Monthly Archives: September 2015

5 Great Adventure Destinations in India

Bond with your family and nature together at these 5 stunning destinations!


Bond with your family and nature together, these vacations will equip your child with life skills. What’s more, they are a lot of fun too!
Camping Orcha


Camping in Orcha


Madhya Pradesh is truly the unexplored land of wonders. From less known plush hotels to wildlife parks teeming with tigers, there are many areas to explore in the central-most state of India for people with different interests. Among several such undiscovered wonders is the beautiful and historical town of Orchha – the name itself means “hidden”. With a sprawling fort-palace extending across the town and the Betwa river flowing by, the town has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and history. Add to this the fun of camping and you have a memorable holiday on the cards.


Camping in Orcha
The Blue Bull Camp offers several activities that start with an orientation hike around the area. The fort complex of Orchha is huge and is divided into three parts – Raj, Jehangir and Rai Parveen Mahal – each with several intricately carved chhatris and elaborate murals, – it can take a whole day to explore just this complex. At the Blue Bull camp complex, you can choose between rock climbing, rappelling, bouldering, cycling or simply explore the city on foot.


Camping in Orcha


Then comes the famous river – there are kayaking and rafting on the Betwa, organised by the camp. With Grade I and II rapids only, these are safe yet adventurous activities for the whole family. There is also a nature reserve nearby where you can spot several species of birds as well as go on some easy hiking trails. The safari tents, where you retreat to, are comfortable and bonfires and dinners add to the fun.
Horse Safari Rajasthan


Horse Safari in Rajasthan
Everyone goes on jeep safaris, and you can still do that in most of the wildlife parks in India, but recently, equestrian holidays have become big in Rajasthan. While on the back of a horse, you don’t only go exploring a jungle, but also real life. Horse safaris are a great way of witnessing local life in Rajasthan as you put on your jodhpurs and ride across villages and cut through small towns that you would have skipped otherwise. You can choose to ride a rare thoroughbred Mewar horse from the region to add in that extra local flair to your holiday. And children would just love it!


Horse safaris are possible almost all across Rajasthan including the popular towns of Mandawa, Jodhpur and Udaipur as well as less known areas such as Osian and Luni. These trips can be customised to your budget entirely, and you can even throw in a jeep safari through the jungles of Ranthambhore if you want. All along the journey, cooks and guides will accompany you, and you can either choose to stop at fort hotels, or stay in camps along the way. With music in the night under the starry desert sky and friendly conversations with villagers during the day, this holiday will be a perfect mix of family time and getting to know a bit more about the place.



Water Sports Goa


Water Sports Goa


The ripple of the sea will match the gurgle of laughter when a wave of water splashes you, as you navigate the sea on your water-scooter, cutting across at a thrilling speed. Waterskiing is just one of the many water adventure activities in Goa – parasailing, speed-boating, surfing, banana boating and scuba diving are equally popular.
Arasailing offers a thrill of its own. Here you are harnessed inside a parachute, which is in turn tied to speedboat by a long rope – you just let go at the beach and are lifted off… soon you are sailing weightlessly over the water like a bird, the speed-board charting your thrilling flight.
Dona Paula, a suburb of Panjim, is the ideal base to try out wind-surfing. A blend of sailing and surfing, wind-surfing involves balancing yourself on water by judging the strength and direction of the wind and water. For beginners, however, it is best to try this technical sport only in the morning when the sea is almost as calm as a lake.
If you don’t want to exert yourself, you can also hire a dinghy, pack a fun picnic lunch, simply sit back and cruise on the water while someone else does the sailing!
If you want to teach the children a thing or two about underwater life, scuba diving is an ideal water sport, and it does not require you to know how to swim. Different beaches are good for different activities but the busiest hubs are Baga, Candolim and Calangute – on these beaches you can try out most of the water sports available in the city-state.
In Goa, several private adventure tour operators have set shops over the years but the best bet is to let your hotel arrange these activities for you at a reasonable rate.


Hiking Kerala


Hiking Kerala
While the Himalayas are undoubtedly the best for high adrenaline trekking experiences, a gentler trekking option awaits adventure buffs in Kerala. Munnar, with its rolling hills, has several excellent hiking possibilities, but for a slightly different experience, I suggest the Periyar Border Hike. Combining the twin thrills of wildlife and adventure, the border hike of Periyar National Park is a day-long walk hike around the edges of the sanctuary in Idukki, about 180km from Kochi (almost four hours by road from the airport).


Hiking Kerala


You have to start early – the hike begins at 8am and goes on till dusk. The walking trail winds its way through the diverse terrain of the national park. A naturalist will point out the different flora along the way – with over 100 varieties of orchids and different tree species such as teak, rosewoods, bamboos and more (the forest will be a delight for the amateur botanist). You can be almost sure of spotting an elephant on the way. If lucky, you might also see the big cat; Periyar is known as a tiger and elephant reserve and at last count there were 24 Bengal tigers in the sanctuary. The hike climbs up to 1,300m and you get a fantastic view of the plains from the top. Birdwatchers should look out for local and rare birds such as the Malabar Grey Hornbill, Nilgiri Flycatcher and the Blue-winged Parakeet. There are more than 250 bird species than you can spot here, so keep the binoculars handy.


Skiing Kashmir


Skiing Kashmir
This year-round destination actually comes to life in the winters; the skiing season kicks off at the end of December (lasts till March) and the whole world descends on Kashmir to enjoy world-class skiing facilities at a fraction of the cost. There are several levels of skiing in Gulmarg on offer – from learners to pro, including the extreme sport of heli-skiing where a helicopter takes you to higher skiing slopes inaccessible by any other means.


The famous Gulmarg Gondola operates from the Gulmarg Bowl, which is the main hub of the town with all the hotels, and goes up in two phases. Phase I is open for most part of the year while Phase II may be shut due to avalanche warnings during heavy snow periods. Beginners can practice in the golf course at the Bowl, which is an easy adventure spot and is mainly used by children and amateurs. All of Gulmarg’s skiing slopes are off-piste and, whether you are a beginner, an intermediary or an expert, it’s best if you hire a guide and ski only under supervision. As high as 13,000 ft, there is over three acres of ski terrain in Gulmarg to explore, with the longest ski run possible going up to 8km. Up in the mountains, it’s just you and the endless white, as snow covered trees dot the ski areas everywhere. The powdery snow of Gulmarg is perfect for skiing and The Khyber resort is often ranked among the best in the world. Glide down the picture perfect slopes of the Apharwat under the guidance of an expert and end your day with some kahwa (local tea made with saffron and almonds) and Kashmiri wazawan.


Madhya Pradesh: The Heart of Incredible India

Madhya Pradesh is not called the ‘heart of India’ only because of its location on the centre of the country. It has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely caved temples, stupas, forts and palaces are dotted all over the state. The natural beauty of the state is equally varied. Consisting largely of plateu, the state has everything-spectacular mountain range, meandering rivers and miles and miles dense forests. In fact, a large part of the state is forested, offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the National park of Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench you can spot the tiger, the bison and wide variety of deer and antelope. But perhaps the best part about Madhya Pradesh is its accessibility. Bordered by five states, it is equally close to major tourist destinations from the North, South, East and West. Whether you are in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata, You’re never very far from Madhya Pradesh!

Popular tourist places in Madhya Pradesh are:


Lowe Lake Bhopal
Lowe Lake Bhopal

Bhopal: The capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal is a fascinating amalgam of scenic beauty, a proud heritage and modern urban planning. An Afghan soldier of fortune, Dost Mohammed (1708-1740) was the founder of the existing city.


Buddha Stupa Sanchi
Buddha Stupa Sanchi

Sanchi: A World Heritage Site, Sanchi, is known for its stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The Sanchi Stupa (Stupa 1), the best known, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.


Daly College Indone
Daly College Indone

Indore: Built by Rani Ahilyabai, the brave Holkar queen, Indore is one of the fastest growing economic regions in India. Situated on the banks of the rivers Saraswati and Khan, the vibrant city has some beautiful monuments associated with the Holkar dynasty.


Gwalior Fort
Gwalior Fort

Gwalior:  It is steeped in the splendor of its past. A multitude of reigning dynasties of the great rajput clans have left an indelible etching of their rule in the city of palaces, temples and monuments giving Gwalior a unique and timeless appeal. Today, it is a modern Indian city, vibrant and bustling. Gwalior fort was built by Raja Mansingh Tomar, dominates the city like a great monolith.


Cenotaphs in Orchha
Cenotaphs in Orchha

Orchha: At Orchha, grandeur has been captured in stone and frozen in time; a rich legacy of the ages. The palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries, retain much of their pristine perfection.


Tiger in Kanha National Park
Tiger in Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park: Sal and bambee forests of Kanha and its rolling grasslands and meandering steams stretch over 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendor.


Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park: This is one place where you can be almost certain  of seeing a tiger in its natural habitat. Stretching over 448 sq km, Bandhavgarh national park is rich in other forms of wildlife like deer, leopard, sambar and wild boar.


Lakshmana Temple Khajuraho
Lakshmana Temple Khajuraho

Khajuraho: The temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world, representing a paean to life, love and joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression.

Ten Honours for Kerala at National Tourism Awards

Kerala Tourism received four awards at the National Tourism Awards 2013-14 held in New Delhi on Saturday. Private entrepreneurs from the state won sic awards, making Kerala’s share of honours ten. Tourism minister A P Anil Kumar and secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao received the awards from President Pranab Mukherjee.

Kerala Tour packages
The minister, after receiving the award, said that the state had submitted before the Centre a multi-project proposal worth Rs 568 crore to boost the it’s tourism profile. The state had also sought the clearance of a Rs 283-crore pilgrim tourism circuit with focus on Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, a coastal tourism project of Rs 108 crore, an eco-tourism project of Rs 77 crore (of which Rs 52 crore is for Vagamon-Thekkady and the rest Rs 25 crore for Gavi in Pathanamthitta) and Rs 100 crore for Nila tourism project.

Bike tour kerala
The tourism department was recognized for its excellence in publishing initiatives in foreign language (German brochure kit ‘Eat Shop Trek’), best tourism film (The Great Backwaters of Kerala), most innovative use of information technology in tourism and successful responsible tourism project (Thekkady initiative).


Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat Bag Top Tourism Awards

Gujarat bagged the top award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, besides winning in three other categories, while Madhya Pradesh was ranked first in six different segments of National Tourism Awards for 2013-14.

Bhojpur Temple, Madhya Pradesh

President Pranab Mukherjee presented National Tourism Awards in different segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry for the year 2013-14 at an event here which was attended by Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, senior ministry officials and representatives of states and various stakeholders of the sector.

Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh tourism bagged a total six awards in different categories including ‘Best Maintained and Disabled-Friendly Monument’ for Bhojpur Temple. It also got award for tourist-friendly railway station at Habibganj.


The Tourism Ministry annually presents National Tourism Awards to States and Union Territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organisations in recognition of their performance in their respective fields.

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Gurajat

Besides bagging the Best State Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, Gujarat tourism also got three more awards – Best Rural Tourism Project for Rann Utsav, Best Tourism Promotion Publicity Material for ‘Gujarat’s 50 Golden Destinations’ coffee table book, and Best Film Promotion Friendly State.


Speaking on the occasion, Sharma said, “India has got vast scope of tourism as we have eco-tourism, desert tourism, hill tourism, rural tourism and many other schemes.”

Rann Utsav Festival

He, however, said safety and security is of paramount importance for the tourism sector as any incident related to safety and security of a tourist is a setback for the sector.


The Tourism Minister said the government has launched a tourist helpline 1363 which will soon have facility in 12 more foreign languages like Russian and Japanese. Currently the helpline operates in Hindi and English only.

Great Backwaters of Kerala

‘The Great Backwaters of Kerala‘ got award for the best tourism film. Indira Gandhi International Airport got award in the best airport category.


Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi highlighted the ‘Atithi Devo Bhavo’ theme, and said India still has a vast untapped areas which are of great tourism potential and the country can be made the most preferred destination.



Wildlife – Discover Your Inner Nemophilist in the Megical Fotests of India


Elephant and Deer in Jim Corbet National Park

Picture yourself walking through landscapes that are filled with the most vibrant species of exotic birds, or on the back of a jeep, your eyes deep in concentration as you try to focus on the majestic tiger crouching behind the bushes. Exploring these ancient forests is an exciting, exhilarating and always surprising experience. India is filled with wildlife sanctuaries and it doesn’t matter which one you choose to explore because each one has the capacity of charming you in its own unique way.

Tiger lazing in the water, Bandhavgarh, India
There are a variety of ways you can choose to explore. In some forests, you can walk jungle trails while in others you can go on safaris or spot game from the back of a 4×4 jeep. Then there are the forests that have water ways and invite you to explore their depths on boats big and small so that you can watch animals come to watering holes and lie around restfully in the day without disturbing them. There are parks and reserves in virtually every state of the country. However, the better known ones are the larger ones simply because of the variety of wildlife they contain. These include the Corbett National Park, Bandhavgarh national park, Gir, Kanha, Kaziranga, Ranthambore and Sunderbans National Parks. Bear in mind that you are unlikely to catch any major sightings through the monsoon, so the rains are best avoided.

bharatpur bird sanctuary
The peaks of the summer are also when animals prefer to keep to the shade, although you may catch some precious moments as they advance towards watering holes. The milder months are ideal to visit any of the parks in the country. February and May are the ideal months to maximise your chances of viewing the animals. If you are looking to visit a bird park, it’s worth noting that the water birds nest between August and October, making this the best period to go birding. Before heading to a wildlife park ensure that you read up on the habitat, and also the behaviour patterns of the animals. This not only helps with the sightings, but also enhances your safety. Carry plenty of medication and first aid, and also some rope, a pen knife and torch.

One Horned Rhino at Kaziranga
Take with you plenty of mosquito repellent cream, swathe yourself with sunscreen and never ever feed the animals or try to attract their attention. It is best to travel with an experienced guide who will look out for you, and also take you on the best paths to ensure you enjoy as many sightings as possible. He is also the best resource for you to gain insights into the folklore surrounding the park. Finally and importantly, make sure you head off into the forests with a reliable operator who gives all the necessary importance to the environment and to safety, both yours and the jungle’s.


Meghalaya – There is Heaven to Be Experience


Shillong, Meghalaya

Meghalaya is a scenic state which finds lots of help coming in from the adventure it offers. There are hills, valleys, lakes make it possible for varied activity and lots of fun. Caving is a great activity to be tried here. Since Meghalaya boasts of the largest, longest caves in all of South Asia, it would be a pity to come this distance and not have a chance to take them in completely. The caves which are generously strewn all over do not just add to its charm, but also give it its own relevance.


Siju, Syndai and Mawsmai are just some of the popular ones. you can find those that you like best. The slopes of the hills make for great biking and trekking in Meghalaya. Since there is the influence of the mountains apparent here, there is bound to be adventure. However the absence of the snow makes it easier to navigate and enjoy. The Nehru Park and Orchid Lake have been developed well and allow tourists to undertake boating here. This is not just a popular hangout, but also a good place for adventure lovers to try some activities as well. There is plenty of scope for camping along these areas as well. A great sport here is golf.

The golf course is open to all, with a beautiful backdrop to enthral you while you play. This must be tried at least once when you are here, the experience is novel. Most of the year is suitable for tour with family Meghalaya, although you would want to avoid being here in the monsoon since it does restrict movement. None of the sport here is particularly taxing except that in the hills. However, those who get claustrophobia should exercise caution when they are in the caves. Most sections are fairly safe, although you must check for disturbances and restricted sections before you make your travel plans here.


Hornbill Festival in the Naga Heritage Village Kohima

The nomenclature of KISAMA is derived from two villages namely, Kigwema (KI) and Phesama(SA) and MA which means Village, on whose land the Naga Heritage Village is established and commissioned by the State Government of Nagaland.


Naga Heritage Village in Kohima

Situated about 10 kilometers from Kohima, the Naga Heritage Village offers a panorama of natures, cheerful and hospitality of people. The objective of the Heritage Village is to protect and preserve all ethnic cultural heritages by establishing a common management approach and comprehensive data base for perpetuation and maintenance for promotion of tourism. It also aims to uphold and sustain the distinct identity of dialects, customs and traditions of all the ehtnic tribes of Nagland.


During the festivities of Hornbill Festival, the Heritage Village serves as a healthy sign, vision and encouragement for uniting the various tribes of Nagaland to showcase their rich cultural heritage and tradition under the aegis of “Hornbill Festival” in one platform where one could have a glimpse and experience into the Heritage Village, Kisama.


KISAMA - a heritage village in Nagaland

It also serves as a stage where different occasions and funcitons for various societies, unions are organized and taken place all round the year.


The Heritage Complex consists of a cluster of sixteen houses of each tribe created in the indigenous typical architectural designs and concepts with significance. The tribal house is also called “Morung or Youth Dormitory”. Colorful life and culture are a vital part of 16 officially recognized Naga tribes. They are different and unique in their customs and traditions. These customs and traditions are further translated into festivals. Songs and dances form a sould of these festivals through which their oral history has been pased down genrations. Nature has been kind to the Nagas and their land by virtue of natural and scenic beauty and making it a tourist hotspot.


The Heritage Complex also house a World War II Museum, Bamboo Heritage Hall, Bamboo Pavilion, Kids Carnival, Horti-Scape, Food Courts and Stadium for Live concerts, Naga Idol, Beauty Pageant, Fashion Shows, etc.



85 Million Tourists Visit Karnataka

Karnataka has the largest number of tourist destinations, which include heritage, pilgrimage, adventure, pristine beaches, waterfalls and rivers.

Badami Chalukyas in Karnataka

The number of tourist arrivals in Karnataka has crossed 85 million for the first time with the state government aggressively promoting UNESCO World Heritage Centres of Hampi and Pattadakal.

Addressing the 38th Pacific Asia Travel Association Travel Mart Meet 2015, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “Karnataka tourism has seen tremendous growth in tourist arrivals, which have grown by more than 300 per cent from a mere 24 million 10 years ago to 85 million today.”

Abbi Water Falls Coorg

Apart from being an attractive tourist destination, Siddaramaiah said and added that Karnataka offered a variety of investment opportunities throughout the value chain and across tourism industry verticals spanning both the manufacturing and services sectors.

Mysore palace Karnataka

“We have identified 319 such destinations. Karnataka has the largest number of tourist destinations, which include heritage, pilgrimage, adventure, pristine beaches, waterfalls and rivers. Our aim is to place Karnataka one among the top tourist destinations in the country and also among the top tourist destinations in the world,” he added.


Odisha to Facilitate Himalayan Expedition

The state government in association with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has decided to enable youths from the state to take part in a Himalayan expedition.

Mount Saramati Peak


A 15-member team of young mountaineers will scale a mountain peak over 6000m high in the Indian Himalayas during the post-monsoon period of 2016 as part of the expedition. “In a first of its kind move, the department of sports and youth affairs will fund the Himalayan expedition. IMF, the apex body of land based adventures in the country, will facilitate training and other activities,” said coordinator of IMF, Odisha chapter, Susanta Das.

sikkim darjeeling tour

Before the mission, three preparatory camps will be organized to train the participants in different mountain skills and techniques of survival in adverse weather conditions at high altitudes.

“The objective is to provide an opportunity to the youth in Odisha to participate in adventure sports and to instill team spirit, discipline and leadership,” Das added.

Trekking in Sikkim

Youths of 18 to 25 years of age who have attended adventure camps before can apply for the expedition. The mission will start with a trek to the 12,000-feet high Sandakphu in Eastern Himalayas with 50 boys and girls in November. This will be followed by a 5-day rock climbing camp at Panchalingeswar Hills in Balasore in January next year.

The participants who will do well in the trekking and rock climbing would be selected for a grueling Ice craft training camp on the glacier of Sikkim Himalaya near 16,400 high Guicha-La for a fortnight under Indian Himalayan Centre for Adventure & Eco Tourism in March 2016.

Shikhar Nature Resort Uttaerkashi

“Those who excel in the preparatory training camps would be selected for the 15-member final team and would get higher training in different mountaineering institutes like HMI Darjeeling, NIM Uttarkashi and JIM Pahalgam during summer next year before joining the first ever state-sponsored mountaineering expedition,” Das said.



Sikkim – A Chance to Mix Wondrous Nature with Active Sport



Sikkim Tours


Adventure in Sikkim is a chance of a lifetime a chance to mix wondrous nature with active sport, something which is hard to find at its native best. A largely mountainous locale, Sikkim bases most of its adventure around mountain activity. Not that this is crippling in any way. The sheer number of things to do can make your holiday extend beyond your belief. To begin with, there is plenty of scope for trekking, with some of the most famous peaks found in the south of the state.


Kanchenjunga trek


The most famous, the Kanchenjunga trek lies waiting to be conquered. There are several others which are just as majestic. If climbing the mountains is not enough for you, try biking through them. Mountain biking in Sikkim is a compelling activity which several people look to undertake in Sikkim. Navigating through the roads and winding upslope of the state, there is lots of fun and great thrill in just being here. The North and west of the state are the favourite haunts for bikers.


Adventure in Sikkim


If the mountains need a deserving break, there are rapids which can help you try some white water rafting as well. The rivers Teesta and Rangeet have several sections in Sikkim where this is possible, and if you have the stomach for it, it must e tried at least once during your stay. A unique experience presents itself in the form of Yak safaris. A chance to ride the mammoth yak is a chance not everyone can find in daily life. There are wonderful sites along the lake Dzongri and also Tsomgo.


Sikkim Darjeeling Tour


These allow you a chance through the mountains and also along the water bodies. Be a bird in Sikkim and try looking at the mountains and beautiful scenery below. Hang gliding is a sport people come from all over to experience in Sikkim. A chance to spread yourself and let your heart and body fly, this is a chance for you to feel free and let the rush of the winds take you over. The winters are almost impossible to bear in Sikkim.


Sikkim Tour Packages


Try the summer months between April and October to be able to make the most of your adventure. The sheer altitude and climate make it necessary for you to be in great shape to enjoy mountain activity, or any other sport in Sikkim. This is certainly not for those with heart or blood pressure related problems, or even vertigo. Those with ailments should try simple activities like yak safaris. Plan and prepare well for any adventure before you begin. Always go through a course before taking up rafting or mountaineering here since it is a very taxing experience. It is important to follow all regulations and stay within areas which are for the public. Avoid restricted sections unless you have a special permit.