INDIA TRAVEL - 7 INDIAN TRAVEL DESTINATIONS YOU SHOULD NOT MISS

Summers are upon us and you must have started planning for vacation, certainly in your mind if not practically. India has plenty of famous summer destinations and every year so many people throng all the famous hill stations in the country. Every well known hill station becomes very crowded with summer rush. I will take you to some lesser known and explored places which are more beautiful and where you can enjoy cool climes and enchanting locales.

1. KASOL - It is a hamlet located between Bhuntar and Manikaran in Parvati Valley in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at a height of 1580 m(app. 5200 ft) from sea level. Kasol is 5km (3 mi) from Manikaran and 31.2 km (20 mi) from Bhuntar. It's picturesque surroundings and plenty of trekking trails make it a favorite spot of backpackers. It serves as base camp for treks of Kheerganga and Malana. Kasol has good weather around the year and gets snowfall during the months of October to March.
Kasol Camping
CAMPING IN KASOL
Courtesy google images


View of Kasol
BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF KASOL
Courtesy google images 
PLACES TO SEE IN KASOL -

1. Kheerganga Trek - At the extreme end of Parvati river lies the Kheerganga at a height of 3050m (app. 10000ft). It has a small temple of Lord Shiva along with a hot water spring. It also has a bathing tank filled with hot water from spring. Here you can take bath. Imagine taking hot water bath in the midst of snow all around. Experience could be exhilarating. It is considered a holy place.

2. Parvati River -  Go to river bank and laze around in the picturesque environs. You have option of indulging in fishing or going for river rafting.

3. Tosh - Tosh is a village in Kasol approachable by treacherous roads. It's hippie culture makes it special. It's beauty is further enhanced by magnificent architecture o iaf it's wooden houses and hues of bright colors on them.

4. Malana - It is located at 8 km from Kasol. If you are adventure minded, this is the place for you. With trekking avenues, you can also go sight seeing. You can interact with locales and understand their interesting  traditions and customs. 

5. Manikaran Gurudwara - A place considered holy by both Hindus as well as Sikhs equally, it is just 15 min. drive from Kasol. It is situated on the bank of river Parvati. Lot of people visit this place for pilgrimage. Manikaran Gurudwara has hot water springs. People believe that bathing in these hot water springs cures you of many illnesses.

6. Rasol - This is again a very small village nearby. It is sparsely populated with hardly 70-80 houses here. It is a very beautiful and quiet place situated at a height of 3100 m(10000 ft). This village has it's own unique lifestyle. Every second person of the village can be seen spinning wool. You can understand the wool spinning process besides learning their lifestyle.

How to reach Kasol - Kasol is well connected by air and road. Nearest airport is Bhuntar, which is 31 km from Kasol From Bhuntar you can hire taxis to reach Kasol. All buses going to Manali from Delhi pass through Bhuntar. There are volvo luxury and ordinary buses run by govt. You can get down at Bhuntar and then take another bus or taxi to Kasol. It is not well connected by rail network due to it's high altitude. The nearest rail station Pathankot is 150 km(94 mi) from where you can hire taxi to reach Kasol.

2. LANDSDOWNE - Located in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, Landstowne is a cantonment town at a height of 1706 m(app 5500 ft). It is 250 km(155 mi) from Delhi and 45 km(28 mi) from Kotdwar. British developed this town to train new recruits to Garhwal Rifles unit of army. Nowadays, it serves as Command Office of Garhwal Rifles.
It is again a quintessentially quiet town, away from the hustle bustle of city life. Ride from Kotdwar to this place is very steep but surroundings are very picturesque. Landsdowne has not spoiled by human activities yet and retains it's uniqueness and beauty with lush green surroundings.


Amazing Lansdowne
AMAZING VIEW OF LANSDOWNE
Courtesy google images


View of Lansdowne
LANSDOWNE
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN LANSDOWNE - 

1. Bhulla Lake - This lake is maintained by army. It is a must see for it's very serene and tranquil atmosphere. You will simply love the quietness around and would soak in the serenity of the place.

2. Jugle Safari - You can go for a jungle safari. This is organized by the local tour operators. You can spot many Himalayan wild animals during this safari. 

3. Tarkeshwar Temple - This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated at a height of 2092 m (6500 ft), it is one of the ancient temples here. Mahashivratri  festival is celebrated with great fervor here.

4. Bhim Pakora - Trek for about 2 kn downhill from Lansdowne and you will reach a unique spot named Bhim Pakora. Uniqueness of this spot lies in two big stones atop each other by their edge. In spite of resting on their edge, none of the stones ever falls down. 

5. Darwan Singh Regimental Museum - This is a defense museum. Named after Victoria cross holder Darwan Singh, this is a two story building near parade ground. It was opened in the year 1923. It has a large collection of arms, uniforms and photographs of Garhwal Rifles.

6. Tip N Top - Also known as Tiffin top, this is a small hilltop view point situated at a height of 1700m(5200 ft). Located at 1.5 km from the town, it is the highest point of the town and provides breathtaking view of the city and surrounding forest. You can also see Garhwal hills from here with a backdrop of Himalayan ranges.

How to reach Lansdowne - Lansdowne is easily reachable from all major cities of India. Nearest airport is Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun, which is 150 km(94 mi) away. You can hire a taxi from there. The nearest railway station is Kotdwar, which is 41 km(26 mi) away. It is well connected to all the major cities. From Kotdwar, taxis and buses are available for Lansdowne. Buses are available from Delhi to Kotdwar also.

3. CHAIL - Another beautiful but very less explored hill station in Himachal Pradesh is Chail. Unspoilt by human invasion, Chail offers a perfect getaway from the madness of city life. It has an altitude of 2250 m(7380 ft) and is located 44 km(27 mi) from it's more famous sibling, Shimla. This place boasts of world's highest cricket ground. Chail will cast a spell on you with snow capped peaks of Shivalik range and with it's orchards and sylven pine trees. This place is best for hikers.



Cricket ground in Chail
CHAIL CRICKET GROUND
Courtesy google images
Image of Chail
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF CHAIL
Courtesy google images
PLACES TO SEE IN CHAIL -

1. Chail Palace - Spread over an area of 75 acres, this palace was built by Maharaja of Patiala in 1891. It will mesmerize you with it's architectural splendor. Inside the palace, there is a tennis court and a badminton court. It also has an orchard, log cottages. Besides these, it has elegant lawns and a children's park too. There is a thick forest around palace. You can walk through it or you can try trekking also. Chail palace has been converted to a heritage hotel. There is an entry fee of Rs 100/- to visit the palace. Timings to visit are 10 am to 10 pm.


2. Rashtriya Military School - This is a military training school, where approximately 300 cadets are trained at any given time, to become future leaders.


3. Cricket Ground - As I said earlier, this is world's highest cricket ground at an altitude of 2444 m(8018 ft). It is surrounded by thick deodar forest. This ground is maintained by army and is well maintained. It was built in the year 1893. It serves as a play ground for Chail Military School. This ground is used as polo ground during the school vacations. There is a basketball court too. It is also used to play football with goal posts on both sides. Army has built a tree house here on an ancient tree.


4. Chail Gurudwara - After building Chail palace, Gurudwara was the first building built by Maharaja of Patiala. It was completed in the year 1907 and is built in western style. The main attraction here is the 6.7 m(22 ft) high wooden roof. It's sheer artistry takes your breath away.


5. Kali ka Tibba - This is a pilgrimage site and attracts lot of people from all over the world. It is also known as Kali Devi Temple. You get an amazing view of Shivalik ranges from the top here.


6. Chail Sanctuary - Spread over a vast area of 10854 hectares, this sanctuary came into being in the year 1976. It boasts of wild animals like ghoral, sambhar, red jungle fowl, kakkar and khalij and cheer pheasants. Machans(high view posts) have been built here, from where you can observe the wild life.


How to Reach Chail - Nearest airport from Chail is Shimla, which is 45 km(27 mi) away. From there you can hire a taxi. The nearest rail station is Kalka, which is 60 km(38 mi) away Kalka is well connected to all the major cities of India by train. From Kalka, you can either hire a taxi or you can get on a train to Kandaghat on meter gauge. From Kandaghat again you have to hire a taxi for about 30 km travel. Buses are available from Chandigarh and Shimla for Chail.


4. AULI - Also known as Auli Bugyal in Garhwali, meaning meadows, this beauty is situated at an altitude of 2500m(8200 ft) to 3050 m(10010 ft). It is the ski destination of India. Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, it is on the way to Badrinath, the holy pilgrimage site of Hindus. Auli gives a panoramic view of Himalayan peaks and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests. For skiing purpose, slopes have been built intentionally, both for professionals as well as novices. Apart from a 4 km(2.5 mi) long cable car and a cable chair it also has a ski lift. It has well maintained trekking routes also.

Auli skiing
SKIING IN AULI
Courtesy google images



Auli
SNOW COVERED AULI
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN AULI -


1. Gurso Bugyal - At an altitude of 3056 m (10026 ft), it is a trekkers' delight. You will reach here after a 3 km trek from Auli. And from here, you get a stunning view of some of the highest peaks of Himalayas, namely Nanda Devi, Trishul and Drone.


2. Kwani Bugyal - Again a trekker's dream, it is located 12 km (almost 8 mi) from Gurso Bugyal. It is situated at an elevation of 3380 m(11089 ft). It is best to visit during June to September.


 togedr.com provide excellent options and best deals.

for trekking, camping and many other outdoor activities.  

3. View Points - From this point, you get a panoramic view of Nanda Devi peak. There is a small Hanuman temple also. It is believed that Lord Hanuman took rest here while going to procure sanjivani herb for Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram. There is an artificial lake to, believed to be the highest man made lake. And then there is cable car, which provides stunning view of the picturesque surroundings.


4. Chenab Lake - This is one of the least known and visited spots. It's virgin beauty is a thing to cherish. It's calm and serene atmosphere makes it enchanting for the visitors.


5. Trishul Peak - Trishul Peak is formed by three Himalayan mountains in western Kumaun region. It has an altitude of 7120 m (23360 ft). There is a ring of peaks enclosing Nanda Devi sanctuary. Trishul Peak forms the southwest end of this ring. It's main peak Trishul 1 became the first peak over 7000 m to be climbed by man.


HOW TO REACH AULI - The nearest airport to Auli is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, which is 149 km(93 mi) away. The nearest railway station is Haridwar, which is 273 km(170 mi) away. From Dehradun and Haridwar, you can hire a cab or get on to a bus for Auli. Another alternative is to travel to Joshimath by bus or cab and then get on to the second longest cable car in India. It is 16 km(10 mi) long and takes about 22 minutes to reach Auli. The best part of travelling by cable car is the picturesque and breathtaking views you get around and moreover it reaches faster than bus or cab.


5. BINSAR - About 95 km(60 mi) from Nainital is a dream destination named Binsar. Nestled in beautiful Himalayas, at an altitude of 2420 m(7940 ft), it provides an ideal mountain retreat. It is surrounded by Alpine forests and rhododendron trees. It was empire of Chand king in the 7th century. If you are looking for solitude and peace, this is the place for you. It is a paradise for trekkers also, what with many trekking trails. And it is a great place for a romantic holiday also. Binsar has a wildlife and bird sanctuary, with a huge variety of flora and fauna. All in all, it is good for solitude, adventure or romantic getaway seeking people.




Calm Binsar
CALM BINSAR
Courtesy google images
Image of Binsar
PICTURESQUE BINSAR
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN BINSAR

1. Wildlife Sanctuary - Binsar is essentially a forest region and this wildlife sanctuary was established here in the year 1988, primarily to protect broad leaved oak trees. For wildlife and nature lovers as well as adventure seekers, this place is a paradise. It is home to 200 species of birds and about 100 species of wild animals and plants. One thing unique to this sanctuary is that you don't get a vehicle to travel inside the sanctuary. You have to walk around to see the place. But there is a government rest house beside a few private properties, inside the complex where you can stay. It is strongly recommended to have a guided tour of the sanctuary, which is organized by the local tour operators.


2. Zero Point -  Walk for around 1.5 km inside the wildlife sanctuary and you reach zero point. From here you can see upto 300 km(190 mi). You can get an excellent view of Kedarnath, Nanda Devi, Trishul peaks and Shivling.


3. Bineswar Temple - This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. It was built in the 16th century and it's architectural grandeur will stun you.


4. Golu Devta Temple - Golu Devta is another name for Lord Shiva. It was built during Chand regime in the 7th century. Devotees hang bells here as offerings and you can here soft tinkles of bells coming from the temple. Therefore, it is also called the temple of a thousand bells.


How to reach Binsar - Nearest airport to Binsar is Pantnagar, which is 152 km(95 mi mi) away. You can hire taxis from there. Pantnagar is connected to Delhi by daily flights. Nearest railway station is Kathgodam, which is 119 km(74 mi) away. Kathgodam is very well connected to other major stations of the country. Again, taxis are available from Kathgodam. Binsar is very well connected by road to all the major cities of Uttarakhand.



6. DHANAULTI - Between two more famous hill stations, Mussourie and Chamba lies this beautiful Dhanaulti in the state of Uttarakhand. It is 24 km(15 mi) from Mussourie and 31 km(19 mi) from Chamba. Surrounded by alpine forests of Deodar, Rhododendron and Oak trees, it is a quiet place. It's pristine beauty will take your breath away.

Dhanaulti snow

SNOW COVERED ROAD IN DHANAULTI
Courtesy google images



Image of Dhanaulti
GREENERY IN DHANAULTI
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN DHANAULTI

1. Surkanda Devi Temple - It is a part of Devi Darshan triangle. This triangle provides trekking opportunity around Dhanaulti in Surkanda Devi, Chandrabadni and Kunjupuri. It is situated at 8 km from Dhanaulti towards Chamba. This place is also famous for it's festival Ganga Dussehra during autumn.


2. Himalayan Weavers - On way to Dhanaulti from Mussourie, you will see Himalayan weavers. They produce hand woven shawls, stoles and scarves of wool, eri silk and pashmina. You can buy this stuff from here. At the same time you can see the process also. It is open upto 4.30 pm. It is 8 km from Mussourie towards Dhanaulti.


3. Dashavtar Temple - Built during Gupta empire, this is a popular place in Dhanaulti. This temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. It was earlier known as Panchayatan Temple. Side walls of temple have carved inscriptions of vaishnava mythology and terraced basement has beautifully sculpted panels.


4. Eco Parks - Named Amber and Dhara, two eco parks are maintained by the forest department. These provide you an opportunity for casual strolls in the midst of Deodar and Cedar trees. There is ample open space for children to play. You can indulge in small hikes also. Families also can have fun in the large open places. These parks are open from 6am to 6pm daily. There is an entry fee of Rs 25 per adult and Rs 10 per child.


5. Barchipani and Joranda Falls - Originating from Budhabalanga river, water falls down at very high speed from here. Both these falls have great height. While Joranda is at 150 m, Barchipani is at 400m height.


6. Camp Thangdhar - Campers and nature enthusiasts will find this camping retreat very exciting. Equipped with comfortable safari tents and modern amenities, it provides many outdoor activities options. Check in and checkout timings are 9am.


7. Dhanaulti Adventure Park - Lush green meadows, towering trees and stunning view of Himalayas form this adventure park. It is located on Orchard road and is an ideal getaway from hustle bustle of city life. From here, there are trekking options to Top Niba and Sarkanda Devi. Another option available here is mountain biking.


8. Aaloo Khet - Or potato farm is a government farm. You can see large stretches of potatoes farmed here and get first hand knowledge of potato farming. Also, it has a sunrise view point. This farm is open from 9am to 6 pm.


How to reach Dhanaulti - Nearest airport is Jolly Grant at Dehradun, which is 95 km(60 mi) away. Flights from all the major cities land here. Nearest railway station is also Dehradun, which is well connected to all the major cities. From here you can hire taxi to Dhanaulti. From Delhi, Dhanulti is 325 km and is 8-9 hrs drive.


7. PALAMPUR - Situated in Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh, it is known as the tea capital of northwest India. Nestled in the lap of Dhauladar ranges, it is surrounded by pine forests. You will find numerous streams of water falling from mountains to plains. Palampur draws it's name from a local word Palum, which means lot of water. It has an altitude of 1470 m(5000 ft) and the highest point here is Birni Mata Temple, which is at a height of 2170m (7200 ft). Greenery all around and lot of water streams give it a distinctive look. You can see Victorian style mansions and castles in Palampur town.




Image of Palampur
LUSH GREEN IN PALAMPUR
Courtesy google images
Palampur tea garden
TEA GARDEN OF PALAMPUR
Courtesy google images
PLACES TO SEE IN PALAMPUR

1. Tea Gardens - Large stretches of lush green tea gardens are the primary attraction here. Divine fragrance of tea leaves transports you to a dream world. These tea gardens have been here since 19th century and tea produces here is known as Kangra tea. You can see the tea leave pluckers working in the gardens and interact with them. Beside that, you can gain complete knowledge of tea making process, right from plucking of leaves. You can also visit Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory Limited downhill.


2. Neugal Khad - It is chiefly a picnic spot for family. It is 2 km from Palampur town. The natural beauty around gives a scenic view. There is a government cafe also here, named Neugal cafe.


3. Toshi Jong Monastery - Besides being a place of worship of Buddhists, this place also serves as home for many Tibetan refugees. It has a main shrine, a college for freshers and a Tibetan restaurant. It is a very serene place. You can get Tibetan artifacts as souvenirs from the crafts museum inside the monastery.


4. Saurabh Van Vihar - Built in memory of Kargil war martyr, Saurabh Kalia, it is a nature park on the banks of snow covered Neugal Khad in Kwat village. Located 4 km(2.5 mi) away from Palampur town, it is spread over 13 km. It houses large species of birds and wide variety of plants and trees. It provides breathtaking view of Dhauladar ranges. You can enjoy boating here along with bird watching and bouldering.


5. Andretta Pottery - Started by Mansimran Singh in 1983, it was established to teach clay pottery and designing for a fee. See the pottery making here.


6. Baijnath Temple - This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is one of the most beautiful temples of Kangra valley. It was built by two local merchants Ayuka and Manyuka in 1204 AD. It has splendid architectural design which resembles architecture of Jagannath temple of Puri. Legend has it that demon king Ravan worshiped Lord Shiva  here and got immortality as a boon from him. It's architectural beauty and religious significance make it a must see place. Here Lord Shiva is worshiped as God of healing. It is believed that water here has potential to cure many diseases. It is one of very few temples where both Lord Shiva and Ravan are worshiped. Visit this place for it's architectural marvel.


How to reach Palampur - Nearest airport is Gaggal in Dharamshala, which is 25 km(15 mi) from here or Bhuntar in Kullu, which is 58 km (36 mi) away. You can get taxis from both these places. Nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is 83 km(53 mi) away. Again, taxis are available from there. Regular buses are also available from all major cities of Himachal Pradesh. Palampur is 489 km(302 mi) from Delhi.


WHERE TO STAY - All the above places have good hotels to stay. You can have both budget as well as luxury hotels. Just checkout FABHOTELS for best hotel deals.


So pack your bags and get ready to view these enchanting places.


HAPPY TRAVELING!!


INDIA TRAVEL - MAHESHWAR - THE TEMPLE CITY OF MADHYA PRADESH

Hello friends! I am back with my new post. I am going to talk about a beautiful city on the banks of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is called Maheshwar. This name itself is made of two different words. Maha and Eshwar. Maha is great and Eshwar is God. Means Great God. Maheshwar is one of the many names given to Lord Shiva.

Maheshwar is a town in the Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh state of India. Situated 91 km(57 mi) from the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh(MP), Indore, it is 13 km(8 mi) east of Agra-Mumbai highway called National Highway-3. It is located on the north bank of river Narmada. This is the place for both pilgrims as well as tourists. The beauty of Maratha architecture of that time, carved on different temples and forts is breathtaking and one can go on admiring them endlessly.

HISTORY OF MAHESHWAR - Up till 6th Jan'1818, it used to be the capital of Malwa during the rule of Maratha Holkar. Thereafter, Malhar Rao Holkar shifted the capital to Indore. Traditionally, Maheshwar has been an epicenter of handloom weaving. Since 5th century, it has been famous for weaving India's finest handloom fabrics. Maheshwari saree, weaved by handloom weavers here is very famous. Fabrics for other cloths are also weaved here. Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar was the most powerful female ruler of the Holkar dynasty and she built a palace for herself here (more of it later).

BOLLYWOOD CONNECTION - Maheshwar has a very old connection with Bollywood. Many Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and other language movies have been shot here. The latest being Akshay Kumar starrer Padman.

WHAT TO SEE - There are numbers of temples and forts with stunning artistry and architecture in Maheshwar. There are around 100 temples, mostly situated on the right bank of Narmada river near Maheshwar ghat, each having it's own unique style and telling the history of Maheshwar. Most of them are situated in the vicinity of Rani Ahilya Bai fort. Some of them are Sahastrarjun temple, Raj Rajeshwar Mandir, Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Chaturbhuj Narayan Mandir, Ahilya Mata's chhatris, Chintamani Ganapati Mandir, Gobar Ganesh Mandir, Narsingh Mandir, Anant Narayan MandirKhedapati Hanuman, Ram and Krishna Mandir, Banke Bihari Mandir, Bhawani Mata Mandir and Pandrinath Mandir. A small island in Narmada river has Baneshwar Mandir . Another prominent temple Jaleshwar Mandir is a little far from here. I have tried to include details of some prominent ones here.

Jaleshwar Mandir - It is Lord Shiva temple. Lord Shiva is the third God in Hindu holy trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Shiva has many forms. He is kind hearted and benevolent on one side but becomes fearsome on the other. But all in all he is considered invincible and has no limits. This temple has been built to honor his these qualities.

Pandrinath Mandir - Located in the heart of the city, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the protector of the universe. It is believed that Lord Krishna incarnated on the 8th day of Amavasya(dark fortnight) in the month of shravana, considered holy by hindus, when Dwapar yuga(era) ended. Pandrinath is another name of Lord Krishna. This temple is a marvel of architectural. Particularly on the doors of the temple, you can see complicated artistry done beautifully.

Ahilyeshwar Mandir - This is again a Lord Shiva temple. But it also has a shrine of Lord Rama. You can see intricate designs and artistry bearing testimony to Marathi architecture in this temple. It has a very calm and soothing atmosphere and you must visit this temple after a busy day to calm your nerves. Here, aartis take place twice a day. Timings are 8 am and 6 pm. It is just 1 km from the center of the city.

Omkareshwar Mandir - Two sacred rivers, Narmada and Kaveri join here and this temple is situated at their confluence. That's the reason it is regarded as the most pristine temple in Maheshwar. Legend has it that once Danavas(demons) had defeated Devtas(Deities) in war. Lord Shiva then took the form of Omkareshwar to defeat Danavas. It is situated on an island named Mandhata, which is 59 km(37 mi) from the city. This island is in the shape of Om.

Raj Rajeshwara Mandir - Again a temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is very close to Ahilyeshwar temple in the center of the city. This temple has 11 akhand jyoti deepak or eternal light lamps which are considered very sacred. Devotees offer ghee as offering, which is used to light these lamps. You will find more rich and intricate architecture in Raj Rajeshwara temple.

Ek Mukhi Datta Mandir - Also called Shiva Datta Dham and built on 30 acres area, this is a newely constructed temple in Sahastradhara on the bank of Narmada river. Sahstradhara means 100 streams and it is so called because at this point river Narmada breaks into many small streams and flows forcefully. The main attractions in this temple are very beautiful idols of Lord Ek Mukhi Datta, Maa Narmada and Lord Ganesha. An adventure water sports center is also supposed to come up here.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN MAHESHWAR - 

Ahilyabai Fort or Holkar Fort and Palace - The most powerful female ruler of Holkars lived here and she also used it as her administrative headquarter during her rule. Situated just 1 km from the city center, this structural marvel will transport you to the ancient times. This palace is an example of the prime of Maratha architecture. Currently it is being used as a guest house. It also houses weavers cooperative society in it's premises.

A view of Ahilya Bai Fort at Maheshwar
AHILYA BAI PALACE

Narmada Ghat - Built on the bank of Narmada river, it is around 1 km from the center of the city. Ghat is a flight of steps leading down to the river. Narmada ghat has lush green surroundings. This is one of the many places constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai. It is a wonderful spot for a picnic. Devotees come here to take bath in the holy river.

Narmada Ghat at Maheshwar
NARMADA GHAT

Rajwada - This architectural marvel was again constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai. But apart from amazing Maratha architecture, it also has French and Mughal inspired designing trends. A tall statue of Rani Ahilya Bai, right at the entrance is a major attraction in Rajwada. It is located just 1 km from the center of the city.


Rajwada at Maheshwar
RAJWADA

Rehwa Society - This is heaven for shoppers. Here you will find whole variety of hand woven Maheshwari sarees. This society was found about 250 yrs ago by Rani Ahilya Bai.

MAJOR FESTIVALS - There are some festivals which are celebrated with a lot of devotion and excitement in Maheshwar. Major among them are Nag Panchami, Gudi Padava, Teej(onset of Hindu new year).

Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra - Swadhyay Bhavan Ashram located in Mahalakshmi Nagar organises a Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra ( Chariot rally) every year. It is held on the Sunday just preceding Makar Sakranti( that is the Sunday just before Sun is about to enter Capricorn) which culminates on the bank of river Narmada. First of it's kind in the world, it is held for the welfare of humanity.

Mahashivaratri - Considered to be the most sacred day in Hindu mythology, this is believed to be the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Shiva ling is bathed with milk, honey, curd and sugar etc. It is believed that we are freed of our past sins by Lord Shiva by worshiping him. It is considered a very significant day for women, both married as well as unmaried, who observe fast to please Parvati. They believe that Maa Parvati will bless married women with a long and prosperous married life and unmarried women would be blessed with a husband like Lord Shiva who they consider as an example of ideal husband.

HOW TO REACH - Maheshwar can be reached easily by air, rail and road.

Air - The nearest airport is Indore, which is about 91 kms(57 mi) from here. All the major cities of India are connected to Indore airport. From here you can hire taxis to reach Maheshwar.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Barwah, which is about 39 km(25 mi) from Maheshwar. Again, you can hire taxis from here. But this is not a major rail station, so all trains do not stop here. The nearest major rail stations are Indore and Khandwa. Khandwa is 118 km(74 mi) from Maheshwar. Again, you can hire taxi from there.

Road - It is well connected by road to all the major cities of Madhya Pradesh. You will easily get taxis from there to this place. State run buses are also available from Indore, Barwah and Khandwa to reach Maheshwar.

WHERE TO STAY - There are many hotels in Maheshwar to suit all budgets and you can choose one as per your requirement. FabHotels provide excellent options for budget hotels.

The best time to visit Maheshwar is October to March. After March, weather becomes hot and it becomes a little uncomfortable to roam around in the city.






INDIA TRAVEL - A MUGHAL ERA MARVEL - YADAVINDRA (PINJORE) GARDENS

Hello friends! Hope you are having a good time traveling and exploring. Today I am going to serve a slice of history.

India's most beautiful city, Chandigarh has a number of tourist attractions in and around it. But there is none to beat the historical Yadavindra Gardens, popularly known as Pinjore Gardens for their splendor, architecture, greenery and enchanting scenery.

HISTORY - It was built as Mughal Gardens for Aurangzeb, as a summer retreat by his foster brother and architect Muzaffar Hussain (also known as Fidai Khan) in the 17th century in the foothills of mighty Himalayas. Later mughals abandoned this garden and it came under the rulers of Patiala dynasty in the 19th century. They used the terraces of the garden to grow roses for making fragrances/perfumes for the Maharaja. Later Maharaja Yadavindra Singh restored it to it's erstwhile glory and so it was renamed after him as Yadavindra Gardens.

Yadavindra gardens
PINJORE GARDENS
LOCATION - Yadavindra or Pinjore Gardens are located on Ambala Shimla road on highway no. 21,  in Pinjore city of the Panchkula district of Haryana state. It is near to 8th century Bhima Devi Temple. It is just 22 km(14 mi) from the city of Chandigarh and 255 km(158 mi) from Delhi, the capital of India. And the best part is it is just 5 km(3 mi) from world heritage Kalka - Shimla railway. It is very easy to travel to this place from Delhi as well as Chandigarh. It has been used for shooting many Bollywood films.

ARCHITECTURE - Yadavindra garden has a layout in the shape of seven terraces. All at different levels. The main gate of the gardens opens in the highest terrace. Spread over an area of 100 acres, it has a central waterway with walkways on both sides of the waterway, which is in a channel shape. Both sides are covered by greenery and flowers and are provided shades by trees. The sloping ground has water fountains, which are located inside the waterway. Water channel runs along the entire length of the garden. All these give added charm and elegance to the gardens.

A palace called Sheesh Mahal(palace of glass) is built on the highest terrace. You can see the water channel from the glass floor of this palace. It has bedrooms and double bathroom. It is said that ladies of Patiala royal family used to stay in sheesh mahal during their sojourn here. It is adjoined by Hawa Mahal(airy palace), a romantic place.

Yadavindra gardens waterway
WATERWAY AT PINJORE GARDENS
Next terrace has another palace called Rang Mahal(palace of colors). It boasts of an arched doorway. 
In the third terrace you will see cypress trees and flower beds and further down it leads to dense groves of fruit trees.
Next terrace has another palace called Jal Mahal (water palace). A square fountain bed and a platform for relaxing are situated here. It also has a bedroom and a bathroom. Maharajas of Patiala dynasty used to stay here. This terrace provides a panoramic view of the Pinjore gardens along with orchid and beautiful mountains. Full moon nights here will leave you spellbound.
Next terrace is again full of fountains and tree groves.
The lowest terrace, which is designed as a disc, is provided with an open air theater.

PINJORE GARDEN SITE MUSEUM - The garden and Bhima Devi Temple are in an open air museum complex and are joined by pathways, which are well drained to remove any waterlogging. In the evenings, whole complex is very well illuminated.

OTHER ACTIVITIES AT YADAVINDRA(PINJORE) GARDENS :

1. Pinjore Baisakhi Fastival - Baisakhi is the harvest festival celebrated in North India, particularly in the states of Haryana and Punjab and union territory of Chandigarh. It is usually celebrated in the second week of April. In Pinjore gardens there is a two day festival during this time. You can see live folk arts and cultural festivals. These are spiced up with regional gourmet foods and traditional handlooms.

Pinjore gardens near Chandigarh
A PANORAMIC VIEW OF PINJORE GARDENS
2. Pinjore Mango Fair - This is again a two day affair, held during second weekend of July every year. This summer mango festival helps in promoting India as the largest producer of mangoes. People from as far as Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and also from Haryana, Punjab , Himachal Pradesh come here to participate with their produce. There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes on display and they delight everyone with their fragrance, taste and shape. There are anumber of activities during this festival which include mangoes competition, cultural programmes and a crafts bazar. There is also a cart competition for school students. And of course there is a food court also to satisfy your appetite. This festival receives almost 4000 entries every year, out of which around 3500 are for varieties of mangoes and rest are for mango products like pickles, jams, chutneys, squashes and juices etc. Various awards are given to the winners like Haryana Kesari(champion of Haryana), Hind Kesri(champion of India) and Aam Kesri( champion of mangoes for foreign participants). They are provided with shields and certificates. From this year i.e. 2018, Pinjore mango festival has been accorded international status.

3. Pinjore Heritage Festival - This is again a two day festival, celebrated in the last week of December every year. It is held to showcase and celebrate the cultural heritage of Haryana. You can see cultural festivals, music and dance competitions and crafts bazar displaying local crafts. Then there is food court and evening performances by various artistes. Whole Yadavindra garden is decorated with cutouts and lights. Gates are decorated and it is very well illuminated at night.


Illumination at Yadavindra gardens
AN ILLUMINATED PINJORE GARDEN
HOW TO REACH - Pinjore gardens are very easily accessible from all parts of India, particularly from Delhi and Chandigarh. It is well connected by road, rail and air. Nearest airports are Chandigarh and Delhi. Nearest rail station is Kalka. You will easily get taxis from Delhi as well as Chandigarh for Pinjore. Buses are also available to reach Pinjore.

WHERE TO STAY - There are number of hotels in Chandigarh and Panchkula to suit every budget.

So next time you visit Delhi or Chandigarh, don't miss a visit to Pinjore Gardens.

Cheeeers! Happy traveling!!




INDIA TRAVEL - SPITI VALLEY(THE HIDDEN PARADISE) - EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING

Hello Friends! I hope you must have heard about Spiti Valley. This is a hidden paradise in the lap of great Himalayas, with virgin beauty and natural splendor. Surrounded by huge mountains on all sides, it's rustic charm would take your breath away. Add to it adventure options, and you have a dream vacation waiting for you.

ABOUT SPITI VALLEY -  This is basically a desert valley located at a very high altitude in Himalayas, in Himachal Pradesh state of India. Word Spiti means "middle land" and it has been given this name because it separates India from Tibet. Located at a height of 12500 ft(3800 m), it is a part of Lahaul and Spiti district, with it's headquarter at Kaza, which is around 5.5 kms(3.4mi) from Spiti. Kaza is located on the banks of the river by the same name i.e. Spiti river. The Spiti river originates from Kunzum range and it's tributaries are Tegpo and Kabzian. After travelling for about 150 kms(94 mi), it meets river Satluj in Kinnaur.

Spiti valley and it's surrounding areas are very sparsely populated and infact have the least population in India. The local people here follow Vajrayana Buddhism and the valley serves as a research and cultural centre for Buddhism. It has the oldest Buddhist monasteries which include Tabo monastery, which is favorite of the Dalai Lama. A few surviving Bachen Lamas of Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism can be found in the Pin valley nearby.
Since it is a mountain desert, there is scarcely any vegetation. However, fluttering of prayer flags and monks in their robes will mesmerize you. You will find similarities with Tibet. The crystal clear rivers, snow capped hills, glaciers, architecture of ancient monasteries, the forests and the quietness will leave you spellbound.

Picture of Spiti Valley
SPITI VALLEY

ROAD TO SPITI VALLEY -  High mountains surround Lahaul and Spiti and it is separated from Kullu Valley by Rohtang pass which is at a height of 13054 ft(3979 m) and are cutoff from each other by Kunzum pass which is higher in altitude at 15059 ft(4590 m). Due to heavy snow, the road connecting these two is frequently closed during winters. Also, during winter storms, from November to June, the southern road is also closed but is restored within few days after the storms and valley is accessible via Shimla and Satluj in Kinnaur district.
Spiti valley is accessible via Kinnaur from Shimla throughout the year. The road is difficult and is 412 km(256 mi) long. Foreign nationals are required to get inner line permits to enter Spiti Valley via Kinnaur. However, during summers, it can be reached through Rohtang pass and Kunzum pass via Manali, which is about 201 km(125 mi) from Kaza, the district headquarter of Lahaul and Spiti. There is a 8.8 km(5.5 mi) long tunnel in Rohtang pass, which is open in all weathers, which reduces the travel distance by 48 kms(30 mi).

ADVENTURE IN SPITI VALLEY -  There are quiet a few trekking trails and mountain biking sites available in and around Spiti. Some of the popular trekking trails are Pin-Parvari, Parang-La and Pin Bhaba. Kunzum pass, which serves as an entrance to Spiti Valley, leads to Bara Sigri glacier. It is the second highest glacier in the world.


WHAT TO SEE IN SPITI VALLEY -  There are a number of Monasteries and gompas here, which represent the traditions and ancient culture of Spiti. Apart from these, there are many other spots to visit, which will enthrall you with their sheer beauty.

1. Komick Village - This is the highest village of Asia. It is very sparsely populated(estimated to be just around 120). But the picturesque mountains surrounding it make it a must see place. It also is famous for Lunduptsomo Gompa Monastery.

Village Komick in Spiti
KOMICK VILLAGE

2. Losar Village - The first village you find on entering Spiti from Kunzum pass is Losar village. It is situated at a height of 13400 ft(4100 m). The houses here are mostly made of mud and have prayer flags of Buddhism fluttering atop them.. Surrounded by colorful mountains, it provides a very scenic view. The village has it's own monastery.
3. Chandra Taal lake - It means moon lake. Situated at a height of 14100 ft(4300 m). Taal means a pond or a pool. It is called so because it has a crescent shape. Though it is in barren land but it is very beautiful. But during spring time, it has vast stretches of green and a variety of wild flowers. It houses the best camping sites.

Chandra Taal Lake in Spiti Valley
CHANDRA TAAL LAKE

4. Udaipur of Himachal - The most famous spot here is the Marikula Mata Temple. This picturesque hamlet is located on the banks of river Chandrabhaga. Both Hindus as well as Buddhists consider it a holy pilgrimage site. It is situated at a height of 8500 ft(2743 m). Udaipur and Keylong are the two important pilgrimage sites in Lahaul and Spiti. This temple is a mix of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Add to this the greenery and breathtaking views, it becomes a very charming place. It is one of the more popular camping sites.
However, you have to carry your own food and water if you wish to visit this place. There are no hotels or restaurants in Udaipur and the nearest place is Keylong.

Marikula Mata Temple in Spiti Valley
MARIKULA MATA TEMPLE

5. Key Monastery - This Buddhist monastery is over 1000 years old and is the oldest learning cebter of Lamas. Situated at a height of 13668 ft(4200 m), it is famous for it's architectural style called Pasada style. This style often plays the role of Fort Monastery. It has three floors. A basement, ground and first floor. Basement serves as stock store. Ground floor has a large meeting hall called Du-Khang and some small rooms for monks. Rooms are decorated with murals called Tangyar and are must see. Ancient weapons and rare thangkas are other attractions here. A sizeable collection of musical instruments like trumpets, cymbars and drums can also be seen here. And don't miss the statue of Buddha in dhyana(meditation).

Again, no restaurants or hotels are available here. You must carry your own food and water.

Key Monastery in Spiti Valley
KEY MONASTERY

6. Pin Valley National Park - Situated at an altitude of 11500 to 20000 ft(3300 to 6000 m), Pin Valley National Park is spread over a core zone of 675 sq. km and has a buffer zone of 1150 sq. km. Located in the cold desert area of Lahaul and Spiti, it was constituted in the year 1987.

Pin valley National Park houses over 20 species of animals and birds. The main among them is the endangered snow leopard. Other animals found here include Siberian ibex, bharal, weasel, red fox and marten. The species of birds found here are pika, golden eagle, snow cock, bearded vulture, chukor, griffon, Himalayan chough and raven. Best season to visit this park is in winters as animals migrate to lower regions because of cold weather.
Besides wildlife, park also boasts of floral wealth. It has over 400 species of plants including herbs. Two rare species of plants namely Juniper and Birch are also found here.
The park's periphery has 17 villages, all of them thinly populated. The total population of these villages comes to about 1600 only.
Foreign nationals are not allowed inside the park and even Indian citizens also have to get a permit to enter the park.
Once again, you have to carry your own food and water with you.

HOWTO REACH - 
By Air - Nearest airport is Kullu, which is about 247 km(155 mi) from Spiti Valley. From here you can hire taxi.
By Rail - Nearest rail station is Shimla on the narrow gauge. However, the nearest major rail station is Kalka which is 90 km(56 mi) from Shimla. Spiti Valley is about 445 km(278 mi) from Shimla. Again, you can hire a taxi from Shimla.
By Road - Spiti is connected by road with Shimla, Kullu and Manali.

WHERE TO STAY -  There are some hotels in Spiti. But not many. A few rest houses and tourism guest houses are available along with some hotels in Kaza. A lot of accommodation is available in Keylong, which is the headquarter of Lahaul. Guest houses are available in Kaza, Tobo, Losar, Poh and Sagna in Spiti.
You can look for homestay options also, if you want to acquaint yourself with local people and culture. The best part is that your money doesn't go to owner only, part of it goes to community also. You can find homestays in six villages. They are Langza, Komick, Demul, Lhalung, Dhankar and Mikkim.
You can get Indian and Tibetan food in and around Kaza. And there are some ethnic restaurants in Spiti, which specialize in Tibetan and local delicacies.

FESTIVALS -  Locals celebrate festivals like burning the devil, Chaam dance and Pauri festival. During winters, even locals don't venture out of their homes. They stock the food for this period and engage themselves in making handicrafts.

WHEN TO VISIT -  The best time to visit Soiti Valley is May to October. Usually the weather is good and the temperature ranges from 10 to 22 degrees Celsius.

So whether you love adventure or are looking for peace, inclined towards spirituality or are admirer of nature. Spiti Valley is the place to be in.


INDIA TRAVEL - SURAJKUND INTERNATIONAL CRAFTS FAIR, FARIDABAD - 2018


Hello friends! This is the month of spring, full of colors and excitement. So why not travel to a place full of music, dance and colorful ambiance. And all this forming a segment of a big collection of art and craft. Let me take you to cultural bonanza that is Surajkund International Crafts Fair.


Architectural entrance to Surajkund Crafts Fair
One of the Entrances to the Fair

This is an annual fair held in the first fortnight of February in Faridabad, Haryana adjoining Delhi. Spread over an area of 40 acres, Surjakund International Crafts Fair the largest crafts fair in the world. This year is the 32nd edition of the fair. It started in the year 1987 and has been gaining in size, participation and footfall since then. This year more than 20 countries, apart from all the Indian states are participating in the fair. More than 1100 artisans are displaying their crafts here.


HISTORY OF SURAJKUND - Surajkund literally means Lake or Reservoir of Sun. It was built by king Surajpal of Tomar dynasty in 10th century. Surajpal was a devotee of Sun God, hence the name. It has an embankment shaped as an amphitheater and it is built in an arc resembling movement of Sun, that is from east to west.


WHAT TO EXPECT AT SURAJKUND INTERNATIONAL CRAFTS FAIR - India is a diverse country and each of it's states has a unique culture of it's own. and it is here that you find all the cultures merging along with those of participating foreign countries. The main aim of the fair is to promote craftsmanship of different regions and to give a platform to small artisans to reach bigger markets. It is a celebration of the skills of the craftsmen and showcases to the world, the wide range and high level of creativity present in India. It is difficult to find so many different cultures and crafts at one place.

It is a riot of colors all over the fair premises. Folk artistes and dancers from Indian and foreign lands enthrall you with their performances. And cuisines from different territories are there to satisfy your appetite.

People enjoying Biscope at Surajkund Crafts Fair
People Enjoying the Good Old Bi Scope

But the best part is the different crafts displayed by artisans from different regions. You will be simply astonished to see the kind of  craftsmanship on wares on display. You can see variety of items on display and sale. From amazing handicrafts to furniture, from garments to home decor and from utensils to carpets, you will find everything here, all made by local craftsmen.
Every year, fair has a theme state and a partner country. This year Uttar Pradesh is the theme state and Kyrgyzstan is the partner country. Apart from this, all other Indian states are participating. The foreign participants include countries like South Africa, Thailand, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia etc.

Brass handicrafts from Morocco at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Moroccon Handicrafts made of Copper

Turkey Lamp Shades at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Lamp Shades made from cut glass from Turkey

Stalls are built in the shape of huts and have a floor of mud. It gives you a country side feeling and ambiance. All participants are dressed in their respective traditional attires. You can easily get intoxicated by this cultural cocktail.
The crafts displayed at the fair broadly fall under the following categories :
1. Woodden Handicrafts
2. Textiles
3. Pottery
4. Home Decor
5. Mud Craft
6. Brassware
7. Natural Cosmetics
8. Food items like locally made pickles

Tunisia stall at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Olive Wood craft from Tunisia

Handicrafts from Madagascar at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Handicrafts from Madagascar

You can shop till you drop but still you wouldn't have had enough of the stuff available in the fair.

The fair has an amusement park also where children as well as grownups can delight themselves with joyrides.

Handicrafts made of Fiber at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Handicrafts made from Fiber from India

Indian Craft at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Earthen Utensils from India 


FEEDING YOUR TASTE BUDS - Fair has a food court, where you can enjoy delicacies of different regions. While you can have Dosa, Idli or Meduvada from south India, you can have Litti Chokha from Bihar in east India. If you want more variety, go to central India's Rajasthan food stall to relish Dal Baati Churma, Missi Roti or Bajra Roti or you can have Pav Bhaji from western India. Then you have spicy food from north India by way of Rajma Chawal, Chole Bhature etc. Apart from this, there are many more options available by way of sweet dishes, ice creams and shakes. Then there is a stall put up by Institute of Hotel Management, where students of the Institute serve you delicacies prepared by them.

CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA -  Surajkund International Crafts Fair has two Chaupals(open air community places). A Badi(big) Chaupal and a Choti(small) Chaupal. Folk artistes and dancers from different regions and foreign countries enthrall you with their performances throughout the day. And at 6 every evening there are special performances and programs. Here you can see different cultures mixing with each other effortlessly.


Local Rajasthani boy playing drum at Surajkund Crafts Fair
A small boy in traditional Rajasthani dress playing a Drum


Holi with Radha and Krishna at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Folk Dancers from Uttar Pradesh, India performing at the Chaupal

TICKETS - Tickets for the fair are very nominally priced at INR 120/- for weekdays and INR 180/- for Saturdays and Sundays. These can be booked online from the site www.bookmyshow.com or can be purchased from the fair site.

HOW TO REACH - Surajkund is located in Faridabad and is around 40 kms from central Delhi as well as Gurugram(earlier Gurgaon). Haryana government runs A.C. as well as Non A.C. buses from designated spots in Delhi and Gurugram to the fair site. Otherwise you can hire private taxis to reach the venue.

WHEN - This year Surajkund International Crafts Fair is being held from 2nd February to 18th February and is open on all the weekends falling during this period. Time is 10.30 am to 8.30 pm daily.


So if you want to celebrate different cultures, enjoy the riot of colors, want to see, appreciate and buy the amazing handicrafts created by some unknown but highly skilled craftsmen don't miss a trip to the world's largest crafts fair, Surajkund International Crafts Fair at Faridabad in Haryana, India.


INDIA TRAVEL - VALLEY OF FLOWERS NATIONAL PARK UTTARAKHAND


Hi friends! Spring season is around the corner and each one of us looks forward to seeing flowers blooming to their full glory. What if I take you to a place not only filled with amazing flowers in full bloom but also complete with stunning natural beauty and rare wild animals, coupled with all the adventurous stuff you may want to have.

I am talking about Valley of Flowers National Park. As the name itself suggests, it indeed is a valley full of beautiful flowers in full bloom. So whenever and wherever you are in India, try not to miss it.

Valley of Flowers was found accidentally by three British mountaineers in 1931, when they were on a trekking mission and lost their way. Until then it was completely unknown. But today it is a world heritage sight.

Beautiful Valley of Flowers
A Scenic view of Valley of Flowers

LOCATION - Valley of Flowers is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state in Northern India. Situated in west Himalayas, it is about 500 kms(312 mi) from New Delhi and about 300 kms(188mi) from Haridwar. It is situated at a height of around 3600 metres(app. 14000 ft).

It comes in the Zanskar  and Himalaya mountain ranges and is complemented by Nanda Devi National Park in the east and together, both of them cover a unique transition zone between these mountain ranges. Both parks form part of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, itself a part of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.
It derives it's picturesque beauty from a diverse range of endemic flora. Besides floral postures, Valley of Flowers has plenty of running streams complemented by beautiful backdrop of green mountains. Green meadow, white clouds and mountains blend and it becomes a location, one often dreams of.

Valley of Flowers at it's full glory
Flowers in Full Bloom
During winters, it remains covered in thick snow. However, flowers are in full bloom during July-September period. Pushpawati river's water splits the valley into two. The musical sound of flowing water, the fresh breeze and dew drops on flowers make for a very romantic view. Locals believe that fairies used to live in this area. That is why this area looks like a fairyland.
Apart from rich floral wealth, Valley of Flowers is also home to many rare and endangered species of animals. Some of them are Asiatic black bear, red fox, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear and blue sheep. Birds found here include Monal Pheasant and many other high altitude birds.

CLIMATE - Climate is generally moderate here with maximum temperature touching around 19 degrees from April to June. July to August are heavy monsoon months.

Stunningly beautiful view of Valley of Flowers
Stunningly Beautiful


HOW TO REACH - As described earlier,Valley of Flowers is about 500 kms from Delhi and 300 kms from Haridwar. You can take a train from Delhi to Haridwar. From Haridwar, the nearest motorable town to Valley of Flowers is Govindghat near Joshimath. You can reach there by bus via Rishikesh or hire a taxi. Alternately, you can hire a taxi directly from Delhi to Govindghat.

From here it requires a trekking of about 17 kms(10.5 mi). From Govindghat shared taxis are available for upto a distance of 4 kms and then the trek begins. After a trek of 11 kms you reach Ghangariya which is 3 kms from the valley(You can also hire porters, mules or helicopter to reach Ghangariya). From here, trek is common for both, the valley as well as Sikh temple of Hemkud Sahib. It takes 3 days to reach the Valley of Flowers from Haridwar.

Togedr.com provides you the best opportunities and options for trekking, camping and other outdoor activities.
On reaching Ghangariya, you will be welcomed by fields containing perfumed wild roses and wild strawberries.
Here, you have to take a permit from the Forest department to visit the valley. This permit is valid for 3 days. You can trek only during the day time as night trekking is not allowed here. Further, you have to stay at Ghangariya as staying is not permitted in the valley.

TIMING - It opens at 7 am every morning and last entry is at 2 pm in the afternoon. And it closes at 5 pm. You must reach there by 6.45 am to get the tickets. Tickets are priced at Rs 150/- for Indians and Rs 600/- for foreigners. This is valid for 3 days and for every additional day, Indians have to pay Rs 50/- and foreigners Rs 250/-. 

WHEN TO VISIT - Although Valley of Flowers is beautiful all the time, to see the flowers in full bloom, the best time is from late July to September. But if you love glaciers, best time for you is in June. If you want to see Brahmkamal flowers in Hemkud Saheb, visit in August and September.

WHERE TO STAY - You have to stay in Ghangariya. It has plenty of guest houses and hotels. Checkout Fabhotels for best hotels and deals. Food can be an issue at the valley as not many options are available. So you must pack some food with you when you go to valley.

So it has something for everyone. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventurer or a wildlife enthusiast, Valley of Flowers is the place for you.