Monthly Archives: July 2011

Explore Bhutan

Bhutan-A place of frozen water.                                                                                                                           Is a small landlocked state in South Asia known for its  steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers. The country’s culture and tradition attracts a lot of  tourists.Bhutan is referred to as The Last Shangri-la because of its largely unspoiled natural environment and cultural heritage. Bhutan includes charms of lovely landscape, heart-warming monasteries and stunning mountain ranges for you. So, move ahead and make yourself ready to grab this unique experience with Shikhar Travels. The important centres of tourism are found inBhutan’s capital-Thimphu, and in the western city ofParo, nearIndia. Taktshang, a cliff side monastery in theParoValley is one of the country’s main attractions.

Thimphu                                                                                                                                                             Is the capital of Bhutan. It comprises of important political buildings including the National Assembly andDechencholingPalace. During Autumn, Tsechu festival is an important festival being held in the courtyards of the Tashichhoe Dzong in Timphu. Spread out along theWangChuuRiver,Thimphu enjoys great weather with ample precipitation.

Paro                                                                                                                                                                        Is a place bordered by Haa dzongkhag to the west,Tibet to the north,Thimphu to the east, and Chukha dzongkhag to the south.   Bhutan’sInternationalAirport is located at Paro.ParoAirport is a beautiful small green-roofed facility in a valley, served only by Drukair fromIndia. Taksang Monastery, Kichu Lang, Drukgyel Dzong are the important places to see in Paro.Taktshang, Kyichu Lhakhang, Drukgyel Dzong, Paro Town, Rinpung Dzong, The National Museum of Bhutan are some of the important cultural sites of Paro. Paro is exceptionally scenic and serene!

Punakha                                                                                                                                                            Was the capital of Bhutan until the year 1955. Its serene atmosphere attracts tourists and visitors from all over the world. One must visit the majestic Punakha Dzong, which is cradled on an island created by the confluence of River Mo Chuu and River Pho Chuu. Punakha valley is famous inBhutan for rice farming. Besides being home to ancient relics, Punakha also serves as a winter residence for the monastic body.

The Wildlife of Bhutan                                                                                              Throughout thekingdom of Bhutan, more than 770 species of plants are known to exist. TheBengaltiger, Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, clouded leopard, golden langur and the sloth bear are found in the south. Grey langur tiger, Indian leopard, goral, serow, mixed conifer are found in the temperature zone. In the north, the alpine habitats of the great Himalayan range are home to the snow leopard, blue sheep, antelope and Himalayan musk deer.

Bhutanese tradition is deeply steeped in its Buddhist heritage. Hinduism is the second dominant religion in Bhutan.Inorder to strenghten Bhutan’s identity as an independent country, Bhutanese law requires all Bhutanese citizens to wear the national dress in public areas and as formal wear.Rice, buckwheat, maize are the staple foods of the country. The local diet also includes pork, beef, yak meat, chicken, and mutton.Popular beverages include butter tea, tea, rice wine and beer. Bhutanis the only country in the world to have banned the sale of tobacco under its Tobacco Act of 2010.                                                                                                                                                  Bhutanexperiences five distinct seasons-summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring.Western Bhutanhas the heavier monsoon rains; southern Bhutanhas hot humid summers and cool winters; central and eastern Bhutanis temperate and drier than the west with warm summers and cool winters.

Lamu Island…Leading Tourist Destinations In Kenya

This summer, enjoy a tropical holiday in Lamu, a part of the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya. It’s a peaceful island against the Indian Ocean coast. Lamu Town, the inhabited part of the Island, is built in coral stone and mangrove timber. Since the 19th Century, Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals and hence has become a significant center for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures. Here, one could find a relaxed atmosphere as life of the people runs at its own pace.
Lamu Island is linked by boats. There are no roads on the Island; therefore, there are few motorized vehicles on the Island. Residents over here, move about on foot or by boat. For the transportation of goods and materials, donkeys are being used. As early as the 14th Century, Arab traders founded a port on the island of Lamu. Lamu is one of the leading tourist destinations in Kenya. Excellent examples of Swahili architectures are found in Lamu.
On the World Heritage list, the old city of Lamu has been referred to as the oldest settlements in East Africa. Several historical attractions have made Lamu, one of the leading tourist destinations of Kenya. Some of the best tourist attractions in Lamu are its museums, Swahili architectures, Lamu fort, Mnarani Mosque and Riyadha Mosque.
Lamu is the perfect place for the couples and honeymooners to begin their lives together. Its a gorgeous and relaxing place where on the beach holidays, one could have an outstanding view of the scenery, the rolling sand and weeping strands of the beaches. One can just explore its beauty and the surroundings. Also, the Lamu Archipelago offers some of the finest snorkeling and diving to explore the coral reefs in the Indian Ocean.
You can be a part of various activities such as snorkeling and scuba-diving. Diving provides an excellent way of exploring many superb sites that remains unexplored. The ocean plays a very important role in the livelihood of Lamu. Shela is the main village on the northern part of Lamu Island. It is about 2 miles from Lamu Town.Shela is a centre for tourism on the Island, with several guest houses featured by the Coast. Its also home to the most spectacular beaches on Lamu Island, which were unfortunately damaged during the tsunami in 2004. The most attractive part of Shela is its tremendous beauty and peaceful environment.

Pilgrimage Tour

Enjoy your visit to the temples of the Char Dham Yatra…Char Dham refers to the four pilgrimage places in India being widely admired by most of the Hindus.

These four pilgrimage places are:
Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri,and Rameshwaram.

As defined by Adi Shankaracharaya, the Char Dham consists of two Vaishnavite(the followers of Vishnu-Narayan), one Shaivite(the followers of Lord Shiva), and one mixed site. Char Dham pilgrimages are in the Garhwal Himalayas, where Adi Shankaracharaya attained freedom from embodiment.
‘Chhotta’ Char Dham
There is another Chardham known as ‘Chhota, Char Dham being located in the Himalayas. This dham consists of the following four sites-Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.

Yamunotri and Gangotri represent Shaktism, Kedarnath represents Shaivism and Badrinath represents Vaishnavism.

History of the Char Dham Yatra
Adi Shankaracharya, the great 8th Century reformer and philosopher was prominently involved in regaining the Hindu Dharma in India. He travelled throughout the Country and grouped the four sacred places as Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram and Jagannath Puri as the Char Dham. All these four dhams are being dedicated to the Vishnu Avatars.

The 4 Dhams-

1)Badrinath
It’s the most important of the four sites of Char Dham yatra. It is located in theNorth Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the Gharwal hills, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. Badrinath comprises of two words- Badri and Nath.The word Badri refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and nath means Lord.
2)Dwarka Its located in the West, in the Indian state of Gujarat. The City derives its name from the word dvar meaning door. The legendary city of Dwarka was the living place of Lord Krishna.
3)Jagannath Puri  is located in the East in the Indian State of Orissa. Its one of the oldest cities, situated on the coast of Bay of Bengal. It is the only shrine in India, where goddess, Subhadra, sister of Lord Krishna is worshipped along with her brothers, Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balabhadra. Puri is the site of the Govardhana Matha, one of the four cardinal institutions or Mathas established by Adi Shankaracharya.
4)Rameshwaram Its located in the South in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. According to legends, this is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge Ram Setu to Lanka. The major area of Rameshwaram is being occupied by the Ramanatha Swamy Temple being dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram.
At Shikhar we can help you plan your trip for a spiritual journey so you can visit the Dhams and the Temples.

Go Goa…

Goa-A State famous for its excellent beaches, places of worship and architecture.Goa is India’s smallest state by area. It is located in the South West of India in the region of Konkan. The State Capital of Goa is Panaji.

Tourism in Goa
Goa handles 12% of all tourist arrivals in India. Goa is being renowned for its wonderful beaches, temples, churches, architecture . The Aguada Fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus are the other major tourist attractions in Goa. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the Church which holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.With the rule of Portuguese in Goa for over 450 years, Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitors.

Wildlife in Goa
Goa has rich flora and fauna, which is being classified as a biodiversity hotspot. The avifauna includes the Kingfishers, mynas and parrots. At the coast of Goa and it rivers, numerous types of fishes and its species like catfish, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, jellyfish, oysters, etc are found In the jungles of Goa, foxes, wildboars and migratory birds can be found. Goa also has a high snake population.

Goa also has many famous National Parks, amongst which Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the renowned one. Some of the other Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa include the following-

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mahadevi Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary etc.

During late September to early April, Morjim Beach in North Goa, is host to a number of migratory birds. The area surrounding the shore at Tembwada in Morjim also bound in various species of Birds. In this area, a number of international Bird watching Tours are also being organized.

The Beaches of Goa
One of the most popular reasons to visit Goa is –Its Beaches. These excellent and wonderful beaches attracts tourists from all over the World. About 125 Km of the coastline in Goa is dotted with beaches. These beaches are divided into different zones-North Goa Beaches and South Goa Beaches. Futher, the more you move on towards the North or the South, the more isolated the beaches get.
The most popular beaches in Goa are the Baga and the Anjuna Beaches where you can find the happening crowd and have fun at the shacks which provide fresh sea food and drinks. Some shacks also arrange special events in order to attract their customers.

Names of the Beaches in North and South Goa-
North Goa Beaches:
Arambol
Morjim
Chapora
Vagator
Anjuna
Baga
Calangute
Candolim
Sinquerim
Bambolim
Miramar
Dona Paula

South Goa Beaches:
Bogmalo
Majorda
Colva
Benaulim
Varca
Cavelossim
Mobor
Canaguinim
Agonda
Palolem

These beaches of Goa serve as a key to attract tourists from all over the World.

Tourist Destination Sites In Delhi

DELHI-The Capital City of India
Is the City which attracts almost everyone for its renowned Historical monuments, Markets, Malls,Landmarks and other attractions
Talking about the Tourist attractions, Delhi has many popular tourist attraction sites. Old Delhi includes monuments as Qutub Minar, Purana Quila, Jama Masjid, Humayun’s tomb and Red fort India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Lotus Temple, Akshardhman Temple, and the LaxmiNarayan Temple are the modern monuments found in New Delhi.
History of some of the Tourist Destination Sites In Delhi are…

QUTUB MINAR
Its located in South Delhi In Mehrauli. It is a Historical Monument built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, who was a Muslim ruler in India during the Slave Dynasty. This Monument acclaimed the beginning of a new style of art and architecture which came to be known as the Indo-Islamic style.

RED FORT
The Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Old Delhi. Every year, it attracts thousand of visitors. This monument happens to be the largest monument in Old Delhi. In the evening, a sound and light show describing the Mughal History is the famous tourist attraction out here.
Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Nahar-i-Behisht, Zenana, Moti Masjid, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh are some of the important buildings and structures found inside the Red Fort.

RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN
It was originally built for the Governor of India. The building is a mix of Western and Indian style. Earlier in 1931, it was named as the Viceregal Lodge which was later changed after India became a republic in 1959. Now, it is the Presidential Palace of India.

INDIA GATE
It is a memorial raised in the honour of Indian Soldiers who died during the Afghan War and 1st World War. The names of the soldiers who died in these wars are inscribed on the walls of India Gate. In the middle, the cenotaph is constructed with black marble, at which “Amar Jawan” has been inscribed in golden words.
In the evening, the green lawns at India Gate is a happening place for youngsters and old. It’s a perfect place to spent a holiday, picnic and have a leisure time being spent.
AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE
It is the largest Hindu Temple in the World.This Temple was built in 2005.In this temple, you can find a fragmented carved monument, high technology exhibitions, a musical fountain, theatre, food court and gardens.
BANGLA SAHIB GURUDWARA
This Gurudwara is the most visited one in the Delhi area. Millions from all over the World,visit this Gurudwara. This is not just a sacred Sikh shrine, but also very important to many Hindus.

CHANDNI CHOWK
It’s the main market place in Delhi.. It was created by Shah Jahan, the builder of Taj Mahal. Legend is that Shah Jahan planned Chandni Chowk so that his daughter could shop for all that she wanted.
Chandni Chowk is known as Asia’s largest wholesale market. Crafts once patronized by the Mughals continue to flourish here.Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Central North Delhi. This place also witnesses a genuine cultural harmony with the most famous mosque of Jama Masjid, along with Seesh Ganj Gurudwara, Jain Mandir and other small temples.

Connaught Place
Its one of the largest commercial areas in Delhi.Its often been abbreviated as CP.Connaught Place is famous for its varied restaurants, bars, bookshops etc. Twelve different roads lead out from Connaught Circus. In the outer ring the most well-known is the Janpath Market. Radial Road is a logically planned area and houses one of India’s first underground market-Palika Bazaar.
While the outer Circle has rows of restaurants, shops, and hotels, the Middle Circle has offices and small eating outlets.

RAJGHAT
On the bank of Yamuna River, there is Raj Ghat, the final resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation. Its has become an essential point of call for all visiting dignitaries. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi Ji are situated nearby.

NATIONAL MUSEUM
This museum is situated on the corner of Janpath and Maulana Azad Road. It’s the largest museum in India. It holds variety of articles ranging from pre-historic era to modern works of art.
These are some of places in Delhi, which attracts everyone towards itself…So, Challo dilli…

An Adventure Tour to Nubra Valley

SHIKHAR TRAVELS brings for you our Destination of the Month: The most famous and challenging tourism destination of Jammu & Kashmir: Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley lies to the north of Leh. The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River and forms a large valley that separates Ladakh from the Karakoram Ranges. Currently, the only road access to the Nubra Valley is via Khardung La which is the highest motorable road in the World. Panamik and Sumur are small towns of the Nubra Valley. Panamik has hot sulphur spring water, Siachin Glacier is approximately 60 kms from this point, while Sumur has a Buddhist Monastery.

On the Shyok River, the main village, Diskit is located which is home to the Diskit Monastery. Diskit Gompa is 350 years old and situated on the highest point near the village where there are about 120 Buddhist Monks Residents.The Hundar Village, also in the Nubra Valley is connected to the Ancient Silk Route. These two villages are also famous for the two humped Bactrian camel . Camel ride can be done in Diskit and Hundar Villages. Apart from the unparallel trekking opportunities, the valley has several Buddhist Gompas.

An Adventure Tour To Leh

SHIKHAR TRAVELS brings for you our Destination of the Month: The most famous and challenging tourism destination of Jammu & Kashmir: Leh…
With Shikhar, your tour to Leh is made easy and fun-loving. Leh is the capital of Ladakh and a fascinating destination. Age-old monasteries, attractive lanes, colorful markets and stunning views of the Himalayas make Leh an exotic destination .White water rafting and wildlife tours are other adventurous attractions of Leh Ladakh.
Shanti Stupa of Leh is located on the top of the hill at Changspa Village. This stupa is made by a Japanese Buddhist organization. It is a white color beautiful structure offering amazing views of sunrise and sunset. Lots of tourists come to this place to visit this magnificent Stupa. Chamba Temple, Leh Palace, Leh Gompa, Leh Fort, Local Market and Old Town are the other major attractions of Leh.

Tourism in India

“The Fool Wanders, A wise man travels”- Thomas Fuller

SHIKHAR TRAVELS brings out for you various tourism plans which can help you relax and enjoy your vacation. Your purpose of Tourism is being fulfilled with Shikhar. You can travel either for recreational, leisure, business or educational purpose.

Tourism has become a global leisure activity. Anyone thinking of tourism in India is most welcome to visit the country of hearts welcoming their guest with open arms. Apart from the people, one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, located in India in Agra. Tourism in India is a treasure house of cultural and traditional activities. The scenic beauty of the rivers, seas and mountains enables it to gain a prestige in the International arena.

The scenic beauties of the states of North India, namely Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir are renowned with nature lovers and tourists. They play a key role in India’s Adventure tourism.

South India has got fascinating temples like Kanchipuram, Madurai, Rameswaram among others.

Western India is integrated well for tourism with cities like Mumbai, Aurangabad, and Goa. Mumbai is famous for its cultural activities and the Film City. Goa is the famous tourist place for beautiful beaches and Aurangabad for it Caves

The Eastern region is famous for its rich cultural heritage and ethnic history. Cities like Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Assam among others enhance the beauty and cultural heritage of the Eastern region of India. The beautiful Hill Stations of Darjeeling and the sea coasts of Puri are the beauties and wonders of this region of India .

Tourism in India is rich and exciting. The coastal regions, monuments, arts and culture make India an ideal tourist destination. In India, seasons undergo changes so the preference of the tourists plays a vital role in deciding the destination.