Hills

Top 10 European Cities You Must Visit with Kids during Summer Vacation

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From the world’s oldest zoo to colourful fairy tale castles, from kid-friendly meals to family hotels, the European continent is flooded with attractions and amenities perfect for teenagers and tiny toes. Gone are those days when holidaying abroad with children was frowned upon. So, as schools are to shut down for summer vacation and kids will be free from daily homework, we thought of mapping some European cities where you can take your little ones for a vacation of a lifetime.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Summer Vacation
NEMO Science Museum, Amsterdam | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEMO_(museum)#/media/File:WLANL_-_petertf_-_Brein_Boom.jpg

Here paddle boats and bike paths galore, here photo ops and child meals flow; and here whatever you do is more than fun. Here, children take a bicycle ride or you can take them for a canal boat tour- after all, that is ‘the’ way to go in Amsterdam! With French fires and pancakes available in plenty, your child can have the most entertaining food trail ever.

Must Visits: NEMO Science Museum, Anne Frank Museum, Tropen Museum and Vondelpark.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Summer Vacation
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tivoli_Gardens#/media/File:Tivoligardens2.jpg

A brilliant city with waterfront houses, turreted castles from fairy tales, colourful soaring towers, fun parks, green spaces, lakes with pagodas and a constellation of indoor attractions, Copenhagen is a paradise for young ones. For the convenience of kids, it has reserved places for prams and pushchairs on trains and buses. Also, what more you want when restaurants have children menu and hot dogs and sausages are available in plenty?

Must Visits: The gorgeously lit and the city’s crown jewel, Tivoli Gardens; Bakken, world’s oldest amusement park; Botanical Garden; Children’s Museum of Art at National Gallery of Denmark; Experimentarium; National Aquarium Denmark and Copenhagen Zoo.

London, England

Summer Vacation
London Eye, Londin | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Eye#/media/File:London-Eye-2009.JPG

Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Marry Poppins, where else can you find these remarkable classic childhood characters, if not in London? Said to be their birthplace, London with its widespread colourful castles and children friendly parks, is a sheer thrill to children of all ages. Children’s free entry to museums and discounted fares in public transportation are bonus for mums and dads.

Must Visits: Tower of London, Kidzania, Natural History Museum, British Museum, the historical Buckingham Palace; London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel and Hyde Park.

Lisbon, Portugal

Summer Vacation
Hills Tramcar Tour, Lisbon | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/o331jne/15164125133/in/

Loaded with adventure, a visit to Lisbon is incomplete without a Hills Tramcar Tour across the city. Let your child sink in fun as you all sit back on a Hippotrip run by an amphibious custom-built vehicle. Apart from an entertaining ride across the city, Lisbon’s beaches turn more happening on summer holidays as parents start flocking the sand and sea with little ones. Speckled with a range of welcoming hotels and restaurants, Lisbon is ‘the’ place to be during the upcoming summer holidays.

Must Visits: Telecabine Lisboa, Castelo de São Jorge, Museu da Marioneta

Berlin, Germany

Summer Vacation
Berlin Zoo, Berlin | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Zoological_Garden#/media/File:Berlin_zoo_elefantentor.jpg

Famed as ‘Europe’s most family friendly city’, Berlin’s wooden bridges, green playgrounds, thrilling boat trips and unique festivals let kids fall in love with the city. Crafted since historic times, Berlin is no doubt an entertaining knowledge bank for children and teenagers too. Exclusive guided bike and cycle tours across Berlin are also available for them. What makes you wait then?

Must Visits: Berlin Zoo, Germany’s oldest zoo; LegoLand, AquaDome, Kollwitz Platz and several pop-up museums.

Rome, Italy

Trevi fountain Rome
Trevi Fountain, Rome | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevi_Fountain#/media/File:Trevinight.jpg

Where pizza is the food of choice, where history baffles around battles and gladiators, where literature revolves around Caesar and Antonio, there emerges a natural wonderland for young minds. Fill in your water bottles from Rome’s fountains, carry a hat along and have a wonderful vacation with your child amidst the Roman ruins.

Must Visits: The iconic landmark, Colosseum; The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Castel Sant’Angelo, Borghese Gardens, Said Vintage Chocolate Factory.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Perlan, Reykjavík
Perlan, Reykjavík | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/haraldfelgner/3637372283/in/

Heard of a city where babies are left safe in their buggies while parents go shopping tension free? Know a place where hot thermal springs are connected with specific children’s pool? Reykjavik it is! From climbing to the top of Mount Esja and swimming in the blue lagoon to whale watching and making friends with wildlife at Tjornin Lake, Reykjavik is flooded with family friendly activities. Here comes your one-stop destination to visit with kids this summer!

Must Visits: Perlan, Tivoli restaurant, Reykjavik Zoo.

Paris, France

Summer Vacation
Disneyland, Paris | Photo Credit: Abhishek Sharma

Sailboat races, street performers, carousel rides and delicious treats, Paris is a heartthrob for the school going guy. Here statues, parks, galleries and museums galore to make it a must go family destination. Cool summer breeze and blowing flowers give your vacation in Paris the much needed touch of refreshment.

Must Visits: Disneyland, Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg Gardens, Natural History Museum, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral.

Barcelona, Spain

Summer Vacation
Chocolate Museum, Barcelona | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/evarees/3600410278/in/

Enamoured by all-pervading kid friendly culture, Barcelona pleads to be discovered by adults and kids alike. The colourful streets where street performers juggle swords and swallow fires are visual treats for little ones. The city is breathtaking and its parks lined with curving walls and endless mosaics leave a prominent footprint in a summer vacation expedition.

Must Visits: Museum of Chocolate; Tibidabo, an amusement park that hosts an old fashioned Ferris wheel; Mirador de Colom and La Rambla street.

Geneva, Switzerland

summer vacation
Geneva Lake, Switzerland | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Geneva#/media/File:Lac_L%C3%A9man_entre_Glion_et_Caux.JPG

Tucked between mountain peaks and crystal lakes, Geneva is a city for all seasons and all age groups. With temperature soaring across India, a trip to snow-clad pleasant Geneva can make this summer vacation a breathtaking one. Boat ride on Geneva Lake, ride on cogwheel railway, exploring castles and trailing along the Alps are some of those promising reasons for you to plan a summer trip to Geneva, Switzerland.

Must Visits: Aquaparc, Botanical Gardens, Geneva Lake and Jet d’Eau, world’s tallest fountain.

Forget the homework for some days, pick a destination you like, plan a trip and pack your bags. Let us welcome the much awaited summer vacation in the most thrilling way!

This Is What Your Choice of Vacation Says About Your Personality Type!

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According to a report by the researchers of the University of Virginia, an individual’s choice of vacation depends on his mindset, perception and attitude towards life. So, if you are wondering why you end up taking holidays to specific places every single time (in my case I always, ALWAYS, choose a place that has beaches), here’s the answer. Read and know what is your personality type.

Personality Type
Divided by Personality, United by Travel. | Photo Credit: Aditi Bhardwaj

1. Mountain Lovers = Introvert: Do you always dream of relaxing and unwinding in the mountains? Well, the study says that people who fall in love with the serenity of the mountains, are introverts. Though the trekkers and mountaineers are considered to be creative folks, they are more often than not shy by nature. Goibibo recommends you to explore the beauty of Manali, Kasol, Ladakh and McLeodganj this summer vacation.

Personality Type
The breathtaking mountains of Ladakh. | Photo Credit: Piyush Sharma

2. Architecture Lovers = Arty and Intellectual: Does your itinerary has more of museums, historical sites, palaces and memorial places than anything else? Then, according to the research, you definitely have an intellectual personality. So why not explore Golkonda Fort, Mysore Palace and Salar Jung Museum  this summer vacation!

Personality Type
The artistic beauty of a historical monument. | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfreund1/9717877088/in/

3. Beach Lovers = Influential People: If you hit a beach on almost every vacation of yours, then the research define you an influential person. The study reveals that people who love walking and taking strolls on the pristine and sandy beaches usually have an influential personality. Why don’t you go and take a beach vacation to Andaman Nicobar, Maldives or Gokarna to beat the heat this summer?

Personality Type
The alluring beach of Maldives. | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130033639@N08/16991780000/

4. Cruise Lovers = Extrovert: The luxury cruise rides are not everybody’s cup of tea. But those who take up cruise vacations are definitely extroverts. Meeting new people, having fun and making the most of the holiday are the signs of people who fall in this category. Mexico, Fort Lauderdale, Amsterdam and New York, where are you cruising this summer?

Personality Type
A cruise sailing on the blue ocean. | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/104417532@N04/15177287527/in/

5. Hippie Travel Lovers = Trendsetter: Travellers who always look out for a popular movie location, love exploring the local places and do quirky things are nicknamed Hipsters. The Argentinian researchers say that these travellers are trendsetters and visit the hidden and unexplored destinations of the world. Goibibo recommends you to explore Amazon Rainforest, Gangkhar Puensum and Pelling.

Personality Type
A walk into the serenity of nature. | Photo Credit: Aditi Bhardwaj

Now, the next time you are planning your vacation, make a note and give yourself a new traveller identity, may be!

Out Now: Your Age Group Appropriate Travel Itinerary

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Travelling is an activity that impresses people of almost all age groups and lets them enjoy quality time with family and friends. While most people take help and inspiration from social media; there are many who plan randomly. There are many choices and sources that inspire us to travel and explore. However, a recent research done by a U.S based organization shows that travelling, according to your age, can help you in making the most of your vacation.

Travel Itinerary
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/suzy_yes/7105972961/in/

Based on a research, we have drafted a travel itinerary, created the parameters for you to roam around, have endless fun and make some magical memories. Take a look.

Age Group: 18-30

Travel Itinerary
Mountain trekking | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/signalkuppe/8230905130/in/

The study says that travellers aged between 18 to 25 should take a trip to mountains. Trekking, mountain climbing and adventure activities can be included in your travel itinerary without a second thought. Triund, Mcleodganj, Chamoli, Kasauni, etc. are some of the top choices for trekking in India.

Age Group: 31-44

Travel Itinerary
Colva Beach, South Goa | Photo Credit: Jatin Behl

According to the research, people planning vacations during their age of 30-40 should head to the beaches. Whether you wish to take a sunbath or give yourself a rejuvenating break; the beaches of Goa, Kerala and Puri are the ideal choices.

Age Group: 45 +

Travel Itinerary
Infinity pool at Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kerala | Photo Credit: http://www.kumarakomlakeresort.in/kumarakom_photos.html

People above the age of 45 are advised to take a break at peaceful and serene places. Spas, meditation centres and hotels with sauna and swimming pools, especially ones with infinity pools like Wildflower Shimla or Vivanta by Taj-Malabar, are perfect for all belonging to this age group. Book a suite soon and enjoy a relaxing break.

Age Group: 50 +

Travel Itinerary
Adventure trekking | Picture Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eurekasmile/3743027596/in/

The ‘above 50’ years of people are usually free from all sorts of responsibilities and it’s the best time when they can take a joy ride across the world and have unlimited fun. London, Turkey and Paris can be added to the list. So, pack your bags and get going.

Age: No Bar

Travel Itinerary
Road trip | Picture Credit: Jatin Behl

 Well, this category is for those travellers who think age is just a number. If your body is 55 and your heart is still at 25, then you definitely go for an adventurous safari at the Ranthambore National Park, a refreshing road trip to Manali or a thrilling river rafting excursion in Rishikesh.

Vacation preferences may vary from individual to individual, but taking them according to age gives a unique experience. So, next time you are drafting a travel itinerary or planning a trip, visit the one that is perfect for your age. And if you aren’t much affected by the numbers of your age; go take that long pending break. After all, it’s your life, make it large!

Lesser Known Places in Himalayas Captured Through the Lens

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Gone are those days of crowded hill stations and bustling mall roads. What more to expect other than a peaceful vacation after hectic days at work or juggling with city traffic? Definitely, a peaceful vacation can be experienced in popular crowded retreats so easily. So, walk off the beaten path! Remember, be it summer or winter, mountains are always calling! To take you for a peaceful vacation in a scenic hill retreat unknown to many, we have listed some mesmerizing destinations around the Himalayas. I am sure that their photos will surely speak beyond words.

Auli, Uttarakhand

Himalayas
Auli, Uttarakhand | Photo Credit: Rakesh Ghosh

Adventurous, scenic and peaceful, Auli at around 3050 meters above sea level in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand steals your heart away with the magnificent views of snow capped Himalayan mountains and all-pervading tranquility. A paradise for trekkers!

Where to Stay: GMVN guest house, Clifftop hotel

Nearest Station/Airport: Rishikesh railway station/Jollygrant Airport, Dehradun

Chopta, Uttarakhand

Himalayas
A waterfall at Chopta, Uttarakhand | Photo Credit: Disharee Saha

One of the untouched locales in the Himalayan mountains, the tiny village of Chopta is where you can ‘walk through heaven’. Green meadows, rippling landscape, red and pink rhododendron flowers, snowy mountain ranges define Chopta- a base for Tungnath trek too. Photograph as many as 41 Himalayan ranges from here!

Where to Stay: Adventure camps and budget hotels

Nearest Station/Airport: Rishikesh railway station/Jollygrant airport, Dehradun

Chakrata, Uttarakhand

Himalayas
Snow covered Himalayan peaks at Chakrata | Photo Credit: Disharee Saha

Nestled at an elevation of nearly 2270 metres, the cantonment area of Chakrata in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, is ideal for a budget holiday amid panoramic vistas of Himalayan ranges. Colourful valleys, white mountains and varied flora and fauna create a magical mesh of man and nature. Small treks and the famous Tiger falls add to the charm of Chakrata.

Where to Stay: GMVN Hanol – Tourist Bungalow, Hotel Snow View, Himalayan Paradise

Nearest Station/Airport: Dehradun railway station/Jollygrant airport, Dehradun

Chaukori, Uttarakhand

Himalayas
Chaukori, Uttarakhand | Photo Credit: Sayan Nath

Lofty western Himalayan peaks border Chaukori, a tiny hill station in Pithoragarh, Kumaon. Green stretch of tea gardens and panoramic vistas of Panchachulli, Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nanda Kot peaks lend an unforgettable experience. The mysterious caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar is around 38 km far from here.

Where to Stay: Ojaswi Resort is an excellent stay option. Budget hotels are also available.

Nearest Station/Airport: Kathgodam railway station/ Naini Saini airport or Jollygrant airport.

Rohru, Himachal

Himalayas
Rohru, Himachal | Photo Credit: Sahil Badhan

Road less travelled, apple orchards kissed hamlet, bordering soaring mountains and placid Pabbar river, Rohru casts a bewitching spell upon travellers. Trout fishing, rafting, canoeing, paragliding, camping and trekking, all can be enjoyed in this picturesque elevated land.

Where to Stay: HPTDC hotels and resorts, Tethys Ski Resort Narkanda, Hotel Hatu

Nearest Station/Airport: Shimla railway station/Ahimla airport

Parashar Lake, Himachal

Himalayas
Parashar Lake | Photo Credit: Sayan Nath

Looking for a weekend trek? Parashar Lake, a well-kept secret at a height of 2730 metre in Mandi district make your dream come true. Trail through forests and rivulets or wake up to the incredible views of Dhauladhar, Pir Pinjal and Kinnaur ranges at Parashar.

Where to Stay: Forest Rest House and PWD Rest House.

Nearest Station/Airport: Ahju railway station/Kullu Airport

Tirthan Valley, Himachal

Himalayan mountains
The majestic Tirthan Valley | Photo Credit: Sayan Nath

Encapsulated by solitude in the wild and untouched by chaotic mob, Tirthan Valley is one of the most scenic places for a placid holiday in Himachal. Stony paths, thick forests, nature walks and Trout Fishing lead to a heaven of wilderness. It is the gateway to Great Himalayan National Park.

Where to Stay: Eco camps, cottages, guest house and riverside resort.

Nearest Station/Airport: Chandigarh railway station/Bhunter airport.

Kalatop, Himachal

Himalayan Mountains
Forest enclosed road to Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary | Photo Credit: Ujjal Deb Roy

With Himalayas at the backdrop, thick deodar and fir enclosed forests of Kalatop in Dalhouisie make way for an encounter with the wild. Rare species like Himalayan black marten and Himalayan serow can be spotted here.

Where to Stay: Rest houses inside the sanctuary or hotels in Dalhousie.

Nearest Station/Airport: Pathankot railway station/Pathankot airport

Sangam Point, Leh

Sangam of Indus and Zanskar | Photo Credit: Treena Dey

The spectacular sight of the confluence of two rivers, Indus and Zanskar, can’t go unnoticed. While Zanskar tends to freeze down, Indus retains it warm blue-green hue. The confluence reaches an elevation to turn more captivating. Give it a visit!

Where to Stay: Hotels in Leh, which are around 40km away from Sangam.

Nearest Station/Airport: Jammu Tawi railway station/Leh airport

Lake Tsongo, Sikkim

Himalayas
Tsongo Lake | Photo Credit: Manasij Kanjilal

A high altitude lake perched at around 12,310 feet between Gangtok-Nathula highway is a dream destination for adventure lovers. Tucked with pristine natural beauty and secluded from maddening mob, the lake is a utter delight for loners and photo enthusiasts.

Where to Stay: Good budget and luxury hotels are available in Gangtok

Nearest Station/Airport: New Jalpaiguri railway station/Bagdogra airport in Siliguri

Zero Point, Sikkim

Himalayan Mountains
Snow-clad Zero Point at Sikkim | Photo Credit: Soumyadeep Paul

Be ready to be welcomed by foggy sky, floating clouds, brisk air and definitely snow-clad mountains. Play with snow, skate around and cherish the blissfulness of nature. Do take some selfies with dollops of snow at the backdrop.

Where to Stay: Budget hotels and home stays in Lachung.

Nearest Station/Airport: New Jalpaiguri railway station/Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri

Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

Himalayan Mountains
The panoramic Yumthum Valley, Sikkim | Photo Credit: Rakesh Ghosh

An otherwise green grazing pasture surrounded by Himalayan mountains turns white with dip in temperature. Sip your favourite hot tea at an elevation of around 11800 feet as a colourful landscape bathed with rhododendrons mould you with serenity and tranquility.

Where to Stay: Budget hotels and home stays in Lachung.

Nearest Station/Airport: New Jalpaiguri railway station/Bagdogra airport in Siliguri

Get your cameras ready and start off for soaring Himalayas!

Top 4 Picks for a Peaceful Long Weekend

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If the excitement of another New Year has hushed down and you have already drowned in your routine life with the sudden winter chills just leaving you all the more wrapped, then it’s time for some warm-up. With the second long weekend just round-the-corner (well, the Republic Day is on a Tuesday and your manager has been kind enough to give your Monday an off, as well), you are in for a long, four days off. Yaay!

So, that means four days of sleeping, watching movies, eating and … sleeping! Right… No wrong. Oh, come on! You could use these four days to explore some of the more beautiful and lesser frequented destinations around the national capital. And being the perfect guide that we are, have listed for you four places and possible routes that could be taken via road to ensure you enjoy a vacation worth remembering. So get ready friends for your  upcoming, long weekend travel.

Delhi to Rohru

Now the first reason for anybody to really leave Delhi would be for some peace of mind, some solitude and a whole lot of rejuvenation. Rohru, in Himachal Pradesh, for most is exactly this. This little town, located on the banks of the Pabbar River, has a bouquet of attractions that leave people asking for more. It serves as the base for a trek up to Chansal Peak via Chansal Pass where-from one can enjoy an amazing bird’s eye view of the entire valley down. And you could be lucky enough to enjoy a lovely snowfall as well. Apple orchards, forests, trout fishing, classical temples of Hatkoti, picturesque spots of Kharapathar and Giriganga or the Shikhru Devta Temple make way for some aesthetic bliss.

Long weekend
Calm your senses in the greenery of Rohru | Photo Credit: Sahil Badhan

Where: Himachal Pradesh

Altitude: ~1550m

Distance from Delhi: ~510km

How to Reach:

  1. Delhi- Ghaziabad- Meerut- Muzaffarnagar- Roorkee- Biharigarh- Dehradun- Paonta Sahib- Rohru
  2. Delhi- Ambala- Kalka- Shimla- Theog- Narkanda- Kharapathar- Rohru

Where to Stay: PWD Rest House at Rohru, HPTDC Hotel Chansal on Hatkoti-Rohru road

What’s Special: Trout hatchery, handmade clothings made of sheep wool and best quality Red Rice

Nearest Railhead: Shimla

Tips: Start early from Delhi to avoid traffic. For most part, the road is smooth barring few bad patches. Since it’s winters, heavy woollens are suggested.

Delhi to Binsar

If the odd-even formula hasn’t soothed your senses then Binsar definitely will. The crisp mountain air, dense thickets, majestic views of the mighty Himalayas and loads of greenery, this secluded hill station, though sleepy, is an absolute delight to the senses. If you are an ardent nature-lover, then those serene walks in the fresh and scented air of Binsar will help you savour the prolific beauty of nature. A walk uphill the Jhandi Dhar (also known as Binsar Hill) offers splendid view of Almora Town, Kumaon Hills and the greater Himalayan valley. But the main attraction of the town is the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to nearly 200 species of birds, barking deer, musk deer, Himalayan bear, leopard fox, porcupine, chital among several others.

Binsar
On the way to Binsar | Photo Credit: Bhawna Grover Bagai

Where: Uttarakhand

Altitude: ~2400m

Distance from Delhi: ~400km

How to Reach:

  1. Delhi- Moradabad- Kashipur- Bazpur- Kaladhungi- Nainital- Almora- Deenapani- Binsar
  2. Delhi- Moradabad- Rampur- Bilaspur- Rudrapur- Haldwani- Kathgodam- Nainital- Almora- Binsar
  3. Delhi- Moradabad- Rampur- Udhamsingh Nagar- Haldwani- Bhowali- Garampani- Almora- Binsar

Where to Stay: KMVN Guest House at Deenapani (roughly midway between Almora and Binsar), Khali Estate (near Ayarpani village in Almora), Itmenaan Estate

What’s Special: Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, views of Chaukhamba, Panchachuli, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Kedarnath Peaks from Zero Point, bird watching and wildlife photography

Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam (3½ hours from Binsar)

Tips: Don’t miss out on your binoculars and heavy woollens. Leave at the wee hours of the morning to avoid Delhi and U.P traffic. If you are taking the first route, then avoid the direct road from Moradabad to Bazpur, instead cover few extra km via Kashipur. It might take you more time but will surely save you from discomfort.

Delhi to Kanatal

Well, for most, Mussoorie is the preferred choice for a vacation while the scenic and breathtaking Kanatal gets a miss as usual. Now firstly, Kanatal should not be your call if you are an adventure freak, it is specially for those who desire tranquillity. It definitely comes without any thrills and frills, but the natural sights, lush expanses of green, scenic setting, apple orchards, temples, chirping birds, colourful butterflies, floating clouds and the narrow roads fringed by pine, rhododendron and deodar trees surely capture your memories for a lifetime and make for some amazing clicks. Don’t you think Kanatal is perfect for yoga and meditation?

long weekend
Landscape view on the way to Kanatal | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Where: Uttarakhand

Altitude: ~2590m

Distance from Delhi: ~310km

How to Reach:

  1. Delhi- Meerut- Muzzafarnagar- Saharanpur- Dehradun- Mussorrie- Dhanolti- Kanatal
  2. Delhi-Meerut- Muzaffarnagar- Roorkee- Haridwar- Rishikesh- Narendranagar- Chamba- Kanatal

Where to Stay: Mahindra Resorts, Kanatal Camps, Kanatal Spa and Resorts

What’s Special: Surkhanda Devi Temple, Kodia Forest, Tehri Dam, views of Bandarpunch, Trichul and Chaukhamba Peaks, snowfall during winters. Shops selling artefacts and local handicrafts made of nettle weed fabric and bamboo.

Nearest Railhead: Haridwar (~100km from Kanatal) and Dehradun (~~70km from Kanatal)

Tips: Don’t forget to grab a bottle of rhododendron juice as souvenir, made from locally grown rhododendron flowers, which is something that you won’t find anywhere else. There are no food joints in Kanatal, so try to be happy with whatever is offered in the in-house restaurants of the hotels that you would be lodging in.

Delhi to Munsiyari

What is the first thing you could expect from a place whose name literally means ‘the place of snow’? Of course, snow. And that is exactly why you should be here this winter. Stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, Panchachuli, which is undoubtedly the star attraction of Munsiyari and serving as the base to numerous glacier treks, this comely hamlet remains eternal for its impeccable beauty.

Long weekend
Panchachuli Peaks, Munsiyari | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munsiyari

Where: Uttarakhand

Altitude: ~2298m

Distance from Delhi: ~650km

How to Reach:

  1. Delhi- Moradabad- Rampur- Haldwani- Kathgodam- Bhimtal- Bhowali- Khairna- Almora- Chitai Temple- Dhaulchina- Sheraghat- Thal- Birthi Fall- Kalamuni Top- Munsiyari
  2. Delhi- Moradabad- Kashipur- Kaladhungi- Nainital- Bhowali- Almora- Kosi- Someshwar- Kausani- Baijnath- Bageshwar- Vijaypur- Chaukori- Udiyari Bend- Thal- Kalamuni Top- Munsiyari
  3. Delhi- Moradabad- Kashipur- Jim Corbett- Mahaan- Marchula- Manila- Dwaraghat- Kausani- Baijnath- Chaukori- Thal- Munsiyari

Where to Stay: KMVN Rest House and Hotel Zara Resort (near main market), Hotel Johar Hill Top Resort (on Munsiyari-Thal Road).

What’s Special: Milam, Ralam and Namik Glacier treks, Panchachuli Peaks, Hand-woven carpets and Himalayan tree saplings

Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam (~275km)

Tips: BSNL has a wide coverage over the area, to help you stay connected with your family and friends. It’s advisable to get your fuel tanks refilled at Dwaraghat since there are no petrol pumps after Thal and even limited fuel is available at Thal due to shortage in supply. Also, if time permits, you could go to Darkot, a heritage village, ~8km ahead of Munsiyari to buy its famous Pasham (mountain rabbit) shawls and some local herbs like Jambo, Thoya and Tehmur.

So, gear-up friends and get ready to hit the road. Also do not forget to share your experiences.

Happy & safe travelling!

Top Treehouse Hotels in India to Live Your Childhood Fantasy

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We all had a treehouse fantasy during childhood, didn’t we? I have always imagined myself living in cute hut accommodations atop tall widespread trees. Treehouses clad with greenery and serenity are most popular choices for holidaying in the lap of nature. India has an exotic range of luxurious treehouse hotels, apt to snuggle, relax and experience an offbeat long weekend getaway. Here are some of those top picks, what with 2016 bringing in 16 long weekends!

The Tree House Resort, Jaipur

treehouseresort, jaipur
Tree House Resort, Jaipur | Photo Credit: http://www.treehouseresort.in/#gallery

Looking for an offbeat long weekend stay in Jaipur? Said to be the largest of its kind in the world, The Tree House Resort in Jaipur atop Keekar trees is perfect to soak in the stunning views of Aravallis. Luxury nests, modern amenities, golden sun-rays, delicious food and not to mention, sprawling greenery, awaken your senses to a naturally luxurious experience. Keep smartphones ready to upload breathtaking photos of this nature kissed hotel. Guests here can embark on different activities like jungle jeep safari, camel safari, forest trekking and camp fire.

Unique features: The treehouse restaurant, Machaan, and the Peacock Bar

How to go: Can be reached by road in 4 hours from Delhi

Price: Rs. 17,600-Rs. 25,500 per night (approximately)

Tree House Hideaway, Bandhavgarh

treehousehideaway, Bandhavgarh
Tree House Hideaway, Bandhavgarh | Photo Credit: http://treehousehideaway.com/photogallery.html

Visiting Bandhavgarh to spot a tiger? Make sure you stay at the Tree House Hideaway. Enclosed within 21 acre jungle of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Tree House Hideaway gives a fairy tale touch to your adventurous mood. Its rustic charm, tree top dining and five luxurious, tastefully designed and well-equipped treehouses will please your mind and eyes. Delicious snacks, bonfire and balcony’s loungers make for a perfect evening. What more can you expect for a luxuriant weekend atop the wild? Don’t be surprised to spot an animal from the treehouse. A romantic stay here is accompanied by jeep safari, elephant safari and village visits.

Unique features: Its dining hall perched high up around a 100 year old Mahua tree

How to go: Can be accessed by road from Jabalpur, Satna, Khajuraho and Rewa

Price: Rs. 16,000- Rs. 30,000 per night (approximately)

Vythiri Resort, Wayanad

vythiriresort, Kerala
Vythiri Resort, Wayanad | Photo Credit: http://www.vythiriresort.com/view_downloads.php

An eco-friendly jungle getaway hidden in the tropical rainforest of Wayanad, Vythiri Resort boasts of tree houses crafted by native tribal. This one is a distinctive treehouse that almost touches the sky and pampers you with private jacuzzi, spa, swimming pool and health club. Breathtaking vistas of a gushing river, low hanging canopies, soothing sound of nature, chilly breeze and golden sun kill your week-long stress. The distinctive environment of the resort is ideal for trekking to the tropical rainforest and embarking on a village or plantation tour. Guests can also take part in morning yoga and meditation sessions during the stay. Planning a weekend outing from Bangalore here? I think it is the right choice.

Unique features: Its fascinating scenery dotted with mountain stream, stone lined pathways and canopies

How to go: Can be reached by road from Calicut International Airport, Kerala

Price: Rs. 14,000 – Rs. 17,000 per night (approximately)

The Machan, Lonavala

sunsetdeck, Lonavla
The Machan, Lonavla | Photo Credit: themachan.com

An isolated gateway perched on almost 45 feet high wild fig trees and encapsulated by thick green jungle of Western Ghats, this is a premium private getaway ideal for Mumbai and Pune goers. Devoid of rain and abundant with golden rays of afternoon sun, Machan in Jambulne offers pristine views of zigzag valley, Sahyardi ranges and tropical forest. Activities like trekking, bird watching, stargazing and visits to mountain top forts of Korai are extra toppings.

Unique features: The resort is 100% off grid and solely run on sustainable resources

How to go: Machan can be reached by road from Mumbai and Pune

Price: Rs. 9,345-Rs. 14,020 per night (approximately)

Tree House Cottages, Manali

httpmanalitreehousecottages, Manali
Treehouse Cottages, Manali | Photo Credit: manalitreehousecottages.com

Imagine you are on a treehouse on a lovely white snowy morning. Your window pane full of snow flakes, snow blankets adorn the cottages and you sipping hot coffee. These dreams come true at the Tree House Cottages in Manali, an exotic treehouse hotel set atop an oak tree that overlooks lush green fields and orchards. It is a family-run resort and is ideal to visit on an extended weekend break. Adventure lovers can choose activities like zorbing, paragliding and mountain biking when here.

Unique features: Being run by a family, the cottages give a true home-stay feeling

How to go: Can be reached from Manali Mall Road, which is nearly 19 kms away

Price: Rs. 3000 per night (approximately)

Thrilling, dreamy, romantic and adventurous – these tree houses tucked miles away from chaotic cities are perfect getaways for your upcoming extended weekends.

Monsoon’s Rendezvous with Tamil Nadu- An Experience to Relish

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‘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.

Tamil Nadu in Monsoon

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.

Coonoor 

Monsoon in Coonoor

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.

Yercaud

Monsoon in Yercaud

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.

Masinagudi

Monsoon in Masinagudi

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.

Kodaikanal 

Kodaikanal in Monsoon

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 

Kanyakumari in Monsoon

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.