INDIA TRAVEL - HUSSAIN SAGAR LAKE - THE JEWEL OF HYDERABAD

Hi guys! Every city has it's own landmarks. But there are a few cities whose landmarks are recognized world over. And these landmarks become the identity if that city. One such landmark is Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad in Telangana state in south India.

Hussain Sagar lake is the largest artificial lake in Asia and is a heritage site of India. Not only that, this heart shaped lake has also been declared the 'Heart of the World' by UNWTO(United Nations World Tourism Organization), for being the largest heart shaped mark on earth among 78 such other marks in the shape of lakes and 9 in the shape of islands.

Hussain Sagar lake has an area of 5.7 sq. km and a maximum depth of 32 ft. Situated in the heart of the city, just two km from the city center, this lake has a 3 km long dam wall which connects the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundrabad. The lake was built in 1562/63 by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah. It was named after Hussain Shah Wali, who played a major part in designing the lake. The lake is fed from the river Musi.

The beauty of Hussain Sagar lake is unmatched and is enhanced by a 16 ft high statue of Buddha, situated right in the center of the lake, on rock of Gibraltar. This statue was established in the year 1992 and has been a major attraction ever since. Carved out of white granite rock, this Buddha statue displays many hues after dark with lights around it changing colors. It is an amazing sight. The view of the lake is breathtaking during night when lights come on around it's periphery. These lights form the shape of a necklace around the lake. As a result, the road around the lake is popularly called Necklace Road.


Hussain Sagar lake, Hyderabad
A VIEW OF THE NECKLACE ROAD

Hussain Sagar lake is surrounded by lush green parks. While on the eastern side is Indira park, northern side of the lake has Sanjeevaiah park and southern side is covered by Lumbini park. You will not find such beautiful and picturesque surroundings in the middle of any other metropolitan city.


16 m high Buddha statue at Hussain Sagae lake, Hyderabad
CLOSE VIEW OF BUDDHA STATUE AT HUSSAIN SAGAR LAKE

You can enjoy many activities in and around Hussain Sagar lake. It is a popular spot for sailing. Apart from that you can enjoy boating and yachting. A round of Hussain Sagar lake will give you an unforgettable experience with a magnificent view of the Buddha statue, the calm waters of the lake, the lush green surroundings and the beauty of the necklace road.



Buddha Statue at Hussain Sagar lake, Hyderabad
MESMERIZING VIEW OF HUSSAIN SAGAR LAKE

Another major attraction at the Hussain Sagar lake is the 48 seater launch ride. The ride itself is a thrilling experience. You can feel the goose bumps with launch moving slowly along the periphery of the lake and you standing near the railing feeling the cool breeze on your face along with the magnificent view of the entire lake. As the launch nears the Buddha statue, you are eager to catch all the hues displayed by different colored lights around the statue. An added attraction of the launch ride is the song and dance presentation by the local artists. They chart out hit bollywood numbers and dance to their tunes. You can also join in if you want to and have lots of fun. These artists encourage the guests on the launch to participate with them. This ride lasts for around one hour and you have best of the time during this period. You can even organize party on the launch. The charges for boating, sailing, yachting and launch can be confirmed from the booking counter at the lake.There are other outdoor activities also which you can indulge in. 

 You can checkout togedr.com for trekking, camping and many other outdoor activities. They provide excellent options and best deals.



View of Hussain Sagar lake from launch
VIEW FROM LAUNCH

After enjoying a round of  Hussain Sagar lake you can head to the light and sound show in the evening. It lasts for a little over one hour and leaves you mesmerized. This light and sound show, held at Lumbini park uses laser lights to create 3-D imagery to describe the history of the city.
The timings of the show are 7.15 pm daily. On weekends, there is an extra show at 8.30 pm. Entry fee for the show is INR 50.

For foodies, there is an Eat Street in the premises of Hussain Sagar lake where you can find all your favorite fast food brands as well as other Indian delicacies including famous Hyderabadi biryani. You will get all variety of food at Eat Street and can have a wonderful time with your family and friends.

Reaching Hussain Sagar lake is very easy as it is located almost in the heart of the city. You can get taxis, buses and even local trains to reach here from anywhere in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundrabad.

So next time you are in Hyderabad, do not miss visiting Hussain Sagar lake for it's sheer beauty come back with fond memories.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!




INDIA TRAVEL - SEE 3 DIFFERENT SHADES OF INDIA - VARKALA, MAJULI ISLAND AND ORCHHA

Hi friends! India has so many stunningly beautiful and enchanting places that you are never short of inspiration and excitement to visit them or write about them. Let us today, know about three entirely different but equally magnificent travel destinations of India. These three places are located in three separate regions of the country with strong cultural difference. And this is what makes the diversity of India so unique. The places I am talking about are Varkala, a coastal city in Kerala in Southern India, Orchha, a very beautiful and historical city in central India and Majuli Island in north east India.

1. VARKALA - Located in the southern most Indian state of Kerala, it is a coastal city in Thiruvananthpuram district. The unique feature of this city is the cliffs found adjacent to Arabian sea, the only place in Kerala to have this feature. In fact, Varkala cliff has been declared a Geo heritage site by Geological Society of India. The city is known for it's beach, the very beautiful Varkala beach and the 2000 years old Janardanaswami Temple apart from other things and places. This temple is an important Vaishvaite shrine of India. Varkala also has a mineral water spring, which is known to cure many diseases.

PLACES TO SEE IN VARKALA
1. Varkala Beach - One of the most popular places in Varkala, it is considered a paradise for sun bathers and swimmers. The cliffs at the beach house many resorts, restaurants and spas. It also has a long stretch of small shops which go upto 1 km. The evening view and the sunset are truly mesmerizing at Varkala beach. It is also known as Papanasham beach. Pap is sin and nasham is washing away. People believe that Varkala beach has holy water and they can wash or destroy their sins. Varkala beach offers stunning landscapes. It is an ideal location for peaceful and leisure time. It is also known for Ayurvedic treatment.



Varkala Beach, Kerala
VIEW OF VARKALA BEACH
Source-google images

Cliffs at Varkala Beach
VIEW OF CLIFFS AT VARKALA BEACH
Source - google images
2. Janardhana Swami Temple - It is also known as Kashi(Benaras) of south or Dakshin Kashi. It is located close to Varkala beach and is 2000 years old. It is Lord Vishnu temple. It's attraction is not only it's history but it's architecture also. Their are broad staires to enter the temple and you can see the arched tiled roof on the way. Idols of different Gods and Godesses, painted in bright colors are there at the entrance of sanctorum.
 The captain of a ship, which sank near Varkala was so overwhelmed by the fact that there was no casualty eventhough the ship sank, that he donated a bell from the shipwreck to Janardanaswami temple. This ancient bell still hangs at the entrance of the temple.


Janardhana Swami Temple at Varkala, Kerala
JANARDHANA SWAMI TEMPLE
Source - google images

Timings to visit Janardhana Swami Temple - 4 am to 12 noon and 5 pm to 8 pm

3. Anjengo Fort - Located 12 km(7.5 mi) away from Varkala, in picturesque natural surroundings, this fort has a great historical value. It is believed that this fort was built in 16th or 17th century.  This is supposed to be the place given to the Britishers for their first trade agreement in Kerala. Currently it is protected as national heritage monument. It is an architectural marvel and will certainly interest those of you, who don't mind walking around to explore places of historical value. Though this fort was attacked many tomes by foreign powers, it still retains it's architectural beauty. The backwater stretch on one side of the fort and the coconut groves dotting it's vicinity, add to the charm of the fort. Anjengo fort is an ideal  spot for a relaxed picnic.



Anjengo fort at Varkala, Kerala
ANJENGO FORT
Source-google images

Beautiful view of Anjengo fort, Varkala, Kerala
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF ANJENGO FORT
Source-google images

4. Kappil Lake - This is an estuary located at 6 km(3.75 mi) from Varkala. It flows serenely and merges with Arabian sea. A bridge built on Kappil lake is an ideal spot to see backwaters and a stunning view of the lake meandering through into the blue horizon. The surroundings are dotted with coconut groves and trees. You can enjoy boating in the lake. And if you are a shutterbug, this is heaven for you.



Kappil lake, Varkala
KAPPIL LAKE
Source-google images

Another view of Kappil lake, Kerala
ANOTHER VIEW OF KAPPIL LAKE
Source-google images

5. Paravur - Located 13 km (8.1 mi) from Varkala this is also called land of backwaters and estuaries. This naturally beautiful place has all, see, rivers and lakes. Situated in Kollam district, this is a must see place for nature lovers because of it's green landscapes. A houseboat ride in backwaters at Paravur is absolutely thrilling. The largest natural backwater lakes in southeast Asia are located in Paravur. You can enjoy swimming and surfing here and with prior permission from authorities, you can indulge in fishing too.



Paravur, Kerala
PARAVUR
Source-google images


REACHING VARKALA 

Air - Nearest airport is Thiruvananthpuram airport located 51 km(32 mi) away. It is well connected to all the major Indian cities with regular flights. From here, you can get pre paid taxis to reach Varkala.

Rail - Varkala is located on Thiruvananthpuram - Ernakulam line. It has it's own railway station but since it is a small station, all trains do not stop here. Again, Thiruvananthpuram is the nearest major railway station and is well connected to all other major cities. You can hire taxis from here to reach Varkala.

Road - Varkala is well connected by road and you can get state road transport buses from Thiruvananthpuram to reach Varkala. However, this journey may prove to be tiresome.

WHERE TO STAY - There are hotels in Varkala which suit all budgets. You can get a budget hotel as well as a luxury hotel.

2. MAJULI ISLAND - Another great wonder of nature, Majuli Island is the largest river island. It is located in river Brahmaputra in the north eastern state of Assam. It is also called Majoli Island and had an area of 880 sq. km(340 sq. mi) earlier but due to erosion, it's area has shrunk to 352 sq km(136 sq. mi). It is the first island in India to be become a district.



Majuli island, Assam
MAJULI ISLAND
Source-google images

It's chief attraction lies in it's crystal clear waters and breathtaking landscapes. It is called the cultural capital of Assam as all the Assamese traditions and festivals are celebrated prominently here with great pomp and show. Different forms of local dances are performed during these celebrations. The main population here is tribal and their colorful culture is something to watch.




Majuli island, Assam picture
BLUE WATER AT MAJULI ISLAND
Source-google images
Majuli island is a center for Vaishnavite studies and there are many Satras(or Monasteries) of Vaishnav religious sect here. Sankardeva, considered to be the father of Assamese culture, found these Satras and presently there are 22 of these in Majuli island. These Satras preserve various antiques like jewelery, utensils and weapons. They also house treasure contributed by Sankardeva like Matiakhara, Sutradhar, Borgeet, Satria Krishna dance etc.

 Dakhinpat Satra in Majuli island is the most popular Satra. This place is so serene that it attracts devotees from all over the world. Established in 1584 by Vamshigopal, apart from being a religious institution, it also plays a historical role. Besides that, the architectural beauty of Dakhinpat Satra is also a treat in itself. You can see many animal forms, religious motifs and flower forms engraved at the entrance. The inner walls are adorned with beautiful paintings and sculptures.



Dakshinpat Satra, Majuli island
DAKSHINPAT SATRA
Source-google images

The monks, called Bhaktas stay here and devote all their life in the service of the Lord. The festival of Rasotsava is celebrated prominently and with full fervor in Dakhinpat Satra. This is one of the most important festivals in the culture of Assam.



Dakshinpat satra, Majuli island picture
INSIDE VIEW OF DAKSHINPAT SATRA
Source-google images

For five days, starting the second Wednesday of February every year, all locals are involved in the celebration of Ali aye Ligang festival, which is a treat of colors, dances and local dishes. Traditional dances like Gumrag Somah are performed in all the villages of Majuli island and local dishes made of rice, chicken, pork and fish are served. For five days, villagers worship the almighty Donyl Polo (mother sun and father moon).



Festival of Majuli Island
TRADITIONAL DANCE AT ALI AYE LIGANG
Source-google images

Dance in Majuli Island, Assam
ANOTHER DANCE FORM DURING ALI AYE LIGANG
Source-google images

Majuli island is a paradise for bird watchers too. The southern end of the island is the spot for bird watching. Particularly between the period of November and March, the view is absolutely fabulous. Sakuli beel and Vereki beel are two other stunning bird watching points.

You must visit Majuli island for the following reasons:


  • Colorful culture of tribal people
  • Visit Vaishnavite Satras
  • The natural beauty of the place
  • Migratory birds watching
  • The traditional festivals 
  • To see pottery making and mask making
  • To enjoy ferry rides
  • The best part is that since Majuli is surrounded by water bodies from all sides, you have to use boats and ferries to go from one place to another.


REACHING MAJULI - Reaching Majuli island is an adventure in itself as this is one of the few places which heavily depend on waterways.

Air - There is no airport at Majuli. The nearest airport is Jorhat, which is 20 km(12.5 mi) away but has limited flights from Kolkata and Shillong. The nearest major airport is Guwahati, which is about 347 km(216 mi) away and is well connected with all the other major cities. From Guwahati, you again have to reach Jorhat. You can hire a taxi or get on a state run bus to reach Jorhat.

Rail - Majuli again has no direct rail connection. Jorhat is the nearest station apart from Guwahati.

Road - There is no direct road connection to Majuli Island.

Ferries - Once you reach Jorhat, get on a bus or a taxi. From here there is a 14 km(9 mi) ride to Neemati Ghat. From here, there are two ferry services daily to Majuli island. One starts at 10 am and the other at 3 pm. This lasts for around one hour and then again a 10 minutes bus ride takes you to Major Sapori, another island en route to Majuli. After this there is another short ferry and bus ride that will take you to Kalambari, the main town of Majuli island. 
If you want, you can hire a taxi from Jorhat. Taxis are allowed to cross river on ferries.

WHERE TO STAY - There are a number of budget and luxury hotels in Majuli. Accommodation is not a major problem in Majuli.

WHEN TO VISIT - Although November to March is the recommended period of visiting Majuli island but it can be visited all year around as it's natural beauty remains intact all the time.

3. ORCHHA - It is a beautiful town in Tikamgarh district of  Madhya Pradesh state of central India. Orchha is a town full of historical monuments such as forts, palaces, temples and other buildings that showcase the royal lifestyle and will have you travel back in time. The monuments made in different eras will give you an insight into how the art of construction of buildings evolved over a period of time. The different architectural styles of different eras have their own uniqueness. Each historical building has it's own tale to tell. So you will come across a different story for each building.

Also known as Urcha, the town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh as the seat of erstwhile princely state in Bundelkhand region of central India. Though not exactly known but it is believed that Orchha was established somewhere around 1501. Situated on the bank of Betwa river it is at a distance of 80 km(50 mi) from Tikamgarh and 15 km(9.3 mi) from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. Rudra Pratap Singh, who was the king from 1501 to 1531, also built the Orchha fort.

PLACES TO SEE IN ORCHHA

1. Orchha Fort - The biggest attraction in Orchha is it's largest monument, Orchha fort which houses many palaces and forts. Situated on a seasonal island on Betwa river in a very scenic location, it is a huge palace fort which consists of several inter connected buildings. The interesting part is that these buildings, including forts and palaces were built in different times and under the reign of different kings. The three most prominent and attractive among these are Raja Mahal, Jahangir Mahal and Rai Parveen Mahal.



Orchha fort, Madhya Pradesh
ORCHHA FORT
Source-google images

Orchha fort , Madhya Pradesh picture
INSIDE ORCHHA FORT
Source-google images


Raja Mahal, built in 17th century by Madhukar Shah, depicts his deep religious beliefs in it's design. It is the oldest monument in the fort. It's bold and colorful murals revolving around religion are quite stunning.



Raja Mahal at Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
RAJA MAHAL
Source-google images

Jahangir Mahal was build by Madhukar Shah's successor Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in honor of his friend , the Mughal emperor Jahangir. It is considered to be a great example of Mughal architecture and their grandeur.



Jahangir Mahal, Orchha
JAHANGIR MAHAL
Source-google images

Rai Parveen Mahal - Rai Parveen was a dancer and a poetess in the court of king Indramani, who was deeply in love with her and built this beautiful palace for her. The palace was at it's beautiful best with lush green gardens and magnificent balconies, but now it is in ruins but still worth a visit.



Rai Parveen Mahal, Orchha
RAI PARVEEN MAHAL
Source-google images


2. Ram Raja Temple - This is the center of attraction in Orchha. The presiding deity in the temple is Lord Rama. It is believed that the idol of Lord Rama was supposed to be shifted to Chaturbhuj Temple but idol refused to move from here, so a temple was built around the idol. The temple has a plain exterior with projecting windows and delicate domes. It is built on a square base. Ram Raja Temple is a highly respected and revered place for the locals.




Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
RAM RAJA TEMPLE
Source-google images


Picture of Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF RAM RAJA TEMPLE
Source-google images

3. Chaturbhuj Temple - This is another beautiful temple with marvelous architecture. Again, it was built in 17th century by the Bundela king and he is said to have chosen the site of the temple himself to enable him to have a view of Lord Krishna, directly from his palace. The sheer beauty of the architecture is so mesmerizing that it may inspire many architectural minds. You can get a stunning view of the city surroundings from the top of the temple.



Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha
CHATURBHUJ TEMPLE
Source-google images

View of Chaturbhuj Tenple, Orchha
ANOTHER VIEW OF CHATURBHUJ TEMPLE
Source-google images


4. Laxminarayan Temple - Constructed in a design which is the blend of temple and fort, this temple has it's own uniqueness. It was built in 1662 and shows the innovative minds even at that time. Beautiful and exquisite wall paintings of that time adorn the walls of the temple and their color and grandeur is still intact.



Laxminarayan Temple, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
LAXMINARAYAN TEMPLE
Source-google images


5. Dinman Hardaul's Palace - This palace was named after prince Hardaul and built in his honor. The story goes that prince Hardaul's elder brother Jhujhar suspected him to be involved with his companion. Prince Hardaul took the decision to end his life to prove his innocence and uphold his value. Dinman Hardaul palace was built to honor his sacrifice. The palace was built in 17th century but it's architecture stands proof of the skill of the artisans of that time.



Dinman Hardaul Palace, Madhya Pradesh
DINMAN HARDAUL PALACE
Source-google images


6. Jhansi Fort - The fort is located right in the center of the city in an area of 49 acres and is said to be one of the best fortified areas in India. It was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo on a hill in the 17th century and is also known as 'Rani Jhansi ka Quila'. There is a museum inside the form that has stored sculptures of that time and depict the history of that area.

7. Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary - Spread over an area of 46 sq. km, it is a prime attraction of Orchha. It was established in the year 1994 and it's beauty is enhanced by the river Betwa, which flows through the area. It houses a wide variety of wild animals including tigers, leopards, langurs, jackals and sloth bear. It is a paradise for bird watchers as it has over 200 species of birds and many migratory birds like woodpecker, jungle bush quail, black swan and geese visit this sanctuary.



Wildlife sanctuary at Orchha
WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Source-google images


8. Chattris - Chattris meaning canotaphs are an integral part of Orchha and glorify the cultural heritage of the era goneby. There are 14 chattris built on the sides of Betwa river apart from many other dotting the Orchha landscape. These chattris reflect the mighty Bundelkhand dynasty and are testament of their contribution in the region. Their amazing architecture has to be seen to be believed.



Chattris of Orchha
CHATTRIS
Source-google images

9. Uth Khana - Or the house/shelter of camels. This is where camels used to rest. It is located next to Orchha fort. You can go to the roof of uth khana and have a splendid view of the entire Orchha town.

Besides this, if you want to explore further, go behind the Orchha fort and you will find ruins of houses of various ministers and officials of that time apart from a gunpowder factory. Walking through these ruins gives a strong feeling of walking back in time and is quite exhilarating. Orchha has a beautiful landscape.

REACHING ORCHHA 

Air - The nearest airport is Gwalior at about 120 km(75 mi) distance. Gwalior is well connected to other major cities by regular flights. From here you can take a taxi and reach Orchha.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Jhansi, which is about 16 km(10 mi) away. From Jhansi, you have option of hiring a taxi or getting on to a bus or even an autorickshaw.

Road - Orchha is well connected by road and is easily accessible from major cities like Gwalior and Jhansi. You can hire a taxi from these places to reach Orchha. Many private and government buses are also available from Jhansi. And you can even hire an auto rickshaw from Jhansi to reach there.

WHERE TO STAY IN ORCHHA - There are hotels in Orchha suiting all budgets. You can get budget hotels to luxury hotels as per your requirement and budget.

SO HAPPY TRAVELING!!













INDIA TRAVEL - LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE, NATURE OR PEACE? DON'T MISS THESE 2 PLACES

Hello guys! Everyone looks for some respite from hustle bustle of life. A break from daily grind. And the purpose is to find some peace. So here I am, bringing to you, two most peaceful destinations of India, which are not only beautiful but also provide ample scope for adventure. Very little explored and much less crowded, these places provide ideal locations for a peaceful yet enjoyable stay. These places provide equal opportunities for peace seekers, spiritually inclined, nature lovers and adventure seekers.

1. BIR BILLING - This is the paragliding hub of India. It boasts of having organized a paragliding world cup in 2015, in which over 150 trained pilots and over 500 other free flying pilots participated.
Bir Billing is situated in Joginder Nagar valley in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh state of North India.It is a combination of two places. Bir and Billing. While Billing serves as the take off site for paragliding, Bir is the landing site. Together they are called Bir Billing. 
Bir is a small village, known for eco tourism, meditation and spiritual studies. It's scenic beauty is simply eye catching with hills all around and colorful Tibetan Monasteries spread around the village. The beat part is that it is not at all crowded like some of the other better known hill stations.

WHAT TO SEE IN BIR

Tibetan Colony in Bir
TIBETAN COLONY
Image Source-hellotravel
1. Tibetan Colony - This is a Tibetan resettlement colony, built around 1966 when third Neten Chokling came to India with a small group of people and built a settlement of about 300 houses. You can see the complete Tibetan culture here and enjoy Tibetan food too. The colorful houses with equally colorful flags atop them here, are a treat to the eyes. Tibetan colony also has a Tibetan handicrafts center, a branch of Tibetan Astrological and Medical Institute a Tibetan village school and a medical clinic.


2. Chokling Monastery - It was built simultaneously with Tibetan colony and is located in the colony. It's main attractions are a huge stupa and a magnificent statue of Padmasambhava. It is a must see place for it's sheer beauty, Tibetan architecture and the spiritual atmosphere. A restaurant is also there inside the premises, where you can relish Tibetan cuisines. It also has a guest house.

Chokling Monastery in Bir
CHOKLING MONASTRY
Image Source-traveldglobe
3. Deer Park Institute - Again located in Tibetan colony, it is a center for programs on meditation, art, culture and philosophy. A number of lectures and seminars are organized with reputed scholars and teachers on the above subjects. The Institute may provide even meditation retreats to you. This institute was established in the year 2006, with blessings of Dalai Lama.

Deer park institute in Bir
DEER PARK INSTITUTE
Image source-holidayplan

4. Bir Tea Factory - If you are interested in seeing the process of tea making, you can visit Bir tea factory. Or else, you can stroll around in Bir tea gardens to enjoy the natural beauty and greenery.

Bir tea garden
TEA GARDEN AT BIR
Image source-gomissing

5. Dharmalaya Institute - This is again an eco institute, where a number of eco friendly activities take place. Some of these are organic farming, meditation and green building. If you want to make a productive use of your time during your stay in Bir, you can enroll in any of these activities as volunteer and learn something new.

THINGS TO DO IN BIR

1. Paragliding -  It is not for nothing that Bir is called the paragliding capital of India. If you go to Bir, Paragliding is a must. If you are not trained, you have two options. If you have sufficient time, you can do the training course or else you can take a professional along at an additional cost. Billing is the launch site of paragliding. It is at an altitude of 2400 m and is situated 14 km(8.8 mi) from Bir. If you take a professional pilot along, you can sit back and relax and take a lot of pictures of the valley below and the beautiful surroundings. Do not forget to take your selfie stick with you.

Paragliding place at Bir
PARAGLIDING IN BIR
Image source-himachal.ind.in

2. Trekking - Bir provides ample options for trekking. There are many tribal villages of Himachal Pradesh around here. If you are a trekking enthusiast, you can trek to these villages from Bir. You can book best trekking options with TOGEDR.

3. Camping - If you want to enjoy the nature, camping is an option for you. Bir offers camping using sustainable methods. You will have safe and comfortable tents to enjoy nature and beauty of Bir in most unconventional manner.

A camp in Bir
CAMPING IN BIR
Image Source-adventures365

4. Travel by Toy Train - You can enjoy most enchanting views of the area on a toy train, You can travel to  Ahju which is 3 km(2 mi) away and grasp the breathtaking scenery en route.

REACHING BIR - 

Air - Nearest airport to Bir is Gaggal in Dharamshala, which is about 67 km(42 mi) from Bir. It has flights from major cities.You can hire a taxi from here to reach Bir.

Rail - Nearest broad gauge station to Bir is Pathankot, which is about 140 km(88 mi) from here. From Pathankot, there are regular buses to Bir. If you have the time and want to enjoy your journey, then you can take the toy train on narrow gauge. It will take around 7 hrs to cover the distance and will take you to Ahju, which is 3 km(2 mi) from Bir. From Ahju, you can hire taxi to reach Bir.

Road - Although Bir is well connected to other places by a good road network, there aren't regular bus services from other states to Bir. From Delhi, which is about 510 km (320 mi) from here, there are two buses which run upto Baijnath, which is 10 km(6 mi) from Bir. These buses leave Delhi in the evening and reach Baijnath early morning next day.

WHERE TO STAY IN BIR
There are a number of guest houses and hotels in Bir, most of them located in the Chowgan village at the southern end of Bir.

2. MUKTESHWAR - Situated at an altitude of 2286 m(7500 ft) in beautiful Kumaon hils, in Uttarakhand state of India, Mukteshwar is both a pilgrimage as well as tourist destination. This picturesque town is located at 51 km (32 mi) from Nainital and 343 km(215 mi) from Delhi. The quietness and serenity of this small town coupled with it's natural beauty will mesmerize you.

Mukteshwar gets it's name from a 350 year old temple called Mukteshwar Dham, which is located at the highest point of the town. One story says that Lord Shiva killed a demon here. The demon pleaded for mukti or salvation. Lord Shiva granted him mukti, hence the name Mukteshwar.

View of Mukteshwar
MUKTESHWAR
Image source-explara
This is an unpolluted area and it's beauty has not been spoiled by human invasion. The beauty of the place is that it is covered with dense forests on one side and enchanting view of the valley and mighty Himalayas. You will get a stunning view of the majestic Himalayas from here. Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Pancha chali and Nanda Kot are clearly visible from Mukteshwar. Wake up early and here the chirping of birds and see the sun rays kissing the cliffs. It is a not to be missed sight. And if you like, you can go and treat yourself to a short trek in the woods.

PLACES TO SEE IN MUKTESHWAR

1. Mukteshwar Temple - It is an important place of worship for Hindu devotees. Located just 1 km from the town market, this temple is situated at a height of 2312 m (7700 ft).
A white marble Shivalinga and a copper yoni is enshrined in the temple. Mukteshwar temple is one of the 18 Shiva temples considered important. It's architecture is very simple and you can reach the idols of deities through a series of stone stairs. Idols of other two Gods in the holy trinity, Brahma and Vishnu are also kept here.

View of Mukteshwar temple
MUKTESHWAR TEMPLE
Image source-hellotravel
Since the temple is at the highest point in the town, you can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the surroundings from here.

2. Chauli ki Jali - Just behind(at it's back) Mukteshwar temple lies a piece of mythology. Chauli ki Jali bears a testament to what is believed to be a fierce fight between a Goddess and a demon. There are umpteen outlines of sword and a shield along with an elephant trunk, which are considered as the proof of the battle.

View from Chauli ki jali
CHAULI KI JALI
Image source - travelsarthi
Chauli ki Jali is a heaven for adventure seekers and nature lovers. While this place is used for adventure sports like rock climbing and rappelling, it also provides a mesmerizing view of the Kumaon valley and Himalayan range.

3. Indian Veterinary Research Institute - This is a very old institution dedicated to the development of the region. It deals in livestock research. It has very advanced research facilities. The IVRI was found by Britishers in the year 1889 and was started in Pune. But four years later, in 1893, it was shifted to Mukteshwar.

IVRI, Mukteshwar
IVRI
Image source - hoidayiq
4. Dhanachuli - At a distance of 14.5 km(9 mi) lies a small hamlet named Dhanachuli. The only reason to visit this village is to view it's scenic locales. It is blessed with an unmatched natural beauty. It is located at a height of 2100 m(7000 ft) and you can get a breathtaking view of the Himalayas from here. You will also get a marvelous view of the apple orchards, the dense forest etc. And you will get to interact with locale people, who are otherwise very shy.

Dhanachuli, Mukteshwar
DHANACHULI
Image source-dnaindia
5. Mukteshwar Inspection Bungalow - A landmark of Mukteshwar, this PWD bungalow is an architectural marvel in itself. It is close to the temple and has lush green surroundings. It is also the sunrise point. You can clearly see the sun rising from behind the hills, from here. Although this is a government guest house, you can also stay here with prior booking.

ACTIVITIES IN MUKTESHWAR

1. Rock climbing and Rappelling - Mukteshwar is a popular destination for adventure seekers and the most popular among these are rock climbing and rappelling. Chauli ki Jali is the ideal place to go rock climbing and rappelling.

2. Trekking/Hiking - Mukteshwar has quite a few trekking trails and adventurous souls can enjoy trekking and hiking to their full satisfaction. The most prominent trekking trails in Mukteshwar are Peora to Almora and Binsar to Artola.

3. Camping - If you want to spend time in the lap of nature or want to huddle with your family or friends, you have the option of camping in Mukteshwar. You can camp in dense deodar forest to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of mother nature.

4. Soak in the nature - Mukteshwar has a large and dense forest and has a large variety of wildlife such as tigers and bears.Apart from this, as many as 22 Himalayan peaks are visible from here. Enjoy the bird watching. Soak in the spiritual atmosphere. This clean and quiet town is an ideal place for meditation. Listen to the sound of wind crossing the dense forest. All these things make the visit to Mukteshwar a memorable experience.

 REACHING MUKTESHWAR -

Air - The nearest airport to Mukteshwar is Pantnagar, which is about 98 km(61 mi) away. Four round trip flights are available every week from Delhi. You can hire taxi from the airport to reach Mukteshwar.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, which is nearly 65 km(40 mi) away. It is well connected to all the major cities of India. You can hire taxi from Kathgodam to reach Mukteshwar. Alternately, buses are also available from here.

Road - Mukteshwar is well connected by road to other major cities of Uttarakhand. Buses and taxis are available from cities like Delhi, Nainital and Haldwani to reach Mukteshwar.

WHERE TO STAY
Apart from PWD guest house, there are budget and luxury hotels in Mukteshwar. Checkout FabHotels for best budget hotels. There are quite a few hotels located around the city market.


HAPPY TRAVELING!!!!


INDIA TRAVEL - GANPATIPULE BEACH AND TEMPLE - LEAST EXPLORED BUT MOST BEAUTIFUL

Hi Guys! India has so many amazing places, some of them very well known and traveled. However, there are many more places, which are truly majestic but are unknown or less traveled.
One of such places is Ganpatipule. It is a small town in Ratnagiri district of state of Maharashtra, in western India, along the Konkan coast. It is located around 25 km(15 mi) from Ratnagiri city.
Ganpatipule is an ideal getaway for tourists, backpackers, adventure seekers and pilgrims , beach lovers and peace seekers alike.
It has amazingly serene surroundings with one of the most spectacular beaches on the Konkan coast. The temple of Swayambhu Ganesh(self originated Ganesh) is a major draw here and is visited by thousands of people every year.
Ganpatipule has many villages full of greenery and stunning scenery. Marathi is the main language spoken here. However, Hindi and English are also understood here. Agriculture is the main occupation of the locals here and rice and coconut are the main crops. People celebrate two major festivals here namely Gauri Ganpati and Magh Chaturthi.

HISTORY OF GANPATIPULE - As per the Hindu folklore, Lord Ganesha was taunted by a native lady for some reason. He took umbrage at this and decided to shift his abode from original Gule to Pule, a few km away. Thus the name was given to the town, Ganpatipule. The temple has a 400 year old idol of Lord Ganesha, also called Ganpati, which is believed to have sprung up from the soil on it's own. Another legend has it that town got it's name from the white sand of it's beach. White sand is called Pule in Marathi language.

SWAYAMBHU GANESH TEMPLE - This is a pilgrim site for Hindus. The 400 year old Ganesh idol is situated here. It is made of white sand or pule . A peculiar aspect of this temple is that the Ganesh idol here faces west, whereas idols in other Hindu temples face east. It is said that idol was situated facing west because Lord Ganesh protected western gates or pashchim dwar and is called Pashchimi Dwarpalak(western gates protector). The temple is located at the base of a hill. Pilgrims consider it sacred to walk around the hill, called Parikrama or Pradakshina as a mark of respect.
Another Ganesh idol, made of copper, is kept in the sanctum sanctorum. It shows him riding a lion. The idol of mooshak(mouse, Lord Ganesha's vehicle), also made of copper, is placed outside the temple. The best part is that the temple is located at the sea shore.


Image of Swayambhu Ganesh Temple
SWAYAMBHU GANESH TEMPLE
Google images
Night view of Swayambhu Ganesh Temple
SWAYAMBHU GANESH TEMPLE AT NIGHT
Temple Visit Time - 6 am to 9 pm

GANPATIPULE BEACH - This is one of the only two white sand beaches in the Konkan region and the cleanest one. The beach is 6 km(3.8 mi) long. It is surrounded by mangroves and coconut palms and is very rich in flora. The beach here has clear blue water. The temple on the shore gives it a soothing look. Ganpatipule beach has many shacks and has facilities for horse and camel riding. Apart from that you can enjoy water sports also. 

Blue water of Ganpatipule beach
GANPATIPULE BEACH
Image of Ganpatipule beach
CALM SEA AT GANPATIPULE BEACH

PLACES AROUND GANPATIPULE
1. Jaigad Fort - The place where Shastri river and Arabian sea meet is called creek of Jaigad. To protect this creek, two forts were built. Jaigad in south  and Vijaygad in north. Jaigad fort is situated on a cliff and provides a magnificent view of the sea as well as almost perfect view of village life of Konkan. It is situated around 20 km(12.5 mi) from Ganpatipule and is easily accessible by a scenic road.
Jaigad fort is a protected monument and comes under Archaeological Survey of India(ASI).
The construction of the fort was started in the 14th century but was completed only in the 17th century bu Sultan of Bijapur. It was named after Jayba Mahar, who sacrificed his life in building the fort. Kanhoji Angre, commander in chief during Shivaji's regime, conquered the fort and Shivaji controlled it for sometime and then handed it over to Pashvas, before British gained control of this fort in the year 1818.

Jaigad fort, Ganpatipule
JAIGAD FORT
Google images
Jaigad fort view
VIEW FROM JAIGAD FORT
Google images

Jaigad fort is spread over an area of 4 acres and it's outer walls and ramparts are still intact. It is surrounded by moats and strong bastions on the southern side.
There is a Ganpati temple and three wells inside the fort. In the center of the fort lies the palace of Knhoji Angre. A government rest house is also situated inside the fort premises.

How to reach - Local transport is easily available from Ganpatipule to travel to Jaigad fort.

2. Lighthouse - About 6 km (3.8 mi) from Jaigad fort is the Lighthouse. It was built in 1932 and is still fully operational. It's uniqueness is that it is built completely from Cast Iron. It provides a breathtaking view of the coast and the sea and it's surroundings. Your vehicle can reach right at the doorstep of the lighthouse by a tar road.

3. Prachin Konkan Museum - Located just 1 km (0.6 mi) from the Ganpatipule beach and just 600m from bus stand, this is an open air museum. Built by Vaibhav Sardesai in the year 2004, it gives a detailed view of the local life in Konkan besides providing employment opportunities to the local people. The museum not only depicts various professions of local people but also local deities besides old barter system. It also has sculptures of Shivaji Maharaj, showcasing historical moments. It also displays models of amazing sea forts of Konkan region.
Prachin Konkan Museum has a separate exhibition counter of sawantwadi wooden handicrafts. You can buy memorabilia and souvenirs.

Prachin Konkan Museum, Ratnagiri
PRACHIN KONKAN MUSEUM
Google images
Picture of Prachin Konkan Museum
INSIDE PRACHIN KONKAN MUSEUM
Google images

A very interesting part of the museum is Nakshatra Baug. This is a garden, which has tree for each of the sunsigns.
It's lush green surroundings are a paradise for bird watchers as trees in the museum are home to so many species of the birds from the region. To add to this, there is a small exhibition which tries to display birds and fishes found in the region.

Timings - 8.30 am to 6 pm
Tickets - INR 40 with guide

4. Malgund Village - Just 1 km from Ganpatipule is Malgund village, which is the birth place of famous Marathi poet Keshavasuta. He was born in the year 1866 and is regarded as the one who heralded the dawn of Marathi poetry. Malgung has a monument dedicated to his work. There is a museum also which has detailed information on most of the modern dat Marathi poets. Nirmal Nagari of Her Holiness ShreeMataji Nirmala Devi is also located here.

5. Gaywadi Beach - Situated near Malgund village, it is considered to be the hub of water sports activities. It is again a very clean beach and you can enjoy paragliding, motorboat, scooter and pedal boat rides here along with swimming. Gaywadi is 2.5 km(1.5 mi) from Ganpatipule. Water sports activities are made available between November and May. 

Gaywadi Beach, Ganpatipule
GAYWADI BEACH
Google images

6. Velneshwar Village - Situated north of river Shastri, this village has it's own beautiful and peaceful beach surrounded by coconut palms. You can relax here in tranquility. This quiet village comes alive once every year on the occasion of Mahashivaratri festival, when there is a mega fair and pilgrims in large numbers visit the old Shiva temple. Legend has it that a local fisherman found a Shiva statue in his net while catching fish. He threw it back into the sea. But again he found the same statue in his net a second time and in anger, he banged the statue on the ground. To his surprise, the statue started bleeding. He then kept it in a small temple nearby, which later became Velneshwar Shiva Temple.

How to reach Velneshwar - It is situated at a distance of 41(25 mi) km from Ganpatipule and local transport is easily available from there to reach Velneshwar.

7. Aare Ware Beach - Located at a distance of 8 km(5 mi) from Ganpatipule, this is another pristine beach, which is still unexplored as compared to other beaches. It is a very clean beach with clear water. The green and peaceful surroundings will mesmerize you. There is very less human activity around here, so it is ideal for spending some peaceful and leisure time. But you have to be careful if you plan to swim here as in case of an emergency, you may find it difficult to find help.


AARE WARE BEACH
Google images

WHEN TO VISIT - The most comfortable and pleasant season in Ganpatipule is winter(October to February). Although temperature starts rising in March but doesn't cross 30 degrees Celsius. May is the hottest month with temperature touching 40 degrees celsius. June to September are the monsoon months when rail is regular.

HOW TO REACH GANPATIPULE - 
Air - The nearest airport is Ratnagiri, which is about 30 km(19 mi) from here. You can get taxis from here to reach Ganpatipule. However, this is not a major airport. The nearest major airports are Mumbai(352 km/220 mi) and Pune(335km/210 mi). There are regular flights from all parts of India to these two major cities. From there you can hire a taxi to Ganpatipule.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Ratnagiri, which is about 25 km(15 mi) away. It is well connected to all parts of India. You can hire a taxi from here. State transport buses are also regularly available from here to reach Ganpatipule.

Road - Ganpatipule is well connected by road. It is about 370km(234 mi) from Mumbai and 335km(210 mi) from Pune. You can hire a taxi from these cities to reach there. Alternately, private operators run bus services from these two cities to Ganpatipule.

WHERE TO STAY - The best option to stay in Ganpatipule is the MIDC Beach Resort, run by government of Maharashtra. It's location is ideal, overlooking the beach. And it is reasonably priced too with good amenities. Apart from this, there are other luxury and budget hotels in Ganpatipule, where you can stay.

So if you are looking for a peaceful stay in picturesque surroundings, or want to indulge in some adventure water sports or want to see stunning beaches, head straight to Ganpatipule.