Month: August 2015

Where to go for a vacation in September?

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With the arrival of the month of September, the wet monsoon season of India takes a backseat and make way for clear blue skies. It is that time of the year when the wish to go on a vacation finds a place in every heart as the temptation is too strong to resist. The month offers a beautiful combo of the last showers of rain and salubrious weather, making it a perfect season to explore the incredible beauty of the country that is hidden in its rich diversity. And keeping in mind the varied tastes of travellers, we have compiled an interesting list of 5 places to visit in September, choosing from Northern, Eastern, Western and Central India. Go through our list and pick the destination that will best suit your vacation plans.

Amritsar, Punjab

Golden Temple, Amritsar

With lush greenery, lovely climate and occasional rain showers, the holy city of Amritsar becomes delightfully pleasant during the month of September. You can make a visit to the world famous Golden Temple (the holiest Sikh gurdwara) or enjoy the spectacular Wagah Border ceremony, which is held every evening before sunset at the Wagah Border. For foodies, the city offers many mouth-watering dishes like chole bhature, amritsari kulcha, paneer bhurji, gur halwa etc. To know about accommodations in Amritsar, click here.

Shillong, Meghalaya

Elephant Falls Shillong

Popularly known as the Scotland of the East, because of its rolling hills, Shillong is the capital city of Meghalaya. Its picturesque landscape becomes more beautiful in September with pleasant weather, gentle breeze, fresh air and minimum rainfall. You can enjoy a peaceful vacation here along with exploring breathtaking waterfalls, glittering lakes, cascading hills and winding roads. For information on hotels in Shillong, click here.

Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

Bhimtal Lake

Located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Bhimtal is a lesser known cousin of the more famed tourist destination Nainital. Named after the mighty warrior prince Bhima from Mahabharata, this beautiful town is known for its pristine blue Bhimtal lake. Surrounded by  soaring mountains, dense green forest and beautiful temples, the lake boasts of an island in its centre which can be reached by boats. You can simply enjoy the town’s natural beauty and spend some peaceful moments around the lakeside.

Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh

Dhuandhar Fall, Bhedaghat

Situated by the side of Narmada river, Bhedaghat town is famous for its amazing marble rock formations and as a shooting location for the Bollywood movie Ashoka. Its main attractions include Dhuandhar Waterfall and Chausath Yogini temple. Post-monsoon in September, the waterfall will be in its full glory and hence a great visual treat to nature lovers.

Bundi, Rajasthan

Taragarh Fort, Bundi

The cool weather in September makes Bundi one of the most sought after holiday destination of Rajasthan. It is popular for its magnificent palaces, glorious medieval forts, beautiful temples and stepwell reservoirs or baoris. Some of its must see attractions include Taragarh Fort, Bundi Palace, Nagar Sagar Kund, Raniji ki Baori and Lord Varuna Temple. For details on accommodations in Bundi, click here.

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Onam – Bringing the best out of Kerala

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flower rangoli design for onam

The state of Kerala is abuzz with celebrations and gaiety, afterall the grand festival is right here. Yes, we are talking about Onam. Of all the events of God’s own country, Onam is one that witnesses the biggest of participation from everyone irrespective of age, caste or creed even though it is mostly associated with Malayalee Hindus.

onam celebration

When?

A 10 day event, Onam falls in the month of Chingham as per the Malayalam calendar that is any time between the months of August and September. Onam 2015 will be celebrated on the 28th of August.

Onam Fest

Where?

In order to see the best of Onam celebrations in Kerala, travellers can drop by at places like Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Thrissur. The much talked about Thrikkakara Temple near Ernakulam is a must visit for a person who wishes to see the hues and shades of the festival.

Onam Athachamayam

Why?

Legend has it that this celebration marks the end of the monsoon thus making it the annual harvest session alongwith the return of the ruler of the land, King Mahabali. The festivities go on for ten days and include a number of activities such as the boat race, performing arts and enjoying feasts.

What?

Onam Kerala

The carnival majorly includes the decoration of homes with flower carpets locally known as pookalams and grand feasts referred to as Onamsadya which has much as 26 dishes served out. Some major activities to look forward to during the celebrations include the following:

  • Thripunithura Athachamayam is the inauguration ceremony that kickstarts the celebrations comprising a parade that showcases different forms of art, dance and music of the state. Elephants that find a huge significance in the southern India are decorated and actively participate in the procession.
  • The Boat Race is not just a local sport but also holds religious sentiment to it. It is conducted on a large scale and finds domestic as well as international spectators. Aranmula Boat Race is one remarkable boat race one should catch up on apart from ofcourse the Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
  • Martial art in the form of Onathallu is held every year wherein the one at Thrissur finds maximum crowd. An activity including men as the participants, it is a test of skill and physical stamina among the locals.
  • A number of folk dances such as Pulikali or the Tiger Dance, Kaikotikali, Thumbi Thullal and Onakalikal are performed by the locals all around the state. Women dress up elegantly in beautiful sarees with gajras and heavy jewellery and dance at a number of events during the celebrations.

And in the meanwhile, if you get a chance to explore the splendid land, do venture out to witness the sunrise and the sunsets at the beautiful beaches of Kerala, spoil yourself with a spa session and find some quiet moments by the backwaters. Welcome to God’s own country!

Dare to go the Manjhi way?

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No, we are not asking you to hand-chisel a mountain, eat algae plant for food or walk 1300 kilometres to file a complaint. Why would you want to do that when you can always bring down mountains playing “Pocket Tanks” on your phone, order a Pizza on your phone and file a complaint via social media, again, on your phone? We are merely asking you to visit the undulating lands of Bihar which witnessed the legend of Manjhi – The Mountain Man unfold. Why? Read on.

Dashrath Manjhi, a low caste labourer in Gehlour village of Gaya distrcit, famously carved a shorter way to the nearest town “Wazirganj” by cutting down a mountain when his injured wife died on the way to hospital in 1959.  As the nation goes into a frenzy following the release of Ketan Mehta’s film “Manjhi – The Mountain Man”, Goibibo.com celebrates the occasion by compiling a list of places to visit near to Gehlour in Bihar.

Gehlour:

Reach out to Gehlour, the very place where Manjhi built the 110 metre long and 9.1 metre wide road over the course of 22 long years. Taj Mahal might be a more beautiful tribute to love, but this road is no less of a symbol of love and dedication. Islampur railway station is the nearest railway head to Gehlour, it is located at an approachable distance of 11 kilometres from the village. Gaya Airport is situated at 55 kilometres from Gehlour.

dashrath manjhi road

Bihar Sharif:

The Badi Dargah Mosque of Bihar Sharif is an architectural masterpiece which manages to spellbind each eye that is laid on it. Bihar Sharif is distanced by 31 kilometres from Gehlour and is serviced by its own railway station. At a distance of 54 kilometres, Patna Airport is the nearest airport to Bihar Sharif.

Bihar Sharif

 

Nalanda:

Nalanda is a world famous destination, the place is known for housing the first residential international university of the world. Nalanda represents a leaning centre of the highest order which is highly coveted by students from all over the world. There are quite a few tourist attractions in Nalanda that must be paid a visit, these include Nalanda University, Surajpur Temple, The Great Stupa and Nalanda Archaeological Museum.

Nalanda University

 

Bodh Gaya:

Bodh Gaya is the place where Buddha gained enlightenment 2600 years ago. The tree under which Buddha is believed to have Bodhimandala (enlightenment) is known as Bodhi Tree. Bodh Gaya is one of the most important religious centres in the country. It is located at a distance of about 55 kilometres from Gehlour village.

bodhgaya statue

There are various other famous places to visit near Gehlour like Kakolat, Patna and Rajgir. Fancy a trip? You can get all the required information and book tickets for various destinations across the globe at Goibibo.com and that too, one last time, on your phone! Download the Goibibo app now to known more.

Getaways for Rakhi: An avenue for sibling bonding

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Raksha Bandhan or shall I say Rakhi is one of the most prominent and auspicious Indian festivals. This very day celebrates the relationship of love and duty of all men for their sisters. But, you might still be thinking that something more special should be done for your sisters this year to appreciate your special bond with her.

Apart from the usual delights like gifts, chocolates and blessings, this year an additional surprise of taking them on a tour would get them squealing in joy.

Here are a few places you can take your sisters to.

Take a heritage walk in the capital city

Place to travel with your sister

Saddi Dilli offers a range of options for the wanderer in you. Let this walk be a walk down the memory lane. The historical ruins of Mehrauli and Hauz Khas have a number of stories associated with them. Go back to your history lessons together. Alternatively, you may walk through the lanes of old Delhi, enjoy street food at its best, visit the religious sites and shops that are as old as a century.

Go trekking in Pin Parvati Pass, Himachal

Place to travel with your sister

Throwing snowballs at each other and doing adventure sports like trekking on the mountains would bring back those childhood memories of yours. Not only this, while going through the mountains you would come across a few monasteries if you route through Pin Parvati Pass. On one side, there’s the Himachali culture of Kullu and on the other side, there’s Spiti Valley – the little Tibet. This is surely going to be an enthralling getaway for any tough sibling team.

Enjoy the view at Vembanad Lake, Kerala

Place to travel with your sister

Nature and peace lovers who intend to take their loved one to a peaceful place can surely come down to Kerala. They can relax themselves by spending some time at spas offering oriental massage, ayurvedic treatment shiatsu and others within the city. They can also enjoy the view of Vembanad Lake while sitting on the shore next to it. Don’t forget to enjoy the sumptuous sea food especially shrimp and oyster.

Go through Kerala Travel Guide for more info.

Camping at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Place to travel with your sister

What’s better than a camping trip with your sibling in Rishikesh. For all those who are seeking a slightly unconventional way to celebrate this trip may camp at Chandertal Lake in Himachal Pradesh. Mostly called as the lake of the moon, this river body rests between Lahaul and Spiti Valley. This would make the most apt or shall I quote place for a weekend getaway trip with your sis this Raksha Bandhan.

What’s in store for you this August?

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It is that time of the year when the winds whisk by your skin making your hair sway in the air, when the smell of wet soil is all you need to cheer up, when a cup of coffee sitting by the window side while it rains is bliss, when the thunder and the pitter patter of raindrops gives you a high like never before and in that moment, you decide it’s time to travel. To get into your denims and sneakers with your backpack and head to the land unknown.

Dimapur, Nagaland

Dimapur

Far away from the busy city life lies a beautiful habitat embellished with mind blowing landscapes, Dimapur is the gateway to the unexplored state of Nagaland. Rated as one of the most developed cities of the state, Dimapur will take you to a blissful journey through Kachari Ruins from the 13th century, Rangapahar Reserve Forest, Green Park, Intaki Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

Mandu  jahaz mahal

Mandavgad or Mandu is a small ruined city located in the Marwar region of Hindustaan ka dil – Madhya Pradesh. An absolute charm for history lovers and photography buffs, this place boasts of numerous palaces such as Hindola Mahal and Jahaz Mahal alongwith Jain temples and mosques. This is the place to be this August.

Pondicherry

 

pondicherry

How great would it be to enjoy French delicacies as the Rain Gods get a little kind on you. Take a stroll In the postcard perfect city with its colonial homes back from the days of French, stone streets, flea markets and a lane full of cafes and bars. Watch the waters go wild while it rains, it’s heavenly! Make the trip wilder by taking a road trip from Chennai to Pondicherry.

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

spiti valley

This little Tibet in uphills is yet to be explored by the tourist junta which makes it all the more irresistible. Coming here during this time makes it an adventure itself and boy, when you witness the beauty of this place, you are sure to be left tongue tied. That’s the aura of the place! And that is why it should not be missed.

Pushkar, Rajasthan

pushkar lake

Pushkar – the place with the blue hills offers an enlightening holiday during the monsoons. The monsoon is a relaxing time for the otherwise scorching hot Rajasthan and it is this time when you should be enjoying an early morning camel ride, a walk through the local market learning, indulge in camping and shopping handicrafts or simply watch the beauty of nature. This experience is going to be with for a lifetime!

Some lesser known facts about India’s struggle for Independence

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A few days from now, India will be celebrating its 69th Independence Day and while we do that, let’s take a look at some facts about India’s struggle for independence that have somehow got lost in the pages of history.

independence day

1) The Hindu, the popular news daily was started in the year 1878 in Madras and was extremely popular among freedom fighters. Even today, it enjoys a readership of over 24 lakh people and its editorial column gets your grey cells kicking.

The Hindu Office

This is how the Hindu office looks like in the present times.

2) In order to break the monopoly of the British, V.O.Chidambaram Pillai started the first national shipping company known as the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in Tuticorin or Thoothukuddi, a major port city. These ships ran on the route to Colombo in Sri Lanka in the year 1906. This act made the British feel so threatened that Pillai was immediately taken into custody and all the ships under the firm were seized.

The Indian Government issued a stamp in his honour in the year 1972. The Kannada film industry also came up with a movie on Pillai’s contributions.

Sunrise in Tuticorin beach

Today, Tuticorin is thronged by a number of international as well as domestic travellers who come around to experience the old world charm alongwith its beautiful beach.

3) The Indian Home Rule Movement was founded by S. Subramania Iyer alongwith Ms. Annie Besant. He’s popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Man of South India’ and was actively involved in cultural activities and nurturing folk music and regional arts.

Mani Aiyer Hall

The Mani Iyer Hall located in Triplicane, Chennai was built in his memory. One can even find his statue installed at the Madras University outside the Senate House.

4) While the rest of the nation got independent in 1947, Puducherry got itself free from the shackles of the French colonial rule after seven years.

Puducherry

Going by the recent developments, the territory has been granted the permission to observe a holiday on November 1st and is entitled for their independence celebration on this day.

1) Vaikom Satyagraha was a struggle started by the people down south that also touched social issues like untouchability and caste system. Great leaders like Narayana Guru, Vaikunda Swami and G.P. Pillai happened to be a part of this movement. It centered around the Vaikom Mahadev Temple situated near Kottayam.

Vaikom Mahadev Temple

This is how the temple looks today.

Time Travel into the 18th Century – Independence Day Special

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The Indian soil has been a witness to a thousand of examples of strength, valour, bravery and chivalry. With Independence Day round the corner, it’s about time we take a sneak peek into the struggle and the wars fought to accomplish a free India. Let’s go back to the olden times, an era that describes a million tales of sacrifices and spirit of patriotism.

It was the time when battles were being fought among the foreigners to rule the ‘sone ki chidhiya’. The French, the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch, all wanted a share for themselves. They were on a continuous war amongst each other and ofcourse, the Indian rulers.

Carnatic Wars

Carnatic Wars

The Carnatic War marked the beginning where the French attacked the city of Madras that lied under the British control.

Today, the famous landmark Fort St. George is the place to go to know all about the Carnatic Wars and the establishment of the East India Company as the supreme power in Madras.

Fort St George

Battle of Plassey | Siege of Calcutta

Battle of Plassey

Yet another battle to get a hold on one of the most important city of India – Calcutta, it saw the Nawabs of Bengal fight for their land with the European power. Ultimately, the rulers had to give in to the East India Company.

Fort William in Calcutta was built just after the Battle of Plassey by Robert Clive, the then Commander in Chief.

Read Kolkata Travel Guide to know more about the places to visit in the City of Joy.

Fort William in Calcutta

The Mysore War

The Mysore War

The last few decaded of the 18th century saw the Nizams of Hyderabad and Mysore fight fiercely with the British. Tipu Sultan – the ruler of Mysore who is known for his act of courage and bravery actively participated to not let the British acquire his land.

Visit the Tipu Sultan Palace in Bangalore to go back to the days when the true worth of a man was measured by his courage, loyalty and guts.

Tipu Sultan Palace in Bangalore

Bangalore, the city beautiful, is an amazing tourist spot. Don’t forget to visit Ulsoor Lake, Bannerghatta National Park and Lal Bagh.

The Maratha War

maratha war

The Marath Empire is known for its patriotism. Their faith in their soil was their biggest strength. The Anglo-Maratha war have found their name in the pages of history for the fact that every personality of this kingdom fought with such spirit that it was hard to not notice.

Among all the four wars fought, the Bhadra Fort in Ahmedabad and the Rajwada Palace in Indore are two landmarks you should be visiting this Independence Day.

rajwada palace indore

While you’re in Indore, don’t miss out on the variety of street food that sells all night.