Showing posts with label india travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label india travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Touring Along the lines of Golden Triangle India




Touring Along The Lines Of The Golden Triangle


India, as a country needs no introduction. It is a place that symbolizes Unity in Diversity. You can traverse through its whole length and breadth and yet there would still be something unexplored on your map. In order to get to know some of the best iconic sights, it is best to have a tour plan ready. One of the must try treks that you can take to visit some of the best places of the country is the Golden triangle tour India. There are various tour operators that provide packages along these lines that indulge your adventurous spirit to the fullest. So let us get started to getting to know about this tour a little more so that you can plan your golden triangle India vacation accordingly:

Delhi

Delhi is not just the capital of India, it is in fact the main hub of the rich history of the country. There is the Red fort and the Humayun’s Tomb for the historical buffs, in addition to the architecturally magnificent Rashtrapati Bhavan and the majestic India Gate. For the foodies, get to sample some of the famous local gastronomical delights of the city such as the kathi lunch at Khan Chacha or a cocktail at Cheri or even some obscure Hole in the wall restaurant in the lanes of the city where you can eat like a king for a small amount. However, be aware of the spices as they are famous to turn even a locals’ belly to mush….!!!


Agra

Next on our golden Triangle India tour comes the internationally famous city of Agra. After all, no trip to India is complete without a visit to the beautiful Taj Mahal. Explore the monument to its fullest but do keep some time in hand to visit some of the lesser known yet equally interesting local attractions such as Mehtab Bagh Gardens and Rajeshwar and Kailash temple. Foodies will also be equally delighted by the local authentic cuisines in addition to a special rooftop restaurant that offers you meals with Taj Mahal serving a romantic backdrop.


Jaipur


One of the upcoming popular international tourist destinations is Jaipur. With its glorious forts, majestic temples and beautiful sandstone buildings, the place acts as an apt end to the glorious Golden Triangle tour India. In addition to these beautifully historical monuments, there is also the added attraction of the Bapu Bazaar and the Jowhri Bazaar for the shopaholics. Pick up items at dirt cheap rates before sampling one of the famous local delights- ‘pyaz ki Kachori’. After filling your tummy, it is time now to fulfill your senses with beautiful local attractions such as Hawa Mehal, Amber fort, and the 17th Century Jai Singh Observatory.


After garnering some unforgettable views from this whole trip, it is now time to drive back to Delhi where the Golden Triangle tour India is officially considered to be over. However, do remember, the trip may be over but the memories you gather from the same will remain for ever and ever in your mind, thoughts and photo album.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Perfect Time To Visit Ladakh


Ladakh, a part of Jammu & Kashmir State in north of India consisting of two districts Leh and Kargil.Leh is a complete beauty in itself. Leh has quite a few amazing places to offer its tourists. The most striking sight of Leh is the group of women, traditionally attired, selling fruits, vegetables and household articles, spinning and knitting, and exchanging gentle banter between themselves and with passers-by.  Leh is one most frequented destinations for the trekkers in India. Ladhak is the largest province in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The landscape of Ladhak, a high altitude desert, is defined by craggy, barren cliffs and plateaus. Ladhak is a favorite among adventure sports enthusiasts, offeringunique adventures in trekking, mountaineering and white water rafting. While rafting options are available on both Indus and Zanskar rivers, the Zanskar course is more difficult and exciting. The trekking options range from short, day-long walks to visit monuments or monastic settlements to long, trans-mountain treks involving weeks of walking and camping in the wilderness.

Ladakh is open for tourist throughout the year, while the best period for tour and trek is from June. The best time to visit Ladakh is from June until September, the region’s summer season.At this time, Ladakh is an unparalleled paradise, with clear, stunning views and warm and sunny weather – the average temperature range during the day is about 20–30°C. Keen trekkers usually head to Ladakh during July and August, when the Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh highways are open to vehicles. That said, Ladakh is a land bound by two of the world’s highest mountain ranges – the Himalayas and Karakoram – anyone visiting Ladakh, even in the middle of summer, should be prepared for the sharp drop in temperatures at night.The best time to visit Ladakh is during summers. The summers in Leh Ladakh stretch from June to September. During this period, Ladakh as well as the nearby areas experience warm and sunny days and delightful nights. For those who are interested in trekking, the peak season for Ladakh travel consists of the months of July/August. Around this time only, the passes on the Manali-Leh Highway and the Srinagar-Leh Highway become motorable and the tourist start coming soon after. The winter season is not ideal for travel to Leh Ladakh. This is because during winters, the temperature in Ladakh falls to below zero degrees often and the weather is quite cold and harsh. Also, because of heavy snowfall, the roads become unmotorable in winters.The best time to visit Ladakh is during summers.Ladakh is a land bound by two of the world’s highest mountain ranges – the Himalayas and Karakoram – anyone visiting Ladakh, even in the middle of summer, should be prepared for the sharp drop in temperatures at night.Even the natural beauty at this place is center of attraction for people. They are fascinated with lush green environment, slope hills and pleasant weather. Now this place even has direct connectivity of flights from several places of India. So when you plan for a vacation then it can be an option in your list. Leh Ladakh is famaouse as the Heaven on Earth.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Travel to India - Visit during North and south India

North East India is enigmatically blessed with unmatched natural beauty. Undulating hills with vast stretches of tea gardens, revitalizing waterfalls and fast flowing rivers, vast stretches of tea gardens, dense forest, bird sanctuaries, picturesque lakes and more importantly exciting range of sightseeing spots all make Northeast India the most sought after tourism destination. It is the land of scenic glory and no wonder tourists from across the nook and corner of the globe, come here to enjoy ultimate vacation with immense pleasure and delights.
North east India has so many alluring tourism destination and sightseeing spots. It is home to some of the finest and magnetizing attractions that engross the visitors and offer those lots of excitement that pull them again and again for North east tours.

Well if you are really interested in exploring the wonderland of North and South India, just go through this article and you will get some ideal about the important tourist places to visit and explore.
If you travel to India in the summer, and always have a bottle of water and sunscreen. For the traveler on the road there are many transit options such as air conditioning, buses and taxis, rickshaws and domestic traffic in India is well connected to the airways and railways.
India is a diverse country with many religions coexists peacefully here different religions, different customs, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the basic good manners. Therefore it is best to seek help from your travel agent. As previously entering a mosque or a Gurudwara, it is important that both men and women to cover their heads. We also encourage you to India to book your travel with a good travel agent and also to guide and give you knowledge about the rich History of India.

It is always recommended that your passport and visa, always in motion and in case of emergency, you can always use the help of local police to bring. Because Hindi language is spoken all over India, which can also lead to a translation book for a better understanding of the language? If you travel through a Indian travel  Guide, it is not necessary because the agent as a translator for you. These tips will make your trip more enjoyable.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Outline of Phenomenal Cultural Tour Packages India

India Different types of trip offers are available according to different preferences of the visitors. Spiritual oriented individuals look forward to pilgrimage packages; exciting individuals are on the search of something that can add to the enjoyment in their lives. Social trip offers take individuals better local and vocal principles followed by individuals of the position. 


India Travel can be taken to any part of the country. It can be to the amazing States of Eastern, the traditional places of Southern, the fantastic western and the wonderful North. Himalayan range can be researched for its many gifts. 



Cultural trip is an discovery into the rich ancient past of the position. And history is in every place and corner of Native indian. Indians have passed down a huge number of typical ancient monuments, mansions, castles, palatial and havelis. Different individuals have decided over the vast area of land at different times. Southern has to offer wonderful wats which got constructed by Cholas, Pandavas, and Cheras etc. Mughals were not the original population of Native indian, yet they managed to make it their own and provided to it the most wonderful structure that was a mixture of Native indian Islamic Design and Nearby structure. Taj, Red Bastions, the tombs of emperors and members of their loved ones, the Masjids and mosques around Native indian carry stories of the past era. English provided to Native indian many wonderful chapels, Native indian Checkpoint, Entrance of Native indian, Parliament Building and other structures of traditional interest. Sultans of Delhi came up with Qutab. The structure of Sultanate dynesty added archways and domes to the structures. Delhi is marked with many a monument from the Servant dynesty, Khiliji dynesty and many more. Rajasthan structure brings out the fantastic Hindu structural style.


Temples bring to us the knowledge that Indian craftsmen had perfected in the magnificently designed out statues. Cavern wats, the Khajurao wats and wats in the south stand out as beautiful pieces of art. Social trip of Native indian is truly amazing in every aspect.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mathura : Birthplace of Lord Krishna

Around 60 kms from Agra on the road to Delhi are the holy twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. Associated with the birthplace of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, these twin cities are special pilgrimage centers and are thronged by devotees round the year.

Situated on the bank of River Yamuna, Mathura is an ancient city known since ages. Although it is said to be the birthplace of the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna, the history of this place can be traced back to the period of Ashok and even before that. Mathura has a strategic location, which ensured it to be the important place for trade and commerce. The archaeological findings from this place take us back to 5th century B.C. when it became the eastern capital of the King Kanishka of the Kushan dynasty. During the Gupta and the Maurya dynasties, the art and culture of this place flourished and grew into an industry. It became a major place for trading and learning.

Today all that remains of that history has been preserved in the museum and the town of Mathura has become famous for its temples.

The whole area is known as the Braj Bhoomi, which includes the place where Lord Krishna was born, and also the places like Nandgaon, his foster father's village and Gokul where he stayed and played with his friends. Vrindavan is around 15 kms from Mathura is also associated with the life of Lord Krishna, and hence is important pilgrimage place.

The ancient temples, the picturesque Ghats on the bank of River Yamuna, the invocating prayers and songs for the God and the Pedhas, sweets prepared of milk is what Mathura is famous for today.

Location: The city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, is located at a distance of 145 km south-east of Delhi and 58 km north-west of Agra. Covering an area of about 3,800 sq. km., today, Brajbhoomi can be divided into two distinct units - the eastern part in the trans-Yamuna tract with places like Gokul, Mahavan, Baldeo, Mat and Bajna and the western side of the Yamuna covering the Mathura region that encompasses Vrindavan, Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar, Barsana and Nandgaon. In a nutshell, the land of Braj starts from Kotban near Hodel about 95 km from Delhi and ends at Runakuta which is known specially for its association with the poet Surdas, an ardent Krishna devotee.

Other Name : Brajbhoomi
Languages Spoken :  Hindi, Braj, English
Long Distance Code :  +91-565
Importance : Famous as the birth place of Lord Krishna
Area : 3800 sqkms
Best Time To Visit : October To March & During the month of July-August to witness the Janmashtami celebrations.

Mathura Attractions:

The Raslila Dance

The Raslila dance performance of the Braj area is very famous. This traditional dance form is being performed for ages today. The dance steps are those which are unique to the place and the steps are taken in accordance with the folk songs that accompany them. Normally the Raslila dances are the folk tales and mythological stories based on the life of Krishna, his pranks and his youthful romance with the Gopis and Radharani. Till date the Raslila is performed with much vigour and enthusiasm in the area.

ISCKON Temple

This temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balaram is structure in pure white build by the followers of the Hare Ram, Hare Krishna group in 1975. One of the most beautiful temples of the sect, this one in Vrindavan is very clean and has beautiful idols of the two deities.

Jugal Kishore Temple

One of the oldest remaining structures in the area is the Jugal Kishore temple. This temple was built along with four others. It was built in 1627 A.D. but the permission was granted by Emperor Akbar in his visit to the place. The other temples build along with this were the Radharaman temple, the Govindji temple and the Gopinath temple. Most of these temples have lost their old structure in some attack or the original idol has been smuggled away to save it from the wrath. Therefore it is only the Jugal Kishore temple which still stands in the same place and with the original structure and the deity and hence it is considered to be most important one.

The Vishram Ghat

According to mythology, Lord Krishna killed his maternal uncle Kansa in Mathura when he was still a young boy. Kansa was an evil man who has imprisoned Krishna''s parents and grandfather and would torture his subjects. After killing the evil man Krishna came and rested at this place on the bank of River Yamuna. So this place is called as the Vishram Ghat or the place to rest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Konark : The Land of the Sun Temple

The small town of Konark is world famous for its exotic temple dedicated to Sun God. Today declared as a world heritage site, the temple is the most beautiful example of the Oriyan temple architecture. Standing virtually on the sea beach of Konark, this temple was earlier known as the Black Pagoda, as it would mislead the boatmen and eventually cause ship wreckage.

Just like each and every temple and place in India has a myth or a legend attached to it, Konark temple is no exception. Why the temple was built on the sea shores is still a mystery that amazes the historians. According to a legend, son of Lord Krishna, Samba is said to have built it. It is said that he was very good looking and once insulted the great sage Narada over his looks. Sage Narada took his revenge by luring him to a pond where Krishna's wives were bathing. When Krishna came to know about this he cursed his own son of leprosy, but repented after learning the mischievous game played by sage Narada. Samba was asked to worship Lord Surya, the Sun God who would cure all the diseases. Samba's penance paid off after 12 years so in reverence to the God he built a temple where he was asked to take a dip in the sea water.

However, historically the temple was built in the 13th century AD by King Narsinhadeva - I of Ganga dynasty, to commemorate his victory over the Mughals. It is said that building of this stupendous architectural piece took nearly 12 years with nearly 1200 artisans. Konark drives its name from the word Konarka which actually is the combination of two words, Kona and Arka. It means the place where the Sun Arka is in Corner, that is Kona, and hence the name Konark. It was also known as Konaditya, where Aditya also means Sun.

This probably might the only temple in the world which does not have a Shikhara, a conical shape on the dome. It is said that the Shikhara which was built was made of magnet which would attract lot of ships to the port eventually crashing them and therefore it was removed. But the legend goes that due to some misdeed that the king did has been punished in this form and how much so ever one may try, the Shikhara can never be built on the temple.

It is a specimen of architectural grandeur and zenith of the local architecture. The intricacy and profusion of sculptural work is amazing. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. The seven horses represent the seven days of the week and the 24 wheels denote the 24 hours in a day.

The Nat Mandir in front of the Jag Mohan is also intricately carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof, are various carvings. There are images of animals, foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting patterns. Every aspect of life is represented here, and the erotic imagery, depicts the sublimation of human love manifested in countless forms. Scenes from court, civic life and war are also done with great precision. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.

The temple went into obscurity in the later period, until it was recovered by the British. Many parts of the temple have alas been washed away in to the sea over the period of time.

There is a museum just outside the temple which houses some great artifacts those which have been saved from the ruins of the temple. The nine planets, posed as the nine deities which were located on the door ways have been enshrined in a separate temple nearby. The Astronomy that the temple poses is an amazing fact in itself. Today the sea beach which once most probably washed the stairs of the temple has receded to around 3 kms and indeed is a pristine beach. The clear waters and the soft sand with the cool breeze sure make a good retreat from the hustle bustle of the outside world.

Location: Around 65 kms from the capital of Bhubaneshwar, Konark is just 35 kms from the sacred city of Jagannath Puri.
Languages Spoken: Oriya, Hindi and English
Long Distance Code: +91-6758
Importance: Famous for the world heritage site of the sun temple.
Best Time To Visit: October To February

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mussoorie : The Queen of the hill stations

The queen of hill stations is about 89 km from Haridwar and the salubrious climate and deep woods make it an ideal hill station. The name, Mussoorie, derives its name from plants of 'Mussoorie', found in abundance here. After its discovery, this place gradually developed as a center of education, business, tourism and beauty. The hill station of Mussoorie came into being around the 1830s. What began as a small settlement grew into a large station to turn into a hill station of today overlooking the sprawling Doon valley and the city of Dehradun. Mussoorie was not named after a place in England. The British were content to follow the name given by the hill-folk. Mussoorie, at a height of around 7000 ft above the sea level, straddles a ridge in the Garhwal Himalayas, developing into a major tourism destination.

Languages Spoken: Hindi, English, Garhwali
Long Distance Code: +91-135
Importance: Queen of hill stations
Area: 65 sqkm
Best Time To Visit: April To October

Mussoorie Attractions

The Mall & Camel's Back

Rickshaw rides down the Mall, and around the wooded road of Camel's Back with its timeless views of the northern ranges of the Himalayas, are a pleasure which is virtually unique to Mussoorie. Younger, and younger-at-heart, people prefer to amble down the Mall. And, in keeping with our informal atmosphere, it is fashionable to eat roasted peanuts while you amble. These are bought from barrows and little roadside vendors who keep them around little terracotta Gharries-pots filled with glowing, smoking, faggots. One of the barrows offers a bonus; it stands beneath a hoarding depicting Mussoorie's attractions so that you can get the lay of the land while you crack-crunch-relish.

Tibetan Temple

This temple is located in Happy valley area of Mussoorie. Both Company gardens and Tibetan temple can be seen in one day. They are located one kilometer from Lal Bahadur Shastri National Administrative Academy. The Tibetan temple is evidence to rich Tibetan cultural heritage. This temple is sure to attract attention of tourists.

Mussoorie Lake

This lake is located some 7-kms on the highway to Dehradun. The gateway of this lake appears to be welcoming tourists from Dehradun. One can enjoy boating at this lake. One also gets a very good view of the Dun Valley from this lake. The villages surrounding Mussoorie can also be seen from here.




Lal and Nag Tibba

Lal Tibba is the highest point in Mussoorie which is also the oldest inhabited place in Mussoorie. Nag Tibba is 55-km from Mussoorie and is very good place for trekking. Nag Tibba, as it is called, is the highest place around Mussoorie. Thick dense forests surround it.

Kempty Falls

Probably the most famous falls of the country, the Kempty falls are around 15 kms away from Mussoorie. This perennial cascade is a mountain stream which has cut and sculpted its way through great boulders and down rock faces offering a stimulating, drenching, shower when it reaches a sandy basis before rushing on. One can find this place filled with tourists and thus many regular services such as snack bars etc.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lahaul and Spiti : The Barren Splendor

The rugged and the highly located area, is nature's ever changing canvas. Known as the Land of Lamas, Lahaul and Spiti are the passes stretching straight into the cold desert of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. Closed for more than six months during the year due to heavy snow, the land sheds its colours and goes for a complete turnover in spring and summers. Brown barren slopes with icy rivers and cold winds are the common feature of Lahaul and Spiti. The sole access to the this land is the Rohatang pass near Manali., which according to legend was created by Lord Shiva for the people of Lahaul and Spiti to visit the valley of Gods beyond the pass.

There are very few patches of fertile land in this area, where the people live and have formed few villages, most are tribes. These tribesmen, despite the tough weather conditions which makes them fight hard for their livelihood, retain the inner warmth and are always smiling and inviting. The place has been mentioned in the old Buddhist scriptures and was probably inhabited by the Khasa who came from central Asia and settled here. Lahaul and Spiti were ruled by the Ladakh and the Kullu rulers in turns. Eventually this rugged land came under the reigns of the ruler of Kullu; Ranjit Singh who ruled till the British came in and overtook the whole area.Mostly the people of this place are followers of Buddhism. There are beautiful and ancient monasteries and Gompas here where they follow their daily rituals and worship the lord.

With a varied topography, that is suitable for a hiker or adventure seekers. The rough terrain and absence of heavy rains, makes it suitable for mountaineering. The Gushing Rivers twisting and turning etching the hard rock’s of the area provide good rafting adventure. The grandeur of these terrains and magnificence comes as a surprise at every nook and corner and is definitely awe inspiring, that can make anyone bow down to nature.Due to the prominence of Buddhism in the area one can witness flags fluttering in prayer to the almighty. These colourful flags only add beauty to the barren terrains of the magnificent mountains.

Location: The largest district in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul and Spiti is known as the barren splendour of the Himachal. Bounded by Ladakh to the north, Tibet to the east, and the Kullu valley to the south, Lahaul and Spiti is the gateway to the Leh and Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the district is one made out of two subdivisions of Lahaul and Spiti, these two areas differ highly in their altitudes. The rugged region receives a scanty rainfall and therefore is favourite spot with the trekkers during the time when the monsoon lashes throughout the country. It also has many passes for the adventure seeker to try on.

Languages Spoken: Himachali and local dialects
Long Distance Code: +91-1906
Importance: The barren gatewy to Tibet
Area: 55673 sqkm
Best Time To Visit: May To July

Lahaul and Spiti Attractions:

Rohatang pass

Situated about 51 km from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 meters (13,400 ft.) on the highway to Keylong, is the Rohatang Pass. This is the pass which separates the picturesque and green valley of Kullu and Manali to the stark contradiction of barren brown mountains and deep valleys of stones and rocks. Rohatang is the place where the majesty of the mountains is at its height in splendour.

Rohatang in Tibetan language means a heap of dead bodies. And true to these words, Rohatang definitely would take toll of humans and property, every year due to its harsh weather. The pass becomes hazardous due to frequent avalanches. Although there is face over to the pass in summers and spring when the pass reels under beautiful flowers and birds and rare variety of butterflies.There is a beautiful lake to the left of the pass known as Doshohar Lake. The Sonapani Glacier and the Gyephang La peaks offer a splendid view. At the height of the Rohatang pass one can see a small stone enclosure and a water spring, believed to be the source of River Beas.Being the only route to enter the arid region of Lahaul and Spiti, trekkers and hikers can often be seen on the pass. It is closed in winters due to heavy snowfall and is open from April to September.

Keylong

Keylong is the district head quarters of Lahaul and Spiti. Situated at an altitude of 3156 meters Keylong is the main centre on the trade route between the Rohatang and Baralacha passes above the Bhaga River. It is an oasis in this cold desert. Being the most commercialized place it also has many facilities and a regular market. The Khardong Monastery is 4 km from here contains barrel like prayer drums, paintings, ancient weapons, musical instruments and life size statue of Lord Buddha. There are three Monasteries in the radius of few kilometer; Tayul, Khardong and Shashur which are also worth a visit.

Tandi

Tandi which is hardly 8 kms from Keylong is one of the most picturesque places of the valley, with abundant natural beauty and the mythological stories to go with it. It is situated on the confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga Rivers which offer a splendid view.There are many stories about the name and the confluence of the Rivers in Tandi. The Pandav brothers along with their wife, Draupadi, started ascending to the heaven from this route. Draupadi slipped from this very place and died and could not reach heaven in the human form. Since then the place has been known as Tan Dehi, meaning in Human form and the word Tandi is the version of the same.

Another story about the confluence of the two rivers says that Chandra and Bhaga were the children Moon and Sun respectively, who wanted to get married. Both f them took their own route and reached Tandi and were eventually married. The confluence reminds one of this legendary love story thus enhancing its beauty.

Suraj Taal Chandra Taal

These two beautiful lakes are on the Baralacha la, are supposed to be the origins of the Bhaga and the Chandra rivers respectively. The Baralacha la means pass with cross roads on summit on the Spiti and Leh road. The Suraj Taal is the lake dedicated to Sun god from where the origins of Bhaga Rivers can be traced down. The crystal clear waters of the Lake freeze and is full of snow all around in winters. But in summers the deep icy blue waters of the lake reflect the magnificence of the mountains and the nature around. Situated in a natural amphitheatre, this lake presents the exuberance of natural beauty.

The Chandra Taal which is the origin of the River Chandra is also a natural lake situated at the height of 14000 feet. It is situated in a broad grassy plain which was a glacier earlier. A small little island in the middle of the lake known as the samudari tapu is supposed to be the dwelling place of a mermaid and therefore is unreachable. The Chandra Taal is favourite with the shepherds of this region as there is ample grass on which the herds can be fed on. Ducks and cranes are also found in abundance on this lake and definitely make a gorgeous sight. The icy cold water is so clean and clear that one can even see the stones underneath the water.

Kunzum Pass

What Rohatang is for Lahaul, Kunzum is to Spiti, the sole passage through which one can reach Spiti is through the Kunzum Pass which is at an altitude of 4590 meters. The panoramic view of the second longest glacier in the world, the Bara-Sigri glacier can be thrilling and spell bounding from this pass. There is a temple at the top of Kunzum pass dedicated to Goddess Durga.

Monasteries of Lahaul and Spiti

Either due to the proximity to the Tibet or due to the trade route from India to Tibet, Lahaul and Spiti has many monasteries and Gompas. The people of this place ardently follow the Buddhists religion. Few of the important monasteries are as follows.

Kye Monastery:

It is situated 12 kms. North of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Buddha. It is also a training centre for Lamas some books of high aesthetic value in its possession.

Dhankar Monastery:

Dhankar is a big village and an erstwhile capital of central Spiti. A huge fort on atop the hills used to serve as a prison in the olden days. It is the living place of 100 lamas and has some Buddhist scriptures in the Bhoti Language. The principal statue in this monastery is that of the 4 complete figures of Buddha, seated back to back in Dhyan or meditating pose. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures.

Tabo:

One of the most important monasteries in the region, the Tabo monasteries also the oldest, established in 996 A.D. It has some beautiful rock paintings comparable only to the Ajanta frescoes of Maharashtra. Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti and is the brainchild of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po.

Guru Ghantal monastery:

Located on the confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers, the Guru Ghantal Monastery, is probably the oldest centre of Buddhist pilgrimage. The archaeological evidences found at this site indicate that it had been a significant Buddhist as well as Hindu pilgrimage site in the distant past.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kullu : The Valley Of Gods

One of the oldest towns in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Kullu finds a mention in the scriptures written by Xuan Zhang the Chinese traveler. Founded in the 1st century A.D. by Behangamani Pal whose forefathers had migrated to Mayapuri from Tripura, Kullu was known as Kulantha Pitha which meant the end of the habitable world.

The valley changed hands many times over the century before to finally coming under the British rule. The history of this place revolves around the landmark of the town, the Raghunath temple. According to a legend, in the mid 17th century the King of this place fell ill and at the behest of his royal holy men asked for the sacred images of Lord Ram, after which he recovered miraculously. This made him donate the whole valley under his power to the Gods, giving it a name of the Valley of Gods. The Raghunath temple dedicated to Lord Ram with the same idols still stands testimony to the story of the faithful King.

The residents or the locals of this place are rarely belonging to the actual place but come from various valleys nearby and also from Nepal and Tibet. Nonetheless they are warm and helping in nature. Apart from its natural splendour of the place the Kullu valley is most famous for its annual celebration of Dusshera festival which falls around October and people from all around come to experience the unique festivity.

Location: The beautiful Kullu valley is situated on the gushing river Beas. The valley running north to south of this river, is approximately 225 kms from the capital town of Shimla. Aptly called as the valley of Gods, it has many ancient and beautiful temples; also the rich natural beauty the Gods have bestowed upon this valley says in itself as the favoured of the Gods, which gives it its name.

Languages Spoken: Himachali, Hindi, English
Long Distance Code: +91-1902
Importance: Valley of the Gods, famous for Dushhera celebrations.
Area: 6.68 Sq.km.
Best Time To Visit: March To November & October during the Dusshera celebrations

Kullu Attractions

Temples of Kullu

The valley of Kullu is aptly known as the valley of Gods. There are more than 350 temples in the valley dedicated to various Hindu Gods. The temples of this place carry three distinctive forms of architecture. The influence of Buddhism arrived from Tibet is seen in some of the Pagoda style temple. The typically Hindu architecture is evident in Shikhara architecture of some temples. The local architecture, known as the Pahari architecture which can sustain the natural hazards of the region is also seen in some of the temples.


Bijli Mahadev Shrine:

This beautiful small temple build in the Pahari style is around 10 km from Kullu across the Beas River can be reached through a trek only. But after reaching the temple the reward is too good. The temple is 60 feet high and glistens vehemently in the sunlight and thus gains the name of Bijli temple, or temple f lightening; albeit the legend offers a different story altogether. It is said that long time ago Lord Shiva absorbed t he lightening that fell, which would have devastated the earth completely. The episode took place on the confluence of the Parvati and Beas Rivers and people erected a temple in honour of Lord Shiva and named it after the episode. It offers a beautiful panoramic view of the valley. Inside the shrine is the Shiva lingam adorned with flowers and garlands.

The Raghunath Temple:

The Raghunath temple is dedicated to the presiding deity of the valley, Lord Ram. It is believed that the idol is ancient and to be the one which was used by Lord Ram himself while performing the Ashwamedh Yagna. This is the temple built in Pagoda style and where the famous Dusshera celebrations take place. The temple is supposed to be built in the 17th century when the King of the place was advised to get the idols of Lord Ram from the nearby valleys. Inside one can see the idol of Lord Ram sitting on velvet cushioned silver chariot.

Vaishno Devi Temple:

It is the most recent temples that was built in the valley but attracts equal number of tourists and devotees. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, it is a small temple and the deity is enshrined in a cave. The climb to the temple is still steep but it offers a stupendous view of the mystic Kullu valley and the River Beas running along its length like a young maiden walking a ramp!

Bhuvaneshwari temple:

The Bhuvaneshwari Temple of Bhekhli is built in Pahari style is also dedicated to one of the forms of Goddess Durga. The temple walls are decorated with Kangra paintings of Durga. A magnificent stone lion gives the example of the local art. The stone lion in the courtyard is a fine example of local art. This beautiful temple is situated uphill at a distance of 10 km from main Kullu town.

Bajaura Temple:

This ancient temple, built in the 8th century is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also known as the Bishweswar temple. It is one of the most beautiful temples of the Kullu valley which is around 15kms from Kullu and is worth a visit.

Great Himalayan National Park

Situated in the Kullu valley, the Great Himalayan National Park makes a good visit. Situated in the vast area of 620 sq km, the park is full of coniferous forests, with alpine pastures and glaciers forming a beautiful background. Some of the rare species found in here are the Musk deer, Brown bear, Goral, Snow Leopard, Monal and many more. The visit to this park gives an unforgettable experience.

Naggar

Naggar, 26 km from Kullu was the erstwhile capital of the place for nearly 1400 years. The Naggar castle which stands the mute testimony to its glorious past has been converted in to a hotel today. It was founded by Raja Visudhpal and continued as a headquarters of the State until the capital was transferred to Sultanpur (Kullu) by Jagat Singh. The beautiful castle here was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu around 1460 A.D. and commands an extensive view of the valley and the River Beas. There are many temples situated in the vicinity notably amongst which are the temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.

Manikaran

Manikaran is a small village at the distance of around 45 km from Kullu. The place is full of hot water springs which are believed to have curative properties. Hence daily thousands of devotees take the holy dip in these hot waters. The water is so hot that Rice, Lentils and vegetables get boiled and cooked in the water. The legend goes that once Shiva and his wife Parvati were wandering through this place where her ear ring dropped. This gives the name to the place Manikaran meaning ear ring. The search of the rings was futile and Shiva got annoyed. It was Shesh Nag; the serpent, which came forward to pacify the lord by hissing and boiling the water. Thus the jewel that lay under the water came up and Lord Shiva was pacified. Since then the water is hot.

Rewalsar Lake

This square shaped lake resting on a mountain surrounded by deep vegetation is a sacred spot for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists alike. According to a legend, the great teacher Padmasambhava used his powers to take a flight from this place directly to Tibet. The waters at the Rewalsar Lake is therefore precious and people throng here to take blessings and honour the water of the lake.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Srinagar : The Summer Capital of the Rulers

Srinagar… famous as the city of the Dal Lake is also the capital of the state. Situated at 1730 meters above the sea level, the uniqueness of this city are its lakes and the house boats and shikaras swinging on the water. The origin of Srinagar is said to be Srinagari founded by Emperor Ashok in 3rd century B.C. The great Buddhist scholar from China also has written about Srinagari, as a beautiful city in the northern most part of India.

A city of mixed cultures. The Hindus, the Muslims and the Buddhist cultures co-existed peacefully in the valley. The British made their impact in the valley by building the houseboats that swing on the Dal Lake even today and are a major attraction of the tourists coming to Srinagar. These varied cultures have given birth to one unique culture that is Kashmiri. Srinagar takes pride on that culture.

The beauty of Srinagar is changes daily. In spring when the flowers are in full bloom as if the whole valley is a bed of flowers while in peak winters the white snow just shows the green pine tree tops. As the leaves fall in autumn the whole of Srinagar wears a red - orange look which enhances its beauty.

The beautiful Mughal Gardens and long stretches of various lakes, gives the city a unique impact. Be it a ride in the Shikara, a stay at the houseboat, a visit to a temple or a mosque, the beautiful site of flowers beds, or ladies in Burkhas and men folk chatting over the Kahwa, Srinagar holds a beautiful surprise at every turn that leaves you enchanted.

Location: Situated in the north western part of this huge state, Srinagar has all the conducive elements to make it a picture perfect. Located in the heart of Kashmir valley and perched at the height of 1730, meters, Srinagar is surrounded by the beauty of Himalayas and nature.

Climate: Srinagar experiences all the climatic conditions. A beautiful spring and a pleasant summer, the crisp autumn and the chilly winter. Each weather comes with its own charm and is equally enjoyable.

Languages Spoken: Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, Dogri, English
Long Distance Code: +91-194
Importance:The summer capital of the sate and known as Paradise on earth.
Area: 105 sq.kms
Best Time To Visit: October To June

Srinagar Attractions :

Jama Masjid

The Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in Kashmir built originally by the Sultan Sikandar in 1400 A.D. Later it was added by his son. But the mosque was gutted down in fire not once but thrice and was rebuilt each time. But the massive original pillars made of pine wood were amazingly saved from fire and they still stand intact and look as good as new. The mosque is huge enough to accommodate 10,000 namazis at one time.

Hari Parbat Fort

The Hari Parbat fort on top of the Sharika Hills is an ancient Hindu holy site. The wall around the hill along with almond orchards, which bloom in spring, was built by the great Mughal emperor Akbar in the late 16th century. The fort above was added by the afghan governor Atta Mohammad Khan in the 18th century. Today it is occupied by the Indian military.

The Dal Lake

The most famous lake of the town is the Dal Lake. It is not only famous for its slow flow of waters but the beautiful shikaras those row down the Lake with virtually carrying the whole town inside it. It is located centrally in the town and has many shikaras which give rides to the tourists on the lake. The floating garden and the market here are the prime attractions. Virtually a whole garden is seen floating with various kinds of flowers from roses to lilies and lotus to marigold. Equally alluring is the market where one can buy almost everything. The attraction is that buying, selling and bargaining is done while sitting in the boats and paddling by oars at the same time! The ride in these shikaras can be relaxing and tiring both at the same time.

The Mughal Gardens

Srinagar has beautiful gardens. Gardens with step terraces, laden with flowers during spring and autumn, water fountains always sprinkling drops of water all around and the lush green surroundings with a carpet of soft grass beautiful trees, including the Chinar. The se gardens were actually developed by the Mughals who were attracted to this place during the long summers of the northern plains. They planted these gardens in a beautiful ambience with great weather. The gardens brought sweet smell of flowers and chirping of birds. What different than this would the Paradise be, they thought!

The smallest of all the Mughal gardens but also the most beautiful of all is the Chesmeshahi. Built at a height above the city, it gives magnificent views. Equally stupendous is its layout with just three terraces in addition to a natural spring of water enclosed in a stone pavilion.The Nishat Garden encircles the Dal Lake and is along the road. It was built by empress Noor Jehan's brother, Asaf Khan. Nishat Garden is the biggest of all. It has several terraces, a central water course and a beautiful site between the Dal Lake and the Zabarwan Hills.The majestic Shalimar Garden was planted by the emperor Jehangir himself. Jehangir is said to have loved Kashmir and Srinagar especially. The Shalimar Garden is full of beautiful Chinar trees and a series of water flowing stone pavilions. The bright flower beds when in full bloom give an exotic touch to the pretty garden.

Hazaratbal Mosque

This beautiful mosque built recently stands on the old site and is only one of its kinds in the valley of Srinagar. The earlier mosque was supposed to be 600 years old. It is an elegant structure of white marble with perfectly proportioned single dome fa├žade and a single minaret. It is a typical Kashmiri architecture with cone shaped dome and overlapping terraces and the building is only compared to the magnificent Taj Mahal of Agra. The importance of this mosque lies in the single hair of the Great Prophet Mohammed that is enshrined here. It is opened for public viewing only once a year in the month of July for a few days.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Visiting India`s Golden Triangle

Visiting India`s Golden Triangle

India`s famous `Golden Triangle` takes in three of the country`s most breathtaking and exciting cities - the capital, Delhi; along with Agra and Jaipir. Together, they form a rich and culturally diverse experience that takes in exquisitely-crafted architecture, fascinating history and culture, colourful wildlife and delicious cuisine. The cities all lie within a radius of 250 kilometers of one another and travelling between them provides and opportunity to take in the landscapes of this captivating country.

Buzzing Delhi is an explosion of sight and sound that combines fascinating local cultures with the sophistication of a modern metropolis. Split into New Delhi and Old Delhi, the city is home to sights such as the India Gatre, Red Fort and the Raj Ghat and boasts hotels and restaurant to suit every taste and every pocket. Less than 200 kilometers from here lies the Sariska Sanctuary, where jeep tours allow visitors to view all manner of beautiful birds and animal, including magnificent Indian tigers.

At Agra, meanwhile, visitors will find themselves in an opulent city that was the capital of the Mughal Emperors during the years 1526 to 16 58. The city is home to many spectacularly beautiful buildings, the most famous of which is the legendary Taj Mahal - one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built for the emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, it is undoubtedly one of the world`s best-known buildings. The city is home to many other architectural wonders, not the least of which are Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ask your tour guide or holiday operator for details of local festivals and events, as these are riots of music, costume and dance and will leave a lasting memory of your holiday in beautiful India.

The colourful city of Jaipur is a great place to soak up the local culture and will provide travel memories to last a lifetime. Here, visitors can stroll through beautifully designed and maintained parks and gardens, take in imposing forts and historic monuments and even take a ride on board an elephant or camel. Known as the `Pink City` in India, the city boasts striking coloured buildings many of which date back to 1727 - the year Jaipur was founded by the Maha Raja Sawai Jai Sing II. Among the sights that can`t be missed on a visit to Jaipur are the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal - or Palace of the Winds. The city`s bazaars are a right of colour, sound and smell and are a great way to pick up local handicrafts and artisan pieces as mementoes of your Golden Triangle adventure.

Take a rickshaw ride through the city during the afternoon or evening to see Jaipur at its liveliest, with street sellers hawking their colourful wares on every corner and the lively local shops and restaurants all open for business.

Nature lovers shouldn`t miss a visit to Bharatpur, which is home to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. The dense woodlands and shallow waters of this wildlife sanctuary are home to countless numbers of birds, many of which are native to India while others are migratory birds that have made their way here from Central Asia and Siberia.

With so much to take in by way of culture, architecture, tradition and wildlife, why not visit last minute holidays to book your Golden Triangle adventure?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

VELLAM KALI-SNAKE BOAT RACE


THE NEHRU TROPHY SNAKE BOAT RACE:VELLAM KALI



When a friend came back from her vacation in Kerala, she was much too excited! Not only about the God’s own country Kerala and its beautiful natural surroundings, but the various cultural events she witnessed there. The Snake boat race was one of the many such local events which she had witnessed there. The name snake boat rose my curiosity…

Only later I came to know that the name “Snake Boat Race” comes with the shape of the boats which are used during the race and the actual name is the Nehru Trophy boat race. One of the most famous local events which attracts the people from all over the world to witness it. These boat races are the part of Kerala culture. For any good event, for any religious event a boat race is organized in this area of Kerala.

The Nehru trophy has a different story behind it though. As it was the tradition of the Keralites, they had welcomed the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on his visit to Kerala. It was his first visit way back in 1952. Pandit Nehru was so thrilled with the performance of the rowers and the whole excitement that it created, that he declared a rolling trophy for the winner, and since then this event is being held annually with the trophy named after the prime minister.


It is said that long back the ruler of the area developed these boats so that his warriors had an easy time navigating in between the back waters during the wars. The boats did help. Since then every pious event or any celebration was commemorated with a game using these boats which e ventually culminated into races. The locales call it the Vallam kali in native language, meaning the boat game.

The boats are made up of Anjali thadi, a local forest wood. Today every village that participates in the race has its own prized boat and it is taken care of very devoutly. The boats are cleaned and rubbed and scrubbed. Then they are coated with oil and eggs for a smooth sail in the waters. The rowers of the boat are heroes of the village, and if they are the winners then they are worshipped!

These races are normally held in the area of Allapuzhha, in the Punnamada lakes or the back waters of Allapuzhha and are held between the months of July to September. Allapuzhha or Alleppey as it is known, is an hours distance from the commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi and about three hours from the beautiful Kumarakom.

The snake boat race has many records to its credit.

• It is a sport event having the highest number of team members in a single team.
• It is the biggest water vessel used for sports purpose.


The 100-120 feet long canoes is manned by four helmsmen, 25 cheerers /singers and 100-125 oarsmen, who row in unison to the fast rhythm of `vanchipattu'or boatmen's song. The boat moves like a snake through the channels and definitely is an eye catching sight for any tourist.
Every year lots of tourists throng the place to view this exciting event and also see the beauty of the state along with it. This year the boat race happens on 08th of August 2009. There are many packages that one can choose from to witness this event and add on the visit to rest of the Kerala. So for a cultural and festive thrill one should definitely experience this Boat race.