India

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Sariska in Rajasthan is a picture perfect destination in spring. Nestling in the Aravalli hills Sariska is a National Park and a Tiger reserve second to Ranthambhore as a special interest travel destination for wild life enthusiasts. Visit during spring when the hills are clothed in colour and the trees filled with bird song and burgeoning blossoms. A hunting reserve of the Maharajahs of Alwar it assures the sighting of rare wild life apart from the elusive mysterious Tiger; a list that includes the Leopard, Panther, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Hyena, Gaur, Four-horned Antelope and Porcupine and Fox among animals and among birds, you will find Peafowl, Grey Partridge, Bush Quail, Sand Grouse, Tree Pie, Golden-backed Woodpecker, Crested Serpent Eagle, and the Great Indian Horned Owl among many other rare species.

Agra - Chaotic Colourful Agra

Seeking a vision of the sublime Taj Mahal, you find yourself in chaotic, colourful Agra. One of the seven wonders of the world, the last bastion of the Moghuls, Agra is a manifestation of their passion for beauty and hungering to immortalise it. Here mausoleums are symbols of love, gardens are pockets of heaven, and architecture is poetry in cool stone. Old world splendour will seduce you, packaged in the most efficient, time tested understanding of one basic impulse - ‘To India I shall go! The Taj I must see!’ This is obvious from the estimated 2.2 million visitors to India every year hungering to see the Taj, hence visiting Agra.

Kangra - Quaint Hill Town in Himachal Pradesh

The charming town of Kangra is located on one of the most pictorial valleys in Himachal Pradesh. Bordered between the banks of the Banganga and the Manjhi Rivers, the lush green valley is surrounded by the magnificent white peaks of the Dhauladhar. The beauty and romance reminiscent of this beautifully spread valley covered with forests of deodar, apple orchards, green tea gardens and sloping terraced farms lies in its unblemished charm.
Amritsar, the capital city of the state of Punjab is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion. The fascinating city of Amritsar is synonymous with the Haramandir Sahib or the Golden Temple, as it is popularly known the world over.

Kanha – Wild and free!

Kanha is beautiful - endowed with open meadows that dip into valleys and stretch over plateau; cool breeze over meandering streams; and jungles dense with the lush green canopy of Sal and the long grass elegance of bamboo. It is the land where the Gaur, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer and four horned antelope roam. It is the offering of an exhilarating sighting of the hardground Barasingha - so rare you must tuck the mental image and the momentary quickening of your senses into mind recesses for posterity. This is also above all the land of Kipling’s Shere Khan - who needs no introduction - immortal, symbolic of feral perfection - the tiger. Sighting wildlife is what you bargained for on your long journey to get here- and you will have a lot of that in Kanha. The land that Kipling describes is vibrant with the unbridled energy of a jungle –Bhagheera the panther, Nagina the snake, Tabaqui the jackal, Baloo the bear and the Bandar - log or monkey people, Rikki-tikki the tortoise and Hathi the elephant to name a few. This abundance of flora and fauna is what the jungles of Kanha unleash on you.

Cochin - The Queen of the Arabian Sea

Cochin is the commercial capital of Kerala and is often referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Kerala is the state in Southern India described in most travel journals now as ‘Gods own country’. Cochin has a safe deep natural harbor and was the epicenter of trade in Black pepper, spices, cardamom with the Dutch, Portuguese, Jews, Chinese and Phoenicians.

Today Cochin is composed of Ernakulam City, Fort Kochi, Willingdon Island, a man made island created by the British due to dredging in the 1920s to deepen the port, Mattancherry and Kumbalangi and other islands which are connected by ferries and bridges. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of Kerala having had European influence right from the early 1500s. Vasco de gama the great Portuguese explorer was buried in the St. Francis church in Kochi until his body was taken to Lisbon fourteen years ago.

Jaisalmer - A city in a time warp

Desolate, austere and aristocratic, the magnificent city of Jaisalmer looks like a shimmering sandcastle, rising out of the desert surrounded by a small growing town. Founded in 1156, by Rawal Jaisal Singh, this is one of the most entrancing cities in India with an ancient yet amorous aura right out of a fairytale. The city has a very small town feel to it, the entire city complete with intricate balconies, temples and minaret’s, narrow maze-like streets leading no where in particular, shops and elaborate havelis, all painstakingly carved out of yellow sandstone. Jaisalmer has a surreal almost magical feeling to it. It's all too much to take in at once, the emptiness of the barren, parched winter of the desert, embellished with sand dunes and a few green prickly thistles in between, the motley Gypsies dancing to the tune of drum beats, Camels carrying men in vibrant turbans. The barrenness of the desert is strangely calming.
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.
Ladakh weaves a magic spell with its mesmeric beauty and mystic charm. Whether it is the silent, stunning views of the amplitude of the mountains, mammoth prayer wheels laboriously turning away, sampling butter tea and Tibetan thupka under a starry night or the effervescent, incessant convergence of people navigating their way into the severe and barren landscape, to travel across steep valleys and gigantic mountains under skies that are as bright as the smiles of the ladakhi people. Little Tibet as Ladakh is popularly called is lost in time. Life is unchanged. The villagers grow wheat, rajma, vegetables and apples; they tend to cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep and still weave their own clothes. Ladakh escaped the colonial British attempt of civilizing hill stations, they never built a ‘hill station' here nor did they lay rail tracks or construct sprawling bung laws. You can spend an entire lifetime here, surrounded by the magnificent mountains, without seeing anything remotely human.

Ladakh was a kingdom of isolated tribes with only the constancy and contours of the mountains to give them company since the 10th century. Under King Singge Namgyal, Ladakh prospered and became an important route between India and China. Mule caravans carrying precious stones, spices, raw silk, carpets, and silver from the Punjab to the towns of Central Asian would stop at Leh to buy handicrafts, soft pashmina shawls and tribal jewelry, it soon transformed into a bustling commercial city. Gulab Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir annexed Ladakh in 1834 into the state of Jammu and Kashmir which was occupied by the British at that time. The exquisite pashmina shawl had invited the greedy attention of the ruler and proved to be the reason of the ultimate loss of independence of Ladakh. History repeated itself a hundred years later when Ladakh was partitioned into Baltistan, now a part of Pakistan and Ladakh which remained in India as part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. If you are passionate about Tibetology, Ladakh is the answer to all your questions. The land of Buddhism, lamaism being a unique feature of the Buddhist way of life style here, which places great importance on celibacy and monastic existence for its disciples. The Ladakhi people are devout Buddhists, famous for their benevolence and righteousness.

Nestled in the lap of the Kullu valley, Manali lies on the banks of the River Beas surrounded by imperial pine trees, alpine hills and a crescent of snow-capped peaks. Legend has it that Manali was supposedly named after Manu; the Hindu law giver who recreated life in Manali after human life had been destroyed in an all consuming flood. Divided into two two distinct settlements, New Manali, resembles an overcrowded tourist destination, with an influx of many north Indians trying to escape the blistering heat of the plains. Old Manali is perched further up the hill between mesmerizing deodar forests and lush meadows relatively untouched by the modern world.

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