Lesser known hill stations around Ooty

Since the time travelers have been exposed to the beauty of hills, the hilly town of Ooty has always topped the list. The erstwhile colonial settlement evolved into the most sought-after mountainous hamlet in South India. But with time, other settlements evolved and were discovered by the adventurous tourists. Yet, very little is known about these scenic locales around Ooty.

For a comprehensive itinerary, you can reach Ooty first and then head to each of these surrounding hill stations, one spot at a time. It is easily accessible from the major cities of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The distance from Bangalore to Ooty is 278km and takes about six hours to cover. Or, if you are already in Tamil Nadu, you can travel from Coimbatore to Ooty by car, which is barely a three-hours’ drove.

Kotagiri Hills

At barely an hour’s drive from Ooty, you will head into Kotagiri Hills. Located at a distance of about 30 KM from Ooty, this the oldest and largest (in size) hill resort of the Nilgiris. An earlier summer retreat for the British officials, Kotagiri is a treat for the sore eyes. The forested hills and bluffs, flanked by steep cliffs, loom over the habitats below. The town offers offbeat accommodation options from eco-resorts to tree houses and nature camps. Longwood Shola offers great camping and picnic options with trail walks. The solitarily standing Rangaswamy Pillar makes for the great vantage point for the surrounding views. From exploring the tea plantations, forests, to the riveting Elk Falls, the hill town of Kotagiri will indeed be a place to remember.

Yercaud

About five hours from Ooty and four hours from Coimbatore, you would find the ‘Hidden Jewel of South India’. Yercaud, also translated as ‘Lake Forest’, is a picturesque hill station in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. At 5,000 feet above the sea, the town is a highlight of the Eastern Ghats. For a unique experience of a hill station, explore Yercaud in its natural abundance. The dense forests of teak, sandalwood and silver oaks, are also home to a wide species of animals, birds, and insects that make this a natural sanctuary. Visit the Killiyur Falls or the Botanical Garden. Or spend a relaxing day at the Emerald Lake, surrounded by greenery and boutique resorts. Take a tour of the coffee and spice plantations, orange orchards and other tropical fruit farms, and refresh your senses with the fruity and spicy aromas. If you are traveling in May, then don’t miss the Yercaud Summer Festival, celebrated for seven days with a flower show, village fair, and boat races.

Coonoor

At roughly an hour’s drive from the town of Ooty, you can reach Coonoor. Also called the Darjeeling of Nilgiris, for its exquisite view of the hills, Coonoor is the second largest hill towns of Tamil Nadu. Yet, untouched by the bandwagon of commercial tourism. Though a part of Tamil Nadu, the town of Coonoor has a very distinct culture of its own. This historic town is quirky and quaint in its own way with traces of colonization, natural trails, mountainous weather, the lush tea plantations and hospitable locals. From its 100 years old tradition of food, art, and culture, blended with the contemporary lifestyle, Coonoor is indeed an alluring hill station that needs to be explored and discovered.

Ketty Valley

Just outside Ooty town, at a distance of about 4 KM, you will discover the Switzerland of Nilgiris, with terraced landscapes, and lush green grasslands. Ketty Valley is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. Unlike many other hill stations, Ketty Valley is relatively quiet and away from the touristy activities, which makes this is a truly relaxing place. Take a ride on the Ketty Valley train through the dense deciduous forests and verdant valleys. If you’re heading from Bangalore to Ooty by car, we recommend stopping at Ketty first.

This summer, definitely head to Ooty, if you must, but don’t forget to visit these exotic locations, hidden from the populist views but absolutely worth exploring.

A spiritual getaway to Dwarka

The holy city Dwarka is believed to be the first capital of the Gujarat state. Perched on the western shore of the Okhamandal Peninsula, on the banks of the Gomti River, Dwarka has been a religious haven for the faithful.

The name Dwarka is literally translated as ‘the gateway to heaven’. And, its significance lies in it being one of the ‘Char Dham’ or religious sites for Hindu devotees. It is believed, that if you visit the Char Dham, within your lifetime, you will attain Moksha. According to mythology, the town of Dwarka is identified as the ancient kingdom of Lord Krishna, who migrated from Mathura after killing Kansa, his uncle.

Having a powerful mythological and historical connection, the town of Dwarka developed as a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus. Every year, thousands of devotees of Krishna, throng to this holy seat from all over the world.

Reaching Dwarka

The town of Dwarka is well connected to major cities of Gujarat and other parts of Western India by railways and roadways. You can fly to Jamnagar Airport, which is about 45 KM away. From there you can opt for buses, taxis and private cars to commute to Dwarka. Alternatively, you can also book an Ahmedabad car rental if you’re looking to explore other parts of Gujarat.

To see

Dwarkadhish Temple

This shrine is the cornerstone destination of Dwarka. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple is said to be built about 2500 years ago. The Chalukya style architecture is flanked by a grand, five-storied main shrine. You would be marveled at the magnificence of the black stone idol of Krishna that resides within the shrine. There are other shrines, dedicated to acquaintances of Krishna, like that of Subhadra, Balaram, Vasudeva, Rukmini, and Revathy.

The best time to experience the divine energy of this temple is during Janmashtami. The birth festival is Krishna is heartily celebrated here.   

Nageshwara Jyotirlinga Temple

Be in absolute awe of this one of the 12 famous ‘self-existent’ temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the origin of the Nageshwara Jyotirlinga temple is still a mystery to this date. The temple enshrines a giant and artistic statue of Shiva, which draws visitors and pilgrims from far and wide. Additionally, the aesthetic appeal of the temple’s architecture will leave you mesmerized. The best time to visit this holy site is during Mahashivratri, an auspicious day to celebrate the greatness of Shiva.

Beyt Island

About 30 Km from the main town, you will land at Beyt Dwarka- a small island on the mouth of Gulf of Kutchh. This island was believed to be the main port for this region. The island is dotted with ancient temples, white sand beach, and coral reefs, which lend to its charm. Among temples, this holy site houses the Hanuman Dandi Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman and his don, Makaradhwaja. There are other shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Devi.

Apart from pilgrimage, Beyt Island is famous for water sports and sea-adventures.

Dwarka Beach

Lining the sacred town, the rocky Dwarka beach touches the Arabian Sea. For tired travelers and fulfilled pilgrims, the beach makes for a quiet and serene place to relax. Also perfect to enjoy the play of colors of the evening sky, the sunset on the Dwarka beach is a mesmerizing sight.

Lighthouse

Perched on the Dwarka Peninsula, there is an old lighthouse at the Dwarka Point. Enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city from this 40 feet high tower.

Whether you are a believer or not, a visit to Dwarka can always be eye-opening. Even if you’re looking to explore the coast of Gujarat, you can book a taxi service in Rajkot and head here. While the faithful seek assurance and higher consciousness, others see the architectural grandeur and the scenic beauty of this locale. Either way, this is a fulfilling and inspiring destination for all.

A historical account of the city of Agra

A city with a heritage as rich as its rulers, a city that is synonymous with royalty is a story in itself. That, folks, is Agra for you. But one needs an eye to read between the cracks of walls and stones and dig for its stories.

Road to history

Agra is well connected and easily accessible from Delhi. You can travel from Delhi to Agra by car, which takes about 4 hours.

Agra anecdotes

The capital of Delhi and then the Mughal Empire, the city of Agra found its existence in 1504, when Sultan Sikander Lodhi established his reign on this town, on the banks of Yamuna. Eventually, in the Battle of Panipat, in 1526, Mughal emperor, Babur took over the state and ruled his kingdom from Agra. During his rule and under his patronage, Agra saw its golden years with grand architecture, and skillful artistry, which would become benchmarks for Indian art in the years to come. His first project was a public landscaped garden on the banks of Yamuna- or what we know as Aram Bagh.

Post Babur, such creative initiative skipped a generation, until Akbar took the onus of reinstating the prestige of the Mughal Empire in Agra, with his artistic vision and patronage. During his rule, Akbar laid the foundation of what is Agra Fort today. He also extended the influence beyond the city and built Fatehpur Sikri, with palatial monuments and grand constructions.

The empire capital was bejeweled with exquisite architecture, featuring fine stone carvings, marble works, and delicate ornamentation. The highlight of Agra’s history was when Shah Jahan gifted the city its most apprized and cherished monument – the Taj Mahal. With this marvel in marble, Agra became the most prized city, not only for the empire but for the entire country.  

The five generations of the Mughal Badshahs, marked the golden era of Agra’s history with contribution and benefaction from each of its ruler, adding to the rich heritage of the capital. Over the years, people from all over the world have come to experience the grandeur and magnificence of Agra’s remarkable past. Thus, making it one of the most visited historical city in the world.

Monumental monuments

Today, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Here’s a quick roundup of the most significant constructions of the Mughal Era, the traces of which still linger in the 21st century.

Taj Mahal

There are no words that can describe this monumental mausoleum of love. 22 years and 20000 workers contributed to this portrayal of pride and unparalleled artistry with Persian, Turkish and Indian influence. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal leaves its visitors spellbound every time.

Fatehpur Sikri

About 37Km from the city of Agra sits the historic, religious and legendary city of Fatehpur Sikri. It’s foundation dates back to 16th century when Akbar built this city in honor of the revered Saint Salim Chisthi. Legends are that Akbar sought the saint’s blessings in pursuit of heirs and in turn, was gifted with three sons. The city was built as a sign of gratitude of the benevolent emperor.

Agra Fort

Another edifice of grandeur, built under Emperor Akbar’s patronage, the Agra Fort stands tall since 1565 as a witness to 500 years of India’s modern history. Made with red sandstone and white marble, this big crimson structure overlooking the Yamuna River, is a sight you cannot miss, especially, in the golden hues of the twilight sky.

As far as history is concerned, Agra still holds its fort of pride, legacy, and heritage. Though its golden era is a matter of past, it has left traces in its air, which you can sense in every corner of this city. For a comfort, convenience, and safety, you can rent a chauffeur-driven car with Savaari Car Rentals and make your journey of 233 Km rather enjoyable.

The Best Goa Tour Itinerary For 2018

Goa, more than just a travel location, an experience to be witnessed

A supremely elegant location for experiencing a richly exotic time with your loved ones and friends, Goa, is popularly known as the land of sun, sand and sea. It holds within itself a treasure trove of awesomeness. From beaches to crystal clear blue skies over sparkling seas, this is one of the most majestic destinations for everyone. Be it a college-going student or a newlywed couple, Goa always amazes everyone.

We get to explore the magical possibilities mother nature holds within her lap here. A perfect location for witnessing some of the best varieties of food, particularly seafood, Goa offers a large number of opportunities to explore a range of spices and flavours of food. But, it is always recommended to dig a little deeper and try to know more about this amazing place. Otherwise you may get to lose the view of some of the lesser known but elegant places that should have been included in your bucket list. Hiring a cab in Goa while travelling through the richly profound ecosystem makes you realize the level of comfort the atmosphere of Goa offers.

The public modes of travel are also available, but don’t offer the luxury and liberty of visiting places that are off the chart of the most popular places to visit in Goa. This simply leads to the loss of opportunities that let us indulge into the rich ecosystem of this place. A perfect example of this case can be seen while visiting the Kakolem Beach. Also known as Tiger Beach, this is one of the most picturesque beaches of Goa and you would surely be needing your own vehicle or hire a local cab to reach this place. Another significant location in Goa is Arvalem Falls, which is located in the Northern part of Goa through which milky water ascends. The Rudreshwar Temple, located near the Arvalem Falls is another picturesque location worth looking forward to. One of the best things about travelling here is the availability of the car rental service in Goa. Local car rental options are very flexible and you can easily customize your itinerary according to your own wish.

 

A Closer Look At The Underrated Gems Of Goa

There are a number of magnificent locations in Goa that are lesser known, but offer a splendid experience. Availability of local car rentals makes it easier to explore the grandeur of all these underrated but awesome terrains. Travelling here is quite economical and it can be easily understood from the fact that Goa taxi rates are nominal and don’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Goa is well known for some of the most beautiful beaches across the globe, but one more thing that easily catches the eyes of the visitors is the traditional cultural heritage of the place. Cabo De Pama is one such heritage. The essence of this old fort lies in the stillness and the complete solitude it offers to the visitors through its magnificent marvels. You can quietly sit here and just look at the horizons beyond the blue waters of the Cabo De Pama Beach.

This is an amazing location for lovers of art and architecture. The age-old Portuguese ruins and old cannons can still be seen here. Another fort widely known for its mesmerizing architecture is Fort Tiracol. One unique feature of this fort, apart from its unmatched beauty is the amazing way in which 7 rooms have been constructed inside it, each named after a day of the week. Located off a cliff, the fort gives a breathtaking view of the mighty Indian Ocean. The fort which is now converted into a hotel provides an experience of a lifetime with its classy elegance and luxurious facilities.

For the lovers of nature, particularly wildlife, Mollem National Park is the place to be. Here you can easily spot Leopards, Sloth Bears and Gaurs, amongst the other enormous variety of flora and fauna. Well known for its hiking and trekking trails, this place is a vividly popular destination among the adventure seekers. And if you used to be a kid who ran after the butterflies, Butterfly Conservatory of Goa is the perfect destination for your dreams to come true. Here you can get a glimpse of more than 130 species of butterflies along with numerous amazing flora and fauna. Carambolim Lake, one of the most exotic freshwater lakes located along the paddy fields in the interior Goa, is a home to lots of migratory ducks, jacanas, moorhens, harriers, pipits, wagtails and kingfishers.

 

Hire A Cab In Goa, And Travel With Comfort As You Don’t Have To Worry About Your Commute.

It has always been a widely discussed topic as well as a source of dilemma among the travellers as to whether they should visit North or South Goa first. The answer to this question is non-specific, but diving deeper and taking an insight of the weather conditions and the travelling destinations of both the places can go a long way in helping the people decide which option suits their comfort level. The car rental services in Goa are economical and the taxi fare is nominal. You can easily use them to reach your specified destination. Talking exclusively about the climate, both parts of Goa carry a tropical weather, but the Southern part of Goa is less humid than its Northern counterpart. Hence, in terms of weather, South Goa definitely has an advantage over North Goa.

Talking about the beaches, the northern beaches including the Baga Beach, Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach and Vagator Beach are full of life and are well known for their jazzy parties, adventurous water sports and mouth-watering seafood. One can never get over the charm of these beaches after visiting even once. The beaches are usually crowded throughout the tourism season. On the contrary, if you wish to be surrounded by peace, the southern beaches namely Palolem Beach, Majorda Beach and Butterfly Beach are just the ideal spots for you for you.

Visiting South Goa allows you to experience incredible tranquility and view the world with a new perspective. Strolling through the sparkling sands lets you immerse yourself in your own true self and think about the life you are leading. Speaking specifically about the architecture, Goa offers equally mesmerizing architecture in both parts. In the north, Church of Saint Antony’s and Church of Saint Lawrence are vividly popular, while in Southern Goa, we can encounter the marvels of Our Lady of Hope Church, Rachel Seminary and Velim Church. The level of detailing in both parts is equally fabulous even when the southern architecture is a bit newer than its northern counterpart. Goa is famous for its culturally exotic lifestyle hubs, particularly the markets. While the North Goa market is famous for its flea markets, South Goa is known for an exclusive collection of valuable items.

 

Reaching The Most Celebrated Travel Destination Of India

Goa is easily accessible from every corner of India as well as numerous International locations. Dabolim Airport is nearest to the state capital Panaji and is situated at a distance of 26 km from there. This Airport is well connected to the rest of India with daily flights from Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Goa Airport to Calangute taxi fare is genuine and is considered as the best option for arriving at Calangute from Goa Airport. The railway stations connecting Goa with the rest of India are situated in Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama.

The government undertakings that regulate bus services such as KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC are available on a regular basis and connect you with Madgaon and Panaji. A number of cabs are available from different locations and it is easily viable to hire a cab here in order to reach your destination. A number of private bus agencies such as Neeta Tour and Travels, Paulo Travels and Naik Tours and Travels offer the facility of daily bus services from all the major states. Taxi rates of Goa can be searched online and further information regarding them can be collected from local tourist offices. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of this place and experience every minute is to hire a cab and take a stop wherever you feel like. Every destination you arrive at offers a picturesque view through the magical vistas of sun, sand and seas.

Explore Offbeat Destinations in India: Vagamon

Vagamon or Wagamon is a sleepy little hill town in the south-east corner of Kerala. Yet another idyllic locale in God’s own country, Vagamon partly occupies the Kottayam district and partly the Idukki district of the state. Not more than 1100 meters above sea-level, you would find this cozy hamlet to be your perfect place of serenity, far from the maddening crowd of cities. Perched on the hills of the border of two major districts and blessed with natural wonders, Vagamon offers great opportunities for eco-tourism. Head to Vagamon this summer – book a Cochin taxi service to travel there with ease.

You would be thankful to find that this hill town is still untainted by the ill-effects of commercialization, making this place retain its originality.

Reaching Vagamon

Vagamon is situated about 100km from Cochin, which is also the nearest airport. So you can take a flight if traveling from any major city. From there you can hire a cab or rent a car till Vagamon and travel down the hill highway. It is a fulfilling experience with endless views of the hills and vales and the winding roads cutting through the mountains and dense forests. Alternatively, you can also take the train till Kuttikanam at 22km or Palai at 33km.

Exploring Vagamon

The rolling hills enveloped under blankets of greenery, the steep slopes, the velvet countryside makes for a much-needed relaxing holiday with your friends, family or special someone.

Wake up to the view of the morning mist veiling the valleys – a picture perfect setting that can bring you instant joy. The lush valleys, expansive meadows dotted with wildflowers, dense pine forests and waterfalls are indeed bliss for all your senses. Such a scenic landscape comes with abundant options to explore and experience this homestead in its own way.

You can choose from any of the adventure activities like trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. Did you know that Vagamon is a paragliding hub for flyers? Paragliders from different parts of India and abroad join the International Paragliding Festival which is held in the months of January and February every year.

Other recommendations in Vagamon

Vagamon and its three hills- Thangal, Murugan, and Kurisumala reflect complete religious harmony, with Hindu, Muslim, and Christians- all cohabiting in the same place.

The Kurisumala Ashram is a spiritual center but also holds ample natural beauty. If you are so inclined, you can visit this abode of peace. Otherwise, the area is surrounded by vast tea-estates and natural lakes.

Head to the Murugan Hill near the Thangal Para. A temple dedicated to Lord Murugan sits atop the hills and enshrines an old stone carving.

 

Walk through the Vagamon Meadows. These undulating hills and sloping landscapes engulf a lake, which renders a painting like a scene. For photographers, writers, and other creative souls, this location is indeed inspiring.

Explore the pine forests. This is where lofty pine trees stand in rows and make this dense forest eerily beautiful.

You can also visit the Mooppanpara canyon, a V-shaped canyon that serves as a viewing point for the surrounding. A short trek through the hills and forests will take you to the summit.  It is here that you can get a stunning panoramic view of the town below.

There’s also the Ulipponi Wildlife Sanctuary. Though known as a natural habitat for flora and fauna, this location of Vagamon works as a great picnic spot or a day trip to just absorb nature. You can also take a boat ride on the lake located in the sanctuary. There are a lot of exotic flowers and orchids that grow in the wild and add vibrancy to the place.

Laid back and sleepy, yet uplifting with nature’s bounty, the scenic town of Vagamon needs to be explored more. After all, nature gives us these wonders only to cherish, isn’t it? Book a taxi service in Trivandrum and head out to Vagamon for a perfect idyllic holiday.

A food Trail in Shimla

Beyond the scenic landscape, cool alpine weather and line of pine forests, there’s a side to Shimla which is explored but not talked about. Being the largest city in Himachal, Shimla has attracted people from all cultures and regions of India and abroad.

A melting pot of various Indian and international cuisines, Shimla brings you a wide array of delectable delicacies to the table, literally! From simple roadside shacks, legendary cafes to fine dining the ‘queen of hills’ has something for every food lover. But as they say, if you really want to know a place, you must eat with and like the locals. Book a Chandigarh to Shimla taxi and embark on this culinary trail to sample the best of Shimla’s local food.

Let’s start with the morning chowdown at Krishna Bakers. The oldest bakery of town, Krishna bakers lays down freshly baked bread and pastries of all kinds. As is the case with most old bakeries of hill stations, Krishna’s menu has never changed over the years. And so has their recipes. The highlight of this place is the fresh-off-the-oven, tender chicken bun.

Goofa & Ashiana: For a cozy dinner with the view of the hills, head to the Goofa & Ashiana. Quite a quirky name, this place offers two dining areas- the basement seating (Goofa) and the garden seating (Ashiana). Maintained by the tourism department, this restaurant is a family favorite and is quite on the fancy side.

Indian Coffee House: Wash down your carbs with a cup of hot Indian filter coffee. One of the oldest coffee houses in India, the Indian Coffee House is also a popular stop for strawberry jelly and fresh cream.

Embassy Ice Cream: All meals must end on a sweet note. And as they say, there’s always room for dessert. And for desserts, there’s nothing better than Embassy Ice Cream. The rainbow-colored façade of this shop quite matches with its colorful recipes. Treat yourself with a hearty serving of sundae loaded with fresh fruits, jellies, and candies. Or a simple scoop of house-made ice cream, topped with fancy goodies can make your day!

Alfa: For the fancy foodies, Alfa does not look inviting. But once you leave your hang-ups and focus only on their specialties, you would forget where you are and why you are there. Don’t forget to try their kheema samosas, sinfully greasy but heavenly, house burgers and melting sundaes.

Sita Ram and Sons: Ever had a Chhole Bhature with a twist? Sita Ram and Sons does just that to your favorite Punjabi dish. Tender and cottony soft bhature, which are more like thick puris, served with a handsome portion of slightly sweetened chhole- every reason for you to gorge on.

Bihari Lal Sharma Chathouse: Yes, the mention of cool and crunchy chat in a cold hill station might not sound very inviting. But Shimla sees quite a harsh summer for its location. And that’s the time, you would love to visit Bihari Lal Sharma. Their creatively made fruit chat and tangy panipuris are sure to beat the heat and leave a zing to your taste buds.

Aunty’s Kitchen: Though small in number, the town has quite a Chinese-Tibetan influence. The heritage Chinese restaurants are living examples of their coexistence. One such place is Aunty’s Kitchen. Running as a family-owned eatery since 1975, this place will leave you spoilt for choice of your favorite Chinese delicacy. Their 25 varieties of soups to choose from, we can bet you will have a long dinner here.

Beekay: Yet another bakery cum café that smells of old world charm. Sample their salami burgers and you are sure to come back for more.

Tibetan Food Corner: Known for kurkeys, the traditional Tibetan dish, this eatery is your go-to place for authentic Tibetan fare. Believe it or not, this food joint is the only Tibetan restaurant serving kurkeys in the country!

If you’re planning on visiting Shimla this summer, be sure to book convenient Delhi to Shimla cabs so you can head to each of these amazing eateries that picturesque hill station has to offer.

Parwanoo – A paradise undiscovered

For the city dwellers of Delhi, Chandigarh and neighbouring towns in Haryana and Punjab, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to a quick weekend getaway. Nature’s bounty along the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh make for abundant options of exploring. Parwanoo is one such surprise package of a place.

Image source: Wikipedia

How to reach Parwanoo

Bordering the Panchkula district of Haryana, Parwanoo is located at 35km from Chandigarh and is easily accessible from Amritsar, Kalka, Pinjore, and Shimla. For a more exciting journey, you can take the Kalka-Shimla heritage railroad. This is one of the most scenic routes in this region, cutting through the mountains via tunnels, crossing cliffs and around the winding slopes. The nearest station, at Taksal, is about 4km away from the town center. If there’s a road trip on your mind, the best way to get to Parwanoo is to book a taxi service in Chandigarh.

Things to do in Parwanoo

Apart from its economic recognition, being on the Shivalik Range, Parwanoo holds the quintessential Himalayan beauty. The landscape remains snow-clad most of the year, which allows you a cooler escape from the sultry city summers.

Ever since travelers started exploring the mountains, lakes and the natural wonders of Parwanoo, this quiet hamlet opened up to discovery and exploration.

A quick trip to Parwanoo calls for these touristy activities:

Ride over the Timber Trail

Image source: Wikipedia

When in the mountains, a view from the top gives you a refreshing perspective. A cable car ride across the Timber Tail gives you a 360-degree view of the entire Shivalik range. But just to be cautious, this activity is not for the faint-hearted. For a nominal price, this 1.8km ride lasts for about 10 minutes and takes you to the top of the Timber Trail at the resort of its namesake.

Enjoy the magnificence of the Kaushalya Valley, from a height of 5,000 ft above the sea level. A trip to Parwanoo would be incomplete without this scenic cable car ride and photographing the birds’- eye view of the landscape.

Discover Dagshai

About 28 KM from Parwanoo, lies the old settlement of Dagshai. Established by the East India Company in 1847, this timeworn cantonment town, still displays traces of its colonial past. The highlight of this town is the Dagshai Church, an ancient church built under the British rule. The colonial architecture reflecting sheer brilliance adorns the church’s façade and interiors.

The old-world charm of its construction never fails to enthrall the tourists and admirers of ancient art. Though there are no accommodation options here, Dagshai makes for a good day trip and picnic destination.

Visit the fruit orchards

If you are anywhere in Himachal, you will not be spared from the intoxicating aromas of apples, plums, and peaches. And probably because the economy of Parwanoo was based on fruit-based industries, the orchards became a fun-filled destination for tourists. The orchard tours will be a treat to your eyes as well as to your taste-buds. The array of reds, orange, crimson and green are indeed like a page out of a picture book. Indulge yourself in samples of fruit jellies, jams, pickles and other goodies to mark a memorable end to your orchard exploration.

Explore the Gorkha Fort

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Gorkha Fort would be of great interest. About 16 KM away from Parwanoo, the Gorkha Fort sits on a hill in the village of Subathu. It was established by the Gurkha army chief Amar Singh Thapa to fight the British troops, this fort is a testament of strength and power. There is a museum associated with the fort, preserving exhibits dating back to 1815.

Once a somnolent little settlement, this hamlet has grown to become a trending destination for Himachal Tourists and still needs to be explored. If you’re exploring hill stations around Delhi or Chandigarh, we highly recommend adding Parwanoo to your list. Book a Shimla taxi service to get to Parwanoo and explore some of the other quaint towns and hill stations on offer in Himachal Pradesh.

A perfect 4-day itinerary for exploring Chandigarh by cab

Listed as the only place from India in NY Times for the places to visit in 2018 across the globe

Providing the perfect blend of the authentic Indian culture and the fast-growing modern influence, Chandigarh is the right place for you to visit and it has something special for all the travelers. The joint capital of Punjab and Haryana is known for the mesmerizing Sukhna Lake, the beautiful Nek Chand Rock Garden, the pride of Chandigarh, the Capitol Complex and many other places. For the lovers of Gedhi, there is a special Gedhi Route for them where they can ride their cars and indulge themselves in the true spirit of Chandigarh. You can hire a full day cab in Chandigarh and see the city in its best form. It is the only place in India to reserve its name in the New York Times 52 places to visit across the globe.

Image source: Wikipedia

The reason for getting the name on the list is that it is described as the “green city and the mecca for architecture lovers” and it lies at number 43 amongst the 52 places in the list. The place bagged its name in the list due to the Capitol Complex, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A few other notable buildings include the Le Corbusier-designed government compound and the Oberoi Sukhvilas which is located over 8,000 acres of forest outside the Chandigarh city. The city is blessed with greenery and the canopy of trees provides the ambient path for taking a stroll in the evening with your loved ones. Also known as the City of Gardens, there are a lot of gardens and parks in Chandigarh where you can head for a morning or an evening walk. Talking about the architecture, every sector of Chandigarh has dimension 800 meters by 1200 meters and each sector is spread over an area of 250 acres.

Travel locations in Chandigarh sorted for you

Whether you are a nature lover or a secluded café person or a party animal, Chandigarh has something unique and special for you. You can hire one of the full day cabs in Chandigarh and begin your expedition. The center of city, Sector 17 is known for the young and quirky vibe during the evenings. It offers you a huge variety of international restaurants and cafes to choose from, having different varieties of cuisines for you to relish. Oriental Blossom, Cloud 9, Whistler and Orchid Garden are some of the top restaurants where you can visit during your trip to Chandigarh.

Image source: Wikipedia

Take a stroll along the Sukhna Lake 

The fresh and crispy vibe of Sukhna Lake provides just the best kick-start to your day filling it with energy and positivity. You can witness people of almost every age group there in the morning. There are kids wandering around, young and the old people jogging and working out, and some just sitting and breathing in the fresh air of the morning.

Explore the best out of waste at Rock Garden 

Along Sukhna Lake lies the renowned Rock Garden famous for the art objects made out of industrial and urban waste. It houses an open-air exhibition hall, a miniature maze, and a theatre trove. You can witness a folk world there, which consists of soldiers, temples, village life, and monkeys, all built from castaway glass bangles, discarded chinaware, and broken fluorescent tubes.

Time for some street shopping 

If you love street shopping, Shastri Market, which is located in Sector 22, is the ideal destination for you. You can reach there easily by hiring a cab in Chandigarh and you can buy different items from there according to your interests. It has jewelry for ladies, clothing for men, women, and kids, many gifts and artificial flower shops. It also has a lot of food stalls from where you can enjoy the famous street food of Chandigarh. You must be a really good bargainer, else you will end up getting looted in this market.

Other Activities in Chandigarh:

For the lovers of wildlife 

Chhatbir Zoo is the animal and bird lovers’ paradise and houses 369 mammals, 400 birds, and 20 reptiles. Some of the species of birds and animals that can be seen there include Sloth bear, Zebra, Blackbuck, Baboon, Asiatic lion, Jaguar, amongst many others. The zoo is loved equally by the kids as well as the elderly people.

Get mesmerized by the charm of roses 

If you are planning to see the Zakir Husain Rose Garden, then make sure that you plan your travel during the winter season. This way, you will be able to catch sight of different species of rose, blooming in their majestic demeanor.

When it is all about books and coffee 

For those who just love to spend time with their favorite novel over a cup of coffee, Chandigarh has a lot to offer. It has a range of cafes that you can visit and have a delightful experience. Some cafes that are on the top of the list are Café Nomad, Oven Fresh, Backpackers’ Café and The Willow Café.

The colossal Elante Mall 

One of the biggest malls of India, Elante Mall is located in Chandigarh and it is the one-stop shopping destination for all the shopaholics and you can find all the national as well as international brands under one roof there. The food court houses all the major restaurants like Pirates of Grill, Boathouse, Pyramid, Brooklyn Central, Nando’s and OvenFresh.  

Head out from Chandigarh to see breathtaking Manali

This city is readily connected to all the major hill stations of Himachal Pradesh. One can easily rent a car from Chandigarh to Manali and other hill stations like Dharamshala and Barot. Outstation cabs from Chandigarh can be boarded easily and the Chandigarh to Manali cab service is considered the best way to reach Manali without hassles. There is regular bus service from Chandigarh to Shimla, Kasauli and other hill stations but hiring a cab from Chandigarh is a desirable option. This will ensure that you can halt according to your own preference and make your journey worth remembering.

Go on a wildlife excursion of Bandhavgarh National Park

One of the largest national parks in India, Bandhavgarh is a massive natural habitat for wild animals. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, the Bandhavgarh National Park spreads across an area of 105 sq. km., with an extension into the forests of Katni, thus covering a total area of 802 sq. km.

Image source: Wikipedia

The park has quite a history associated with it. Prior to the independence of India, the entire forest area served as a hunting ground for the Maharajahs of the state and their guests. Even after it was declared a national park in 1968, no conservation policies were introduced. Eventually, after the Wildlife Protection Act was constituted in 1972, the Project Tiger was initiated which worked in favor of saving the diminishing species of tigers. If you’re keen on spotting tigers in the wild, book a taxi service in Allahabad.

Of wildlife and vegetation

This natural habitat is rich in biodiversity. With rippling streams cutting through the wide valleys are interspersed with grasslands and dense Sal forests, Bandhavgarh is a paradise for wilderness lovers. The thick forests of deciduous vegetation like Saja, Salai, Dhobin and bamboo flank the forest areas.

Bandhavgarh National Park has been a huge breeding ground for Indian leopards and various species of deer. Additionally, the park has a high density of Royal Bengal Tigers. There are about 50 tigers with famous names in the entire forest area, as of 2012. Featured in National Geographic, the tiger population of Bandhavgarh have become the highlight of this habitat.

Apart from the ferocious beasts, Bandhavgarh also houses more than 250 species of birds, about 80 species of butterflies and a huge number of reptiles- snakes, forest lizards, salamanders and more.

Image source: Wikipedia

Explorers and bird watchers have recorded a total of 350 species of avifauna. Some of the notable ones are the Malabar pied hornbills, falcons, four kinds of vultures and more. In the monsoon, the grasslands and the water banks become the breeding grounds for Sarus cranes.

On any given day, you can do a guided jungle safari to explore the dense forests of Bandhavgarh. And unlike many national parks in India, this one offers easy sightings of Sambar and barking deer, spotted deer, Indian leopards, Nilgai (wild buffalos), Indian wolves, grey mongoose, sloth bear, striped hyena among others.

Fort of the forest

In the middle of the wilderness, on an 800-meter high cliff, sits the historic Bandhavgarh Fort. In fact, the national park derived its name from the fort itself. Though in ruins, the fort makes for a panoramic view of the surrounding forests and landscape. If you so dare and are keen on exploring this fort, you can do a short trek to see the remains of a dynasty that once ruled the region.

The fort also has a history of its own. It is said that this fortress and its surrounding premises served as a kingdom to three or four dynasties: the Mauryas, Vakatakas, Dengars, Kalachuris and finally the Baghels. Until, in 1935, when the inhabitants abandoned the fortress and the kingdom.

Reaching Bandhavgarh

Image source: Wikipedia

Jabalpur airport in Madhya Pradesh is the closest and major point of travel for Bandhavgarh National Park. You can opt for any of the daily running flights to Jabalpur city from any of the major tier 1 and tier 2 cities in India and then book a cab from Jabalpur to Bandhavgarh. Alternatively, you can opt for a train journey. The nearest railway stations from Bandhavgarh are Katni and Umaria. For touring around the fort and forests, most jungle resorts and hotels arrange for a jeep service.

The wild has a charm of its own and exploring the forests of a natural habitat of such magnanimity can be of a thrill of another level- something you might not know till you reach there.

Dawki – A Divine Discovery

India is a land of wonders indeed. They say, the country has so much to behold, discover and explore, one lifetime seems insufficient. All you need to ask yourself- where do I want to go next? And, you will find it all here. But the ones who travel in a predetermined way would never discover the miracles that are there in the nooks and crannies of this subcontinent.

Hidden away in the thickets of North East, are numerous such treasures, waiting to be unraveled by the hungry traveler. Have you ever heard of Dawki? If you haven’t, then, this might inspire you to book a car rental in Guwahati and explore this gem of Meghalaya.

A gem of North East

Dawki, Duki or Dauki is a picturesque town in the district of West Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya. Snuggled between the borders of India and Bangladesh, Dawki developed as a trading town for the two countries. But as explorers started discovering the real charm of the place, it soon became open to tourism and started welcoming travelers from far and wide to experience the wonders of nature. The lush greenery, the play of green and blue in the rivers, the crystal clear streams, and the serenity of the surroundings make this place a worthwhile retreat.

Image source: Wikipedia

Whether you want to do an introspective solo trip, a romantic getaway in nature or a fun-filled break with friends and family, Dawki makes for the perfect setting. But for each kind of trip, you must figure out the right time. Like for solo trips or family vacations, the months of January, February, June, and July are good. But, for couples, the best time is after the festivals- between September and November are better with the weather being more favorable.

Reaching there

Image source: Wikipedia

Because of its geographical location, reaching the town of Dawki could be a little challenging, especially if you are expecting a cakewalk travel. Dawki is about 200km from Guwahati, a major airport and railway head in the vicinity. You can either fly to Guwahati or take a train. From there, you can book Guwahati to Shillong cabs or take the taxi directly till Dawki. For a more exciting journey, take the helicopter ride from Shillong. However, for the roadrunners, a cab ride through the hills, gorges and dense forests can be more fulfilling.

Exploring Dawki

Once you are here, you would just want to sit and stare into the magnificence of nature- the endless horizon, where the blue rivers meet, flanked by foliage in all shades of green.

The highlight of Dawki is the Umngot River, which is like a floating mirror. The green water of this mountain fed water-body is so clear that you can actually see the riverbed. This river forms the natural boundary between Ri Pnar/ Jaintia Hills and the Hima Khyrim of Khasi Hills. The water-body also acts as the gateway to the major export/import point in Bangladesh.

The Umngot River is a popular venue for the Annual Boat Race that happens every March (till April). There’s a suspension bridge above the river, built by the British officials in 1932, which you can cross on foot for some added thrill.

You could consider camping on the river banks with guided tour groups. Or, you could easily go kayaking, snorkeling, and boating on the Umngot River. There are Zipline rides as well.

Local Food

The cuisine of North East is unique and out-of-the-box in its own way. Though there aren’t many restaurants and eateries in Dawki, you can still head to the local ‘dhabas’ and try the traditional recipes. Jadoh, Dohneiihong, Makham-Bitchi and Jhur Sideh, are some of the hard to pronounce but lip-smacking dishes of Meghalaya.

Surreal yet fascinating, charming yet mysterious, Dawki unfolds itself differently to each traveler. And the place has the magic of staying in your memories for years to come.