INDIA TRAVEL - ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TREASURES OF UTTARAKHAND - PAURI

Hello friends! Uttarakhand, the north Indian hill state has so much beauty in it that one can go on and on writing about it and still the description would be incomplete. It is not for nothing that it is called Dev bhumi or "Abode of Gods". In Uttarakhand, there are religious places and there are beauty spots blessed with stunning natural beauty. And then there are places which are both, religious as well as naturally beautiful and hold equal attraction for everyone. One such place is Pauri.

Pauri is situated in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand and is a part of Pauri Garhwal district. Situated at an altitude of 1814 m(6500 ft), the place is greatly blessed with natural beauty which includes snow capped Himalayan peaks, dense forests and very beautiful flora and fauna. Pauri is believed to have one of the most beautiful sunsets. The warmth of the local people and their rich culture and traditions make the visit to this place a memorable experience.


Pauri Garhwal
HIMALAYAS FROM PAURI
Image source - tripoto.com
Catch a plane to Dehradun(133 km/84 mi away) or catch a train to Kotdwar(101 km/63 mi away) and hire a taxi from there to reach Puari, enjoying the most scenic views of nature along the way. Pauri is very well connected by road network to other major towns of Uttarakhand like Haridwar and Rishikesh.

The sub-temperate climate of the region makes it suitable to be visited any time of the year. The summers are generally very comfortable. Rainy season brings with it the greenery all around and the colorful flowers bloom to their fullest. Winters bring with them moderate snowfall which makes the place amazingly attractive. So if you are a snow lover, January and February are the months for you to visit Pauri. The beauty of the placed is enhanced by the fact that it has river Ganga flowing on one side and mighty Himalayas standing tall on the other.



Pauri, Uttarakhand
PAURI AFTER RAIN
Image source - euttaranchal.com
You can easily view many top Himalayan peaks from here on a clear day. Peaks like Trishul, Nanda Devi, Hathiparvat, Swargrohini, Kedarnath, Sumeru, Bandarpuunch etc. are clearly visible from here. Due to this, Pauri is a heaven for trekkers. Apart from the peaks, Pauri offers natural streams, gushing rivulets and hills covered with Pine and Oak trees. A few popular treks from here are Tara Kund trek, Binsar Mahadev trek and Dudhatoli trek. All these treks provide breathtaking natural views all around.


Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand
SUNSET VIEW FROM PAURI
Image source - holidify.com
The top five attractions in Pauri, apart from the peaks, natural beauty and trekking are:

1. KANDOLIYA TEMPLE - Located 2 km(1.25 mi) away from Pauri bus stand, this temple holds special importance for people here as it is the temple of the presiding deity of Garhwal, named Kandoliya Devta. This holy shrine is surrounded by dense forest in a peaceful ambiance. People throng the temple throughout the year to seek Kandoliya Devta's blessings. Standing in the temple, you get a beautiful view of the picturesque Pauri town and surrounding mountains and snow covered peaks. There is an annual fair in the temple and people come here to volunteer for various activities like cleanliness drive etc. There is a park adjacent to the temple, which is an ideal spot for picnic in peaceful natural surroundings. There are slides for children too.


KANDOLIYA TEMPLE, Pauri Garhwal
KANDOLIYA TEMPLE
Image source - euttaranchal.com

Kandoliya temple, Pauri, Uttarakhand
KANDOLIYA TEMPLE ENTRANCE
Image source - inspirock.com
2. KYUNKALESHWAR MAHADEV TEMPLE - This is a 8th century temple nestled in Alaknanda valley. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an architecture, similar to Kedarnath temple. This temple is believed to have been built by Shankaracharya in 700 A.D. Statues of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, their sons Ganpati and Kartikey, Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman are situated inside the temple. As much as for it's religious and spiritual value, Kyunkleshwar temple is an attraction due to it's location also. It is situated at an altitude of 1800 m(6000 ft). On one side are the mesmerizing snow capped Himalayan peaks and on the other are the steep rocky treks. It is again at a distance of 2 km from Pauri bus stand and you will have to take an easy trek to reach the temple. Once you cross the woodlands, you will reach a stairway, which will lead you to the entrance of the Kyunkleshwar temple. Get a panoramic view of the surroundings from here. If you are in Pauri, a visit to Krunkleshwar temple is must since it is the biggest devotional place of the region.


Kyunkleshwar Mandir, Pauri
KYUNKLESHWAR TEMPLE
Image source - holidify.com

Kyunkleshwar Mandir, Pauri Garhwal
KYUNKLESHWAR MANDIR
Image source - pauri.nic.in
3. KHIRSU - Located at a distance of 15 km(9.5 mi) from Pauri, this is a quiet village with breathtaking beauty. It is situated at an altitude of 1700 m(5500 ft) and the road from Pauri to Khirsu gives a thrilling experience in trekking. It takes about 50 minutes of trekking from Pauri to reach this picturesque village. Once in Khirsu, you will find yourself among Oak and Deodar trees and Apple orchards, which make this place naturally beautiful. It is home to many species of birds. Imagine standing in the midst of tall trees and Apple orchards and listening to the constant chirping of birds. Khirsu gives you view of major portions of Himalayas and you can see many unseen peaks from here. You can indulge in bird watching, village tourism or nature walks in Khirsu and surrounding villages as well as enjoy the quiet time.


Khirsu Village, Pauri
KHIRSU
Image source - thegirlandhercamera.blogspot.com

Khirsu, Pauri Garhwal
KHIRSU VILLAGE
Image source - tripoto.com
4. CHAUKHMBA VIEW POINT - Located 4 km(2.5 mi) from Pauri is this vantage point which will provide you with the most alluring view of the Himalayas. It is an ideal spot for photography and nature watching. The spot is surrounded by thick Oak and rhododendron forests. You can get a clear view of spellbinding Himalayan glaciers from here. This is the most picture perfect spot in and around Pauri. The beautiful landscape and the variety of flora and fauna found here are a major source of attraction. Strolling through the area you will reach a pond, whose water is much cooler and sweeter then any cold drinks.


CHAUKHMBA VIEW POINT, Garhwal
CHAUKHMBA VIEW POINT
Image source - allseasonz.com

CHAUKHMBA VIEW POINT, Uttarakhand
VIEW FROM CHAUKHMBA VIEW POINT
Image source - ixigo.com
5. TARA KUND - Imagine a lake at 2200 m(7300 ft) above the sea level, surrounded by lush green trees and wildflowers and lying in the lap of Himalayas. Tara Kund is situated in Chariseh Development Area of Pauri Garhwal. It is about 49 km(30 mi) from Pauri out of which 44 km is motorable and you can drive down to Padani. From here, you have to trek for 5 km(3.2 mi). The trek itself is a memorable experience as the surroundings are amazing and it will give you a chance to connect with nature. The lake will mesmerize you with it's ravishing beauty. Located in mystic environs, the place gives a glimpse of rare snow clad Himalayan peaks. There is an ancient temple in the vicinity of the lake and scores of local people come here during teej festival to offer prayers. There is a fresh water pool also nearby to quench your thirst. Overall, the scenic grandeur of the place will definitely leave you spellbound.


Tara Kund, Pauri
TARA KUND
Image source - pauri.nic.in

Tara Kund, Pauri Garhwal
ANOTHER VIEW OF TARA KUND
Image source - touristlocation.com
There are all kinds of accommodations available in Pauri. You can opt for hotels, resort, tents or home stays as per your choice and budget. 

So do not wait. The great Himalyan peaks beckon you. Just go and enjoy the nature in most peaceful and beautiful natural environment.

HAPPY TREVELING!!

INDIA TRAVEL - A LITTLE KNOWN WORLD HERITAGE SITE - CHAMPANER-PAVAGADH ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

Hi guys! I am back with my new post. This time I am going to take you to a place which is a designated UNESCO world heritage site but surprisingly, has been heard of very less. It is a place in Gujarat in western India, which has a big slice of history and boasts of some really incredible historical monuments. I am talking about Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park. 

Located in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is just 47 km(30 mi) from Vadodara(or Baroda). It is a sprawling complex spread over a huge area of 1329 hectares(3280 acres) and a buffer area of 2812 hectares(6950 acres). Starting from the hills of Pavagadh, it spreads right upto the city of Champaner. It's beauty lies in it's landscape which contains both natural as well as man made environs. This heritage site boasts of so many monuments which include archaeological, historical and even living cultural heritage monuments.


Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Vadodara
A MONUMENT IN CHAMPANER-PAVAGADH
Image source - mouthshut.com
The heritage site is full of forts with bastions. And along with this, you will see entrance gates, arches, palaces, mosques, tombs and temples of bygone eras, all at one place. Then there are agriculture structures, residential complexes, water facilities like stepwells and tanks which are many centuries old. These structures are of different times between 8th and 14th century.

The city of Champaner was established during the rule of Vanraj Chavda in 8th century(746 to 806 AD). He named the city after his friend and the architect of the city, Champa. Solanki kings and Khichi Chauhans ruled from Pavagadh hill, where they built fortresses. Pavagadh hill is a 800 m high hill which originated from a volcano and till this day remains a pilgrimage site.


Pavagadh Hill, Gujarat
AERIAL VIEW OF PAVAGADH HILL
Image source - thebetterindia.com
CITADEL is the most attractive place of the site and can easily called it's heart. The mosques here are the most eye catching monuments where architects have beautifully blended Hindu and Islamic designs. Each mosque has it's own uniqueness. The architecture of those times is so impressive that it is difficult to take your eyes off them.

Just outside the eastern entrance of Citadel lies Jama Masjid, which is a huge structure. You are greeted by a beautifully carved entrance porch that leads to a courtyard. The courtyard itself is surrounded by pillared corridor and has a grave of a lesser known saint. Intricate stone carvings adorn the prayer hall which has many domes and latticed windows. There are seven Mihrabs or prayer niches and two tall central minarets, which are visible from a distance. The Kalash, engraved on the Mihrabs provide a glimpse of the Islamic and Hindu blend of architecture.


Jama Masjid, Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
JAMA MASJID
Image source - wikipedia.org

Jama Masjid, Champaner-Pavagadh
ANOTHER VIEW OF JAMA MASJID
Image source - indiaheritagesites.com
About 1.20 km(0.75 mi) south of Citadel lies Nagina Masjid and cenotaph, another architectural marvel. It is built with white stones. The entrance to the mosque has minarets which have very intricate carvings which have floral designs. The structure is again huge and is built on a large high rise plinth. As you enter the mosque, there is a large open courtyard. The main prayer hall is a two storied building with balcony. It has large domes resting on columns and the hall has windows. The columns have artistic carvings and stone pulverization. The mosque also has some other structures and a few step wells can also be seen here. Cenotaph is open from all sides and is situated towards the northeast of the masjid. The whole structure, including the front area and columns are carved beautifully with floral and geometrical designs.


Nagina Masjid, Champaner
NAGINA MASJID
Image source - wikipedia.org
You may also want to see:  CHANDERI - THE LAND OF HISTORY, NATURAL BEAUTY AND SILK
Nagina Masjid, Champaner-Pavagadh
NAGINA MASJID FROM FRONT
Image source - commons.wikimedia.com
Next stop from here is Kalika Mata Mandir, which is situated on top of Pavagadh hill. You can trek, drive or take ropeway to reach Kalika Mata Mandir. The main deity of the temple is Kalika Mata, which has been depicted only as a head in red color and is worshiped in this form only. This heat is called Mukhwato. There are two other deities in the temple. They are Goddess Kali and Bahucharamata. In Gujarat, it is the third of Shaktipeeths. In the front, there is an open chowk. The temple is fortified. The temple remains open from early morning till late evening as there is a large number of devotees who throng the temple. There is a rest house available for pilgrims here called Machi Haveli. The pilgrims have been coming here since hundereds of years, even before Champaner town was established.


Kalika Mata Mandir, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
KALIKA MATA MANDIR
Image source - wikimedia.com
For the more adventurous, you can walk deep into thick jungle to reach Jand Hanuman temple. Locals believe that Pandavas stopped here during their exile and established the statue of Lord Hanuman. It is believed that Bheem created the structure while Arjun produced a well with his arrow, which never dries.


Zand Hanuman Mandir, Champaner-Pavagadh, Gujarat
JAND HANUMAN MANDIR
Image source - inspirock.com

Zand Hanuman Mandir, Champaner-Pavagadh
ANOTHER VIEW OF JAND HANUMAN MANDIR
Image source - travelmyglobe.com
Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary is situated nearby. It is beautiful forest with bamboo and teak trees. You can see the wildlife in it's natural way here. You can find Jackals, Blue Bulls, sloth bears, wild boars and many species of reptiles. If you are lucky, you may spot Leopards too. There are two magnificent water reservoirs in the sanctuary and you can see many migratory birds chirping there.


Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary, Pavagadh, Gujarat
WATER RESERVOIR IN JAMBUGHODA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Image source - champanerheritageresort.com
The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park contains 11 types of buildings which includes temples, mosques, tombs, palaces, granaries, wells, walls and terraces. There are 114 monuments listed here. It is a one of a kind experience which takes you to ancient times and gives you a glimpse of the centuries old traditions, living and most of all the artistic and architectural caliber of those time.

Also read: 6 MOST BEAUTIFUL BUT LESSER KNOWN ROYAL PALACES OF INDIA

So, if you are a history buff or love to adventure or want to travel to a serene place Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is for you. Just go and see the beauty of this little known World Heritage Site.

REACHING THERE:

AIR - Nearest airport is Vadodara, which is 42 km(26 mi) away. You can hire taxis from here.

RAIL - Neaqrest railway station is again Vadodara, which is 48 km(30 mi) away. You can hire taxis or ride a bus to reach Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park.

ROAD - Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is well connected by road and you can easily drive down to this place.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!



INDIA TRAVEL - A LESSER KNOWN BEAUTY OF SIKKIM, A PLACE FOR ALL SEASONS - PELLING

Hi friends! Hope you are all in good spirits. Sikkim, the border state in North East India is a favorite of so many travelers. The capital Gangtok is the most famous and well known place in Sikkim and is always full of travelers from all over India as well as the world. It's natural beauty, picturesque locales and amazing lifestyle of local people make it a major attraction for all the travelers. However, there is more to Sikkim than Gangtok. Away from the hustle bustle of the city, holding it's own beauty and charm with some of the most interesting sites, lies another least known and explored amazing place named Pelling.

Pelling is located at 131 km(82 mi) from state capital Gangtok and is situated at an altitude of 2150 m(7200 ft). It is 10 km(6.3 mi) from the district headquarter of Gyalshing. A small hill town, this place is still unspoiled and unaffected by human invasion and the land around Pelling is still virgin.

Pelling, Sikkim
PELLING
Image source - thehindubusinessline.com
The prime attraction in Pelling is that it offers an unparalleled view of the snow clad peaks of Kanchenjunga and you can easily see the complete Kanchenjunga range from here including peaks like Koktang, Kumbhkaran, Kabru, Pandim etc. You can get the best view of these peaks even from your hotel here. This is the closest you can get to Kanchenjunga range. Pelling also serves as a base for many treks. Also, it is a place which serves as the center point to visit many other amazing places of Sikkim. The land around Pelling is covered with alpine vegetation and so many waterfalls enhance the beauty of hillside.

Pelling, Sikkim, India
AERIAL VIEW OF PELLING
Image source - thegr8wall.wordpress.com
PEMAYANGTSE MONASTERY is one of the oldest and beautiful monasteries here. It was built in the year 1705 qnd is a three storied structure. The meaning of it's name is "perfect sublime lotus". The e to monastery has a great collection of paintings and sculpture and contains statues of saints and Rinpoches. It's third floor has a seven tiered model, made of wood and painted, of the abode of Guru Rimpoche. Every year, a dance called Cham is performed in the months of January and February, in Pemayangtse monastery. It is located hardly one km from Pelling.

Pemayagtse monastery, Sikkim
PEMAYANGTSE MONASTERY
Image source - cedarinndarjeeling.com
SANGA CHOLING MONASTERY is another landmark of Pelling. It is the oldest monastery, built in the year 1697 and is about 3 km(1.9 mi) from the town. The road is not motor able and you will have to walk up to the monastery. It takes around 40 minutes to walk from Pelling to Sanga Choling monastery. Once you reach there, you can have a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga as well as Pelling.

Sanga Choling monastery, Pelling
SANGA CHOLING MONASTERY
Image source - letsseeindia.com
RABDENTSE RUINS is another point of attraction. It used to be the capital of Sikkim kingdom and kings used to rule from this palace till around 1814. The only remains of the palace now are a few semi broken walls. It is located at 2.3 km(1.5 mi) from Pelling. From the entrance, you have to walk for 1 km through a woodland, passing by a large area where birds are kept. This is the most photogenic site in that it gives you very clear and amazing view of the valleys and hills around. It is a photographer's delight.

Rabdentse palace, Sikkim
RABDENTSE PALACE
Image source - wikipedia.org
RIMBI WATERFALLS are situated at 5 km(3.1 mi) from Drap on Khecheopalri route. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sikkim and the oldest in West Sikkim. It was built in the 70s by the last king of Sikkim. A garden named Sewaro Rock Garden has been developed here which comprises pools, pathways, manicured gardens and of course rocks. It is a must see site around Pelling.

Rimbi Falls, Pelling
RIMBI WATERFALLS
Image source - triphills.com
SINGHSHORE BRIDGE is located around 5 km(3.1 mi) from Pelling. It is the highest bridge in Sikkim and second highest in Asia. It is a man made marvel to be admired. Standing in the middle of the bridge and looking at the greenery below, with wind blowing on your face is a great experience. With sound of water splashing in the river as well as waterfalls, it becomes an unforgettable experience. With a height of over 100 m, it will give you unbelievable thrill.

Singhshore bridge, Sikkim
SINGHSHORE BRIDGE
Image source - musafirnamah.com

Singhshore, Pelling
ANOTHER VIEW OF SINGHSHORE BRIDGE
Image source - maashreholidays.in
 DARAP VILLAGE is located 8 km(5 mi) away from Pelling. A small and quiet village, it holds breathtaking scenic beauty. Just stay in any of the beautiful homestays here to experience the village life. Nestled in the majestic Himalayan range, this village offers calm and natural retreat from the noisy city life. You can become a part of the local Limboo community during your stay here. Process cheese in old way or churn butter with them. Take a stroll on the river side in the cool climes. Or participate in the routine activities of the local villagers. Enjoy the homemade local cuisine. And soak in the beauty of nature lying around this picturesque village. A homestay in Darap village can cost anything between 500-3000 INR.

Darap Village, Pelling
DARAP VILLAGE
Image source - hellotravel.com
Also see: INDIA TRAVEL - EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SHILLONG

There are many more beautiful places, including monasteries, waterfalls etc. to rejuvenate you. Also, there are many adventure activities also like trekking, Jungle walk, bird watching and biking that you can indulge in.

REACHING PELLING

AIR - The nearest airport is Bagdogra, which is around 135 km(85 mi) away and it takes about 4-5 hrs to reach Pelling from here. You can hire a taxi or bus from here.

RAIL - The nearest railway station is Jalpaigudi, which is well connected to all the major cities of the country and is 140 km(88 mi) away. You can get buses as well as taxis from here to reach Pelling.

ROAD - Pelling is well connected to other cities of Sikkim by road. State run buses are available to travel from one place to another. Some private buses and taxis also ply between other cities of the state as well as other neighboring states.

STAYING IN PELLING - There are many good hotels in Pelling where you can stay as per your budget. Apart from this, there are guest houses and resorts also which can cater to your taste and choice.

Pelling is fast becoming a tourist attraction because of it's natural beauty and the fact that it offers the closest view to the world's third largest peak Mt. Kanchenjunga. You can visit this place at anytime of the year as the weather remains good throughout. Winters can become harsh but if you love snowfall, December and January are the months for you. It is a place for all kinds of travelers.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your backpack and head straight to Pelling for an unforgettable experience.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!