Thursday, September 9, 2010

MP tours - Destinations

Much publicized as a popular destination for holidays, sightseeing, birding and wildlife. The state of Madhya Pradesh offers much more. The state has gained popularity as tourism destination due to tiger safari parks like Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench tiger reserves.

Top MP Tourism Destinations 

Khajuraho Temples

Eleventh Century AD temples that depict Kamasutra on the outer falls of many temples. The  temples are a fine example of ancient Hindu Architecture and typifies the construction under the Culchuri dynasty of Central India. The exhibits on the outer walls exonerate humans as sexual beings and are more of a treatise  without any malaise.      

Khajuraho is well connected by flights from metros especially New Delhi. The nearest rail head  is at Satna. The destination can also be reached from Bandhavgarh & Jabalpur.  The tourism infrastructure is well developed with hotels ranging from five star to budget class available for accommodation. Nearby places of interest are Panna National Park and Ken Gharial Sanctuary. These places are within driving distance and can be easily approached from Khajuraho. The temple town is popular among inbound tourists and the highlight is the Khajuraho Dance Festival.    

Pachmarhi Hill Resort

One of the finest hill retreats in Madhya Pradesh, India, Pachmarhi is more popular amongst Indian tourists. The retreat is a wildlife sanctuary and a Cantt hence rabid development has not taken place outside the township. The retreat is a magnanimous delight of  forest clad and rugged mountains, deep valleys and  rivers. The sightseeing is at waterfalls, glens and mountain sides. Pachmarhi is picturesque beyond words and abounds in birds and wildlife. There are many ancient caves and temples devoted  to Lord Shiva. Nearest places of interest are the pristine Bori Sanctuary and Satpura National Park.  

Only MP tourism hotels provide adequate accommodation though many private hotels are in the town limit.  The hill resort is approached from Piparia rail head and is about 57 km uphill. Piparia is well connected with Jabalpur rail head with number of trains plying to and fro. From Jabalpur, Piparia is about two and half hours of train ride.   

Kanha National Park

A well known tiger reserve Kanha is a prime tiger habitat famous for tiger safaris. It is a heaven for wildlife watchers and birders. There are more than 22 Central Indian mammals that inhabit the park. The park abounds in birds, butterflies and reptiles. The keystone species are tiger, leopard, wild dog, swamp deer, sloth bear ad the bison.     

The tourism infrastructure is well developed with large number of wildlife resorts and hotels for accommodation. The park safaris are organized by the hoteliers under supervision of the forest department. The safaris are conducted under strict rules and regulation t benefit the conservation efforts.

Kanha can be approached from Jabalpur, Raipur and Pench Tiger Reserve near to Nagpur. Jabalpur offers the best approach to Kanha via Mandla. The driving distance is about 165 km. The city is well connect by Indian Railway network and by flight to New Delhi.    

Bandhavgarh National Park

Famous for its tigers on which many films have been made. Bandhavgarh tigers might be the most filmed tigers in the World. In my opinion Bandhavgarh is one of the most charismatic tiger reserve in MP, India. It is home to more than forty tigers in an area little more than four hundred This National Park is unique since it has historical and religious importance.  

Bandhavgarh draws lots of tourists from all over the World to see the tiger in the wild. The density of the tigers is high and so is the visibility because of unique terrain. The park is full of low rising hillock interspersed with marshy grasslands which provide the tigers with ideal hunting grounds. Besides the tiger one can spot the leopard, sloth bear, sambar deer, wild dog, wild boar, barking deer, spotted deer and the ubiquitous langur.

The places of interest are within the park: Bandhavgarh Fort, Sesh Shaiyya or reclining Vishnu, many zoo morphic form of Lord Vishnu carved out of igneous stones and Laxman temple near the fort. One comes across many mad made caves and temples in ruins on wildlife safaris. The preserve is an excellent place for birders as large number of bird species are found here. 

Bandhavgarh is best approached from Jabalpur which is about four hours drive via Katni or Umaria.  Umaria railway station is connected overnight with New Delhi and few trains from Jabalpur. The rail head is about 32 km from the  park. Bandhavgarh is about six hours drive from Khajuraho and about seven hours drive from Kanha.   

Pench Tiger Reserve

Pench in the Seoni Hills as Kipling described it is a tiger heaven. It is where Mowgli the wolf child was born. One can still see the wolf pack from Khwasa to Turia gate with some luck. The park lies ten km inside from Khwasa on Jabalpur Nagpur Road. The keystone species are tiger, leopard, wild dog, bison besides many Central Indian mammals, reptiles and insects make Pench their home.

Pench is famous for tiger safaris and leopards are more frequently seen here. The preserve is good place for birding with many exciting finds to be discovered.

The best approach to Pench National Park is from Nagpur which is one and half hours drive and connected with air service from New Delhi and some other towns. Jabalpur is about 200 km from Pench and a good drive. Pench is also about six hours drive from Kanha.

Marble Rocks Jabalpur

Jabalpur is a go between the top tourism destinations in Madhya Pradesh. Embellished with verdant greenery the city still retains its Old World charm at many places. It is a large town with all modern amenities and accommodations. There is lot of sightseeing to be done at Jabalpur City but most popular is a visit to Marble Rocks a gorge in the Narmada River. It is a famous boat ride amidst dazzling melange of color on smooth rocky mountains of marble. Nearby places of interest are Dhuandhar Falls and Chausath Yogini Temples.      

Tourism in Madhya Pradesh is well organized. The best way to tour is on MP package tours organized by tour companies in the state. Hotels and Taxis can be booked online directly. Most of the hotels in Kanha National Park, Pench and Bandhavgarh have their websites for online booking facilities.   

MP Tourism Hotels are the best stay in Pachmarhi while Khajuraho has wide range of hotels. There many tour operators offering packages for the state of Madhya Pradesh in India.     

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Indian Railway Travel

The biggest railway network is not necessarily the best. But whatever you feel about India trains, it does take you to your destination cheap. Indian rails are the cheapest transportation that anyone can find in the country.

The railway coverage in India is vast and hence offers the best reach any mode of transportation can offer.
The inter connectivity is amazing with more than eleven thousand trains plying all over the country. The system transports more than twenty million passengers and about two million tons of goods.

It is all about where you want to go or how you wish to go? If you are planning a holiday on the super luxury tourism trains than you need to shelve a lot of money. The holiday packages on luxury trains cost a lot.

If you are rich enough to travel by First AC or Second AC your journey would be in absolute privacy and comfort. Well as much as possible! Third AC delivers as well but there is a bit of a rush always. But it is okay since the climate control rarely fails.    

Second Class sleeper travel is hardly comfortable with what seems like whole India trying squeeze into your compartment. The comfort level depends upon the climate outside since there is no air conditioning. The only comfort that sleeper class offers is a berth to sit and sleep upon.

A big relief has been the online ticketing facility in recent years. One need not wait for a long time in sweaty queue for hours and hours. The Irctc website online conducts all the task of booking office. You can book or cancel your ticket in a jiffy, find information about seat availability or distance between stations. All railway information is at your finger tip.

The worst nightmare is availing a reserved berth if your ticket status is on waiting list. Those lazy enough not to book a journey ticket in advance are the one’s who visit the Indian Railway site the most.  They are constantly seeking pnr status online in order to find the position of their ticket on IRCTC site.

One can also seek status using sms or mobile messaging service. The sms pnr status check is quick and easy. Just type you pnr number on the ticket and send to 139 or whatever the number is. In few seconds you will get the status of your ticket as message.  

The online reservation offers much more information in a short time than a land based railway office does. Hence switch on your computer every time you wish to make a rail journey.