Haflong – Experiencing Assam’s best

If there is one place in the evergreen state of Assam, you should add to your ‘must-visit’ list, it’s the hill town Haflong. Otherwise replete with tea gardens, rolling hills and clear lakes, Assam conjures up a picturesque scenario for an ideal holiday. But the state’s only hill station is in the scenic town of Haflong. Rich in natural beauty, culture, and heritage, this hilly hamlet of Assam is thronged by Indian and international travelers, all year round.

Reaching Haflong

The cozy town of Haflong is located in the southern part of the state near Silchar. To reach Haflong, you would have to fly down to Guwahati, the nearest major airport. From there you can easily book a car and drive down NH 27 for about 7 hours, to reach Haflong.

Sitting at 680 meters above the sea-level, the weather of Haflong is quite pleasant throughout the year and makes it conducive to travel anytime. However, the region receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon months and makes it all the more verdant. For those who prefer to travel during the dry season, the best time to visit Haflong is between the months of October and February.

Experiencing Haflong

Haflong Hill Also called the White Ant Hillock, the Haflong Hills offers magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, wrapped in greenery. The hilly terrain makes for a scenic trail to trek through.

You can also opt for paragliding activities that are conducted for tourists around the hills, and enjoy the panoramic views of the mountains and the valleys.

Haflong Lake This is one of the largest natural water bodies of Assam. Located in the heart of the town, the Haflong Lake had gained a lot of popularity among tourists and travelers. The hanging bridge overpass adds an adventure element to the lake area. If you love water sports, then go for a boat ride or other activities on the lake. This water body is also a major breeding ground for fishes and is a recognized angling spot where you can try your hands at fishing.

Maibong At about a distance of 47 Km from Haflong town, you can reach Maibong. A historically significant spot, Maibong still carries ruins of its regal past and attracts history enthusiasts. Maibong was the erstwhile capital of Dimasa Kachari Kingdom, an ethnic community who ruled Assam till the early 1800s, before colonization by the British Empire. The ruins also house an ancient temple that is believed to date back to the 12th century. The Ramchandi Temple is another notable place to visit in Maibong.

Jatinga In the winter months, exotic migratory birds throng to this greener and warmer locale in Jatinga, on the spur of the Haflong Ridge. Jatinga became popular for a strange phenomenon called ‘bird suicide’. There is no scientific explanation for this occurrence, but numerous birds seem to above the mountains and fall dead on the ground, in the monsoon months.

Food of Haflong The cuisine of Assam is known for its subtle, yet distinctive flavors. A unique blend of local herbs and spices, the dishes make a memorable impression on your palate. Hence, if you are in Haflong, you cannot but sample the exotic dishes the state has to offer. Also, being closer to Meghalaya, Manipur, and Mizoram, the cuisine had the influence of its neighboring states. The Tribal Kitchen in Haflong East, and Khasi Hotel in Dibarai are two noteworthy places to explore local cuisine.  

Chavang Kut Every year, in the month of November, the town celebrates its harvest festival called Chavang Kut. Traditionally a celebration of the Chin-Kuki tribe, the festival is a revelry of the new yield and paying homage to nature for its gifts. Watching the locals don their ethnic garb and dancing to the folk tunes is uplifting.

With traces from its British colonial past, blended with the purest form of nature, Haflong is indeed a paradise for those who are looking for a peaceful holiday!

Weekend Getaways from Delhi

Parwanoo

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. Read more…

Rishikesh

This beautiful pilgrimage town is a place with many cafes, yoga centres, temples, adventure sports, and has something to offer to everyone. The tall mountains, rivers, and fresh air make Rishikesh a promising destination for many travellers. Read more…

Kheer Ganga

Kheer Ganga situated in the Parvati Valley at an altitude of 3,050 meters is a well-known trek with some stunning visuals along the route. It is believed that Karthikeya, Lord Shiva’s elder son meditated for around 1,000 years in Kheer Ganga. This hidden gem is the last village while trekking to Pin Valley via Pin-Parvati pass. This beautiful place remains covered with snow during winters, so the treks are ideally avoided during this period. Read more…

Deeg

Deeg is a small town situated far away from the hustle and bustle of metro cities. It is a little-known tourist destination located at a distance of 36 km from Bharatpur. Deeg is home to a number of beautiful gardens, palaces, fountains, vibrant bazaars, and invincible landscapes. Just at a few hours’ drive from Delhi, this attractive place is considered to be a part of Lord Krishna’s Parikrama path. Read more…

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.

Explore Amritsar like a local

Nestled in the heart of the state of Punjab, the city of Amritsar is steeped in stories. From being the most sacred place for Sikhs, to its historic events of the Independence movement, Amritsar developed with a wonderful balance of economic, political, cultural and religious significance.

 

We take you on a virtual tour of the town, down the memory lanes of India’s history and into the deeper sentiments of this soul-sister of Punjab.  

How to reach

Amritsar is conveniently located close to the major cities of northern India. You can easily drive down from any neighboring city of Punjab or fly down from Delhi. If you are traveling from Haryana, you can opt for Chandigarh to Amritsar cabs, explore the city, and take the Amritsar to Chandigarh one way cab home.

To see

Golden Temple

Sikhism’s holiest shrine, this temple and its surroundings are one of the most serene and humbling sights for any visitor and renders a feeling of piety. Standing amidst a crystal clear lake (Sarovar), this 16th century shrine is believed to fulfill the prayers of its pilgrims from all walks of life and faith. Nominated as a UNESCO world heritage center, this religious sanctuary, also known as Harmandir Sahib and Darbar Sahib, reflects its architectural prowess in its design aesthetics.

Akal Takht

Established in the early 17th century, Akal Takht refers to ‘timeless throne’.  A part of the Golden Temple, Akal Takht is the chief center of religious authority of Sikhism. The institution takes care and conducts all official activities related to the temple and its members. As you stand in awe and wonder of this establishment, in day or night, you will discover its journey from the eras past into this modern world.

Jalianwala Bagh

Amritsar holds a lot of history, deep inside its heart. One of those is a significant place of remembrance – the Jalianwala Bagh. Today a public garden and a memorial, this site still stands as a living example of India’s fight for Independence.

Partition Museum

Being close to Pakistan, at a distance of barely 28 kilometers, Amritsar had faced quite the brunt of the Partition. And this museum stands to commemorate those who lost families, homes and lives, with records, documents and visual representation of India’s biggest historical event.

Gurdwara Baba Atal

Just a short walk from the Golden Temple, stands the Gurdwara Baba Atal – another significant place of worship.

To eat

The golden rule of experiencing the true spirit of any place is to eat where the locals eat. And, a trip to the most significant city of Punjab would not be complete without titillating your taste-buds with India’s favorite cuisine.

We list down the best eateries for you:

Gurdas Ram Jalebiwala

Sweeten your Amritsar adventure with a generous dose of authentic Punjabi Jalebi from this oldest sweet shop in town. Traditionally made, these golden and crispy sweets dunked in ghee and sugar syrup will leave you wanting for more.

Kesar Da Dhaba

Rated at 4.5 stars on food review sites, this local eatery has a very classic setting and claims to serve the best Dal Makhni of the country, among other Punjabi delicacies.

Sanjha Chulha

Another dimension to this rich palate, is pure vegetarian food. Give yourself a delicious surprise with a visit to Sanjha Chulha and explore the fine vegetarian dining flair.

Giani Tea Stall

Beyond chicken and lentils, Punjabi cuisine is also known for their spiced, heavy milky teas and flavorful samosas. Standing tall since 1955, the Giani Tea Stall serves steaming hot samosas, kachoris and masala chai to start your mornings or pep up your evenings.

In short, when in Punjab, be like a Punjabi – be proud of your roots, eat and drink to your heart’s content and say Chakh De to yourself!

Explore National Parks around Mysore

Mysore City is the former capital and a vibrant cultural hub of the state of Karnataka. Popularly known as the city of kings during its prime, Mysore or Mysuru is a popular region full of history and tradition. The city is also situated close to some of the most bio-diverse regions of the nation. This includes numerous breathtaking national parks that can be accessed in numerous ways including the renting of outstation cabs in Mysore.

Bandipur National Park

The world famous Bandipur national park and tiger reserve is one of the most visited regions in Southern India, known for being a center involved in the efforts for rehabilitation and repopulation of tigers, Bandipur also hosts numerous endangered forms of habitation other than tigers which include:

  • Sloth Bears
  • Leopards
  • Asian Elephants
  • Dhole
  • Gaur

This national park plays host to over 30 Tigers, 3,000 Asian elephants and has an area of over 874 square kilometers. Having cities like Bangalore (215km), Ooty (70km) and Mysore (80km) Bandipur national park is one of the most well preserved and efficiently run natural reserves in the country. Situated between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, this reserve is separated by Nagarhole national park near the Kabini Reservoir. The most picturesque manner to travel to this region and this world-famous national park is by either hiring cabs from Mysore to Bandipur or finding some car rentals that allow for a more leisure journey. The best time to visit Bandipur National Park is around the months of November to February, this ensures the monsoons have passed and the weather clears up during the winter months which allow for a better opportunity to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park used to be the official hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Mysore before it was converted into a sanctuary in 1955. It later got the official status of a national park in 1988. It is situated in the north-west region of Bandipur at a distance of 88km from Mysore that can be easily covered in less than half a day with a Mysore car rental. The national park has many serpentine streams along with a rich forest cover, hills, valleys and even waterfalls.

Masinagudi

Masinagudi is a part of the Mudumalai National Park which is the Tamil Nadu side of the Western Ghats’ Nilgiri Sub-Cluster which covers an area of 6,000 square kilometers. Masinagudi is located in the foothills of Ooty and is a very popular destination for tourists who want to immerse themselves in nature. Masinagudi has many stay options from farmhouses to large resorts.

Kabini Reservoir

The Kabini reservoir is the backwaters formed due to the construction of a dam on the Kabini River. The reservoir is rich in bio-life and is a popular watering hole for the wildlife in the National Parks surrounding it. The Kabini reservoir separates Bandipur and Nagarhole.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is just under 20 kilometers from Mysore and the nearest town is Srirangapatna. The sanctuary is under a square kilometer but has a high density bird population. The birds stay on small islands on the water which you can get to via the boats available at the sanctuary.

Weekend getaways from Delhi

A quick vacation really helps a person reconnect with his surroundings; be it solo or with friends, vacations always leave you with great memories.

It can be difficult to schedule a long trip, especially considering the difficulties of taking leaves from the workplace. Fear not, however! Among some of the perks of living in Delhi is that the city is located in proximity to some of the best tourist spots in the nation, which can be visited over the course of a weekend.

Here, we take a look at some of the best places near Delhi to visit during the weekends. Rent a Car in Delhi and explore these beautiful cities.

Agra

Agra needs no introduction, as it houses one of the most beautiful structures that mankind has ever built- the Taj Mahal.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal took 20 years to construct and is universally known as the monument of love. It was built as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The structure is built entirely out of white marble, and the emperor was buried next to his beloved wife following his death.

Other places of interest in Agra include the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Both of these were built by Shah Jahan’s grandfather Akbar, the former as an assertion of his power and the latter with the intention of turning it into his capital city.

Getting to Agra is not too difficult, with several Delhi to Agra cabs available throughout the day.

Shimla

The best place for the mountain lovers. Shimla is located around 350 km from the capital city. You can get there easily by hailing one of the many Delhi to Shimla cabs available. It is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and a very popular holiday retreat during the summer months. Also touted as a honeymoon destination, Shimla is among the most beautiful places near Delhi.

The town is quaint yet modern in its own way, and served as the summer capital during the British Raj because of its cool climate. The views around the town are too spectacular for words, and the air is pristine and calm; it is the ideal place to rejuvenate oneself from the effects of living in a metro.

Jaipur

Slightly closer to Delhi than Shimla, Jaipur is located only around 300 km from the capital city. The ‘Pink City’ is the capital of Rajathan, and was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India’s first planned city. Together with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is a part of the tourist ‘Golden triangle’.

The city is home to many attractions, like the Jaipur Palace, Govind Devji temple, Vidhan Sabha, Birla Temple and several massive Rajput forts. The Jantar Mantar is another major monument in the city, and has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Getting to Jaipur is easy, with many Delhi to Jaipur cabs plying the route.

Each of these three places offers something distinctly different in terms of the sightseeing and travel experience. Among the best places to visit in India, they are sure to satisfy your wanderlust and add to your Delhi experience too.

If you’re planning to head from Delhi to Amritsar, here’s how to explore the city like a local.

Exploring India’s Holy Cities: Varanasi

Varanasi, considered the holiest city in India, is situated on the banks of river Ganga and is a pilgrimage site for Hindus mainly due to the city’s long-standing history. Banaras, as it is referred to by the locals is the oldest living city in the world. This sacred city is famous for hundreds of ghats and a single belief that one can attain ‘Moksha’ if they die in Varanasi. If you are looking for a blend of pilgrimage and vacation, then Varanasi is the ultimate destination for your next holiday.

Over the years, Banaras has turned into the centre of the Indian culture and heritage that draws tourists from around the world. To experience the local culture it is must for every traveller to witness few of the many festivals like Ganga Mahotsav, Maha Shivaratri, and Durga Pooja which are celebrated with great enthusiasm.

When it comes to places that you must see in Varanasi, ghats top the list. There are about 80 to 90 ghats located in Varanasi, and each one is unique in its own right. Dashashwamedh Ghat is distinct amongst the holiest ghats on the banks of River Ganga, mainly because of the Ganga Aarti that is performed there. Few other ghats that you cannot afford to miss are Chet Singh Ghat, Assi Ghat, and Manikarnika Ghat.

There are many temples in Varanasi that you should visit. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered one of the holiest temples not just in Banaras but in the world. A few other temples that should be visited are Tridev Temple, Durga Temple, Annapurna Temple, and Sarnath Temple. Ramnagar Fort that was built for the Maharaja of Banaras in the 18th century has a museum that displays a variety of ancient and antique traditional items that are worth witnessing. If you’re planning on including the different ghats and Ramnagar Fort in your itinerary in a single day, we recommend you book a cab to get around in the city. People in Varanasi still indulge in wrestling, so a visit to one such traditional Akhada will help you understand the sport and all the hard work that goes into the sport.

Apart from religious sites and other landmarks, if you are a creative person then visiting a handloom will give you a better idea on how those thin threads are transformed into beautiful patterns. It is highly recommended that you also visit the silk factories to see the silk been spun and artistic items made out of it. Be sure to buy the exquisite Baranasi silk in the form of sarees or other fabrics.

You can also enjoy the boat ride along the Ganga River. The best time to experience the ride is either dusk or dawn. When in the narrow lanes of Banaras, don’t forget to pamper your taste buds with the hot Jalebis, Samosas, Kachoris, Rasmalais and Banarasi pan. The street food in Varanasi is an absolute must-do for any traveller visiting the city for the first time.

Visiting Varanasi in summers is not advisable due to high temperatures. The best time to visit is at the onset of winter between November to March when the temperatures are amicable. The renowned Ganga festival takes place in November where you can witness the city at its spiritual best. Varanasi has its own airport so you need not worry about transportation if you intend to travel by air. If you’d like to explore towns and go sightseeing around Varanasi, book a Savaari cab. Varanasi has a good connectivity to other metro cities with frequent private and government buses available to and from Varanasi. Tourists can rent a cab to discover the city and to visit places such as Sarnath outside the city.

Happy Vacationing!

Siliguri: The Gateway to North East India

Siliguri, a city on the banks of river Mahananda, is situated between Himalayan foothills and Dooar region of West Bengal. Known as the Gateway to the North East India, Siliguri also serves as a base for other major tourist destinations in the vicinity. However, Siliguri in itself is a perfect holiday destination with plenty to explore. For adventure enthusiasts, river rafting, trekking, and paragliding are among the major activities that will interest you in Siliguri. In between those adventure trips, you also have plenty of nature to traverse with abounding beauty as well as wildlife sanctuaries.

Image source: Wikipedia

The Jaldapara National Park, earlier known as Jaldapara Wildlife sanctuary is on the banks of Torsa River in North West Bengal. The park covers about 217 square kilometres at an altitude of 61 meters above mean sea level and comprises mainly of grasslands as well as riverine forests. The park is renowned for its impressive population of one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal Tigers, Elephants and various species of deers.  Visitors can take an hour-long elephant ride to get the best out of this park.

Kanchenjunga is visible from Siliguri

Kanchenjunga stadium is a multipurpose stadium within the city mainly used for cricket and football matches.  With a seating capacity of 45,000 seats, the stadium is equipped with floodlights to facilitate day and night fixtures. Going back to nature, Mahananda wildlife sanctuary spreads over 158 square kilometres at different elevations.  While the sanctuary has multiple gates, the main gate is at Sukna which is barely 30 minutes from Siliguri. You can witness a wide range of flora & fauna including 330 different types of plantation, 36 species of mammals, and 243 species of birds.

Mirik is an absorbing hill station that has risen to join the ranks of must-visit destinations for visitors exploring West Bengal.  Sumedu Lake, a natural lake in the centre of Mirik is the main attraction here. Visitors also have the opportunity of boating and fishing at Mirik. While boating along the 1-kilometer length of Sumedu Lake, you can even relish the magnificent view of lush green hills covering the lake on all sides.

For visitors keen on a more exceptional experience with untamed and wildlife at close quarters must visit North Bengal Wild Animals Park. Part of Mahanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, this park covers an area of about 300 hectares and serves as a means to enrich the diverse fauna and flora of North Bengal’s floodplains. The park has been developed as a natural habitat for Sal and other associated species. Visitors are prohibited from feeding any animals at the park.

Food in Siliguri is a fantastic amalgamation of different cultures and places. Visitors have the choice of delicious Chinese cuisine, delicacies of Bengal, rich Mughlai cuisine and South Indian Cuisine with vegan as well as non-vegetarian variants. If you have a sweet tooth, you can try some of the famous Bengali sweets too.

You can visit Siliguri anytime around the year as the climate is agreeable and sightseeing opportunities abundant. June to September receives heavy rainfall so that you can avoid these months for a more comfortable outing. Being an important trade centre, Siliguri is well-connected to other parts of the state and country. The Bagdogra international airport is at 17 km, whereas the New Jalpaiguri railway station is situated at 8 km from the Siliguri city centre. Siliguri is connected to the neighbouring cities and states via the National Highways 31, 31A, 31D and 55. Private and state-owned buses are available with reasonable frequency. If you’re worried about the commute, you can book Siliguri car rental and visit Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kurseong, Kalimpong etc. Happy Vacationing!

Rajahmundry: The cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh

Rajahmundry, a beautiful city with a rich history, is situated on the banks of River Godavari in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The town was established in the 11th century, perhaps even before as per some recent archaeological data. Rajahmundry is known as the cultural capital of Andhra with accolades such as being the birthplace of first Telugu poet Nannayya and being the most prominent Southern Indian city in the uprising during the British Era. To get around this cultural capital, we highly recommend you book a cab.

Godavari Bridge. Image source: Wikipedia

Right from ancient temples to state-of-the-art science societies, Rajahmundry offers a range of experience to the tourists. One of the major tourist attractions is the Iskcon temple situated on the Gowthami Ghat. With an area of close to two acres, it is the second largest Iskcon temples in southern India after the Iskcon temple of Bengaluru. Cruising in a boat on the Godavari River is an enchanting experience that should not be missed.

Kotilingeswara Temple dates back to the 10th century and is a renowned tourist attraction in Rajahmundry. Various bathing ghats surround this temple attracting several tourists and devotees. It is believed that King Ravana offered prayer to Lord Shiva at this temple site. This site is considered holy, and a dip in the river is highly recommended.

Image source: Wikipedia

Draksharamam temple is situated about 40 km from Rajahmundry and dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. In this temple building, one can see several inscriptions carved including edicts from sculptural traditions of Chalukyan and Chola dynasties. Close to the temple, one can also see a Sapta Godavari Kundam representing Seven River Ponds which attract tourist as well as devotees. Kadiyapulanka located about 8 km from Rajahmundry is renowned for its flower show held in the month of January every year. Nature lovers frequent this place for beautiful gardens of roses, jasmine and other flowers.

The museums and science societies are another fascinating part of this city. Rallabandi Subbarao Government Museum was established about 50 years ago as a cultural heritage centre of the state of Andhra Pradesh to preserve the collection of pottery items and rare coins. Exhibits at the museum also include rare vintage palm-leaf inscriptions and manuscripts.

Image source: Panoramio

Aryabhatta Science and Technology Society is a knowledge centre and museum constructed by the Society’s president P. Satyanarayana Murthy in 2005. Some antique creations of Indian origin, as well as artefacts imported from Italy and China, are preserved in this museum. Exhibits at the museum also include warships, helicopter and submarines apart from models of historical monuments. Preserved reptiles and snakes including a 10 feet Python are also among the attractions. This is a dream destination for science aficionados.

Rajahmundry is renowned for its Hyderabad Biryani as well as Andhra Thali. The focus is on spicy and hot rice preparations. The other delicacies of the region include mango pickles, mirch bhaji from street vendors, Pootarekulu (sweet rolls), Rasaalu Mango, Chakkerakeli, banana and Kothapalli Kobbari mango. If your taste buds are not tuned to hot chillies and strong spices, sample some before you decide to order.

The summers are sweltering in Rajahmundry, so the best time to visit is between the months of October to March when the climate is comparatively pleasant. The renowned the ‘Chalukya Festival’ takes place in the month of February. Located at Madhurapudi, Rajahmundry airport is connected via service planes from Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. So, if you are visiting from other cities, you will have to first fly into any of these cities.

Rajahmundry railway station sits on the Howrah Chennai main line, and several trains have stoppages at this station. The city is well-linked via road networks to other nearby cities. APSRTC Buses along with several private bus operators ensure decent road connectivity. If you’re planning on exploring the city by road, we recommend you book a taxi from Visakhapatnam or nearby cities. Interestingly, you can also reach Rajahmundry from Bhadrachallam via boat. Happy Vacationing!

Discover Udupi’s temples, beaches and food

Udupi is a coastal town in the Karnataka state of southern India. While the Udupi restaurants are famous around the globe, particularly with the Indian diaspora for the dosa, idli and other south Indian fare they serve, the town itself is a must-visit tourist destination. Udupi is renowned for its historical Krishna temple and a monastery established by one of the greatest Hindu saints, Madhavacharya.

The city offers some very nice beaches, lush greenery, a series of temples, and the quaint charm, typical of a small coastal town. Unlike the beaches of Goa that lies about 200 miles away, Udupi beaches are less crowded and relatively more serene.

The Sri Krishna Temple and the adjoining monastery (Mutt) top the list of attractions in Udupi. History of the temple dates back to the 13th century and has several local mythological stories attached to it. The architecture of the temple follows the typical Kerala style of temple architecture and presents several layers surrounding the sanctum sanctorum. Free lunch is offered to devotees every day, and the dining halls have only Indian style dining arrangements. According to Hindu tradition, food must always be consumed while seated on the floor so that you connect with the Earth.

The Anantheshwar Temple is another significant religious place in Udupi. It is believed that the temple was built over thousand years ago. Alternatively known as Manjula Kshetra, this is one of the most visited places in Udupi. Kapu Beach is located on NH 66 while driving south off Udupi. The timings to visit the beach keep changing in tune with the season and local conditions. Late evenings are unlikely to be a great bet throughout the year. This beautiful beach is also home to a lighthouse about 100 feet tall.

Malpe Beach is on SH 65 abutting Stella Mary’s Church. The beach is known for its fantastic sunset views. You can book a Savaari cab to head to the beach. This is a clean and nice beach with fewer tourists visiting. Manipal End-point Park is also on SH 65 and represents a small cliff overlooking the Swarna River. This point offers an alluring view of the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the East. Check accessibility when you draw up your itinerary.

St. Mary’s Island lies off the Malpe Beach, and visitors can take a boat ride from the fishing harbour at Malpe. You can witness the rock formations from waves and volcanic lava. Historians link the island to Vasco Da Gama, the Portuguese explorer. Boat services to the island are not available after 6 pm, and at least 30 people fare-paying passengers are needed for the boat to take off. This service may not operate in inclement weather or rough sea conditions. This island is best visited in the forenoon hours.

A visit to Udipi is never complete without tasting the widely acknowledged Udupi vegetarian food. While you can explore many restaurants here, we recommend Mavalli Tiffin Room or MTR whose popularity is growing with each passing day in Southern India, albeit for Vegetarians.

The ideal time to visit Udupi is in the winters between the months of October to February. You can also visit during the monsoons to enjoy the lush green covers and the ambient atmosphere. Udupi does not have an airport, so you have to fly till Mangalore which is about 60 km away, and then book a taxi to reach Udupi. The city is well-connected to other cities via both roads and rail network. You can take a train from Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore, etc. to reach the Udupi Railway Junction. Private and state transport buses are available from the nearby cities, and so are the private taxis. Local autorickshaws are available to commute within the city. Happy Vacationing!

Pro-tip:

From Udupi, you drive down the gorgeous Malpe Padukar – Pangala Road and see the Pithrody Udyavar Beach. From Malpe, take a ferry out to St Mary’s Island and see the Columnar Basaltic Lava formation on the northern tip of the island.