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Temples of Khajuraho

Khajuraho- The city of Temples

Khajuraho- The temple town of Khajuraho is famous for the erotic  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  temples of Khajuraho are much more than just “erotic sculpture temples”.IMG_3578 (1)

     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,  we had the temples almost to ourselves for exploring,  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 40 minute  flight later we arrived at the beautiful ,secluded,  quite town of Khajuraho. The airport is a 10 min drive from the “downtown” of Khajuraho – which is a 2 kms long  circular boulevard with hotels on either sides of the boulevard  and the Western Temples . 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.

Cycling in Khajuraho. beautiful buelevard of Khajuraho. Travel to khajuraho. tour to khajuraho
Boulevards of Khajuraho

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 cannot 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

IMG_3579 copySince 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. The temples of Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty. There were originally over 85 temples which were constructed.About 25 temples are said to exist now.

Western Temples of Khajuraho
Western Temples of Khajuraho

The western temple compound consist of 6 temples; the temple of Lord Vishnu is considered the main temple. We learnt about different theories of  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.

Khajuraho Temples
Khajuraho Temples

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 always recommends its client  to do the Sound and Light show after guided sightseeing of the temples so it is easy to keep up with the story .

IMG_3635The 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. We visited the Eastern Temples during our ride, which were not half as exciting as the Western Temples.  We skipped the Southern Temples entirely! But the experience of cycling on the boulevard was just fantastic.

Cycling in Khajuraho
Cycling in Khajuraho

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.

South India Temple excursion – an enchanting experience for lifetime

Owing to the spellbinding natural beauty and picturesque architectural and cultural marvels, the peninsular region of South India has been grabbing eyeballs of tourists since ages. Bordered by seas and ocean on three sides, South India is home to some of the most scenic beaches in the world. Aromas of spices and coffee plantation, exhilarating wildlife sanctuaries, pristine backwater beauty, are unarguably the hallmarks of the majestic South Indian peninsular region. But, above them all, the entities that distinguish the region from the rest of the world are its splendid temples and sumptuous cultural sites. For those who have religiously oriented and have an eagerness to explore traditional Indian architectural styles and culture, Temple Tour of South India has lot to offer to them.

Southern region of the country is dotted with myriad of exquisite temples which are popular world-over for their architectural grandeur and festivities. Whether it’s in terms of reverence, or architectural glory, temples of South India ranks among the best across the globe. While the hallowed land is filled with plethora of temples and shrines, there are some that should be enlisted in your itineraries to South India. These must-visit temples include:

Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram: Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, Shore Temple has been the prime attraction for tourists. Listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, it’s a structural splendour built way back in 8th century. The temple includes an assortment of three shrines, two dedicated to Lord Shiva and one to Lord Vishnu.

The Five Rathas in Mahabalipuram: The Five Rathas is actually a collection of five monolithic temples, each built in a distinct style. It’s also knows as Panch Pandavas Rathas – and four out of the five temples are supposed to have been carved out of the same rock.

Meenakshi Temple in Madurai: Erected almost around 2000 years ago, Meenakshi Temple epitomizes the Dravidian architecture and art. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is known as Sundareswara or Beautiful Lord, and to his consort, Parvathi, also known as Meenakshi. It contains as many as 14 wonderful Gopurams, or towers, including two Gopurams for the main deities.

Kapleshwar Temple in Chennai: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapleshwar Temple stands among the masterpieces of Dravidian architectural style. It also houses sixty three Saivite saint idols impeccably carved in Bronze. Constructed way back in the 8th century, it attracts thousands of pilgrimages and sannadhis every year.

Sri Parthsarthy Temple in Chennai: Located at Triplicane, Chennai, Sri Parthsarthy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In fact, it is one among the 108 divyadesams, or holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. Built by the Pallavan king Narasimhvarman I in the 8th century, the temple houses idols of four of Lord Vishnu’s ten avatars.

Brihadeeshwar Temple: Situated at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, Brihadeeshwar Temple is the world’s first complete granite temple. Listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as a part of “Great Living Chola Temples”, it exemplifies the great heights achieved by Cholas in architectural skills and capabilities. It stands as the one of the India’s most-prized historical site.

The temples of South India has long been venerated by architecture mavens as well as devotees around the world. They portray the most prosperous period of Hindu Dynasties and religion. Shikhar Travels offers you the opportunity to be vis-a-vis with these magnificent temples and experience the Indian culture to its best.

 

Blind School visit to A Village Retreat – AVR stretches a friendly hand to underprivileged children

Shikhar Group, as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, organized an interactive session with the Blind school students at A Village Retreat in Gurgaon. During the session, the students shared their interests, likes and dislikes, ideas, and everything they’ve gathered in their short yet hard-fought life. We tried to offer them an environment where they can enjoy and learn at the same time.

 

This is the second consecutive year that the Blind school students/teachers came to A Village Retreat.  Their visit initiated Shikhar’s Corporate Social Responsibly at A Village Retreat for this season. Seven groups of underprivileged students were hosted at A Village Retreat last season comprising of over 500 students.

 

39 student and 11 teachers from the Blind school were invited to A Village Retreat for a day picnic on 30 November 2010. The group arrived at about 12:00 pm and stayed until 4:00 pm.

 

Some of the games and activities which were organised for them were tug-a-war, throw ball, cricket with a bell ball, and dance on latest Bollywood tunes.  Further, the children enjoyed the swings at the resort. Some of the children and teachers also enjoyed activities at Shikhar Adventure Park. They participated in various activities of the obstacle courses.  All activities were overlooked by experienced and trained Shikhar staff,  and under the guidance of Blind School staff members.

 

On arrival the group were served snacks with cold drinks/tea/coffee; a sit down lunch was arranged for them. Followed by evening snacks with tea/coffee before departure. We owe to the society where we work, and we just keep on endeavoring to pay back in the form of our Corporate Social Responsibility drive.

http://avillageretreat.com/

Discover the Indian Cultural Heritage with Shikhar Travels Museum Tour

Indian civilization stands in the league of the oldest and the most venerated civilizations across the world. Various architectural sites, sumptuous palaces and forts, highly revered religious places, among others stand testimony to India’s opulent and grand culture. Along with these architectural and artistic grandeurs, Indian museums are the ones that spell out the captivating story of evolution of Indian civilization throughout these ages.

Although these museums are scattered in different cities of the country, Delhi museums are arguably the richest of them all. These could be a good option for those who’ve been looking for spending some quality time with their near and dear ones. If you think this could be a hassle in any way, then just leave it on us. We’ll make it an effortless and memorable journey for you. During the course of this touring you’ll visit following museums:

National Museum : Regarded as the country’s most prominent treasure house, it portrays India’s glorious past in its full gleam. It boasts of valuable collectibles from various ages of the Indian civilization. Its gilded collections contain 5000-year old relics of the Indus Valley civilization, exotic paintings and artworks, old manuscripts and mural paintings from Buddhist shrines in Central Asia. Established on August 15, 1949, the museum showcases antiques and historical memorabilia ranging from sculpture, carvings, paintings, jewelry, manuscripts, arts and crafts.

Rail Museum : Spread in the expanse of around 10 acres of land, this museum depicts the splendid 150-year old history of Indian Railways. There are various models of train, engines and coaches that are unique in the world, unmatched in splendor. It is also home to the model of India’s very first train, a steam engine that made its journey from Mumbai to Thane in 1853. Kids would love the ride of the toy train around this museum.

Doll Museum : It ranks amongst one of the most visited museums in India. Its assortment comprises of a whopping 6,000 types of dolls collected from 85 countries across the world. Each doll is resplendently dressed in costumes that represent the country or the region they come from.

To Explore more click below –
http://thedelhitours.com/museum_tour.php?id=8

Experience Galore with North India Cultural Expedition

Are you yearning for an excursion that can offer you the rare blend of lush greenery and cultural heritage sightseeing? If so, then just pack your bags and get geared to explore the culturally and ecologically opulent land of North India. It has all the ingredients to sweep you off your feet, and add great memorable moments to your souvenirs. While the entire region is simply filled with a number of imposing tourist attractions, there are some that shouldn’t be missed when you’re touring this wonderful part of the world. These are:

Ladakh: Popularly dubbed as ‘Little Tibet’ because of its close proximity to the scenic Tibet region, Ladakh ranks in India’s least populated regions. Nestled in the Himalayan ranges, the land has glistening lofty snow-capped peaks and plunging green valleys as its hallmarks. The stark mountain landscape, with its rocky ridges, glassy lakes, is studded with vivid gompas (Buddhist monasteries), palaces, villages, and seasonal plantations.

Agra: Agra is renowned world over for the Taj Mahal – the epitome of love. Thousands of tourists from all across the world flock in Agra every year to have a feel of classic Indian architecture and arts. It’s not just the Taj Mahal, but the city has several other historical places, such as Red Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, among other architectural landmarks that would spellbind you.

Delhi: The capital city of India, Delhi, can be labeled as cultural melting pot where diverse Indian cultures dwell together. It presents a perfect combination of modern and traditional lifestyles. You’ll find a slew of wonderful spots here, ranging from cultural sites like India Gate, Jama Masjid, and Red Fort, to towering malls and other contemporary architectural wonders.

To explore more click below –
http://shikhar.com/category.asp?CatID=13

A Rendezvous with Real Indian Village at Shikhar’s “A Village Retreat”

Our professional front has increasingly been encroaching upon our personal sphere, causing unnecessary stress and other psychological nuisances. In this situation, at times, we wonder if we can spend some quality time with our near and dear ones at some soothing place filled with equanimity and fresh air. When it comes to clean and refreshing environment along with serenity, there’s hardly anything that matches life in an Indian village. In a bid to offer tourists the same, Shikhar Travel proudly brings ‘A Village Retreat’(AVR) in Haryana’s Wazirpur Village for you.

Situated near Gurgaon, this is an ideal location for a village camping trip that offers a wholesome rural experience to backpackers. The Village Resort has been designed specifically to render adventurous experience to tourists. This is pretty much reflected in its accommodation settings as well as the activities that are undertaken at the AVR

Furthermore, its proximity to Gurgaon makes it a perfect destination for corporate conferences, off-sites, and other such activities. Besides, people who seek a break from their tedious professional life will find AVR a place of choice.

Additionally, the resort is perfect for educational tours, as students wouldn’t only have fun and frolic there, but would also have a close look at various aspects of Indian village life. Different adventure activities available in there would further add to the learning experience of students. It is also a magnificent getaway for tourists looking for a peaceful place near Delhi Airport, which is just a 30 minutes’ drive from AVR.

All in all, a marvellous destination for all those who have been wishing to explore and experience Indian village life. We have poured in all the efforts to make your experience as close to the real-world Indian village as possible. So, all you have to do is to hit the place and relish the experience of its own kind.

For details, please visit www.avillageretreat.com

Shikhar Travels Winter Bonanza – Time for a Memorable Sojourn in India

Planning for an ecstatic touring with friends this fall? How about a trip to Taj, and that too without burning a hole in your wallet? Yes…Shikhar Travels is all set to spice up your winter vacations with a bouquet of exciting offers and touring packages and the foremost of them all is a free trip to the majestic Taj Mahal for Facebook fans.

Shikhar Travels has decided to recognize and reward its Facebook fans with some fascinating tour packages and premium offers. There are hefty discounts, cool promotional offers, early bird discounts, for all those who actively engage with us on our Facebook fan page. Just participate in several exciting games and quiz contests on our Facebook page, and you could stand a chance to win huge discounts of up to 25 percent on domestic tours listed on our website http://www.thedelhitours.com. An enticing offer for all those who have been seeking to explore Indian cities in their full swing, isn’t it?

Not only this, you can also jazz up your New Year’s Eve at our A Village Retreat Resort at Wazirpur Village, Gurgoan . Our Facebook friends can avail heavy discounts of up to 25 percent on group bookings At A Village Retreat Resort around New Years.

If you’re a true vacationist and wishing to discover India in its complete form, then don’t stop, and become our “Fan of the Week” to enjoy even bigger benefits and exclusive discount offers.

“LIKE” the Shikhar’s fanpage today to make the most of this opportunity…
http://www.facebook.com/ShikharTravelsIndia

7 Best shopping spots in Delhi

Being a confluence of diverse Indian cultures and towering shopping malls, Delhi is a true paradise for shopaholics. From the captivating Indian handicrafts, flashy garment, and spicy Indian delicacies, to some of the highly sought-after gizmos, here you can have almost everything to satiate your itchy shopping urge. While the capital city is flooded with a slew of shopping spots, we have picked some of the best of them all. These must-visit shopping zones in Delhi include: 

Chandni Chowk – Situated just opposite to the Red Fort, was famous for fountains and swamped with shopping stores during the Mughal era. Over time, the fountains have disappeared but the shops are still there. Unlike any other market, Chandni Chowk doesn’t boast big showrooms, but the place is studded with innumerable small shops. It’s main attractions are Sadar Bazaar and Khari Baoli, which till date are counting among the largest wholesale markets in North India, along with Dariba Kalan, which is famous all across India for its perfumes and silver jewellery.

Connaught Place – Located at the heart of the capital, this is perhaps the most happening spot in Delhi. Popularly called CP, it is home to the underground Palika Baazar, where you can find all sorts of snazzy gadgets, cool apparels, and other accessories. CP is constructed in a circular shape with a lush green park situated at its centre. So, when you feel tired of carrying those bulky shopping bags, you can have a relaxing time there.

Dilli Haat – This is where you will discover the diverse Indian handicrafts, and variety of food items. Craftsmen from all over India come and exhibit their products here. The food stall’s at Delli Haat represent the different states of India and offer their traditional foods. It also holds festivals and fairs from time to time. All in all, a cool place to hang out with your friends.

Cottage Industry Handicraft Emporium – If you’ve been looking out to explore real Indian stuff, then Cottage Industry Handicraft Emporium is the spot for you. Situated at the junction of Tolstoy Road and Janpat this departmental store offers you Indian cottage industry goods and handicrafts.

Karol Bagh – If you have fad for jewellery and apparels, then a walk through Karol Bagh could be an unforgettable experience for you. The beauty of this crowded Delhi market is that the visitors have the choice to walk through big air-conditioned stores, or through the narrow alleys comprising of small.

South Extension – Designed specifically for the young audience, this happening place renders international shopping experience to visitors. Divided into two sections, namely South Extension I and South Extension II, the market is flanked with glittering showrooms and restaurants.

Nehru Place – Nehru Place in Delhi represents the face of Indian IT industry, where you can get all sorts of IT-related tools and software’s. You’ll perhaps be amazed to see a number of street hawkers selling hardware as well as software applications there. A must-visit for those looking for buying some IT stuffs at reasonable prices.

To know more: http://www.thedelhitours.com/

Enthralling Royal Train Tours in India

India ranks among some of those few nations where railways were introduced in as early as second half of the nineteenth century. India’s first passenger train ran between Bombay and Thane way back in 1853. History of Indian Railways has been phenomenal since then, and it is unarguably a Jewel in the nation’s crown. Of its wide array of services, Royal Train Tours have been grabbing backpackers’ attention the most. These train tours are simply captivating, and above all, they dish up the glimpse of diverse Indian culture in a very distinct way. The joy of Royal Train Tours gets multiplied when you have a credible touring partner in the guise of Shikhar Travels. Let us run you down through some of the most fascinating royal train tours in India:

Palace on Wheels and The Royal Orient – These two incredible train services take you through the majestic expanse of Rajasthan, Land of Sand dunes, Forts, Palaces, and Rich Art and Culture. Touted as one of the best luxury trains in the world, these trains are furnished with all the necessary things, from charming furniture to regal ambience, that would give you the royal feel. The seven day trip in these trains would give you the chance to explore royal forts, palaces, deserts, cuisines, and everything the soil of Rajasthan has to offer.
http://shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=106

Fairy Queen – For those who find it difficult to take out one whole week for train touring, a weekend tour on Fairy Queen could be the apt choice. Dubbed as the world’s oldest working locomotive across the world, this vintage train would take you to Sariska National Park. This would provide you a magnificent opportunity to experience the royal treatment as you travel through the royal land of Rajasthan.
http://shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=104

Deccan Odyssey – True to its name, this majestic train takes you through various exotic destinations in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Ganpatipule, Pune, Sindhudurg, Goa, and Ajanta and Ellora. It’s a wonderful luxury train that helps you explore multitude of bewitching places covering the vast expanse of Maharashtra.
http://shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=107

There are a couple of what can be called as Toy Trains that run through the hilly regions of India, mainly to transport people from plains to the laps of Himalayas. These trains run in various regions across India, including Northeast, Shivalik in the Northwest, and the western Ghats and Nilgiri in the South. Of all these trains, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway gauge is the most notable one. It has already been included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.
http://shikhar.com/category.asp?CatID=22

These imposing train tours have been among the most noteworthy part of Indian Tourism business so far. Tourists from all parts of the world come to India to enjoy these royal and adventurous rail rides. Don’t be left out on it, and savor the royal train sojourn with Shikhar Travels.

Shikhar Eco-Foundation drive – A step towards nurturing clean environment

Shikhar Eco Foundation has clubbed hands with the Forest Department, WWF India and the Agora village community to clean up Dodital Lake and trek route and discard the non-biodegradable litter left by the end of the tourist season before snowfall. Along the same line, we carried out an intense four-day expedition running from 7th to 11th November 2010. During this drive twenty-five sacks of non-biodegradable garbage was brought to Sangamchatti for recycling purposes. This is the first time concerted efforts to clean up the Dodital lake was carried out with such a vigor.

A team led by Rajbeer Rana, Senior Manager and Passang Sherpa, instructor adventure Department, Shikhar Travels with support from Dr Sanjeev Sharma, Senior Project Officer WWF India (Himachal Pradesh) and Man Singh Panwar, Kamal Singh, Suman and thirteen other village youths from Agora village cleaned the Dodital lake and trek route to dispose off the non-biodegradable litter. Twenty-five sacks full of non-biodegradable waste were brought on six mules hired for this purpose. Fifteen sacks were collected from around the Dodital lake, five from the camping site at Majhi and rest from Bebra and Agora village. The refuse included all sorts of non-biodegradable stuffs, like glass bottles, mineral water bottles, tin cans, polythene and Gutkha packets. The material has already sent to Sangamchatti where it will undergo recycling processes.

The best part of the entire exercise was the involvement of village community into it. This was made possible because of the efforts from Capt. Swadesh Kumar, who during the ATOAI meet in Dehradun two years back, advocated for the inclusion of a villager for encouraging Rural Tourism. Capt. Kumar, the CMD of Shikhar Travels, runs Shikhar Nature Resort at Uttarkashi. He chose Agora, the first Rural Tourism village in Uttarakhand to be funded by Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India for this initiative. However, he went a step further and laid the foundations of Shikar Eco-Foundation. Under this, we had already organized a two-day hospitality-training course for as many as twenty-one youths from Agora, and Of those twenty-one, eleven were lodge owners.

Incidentally, the purpose of Shikhar Eco-Foundation is multidimensional. In addition to keeping the environment clean and green, Capt Kumar also has vision for job creation in the tourism industry. In order to achieve the same, Shikhar Eco-Foundation is also working to ensure jobs for at least twenty youths from Agora before the next tourist season sets off.