Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New to Nainital

Set amidst the scenic Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital city is surrounded by seven mountains. Its natural beauty and scented candles attract many a tourist from far and wide. Travel to Nainital and treat your senses with views of majestic Himalayas, the tree carpeted hills and mesmerizing lakes. There are several amazing spots in Nainital which offer breathtaking views of the beautiful surroundings.

Major attractions in Nainital

Naini Lake
It is the foremost attraction of the city. Hemmed in by hills, the lake is in a pear shape. This picturesque lakeoffers beautiful views of sunset and sunrise. It is also one of the 64 Shakti Peeths held in high respect by the Hindus. Boating in this lake is a pleasurable experience. The famous Naina Devi Temple is located on the bank of this lake where Goddess Shakti is worshiped.

Naini Peak
If you wish to enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty, then visit the Naini Peak which is the highest peak of Nainital. With an altitude of 2611 m, it offers enchanting views of the blissful surroundings. You can reach this peak on pony, horse or car.

Bhim Tal
Located at a height of 1,379 m, this is a wonderful lake with an island. It was named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the great Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Hanuman Garhi
This religious place with a beautiful Hanuman mandir(temple) is located at an altitude of 1951 m. This site is also famous for breathtaking sunset views.

Snow View Point
Located at an altitude of 2270 m above sea level, this point is accessible by ropeway or pony. Here you can treat your eyes with overwhelming views.

Shopping in Nainital
Nainital is a shopper's paradise where you can buy a variety of wonderful handicrafts such as candles, junk jewelery, bags, scarves, woolen socks, shawls, shoes and watches.

There are a variety of hotels falling into different categories available in Nainital. From budget to Luxurious hotels, all are available.

How to reach Nainital
By Air: The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, which is 71 kms away. A coach takes tourists to Nainital. Taxis and buses are also available.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam, which is 35 kms away.

By Road: The city is well connected by a road network.

Holy Haridwar

Haridwar, also known as Hardwar is a divine city located in the state of Uttaranchal. This place is known as the Gateway to the Gods and is among the seven holiest places of Hindu religion as God and Goddess are said to have left their footprints here. This holy city also serves as the gateway to the three sacred religious destinations of India i.e. Rishikesh, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. Etymologically the word Haridwar is derived from the Sanskrit word which means Dwara of Hari or Gateway to God, 'Hari' meaning god and 'dwar' meaning gate.

Tourist Attractions

Har ki Pauri
This temple is located 1.5 km from the city and was built by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhatrihar. Here one can see the footprints of Lord Vishnu in the temple adjacent to the ghat.

Maya Devi Temple
This temple is one of the known Siddhpeethas of India which is dedicated to the Maya Devi, the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. According to Hindu mythology it is the place where the heart and navel of goddess Sati had fallen.

Mansa Devi Temple
This is the most sacred temple of this place which is dedicated to Goddess Mansa Devi. Here one of the statues of the deity has three mouths and five arms while the other one has eight arms. It is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat where devotees can reach via rope-way cable cars. This place offers a bird's eye view of the city.

Chandi Devi
The temple of Chandi Devi is located 6 km from the city centre atop the Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga. This beautiful temple was built in 1929 A.D. by Suchat Singh, the King of Kashmir.

Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Srovar
It is located 7 km from Har Ki Pouri.  It is said that River Ganga had split herself in seven currents at this place so that the Sapt (seven) Rishis (Sages) worshiping there don't get disturbed.

How to Reach Haridwar
Haridwar is the district headquarters and it has good connectivity with the other towns of the district and the states of India. It can be reach by.
RoadHaridwar is located on National Highway no. 45 which makes it well connected to all the major cities and other parts of the India viz. Delhi (214 km), Agra (386 km), Ambala (168 km), Badrinath (325 km), Dehradun (52 km), Kedarnath (250 km), Saharanpur (81 km), Nainital (286 km).
RailIt is connected with all the important cities of India via rail viz., Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Howrah, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritsar, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc.
Air: The nearest airport is located 41 km from Haridwar in Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala near Dehradun.

Best Time to Visit
Haridwar can be visited round the year, but the best time to visit is between October to March during the winter season.
Where to Eat

There are several good restaurants in Haridwar which serve delicious pure vegetarian food. Varieties of lip smacking sweets are also an important part of Haridwar cuisine.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Shivering Shimla...Cond

Shimla brings fascinating attractions making your holidays memorable and pleasurable. Its natural beauty and pleasant climate never fail to rejuvenate tourists.

Main Attractions of Shimla

The Ridge Road

It is an arresting place of Shimla where you can see breathtaking views of the mountains. This road is also famous for the Neo-Gothic Christ Church and Tudar Library.

The Mall 
It is the famous shopping place of the city. There are numerous shops and restaurants in this area. You can buy a variety of colorful and fine handicrafts from here. The Lakkar bazaar located here is the best place if you wish to buy wooden objects.

Jakhu Hill
It is the highest peak of Shimla with an altitude of 8000 ft. It houses Hanuman Temple where monkeys are found in great numbers. The monkeys here don't harm anyone and their sole purpose is to get some food from the visitors. This hill offers a mesmerizing view of the city.

Chadwick Falls
Located amidst deodar trees, Chadwick falls is a peaceful and blissful place to visit. You can also visit the temples near the waterfall. 

Adventure sports
To add more charm to your Shimla tour indulge in adventure sports such as trekking, skiing, golfing, river rafting, para-gliding, heli-skiing and fishing. 


The bustling bazaars of Shimla are full of handicrafts, wood and metal objects, shawls, pullovers, local tweeds, caps, Tibetan carpets, pickles, jams and squashes. 

How To Reach Shimla

By Air: Jubbarhatti (23 km) is the nearest airport from Shimla.
By Rail: Shimla has a narrow gauge railway line which is connected to all the major parts of India via Kalka.
By Road: Shimla is well connected to all the major cities of India by road.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Majestic Mysore

Welcome to my next weekend destination.

Mysore, the city of Palaces has a charm which offers vibrant cultural heritage, temples and scenic picnic spots.

I had kept my list short to be able to spend reasonable time at each of the place. Mysore city has a royal aura and the essence can be felt in all its structures and culture. I had two days to live the life of this royal city.

Tipu Sultan palace was the first place i visited which displays the royal artifacts and antiques of that period. The palace has a vast lawn around it where people click pictures to take back the beautiful memories.

Next on my list was the Chamundi hills, which is named after the Goddess Chamundeshwari. The hill offers beautiful view of the city. The temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari on the hill has several images on Nandi.

On the second day I had planned to visit the Mysore zoo followed by the Brindavan Garden.

Mysore zoo is the major tourist attraction as it’s home to some of the rare animal species.

As the day proceeded, I had taken the full tour of the zoo. So I decided to take lunch and then move on to my next destination.

I reached Brindavan garden by 3:30 pm. I took the entry ticket and entered inside. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the garden and the adorable layout. The beauty of the garden was rising with every bit of darkness. As the sun was about to set, the lights on the flowers and flowing water and fountains start playing with the music. Everything appeared to be so magical.

Now it was time for the Musical fountain. Its a lifetime experience watching water dancing to the tunes of music ...and that too some of the best Bollywood songs. Every string of water coming out of the fountain was taking such beautiful twist and turns which was exactly in tune and creating a melodious experience for the viewer and amphitheater.
I would always and surely recommend everyone to visit Brindavan Garden. And as I talk of it, the memories still appear to be so fresh and mesmerizing.
Shopping: Mysore is famous for handicrafts designed by local craftsman out of sandalwood. Don’t forget to buy authentic sandal wood oil known for its healing properties. Mysore also attracts tourist for its hand woven silk garments and saris. The place gives you a perfect holiday destination to enjoy.

So that was my weekend getaway.

I am working on my next holiday plan. Super excited for it.

Keep touring.

Kaleidoscopic Kanyakumari

There had been a long time since I had gone out. So this time I planned a weekend getaway to Kanyakumari. The idea was to visit Kanyakumari, catch the sunrise and sunset and to visit nearby tourist places.  

Kanyakumari( Cape Comarin) , is the southernmost tip of India is the meeting point of three oceans- Indian Ocean, Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal. Standing at the southernmost spot of Kanyakumari, you see ocean everywhere which make it a unique experience. Kanyakumari has always been a popular destination among tourists. People visit Kanyakumari to see sunset and sunrise. It is considered the best place to see sunrise.

The journey starts ....
It was almost 9 pm on Friday when I started from Coimbatore. My plan to reach there in morning, enjoy the day visiting nearby places, watch the sunset and sunshine.
Since I had to travel during the night, I opted for the train journey to avoid disturbing my good night sleep. I had booked the hotel prior to get the preferred location. The hotel I choose was TAMIL NADU HOTEL which is run by state tourism. The hotel has an added advantage of location. They have both suites and cottages. The room on the first floor towards the sea provide beautiful sea view. Be reasonable in your expectations since it’s a government property. They have a restaurant which is open for limited time and have very limited menu. But you can always visit the nearby food corner and hotels. The tariff of the hotel is quite reasonable.
Day 1
After reaching the hotel and getting familiar with my surroundings, I started to explore the destination. On the very first day I visited all the temples and museums which are nearby in the city. To escape the noon heat I took a break and had lunch in a vegetarian restaurant. Then during the evening I was out to the sea. There is no beach as such in Kanyakumari. But the view of water everywhere makes you fall in love with that place. I saw sunset which was mesmerizing. Sun, slowly moving down to its cave and the whole sky becomes so dynamic with so many colors bursting out of it. I sat there for some time and enjoyed the sea breeze which tends to blow us away. Since the restaurant at my hotel was expected to get closed early, I had dinner and then moved in. At night also, I sat in my balcony till the time my eyes felt heavy. I had kept an early morning alarm so that i don’t miss the sun rise by any chance.

Day 2
I got up at 5 am. Sadly didn't check out the sunrise time and ended up getting so early. So when i came out it was all dark and breezy. I started walking and soon when i reached the main lane, many people started following me. I had planned to watch the sunrise from the view tower. I took the ticket and climbed up. Coming early paid its advantage as soon the entire circumference of the tower gets filled up and then you have no other option but to peep through people. You will come to know when it’s time for sunrise as the sky becomes radiant to welcome the sun. I took some really awesome pics there. 

So now it was time to come back to the hotel as the entire day was planned. The day was kept for the Vivekananda memorial for which I had to take a boat from boat jetty. Packed my bag for the day and reached the boat jetty which is at the walking distance from the beach. There was a long queue outside, so I started looking for the end of this tail. It reminded me of “Sanp-Seedi” game where you never know which snake is going to drop you to its tail. Till the time, I reached its end; I had walked a kilometre and knew that the same distance I’ll have to walk again but in mini- steps. So slowly the queue was proceeding. And you have no option other than watching the road side shops. I took a nariyal pani to quench my thrust. Finally I took the tickets and entered the hall which was meant to wait and was made like a snake to keep the rows separated. Finally the call came and we ran to jump in to the boat. It’s a small distance and you’ll soon reach the memorial. 

Rest of the day I spent at leisure, sitting and enjoying surrounded by water from all directions. The place is so windy and quiet at the same time. They have a hall structured for meditation and a book shop where you can get some really nice collection. I bought some book from there. In the evening while coming back to the hotel, I did some shopping of the local craft and shell artifacts.

Don’t Forget:
  •     Take sunscreen and sunglasses, you will surely require them.
  •     Try the “mirchi-pakoda” from some street side vendor, hot and yummy.

So now it was Sunday night and I had to return for a week to my office and plan the next weekend.

Keep Smiling ;-) 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chilling out in OOTY.....d journey continues

I hope you are ready to explore the chilling heaven. 
Since we had taken a scooty on rent, it provided us complete mobility to chill out. We had a wonderful time in Ooty enjoying all the delicacies it had to offer. And not to forget the wonderful Pizza at Dominos. So if you are pizza maniac like me, dont miss the hot and melting cheese pizza in the chilling evening while taking a walk on the cross cut road. 
Do look for the yummy momo shop which also serve delicious thukpa.

Places to visit:
Botanical garden: It is the primary tourist attraction in Ooty. Filled with greenery and different flowers and tree vegetation, this garden provides a beautiful view where you can enjoy the day and play games. The garden is at full bloom in the month of April – May. The garden has a 20 year old tree fossil which stands as the main attraction.

Rose garden in Ooty has terraces with rose tunnels, pergolas and bowers with rose creepers. The garden has the largest collection of roses with 3600 varieties of roses.

The Ooty Lake is beautifully spread for 2.75 kms in length in irregular “L” shape. The lake is surrounded with lofty eucalyptus trees and shrubs and boating in the calm water provides a scenic delight. Different types of boats are available at the boat house as per the number of people and preference. The lake and boat house have become the hub of entertainment for visitors.                                                                                        
                                                                                                He posed so well
Doddabetta peak is the highest peak in south India. It is 10 kms from Ooty. There is telescope house at the peak where people wait eagerly in queue to take a look. We also stood in the queue expecting a wow experience, but ended up laughing when saw through it. The view was set on the crowded street of Ooty market and you would have hardly a second to look at it and the person standing there will ask you to move.

Pykara Lake, amid the lush green valley surrounded by forests is a lovely getaway from Ooty. Don’t fail to visit the Pykara Lake as the isolated lake free from pollution and crowd gives ultimate comfort and peace to the soul.

Sightseeing in Ooty: 
The sightseeing in Ooty can fit in a two day itinerary or more luxuriously in three days. On the first day you can plan for Rose garden, Botanical garden and the Ooty Lake. All these are at the city centre so you won’t be spending too much time in travelling. Second day can be kept for Pykara Lake which is at around 35 kms from Ooty. The third day you can plan for Doddabetta peak. On the way to Doddabetta peak, you can also visit the tea factory where you can buy some flavorful tea to take home.

Shopping: Do not forget to take home the home made chocolates and range of tea with different flavors.  

Do plan to visit Ooty, if you have not been there yet and share your experience. 

Keep touring
               Keep sharing :-)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Shivering Shimla

Shimla, the summer capital of British, is not a new name for tourists. People have been visiting Shimla and many popular places that surround it. But my visit was different as for the purpose and duration. I was there for a month, so got a chance to explore the unexplored parts of it. It was April end when i left for Shimla. I usually prefer to travel by train so booked my tickets from Mumbai to Delhi and Delhi to Kalka. Mumbai to Delhi was a normal travel. And after a buffer time of 2 hours, I came to the platform from where i was supposed to board my next train. As and when i reached the platform, it was a sight which made me feel so awkward. The platform was full of couple who were probably going on honeymoon. I forgot to tell you that I was going all alone. I don’t know why i got such a coach filled with honeymoon couples, just busy with themselves and behaving in a very subtle way (that’s obvious I guess). So i decided to sleep early. I reached Kalka the very next morning, went to the waiting room which was unexpectedly nice because I thought it would be a small station.Ahead journey was booked in train which got confirmed after a lot of waiting. I waited to board the “toy train”.
The train came and everybody jumped inside. I somehow managed to accommodate my luggage as I had to be there for entire month and the train doesn't have much space inside. With a long siren, the train started and  everybody started screaming but soon after some time it became low when they realised they will be inside it for next 6 hrs. The train started climbing uphill and temperature started dropping down. There are around 5-6 stoppages on the way, where I had tea and some snacks and some photographs of course. It was such a entertainment seeing other people giving funny pose to get clicked. That was actually my effort to convert a bad luck in blessing in disguise as didn't have anybody to click it for me. After some time I was surprised to see everybody sleeping and it reminded me how they had started the journey.

So finally train arrived at the station. I had a prior hotel booking so took a cab and went down to my hotel, had my lunch and slept. I was in no hurry to explore the town as I had to be there for the next one month. 

My experience of the next one month is yet to come. 
Do write to me for any details you want.
Till then keep touring.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Admirable Alleppey

Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centres in Kerala. It’s the headquarter for backwater tourism and has a large network of inland canals. We were travelling by train and I can assure you that while travelling itself you will get to know why Kerala is called the “god's own country”. The landscape, architecture, greenery... all falls in place to give it a picture perfect view. The pattern is very different what we see in normal cities. Each house had a hut structure and was surrounded with a large garden. To me, it felt like the first landscape I had ever drawn in childhood......with a hut ...path... coconut trees and a river. And it just completed the picture for me.

How to Reach:
By air: the nearest airport is Cochin(64kms). Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest international airport at 159 kms.
By road: Alappuzha is on the NH47 highway and is connected to all the major towns in South India.
By train : Alappuzha is linked by rail to cities like Cochin, Chennai, Bangalore etc. 

If travelling by train, prepaid auto stand is just outside the station. The people at prepaid counter are very helpful and are always ready to serve you. You can book auto from there if your hotel is not very far.
For accommodation, there are two options available. You can either book a hotel or experience living in a houseboat. There are hotels located at the lake side having magnificent view. But most of the people coming to Alleppey opt for houseboat because it’s a onetime experience and is what Alleppey is famous for.

In-fact : A fascinating fact of this land is the region called Kuttanad" The land of lush paddy fields" also called the rice bowl of Kerala and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.

Houseboat: The houseboat has two options. Either you can take one day package or half day. They serve you meal on the boat. It is advisable to book the boat after reaching there. There are many options available and that way you can also check the design and cleanliness on the boat. Weather travelling couple or in group, there are houseboats with one to many number of rooms. So, you can all enjoy together. If booking a houseboat, don’t worry about the luggage. Some of the boathouse packages also include complementary room booking.

The journey of houseboat starts in the morning and ends up the next morning. The houseboat takes you through many interior backwaters and also gives an opportunity to get a close view of the local tribal lives. You also get an opportunity to buy some really inexpensive local craft works (jewellery, art piece, coir artifacts etc) being sold by tribal people.
I also got a chance to try my hand on the local boat. It was really exciting and must say I did quite well.

Alleppey is famous for coir industry. You will find handicraft shops in the local market. People also like to buy spices from Alleppey which have an indigenous aroma and makes food more flavorful.
Alappuzha Beach: This is a very popular picnic spot and you will always see a lot of people standing on the beach. The beach is very near to Alappuzha market. But it is advisable to visit in the evening as the day time is very hot.
I was there on a weekend to take a break from the hectic schedule of office. So, now I was all geared up for the next week and of course planning for a next eventful outing.

Tell me what is your idea of weekend gateway.  Waiting for your ideas to include in my itinerary.Till then keep talking and keep touring.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ravishing Rishikesh

The yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh might sound more like a spiritual destination. But be assured that there is much more unexplored about the city. Rishikesh is a small town which attracts a large number is pilgrims from across the country along with tourists across the world.
How to Reach:
By road: Rishikesh can be easily reached by road from all the locations. From New Delhi, you can get AC delux buses to rishikesh which are pretty comfortable and take 7-8 hrs to reach rishikesh. Be cautious if you travelling during the peak tourist season or pilgrimage time (Sawan). The traffic is pathetic and be ready to get stuck even for a day. The prices of transportation and accommodation shoot up during the season.
By train: There are very limited trains to rishikesh. There are numerous trains till Haridwar & Dehradun. From there you can reach Rishikesh by road transportation with frequent buses plying between both the stations.
By air: The nearest airport is Jollygrant airport. But the air fare could be slightly high, since limited numbers of flights are designated for the place. New Delhi airport is the nearest international airport.
When to Visit:
As Rishikesh is located at the Himalyan foothills, it provides a cool escape during the hotter months. Therefore, the best time to visit is between March and April, and September to October. May starts to get quite hot there. Rishikesh is best avoided during the monsoon months from July to August, as it receives heavy rain. Rafting and other adventurous activities are also closed during this time. Winters, from November until February, are cold but pleasant, so bring woollens. The couple of months just after the monsoon is considered to be the best time to visit, as the landscape is alive, green, and soothing.
Rishikesh is a delightful place to wander around and 
explore on foot. Cross either of the two suspension bridges( Ram jhoola & Laxman jhools) and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the town and river. Venture down to the ghats fronting the river and relax for a while amidst the daily goings-on. You can also take a boat across the river near Ram Jhula as an alternative to walking. Every evening, people gather at Parmarth Niketan ashram (in the Swag Ashram area), to experience the Ganga Aarti (worship with fire). Adventure lovers also have two good reasons to visit the town -- the excellent trekking and rafting opportunities in the area.

Adventure: You can experience many adventurous activities which include trekking, white water rafting, bungi jumping and many more. There are many such organizers and agents who will do the arrangements for you.
Accommodation: There are many hotels in Rishikesh with all kind of tariff range. During peak season, expect the tariff to be on higher side. Besides there are some really good Ashrams which provide accommodation at very nominal rates and are very comfortable.

Not to Miss:

  • The very popular Chotiwala Restaurant serves some of the best Indian food in town. You will always find the restaurant fully occupied with a very diverse crowd from all over the world.
  • Sitting besides river Ganga and enjoy the plentiful and fresh breeze. It takes you to an entirely different world.
  • Ganga Aarti can be witnessed at various locations in Rishikesh. As a ritual people offer diyas and flowers in river Ganga which can be bought from the roadside vendors. The evening time gives a spectacular view of river Ganga filled with lights of diya(lamps) floating all across the river.
  • White water rafting and camps alongside the river give a trilling experience.
  • CLOTHES: Bring clothes as per the season you are travelling in. Besides this, cold wind blows alongside the river especially during early morning and night time. Do keep some handy wrap around for the time. If planning to engage in some adventurous activity like rafting or trekking, keep comfortable clothes for the event. Do keep sunscreen as the sun besides the river can cause severe sunburns.
  •  Rishikesh is a great place to shop for religious items, books, clothes, and handicrafts. Do bargain for a fair price.
  • Food won’t be a problem in rishikesh as there are lot of eating places ranging from street side vendors to high end restaurants serving all kind of foods from south Indian to Chinese. Don’t expect non vegetarian food in rishikesh as the city is vegetarian by law. You won’t find the famous fast food chains in Rishikesh like McDonalds, Pizza hut & KFC. Please bear with that. You can surely enjoy the food available. 
  • For couples, it is highly advised to take walk along the riverside. Share beautiful moments together.  These moments will become your lifetime memories.
  • Call cabs are not available. So you have to either hire a taxi or auto for local travel. Sharing autos are available.

      How was your trip to Rishikesh. Did you enjoy it? or are you planning to explore? 
                                                        Keep talking                
                                                                     Keep Touring