Wednesday, January 1, 2014

India You Beauty

As some one rightly saidtravel is the only thing you buy that makes you rich!

A lot of us want to travel across the world to see places that have been promoted well thru the power of advertising! This is an attempt to explore places in India that are worth a visit. Places I have traveled to. Snippets of places rich in history, wildlife, natural beauty, architectural marvels, adventure activities, beautiful beaches etc..

Lets start with my favourite,
Gir National Park, Sasan, Gujarat.
Unconditional Love 
Lion territory, home for the endangered Asiatic Lions. These majestic creatures once had their territory spread from Persia to whole of Asia. Credit to human intervention and rampant poaching there are only 411 odd lions left today and are found only in Gir.

Lion King!
Located in the tribal village of Sasan, Gir is 350 kms away from Ahmedabad.

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan.
Royal Bengal Tiger
Ranthambore national park is one of the largest NP's in Northern India. One of the best tiger reserves in India. It is famous for keeping wildlife enthusiasts engaged and happy. Go on a couple of safaris and it is guaranteed you would spot the majestic Bengal Tiger in the wild.

A Peacock Showing Off
Mudhumalai and Bandipur National Park.
Tiger On Prowl
Massive National park in South India, spread across 3 states Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Western side of the park is Midhumalai (TN) northern part is Bandhipur (KA.) 

Declared UNESCO world heritage site in 1986. It is one of the finest national parks in India. Home for Indian elephants, royal Bengal tigers and Indian leopards. 
Indian Elephant
Bharatpur Bird Park, Rajasthan. 
About To Take Flight
Also known as Keoladeo National Park, is brainchild of the great Salim Ali, who was popularly known as 'Birdman Of India.' This bird park is home for thousands of bird species both local and migratory.

Brunching Away
Curious Spotted Owl
Earlier this place served as bird shooting range for Maharajas and Britishers. It was declared World Heritage site in 1985.

Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
Asiatic Wild Ass
Famous for the Asiatic Wild Ass and salt panning, rann of kutch is located in remote Kutch district. Sanctuary is home for endangered Indian wild ass, nilgai, desert fox, local and migratory birds.

Desert Fox
Flamingos Taking Flight

Royal Rajasthan

The land of Royals, located in North Western India, bordering with Pakistan. Most of Rajasthan's land mass falls in the Thar desert. Also, know as the Great Indian Desert. This inhospitable terrain forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.

Rajasthan known for it's Royalty, has plenty of Fortresses, Palaces and rich history that goes with it. Kings feared and dreaded for their warfare, courage and valor. 

Thar Desert

The Great Indian Desert
Ship Of The Desert
Mount Abu

Rajasthan comprises of one the oldest mountain ranges in the world, Aravalli Range. The only hill station of the state, Mount Abu. The 11th Century Dilwara jain temple attracts thousands of pilgrims all round the year. It is one of the most beautiful Jain temples in the world., famous for exquisite and beautiful marble carvings. 

Sunset Over Nakki Lake
Udaipur, City Of Lakes 

Jag Mandir Island Palace
One of the most beautiful and scenic city in India. Famous lakes are Picola and Fateh sagar lakes. Picola houses the Taj Lake palace and Jag mandir Island palace. Both palaces are now converted into luxury hotels. 

Taj Lake Palace
One of the most romantic cities. Udaipur is referred to as 'Venice Of The East.' The City Palace Complex has multiple palaces and places of worship built in granite and marble. It also houses the crystal gallery, that consists of a complete range of household items in crystal that have never been used. A few to mention king size crystal bed, jewel studded carpet, sofa, crockery etc.

A Small Section Of City Palace
Jodhpur, Blue City

Old City Painted In Blue
Like any other royal city Jodhpur houses forts, palaces, havelis and magnificent places of worship. Jodhpur is termed as Gateway to the Thar. It is placed in the edge of the great desert. 

Massive Mehrangarh Fort
Drive from Jodhpur to Jaiselmer is unique and amazing. Jodhpur city grew around the magnificent Mehrangarh fort. The vivid blue painted houses around the fort are eye candy. Hence the name 'Blue City.'

Umaid Bhawan Palace, the Maharaja of Jodhpur lives here even today. Half of the palace is converted to luxury hotel.

Umaid Bhawan Palace
Jaipur, Pink City

Jaipur Palace Complex
Jaipur, also known as Pink city of India, is one of the first planned cities. It attracts tons of tourist, it is a part of tourist golden triangle - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Jaipur has several attractions like Jal mahal, Hawa mahal, city palace etc. 

Jal Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Jaisalmer, Golden City

Jaisalmer lies in the heart of Thar desert. A camel safari in the dunes of the desert is an unforgettable experience. The yellow sand stone used in constructions earns the name Golden City Of India. Unlike other forts in India, Jaisalmer fort aka 'Sonar Quila' is a living fort. 

The Golden Fort
Visiting the havelis and dune safaris is a must. 

Desert Safari At Sam Dunes
Manganiyar Playing Kamaycha
Bikaner, City Of Chaat

Needless to say Binaker is most famous for its sweets and namkeen. The market road is teeming with chat outlets and is a paradise for food lovers. Bhujia from this part of India is exported to all parts of the world. Digging into sankhla kulfi is a must.

Laxmi Niwas Palace
Another great attraction is Laxmi Nivas Palace, part of which is converted to luxury hotel. It has an in-house museum worth a visit. 

Desert safaris are also available. Considered second only to Jaisalmer. 

Ajmer, And Pushkar 

Encircled by the breathtaking Aravalli range, Ajmer and Pushkar are famous for pilgrimage sites, Sufi Dargah and Bhrama Temple respectively. 

Dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is located in the foot hills of Taragarh. Adhai din ka Joompra a hindu temple converted into a mosque by Qutbuddin Aybak is worth a visit. It was converted in two and a half days, hence the name. 

Pushkar is only 11 kms away from Ajmer. Pushkar houses a 14th century temple for Lord Bhrama. According to Hindu Purana Pushkar is the only place where Bhrama could be worshiped


Kumbhalgarh Fort
The massive fort on a hill top was built thru 15 to 19th century by Rana Kumbha. Its the birthplace of the great king Maharana Pratap known for his valor. The outer walls of this massive fort extend to 38 kms. Claimed to be the second longest continuous wall after the Great wall of China. The outer wall could be see from any part of the city. 

Small Section Of the 36 km Long Fort Wall
Other attraction is the Kumbhalgarh wildlife park. One of the most difficult terrains, you can either trek or hire a 4 by 4 jeep safari. The park is home for endangered leopards, four horned antelope. You can also spot wild species of birds. 

Crested Hawk-Eagle

Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh is home for the largest fort in India. The fort is famous for Jauhar (act of immolating by jumping into fire) of Rani Padmini. It is believed that women of the royal family performed Jauhar in the thousands. The Merwars have exhibited courage and bravery, they embraced death instead of surrendering to enemy forces.  

Meera Mandir
Meera mandir dedicated to Lord Krishna. Fort also houses Vijay/Kriti Stambha, Rana Kumbha/Padmini Palace. 

Mesmerising Maldives

Magical Maldives casts its spell on you even before your flight could touch down! Stunning view of turquoise blue water, white sands and coral reef makes one fall in love with the place instantly. Numerous resorts dotted across the Indian Ocean add to the beauty. 

Beach Villas
Male is the capital and largest city, housing the airport. Over 1000 tiny islands clubbed into 26 atolls makes Maldives. Carrying alcohol, pornography etc into Maldives is an offence and forbidden. The official website mentions an exhaustive list of items banned. Likewise carrying seashells, corals etc out of the country is an offence. 


After weighing all options and taking multiple parameters into consideration, we decided to book Meeru Island resort. In my opinion the best resort, it is built on one of the biggest islands. 

You are received promptly at the airport and a 40 Min speed boat ride gets you to Meeru Resorts. En route be sure you look out for school of dolphins that would greet you by criss-crossing your boat. 

Meeru offers multiple accommodation options Garden rooms, beach/jacuzzi villas, water/jacuzzi villas and honeymoon suites. We booked jacuzzi water villa built over water offering you private entry into the lagoon. It is secluded and has large bedrooms/bathrooms, private jacuzzi and sun deck offerings awesome view. Meeru has minimum stay policy meaning one would have to book for a minimum of 6 nights its completely worth it and we never got bored. 
Jacuzzi Water Villas
Private Entry Into The Lagoon
Lagoon surrounding the resort is blessed with abundant coral reefs and marine life. Resort houses 2 swimming pools over looking the beach, bars, tennis courts, soccer field, golf course, cycling. kayaks and many more. 

There are 2 restaurants to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner food is great especially Friday night "Maldivian Night." Apart from the 2 restaurants there is an over the water restaurant 'Asian Wok' which serves Asian cuisine. 

The resort also offers well organized leisure tours "Sand Bank" excursion is highly recommend. It is simply amazing to visit a sand bank and spend quality time in middle of mighty ocean snorkelling just adds more charm. You get dropped in the morning with breakfast and beverages nicely packed they come by in couple of hours to pick you up. 
White Sands Beach
The spa is top notch and built over the lagoon. The therapist are highly skilled, personally "Full Moon Magic" is recommended. 

Environmental experts predict that the Island nation would submerge under water by end of this century thanks to global warming and human race! So pack your bags visit Maldives bask in the sun be Robinson curios!


Maldives offers free 30 days Visa on Arrival. 
Srilankan airlines is recommended if flying from India.

Must Have:
Carry own snorkeling gear.