INDIA TRAVEL - A PLACE FOR OUT OF BOX EXPERIENCE - SIBSAGAR

Hello friends! Hope you are enjoying the rains. This is such a beautiful season with natural beauty blooming all around. If you talk about rains, Assam in North East India has aplenty. But apart from rains, Assam has so much more to offer in terms of natural beauty, distinct culture and of course it's rich history. One of the most beautiful historical cities of Assam is Sibsagar(now Sivasagar).

Sibsagar meaning Ocean of Lord Shiva, has been recently renamed Sivasagar but retains the charm of it's old name with locals. This beautiful city dates back to Ahom dynasty, which ruled Assam for six centuries till the year 1819. Sibsagar was capital of Ahom kingdom for about 90 years. This culturally and historically rich city has numerous attractions ranging from forts to temples to underground architecture. The Ahom kingdom monuments and palaces, that exist in the city, are excellent work of architecture. The place is encircled by beautiful hills and has lovely ambiance.


Sibsagar, Assam
SIBSAGAR TOWN
Image source - assaminfo.com
Sibsagar has so many attractions that it is difficult to list all of them in a short space. So I have tried to bring out some of the more prominent ones here.

1. Rang Ghar - Translated to "House of Entertainment" is an Amphitheater which is located just 3 km(1.9 mi) from the city and exists since 1746 A.D. This makes it the oldest surviving amphitheater of Asia. It is also called the "Colosseum of the East" for it's for reflecting the architectural precision and grandeur of that era. The two storied structure was built by the then ruler of Asaam to enable Kings and other dignitaries to watch sports events. It was used as royal pavilion for sports and cultural events. Rang Ghar is oval in shape and it's roof is designed like an inverted boat.

Rang Ghar, Sivasagar
RANG GHAR
Image source - assaminfo.com
2. Talatal Ghar - Also called Rangpur Palace, this place is 6 km(3.8 mi) from Sibsagar, this is a three storey structure including an underground one. The place has magnificent design and architecture and has been  very well kept over the period of time. This place is one of the best testimonials of the Ahom architecture and is among the most impressive monuments of Sibsagar. It is the largest Ahom monument anywhere. Talatal Ghar is built in typical Mughal architecture. The upper ground floor, known as Karenge Ghar, was used as living room by the royalty. The most interesting fact about Talatal Ghar is that it is built entirely of organic material. And what is remarkable is that this building, though centuries old, is still standing strong.


Talatal Ghar, Sibsagar, Assam
TALATAL GHAR
Image source - onlinesivasagar.com
3. Joysagar Tank and Temples - Located at 5 km(3.1 mi) from the city in Rangpur, these are massive structures. Joysagar is said to be the biggest man made lake in India with an area of 320 acres. was built by  It There are a number of temples on the banks of this lake. This water body was built by Swargadeo Rudra Singa in honor of his mother. The main temples situated here are Jeydol, Devi Ghar, Shiv Temple and Nati Gosain Temple.


Joysagar Tank, Sibsagar
JOYSAGAR TANK
Image source - wikipedia.org
4. Pani Dihing Wildlife Sanctuary - Spread over 34 sq. km(13.1 sq. mi), this was a reserve forest prior to 1984. It is considered a paradise for migratory and resident birds. Already over 160 species of birds have been recorded here.This wetland ecosystem surrounds river Brahmaputra and is very diverse. It has several lakes inside the premises. The most common species of birds found here are goose, spot billed duck, mallard, gadwall, shoveller, pochard, stork and many more. Several varieties of fish are also found here. And you will find frogs, snakes and many other forms of amphibians and reptiles.


Pani Dihing Sanctuary, Sivasagar
PANI DIHING WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Image source - tourmyindia.com
5. Sivasagar Sivadol Temple - This is the most revered temple here. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is located on the shores of Sivasagar lake. This is the tallest Shiva temple in India having a height of 32 m(104 ft). It was constructed in 1734. Devotees throng the temple during the festival of Shivratri, which is celebrated with great fervor and devotion here. The city got it's name from here only.


Sivasagar Sivadol, Sibsagar
SIVASAGAR SIVADOL
Image siurce - mouthshut.com
Sibsagar(or Sivasagar) is a naturally beautiful destination of Assam with rich biodiversity.

REACHING SIBSAGAR - 

Air - Nearest airport is Jorhat, which is 64 km(40 mi) away. It is well connected to all the major cities of the country. You can easily get taxis from here to reach Sivasagar.

Rail - Sibsagar Town is the nearest railway station, which is just 2 km away. Trains from all the major cities of Assam are connected to this station. You can walk or hire a taxi from here to reach Sivasagar.

Road - Sivasagar is well connected to other cities by a good road network. Local buses ply from Guwahati and other towns to Sivasagar. Taxis are also available to travel to the city.

STAYING IN SIBSAGAR - 

There are hotels available in Sivasagar to suit all budgets and generally you can easily get a budget or luxury hotel, depending on your choice.

Sibsagar is a city that covers all shades of blue, brown and green. You must visit this place for an out of the box experience.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!


INDIA TRAVEL - AN UNEXPLORED TREASURE OF GOD'S OWN COUNTRY - VAGAMON

Hi guys! We all know about God's own country i.e. Kerala, the southernmost state of India. We have heard about or seen the most famous places in Kerala. But there are still a few places in the state which are hidden from the glares of explorers and travelers alike. And they are as beautiful or even more beautiful than their more illustrious and famous cousins. One such place is Vagamon. A small but naturally beautiful hill station.

Vagamon is situated on the Kottayam Idukki border of Kerala. A small sleepy town with tea plantation as the major occupation, it is always covered in green. Located at an altitude of 1200 m(4000 ft), it has lush green hills, enchanting ravines and serpentine small rivers to bolster it's beauty. Vagamon is surrounded by small waterfalls, attractive meadows, beautiful pine forest and lush green deep valleys. The cool fresh air of the place is a boon. It also has many varieties of flowers and orchids. It has a chain of three hills namely Murugan Hill, Kurisumala Hills and Thangal Hills.


Vagamon, Kerala
VAGAMON
Image source - keralatravels.com

Vagamon has plenty of places to explore and each of them has a unique charm about it. 

Marmala waterfalls is the most beautiful place with greenery all around. This small waterfall is situated inside a private property on the Erattupetta road and was relatively unknown until recently  but it has started attracting travelers now. The peaceful and serene atmosphere at this place is as good as in Vagamone itself. The tranquility you will experience here will make you come back again to Marmala waterfalls.


Marmala Waterfalls, Vagamon
MARMALA WATERFALLS
Image source - earthtrip.in
Thangalpara is another must see place. It has some religious significance also, as it is believed to have been a resting place of revered Sufi Saint Hazrat Shikh Fariduddin Baba. It is basically a huge rock at the edge of a precipice. But beside that, Thangalpara is one place, which offers the most beautiful view of the valley below with hills all around. The entire valley is visible from this point.


Thangalpara, Kottayam, Kerala
THANGALPARA
Image source - vagamonholidays.com
Pine forest is a heaven for any forest lover. It is a man made forest, it was created during British era and is a popular spot for movie shootings. You can enjoy long walks in the midst of pine trees in calm and serene surroundings or you can sit and relax under a pine tree. And the best part is that Pine forest overlooks entire Vagamon valley.


Pine Forest, Vagamon
PINE FOREST
Image source - vagamon.com

Pine Forest at Vagamon, Kottayam
ANOTHER VIEW OF PINE FOREST
Image source - hellotravels.com
If you love boating or rowing, Vagamon lake is the place for you. Though not very big or huge, this lake offers ample opportunities to indulge in your favorite water activity. With mountains all around, it gives a thrilling feeling, being in this lake. Vagamon lake also provides a perfect view of amazing sunrise and sunset of the hills.


Vagamon Lake, Kerala
VAGAMON LAKE
Image source - tripadvisor.com
Barren hills(though not in the true sense) is another magnificent place to visit in Vagamon. Barren hills are not always barren. They become green and barren in turn depending on the season. So depending on the season in which you visit this place, you can watch the hills going bare and then lush green again and back to bare. This is an amazing sight.


Barren Hills, Vagamon, Kerala
BARREN HILLS
Image source - indtravel.com
There are many opportunities in Vagamon to indulge in adventure. You can go cycling on the curvy mountains. And lately, adventure sports activities like Paragliding, Trekking and Rock Climbing have become available for the enthusiasts. In fact, Vagamon has started hosting International Paragliding festival every year, which is becoming increasingly popular.
If you go to Vagamon, it is a must to try out some adventure sports and it is always better to have prior booking of such activities from sites like togedr.com, which offer excellent services for adventure activities.


Paragliding facility at Vagamon, Kottayam
PARAGLIDING AT VAGAMON
Image source - vagamon.com
REACHING VAGAMON

Reaching Vagamon is an enchanting experience in itself. As you meander through pine forests and lush green hills, you get a mesmerizing view of the valleys and rolling plains below.

Air - The nearest airport to Vagamon is Cochin, which is well connected to other major cities. It is 107 km (66 mi) away. You can hire a taxi or get a bus from Cochin to get to Vagamon.

Rail - Vagamon doesn't have a railway station of it's own. The nearest railway station is Kuttikanam, which is 22 km(13.5 mi) away. Another station is Palai, which is 33 km(20 mi) away. A major railway station Kottayam is located 65 km(40 mi) away. You can hire taxi or buses from any of these places to reach Vagamon. 

Road - Vagamon is very well connected by beautifully laid road to all the major cities of Kerala. You can get buses directly from Cochin, Trivandrum, Madurai and Kottayam to reach this place.

STAYING IN VAGAMON

Homestay facilities are available in Vagamon. Besides you can get hotels to suit your budget.

You cannot feel Vagamon by just reading or listening about it. It has to be experiences. Blessed by nature, the amazing beauty of the place will give you a memorable experience and will make you visit again.

SO, HAPPY TRAVELING!!



INDIA TRAVEL - A MAJESTIC UNEXPLORED SCENIC HILL STATION - GAGANBAWADA

Hello friends! You must have been to many hill stations and each of them has a unique charm of it's own. But most of them are crowded and sometimes do not offer the kind of experience, one is looking for. However, there are a few places, which are relatively untouched and give you ample opportunities to satisfy your exploratory instincts. One of such places is Gaganbawada. A very less explored but an extremely beautiful small hill station, it has something for everyone.



Gaganbawada is a town in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra state in western India. It is located in Sahaydri ranges or western ghats at an altitude of 3000 ft. The main feature of this place is that it gets maximum rains during the monsoons. This is probably the only place where two ghats originate at one place and move into different directions from here. The two ghats are Karul Ghat and Bhuibawada Ghat. While Karul Ghat moves towards Talere Kankavali, the other one i.e Bhuibawada Ghat moves towards Kharepatan-Rajapur.


Gaganbawada, Kolhapur
GAGANBAWADA
Image source - wikipedia
Gaganbawada is an ideal place for natural sightseeing and of late has become a favorite spot for film shootings. It offers an awesome view of the Konkan coast and the greenery spread allover is a treat to the eyes.This beauty is glorified during minsoons when the place is in full bloom and offers a majestic sight.  The place has a comfortable and serene climate in the midst of the nature. There are number of places in and around Gaganbawada to explore. There are apmle opportunities for sight seeing as well as indulging in adventure. 



Some of the more prominent places in and around Gaganbawada are:



1. GAGANGAD FORT - Located at just 1 km from Gaganbawada is the Gagngagad fort. It is believed to have been built by Raja Bhoj of Shilhara dynasty in the year 1190. However, British demolished it in the year 1844, but even the ruins of the fort are a treat to watch. You get an amazing view of the Karul Ghat, Bhuibawada Ghat and surrounding valley, from the top of the fort. A small mosque and a Bhawani temple exist inside the fort. Then there are natural caves here. It is said that Gagangiri Maharaj used to meditate inside these caves. You can add adventure to your visit to Gagangad fort by trekking to this place from Gaganbawada. There is a comfortable trekking trail to reach here.



Gagangad Fort, Kolhapur
GAGANGAD  FORT
Image source - kolhapurtourism
2. PANDAV CAVES- Situated 8 km(5 mi) from Gaganbawada are Pandav caves. Located near a small village called Palsambe, these caves are commonly called Ramlinga Caves. It is believed that Bhim of Mahabharata carved these caves in just one night. These caves are located in a small gorge, which has been created by a stream. There are three structures here, which are said to have been used for meditation in earlier times and are generally referred to as "Sadhana Ghar".


Ramling Caves
PANDAV CAVES
Image source - thecamp.in
3. MORJAI TEMPLE AND PLATEAU - This is a place for hiking enthusiasts and religiously inclined. Morjai plateau is situated 8 km from Gaganbawada at a height of 980 m. Just drive down to the base of the hike and then hike up.The hike is not very steep and you can cover the distance in roughly 45 minutes.  Once you are on top, you will find a beautiful cave temple of Goddess Morjai. People here believe that Morjai is the Goddess of peace. They solve all their disputes in the temple, in front of the Goddess. At the end of the monsoon season, the plateau is carpeted by wildflowers and it's scenic beauty is to be seen to be believed.


Morjai Plateau, Maharashtra
MORJAI PLATEAU
Image source - wikipedia
Morjai Temple, Gaganbawada
MORJAI TEMPLE
Image source - wikipedia

4. GAGANGIRI MAHARAJ MATH - This is a place where Yogi Gagangiri Maharaj used to do his meditation. This is basically a cave temple. Pictures of Lord Rama, Sita, Laxman and God Hanuman are carved on the outer walls. The place inside the cave temple, where Gagangiri Maharaj used to meditate and perfected his tantrik skills, is known as Garbhagiri. The temple now serves as an ashram of the devotees of the Yogi. Many devotees of Ggangiri Maharaj visit this ashram to seek spiritual blessings and to meditate. Yoga programs, Hindu teachings and Meditation courses are offered in the Math. Datta Jayanti is one of the main festivals of Gaganbawada town and a large number of devotees visit Gagangiri Maharaj Math during this festival.


Gagangiri Maharaj Temple, Gaganbawada
GAGANGIRI MAHARAJ MATH
Image source- tripadvisor

5. KARUL GHAT AND BHUIBAWADA GHAT - These are two of the most scenic beauties of the area. These stunningly beautiful routes originate from Gaganbawada and connect with Konkan coastal area of Maharashtra. Both these Ghats start immediately after Gaganbawada. Karul Ghat is 19 km(12 mi) in length and goes towatds Vaibhavvaadi and meets National Highway 17. It has pretty good roads and the drive in the midst of natural beauty all around will leave you spellbound. Bhuibawada Ghat on the other hand is smaller in length. I t is 11km (7 mi) long and road condition is not that good. But again, the natural beauty all around, including hills and valleys is a treat to the eyes. It goes to Bhuibawada village. When you start fromGaganbawada on these Ghats, you will get a few spots from where you can get a beautiful view of the sunset.



Karul Ghat View
KARUL GHAT VIEW
Image source - wikipedia
Gaganbawada is very rich in biodiversity. The forests around it have more than 120 species of birds and 50 species of buttrflies. Also, approximately 21 species of mammals inhabit the area. These forests are also home to many herbs and medicines. It is a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

HOW TO REACH


Air - The nearest airport is Pune, which is 290 km(180 mi) away and is well connected to the rest of the country.


Railway - The nearest railway station is Vaibhavwadi which is 20 km(12.5 mi) away. Kolhapur railway station is the major station which is 50 km(31 mi) away. You can get taxis or state run buses from here to reach Gaganbawada.


Road - Gaganbawada is situated on NH-115 and is well connected to other cities. The town is served by state run buses from Kolhapur, Vaibhavwadi and Kharepatan at good frequency. A few state run buses running from Mumbai and Pune to Goa also pass through this place and can drop you at Gaganbawada.


WHERE TO STAY

There are hotels for all budgets in Gaganbawada. Then there is MTDC government resort which is at a convenient location and and offers good accommodation.

Gaganbawada has something for everyone. While it gives a scenic view of the high mountains of beutiful Western Ghats, the lush green hills are a treat to watch. For nature lovers, this place is very rich in flora and fauna. It also has historical and mythological value. And to top it all, the serene and calm surroundings of the town are a gift.


HAPPY TRAVELING!!


INDIA TRAVEL - CHANDERI - THE LAND OF HISTORY, NATURAL BEAUTY AND SILK

Hello friends! Madhya Pradesh has so many places of historical importance. And from different eras. It is a difficult task to choose the best one among these places. However, one place that stands out and has something for everyone, it is Chanderi. 

Chanderi is a beautiful scenic town in Madhya Pradesh. From lakes to hills to forts to forests, you name it and you have it here. The exotic locations of the place will leave you spellbound. The historical forts of Chanderi showcase the richness of culture, art and architecture during various periods. Many historical monuments built by Bundela Rajputs and Malwa Sultans can be seen here.

Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh
CHANDERI
Image source - wikipedia.org
The history of Chanderi goes back to 11th century. Persian scholar Alberuni mentioned about this place in the year 1030. It was ruled by Sultans in the earlier years and later by Rajputs. Different religions have flourished here in the years gone by. It has a regal radiance to it and while visiting the place and it's monuments, you may get a feeling of royalty. The monuments, built in different times, provide a glimpse of the art and architecture prevalent during different periods of history, here. There are at least 375 monuments here. As many as 1200 Baolis(step wells) were built here, which are a major attraction of Chanderi.

MAJOR PLACES OF INTEREST

1. Chanderi Fort - This is the most beautiful and famous monument of Chanderi. Situated at a height of 71 m on a hill, you can get a very good view of the town from here. Chanderi fort was built in 11th century by King Kirti Pal. However, it was rebuilt many times due to repeated attacks. It is built in Mughal architectural style and has three doors to enter it. The best known is the first door called Khooni Darwaza or Blood door. It is called so because it is said that criminals were thrown from this door and crushed. Third gate is the tallest gate and is known as Hawa Paur. The third gate is most weirdly named as Khatti ghatti. It is located on the south western part of the fort. Two of the major parts of Chenderi fort are Hawa Mahal and Nau Khanda Mahal. It lies to the southwest of Betwa river.

Chanderi Fort, Ashoknagar
CHANDERI FORTImage source - visionmp.com
2. Koshak Mahal - If you are in Chanderi, you can't miss this one. Koshak Mahal is the most important palace of Chanderi. Built in 15th century, it is said to be the brainchild of Mahmud Khilji. He intended to build a seven storey structure but only two storeys could be built during his lifetime. Koshak Mahal is devided into four equal parts with each part connected to other and yet remaining separate. All the four mansions of Koshak Mahal are identical, built entirely from local white sandstone. The grandeur of the palace gives a very imposing look. The sheer vastness of the structure will leave you mesmerized.

Koshak Mahal, Ashoknagar
KOSHAK MAHAL
Image source - chanderi.org
3. Chanderi Museum - Opened formally in the year 2007, this museum has a lot to offer in terms of collections from history. Museum has been divided into five galleries. They are History of Chanderi, Anandam, Jain gallery, Shiva gallery and Digpal gallery. The collections in the museum are mainly from art and architecture and date back to 10th to 12th century. The architecture and sculpture of Jain site of Budhi Chanderi have been prominently displayed here.

Archaeological Museum, Chanderi
CHANDERI MUSEUM
Image source - tripadvisor
4. Shri Chaubisi Jain Temple - This is an ancients and a very huge Jain temple. It has big idols of all the 24 Jain Tirthankars. The idols are basically rock sculptures. The beauty of idols is that they have been built by the same color rocks as the color of Tirthankars was. This is the only temple in India with such idols. Another unique feature is that all idols have same dimension, which speaks volumes about the sculpture's expertise as it is extremely difficult in the case of idols made from rocks.

Jain Mandir, Chanderi
SHRI CHAUBISI JAIN MANDIR
Image source - justdial.com
5. Shahzadi ka Rauza - This is a 15th century memorial, believed to have been built in the memory of a princess and her lover who was a common man. It is said that the princess and her lover are buried here. It is a square building and has two levels with each level supported by beautifully carved brackets which are serpentine in contour. Outside of the monument has traces of glazed tiles. Inside there are two graves exquisitely carved. There were probably four chatris earlier but now only one remains. But still the monument remains as pretty as ever.


Shahzadi ka Rauza, Ashoknagar
SHAHJADI KA RAUZA
Image source - justdial.com

Apart from the above, there are many more big and small historical monuments in Chanderi which will leave you spellbound.

And once you are done with the history, head straight to checkout world famous Chanderi sarees and fabric. Built from handlooms, these are lightweight and fine but still look regal and opulent. These sarees and fabrik are made from both cotton as well as silk. So shop to your heart's content.

HOW TO REACH
Chanderi is situated in Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh. It is located at 37 km(23 mi) from Lalitpur and 128 km (80 mi) from Shivpuri.

Air - Nearest airports are Bhopal and Gwalior. Bhopal is 220 km (140 mi) away and Gwalior is 250 km (158 mi) away. Taxis are easily available to reach Chanderi.

Rail - Lalitpur and Shivpuri are two nearest major railway stations. From these stations, you can hire taxi or state run buses are also available to reach Chanderi.

Road - Chanderi is very well connected to all the major towns of Madhya Pradesh by road. State run buses and private taxis are available to reach Chanderi.

WHERE TO STAY
Hotels are available in Chanderi to suit all budgets. You can take your pick.

So with weather getting better, it's time to checkout some of the most beautiful and memorable monuments of Chanderi.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!






INDIA TRAVEL - ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS OF INDIA - NANDI HILLS

Hi guys! Hope each one of you is enjoying your travel. The spirit of exploration is something, that drives one to travel. And when it comes to travel, there's no place like India which has so many amazing places that it leaves everyone to ask for more. One of the most enchanting places of these is Nandi Hills in South India.

Situated in Chikkaballapur district of the Karnataka state, Nandi Hills is also called Nandibetta or Nandidurg. Located at an average altitude of 1476 m(app. 5000 ft), this place has a historical value. Arkavathy river is believed to have originated from Nandi Hills. There are many versions about how the hills got their name. Earlier, these hills were called Ananda Giri or Hills of Happiness but it is believed that it was named after Yoga Nandeeshawara. Another story says that it was named Nandi because of it's resemblance with a sleeping bull(Nandi). Another version says it got it's name from the Nandidurga or fort built here by the erstwhile ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan.

Nandi hills is a photogenic location. If you are a nature lover and appreciate the scenic beauty, this is the place for you. It boasts of some rare flora and beautiful, serene scenery. The cool breeze of the hills and the peaceful surroundings will fill you with renewed vigor. It's a paradise for nature lovers and a photographers' delight. You can get innumerable amazing spots, to click to your heart's content.


Nandi Hills, Bangalore
NANDI HILLS
Image source - hellotravel.com

PLACES AND ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND NANDI HILLS

1. Tipu's Drop - It is a cliff at the top of the hills, where you can get the most comprehensive view of the hills and the scenic beauty around. It is situated 600 m above the elevated ground and is a must see for nature lovers. You will get a panoramic view of the city from here. This place, however, doesn't have a pleasant past. It is said that this place was used by Tipu Sultan to push his prisoners to their death.


Tipu's drop, Nandi Hills
TIPU'S DROP
Image source - traveldglobe.com

2. Tipu Sultan's Fort - The fort on Nandi hills was started by Haider Ali but was complted by Tipu Sultan. The fort depicts the amazing art and architecture of that era and hence is also called Tashk-e-Jannat meaning Heaven's envy. It stands proudly on top of the hills. The arches numbering five and the minarates are a treat to watch. The construction in the fort is mainly of wood but the paintings engraved on walls and ceilings are a major attraction. Around the fort, you will find many trekking trails which pass through scenic surroundings. So trekkers have an added incentive to visit Tipu Sultan's fort.
Tipu Sultan fort inside, Nandi Hills
INSIDE TIPU SULTAN'S FORT
Image source - trip2blr.com
Tipu Sultan's fort, Nandi Hills
TIPU SULTAN'S FORT
Image source - andhrawishesh.com


3. Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple - Situated at the base of Nandi Hills, this is a 9th century temple with amazing architecture and design. The grandeur of the temple is actually mesmerizing. It is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka and is currently under Archaeological Survey of India(ASI). It is also one of the few temples which have been well preserved over the period of time. The intricate carvings and the design of the temple will simply take your breath away. It is difficult to imagine how the craftsmen of that time could build such structures without the aid of the modern tools. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has been declared a monument of national importance. It has intricately carved black stone pillars, which depict stories about Lord Shive, Goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi etc. Taking a stroll in the temple premises and admiring the beauty and architecture of the place is a perfect way of spending some quality time, for all age groups.


Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple, Nandi Hills
BHOGA NANDEESHWARA TEMPLE
Image source - Goutam Majumdar

4. Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple - Situated at the top of Nandi hills, this is a twin of Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple. Karnataka has a history of building twin temples, one at the top and other at the bottom of a hill. A huge statue of Nandi, the bull, right at the entrance greets you and gives a glimpse of what to expect, once you are inside the temple.This temple is again dedicated to Lord Shiva and is yet another masterpiece of architecture. The main attraction in the temple are the monolothic stone pillars which are intricately sculpted with images of deities. It houses three temples dedicated to Arunachaleshwar, Uma Maheshwar and Yoga Nandeeshwar representing youth, marriage and renunciation of Lord Shiva. Two Dwarpalaks guard the entrance of the temple.


Yoga Nandeeshwara temple, Nandi Hills
YOGA NANDEESHWARA TEMPLE
Image source - letsseeindia.com

5. Amrita Sarovar - A beautiful water body formed by perennial springs, translates to "Lake of Nectar". It is also called Lake of Amrosia. It is the major source of water in the region. A visit to this place at night will leave you stunned when you see sparkling clear water in the moonlight. There is a chabutra near the Sarovar and it is said that Tipu Sultan used to come here to pray.


Amrita Sarovar, Nandi Hills
AMRITA SAROVAR
Image source - hellotravel.com

6. Cycling - This is one activity, which anyone can indulge in around Nandi Hills. Lush green surroundings, the beautiful landscape, the curvy terrain and the altitude make it an ideal spot for cycling. You can have your most memorable cycling experience here. You can go cycling with togedr.com


Cycling experience in Nandi Hills
CYCLING IN NANDI HILLS
Image source - artofbicycletrips.com
7. Paragliding - Nandi Hills is one of the few places in Karnataka where Paragliding is available. You can enjoy the sport in the midst of breathtaking scenery and peaceful surroundings to have a bird's eye view of the place.


Paragliding in Nandi Hills
PARAGLIDING IN NANDI HILLS
Image source - tourismofindia.com

HOW TO REACH

Air - The nearest airport is Hindustan Airport, which is 42 km(26 mi) from here. Mysore airport is 165 km (100 mi0 from here. From both these places you can either catch a train or go by road to reach Nandi Hills.

Rail - Nearest railway station is Oddarahalli, which is 16 km(10 mi) away. Another nearby station is Dodballapur which is 17 km away. Chikkaballapur is 19 km(12 mi) away. All trains coming from Bangaluru stop here.

Road - Nandi Hills are just 60 km from Bangaluru, so you can drive or hire a taxi from there. State run buses are also available from Majestic bus station to Nandi Hills. Roads are good and drive is comfortable and pleasurable.

WHERE TO STAY

There are not many options for overnight stay in Nandi Hills as only one state run guest house is there. But there are hotels around the hills where you can plan to spend a night.

So if you are going to Bangaluru or Mysore, do not miss the charm of Nandi Hills. Enjoy the beautiful, pollution free, serene morning in fresh air.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!



INDIA TRAVEL - THE LAST INHABITED VILLAGE OF INDIA - CHITKUL

Hi friends! There has been quite a gap since my last post. Some other engagements kept me away from writing my blog post. But I am back. And this time I bring to you, one of the most scenic places which has been least explored but provides a memorable and exhilarating experience as far as traveling is concerned. Chitkul is one place which will mesmerize you with it's beauty and simplicity.

Chitkul, situated in Kinnaur valley of Himachal Pradesh is a small village and is supposed to be the last inhabited village in India on the Indo - Tibetan border. The Indian side of the road ends at Chitkul. Located on the banks of Baspa river, it is the last point in India where one can travel without any permit.

Chitkul, Sangla
CHITKUL VILLAGE

Chitkul is situated at an altitude of 3450 m (11300 ft) and is clad in snow throughout the winters. Once you enter the the village, you will be greeted with enchanting beauty, widespread lush green landscape and serene and calm environment. Mountains, river, Orchids, Grasslands and jungle all combine to give Chitkul, it's own uniqueness. Your first sight of the village will take you back in time. To a distant past. Chitkul has no mobile coverage, no ATMs and no markets. There are a few small home run shops, selling basic necessities. But more importantly, it has peace and serenity.


Beautiful Chitkul in Kinnaur
BEAUTY OF CHITKUL
Image source - tourmyindia.com

Houses in Chitkul are made with slate or wooden plank roofs, which is a chief attraction for any visitor, though of late some schools and army barracks have started using tin roofs also. Villagers believe that slate roof protects them from earthquake and lighting. With an estimated population of around 600, it is a very sparsely populated village and hence provides a very peaceful ambiance. 

People here are generally devoted to the Goddess of the village, whom they believe to be very powerful. They believe that their Goddess is related to the deity of Gangotri and even now they carry their Goddess on foot through high Himalayan ranges to Gangotri.

Mathi Temple in Chitkul
MATHI TEMPLE
Image source - traveldglobe.com

When you are in Chitkul, you can feel to be a part of nature. You can walk around the village to explore it and then come back to the center, where the temple of Goddess Mathi is situated. Those into photography will have ample opportunities to capture some of the rare shots. The villagers are very simple and friendly and whenever you encounter any on your way, they will greet you with a smile.

Snowfall in Chitkul
SNOW CLAD CHITKUL
Image source - traveloger.com

A stroll on the bank of Baspa river or in the woods, is an ideal way to unwind and rejuvenate yourself. There are many camp sites by the side of Baspa river. You can enjoy camping also.The natural beauty that Chitkul is blessed with, is unique in it's own way and can't be compared with any other place. Many trekking options are also available here. And there is plenty of natural treasure around here to hold you back.

Baspa River, Chitkul
BASPA RIVER
Image source - holidayiq.com

REACHING CHITKUL

Chitkul is about 575 km(360 mi) from Delhi. From Delhi, you can reach Shimla, Reckong Peo or Sangla. From there, you can either hire a taxi or catch a Himachal Roadways bus to Chitkul which is 28 km(17.5 mi) from Sangla. While taxi is the fastest mode to reach Chitkul, HRTC bus is the most economical. Drive from Sangla to Chitkul is an experience in itself. You can see snow clad Himalayan peaks on one side of the river Baspa while on the other are orchards and wooden houses, which makes for an eye popping scenery.

Panoramic view around Chitkul
SCENERY ON WAY TO CHITKUL
Image source - indiatourisminfo.com

WHERE TO STAY

Chitkul has a few small hotels and guesthouses, along with some homestays run by local villagers. These are a little costlier. So if you prefer, you can stay at Sangla and drive down to Chitkul. Also, there are not many eating options here. There are a few Dhabas and restaurants run in hotels.

Best time to visit Chitkul is from March to October, which are considered to be the summer months. But even during these months, thick woolens are recommended.

So what are you thinking? Just go and be one with the nature.

CHEERS! ENJOY YOUR TRAVEL!! 

INDIA TRAVEL - A PARADISE OF UNMATCHED NATURAL BEAUTY - DOOARS

Hello guys! Can you imagine a region full of lush green surroundings and numerous streams and rivers flowing through it? And mountains in the backdrop. Looks straight out of a fairy tale? Well, it is a real thing. It is called Dooars and is located in north east India.

Dooars (meaning doors) is a region of floodplains which are situated north of Brahmaputra river basin and south of foothills of Himalayas. The region is 350 km(220 mi) long and 30 km(19 mi) wide and forms gateway from India to Bhutan. There are 18 such gateways in the region. The Dooars region extends from Teesta river in West Bengal to Dhanshiri river in Assam. Sankosh river, flowing through the region, bifurcates the region into Eastern Dooars and Western Dooars. While Eastern Dooars are also called Assam Dooars and Western Dooars are called Bengal Dooars, both covering a total area of 880 sq. km(340 sq. mi).


Dooars, West Bengal
DOOARS
Image source - weekendthrill.in
The beauty of Dooars lies in the lush green tea gardens with sparkling mountain springs cutting through them, beautiful rolling hill slopes, high Sal forests and enchanting outline of Himalayan ranges. Add to it the small but beautiful ethnic villages and vast meadows around and you have a truly dream location. Fresh cool breeze blowing across the vast tea gardens against the backdrop of blue mountains will make you feel one with the nature.

Dooars is very rich in wildlife and has a very wide variety of species of flora and fauna. It has a number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. You will be automatically pulled by the beauty of the tea gardens here. And the taste of the tea here will surely invigorate your senses.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS IN DOOARS

1. BUXA TIGER RESERVE - Located in Rajabhatkhawa and Spread over an area of 745 sq. km, it has the second highest tiger population in West Bengal. It was started in 1983 and got the status of a National Park in 1992. It is located on the Assam-Bhutan border. Buxa tiger reserve also has maximum number of elephants along with wide variety of deers, leopards, and Indian Bison. Besides, it also boasts of many species of birds and reptiles. It also has a large collection of rare medicinal plants and orchids. Several rivers and their tributaries cross the reserve which makes for breathtaking landscape. Buxa tiger reserve also has a huge variety of flora and fauna. It also forms the base for many treks in the region.

Buxa Tiger Reserve, Dooars
BUXA TIGER RESERVE
Image source - dailyworld.in
How to reach - The best route to reach Rajabhatkhawa is through New Jalpaiguri, which is a major railway station and is 160 km (100 mi) away. However, you can reach Alipurduar station, which is just 10 km(6.2 mi) from the forest checkpost. You can get all types of vehicles, including the shared ones, to reach Rajabhatkhawa.

2. GORUMARA NATIONAL PARK - Spread over an area of 80 sq. km, this forest was declared a national park in the year 1994. The main attraction here is the Asiatic one horned rhino. It is situated on the floodplains of Jaldhaka and Murti rivers and has a large variety of flora and fona. Indian Bisons, deers, peacock, elephants and rhinos are commonly seen here. You can go for a Jungle Safari here after taking permission from the forest department. Safari is taken on special vehicles and you are required to take an authorized guide with you. To enter the core area of the forest, you need to take special permission. You can also spot leopards, Malayan giant squirrel, and rock python here. The main species of birds commonly seen here are cuckoos, pheasants, woodpeckers, minivets, hornbills, orioles, mynas etc. A few migratory birds like ibis, storks and teals can also be seen here during the winters.

Gorumara National Park, Dooars
GORUMARA NATIONAL PARK
Image source - windhorsetours.com
How to reach - It is two hours drive from nearest airport Bagdogra and major railway station New Jalpaiguri. However, the nearest railway station where some important trains have halts is Malbazar, which is 20 km(12.5 mi) away. You can drive through curvy roads and lush green tea gardens, admiring the beauty all around.

3. JALDHAKA - A small calm and quiet hill station, by the side of Jaldhaka River Valley, Jaldhaka is situated on the India Bhutan border. This place will provide you a relaxed getaway as well as adventure. Mountains, treks, rivers and ethnic bazaars, you will get everything here. It is an ideal place to stay away from urban jungle. A lazy place, it will transport you into an altogether different zone. There are no major restaurants or markets around here nor are there any major tourist spots. So if you are looking for peace of mind and to rejuvenate yourself, this is the place for you. The best part is that Jaldhaka has pleasant weather all through the year though winters may be harsh.

Jaldhaka, Dooars
JALDHAKA
Image source - holidayiq
How to reach - Jaldhaka is 90 km(56 mi) from Siliguri, the nearest major city. You can get taxis from here to reach Jaldhaka.

4. SAMSING - This is a paradise for nature lovers. Situated at an altitude of 3000 ft, Samsing is quite a picturesque place. As you ride uphill through the rolling hill slopes in the midst the tea gardens, the eye catching beauty all around will mesmerize you. Though the road is narrow but there is very less traffic as the road ends at Samsing. There are two forest bungalows here in the midst of forest, where you can stay. The hills in the background and a view of various streams flowing all around is a treat to watch. And the chirping of birds and the sound of water flowing noisily from river Murti around here, in the morning makes the start of the day very pleasant. Several trek routes originate from Suntalekhola near here.

Samsing, Jalpaiguri
SAMSING
Image source - jalpaigurionline

How to reach - Samsing is again at a distance of 82 km (51 mi) from Siliguri and can be reached by taxis from there.

5. BINDU - It is the last hamlet of West Bengal. The road leading to Bindu is itself an experience. Situated on the banks of river Jaldhaka, it is a valley nestled between hills of Bhutan and India. The beauty of the area is enough to freshen up your mind and feast your eyes. The whole area is covered with green vegetation with hills on one side. You may encounter wildlife also on your way to Bindu. You will see Elaichi(Cardamom) and Suntala(Orange) plantations on both sides of the road as the people here are mostly engaged in this only. You can also view a few villages of Bhutan from here.

Bindu, Dooars, India
BINDU
Image source - dooarstrip.com
How to reach - Bindu is situated 107 km(67 mi) from Siliguri and can be reached by taxis.

WHERE TO STAY - Each of the above places has decent hotels and homestays available around them. There are a few government rest houses also which are available to travelers.

Dooars is not a place but a whole region full of natural beauty and wildlife along with ample options for adventure. Apart from the above, there are plenty of more places to see, which will make your experience an unforgettable one. And you can visit it any time of the year, though monsoons are very strong here. From mid May to mid August, this region receives ample rainfall. But still, it is a once in a lifetime experience.

ENJOYYY YOUR TRAVEL!!