Monday, November 2, 2009

Useful information for travellers visiting Kerala

Come December and the number of tourists to Kerala increases. Even we had visited Kerala in November-December. Good season to visit God's own country.

Listed below are details of KTDC and some other information that will be very handy to travellers.

For info on tours/travel packages etc contact

Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Limited.
Corporate Office, P.B.No 5424
Mascot Square, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 033
Kerala. Phone: +91-471-2721243, 2721245
Fax: +91-471-2721249, 2727521
E-mail: corporate@ktdc.com

For reservations:
Central Reservations
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Limited.
Mascot Square, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 033
Kerala. Phone: +91-471-2316736, 2725213
Fax: +91-471-2721254
E-mail: centralreservations@ktdc.com

If you are planning to visit Alleppey backwaters then contact

Alleppey Tourism Development Co-operative Society Ltd. (ATDC)
A-837, Komala Road, Alleppey -13, Kerala, India.
Phone: 91-477- 2264462, 2261693, 2230583
Fax: 91-477-2231145
Email: info@atdcalleppey.com

For information on Munnar check this link - Munnar

For information on Thekkady visit - Thekkady

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Diwali - the festival of lights

October is a month of festivals in India. Dusshera is over and Diwali is just round the corner. Diwali is known as the festival of lights and is eagerly awaited for the lights, crackers, sweets and the festive atmosphere.

The lead up to Diwali is known for the spurt in purchases of gold coins and gold jewellery. This period is known as Dhanteras and it is the day before Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi and Dhanvantri are worshipped on this day and it is considered auspicious to purchase gold on this day. Every family makes a gold or silver purchase on this, even if it is a simple gold coin. The ones better off go for gold jewellery or gold biscuits.

Almost all the population heads off to various jewellery shops to make purchases and this increases the value of gold bullion. Keeping in mind the demand, gold bullion are minted into coins or bars and are available with most leading jewellers in the country. Lots of special offers are put up to lure the customers.

The diwali celebrations last five days with the third day being the most important when Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed into the homes and worshipped. It is also not uncommon to see gold coins and jewellery being gifted on this day.

Diwali is also famous for its sweets with each region in India having its own special cuisine. If it is Shirkhand in one place then it is Pal Poli, Sandesh or Jhangiri in another. Mmm, my mouth waters as I write about these sweets.

I cannot wait for Diwali to arrive. Here's wishing all of you a very prosperous Diwali. Enjoy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Head to Australia for a glimpse of the Koalas

Was watching Animal Planet the other day. They were broadcasting a wondferful program about the Koala bears. I like watching animals in their natural habitat rather than in a zoo.

The Koalas are found in the following regions in Australia:
Queensland
New South Wales
South Australia and
Vistoria

If you want to see Koalas in their natural habitat then you head to Australia. What with lot of cheap flights available to Australia, it becomes much easier for you to make your travel plans.

To travel with Australia (the country has lots to offer for the nature lover) you could chose Jetstar, a low cost airline, which flies to almost all the main cities in Australia. Or you could opt for Qantas, which is Australia's largest airline.

While in Australia, you shouldnt miss the following too:
- The Sunshine coast and Gold coast
- The Great Barrier Reef
- The Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park
- The Great Ocean Road

With the international airfares coming into the affordable zone, its time one plans a visit to Australia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Maine, Here I Come.

Maine is a wonderful destination for nature lovers. It has everything you could wish for - a sandy coastline, majetic mountains, lakes and rivers and woods. You could spend your time relaxing on the beaches or head off hiking on the mountains. You could also go whale watching if that interests you.

One of the major attractions of Maine is the Boothbay Harbor region. The harbor is dotted with numerous fishing vessels big and small; and a good sprinkling of pleasure boats. You could take a guided harbor tour on one of the many excursion boats available or if you are the romantic kind - then you could hire a schooner and head out for a sail with your loved ones.

The Boothbay Harbor in Maine is also a favourite destination for waterfront weddings. The harbor offers everything from accommodations, hair and beauty salons, florists, food catering services and everything else associated with a wedding.

Another attraction of the Boothbay Harbor is chioce of sea food. Lobsters, fishes, scallops, oysters and mussels - you name it and you get it here. The main highlight in this region is the Maine Lobster. And I have heard that one of the best Boothbay Harbor Restaurant is the Brown's Wharf Inn . The inn offers a wonderful view of the harbor. All the cottages and rooms have good views. And top it up with the finest seafood fare in the region - that makes Brown Wharf's Inn one of the best Boothbay Harbor Inn.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Singapore or Seattle?

Recession or no recession - travel lovers always look out for the less travelled places and good deals on accomodation. Had been to a travel fair recently with a couple of friends. Picked up lot of brochures and info on some cool travel options for December(Christmas holidays). On our way home my friend asked me to pick two destinations from my lucky/favourite alphabet - S. The two places that I selected were Singapore and Seattle.

After returning home I did a search on the tourist attractions in both these places. Heres what I found. Singapore is a very affluent country with a good night life and lots of shopping options. The Orchard Road has miles and miles of shopping malls. The Singapore zoo is also a must visit. I also found some good deals on accomodation in Singapore. There are many cheap hotels in Singapore. Another attraction in Singapore is the Sentosa Island Resort which is the Singaporean equivalent of Disneyland.

Seattle, Washington, is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. There is lot to do in Seattle. There are lot of museums and parks in Seattle. The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is also a major attraction. There are numerous tour operators who offer everything from walking tours and sightseeing opportunities by plane, boat or mini bus. Cheap hotels in Seattle are also available.

So all that is left to decide is whether it is going to be Singapore or Seattle. Both have more or less the same stuff to offer and cheap hotels are available in Singapore as well as Seattle.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rail, Road and Ferry services in Ernakulam (Cochin)

Hugging the coast of the Arabian Sea, the charming district of Ernakulam bustles with life. The city of Cochin in Ernakulam is hailed as the commercial capital of Kerala. Blessed by one of the finest natural harbours in the world, Cochin is celebrated as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.


Accessing Cochin


By Rail
Ernakulam is well connected to all major cities in India.
Ernakulam Junction - Phone 131
Ernakulam Town Railway Station - Phone: 2395198
Aluva Railway Station - Phone: 2624141

By Road
The KSRTC Central Bus station is near the Junction Railway Station. Phone: 2372033
Private buses operate from High Court Jn, Railway Station and Kaloor Junction
Tamil Nadu Road Transport Bus Station - Phone: 2372616

Inter state private bus services to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Chennai and Madurai
Indira Travels - Phone: 2360693
Yesbee Travesl - Phone: 2375080
Princy Tours - Phone: 2354712

Ferry Services: There are two ferry stations in Ernakulam. The main boat jetty is 1km from the Junction Railway station and the other is near the High Court.

Ferry timings from the main boat jeety
Vypeen - Frequent services (1/2 hour journey)
Mattancherry - Daily 6 ferries (1/2 hour journey)
Fort Kochi - Daily 30 services (20 minutes journey) First trip at 6am and last trip at 9.10pm
Willingdon Island - Frequent services (15 min journey)

For more information contact:
Tourist Information Office - Phone: 2360502

Elephant Pageants in Kerala

No celebration in Kerala is complete without an elephant pageant. This gentle pachyderm is accorded the privilege of escorting the numerous gods and goddesses. The elephant pageants feature colorfully decked up elephants with mahouts atop them holding aloft tinselled silk parasols, swaying white tufts and peacock feather fans.

The main elephant pageant is held in Thrissur. Its called the Thypooya Mahotsavam.
It is to be held on the 30th of January 2010.

The other elephant pageants for the coming year are:

Uthralikavu Pooram - Thrissur
March 02 2010

Thrissur Pooram - Thrissur
April 24 2010

Arattupuzha Pooram - Thrissur
March 28 2010

Pariyanampetta Pooram - Palakkad
On 19th February - every year

Chinakkathoor Pooram - Palakkad
February 28 2010

Nenmara Vellangi - Palakkad
April 03 2010

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ernakulam (Cochin) to Lakshwadeep Islands

Lakshwadeep islands, a union territory of India, is a group pf 36 islands located int he Arabian sea, about 300 kms of Cochin. Of these islands, Androt, Amini, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadamat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, and Minicoy are inhabited. The main occupation of the islanders is fishing. The languages spoken are Malayalam and Mahl. Tourists are permitted to enter through package tours provided by SPORTS.

For reservations and enquiry contact
Assistant Manager
SPORTS
Lakshwadeep Administrative Office
Willingdon Island
Kochi
Ph: 2668387

Accomodation

Bangaram Island resort
Contact:
Casino group of hotels
Cochin
Ph: 2668221


Agatti Island Beach Resort

Contact:
1st floor, Manogeeth
Market Road
Behind HPO
Cochin
Ph: 2362232

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oceanfront resorts - a refuge for water loving travellers

The travel bug seems to be doing the rounds. Everyone around me is setting out to wonderful locales. I need to plan my next trip too.

A colleague of mine recently returned from a 45 day trip to the US of A. Lukcy lady. She was all praise for the places she had visited. She took her kids to Disneyland. They travelled by car covering the coastal regions. And then they visited some relatives in South Carolina. Being the water baby that she is - how could she miss visiting the lovely lakes in South Carolina. She visited Lake Marion and Lake Keowee. She also visited the North Myrtle Beach. She told me about this ocean front resort that she saw there - it was called the Myrtle Beach Resort.

The resort she said was located in Cherry Grove and had a host of activities for everyone. She has made enquiries and plans to visit and stay there on her next trip to USA. Her spouse was also excited because Myrtle Beach Resort is close to Myrtle Beach golf course and the Southeastern North Carolina golf courses. Aah! Men will be men. But well as long as they get to holiday there, it doesn't matter. She said she would choose from the various spa treatment packages that the resort has on offer or opt for an in-room massage while her hubby hits the golf course.

Hearing about the place and looking at the photographs, I am tempted to plan a trip to the Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Resort too. Gotta coax my better half to head out on a holiday and soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tours conducted by KTDC near Cochin

Kerala Toursim Development Corporation (KTDC) conducted tours

Boat Cruise
daily 2 trips
0900-1230 hours and 1400-1730 hours
Starting point - Kochi Harbour
Covers - Willington island, Mattanchery palace, The Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi, Bolagatty Island.
Fare: Rs 100 per person

Sunset Cruise
1730-1900 hours

Full day backwater village cruise
includes - visit to coir villages and coconut plantations
Fare: Rs 650 per person - minimum 4 people required
Timings - 0830-1830 hours

Half day backawater village cruise
fare: Rs 350 per head - minimum 2 people
Timings - 0830-1300 hours, 1400-1830 hours

For details on any of these tours contact

KTDC
Tourist Reception centre
Shanmugham Road
Ernakulam 682011
Phone: 2353234
eMAIL - ktdccok@sancharnet.in

Thursday, July 2, 2009

On my travel list - A visit to Australia

Last weekend while travelling to London from Dubai, I met this wonderful lady from Sydney who was travelling to UK on a 3 week leisure holiday. Got talking to her and she told me about what Australia has to offer to avid travellers.

One place she told me about was 'Brampton Islands' which is famous for its golden beaches. It would be the perfect place to spend your wedding anniversary she said. She also told me of a website called Travel.au which has some really good cheap flight deals. I checked the site after reaching London and was glad she told me about it.

While on their site I happened to see the offers they have on flights to Singapore and must say was impressed. Add this to my travel wish list too. Cheap flight tickets make it so much more affordable to travel.

There was also a section which allowed me to compare cheap flight airfares. Such a useful tool for travellers. Hope my readers find the site as useful as I did. And Happy travelling to all of you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Govt approved Ayurveda Centres in Kerala

Kerala is as famous for its Ayurveda as for its beaches and backwaters. Travellers to Kerala never miss te opportunity to go for an Ayurvedic treatment. Though there are numerous Ayurveda Health centres dotting the state, the Govt approved centres are best visited.

Here is a list of a few government approved Ayurveda centres in Kerala.

Tiruvananthapuram

Anandam
Ph: 91 471 2267828
travancoreheritage@vsnl.net

Charaka
Krishnatheeram Ayur Holy Beach Resorts
Ph: 0470 2601305
info@krishnatheeram.com

Nikkis Nest
Ph: 91 471 2267822
nest@sancharnet.in

Ayur Ashram
Ph: 91 471 2483111
info@uds.in

JV Ayurveda Bhavan
Ph: 91 471 2478517
mail@ayurvedabhavan.com



Kollam

Ashtamudi Resort
Ph: 0476 2882288
ashtamudi@sancharnet.in

Sree Narayana Institute of Ayurvedic Studies and Research
Ph: 91 474 2417036
snayurveda@yahoo.co.in

Amrutha Ayurveda Hospital
info@amruthaayurveda.com

Idukki

Spice Village Ayurvedic Centre
Ph: 04869 222316
spicevillage@cghearth.com

Taj Garden Retreat
Ph: 04869 222403
retreat.thekkady@tajhotels.com

Charakas Ayurveda Hospital
Ph: 04862 200756
charakas@sify.com


Alleppey

Warriers Hospital and Panchakarma Centre
Ph: 0479 2431403
drsajikumar@vedacure.com

Pallakkad

Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
Ph: 04923 222553
kairlpgt@md3.vsnl.net.in

Monday, June 1, 2009

Waterfalls in Kerala, India

Waterfalls in Kerala - Palaruvi, Athirapally, Vazhachal, Attukad, Thommankuthu, Thusharagiri, Meenmutty, Chetalayam, Sentinel Rock Waterfall

Palaruvi - 75 kms from Kollam
Palaruvi which means a stream of milk makes it way down the rocks from a height of 300ft.

Athirapally - 63 kms from Thrissur
This 80 ft high waterfall located at the entrance of the Sholayar Ranges is a frequently visited picnic spot and movie shooting location.

Vazhachal - 68 kms from Thrissur
At a short distance from Athirapally is this picturesque waterfall which is a part of the Chalakudy River.

Attukad - 9kms from Munnar
Attukkad located betweenMunnar and Pallivasal is a feast for the eyes and ideal for long treks.

Thommankuthu - 17kms from Thodupuzha, Idukki District
Its a famous seven step waterfall ideal for adventure tourism

Thusharagiri - 50kms from Kozhikode
Excellent rekking tracks and numerous streams

Meenmutty - 29kms from Kalapeta in Wayanad
A 2 km jungle trek leads to this spectacular 3 levelled waterfall which falls from a height of 1000ft

Chetalayam - 12 kms from Sultan Bathery
Trekkers would love the climb up the rocky waterfall

Sentinel ROck Waterfall - 22kms from Kalapetta
Also knownas "Soochipara" the pool at the foot of the falls is ideal for a quick dip.

NOTE
For more information these waterfalls and how to reach them contact
Kerala Tourism Office
Trivandrum
Phone: 91 471 2321132
Toll free Infoline - 1800 425 4747

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gujarat at a Glance - Quick Tourist facts

Architectural and Historical Places
Adalaj ni Vav
Ambaji
Ahmedabad
Bhavnagar
Dabhoi
Dwarka
Gandhinagar
Gop Moti
Junagadh
Kumbhariya
Lothal
Modera
Idar
Palitana
Patan
Pindara
Sidhpur
Somnath
Taranga Hill
Vadnagar
Vallabhipur
Sarkhej

Holiday Camp and Picnic Spots
Ahmadpur Mandvi
Chanod
Balaram
Chorvad
Dandi
Dumas
Dwarka
Galteswar
Hajira
Kabirvad
Lothal
Modera
Nal Sarovar
Nimetha
Palitana
Pavagadh
Porbandar
Saputara
Shuklatirth
Sikka
Somnath
Tithal
Tulsishyam
Ubharat
Veraval
Wankaner

Pilgrim Centre
Ambaji
Arnej
Becharaji
Bet Dwarka
Bhdresar
Bhavnagar
Bhidbhanjan
Charadva
Chotila
Dakor
Dwarka
Gadhada
Ghela Somnath
Girnar
Gondal
Harsiddh Mata
Idar
Jadeshwar
Junagadh
Kayavrohan
Khedbrahma
Koteshwar
Kumbharia
Mahudi
Matano Madh
Miradatar (Unava)
Nareshwar
Palitana
Pavagadh
Por
Shankheshwar
Shamlaji
Sidhpur
Somnath
Talaja
Taranga Hill
Tarnetar
Udwada
Unjha
Vadtal
Vautha
Vireshwar
Virpur
Visavadar

Handicrafts
Anjar
Bhuj
Bharuch
Idar
Jamnagar
Mahuva
Patan
Rajula
Sankheda
Surat

Hill Resort
Ambaji
Girnar
Palitana
Pavagadh
Saputara
Taranga Hill

Hot Water Springs
Lasundra
Unai
Tuva
TulsiShyam

Lake
Ajwa
Chandola
Kankaria (Ahmedabad)
Malav Tank (Dholka)
Munsar Tank (Viramgam)
Nal Sarovar
Sahastraling (Patan)

Wild Life Sanctuary
Nal Sarovar
Sasan Gir
Rann of Kachchh
Velavadar

Irrigation Scheme
Dantivada
Dharoi
Kadana
Kakrapar
Narmada (Navagam)
Panam
Ukai
Vanakhori (Mahi)

Airports
Ahmedabad
Bhavnagar
Bhuj
Jamnagar
Keshod
Porbandar
Rajkot
Surat
Vadodara

Industrial Centre
Ankleshwar
Bhaktinagar
Gandhidham
Gandhnagar
Halol
Kadi
Makerpura
Sachin
Vapi
Vatva

Information about various districts in the state of Gujarat

Ahmedabad
Headquarter: Ahmedabad
Area: 7,932.40 Sq. Kms
Population: 58,08,378
Literacy: 79.89 %
Taluka:
Barvala
Bavla
City
Daskroi
Detroj-Rampura
Dhandhuka
Dholka
Mandal
Ranpur
Sanand
Viramgam
Villages: 556
Major Industries: Textile
Major Tourist Attractions: Sabarmati Ashram, Sidi saiyad ni Jali, Juma Masjid, Shaking Minarets, Sarkhej Roja, Hatheesig's Dehra, Kankaria Lake, Nal Sarovar


Amreli
Headquarter: Amreli
Area: 73,281.17 Sq. Kms
Population: 13,93,295
Literacy: 67.72 %
Taluka:
Amreli
Babra
Bagasra
Dhari
Jafarabad
Khambha
Lathi
Liliya
Rajula
Savarkundla
Vadia
Villages: 613
Major Industries: Groundnut, Sugarcane, Weighing Scale
Major Tourist Attractions: Nagnath Temple, Gayatri Temple, Shreenathji Haveli, TulsiShyam, Una, Delvada and Kankal


Anand
Headquarter: Anand
Area: 2,940.31 Sq. Kms
Population: 18,56,712
Literacy: 74.95%
Taluka:
Anand
Ankalav
Borsad
Khambhat
Petlad
Sojitra
Tarapur
Umreth
Villages: 353
Major Industries: Dairy (Amul, National Dairy Development Board)
Major Tourist Attractions:


Banaskantha
Headquarter: Palanpur
Area: 10,400.10 Sq. Kms
Population: 25,02,843
Literacy: 51.26%
Taluka:
Amirgadh
Bhabharnava
Danta
Dantiwada
Deesa
Dhanera
Diodar
Kankrej
Palanpur
Tharad
Vadgam
Vav
Villages: 1,246
Major Industries: Perfumeries, Diamonds, Marble, Copper
Major Tourist Attractions: Ambaji Temple, Kumbharia Temple, Balaram Palace Resort (Heritage Hotel)


Bharuch
Headquarter: Bharuch
Area: 5,253.30 Sq. Kms
Population: 13,70,104
Literacy: 74.79%
Taluka:
Amod
Ankleshwar
Bharuch
Hansot
Jambusar
Vagra
Valia
Zagadia
Villages: 662
Major Industries: Oil Fields
Major Tourist Attractions: Shuklatirth and Kabirvad


Bhavnagar
Headquarter: Bhavnagar
Area: 8,154.70 Sq. Kms
Population: 24,69,264
Literacy: 66.98 %
Taluka:
Bhavnagar
Botad
Gadhada
Gariyadhar
Ghogha
Mahuva
Palitana
Shihor
Talaja
Umrala
Valabhipur
Villages: 794
Major Industries: Ship Breaking Yard
Major Tourist Attractions: Nilambaug Palace (Heritage Hotel), Palitana (Most sacred pilgrim place for Jains), Velavadar (Huge Grassland, and a National park for the Black Bucks)


Dahod
Headquarter: Dahod
Area: 3,733.31 Sq. Kms
Population: 16,35,374
Literacy: 45.66%
Taluka:
Dahod
Devgadh-Baria
Dhanpur
Fatepur
Garbada
Limkheda
Zalod
Villages: 688
Major Industries: Tribal Handicrafts, Honey, Amla and Charodi
Major Tourist Attractions: Tribal Fairs and Festivals


Dangs
Headquarter: Ahwa
Area: 1,764 Sq. Kms
Population: 1,86,712
Literacy: 60.23%
Taluka:
Ahwa
Villages: 312
Major Industries: Timber, Forest Produce
Major Tourist Attractions: Saputara (Abode of Serpents), only hill station in Gujarat, Dangs Darbar (Major Festival)


Gandhinagar
Headquarter: Gandhinagar (State Capital)
Area: 2,163.48 Sq. Kms
Population: 13,34,731
Literacy: 76.83 %
Taluka:
Dehgam
Gandhinagar
Kalol
Mansa
Villages: 290
Major Industries:
Major Tourist Attractions: Akshardham, Adalaj ni Vav (Stepped Tank)


Jamnagar
Headquarter: Jamnagar
Area: 14,125 Sq. Kms
Population: 19,13,685
Literacy: 67.19%
Taluka:
Bhanvad
Dhrol
Jam Jodhpur
Jamnagar
Jodia
Kalavad
Kalyanpur
Khambhalia
Lalpur
Okhamandal
Villages: 753
Major Industries: Pearl Fisheries, Brass Metal Products
Major Tourist Attractions: Dwarka, Indias only Marine National Park


Junagadh
Headquarter: Junagadh
Area: 8,782.10 Sq. Kms
Population: 24,48,427
Literacy: 65.35%
Taluka:
Bhesan
Junagadh
Keshod
Kodinar
Malia
Manavadar
Mangrol
Mendarda
Sutrapada
Talala
Una
Vanthali
Veraval
Visavadar
Villages: 1,034
Major Industries: Kesar Mango's,
Major Tourist Attractions: Gir Asiatic Lion Sanctuary, Junagadh Fort, Budhist Sculptures, Somnath Temple, Chorwad Popular Beach Resort, TulsiShyam popular for Hot Springs.


Kachchh
Headquarter: Bhuj
Area: 45,652 Sq. Kms
Population: 15,26,321
Literacy: N.A
Taluka:
Abdasa
Anjar
Bhachau
Bhuj
Gandhidham
Lakhpat
Mandvi
Mundra
Nakhtrana
Rapar
Villages: 949
Major Industries: Silver and Textile Handicrafts
Major Tourist Attractions: Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar, Koteshwar and Ashapura Mata no Math, most important pilgrim centres.


Kheda
Headquarter: Nadiad
Area: 3,919.73 Sq. Kms
Population: 20,23,354
Literacy: 72.71 %
Taluka:
Balasinor
Kapadvanj
Kathlal
Kheda
Mahudha
Matar
Mehmdabad
Nadiad
Thasra
Virpur
Villages: 608
Major Industries: Cotton and Tobacco collection centres.
Major Tourist Attractions: Dakor, pilgrim centre.


Mahesana
Headquarter: Mahesana
Area: 4,376.38 Sq. Kms
Population: 18,37,696
Literacy: 75.54 %
Taluka:
Bechraji
Kadi
Kheralu
Mahesana
Satlasana
Unjha
Vadnagar
Vijapur
Visnagar
Villages: 599
Major Industries: Dairy (Dudhsagar), Commodity trading for Oilseeds, Jira, Cumin, Isabgull and Anise.
Major Tourist Attractions: 900 year old Sun temple, Becharaji, holy temple of mata Bahuchraji, Mira Datar, pilgrim place for Muslims, Hatkeshwar temple, Kirti Toran and other architectural monuments.


Narmada
Headquarter: Rajpipla
Area: 2,755.50 Sq. Kms
Population: 5,14,083
Literacy: 60.37 %
Taluka:
Dediapada
Nandod
Sagbara
Tilakwada
Villages: 613
Major Industries: Timber
Major Tourist Attractions: Sardar Sarovar Yojana (gigantic dam project site with lengthy network of canals)


Navsari
Headquarter: Navsari
Area: 2,657.56 Sq. Kms
Population: 12,29,250
Literacy: 75.98 %
Taluka:
Chikhali
Gandevi
Jalalpor
Navsari
Vansada
Villages: 370
Major Industries: Fruit produce, especially Mango and Chiku, Timber and Paper Trade, Sugar Factories
Major Tourist Attractions: Ubhrat beach, Palace, Darbargadh and National Park of Vansada


Panchmahal
Headquarter: Godhra
Area: 5,083.59 Sq. Kms
Population: 20,24,883
Literacy: 61.50 %
Taluka:
Ghoghamba
Godhra
Halol
Jambughoda
Kadana
Kalol
Khanpur
Lunavada
Morva
Santrampur
Shahera
Villages: 1,213
Major Industries:
Major Tourist Attractions: Mahakali Temple of Pavagadh, pilgrim place, Champaner, a world heritage site declared by UNESCO for its heritage and monuments. Hot springs of Tuwa.


Patan
Headquarter: Patan
Area: 5,742.59 Sq. Kms
Population: 11,81,941
Literacy: 60.59 %
Taluka:
Chanasma
Harij
Patan
Radhanpur
Sami
Santalpur
Sidhpur
Villages: 516
Major Industries: Intricately woven Patola Saries
Major Tourist Attractions: Jain temples, Wooden Carved houses, Rani-ki-vav, Sahastraling Talav.


Porbandar
Headquarter: Porbandar
Area: 2,271.99 Sq. Kms
Population: 5,36,854
Literacy: 69.09 %
Taluka:
Kutiana
Porbandar
Ranavav
Villages: 186
Major Industries:
Major Tourist Attractions: Kirti mandir (Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial), Beach, Osho Commune.


Rajkot

Headquarter: Rajkot
Area: 11,043.20 Sq. Kms
Population: 25,71,931
Literacy: 75.88 %
Taluka:
Dhoraji
Gondal
Jamkandorna
Jasdan
Jetpur
Kotdasangani
Lodhika
Maliya
Morbi
Paddhari
Rajkot
Tankara
Upleta
Vankaner
Villages: 843
Major Industries: Groundnet Oil, Pottery, Tiles, Ceramic Products, Wall Clocks, Textile dying
Major Tourist Attractions: Heritage Hotels, Palace of Wakaner, Virpur, pilgrim place for followers of Jalaram Bapa.


Sabarkantha
Headquarter: Himatnagar
Area: 7,259.60 Sq. Kms
Population: 20,83,416
Literacy: 67.31 %
Taluka:
Bayad
Bhiloda
Dhansura
Himatnagar
Ider
Khedbramha
Malpur
Meghraj
Modasa
Prantij
Talod
Vadali
Vijaynagar
Villages: 1,363
Major Industries: Dairy (Sabar Dairy), Household Kitchen equipments, woodwn toys.
Major Tourist Attractions: Shamlaji temple, Ancient fort of Idar, Temples of Ambaji and Bramha at Khedbramha. Ancient Stepped Well Tank.


Surat
Headquarter: Surat
Area: 7,451.10 Sq. Kms
Population: 49,96,391
Literacy: 74.49 %
Taluka:
Bardoli
City
Kamrej
Mahuwa
Mandvi
Mangrol
Nizar
Olpad
Palsana
Songadh
Surat
Uchhal
Umarpada
Valod
Vyara
Villages: 1,278
Major Industries: Diamond (92 % of world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat), Jhari, Cloth
Major Tourist Attractions: Dumas, a picnic place on seashore .


Surendranagar
Headquarter: Surendranagar
Area: 10,436.30 Sq. Kms
Population: 15,15,147
Literacy: 62.46 %
Taluka:
Chotila
Chuda
Dasada
Dhrangadhra
Halvad
Lakhtar
Limbdi
Muli
Sayala
Vadhvan
Villages: 651
Major Industries: Cotton, Ceramics, Pharmaceuticals, engineering plastics, salt, Pottery, Chinaware, Chemicals.
Major Tourist Attractions: Tarnetar fair of Dance and Music


Vododara
Headquarter:
Area:
Population:
Literacy:
Taluka:
Chota Udepur
Dabhoi
Jetpur-pavi
Karjan
Kwant
Naswadi
Padra
Sankheda
Savli
Sinor
Vadodara
Vahodia
Villages:
Major Industries: Petrochemicals, Glass, Pharmaceuticals, Electromics.
Major Tourist Attractions: Palaces, Museums, Parks and Temples. Dabhoi Fort, famouse picnic places like Ajwa and Nimeta, Chandod (Pilgrim Place)

Valsad
Headquarter:
Area:
Population:
Literacy:
Taluka:
Dharampur
Kaprada
Pardi
Umargaon
Valsad
Villages:
Major Industries: Timber, Mangoes and other fruits.
Major Tourist Attractions: Dandi (known for Mahatma Gandhi's march against salt act.), Tithal, Ubharat and Nargol are tourist places on the seashore. Udwada from where parsee community entered India (Parsee pilgrim place.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Peermedu Tourism, Idukki District, Kerala

Peermedu

Altitude - 915-1100m above sea level
Temperature - 13-24 degrees
Rainfall - 2500mm

Peermedu gets its name from the famous Sufi Saint Peer Mohammed. Peermedu had coffee and rubber plantations, tea and cardamom estates, mist covered hilltops and trekking trails.

Accessing Peermedu

Distance from Peermedu to different tourist centres

Thekkady - 35 kms
Kottayam - 75 kms
Munnar - 140 kms
Cochin - 150 kms
Alleppey - 114 kms

Bus timings from Peermedu

To Alleppey - 1215 hrs
To Trivandrum - 0930, 1630 hrs
To Cochin - 0800, 1415, 1600, 1715

In and Around Peermedu

Kuttikanam - This plantation town is famous for its cardamom estates. Good place for adventure tourism and trekking.

Thrissanku Hills
4 kms from Peermedu
Picnic post - good view of sunrise and sunset

Peeru Hills
4 kms from Peermedu
Good spot for trekking

Grampi
5 kms from Peermedu
Panoramic view from the high peaks. Lots of cardamom, tea and coffee estates.

Tribal Settlements
The Orali, Malapandaram and Malayarayan tribes live in the hills of Peermedu.

Things to do in Peermedu

Trekking - main trekking areas are Peeru Hills, Kalthotti, Vagamon, Grampi and Memala

Plantation Visits - Meloram, Nallathanni, Panchalimedu, etc

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thekkady Tourism (Idukki District in Kerala)

Altitude: 900-1800m above sea level
Temperature 13-30 Degrees
Rainfall : 2500mm

Accessing Thekkady

There are frequent buses from Kumily(4km) to various tourist centres

Distance of a few major towns from Thekkady
Kumily - 4km - 15 min
Sabarimalla via Pullumedu - 50km - 2 hours
Idukki - 65 km - 2.5 hours
Munnar - 106 km - 4 hours
Kodaikanal - 149 kms - 5 hours
Alleppey - 164 kms - 5 hours
Ooty - 390 kms - 11 hours

In and Around Thekkady

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Open 0600-1800 hours
Spread across 777sq km, of which 360sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary is noted for its diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty,
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds a charm to the park.


There are two watch towers in the interior sof the forest. Reservation can be made at the Divisional Forest Office, Thekkady.
Ph: 04869 222027


Kumily
4 kms from Thekkady
This plantation town closely associateed with Thekkady is situated on the outskirts of Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accomodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily.

Murikkady
5 kms from Thekkady
Wahedin fresh spice scented air Murrikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.

Pandikuzhi
5 kms from Kumily
This picturesue spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and streams is nestled between Chellarkovil and Tamil Nadu. A popular picnic spot Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographers delight.

Chellarkovil
15 kms from Kumily
The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in Tamil Nadu abd offers a breath taking view od plains and cascading waterfalls.

Mangala Devi Temple
15 kms from Thekkady
This ancient temple is hidden inthe dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level.

Vandanmedu
25 kms from Kumily
This is one of the worlds largest auction centres for cardamom.

Pullumedu
26 kms from Periyar
The winding journey to this hill town along the Periyar River offers a stunning view of the hills draped in lush greenery.
Since it is a part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from Thw Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady
Phone: 222027
Or the Range Officer
Vallakkadavu
Phone: 252515

Things to do in Thekkady

Plantation Tours
The tour covers visits to spice, coffee abd tea plantations, tea factories and tribal settlements. Contact the District Tourism Information Office in Kumily.

Elephant Rides
The Forest Department Thekkady offers facilities for elephant rides through the jungle.

Trekking
Main trekking areas near Thekkady
Kurusimala - near Kumily
Pullumedu - 45 kms from Thekkady
Ottakathalmedu - 5 kms from Kumily
Grampi - near Vandiperiyar
Contact Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady at
Phone: 222027, 222028

Boat Cruises in Periyar Lake
Timings - 0700,0930,1130,1400,1600 hrs
Fare: lower deck Rs 25 + 10 Entrance fees
Upper deck Rs 50 + 10 Entrance fees
Contact: 222028

Idian Classical Dance Theatre
Natyagriham
Karthika Tourist Home
Thekkady
Daily Bharatnatyam performance - 1900-2030 hours
Ticket 150 per person
Mudra Kathakali Centre - Daily Kathakali performance
Phone; 94471 57636

All information courtesy the Kerala Tourism Information Office.
For more information contact:
Tourism information office
Thekkady jn,
Kumily
Idukki
Phone: 91 4896 222620

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Junagadh Fort in Bikaner, Rajasthan

The most prominent attraction in Bikaner is undoubtedly the Junagad Fort. The first place our travel guide took us to was this fort. The Junagad Fort, surrounded by a towering wall and a moat makes for an imposing structure.



The Fort has never been conquered. Raja Rai Singh, a general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, built the fort in 1593 A.D. The fort was built using red sandstone and has elegantly carved windows and balconies.



The fort has two gates -
the east facing main gate called the Karan Pol (gate) and
the Suraj Pol, also known as the “Sun gate”.



Near the main gate you can see the majestic statues of the two guardians of the fort - Jaimal and Patta.



The Junagad fort complex houses a number of palaces within. Each of these palaces have been built successive kings and one can notice the distinct style of each era.

The main palaces are:

The Chandra Mahal (The Moon Palace) with its carved marble panels, mirrors and dazzling paintings is the most beautiful of all.



Phool Mahal – It is a coronation hall decorated with beautifully cut glasses and mirrors.



Karan Mahal - was built to commemorate the Rajput’s victory over Aurangzeb.

Anup Mahal – the multi storied Mahal has walls covered with red and gold lacquer work. It looks so beautiful when the lights are lit. This was used as the governance chambers.




The Badal Mahal (The Cloud Palace) is known for its painted walls that show a painting of Radha-Krishna surrounded by the blue clouds.

Har Mandir is the place used by the royal families for worshipping.

There is also a museum inside fort. On display, here is a magnificent collection of manuscripts, jewellery, arms etc.











There is also a Haviland plane on display here.
Among the many war souvenir that the British Government presented Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner with in recognition of the services rendered by the Bikaner state forces led by him during the First World War, were the shot down parts of two Haviland War planes.



Maharaja Karni Singh with the help of the local artisans got the broken parts of the Haviland plane restored. He then put it on display in the Vikram Vilas Durbar in Junagad Fort.





Save Animals - Boycott Fur Prodcuts

Folks,

Came across a very gruesome video of animals being tortured in Chinese Fur Farms. Have never seen such cruelty before.
Have a look and spread the word - stop using fur products. Let the animals live.

Video in the link below
http://www.peta.org/feat/ChineseFurFarms/index.asp

Thanks
B

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Palitana Jain Pilgrimage Centre in Bhavnagar District of Gujarat

Palitana, a major pilgrimage centre for Jains, is located in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.

There are around 1300 Jain temples on the Shatrunjaya hills, which are located around 2000 ft above the Palitana city. Each temple is an exquisitely carved marble wonder. The main temple on top of the hill is dedicated to the first Teerthankar - Lord Adinath.



Apart from the temples on the Shatrunjaya Hills, there are hundreds of other temples in Palitana. The whole city is full of temples each one a marvel in itself. The carvings are intricate and the work never ceases. The temples are constantly being renovated.



The climb up the Shatrunjaya hills takes you through around 4000 steps - a demanding 3.5 km uphill climb. Much of the pathway is sans any shelter or shade and the higher one climbs - the hotter it gets. That is the reason why most of the pilgrims begin the climb very early in the morning (around 4:00am) so that they reach the top by 8 am.



The climb up is tough but because of its sacredness, every pious Jain aspires and does climb to the top of the mountain at least once.







For those who are unable to climb the mountain, sling-chairs are available. Porters are also available to carry little kids. Mules also are available to carry luggage. Be careful as to where you keep your feet while on the mountain path. It might be slippery due to various reasons.

If you are interested in architecture one day is not enough to look and soak in the beauty of these temples.







It took us around three hours to complete the climb. On the way there are shelters built at every few hundred steps distance. Drinking water is available at these places. The view from the top is amazing.

We spent around 4 hours looking at the temples and the architecture. The climb down was also strenuous. Hard on the knees. You should see the Jain Sadhvis climbing and descending the hill. They are so quick. Amazing.







The 108 Samvasaran Jain temple in Palitana has 108 idols and sculptures. A must visit.



HOW TO REACH:
The nearest airport is around 51 kms away from Palitana at Bhavnagar – but there may not be connecting flights to major cities from here. Ahmedabad a little farther away has an international airport.

Palitana is connected to Bhavnagar with a railway line.

Frequent buses are available from Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad to Palitana.

ACCOMODATION & FOOD:

There are innumerable Dharmashalas, guesthouses, hotels in Palitana suiting every budget. Most of the Dharmashalas provide masseur services as the climb can be quite taxing for some.

Lots of hotels around serving Punjabi and Gujarati meals. There are lots of Chat Bhandars too.