India, the land of spirituality has always been famous for its strong religious essence. There are hundreds of temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras that are testimony to the fact that India is a religious country exuding auras of various beliefs and faiths. Besides thousands of these religious idols and places of worship, there are some religious expeditions that will give your mind the peace and calm it so desires. One such expedition is the Char Dham Yatra which is the most popular of all and involves visiting four such sacred places to offer prayers and to soothe your soul.
India, has forever been known for the wealth of its diverse cultural heritage, with over 35 UNESCO world heritage sites among other centres of archaeological significance, be it the palaces and fortresses of Rajasthan, the Ghats of the Ganges in Varanasi, the temples of Khajuraho or one of the seven wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal in all its glory, each one weaving a story of its own. Take up an archaeological tour to ignite the explorer in you, travelling solo or group, unearthing the mysterious of India’s glorious past:
Khajuraho- The temple town of Khajuraho is famous for the eroticÃ‚Â Ã‚Â sculptures and often connected to the Kama sutra. It is only when you visit the beautiful town and it’s temples, you realise that the Ã‚Â temples of Khajuraho are much more than just “erotic sculpture temples”.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Khajuraho is a small town with 20,000 people . During peak season it gets almost 600 international tourist a day, in off season this number significantly reduces. That said , it was nice visiting Khajuraho in the off season as roads are empty, Ã‚Â we had the temples almost to ourselves for exploring, Ã‚Â we cycled on the boulevards without any problem and most importantly, hotel prices are really low!
We flew into Khajuraho by the midday flight from Varanasi. A short 40Ã‚Â minute Ã‚Â flight later we arrived at the beautiful ,secluded,Ã‚Â Ã‚Â quite town of Khajuraho. The airport is a 10 min drive from the “downtown” of Khajuraho – which is a 2 kms long Ã‚Â circular boulevard with hotels on either sides of the boulevard Ã‚Â and the Western Temples .Ã‚Â Khajuraho – the name comes from the numerous Date (kharjur) tress spread around the region during the period it was built in. Now, there is not a single Date tree left in the region.
All hotels in Khajuraho have only two floors- ground and first floor. They also do not have lifts. Please request for a room specifically on the ground floor incase you cannotÃ‚Â climb to the first floor. The airport is a 10 minute drive away from the hotels and normally Khajuraho gets 1 flight a day during off peak season and 2 flights a day during peak season.
While driving on the boulevard, you do feel like you are in the 1990 or 1980’s . This is because the hotels (the only construction you will see as you exit the airport) were constructed during those years. However, when you enter the hotels , you feel more like you are in the 2016
Since it was a nice and cloudy day, we choose to visit the temples in the afternoon. We visited the Western Temples with our guide and learnt about the history and architecture of the temples.Ã‚Â The temples of Khajuraho were built betweenÃ‚Â 950 and 1050 by the ChandelaÃ‚Â dynasty. There were originally over 85 temples which were constructed.About 25 temples are said to exist now.
The western temple compound consist of 6 temples; the temple of Lord Vishnu is considered the main temple. We learnt about different theories of Ã‚Â science and physics used to built the temple. From the angles the windows were placed at and the theory of ecology in the design to the depiction of all elements of a life, the temples were an extraordinary example of great architecture.
Later we walked around the compound and visited the other temples before returning to our hotel for some rest. In the evening we visited the temple site again for the Sound and light show. The show was nice with the temples light up in different colours. Shikhar Travels alwaysÃ‚Â recommends its client Ã‚Â to do the Sound and Light show after guided sightseeing of the temples so it is easy to keep up with the story .
The following morning , we relaxed at our hotel before departing at 3 pm for Panna National Park. We were excited and hopeful to view a Tiger. The National park is a 45 minute drive from Khajuraho. Our naturalist and driver , both came with a lot of experience and made the journey very exciting. We spotted one tiger, three crocodiles , numerous white spotted deers, peacock , peahens, Gray Langur, Sambar Deer and some beautiful brids.
The best part of our journey in Khajuraho was cycling- we hired cycles from our hotel and went on ride on the boulevard. The roads are always empty during off peak season and it was simply a beautiful experience, specially since we do not get to cycle at all in cities like Delhi.Ã‚Â We visited the Eastern Temples during our ride, which were not half as exciting as the Western Temples. Ã‚Â We skipped the Southern Temples entirely! But the experience of cycling on the boulevard was just fantastic.
Shikhar Travels recommend Khajuraho as a two day destination. So you can enjoy the beautiful Ancient Temples and witness the Tigers at Panna National Park.
There are trips – and amazingly beautiful ones – that you can take in less than Rs 1 lakh only if you know how to plan right and spend the right way. Foreign trips are not all that elusive as they are mad out to be and can also fit the budget pocket.
Indians love their vacations and wherever in the world you go, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re sure to find an Indian! But then, while we do love to fly and enjoy, it is also at times difficult as Indians donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exactly fall in the high-earning bracket. Most of us here in the country come from a middle class background and while we do love to explore newer destinations, the most difficult part is the managing money. Most currencies are quite expensive as compared to the rupee and each time you plan a vacation, you only end up converting those Euros and Dollars to rupees and cringing at the cost. Also, the visa hassles and the fear of the unknown and youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re almost ready to ditch your plan!
But then, if you thought that you would have to save for years and years just to be able to afford one trip, you thought wrong! There are trips Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and amazingly beautiful ones Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that you can take in less than Rs 1 lakh only if you know how to plan right and spend the right way. Foreign trips are not all that elusive as they are mad out to be and can also fit the budget pocket. There are lots of countries in the world and while Europe and the US are on every IndianÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s list, you can try visiting the lesser known lands for cheaper, better deals too! Here are a few countries that you can try and visit and at the same time, not worry about the costs too!
Want to visit Europe but donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the budget for it? Well, Turkey is a great bet as it is one of the cheapest ways to explore Europe. Plan well and prepare in advance and the trip will not set you back by more than Rs 1 lakh Ã¢â‚¬â€œ lesser if you do not include the shopping! The airfares arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that bad and if you bargain right, you can get great deals for rooms too! The food is pretty yumm and there are tons of options for vegetarians too. Turkey is just the place to be at to satiate that Europe craving.
2. Sri Lanka
One of the closest countries to India, Sri Lanka is unfortunately not on many IndiansÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ travel list. Though famed in Indian mythology, the region today is very different and has a rich cultural heritage. Plus, it has a lot of beaches, natural flora and fauna. The food wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be too much of a problem too as jus like us Indians, the Sri Lankans love their spices too and you can get a whole lot of variety. Oh, and if you love elephants, this is the place to go!
The land of Buddhism, Bhutan is definitely a must-visit if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on a shoe-string budget. the locals are warm and friendly and if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re someone who love culture and likes to explore religious and historical places, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll fall in love with the place! Monasteries on hills and unending views of the mountains Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Bhutan is nestled in natureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own lap. Bhutan also offers a host of adventure sports and is quickly emerging as a adventure sport destination. So then, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something for the adrenaline lover in there too! Psst Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Bhutan is the happiest country in the world and youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re sure to leave your vacation grinning from ear to ear!
Hands down one of the most popular destination for Indians, Dubai can be done on a budget trip if only you plan right. Book your airfares in advance and do not stay at all those amazingly luxurious hotels. Dubai packages are available online for really cheap and always remember Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if you can get it that cheap in a tour, you can easily plan your own trip in the same cost. You can even try some of the adventure sports that Dubai has to offer. Psst Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The less than 1 lakh tag definitely does NOT include your gold splurge!
Made famous by Bollywood songs and natural beauty, Thailand is Indian honeymooners favourite destination as here you get lots of natural beauty at a great price. Thailand is also a shopping heaven and a great place to visit with friends too. Whatever kind of trip you want, Thailand can provide it. From shoe-string budgets to high-end places, Thailand has it all. One of the best options for an international trip, no matter what budget youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on!
Unfortunately, though very popular among international tourists, Indians have not yet embraced Indonesia. It is not as popular with them and the small but absolutely beautiful region has a lot to offer to explorers. Indonesia has a whole lot of temples thanks to its Hindu culture. Also, the region has a lot of flora and fauna and the crystal clear waters of the Indonesian beaches will mesmerise you. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not very expensive and Indonesian Rupaiah is not very expensive for Indians too!
The one thing beach bums can never stop craving are beaches and Malaysia is GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own gift to beach lovers. The stunning landscape and the beach activities and youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be a happy soul. Not just beaches, Malaysia also has a whole lot of monuments and if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re someone who loves to relax, why not chill with a beautiful landscape surrounding you? it is perfect for the party lovers too as it has a crazy happening nightlife! A blissful place!
Though generally offered as a package deal with Malaysia, Singapore is great to explore even by itself. Right from Sentosa island to night safaris and the city beauty, Singapore will leave you wide-eyed and stunned. It is one of the most beautiful countries and has a lot of unique flora and fauna. From under-water parks to amazingly spacious botanical gardens, the region has it all. It is also in your budget if done the right way and will leave you with a lifetime of memories.
9. Vietnam and Cambodia
Often neglected by Indians, these regions have some of the best to offer in terms of natural beauty. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re also perfect if you love hitch-hiking or are a lover of solo trips. The countries are rich in culture and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a whole lot of sightseeing. Maybe not for shopaholics, the regions are a must-visit for those who absolutely love nature and look out for reasons to explore her blessings. You can either take one trip or a separate one but donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss these places for sure!
There are a whole lot of trips that you can take but then always remember Ã¢â‚¬â€œ on your trip abroad, plan in advance and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t splurge on high-end hotels and restaurants. Instead, take public transport, eat at smaller establishments and if possible stay with the locals to experience the local life. Happy tripping!