What makes Tamil Nadu the top tourist attraction of India?
The tourist reports are here and Tamil Nadu has topped the list again. The state has the highest inflow of foreign as well as Indian tourists and it is the second year in a row that the state from the south has topped the list. If the numbers are to be seen, Tamil Nadu sports some impressive feats. The state was visited by 4.6 million foreigners and 320 million Indians. This amounts to a total of 20.6% of all foreign tourists visiting India in 2014 and 25.6% of all domestic tourists in India for the year 2014.
What makes Tamil Nadu so favorable to the tourists? How is Tamil Nadu the top tourist attraction of India when compared to the other states like Maharashtra, Kerala and Goa? Let us find out.
Tamil Nadu: Perfect blend of history and modernity
The southern state will give you everything from ancient temples and a bustling wildlife to urban discos and mesmerizing beaches. There are a variety of sights as well as delicacies that you can enjoy here. The Tamil society is undergoing a changing phase and you can see the blending in of the traditional values with modern thoughts as you explore the place. Not to forget, the state boasts of three UNESCO World Heritage sites which have history of 3800 years.
Chennai is the capital of the state Tamil Nadu and a bustling cosmopolitan with people from all over the country living and working there. Considered as ‘the Gateway of South India’, the city has featured in The New York Times as among “52 places to go around in world”. The city is full of beaches and also houses a rich cultural heritage. Marina beach present in Chennai holds the record for being the 2nd longest in the world, attracting people worldwide.
Other places of interest in Tamil Nadu include Kanyakumari, Madumalai and Mahabalipuram. The hill stations of Ooty and Kodaikanal offer a peaceful stay away from the bustling city life. Apart from these, we have the Moray River, which runs across the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. This nature park supports a wide array of wildlife and the river is the home to quite a few endangered aquatic species. In addition, Western Ghats feature in the top biodiversity hot spots in the world.
You can also visit Puducherry (erstwhile Pondicherry), which is close to the state. This small union territory offers a history lesson and shows you the remnants of the French people who ruled the region.
Tamil food: A heavenly feeling for the foodies
Tamil food offers a lot of different taste to the foodies. Many people visit this state to try out the various south Indian delicacies like Dosa, Uttapam and Upma. Apart from these vegetarian and famous dishes, there are many local recipes like the Chettinad chicken and sour hot fish, which one can enjoy while traveling the state.
Home to NRIs and scholars:
Another reason stated for the rise of the state to the top is attributed to the NRIs and scholars. There are many Tamil people studying and working abroad. They come home once in a year and increase the footfall, which ultimately helps Tamil Nadu in reaching the top spot.
With so much to offer, Tamil Nadu remains a place that every Indian must see. With people coming here from all over the globe, we say that you also plan a trip to Tamil Nadu thetop tourist attraction of India and make sure that you absorb all the awesomeness of the state.
Kanyakumari; The land of the simultaneous sunrise and sunset!
Kanyakumari, the land where the sunset and the sunrise takes place at the same time is located at the southernmost tip of peninsular India and was initially known as the Cape Camorin. This small town tucked away at the farthest region of Tamil Nadu state is laden with wealth of natural beauty and bounty which can be well be experienced in case one plans to make a visit to this wonder land!
Encircled with water almost all around this small town, Kanyakumari has turned out to be a popular and famous tourist destination only recently where the government is also doing their best to promote the place to showcase the natural treasure this small place beholds in itself.
Why should someone visit Kanyakumari?
Reasons are plenty to visit the amazing South Indian tourist destination.
The unique element associated with this place lies in the sunset and sunrise which takes place almost simultaneously over here. One cannot even imagine the beauty and the natural sight this place can give!
The entire region of Kanyakumari is adorned with greenery and pristine waters all around the land mass where the three major seas confluence, “Triveni Sangam” which happens to also surround the subcontinent from three sides.
A lot of religious places of worship and architectural beauty is also associated with Kanyakumari and thus if anything of this draws a tourist or a pilgrim, this might be the right call.
A beauty that you can only behold once you are in the southernmost tip of the nation, the statue is no mean feat as it is a whopping 133 feet tall structure which had been erected to celebrate the memory of the immortal Tamil poet, Thiruvalluvar!
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Quite similar to the name, it is indeed a memorial constructed in memory of Swami Vivekananda who visited the rock amidst the seas in this region. A must visit by boat for sure.
Telescope house and View Tower
This lovely view tower and telescope house gives one the magnificent and clear view of the seas and the terrain all over.
With water, greenery and sea shores calling one towards it, who would be capable of saying no to to such a calm yet pristine tourist locale? Anyone who would want to be at peace, Kanyakumari can be related to as good as heaven.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
Another tourist attraction in here is the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in the memory of the visit that Gandhi made to the region in pre independence times.
The museum located in the small town of Kanyakumari is loaded with architectural remnants and artefacts which can take anyone aback without any speck of doubt! History freaks, this one is sure for them!
Kanyakumari is also well known all over the nation not only as a tourist destination, but also as a religious destination given the fact that it is one of the “Sakti peeth” and also beholds the Thanumalayan Temple which showcases the three main gods of Hindu mythology as same, known as Sthanumalayan.
Main activities & festivals in Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is a land of religion and practices which reflect the culture of the locals. Thus their festivals are as colourful and vibrant which indeed leads them to celebrate as many throughout the year!
Some of them are:
The major festival in the region is truly the Cape Cameron festival celebrated in the month of October every year, it is held for a period of three days where the locals ensure that the fun elements are loaded with cultural programs going all around them.
The Navaratri festival which takes place around the October months and is a religious one, celebrated over a period of nine days dedicated to Goddess Durga.
The Chaitra Purnima destival is another religious one which is surrounded within various cultural programs and takes place each year in the first week of May.
The Sandal festival
Also known as the Kalabham festival in the region, the Sandal festival does the rounds from the months of July/ August where the image of the god is smeared with sandalwood paste and by the last Friday of the month as per Tamil calendar, the image is brought all laden with flowers and merry.
This is usually a celebration of the goddess there and can be seen and celebrated in the months of May and June.
Not the usual “holi” festival which we understand when we talk of a similar term all over the nation, instead you would be surprised to know that “HOLY” is actually a Christian festival held annually in the month of December.
The others include the likes of the Kanakamoolam Fair, Float festival, Vaisakha festival and Car festival. The activities include the beach activities and the meditation experiences which are as great as ever.
The cuisines in Kanyakumari
The cuisines that are usually found or consumed in the coastal region of Kanyakumari are mostly centered around rice which is one of the basic food habit, whereas the people from the hills prefer something known as the Tapioca.
In case you happen to be in the region, you can expect fish, meat and agro products in plenty whereas the taste buds may shout of a distinct coconut flavour along with being having a spicy tinge to it.
While there do not forget to try their local delicacies which all however contain coconuts but are yummy. Some of the common names are coconut rice, avail and meen kolumbu!
As for the restaurants, the likes of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are plenty, you should not be surprised if you find Gujarati or Chinese cuisines doing the rounds apart from the usual South Indian delicacies and sea food that is on the offer.
Best months to visit Kanyakumari
The best time to visit the coastal tourist attraction in South India is during the months from December to February whereas the summer months are best avoided.
Kanyakumari accommodation facilities-
The place has several hotel options ranging from budget hotels to sea facing luxury hotels. Also there are home stays, apartment hotels, lodges and resorts with varied amenities to suit diverse travelers. Through online booking tourists can strike best hotel deals in Kanyakumari.
How to reach Kanyakumari?
Due to the fact that Kanyakumari has become one of the major tourist destinations in the last decade, the ways to reach are plenty. Some of the ways are:
By Air:Located at a distance of 90 kilometres from Kanyakumari is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is well connected with flights from all over the nation along with a few international flights which commutes as well!
By Train: Located at a mere distance of 4 kilometres from the main bus stand is the Kanyakumari Junction from where it is well connected to all over the nation.
By Road:Bus connectivity is plenty to the region if you are able to reach the major cities in the southern part of the nation whereas cars and taxis are available on hire with ease.
The famous travel destination in Indian state of Tamilnadu, Mahabalipuram is an ancient historic town that was a busy seaport for trade since 1st century. According to mythology related to this city, Mahabalipuram was named after demon king Mahabali who was killed by Lord Vishnu. That name was later changed to Mamallapuram after Pallava king Narashima Varman got the title of Mamalla or the great wrestler. It’s at a distance of 60 km from Chennai.
Why Visit Mahabalipuram/ Mamallapuram
Mahabalipuram is famous for its group of monuments located on the Coromandal coast in Kancheepuram District. Its monuments from 7th century AD were built by Pallava kings. In 1984 the monuments complex came under classification of UNESCO world heritage sites. The old edifices have brilliant architecture, exquisite carving in temples, cave temples and other monuments dedicated to various Mahabharata time characters and other Gods & Goddesses of Hindu mythology.
How to reach Mahabalipuram
By air– Nearest airport is Chennai Airport 50 km and Puducherry airport is 97 km
By Train– Nearest station is Chengalpattu 24 km away
By Bus– Mahabalipuram is well connected to all the major cities of South India and certain metros.
Best time to visit
Mahabalipuram has moderate, though humid climate suitable for the visits round the year, but the months from October to March are the best.
Mahabalipuram is having scores of great restaurants that serve excellent food. That ranges from sea food such as grilled fish, Lobsters, Prawns and crabs etc. You can have vegetarian extravaganza of South Indian food such as complete platter- thali, besides Dosa, Appam, Vada, Idli, uttapam, upma, Kesari, payassam, sweet and salty Pongal etc. The list is too long to choose from. You can try food from North India also in restaurants here.
Main attractions of Mahabalipuram
Ratha temples are located just 1.5 km from the Mahabalipuram bus-stand on rocky and sandy coastal vicinity. The famous chariot shape temples have five monolithic temples built with granite and diorite stones. The 7th century temples’ architecture are in the shape of five chariots of Pandavas from the epic Mahabharta. These are named Dharmaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Bhim Ratha, Nakul & Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha. Besides these, there is another edifice named Ganesha Ratha nearby. The single stone temples are beautifully carved beautifully and skillfully into animal figures and human figures.
There are other structures in the area
Descent of Ganga
Or Arjun or Bhagirtha’s penance is located just 0.5km from Mahabalipuram Bus station, it’s a massive open air Bas- relief sculpted monolithic rock 96 feet long and 43 feet high, it is amazing to watch.
Mandapam or cave temples
5 km from the bus station the cave temples are 14 rock cut carves, mythological stories are depicted through carving on the stone. The display is in great details that speak volumes for the sculptors of that era. There are three important cave temples.
Varaha cave temple
5 km away from Bus station, one of the temple from Mandapam or caves is cut through the rocks, a small temple is dedicated to Varaha the avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The biggest of the cave temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, the carvings exhibit Krishna’s adulthood time’s incidents.
Exquisite inscriptions of battle between Goddess Durga and buffalo-headed demon Mahishasur, are the temple’s highlights.
A well architecture temple along the shore facing Bay of Bengal with its entrance on the other side, it’s a five story layered temple, not cut from the rocks like rest of them, recent excavations are revealing many more edifices within the complex.
At a distance of 5 km Tiger caves are located in a coastal village. The cabs and autos are available from the bus station. The big manadapam is dedicated mainly to Goddess Durga, with carvings depicting her battle with demon Mahishasur. There are few more mythological figures that have mandapas there.
A temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu is known as Sthalasayana Perumal Temple. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture,it is located 1.5 km from bus station.
An old light house from year 1894 is also worth seeing.
A unique round huge rock perched on a hill side defying the law of gravity. People get them photographed with the rock there, as if they are lifting the rock.
Museum and Gallery
Located 1 km from the bus station the museum is having great sculptures’ collection of Hindu mythological Gods and Goddesses. Buddhist sculptures are there too. The artifacts tell their own story, surly worth a visit.
Just 2 km from the bus station the sea beach is worth a sight with sparkling waves and sandy landscapes.
Sadras beach resort
Sadras is one beautiful sea beach located 13 km from Mahabalipuram. Surrounded by green Casuarinas, white beaches and blue-green sea, Sadras is one happy spot for a day-out.
When visiting Mahabalipuram one can go and see Puducherry just 99 km from there via east coast road. The buses go there regularly. Originally a French settlement, Puducherry reflects French influence in its old buildings and churches. For scuba divers good facilities are available there.
Activities- One can do and see many things
Visit to crocodile farm– a famous crocodile breeding center, many reptiles and lizard species are found there.
Water Surfing and Angling
Visit to Wild Tribe Ranch- A multi-adventure park
Bicycle excursions– you can hire bicycles and have a great time in the town.
Shopping– One can shop sculptures and other artifacts here.
Festivals– A famous Mahaballipuram Dance festival is organized in Jan./Feb., where exponents of classical south Indian dance forms come and perform for a big audience.
In January, people also celebrate Pongal with immense delight and zeal.
Mahabalipuram/ Mamallapuram is a unique tourist place in Tamil Nadu state of India offering insight to history as well as glimpse of natural surroundings.
Explore the unseen fauna at Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary the name in itself spells wilderness to the extent and truly so due to the very fact that it is by far one of the most visited, popular and impressive Wild Life Sanctuary in the entire Southern part of India.
Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is a must visit in case you are looking to traverse the length and breadth of Southern India terrain where this is exactly situated between the states of Karnataka and Kerala. A visitor’s paradise if you are looking forward to natural bounty of the nation where this 321 square meter sanctuary is laden with waterfalls, hills, deep valleys, streams and marshes all over.
History associated with Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
The Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary and National Park was established in the year 1940 and is since then the first of the wildlife sanctuary on the entire southern Indian terrain. Started off as a mere 60 square kilometre stretch of land it got expanded to 295 square kilometres in the year 1956 and then again got the chance of expansion to its present space of 321 square kilometres as it is today.
Why visit Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary?
Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is a continuation of the Karnataka state’s Bandipur Wild Life Sanctuary and is conserved by the Wild Life Department of India. In case you are thinking of what special this place would offer, in terms of flora and fauna, you would be amazed to know that this region is known to house various primitive species along with endangered animals and plants galore. Thus, the chances of seeing endangered species are more appealing than anything else.
Main attractions at Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
While at the Wild Life Sanctuary, Mudumalai, there are immense numbers of things that you as a tourist can experience in the long run. Some of the tourist attractions at Mudumalai are discussed below.
Sight- seeing galore! :
Mudumalai being the continuation of the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, it has all the features of nature intact with proper care and in their natural habitat. Thus, sightseeing of animals, birds and so many more species is what you can truly expect.
Bison Valley View Point:
In case you would want to boast of being a lucky one who has seen bison’s grazing in front of your eyes in their natural habitat, this is totally possible in here. Mudumalai’s Bison Valley View Point gives you the chance to take a sneak peek into the bison’s grazing ground at their natural habitat.
The Forest Safari:
Safaris are best experienced in Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary where the forest safari they have on offer is unique where you get to take elephant rides or four wheeler jeep rides to explore the wilderness of nature at its best.
In case you are a bird lover and love to experience the natural view of flying birds all around, Mudumalai offers just that and a lot more. The surrounding regions in Madumalai are laden with rich fauna and flora where it attracts a huge bunch of migratory and varied species of birds all over. In here you should not be amazed if you find the likes of Oriental Hobby, Bulbuls, Indian Swiftlets and Malabar Larks among plenty more.
Main activities at Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
Madumalai’s major attractions lies in their immense collection of nature at its best, be it the rare species that this wild life sanctuary has to offer to the birds that flock to this region almost all over the year. Whilst the major attractions to behold in this place is the safari, one of the must do in here is the main road safari where you can easily find rare species of animals crossing the road ahead while you are moving in a jeep on the road.
Short note on cuisine
Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary being located just at the juncture of two south Indian states of India, and a very famous and opted for sanctuaries, there are numerous number of resorts as well as hotels to stay in while you plan your visit in the region. The usual food that you might find is the native South Indian cuisine along with other North Indian and Chinese variations to satiate the taste buds of the visitors from outside the state.
Best months to visit the Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
Whilst this lovely wild life sanctuary in Madumalai is a must visit and is open almost throughout the entire year, it is closed from the months of June to August and might be closed during the months of April and May due to the fact that the Forest Department of India personnel tries to fight forest fire woes.
Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is located at a distance of 164 kilometres from the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu which has its own airport facilities.
The sanctuary is also well connected via rail where the nearest of the railway station is located at Mysore which is just 90 kilometres away. From there, taking a cab or bus serves the purpose.
Extremely well connected with the roadways from all around the states in South India, bus facilities and cars can commute with ease to the wild life sanctuary in case you want to avoid rail travels.
Other important information aboutMadumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
While on your visit to the Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary, it is most important to note the timings and the entry fee associated to it.
Morning Visit Timing: 7 AM to 9 AM
Evening Visit Timing: 3 PM to 6 PM
Fees to enter: Fees for a single person is 15 rupees, with camera (still) is Rs, 25, with Video Cameras is Rs. 150 and the ones availing a jeep safari the cost per person can be something around Rs. 135.
Looking for a holiday destination? Visit Puducherry (Pondicherry)
India offers you many flavors and choices when it comes to exploration. A country so diverse, you can find the entire world in this country. For those of you who love to explore and travel, India offers many avenues. Pondicherry or Puducherry as it is now known, is the reminder of French influence in India and is one of the top tourist spots. The union territory is divided into two parts, one of which is still quite French while the other is influenced by the local South Indian flavor.
Historical importance of Puducherry
Pondicherry has seen a rather different kind of history than the rest of the country. The place was not very important during the rule of the south Indian rulers. The ancient history of the place shows signs of the Cholas, Pandavas and Vijaynagar Empire. But once the French and the Dutch arrived during the 17th century, Pondicherry really witnessed a transformation.
Why visit Puducherry?
If you’re still not sure whether you should go to Puducherry or not, then these reasons are ought to change your mind.
Puducherry is the sign of the French Colonial rule and the only place in India which was never under the British rule.
Puducherry is a perfect blend of the old traditions with the new and bustling modern lifestyle. The beaches are a great party haven while there are a lot of historical buildings from the colonial times.
Puducherry is a natural beauty and the place invokes the explorer in you. If you’re really an explorer, then visiting Pudicherry is a must.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Puducherry is during October to February. The temperatures remain average during the day and you experience cool evenings which is the most suitable timing for sightseeing and traveling.
Puducherry accommodation facilities
When it comes to accommodation facilities, Puducherry offers a great variety such as villas, old colonial style house, B&B, inns, resorts, budget as well as luxury hotels with varied amenities for all kinds of tourists.
How to reach Puducherry?
Reaching Puducherry is not a problem. You have all modes of transport available to reach this exotic location from almost every big city in India.
By Air: The nearest Airport is Chennai. Getting from Chennai to Puducherry takes about 4 hours by road which can be either done via a cab or a bus.
By Rail: You can catch a train to Puducherry from Chennai, Villupuram and Trichy. Chennai is a metropolitan city and is connected with the rest of India and thus, is a great option to reach Puducherry,
By Road: Puducherry is connected to nearby places like Chennai and Bangalore and can be accessed via cabs or buses.
Puducherry boasts of an amalgamation of culinary practices of the French and the locals. The ancient culinary tradition of the French has mixed really well with the local south Indian cuisine and you can have some delicious dishes resulting from the same. Puducherry is also the only place in the country where you can find the original French brioches, pastries and baguettes.
Setup in 192, the Auroville is the main Ashram of Shree Aurobindo. He and his eminent disciple, the Mother, setup this ashram to explore the avenues of Yoga and Meditation in order to achieve salvation. People associated with the Ashram come to visit Puducherry almost every year. A lot of cultural activities and lectures are held by the Ashram residents and this forms a very integral part of the Puducherry culture.
All the beaches in Puducherry are beautiful. They are located a little on the outskirts of the town and offer a lot of activities for the travelers. The beaches are named as Serenity, Reppo and Quiet and each beach lives up to its name. They have a 150 year old lighthouse that is a marvelous piece of architecture and is a must visit place in the region.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception:
This Church is more than 300 years old and one of the most magnificent Churches in Puducherry. This place shows the remnants of the French and is designed in the European style of architecture back in the day.
Sacred Heart Church:
This is the most mesmerizing church in Puducherry. It has 3 large stained glasses that show the life of Jesus Christ and the place holds a high place in the hearts of the Christians.
Vinaynagar Manakula Temple:
A temple dating back to the influence of the Southern rulers stands tall to this day. It has a golden dome and 40 friezes that make it one of the most visited temples in Puducherry. Apart from this, there are many Ganesha temples in the region which are worth a visit.
Local festivals in Puducherry:
The countrywide festivals like Christmas, Diwali and Dussehra are celebrated with pomp and show. However, it is the local festivals that draw attention of the tourists.
Held during January, this Yoga festival attracts people from all over the world. Aurobindo Ashram is the leading body that helps in organizing the festival and you can see a lot of activities during this time in the region.
The National Day of France is celebrated here every year on 14th July, keeping up with the French traditions of the place.
Festival of Pondicherry:
This is celebrated on August 15th, when India celebrates its independence day. Many cultural shows are put up and coincidently, this day also marks the birth anniversary of Shree Aurobindo.
So, with so much to offer, Pondicherry remains an important part of Indian tourism. If you’re looking to go on a vacation soon, make sure that you visit Pondicherry, it will give you a lifetime of experiences.
Though Vellore does not feature in the top destinations when it comes to touring India, it does have its share of marvels to offer. The history of the place dates back to the ninth century as evident from the ancient inscriptions of the Cholas in the temples present. Presently located in the state of Tamil Nadu, the city draws several tourists as part of medical tourism.
Why visit to Vellore?
Many of you must be wondering why you should explore Vellore. Well, firstly, the city dates back to the ninth century and has some temples and monuments dating back to the era of the South Indian rulers as well as the Carnatic Nawabs.
It was also an important city during the colonial rule and the effects of the British Raj can be seen in many of the buildings. However, the biggest reason for exploring this place is the modernity it shows. The city is not just about monuments and historical buildings. It is also about the industries that have grown, the commercial enterprises that have setup, state of the art education centers which have been built and the best in class medical facilities which have come up that give this city the importance that it deserves.
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit this place is during January to March. The weather is quite cool during this time and is suitable for sightseeing.
Since the number of visitors to Vellore is growing be it students, patients and families or tourists, the city has variety of stay facilities in the form of cheap lodges, home stays, cheap as well as luxury hotels.
How to reach:
It is an important city and is connected well by all modes of transport.
By Air:The nearest airport is Tirupati from where Vellore is reachable via bus or cab. Chennai and Bengaluru International Airports are also in vicinity and provide connectivity to the city.
By Rail: Vellore has 3 major railway stations out of which the Vellore-Katpadi Junction is the biggest station. This station is well connected to almost all major cities in India and over 150 trains cross the junction every day.
By Road: The network of roads is top notch. There are buses to and from Vellore to every neighboring city and it is very convenient to reach Vellore from Chennai or Bangalore.
Vellore cuisine is much like the standard Tamil cuisine. People eat rice and legumes as a standard staple diet. The Chettinad Chicken, Dosa, Idli and Uttapam are quite famous and delicious. Another thing to try as you explore this place is the filter coffee, also known popularly as the South Indian Filter Coffee.
Before you leave for the city, check out famous Vellore attractions and remember to visit each one of them:
This 16th century fort is situated right at the center of the city. It was built by the rulers of Vijaynagar and was once the headquarters of the mighty Aravidu Dynasty. The robust masonry, grand ramparts and the wide moat of the fort are what make it an architectural marvel. This fort was last held by the British during their reign and is since then managed and controlled by the Indian Government as a heritage site.
Amirthi Zoological Park:
Opened in 1967, this zoological park is a natural wonder. Spread across 25 hectares of land, the park is divided into two parts: a tourist hub in half of the area while the other half is a protected wildlife sanctuary. If you’re a wildlife lover, then this is a must visit spot for you during your stay in Vellore.
It is famous for VIT, a deemed University which is known for providing quality education. Along with Christian Medical College and Hospital, VIT makes Vellore known for education and people from all over the country send their children here for quality education. Don’t forget to visit the campus of both these famous colleges and experience the fun yourself.
Srilakshmi Golden Temple:
Situated in Malaikodi, a small range of hills near Vellore, the Sripuram Golden Temple is a man made marvel. It is an important Hindu temple and people from all over the country come to visit this place.
This is an ancient Shiva temple located inside the the Fort. It was built by the Vijaynagar Rulers and is famous for the carvings on the walls. The temple holds an important place in the hearts of the people of Vellore and is an important tourist spot.
This is also situated inside the Vellore Fort. It was built by the Government of Madras during the reign of the British. The church is the oldest one in this district and is currently under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India.
It is a beautiful hill station located in the district of Vellore. The Yelagiri or Elagiri is famous for rock climbing, paragliding and other adventure sports. The place is not much developed and thus maintains the raw beauty of nature which is rare. The place is very beautiful and is a must visit place when you make your tour of Vellore.
Apart from these ancient locations and natural scenery, it also offers a bustling commercial center for shopping. Moreover, the medical facilities at this city are state of the art and many people come to this city for their treatment.
Dalhousie and Khajjiar- unforgettable hilly destinations
Dalhousie- Old world charm
High up there on Dhauladhar mountains in Western Himanchal Pradesh’s Chamba district, Dalhousie is a splendid and nonchalant hill station, complete with its old English Raj time memories. Built on five hills Kathlog, Tehra, Patreyn, Bakrota and Balun, the town is spread over 14 sq. km area and situated at a height of 2036 m (6680 ft.). Dalhousie has a perfect concoction of a perfect hill station, walk on the Mall road, view of snow clad mountains, deodar, oak and pine trees, flowing streams and river, pleasant weather and ambience.
The place is named after the British Governor General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie. Dalhousie town takes all back into colonial days with its antique buildings, visually aesthetic churches and avenues, reminding of the bygone era. The river Ravi flows below Dalhousie in the valley, providing picturesque scenes and on the backdrop majestic Himalayan peaks can be sighted.
How to reach
Air– Gaggal airport in Kangra is the nearest domestic airport at 106km from the town.
Railway– Nearest railway station is Chakkiband rail head, Pathankot (80 km). It gets regular rail services from several major cities like Delhi, Jammu, Ahamdabad, Jaipur, etc. Thereafter, one can hire cab to reach Dalhousie from railway station.
Road– HP State bus services connect the towns in and around Dalhousie. Tourists can also opt for taxis and luxury buses.
Places to see
CHURCHES – There are four magnificent churches in Dalhousie, reminder of old English days. These are St. Francis church at Subhash Chowk, John’s Church at Gandhi Chowk, St. Andrew’s Church and St. Patrick’s Church at Balun.
SUBHASH BAOLI- A scenic and captivating spot overlooking snow-capped mountains and surrounded by magnificent trees located 1 km away from Dalhousie, here in 1937 Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose used to spend his days here envisioning and meditating.
PANCHPULA- This is a scenic spot just 3 km from GPO Dalhousie. Panchpula stream is exquisite attraction and it’s the source of water supply to this town. On its way there is another stream Satdhara stream, this is considered Kalatop wildlife sanctuary to have medicinal properties. An elegant monument of a freedom fighter Sardar Ajit Singh is built there in Panchpula.
Kalatop wildlife sanctuary-This wild life sanctuary is 10 km from Dalhousie and spread over to 1962 Hectares area. River Ravi is its main source of water to upkeep its flora and fauna. The sanctuary is home to Himalayan Black bear, Barking goral, Leopards, deer and Langurs etc. Besides dense under bushes, there are trees such as Deodar, pine, oak etc.
From Dalhousie, one can travel to Khajjiar for more panoramic view of mountains and natural beauty.
Khajjiar – India’s own Switzerland
In the foothills of Dhauladhar range of western Himalayas Khajjiar is perched atop a small plateau, at an altitude of 1960m (6430 ft.). Amazing plateau is 5 km in circumference, with deodar jungle on its slopes and a stream fed lake in the middle. Khajjiar is famous as Switzerland of India, because of its meadows and scenic views.
Access to Khajjiar- Khajjiar is 21 km from Dalhousie and 22 km from Chamba. It is 586 km from Delhi.
Air– Gaggal airport in Kangra is at a distance of 116 km.
Railway– The closest railhead is at Pathankot, 102 km. Taxis and buses are available from all these places.
Road– The place is well connected by state transport service to all Delhi, Pathankot and all HP places. In addition, one can opt for private or shared cabs to roam around.
When you reach Joshimath after a long rough hilly journey, there is a clear feeling of relief and soaring spirit of achievement. First step taken, now next the final rendezvous would be into the realms of yet unknown prospects of reaching to snowy peak of Auli. What would seem truly exciting is that Auli is an upcoming ski resort of Uttarakhand and making its mark on national as well as international map of skiing.
Why visit Auli?
Auli was developed as tourist resort only after formation and rise of Uttrakhand state. Auli claims Asia’s longest cable car (Gondola), scaling 4 km almost the vertical distance, it also has the Chair Lift and Ski-Lift facilities. If someone chooses to trek, then there is an interesting trek route for being on skiing site of Auli. The weather here is wee bit unpredictable, you never know when it changes gear and you have to be locked up in your hotel room instead of being on the skiing grounds to enjoy the sport.
Appropriately named by many as the haven for skiing activities, this hilly resort is a perfect for skiing and nature lovers. The place is very serene and sedate to the mind, take a walk or just sit and enjoy the solitude and fresh air of Himalayas.
How to reach Auli
Air- Nearest airport is Jolly Grant Dehradun at nearly 300km from Auli. The airport has daily flights from major cities.
Helicopter– Helicopter services available from Dehradun and Haridwar
Railway– Nearest railway station is Rishikesh and Haridwar 268 and 293 km respectively which are well connected to all the major cities.
Road– Hilly road starts from Rishikesh 268 km, Buses and taxis are available.
It is the place where journey to Auli begins, at 1890 m (6200ft). Joshimath is the main town around here. Historically it’s one of the four Shankaracharya’s Muth or spiritual abodes. It is home to Sri Badrinathji in winter. Kalvriksha and Narsingh Temples should be visited while here. This is here, where the cable car journey begins for Auli.
Auli artificial lake
It’s one of highest man- made lakes in the world. This unspoiled lake was created to create artificial snow during feeble snowy season. The water of this lake is used to feed snow making and spraying guns installed at various points along the slopes of skiing resort.
Bugyal is Pastureland in local Garhwali language. A trek to 3056 meter (more than 10000ft.) takes you to this green area, having gorgeous view to Himalayas and coniferous forests. This grassy green looks transforms to white snowy fields in the winters.
4km trek, 1 km beyond Gurso Bugyal will bring you to Chattrakund, a tiny lake of crystal clear waters. The place carries an aura of mystical surroundings.
An enchanting lake set in the lovely surroundings, beyond Dang village of Joshimath, a trying Trek takes you to this place of forests, green meadows and clear waters, an amazing experience of serenity and peace, this lake is best to visit between May and October only.
12 km from Gurso Bugyal is the green meadows place, a trekker’s paradise. At an elevation of 3380 m (11100ft) its best for the visit between May to October.
In Auli, one can book and stay in GMVN rest house and there are few more lovely places to stay while in Auli and Joshimath.
Gokarna is on the Western coast of India is a small though well visited town for religious and other reasons. It is in the state of Karnataka. It has a Shiva temple of larger significance, Shiva here is known as Mahabaleshwar and for its real ‘Shiva Linga’. During Shivratri festival in late February or March beginning, more than 20,000 pilgrims visit Gokarna. The Hindu followers throng in great numbers each day. The tourists from abroad visit this town for its cool beaches and fun in seclusion.
The place has become popular for many foreign tourists because of its unspoiled beaches and its rustic natural appeal. This altruism of nature is never remains such when more and more people begin to visit. Now the once unspoiled beaches are being dotted with shacks and the town is being upgraded with several guest houses, four star hotels and other modern day’s facilities. It’s a popular weekend getaway for nearby towns for spiritual reasons and its breathtaking beaches and greenery.
Gokarna largely means ‘cow’s ear’, as a myth goes Lord Shiva emerged from cow’s ear a manifestation of mother earth. Gokarna is said to be located on the cow ear shaped confluence of rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini. Some people consider its name after a character from ancient Tamil history.
How to reach
Air- Hubli airport is 124 km from Gokarna temple is the nearest airport.
Railway – Gokarna road station is connected to all major cities of the country.
Road – Well connected with bus system to most places, Bangalore is 485 km and Mumbai 705 km.
Best time to visit – All the year round, as temperature remains between minimum 8c to 26c maximum.
OM beach – Gokarna beach is famous for its shape as OM, a Hindu icon.
Kudle Beach – Kundle Beach is located towards the south of the OM beach. The Kudle beach is one of the most frequented beaches in Gokarna and has various places for tourist accommodation. The beach has numerous cafes and restaurants.
Half Moon Beach – A short walk from om Beach and one has to circle around a hillock to reach here. This beach seems like a half moon, thus its named such.
Paradise Beach – This splendid rocky beach is not ultimate for swimming, as waves constantly crash violently on its rocky shores. It’s also an isolated and lovely place aptly named Paradise Paradise Beach
Mahabaleshwar temple – This temple is a pivot around which spins everything in Gokarna. Known for its Athmalinga, a Shivalinga said to be set up by Ravana though accidently. Idol of Mahabaleshwar is called Nagabharana because of head of Naga (Celestial serpent) where his head rests. The hall’s floor is engraved with elaborate sculpting of a giant tortoise.
Maha Ganpati temple – Dedicated to Lord Ganesha this temple is located outside the Mahabaleshwar Temple sanctity. Devotees first pay the respect to Maha Ganpati temple then enter Mahabaleshwar temple. The temple has a tall black stone idol of Lord Ganesha with a hole on its head, as myth says Ravana hit Ganesha in a fit of anger.
Temples – Gokarna is having temples such as Uma Maheshwara Temple, Bhadrakali Temple, Tamra Gauri Temple, Venkataramana Temple etc., that should not be missed for them who come on a spiritual excursion.
Koti-theertha – Koti theertha is a man-made water body that is used for dipping of idols and bathing rituals.
Treatment naturally – There are resorts that provide Ayurvedic treatments, Yoga and meditations.
For those looking for some adventure and exciting sports while in Gokarna, one can do lots of sea related activities such as Banana boat rides, Snorkeling and scuba diving, swimming on shores and parasailing on OM beach.
Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, located in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam in India. The sanctuary is home to one-horned Rhinos. Two-third of the world’s one-horned rhinos live here. The grassy and marshy forest of 430 sq. km is perfect platform to show its flora and fauna. The topography is grassland to marshland, with elephant grass and water bodies that’s perfect for animal habitat. The broad leafy plantations are the safe hideout for many species of animals.
The history of Kaziranga dates back to 1904 when Lady Curzon visited and initiated the protection program for one- horned rhinos. Subsequently it was made a reserve forest and the land extended till Brahmputra river banks. The sanctuary was renamed as Kazhiranga Wildlife sanctuary. Post- independence, this got the status of National Park and laws against poaching made very strict.
Air– Jorhat airport is 96 km and is connected to Guwahati and Kolkatta by air. For those coming from rest of India, Guwahati airport is the nearest one from Kaziranga. Thereafter there is a long road journey.
Rail- Furkating 80 km is nearest railway station connected to Guwahati.
Road- Park HQ Bokakat is on NH-37 (Now NH-715). State buses, private coaches and taxis are available from Guwahati, Silchur, Jorhat and Furkating to reach Kohora, the main entrance of National Park.
Where to stay in Kaziranga
Private and Government guest houses are available in Kohora and Bagori. In addition, one can stay at standard as well as premium hotel with various amenities while visiting Kaziranga.
Information for tourists
One can explore the park only through Elephant safari or Jeep safari
Safari should be booked beforehand at Park Admin office at Kohora
Three routes to the park are opened for tourists Kohora, Bagori and Agaratoli
The park closes for Monsoons from mid-April to mid- October
The visitors can take their own vehicle, accompanied with the park official
There are six watch towers to observe wildlife
Hiking in the park is not allowed, owing to loose dangerous wild animals
Kaziranga National Park will be etched in your memory for the superb experience you would get here. Great one- horn rhinos are such a unique sight that visitors come from thousands of miles to see them. The one- horn rhinos are about 2000 in numbers, that’s quite an achievement in their growth from meagre 200 in the beginning of 20th century. Interestingly, despite its extra thick skin and big frame this animal is a grass eater, a confirmed herbivorous. This animal always had been endangered, since 6 years of its age, when it’s horn starts to grow. It becomes a target for poaching because of its horn, mistakenly considered an aphrodisiac. One can easily spot great numbers of rhinos on day 1, with luck and by taking early morning Elephant safari to the jungle.
The herds of elephants are also the residents of Kaziranga park. The gigantic animals can be seen enjoying their habitat here along with other herd members. There are about 1000 elephants in Kaziranga. The water buffalos are known for their 70% world population found here in Kaziranga. Hordes of wild water buffaloes with their splendid horns are easily spotted here.
Kaziranga has one of the highest density of Tiger population here, one in 5 sq. km, total 115 tigers. It was declared Tiger Reserve in 2006. Other animals you can see here are herds of Hog Deer, Sambar and Swamp Deer, wild boar, Hog Badgers, Porcupine. Red Jungle Fowl, Kaleej pheasant and swamp Francolin etc.
If you are Avifauna lover here you can have a rollicking time, as 478 species of local and migratory birds are found here. The birds that can be spotted here include Ducks, geese, kingfishers, herons, shanks, terns, stork, cranes, Pallas Fishing Eagle, Hornbills and imperial eagles etc.
Kaziranga National Park is a gift of nature to mankind that one must visit once in the lifetime, to appreciate the balance created here by the creator in flora and fauna.