A long escape into quieter & greener areas (Ooty)

Ooty is a hill station in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It’s a heavenly place full of greenery and showcases the beauty of nature.

Our first destination was Ooty hill station. We took a toy train from Mettupalayam which took 5 hours to reach our destination. It was an awesome journey in the toy train, enjoying the beauty of nature the forests, tea gardens etc. It was chilly in the morning.

The rose garden was a real treat with its various collection of roses. Similarly the Botanical garden had different types of trees brought from all over the world. It was a pleasant view. The garden was well maintained. Each tree was shaped in a good manner with different shapes. It will take at least 2 hours to have a complete look at the garden.

The tea gardens of Ooty will make you feel like you are taking a stroll in paradise. Then we visited the Pykara River. The area around the lake is located with forest which brings beauty to it.

Then we visited the local markets of Ooty. There were different stalls of fresh vegetables, bunch of fresh carrots. There were stalls of homemade chocolates which were very famous. There were small kids selling flowers to the tourists. Which was a heart touching scenario, they were doing jobs at the age where they should be going to schools. Everyone was ready to buy the flowers even if they were not in need of it, because it would bring a smile onto the faces of those innocent kids.

Thus everyone should once visit this paradise on earth which is been created by god for us. It’s really one of the best holiday destination.

– Pillai Aishwarya Mohan

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Few Days Far from the Concrete Jungle

When you are tired of traffic in the city, when you are tired of people around you, when you need a break from work and need some refreshment there is no better place than the lap of mother nature. When we are talking about nature the first thing that comes in our mind is obviously a Jungle. That’s when I decided to visit Serengeti located in Tanzania, east Africa.

I went to Africa in mid-august to visit Serengeti and some other parts of Tanzania. But the main attraction was African Savannah. When we were entering in the park who knew that this was going to be one of the best experiences in life. Just by entering in the park we could see zebras, deers and giraffes roaming here and there as we see stray dogs in India.

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Serengeti kept showing us wonders of nature. Next what we saw was never imagined, a pool full of hippopotami.

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We saw some amazing animals for the first time in life.

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As we were moving ahead, we were exploring awesomeness of nature and then we saw the main attraction of Africa, the African Lion walking our way blocking the road.

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After seeing this amazing view as we were heading towards our accommodation we had to face the traffic same as city. But this traffic was not like city, not noisy, not tiring but much more amusing than you can imagine. It was the traffic of Elephants.

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We reached accommodation by nightfall. And night was even more amazing under thousands of stars which usually hides behind lights in the city. View of milky way was astonishing.

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On next day after breakfast as we went to explore more about this amazing world, Serengeti gifted us best memory. A live Cheetah hunt. We saw not only cheetah but cubs also.

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Now the only disappointing thing was, even after roaming for two whole days we didn’t see any male lion. But this time Serengeti had a special plan of not disappointing us. Serengeti showed us group of lions.

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And this is how I ended my trip to Serengeti. It was like seeing Discovery channel live. I personally recommend all nature lovers to experience the wildlife in Serengeti once in life time. I wish I could stay there in nature for few more days far away from artificial things, far away from the concrete jungle in a jungle.

– Pranam Lashkari

The Queen of Satpura, Panchmarhi

Being the one and only hill station in India’s heart “Madhya Pradesh”, this place is truly marvelous for anyone who is looking for a pollution-free and peaceful environment.

Panchmarhi is a popular tourist spot. It has tourists throughout the year. And most of the town is covered in forest. It is under the administration of Panchmarhi Cantonment Board, serving the Indian army. Its population is about 10,000 and most of them are concerned with army installations in the area.

Places of tourist interest:

 Rajat prapat:

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The Rajat Prapat is a waterfall in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. It is the 30th highest waterfall in India. It’s height is about 107 meters. It is named as such because it seems like silver from its view point.

Bee fall:

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It is a wonderful fall which provides drinking water to the people of Panchmarhi. The bathing pools above the Bee fall are very popular among tourists.

Dhupgarh:

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Dhupgarh is the highest point in Satpura region and has the elevation of 1350 m. This spot is very famous for awesome scenes of sunset and sunrise. It also offers a beautiful surrounding.

Pandav caves:

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According to local legend Pandavas were lining here for 12 to 13 years when they were hiding from their enemy relatives. These rock cut caves have been made in low hill. And wonderful monument and garden have been made in front of these historical caves.

Caves are roughly curved but are attractive too. And one of the cave serves right  for meditation, as it has got an amazing echo-effect.

Handi khoh:

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A grand gorge with a 300 feet towering cliff amid dense woodland, Handi Khoh in the region of Panchmarhi is gifted with spectacular panorama. The clinging rock face of this gulch is a haven of large beehives. A profound timbered jungle surrounds this exquisite place. This place is strongly allied with the myths and blessings of Lord Shiva.

How to reach:

Best way to reach Panchmarhi is by train. Pipariya is the nearest railway station from Panchmarhi. It is about 47km away from Panchmarhi. Quite a number of direct trains link Pipariya with important cities like Kolkata, Jabalpur, Agra, Gwalior, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Nagpur, etc. From Pipariya you can reach Panchmarhi by gypsy.

– Parth Savaliya

The Lion City

aThe Republic of Singapore, and often referred to as the Lion City or the Little Red Dot. It’s a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Singapore is ranked 11th internationally and first in Asia on the UN Human Development Index.

Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, Pulau Ujong. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at 163.63 m (537 ft). Singapore has a tropical rain forest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall.

Information and communications technologies (ICT) is one of the pillars of Singapore’s economic success. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Technology Report placed Singapore as the most “Tech-Ready Nation”. Singapore is a major international transport hub in Asia, serving some of the busiest sea and air trade routes. The port of Singapore is the world’s busiest for transshipment traffic and the world’s biggest ship refueling center.

bThe World Health Organisation ranks Singapore’s healthcare system as 6th overall in the world in its World Health Report.

 

Things to see in Singapore

  • Sentosa- It is a popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some twenty million people a year.
  • Universal Studios Singapore- Movie amusement park with sets & rides on themes from Hollywood to sci-fi, plus live entertainment.
  • Singapore Flyer- Huge observation wheel opened in 2008 for views of the city plus high tea & butler-serviced flights.
  • Night Safari, Singapore-Night zoo with tram rides and walking trails through rain forest past elephants, tigers & leopards.
  • Gardens by the Bay-A network of modern greenhouses & waterfront parks containing super trees lined with solar cells.
  • Jurong Bird Park-Sprawling sanctuary housing over 400 bird species from parrots to penguins, plus play areas & cafes.
  • Singapore Zoo-Rain forest zoo with tram rides, trails & viewing platforms to see wildlife habitats & exhibits.
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens-183-acre botanical gardens with sculptures, a swan lake & significant collection of tropical trees.
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By the Arabian Sea – Kerala

images-1An Indian state, Kerala located at the southwestern part of the country in the laps of nature and surrounded by the Arabian Sea, is worth a visit. The atmosphere, beaches, waterfalls, backwaters, sea, and the hills with tea gardens on them adds to the beauty of the state. Kerala is a state enveloped by art and culture. People here are more educated than any other part of the country. Their official language is Malayalam and their traditional dance form Kathakali which is all about expressions and costumes.

images-3This state is also known for its plantations that turn out to be of prime medical importance. The dry fruits and spices cultivated in Kerala are exported to foreign countries. There are tea gardens all around Kerala.

Another attraction in Kerala is its backwaters, the rain water that could not meet the ocean. In Kerala, some of the cities are partially covered with backwater.Being a coastal state, it has plenty of beaches.The beaches are soothing and calming that the day passes very fast lazying around it.

It is known for it’s Ayurveda massage camps where people come, relax and attain mental and physical peace.

A few places in Kerala which are fascinating are:

Thirrur:

The Athirapally Falls located here attracts the attention of tourists. This is a hot spot for movie shooting. Also the shooting of the famous movie Bahubali was done here.

Ernakulam:

In the lap of nature there is an eco-friendly amusement park in Ernakulam called Wonderla Amusement Park. There is a Jewish town for antiques shopping. Kumbalangi, a modal fishing village is nearby. Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary showcases a variety of birds.

Munnar:

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It is a popular resort hill town perfect for holidays. Eravikullam national park that preserves its inhabitants-the nilgiri tahrs is here. Munnar has a legacy of its own when it comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. And that can be seen in the tea museum situated out there.

Thekkady:

It is a place full of elephants, unending chains of hills and plantations scented with spices. Periyar forests reserve for tigers is the finest wildlife conservation reserves in India.

Alappuzha:

Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches and marine products. This is the city that is fully established in backwaters. Houseboats are the most attractive portion of this city.

Thiruvananthpuram:

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It is the capital of Kerala. Certain places to visit in Thiruvananthpuram are the Kovalam beach also known as the lighthouse beach, Padmanabhaswamy Temple resembling the blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture and Kuthiramalika Palace Museum that has the collection of priceless items of the royal family.

-Charmi Bhadja

Sigiriya – Sri Lanka

img-20161115-wa0002Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos) or wet plaster paintings, which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya is considered one of the most important urban planning sites of the first millennium, and the site plan is considered very elaborate and imaginative. The plan combined concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to intentionally interlock the man-made geometrical and natural forms of the surroundings. On the west side of the rock lies a park for the royals, laid out on a symmetrical plan; the park contains water retaining structures, including sophisticated surface/subsurface hydraulic systems, some of which are working even today.

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Among the most important features of Sigiriya the Frescos are well known. These have been featured in many tourism information literature and other books dealing with Sri Lankan heritage. These frescos are seen on the western side of the rock. According to an inscription found here there were 500 paintings. However, only about 34 paintings have been preserved to this date. Almost all the paintings feature beautiful ladies, most of them with bare breasts accompanied by several companions carrying flower baskets.

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The Mirror Wall and spiral stairs leading to the frescoes.

Originally this wall was so highly polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of brick masonry wall and covered in highly polished white plaster, the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors to the rock. The mirror wall has verses dating from as early as the 8th century. People of all types wrote on the wall, on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts. Further writing on the mirror wall now has been banned for the protection of old writings of the wall.

Dr Senerath Paranavithana, an eminent Sri Lankan archaeologist, deciphered 685 verses written in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries CE on the mirror wall.

One such poem, roughly translated, in Sinhala is:

“I am Budal [the writer’s name]. Came with hundreds of people to see Sigiriya. Since all the others wrote poems, I did not!”. He has left an important record that Sigiriya was visited by people beginning а very long time ago.

When you arrive to Sri Lanka. Do not forget to visit this place.

-Pubudu Channa

 

 

 

Travel Sites in Gujarat

1Great Rann of Kutch

ranofkutchsunsetThe largest salt desert in the world, the Great Rann of Kutch is a sight to behold. The long stretch of salty marsh is a treat to the eye whenever you visit it. There is no season boundation to this place.  With a barren land that stretches out towards the horizon, surrounded by hills and some fascinating villages, this is definitely one of the must-see destinations in Gujarat.

 

2)  Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

girAs the only home of the Asiatic lion, you really don’t need any other reason to visit Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a must see place if you are in Gujarat. Marked as one of the largest province for Asiatic lions, the area is well protected due to the great stretch of vegetation and other species residing in this sanctuary. The king of the jungle reigns supreme here, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit Gir, hyenas, leopards and over 250 species of birds just to name a few.

3) Mandvi

mandviThe beach-side town of Mandvi has long been a favourite holiday destination with its sandy beach and sparkling sea, it is a great place for water-sports like jet-ski. It is a unique town that captures the true colours of Gujarati- Kutchi culture. There is also the Maharaja’s Palace that has the best view in town.

 

4) Patan & Modhera

patanBoth these towns can be easily visited from Ahmedabad within a few hours. Another example of the Solanki period architecture can be seen in the Anahilwada Patan. It is also famous for its patola sarees and one of the most exquisite step wells in India, the Rani-ki-Vav. Further south in the tiny town of Modhera is one of Gujarat’s best kept secrets, a Sun Temple that rivals the more famous Konark Temple in Odisha.

5) Lothal and Dholavira

lothalWith ruins that date back to the ancient Indus Valley civilisation, you can step back into history here. Lothal was once a trading hub that was connected to the Sindh region, and Dholavira is an ancient city that has now been excavated and is believed to be over 100 hectares. It is the fifth largest out of the eight Harappan era sites in India. It is one of the major archaeological sites in India. Located on the Khadir bet island in the Kutch wildlife sanctuary in Great Rann of Kutch, this place is a treat to eye and is a must visit for every visitor.

– Anjali Balchandani