Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Marble Rocks - Bheraghat at Jabalpur

The gorge in River Narmada at Marble Rocks known as Bheraghat in Hindi  highlights the elemental beauty and panoramic magnificence of holy river.  The gorge through which Narmada passes through is a picturesque marvel of rocks of marble etched with amazing hues of stunning colors.   

Boat Ride at Bhedaghat

The best way to experience the magnificence of  the Gorge in River Narmada as Capt. Forsyth called it is the boat ride. The boat moves at a leisurely  pace between the steep mountains of colored marble. This is the best way to enjoy and absorb the panoramic splendor, serene and at places turbid river and the amazing landscape.


Moon Lit Romance


During full moon, boating at Marble Rocks is a romantic experience as beams of  moonlight lands on rocks and sparkle on the river surface. As the oars hit the surface, splashes of cool waters fall on you and make you shiver in delight.  All through the ride on the gorge, shadows of looming mountains chase you asunder, but you wish for more and more....

Dhuandhar Falls


At Dhuandhar Fall, Narmada tumbles down with a huge force through the gaps and crevices in the rocky surface - this is the beginning of Marble Rocks. A fine spray of cool water are constantly  thrown up as the river tumbles down. Like a curtain of mist the fine sprays surround the whole place hence the name.  Dhuan means smoke in Hindi and Dhar means a fall.

The marble wonder is about thirteen kilometers from Jabalpur Town in MP and can be reached easily by road. There are many hotels in Jabalpur that organize trips to Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls. Another interesting place in Jabalpur worth a visit is Chausath Yogini Temple Complex which is very near to Bheraghat.

During monsoon rains the place is closed down and hardly any sign of the water fall is there as the river submerges in the flood.       

Monday, September 21, 2009

Haridwar

Haridwar or Hardwar is a holy city of Hindus situated in the state of Uttaranchal in India. The name stands for Gateway of the Gods. The city is one of the seven holiest cities of the Hindus in India.

Holy Ganga River enters Gaumukh near Haridwar and follows to the Indo Gangetic plain of Norther India. Haridwar is one of the four sites where elixir or Amrit was spilled over after Smudra Manthan when being carried away by Garuda the heavenly bird.

Hence Hardwar is the major pilgrimage center of the Hindu and Kumbh Mela is held here once every three years. Other places where Kumbh Mela is held are Ujjain, Allahabad and Nasik.

The most sacred spot where nectar fell is known as Har-ki Pauri or Brahma Kund. It is believed that taking a dip here helps the holy attain moksha. The destination is also an entry point for the Chardham tours or pilgrimage to four holy places. Many sages have been said to have lived here or did penance.

Other places of Interest are:

Temples of Chanda Devi, Mansa Devi, Maya devi, Doodhadhari Barfani, Sureshvari Devi and

Daksheswara Mahadev.

Neel Dhara Bird Sanctuary

Sati Kund

BhimGoda Tank

Jairam Ashram

Jairam Ashram

Parad Shivling

Ramanad Ashram

Ram Mandir

and few other places.

There are many hotels in Haridwar which offer a luxury stay during pilgrimage. Some hotels offer Char Dham tours to pilgrims. The destination is also well know for Rudraksha bead necklaces and pendants used by the holy men as rosary for prayers.

Hardiwar is well connected by road network from Delhi and Dehradun. The nearest air port is Dehradun. The best time to visit is during the Maha Kumbh Mela held after every three years.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Of colors in stone

Captain Forsyth described it as a "Gorge in the River Narmada" though simple English the phrase appears to be poetic - by all means. Marble Rocks or Bhedaghat, the latter precisely means a gorge is actually composed of rocks of raw marble saturated with hues of mind boggling colors. Through the steep rocks flows the river Narmada.

The river enters the gorge at Dhuandhar Falls. The fall was once impressively deep, but after Bargi Dam was built the water level has risen reducing the depth. Never the less the spread of the falls is still impressive, the speed with which the waters gush through makes it enchanting.

The white waters rush through the narrow and steep inlet of the gorge at a break neck speed. At this juncture the river is impossible to navigate. The boat rides at Marble Rocks begin at the right bank of the river at place called Panchavati. The river is spread wide here, but soon narrows down as the cliffs arrive. The slow hand rowed boats offer the greatest pleasure in boating betwixt the amazing color splattered rocks of marble. Visitors are wonder struck by the hues of colors. The shapes intrigue as well.

The fast rushing waters make boating a little tense affair nevertheless the boatmen are highly experienced lot. Before inundation by Bargi Dam, the river was much more placid in summers and boating was a serene experience. This river ecosystem harbored many life forms including crocodiles once. I have seen them myself in younger days.

Marble Rocks in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh is worth visiting for the magnificent falls and boat ride in the river Narmada. The place is about thirteen kilometers from main town Jabalpur with private taxis, buses and other means of accessing it.

There is an old temple on the hills called "Chausath Jogini" with set of idols. The idols have been plundered by a barbaric Moghul invader, but nevertheless the place is worth visiting.

Accommodation is available in Jabalpur Hotels and  for those interested in a night stay at Marble Rocks MPTDC owns resort nearby. The booking can be done from MPTDC office at Railway station or through MP online kiosk or regional offices.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gujarat Wildlife & Birding Tourism

Though still not a very popular travel destination in India Gujarat has lots to offer. It is not only the holy pilgrimage to Krishna's Dwarka, Gujarat state is one of the finest birding and wildlife destination in India. The Dwarkadhish Temple is built in he honor of Lord Krishna and is visited by thousands of pilgrims ever year.

Gujarat also boasts of a marine National Park at Pirotan of the Jamnagar coast. Apart from mind boggling marine life forms birds such as Flamingos, Godwits, Puffins, Cranes, Herring Sea Gulls, Blackhead Gulls, Crab Plovers and other interesting wetland avifauna can be seen here with ease.

Wildlife & Birding

Gir National Park is the home of Asiatic Lion the only one in the World. About 350 lions survive in this National Park in Western India. The park is close to the district of Junagadh and is famous for lion safaris in Gujarat in India. Gir National Park is an excellent among top birding tour destinations in India with wide variety of bird species seen. Animals seen in wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks in Gujarat are Lion, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Hyena, Wild Ass, Caracal, Indian Wolf, Blue Bull, Sambar Deer and Spotted Deer. Many lesser mammals like chinkara, jungle cats and other species can be sighted in many places in Gujarat in India.

Little Rann of Kutch this magnificent salt desert is home to Greater and Lesser Flamingos which breed here. Indian Wild Ass, Great Indian Bustard, Hubara Bustard and Macqueen's Bustard are found here. The Rann of Kutch is home to great number of birds . I t is included in itinerary of western India birding tours by package tour operators in India.


Among well known birding destinations in India are Velavadar, Dassada, Nal Sarovar and Thol apart from Gir and Rann of Kutch. Besides Bustards and Flamingos one can see variety of birds in Gujarat - pelicans, geese, wintering ducks, desert birds, and many forest and wetland birds in India.


There is luxury and budget accommodation available in wildlife places and birding spots in Gujarat. Government based Gujarat Tourism corporation offers package tours and travel services to many destinations in the state.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Temple Tours - Khajuraho

Undoubtedly the country's top attraction Khajuraho Temples are a marvel in stone that exhibit luminous grace and architectural splendor unsurpassed. The structures reflect the glory India's golden past that now survives amidst emerging modern chaos. Khajuraho temples are an epitome of liberal ideological values that were the main stays of ancient Kingdoms in Central India.

These magnificent piece of architecture lay hidden in the deep confines of Central India or the State of Madhya Pradesh. The discovery was made during the British Rule in India. The archeological finds are now maintained by the Archeological Surveys of India.    

Khajuraho is spirituality in art with expression of liberal sexual values engraved in the walls carved out of stone. The Kamasutra sex treatise is expressed here through delicate carvings and statues. The temples were built by Chandela dynasty in 10th and 11th century AD. The temples are situated in different complexes. These complexes also contain Jain Temples built during the Chandela Era. 

The purpose of this treatise in stone was perhaps a manual for young boys growing up in gurukuls or religious schools. It could also have been to please pleasure loving rain God Indra. The carved figures of men, women and animals are intertwined in various sexual positions. The carvings are intricate and explicit on the out walls of the Hindu Temples.

This hypothesis can best be left to eminent historians and scholars. Khajuraho temples are a must visit destinations. These are included in itinerary of many organized tour packages to Madhya Pradesh in India.

Khajuraho is a chaotic village that harbors these monuments of sublime beauty and exquisite artistic delights - the carving in stone - and not just erotic expressions that some of the travelers to India may be coming to see. This becomes evident on tour to Khajuraho as you visit one temple after another. You get immersed in the erotic carvings displayed on the walls.

Best way of reaching Khajuraho is by Air from Delhi and some other major towns. The nearest rail head is Satna. While one can access the temple town on Jabalpur - Bandhavgarh - Khajuraho route by taxi or personal vehicle.

The Panna National Park lies just forty five kms from the temple town of Khajuraho. Panna NP offers tiger safaris, exciting wildlife sightings and birding trips in the dense deciduous forests.

Indian Handicrafts on Travel

Not only exports, handicrafts in India are a major attraction for tourists. All Indian states have their unique native skills that result in creation of exotic crafts. The traveler comes across works of art and crafts all over his route.

Those on tours to Kerala or Rajasthan states are likely to discover and be impressed by Indian handicrafts since these are popular destinations. In popular tourists states an infrastructure has been laid down in bringing forth all elements of tourist attractions.

But as rest of India opens up to tourism, more and more states are gearing up to display and promote the local talent which produces unique works of arts. Be it jewelry, wooden statues, brass works and designer dresses. Those on travel to India must read and know about before hand the craftsmanship popular in the parts of India they are visiting. Find out where to see and buy them.

There are many Government Agencies that promote handicraft trade in the country to assist local communities. These efforts provide economic assistance and empowerment to locals especially the women.  

The government has taken lot of steps forward to encourage exports and exposure on crafts from India. EPCH has been set up for this very purpose.

EPCH full form Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts under Development Commissioner of Handicrafts, Textile Ministry GOI was set up under EXIM policy in yr 1986-87. It helps create infrastructure and encourages marketing by offering information to member exporters and importers.

It Offers professional advice in areas of technology up gradation, quality and designing in improving standards and specifications, development of products and encourages creativity.
• EPCH organizes visits of members to foreign countries to explore overseas marketing potential.
• Participating in International Trade Fairs of Handicrafts & Gift.
• Organizes Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fairs.
• Acts as intermediately between exporters and Govt. at Central and State level. It represents all the committees / panels of Central.
• EPCH creates awareness through Workshops on "Export Marketing, Procedures and Documentation", Packaging, Design Developments, Buyer Seller Meets, Open House and other such programs.
• EPCH disseminates notification, orders, information on trades etc issued by GOI.

Of late tour operators offering package tour to Kerala include visit to handicraft fairs. This is also done in package tours to Rajasthan in Western India. The villages in the states which produces handicrafts are unique in nature.