Month: July 2015
The world is going gaga over Solo Travelling. It is undoubtedly one of the best experiences of life and I personally believe that everyone should take a solo trip atleast once. But sometimes you need company, after all man is a social being. So here’s how you make friends while you travel alone. Trust me, the journey becomes even more adventurous this way.
Stay in hostels
Yes, QUEEN style! India may not have too many backpacker hostels but then we do we have YHAI and Zostel. And they are pretty much making up for the times gone by!
Go pub hopping
Gulp in a few shots and you’re all set to make friends with the unknown. Daru and dosti is the perfect combination ever created.
Volunteer to teach. A lot of travellers take to teaching English and a few other subjects that the particular destination allows. In the process, you are bound to make friends from all across the globe. Aur phir wo dost ki kya jisne exam na pass karaya ho?
Yet another way of making friends is to join the local activity classes and take the values of dosti to a border away. Learn the local cuisine or art, take an experience with you like never before.
Take a group tour
You may have definitely started alone, joining a group here and there does no harm. Who knows this could be just the beginning of a wonderful friendship?
And while it’s always good to make new friends, it’s too bad if you’re losing touch with your old friends. This FRIENDSHIP DAY, take a trip with that long lost childhood friend and if you’re all alone, take a trip to neverland and make friends all along. HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY!
So the traveller in me found herself at Bharatpur this weekend. The monsoon has hit the NCR region and almost every place has come under the off season tag but when you are an explorer, who cares about the best time to visit? The beauty of a place cannot always be defined by a particular time of the year. A little bit of research and contemplation lead to booking tickets to Bharatpur, a small city located on the borders of U.P and Rajasthan.
Rajasthan has its own aura and it didn’t come as a surprise when I found the essence as soon as I entered the place. Bharatpur offers the following attractions to its tourists:
- Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
- Lohagarh Fort
- Government Museum
- Ganga Mandir
Visit Bharatpur Travel Guide for more info.
When it comes to accommodation, there’s a decent list of hotels in Bharatpur. I happened to drop by at Kadambkunj Resorts. Presenting a detailed review of the same.
Location and connectivity
An elegant property, Kadambkunj Resort is located on NH 11 Fatehpur Sikri Road.
Works best for tourists lying in close proximity to the main attraction of the city – Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary apart from Fatehpur Sikri, an architectural marvel geographically located in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Tip: You’d need a cab to roam here and there because availability of public transport near the resort is close to impossible. Make arrangements via hotel or your travel agent.
Keep a margin of 15 minutes if you are going back through train or a bus as the time taken to the railway station or the bus stand from the resort stands close to 20 minutes.
The resort has a total of 45 rooms divided into four categories namely Standard, Deluxe, Super Deluxe and Suite.
I stayed at the Deluxe Room and am pretty satisfied with the amenities offered. It scores well on cleanliness and hygiene. The interiors were quite soothing and I developed a personal liking for the lamp.
The rooms offer a serene countryside view which helps your mind forget all worries and relax comfortably.
The moment you enter the resort, you know the experience is going to be a different one. Spread over a huge land, the resort offers lush greenery and splendid view for all rooms.
The area around the swimming pool is enchanting. Spend a quiet evening at the poolside or have an afternoon party, happiness is anyway in store for you. It may be noted that the pool stays open only till 6 p.m.
Staff – Amicable and friendly. Drop by at the restaurant and if you are lucky, you’ll meet a short middle-aged waiter. It is when you meet him would you know what they mean by the term ‘hospitality’.
Wine and Dine
This section came as a disappointment. The menu was certainly too short for a resort like Kadambkunj. Non-veg menu needs a big re-haul. The management might want to take a second look at the drinks offered on request. Taste wise again, an average serving.
The restaurant is pretty good and the breakfast buffet is quite a scorer. SO let’s say, even if you sleep disheartened because you couldn’t have the chicken dish you wanted, the breakfast would more than make up for it.
Overall rating: 4/5 (-1 for the food)
Travelling has become an inherent part of our life. As we lead such a busy life, full of targets and deadlines, we need to take a refreshing break from time to time. And what can be a better way than opting for the exciting and adventurous road trips? So if you are looking forward to destress yourself and make some interesting memories, then it’s high time to hit the road. Just call your friends or family and make plans right away, who knows Kal Ho Na Ho!And if you’re thinking where to go, don’t worry, we have bring you a list of top five road trips in India. Here we go:
Manali to Leh
One of the highest and toughest roads of India, the roads from Manali to Leh are generally open from June to late September. The journey will be difficult, unpredictable and may even give you altitude sickness. However, the breathtaking snow-clad hills and mountains en route will surely compensate for exhausting journey.
Distance: 479 km
Time Taken: 2 days
Highlights: You’ll come across Rohtang Pass, Buddhist monasteries and Khardung La.
Mumbai to Goa
The road trip between the City of Dreams, Mumbai and the City of Beaches Goa via NH-17, will leave you asking for more. Why? Because the roads are beautifully sleek and are lined up with several food joints or dhabas to take care of your hungry stomach. If you want to be a part of Goa’s hot and happening late night beach parties, then leave Mumbai early in the morning around 5 a.m. Nothing works better than a comfy bed after you’ve partied all night. The wide variety of resorts in Goa offer just what you’re looking for.
Distance: 615 km
Travel Time: 10 hours
Highlights: You’ll cross many rivers, mountains, temples and waterfalls.
Puri to Konark
Puri-Konark highway (NH-203) boasts of being one of the most beautiful roads of India. This route offers picturesque views to behold during the trip which are worth clicking as well. Everything about this route is magical from the canopy formed by the trees on either side of the road to soft misty breeze.
Distance: 36 km
Time Taken: 1 hour
Highlights: You’ll drive through green surroundings.
Ahmedabad to Kutch
This road trip is slightly unique as it’s not the journey, but the destination that has an upper hand here. As soon as you reach the gorgeous white salt desert of Kutch, you’ll be mesmerised by its beauty and the vibrant lifestyle of the locals. Don’t forget to visit the neighbouring handicraft villages including Hodko, Nirona and Nakhtarana. Accommodation is an experience when it comes to enjoying the land of Kutch. Book hotels in Bhuj to feel the essence of Gujarat in the most amazing way!
Distance: 381 km
Time Taken: 8 hours
Highlights: You’ll come across Dhrangadhra, a stopover, known for its temples and mosques.
Bangalore to Coorg
The drive from Bangalore to Coorg is of pure pleasure, as the roads are in excellent condition. There are road signs everywhere to help you out, along with well marked hill roads.
Distance: 260 km
Time taken: 5 hours
Highlights: You will enjoy fresh air and lovely view of coffee plantations on the way.
One of the much awaited Hindu festivals of India, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2015 was inaugurated by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis in Nashik and Union home minister Rajnath Singh in Trimbakeshwar on Tuesday morning i.e. 14 th July. At both venues, the inaugural ceremony was marked with poojas, bhajan-kirtans and traditional flag hoisting, followed by thousands of devotees marching to the Godavari River for the first holy bath. Celebrated once in 12 years, Kumbh Mela this year is expected to witness around 80 lakh to one crore people in Nashik during the three auspicious days of ‘Shahi Snan‘ (royal bath) and around 25-30 lakh in Trimbakeshwar.
Here are the important dates for the Kumbh Mela Nashik 2015:
- 14th July: Flag hoisting of ceremony at Ram Kunda
- 14th August: Flag hoisting of the Akhara at Sadhugram
- 26th August: First Snan
- 29th August: First Shahi Snan at Ram Kunda
- 13th September: Second Shahi Snan/ Main bathing day
- 18th September: Third Shahi Snan
- 25th September: Vaman Dwadashi Snan
- 11th August 2016: Flag lowering ceremony, end of the Mela.
The Maharashtra government has spent nearly Rs.2,400 crore for the preparations of the Kumbh Mela, keeping in mind the fact that the festival will continue for one year period till August 2016. In this one year time period, around four crore pilgrims are expected to visit Nashik. Other preparations include tight security, accommodation facilities, additional ghats and traffic diversions.
‘Phew, it’s hot! When will monsoon come?’… No one bothers to remember the number of times this phrase has been uttered when the scorching sun shines at its best. But a slight drizzle or a heavy downpour is most welcoming when the thirsty lips yearn for few drops of life. Driblets of rain trickling down the skin, the amazing smell of wet land, a sudden freshness in the air, heightened greenery to savour, school children with raincoats and speeding cars splashing mud-water, thank God, Monsoon has arrived.
As one takes a roller-coaster ride through the coastline state of Tamil Nadu, one cannot but help getting into a cultural tryst with the state. Monsoon makes for the icing on the cake that renders the place peerless. To enjoy the beauty of nature clad with imaginative-hues, plan for a rejuvenating experience to 5 of the best getaways in Tamil Nadu in which is concealed an inimitable monsoon adventure.
Though docile as compared to its more popular counterpart, Ooty, the hill station of Coonoor offers amazing picturesque views of the slopes beneath. On the far side of the red-tile rooftops, one gets to savour the tranquil aura, cool climate and beautiful landscapes beyond earthly restrictions. Get a little adventurous while trekking to Lamb’s Rock or Lady Canning’s Seat, up-to Dolphin’s Nose and Law’s Falls.
If you wish to inhale the strong aroma of coffee beans alongside relishing fresh fruits and mocktails, then a tour of one of the most mesmerising hill stations along the Eastern Ghats is a must. As one treks through gentle slopes, dense forests and stiff climbs, the sight of fruit gardens, coffee plantations, caves, heritage buildings, silk farm and rose garden gives the wandering eyes, a pinch of inexplicable satisfaction.
A few days in solitude and peace coupled with a slowly-mounting thrill in the air is experienced in the beautiful hill station and wildlife sanctuary of Masinagudi. Tourists come pouring into this gem of a place to savage the charm of nature while putting-up at the best hotels in Masinagudi alongside appreciating the vast biodiversity that resides in its bosom. Animal-lovers should not miss this amazing destination for it houses an extraordinary collection of mammals, fishes, birds, amphibians, reptiles and wildlife delights.
The mesmerising hill station of Kodaikanal has been serving as a haven and tourist destination from antiquity. An artist’s imagination splashed on a canvas with vibrant hues and shades breathes life in this amazing destination. With a beautiful lake at its heart and patches of Shola Forests, magnolia, mahogany and rhododendron trees dotted around, Kodaikanal blossoms with an evergreen florescence in the hearts of its admirers.
Kanyakumari needs no introduction. Tucked in the southernmost tip of the country, this small town is huge in charm and grandeur. From sunrise to sunset, nature appeases its onlookers with something divine. The Vivekanada Rock Memorial, Our Lady of Ransom Church and Bhagavathy Amman Temple draw an ocean of tourists and pilgrims to its premises.
So you love travel and enjoy taking wildlife safari holidays and you have being doing so for quite a while now. You have travelled far and wide and seen the big game but you are not satisfied (who is ever satisfied of seeing the Tiger in the wild) so you keep looking for excuses and opportunities to head to the peace of the wild again and again. But now you are a senior wild-lifer and it is time you started acting one. This is a list of things to do while others are gushing with Ohhs and Ahhs !!!
Here is how to wild life like a boss!
1) Probably the 1st thing you will see when you hit any National Park in India is a herd of beautiful spotted deer. You might see them outside the park area itself and often close to human habitation. They are lovely and most people will pull out their cameras here and start clicking. Stay calm, look at the deer and say in a soft sonorous voice “Cheetal”. Someone will think you said “Cheetah”, they will instantly turn and look at you, that is your cue to say “Axis axis”, then the person looking at you with the slack jaw will say “Huh” … so you say “Axis deer” that’s the correct binomial nomenclature for Cheetal or what some people call Spotted deer.
By now slack jaw has flipped out and you have been established as the wildlife boss.
This format can be followed in many situations, people see any deer with large antlers and say “Barashinga” or people see “Gaur” and say “Indian Bison”, these are the spots in jump in and take charge, be the wildlife boss.
Here is a picture of a real Barashinga aka swamp deer.
And these are Gaur (Bos Gaurus); try not to call them Bison.
2) Ok by now you all are in the core area of the park, be alert, don’t chat and faf around (this is very important). The next thing that is going to happen (99% of the time) is that the diver and the guide are going to stop the Jeep and peer down at the road. Cue for Tiger pug marks. Some frantic finger pointing will ensue, be calm, take a long look at the pug marks, then say “hmmm Male hai” then look into the distance and say “Road hi road chala hai”.
At this point the other guest in the jeep will be thunder struck by your powers, revel in the moment. The driver and guide will of course be looking sheepish and rolling their eyes. Ignore them or wink wink/nudge nudge them.
Now say “Chalo, aas pass hi hoga” like a boss.
3) Now the game is afoot. The chase is on, the forest is alive with hope and titillation, could there be a big cat around the next bend? Suddenly the guide asks the driver to STOP! The jeep stops, the guide has his head cocked in a manner that suggests “I am listening”. Then he says “alarm call!” – Whoa !!!! This is all good and it ends in a sighting of the big cat that’s great and you should enjoy the moment but if no sighting emerges then it is your role to be the boss. The guide and driver are under pressure, you should now observe a nearby tree that is in flower and covered with butterflies, moths, bees and other minor insects. Use the binoculars you have carried (because that’s what wildlife bosses do) and say “WOW! that’s awesome, guys look there are a bunch of Hummingbird Hawk Moth humming around that tree”
This will break the pressure on the driver/guide and they will forgive and forget the early goof up with the “Male” pug mark and establish you firmly as the wildlife boss.
4) Now the rest of the safari can take place in an amicable manner. Allow the other inmates to talk and tell about their own experiences. It is very important to praise them, say “Wow! I have never been there” and “Wow! I have never seen that” often. Listen to the guide’s funny stories about other guests; laugh out loud when the driver tells his favourite story about the Punjabi family from Bhatinda. All good. Enjoy the park and occasionally point up in the sky and say “B.O.P”, when everybody looks up and their collective jaws drop once again at your total boss-hood, say “bird of prey” slightly sheepishly.
Who knows, you might get lucky and see a Eurasian Hobby on your safari that day. Now that’s the kind of cool luck a boss deserves.
5) Now you are headed back the lodge and any wildlife boss know that that’s the MOST important part of being a boss. You simply can’t be a wildlife boss staying at any old place. The choice of wildlife lodge is in fact what makes you a boss in the first place. A boss needs the correct mix of the lean and the luxury. The beer has to be chilled to the right temperature. The food has consistently marvellous. The welcome towel at the lodge gate when you arrive or return from safari has to be a minor miracle. The snack basket for the break during safari has to be overwhelming. The lodge grounds have to be teeming with the possibilities of snakes and bird life. The swimming pool needs to be just perfect. The view needs to be alluring; the resident naturalists need to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Only a clear combination of all these elements to allow a wildlife lover to experience nature like a boss, thank you Pugdundee Safaris for making me feel like a boss.
I’ll be back.
Sight of raindrops drizzling from the sky, smell of wet soil, cool splash, floating paper boats on water logged streets and sipping steaming coffee on a rainy day left a permanent scar in our list of childhood memories. While some loves to enjoy the showers through windows, others find joy in heading for a long drive to some known and unknown destinations.
Away from loud cities, sight and sound of showers become more audible, breathtaking and pleasurable. Nature dazzles with greenery to create a heavenly milieu for either a romantic escape or a lone leisure outing. Rain adorns every part of India with the most scenic vistas of nature. In this series of our monsoon getaways, we bring forth such top 5 destinations:
Frequent heavy downpours are a common feature of this small coastal town during monsoon. It is this continuous rainfall that turns Alibaug lush green and blanket the entire region with a misty outlook. A drive via Mumbai- Pune Expressway is the best means to reach Alibaug in Konkon region and enjoy a rejuvenating monsoon vacation amid clean beaches, beautifully tucked cottages and freshly cooked sea food delicacies.
Distance: Around 93km from Mumbai
Monsoon in Maharashtra is incomplete without a long drive to Lonavala and its most spectacular Bhusi Dam. During monsoon Shayadri Mountain ranges and Western Ghats come alive with alluring greenery, tiny waterfalls and breathtaking foggy shade of green, yellow, blue, brown and silver. The otherwise quaint hill town of Lonavla gives the best opportunity to enjoy all these. An overnight stay here is the best choice one can ever make as hotels in Lonavala are aptly located and beautifully designed to let you enjoy the most gorgeous vistas of wet Sahyadri Ranges.
Distance: Approximately 82km from Mumbai
Though lost in the veritable shadow of its popular counterpart, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani remained a preferred name for those in search of a sleepy relaxing holiday in a less crowded locale. Its idyllic landscape speckled with colonial cottages, shiny rivulets, quaint hamlets and rolling hills get drenched in rain during monsoon and make the place utterly magical. A walk through its many unknown small winding paths covered by rain-kissed tall and short bushes gives you a prefect chance to get lost in nature’s beauty.
Distance: Approximately 230km km from Mumbai
To plan a short trip to Malshej Ghat near Kalyan does not need heavy cash and long leaves. Vast stretches of green rugged hills, dripping water resulting in small and big waterfalls, floating clouds and chill wind of Malshej Ghat during monsoon blanket with seclusion and rejuvenation. Plan an overnight stay here, as after a quick visit to Ajoba Hill Fort and Harishchandra Fort, the cozy rooms of hotels in Malshej Ghat end you short sweet trip on a memorable note.
Distance: Approximately 154km from Mumbai.
While talking about hidden wonders, this is one name that reverberates again and again. Tucked near Igatpuri, Bhandardara has everything required for a monsoon trip in the lap of nature. Gushing waterfalls, tall misty mountains and unending stretch of greenery delight you in every second of your stay here. The beauty of Wilson Dam, Arthur Lake and Umbrella Falls reaches the zenith as rain pours and spreads a magical veil over the region.
Distance: Approximately 185km from Mumbai
North East India is the unexplored paradise on the Indian Mainland. The unique culture, tradition, pleasant climate, green landscapes and surreal natural beauty about the place make it stand out from the rest. Monsoon season brings joy to everyone but tourists in particular, when rains cool down the heating surface of the earth and wash the flora all around to colour it soothing green. North East India, one of the most unadulterated regions in India, is too beautiful a sight to believe and assimilate in during the monsoon season.
Let us look at some of the most spectacular monsoon getaways in North East India:
Pelling is a popular hill station in Sikkim state of India. The place offers an unparalleled view of the mighty Kanchenjunga which is bound to sweep any observer off his/her feet. The stillness and calmness of the valley around the hill station makes you want to connect with the nature and forget the hustle and bustle of the city life. Although temperatures remain pleasant throughout the year, yet monsoon is much cooler and exciting than other seasons. All kinds of hotels ranging from budget hotels to luxury hotels in Pelling are available to meet the expectations of different visitors.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang town in Arunachal Pradesh is a picturesque affair of green on the land and white in the sky. This place is one of the most scenic tourist destinations in North East India. The green slopes, beautiful monasteries and gigantic mountains in the backdrop make one question if the place is for real or an impeccable imagination. A visit to the high altitude Sella Pass will surely go down one of the most amazing sights in the observer’s memory, the mountain pass connects Tawang to Tezpur and Guwahati.
Majuli is a ridiculously beautiful island amidst the mighty Brahmaputra River in Assam. The river supplies a number of water bodies to the island which make the flowers and vegetation bloom here. If you are one of those tourists who jump at the opportunity of visiting lesser explored naturally beautiful areas, Majuli is the one for in North East India. The current of the river around the island results in breezing winds which sway rice fields and trees in the most picturesque fashion. Majuli is about 200 kilometres to the east of Guwahati and you will have to get into a ferry from Jorhat to reach this island.
Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
Although it is just a lake and not a town or city, it is not “just a lake”. The Tsomgo lake is based at an unbelievable altitude of 3780 metres – to put things in perspective, most of the treks for general tourists terminate much shorter than that altitude. How often will you get to see a mesmerising lake at that astounding height? Well, not often. The sight from up above here is breathtaking too with numerous lofty mountains and huge forest cover all around.
The beautiful state of Kerala in south India is not called as “God’s Own Country” for no palpable reason. Kerala is a state with dense forest cover along the Western Ghats, which house some of the rarest flora and fauna found across the Indian mainland. As a result, Kerala remains full of natural green throughout the year but it is only during monsoon season when the lush greenery of the place comes in to full effect and adds to the immense beauty usually observed here. The serene backwaters of Kerala gain strength as the monsoon arrives, thus make houseboats in Kerala much more fun.
Kerala is the first state in India to welcome the south-west summer monsoon. Let us take a look at some of the best tourist destinations to visit in Kerala during monsoon:
“Houseboats in Kerala” – if that phrase appeals to a tourist then Ashtamudi is the place where he/she needs to be. Ashtamudi, as the name suggests, is an 8 cornered lake in Kerala known for its enchanting backwaters. The 16 kilometres long lake is the second largest in the state; it merges into the sea through Neendakara estuary. Kollam Junction Railway Station is hardly 2 kilometres away from here.
Best Hotels near Ashtamudi: Hotel All Season, The Quilon Beach Hotel and All Season Houseboat.
Kovalam is one of the most famous beaches in India and not just in Kerala. The beach is visited by plethora of tourists throughout the year, but the rainy season induces a sense of excitement about the place. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming and herbal massages for a wholesome experience while you are here. Trivandrum International Airport is about 10 kilometres from here.
Best hotels in Kovalam: Poovar Island Resort, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel and Spa.
The beauty of Munnar reverberates as it attracts tourists from all around the word. Easily one of the most famous hill stations in India, Munnar is a sight to cherish during the monsoon season as the place turns surreal. A walk through the mist covered tea estates on a rainy morning here is bound to stay with you forever. Anamudi, the highest peak in Munnar, offers a great place for trekking.
Best hotels in Munnar: Elysium Garden, Bell Vedera Resorts Munnar and Ragamaya Resort and Spa Munnar.
When you visit Wayanad, you visit one of the most scenic places in Kerala. This place offers some amazingly captivating views of hills and valleys around it. What’s more, how does camping in a tree house with rain outside sound for a getaway? You get to do it all here in the calm, serene and beautiful Wayanad.
Best Hotels in Wayanad:Wayanad Sharoy Resort, Lakkidi Village Resort and The Woods Resorts Wayanad.