Pilgrimage

GoNews: Tamil Nadu is India’s Only Destination in NYT’s “52 Places to Go in 2016”

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Unusual, strange, but after all true! None other than the New York Times has listed Tamil Nadu from India as the only Indian destination to visit in its list of ’52 places to go in 2016′. The southern state is placed in the 24th position and is believed to be the one that holds rich ties with Indian history, culture and religious activities, some of which are yet to be discovered.

Tamil Nadu
The majestic complex of Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu | Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_Nadu

While the northern part of India is applauded for its Mughal era forts and palaces, the south serves as a great gateway to historical Hindu temples. Rich in history and architecture, the temples magnificently draw the cultural brilliance of our country. The sprawling complex of Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and the Chola dynasty constructed Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur are some examples of intricate art carvings and ancient Indian architecture. Not only for this, but also for the breathtaking Western Ghats, Nilgiri Mountains, aromatic coffee and spice plantations and palm kissed beaches, Tamil Nadu is enlisted as the only Indian destination to be visited this year. Authentic South Indian food cooked with local spices and served on banana leaves spread the popularity of Tamil culture and traditional practices all across the world.

Tamil Nadu
Shore Temple in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu | Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_Nadu

Other destinations included by New York Times in its list of ’52 places to go in 2016′ are Mexico City, France, North Dakota, Toronto and Abu Dhabi among others.

You can reserve Goa, Kerala or Rajasthan for later and as of now plan a vacation anywhere in Tamil Nadu.

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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.

Call of the Almighty: Top Religious Places in India

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Religion plays an important role in travel. It is due to the secularism in India that has lead to the huge significance of religious tourism. Our country has been ruled by a number of dynasties and each brought a flavor of their own through their architectural marvels. These phenomenal structures also included a number of places of worship made for the rulers as well as the masses. Goibibo has come with a list of some enthralling religious places in India.

1) Vaishno Devi, Katra

Vaishno Devi
Vaishno Devi is perhaps the most crowded Hindu religious destinations. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, it is said that pilgrims can only reach there if they get a call from Mata Rani or the Goddess. Located in Katra, the trek to reach the shrine is an exciting one. Devotees reach there with great faith and the maximum crowd is witnessed between May and July. On an average, close to 18,000 pilgrims visit the temple per day. That is the amount of faith people have in Vaishno Devi.
Travellers can take a bus or train to Katra, a small town in Jammu so as to seek the blessings of the Goddess. Book a hotel in advance so that there is no inconvenience in accommodation.

2) Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer

Ajmer Sharif
A friend of God must have affection like the Sun. When the sun rises, it is beneficial to all irrespective of whether they are Muslim, Christian, or Hindu. -Moinuddin Chishti

An important destination for not just the Muslims but people from all religion, Dargah Sharif (also referred to as Ajmer Sharif) is the shrine of Moinuddin Chishti, the popular Sufi saint who is said to have spread Sufism in India. Such is the charisma of the place that even celebs from all around come here to seek blessings. It is a common culture in Bollywood to pay a visit here before the release of a movie.
The dargah is situated approximately 1 km from the railway station and 2.5 km from the bus stand. Hotels near Ajmer Sharif are easily available in different categories.

3) Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the tomb and the remains of St. Francis Xavier whose contribution towards spreading Christianity has been legendary in the eastern part of the globe. Basilica of Bom Jesus is an important place from religious point of view for the Catholics. However, that definitely doesn’t stop people across the world to witness the architectural beauty of this church. Its unique design that takes one to the times of the Renaissance and its existence as India’s first basilica makes it a big attraction in not just Goa but the whole country.

4) Golden Temple, Amritsar

Golden Temple
The Lord Himself has stood up to resolve the affairs of the Saints; he has come to complete their tasks
Harminder Sahib, more commonly known as The Golden Temple, is known for its impeccable architecture that attracts tourists from all across the globe. Designed by Guru Arjan – the fifth Sikh Guru, Golden Temple has a structure inspired out of Hindu and Islamic style. It is a part of a huge complex that also comprises the Sikh Museum and Monument of Victory of Sikhs on Delhi. The water body that surrounds the temple is said to have healing powers and devotees tend to take a dip in it.
Due to the huge number of tourist arrival, there’s no dearth of hotels in Amritsar near Golden Temple in all categories. Don’t forget to visit the Jallianwala Bagh that holds high historical significance.

5) Sai Temple, Shirdi

Sai Temple
My eye is ever on those who love me. Whatever you do, wherever you may be, always bear this in mind: I am always aware of everything you do.-Sai

Irrespective of caste, creed and religion, Sai Temple situated at Shirdi gathers crowd throughout the year. Years back, Sai Baba gained a lot of recognition among locals for his teachings and the miracles that he brought in the life of people. Referred to as a fakir during those times, Sai was a resident of Shirdi and the place has been a major pilgrimage since then. His believers come from all religions and different parts of the world. Estimated count of devotees per day goes as much as 20,000 per day. Go there to attain balance and peace of mind.
Shirdi has numerous attractions including temples dedicated to the lord and also a Sai Museum known as Dixit Wada Museum. It is easy to find hotels in Shirdi at affordable prices.

6) Dilwara Temple, Mount Abu

Dilwara Temple

Take a glimpse into the origin of Jainism and the principles followed by the religion at The Dilwara Temples in Mount Abu. A group of five magnificent temples, these were constructed way back in the 11th century. The temples boast of the Mewar architecture that speaks for itself. Constructed out of white marble, the Dilwara temples are an important landmark for the Jains. People with an inclination towards history, art, photography and architecture are surely going to love this place.