Monthly Archives: May 2012

The ABC’S Of Travel in India

A- Apparel: The weather should be cool nights and warm, not hot days.

B- Baggage: Do not bring more than you can comfortably carry, i.e. one larger checked bag and your carry-on case.

C- Customs, Cameras and Communicating: India is a country of diverse cultures and religions. Be a courteous picture taker. If you wish to take a photo of someone, get permission first. Some sites have a charge for cameras or ideo equipment, or it may not be allowed at all. It would be best to tell your family not to expect to hear from you: “No news is good news!”However, you will have access to fax and email at all hotels.

E- Electricity: Hotels may also have adaptors that you can borrow. It would be good to have a “manual” razor and a hairstyle that is easy to manage.

F- Food and Friendship: You will be eating different foods that you are familiar with, and your eating schedule will be different too. You may want to consider packing a few healthy snacks such as jerky, peanut butter, raisins, packs of cheese, crackers etc. As long as the factory seal is not broken you should not have trouble at customs.

The Indians are very hospitable people, they eagerly wait for your visit to India.

G- Gifts: You should bring several small, light items to give to your homestay hosts as gifts. It could be something locally made, or representative of your area.

H-Hospitals: India has excellent private hospitals. Even so, you will want to have a supply of over the counter medications and supplies you may need, plus you will want your doctor to prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic, just in case!

I- Insurance and Insects: We suggest you purchase travel insurance, mainly for the medical and medical evacuation protection.

You will have to insect repellent along. India does have mosquitoes in the area of your travel.

J-Jewellery: It is best to leave expensive jewellery items at home. You may wih to purchase some in India, where they have lovely jewels and semi-precious items, as well as good gold. Hotels do have lock boxes available.

Leaders,  Liquor:  If you have any situation you are uncomfortable with please go to your leader for assistance.

It would be extremely inappropriate to “over indulge”. Thank you for being considerate of those around you!

M- Medicines/prescriptions and Money: Always pack ample amount of any necessary prescription medications in your carry-on luggage. Do not put it in checked baggage. Make sure you have something to combat TD(Travelers diarrhea) and the side effects of eating spicy foods!.

You will need only the money you wish to spend on souvenirs and gifts. All meals are included in the cost of your trip. Credit cards may be used for purchase made in department, carpet, and jewellery stores. They will not work for purchases from street venders. Notify your credit card customer service department of your trip to India. This will avoid problems when you wish to use the card. It is also good idea to have a list of your credit card numbers with you, and the phone numbers to call to notify of a lost card.

Q-Questions: If you are unsure of something, ask your group leader or the tour guide.

T- Time change and Toilet paper/tissues: Adjusting yourself with the changes in Indian times is somewhat difficult.

Plan to have your own supply of toilet paper and sanitary protection with you at all times. The hotels will have toilet paper, but private homes may not. Your privacy needs will always be met but it is the best if you have your own supplies.

U/V- Ultra-Violet Rays: Be prepared for the stronger rays of the sun. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen!

W-Water: Do not drink water from the tap-always use bottled water, which will be available in hotels and on the tour bus. Make sure the cap seal is unbroken.

X-Expect: Expect the best from Us.Your expectations will surely be fulfilled by us!

No doubt by the end of the trip u’ll have terms for the missing letters D,J,K,N,O,P,R,S,Y AND Z!

Delhi Tricycle Tour

Shikhar Travels provides you with a unique opportunity to experience Old Delhi. On our Rickshaw tour of Old Delhi your senses will come alive as you will encounter the captivating sights and sounds, this amazing city has to offer. This Rickshaw tour will make you familiar with real roots of the place and give you a true taste of the city and make you sink in the frenzy of it’s colors, vivacity and irresistible charm.

During your rickshaw ride you will get to ride around –                                                      

Chandni Chowk – Chandni Chowk or “Silver Square” is the most famous and historic street of Delhi, built around 300 years ago when the walled city of Shahjahanabad was established in the 17th century. The energy of vibrant streets of Chandni Chowk is simply irresistible. This part of Delhi includes street food, vibrant bazaars where you can shop for some ancient artifacts and jewellery.

Jama Masjid – Jama Masjid is the last work of Emperor Shah Jahan. Its construction began in 1650 and was completed within six years. You can relive the Mughal or Mogul history of Delhi passing through the splendid corridors of this ancient mosque. The Jama Masjid stands across the road in front of the Red Fort.

Red Fort – Red fort or Lal Qila is the most magnificent ancient building of Delhi which was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638. Designed by the Mughal architects Ustad Hamid and Ahmad, Red Fort is an important symbolic monument in India even today. Some of the captivating building it encloses are Diwani-am, Diwani-Khas, Rang Mahal, The Pearl Mosque etc.

Things to do at Shikhar Nature Resort…

Shikhar Nature Resort located in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, is a perfect place for a cool retreat to the nature. Here, you can involve yourself in various activities such as-

1. Shikhar Adventure Park : Located at the resort- Here you can indulge in 12 obstacle activities under the guidance of trained and experienced instructor. The activities include:

  • Suspension Bridge crossing the campsite at the height of 60ft
  • Net Climbing
  • Burma Bridge
  • Horizontal Rope Ladder
  • Three Rope Balance
  • Mogli Walk
  • Balance Beam
  • Double Rope Bridge
  • Rope Ladder Climbing
  • Vertical Rope
  • Tarzan Swing
  • Wriggling

2. Adventure Activities      

a) Rock Climbing, Rappelling- Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling. On the other hand Rappelling is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope; climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Rock climbing & Rappelling are conducted at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering’s artificial wall or at Tekhla, area of natural boulders which is also controlled and managed by the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering.

b) River Crossing & rescue at Asi Ganga- River crossing is organized on a medium size river stream close to the Shikhar Nature Resort. All safety gears are being provided for undertaking this adventure.

 

3. Hikes- At Shikhar Nature Resort, small hikes /walks to the nearby mountain is being organised. These hikes go through lush green valley along the small stream and the time ranges from 02-04 hrs.

4. Sightseeing & Getaways

a) Vishwanath Temple:  Vishwanath temple is known as the “Kashi of north”, which is ancient and renowned temple in the heart of Himalayan terrain. This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is situated at approx. 300 mts away from the local market of Uttarkashi. It was renovated by Maharani Khaneti, wife of Sudarshan Shah in 1857. The main attraction of this temple is the shivling, which is around 60 cm high & 90 cm in circumference.

b) Nehru Institute Of Mountaineering: Located 3 kms from the town is Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, one of the leading National Institute responsible for imparting and inculcating the spirit of adventure among the youth of the country. It is known for conducting technical mountaineering and other adventure courses throughout the year.

c) Himalayan Museum : Located within Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Campus is Himalaya Museum, the only museum of its kind in the whole of Garhwal. A wide display of Mountaineering equipment’s, history of various expeditions, photos of climbers and peaks are beautifully displayed here. Close to the Himalaya museum is the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering souvenir shop from where one can buy interesting items.

You can also go for day excursion to Gangotri, Harsil, Gangnani. There is enough for your children to do at Shikhar Nature Resort while you relax by the Ganga (Bhagirathi Ganga River).  I also invite you to  like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                                         

 

 

 


 

 

Jim Corbett National Park

Jim Corbett National Park is India’s first national park which comprises 520.8 km2. area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grass lands and large lake. Nestled in the foothills of Kumaon, Corbett Tiger Reserve lies mainly in the hilly districts of Nainital, Almora and Pauri Garhwal. The park is bisected by the Ramganga River, running broadly south-south west, and the Kosi River, and their many tributaries. The park contains 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna.

    The Jim Corbett National Park is a heaven for the adventure seekers and wildlife adventure lovers alike. Most people come to Corbett for the tigers- of which there were, at the last estimation, approximately 140. There’s no guarantee that you’ll see a tiger- that, of course, is part of the thrill- but the best time of year for tiger-spotting is April to mid-June.

        Here Nature has spared no efforts against the green and coppery foilage of the forest of Sal, has spread a carpet of the glowing red flowers of the Flame of the Forest, the delicate drapery of ferns and creepers and the waving tiger grass producing an unforgettable scene of grandeur, while the colourful birds, lost in ethereal song, add to the enhancement!

Fun at Dodital….

As a part of Shikhar’s team building program, 5 Shikhar Staff Members comprising of  Ankit, Soumendu, Tarun, Dinesh and Amit, experienced the beauty of mountains during a  5-day trek to Dodital, a popular trekking spot in Uttarakhand.

At a height of 3307m, the Dodital lake is located in a forested bowl above Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand. The scenic beauty of Dodital can compel any nature lover to camp here for days together. The lake has a surrounding pine forest with the Darwa meadow towering on one side and the open wide valley on the other is really awesome. The evening pooja at the Ganesha temple adds to the energy of the place is really pleasant.

The team comprised of highly motivated and goal-oriented youngsters who had enough cumulated energy to reach Dodital. They started trekking from Uttarkashi – Majhi and reached Dodital. While trekking, all had an opportunity to pass through the thick forests of Oak, Rhododendron, Fir and Deodar.  Adding to this,  they enjoyed the beautiful views of Garhwal Himalayas as well.

Trekking downhill was physically more exhausting but the enthusiasm amongst the members led them to  reach Uttarkashi, the destination from where all started their trek. After relaxing themselves at the Shikhar Nature Resort located at the banks of River Bhagirathi,  the team left for rafting in Rishikesh where they had enough fun and adventure.

Finally the sixth day, all reached Delhi, carrying amongst themselves the everlasting memories. I also invite you to  like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Akshardham, Delhi

 

 Spread over 100 acres on the eastern banks of the river Yamuna, Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. The complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality and architecture.  It was the effort of over 11,000 craftsmen and 300 million man hours to build this temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all the tourist. During the night, a musical fountain show representing the circle of life is played to an audience which is seated on the same steps. The fountain is named after the founder of the Hindu organization, Shastriji Maharaj.

            The temple has a 11-foot high Gold plated idol of Swaminarayan and is covered top to bottom with carved details of flora, fauna, dancers, musicians, and deities. It contains 148 scale sized elephants in total and weighs a total of 3000 tons.  This Akshardham Temple in New Delhi symbolises 2,500 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. Within the monument, under the central dome, lies a murti or statue of Swaminarayan which is 11-foot high. The murti is surrounded by similar statues of the gurus of the sect. Each murti is made of paanch daatu or five metals in accordance to Hindu tradition. Also within the central monument lie the murtis of other Hindu deities, including Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan.

          The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress , happiness and harmony of mankind. The monument is a fusion of pink stone and pure white marble. Pink stone symbolizes bhakti in absolute purity and eternal peace. During the night, a musical fountain show representing the circle of life is played to an audience which is seated on the same steps. The fountain is named after the founder of the Hindu organization, Shastriji Maharaj.

            Witness the heritage of India in all its facets, insights and beauty at the Swaminarayan Akshardham through its monument, exhibitions, verdant gardens and other attractions.

 

Kashmir – “The Heaven on Earth”

         Persian poet Firdaus had said of Kashmir :  “ If there is heaven on Earth , it is here, it is here and is here… and yes, he was very true. Situated in the northwestern region of Indian Subcontinent. Kashmir is a beautiful state blessed by all the impressions of natural beauty. It is endowed with enigmatic hill stations, green meadows with flowers, fruit laden orchards, beautiful lakes, natural springs, musical streams, lovely waterfalls, rich flora and fauna. Along with these the heritage and culutre beauty, glorious historical past, fascinating tourist destinations, amiable cool climate and heavenly ambience have truly made Kashmir, popular all over the world.

Nature has lavishly endowed Kashmir with certain distinctive flavours which hardly find a parallel in any alpine land of the world. It is the land of snow clad mountains that shares a common boundary with Afghanistan, China and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of the Indian Union. Known for its extravagant natural beauty this land formed a major caravan route in the ancient times.

     Kashmir is truly a gateway for nature lovers and paradise for the traveler who appreciate the pristine beauty of nature. Here enjoy the houseboat cruise over the scenic Dal lake and Nagin Lake or visit to Gulmarg – the world highest green golf course or Patnitop – premier hill stations of the country or  visit to Vaishnodevi – revered Hindu pilgrimage destination in India – a tour to Kashmir is rewarding in anyway. . Explore this heaven on earth and make yourself closer to nature.

Red Fort, Delhi

The Red Fort or Lal Qila is a living monument and a symbol of India’s composite history. From this site, The Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on 15 August, the day India achieved independence from the British. It also happens to be the largest monument in Old Delhi.

         Planned and built by Emperor Shahjahan, it is inspired by the Agra Fort when he transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi(1638 CE); Red Fort is the core of Shahjahanabad. The fort, built on the right bank of the Yamuna, is enclosed by a rubble stone wall with bastions and 14 gates like Lahori, Ajmer etc.

       Begun in 1639 and completed after nine years, it is an irregular octagonal shape with two longer sides to the east and west. It showcases the very high level of art form and ornamental work. The art work in the Fort is a synthesis of Persian, European and Indian art which resulted in the development of unique Shahjahani style which is very rich in form, expression and colour. It is relevant as a symbol of architectural brilliance and power.

Today, a sound and light show describing Mughal history is a tourist attraction in the evenings.

Some of the important building and structures inside the fort are –

Diwan-i-Aam

Diwan-i-Khas

Nahr-i-Behisht

Zenana

Rang Mahal

Moti Masjid

Hayat Bakhsh Bagh

Glimpses Of India …

1. Taj Mahal, Agra: Renowned for its spectacular architecture and aesthetic beauty, The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love and the most photographed monument in the World. One Of the Seven Wonders Of the World known for its epic beauty that combines sublime human emotions with beauty of the precious stones. Built by grieving Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal. Made in white marble in typical Mughal style, seamlessly blends elements from Persian, Islamic and Indian styles.

2. Rajasthan: The land of imperial living, opulent cultural heritage, commendable hospitality, picturesque sand dunes, and delectable recipes. Portrayed as vast open-air museum, with its relics so well preserved that it delights even the most skeptical traveler. Is an incredible destination for the outdoor tourist – take a safari on horses, camels, elephants or even in jeeps. Be the part of the Pushkar fair-world’s largest cattle fair. Feast your eyes on spectacular sand-dunes, take the tiger trail, or just watch the birds in the wetlands. You can also choose to pamper yourself in the lavish heritage properties such as Lake Palace at Udaipur, Rambagh Palace at Jaipur and so on…

3. Ayurveda & Spa: Spa in India offers a synergic blend of therapeutic and rejuvenating treatments based on traditional Indian Ayurveda .These spa majorly emphasizes on wellness by providing the different thereputic, cosmetic tratments and yoga session and also entertains you with traditional & cultural showcases. Kerala is the landmark for providing the best wellness therapies in India. It has many equisite eco friendly spa resorts, intrestingly some of them requires traditional boats to reach as these are surrounded by natural backwaters. Also in Goa, spa is practiced with absolute authenticity and dedication and offers many traditional and modern techniques and therapies at the beautiful sea facing resorts.

4. Ladakh: Ladakh is a land like no other in terms of its splendid beauty. Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the great Himalaya and the Karakoram. Ladakh which means the “land of passes” offers exciting opportunities for Monastery tours, great Himalayan Treks, Mountain expeditions, Mountain Biking, river Rafting, Tribal tours, Jeep Safaris, festival tours and Camel Safaris.

 

The Scenic Trek

Valley of Flowers – a fairy land, appeals as a beautiful dream to travelers from around the world. Nestled in the upper reaches of Garhwal, Uttarakhand among snow-capped mountains and swarmed with over hundreds of species of flowers lies the paradise on earth  – Valley of Flowers.

While on an expedition to Mt. Kamet , Frank S. Smith an English mountaineer & explorer discovered the Valley of Flowers. The valley is dotted with exotic flowers of various colors – green, white, yellow, blue and purple.  The rich diverse meadows are surrounded with snow capped mountains, glaciers melting turning into waterfalls and tickling waters from the small streams. Other than exotic flowers like the Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily, Valley of Flowers is also  home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. Valley of Flowers is a much sought after haunt for flower-lovers, botanists and of course trekkers.

This trek starts from Govind Ghat and Ghagaria is the place for overnight. The snow-capped peaks including Nilgiri Parbat (6474 m) stand in bold relief against the skyline. The Legend is that Hanuman collected `Sanjeevani` herb from this valley to revive Lakshman. Getting to the Valley of Flowers requires a trek of about 17 km. The nearest major town is Joshimath in Garhwal, which has convenient road connections from Haridwar and Dehradun, both about 270 km from Joshimath. Trekking to this outstandingly beautiful valley is becoming increasingly popular among international tourists, especially among the Japanese. The best season to visit the valley is from July to August when all the flowers are in full bloom.

I invite you to visit http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=52&name=Valley-of-Flowers-Trek,-Garhwal-Himalaya,-Uttarakhand for a sample program. Please also like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.