Recommended Travel Sites In India

Comment 1 Standard

As summers are approaching, everyone must be excited to plan the summer holiday itinerary. One of the main worry that comes to mind while planning for a holiday is to find a travel site with good travel deals and offers.

I have been contacted by Gayathri Pillai , who wanted me to publish an article for her to let all my readers know of the recommended sites to keep in mind while travelling in India. I am sure the below information will be good while planning your dream destinations across India.

Book Your Tickets Online & Travel More At Cheaper Price

Summer holidays are round the corner and I am quite sure most of you must be planning for a long vacation. It can be a fun-filled journey with friends to relieve yourself from the stressful office hours, or a relaxation time with your family as your kids must have done with their exams as well. Whatever it is, travelling makes you happy, relaxed and comfortable.

Imagine what if you get a chance to travel to your most favorite destination at the most cheapest price? It is sure to be a wow! There are plenty of online travel sites that help you in having the most luxurious and comfortable journey. Have a look at some of the top online travel sites that ensure that their customers get the best comfort while they travel.

Musafir

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Musafir is one of the best online travel sites that caters all the travel needs of its customers in the most luxurious and comfort way. Right from booking your flight tickets (both domestic and International) to your accommodation at the most reasonable hotels, Musafir can be your ideal choice. They also help in deciding your holiday, making you pick the right choice for the kind of holiday you really want to have!

They have a wide choice from both Indian as well as International places. They are the best when it comes to Business travels. Look for Musafir Coupon Code if you are planning to book your journey for this summer vacation to avail great discounts in your expenses. Pay less for your tickets and shop more where you travel!

RedBus

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RedBus is also yet another online travel site that helps you in getting your bus tickets at the most affordable rates. You can also book your hotels for accommodation along with your travel, thus ensuring a comfy journey.

RedBus is currently giving an exciting offer where you can book tickets for Volvo

or any other luxury buses for just Rs.99 for a journey to selected places from Ahmedabad. You can book your tickets till March 31and the journey will be valid till April 7. Look for RedBus Coupon Code for availing attractive discounts on your tickets. You can also look for RedBus offers and discounts for enjoying a luxurious travel at the cheapest price guaranteed.

Yatra

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Alike Musafir and RedBus, Yatra is also one of the most trusted online travel sites in India that helps its needy travelers with the best and affordable travel facilities including booking tickets for flights, bus, trains, accommodation at reasonable hotels, planning the most reasonable holidays for you and lots more.

Look for Yatra Coupons, offers and deals for availing attractive discounts on your travel package. Now, you have many reasons to plan a wonderful journey. Book your tickets now and enjoy one of the most memorable journey in your life!

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Mussoorie Hill Station

Comments 6 Standard
Mussoorie in 1860

Mussoorie in 1860

I used to live in Northern Plain parts of India, where in the scorching heat of summers , people rush up towards northern hill stations of India to get some much needed relief from the heat. Our family also had our favourite destination for each summer and that was call Mussoorie. A very popular summer retreat among Indian travellers from the British Raj in India. This hill station which was once accessed only by the high class Indians and British Governors is now accessible to every common man of India.

Without a doubt it was one of my favorite place too as we got the chance to visit Kempty Water Falls each year and dip ourselves in the water, icecreams  and many other joys.

Mussoorie is situated in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges, is also known as the Queen of the Hills. The name Mussoorie is often attributed to a derivation of ‘mansoor’, a shrub which is indigenous to the area. Mussoorie is also a house of hunderds of Tibetans who practice Dalai Lama practices here everyday.

Tourism is the bread & butter for Mussoorie economy, so over the years a lot of natural beauty has been commercialised to reap those benefits. Some of the popular tourist places are:

Mall Road- Every person who visits this hill station will pay a visit to Mall Road. Basically it is the busiest high street selling handicrafts items, clothing, perfumes, street food and many more things. During the tourist season, a bit of over priced.

Kempty Falls- Very very popular during summers and over crowded as well. You can stand under the fall (which I have done a number of times), and relax in the water.

Lake Mist- A boating point and picturesque.

Looking for some tranquality and peace, a lot of famous temples and lodges in the wood.

Nag Devta Temple An ancient temple dedicated to Snake God Lord Shiva.This place provides an enchanting view of Mussoorie and the Doon Valley.

Sir George Everest’s House Park Estate is where one can find the remains of the building and laboratory of Sir George Everest from 1830 to 1843. It is after George Everest that the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest is named.

Cloud End This hotel is surrounded by thick deodar forest. The bungalow, built in 1838 by a British major, was one of the first four buildings of Mussoorie and has now been converted into a hotel.

Mussoorie is a beautiful, calm and serene place, but one might have to find it away from the crowd of tourists.

"Panoramic view of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand" by Michael Scalet from India - Mussoorie

“Panoramic view of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand” by Michael Scalet from India – Mussoorie

"Himalayas at dusk from Mussoorie, Uttarakhand" -

“Himalayas at dusk from Mussoorie, Uttarakhand” – by Nagesh

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Mussoorie – By Rajat Vas

 

 

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Kudremukh(Horse Face) Peak

Comments 16 Standard

During my under graduation at Manipal, we often escaped to Kudremukh ranges for a drive or for a small trek. It is one of many beautiful places around Karnataka, some call it Kashmir of Karnataka.

Kudremukha is a mountain range and name of a peak located in Chikmangaluru District of Karnataka. The Kudremukh National Park is the second largest Wildlife Protected Area belonging to a tropical wet evergreen type of forest in the Western Ghats of India. It is also basically known for its mining town, but it has been halted now to preserve the ecology of the place.

It is very famous for trekking but you can really stay in the forest as long as you desire. Trekking to the Kudremukh peak is permitted from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm after which you will be not allowed as per forest rules. As this used to be a naxalite prone area, every step has been taken to protect people visiting this area.

I love this place, it is lushful with greenery all around you, dense forests, there is always a kind of mist in the air around you. It gives you the sense of being lost in the woodlands.The rolling hills and grasslands gives it a mesmerizing country side feeling.

There are many guest houses and camp sites which organizes safari tour in the national park, trek routes and guides.

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Khajjiar- Mini Switzerland of India

Comments 18 Standard

I always wanted to visit Khajjiar, a hill station in the district of Chamba, very popular with tourists in India and abroad.

How to get to Khajjiar- There is local bus service from Dalhousie to Khajjiar, but they are limited in number. So you have to plan your trip really well and within the local commute availability, especially if you are staying over at Khajjiar. Else you can opt for taxis services or if you have a car you can spend time at your own ease.

Best Time to Visit– Anytime of the year depending on your preference. Summer is everyone’s favourite and the most busiest time of the year. Accommodation can also get a bit expensive. We visited in winter, so could see some part of the area covered in snow. I bet it will look wonderful in snow as well. Something to be aware of if there is a forecast of heavy snowfall, the roads access to Khajjiar will be closed.

Where to Stay – We did not stay in Khajjiar as our base in Banikhet’s youth hostel, under the budget. But Khajjiar offers hotels, cottages, rest houses run by HP tourism, but there are some private hotels too.

It has another name to add to its popularity- Mini Switzerland of India, name given by Mr. Willy T Blazer, VC of Khajjiar in India . He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar’s distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland.It does live upto its name.

It is a combination of lakes, pastures and forest. You can either choose to sit near to a lake, or go for a long walk in the dense woodland of Pine forests. It is a treat to eyes this vast lush greenland.

Local: The main income of Khajjiar comes from tourist visiting this land. So you will find a lot of locals selling Saffron(Kesar), they claim it is the best in Himachal but you gotta check yourself. You can also get your photographs clicked in traditional himachal clothes, horse riding etc.

 

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Khajjiar

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Gangotri-Gomukh Pilgrimage Trek

Comments 12 Standard

As a Hindu we have many god and goddess in our religion and each of the god/goddess sits high up in the mountains. So my affair with mountains started in childhood, thought at that time I was really not sure if I was in love with these majestic mountains, poised landscapes.

I went to one of the ‘Chota Chaar Dhaam Yatra’ (the small circuit of four Abodes) with my family and cousins few years ago. It is one of an important Hindu Pilgrimage circuit in the Indian Himalayas, consist of four sites: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, BadriNath. In this post I am writing about my journey and trekking at Gangotri(Ganges River) and Gomukh (source from where Ganges river originates).

Gangotri is a place of Goddess Ganga, every year millions of people come here to pay their visit, stay here to attain peace and moksha. People travel from all over world to seek yoga knowledge and submerge themselves into the holy environment of this place. During evening prayers, this place has a divine feeling, with priests reciting prayers, devotees singing bhajans and playing instruments. One has to be there in person to feel the deity.

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Gangotri-Gaumukh-Tapovan-Trek

On our second day we started our trek to Gomukh which is a 18kms trek from Gangotri. The mighty river Ganges starts from Gomukh, above this there is only is the land of Glaciers. It is a very strenuous, risky (believe me very risky), long and a gorgeous hike. When I say risky, that means you have to be really very careful during this trek as the path is not very well laid, a slip of foot will take you right down into the fast flowing Ganges, almost whole of the hike is exposed to steep cliffs, you will need scrambling with your foot & hands at many point as there is loose sand and stones on the way. As these hills are prone to landslides, you will have to careful of falling stones. In addition to that almost all year around peaks are covered with snow and it gets really cold.

We finished this hike in 1.5 days, as we had our parents with us who did not want to walk continuously. We halted at tent shack on the way, where we had our dinner and got some beds. It was not a very cozy tent, it was ripped off from many points so it was cold inside. During the night temp might have fallen down to several degrees in minus as I remember at one point I had covered myself with 4-5 blankets to escape from the cold. It was an adventurous night in the hills.

When I think about it now, I feel lucky that I have been to such a beautiful place showcasing snow-capped peaks, fast flowing river, people meditating around me. I have been lucky to have it done with my dearones. Though I should not forget to mention, I hiked up 18kms, hiked down 17kms, at the last 1km I sat on a stone step and cried and cried because I was tired and I was happy to be back alive 🙂 But I adore those moment when my brothers(younger to me) tried consoling me saying it’s ok do not cry just 1km more 🙂

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At Sunrise

At Sunrise

Gomukh- Ganges starts from here

Gomukh- Ganges starts from here

Budget Travel: Dalhousie

Comments 13 Standard

“When one is travelling, one must expect to spend a certain amount of money foolishly.” – Robertson Davies

One of my motto while travelling is to travel on budget. A certain amount of money should always be kept in buffer for emergencies and some unexpected things that comes along the way. In my last series of posts on Dalhousie, I did mention that we planned an economical back packing trip around beautiful hills of Himachal Pradesh. Here is the planning for my 5 days trip to Dalhousie with accommodation, restaurants, transport sight seeing. We visited Dalhousie during winters, but if you are planning in summer, I must tell you something : PLAN IN ADVANCE, summer is popular, lots of people want to go there, and everyone is planning same things, you would not want to miss anything from your list 🙂

How to get to Dalhousie – There are a lot of way to get to Dalhousie via car/self drive, bus, train or flight. We opted for train as it is the most cost-effective and convenient way to reach Dalhousie. Pathankot’s Chakki Bank railhead is the nearest railway station from Dalhousie. Once you reach Chakki Bank, you can take a local bus ride to Dalhousie. It is a frequent service. Note: Bus Service starts at 5am in the morning. So if you are arriving by early morning train, you can choose to sit in waiting room at station or take a taxi. For a 4 seater car taxi it might cost you INR 700 and for a 6 seater taxi it will cost you around INR 1400, depending on the car and the no. of people.

Accommodation – Dalhousie is very popular summer retreat hill station, so undoubtedly during peak season hotels & cottages prices are very high. Things are not that cheap during winter as well. So we decided to stay in a youth hostel at Banikhet, 10-12 kms from Dalhousie.A lovely hostel with nice big rooms, comfortable bed, clean toilets, and a lovely view of the hills around. They are also listed in YHAI (Youth Hostel Association of India), do not have website of their own so providing the details below:

YOUTH HOSTEL BANIKHET
C/O Hotel Sahara Inn, Dalhouse Hills,Banikhet – 176303 Himachal Pradesh.
Contact Person: Mr.Subash Sharma Phone:1899-254527; 9418010527 Email: saharainn.hotel@yahoo.com

The owners are very very helpful and good people, always ready to help. A Double bedroom will cost INR 1050 per night for 2-3 people, they have options for dormitory, standard bedroom as well.

Food/Restaurants: I love Indian food, and there are many options in Dalhousie and Banikhet. Since Dalhousie is a popular destination, once again the prices in the restaurants are high too. Some restaurants claim to be the best and oldest in town, but in actual food does not taste good. We were victim of such restro on our first day in Dalhousie. Hence we decided to give a try to a small vegetarian restaurant called ‘Vaishnav Dhaba- Pure Veg’ near to our hostel in Banikhet and that was our food joint for breakfast, dinner for next 5 days. Absolutely delicious and mouth watering food. Every meal per person will cost you around 60-70 INR. It is opposite to Banikhet bus station.

Transport for Visiting Places: You absolutely do not need taxi to see places around dalhousie, unless very necessary. You want to save some money, get up a bit early and board on a local bus to various places like Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Kalatop,Lakkar Mandi. A bus ticket will cost between 10-40 INR per journey. It is very cheap as comparable to taxi which will cost you per journey around INR 1500 and above. Since it is a hill station with a low population, you might not find frequent service. You will have to morning buses and return by 6 or 7PM as life takes a halt in evening time on hills.

Places to Visit: I have already written posts on each visit of mine. Please browse through all Dalhousie posts from drop down menu to get more details.

As always do let me know if you are looking for further information. I will be glad to help you in planning.

Kalatop Forest

Comments 7 Standard
Kalatop Forest

Kalatop Forest

If you are in Dalhousie, another must visit place will be a walk in the Kalatop Forest.

Kalatop is a dense forest filled with Deodar and Pine trees. Mysterious as its name, from far off it seems united, it can be followed, described, but closer it begins to separate, to break into light and shadow, can blind you with its beauty and pulls you deep into it. Within there is no form, only prodigious detail that reaches everywhere: exotic sounds, spills of sunlight, foliage, fallen trees, small beasts that flee at the sound of a twig-snap, insects, silence, flowers.

How to get to Kalatop- Take a local bus from Dalhousie and get down at Lakkar Mandi. You will see a board that will direct you to Kalatop Forest. It is 6kms walk in the beautiful forest, and every sec you walk it will be worth it. There is a paved path that will take you right upto the Kalatop Guest house. Alternate option is to enter the forest via car, you can take car upto rest house. Without a doubt, I will always say Walk Walk Walk (if you are reasonably fit).

Best Season– June- September. This is the touristy season too. Nov- Dec is quiet and not so cold. Once snowfall starts, it will be closed to tourists.

This walk is fairly simple and you can hire a guide to learn more about this Forest. We did hire a guide for our walk, he took us through some of the interiors of the forest and it was totally worth it. It is a good idea to spend a night in the cottages at to,p to get the experience of night in a forest.

Once you reach at the top there is a small café serving noodles, tea, eggs, cold drinks.

Cruise through the forest, relax and breathe in some fresh air.

Kalatop Guest House- Made by British

Kalatop Guest House- British Summer Home

The whole Gang :)

The whole Gang 🙂

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Once Again- Happy Me

Once Again- Happy Me

Hike To DianKund(Witches Pond)

Comments 13 Standard

 

Pir Panjal Range

Pir Panjal Range

Many a times you get attracted to a place because of the name or a story behind it’s existence. Diankund or Witches Pond was one of those places.

Diankund is one of the fascinating peaks of Dalhousie perched at an altitude of 2755 meters above the sea level and is one of the highest peak in this valley. From the top it provides you with some breathtaking views of the whole valley. Trekking up this peak is the only way to get to the top.

Story behind it’s name – It is believed that in old days there were witches living in this place who used to trouble the villagers to no end. It is when Goddess Kali arrived on this hill to help villagers and bring an end to their grief because of the daemons around. From my childhood stories I remember there is no escape from Goddess Kali anger. It is believed that he same thing happened there, the Goddess got furious and she killed all the daemons turning the ground to blood-red. A temple was then built by villagers at the same spot to receive blessings from the Goddess. People from the village come up here to get blessings when they get married, or have a baby or anything auspicious. Such is the strong belief of people, and I respect that.

Best Season – June – Sept is the main tourist time. We went in December it was quiet, no hustle bustle and it was like whole Dalhousie was for us .

To start your hike –  You can take a bus from Dalhousie Bus Stand and get down at Lakkar Mandi. This junction leads to three different routes,you should take road going uphill to start your trek to Dian Kund. It is 6kms hike in total with some majestic views on the way. It is a doable hike for anyone with fine level of fitness.

This hike was gorgeous in the month of December as the peaks were still in covered in snow and there was a calmness around. We sang songs while trekking, we danced (yes we DID 🙂 ) and the whole 3-4 hours of walking was rewarded by breath-taking views around.

Note- Some parts of the peak are restricted for civilians as there is an Indian Army Base at the top.

Once you reach the other side of the DianKund Peak, there is a temple of Goddess Kali. We worshipped too, sat there for a while to soak ourselves into the nature and the peaks around.

Some pictures from our trek.

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My Photographer <3

My Photographer ❤

 

Dalhousie- Retreat to Hill Station

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Dalhousie Hills

Dalhousie Hills

Last December I visited Himachal Pradesh along with my Ash, brothers and cousins. The whole idea of the trip was to walk and hike in some of the most beautiful places of Himachal Pradesh, and get ourselves soaked in the rustic beauty of this place. There is no fun like family fun, it is one of my most memorable trip with loved ones.

It was a week-long backpacking trip and we were on a budget. We knew we were going to hike around whole day long so there is point spending a lot of money in fancy hotels, we used local transport i.e. buses, we ate local food and at the end of each day we played Black Jack (without money) to end the day with a bash 🙂 I will soon write a post on how one can plan a week long budget trip to places I visited.

Our first stop was Dalhousie- a very popular and beautiful hill station in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Dalhousie is built over 5 hills – Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah, Bakrota and Bhangora. Dalhousie is located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas.

A little bit of History – Dalhousie town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was British Governer General in India during British ruling days. It was established as a summer retreat for it’s troops and bureaucrats. A lot of churches, convent schools were opened up. In 1954 Pandit Nehru initiated promotion of tourism in Dalhousie with a call that stated Let us go to the Himalayas. Since then Dalhousie has become a popular tourist spot for people in India or abroad.

How to get to Dalhousie – There are a lot of way to get to Dalhousie via car/self drive, bus, train or flight. We opted for train as it is the most cost-effective and convenient way to reach Dalhousie. Pathankot’s Chakki Bank railhead is the nearest railway station from Dalhousie. Once you reach Chakki Bank, you can take a local bus ride to Dalhousie. It is a frequent service.

Places to Visit – Tourism plays a very important role in the economy of this state. Dalhousie being one of the most popular destination offers you a list of attractions – Dainkund Peak, Khajjiar, Bakrota Hills, Gandhi Chowk, Subash Bazaar, Panchupla waterfall, Kalatop forest, Tibetan Market. We could not visit them all as it was a winter season and there was a forecast of snowfall prediction for next week, we limited ourselves  to fewer places and hiked to Dainkund Peak, Kalatop Forest, Khajjiar and boating in Chamera lake.

On our first day we strolled around in the streets of Dalhousie – Subhash Bazaar, Gandhi Chowk and some inner alleys while exploring the town. Subash Bazaar and Gandhi Chowk both are famous for shopping and a lot of restaurants. If you love Pashima Shawls or handicrafts- this is the place to be. But do not forget since is it is a tourist spot everything is costly.

I fell in love with the peaceful life of people living in the mountains. Life in hills is very much different from living in plain lands. Living in cities we are so much used to of comfort living and easily accessed life but still find ourselves complaining and grumpy many times in a day. But people I saw there were happy, smiling, strong. A man or woman will walk up to Dalhousie each day to earn their living on a fruit stall or vegetable stall, a shop keeper will travel to plain land to stock up his shop weekly, kids will walk upto hill to reach their school, a house wife will walk up and down on a hill to furnish the needs of house hold. They do not have massive shopping malls, loads of cafe bistros, cinema halls, yet they are happy and content.

Sharing few pictures of this beautiful town showing the beauty and street life.

 

Himalayan Ranges

Himalayan Ranges

Sun was Rising

Sun was Rising

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Dalhousie from Top

A street  vendor

A street vendor

A street Vendor selling Paani Poori

A street Vendor selling Paani Poori

In Beautiful Alleys of Dalhousie

In Beautiful Alleys of Dalhousie

Oh Yes!! It was cold :)

Oh Yes!! It was cold 🙂

 

I hope you enjoy reading it. Like always please feel free to get in touch with me in case you want further information. I will soon write another post that will talk about budget stay at Dalhousie.