INDIA TRAVEL - A PLACE OF PRISTINE BEAUTY AND PEACE - SARAHAN

Hello friends! Monsoons are almost over and it's time to start your explorations again, what with nature now at it's full bloom. There are lot of places which are naturally beautiful and attract a great number of people. However, Himachal Pradesh stands out for the natural beauty it beholds. There are any number of places in Himachal where you can go to enjoy a peaceful time in the lap of nature. However, there are only a few places which offer you peace along with pilgrimage, adventure, amazing natural beauty and a tryst with countryside, all at the same place. One such place in Himachal Pradesh is Sarahan.


SAHARAN, Himachal Pradesh
SAHARAN
Sarahan, a beautiful small hamlet is located in the Shimla district. Situated at an altitude of 2165 m(7200 ft), it flanks the bank of river Sutlej. The road leading to Sarahan runs through flowered pine trees which give way to Oaks as you drive further up. While Sarahan has Sutlej river on one side, on other side is the snow covered Shrikhand peak. Shrikhand peak is peculiar in that it is the only one whose tip is not covered by snow. Many small streams flow past the place. It is surrounded by fields and orchards and along with the slate roofed houses make Sarahan, a picture perfect place.


SNOW COVERED PEAKS AR SARAHAN, Shimla
SNOW COVERED PEAKS AR SARAHAN
Image source - mouthshut.com
You can see rows of Deodar trees sloping down on the hills above. Further up, hills have many varieties of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. Sarahan, described as Gateway to Kinnaur, has a landscape which has unparalleled beauty. 

BHIMAKALI TEMPLE is the biggest attraction in Sarahan, their own version of Maa Kali. Considered as one of the Shaktipeeths, this is a pilgrimage site. The temple is said to be 800 years old and has a blend of Indian as well as Buddhist architecture in it's design and has both Hindu and Vajrayana Buddhist statues. The temple has two towers and three complexes dedicated to Lord Raghunathji, Patal Bhairavji and Narsinggji. Devi Kali is the principal deity and has a separate shrine dedicated to her. Built with stones and woods, with intricate carvings on the inside. During the festival of Dussehara, people from all areas around it visit the temple to pay their obeisance and Goddess is offered prayers and animal sacrifices.


BHIMAKALI TEMPLE, Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh
BHIMAKALI TEMPLE
Image source - wikipedia
NATURAL SURROUNDINGS OF BHIMAKALI TEMPLE, Sarahan
NATURAL SURROUNDINGS OF BHIMAKALI TEMPLEImage source - thinkingparticle.com
Another place to visit in Sarahan is BIRD PARK. Located close to Bhimakali temple, this park is the house of the state bird Jujurana. There are many other local birds, which can be seen here. It is a breeding center also so it is closed during summers due to breeding season.


BIRD PARK, Shimla
BIRD PARK
Image source - google.com
BHABHA VALLEY is another stunningly beautiful place near Sarahan. Located 50 km (31 mi) from Sarahan, Bhabha Valley runs parallel to Bhabha river. A beautiful landscape, alpine meadows and a reservoir lake adorn this valley. Bhabha Valley is also the starting point of trek to Pin Valley in Spiti. This is a must visit place for everyone visiting Sarahan.


BHABHA VALLEY, Himachal Pradesh
BHABHA VALLEY
Image source - himachaltourtravel.com
JEORI is a place with a warm water spring. Located 20 km (12.5 mi) from Sarahan, this is a relaxing place. It has dedicated bathing areas where you can enjoy the warm water bath. Locals believe that the spring water has medicinal properties.

BUSHAHR PALACE, located next to Bhimakali temple, was the summer abode of Bushahr king as Sarahan used to be their summer capital. The general public is allowed only to visit the garden and orchard at the palace. Access to inner side of the palace is not allowed.


BUSHAHR PALACE, Sarahan
BUSHAHR PALACE
Image source - hptourtravel.com
HAWA GHAR, which is 2 km(1.25 mi) uphill of Sarahan is another place to visit to experience peace and nature. It is a small quiet sitting area, built for people to enjoy the view of peaks and valleys around the place. It offers exotic view of the surrounding natural treasure.

Sarahan is soaked in natural beauty, what with river Sutlej on one side and snow covered peaks on the other. Another side has the sloping pine forests and deep ravines. 

REACHING SARAHAN

AIR - The nearest airport is at Shimla, which is 182 km(112 mi) away. You can get state run buses from here or hire cabs to reach Sarahan.

RAIL - The nearest railway station is again at Shimla, which is on narrow gauge and is connected to Kalka, which is a major rail station. Kalka is connected to all the major cities of India.

ROAD - Sarahan is well connected to all the major cities of Himachal Pradesh by road. You can get state run buses or cabs to reach here. You can also get buses and cabs from major cities like Delhi and Chandigarh to reach Sarahan.

STAYING IN SARAHAN - There is state run hotel Shrikhand, which is near to Bhimakali temple. The temple also offers place to stay and vegetable food. Apart from this, there are few more hotels in and around Sarahan.

Best time to visit Sarahan is April to June and September to November. It receives snofall during December and January. So if you are a snow enthusiast, you can plan for these months also.

So if you are looking for a peaceful, tranquil place where you can soak in nature's beauty, head straight for Sarahan.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!


INDIA TRAVEL -A TINY CALM HISTORICAL PLACE IN NATURE'S LAP - LANDOUR

Hi friends! How is the weather now? Hope it has become pleasant and conducive to comfortable travel. So let's go to a place which will offer you peace, serenity, adventure, a slice of history, a tryst with literature, a very pleasant weather and all in the lap of nature with breathtaking surroundings in the midst of beautiful mountains. Tempting? Isn't it? Yes, there is one place which provides such wholesome experience and that place is named Landour.

Landour is an old cantonment town located in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand state in North India. It is situated just 6 km(3.8 mi) from Mussoorie, also called the Queen of Hills. Though neighboring towns, Mussoorie and Landour are diametrically opposite. While Mussoorie is a bustling town, Landour is a quiet and calm place. While Mussoorie is located at an approximate altitude of 2300 m(7600 ft), Landour is further 300 m(990 ft) up. Interestingly, Landour was named after a village in distant south west Wales, called Llanddowror.

Landour, Mussoorie
BEAUTIFUL LANDOUR
Image source - traveltriangle.com
The history of Landour dates back to 1825, when British built a military sanatorium here. Two thirds of Landour is a cantonment area with British era military buildings all around, depicting the history of the town. Since it is located at an higher altitude than Mussoorie, it's temperature is generally 2 to 3 degrees Celsius lower than Mussoorie. 

Landour doesn't have usual to-see or go-to places associated with hills. But what it has is a lush green unspoiled environment with Deodar forests all around and an unmatched calmness. Landour has a quiet charm about it. If you love walking on the mountains, this is the place for you. You can have the most peaceful, thrilling and satisfying walk you have ever had. In any case, since this is a tiny place, you have to walk to reach whichever place you want to, around here.

Lnadour, Dehradun
MESMERIZING LANDOUR
Image source - condenastraveller.com
However, there are a few spots, which will give you moments to cherish.

 CHAAR DUKAAN is a historical place and exists since British era. It is a cluster of four shops near Sister's Bazaar. During British era, nurses working in the military sanatorium had their residences around this area and used to come here regularly, so the market got it's name Sister's Bazaar. But Chaar Dukaan area is a secluded and peaceful place, where you can go to relish some really exotic food, including European and American dishes. You can spend as much time as you want to enjoy the calm and serene surroundings.

CHAR DUKAN, Landour
CHAR DUKANImage source - lavillabethany.com
 ST. PAUL CHURCH  is next to Chaar Dukaan area. It is a historical church. It was built in 1839, during the British time. It is the oldest church here. Parents of Jim Corbett, Christopher and Mary got married in 1859.

ST. PAUL CHURCH, Mussoorie
ST. PAUL CHURCH
Image source - bnomadic.com
THE CASTLE is one architectural marvel in Landour that is most famous. It is situated on a hill named Castle Hill. Son of great Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Daleep Singh was deposed and kept here to recuperate. It was a great architectural marvel. However, over the years it has been modified so many times and in careless manner, that it is difficult to match it with it's original pictures.

Castle in Landour
CASTLE
Image source - wikimedia.com
ST. KELLOG'S CHURCH  is another historical church which was built in the year 1903. It has magnificent gothic architecture and windows with stained glass. It also houses Landour Language School. During British time, Britishers were taught Hindi here.

St. Kellog's Church, Landour, Dehradun
ST. KELLOG'S CHURCH
Image source - triphills.com
ANIL PRAKASH'S store in Sister's Bazaar is a historical shop, in existence since 1928. If you are in Landour, you have to have their peanut butter. They have been making it for decades. Apart from this, they are also famous for jams and marmalade which they make from locally grown fruits. Apart from these, they also provide apple mint chutney, cheese and many other things.

Landour is the residence of world famous author Ruskin Bond and many other celebrities like Victor Bannerjee, Vishal Bhardwaj to name a few. Late Tom Alter also had a home here. Once you are in Landour, there is every likelihood that you may bump into Ruskin Bond at some time.

So, if you are looking for some old world charm in the midst of breathtaking natural surroundings, Landour is the place for you. It is one of the very few places which are untouched by the commercialization and crowd invasion. Even in these times of mad rush, it continues to provide peace and calmness.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!



INDIA TRAVEL - TRAVELING IN INDIA - SOME USEFUL TIPS

Hello friends! India is a magnificent country and people from inside the country and outside are traveling to our beautiful country. Visiting any new place, whether in your own country or a foreign one brings with it feelings of adventure, excitement and anxiety. Adventure and excitement are always welcome but anxiety is something we would rather not have. So I have tried to put together a few things, which anyone visiting any place in India can use to lessen their anxiety level, if not completely remove it.


Agriculture in Punjab
LUSH GREEN FIELDS OF PUNJAB
The general tips, which we observe while visiting any new place are valid for India too. Like, it is always advisable to make prior arrangements for boarding and lodging.

India is too vast a country to be covered in one visit. So do a little research and make a list of places you would like to visit. There are number of world famous sites which you may want to see. But if you want to explore the real India, then it is in smaller towns and villages, which might not be having the glitz of big cities but will surely leave you mesmerized.


Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
PICTURESQUE SKI SLOPE IN NARKANDA
Indian food is generally spicy, so tread cautiously. But you would be surprised by the variety of food, which varies from region to region and even within a single region, you can find so many options that you would be spoiled for choices.


Imambara of Lucknow
IMAMBARA OF LUCKNOW
Depending upon which part of the year you are travelling to India, the weather conditions will vary. Western and Southern India have humid summers and very mild winters(you may not require woolens at these places). Eastern India has balanced weather. But it is the North India which has extreme weather conditions. A particularly harsh summer followed by monsoon and then extreme cold. Particularly in the months of December and January, you may need heavy woolens if you happen to be in North Indian states like Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc.
Don’t be overawed by the crowd. There are plenty of peaceful places too, if you want to take a break from the noise.

Also read: INDIA TRAVEL - HOW TO SAVE MONEY IN TRAVEL - SOME TIPS


Hussainsagar, Hyderabad
AMAZING HUSSAINSAGAR LAKE IN HYDERABAD
 
WITH BUDDHA IN THE MIDDLE
There are rotten apples everywhere, but overall the country is safe for tourists. But take basic precautions like being careful about your belongings. Having a map. Take as much information as possible from the staff of the place you are lodged at, for they are the ones, most familiar with local conditions and places. But avoid sharing your personal information with them. They can provide you the information about the things you may like to buy from that particular place.


Marvanthe Beach Road, Karnataka
UNIQUE MARVANTHE BEACH ROADWith sea on one side and river on the other
As for local transport, there are pre paid taxi booths available at railway stations and airports at all major cities. Always try to hire from there to avoid overcharging. Or you can hire an Ola or Uber cab, which operate in major cities. However, in small cities or villages, you have to depend on local transport or you can hire a round the clock taxi.


Mashobra, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF HILLS IN MASHOBRA
For places which are not connected by rail or air, like hill stations, generally luxury buses are available and it is again advisable to make a prior booking. These bookings are available online.
India is the most diversified and beautiful country you can ever visit. You will find very friendly people, particularly in small cities and the countryside. But the cultural diversity of the country will surely leave you enchanted.


Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
BREATHTAKING SPITI VALLEY
So, make it a point to visit amazing places in India and explore the cultural and traditional richness of the country without any prejudices. Just experience it.

For some of the most exotic but little explored places of India, visit : Travel Through India - Must see places and Travel guide

HAPPY TRAVELING!!

INDIA TRAVEL - THE UNSEEN KASHMIR OF ODISHA - DARINGBADI

Hi friends! There are plenty of places in India, which are still unknown to the travelers or have not been fully explored. Places, which are as or more beautiful and amazing as our regular travel destinations. An avid traveler is always on the lookout for new, unexplored exciting places. And what if I tell you about a small but extremely beautiful hidden hill station, still away from deep human glare? Well, the name is Daringbadi.

Daringbadi is located in Kandhmal district of Odisha in eastern India. Odisha attracts tourists mainly for the world famous Konark temple and Jagannath Yatra. However, there is much more to Odisha than these two.  Daringbadi is one of these hidden treasures of Odisha.

Located at an altitude of 915 m(3000 ft), the most amazing thing about Daringbadi is that it often attains sub zero temperatures during the winters. It is often referred to as "Kashmir of Odisha", for it's sheer natural beauty. It owes it's beauty to it's magnificent water bodies like lakes, rivers and waterfalls as well as it's prolific vegetation.


Daringbadi, Odisha
DARINGBADI
Image source - patratravels.com
Daringbadi got it's peculiar name from a British officer, who was known as Dering Saheb. Badi means village. He named the village Derinbadi but with time, the name became Daringbadi. The population here majorly comprises of tribal people. Surrounded by thick forests, this place is full of beautiful meadows, picturesque valleys and lush green coffee plantations. And to top it, there are ample opportunities for trekking and camping.

Daringbadi has many points of interest for any traveler. However there are a few, which are must see for everyone.

1. DASINGBADI WATERFALLS - Located at a distance of 20 km(12.5 mi) from Daringbadi, this beautiful hidden waterfall is situated on the way to Bamunigam. It takes around 45 minutes to reach here but the journey itself is amazing. You have to pass through a beautiful Daringbadi ghati through dense forests to reach this place. Once you reach the place, there is a combination of steps and slope to reach waterfall. It may be a little difficult for elderly. But the sound of water falling from a height and echoing from the quiet surroundings, will leave you spellbound. The view of crystal clear water falling on the rocks is a treat to the eyes. And when you get sprinkling of this cool water on your body, you will find yourself thrillingly refreshed. Dasingbadi waterfall is surrounded by small flowering plants as well as big trees.


DASINGBADI WATERFALLS, Kandhmal
DASINGBADI FALLS
Image source - tripoto.com
2. BELGHAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY - Located at an altitude of 2255 ft, Belghar Wildlife Sanctuary is full of picturesque surroundings including mountains and forest. It is spread over a huge area of 1617446 acres. Of this 3900 acres is cultivated and rest of the area is covered by forest and others. The main attraction of this sanctuary is the wild elephant. It boasts of big variety of flora and fauna including some rare plant species. The area is inhabited mainly by tribal people. You will find British era bungalows here, made entirely of wood, which are big attraction. Apart from wild elephants, smaller animals like deer and aves are also found here. The sheer beauty of the place is enough to captivate you.


BELGHAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, Daringbadi
BELGHAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Image source - spectralhues.com

BUNGALOW IN BELGHAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, Daringbadi
BUNGALOW IN BELGHAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Image source - medium.com
3. NATURE PARK - Spread over an area of four hectares, Nature's park is aunique place which integrates various green components. It comprises a butterfly park and a medicinal garden. It also has a 3D film theater with capacity to seat 40 people. It also exhibits the traditions of one of the local tribals Kutia Kandh. A display of life size models of various wild animals adds to it's charm. The butterfly park has at least 15 host plants. The medicinal garden has 50 species of medicinal plants. And the best part of Nature's Park is that it is managed by local people only. Entry to the park is by tickets, prices of which can be confirmed from the state government website.



Nature Park, Daringbadi, Kandhmal
NATURE PARK
Image source - ollywoodlife.com

Butterfly Park, Daringbadi, Odisha
BUTTERFLY PARK
Image source - bhubaneswarbuzz.com
4. LOVER'S POINT - A small stream, surrounded by natural beauty is what Lover's point is all about. It is not that typical spot ideal for lovers. Rather, it showcases the love of living beings with mother nature. The water, flowing through big rocks, making musical sound makes for a thrilling sight. The stream, moving through curvy terrains, has a serene beauty. The lush green surroundings add to it's beauty. The place is generally quiet and very peaceful except for the water falling on and flowing through the rocks.


Lover's point, Kandhmal
LOVER'S POINT
Image source - tripoto.com

View of Lover's point, Daringbadi
ANOTHER VIEW OF LOVER'S POINT
Image source - wikimedia.org
5. SPICE GARDEN - It is one of the highlights of Daringbadi. You can see spice gardens, turmeric gardens and coffee gardens all around. There is a watchtower available to have a grand view of the valley and the gardens all around. Daringbadi is known to produce superior quality turmeric. You will also find black pepper gardens here. Walking through these gardens and talking to locals is a memorable experience.


Spice garden, Daringbadi
BLACK PEPPER GARDEN
Image source - travelerbase.com
Surrounded by awe inspiring valleys, beautiful pine forests, beautiful meadows and coffee plantations, Daringbadi is a retreat for everyone. The exotic locales of Daringbadi are sure to leave you spellbound.

REACHING DARINGBADI

Air - The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, which is about 245 km(153 mi) away. It is asdvisable to hire a cab from the airport to directly reach Daringbadi. It is about 6 hrs drive.

Rail - Daringbadi doesn't have a railway station. The nearest railway station is Brahmapur, which is approximately 120 km(75 mi) away. Brahmapur is well connected to all the major cities of Odisha by rail. From here, you can hire a cab to reach Daringbadi.

Road - Daringbadi is easily accessible by road. You can either take a bus to Brahmapur or Phulbani and from there hire a cab or you can take a direct cab to reach there.

STAYING IN DARINGBADI

Darinbadi has only a handful of hotels so it is always advisable to go with a prior booking.

There are many other activities that you can indulge in apart from soaking in it's beauty. You can enjoy tribal village visiting, hiking, biking etc. You can also go trekking on the mountains or camp in the peaceful surroundings. For trekking and camping, you can connect with togedr.com. It can be visited throughout the year but as I said earlier, during winters, it attains sub zero temperatures. So be prepared for that.

So the gardens, hills, waterfalls, streams and forests of Daringbadi beckon you. Plan a trip now!!

HAPPY TRAVELING!!



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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

REACHING SIBSAGAR - 

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

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

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

STAYING IN SIBSAGAR - 

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

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

HAPPY TRAVELING!!


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

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

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


Vagamon, Kerala
VAGAMON
Image source - keralatravels.com

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

STAYING IN VAGAMON

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

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

SO, HAPPY TRAVELING!!



INDIA TRAVEL - A MAJESTIC UNEXPLORED SCENIC HILL STATION - GAGANBAWADA

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



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


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



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



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



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


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


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

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


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

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



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

HOW TO REACH


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


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


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


WHERE TO STAY

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

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


HAPPY TRAVELING!!