one can view a remarkable collection of old armory and spectacular sculptures in bronze, marble and terracotta by Fellici.

Embrace the environs
Encounter nature in all its untamed beauty and glory. The lush green Gir forest abounds with a variety of beautiful flora and fauna which will keep you fascinated and delighted. Be it the mighty lions or the colourful birds, the Gir forest promises to be full of excitement and adventure.

gujarat kite festival

gujarat kite festival

Kite Festival - Unlimited Fun
While Uttarayan is celebrated throughout Gujarat, Ahmadabad is especially famous for the kite festival. Thousands of people flock to their rooftops and fill the sky with colourful kites to celebrates the end of winter.

Rann Uttsav - Desert Kaleidoscope
When the desert is no longer hot and the nights are freezing the region comes alive with the staging of Ram Utsav. It takes you back in centuries to a kaleidoscope of desert culture and heritage. Colorful Kutchi folk dances, stories and songs unfold a fascinating cocktail of tradition. Rann Utsav starts on the full moon night of December every year.

Saputara  - Escape to paradise
Explore Saputara, the ‘Abode of Serpents’. This wonderful hill station located on a plateau of the Dang forest is part of the Sahyadri Mountain Range. It is a quaint hill station at an altitude of about 1000m an ideal getaway for the sun-scorched souls of the plains. Places to visit around Saputara: Vansda National Park, Purna Sanctuary, Boating, Sunrise Point, Ropeway, Gira Falls, Girma Falls, Shabari Temple.

Saputara Monsoon  - Magical Raindrops
Green Saputara hills gets fresher with more green foliage and breathtaking views during the monsoon seasn. Flowers and plants look more beautiful with the raindrops and the whole valley comes alive like a bedecked bride. This is probably the most romantic season to visit the Saputara hills. There is something of everyone at Saputara. Romantic walks. Exhilarating ropeway trips, leisurely shopping, adventurous trekking and water sports.

Saputara Paragliding Festival - Sky high Thrills
Saputara is the location for Paragliding Event keenly awaited by flyers and tourists. Paragliding offers great thrills to the participants and spectators alike. Saputara’s picturesque slopes and scalable peaks offer an apt setting to the event. Amateurs participate alongside professionals in this popular event. During the weeklong event, in addition to paragliding, para lane, para sailing, water sorts and artificial climbing are also organized to give a wholesome entertainment experience to visitors.



Ambaji - Get blessed by Goddess of power and prosperity
Situated on the summit of Gabber Hill, near the Vedic, virgin Saraswati River on the hills of the Arasur forest is the legendary holy Ambaji temple. A holy lamp is constantly burning in this hill temple facing Visa Shree Yantra of Nij Mandir of Mata Shri Arasuri Ambica.

Palitana - Converse with the gods
Built as an abode for the Gods this miraculous temple city is located at the pinnacle of Shatrunjaya hills with 3,800 steps to reach. The importance of this blessed region is reflected in the fact that there are cluster of 1,300 Jain temples and more than 27,000 idols of Jain Gods on this mountain alone. It is considered the most sacred pilgrimage place by the Jain community where pilgrims ascend to the heavens, seeking their path to enlightenment. Exquisitely carved in marble is the main temple on top of the hill, which is dedicated to 1st Tirthankar Lord Adinath.

Chapaner - Journey back in time
Located at the foothills of Pavagadh, Champaner is the only world heritage site of Gujarat. The main attraction is the ancient fort of Champaner which is surrounded by lower hillocks, escarpments and plateau, all resulting from volcanic eruptions and flowing lava. The entire landscape for miles around is scattered with pastoral surroundings of fort walls, tombs, gardesn, arches, pillars and wells. What is more, Champaner has been inscripted by UNESCO as World Heritage in 2004. Major sites; Shehar ki Masjid, Jami Masjid, Kewada and Nagina Masjid.

Tarnetar Fair - Soulmate Quest
This three day fair commemorates Arjun’s arrival in Panchal to win the hand of the beautiful princes Draupadi. In this spirit the tribal youth of the area gather near the Trineteshwar Shiva Temple, otherwise known as Tarnetar, to identify a significant other. The main treat is the intricate, hand-embroidered parasols made and carried by the bachelors. The celebration includes non-stop dancing, music, craft and food.

Kutch - Experience the beauty of the desert
Witness the mesmerizing beauty of the silver sand desert on a moonlit night. Go for bird watching or get completely carried away with shopping for traditional Kutchi Embroideries, Jewelry, Bandhani (tie and die) Fabrics, Enameled Silverware and other Handicrafts. You will enjoy and experience all this and more at the Rann of Kutch.

Art Music and Dance of Orissa

Music & Dance

One of the most primitive aspects in art, music and dance are the art forms known to the mankind since time immemorial. Music and dance are deeply ingrained in any society universally. In Hindu mythology, the cosmic dance performance or the tandava nritya of Lord Shiva and the stories of Lord Krishna dancing with Radha and Gopis are popular myths. Like in any other part of India, Orissa has a glorious tradition of music and dance and has it own distinct school. Apart from the classical Odissi Dance, there are numerous folk dances usually performed during fairs, festivals and religious ceremonies.

Gita Govinda manuscript

Gita Govinda manuscript


The treatise of Bharata, a pioneer of music and dance in India refers to the musical tradition of Odra substantiated by archaeological finds from the times (1st century BC) of Chedi dynasty. The innumerable sculptures of musical instruments depicted on the walls of temples from 6th century AD to 13th century AD testify to the glorious tradition of music and its patronage by successive kingdom in Orissa. The classical Odissi Music owes much to the great Saint poet, Jayadeva, whose highly lyrical Geet Govind, composed in Sanskrit in the 12th century was ritually sung in many of these temples. By the 15th century instead of Sanskrit, Oriya language was being used for literary works and the poetry developed on the love theme of Radha and Krishna. The musical forms like chhanda, chautisa, champu, chaupadi, bhajan and janana had developed. The period between 16-19th century under the local patronage saw great composers of lyrical music based on raga (tune) and tala (beat). Treatises on music like-Sangitarnava, Chandrika, Gita Prakasha, Sangita Kalpalata, Sangita Sarani and Sangita Narayana were compiled.

In modern time some greatest exponents have significantly contributed to the development and modernization of Odissi music, prominent among them are Singhari Syamasundar Kar, Markandeya Mahapatra, Kasinath Pujapanda, Balakrushna Das, Gopal Chand Panda, Damodar Hota, Ramahari Das, Shyamamani Devi Sumati Devi, Sunanda Patnaik, Keshab, Sangeeta Gosain, Bijoy Jena and others.


Odissi Dance

Odissi is one of the six classical dance forms of India with a very distinct elegance and poise associated with its style. It finds mention in the Natya Shashtra of Bharata, as Odra-Magadhi style. Friezes in the caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri and the sculptures of female dancers found in large numbers in temples attest to the popularity of dances in courts and places of worship as far back as the 2nd century BC. It was an integral part of the religious rituals performed in the nata mandapas by the maharis or devadasis (temple dancers) in their elaborate costumes and jewellery.

odissi dance

odissi dance

The history of Odissi dance has a bearing with devadasis (wives of the God) of Lord Jagnnath. Devadasis were handed over by their parents at an early age and were symbolically married to presiding deity. Jayadev’s Geet Govind, dealing largely with the depths of Krishna’s love for Radha was part of the daily religious rituals, performed by devadasis with different bhavas and rasas. With the loss independence of the Orissa by the end of the 16th century, the mahari tradition declined. The Ray Ramananda, a dramatist and musician introduced the dance in another form, Gotipua Nacha, where males dressed as girlds danced outside the temple. Thus the tradition survived and it came out of the temple. Most of the earlier time gurus (masters) were Gotipua dancers. The 15th century manual, Abhinaya Chandrika, written by Maheswara Mahapatra contains information about the technique of Odissi dance and was also instrumental in reviving the old glory of Orissa’s own regional style along with temple sculptures. All the poses, steps and movements in Odissi dance have been codified and preserved by the Odissi Research Centre established by Government of Orissa at Bhubaneswar.

Beautifully attired in pleated silk brocades, bejeweled and decked in jasmine flowers and bells, the dancers perform to the recitation of devotional poetry set to music, most inspired form the theme of eternal love of Radha Krishna. The important parts of Odissi Dance are called padabhada, bumi, chari, biramani, bhangi and hasta (mudra) etc. the most typical pose is tribhanga (hip shot stance) where the body is bent thrice, the fundamental posture is chawki and the dance is divided into nritta (pure dance), nritya (expressional dance) and natya (drama). The different items of the Odissi dance style in the order in which they are performed are mangalacharana, batu nrutya, pallavi, abhinaya and mokshanat. In mangalacharana, the dancer dedicated herself to the Lord Ganesha or Lord Jagannath, begs forgiveness of the Mother Earth for stamping her feet upon her and of her audience for any shortcoming in the performance and offers salutations to the Guru. The batu nutya is pure dance, lying stress on poses symbolizing the playing of the veena, drum, flute or cymbals, without any recitation or song. The extremely graceful and lyrical is pallavi, the tune in some raga accompanied by sargam and bols. Through facial expressions, abhinaya, the performer depicts rasa and bhava to bring out the meaning and mood of the accompanying song either in Sanskrit or in Oriya. These romantic compositions are generally from the pieces of Geet Govind, the dasavatar item or the songs written by poets like Banamali, Upendera Bhanja, Baladeva Rath and Gopala etc. the concluding piece of performance, mokshanat has a fast tempo to the accompaniment of rhythmic patterns, which transports the dancer to moksha (merger with divine).

Performing Arts

Orissa has a rich tradition of folk plays – dance, drama and music in which the spiritual, philosophical and the humane dimensions have merged to reflect a life style.

A religious folk play, it is a popular form of devotional entertainment. The Ram Leela portrays the various incidents from the epic Ramayana. The dramatic rendering of dialogues by the performing artistes in dazzling costumes and heavy make-up backed by a group of chorus singers and orchestral music starts from the Ram Navami day and continues for 9 nights. The Ras Leela is a lyrical-musical enactment of the immortal love of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. It revolves around different moods of love, such as anger, playfulness, expectation etc between the two.

Other popular form is Bharat Leela or Dwari Leela which draws its plot from the story of love and subsequent marriage of Arjuna – one of the five Pandavas with Subhadra. A typical play of Ganjam district, the Prahlad Natak, a play composed by Gopinath Parichha is presented a s a compendium of songs in praise of Lord Nrusingha and suppression of pride of demon king Hiranya Kashyap by a young devout Prahlad.

Jatra (Yatra)

It corresponds to folk theater where mythological, historical and social subjects are enacted. In fact, Jatra blossomed at the end of the 19th century as a development over Suanga. Performed in an open air theatre, Jatra succeeds to enliven the mass with a show of music, dance, acting, singing and the dramatic expression of emotions like love, anxiety, anger, and pathos. Recently social themes and popular legends have also been included, with rustic characters in dazzling costumes rendering dialogues in local dialects. The theatrical mannerism and the high sounding dialogues of perfomers and the accompanying thundering music usually a harmonium, clarinet, cymbals, table, dholki, bugle and mrudanga, all liven up the atmosphere.

A pioneer of this art, Baishnab Pani introduced duet dances and prose dialogues in this popular art of mass entertainment but the present day plays however seem to be deeply influenced by modern cinema.

Performing Daskathia

Performing Daskathia


A folk art performed by two men owes its name to the musical instrument by the same name. Daskathia is made of two wooden pieces, which when beaten with hands produce rhythmic sound. The singer like the Pala singer generally uses themes of religious intent from mythology, whereas his partner intermittently gives a rhythmic refrain of the words. The rhythmic narration is often interspersed with special sequences dramatized in dialogue form. Wit, humour and songs take the centre stage in this performance of a shorter duration than the Pala.

Tracking The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

A structure that defines Mumbai in a snapshot, the Victoria Terminus, rechristened the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is an incredible legacy chiseled in stone.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

The landmark Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus building stands tall and imposing in the heart of Mumbai, oblivious to the scores of people that traverse its hallways every day. The iconic railway station, steeped in history is quite-literally the nerve centre of the city, what with 30 lakh-odd commuters travelling through it on a daily basis. As the sea of people push, jostle and shove to make it into their designated local train within these old walls, it’s a scene juxtaposing the past and present perfectly.

Each dome, stained-glass window and turret of the CST has a tale to tell. The construction of this grand old structure began in 1878. Designed by renowned British architect F.W. Stevens, this Victorian Gothic structure, with its domes representing the Indian influence took a good ten years to build. The crowning glory of the CST is the central dome itself which also houses a heritage room. Many of the gargoyles and carvings were done by Lockwood Kipling, a professor from the Sir JJ School of Arts who incidentally was the father of the celebrated British-Indian author, Rudyard Kipling. Even as far back as the 19th century the construction of this mammoth structure cost a whopping 260,000 pounds.

What sets this building apart from many other heritage building is the fact that it’s still serving the same function – i.e. the headquarters of the Central Railway – since the time it was built. It’s little wonder then that the CST which is historically, architecturally and culturally so important made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. Figuring on the prestigious UNESCO list has heightened the awareness to preserve such historical buildings and also commenced major restoration work.

Mumbai Chowpati

Mumbai Chowpati

The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee has done much work in this regard. “It’s our duty to safeguard these buildings that have been listed on UNESCO after a detailed survey. It’s the owner who is responsible for the maintenance of the buildings; in this case the Central Railway. However, if a certain building requires work, we send a notice to the concerned party,” say Mr. Afzulpurkar, Chairman of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee. All new structures around the site have to be in harmony with the existing heritage structure.

Undoubtedly, the CST is one of Mumbai’s landmark buildings but there are equally impressive buildings in the vicinity, a legacy left by the Raj, that have weathered the passage of time along with it. Right opposite the railway station is the Bombay Municipal Corporation Building, ornately embellished with gargoyles and carvings; another creation by F.W. Stevens. Adjacent to this structure is the building that houses Mumbai’s oldest daily, The Times of India. From heads of state of film stars, The Times of India building has played host to many luminaries over the decades.

hivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

hivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Within the radius of a few kilometers are many other masterpieces that make up the history of the city – The Gateway of India, The Taj Mahal Hotel, The Prince of Wales Museum (now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) University Hall & Library, Rajabai Tower and the Asiatic Library to name a few.

Sadly, a number of historical buildings in Mumbai are in various states of disrepair. However, awareness is half the battle won and considerable efforts are being made to restore these works of art to their former glory. Over the decades, Mumbai has earned the moniker of the ‘city that never sleeps.’ But amidst all that buzz, lies a historical and architectural marvel that continues to fascinate all.

Things to Do

  • Enjoy the view of Mumbai’s beautiful coastline while walking down Marine Drive. The Chowpatty beach at the end of Marine Drive is famous for its street food like Pav Bhaji and Chaat.
  • Mumbai is the centre of the Hindi film industry, popularly known as Bollywood. One can visit Film City, the studio complex with prior permission. And if you’re lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of your favorite star!
  • An hour-long ferry ride from the Gateway of India will take you to Elephanta Cave. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these caves contain beautiful statues and carving of Hindu deities.

Tourist Attractions in West Bengal

Explore the land; its art, culture and history; and you will see for yourself why we don’t call it beautiful Bengal for nothing. Leaf on through the post to realize why the diversity puts West Bengal among.

Reaching The City of Joy
There are four entry points to India-Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, though most Western flights make a stop at either Delhi or Mumbai. One might land there, and avail of a connection domestic flight to Kolkata. With the new international terminal however, the city has revamped its international aviation infrastructure to receive flights from abroad too.

You can plan your travel yourself as well as depute you travel agent to do the same. Hotels in Kolkata are many, as you will find out in the following few pages.

Best Places to Visit


Kolkata City

Kolkata City

An electric mix of diverse tastes and preference, Kolkata is a truly cosmopolitan place. From the mansions of North Kolkata to high-rises of the South, and from the deep roots of western influence in the Central part of the City of Joy to the distinctly community based East, the nature of diversity is spread way too deep into the veins of the city. Today, it’s quite amazing to look back some three centuries ago, where wild animals used to strut about in the three villages of Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kalikata, part of the realm of one Sabarna Roy Chawdhury. What was one the temple of Chowringheenath, today is the busy heart of the City, Chowringhee. Myriad, isn’t it?

As we take you through Kolkata, we reveal a treasure trove for those who have an eye for great architecture. Along with this, a touch of the religio9us movement of yore. In the form of weekend detours in Air-Conditioned buses tracing the trail of Sri Ramkrishna and Swami Vivekananda; this includes trips to Belur Math, Dakshineshwar Kali Bari and Swamiji’s ancestral home, to name but a few. The orther trip introduces tourists to the architectural wonders of erstwhile Kolkata-Jorasanko Rajbari, Thakurbari, Gokul Mitra’s house, Kumartuli and its artisanville, Sovabajar Rajbari, Marble Palace and quite a few others. Embarking on these two trips, you are sure to experience the old-world charms of erstwhile Kolkata.


As you open your window, you find a view of a lifetime – her snow capped peak reddened with with the early morning rays of the Sun. behold the Kanchenjunga in her glory, a regal sight by itself. All of a sudden, you find your room engulfed in clouds and an abrupt shower sets the mood for you honeymoon. Welcome to Darjeeling, India’s best hill station, just 663km away from Kolkata at an altitude of 2134 meters above sea level. 5km away from Darjeeling, overlooking Ghoom lies the Batsia Loop, that will make you relive the golden, slow-moving but rambling life of yesteryears, as you travel through Darjeeling on the Toy Train.


Though Kalimpong, the city of monasteries, carries a rich heritage with her, she is equally zealous to preserve the present as well as her past glories. Heritage schools in Kalimpong are still national benchmarks in the field of education. The 12km stretch road from Ghoom station is a travelers’ delight. For instant the meeting point of the Teesta and the Rnagit. You’d miss mout on quite a lot if you din’t stop by this spot, popularly kown as “Lovers spot”. Other spots include the Morgan House, the Golf Course, the Deolo View Point, Dr. Graham’s Home, Pedong-Thongsa-Tharpa-Choling Monastery, wild orchids and animals.

Sandakphu Bengal

Sandakphu Bengal


High above the rest, lies Sandakphu, the highest point of West Bengal, at 11,929 ft above sea level. The Sandakphu trekking region lies in the Singalila Park in Darjeeling, off the Bengal-Sikkim border. An average temperature of -20 degrees Celsius, Mount Everest, the Kanchenjunga and the snow-capped Makalu and Lhotse. Sandakphu is home to all these and over 600 species of wild Orchids.


Spend a day or two at Kurseong en route Darjeeling. Dip into the serenity at 1458 meters above sea level. This city, originally called Kharsang, after the wild orchids, gained prominence as a tourist destination since the 1880’s. for instance, the Saint Paul’s Church and Dow Hills School. Other attractions include Giddapahar Durgamata Mandir, Jagadish Mandir, the Gumpha of Gautam Buddha at Down Hill, Juma Masjid at Hatbazar, Deer Park and waterfalls.


Just 21/2 hours away from Kalimpong, lies Lava at 7016 feet above sea level. Lava happens to be one of the few places in West Bengal that experience snowfall. The main attractions of Lava are the brids. It rests amid nature, for form the madding crowd of he city. Besides the monasteries and museums, Neora Valley National Park is another crowd puller here. Rare animals like Red Pandas, Clouded Leopards, Musk Deer, Black Bears, Golden Cats, and Himalayan Flying Squirrels roam about freely here.




12 km away from Lava, at 5500 feet above sea level, lies the calm and coldness of Lolegaon. Away from the bustle and din of the city, the clear and uncluttered view of the Kanchenjunga is a top draw.

Reaching the Hills:

You can reach Darjeeling through Siliguri. Board any of the numerous trains from either of Howrah or Sealdah to Siliguri or Jalpaiguri. Avail of the Toy Train service or take the roadway to Darjeeling. Should you want to board a flight, you can do so from the NSC Bose Airport to Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri and then follow the same route to Darjeeling.

Hire a car from Siliguri or Darjeeling for a 3 to 4 house drive to Kalimpong. Sandkphu can be accessed from Manebhanjan via Tonglu and Kalipokhari, the distance being 31 km.


Dooars, the vast expanse of greenery at the foothills of the Northern Himalayas, borrows its name from “Dwar” in Sanskrit, the mother of most Indian language. Indeed, the gateway to the Himalayas has multiple shades of green in it – be it the dense forest or the cloud capped tea estates, or even green plains. A few mountain rivers stream through the idyllic surroundings which are the habitat for bison, one-horned rhinos, leopards, elephants and many other animals. One can see all of these, at the same time having a clear view of the Himalayas standing tall in the background.

Reaching different shades of green

You can access Dooars through multiple districts on road. Long distance buses ply from Kolkata. Railways connect the Dooars to Siliguri and Kolkata via New Jakpaiguri and Alipurduar. The Bagdogra airport helps the Dooars to connect with the rest of the country, i.e. Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati.


Truly a World Heritage site, this delta is the house to ancient mangroves that have successfully sustained many a species of wild animals. Among various attractions are the monitor lizards, migratory birds, sharks, crocodiles and of course the Royal Bengal Tiger, for which tourists from all corner of the world throng this place.

sundarban national park

sundarban national park

One can reach the core area of the Sunderbans, i.e. Netidhopani over the river Bonbibibharani. On the way, one shall pass Sundarkhali, Bilkhali and Gajikhali and the river Netai. This area is surrounded by Sundari, Keora, Hental and Goran varieties of mangroves and is interspersed by Forest Department watch-towers. One can consider himself pretty fortunate if he were to watch a tiger from one of these towers.

Reaching out to the wild

Sunderbans can only be accessed from the waters. One can avail a launch from the nearest river-harbour, Canning. Alternatively, buses ply between Kolkata and Basanti, from where you can hire a boat to Sajnekhali or you can choose to arrive via Gosaba and Sonakhali, besides there are launches from Namkhana too. Should you choose to reach via Canning, you can board a train from Kolkata to Canning.


The land of red soil, with tales of literary brilliance in the air, that’s Santiniketan for you. It’s where the river Kopai meanders slowly and lore revolves around the Khowai. In Bengali, it means “The Abode of Peace”. Indeed, that was the only thing on Maharshi Debendranath Tagore’s mind as he set up an Ashram that was made immortal by the Bard of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore, when he established Viswa Bharati University, a preferred destination for students from across the world.


Originally christened Mallabhum after the age old Malla rulers of Bengal, it is the birthplace of an art truly exclusive to this region – the Terracotta. The district capital Bishnupur is strewn with terracotta (burnt earth) structures describing tales from the Vedas and the Gathas. Of course temples throughout the whole district bear testimony to the aesthetics of the artisans, and are highly held by connoisseurs around the world. At present, 22 of Bankura’s 32 well established temples are being maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Reaching the land of Red Soil-

The nearest railway station is Bolpur. You can approach it from Rampurhat too. The best possible way to approach Santiniketan is on rail from Kolkata to Bolpur, and then travelling the remaining 2 km ride on road. Should you want to make a road trip, Santiniketan is connected to Kolkata via NH2.


The main railway station is Bankura Town. It’s also a 5 hour drive from Kolkata. You can avail of long distance buses from Kolkata.


A treasure trove of history, Murshidabad is intrinsic to memories of the erstwhile Dewan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Nawab Murshid Quli Khan. Lalbag, the then capital of Bengal, and the British established city at Behrampore portray two different views in history. Notable tourist spots include Hazarduari, Katra Mosque, tomb of Siraj-ud-Daula and large number of other palaces dating back to about 400 years, like the Madina Mosque, Jahan Kosha, Khosbag, Motijhil, Kiriteshwari temple, Kathgola Palace, Nizamat Imambara to name but a few. The Wasef Manzil, Jagat Seth’s house, Bacchawali Cannon, Nimakharam Deuri, KarnaSuvarna and the fields of Plassey continue to enthrall tourists from all corners of the world. A 30 minute drive across the river can take you to the ruins of Karnasubarna, the ancient capital of Bengal.

Other Places of Interest


Digha Beach

Digha Beach

A bemused Warren Hastings referred Digha as ‘Brighton of the East’. Every year millions of people throng Digha, for its beautiful coastline, along with a spectacular sunrise and sunset view. Of late, it’s the most popular sea retreat of West Bengal.


The 13 km long beach of Mandarmani is the home of serenity and solitude. Some reputed hoteliers have set up their resorts, yet leaving the magic of this place intact and have made it more of a weekend retreat for tourists from Kolkata and its adjoining area.


The erstwhile princely state of Coochbehar came under the Indian jurisdiction in 1949 but its royal legend goes on, with imposing palaces (Rajbari), temples (Madan Mohan and Baneshwar Shiva Temple) and celebrated personalities like Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, who hails from the Coochbehar royal family. In short, the city of Cooch Behar is ideal for the travelers who have an eye for history and Bengal’s eventful past.


The erstwhile seat of power of Bengal is famous for its delicious mangoes, hand-woven coten and silk textiles along with the relics of the Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist regimes.


The birthplace of Chaitanya is the most pious place for Bengali Vaishnavas. It is also the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON). The ISKON’S Chandrodaya Mandir is one of the most important pilgrim destinations for Vaishnavites all over the world.

Art and Crafts

Each of soil, sponge-wood (shoal), cotton, jute, silk, handmade paper, bell metal and cane is indigenous to Bengal. So are their usages in Bengali livelihood. Terracotta, pottery, shoal-work, patachitra painting, bell-metalwork, cane-work, hand-woven textiles (Sari), embroidery on light quilts, to name but a few and most worthy of mention is the fact that each of these handicrafts has been given the status of exquisite folk –art by generations of specialist artisans. Today the finesse of Krishnanagar clay dolls, distinct form of terracotta horse of Bankura, Dokra artifacts of tribal craftsmen and patachitra of Kalighat in Kolkata have garnered recognition from the world over.

Bengla Art and Crafts

Bengla Art and Crafts

In modern times, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and many others established the Bengal School of Painting and other fine arts during the 19th and 20th centuries. As time passed by, the tradition of excellence in art was followed by the names like Atul Bose, Jamini Roy, Debiprasad Raychoudhuri, Hemen Majumdar, Zainul Abedin, Nirad Majumdar, Abani Sen and Gobardhan Ash. In recent times Kolkata emerged as a prominent trading center with the stalwarts Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Chawdhury and Subhaprasanna, all joining with their own bit in the fray.

Culture and Festivals

It is said to be a land of 13 festivals in 12 months. And the biggest among these carnivals is Durga Puja. Scriptures say that it marks the goddess Durga’s homecoming on earth. The four days of Puja are celebrated in a manner that has few parallels in the world! Spectacular Pandals, illuminated streets and millions of people treading miles for Pandal hopping – are all specific to this festival that ends with immersion of the earthen Durga idol. It is one of the largest carnivals of the earth attracting millions of people to Kolkata and Bengal.

Besides Durga Puja, Bengalis celebrate Dol (festivals of colors), Rash (mainly at Mayapur), Dipabali (festival of light), Nababarsha (Bengali new-year) and Christmas with high enthusiasm.

The colorful cultural gamut of Bengal, includes various folk dance forms, Chhau is a masked folk dance form from Purulia district that has achieved more international acclaim over others like Natua, Raibenshey and Tusu.

Jammu Kashmir Flooded: Helpline Numbers

Srinagar Flood Helpline No.

The flood control room numbers are:

New Delhi Jammu & Kashmir House (011)-24611210, (011) 24611108

Srinagar- (0194) 2452138

Jammu- (0191) 2560401

Home Ministry’s control room: 011- 23093054, 23092763, 23092923, 23092885, 23093566, 23093563

NDRF Control Room at Delhi: 011-26107953, 09711077372

People can also mail the NDRF control room at


Srinagar: Anantnag 01932-224371, 222870, 222836, 222271, 9419051940

Baramulla 01954-237830

Shoopian 01933-261891

Kulgam 01955-262295

Pulwama 01933-241280

Awantipora 01933-247369

Budgam 01951-255207, 255750

Srinagar 0194-2474040, 2455883, 2452092, 2452138, 2482624, 2481628

Bandipora 01957-225278

Sopore 01954-222312

Kupwara 01955-252451

Handwara 01955-262295

Ganderbal 0194-2416478

Kargil 01985-232275

Leh 01982-258880

The Kalimpong Experience

Kalimpong, Darjeeling

Kalimpong in Darjeeling district has a unique advantage of being centrally located. The fantastic view from all around, the breathtaking sight of Mt Kanchenjunga, the surrounding forest with rich flora and fauna and the people to this town provide for a spectacular visit for travelers.

All major towns of this hill area – Darjeeling, Gangtok, Pelling, and Kurseong are almost at equal distance from Kalimpong. Siliguri is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours away. Lava, Loleygaon, Pedong, Rishyap and Charkhol, really picturesque and worth a visit, are at a distance of 45 minutes to 2 hours.



Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. Kalimpong, then was a transit point for trade between Tibet and India.

The town is located on ridge overlooking the Teesta River. Horticulture is a very important business in Kalimpong. The town has flower market and is notable for a wide array of orchids. Nurseries, that export Himalayan grown flower bulbs, tubers and rhizomes. The town is also a religious centre for the Buddhists.

General Information

Area -  3.5 sq. miles (Kalimpong sub-division)
Altitude - 1250 metres (4100 ft) 1,704 meters (5,591 ft) – Delo
Population - 169,663 (approx)
Climate - Summer – 270C Max – Min 17.2oC, – Winter – 15oC Max – Min 7.2oC
Rainfall - 86.20 inches annually
Clothing - Tropical in summer and light wollen in winter
Languages spoken - Nepali, Bengali, Hindi & English


Kalimpong has five distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter and the monsoons. The annual temperature ranges from a high of 27oc (86oF) to a low of 70C (48oF). Summers is mild, and are followed by the monsoon rains which lash the town between June and September. Winter lasts from December to February.

Traditions & Culture

The majority here is that of ethnic Nepali, having migrated in search of jobs while it was under British rule, indigenous groups include the Newars, Lepchas, Bhutia, Sherpas, Limbus, Rais, Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Yolmos, Bhujels, Sunuwars, Sarkis, Damais and the Kamis. The other communities are that of Bengalis, Marwaris, Anglo-Indian, Chinese, Biharis and Tibetans Kalimpong is home to Trinley Thaye Dorje – one of the 17 Karmapa incarnations.

Kalimpong is the closest Indian town to Bhutan’s western border, and has a small number of Bhutanese nationals residing here. Hinduism is the popular religion, followed by Buddhism and Christianity. The Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. There is a mosque in the bazaar area of Kalimpong.

Popular festivals include Diwali, Christmas, Dussera and the Buddhist festival of Losar. Nepali is the predominant language spoken in Kalimpong.

Culture of Kalimpong

Culture of Kalimpong

Flower Nurseries

The flower nurseries of Kalimpong specialize in the cultivation of exotic orchid species, and other ornamental flowers such as Gladioli, Gerberas, Amaryllis and Anthuriums. The most popular nurseries are Pine View, Universal, Shanti Kunj and L.B Pradhan & Sons Nursery.

Arts & Crafts

The town is famous for its handicrafts. The artisans produce Tibetan and Bhutanese artefacts and jewellery that are much admired overseas.

Regional Products

  • Tibetan shoe making
  • Silverware and statue making by sakya craftsman
  • Bamboo products by lepcha tribe
  • Bamboo stools (murha) by blind school trainees
  • Tibetan wooden carvings
  • Carpet marking
  • Woven bags
  • Scroll paintings
  • Thanka paintings

Food Culture

Food in Kalimpong is diverse ranging from Nepali, Tibetan to Chinese delicacies. A popular snack in Kalimpong is the Momo (steamed dumplings made up of pork, beef or vegetable cooked in a wrapping of flour) and served with watery soup. Churpee a kind of hard cheese made from yak’s or chauri’s (a hybrid of yak and cattle) milk, is sometimes chewed. A form of noodle called Thukpa, served in soup form is also popular in Kalimpong. There are a large number of restaurants which offer a wide variety of cuisines, ranging from Indian to continental to cater to the tourists. Tea is the most popular beverage in Kalimpong, procured from the famed Darjeeling tea gardens. Some of the locally produced products include cheese and lollypops which were introduced by Swiss missionaries.

For visitors: should try homemade pickle available in the market at Motor stand Kalimpong.

Adventure & Interest

Treking in Kalimpong

Most of the treks are low altitude Trek time range from 2 to 4 days. The average altitude ranges from 1200 meters to 1500 meters and average distance covered in a day about 12 kms. There treks cover local villages around Kalimpong, these villages are mostly Tamang and Lepcha villages. Local traditions and food are part of the trek itinerary.


One of the most popular waters sports in Kalimpong is rafting, on the strong water current of river Teesta. The rafting usually starts from Melli and goes down to 29th mile.

bird watching at Neora valley

bird watching at Neora valley

Para Gliding

Paragliding is a fairly new sport introduced in this region. The flight path starts from the Science City on Delo hill. His is the perfect way to get a panoramic view of the mountain range and Kalimpong.

Visiting Places

Durping Gumpa

Zang Dhok Palri Phodang
This is the largest and most beautiful monastery in Kalimpong. Consecrated by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama in 1976 who also presented ‘The Kangyur’, in 108 volumes to it. Being situated at a height of 1372 meters on the peak of the Durping Hill, the monastery commands a majestic view of the surrounding areas as well as of the town of Kalimpong. On a clear day, a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga and the adjacent peaks can be had from this ground. The Zang Dhok Palri Phodang belongs to the Yellow Hat Sect of Buddhism (Gelupa Sect) to which the present Dali Lama belongs.

Getting there: 20 mins drive by taxi towards Durpin from the town
Local tips: light a lamp in the monastery

Dr. Graham’s Homes
One of the earliest Scottish missionaries to come to Kalimpong was Dr. J.A. Graham. He spent his early years in Kalimpong preaching Christianity, but after duration of time, he diverted his attention towards establishing an orphanage cum schools for the needy Anglo-Indian children. He hence established in 1900 the ‘St. Andrews Colonial Homes’. The first cottage to house these children were built on the slopes of the Tripai Hill. But gradually the entire surrounding area was converted into a township which had its own cottages, farm, chapel, workshop, hospital, bakery play ground, poultry, staff quarters and hostels.

Getting there: by local taxi 20 minutes drive from town
Local Tips: enjoy the view from honeymoon hill

St. Teresa Church
Built by local craftsmen to resemble to Gumba, it has wooden carvings on the walls of Biblical scenes and in continuance to the theme, the characters are depicted in the attire of the Buddhist clergy.

Getting there: 10 mins walk from main town center towards Relli road.

Mangla Dham
This recently constructed temple is dedicated to lord Krishna, situated below Sewa Sadan Hospital 10th Mile.

Getting There: 15 min walk from town centre.

Dharmodaya Vihara
Dharmodaya Vihara is a Nepalese Buddhist temple situated just outside the town. In the year 1944 when the Rana rulers expelled all Theravada Bhikkhus (monks) from Nepal, they traveled to Sarnath along with a large number of devotees. An association was subsequently formed there by the name of Dharmodaya Sabha with patronage of locals. The “Elza Villa” was purchased and converted to be the center of preaching and furthering the teachings of Theravada Buddhism. A library containing rare books on Buddhism and other subjects was established in 1949 for the benefit of local people as well as Bhikkhus and Scholars. Dharmodaya Vihar has become a very important center for scholars of Buddhism from all over the world.

Charkhol Kalimpong

Charkhol Kalimpong

Distance from Chuikhim is 25 km via Nimbong. One can also reach from Kalimpong via Relikhola and Pala, only to a travel distance of 34km. Homestay at Charkhol can be considered as the pioneer. Here there are ten homestay with a healthy competition among himself or herself for upgrading hospital. Added to it is unmatched beauty of the place, where Mt Kanchenjunga is view when sky remains clear.

Rishi Khola
14 km away from Pedong lies a beautiful river. The farm house on the banks of Rishi Khola is also a border for West Bengal and Sikkim. Tourists can spend the day fishing, doing village treks and riverside picnic. One can also spend the night in a riverside resort.