Month: June 2015

Delhi to organize International Mango Festival on 2nd July

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The irresistible tropical fruit, mango, remains the master of all for people. Its various varieties sold by various names across different parts of India gives a chance to enjoy its goodness of taste and health. Throughout the year, people await the arrival of mango season so that they can beat a summer heat on a juicy delectable note. In light of mangoes popularity, Delhi organizes the International Mango Festival, where mango lovers a chance to taste its 1001 plus varieties under one roof.

mangoes

The two-day festival will be held in Delhi Haat, Pitampura from 2nd July, 2015. Delhi Tourism in alliance with Government of Delhi organizes the festival on a grand note and showcase various specialities of mangoes from different Indian states. Events and activities surrounding the fruit, namely,

  • mango eating competitions,
  • quizzes,
  • mango slogan writing,
  • mango carving,
  • mango folk performances and mango tasting

Mango-Festival-New-Delhi

are organized to encourage and entertain visitors. Varieties namely Langda, Dasheri, Alphonso, Fasli, Bombay Green, Chausa, Sindheri along with processed items like mango juice, jelly, pickels, aam papad and aam panna will also be available for purchase. This two- day mango extravaganza brings together mango growers, sellers, consumers and mango lovers to immerse in a journey of fun and frolic.

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Travel Diaries: Andaman – The Untouched Beauty

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Have you always imagined sitting at a beach where the only sound that hits the eardrums is of waves breaking on the shores? Make it a dream come true by visiting the splendid Havelock islands in Andamans. As our journey came to an end, things started to get better. Here’s a list of the islands to head to during your Andaman tour.

Havelock Islands

Havelock

Havelock is the first name that pops into everyone’s mind when we talk about Andamans. If you are not coming here, your trip is absolutely futile. A two hour journey by ship from Port Blair will take you to the land of ultimate peace and tranquility.

Look out for the following beaches here:

  • Elephant Beach
  • Kalapathar Beach
  • Vijaynagar Beach
  • Radhanagar Beach

Trust me when I say this. There’s no other beach better than Radhanagar Beach in India. Once you experience this, every other place would fall flat on your expectations. It has the enormous ability to let all your worries at peace and charge you up in a way you’d never ever thought about yourself.

Radhanagar Beach

Simply relax and enjoy a sun bath as the waves hit the shore.

For artists like us, this is the place to be apart from being an ideal destination for couples.

Neil Island

Neil Island

Ross Island and Neil Island happen to be the perfect half-day trips. The sunrise and sunset at Neil island is priceless. Do not return without that.

RedSkin Island/Jollybuoy Island

RedSkin Island

As a part of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, both these islands enjoy a good amount of tourist attention. There are a total of 15 islands in the park out of which only two are open for tourists. If you are visiting anytime between November and May, Jollybuoy is the place to go. RedSkin stays open for the remaining time period. The best of coral reefs can be witnessed here. In fact water sports are reasonably priced at this island.

Some points to keep in mind while going to RedSkin:

  • Carry eatables with you. It’s completely barren.
  • You aren’t allowed to carry plastic bags or bottles. So avoid them or else entry won’t be allowed.

I haven’t been to Jollybuoy so don’t know if they follow the same rules there too. It doesn’t take more than 30 minutes by ferry from Port Blair to reach RedSkin. The best part of this beach is that it is less crowded so you can spend some candid moments with your loved ones.

Chidiya Tapu Beach

Chidiya Tapu

How wonderful would it be to listen to the chirping of birds as you sit by and relax by the beachside. A spot loaded with lush greenery, mangrove plantations and a variety of birds. Watch all the birds that have made this sunny island their home. Oh and do enjoy the kulfi sold at the entrance with your family.

Limestone caves at the Baratang Island and a visit to the Barren Island can also be added on to your itinerary. If you’re lucky, you might also spot the local tribes living in the island. This trip to Andaman has been an altogether different experience and while it may have been more than a week since I have been back to Gurgaon, the place is etched hard in my heart and mind. You know why? Because Andaman is not a place, it is a feeling! Go explore the seas.

Travel Diaries: Andaman – The Paradise under the Sea

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The thing about Andaman is that its beauty cannot be put in words. It is not just a place, it is a feeling. You can’t just land in there, touch all the attractions and get back saying ‘you’ve travelled the paradise’. You have to stand there, watch the clouds float in the sky, breathe in the fresh air, walk through waters and then only will you understand what the place can do. Andaman is magic! Here’s a partial trail into my trip to this wonderland.

Andaman
North Bay

Water sports are a must if you are anywhere around the sea. While Neil Island scores a plus one when it comes to experiencing all sorts of adventure activities, North Bay gives it enough competition. We left at around eight in the morning from the Aberdeen Jetty to reach this spectacular place. It takes not more than an hour, or even less. While on the way, we happened to come across a wonderful instructor who had a whole lot of stories to tell about the different islands. If you’re lucky, you might just meet him when you go there.

Following are the activities that you can expect here to experience the coral life:

Through the Glass Boat

Andaman
Through the glass boat

It is the cheapest way to watch life under sea. One ferry includes around 15 people and charges range somewhere around 300 INR per person. The boat is covered and there begins magic. You can get acquainted with thousands of species of marine life in a single ride under the sea. Get to see all you only heard in the past.

Snorkelling

Andaman
Snorkelling in the sea

While Scuba diving may not be a safe everyone, snorkelling is something that people of any age can try out regardless of any health problem or phobia. A snorkel and a mask is all you need to watch the absolutely stupendous kinds of fish and corals. Expect being charged close to 1500 each for this. Carry extra pair of clothes with you.

Scuba Diving

Andaman
Scuba Diving in Andaman

Perhaps the most exciting sport, Scuba Diving attracts maximum number of travellers. Andaman offers a huge range of coral life exploration that it is hard to let go off the chance. Diving duration includes anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes and charges start from 3500, but of course you have to bargain hard to make them come down to 2000. Reservations start taking place while on the way. Wait for some time. You’ll find a lot of diving associations when you reach the island.

Sea Walking

What happened in Mauritius is now happening in India. So why not experience it here itself? This is amongst the new activities that have started to trend in North Bay and the whole of Andaman for that matter. You are given a helmet connect with a transparent visor and you’re ready to sail through the sea. Walking on the ocean floor is an experience in itself so don’t miss it. Life Guards are present to assist you. People with health problems like asthma or heart diseases are not allowed to indulge in this activity.

For all those who don’t like indulging in water sports, simply sit and relax. There’s nothing better than watching the sea.

On our way back, we came to know that before the Tsunami hit the Andamans, North Bay was connected by road from Port Blair. Unfortunately, sea was the only way left now.

Ross Island

Andaman
Ross island

After a fun-filled session, it was time to go back into history. A short ferry ride will take you to one of the most beautiful islands in Andamans. While the place is no more habituated by locals, it holds historical significance as the British administrative headquarters. When the Tsunami hit the islands in 1941, the British shifted their head quarters to Port Blair. The church ruins along with magnificent gardens and ballrooms are sure to steal your heart away. My sister and I simply loved spotting deer in this amazing island. Presently it is managed by Indian Navy.

It is said that Ross Island is blessed by Rain Gods and while it may or may not rain in rest of Andaman, Ross Island will always witness monsoon at its best. While returning, we experienced the same and I have to admit that in the recent times, I haven’t loved rains as much as I did here.

You must be wondering why I haven’t talked about Havelock yet. Well, that comes in my next post. Stay tuned!

Travel Diaries: Andaman – Emerald Blue and You

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Snow-white beaches, endless emerald waters, mangrove plantations, a paradise in the middle of nowhere – that is the splendid Andaman for you. An archipelago of close to 300 small and big islands, Andaman is your gateway towards ultimate source of peace and contentment.

Andaman

The month of May had just ended and I was way too depressed over not being able to meet my cousins for the sixth time in a row. Yes, you heard it right. It’s been six long years since I haven’t managed to be a part of the summer vacations where cousins from all around jam up. Somehow my Dad sensed this and called me up one afternoon asking, “Do you think you’ll be able to get a week’s leave?”

“I don’t know. Depends on my boss. What happened by the way?”

“We haven’t had a family trip since long. I was thinking of taking you to the Andamans by the end of this week. You always wanted to go there, didn’t you?”

I don’t think I have jumped like that in excitement at office ever before. I hung up saying that I will just check and let him know. When you work in a travel company and have a travel freak (and also wonderful) boss, you get leaves easily. Soon enough, I found myself in the flight to Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Corbyn's Cove Beach

Ideally, a person needs a week or even more to explore these islands. Ours happened to be a short 4 day trip although that didn’t lessen the fun in any manner.

The moment I stepped on the land of Port Blair, I knew I was going to witness heaven. The thing about these islands is that not only has it been blessed by nature but also that its people make sure to preserve it. The whole country needs to learn about cleanliness from the locals here. I haven’t really seen such a clean place in India. The usage of plastic bags is completely banned in Andaman which helps keep the environment unadulterated.

Day One had us roaming around the capital city. Sightseeing is ofcourse incomplete without museums, a place that invites the most disinterested people. Amazingly, my family has me and Dad, two people who absolutely enjoy being there. We could spend a whole day there and not get bored but we also have a company who just find a corner for themselves waiting for two insane souls to get out of this place we find like Hogwarts.

Corals on display at the marine museum

Marine Museum, Anthropological Museum, Science City took us a half day even though they aren’t as developed as these places are in the rest of the country. One noticeable aspect of the Science City here is that it has a lot of contributions from school going kids which is actually a wonderful initiative. However, after being through the museums and Science City of Kolkata, you’ll hardly find any good in the ones here. Marine Museum again speaks of the marine life that resides in this part of the map and there’s no doubt about the exotic variety of flora and fauna it conserves.

Saw Mill Andaman

The Saw Mill and the Corbyn’s Cove Beach are other two attractions. Let’s face it Port Blair has no major attraction apart from the well-known Cellular Jail. Its historical significance makes it extremely popular among locals and tourists alike. One stroll in the premises of the jail and the stories of the inhumane acts inflicted by the British on Indian freedom fighters are enough to send a chill down your spine. Every brick that has been used to construct the jail speaks volumes of the sacrifices made by the martyrs. One has to have a really strong heart to be able to take in the atrocities that the place talks about. Uptil now, all I knew was this was the Kala Pani and Veer Savarkar, the brave man who survived it all.

The Cellular Jail

It was only on coming here did I realise that there are thousands of unnamed heroes. The Peepal Tree that stood in the jail had been planted when it all began and it still stands erect spreading the tales of valour. Don’t miss out on the Light and Sound Show in the evening. Make sure you reach before time so that you can get the tickets because there’s a slated time for the same. The ladies line is shorter and it’s easier to get them. So ladies, use the privilege you got.

Cellular Jail Andaman

Forget about all pilgrimage destinations. This is one place where you‘ll get to know about humans who became God. This is where you will know how important your life is and how so many people have sacrificed theirs to give you a life where you can breathe the air of freedom. Take charge of our life! Let’s make things happen. They have to be proud of us when they look towards us from heaven above.

More stories coming around in the next part. Stay tuned!

It’s not just for techies, it’s for all- Let’s Go to a Different Bangalore

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Many simply know Bangalore as India’s biggest Information Technology (IT) hub. Many consider it to be the abode for just techies and aspiring engineers. I think we lack behind in unearthing its hidden glory- a city founded and established by KempeGowda in 1537. Till last April, I thought that Bangalore is like any other metropolis characterized by towering buildings, bustling traffic, offices and industries, but trust me it dwells in many more aspects. I can’t disobey the fact that years ago it earned the status of “The Garden City of India”, owing to lush greenery and public parks spread across the city. While trails of tall dense trees lend shade, an ever- pervading cool pleasant weather keeps you healthy and refreshed all day.

I made sure to visit Cubbon Park in the heart of Bangalore. From morning walkers to leisure evening strollers, it is the city’s major lung space. Soaring beauty of undulating green grasses and tall thick trees at regular intervals left me awestruck. As a short auto ride took me to Lalbagh Botanical Garden, I climbed up its small gentle slope to get mesmerized by surreal beauty contributed by diverse variety of exotic flora and smooth winding paths stretching from one end to other.

Lalbagh Botanical GardenI was lucky to spot India’s largest collection of tropical plants here. This historical lush green paradise is beautifully restored for nature lovers, photographers and wanderlusts from round the world.

In spite of being a modern metropolis, I noticed that history bears a strong attachment with Bangalore. Ancient monuments namely Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bangalore Palace and old fort at Devanahalli lie within and in the vicinity to the city.

Tipu Sultan's PalaceFortunately, I did not have to travel far off to cherish the heritage of Bangalore. Vidhana Soudha,  the seat of Karnataka State Legislature is an imposing building detailed on the lines of Indo-Saracenic and Dravidian styles of architecture. If time permits, plan a trip to Bannerghatta National Park.

On my way to Koramangla, one of Bangalore’s most happening and posh localities from JP Nagar for a South Indian lunch, heavy traffic irritated me. However, once there, Koramangala’s array of pubs, restaurants and cafes left me spoilt for choices.

DosaMy decision to ditch Chinese and Continental dishes and savour authentic Mutton Dosa at Paramount Restaurant was perfect. Who says South Indian cuisine can’t be at par with north Indian delicacies?? As feet got tired shopping and hopping at Koramangla, I thought of sipping local Filter Kaapi (coffee). Filter Coffee BangaloreIts sweet strong aroma drives everyone crazy. Almost at every 100 metres, you will find a shop making filter coffee whose every sip rejuvenates your senses, just like it did to me at price like peanuts.

A walk down Brigade Road took me across branded shops to non- branded ones flooded by Indians and foreigners alike.

UB City MallUnfortunately, the crowd is the best attraction here. If Louis Vitton bags or Armani watches are your status symbols, take a drive strait-away to UB City Mall at Vittal Mallaya Road. I checked in one of the luxury hotels near Bangalore’s UB City Mall to enjoy a royal stay at its heart. Why not you also give a try?

Indian classical dance and music are in the blood of Bangalore. Mohiniattam, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali dance forms and classical music are commonalities that locals share here. It is few of those cities that kept theatre alive and Ranga Shankara is one place to enjoy a theatre in different languages.

No wonder women are safe in Bangalore! With women bus conductors and auto drivers available in plenty, I considered myself absolutely safe even in my first visit. After my short trip to the charming Bangalore, I can assure it is few of those Indian cities where nature comes down to adorn you in a cosmopolitan environment. Amidst sky scrappers and crowded streets, lines of trees and gardens beautify the surrounding, keep the weather cool and healthy and open doors to inhale fresh air. One unique feature of Bangalore is, it experiences three climates in one day- sunny in the morning, rainy in the afternoon and chilly at night.

India’s top 5 water parks to visit this summer

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Switch off air conditioners, stop taking bath and and then, let the ceiling fans rest for sometime and quit sweating under scorching sun. There are means to ditch the hot summer days and the best of all is to plan an outing in the diverse water parks of India. High water rides, artificial sea, splash pools, paddle boats and others keep you away from intolerable heat and let you dip, swim, ride and relax for long and long. To help you locate your closest water park, we have listed the top five ones in different Indian cities.

1. Water Kingdom in Mumbai:

Water Kingdom

It is said to be the oldest water park in India where great experiences are created in reasonable rates. Apart from various small to gigantic water rides, the artificial beach remains the all time favourite. From toddlers to adults, everybody take fun in the water and breath in respite. There are also combined entry passes to the adjoining amusement park, Essel World. You can stay till evening to enjoy the cool splash of waters as there are many hotels near Essel World that make a perfect night out.

Timings: from 10am to 7pm on season days its open from 10am to 8pm

Ticket price: Combined ticket price for Water Kingdom and Essel World is Rs. 1000 for children, Rs. 1350 for adults, Rs. 400 for senior citizens.

2. Wonderla in Bangalore:

Wonderla in Bangalore

It is one of the most favourite destinations for Bangalorians, especially those who love to create adventurous memories with unusual water rides. Spread over 82 acres land, Wonderla features attractions like water pendulum, twisters, rain dance, water slides, boomerang, to name a few. In case you wish to laze around the water, plunge into lazy river, play pool or wave pool. Meant for all age groups, Wonderla is apt to beat the heat.

Timings: from 11am to 6pm on weekdays and from 11am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Ticket prices: Adults: Rs. 720 + Taxes and children Rs. 560 + Taxes (Monday to Friday). Weekends and public holidays: Adults: Rs. 890 + Taxes and children Rs. 670 + Taxes.

3. Ocean Park in Hyderabad:

Ocean Park in Hyderabad

It is spread over 20 acres of land in Gandipet, around 20km far from Hyderabad. There are separate rides for kids and adults, which make it an ideal gateway for all age groups. Water slides, kiddies pool, wave pool, swimming pool, wading pool and Jet skiing facility are the most popular ones. Tap your feet under artificial rains on popular Bollywood numbers.

Timings: Water park remains open from 11am to 6a.m

Ticket prices: For adults with height 4ft 6inch & above, entry fee is Rs 350. For children of 2ft to 4ft 6inch, entry fee is Rs 230.

4. Aquatica in Kolkata:

Water Parks Kolkata

It is the most popular water park in Kolkata that drives citizen crazy. From thriller sliders, lazy river to artificial wave pools and from boating to fountains plunging into pools, the park endorses you with multiple rides and activities. There is a designated rain dance zone to dance on Bollywood hits. It is located near Rajarhat and can be accessed from any part of the city.

Timings: 10am to 6pm throughout the week.

Ticket prices: Rs. 250 for adults on weekdays and Rs. 175 for children. On weekends, entry fee is Rs. 300 for adults and Rs. 200 for children.

5. Worlds of Wonder Water Park in Noida:

Worlds of Wonder Water Park in Noida

Till now it is the sole water park in the region that remains absolutely occupied every time. Located near Noida Film City, the rides namely Splash Safari, Wave Pool, Turbo Tunnel, Rapid and Free Fall and artificial beach give a chance either to relax or to engage in adventure sports.

Timings: from 12:30pm to 9pm

Entry Fee: Rs. 750 from Monday to Friday for adults and Rs. 550 for children. Rs. 850 for adults and Rs. 700 for children on Saturdays and Sundays.

Now all you need to do is plan a day and set for for a cool outing in the city itself amid the scorching heat.

Say Goodbye to Summer with an Action Packed Trip to Uttarakhand

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Uttarakhand may be a well-kept secret in northern part of India, but its bounteous beauty bestowed by multiple facets of nature is something to unearth. It may be nicknamed as “Devbhoomi: The Land of the Gods!”, but its manifold beauty goes way beyond temples to national parks, flower beds, rivers and tiny hill stations. When temperature soars high across the country in summer, an escape to Uttarakhand is the best way to beat the heat and breathe in respite amidst its cool weather and surreal beauty. The vacation is going to be an action packed one because:

Safari at Jim Corbett National Park Can’t be Missed

Uttarakhand
Tigers at Jim Corbett National Park

Keep your eyes wide open to get acquainted with the wild as the wheels of jeep roll along the tranquil paths of Jim Corbett National Park. Sight and sound of tigers in their natural habitat, plethora of colorful birds and other wildlife species in dense green jungle and a comfortable stay at hotels near Corbett National Park elevate your mood and keep you away from scorching sun.

You Can Take a Boat Ride at Naina Lake, Nainital

Uttarakhand
Boating in Nainital

Hire a pedal boat, roam around the emerald coloured waters of Naini Lake and capture the magnificent sight of green hued Kumaon mountain ranges. Enjoy a cable car ride to reach the topmost point of the region. Availability of hotels near Naini Lake makes the trip more interesting.

White Water Rafting at Rishikesh is Just Mind-blowing

Uttarakhand
Rafting in Rishikesh

Raft along the white waters of the mighty Ganges while the adjoining hills adorn with their spectacular beauty and restrict the sun rays to fall upon you. Let your boat hit the rapids, get drench with the splash of waters and enjoy every breathtaking moment of your rafting expedition in the sacred land of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

You Might Solve the Mystery of Roopkund’s Skeleton Lake

Uttarakhand
Skeletons at Roopkund Lake

Roopkund Lake is perched at an altitude of 16,499ft. in the lap of snow-clad Trishul Mountains of Chamoli, Uttarakhand. A trek to this high altitude lake leads to a completely unusual trekking and hiking experience. After trekking along pine and rhododendron encapsulated paths, the sight of skeletons at the bottom of the lake becomes a distinguished experience. A must try for avid trekkers!!

Auli Opens up to Gorgeous Views of Snow- Clad Nanda Devi Parvat

Uttarakhand
Skiing at Auli

Enamored by pine meadows, Auli is a well- preserved tiny hill station in Chamoli District. It is a preferred skiing destination, owing to its snowy Himalayan mountains and less crowded ambience. As you ski along the thick snowy slopes, the panoramic views of lofty Himalayas leave you awestruck. The star-lit sky with absolute visibility of the stars is another beauty of the region.

You Can Travel to Badrinath

Uttarakhand
Badrinath Temple

It makes way to experience the presence of Almighty in Uttarakhand. It is the most important of all four sites in Char Dham pilgrimage. Badrinath Temple is dedicated to Hindu Lord Vishnu. It rests on the banks of Alaknanda River between Nar and Narayana mountain ranges. A visit to the 9th century pilgrimage site leads to a heavenly experience.

Haridwar Gives a Chance to Wash Away Sins

Uttarakhand
Ganga aarti in Haridwar

Located in the foothills of Himalayas, Haridwar is known for the Ganga River and numerous temples spotted all over it. While in the morning pilgrims take a dip in the holy waters of Ganga either to absolve sins or offer prayers, in the evening they sit on the banks to watch the colorful sight of ‘Ganga Aarti’ performed with earthen lamps, flowers, music and hymns.

The list definitely goes on. However, these are the most popular ones why Uttarakhand is the best of all destinations this summer.