Friday, December 26, 2008

Travel in India - Winter

Though winter is the peak season in India for tourism the arrivals are year around. Most of the foreigners visit India in this season. But as I have seen many tourists from different parts of India and inbound travelers are not fully informed as to how bitter cold is North India and some part of Central India.

In some parts of Himalayan regions and its foothills the snow falls unannounced. This takes tourist by surprise. Cloud bursts and flash floods also create a risk factor for tourists to Northern India. Though the infrastructure and disaster management services are in place on rare occasions these calamities surface.     

The tourists come directly under the effect of cold. Those traveling to North India like Kashmir, Leh and Laddakh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Utter Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh should be vary of cold. The season begins from November and carries on till February or March in some cases.

The requirement of warm clothing are fulfilled by the markets hence the trouble caused is minimal. Many lodges and resorts have heating systems and emergency arrangement. During snowfall and rains landslide can occur hence on prior warning the tourist should avoid such destinations.    

In case of travel to National Parks, Hill Stations and Resorts in higher reaches extra warm clothing is a must. Clothing such as sweater, jackets, mufflers, hand gloves, head gear are a perquisite. Warm inner wear is very useful. Due to extreme cold tourists suffering from lung ailments and age should not travel without proper assistance. The high reaches of the Himalayas create breathlessness as oxygen is low.

The degree of difficulty and weather conditions should be highlighted by the tour organizers in India. But not many bother to emphasize upon the tourist to carry all sorts of warm garments. Though cold is not comparable with North America, Canada or Europe the trouble is there is no climate control in most of the places including in accommodations.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Luxury Hotels at National Parks

Tiger Tourism is on rise day by and there is a greater rush during holidays and week end. The accommodation has to keep pace with rising number of tourists every day. A number of hotels, wildlife lodges and jungle resorts have been set up around the periphery of the park.

Some of the hotels in the tiger reserves are high priced like the Celebration Van Vilas at Kanha and Celebration at Bandhavgarh while the semi luxurious hotels are affordable. Skwildlife Resorts at Pench and Kanha are in the affordable range but nonetheless offers luxurious amenities.

Besides the above two there are many other wildlife resorts and camps that offer accommodation. The accommodation types range from cottage, tents to standard hotel rooms. Some of the star properties provide luxurious amenities and cater to upscale tourists from India and abroad.  

There are many budget hotels in Kanha which are at best comfortable. During vacations it is advised to book hotels in advance since the room rates skyrocket as the rush begins and at times all room at the National Parks are fully booked. I have on number of occasions seen FITs turning back due to lack of accommodation.

Some of the finest hotels in NPs established in recent times are as follows:

Celebration Van Vila Kanha Hotel

Skwildlife Resort Hotel at Kanha

Celebration Hotel at Bandhavgarh
Skwildlife Resort Hotel at Pench


The hotel websites have option of booking online, which is fast and comfortable.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Khajuraho temples

Khajuraho is synonymous with 9th to 11th century temples which are a treatise on Kamasutra. The temples have been carved out of igneous rocks and are an architectural marvel thanks to Chandela dynasty which built them. Khajuraho was the capital of Chandela Kingdom.

The temples center around sex and males, females and animals are intricately involved in sexual postures and acts in the temple wall carvings. Nobody has an exact idea of the concept behind the temples but it is thought to depict tantric mysticism. The temples escaped the marauding Muslim invaders from destruction as they where located in forested areas. They where discovered by British Explorer T.S. Burt during the British Raj.

The main temples a must visit on Khajuraho tours are as follows:

1) Kandariya Mahadeva

2) Chaunsat Yogini

3) Chitragupta Temple

4) Vishwanath Temple

5) Lakshamana Temple

6) Matangeshwara Temple

7) Parsavanatha Temple

8) Ghantai Temple

9) Adinatha Temple

10) Duladeo Temple:

11) Chaturbhuj Temple

In ancient times there where eighty five temples built but about twenty two now remain at Khajuraho. There are many package tours available for Khajuraho and nearby destinations. Panna National Park is close to Khajuraho about 45 km drive.

Sikkim

Sikkim a Royal independent Kingdom amalgamated into Indian Union in the year 1974. It's earlier name was Suk-Heem or peaceful home. Gangtok the capital of Sikkim state is approx 190 kms from New Jalpaiguri which is a rail head. It is the smallest state in India after Goa.

Known for its magical beauty and pristine wilderness the Himalayan Kingdom is a favorite tourist destination. The nearest airport is Bagdogra. Sikkim is a land of mystic culture and colorful traditions. It is densely forested with abundant floral wealth hence popular among trekkers and lovers of adventure sports in India.

Sikkim has abundant ecological wealth and bio diversity hot spot. The State is rich in wildlife and birds with many endemic species making it their home. On a tour one can experience the grand mountain peaks, tropical green valleys, numerous waterfall and turbid rivers. Visit Buddhist monasteries and terraced hills of agrarian villages.The culturally rich populace is a mix of Bhutia, Nepali, Lepcha and other communities. Hinduism and Buddhism are the major religions.    

The Himalayan Kingdom now an Indian State is an ideal trekking venue. There  are many pristine forest trails that lead to monasteries, villages and hilly regions. The mountainous terrain offers rugged treks to the adventure seekers. The remote locations offer ideal camping experience to the trekkers. 

The Sikkim tours is a wonderful adventure trek with a visit to sanctuaries to see unique wildlife. Tourism plays and important role in the little state's economy and there are many treks organized by tour operators in India. The treks are usually of fourteen days and the packages are all inclusive. There are many high altitude treks in this Himalayan Kingdom.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fairs & Festivals in Rajasthan

The people of Rajasthan lead a colorful life and celebrate all joyous occasions with fun fair and gaiety. There Marwari life is full of music, dances, fairs and festivals. The state is mostly desert country, but yet, the most colorful and picturesque in the world.

Rajasthani's celebrate all kinds of fairs and festivals - animal fairs as cattle and horse fair which also offer trading in the live stock, religious fairs and fairs to mark the change of season. The celebrations are almost year around and offer insight into lifestyle of the locals. There are traditional fairs and fairs organized for the tourist attraction like elephant fair, camel race, dances and music . A tour should time with major fairs and festivals in order to experience the golden heritage and cultures of Rajasthan.

Some major fairs.

1) Nagaur Fair held January -February. A cattle fair and offers local sports and traditional music and local cuisine..

2) Kite Festival held on Makar Sakranti on14th January. See the splendor of colorful kites all over Rajasthan. This is the best event for Kite lovers.

3) Desert Festival at Jaisalmer. An exciting journey into the heart of Rajasthani desert life. Main attraction is the exotic city of Jaisalmer.

4) Baneshwar Fair Held on January-February, a festival exhibits religious and traditional rituals. The fair is attended by tribal communities of state of Madhya Pradesh and the state of Gujarat to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.

5) Gangaur Festival - held on March-April at Jaipur. This festival is devoted to Goddess Parvati. On this occasion young girls pray for best grooms while the married women pray for the well-being and safety of their husbands.

6) Pushkar Fair at Ajmer in November. An important pilgrimage center and the venue of a mammoth cattle fairs. Visit bazaars, partake or see cattle auctions. Find lovely music and partake in sports. Find the sole temple devoted to Lord Brahma the creator at Pushkar.

7) Teej Festival at Jaipur in July-August. It marks the coming of monsoon rains. In principle a women's festival decked in exquisite finery with activities in groups and at various bazaars.

8) Mewar Festival - March-April held at Udaipur held welcome the heralds of spring. There are songs and traditional dances, processions, religious music and colorful fireworks during the events.

9) Elephant Festival to celebrate Holi in March or April. Play and throw at each other water colors. colored powder and dyes watch several elephant sporting events.

10) Marwar Festival devoted to the music and dance of the Marwar region at Jodhpur. This is an apt occasion for tourists to understand and enjoy the folk traditions of the state.

11) Camel Festival in January at Bikaner the exotic desert city is live with folk music and dances. The camels and camel race and dances are the key events.

Apart from fairs and festivals Rajasthan offers wonderful tiger safaris tours for lovers of nature. Ranthambhore National Park, Sariska and Bharatpur are prime wildlife watching destinations. The Rajasthani cuisine is unique and world famous. It is an experience of life time to partake this wonder full food.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Places of interest in Central India

Madhya Pradesh: Must See Travel Destinations

Bandhavgarh National Park: is situated near Jabalpur it is one of the finest tiger reserve Park in India. Offers highest tiger sightings and wildlife as deer and other carnivore like the leopard and Indian wolf and it is good place for birding.

There are many resorts at Bandhavgarh and which offer varied accommodations starting from budget resorts to luxurious accommodation. The park can be reached from Jabalpur city which is connected by air lines and railways with Delhi.

Khajuraho Temples: is situated in the district of Chhatarpur in MP it is Worlds most popular destination thanks to the 10 century erotic temples carved out of rocks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Khajuraho has Kama Sutra encripted in the walls of the ancient temples.

Pachmarhi Hill Resort: Situated in the confines of the Satpura Ranges, Pachmarhi is a tourists paradise. Most of the tourists come here for sightseeing on holidays. The resort has much to offer. There are numerous water falls, deep valleys, caves and high mountains.     

Pench Tiger Reserve: It is believed to be the real Kipling Country on which the Jungle Book was based. Pench Tiger Reserve is home to many mammals, birds and reptiles. The prime predator is tiger which draws many tourists on wildlife safari. 

Kanha National Park: is situated near Jabalpur it is one of the finest National Park in India. Offers best tiger sighting and other Indian wildlife and birding. It is large park with scenic landscape and dense Sal forests (Shorea Robusta). It is most famous for tigers and Hard ground Barasingha.

There are many hotels in Kanha and offer both luxury and budget accommodations. The park can be reached from Jabalpur which is well connected by air and rail with Delhi.

Other Places of interests are Orchha, Chanderi, Mandu, Maheshwar and Ujjain. 




Saturday, August 2, 2008

Destination Chhattisgarh

It was a long duration visit to Chhattisgarh in year 2001. The purpose was business travel as well as spend some days in the serene tropical greenery of the state.

The first stop was of course the capital of the state Raipur. This was once a small town comparatively. It is now experiencing brisk growth and development. It is fast becoming industrialized as more and more mineral wealth is being discovered. The city is the central hub of the state named as the state with thirty six forts (Hindi). In spite of being smaller than the Central Indian town of Jabalpur, Raipur boasts of a regular and uninterrupted air service which tells of the importance of this historical town of the tribal kings.

Contrary to popular belief this town is by no means a small place and offers all modern amenities as well. Among the visitors the three star hotels in Raipur are gaining popularity as number of visitors to the the capital increase year by year. Chhattisgarh offers scenic splendor unimaginable a quaint air of rustic environs and greenery hangs all around as you travel through the state.

No wonder is a densely forested state rich in natural resource and mineral wealth. Apart from economical opportunities and sightseeing this exotic state offers best wildlife safaris in India. With large number of sanctuaries like Barnawapara and some well known National Parks like Indravati this state is a paradise on Earth. Only when one sets foot unto this piece of Earth does one realize the magnificence of beauty and splendor that beholds a traveler's eye.

The fear of ultras (Naxal) is over hyped as they are not known to target tourists and business travelers. Yep though it is advised to stay away from areas with heightened ultra activity.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hotel Accommodations in Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh

Hotel accommodations are the first thing that strikes the mind when making travel plans. In rush season if accommodation is not reserved in advance it would become difficult to have a proper stay. Before traveling one must collect all information regarding accommodations available there. Here are a few details about hotels and resorts at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh in Central India and surrounding region at place to see.

  • Hotels in Raipur A three star luxury hotel at Raipur, Hotel Celebration is a part of privately owned chain of hotels and resorts. It is well managed hotel with modern amenities and first class service. The group are a leading hoteliers in the newly established state of Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in India.

  • Hotel in Jabalpur one of the premium hotels in Jabalpur. The hotel is well equipped with modern amenities and serene ambiance. The Penthouse is set up in the middle of the town close to river Narmada. The hotel provides luxurious accommodations and exquisite cuisine with excellent service.

  • Hotel Accommodations at Kanha The Van Vilas resort is managed by seasoned wildlife professional expert in organize exciting tiger safaris. The resort has green surroundings being situated at the edge of the Kanha forests. It has modern amenities and facilities that provide comfortable stay. The service and food at Van Vilas Kanha is excellent and very popular at Kanha tiger reserve.

  • Jungle Resorts at Pench The resort offers luxurious stay at Pench tiger reserve in the Seoni Hills at Madhya Pradesh. It is well equipped with modern amenities and has exciting natural surroundings with tropical greenery everywhere. The 999 Resort at Pench arranges tiger safari in the park and offers naturalists service to esteemed guests.

  • Kanha Accommodations This is a very old establishment and is a luxurious jungle resort catering to wildlife tourists from all over the world. Krishna Jungle Resort offers luxurious comfort and excellent service and has a multi-cuisine restaurant. They are professionals in organizing tiger safaris since a very long time at Kanha.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Traveling in India

Amazing

Does one need some expertise to travel long distances in this amazingly diverse country. There is uncertainty and surprise on every nook and corner and more pot holes than there are cars on the road. This is the state of India's travel infrastructure as well and (hic!) the heat and the dust. Uncertainty defines travel in India where inefficiencies are almost a certainty. Travel delays - missed bookings - strikes - riots - bombs - rallies - whatnot.

I do not think there ever has been a traveler who has not raised his or her eyebrows at things around. In moment of trouble the more experienced travelers spit on the pathway with local flavor and disdain, then get back to their traveling business non nonchalantly.

Hospitality

At every length and breadth of the country there is an inquisitive Indian preening into your affairs - beyond his means. The beggars harass, cows rule the roads and mangy curs reign over the alleys. Learn from the abusively incestuous and pedantic Indian who walks through the chaotic side walks negotiating tactfully the large bulk of humanity heading menacingly straight towards him...and dogs, cows, beggars and murderous pot holes.

Indian Bazaars

Experience the hustle and bustle of torturous urbanity acerbated by the loud raucous music blaring loud speakers and rattling vehicles and their HORNS! Shoo away the touts and English speaking tourist guides. Learn to inhale acrid smog laden air and the odor of open toilets and sewers. Eat at the ubiquitous dhabas, the epitome of Indian cuisine and then tackle the crippling Delhi belly.

India is amazing

In midst of chaos and consternation there is splendor and magnificence. In betwixt modern monoliths there are ancient marvels in marble and stone. Relish the site and smells of ancient esoteric India, read eras of history sketched on the walls. Admire the exquisite carvings and depictions that tell of India's rich past.

Mingle with the ethnic communities, rejoice in local color and flavors. India is a land of colorful festivities and warm hospitality. It is the land of spices and gastronomical delights that come as a savory surprise - hot and spicy. Land of peace, innocence and charming faces. A land where Budha preached, where Mahatma was born and where religion and traditional beliefs govern the masses.

India is the land of the majestic tiger, imposing mammals, mystic reptiles and colorful birds. It is the land of Himalayan mountains, rivers, forests, deserts, grasslands and enchanting valleys. It is the land of amazing biodiversity and enchanting scape. It is the land of beauty and grace.

India delights...Amazing India.

The best way to travel is on a India package tours that are tailor made. The customized tours offer you a chance to visit destinations of your choice.You can get all the required details from the package tour operator. The best operators should be able to guide you well.  

The best sightseeing option is traveling to less popular destinations that are unique. India exists in villages which are a must visit in your itinerary. Find all about tourism infrastructure and accommodation from your tour operator. In packaged tours all your travel arrangement are made in advance by the operator.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Traveling to Madhya Pradesh

Central India - Madhya Pradesh

Central India has always been a tourist attraction because of its natural beauty, wildlife and historic monuments and ancient temples.


Ujjain is a religious center for Hindus in the Malwa region. The river Kshipra runs through east of the town. Kumbh Mela Hindu religious festival is held here every twelve years. It is also the abode of Shiva as the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga a shrine of Lord Shiva is situated here.

Ujjain is well connected with Indore by road and rail. Indore has an airport with flights from Delhi, Mumbai abd other major cities.

Sanchi is located in Raisen district and is a pilgrimage center of the Buddhists. the famous Sanchi Stupas are relics of Buddhism first commissioned by Emperor Ashoka in 3rd Century BCE. The Stupas are World Heritage site.

Sanchi is accessible by road and rail with Bhopal which is 46 kilometers away. Bhopal is well connected by rail network and air flights. It is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The third World Heritage site to be declared UNESCO is the rock shelters at Bhimbetika which is near Bhopal.

Orchha on the Betwa river is situated in the district of Tikamgarh in MP. Orchha has many cenotaphs, ancient forts and temples of Hindu architecture .

Marble Rocks and Duandhar Falls is a gorge in the river Narmada situated at Jabalpur. The river runs through rocks of marbles of various colors and hues in the process creating scenic and splendorous wonder. Other places of interest at Jabalpur are Madan Mahal the ancient fort of Raj Gond Dynasty built by Madan Shah the husband of Gond Queen Rani Durgavati.

Pachmarhi the queen of Hill stations, and Indian Tiger Reserves Kanha, Bandhavgarh. Panna and Pench are accessible from Jabalpur which is a major railhead and an Airport. Other wildlife destinations are the Chambal river sanctuary, Shivpuri National Park, Bori Sanctuary near Pachmarhi and Satpura National Park.

The most famous destination in Madhya Pradesh is the Khajuraho Temples situated in Chhatarpur district is World famous and tourists from all over the globe. No wonder it is UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples date back to 10 to 11th Century AD.

Other places of architectural, cultural, and religious significance are Amarkantak near Jabalpur, Bhopal, Chanderi, Chitrakuta, Gwalior, Maheshwar, Mandleshwar, Mandu, Omkareshwar and Sonagiri.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kerala Tourism - Wildlife

Periyar - Thekkady

Situated in Idukki district of Kerala on the Western Ghats Periyar Tiger Reserve is the hot bed for Kerala tourism and wildlife safari. Periyar is one of the most popular National Park in Southern India. It contains diverse habitats and a variety of mammalian and reptilian species. There are more than 265 bird species. Peyriyar is famous for wild elephants in Kerala. Tigers, gaurs and leopards are also found in the park.

The boat ride on the Periyar River offers exciting animal and bird sightings. Jeep safaris are also available in the tiger reserve. The forests of Periyar are home to many endemic animals and birds.   

The Sabarimala Ayyapan Temple is situated inside the Periyar preserve a popular pilgrimage spot visited by thousands of devotees.


How to reach Periyar

Air - Nearest Airport : Madurai (Tamil Nadu) 140 kms, Kochi (Nedumbassery - 185 km), Thiruvananthapuram (265 kms).


Rail - Nearest railway station is Kumarakom 114 kms. Madurai station is about 136 kms.


Road - An excellent road network from kumily (4 kms) links the to all major towns and cities in india.

Other Wildlife Places in Kerala --

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Eravikulam National Park
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

There are many tour packages available for Kerala tourism. They include visits to National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries besides sightseeing. For further information about wildlife tours in Kerela please see the links on this blog.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

About Kerala in India

The Kerala State Tourism


The Southern State is diverse, colorful and buzzing with life. The land of spices is home to multi-ethnic humanity an agglomeration of people from many lands. The Malayali Culture exhibits characteristic flavor of  amalgamation of many exotic communities. Festivities, rites and rituals abound and the celebration takes place in unison as one large community. 

Kerala is a complete tourism destination that offers many activities for holiday making. The land is full of historical forts, palaces, museums, beaches and backwaters. The cuisine is as exotic as it comes and the colors of the rich culture impress the visitor no end.

Major places to visit in Kerala:

1) Alappuzha Canal

2) Alappuzha Beach

3) Bekal Fort Beach

4) East Fort

5) Eravikulam National Park

6) Fort Kochi

7) Kappad Beach Kozikhode

8) Kovalam Beach

9) Munnar

10) Ashtamudi Backwaters

11) Silent Valley National Park

12) Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

13) Veli Tourist Village

14) Wayanad

Kerala has been ranked among the World's top ten travel destinations and is the most popular travel destination in India. There are many tour operator packages for sightseeing in Kerala. The packaged tours offer sightseeing, beach tourism and backwater boat cruise.

Special ayurveda extension can also be arranged at health spas in the state of Kerala. One can find both luxury and budget spas in the state.

Kerala: Traveling Information

Kerala is situated at the western most tip of the Indian subcontinent with its capital as Thiruvananthapuram erstwhile Trivandrum. Kerala has the highest literacy rate and the language is Malayalam…English is very popular in this Indian state.
The major religions are Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Culturally the people of Kerala are similar except few variances that are a characteristic of this diverse country.
The currency is Indian rupee and all modern banking facilities are available in major towns and cities. The weather is tropical with varying from 22 to 33 C May/Jan being the hottest.
The state is well connected by Air… both International and Domestic flights operate from major towns and the capital. The state is well connected by road and rail and buses operate throughout.
Kerala is famous for its backwaters, beaches and wildlife sanctuaries. Apart from all the destination is famous for its Ayurvedic spas which give body massages a system based on the age old Indian system of medicine "Ayurveda".
Keralite cuisine is unique and myriads of mouth watering food varieties await the traveler to this land.

There are many tours operators in Kerala for affordable tourism packages. Seek an affordable packaged tour option for visiting Kerala. The best season is from October to March.