Madhu Latha
Incredible India ; A diverse India ; Versatile India ; Enigmatic India ; Intoxicating India ; Spiritual India

India has been called many names by those who see it. India appears as such to each as those who see it that way. Come take a look at my India through my eyes...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SHIMLA - the Emerald Town.

The town of Shimla lies at an elevation of 2205m from sea level. Once just a sleepy forest glade known as Shyamala, named after the Godess Kali who is the destroyer of evil, has earned its 'premier summer resort of India' status when Charles Kennedy built a summer resort in 1822. From then on the British, and every one who is who in the Indian subcontinent rushed to Shimla for the summers. Kalki - Shimla was constructed in 1903 making this hill station more accessable. Today many prestigious schools are established where students from all over the country attend.

The city was also once the capital of Punjab. Though now the town has overgrowm and threatens to spill into the valley the city center still holds its old world charm with its English era buildings and churches. The official center of the city is still the Scandal Point. Down in Cart rd is where we find the Railway station, Intercity Bus Terminal (ISBT) and taxi stands.

Best time to visit:
A jagged line of snow-covered peaks is visible from April to June & in October & November coinciding with the main tourist season.  Honey mooners can come to frolic in the snow in December and January.

Himachal Pradesh State Museum and Library
Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Garden
Christ Church


Jakhu Temple
Shiva Mandir
Kali Bari Mandir
Ram Mandir
Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara


Town Hall
Post Office
Offices of Accountant General
Rothney Castle

Excursions around Shimla:
1. For wonderful sceneries at Prospect Hill 4km west of Shimla
2. Pleasant summber Hill -5km west on Shimla-Kalka Railway Line
3. Pretty Chadwick falls(67m high) 2km furtherwest
4. Village of Sanjauti 3 km east of Lakkar Bazar there is a Durga Temple & small Buddhist Monastery.
5. Mashobra is about 12 km north of Shimla and has an old colonial church and a few pleasant walks among the tall and majestic looking deodar trees.
6. Naldehra is famous chiefly for the Naldehra Golf Course.
Hotel Golf Glade (0177/2747739)

Trekking, Adventure tours, Motorcycle tours, Golfing

Walking tours :- From the Scandal Point 4 km. NorthWest is 'the Glen' which was the  playground for scottish generals as the landscape is similar to the scottish meadows, from here the road passes through the Annandale.

Tourist Information :
HPTDC TOURIST OFFICE - 0177/2652561 ;; Scandal Point
1. By HPTDC: Daily sightseeing bus tours around Shimla.  Leaving time from Rivoli Bus stand: 10.30 am
2. By Taxi Unions: One-day sightseeing to Kufri, Naldehra, Fagu & Mashobra

Great Escape Route - 0177/5533037 ;; Jakha


1. HOTEL BULMARG: 0177-2653168;
2. HOTEL CLASSIC: 0177-2653078
3. HOTEL DALZIEL: 0177-2652691;
4. YMCA         : 0177-2650021;
5. HOTEL WHITE  : 0177-2656136;
6. HOTEL AMBER  : 0177-2654774
7. HOTEL DREAMLAND: 0177-2806897
8. HOTEL DOEGAR : 0177-2811927 ;
9. LeRoyale     : 0177-2651002 ;
10. OBEROI CECIL: 0177-2804848 ;
11. CHAPSLEE    : 0177-2802542 ;

Good News for book lovers:
Assa Book House
Maria Brothers - 0177-2565388
Minerva Bookshop - 0177-2803078
For any emergency during the travel:
Indira Gandhi Medical College - 0177-2803073
Tourist Police - 0177-2812344

Financial requirements for the trip:
Tourist Guide:
1. HPTDC TOURIST OFFICE: 0177-2652561 (
2. Great Escape routes 0177-5533037 (

1. GAIETY THEATRE - 0177-2805639;the Mall
2. RITZ CINEPLEX  - 0177-2652413;christ church
3. FOOTLOOSE DISCO - 01772652413

1. Himachal Emporium - 0177-2011234;the Mall
2. Tibetan Handloom Shop - 0177-2808163;the Mall

Mode of transportations to the place of Mountains:AIR ROUTE:
Jubbarhatti Airport, 23km south of Shimla
1. Kingfisher Airlines - 18002093030;
2. Jagson Airlines - 0177-2625177;

Contact HPTDC-0177-2656326

Kalka-Shimla Taxi Union:0177-2658225
Vishal Himachal Taxi operators Union: 0177-2805164

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Around Leh

Indus Valley villages form green oases amid dun-coloured semi-deserts backed by a craggy dry mountains. Several superb medieval monastries make interesting day trips by hired motorcycles, jeep or public bus.


Stok Ladakh's former royal family now live a comparitively modest life, dividing their time between a private mansion in Manali and the stately Stok Palace.
Stok Palace
Stok Palace Museum
Stok Abagon
Stok Gompa
EventsTse-Chu festival in feb/mar
trek king point
Where you can stay
Hotel Kangri ph:01982-201009
Kalden Guesthouse ph:01982-242057
Hotel Highland ph:01982-242005
Hotel Skittsal ph:01982-242051;

Matho Sakya-Buddhist Matho Gompa is a colourfully stratified ridge above Matho Village.
During the monastry's famous Matho Nagrang festival blindfolded monks perform acrobatics, engage a ritual acts of self-mutilation and make predictions for the coming year.
Spituk, Phey & Zingchen
Skodong Lakhang shrine
Chikang hosts a yellow hatted statue of Tsongkhapa who inspired Gelukpa Buddhism.
Palden Lama temple
For treks Zingchen makes a better starting point than Spituk village


Phyang is a emerand splash of green-hemmed barley fields layered for miles up a side valley. There are stupendous views back towards the snow-topped pyramid of Skot Kangri. The white and ochre Phyang Gompa Photogenically dominates the village center despite some earthquake damage. Behind, dzos graze on idyllic meadowland and a beautiful lane follows a rock escarpment past traditional homes.

Phyang's only accomodation Hidden North Guesthouse ph:01982-226007;

Chiling For a feast of colourful geology take the dramatic riverside ledge road up the deep Zanskar canyon from 400km. It was founded for the copper craftsmen who had originally arrived to build Shey Palace's big Buddha statue but never went home. Today Zanskar in a major trekking point between Lamayuru and the Markha Valley.

Basgo Capital of lower Ladakh until the Ladakhi kingdoms united in 1940, Basgo's ancient chortens whisper hints of its antiquity. Rising above the village on a surreal collection of eroded earthen pinnicles are remnant stubs of once great cithedel walls, along with a largely derelict mud-walled palace and two brilliant temples, recently stabilised with help from UNESCO. The Upper Chamba Gompa has a spectacularly restored mural work covering walls and ceilings around two-storey statue of Maitreya, whose expression embodies the spirit of detachment. Slightly downhill, behind the palace remnants, darker and even more atmospheric Sar-Zung Temple hosts another oversized statue of Maitreya and a library of wrapped scriptures.

Basgo's only accomodation, the pleasasnt two room ToGoGuesthouse ph: 01982-225104

Starting point for the Sham trek
Likir Gompa
Maitreya Statue

Old Likir Guesthouse ph: 01982-227505
Chhuma Guesthouse ph: 01982-
Norboo spon Guesthouse ph: 01982-227137
Hotel Lhukhil

A spectacular 30 minute detour from Likir winds threough a Nevada like scenery
Toro Guesthouse
Lungchay Guesthouse ph: 01982-240024


Friday, March 22, 2013

Leh - come fall in love with nature

A dagger of steep rocky ridge plunging towards the main bazaar is topped by a dramatic palace, fort and gompa. Very few places in India could capture your heart and make you fall in love like Leh does with its inviting green barley fields amidst mudbrick houses. As tranquil place to visit as it is friendly, Leh captures its tourists with its unpretentious beauty.

Tourist Information

Tourist Office ph:01982-253482
Henk Thoma's Leh valley map could be really useful to navigate around the area.
Ladakh trekking maps

Sights to see

Palace Ridge
Leh Palace
Palace Gompas
Tsemo Fort
Old City
Chowkhang Gompa
Shanti Stupa
Women's Alliance
Sankar Gompa
Donkey Sanctuary
Hall of Fame

What you can do
Yoga and Meditation
Mahabodhi Center ph:01982-253689
Meditation Center ph:01982-264372
Open Ladakh ph:09419886135

Rafting and Kayaking
Trekking - Per-person fees ranging from US$50 to US$400 paid directly to IMF (

Volunteering - TELF teachers are in demand visit
- rubbish collecting trek

Organised Tours
Old Town Walking Tours
Jeep and car Tours
Trekking tours

Himalayan Journeys ph:01982-250591; Jeeps and Rafting
Lhasi Karpo Ecological Trek & Tours ph:01982-255644;; Old Town Walk Tours
Overland Escape ph:01982-250858;; multiskilled agency
Snow Leapord Trails ph:01982-252074;; Treks
Splash Adventures ph:01982-254870; Rafting Specialists
Wild East Adventure ph:01982-250505;; Trekking
World Adventure ph:01982-251910;
XploreLadakh ;
Yama Adventures ph:01982-250833;

Tibetian thangkas, Ladakhi hats turquoise jewellery, kashmiri shawls and various Nepali, Tibetan and Chinese knick-knacks
LeDEG ph:01982-253221;
Women's Alliance ph:01982-250293;
Handicrafts Industrial cooperative shop in Old Fort Rd
Wamda Wood Craving in Old Fort Road
Gol Market and Moti market

Getting there and away
Indian Airlines ph:01982-252076; Fort Rd
Jet Airways ph:01982-250999; Main Bazaar
Kingfisher Airlines
Buses are available from Manali, Srinagar, Kargil
Taxis and Jeeps are for hire, so are motorcycles to go around the place.

also see Around Leh

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Himachal Pradesh - The land of Celestial Beauty

Himachal Pradesh is famous for it's diversity and mind-blowing scenery.  It's a trecking lovers paradise with Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Western Himalayan ranges stretching far and wide quenching their thirst of trecking.  In central Himachal, manali and Kulu and Parvati valleys are a feast for the hippies, honey mooners & thrill seekers.  It also has many forts, temples & palaces.  Though time consuming, travel around HP is wonderful experience which every individual will desire to cherish.   

Useful Facts :

Capital : Shimla
Population : 55,673 sq km
Languages: Hindi, Pahari and Punjabi
When to go : May to June, September to early November

How to fulfull our dreams?
1. The Himachal's adventure-sport capital, Manali can be reached by skiing, treking, climbing, paragliding, rafting or zorbing.
2. Stay in Parvati Valley and trek to the mountain village of Malana.
3. Centuries old temples of Chamba and Bharmour add spirituality to the serene beauty of mountains
4. Marvelous mountains passes of Rohtang La & Kunzum La should be crossed to Tabo monastery & unimaginably remote spiti valley.
5. A summer retreat in the green glades of Shimla

Appropriate time to go:
The main seasons being May to July & September to early November.  Advanced reservation recommended. During monsoon the hills can be too chill & damp.  Snow closes from NOvember to April.  This is the peak skiing season at the modest resorts near Manali & Shimla.

Must for travel: PERMIT
Permit is a must for the travel in the sensitive border between India and Tibet.  Inner line permit to travel between Rekong Deo in Kinnaur & Tabo in Piti.  Permit can be obtained easily with two passport photographs & photocopies of identity in Shimla, Kaza & Rekong Deo.

How to reach here?
Main routs into Himachal are by bus but small airtrips near Shimla, Kullur & Dharamsala receive flights from Delhi with Kingfisher airlines( & Jagson Airlines (



1. Losar: (Jan/Feb); Lahual & spiti)
2. Shivaratri Festival ; (Feb/Mar);Temples of Mandi & Baijnath celebrate this festival as a tribute to Lord Shiva.
3. Suimata Mela : Apr;Four days of celebration to honour Sui Meta who sacrificed her life to save the people of Chamba.
4. Dhungri Mela : May;Manali
5. Himalayan Hang - Gliding Rally : May; Billing
7. Lahaul Festival : Jul; keylong - cultural and trade festival in Lahaul.
8. Minjar Festival : Jul/Aug;Harvest festival in Chamba.
9. Ladarcha Fair : Aug; Kaza ancient trade fair
10. Pauri Festival : Aug; triloknathtemple is lit with giant butter lamps in Honour of Lord Shiva.
11. Manimahesh Yatra : Aug/Sep;Near Bharmour.
12. Phulech Festival : Sep/Oct;villagers of Kinnaur fill temple courtyard with fragrant flowers and carry out sacrificies.
13. Dussehra or Durga Puja : Oct; Kullu
14. Lavi Fair : Nov;Rampur trade fair
15. Guktor Festival : Nov;Dhankar
16. Renuka Mela : Nov; six days festival culminatin the ritual immersion of idols of Parasurama(Vishnu).
17. Internal Himalayan Festival : 10-12 Dec; celebrate Dalai Lama's  Nobel Peace Prize  
18. McLeod Ganj: Dec/Jan; Tibetan New Year Celebrations

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ladakh - The cool place to hangout

Spectacularly jagged, arid mountains enfold this magical, Buddhist ex-kingdom. In summer hikers trek between archetypal gompas that dramatically crown rocky outcrops amid whitewashed stupas and meditational mani walls(Tibetian stone walls with sacred inscriptions). Colourful fluttering prayer flags send their spiritual messages metaphorically off into the mountain breeze. Prayer wheels spun clockwise release more merit-making mantras. Gompa interiors are colourfully awash with murals and statuary of numerous bodhisattvas.
Ladhak's extrem climate divides the region and its work routines in a short span of summer. Traditional mudbrick homesteads are large, comfortable and self-sufficient in fuel and food. The very limited cultivable land is used to its full extent by carefully channelling the glacier-melt mountain streams. Ladakh's remarkably well balanced traditional society has so much to teach the west in terms of ecological awareness. In summer people pile their flat roofs with alphalpha grass to feed the live stock through harsh winters. Winter in Ladakh is icey cold and few tourists dare venture here at this time of the year.
Ladakh is a high altitude desert famous for the inspirational purity of its crystal blue skies. With low percipitation and sunshine for an average 300 days a year. In winters temperature falls below -20C
Permits and Other Information
Whether or not permits is required, always carry your passport when travelling around Ladakh as checkpoints are fairly common. To visit Nubra Valley, Panggong Tso, DhaHanu, Tso Moriri or the upper Indus beyond Upshi, you need an inner line permit. This is usually easy to obtain within one working day through a Leh travel agent for Rs100. Make multiple photocopies of your passport and permit to give to police checkpoints enroute.

- Leh and eastren Ladakh don't suffer any of the violence of the Kashmir Valley.
- As most of Ladakh lies above 3000m flying in visitors invariable suffer some symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness.

What you can do:

Summer in Ladakh is an adventure playground for outdoor types cimbing, rafting and high altitude trekking.

Trekking in Ladakh

Zingchen-Rumbak-Stok : A 2 day trek with one 4900m pass, possible without equipment and guide.
Sham Trek : A 4 day trek with many homestays enroute.
Ascent of Stok Kangri : A 5 day trek from Stok, and climbs to 6120m. This trek requires a guide and mountain trekking equipment. Requires a IMF permit of US$50 per person.
Markha Valley Trek : a 6 to 7 day trek from Chiling to Hemis with a 5030m pass. We find seasonal parachute cafes or homestays on route but it is always suggested to bring in tent and supplies.
Lamayuru Treks 
Tso Kar-Tso Moriri : a 4 to 5 days (8 days if starting from Rumtse) lonely trek with no permanent settlements enroute. Prepare for subzero temperaatures and bring all the essential gear and a good guide. Four passes over 4700m.

Mountain Tool Kit
- Warming, insulating clothing (even in summer)
- hat, lip care, UV proof sunglasses and sunscreen
- a good quality torch
- plenty of paracetamol and antibiotics for Acute Mountain Sickness.
- campers need sleeping bags
- Photographers will find polarising filters useful to reduce glare.

Internet Resources
www.jk - Gives you the open/closed status of Srinagar and Manali.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


A one street settlement of Sonamarg occupies a delightful mountain valley setting, but in July and August its poorly maintained hotels ratchet up their prices.

Sights and Activities
Pony riding to the Thajiwas Glacier
Piligrims heading to Amarnath depart from Baltal Camp

Where you can stay
J&KTDC Tourist Bungalows Ph: 0194/2417215
Hotel Glacier Heights Ph:0194/2417215

How to get there
Buses to Srinagar


A wild, wind-scoured cluster of low-rise Ladakhi houses is the first Buddhist village you encounter on your way from Kargil to Zanskar. To the west the mountains Nun and Kun rise spectacularly white-capped. And eastwards the horizon is an arid pastiche of oddly contorted strata fronted by the dot of Rangdum Gompa.

About 1km after Pensi La, the rugged pass that divides the Suru and Zanskar valleys, there are spectacular views down onto the long, glistening white Drang Drung glacier. Further down, the Zanskar Valley broadens with several small villages in grassy parcels of farmland hemmed by sheer mountain walls. Phey has a small gompa and homestay. At Sani, Zanskar's oldest Gompa is a small two storey prayer hall ringed by a tunnelled cloister and a whitewashed stone wall studded with stupas.

Where you can Stay
Zanskar Express Guesthouse
J&K Tourism Bunglow
Nun-Kun Delux Camp

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


In the piligrim season of June to August this quaint town is packed with Amarnath Yatri, but in early September it makes a fine spot for gentle walks or pony treks.

Sights to see
The Baisarn and Dhabyan Viewpoints
Tulyan Lake
Mamleshwar Temple

Things you can do
Jawahar Institute Ph:243129 organises fair value multiday treks, skiing, white-water rafting by Highland Excursions Ph: 01942488061

Monday, February 25, 2013


The dusty little capital of Zanskar with an awesome mountain backdrop. This cosy little town has everything you need in a crossroads.

The tourist office Ph:01983/245017

Sights to see

The crumbling 'Old Town', where we find large stupas.
To the north a more traditional village of Pibiting has a small gompa dwarfed by a large hilltop stupa topped with a becon lamp.

Around Padum
Karsha gompa - zanskar's largest Buddhist monastry, which dates back to atleast the 10th century. It's a jumble of whitewashed blocks rising almost vertically up the red rock of a mountain cliff. Concrete steps lead to the upper colister and prayer hall with cracked old murals and wobbly wooden columns. French charity Solidarijeune ( helps with it's upkeep.

Zangla & stongde - A drive to Zangla makes a fine excursion from Padum. The highlight of the trip is Stongde Gompa crowning a bird's-eye perch 300m above the valley, 12km from Padum. the entrance to Zangla is guarded by a small hilltop fortress ruin.

Raru & Bardan - Trekking between Zanskar and Darcha generally starts from Raru. The route from Padum passes the Bardan Gompa sitting spectacularly above the valley on a rocky outcrop.

Things you can do

Where you can stay
Phukthar Guesthouse Ph:01983/245226
Hotel Ibex Ph:01983/245214
Gakyi Hotel

Getting there and away
The buses are unpredictable to this place. Jeeps and Taxis are also available

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Kargil made infamous for the Kargil war that took place here claiming many brave soldiers lives on either side. This sleepy little town of Kargil can be summarized merely as a change of transport between Leh and Srinagar. Everything travellers might need is conveniently found within three short blocks of the bustling Main bazaar, with its PCOs and Internet Cafes. The bus and taxi stand is 100m towards the river, past the useful State Bank of India ATM.

Tucked behind the busstand is the Tourist Reception Center Ph:01985/232721.

Where you can stay
J&KTDC Tourist Bungalow Ph:01985/232328
Hotel Siachen Ph:01985/232221

Where you can eat
Numerous simple dhabas line in the Main Bazaar.

Getting there and away
Buses from Leh depart at 4:30 a.m. Jeeps and taxis are also an option.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Drass Valley

Drass Valley is as close as you can get to the Line of control. In 2005 meterologists have recorded a temperature of -60 degrees centigrade making it the second coldest place in the world. tourists stop to visit the various battlefields of 1999 Indo-Pak war.

There are a few dhabas here but it is better not to stay for too long.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Srinagar, with its glassy lake and colorful houseboats with its delightfully mild summer climate makes it India's top most tourist attraction. But visiting Srinagar without throughly checking the latest security situation is foolhardy.

Sights to see
Dal Lake
Parks and Gardens
Nishat Bagh
Pari Mahal
Cheshmashahi Garden
Botanical Garden
Tulip Garden
Old City
Khanqah of Shah-i-Hamadan
Jama Masjid
Pir Dastgir Sahib
Naqshband Sahib
Hari Parbat
Sri Pratap Singh Museum
Shankaracharya Hill
Around Srinagar
Gulmarg - India's famous ski-center
Srinagar to Kargil is a truely beautiful 200km drive takes you from Kashmir's very alpine valleys over the remarkable double loops of the 3529m zoji La.

What you can do
Organised Tours

Where you can stay
Houseboats - Houseboat Owners Association Ph:0194/2450326
Or you can always stay in a hotel
Humza Hotel Ph:0194/2500857;
Hotel Akbar Ph:0194/2500507;
Residency Hotel Ph:0194/22473702;
Lalit Grand Palace Ph:0194/2501001;
Where you can eat
Punjabi Rasoi (veg) Boulevard
Mughal Durbar (veg) Residency Rd
Lhasa Restaurent (veg & non-veg) Boulevard Lane 2
Coffee Arabica (coffee and cupcakes) MA Rd

Getting there and back
Indian airlines Ph:0194/2450247; Shahenshah Palace Hotel
Jet Airways Ph:0194/2480801; Court rd
Jetlite Ph:0194/2106750;

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Suru Valley

The main road tto Zanskar winds prettily threough the fertile valley of Suru Valley, where many rustic stone built villages sit beneath a panorama of high valley walls and mountains that reach a thrilling climax with amazing views of Nun and Kun. Perhaps the best panorama is approaching Panikhar. A steep but satisfying day trek crosses from the Panikhar bypass road over the 3900m Lago La then descends to Parkachik, from where a bus returns to Kargil at 7 am. Just beyond the Parkachik a large dust blackened glacier crumbles into the Suru River as the road starts to wind up to the splendid Pensi La.

Where you can stay
J&K Bunglows

Getting there and away
Busses from Kargil to Panikar and busses from Parkachik towards Zanskar can deliver you to this place.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Across the gently terraced Wakha Valley, the Zanskar Mountains rise with majesty in a series of angular cliffs and craggs. Gazing the scenic valley from the top of Mulbekh's medieval castle site of which only the two mudbricked towers remain which house two buddhist Gompas.

To see
Serdung Gompa
Gandentse Gompa
Chamba Gompa
Shargol Gompa

where you can stay
Karzoo Guesthouse Ph:01985/270027
Otosnang Guesthouse Ph:01985/270028
Maitreya Guesthouse Ph:01985/270035

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Visiting Jammu - City of Temples

Founded in 1730, Jammu and Kashmir's winter capital is still the major halt  for piligrims enroute to Vaishno Devi temple. It was the seat of power of the Dogra Rajas. Jammu lies on the bank of river Tawi. On the northern bank, climbling steadily from the bus station through narrow bazaar lanes to the Mubarak Mandi. While the train station the airport are on the southern bank.

Sights to see
NOTE: Bags, cameras, mobile phones and even pens might need to be deposited with security guards before visiting any of the main sites.

On the Northern Bank of Tawi
Raghunath Mandi
Ranbireshwar Mandir
Gupawala Mandir
Mubarak Mandi
Amar Mahal Palace

On the Southern Bank of Tawi
Bahu Fort
Har-ki-Paori Mandir
Mahamaya Mandir

Across Jammu Srinagar Route
Vaishno Devi shrine on a multishrouded  mountain of Tikri
Waterfalls of Udhampur
Kud and Panitop woods
Paragliding in Sanasar
Baglihar Dam
Jawaharlal Tunnel
The Titanic Viewpoint across the Kashmir Valley

Where you can stay
Vaishnavi Dham Ph:0191/2473275;
Fortune Hotel Ph:0191/2561415;
Hari Niwas Palace Hotel Ph:0191/2543303;
Where you can eat
Jewels's Fastfood (veg & non-veg burgers, dosas, thalis)
Falak (Indian food) KC Residency Hotel, Residency Rd.
Cafe Coffe Day (veg & non-veg)

Getting there and Back
Airlines :
Indian Airlines Ph:0191/2456086 - J&K Tourism Complex;
Jet Airways Ph:0191/2574312 - KC Residency Hotel
Trains are available from Delhi, Amritsar, Indore, Agra, Kolkatta, Varanasi.
Buses are available from major cities as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jammu and Kashmir - Paradise Lost

This land has been called a paradise on earth by many who travelled here. The serene landscapes, the snow capped mountains, the fertile valleies blooming in the youth of spring, truely make us feel that Gods too came down to roam these lands. The people here are humble and modest and quiet friendly. But there has been trouble in paradise for many years. The dispute of border with the neighbouring country has caused quiet an unrest in these areas and scarred the beauty of this land. Jammu and Kashmir is suffering under territorial disputes since the independence of India and three major wars have been fought while countless minor disputes erupted since then.

The known history of Jammu and Kashmir dates back to the post Ice age that is when they say the 140 km valley of Kashmir which was a lake back then was drained by an earthquake. In 3rd Century BC Emperor Ashoka transformed this Hindu kingdom to a major Buddist learning Center. Islam arrived into this region in the 13th and 14th century AD. 

The population of southern Kashmir is mainly Hindu and Sikh and its are visited by floods of piligrims. Zanskar is famed for its splendid isolation, the greatest attraction of this majestically mountain-hemmed, rugged Ladakhi-Buddhist valley is the week-long trek in or out. Indeed, when snow blocks Zanskar's one precarious road from Kargil, the only access is on foot along the frozen Zanskar River. Be prepared for cold nights even in summer.

The population of southern Kashmir is mainly Hindu and Sikh and its are visited by floods of piligrims.

FactsPopulation 10.1 million
Area 222,236 sq km
Capitals Srinagar(Summer), Jammu (Winter), Leh (Ladakh)
Main Languages Kashmiri, Urdu, Ladakhi, Hindi, Purig, Balti, Dogri, Punjabi and Pahari.

When to visit May to October(Srinagar), July to early September(Ladakh), December to March (skiing at Gulmarg)

NOTE: Before arriving read a wide range of sources to get a feel of the Situation. The problem is situations could esculate within hours with the intercommunal tempers ever raw, so caution must be maintained. Beware travel insurance policies might be voided if your home governament has issued specific advice against travel here.

 - Murmur meditative mantras in the mural decked gompas of the Indus valley

 - Ladakh's capital Leh is an escape from the daily humdrum of urban life. A peaceful and tranquil place to be.

 - Experience the stark magnificence of Ladakh or Zanskar on an unforgettable high-altitude trek.

 - The relaxed stay in the boat house over the silver sheeted Dal Lake in Kashmir.

 - Gasp at the unbelivebly beautiful valleies of Pangong Tso and the splendid Nubra Valley.

Festivals exclusive to Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu Festival (April, Jammu) three days of eating, drinking and dancing
Sri Amarnath Ji Yatra (Jul-Sep; Amarnath)  Especially in the eve of new moon when thousands of devotees come to venerate the Lord
Vaishno Devi Yatra (early OCt;) Hindu piligrim numbers swarming towards Vaishno Devi reach a climax in early October.

Festivals exclusive to Ladhak & Zanskar

Losar (Dec) Ladhaki New Year, celebrated in Buddhist homes  and gompas with feasts, rituals and dances.
Gu-Stor Rituals and masked dances celebrating the victory of good over evil are celebrated in gompas, including those at the following:
  • Spituk
  • Karsha
  • Korzok
  • Thiksey
Dosmoche (wide spread from feb to march) Buddist New year, masked dances, effigies representing the old year are burnt and cast into the desert.
Guru Tse-Chu (feb - mar) Masked dances and predictions of the future by oracles.
Matho Nagrang (Matho) Celebrated by monastry oracles performing blindfolded acrobatics and ritual mutilations.
Yuru Kabgyat (Lamayuru) Monastic masked dances.
Tse- Chu (Hemis) Birthday of the Padmasambhava celebrated for three days. Includes masked dances and the unfurling of Hemis famous three - storey, pearl encrusted painting on cloth called the Thangka.
Phyang Tsedup (jul-aug; Phyang Gompa) Ritual masked chaam dances celebrate the victory of good over evil and of Buddism over preexisting religions. Phyang's gaint thangka is unfurled every third year.
Ladakh Festival (1-15 sep) Unrepentingly touristy but entertaining cycle of events starting with a colourful, carnivalesque parade through Leh, then a repeating program of buddhist dances, polo, archery and music.
Chemrey Thekchhok Festival (nov; Chemrey Thekchhok Gompa) Masked dances and mystic rituals.

Trekking in Zanskar
Trekking is the area's top recreational activity. The area is filled with splendid scenery with its tiny hamlets surrounded by nature. Tents and essential provisions must be carried with you.
Summer Routes- Zanskar to Darcha
- Zanskar to Lamayuru
Winter Route- Chadar Trek

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Visiting Amritsar

Amritsar the holiest place for the Sikhs and the home of the beautiful and divine golden temple. The golden plated gutrudwara glitters in the Indian sun while the mirror image is reflected in the delicate waves of the holy pool that surrounds the temple. This serene place offers tranquility of the place attracts lot of piligrims who spend praying in this temple to find themselves closer to God. The busy bustling bazaars of the city strike a chaotic contrast to the temple within. These streets are packed with boistrous, joyful sikhs who love to party. There are a wide variety of street food and street side shopping opportunities that the colourful delights they offer will dazzel you. Come to Amritsar for a true Indian experience.

The original site for this city is granted by Akbar. Then again another Mughal king sacked Amritsar and destroyed the temple, it was rebuilt and the roof was copper plated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh from then on it was named as the golden temple. The temple suffered another crisis when in 1980 during the term of Madame Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister. The civil unrest that existed between the Hindus and Sikhs during that time made the Golden temple of Amritsar a hotbed for military action which soon esculated and soon blood was spilled on this holy site as militants hid themselves here.

Amritsar has also seen much bloodshed before the Independence of India. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre marks a bloody spot in Indian History and the cruelty of British rule in India. The Brigadier General Dyer arrived with 150 troops and without warning fired on the men, women and children that were present there to attend a peaceful public protest against the British rule. After this atrocity commited by the British General, Gandhiji responded with 'Non-Cooperation Movement'announcing 'cooperation in any shape or form with the satanic governament is sinful'. This was the spark that blazed the fire for freedom in the heart of millions of Indians.

For more information

Tourist Information
Tourist Office ph: 0183-2402452; Queen's Rd.

Places of Interest
Golden Temple - Hari Mandir Sahib; Amrit Sarovar; Sikh Museum; Akal Takhat; Baba Atal Tower; Guru-ka-Langar
Jallianwala Bagh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama (Ram Bagh)
Mata Temple
Sri Durgiana Temple
Ram Tirath Temple

India-Pakistan Border at Attari/Wagah
30 km from Amritsar is where the Border closing Ceremony takes place in the late afternoon. People come here to watch sharp looking guards briskly snap their feet and salute the flag. An patriotic feeling almost electric passes through all the viewers on either side as guards on both Indian and Pakistani side of the border perform a well rehersed routine of closing the border. Return taxis are available from Amritsar.

Where you can stay
The Golden Temple offers accomodation for free in Guru Arjun Dev Niwas. Foreigners are accomodated in Sri Guru Ram Das Niwas. Though rooms and dorms are basic with shared bathroom facilities.
Grand Hotel ph: 0183-2562424;
Hotel Le Golden ph: 0183-5028000;
Mrs Bhandari's Guest House ph: 0183-2228509
Hotel CJ International ph: 0183-2535900;
Hotel Indus ph: 0183-2535900;
Hotel Lawrence ph: 0183-2400105;
Top End
Mohan International Hotel ph: 0183-2227801;
Hotel Grand Legacy ph: 0183-5069991;
MK Hotel ph: 0183-2504610;
Hotel Ritz Plaza ph: 0183-2562836;

Where you can eat

Neelams (light eats) near Golden Temple
Punjabi Rasoi (Indian Continental Chinese veg) Golden Temple
Sagar Ratna (South Indian Veg) Queen's road 
Pizza Point (Pizzas and sandwiches) Phawara Chowk
Crystal Restaurent (Global favorites from lasagne to fish curry) Cooper Rd
Astoria Food Pavillion (veg & Non-veg)
Moti Mahal Delux (North Indian veg & Non-veg) Hotel Grand Legacy
Yellow Chilli (Veg Buffet) District Shopping Center
Barbeque Nation (veg & non-veg buffet)  MK Towers


Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaars is for traditional wear like Salwar kameez and saris, while the city's more modern shops can be found along Lawrence and Mall roads.


Getting there and away

Amritsar services domestic and international flights.
Air India ph: 0183-2508122
Indian Airlines ph: 0183-2213392; 39A Court rd.
Jet Airways ph: 0183-2508003; Ranjit Ave;
Kingfisher Airlines ph: 080-39008888; airport
Singapore Airlines ph: 0183-2500330
Uzbekistan Airways ph: 0183-2507744

Apart from the train station, a less busy train reservation office is at the Golden Temple. Trains are available from Delhi, Amritsar, Lucknow, Varanasi and Howrah.
Buses leave for Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Dharmashala, Shimla, Manali.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

About Sirhind

Sights of Interest

Aam Khas Bagh - a Mughal era walled garden
Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib - commemorates the martyrdom of the two youngest sons of tenth guru Gobind Singh. Entombed alive for refusing to convert to Islam by the Mughal rulers.
The marble mausoleum of Muslim saint Shaikh Ahmad  Faruqi Sirhindi.

Shaheedi Jor Mela held here every December.
Urs Festival

Sahil Motel ph: 01763-228392

Getting there and away
Busses connect Sirhind to Patiala and Chandigarh.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A trip to Patiala

Patiala is a modest little town that was once the capital of independent Sikh state that was established by Baba Ala Singh as the Mughals weakened. It is famous for the Basant Festivities marking the birth of a new season and ofcourse the patiala peg. Funny story, a tent pegging competition between the men of the English Viceroy and the the men of the Maharaja of Patiala. the Indians invited the British for a party and got them drunk with larger than usual measures (or pegs) the day before the competition. They even changed the tent pegs, larger for the maharaja's men and smaller for the British. When the British complained about the tent pegs the maharaja assumed that he they were talking about the 'pegs' they had last night and said that the people of Patiala are very generous to their guests and their pegs are always bigger than else where. Even today  an extra large measure of whisky is called a Patiala peg.

Places of interest

Qila Mubarak fort - A crumbling fort that takes you back in time.
Arms Gallery - Host a collection of antique weapons.
Moti Bhag Palace - Showcases the ivory figurines and stuffed wild-animals
Old Moti Bhag Palace has the sports museum
Dukh Niwaran Gurudwara
- As the name suggests, relieves the sickness and suffering of the devotees who pray here.

Where you can stay
*Baradari Palace ph: 0175-2304433;
Hotel Narain Continental ph: 0175-2212846
Green's Hotel ph: 0175-2213071

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A trip to Kurukshetra

A Place of Historical and religious importance, this place has played a key role in the belief of the Hindus. It is believed that this is the place where Brahma has started his creation of the world. It is this place where Lord Krishna has delivered his Bhagavat Gita sermon to Arjuna when he was reluctant to fight his own family who were fighting an injust war against him and his brothers. The town takes its name from the King Kuru who offered his arm and legs to the God Vishnu so that he could establish a land of ethics and values.

Places of Importance

The Sri Krishna Museum
Kurukshetra Panorama & Science Center
Sheikh Chaheli's tomb

Excursions to South and West of Delhi

Surajkund - Mela (Hermitage ph:0129-25112313; Sunbird Motel ph:0129-2511357)
Sultanpur Bird Santuary (Rosy Pelican Complex ph-0124-2375242)

Gita Jayanti - the anniversary of the Bhagavat Gita.

Where you can stay
Neelkanthi Krishna Dham Yatri Niwas ph:01744-291615

Getting there and away
Daily Buses to Delhi and Patiala


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A trip to Chandigarh

Chandigarh is a Union Territory controlled by the Central Governament of India. After partition of India Chandigarh is designed to be the Capital of Punjab, and according to our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, 'an expression of the nation's faith in the future.' Now it is the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh is a well planned roads, tree lined avenues, public gardens, pedestrian piazzas. The city is divided into sectors each with their own shops, schools and places of worship. Chandigarh is unique in its grid design and angular sense of order from any other city in India; is home to the wacky Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden.

Tourist Information
Chandigarh tourism ph: 0172/2703839; Sector 17-B
Haryana Tourism ph: 0172/2702957; Sector 17-B
Himachal Pradesh ph: 0172/2708569; Sector 17-B
Uttar Pradesh Tourism & Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) Tourism ph: 0172/2707649; Sector 17-B


Capital Complex
Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden
Sukhna Lake
Parks and Gardens - Rose Garden; Bougainvillea Garden; Terraced Garden; Garden of Fragrance

Excursions around Chandigarh

Pinjore (Yadavindra) Gardens - Heritage Festival (Budgerigar Motel ph:01733-231877;)
Morni Hills - Hosh & Josh Hills 'n' Thrills ph:01733-201150; Mountain Quail Tourist Resort ph:01733-250166; Lake View Camping complex ph:01733-250166
What you can do
Tours - Doubledecker bus tours of the city.

Where you can stay
Hotel Kwality Regency ph: 0172/2720204; Sector 22-A
Hotel Sunbeam ph: 0172/2708100; Sector 22-B
Kaptain's Retreat ph: 0172/5005599
Hotel City Heart Premium ph: 0172/2724203; Sector 17-C
AB's ph: 0172/6577888; Sector 26
Aura Vaseela ph: 01762/287575;; Nadiala Village
Hotel Shivalikview ph: 0172/4672222;
Piccadily Hotel ph: 0172/2707571;; Sector 22-B
Hotel Mountview ph: 0172/4671111;; Sector 10-B
Taj Chandigarh ph: 0172/6613000;; Sector 17-A

Where you can eat

Sagar Ratna (South Indian) Sector 17-E
Sundarams (South Indian dosas) Sector 28
Bhoj (North Indian Veg Thalis) Sector 22-B
Mehfil (Indian Chinese Continental) Sector17-C
Ghazal (Veg and non-veg meals) Sector 17-C
Noodle Bar (East Asian) Sector 26
Chop Sticks (Chinese) Sector 7-C
Moti Mahal (North Indian) Sector 17-C
Copper Chimney (tandoori) Sector 26
Barbeque Nation (veg/non-veg buffet) Sector 26
AB's (Mughlai) Sector 26
Hot Millions Salad Bar & Restaurent (soups, veg/non-veg salads, desserts) Sector 17-D
Swagath (Mangalorean and Chettinad style Sea Foods) Sector 26
Yangtse (Chinese) Sector 17-E
Ruby Tuesday (Fastfoods)
Orchid Lounge (Oriental) Sector 34-A
Pomodoro (Italian) Piccadily Hotel; Sector 22-B
Tagore Theater ph: 0172/2724278; Sector 18-B
Kiran Cinema ph: 0172/2705082; Sector 22-D
Fun Cinemas ph: 9888997806; Fun Republic Shopping Center

Shopping Anokhi ( Sector 7-C
Ebony Sector 9-D
Fabindia ( Sector 9-C

Getting there and away

Air India ph: 1800227722; Sector 34-A
Jet Airways ph: 0172/2741465; Sector 9-D
Kingfisher Airlines ph: 9302795005
Railway Reservation Office ph: 0172/2720242

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A trip to Anandpur Sahib

The second holiest place for the Sikh community of India, only after the Golden Temple of Amritsar, this place is founded by the ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1664, before the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb beheaded him for refusing to convert to Islam. His son Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, founded the Khalsa (Sikh Brotherhood) here in 1699.

Places of Importance

Kesgarh Sahib - is the largest Gurudwara and has a number of holy weapons on display some of them are in the hands of the guards.

Sis Ganj - is a smaller gurudwara which marks the spot where the head of Guru Tegh Bahadur was cremated after it was brought back from Delhi.

Anandgarh Sahib - is 500m from town, where a flight of steps leads to a fort on the roof fromm here we can observe the five petal form of the Khalsa Heritage complex which is inspired by the five warrior-saints in the Khalsa. It has exhibits that showcase Sikhism's vibrant history and culture.


Kishan Haveli 01887-232650
Gurudwaras also provide accomodation and food.

Getting there and away
The bus and train stations are 300m apart from the main rd outside the town
Buses leave daily from Chandigarh and Amritsar.
Overnight train from Delhi to Himachal Pradesh connects Anandpur Sahib with Delhi


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Haryana and Punjab

Punjab is the land of five rivers; the Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and sutlej. Its a fertile blessing to the country, a green carpet laid down to feed the country's millions. Punjab is lovingly known as the bread basket of India due to its phenomenal wheat production. The well watered and fertile land has delivered such bounty to the country not only in terms of rice, barley, sugarcane, maize, fruits and vegetables; it also produces 15%of the cotton of India. Punjab is the land of the proud and boisterous Sikhs and has given us such heroes like Bhagat Singh. From butter chicken to bhangra, the colourful people of Punjab has offered us much and spread their vibrant culture far and wide. The Punjabi though adapting to the modern world are traditional at heart and embrace their culture with great fervour.
Archaeologists uncovered that this part of India dates back 4000 years to Indus Valley Civilization established by Harappans. Buddist relics have been excavated at sites associated with the later Mauryan dynasty. while the Kurukshetra district has 360 historical sites within 92 sq km radius. The Mahabharata mentions Punjab's land and people while Valmiki is said to have worked on Ramayana at Ram Tirath near Amritsar. even Alexander the great reached Punjab before faltering.
Haryana name means either 'Abode of God' or 'green home'. Harayana split from Punjab in 1966 but shares a capital, Chandigarh. Its best known for the Hindu holy sight of Kurukshetra, the place dates back to the age of Mahabharata.

Population 24.3 million
Area 50,362 sq km
Capital Chandigarh
Main Language Punjabi
Best time to visit November to March

Population 21.1 million
Area 44,212 sq km
Capital Chandigarh
Main Language Hindi
Best time to visit November to March

  • Sikhism's holiest site of the Golden Temple of Amritsar is in Punjab.
  • Be a part of the patriotic fervour as cheering citizens of India and Pakistan watch the Border Closing Ceremony .
  • The modern metropolis of Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden.
  • The Pinjore Gardens and the Morni Hills for some green serenity.
Other Places of Intrest

Ludhiana - A major textile center and the venue of the Kila Raipur Sports Festival

Jalandhar -This city survived for 1000 years the relentless attack of Mohammed of Gazini and later became an important Mughal city. Now it is a commercial hub and the host city for the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan.

Kapurthala - The home of the young Spanish dancer who married the maharaja. The story goes thus, the Maharaja saw her performance during the marriage ceremony of king Alfonso XIII of Spain, and fell in love with her. After a few courtships in Paris, they were married and she came to India.
For more information visit

Faridkot - was once capital of a Sikh state of the same name and has a 700 year old fortress. The city also hosts the Baba Sheikh Farid Aagman Purb Festival in September to honour the Sufi saint Baba Sheikh Farid whose preachings of equality very much influenced Guru Nanak and whose poems are in the Sikh holy book, The Guru Granth Sahib.


Festivals of Haryana and Punjab
  • Kila Raipur Sports Festival (Rural Olympics;; Feb; Kila Raipur, near Ludhiana)
  • Surajkund Crafts Mela (1-15 Feb; Surajkund)
  • Basant (Feb/Mar; Patiyala) Kite flying, singing, dancing and welcoming spring.
  • Baisakhi Festival ( Celebrates the onset of the solar year and first crop harvest with folk dancing.
  • Baba Sheikh Farid Aagman Purb Festival (Sep; Faridkot) A five day festival that commemorates the Sufi Saint.
  • Pinjore Heritage Festival (early Oct; Pinjore Gardens) A three day festival
  • Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan (; late dec; Jalandhar) Four day music festival in existance for 150 years showcasing Indian classical instrumentalists and vocalists.
  • Gita Jayanti (Nov/Dec; Kurukshetra) Week long celebrations on the anniversary of Bhagavat Gita.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A trip to Mt Abu

Mt Abu is the only Hill Station is Rajastan at a height of 1200m, offering a cool retreat from the sweltering sun and parched land. Hordes of tourist head this way from Rajastana s well as Gujarat. There are many bolanical delights here and a wide range of wild life exist on the slopes of the range that can be seen on the winding road towards the top. This place has many orchirds and trekking paths.

Tourist Information Tourist reception Center ph: 02974-235151; opp. the bus stand.

Nakki lake with its unique rock formations, Raghunath Temple.
View Points: Sunset point, Honeymoon point, Shanti Shikar
Dilwara Temples vimal Vasahi, House of Elephants, bhimashah Pittalhar, Mahaveerswami, Khartar Vasahi
Brahma Kumaris Spiritual U?niversity and Museum.

Excursions around Mt Abu Guru Shikar
Mt. Abu Wildlife Sanctuary

What you can do

Where you can stay
Hotel Samrat International ph: 02974-235153
Hotel Lake Palace ph: 02974-237154;
Kishangarh house ph: 02974-238092;
Kesar Bhavan Palace ph: 02974-235219;
Palace Hotel ph: 02974-238673;
Connaught House ph: 02974-238560;
Jaipur House ph: 02974-235176;

Where you can eat
Cafe Coffee Day (Coffee place) Rotary Circle
Shere Punjab Hotel (Punjabi and Chinese) main market
King's Food (fast-food joint) Nakki Lake
Arbuda (Gujarati, Punjabi and south-indian) Arbuda Circle
Kanak Dining Hall (thalis) Abu Rd
Jaipur House (Indian and Continental non-veg) mains

Getting there and away
Buses are available from the railway station.
Trains are available from Ahmedabad, Delhi, Ajmer & Jodhpur


Friday, January 4, 2013

A trip to Chiitorgarh

On the way from Udaipur to Bundi we come to a unpretensious town of Chittor famous for its fort so much it is called Cittorgarh. The town is famous for its fort not only for its spectacular fort complex, occupying a rocky mountain plateau, its impressive edifice with massive crenellated walls, arched gateways, deserted palaces and temples and the exquisite  Jaya Stambha, the Victory Tower but as the home of the most beautiful queen of Rajastan, whose beauty led to the destruction of the kingdom.

The story goes like this, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Patan (Turko-Afgan) king of Delhi heard of the unparallel beauty of Rani Padmavati, wife of Rawal Ratan Singh of Chittor beseighed the fort of Chittor. He made a pact with the king that if he could just once see the face of Padmavati he would leave the kingdom in peace. It was dishonorable for a married woman to give show their faces to anyone except their husbands. The rajput women wore pardas over their faces all the time, a tradition which is still observed in orthodox Rajastan. Anyway for th esake of the kingdom Rani Padmavati agreed to show her face in a mirror to Ala-ud-din Kilji. Once he saw her, he was so overcome with lust that he wanted so beautiful a lady in his harem and so he continued his seigh over the fort. When all the resources were depleted the men of the kingdom decided that they would rather die in honour fighting with the enemy than live watching their women humiliated by the enemy. The women of Chittor knowing that their men were facing an enemy far more powerful than them and knowiing that the result of the seigh would only mean their dishonour committed jauhar (sacrificing oneself in holy fire) lead by Rani Padmavati. When the soldiers of Ala-ud-din Kilji entered the fort atlast all they could find were the bones and ashs of the women. Though the women died a long ago, the story resonated in the deserted hallways of the fort. The legend remains alive in the stories and bards sung by so many in honour of the virtuous women of Chittor.
Chittor is also mentioned in Mahabharat, Bhima struck the ground here and water sprang out forming the nearby reserviour.

All the Chittor's attractions are inside the Fort.
Rana Kumbha Palace
Fateh Prakash Palace
Jaya Stambha
Rani Padmini's Palace
Kirti Stambha
Meera Temple
Kumbha Shyama Temple
Excursions around Chittorgarh

Where you can stay
Hotel Ram Rakhi ph: 01472-249558
Hotel Chetak ph: 01472-241589
Hotel Padmini ph: 01472-241718
Hotel Pratap Palace ph: 01472-243563

Getting there and away
Express buses serve Delhi and travel regularly to Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur and Bundi.
Trains are also avilable from all the main stations mentioned above.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A trip to Bikaner

Bikaner, foundede by Rao Bika a decendent of Jodha. In its time it was an important stage post on the caravan trades. Bikaner has a fort to the nort-east outside the walls and the old city enclosed within its walls is still a maze of narrow irregular streets and has 5 entrance gates. 

Lalgarh Palace
Havelis & Temples
Ganga Governament Museum
National Research Center on Camels
Excursions around Bikaner
Karni Mata Temple
Devi Kund

Where you can stay
Hotel Meghsar Castle Ph: 0151-2527315;
Hotel Padmini Niwas Ph: 0151-2522794;
Hotel Palace View Ph: 0151-2543625;
Hotel Jaswant Bhawan Ph: 0151-2548848;
Bhairon Vilas Ph: 0151-2544751;
Hotel Desert Winds Ph: 0151-2542202;
Bhanwar Niwas Ph: 0151-2540201;
Laxmi Niwas Palace Ph: 0151-2202777;

Where you can eat
Laxmi Hotel(Veg. thalis) Station rd.
Amber (Veg) Station rd.
Suraj restaurent (thali) Rani Bazaar
Laxmi Niwas Garden Restaurent (veg and non-veg North Indian) mains
Gallops (veg and non-veg Indian Chinese tandoori) opp.Junagarh Fort

What you can do
Camel Rides are a rave here
Taste the assortment of namkeens Bikaner is famous for.
Shopping : Artistic Painting Miniatures.

Getting there and away:
Buses are available from Udaipur, Ajmer, Jaipur, Sikar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Agra and even Delhi.
Trains are available from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A trip to Jodhpur

If Jaipur is the pink city, then Jodhpur in westren Rajastan is the 'blue city'. Jodhpur was founded by Rao Jodha, a chief of Rajput clan known as Rathores. The majestic fort rises up from the rugged landscape and watches over the now bustling city of Jodhpur. It was once known as Marwar and hosts the Marwar Festival every October.


Mehranghar - Jayapol,Fatehpol, Lohapol, palace complex, museum, Moti Mahal, Sukh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Holi Chowk, Chamunda Devi Temple
Jaswant Thada
Clock Tower & Markets
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Umaid Gardens & Sardar Governament Museum

Excursions around JaipurMandore  (Mandore Guest House ph: 0291-2545210;
Rohet  (Rohet Garh ph: 0291-268231;
Osiyan - Sachiya Mata Temple; Mahavira temple
Nagaur - Ahhichatragarh; Nagaur Camel Festival (Hotel Bhaskar ph:01582-240100; Hotel Mahaveer International ph:01582-243158)
Khichan - Phalodi (Lal Niwas ph:02925-223813;

What you can doTours
: Antique style furniture- Ajay Art Emporium(Palace rd.); Rani Handicrafts (palace rd.); Maharani Art Exporters (Tambaku Bazaar); Rajastan Arts & Crafts House (palace rd.).
Spices- MV Spices (Vegetable Market)

Where you can stay

Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli ph: 0291-2633448;
Shahi Guest House ph: 0291-2623802;
*Devi Bhawan ph: 0291-2511067;
Newtons Manor ph: 0291-2430686;
Heritage Kuchaman Haveli ph: 0291-2547787;
Ratan Vilas ph: 0291-2614418;
Haveli Inn Pal ph: 0291-2612519;
Karni Bhawan ph: 0291-2512101;
Pal Haveli ph: 0291-3293328;

Top End

Ranbanka Palace ph: 0291-2512801
Ajit Bhawan ph: 0291-2513333;
Taj Hari Mahal Palace ph: 0291-2439700
Umaid Bhawan Palace ph: 0291-2510101;
Taj Hari Mahal Palace ph: 0291-2439700;
Where you can eat
Hotel Priya & Restaurant (North and South Indian) Sojati Gate
Mid Town (Rajastani Thalis) Station Rd.
Jharokha (veg) Hotel Haveli
Kalinga Restaurant (veg and non-veg North Indian) Station Rd
*Indique (traditional tandoor and North Indian) Pal Haveli
On the Rocks (Indian Cuisine) mains
Mehran terrace (Veg and Non-veg) Mehrangarh
Umaid Bhawan Palace (Rajastani) Umaid Bhawan Rd

Getting there and away
RSRTC buses are available from Mt Abu, Jaisalmer, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner even Delhi.
Trains run from Jaisalmer, Delhi, Jaipur, Bikaner. The Thar Express runs from Jodhpur to Karachi in Pakistan.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Trip to Udaipur

Udaipur was formerly known as Mewar, Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udail Singh II. It is reputed for its patriotic fervour as it resisted the Muslims with all its might.
Udaipur with is sliver sleek waters of Lake Pichola, surrounding the Lake Palace which reflects in those clear water creating a fantasy feeling. The Cupola-crowned City Palace seems to be rising from the waters of the Lake. The whole of the city has a romantic feel to it. Udaipur is one of the best tourist spots of Rajastan.


Lake Pichola
Jagniwasa Island
Jagmandir Island
City Palace and Museums
Jagdish Temple
Fateh Sagar
Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum
Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace)
Vintage Car Collection
Sunset Point
Badi ka Talab

Excursions around Udaipur
Kumbalgarh: Wildlife Santuary(Shivika Lake Hotel ph:02934-285078; Karni Palace Hotel ph:02934-242033; Kumbhal Castle ph:02934-242171; Aodhi Hotel ph:02934-242341  
Ranakpur: Chaumukha Mandir; Neminath; Parasnath; Sun Temple; Ambamata temple; (Shivika Lake Hotel ph:02934-285078;; Ranakpur Hill Resort ph:02934-286411 www.ranakpurhillresort; Aranyawas ph:9829699413; Maharani Bhag Orchard Retreat ph:02934-285105)
Jaisamand Lake (Jaisamand Island Resort ph:02934-2431401;
Dungarpur : Juna Mahal; Deo Somnath Temple; (Hotel Pratibha Palace ph:02964-230775; Udai Bilas Palace ph:02964-230808

Where you can stay
Lal Ghat
Jaiwana Haveli ph: 0294-2411103;
Poonam Haveli ph: 0294-2410303;
Hotel Baba Palace ph: 0294-2427126;
Kankarwa Haveli ph: 0294-2411457;
Mewar Haveli ph: 0294-25211457;
Hotel Krishna Niwas ph: 0294-2420163;
Jheel Palace Paying Guest House ph: 98298275355
Anjani Hotel ph: 0294-2421770;
Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel ph: 0294-2420133;
Around Lake Palace Rd.
Hotel Mahendra Prakash ph: 0294-2419811;
Hotel Raj Palace ph: 0294-2410364
Hanuman Ghat
Lake Pichola Hotel ph: 0294-2431197;
Amet Haveli ph: 0294-2431085;
Udai Kothi ph: 0294-2432810;
Mountain Ridge ph: 0294-3291478; www.mountain
Pahuna Haveli ph: 0294-2526617;
Ram Pratap Palace Hotel ph: 0294-2431701;

Top End
Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel ph: 0294-2528016;
Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel ph: 0294-2528008;
Lake Palace Hotel ph: 0294-2528800;
Garden Hotel ph: 0294-2418881;
Udaivilas ph: 0294-2433300;
Where you can eat
Maxim's Cafe (Veg) Jagadish Chowk
Sunrise (home-cooked Indian) cnr Lal Ghat
Lotus Cafe (Indian veg & non-veg) Bhattiyani Chohtta
Parkview Restaurent (Indian) mains
Whistling Teal () Bhattiyani Chohtta
Bawarchi Restaurent (Veg Jain,Gujarati, Rajastani) Delhi gate
Mayur Rooftop Cafe (Multi-cuisine) Jagdish Temple rd
Berry's (veg & non-veg) Chetak Circle
*Ambrai (Indian cuisine) near Hanuman Ghat
Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel (veg & non-veg) Lal Ghat
Savage Garden (Mediterranean and Italian) Chandpol
Lake Palace Hotel (buffet)

What you can do

Horse Riding : Operators organise horse rides which could include lunch and transport.
Massage : Ayurvedic Body Care ph: 0294-5132802
Dharohar is a place to see Rajastani Folk Dancing.
Mewar Sound and Light Show
at City Palace
Tours : Five hour city tours from the RTDC
There are also excursions to Ranakpur and Kumbalgarh
Shopping : Known for its crafts and particularly miniature paintings in Rajastani-Mughal style.
Shops are abundent along the Lake Palace Rd and the Jaagdish Temple.
Rajasthali a fixed price governament emporium near Lal Ghat and Chetak Circle
Sadhna; an NGO set-up to help rural women.

Getting there and away

Buses from Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Chittor, Delhi and evn Mumbai. Private operators are also available.
Trains Udaipur, Delhi, Agra, Ajmer and even Ahmedabad.