Vijay is a Hotelier cum Traveler who has traveled all over India.... The passion towards travel has made him to travel twice to thrice in year. He loves his country the most and that is why he has completed almost entire North, South and West. He is also looking for Central and Easter part nowadays. Well he has started touring other countries now a days. His recent encounter is thailand.
He is ready to help those who plan to visit India but remember he is neither an agent nor tour operator though he can get you arrange your tour and he is almost available round the clock.
Goa is as amazing as it can be. I have been thrice to Goa in the last two years but my love for it never dies. I always enjoy the cool sea breeze, the culture, the food, the music, the people, the freedom of mobility and the most amazing vibrant atmosphere there.
It was in 2002 when I first visited Goa, which was a college tour and some how it started on a very bad note. We missed our train, travelled through bus and the trip was reduced to one day and night. All tired and some of us were down with fever but still we were able to hold few good memories of laugh, share, love, emotion and entertainment. It was a memorable trip though it had some soar notes. Goa never touched our hearts on this trip. It was in 2011 that I needed a vacation due to the high pressure of work and few suggested for Goa. Since my hubby was with me on last Goa trip (college) last time we thought that it will be good to recall those old days and we backpacked and took the flight to Panjim, the capital of Goa and its lifeline city.
Since we were travelling with the winds (in other words without any reservations) we first though to get ourself a rest and then turn for the beach and the lovely place. We looked for the room and then took a rented bike from the corner shop. I was really very happy driving a vehicle around the roads of Goa. The bike and four wheelers (self-driven) are easily available on rent in Goa and it increases your mobility too. A great reason why I love Goa the most...it provides you freedom to move at your will.
The beaches of Goa are great, very long and quiet except for the north Goa beaches like Bagga and Anjuna, which are usually crowded with domestic tourists. We stayed near Candolim Beach and frequently visited it during our stay. There were a fewinternational tourist relaxing and taking a sun bath, but not too many. Several were getting body massages done on the beach by the locals.
The beaches not only provide relaxing area but also prove to be good playground for kids of all ages -- 0 to 99. There are various adventure and sports activities going at various beaches but you can find them more prominent at Anjuna Beach. There you can go water skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, speed boat rentals, etc. Lots of fun and adventurous activities in Goa is another reason why it's a favorite of some many travelers.
Locals in Goa are jolly and are willing to help. We almost took various inroads and never found ourself lost, even late at night. Though at night it can look spooky, we got help when we wanted so it became the another reason why Goa touched my heart.
Even the lush green fields and road side greenery adds to the beautiful atmosphere. The sunset was my another favourite thing I loved to watch sitting on the beach side sipping my drink and cherishing the sounds of sea waves.
Goa is a fabulous place for eateries and wines in India as you not only find good quality seafood but also other eateries serving continental and Indian food. The Goan cuisine is also fascinating and its a blend of Indian and continental cuisine. Plus with so many fine eateries just around the corner in Goa you need not ever worry for food, even around midnight -- Goa has a very active nightlife culture. As far as the drinks are concerned, you can find various brands being served here. Goa is heaven for alcohol lovers as the drinks are cheap here. Fenni, a local alcoholic drink made from cashew nuts, is very popular among the locals and tourists. It is very strong. Yes, Goa is truly a must visit for all the alcoholics out there ;)
The next best part of Goa that helps make it my favourite was its nightlife. You walk down the street at midnight and you see people moving, shop twinkling with their colourful lights, casinos working...it is the only place in India to have legal casinos and people sipping their drinks at various bars.
Goa has many facets. It's not just the beaches and bars but beyond that it has a vast diversity to offer. The famous waterfall of Doodhsagar, the calm beaches of south Goa, the elephant village, the backwaters of Goa and tons more. Even with three trips down, I am planning another vacation to Goa soon to explore it further.
Taj Mahal, the beautiful palace that symbolises love and romance, is one of the monuments that every traveler to India should visit with their special someone. It has withstood the test of time as a magnet of love and when you walk in with your second half that feeling of romance comes alive even stronger. I believe it is Mumtaz and Shahjahan's soul that inculcates the feel of love and romance in this place and attracts thousands of visitors daily...although some do surely come for the grandeous architecture. Otherwise people like me would never ever turn up on what is technically a funeral site.
But its not just the two lovers who are buried here. The Taj is a great monument in and of itself. The sheer size, architecture, and fine craftsmanship of the marble make it a mandatory bucket list requirement for every traveler. It exudes a feeling that you cannot translate to text...and that is why people flock in such great numbers to visit the Taj Mahal everyday.
Kumbhalgarh Fort, also known as the Great Wall of India, is a new up-and-coming off the beaten path destination in Rajasthan that is starting to become more well known. However the leap in the numbers of visitors over recent years definitely makes it a worthy destination to visit when in Rajasthan for those who like getting off the tourist trail.
Located near Udaipur, this wonderful fort has a glimpse of history, war and tales of patriotism. If you love to hear history and visualize the fell then this is the must visit for you. The broad and wide walls depict the era of war and conquer, fights and patriotism, and tell the story of how strong the Sisodia dynasty were to safeguard their people.
Khumbhalgarh can be approached via Udaipur through Dabog airport / Udaipur Junction. But to reach you have to take the road Journey via Nathdwara. It is approximately 90km from Udaipur. The road though is not very good but is a state highway and the government is trying to upgrade so as to increase the travel volume of the state. The road journey is also pleasing as you pass by the country side of the Udaipur district. With it you will get a glimse of true rural India and many beautiful lakes and villages around them. Its good to see the nature and humans mingling with each other.
The fort of Kumbhalgarh is built on a hilltop and the walls of the fort has a peripheral of 36kms. It is the second largest wall in Asia after the famous Great Wall of China. The fort is said to be the most difficult to be won and had lost only once when the combined forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar and the Sultan of Gujarat breached the wall due to a shortage of drinking water. The walls as said early are huge and unbreachable and this can be gauged by the their overwhelming thickness -- 15 feet!
Kumbhalgarh has become a favourite destination among many travelers, both domestic and international. Plenty of resorts down the hill from 5-star luxury to budget resorts, even camping sites. We stayed in Club Mahindra Resort and really enjoyed the hospitality of the group. NOT TO MISS the light and sound show organised in the fort which narrates you the entire history of the place from its built to its conquer.
Kumbhalgarh is a destination less travelled but if you have time while visiting Rajasthan it is highly recommended that you swing by and experience Kumbhalgarh Fort and the majesty of the Great Wall of India with your own eyes.
Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is the capital of India biggest state, Rajasthan. The first impression of Rajasthan is reflected by desert, camel and mustached men. The famous Thar Desert is the main cause of this perception, although people often forget that it also is home to the tiger reserved forest and a famous bird sanctuary, as well as the City of Lakes.
Facts such as water crisis and the dry Aravali Range strengthen the feel of Rajasthan being dry and desert-like. However as soon as monsoon arrives the brown and dry looks of Arvali altogether changes to lush green mountains throughout the state. Every tree, which earlier looked dried up and withered, comes back to life again making the environment lovely.
Monsoon also brings down the temperature, which drops the summer mercury and makes a pleasing and enjoy environment to go for picnic, outing or travel. Thus monsoon in Rajasthan is a great time to travel! Th20130809_093434e lush greenery and the wonderful atmosphere of clouds touching the low height aravalis sets a feel of being romantic. Jaipur during monsoon season truly nurtures the romance, making a perfect place to trip for young couples.
The best precaution in the rains, as with anywhere rainy in the world, is to carry your umbrellas along with you -- even if it is only cloudy. The rains will not damper your trip or planning, although it may add some short memories to cherish in the form of little kids playing in water or monsoon rivers that come into action those days, and the feel of charm and happiness on everybody's face. You'll find there are more than a thousand reasons that will bring a smile on your face in the rainy season. The rains here definitely gives you a lot of moments to cherish. The locals wait eagerly for rain and its not strange to observe various poojas or offerings to various gods for getting good rains.
Rajasthan's royal forts, palaces, and havelis have marked itself high on the tourist trail. The luxury of the kings and queens, the princely state and the comforts of the royals have now open to the world. Lots of old forts and palaces are opened to the guest for their comfort stay as well as royal treatment and luxury. Some of the royal ones are listed here with a brief description of what makes them unique and worth visiting.
Built by Rana Kymbha, this fortress has only been conquered once in all of history -- due to shortage of water. It was fighting against the joint forces of Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, and the Sultan of Gujarat. The wall of this fort is the second largest continuous wall in the world (after the Great Wall of China) and stretches around 36km. (That's over 20 miles!) Kumbhalgarh Fort Photo Gallery
Also known Amer Fort, this ancient fortress is huge. It was constructed by Raja Man Singh I but the history of this city goes back far past this. Amber was ruled by Meena rulers prior to the Rajputs. The fort is known for its rich culture and art. The best part of it are Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Khas, Diwan-e-Aam, and Sukh Niwas. More Amber Fort Photos
via Milo & Silvia
Chittorgarh is the epitome of Chattri Rajput (an Indian Warrior caste) pride, romance and spirit, for people of Chittor always chose death before surrendering against anyone. Vijay Stambh and Rani Padmini's sacrifice in the great and extended fort of Chittorh are the best part. Meera bai, a famous follower or lord Krishna also relates to the history of Chittorgarh.
One of the largest forts in the world, Jaisalmer Fortress was built by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from where both the town and fort derives their names. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on a hill overlooking the city around it, and has been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are of yellow color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets. For this reason, it is also known as the "Golden Fort".
Jal Mahal, the Water Palace also located in Jaipur is another popular destination. There is an open promenade (where this photo was taken from) where locals always gather and enjoy the view -- as do the tourists!
Raj Mahal Palace, also known as Jaisalmer Palace for an obvious reason, is another beautiful of ancient architecture that is now a museum. (Jaisalmer may be located far from everything but do not skip it!)
Rajasthan has achieved great importance that has withstood the test of time and now attracts more tourists than invading empries. From a travel point of view its rich and royal forts, palaces, and havelis make Rajasthan a "must visit" destination for most visitors to India. Experience the royal treatment of past kings and queens and walk where they walked, enjoy the same elegant destinations and views. It is truly a step back in time!
Rajasthan as known as a state in India where you can find deserts, lakes, mountains and valleys, as well as amazing arts, crafts, architecture and history. Rajasthani culture is symbolized by camels and desert, traditional costumes and mustaches, royal havelis and palaces, special spicy food with mouth watering desserts, enriched traditions, and great hospitality, especially towards foreign guests. That is why they have said for decades "padharo mare desh" -- "WELCOME TO OUR LAND".
If you want to find a destination that is royal, there are various palace hotels in Rajasthan in the city of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur. The option of choosing your destination goes far beyond these cities too but I have limited them to them because they have various travel interest either in the form of lakes, deserts, forts or palaces associated with them.
After picking the destination, next comes the party menu. Rajasthan is world famous for its food. Some of the best known dishes are dal baati, gatta masala, ker sangri, chakki (for vegans) and lal maas. For sweets you have options like ghevar, mawa mal pua, alwar ka mawa, and much more. The vast variety and rich food can always be added to your delighted dishes as Rajasthan has various cooks that can cook various delicacies / cuisine according to your requirement. They have been doing this through many decades. Kindly note that in Rajasthani culture serving food to guests is considered a great honor and they love to serve you with etiquette.
Rajasthani Thali via Zac Davies
Of course no wedding is complete without shopping and that is where Rajasthan once again proves to be perfect for weddings. Rajasthan is world famous for its jewelery, semi-precious stones, arts and crafts, souvenirs, and costumes. The best shopping destination are within the old walled city sections of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. And don't forget to haggle haggle haggle!
You can also add some entertainment to your wedding party by adding some folk dance and local music. They entertain for sure. Thus, Rajasthan becomes a perfect destination for a royal wedding that you will remember throughout your life!
Even in India, a nation that is flooded with cultural symbolism, history and numerous religious practices, Jaipur stands apart from the others. The city not only reflects the above mentioned practices but also incorporate rich heritage of craft and art.
The Nahargarh Fort, which used to guard the Pink City, now overlooks the growth and prosperity of the modern Jaipur. It has seen various chapters of Jaipur history from its existence to India independence and still today, it silently observes the growth of the city.
The city of Jaipur, built by Sawai Jai Singh II, was heavily fortified, since the king took a special interest in the security of the area and due to this he began the construction of Nahargarh Fort in the year 1734. The fort is believed to be named after a Mogul Prince and that’s why in certain parts of Nahargarh, the walls are adorned with beautifully painted frescoes depicting the prowess of the Mogul Empire.
Located above the city, Nahargarh Fort boasts wonderful views of the cityscape and surrounding hills. Evening proves to be the best time to view the city from Nahargarh Fort as you can see the beautiful city in the day, have a wonderful sunset view from the same and then you can have a look over the city at night. The city looks like a treasure chest with lots of necklaces and diamonds scattered all over it. It also gives an amazing view of the Jal Mahal (better known as the Water Palace). Not to be missed when in Jaipur.
Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is a superb piece of architecture. This city was built in perfect Nine Squares and wide roads were designed to intersect each segment. The segments were also linked internally by small roads. The city is a perfect example of how well the architectural concept was developed at that time. The old city, which is sometimes refered to as the Walled City, is uniformly painted in pink color and thus earned its nickname.
The city attracts a lots of tourists as it has many historic monuments that have architectural value, such as Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Matar, City Palace, the Water Palace, and many more.
Jaipur is also famous for its arts and crafts, specially the blue pottery, Bandhej work, and Sanganeri print linen. All in all Jaipur is a must see place. October to March is the best suitable time for visiting this lovely city.
Manali is a hill station, a paradise on earth located in Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 6400 ft (approx) above sea level. The hill station is near to the Rohtang Pass which has been a trade route in the olden days and even today. It is one of the route to reach Ladakh, another destination which is very amazing.
Manali is located on the banks of river Beas and the best time to visit it is from March to July, as after that the weather can play devil at times. You can visualize lots of landslides in the later months. The winters are from November to January and during that time you can find lots of snow here. Snow can be seen on the mountains year-round, even in the summer. The Sollang Valley and Rohtang Pass are the best option during the summer.
Well I shall mention why I love this place because its not only wonderful to sit in the lap of nature and have amazing views of mountains and valley but you can also enjoy adventure sports like paragliding, skiing, river rafting and various other adventure trips. Its best to have at least 4-5 days free when visiting Manali. Here you can see lots of tourists but especially Indian tourists, as this is one of the favorites among local travelers.
The Green rating is high for this city as the steps taken by government are really appreciable here. Electricity generation is done here by a mere alteration in the river route and new construction is banned here.
SUMMARY OF MANALI, HIMACHAL PRADESH
Overall Rating: 4 1-2=Ignore 2-3=Can go 3.5-4.5=Must go 4.5-5=Dream destination
Comfort Rating: 4 1-2=Poor 2-3=Basic 3.5-4.5=Comfort 4.5-5=Luxury
To Do Activities: 4 1-2=Nothing 2-4=Interesting 4.5-5=Must do
Transport Options: 2 1-2=Single approach 2-4=Multiple 4.5-5=Well connected
Economic Rating: 3.5 1-2=Cheap 2-3=Economic 3.5-4=Midclass 4.5-5=Expensive
Cultural Rating: 3.5 1-2=Adverse to strangers 2-4=Comfortable 4.5-5=Mixed culture
Language Rating: 3.5 1-2=Local 2-4=Understand English 4.5-5=English very common
Safety Rating: 4 1-2=Not safe 2-4=Safe 4.5-5=Very safe
Unique Rating: 3.5 1-2=Nothing unique 2-4=Unique activities 4.5-5=Very unique
Green Rating: 4.5 1-2=Adverse to nature 2-4=Close to nature 4.5-5=Nature only
This article and photographs belong to us. Do not reproduce them without our prior consent.
To cover the entire Gujarat one require more than 10 days by road. The roads are good but distance to be covered is greater than that. Oh and just a heads-up, the best time to visit Gujarat is from November to Mid March. Anyway, on our road-trip we opted for the southern part of Gujarat and decided on the following locations:
Once I moved in Gujarat, the roads made me more comfortable and the journey of 2000kms became more pleasurable. The roads were good atmosphere was ok (too hot in days but being a Rajasthani, we were used to this) specially near the beach.
Ahmedabad, a growing city is near to Gandhinagar the capital of Gujarat state (province). we remained in the outer area called Sarkhej, dotted by various five star hotels and malls it remain overall a good experience. But if you are in Ahmedabad, you cannot miss two things for sure, One is there food and another their ice-cream parlors. Gujaratis are found of food and have various variety to offer specially in the snacks category. Just walking in any store and you have endless option. My favorite is Phaphada with Papaya and the world famous Khaman-Dhokla.
Our next stay was at Dwarka, A religious city where Lord Krishna had ruled. It was his kingdom which sunk at the time of his death. The temple is old and is counted in the four DHAMS spread over the country and is also included in seven gracious temples of ancient. Anyways, It good to be there if you are religious and follower of Hinduism, otherwise the city can be dropped out as there is not much to do and not much to see either.
The next destination thereafter was Porbandar, the city where Mahatma Gandhi was born. His house is still intact and now has been converted into museum. Well we just stayed there for lunch and did not explored the city so not much to say about the city.
From there we moved to Somnath, again a religious city (Lord Shiva) and the best part of the journey was the coastal highway and trust me it gave us some amazing views.
Somnath has a long history of being looted and rebuilt. Many rulers specially Islamic rulers have come and ruined the temple and after some decades it was rebuilt by the kings ruling the area. The temple is good and is located on the shore. a peaceful and relaxing place. The history of the temple can be known by visiting the light and sound show organized at the backyard of the temple every evening. The best place to stay in this city was the VIP guest house of the temple which is built by Kokila Ben Trust (Reliance Group) and is run by the temple authority.
Next day we moved to Gir Forest National Park – the home of the Asiatic Lion. While crossing the countryside we cam across various mango farms and were very lucky to find mangoes on the trees. We halted at one of those garden and ate the raw mangoes. The mango in this area is known for sweetness and is being exported to various countries. They were really amazing.
Gir Forest National Park is always a fantastic wildlife destination known as the only place in the world where you can find Asiatic Lions freely roaming in the jungles. Show Me More!
After Gir we moved to Diu (a union territory not in Gujarat) and relaxed, enjoying the pleasant sunset there. We also entertained ourselves with a few water sports. And debated never returning back home.
After this we returned to Ahmedabad and completed our Loop. On the way we also visited Lothal, one of the ancient cities still rich in culture. The overall experience of Gujarat was good but not great. The goverment is doing well in advertising but still needs to work on the development and execution of increased tourism.