May 23, 2010

Lansdowne, Hill Station for Lovers of Tranquility, Uttarakhand


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Lansdowne is a calm gorgeous hill station at Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. It is a preferred spot among the lovers of tranquility who feel affection for spending several time in the drop of the enchantingly undamaged and serene hill stations. It’s a cantonment town in Uttaranchal with Garhwal Rifles all over. Very few ‘tourist’ spots there. In fact, you’ll see no tourists. It’s a place for peace, sunny patches on green slopes, to get away and just walk in the mountains as far and as much as you wish. Positioned nearly 81 kms from Pauri, Lansdowne placed at an elevation of 1,706 metres over the sea level.

Lansdowne is well associated with motor able roads but still isolated in its own approach. Sanctified with wholesome environment and natural exquisiteness, this appealing hill station is delimited by lofty oaks and bulky blue pine forest. Lansdowne has quite a few trekking routes and several treks into the side of the hill are on track from Lansdowne. Trekking at Lansdowne is exceptionally effortless.

Places to See in Lansdowne

The Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial
This area is good for walk through. Beautiful, clean area, with fresh air and atmosphere around.

Tip-In-Top
Offers a comprehensible outlook of the Himalayan ranges. The point is a superior route for trekking.

St. John’s Church
This is a Roman Catholic Church positioned on the Mall Road.

Bhulla Tal
It is a non-natural lake. Boating and paddling amenities are as well obtainable at Bhulla Tal. Adjacent to the lake is a minute park for children amid a garden which is an idyllic amusement for the children over and above adults.It is one of the most excellent treks in Lansdowne with overcast valley and vision of far-flung peaks on one side and teak, oak and blue pine trees on the further side.


Tarkeshwar Mahadev
It is committed to Lord Shiva.The temple was established by Aadi Sankaracharya. Encircled by impenetrable forests of deodar and pine, it is positioned 38kms from Lansdowne on Lansdowne Deriakhal Road. For the duration of the celebration of Shivrati, an exceptional worship is performed at the temple. Also if you have any manat that you make here it is fulfilled. On fulfillment you have to cime back n tie a ghanti in this temple. Even my wishes were answered.Its a beautiful temple.

How to Reach Lansdowne
By Air: adjacent airport is Jolly Grant, 152 km, via Kotdwar-Haridwar.

ByRail: adjoining railway station is at Kotdwar (40km).
Mussoorie Express – Leaves Delhi at 1015 PM and arrives at Kotdwat at 0500 AM – all days. Fare upwards of 135 INR.

Garhwal Express -Leaves at 7 AM and arrives at 1420 PM – All days. Fare upwards of 250 INR.

By Road: Well connected to Kotdwar, Nainital, Pauri, Gopeshwar and other places of the region. Lansdowne is 250 KMs from Delhi and quite a lot of buses run off for Kotdwar from ISBT Kashmir Gate. From Kotdwar one can opt for a bus or sign up a taxi to Lansdowne.

Driving time is between 5-6 hours.The total distance is 260kms.

Suggested Route: Delhi to Ghaziabad to Meerut(Both these places are very crowded, and traffic discipline is non – existent. Approx distance is about 80 kms. Driving time between 1.3-2 Hrs.
) > Meerut to Mawana to Bijnor(Once out of Meerut you can go up to 80-100 Kmph and cruise on that endlessly. The road is not as big as some of the other highways but has to be one of the best i have ever been on. Next to no traffic, Approx distance 60 kms. Max 1 hour. The Ganges is crossed shortly before Bijnor.) > Bijnor to Najibabad to Kotdwar(Again a relatively fast stretch. A lot of small villages in this section where one needs to be careful with respect to children, cows and dogs running all over the roads.Total distance about 75 Kms. Driving time 1.3 hours.) > Kotdwar to Lansdowne(One of the best hill roads ever , and the prettiest. You start climbing and continue alongside a mountain stream. The first 20 kms will take you only about half an hour but the remaining 24 or so can take upto an hour or even more. The road is very scenic once again but the surface quality drops by 50% and the going is pretty slow…unless one has a SUV or something.)

Accommodation
Accommodation is limited to few hotels and Rest Houses run by GMVN. Hotels are mainly located at the Gandhi Chowk or the main market area.

Some of the good options are:
> Retreat Anand
> Oak Grove Inn
> Jadli Guest House
> Hotel Mayur
> Blue Pine Resort
> GMVN(Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) tourist bungalows which are located at two places. GMVN(Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) tourist bungalows which are located at two places.

Places to Eat
Gandhi Chowk area is the place to have lunch/dinner. You get good steamy momos, alu parathas or delicious dosas. Momos of Hotel Zayaka and the gigantic aloo ka parantha of Hotel Mayur are must haves.

For further details Contacts :
Tourist offices
GMVN Tourist Rest House,
Lansdowne.
Ph: 01386-262509
GMVN, 102, Indraprakash Building
21, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi
Ph: 011-23350481; Fax: 23327713

May 21, 2010

The Mud Fort Village Kuchesar

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Enjoy the 18th century lifestyle with a modern touch.Situated 60 kilometers away from Delhi and very near to Hapur, this Heritage hotel of Kuchesar has been known for its hospitality since decades and having the holy river of Ganges just 24 Kms away.

Major Attractions
» Family Picnics
» Walk through Sugarcanes and Mango orchid
» Bullock Cart Rides are real fun
» You can enjoy activities like Dip Pool, Badminton, Indoor Games, Table Tennis, Activity Room
» Visit the famous Brijghat on the ganges located at a distance of about 25kms

Accomodation
This heritage hotel of Kuchesar has 10 huge luxurious rooms providing all basic amenities. All the rooms are tastefully decorated keeping the royal touch. And to add to the holiday mood you can enjoy wide spread green fields and cool breeze, it helps you to relax and drop the stress off.

Package Details
For package details http://www.mudfortkuchesar.com/packages.htm

Some Useful Links
Photogallery
Tariff

Some Reviews
What a fantastic value for money. Place for real peace and tranquility at a unbelievable price and so near to Delhi. Hospitality is like home stay. royality at a discount !! read more

It was a fantastic experince. The food was exotic, the environment is peaceful, the service is good. The worst part is the approach. The road is too bad and its a bumpy drive....read more

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Tariff: Rs. 1800 - 2000
Type: Heritage resort in India

Address: Village Kuchesar, Via BB Nagar, Dist Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh - 203001, India.
Tel: 05736 - 273039
Website: www.mudfortkuchesar.com
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May 16, 2010

Digha-A Romantic Vacation on the Bay of Bengal


An Overview About Digha

Digha is one of the most popular vacation destinations in West Bengal. It is a famous sea beach and tourist spot situated at only 187 km away from from Kolkata and well connected with Kolkata. Digha has a low gradient with a shallow sand beach and known as the 'Brighton of the East'. Digha is a perfect holiday beach of Bay of Bengal. Its about 4 to 5 hour journey by bus from Kolkata.


There is frequent bus service to Digha from Dharmatala bus stand of Kolkata and many other parts of West Bengal. It is almost a 5 hour journey from Kolkata. Bus service is also available from towns across West Bengal such as Midnapore, Bankura, Asansol, Howrah, and, also from Orissa via Balasore (Baleswar). Apart from buses you can travel via train. It is advisable to make reservations in advance for weekends and national holidays. Two trains run daily from Howrah Railway Station. Sometimes special trains are announced on special occasions and holidays.


More On Digha and the Evolution of New Beach
Digha's old beach isn't as wide as it used to be due to heavy soil erosion. Big stones and concrete steps are use to hold together the beach. Another problem is the record number of tidal waves that have caused many of the unplanned shacks and smaller hotels to succumb to the sea. So a new beach has been developed at New Digha which is about 2 km from the old beach. This new beach is not only bigger than the old one, but might be considered a better one. It is clean and well-maintained and is not surrounded by a congested locality like the older beach. There are hotels within a walking distance from the beach here. The locality itself seems to be better planned.


The entire stretch of the Digha seaface from Old Digha to New Digha is filled with casuarina plantations, which looks beautiful. Tourists come here and bath in the sea, stroll by the beach along the casuarina trees and enjoy the sights and scenes offered by this magnificent stretch of sea.

Major Attractions In & Around
Shiva Temple at Chandaneswar which is 6 km west of Digha.(*During the Bengali month of Chaitra, a popular annual fair is organised here.)


Marine Station/Aquarium of Zoological Survey of India. This is possibly the most well equipped marine aquarium in India.(*The aquarium is opened to public on all working days from 9.3 0 A.M. to 6 P. M.)

Shankarpur Beach(*Also known as virgin beach, only 14 km east of Digha. It is also a regular fishing harbour. This beach is mostly empty except on weekends. The mornings are cool, when fishermen can be seen hauling their huge nets out of the sea. The morning sun reflecting on the sea waves in the east, and the local fishboats on the coast offer excellent photographic opportunities.)

Junput Beach (*It is 40 km away from Digha; famous for fishing.)

Subarnarekha River: The lovely place where the River draining into Bay of Bengal, only 12 km away from Digha, located in Orissa-Bengal border. This is a new destination for Digha tourists.

Talsari Beach small delta on Bay of Bengal, only 6 km away from Digha. A quiet place, close to both sea and Subarnarekha river.

Amarabati park,a very beautiful park which is 5 min walk from new digha beach. It is very relaxing and entertaning, and has a boating facility at the lake.


Mandarmani is a small virgin beach on Bay of Bengal, only a few km from Digha. It is also a small fishing harbour and a fast developing tourist resort.

Digha Shopping
The Digha market is open at low tide.To go for shopping in Digha is a unique experience and everyone should enjoy it. Skilled artists make all the seashell items. Numerous artists in Digha earn their livelihood by making these items. Local handicrafts are available at cheap rates. The major shopping area in Digha is located behind the old Digha beach.

The Key Attractions for Shopping Are:

Ornaments & Local Handicrafts
Plenty shops on the shore sell Ornaments Made of Sea Shells. Get wonderful shell made sculptures, handicrafts items and home decorating stuffs. If you are expert in bargaining then you can purchase here anything easily. Some of the replica pearl necklaces and other jewels can be purchased from Digha shops. To bring home a keepsake, try the cottage crafts of Digha and Midnapore.


Curios Made of Sea Shells

Hand woven mats: Midnapore is a tiny village near Digha, where hand-woven mats are made from wild plants. These mats are known as Madur.

Cashewnuts- Besides, seashell items and Madur mats the Cashew nuts are also obtainable at Digha. Cashewnuts are cheaper here than other places of West Bengal.

Key rings and key chains made of seashell are wonderful and worth purchasing.

Getting There
For informartion on various buses and trains wikitravel.org

Local Attractions In Food & Drink
Try the Green Coconut water. Green coconuts are very cheap here. A single green coconut costs around Rs.5/- only. The green coconut vendors move with their cycles all along the Sea Beach.

Alcohol. There are many bars and wine shops in Digha serving all sorts of hard drinks.

Look for fried fish on the sea front in Digha, in the evening.


Those who are fussy about the quality of cooking, have transport at their command and are looking for real tasty fish preparations should go and have lunch at Shankarpur, some 14 km away - they prepare the fish much better than at Digha. The quality at Shankarpur is comparable to the Kolkata 5-star but is comparatively cheaper and the fish as fresh as you can demand.

In an average restaurant, vegeterian meal is available for Rs. 12-15, Bengali Fish curry-rice is available for Rs. 18-20. Meal with egg curry-rice is available around Rs. 15.

Another great idea would be to just buy the staple vegetarian fare at the hotel you are staying and have it delivered to your room. You can buy fresh fishes like ilish, pomfret, parshe, prawn etc. from Mohona, Digha fish market in the morning and have it cooked at the numerous "Dada-Boudi'r" joints around Sea Hawk. Have this fish with your standard vegetarian lunch or dinner. It is economical and funky.

Stay safe
Dont forget to carry your Mosquito repellent, Electric Torches or Emergency Lamps.

For Budget Stays
Some of the options for budget stays

Sandpiper Guest House Rs.800 upwards.

State Youth Hostel, at New Digha. Doubles with attached baths are Rs. 225/- per day.

Digha Tourist Lodge Dormitory beds Rs 100, doubles Rs 300,550,600,550 ( 4 Bed),700(DAB AC), Rs 900(DAB AC).

Minalay and Minakshi of Benfish. AC double bed rooms Rs 550, non-AC doubles Rs 250, dormitory with 5 beds Rs 250.

Hotel Sea Hawk. One of the few places in town that doesn't hike up their prices as demand increases. Food is good and room services standard. From Rs 400 for a ground-floor sea-facing double up to Rs 1500 for an a/c double bed.

Hotel Seagull has a picturesque view for the digha beach from its balcony.

For more detailed information click

Best Restaurants in Digha
Azad Hind Dhaba: Serves mostly Indian dishes. They are all very tasty, believe me they will even suit the European palate as they do not put much oil or chilli in the food. Their cooks are trained and throughly professional. They will serve exacly what you want.

we had Masala Kulcha( stuffed with vegetables, cottage cheese & chicken shreads), Chicken Tadka ( Lentils with Chicken), Mix Vegtables, Palak Paneer( Spinach with cottage cheese). All these dishes are excellent and even the children enjoyed a lot. They also have a Menu and the cover design is made by the Great Painter Maqbool Fida Hussein ( M.F. Hussein).

Biryani House
Mutton Biryani & Chicken Chapp. Spiced rice cooked with marinated Mutton Chunks in a perticular style of Mughals of India in slow fire to obtain a tasty delight called Biryani.

Apr 30, 2010

Jilling Estate--the perfect holiday retreat!


Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas among the Kumaon ranges of Uttaranchal, Jilling Estate is the perfect holiday retreat for those who enjoy basking in the arms of nature.

Enjoy the view of Nanda Devi, walks to a spectacular ridge through the woods, camping on the ridge, bonfire nights.Spread over 120 acres of oak and rhododendron mixed forests to walk around in and a very healthy bird and animal population to view. And the snows are straight ahead with Nanda Devi, the highest peak, dominating. The height ranges from 6000 to 7200 feet above sea level and have snow in winter.



Enjoy the natural organic vegetables and a few apples, plums, apricots and chestnuts.

The estate has a rich and varied wildlife. There are jungle cats, mountain deer, wild boar, a great variety of Himalayan birds and occasionally bear and leopard. It is fed by a mountain spring with pure mineral water and on clear days there is a breathtaking view of the eternal snows. There are long and peaceful walks where you will have the forest all to yourself.

In the evening you may have your meal around a bonfire under the stars or besides a crackling logfire in your room. There are villages a few kilometres away and it is enjoyable to interact with the hill folk. Not being connected to the road Jilling is a peaceful haven ideal for nature lovers. Bird watchers will find it specially enriching.



They do not take more than 4-5 couples at a time. The accommodation is dispersed and guests can roam freely and be quite alone. Sometimes, they take out small groups of around 8-15 people to the high altitude border areas for trekking tours of 6-12 days depending on the area.

The best time are from April-June and September-October. Kumaon is not very crowded with tourists and the scenery is stupendous with wild flowers in bloom stretching from the high altitude pastures to the snowline.


Alternately, they take out motor trips with camping gear and food, and guests can bed down in comfort at scenic locations away from crowded rest houses etc. Apart from visiting beautiful and interesting places like historic temples, caves etc., you can also incorporate light activities like hiking and fishing.

Jilling is a 2 km walk up from the road head.

A 9 hour drive from Delhi (or an overnight train) makes it an ideal weekend getaway if you need some time off to rejuvenate.

There is nothing like a firsthand experience to find out what Jilling is all about.

To see pictures of jilling estate cottages view jilling estate photogallery

Apr 29, 2010

A trip to Pauri Garhwal : Khirsu, the beautiful hillstation


Noida to Pauri: 323 km from NH 119
Delhi to Khirshu: 365km
Estimated Time: 5hrs + 1-2 hrs drive to Khirsu

Khirsu:
Khirsu is situated 15kms from Pauri at an altitude of 1700mts above sea level. Khirsu is situated in a tranquil place with numerous oak trees, deodar trees and apple orchards around. Located in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand state, Khirsu affords captivating views of the imposing Himalayan range.

Like all Indian hill stations, Pauri has its Mall, though not crowded by endless row of shops as is the situation in the over crowded Nainital and Mussoorie. The town is mainly divided into two market rows --- the Upper Bazar and the Lower Bazar.




Temperature: See the graph below



Khirsu Photogallery

http://travel.webshots.com/album/563691807GpbQpV

Places to See in Pauri Garhwal

Ulkha Giri: Ulkha Giri can be reached after a 2km drive to Chaudatakhal and an easy 2km trek. Ulkha Giri is situated at a breathtaking elevation of 1900mts above sea level affording ravishing views of the imposing Himalayas and misty valleys.



Kandoliya Temple is dedicated to Kandoliya Devta, located on the Pauri - Lansdowne road amidst picturesque environs. Kandoliya Shiva temple is situated only 2km from the main Pauri town. There is a stadium on top of this mountain which is visited by numerous travelers every year because it is Asia’s highest stadium. The enchanting views of the splendid Himalayan peaks and Gangwarsyun Valley can be seen from here. Kandoliya is also famous for its sunset views.

Chaukhamba View Point: Situated only 4kms from main Pauri, Chaukhamba Viewpoint ridge overlooks the splendid Idwal valley and Chaukhamba Peaks. It is one of the prominent places of Pauri because of its mesmerizing scenic vistas. Another pleasing attraction of Chaukhama viewpoint is the dense oak and rhododendron forest of Dwarikhal.



Kyunkaleshwar Mahadev: It is an 8th century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva offering astonishing views of the snow laden Himalayas. The temple is situated in the suburbs of the main town of Pauri. It is believed Adi Shankaracharya raised this historic shrine while his visit to Pauri. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva accompanied by Goddess Parvati, Ganesha and Karthikeyan.



Bubakhal
Though Pauri has motorable roads in all directions, a slow and fresh stroll in the wee hours to Bubakhal can freeze one's imagination like the blood in the body. The dream is come true even for those who are not regular walkers for the road is not steep. One passes through oaks, rhododendrons, pines, deodars, shrubs, and plants of economic, medicinal, herbal, and aromatic value amidst impregnable silence. During summers and before winters, thousands of flowers bloom in the area. One can return to Pauri from Bubakhal by the time the Sun is bright and breakfast is ready. An uphill and steep walk takes one to the temple complex of Kimkaleshwar temple amidst the dense forest of oaks and rhododendrons and sporadic pines.

Deoprayag
The road emanating from Pauri and leading to Deoprayag, one of the holiest confluences for the Hindu devotees, is an experience of its kind. It is ideal for those trekkers who like to peep deeper into the countryside. As one ascends on the pucca road and turns on the forest of Dwarikhal or the Keenash Parbat, just four km from Pauri, brings one to the threshold of the panoramic Idwal Valley and face-to-face with the Chaukhamba peak in the distance as if sitting on a huge sea of clouds and mist and in ascetic meditation. The pucca road and existence of the telephone poles only provide for discordant notes.



The best seasons to visit Pauri and the surrounding areas are August to November and March to June. December to February is rather cold and July to August rainy and inhospitable. September and October are months for those in search of flowers and more flowers. The air is bracing and the crops are in and the peaks glisten like diamonds. Each remarkable area, each unique valley is breathtaking. Pauri is also advisable to those people who do not want to be noticed or disturbed.



Suggested Intenarary
Day1
Visit Rudraprayag and then drive uphill to Chopta to reach Chandrashilla peak. Drove through the road ahead and went to a spot about two kilometers up. From there have a great view of the large Choukhamba massif rising to the horizon. After reaching Chopta, trek for 4 kms to reach Tunganath temple. (optional for trek lovers). From here again go uphill for another one and half kilometer to reach Chandarshila, from here capture a 360 degree panoramic view of the Choukhamba range. It seems you have reached the heaven. The dying rays of the Sun from the hills behind you colored the plains with a yellow hue, the peaks on the horizon were crimson red on their top - it was a riot of colors.Then drive back to Rudraprayag and Srinagar and then took a diversion to Khirsu, to avoid the bumpy hilly roads.

Day2
Walk down the mountains and see the locales. Khirsu offered a splendid view of the distant peaks. Take a short trek on the hills. The trek route would be rough and steep, with a climb of around 2000 feet on a hill that was mostly covered with shrubs and loose rocks. It would be a tough trek; the ground beneath your feet would be slippery grassland with not much support to climb on. At the top, the view of the peaks would take your breath away.

Next Day Drive Back to Delhi
Take the route to Delhi via Devprayag to capture the confluence of the river Alaknanda and bhagirathi. So return via Srinager-Devprayag-Rishikesh-Haridwar-Meerut-Delhi. But the first route via kotdwar is better provided if there is no rain and landslide.

Options to stay
GMVN Tourist Bungalow at Khirsu
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 600
Tel: 01368 - 228509
Website: www.gmvnl.com

Ramkund Resorts Khirsu
Tel:: 0-9873010266 or 0-9999600365
http://hotelsneardelhi.com/ramkund-resorts-khirsu/