Coorg or Kodagu, as the people of this stunningly beautiful district in Karnataka call their land is picturesque and green with dense forested valleys, babbling mountain brooks and waterfalls, fragrant coffee bushes resplendent with red berries, endless cardamom fields covered with wild and colorful blossoms, silver oak trees pregnant with abundant hives lace the way as you explore the countryside. Its Incomparable scenic beauty makes it a perfect picture of fairy- tale enchantment.
The age old city of Pataliputra, now known as Patna is the capital of Bihar. This historically significant city has been ruled by various ruling dynasties like Magadha, Maurya, Gupta, Pala and the Mughal Empire. With a history dating back three thousand years, from its founding as the capital of the great Mauryan and Gupta empires to its recent status under British rule, Bihar has had an imperative position in the administration and expansion of the various empires that ruled over India, be it Mauryan, Mughal or British. Bihar was also the area where Buddhism evolved and finds mention in the Vedas, Puranas and Epics. The first detailed chronicle of Pataliputra including its municipal administration appears at about 300 B.C. from Megasthenese, the famous Greek ambassador staying at the court of Chandragupta Maurya, who mentions it as “Palibothra” in his book named Indica. Kautilya in his book Arthasastra has written a detailed description of the city and its architecture. The ruins of the city have been discovered during a series of excavations at Lohanipur, Bahadurpur, Sandalpur, Bulandibagh, Kumrahar and some other locations in Patna.
The city of Varanasi (also known as Banaras or Benares) is where the revered and the earthly converge amidst color, drama and activity. Nestled on the banks of the holy Ganges the three thousand years old city is believed to be one of the holiest and the oldest cities in India. The city has an ethereal, almost magical feel to it with ash smeared saints and sinners, dilapidated colonial buildings and tiny shops selling aromatic flowers, children playing on the smooth ghats and women aggressively beating laundry on stones, devotees praying at the shrines and merchants vending their wares all sharing space here. This holy nerve centre of the Hindu religion is famed for releasing the physical body from the process of reincarnation.
Life in Srinagar centers around the Dal Lake, from floating vegetable markets to children being sent to school, the lake is indispensable to the Kashmiris. Popularly called Srinagar’s pride Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes of India and the second largest in the state. Surrounded on three sides by majestic mountains and sprawling lush green gardens and orchards, the lake offers a postcard perfect view of this winter wonderland. The Dal Lake is famous for the hundreds of houseboats, which offer an opportunity to tourists to reside on the lake while observing the traditions and lifestyles of Kashmiris. The lake is not just a water body, but a complete city in itself. The houseboat and shikara owners have permanent homes on the lake, complete with floating vegetable markets and lotus gardens. Doctors, tailors, bakers, and grocers dot the edges of the lake in compact wooden cabins. The Dal Lake stretches over 5 km and is split into Gagri Dal, Lokut Dal and Bod Dal by a series of causeways. The causeways are a convenient route for walkers and bicyclists to get to their destination without having to worry about traffic or shikaras.
Legend has it that Visakhapatnam is named after Visakha, the God of valor. Popularly known as, Vizag and Waltair, Vizag was once a part of the commanding Kalinga Empire, ruled by King Ashoka in 260 B.C. The town then, fell into the hands of the Andhra kings of Vengi followed by the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Gangas till it finally became a part of the majestic Vijaynagar Empire in the 15th century. Trade and export flourished and Vishakapatnam shot into prominence, the kingdom exported bullion, arts, handicrafts and artists to other coastal regions such as Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and Indonesia. The metamorphosis of this city into an important port city occurred with the arrival of the Europeans, the Dutch were the first European occupants of Vizag followed by the British.
Legend has it that the city of Tanjore is named after a demon by the name of Tanjan - who was causing havoc and was destroyed by Sri Neelamegaperumal. Tanjore or Thanjavur rose to glory during the Chola reign between the 10th and the 14th Centuries and became a centre of art, music and culture. The Chola rule over Tamil Nadu spanned four hundred years and has left an incessant influence on its history. Besides the Cholas, the kingdom was also ruled by various other dynasties like the Pallavas, Pandyas and Cheras. The imperial city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas, Tanjore has a rich and distinguished cultural heritage and is renowned for its exquisite handicrafts, bronzes and South Indian Musical Instruments. Tanjore is located in the exceedingly fertile delta of the Cavery River on the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu and is also called the rice bowl of the state. The fertile, abundant land blessed its rulers with enough affluence and prosperity to support the construction of exquisite temples and stunning palaces. The land around the Cavery is so fertile that it has been able to provide upto 3 harvests of rice in a year.