Exotic India can best be discovered in the spring season just before the scorching summer start spreading its ferocity. The country offers virtually everything from scenic ravines and hill stations to beautiful meadows and lush green wildlife sanctuaries that can rock your spring vacations. The spring season is almost here and we can suggest some of the must-visit destinations that can really spice up your trip to India during this time. These are:
Himachal Pradesh: This northern state of India boasts some of the most picturesque and happening hill stations and mountain passes around the world. The best of them are Shimla and Kullu-Manali. Another fairyland landscape in the state is Dharamshala, which is popular worldwide for its Buddhist culture and utter serenity.
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Ladakh: Another mesmerizing hill station that will jazz up your springs expedition in India is Ladakh. The place dishes up host of wonderful trek routes and enthralling lunar landscapes. A true delight for nature lovers, Ladakh offers some exciting pastures and passes, such as Brandy Nala Trek, Markha Valley, The Apricot Valley, Zanskar Valley, to mention a few.
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The Golden Triangle: After having a striking sojourn at hill stations of North India, you can head on to bask in the rich cultural heritage in what is popularly tagged as ‘The Golden Triangle’ of India. The Triangle comprises of historic cities of Agra, Delhi and Jaipur, all are highly-venerated for their opulent cultural and historic sites. Delhi, the capital city of India, is the melting pot of diverse cultures, and houses slew of notable buildings and eye-catching sites. Agra epitomizes the imposing combination of Mughal and Indian architecture, with the Taj Mahal standing at the forefront of all. Another historic site in the line is Jaipur, popularly known as ‘The Pink City’, is home to sumptuous palaces and forts.
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Goa: The place that can offer you a wholesome holiday package this spring is the Western Indian state of Goa. This premier beach destination of India is cherished world-over for its absorbing beach trance parties. This perennially vibrant beach city is at its visual best during spring season when the Goa Carnival is in its full swing.
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Owing to the spellbinding natural beauty and picturesque architectural and cultural marvels, the peninsular region of South India has been grabbing eyeballs of tourists since ages. Bordered by seas and ocean on three sides, South India is home to some of the most scenic beaches in the world. Aromas of spices and coffee plantation, exhilarating wildlife sanctuaries, pristine backwater beauty, are unarguably the hallmarks of the majestic South Indian peninsular region. But, above them all, the entities that distinguish the region from the rest of the world are its splendid temples and sumptuous cultural sites. For those who have religiously oriented and have an eagerness to explore traditional Indian architectural styles and culture, Temple Tour of South India has lot to offer to them.
Southern region of the country is dotted with myriad of exquisite temples which are popular world-over for their architectural grandeur and festivities. Whether it’s in terms of reverence, or architectural glory, temples of South India ranks among the best across the globe. While the hallowed land is filled with plethora of temples and shrines, there are some that should be enlisted in your itineraries to South India. These must-visit temples include:
Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram: Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, Shore Temple has been the prime attraction for tourists. Listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, it’s a structural splendour built way back in 8th century. The temple includes an assortment of three shrines, two dedicated to Lord Shiva and one to Lord Vishnu.
The Five Rathas in Mahabalipuram: The Five Rathas is actually a collection of five monolithic temples, each built in a distinct style. It’s also knows as Panch Pandavas Rathas – and four out of the five temples are supposed to have been carved out of the same rock.
Meenakshi Temple in Madurai: Erected almost around 2000 years ago, Meenakshi Temple epitomizes the Dravidian architecture and art. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is known as Sundareswara or Beautiful Lord, and to his consort, Parvathi, also known as Meenakshi. It contains as many as 14 wonderful Gopurams, or towers, including two Gopurams for the main deities.
Kapleshwar Temple in Chennai: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapleshwar Temple stands among the masterpieces of Dravidian architectural style. It also houses sixty three Saivite saint idols impeccably carved in Bronze. Constructed way back in the 8th century, it attracts thousands of pilgrimages and sannadhis every year.
Sri Parthsarthy Temple in Chennai: Located at Triplicane, Chennai, Sri Parthsarthy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In fact, it is one among the 108 divyadesams, or holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. Built by the Pallavan king Narasimhvarman I in the 8th century, the temple houses idols of four of Lord Vishnu’s ten avatars.
Brihadeeshwar Temple: Situated at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, Brihadeeshwar Temple is the world’s first complete granite temple. Listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as a part of “Great Living Chola Temples”, it exemplifies the great heights achieved by Cholas in architectural skills and capabilities. It stands as the one of the India’s most-prized historical site.
The temples of South India has long been venerated by architecture mavens as well as devotees around the world. They portray the most prosperous period of Hindu Dynasties and religion. Shikhar Travels offers you the opportunity to be vis-a-vis with these magnificent temples and experience the Indian culture to its best.
Are you yearning for an excursion that can offer you the rare blend of lush greenery and cultural heritage sightseeing? If so, then just pack your bags and get geared to explore the culturally and ecologically opulent land of North India. It has all the ingredients to sweep you off your feet, and add great memorable moments to your souvenirs. While the entire region is simply filled with a number of imposing tourist attractions, there are some that shouldn’t be missed when you’re touring this wonderful part of the world. These are:
Ladakh: Popularly dubbed as ‘Little Tibet’ because of its close proximity to the scenic Tibet region, Ladakh ranks in India’s least populated regions. Nestled in the Himalayan ranges, the land has glistening lofty snow-capped peaks and plunging green valleys as its hallmarks. The stark mountain landscape, with its rocky ridges, glassy lakes, is studded with vivid gompas (Buddhist monasteries), palaces, villages, and seasonal plantations.
Agra: Agra is renowned world over for the Taj Mahal – the epitome of love. Thousands of tourists from all across the world flock in Agra every year to have a feel of classic Indian architecture and arts. It’s not just the Taj Mahal, but the city has several other historical places, such as Red Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, among other architectural landmarks that would spellbind you.
Delhi: The capital city of India, Delhi, can be labeled as cultural melting pot where diverse Indian cultures dwell together. It presents a perfect combination of modern and traditional lifestyles. You’ll find a slew of wonderful spots here, ranging from cultural sites like India Gate, Jama Masjid, and Red Fort, to towering malls and other contemporary architectural wonders.
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Planning for an ecstatic touring with friends this fall? How about a trip to Taj, and that too without burning a hole in your wallet? Yes…Shikhar Travels is all set to spice up your winter vacations with a bouquet of exciting offers and touring packages and the foremost of them all is a free trip to the majestic Taj Mahal for Facebook fans.
Shikhar Travels has decided to recognize and reward its Facebook fans with some fascinating tour packages and premium offers. There are hefty discounts, cool promotional offers, early bird discounts, for all those who actively engage with us on our Facebook fan page. Just participate in several exciting games and quiz contests on our Facebook page, and you could stand a chance to win huge discounts of up to 25 percent on domestic tours listed on our website http://www.thedelhitours.com. An enticing offer for all those who have been seeking to explore Indian cities in their full swing, isn’t it?
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Chandni Chowk – Situated just opposite to the Red Fort, was famous for fountains and swamped with shopping stores during the Mughal era. Over time, the fountains have disappeared but the shops are still there. Unlike any other market, Chandni Chowk doesn’t boast big showrooms, but the place is studded with innumerable small shops. It’s main attractions are Sadar Bazaar and Khari Baoli, which till date are counting among the largest wholesale markets in North India, along with Dariba Kalan, which is famous all across India for its perfumes and silver jewellery.
Connaught Place – Located at the heart of the capital, this is perhaps the most happening spot in Delhi. Popularly called CP, it is home to the underground Palika Baazar, where you can find all sorts of snazzy gadgets, cool apparels, and other accessories. CP is constructed in a circular shape with a lush green park situated at its centre. So, when you feel tired of carrying those bulky shopping bags, you can have a relaxing time there.
Dilli Haat – This is where you will discover the diverse Indian handicrafts, and variety of food items. Craftsmen from all over India come and exhibit their products here. The food stall’s at Delli Haat represent the different states of India and offer their traditional foods. It also holds festivals and fairs from time to time. All in all, a cool place to hang out with your friends.
Cottage Industry Handicraft Emporium – If you’ve been looking out to explore real Indian stuff, then Cottage Industry Handicraft Emporium is the spot for you. Situated at the junction of Tolstoy Road and Janpat this departmental store offers you Indian cottage industry goods and handicrafts.
Karol Bagh – If you have fad for jewellery and apparels, then a walk through Karol Bagh could be an unforgettable experience for you. The beauty of this crowded Delhi market is that the visitors have the choice to walk through big air-conditioned stores, or through the narrow alleys comprising of small.
South Extension – Designed specifically for the young audience, this happening place renders international shopping experience to visitors. Divided into two sections, namely South Extension I and South Extension II, the market is flanked with glittering showrooms and restaurants.
Nehru Place – Nehru Place in Delhi represents the face of Indian IT industry, where you can get all sorts of IT-related tools and software’s. You’ll perhaps be amazed to see a number of street hawkers selling hardware as well as software applications there. A must-visit for those looking for buying some IT stuffs at reasonable prices.
Shikhar Eco Foundation has clubbed hands with the Forest Department, WWF India and the Agora village community to clean up Dodital Lake and trek route and discard the non-biodegradable litter left by the end of the tourist season before snowfall. Along the same line, we carried out an intense four-day expedition running from 7th to 11th November 2010. During this drive twenty-five sacks of non-biodegradable garbage was brought to Sangamchatti for recycling purposes. This is the first time concerted efforts to clean up the Dodital lake was carried out with such a vigor.
A team led by Rajbeer Rana, Senior Manager and Passang Sherpa, instructor adventure Department, Shikhar Travels with support from Dr Sanjeev Sharma, Senior Project Officer WWF India (Himachal Pradesh) and Man Singh Panwar, Kamal Singh, Suman and thirteen other village youths from Agora village cleaned the Dodital lake and trek route to dispose off the non-biodegradable litter. Twenty-five sacks full of non-biodegradable waste were brought on six mules hired for this purpose. Fifteen sacks were collected from around the Dodital lake, five from the camping site at Majhi and rest from Bebra and Agora village. The refuse included all sorts of non-biodegradable stuffs, like glass bottles, mineral water bottles, tin cans, polythene and Gutkha packets. The material has already sent to Sangamchatti where it will undergo recycling processes.
The best part of the entire exercise was the involvement of village community into it. This was made possible because of the efforts from Capt. Swadesh Kumar, who during the ATOAI meet in Dehradun two years back, advocated for the inclusion of a villager for encouraging Rural Tourism. Capt. Kumar, the CMD of Shikhar Travels, runs Shikhar Nature Resort at Uttarkashi. He chose Agora, the first Rural Tourism village in Uttarakhand to be funded by Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India for this initiative. However, he went a step further and laid the foundations of Shikar Eco-Foundation. Under this, we had already organized a two-day hospitality-training course for as many as twenty-one youths from Agora, and Of those twenty-one, eleven were lodge owners.
Incidentally, the purpose of Shikhar Eco-Foundation is multidimensional. In addition to keeping the environment clean and green, Capt Kumar also has vision for job creation in the tourism industry. In order to achieve the same, Shikhar Eco-Foundation is also working to ensure jobs for at least twenty youths from Agora before the next tourist season sets off.
The exclusive topography of India has made the country home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. These huge varieties include some of the rarest species and a majority of them are being preserved in various national parks as well as wildlife sanctuaries. Indian national parks and sanctuaries are famous world over for tigers, elephants, colorful birds, rhinoceros, lions, to mention a few. It’s always a visual treat to have an adventurous wildlife safari in India, and Shikhar Travels is all-equipped to make your expedition a memorable experience. Here’s the list of top wildlife spots that shouldn’t be missed out when you are in India for a jungle safari:
- Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – Also known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park, this fascinating sanctuary ranks among one of the finest bird sanctuaries across the globe. It comprises as many as 365 varieties of birds from 57 distinct families. Of all the bird species, endangered Siberian Cranes are perhaps the most awaited. http://shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=108
- Corbett National Park – Initially established as Hailey National Park back in August 1936, it was rechristened as Ramganga National Park in 1952. However, it was eventually renamed as Jim Corbett National Park in the year 1957, in the commemoration of late Jim Corbett, a renowned traveler and wildlife photographer who had helped in setting up the park. It is famous worldwide for its big cats, especially Tiger. In spite of immense efforts from environmentalists and the Indian government, Tiger population has been dwindling in India. However, Corbett National Park is among few places in the world where Tigers can still be seen.
- Gir Lion Sanctuary – This popular sanctuary houses the Asiatic lion, which once inhabited a broad stretch of land from Greece through India, encompassing Asia Minor and Persia. Along with the Asiatic lion, the sanctuary also has a considerable variety of smaller animals, preys, etc.
- Periyar National Park – Nestled in the picturesque land of Kerala, Periyar National Park stands in one of the India’s most visited national parks. It is established around an artificial lake dotted with snags of deadwood that offers perches to several waterbirds. It is regarded as the finest habitat for Asiatic Elephants.
- Ranthambore National Park – Located in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is popular for tigers. The park is touted as an engrossing place where you can see the majestic predators in the wild. Tigers can be seen in the daytime too. The fascinating atmosphere and the amicable wild cats of the preserve have together made Ranthambore National Park as one of the most-filmed wildlife reserves across the world.
So if you wish to come vis-a-vis with the Indian tiger, or see those wonderful Siberian Cranes, then just pack your bag and get geared for a thrilling jungle safari with Shikhar Travels.
1. Taj Mahal, Agra: “The epitome of love”, “a monument of immeasurable beauty” stands majestically on the banks of River Yamuna. One of the Seven Wonders of the World in the old and the new list, Taj Mahal is known for its epic beauty that combines sublime human emotions with beauty of the precious stones. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight.
2. The Golden Temple, Amritsar: Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple of Amritsar is representative of all that is glorious in Sikhism. Amritsar is the most holy city for the Sikh community where life is influenced by the Golden Temple, their most important shrine. Economically it’s the showpiece of the prosperity and wealth of Punjab.
3. Pink City, Jaipur: Known to be as Pink City and Capital of Rajasthan. Built by the warrior-astronomer Raja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727.Jaipur is a charming place, which dazzles the eye of tourist with several architectural landmarks, stylish monuments, palaces, museums, wide avenues and colorful bazaars. Hill top forts such as Amber Fort, Jaigarh and Nahargarh surround Jaipur.
4. Varanasi: Also known as Kashi and Banaras, is the cultural capital of India. The city of important Hindu religious place and is closely associated with the river Ganges. In Varanasi, you can enjoy morning boat cruise on serene Ganges and can also dot on some of the most fascinating temples at Khajuraho that depict human love.
5. Ladakh: Ladakh is a land like no other in terms of its splendid beauty. Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the great Himalaya and the Karakoram. Ladakh which means the “land of passes” offers exciting opportunities for Monastery tours, great Himalayan Treks, Mountain expeditions, Mountain Biking, river Rafting, Tribal tours, Jeep Safaris, festival tours and Camel Safaris.
6. Delhi: Handful of option to explore Delhi, the list starts from Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid, Red Fort to Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate and Qutub Minor. Delhi is not just a city; it’s a book to be read which summarizes the past, present and future of India.
7. Wildlife of India: It is a mix of diverse origins. Want to come face to face with the famed Indian tiger!! Or see the rare Siberian crane at close range? There are many wildlife destinations in India.
The mesmerizing curvaceous valley of Manali has offered real visual treat to vacationist since ages. It has lofty Himalayan peaks capped with glossy snow covers in winter, picturesque landscapes, charming valley wrapped with colorful vegetation and meadows of flowers filling up the valley with their captivating fragrance, and much more. Manali is a complete tourist destination for the backpackers seeking to bask in the calmness and serenity of a hill station. No wonder, Kullu and Manali has been attracting thousands of tourists from all parts of the world every year. Regarded as the “Switzerland of India”, Manali boasts of some of the most cherishing scenic beauties, coupled with thrilling option of adventure sports and trekking. If you’re yet to explore this enthralling tourist spot in India, give Shikhar Travels the opportunity to make your stay there an immensely cozy and memorable experience.
However, touring these highly enigmatic hilly regions of Himalaya has never been a cake walk. You have to keep various things in mind in order to ensure safe and exciting touring for you and your family. There are a number of important precautions you ought to take before visiting places like Manali. Of all, physical fitness comes at the top. An excursion to hill places could turn into a nightmare if your body isn’t in a good state, especially if you plan to undertake adventure sports activities offered in Manali. These activities require sound physical and mental being. Along with the physical fitness, the route map you’d follow on these hilly terrains is also vital. However, this isn’t a big issue if you have a credible touring partner at your service.
Now let’s move on to the things you need to have in your rucksack. Always carry a fully-equipped first aid kit, which should have some basic medicines, bandages, antiseptic, among other necessities. Further, it’s always good to have a handy map of the place you’re visiting. It actually gives you an idea of the landscapes you’d get to see during your traveling course. Above all, just be prepared to get familiar with new cultures and lifestyles. There are several unexplored cultures nestling in the lap of Himalayan region and you’ll surely enjoy exploring them. In addition to being a hill station, Manali also has several religious spots. You can imagine the kind of mental composure and calmness you’d attain in performing meditation there. All in all, you’ll find Manali a wholesome destination!
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