Month: June 2014

#GoFotoCon Rocks

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Travel is all about seeing new place and learning new things. We learn more about our world and ourselves in one day spent outdoors than we do in one year spent indoors. This is because we capture information through all our senses when we live the outdoor life.

The most important aspect of travel is the memories we collect and the best way to relive those memories is photographs.

The fact that people like to take pictures and share their memories has been amply demonstrated by the awesome response to our contest ##GoFotoCon and it must be said the people are really talented.

We present here a showcase of some of the best pictures.

GoFotoCon Rocks
GoFotoCon Rocks

    Deepika Gumaste

GoFotoCon Rocks-2
GoFotoCon Rocks-2

 Rahul R

GoFotoCon Rocks-3
GoFotoCon Rocks-3

 Akash Narang

GoFotoCon Rocks-4
GoFotoCon Rocks-4

 Vinod Sharma

GoFotoCon Rocks-5
GoFotoCon Rocks-5

Swarup Mandal

With 220 plus entries and well over a 1000 votes received, we are proud to say that #GoFotoCon is a runaway success and now we are ready for the field trip with the top ten photographers from this contest. Watch this space.

By Rajesh Baruah

Popular Types of Photography

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Photography
Photography

In this era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, clicking, uploading and sharing pictures has become a regular trend. As it is commonly said that, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, photography can’t be explained in words and there is no need for explanation as every picture speaks for itself. Either taken as a hobby or a profession, photography is one creative field that is never out of fashion. Nowadays, everyone likes to click pictures and consider himself/herself a photographer, thanks to mobile cameras. Though there are various types of photography, the common and most popular ones are:

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife Photography
Wildlife Photography

Taking pictures of animals in their natural habitat is called as wildlife photography. Generally, it is done by professionals who capture images of wild animals as part of their job to be printed in science journals/magazines or shown in wildlife photo exhibitions. It is also practiced as a hobby by wildlife lovers.

Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography
Landscape Photography

Clicking beautiful shots of natural scenery like mountains, lakes and rivers is known as landscape photography. Anybody can take a picture of a landscape while visiting and exploring naturally beautiful places of the world. All you need is, a good camera and a perfect timing.

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography
Portrait Photography

It is one of the oldest kinds of photography and is also called as portraiture. Photograph is taken of a single person or a group of people and the main focus is on the expression, mood and personality of the person. Usually, a person’s face is given more focus as compared to his/her  body or the background of the photo. To get that amazing portrait image, one has to wait patiently for the perfect pose.

Travel Photography

Travel Photography
Travel Photography

A travel photo is defined by the Photographic Society of America as, ‘’an image that expresses the feeling of a time and place, portrays a land, its people or a culture in its natural state, and has no geographical limitations.’’ It can be practiced by professionals as well as amateurs. All you have to do is, pack your bags, carry a camera and click pictures while moving on your journey.

Fashion Photography

Fashion Photography
Fashion Photography

Capturing glamorous models’ stylish pose while promoting fashion articles such as apparels, shoes, jewellery and other accessories is termed as fashion photography. It is generally done by professional fashion photographer for advertisement purpose and fashion magazines.

Sports Photography

Sports Photography
Sports Photography

Capturing a decisive moment in an event of sports is quite a difficult task but this is what a sports photographer has to do. Photos of the smiling faces of a winning team, an exhausted player’s frustration and a disappointed coach/captain say a lot without saying anything. This kind of photography requires a lot of patience from the photographer as one has to continuously present at the field while the game is going on.

All said and done, there’s something really special about photography and that is why we have a contest going on for everyone who likes clicking and capturing moments. The Goibibo Photography Contest is up and we are excited to see your entries. Details at http://on.fb.me/1kKQfMP

Happy clicking! By Anita Bhandari

The Flavours and Aromas of Italian Cuisine

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Italy, along with Greece, is considered as the birthplace of Western civilisation. It is known for its diverse regional culture, beautiful coast, alpine lakes and mountain ranges (the Alps and Apennines). No doubt about the fact that it is often nicknamed as the ‘Bel Paese ’ (the Beautiful Country). Just like India, Italy is a peninsula, situated on the Mediterranean Sea, bordering France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia in the north. Italy is boot-shaped and is surrounded by the Ligurian and the Tyrrhenian Seas to the west, the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas to the South and the Adriatic Sea to the East.

Italy
Italy

Italian is the official language spoken by the majority of the population. But throughout the country, people of different regions speak several distinct Italian dialects. Italy boasts of having a diverse landscape, but can be primarily described as mountainous, including the Alps and the Apennines mountain ranges that run through the vast majority of its regions. Sardinia and Sicily are two major islands of this country.

The history of Italy dates back to the times when it was inhabited by many different civilisations. Small Greek colonies settled at the southern coast and island of Sicily; Gauls, ancestors of today’s modern French, inhabited the mountainous north. The central Italy was occupied by the Etruscans (a group originally hailing from somewhere in western Turkey), establishing a number of city-states, including what is now modern-day Bologna. In the fourteenth century, city-states such as Florence, Genoa, Pisa, Milan and Venice became centres of trade. The increased trade contact with foreign lands, transformed Italy into Europe’s centre of culture. Famous personalities such as Michelangelo, Dante, Leonardo Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Galileo contributed significantly to the fields of literature, arts, politics and science. Italian explorers, such as Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, introduced Italy to the rest of the world. Italy remained a centre of power until the 16th century but due to the discovery of the new worlds, trade routes shifted away from the Mediterranean and Italy began to lose its influence.

After the Second World War, Italy abolished the monarchy and declared itself a republic. With the strong support of the United States, Italy rebuilt its economy and became a supporter of what is now the European Union. Today, Italy is one of the most affluent and democratic country in Europe.

UNESCO World Heritage
UNESCO World Heritage

Italy also boasts of having the most number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites (49) in the world. The most famous cities of art in Italy are; Rome, Assisi, Florence, Siena, Venice, Pisa and Naples. Italy is not only famous for its cultural and historical background but also for its food. Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes with its origins as far as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine has evolved from Etruscan (name for ancient Italy), ancient Greek and ancient Roman cuisines. With the discovery of new countries, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize were introduced in the 18th century. Italian food is noted for its regional diversity resulting in variety of tastes and is quite popular all over the world. Italian cuisine is also distinguished by being very seasonal with high priority placed on the use of fresh, seasonal products.

Italian food is known for its simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. In 2013, Italian cuisine was ranked by CNN as the best cuisine in the world. Widely known products such as Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, Parma and San Daniele ham, Modena balsamic vinegar, Genoa’s pesto, Alba truffles and cured meats are just some of the examples that make Italian cuisine so popular. Italy’s wine is also world famous. One can taste a glass of wine in its native environment like Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, Barbera or Barolo from Piedmont, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene in Veneto, Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna, the Sicilian wines or the white wines in Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige and the great red wine of the Valtellina. The Ancient Greeks used to call Italy, “Enotria’’ in reference to its production of extraordinary wines.

Italian food
Italian food

A Mediterranean food is known for its health benefits, thanks to olive oil. The Italian landscape is home to green olive groves where high-quality olive oils are produced. The most commonly used vegetables in a typical Italian cuisine are tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers (capsicum),onions, egg plants, cabbage, artichokes, fennel, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and lettuce. All these ingredients are used in pasta dishes, pizza, soups and antipasti (appetizers). Extra virgin olive oil (golden-green, richly flavoured oil) is used for cooking marinades, hot dishes and salad dressings. Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are most popular food throughout Italy. In the Tuscany region, beans are favourite, as Tuscans are fondly known as the ‘’bean eaters’’. Commonly eaten beans are chickpeas, green beans and cannellini beans. Cheese is a traditional favourite among all the Italians. Some of the most popular types of cheese are Parmesan, mozzarella, gorgonzola, ricotta and Romano. It is used in making pizza, sprinkled over pasta dishes, tossed in salads or even eaten with fruit as a dessert.

Italians wine
Extra virgin olive oil

Instead of using spices, Italians use fresh or dried herbs like flat-leaf parsley, basil, rosemary and oregano. Salt, vinegar, freshly cracked pepper, garlic, capers, olives, anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes are used as seasonings. Wine and lemon juices are also common flavour enhancers. Among common beverages, wine is customary with meals and coffee, especially espresso is the most popular non-alcoholic beverage. As I said in the beginning that Italy is known for its regional dishes, here’s the list of some popular dishes of various regions:

1. Abruzzo
This region is famous for maccheroni alla chitarra (homemade pasta cut on a machine with thin steel blades) and scrippelle (thin strips of pasta dipped in soup). Best wines are Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese and Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo. These wines are popular among locals as well as national/international wine lovers. Famous desserts, usually made with almonds and honey include torrone, confetti, cicerchiata, mostaccioli and bocconotto.

2. Basilicata
A typical food of this region is made simply by using a few local products. The most common food is durum wheat homemade pasta, kneaded with ancient tools like the rasola (a blade) and the cavarola (chopping board). It is famous for its hot pepper (pepperoncino), the symbol of cuisine in Basilicata, locally known as diavolicchio (little devil). There are two popular dishes that are made with bread, panella (big bread loaves made with flour and boiled potatoes) and pancotto (a soup with toasted bread and eggs).

3. Calabria
Famous for wines, extra-virgin olive oil, liquorice, honey and jams and special types of homemade pasta (strangugghj, fileja, maccaruni) that are still made using traditional methods.

4. Campania
Thanks to its sunny weather, this region’s landscape is perfect for the production of fresh and juicy tomatoes. Tomatoes are used in many local dishes and also in the world famous pizza and calzone. Naples, the capital city of Campania, is the homeland of Italian spaghetti. Famous desserts are crispy sfogliatelle with ricotta cheese and babas soaked in (rum) liqueur. In liquors, limoncello of Sorrento and Campanian wines are best.

5. Friuli Venezia Giulia
The cuisine consists of simple recipes and ingredients like meat, dairy products, sausages and legumes. A well-known product is Prosciutto of San Daniele,that is also exported worldwide. Famous dessert is called gubana, a shell of pastry stuffed with dried fruit.

6. Liguria
Say Ligurian food,and the famous pesto comes to mind. Pesto is a sauce made with pine nuts, parmesan, pecorino, basil and garlic. The place has vineyards and olive groves that produce excellent extra-virgin olive oils and quality wines. Among the fish dishes, fish soups like ciuppin and buridda with stockfish, stuffed and fried sardines. The traditional desserts are pandolce genovese, amaretti and cubeli (tiny butter cookies).

7. The Marches
This region is unique as it blends the flavours and tastes from the whole region. Most delicious fish dish is brodetto, a fish soup containing more than 14 fish species, that is often enhanced with tomatoes (Pesaro and Ancona) or saffron (Ascoli). Signature dish is called as fritto misto all’ ascolana that is a mixture of stuffed cream, olives, artichokes, zucchini and lamb chops-all fried. Most famous desserts are ciambellotto con i funghetti all’anice (a ring-shaped cake with aniseed), cicerchiata (deep fried dough with honey) and fried ravioli stuffed with chestnuts, cream and ricotta cheese.

8. Molise
This agricultural land’s cuisine is completely based on locally-grown products and sheep farming. A typical Molise dish will consist of maccheroni alla chitarra, pallotte (round balls) of eggs and cheese, pasta and beans, polenta,lamb and roast turcinelli (lamb offal).

The area’s best products are the extra-virgin olive oil,durum wheat pasta and Isernia truffle. The most delicious desserts are cauciuni (pastry filled with chickpeas), ostie farcite (wafers filled with walnuts and almonds), peccellate (pastry filled with grape syrup or jams) and cippillati (baked ravioli filled with sour black cherries).

9. Sicily
This region is known for its pastries that are mainly prepared with ricotta cheese and almond paste. Juicy red oranges and the sweet grapes of Canicatti, Pachino tomatoes and Pantelleria capers,extra-virgin olive oil,prickly pears and the olives of Nocellara del Belice are some of the excellent products that distinguish Sicilian food. Famous for cheeses like Ragusano and pecorino; tasty sausages, like Sant’Angelo salami and the different types of crispy breads like the loaves of Dittaino, Sicily will leave your taste buds asking for more.

10. Tuscany
Basic ingredients of this region include bread, spelt, legumes and vegetables. Cacciucco soup is a famous fish dish here and among meat dishes, the bistecca fiorentina (grilled T-bone steak) is most popular. Typical desserts are castagnaccio (chestnut cake), buccellato (anise cake) and cantucci.

Irrespective of the regions, there are two more staples of the Italian food.

11. Pesto Genovese – the Sauce
This world famous green sauce is prepared with ingredients like basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Its creamy layer and unique flavour is perfect with pasta and potato gnocchi.

12. Gelato: Italian ice cream
The gelato that is loved by the world today has its origins in the 16th Century when it was invented in Medicean Florence by mixing milk, cream and eggs. It is famous because of its traditional flavours and healthy ingredients. It is chemical-free and always prepared with appropriate proportion of proteins, fats and sugars.

Earlier in India, Italian cuisine just meant pasta with lots of red sauce and white sauce or a regular slice of pizza with cheese. But thanks to many Italian restaurants in India, one has many options to choose from, so here’s the list of best Italian restaurants in India and some of their popular dishes:

 slice of pizza with cheese
slice of pizza with cheese

1. Delhi:
Artusi Ristorante E Bar
Prawn and Avocado Salad, Caprese Salad and Battuta di Pollo.

Travertino
Classic dishes like Caprese Salad, Minestrone and Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino.

Diva The Italian
Famous Indian chef Ritu Dalmia’s Diva is one of the oldest Italian eateries in Delhi. Popular dishes are Beetroot Carpaccio with Sesame Crusted Goat Cheese, Spagheeti with seafood and Spinach Ravioli with Roasted Pumpkin.

2. Mumbai
Francesco’s Pizzeria
Peri Peri Chicken, Nutella Marble Cake and Chocolate Truffle Cake.

Maritime By San Lorenzo
Carpaccio di Salmone and Focaccia Tartufata are popular dishes.

Mangia Fuori
Thin crust pizzas (made in the traditional wood-fired oven technique), Spaghetti Alio Olio, Chicken Lasagne and Porcini Soup with Truffle Oil, Chocolate Mousse and Tiramisu (desserts).

3. Pune
La Terraza
Carpaccio, Asparagus salad, Caprese Salad, Tagliatelle tossed with Wild Mushrooms and Tortelloni of Ricotta and Spinach in a Tomato Sauce.

Dario’s
Vegetarian Lasagna, Gnocchi with Sage Butter and Tortellini with Spinach and Ricotta.

4. Hyderabad
Peperoncino
Famous for salads, pastas, soups, pizzas and paninos; beverages like Lavazza-brewed hot and cold coffees;Giardino Pizza, Spaghetti Aglio and Gnocchi E Pesto.

Via Milano
Try starters like the European Branzino Fillet with Mediterranean Salsa and Breaded Eggplant Parmigiana. Spicy Pork Salami, Via Milano pizza and Chicken Tortelloni with Mushrooms are other popular dishes.

By Anita Bhandari

The Delhi-Rome-Milan Route with Air India

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Air India
Air India

Air India has finally announced the launch of their direct flights to Italian cities of Rome and Milan. With the induction of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner series aircraft the popular Indian airline company has started flights on the highly popular triangular route from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport to Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport at Rome. The flight is further extended to the Malpensa Airport situated in the city of Milan.

The introduction of the new Dreamliner series of aircrafts has improved quality of flights at Air India. It has two ticket classes; 18 Business Class seats and 238 Economy Class on this sector. The triangular route starting from New Delhi to Rome and Milan has flights operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday and Sundays. The flight (opposite route) on the Milan to Rome route ending finally at New Delhi has flights running on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

From New Delhi AI 123 departs the IGI Airport at 14.20 hrs arriving in Rome city in the evening at 1905 hrs. It would then depart Rome at 2040 hrs and reach Milan at 2200 hrs. The return flight AI 122 departs Milan at 2330 hrs and arrives in New Delhi the following day at 1015 hrs.

The flight operating on the opposite route of New Delhi – Milan – Rome and then back to New Delhi leaves the Delhi airport on its scheduled days at 1420 hrs and arrives in Milan at 1930 hrs. It then heads towards the ancient city of Rome as AI 122 at 2100 hrs and lands at a scheduled time of 2210 hrs. The flight returning from Rome to New Delhi departs the Italian city as AI 122 at 2335 hrs and finally lands in New Delhi’s IGI Airport on the next day at 1015 hrs.

Kerala Tourism Department starts a unique campaign –‘Dream Deals’

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Kerala Tourism Department in a bid to improve the declining tourism in off-season summer months of April and May have started a new campaign, titled ‘Dream Deals’. The summer months followed by a three-month monsoon season have hit Kerala on the 1st of June which reduces the number of tourists visiting the state. The new campaign is targeted at improving the tourism and providing new and unique experience to the travelers by providing a discount rate scheme.

A dedicate microsite has been built for this campaign which can be viewed at keralatourism.org/dreamdeals. Visitors and travelers can view this website to create a unique and preferred itinerary at discounted rates. Five accredited tour operates in the state will receive the proposed itinerary. These 5 operators will revert back to the applicant with the lowest rates according to Suman Billa, Secretary, Tourism, Government of Kerala.

Kerala is considered to be extremely beautiful during the monsoon season but owing to the heavy rains it becomes a little difficult to travel outside and explore the various attractions spread across the state on foot. A P Anilkumar, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala, said the response has been encouraging. “This is also because June is peak summer and school holiday time in North India, where rains are few and far between,” he noted. “Tourists from that part of the country would be particularly tempted to sense the cooler climes of Kerala till end of August,” he said.

Suman Billa also mentioned the advantages of the lean season for tourists and availability of discounts on hospitality related expenses. He said, “For the domestic traveler, the charges will be lower by around 30 per cent. Besides helping create itinerary-based destinations, budget and the number of days to spend in Kerala, ‘Dream Deals’ will give users the option to play around mixing and matching various destinations into the itinerary until they get the most comfortable one”.

Kerala Tourism Department will tie up with some of the major airlines operating to certain key locations in Kerala to provide the ‘Dream Deals’ brand on the back of the board passes. This would help marketing these exciting discount and offers for the off-season travel month. This combined with the advertisements displayed at various New Delhi Metro Stations would go a long way in helping attract visitors to the state.

25000 promo seats sold by AirAsia India

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AirAsia India
AirAsia India

AirAsia India has started its operations in India with a bang! Having sold out more than 25,000 promotional seats within the first 48 hours of opening the booking it intends on conquering the market with its low cost flights. It will start its first flight in India on the Bengaluru (BLR) to Goa (GOI) sector from the 12th of June, 2014 and the promo tickets for this sector was sold out within the first 10 minutes of starting sales in the country.

Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia India, said, “We are very excited by the feedback we received from the market. Our motto has always been to make everyone fly and we have already begun to show that we are true to our promise. We will revolutionize the Indian aviation industry with our quality services. On behalf of AirAsia India I would like to thank every stakeholder who has worked towards making our launch a success.”

AirAsia India is expected to be one of the best airlines in the country. AirAsia India has opened bookings for flight tickets from now till 9th of June for air travel from the 12th of June till October 25th, 2014. Having won awards and accolades for its services globally and it has finally come to India. It is offering a super-low, all inclusive fare of just Rs. 990 for flights originating from Bengaluru city to Chennai, Chennai to Bengaluru city, Bengaluru to Goa and on the Goa to Bengaluru sector.

Top 5 reasons to visit Darjeeling this summer

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visit Darjeeling

Famously known as “Queen of the Hills’’, Darjeeling stays true to its nickname and doesn’t disappoint its visitors. It is the favourite summer holiday destination among Indians and tourists all over the world. Pleasant weather, warm hospitality and beautiful landscape adds to its popularity. Located at an altitude of 2,050 metres (6,730 feet) above the sea level, Darjeeling is synonymous with tea and toy train. The hill station has a wide range of flora and fauna for wildlife lovers, various exciting activities for adventure lovers, peaceful locations for soul-searching travellers and naturally beautiful landscapes for photographers, painters or poets. Though Darjeeling has so much to offer, here is a list of top five reasons why you should visit this picture-perfect place this summer season.

                                                  White Water Rafting at Teesta River

White Water Rafting at Teesta River

For all the thrill-seeking people, the White Water Rafting on the river Teesta and Rangeet, provides amazing opportunity to get more closer to nature. The scenic beauty of the banks, surrounding hills and its various flora and fauna creates an amazing ambience. Located at a driving distance of one and a half hour down to Teesta bazaar, the bubbling waters of the mountain rivers, Teesta and Rangeet, attract large number of water rafting enthusiasts. The rafting is an awesome journey as the river flows down a valley with forested banks and mountains on both sides. One can also go for camping on river banks. The best time for rafting is between December to June and the most popular place for rafting is Melli. Monsoon (July to September) season should be avoided. One has to sign a bond “Assumption of Risk and Release” before undertaking the trip.

                                                  Paragliding at Kalimpong

Paragliding at Kalimpong

 Want to fly with the birds? Go to Kalimpong that offers paragliding. Located at a distance of 55 kms from Darjeeling, it takes around 2.5 to 3 hours to reach there. Several tour companies offer paragliding packages. You can choose between a ‘Regular’ 15-minute package or a ‘Cross-country’ one that lasts for 30 minutes. You can go for a solo ride if you have a prior experience otherwise you can take the help of a guide provided by the operators. The cost of a single ride per person is Rs. 3000 and the best time to do paragliding is from the month of April to June. Enjoy the flight amidst breathtaking views of mountains, landscapes and Kanchenjunga snow peaks.

                                                  Breakfast at Keventers

Breakfast at Keventers

Located at Nehru Road, Keventers restaurant is famous for serving the best English breakfast  in the whole of Darjeeling. Before you start planning your sightseeing schedule, head straight to Keventers and have a yummy breakfast. You can choose from chicken cutlets, hot dogs, egg sausages, ham salami and bacon. For vegetarians, cheese sandwiches and burgers, baked beans on toast etc. Darjeeling tea and chocolate shakes are highly recommended. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

                                                 Shopping at Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre

Shopping at Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre

If you’re looking for unique Tibetan Handicrafts, then Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre is the place for you. It is located at Lebong hillside at a distance of 7 km from Darjeeling. The centre sells beautiful carpets, home decor items, wood carvings, woollens, metalwork and Tibetan antiques. Popular stuffs among tourists are woolen carpets, short kurtas, Nepalese woolen clothes and jackets, stoles etc. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and remain closed on Sunday. You can also take a tour of the workshops and see artisans at work.

                                                  Relaxation at Sumendu Lake (Mirik)

Relaxation at Sumendu Lake (Mirik)

Located about 49 kms southwest of Darjeeling, Mirik has become a popular tourist destination because of its pleasant climate, natural beauty and easy accessibility. Sumendu lake is the centre of attraction that is surrounded by pine trees on one side and a garden on other side. The two sides are linked together by an arched footbridge that is called as Indreni Pull (Rainbow Bridge). You can go for a boat ride in a paddle boat that can be hired for an hour or for a pony ride. On the right side of the lake, you’ll find a number of local stalls, shops and restaurants. Have some yummy local foods and enjoy a beautiful view of the scenic place while relaxing on the bank of the lake.

 By Anita Bhandari