4/24/08

Uttaranchal India Travel & Tourism

By: Gary



India - the land to travel to, a haven of tourism delights, a civilization to tour through. Tourists come to India for its wealth of sights, cultural enthusiasm and variety of topography and in search peace, mediation. India is where people live with variety, thrive on diversity and are too familiar with largeness to let it boggle them. Lurid luxury and limp living are inhabitants of the same lane. India holds virtually every kind of landscape imaginable. An abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises something for everyone.


Uttaranchal is one of the most famous and beautiful states of India. It is a newly born state. The beautiful state of Uttaranchal with bewitching beauty and natural splendor offers a gamut of activities for the tourists. The sacred abode of the Gods boasts of the ‘Chardham' namely Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath & Badrinath. These pilgrimages center have been visited by the devout from time immemorial. Haridwar, Nanakmata, Meetha-Reeta sahib, Piran Katiyar and Punyagiri are other places of religious interest. The scenery on the way to Nanda Devi and Kailash Mansarovar is simply breathtaking.


Haridwar is considered as the gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region, The Ganga leaves the mountains and enters the plains with Hardwar being the first major town on the plains. Being a country of the pious, India is dotted with pilgrimages. Great religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism have originated on the Indian soil. The unity in diversity is the keyword for the grand country. A char dham yatra - a visit to the holy sites at cardinal located a cardinal points in the country - is considered a necessity in a Hindu's life for the regeneration of the spirit. These points lie across the subcontinent


Uttaranchal is an adventure's delight what with a plethora of exciting and thrilling activities like trekking, skiing, river rafting, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, angling and aero sports. Pauri, Pithoragarh, Nandadevi, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kamet etc.. Are some of the hotspots where people with adventurous spirit can have unforgettable experiences? Spectacular views apart, the Himalayan foothills are just ideal for trekking, offering energetic out-door people a different and exciting option for a holiday The Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttaranchal are the most popular destinations for trekkers. The adventure season, which till recently, was confined to the summer months, now covers almost the entire year, including winter. This has been made possible by improved equipment and transportation, and the availability of year-round bookings in areas, hitherto, considered inaccessible. Moreover, winter treks are gaining popularity as a means of 'getting away' to relatively lower altitudes.


The rich and varies flora and fauna of the region have made it a great place to visit from the point of view wildlife Tourism. For the preservation of the gift nature has endowed Uttaranchal with some National Parks and sanctuary have been created. The Corbett National Park, Raja ji national park and Nanda Devi National Park, Govind wildlife sanctuary and Kedarnath sanctuary enable the visitors to have a glimpse of the exotic wildlife. Garhwal Himalayas - the land of beautiful flowers and rare animals, offers to us the opportunity to watch, free from our daily lives, the captivating behavior of its animal kingdom. The wildlife of India always fascinates nature lovers. The wildlife resorts and lodges in Indian wildlife have the answer to the big question when accommodation Part is decided whenever a tour is planned inside the wild world of India.


So with meticulous planning and methodical manner of development, Uttaranchal Tourism is marching ahead

India Travel Destination Tips

By: Ajith Kumar Guptha

Are you in search of a vacation spot where you can find a lot of tourist places? Well, if you are, perhaps it's time you visit India. Tourists from different countries flood India and the main reason is because it offers fascinating and attractive tourist places that is so rich in history, culture, heritage, peoples, and sightseeing. You will surely need some travel destination tips when you visit India in order to have the best vacation ever.


Some of the most popular travel destinations in India are here in this article. Make use of these travel destination tips to get the most out of your India travel.


The very first place that you need to visit is Rajasthan. This is India's largest state in the west. You can find stunning palaces, forts, and monuments. If you love deserts, this is the best place. Royal stays are welcomed in the converted resorts and hotels which were before havelis and palaces. Some of the spots you can visit are Amber fort, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Jaisalmer fort, camel fairs, and camel safari.


Next stop are pilgrimage tours. Many pilgrims take place in India as it is rich in cutlture and religions. Some of the pilgrim sites inlucde varanasi, haridwar, rishikesh, and amritsar golden temple. You can find architecture marvels that serve as a place for worship. If you like pilgrims, join one while you're in India.


The third is wildlife tours. You can find around eighty national parks and more than five hundred animal sanctuaries. Those individuals who like wildlife can visir Kanha and Bandhavgarh sanctuaries located in Madhya Pradesh, Ranthambore and Sariska found in Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh's Dudhwa and Corbett parks. You can enjoy the safari tours and trekking in the different wildlife destinations.


Yoga and Ayurvedic tours are also quite popular in India. You can have recreational holidays in India's ayurvedic hospitals, helath resorts, and colleges. In Kerala, you can find South India's ayurveda centers where you can spend some time to refresh your body.


For those individuals who love foods, festivals, religion, and culture, you can go to South India. Aside from that, you can also go sightseeing of India's temples. The most popular is Taj Mahal, and then there's also Jantar Mantar. Taj Mahal is also called the 'monument of love' and it can be found in Agra city. This temple was built by Emperor Shahjahan for Mumtaz Mahal, his wife. You can also visit carved temples, majestic forts, and other architectural wonders.


So there you have it, the greatest travel destinations that you can go while you're in India. You can surely create lasting memories there especially if you travel with your family or friends. Prepare for a grand vacation in India so that you too can visit the different tourist places there. It's one-time life experience that you shouldn't miss. Try saving some money now so that you can make your dream India trip come true.


These India travel destinations tips are very useful especially for first-time India visitors. You should prepare yourself before you actually go there so that you won't get lost and you know the right places to visit. Focus on the places that catch your interest so that you can make the most out of your time in India. Enjoy and relax because this is the time to savor the pleasures offered by such a very interesting place like India.

4/21/08

How to Travel Safely

By Travel Guru


No matter where you go or where your trip takes you there is and always will be a need for safety tips and rules. So to travel safely while on your city break you should use some if not all of the following tips:


Know Your Area
It doesn't matter if you are in Rome or Greece you need to have a good idea of the town's layout and important features. Some of the important places to know are where you are staying, where the local hospital is, where the police are located and at least one apothecary. Now this may seem hard, but if you have a map and mark them on it then find the center most location you have a start. Once you know what the center of town is find something unique or that will stand out, even a local business will work. Now that you know spot you chose and its local name you will be able to start back there time and time again, and by knowing which important item is in which direction you can get help when needed.


Keep Your Valuables Locked Up
Do not carry everything with you when you travel and what you do carry ensure it. Once you get to your destination many of the local banks and hotels have safety boxes you can rent and store your personal valuables in. You can also keep most of your belongings in your room as well, only place items that cannot be replaced in the safes.


Dress Accordingly
While you are out and about notice how others are dressed and try for the same casual look. Not only will you be able to blend in more and make targeting tourist harder but also you can experience the local country so much more.


Medical Needs
Keep all medicines with you at all times with extra locked away safely, have a list of instructions incase something does happen and make sure to have a list of phone numbers as well. By caring medicine in its prescribed bottle with you, if something happens the local doctor will already know some about you and how to treat you. Also having at the hotel helps to ensure you have a supply if you need it. When preparing for your trip you need to tell your doctor where you are going and for how long also that you want two bottles for your medicines one to carry and one to store.


Being safe and keeping safe while traveling in different countries is no different that when you are traveling to another state. By being prepared and paying attention to what is around you, you will find yourself having a better and healthier time abroad.

North India Travel & Tourism

By: Nitin Singh

If you want to see the majestic Himalayas, the incredible wildlife of India, and the sands, camels, forts and palaces of Rajasthan, then come for a trip to North India. If the colorful and vibrant culture of Gujarat or the golden wheat fields of Punjab lure you, then North India tourism is all waiting for you. If the history and architecture fascinates you, you can come to Delhi, Meerut, and Lucknow. If you want to go for the temple tours, then start from the holy city of Varanasi or the Vaishno Devi in Jammu. Our North India tourism takes you to all these places and more.

Be if for relaxation, adventure, or for pilgrimage, the North India tourism perfectly suites every need. On your North India tour discover the magnificence of the grand palaces, monuments and temples as you go about hearing their awesome historical tales by our expert guides and as you feast your eyes admiringly on the stunning architecture. North India tourism takes you to an unforgettable journey to the historical places to bring you face to face with the colorful and rich culture and heritage of India. For a taste of adventure in North India, our North India tour will also take you to the Himalayan wonderlands-Srinagar and Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

There is no limit to nature’s beauty and you will realize this once again as you come with us to explore the wild side of the northern part of the country, as a part of our North India tourism packages. Tourism in North India is now a flourishing industry as this is one of the most culturally rich parts of India. You can experience the joy of adventure in North India, in its rich forests or the majestic peaks of the Himalayan range. For the nature lovers, it is a treat to the eyes as every corner of North India, looks like picture postcards coming to life.

The North India tour also includes the most luxurious stay in the best hotels of the states and cities you visit. You will get to enjoy the best of the local cuisines where ever you go and this will only spice up your North India trip. Then there is also an option of staying in the best spa and ayurveda resorts in North India where you can learn the magical wonders of Ayurveda, Yoga and meditation in the solitude of hills and tranquil nature.

TSI India has the best deal offers for North India tour packages. So join with us for an unforgettable sojourn in North India and explore with us the unexplored splendors of the beautiful cities, states and villages here. Get to participate in the colorful festivals and fairs of North India and enjoy the folk cultural programmes of dance, music and various arts. We promise you to take you on a journey that will be worth every second of your visit and make your North India travel an affair to remember.

TSI India offers online information and booking of North India Tourism

India Travel and Tours: a Pleasant Experience of Lifetime

By: michaelbraganza

India is the land of diversity and its diversity can be seen in its culture, tradition, languages, geography, etc. And it is its diversity which makes it one of the most popular travel destinations of the world and makes different form other countries. There are a lot of options to do and see in the country which deserve the attentions of tourists for India tours and travel from all around the world. Unity in Diversity truly goes well with India. One cannot find such amazing diversities and paradoxes as India has. Where one can find perfect blend of tradition and modernity except India?

There are 29 states in India and every state has its own charm and something for every tourist. In whatever region or state of the country you will travel you will find unique tours and travel experience. Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, etc are some well-known states of India which play great role in the boom of India tourism. During your India Tour you will have wonderful opportunity to explore all these famous destinations which will surly to enable you to get mesmerized with various tourism options such as cultural tourism, wildlife tourism, adventure tourism, historical tourism, heritage tourism, green tourism, beach tourism, eco-tourism, etc.

It is said that a country is known for its civilization and India has a great civilization. The country is dotted with copious monuments which show the rich culture and history of the country. Visiting monuments on India tours gives you opportunity to see and observe rich culture and history of the country. You can see cultural heritages of the country while you will travel to Rajasthan as a part of incredible India tours. In whatever parts or regions of the Rajasthan you will travel you will find several magnificent monuments inviting tourists. Exploring Rajasthan gives you a mesmerizing cultural experience of India travel and tours.

India has home to globally known places. The Taj Mahal (one of seventh wonders of the world) is India’s star attraction. It plays a vital role to boost up India Tourism. Built in white marble it is perhaps the most beautiful monuments in the world. In fact, its beauty is beyond description. No one can describe it in few world or pages. Visiting the Taj Mahal provides true essence of incredible India. One cannot think about complete India travel and tours without paying a visit to Taj Mahal.

Rich flora and fauna, beautiful hill stations, Himalayan peaks, beautiful beaches, lush green landscapes, etc also grab the attention of tourists from all around world for India tours. There are several India tours and travel packages available which enable you to enjoy India tourism services in more and more convenient ways. One can customize India tour package according to one’s need and preferences. Customized India tour packages make you enable to fulfill all your desire according to your choices and preferences.

4/12/08

Global Vectra to focus on Religious Tourism



4/2/08

Ramzan Festival in Kerala

Dev Sri
Ramzan is one of the greatest feasts of Muslims of Kerala, India. It is observed in the ninth month of the lunar year. Since the festive is connected with the month of Ramadan, it is also called as Ramadan. Muslims, not only in Kerala but also in the whole world observe fasting in order to prepare for the great feast as part of purifying from the sins. The whole period is to be in prayers and spiritual worship. Muslims spend a good part of their time in Mosques studying the Quran during this time. Night prayers are also done in addition to the regular prayers daily.
Muslims keep themselves abstained from smoking, drinking, consume meat, sexual relationships etc. still there are excuses for ill people and children. Also they keep themselves to be good by controlling all bad habits since it is takes away all goodness of fasting. On the appearance of the crescent moon on the west, Ramadan ends and Id-Ul-Fitr or the feast of fast breaking is celebrated.

On this day, Muslims give alms, gives food to the needy and more. In the morning of the day, they freshen up themselves, wear new clothes and goes to the mosques to recite religious prayers. Imam or the religious leader leads the prayers sessions in the mosque at this morning. After the ceremonial functions, the people mingle up with their friends and relatives and wish all the goodness of the feast.

In Kerala, the members of the sister communities are invited to their homes to have fun and to participate in their great celebration. In some parts of Kerala, Muslim women wear ornaments and visit the houses of their dear and near ones.

4/1/08

The Complete Guide To: Rajasthan, India

The Complete Guide To: Rajasthan, India


A world of colour, splendour and spectacle awaits visitors to India's largest and most romantic state. Rhiannon Batten on a land of camels and cultural riches
Saturday, 29 March 2008

INDIA'S MOST ROMANTIC STATE?
If romance could be manufactured, Rajasthan would be a good place to locate a bottling plant. With its wild desert scenery, ancient sandcastle forts, pastel-coloured cities, dust-speckled light and its swathes of scarlet, fuschia and marigold textiles, India's largest state is sure to induce a bout of wanderlust.



Located in the north-west of India and covering an area roughly the same as Germany, Rajasthan is relatively easy to get to, and travel around. It offers outstanding value for money and, arguably, has the most tightly packed collection of cultural sights of any Indian state, thanks to the legacies of the Rajput warriors and Mughal emperors. Yes, it can be noisy, dirty, frenetic and with pockets of distressing poverty. But, for soft adventure and sheer spectacle, Rajasthan is hard to beat.



I'LL HEAD STRAIGHT THERE AND TAKE IT ALL IN, THEN
Hold your horses (or, more appropriately, camels). Even with several weeks to spend you can cover only a fraction of the state, so it's best to plan ahead to maximise your time on the ground.

The most popular Rajasthani trip is dubbed the "Golden Triangle" tour because of the richness of culture and history on offer en route. This starts in Delhi before veering south to the Taj Mahal and then west to Rajasthan's state capital, Jaipur.

This is known as the "pink city" because of its blush-coloured buildings. Jaipur's best-known sights include a 300-year-old observatory, the 18th-century City Palace (now home to a museum; open daily from 9.30am to 5pm, admission 180 rupees, or £2.30) and the spectacular fa├žade of the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds (open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm). Also close by is Amber, home to another ethereal palace-fort (open daily from 9am to 4.30pm).

A Golden Triangle tour is easy enough to organise independently, travelling between the three cities by train or bus, but if you don't have the time, or the patience, to deal with the necessary bureaucracy involved in buying tickets, plenty of package operators cover the route. Voyages Jules Verne (0845 166 7003; www.vjv.co.uk), for example, runs a nine-night Golden Triangle tour from £825, including flights, transport, guides and accommodation with breakfast.


More specialist holidays in this region include a 17-day trip to Jaipur from Cazenove + Loyd (020-7384 2332; www.cazenoveandloyd.com), which involves a day spent with a personal shopper. The price starts at £5,126, covering two nights in Delhi and three nights in Jaipur, including flights, transfers, accommodation and the shopping expedition.


I WANT TO VENTURE FURTHER AFIELD
Continuing in a south-west loop, the other great Rajasthani cities are Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. The first of those is the most romantic. Udaipur comprises a jumble of glittering cream-coloured buildings, surrounded by the Aravalli hills and dominated by Pichola Lake.
Here the top attractions are the city palace (open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm), the Jagdish temple and Jag Mandir island – whose palace is said to have inspired Shah Jahan to build the Taj Mahal. Udaipur is also known for its shopping – and for its role as a backdrop to the James Bond film, Octopussy. Half-hour boat rides on the lake cost around 130 rupees (£1.70), or 250 rupees (£3.20) including a stop at Jag Mandir island. The overall effect is less enticing when the lake's water levels are low; if you time your visit between October and March, you should find that the monsoon rains have topped up the water levels.


The Lake Palace Hotel (00 91 294 242 8800; www.tajhotels.com), marooned in the centre of the lake, is an iconic part of the city's landscape. The drama of arriving by boat has helped keep it popular with honeymooners and those backpackers thrifty enough to have saved up for a blowout dinner in its rooftop restaurant. Double rooms start at around 21,000 rupees (£270), room only. The nearby u o Oberoi Udaivilas (00 800 1234 0101; www.oberoihotels.com) is possibly even more luxurious and was recently voted the best hotel in the world by the readers of Travel & Leisure. Doubles here start at 29,500 rupees (£380), room only.


SOME MORE COLOUR?
Roughly 200km north-west of Udaipur, Jodhpur offers another option for colour-coordinated travellers; this time the city is tinged with indigo. There is only one main sight here, the majestic Meherangarh Fort, which sits high on a cliff top with spectacular views down over the city (open daily from 9am to 5pm).


To splash out for a night of splendour, check into Umaid Bhawan (00 91 291 251 0101; www.tajhotels.com). A more modern pile than many of Rajasthan's palace hotels, it was built in Art Deco style in the early-20th century as a job-creation scheme for the subjects of the local maharajah (the current incumbent still lives in part of the property). Only those on a princely budget need apply; doubles cost from around 33,000 rupees (£425), room only.


Jaisalmer is the most western city in Rajasthan, firmly ensconced in the Thar desert. It is known as the "Golden City" because of its fairy-tale architecture, and is more low-key than its rivals. This ancient walled city started out as a trading post on the spice route. Sadly the ancient infrastructure is slowly crumbling. Go soon if you want to catch Jaisalmer Fort in all its ramshackle glory; within its walls are several interesting Jain temples. The surrounding streets are lined with some of the state's most captivating traditional havelis – elaborately carved mansions.


To contribute to the preservation of the city's architectural and historical heritage, contribute to the British-based charity, Jaisalmer In Jeopardy (020-7352 4336; www.jaisalmer-in-jeopardy.org). The tailormade holiday firm Greaves Travel (020-7487 5687 www.greavesindia.com) sponsors the charity – and can put together intricate Jaisalmer itineraries. Typical eight-night tours take in Jodhpur and Rohet as well as four nights in Jaisalmer. You stay at Kila Bhawan, a traditional haveli. As well as general sightseeing and a sunset camel ride in the sand dunes, you get a guided tour of Jaisalmer In Jeopardy's restoration projects. Prices start from £1,799, including flights, bed and breakfast accommodation, private transfers, sightseeing excursions, private guides and a £20 donation to the charity.


WHERE NEXT?
To complete the classic Rajasthan loop, stop in Bikaner on the way back to Delhi. Though it doesn't have the atmosphere of the better-known cities of Rajasthan, there are enough forts, palaces, temples and havelis here to justify more than just a pitstop. One of the most impressive sights is the 16th-century Junargarh Fort; open daily from 10am to 4.30pm; admission 100 rupees (£1.30)


A more off-beat attraction, however, is the Karni Mata, in Deshnok, 30km south of the city (open daily from 6am to 10pm; entrance free). Dubbed the Rat Palace, this 17th-century temple is not for the squeamish. Devotees believe that rats are reincarnated souls and it is considered auspicious to let the long-tailed hordes that live here scramble over your feet.

Indus Tours' 18-day Rural and Regal Rajasthan trips include Bikaner, as well as Delhi, Samode, Mandawa, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Rohet, Udaipur, Deogarh, Jaipur and Agra. Prices start at £1,736, including flights, accommodation, transport and sightseeing (020-8901 7320; http://www.industours.co.uk/).


CAN I HAVE A DESERT ADVENTURE?
Head to Osian, outside Jodhpur. Known for its Jain and Hindu temples, this is also home to the luxurious Camel Camp. Guests can visit the temples or try a camel ride through the dunes during the day and in the evening swap tales around the campfire and sleep in chic en-suite tents. Two-day trips start from 8,400 rupees (£109) for two, including full-board accommodation, a camel safari and evening entertainment (00 91 291 243 7023; http://www.camelcamposian.com/).


A night at the Camel Camp is also included in Audley Travel's 14-day Rajasthan Uncovered itinerary, which runs from Delhi to Udaipur via Samode Palace, bustling Bikaner, Jaisalmer and the romantic hilltop fort of Kumbalgarh. Prices start at £2,300, including flights, bed & breakfast accommodation, sightseeing and private transfers (01993 838300; http://www.audleytravel.com/).


For a more in-depth desert adventure, tour operator Cazenove + Loyd (020-7384 2332; www.cazenoveandloyd.com) runs trips on Marwari horses between Jodhpur and Udaipur, through the Aravelli Hills. Staying in heritage properties en route, the trips cover villages, temples, lakes, forts and farms with three hours each day in the saddle. Nine-night tours cost from £2,948, with mostly full-board accommodation, guides, horses, transfers and flights.

Or try the 16-day Desert Romance tour from TransIndus (020-8566 2729; www.transindus.co.uk). This covers Bikaner, Jaisalmer, an Osian camel safari, Jodhpur and remote Rajasthani villages before finishing up at the Gujarat city of Ahmedabad. Prices start at £2,292, including flights, accommodation, some meals, transport and sightseeing.


I'VE GOT THE HUMP
The most celebrated dromedarian event in Rajasthan is the colourful annual camel fair at Pushkar, set roughly halfway between Jaipur and Jodhpur. The market takes place each November (this year from 5 to 13 November), when upwards of 150,000 visitors descend on this otherwise sleepy lakeside city to enjoy a spot of camel racing and watch herders trade their stock.


Worldwide Expeditions (020-8545 9030; www.worldexpeditions.co.uk) runs 16-day small-group Pushkar Camel Fair tours, also taking in Delhi, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra and a camel safari en route. Prices start from £1,290, including accommodation, most meals, transport, guides and sightseeing but not flights.


STEER ME OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Though hardly undiscovered, the Shekhawati area, west of Jaipur, is one of the more offbeat parts of Rajasthan. Home to the usual mix of temples and forts, it is best known for its distinctive muralled havelis. Many are now dilapidated but others have been restored and opened as museums, helping to gain the region the slogan of the "world's largest open-air gallery".

To see inside the havelis, often a solitary caretaker will let you look around their otherwise deserted charge in exchange for a few rupees. For a less gung-ho take on these old buildings, guided tours can be arranged through Ramesh Jangid – contactable through his environmentally thoughtful resort, Apani Dhani (00 91 159 422 2239; www.apanidhani.com).
Ramesh is the co-founder of the Friends of Shekhawati, which campaigns to preserve the region's architectural heritage. Prices start at 350 rupees (£4.50) for a two-to-three-hour walking tour of Nawalgarh. This is a market town that's home to several havelis, including one that's run specifically as a museum.


To explore more of the surroundings, stay at Apani Dhani; accommodation here is in mud-walled huts and features solar power, compost toilets and organic food. Rates start from 400 rupees (£5.20) including breakfast.


If mud huts don't appeal, but you want to veer away from the usual tourist circuit, Cox & Kings (020-7873 5000; www.coxandkings.co.uk) runs a Hidden Rajasthan trip. The 11-night journey starts in Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, and covers much of the south-western corner of Rajasthan, including Mount Abu, Deogarh, Rohet and Samode. Prices start at £1,845, including flights, accommodation, some meals and sightseeing.


A TASTE OF LOCAL CULTURE?
To mix shopping with sightseeing, Meet The People Tours (0191 265 1110; www.skedaddle.co.uk/meetthepeople) runs an excellent western India itinerary that takes in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It combines visits to Traidcraft suppliers and cultural tours. The 16-day trip costs from £1,295, including accommodation, transport and excursions but not international flights. Explore (0844 499 0901; www.explore. co.uk) has a 17-day Village India trip that starts in Delhi, ends in Ahmedabad and stops off at various Rajasthani villages along the way. Prices start from £1,659, including flights, accommodation, transport and some meals.


Alternative trips are run by the Scandinavian Basecamp Explorer company (00 46 8 5452 3750; www.basecampexplorer.com), which has a base in Chandelao, Rajasthan, and tries to encourage tourists to "meet authentic, strong, inspiring cultures". Prices start at Skr10,500 (£833) for a 10-day trip, including sightseeing in Udaipur, Jaipur, Amber, Agra and Delhi, an elephant ride and excursions to villages around Chandelao. This includes accommodation, transport and some meals but not international flights.


WHERE CAN I SLEEP LIKE A PRINCE OR PRINCESS?
Sign up for a Boutique Rajasthan trip with Ampersand Travel (020-7289 6100; www.ampersandtravel.com). These two-week excursions give plenty of time for sightseeing in Delhi, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Accommodation consists of some of the state's most interesting palace hotels and haveli guesthouses. Prices start at £1,596, including flights, transport, accommodation, private guides and sightseeing.

It's easy enough to set up your own itinerary, though. Good websites for tracking down interesting places to stay include www.i-escape.com, www.mahoutuk.com and http://www.sawdays.co.uk/.


HOW DO I GET THERE?
Delhi is the most obvious gateway airport to Rajasthan. Air India (020-8560 9996; www.airindia.com), British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com), Jet Airways (0808 101 1199; www.jetairways.com) and Virgin Atlantic (0870 380 2007; www.virgin-atlantic.com) fly non-stop from London.


For departures from other airports, try airlines from the Gulf such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. Discount agents such as Southall Travel (0870 010 9003; www.southalltravel.co.uk) often offer competitive fares, especially if you're flying from regional airports in the UK.


...AND GET AROUND?
You have Indian Railways, at your disposal. As a guide, trains from Delhi to Udaipur take around 15 hours, and from Delhi to Jaipur around five hours. Fares range from low to extremely low. But don't expect to be able just to turn up at the station and hop on. For a useful guide, see www.seat61.com. Buses supplement the rail network, but are not advised for long journeys.

Some travellers prefer to hire a car with a driver, especially if there are a few of you travelling. If you book through a local agency, count on paying around £25 per day.


WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
The Rough Guide to Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra (£14.99) was published last September, and Lonely Planet's updated Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra (£14.99) will be published in August. India Tourism: 020-7437 3677; http://www.incredibleindia.org/.

ON TRACK FOR A LUXURY TOUR
The Palace On Wheels operates a bit like a terrestrial cruise ship: you sightsee during the day and come back to the train to sleep as it goes on to your next destination.
The 16-day Palace On Wheels trip is organised by Great Rail Journeys (01904 521936; www.greatrail.com). It covers most of the classic sights in Rajasthan, as well as a detour to Shimla on a "toy train". The prices start at £2,695, including flights, accommodation, most meals, transport and sightseeing.

Where the wild things are: Top nature tours
Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur is a must-see for twitchers. It can be easily accessed on a nine-day Bharatpur and Chambal bird-watching trip with Naturetrek (01962 733 051; www.naturetrek.co.uk). The trip, which also covers Agra and the romantic ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, costs from £1,295, including flights, transport, accommodation and most meals.

Nearby, Ranthambore National Park is another excellent location for seeing tigers in the wild. A century ago, there were thought to be as many as 40,000 tigers in the Indian sub-continent, but some estimates now put the current figure as low as 2,000. Due to demand from the Far East for use in traditional medicine, poaching is a continued threat, but conservationists still believe that tourism can help stem the reduction of tiger populations by providing alternative sources of income for local people.

The adventure specialists Exodus (0845 863 9600; www.exodus.co.uk) run 16-day Land of the Tiger tours, which takes in Ranthambore as well as Kanha and Bandhavgarh (both in Madhya Pradesh), plus the Bharatpur bird sanctuary. The price of £1,699 includes flights, transport, guides and accommodation with

Sprit of India Attracts Tourists


From Korea Times


Bibi ka Maqbara
Built by Prince Azam Shah in 1678 in Aurangabad, India, Bibi ka Maqbara is a son's loving tribute to the memory of his mother, Begum Rabia Durrani, the queen of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The white-marbled monument was made to rival the world famous Taj Mahal of Agra. / Korea Times Photo by Kang Shin-who

By Kang Shin-who
Korea Times Correspondent

India ¯ Four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated from India with a number of great minds, philosophers and religious leaders.

Bounded by the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Indian Ocean to the south and by the Arabian Sea to the west, the country was also home to the Indus Valley Civilization.

Over its long history, the country has been influenced by other religions and culture forming a multicultural society. This backdrop enables the country to have 27 world heritages recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). India is the most appealing country to those who are seeking a spiritual world for meditation and introspection.

India is the world's seventh largest country and is estimated to have a population of 1.12 billion, ranking it as the second most populous country.

Among three cities to be introduced on this page, Mumbai is the largest city and financial capital of India, Aurangabad is a historic city surrounded by many world heritages and Goa is a tourist hub with its picturesque beaches and beautiful villages.

kswho@koreatimes.co.kr

MUMBAI

Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is a modern commercial city. With an estimated population of thirteen million, it is capital of Maharashtra and has a deep natural harbor dealing with more than half of India's seagoing passenger traffic. The city also houses India's Hindi language film center, the so-called ``Bollywood.''











AURANGABAD

Located in Maharashtra, Aurangabad was named after the 6th Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who was sent here as the governor of Deccan. The city has many historic sites in and around it including Bibi ka Maqbara (a replica of the Taj Mahal), Aurangabad Caves, Ghrishneshwar Temple, Khultabad Ford and Daulatabad Fort. It is also an important stopover on the way to the World heritage, Ellora and Ajanta caves.






GOA



Influenced by Portuguese culture, Goa is a perfectly harmonious place where all religious people mingle peacefully. Some 4 million live there and mining is the city's first industry. Also Goa is a hub for tourism.

About 50 percent of the residents are Hindu, 40 percent are Christian and the rest are other religions. A lot of religious festivals take place here that welcome people of all faiths. Some say the many beautiful beaches make Goans generous and peaceful so there are no fights or conflicts there. The best season for tourists is between October and March.



Kerala Tour Packages

Dev Sri

If you like to visit God's own Country, you can choose from Kerala tour packages that offer different options to enjoy Kerala. Kerala tour packages are packed in different flavors, and there is plenty of choice in the form of Ayurveda treatment package, sight seeing package, backwater tourism package, eco-tourism package, adventure tour package, forest, wildlife and trekking package etc. There is always a choice for every need of tourists.

There is Kerala houseboat journey through the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. There is ecotourism Kerala and adventure biking in the natural environment of Thenmala. You can relish an ayurvedic massage in an ayurvedic treatment center of Kerala. Kerala tour package can also include enjoying the various temple festivals of Kerala, each one a treat of colors. UNESCO recognized Koodiyattam, an ancient temple art of Kerala as a Human Heritage Art. There is rich variety of dance forms yet to surface before the world.
If you like, you can choose a Kerala tour package that will get you closer to the traditional methods of treating diseases with a single herb (Ottamooli). Travel Kerala for a first hand knowledge of the variety and excitement of Kerala.

If possible don't choose the Kerala tour package that shows you only the beaches of Kerala and the interiors of a Five-star hotel. To have at least a glimpse at the rich diversity and life of Kerala, you need to choose a package that includes some walking and sweating.

The AC suits in Kerala hotels or a flight over the land can't give you a feel of the rich diversity of this land. Kerala tour packages are not very costly. Choose a Kerala tour package that will expose you to the rich diversity in culture, food, costumes, local customs, weddings, lifestyles, mode of transportation, landscapes, temples, festivals, pilgrim centers, ayurvedic treatment centers… the list is simply endless.

Touring Kerala is not just air-journey and 5-star stay. You can choose Kerala tour package of your choice. Choose the Kerala tour package that exposes you have a pulse of this wonderland.

Kumarakom Houseboats

Dev Sri
Kumarakom, 12km from Kottayam Kerala India is a major backwater destination. It lies between Western Ghats and Arabian Sea and is considered as the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad.

Kumarakom is blessed with the beauties of Mangrove forest, bright green paddy fields, coconut palms and a network of waterways. The climate is always normal with fresh and cool atmosphere. Kettuvallams, the traditional boats of Kerala offer the trip through backwaters. The modern Kettuvallams are with all amenities inside. They displays traditional designs, most of them are with solar lighting system, chemical toilets and with engines outside. Decorated interiors, luxurious bedrooms living rooms, kitchen, indoor game facility, balcony with deck chairs are some of the other facilities in the houseboats.

Chinese fishing nets, the beautiful array of palm trees are the promised sights during the travel in thatched houseboats. Different types of boat services are available for surfing.

One can enjoy other facilities in the resort – swimming pool, health clubs, internet connectivity, Ayurvedic resort, children's park and limitless supply of mineral water. Sight seeing trips to kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Pathiramanal, Alleppey and the Agricultural Farm can be done. It is an excellent place for bird watchers. Kumarakom has already become an international tourist destination.

To get there:By Air: Cochin International airport (76km), Thiruvananthapuram (171km)By Rail: Kottayam (16km)By road: Kottayam (14km)


About the Author:
Dev Sri provides Kerala tour and travel information through The Kerala Tourism website. Check out the website to find cool places, genuine Ayurvedic centers and Kerala travel packages.

How to Choose a Travel Agency

By Vimal Kumar

Travel is one of the most popular activities and there are a large number of tour packages to choose from. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to ensure that you have chosen the best travel package. The problem is no so big and can be avoided by simply taking the services of a good, reliable travel agency or travel agent. But, how to make sure that the travel agency you have chosen is good enough? Don't worry; all you have to do is a little homework before going for a particular travel agency. The travel and tourism industry is on its peak right now and therefore, the market is full of travel agents. Almost, all come with attractive tour packages and offers for the customers. The increasing usage of Internet allows people to know more about different travel agencies and their packages.

A good travel agency can provide you with a wide range of services. An important aspect that makes an agency a good one is their communication and support skill. A professional travel agency will have the ability to explain various choices in detail and if required or help the customer through a problem. Before choosing any travel agency one should look for its "Registration" and enquire whether the government recognizes it. The agents working for the agency must have proper license to do the job. However, registration does not guarantees professionalism or good service, but it only ensures you that the travel agency is not a fraud.
A travel agency is of great help to you in planning out your vacations. Travel is usually split into two parts – business or corporate travel, and leisure or personal travel. Even though, travel agencies will be delighted to serve you all types of travel, but most of them are likely to be stronger in either business travels or leisure travel services. Ask the travel agency about their specialty. If your need is 'leisure' then go for the one more focused into arranging personal or leisure trips. Try to find a specialist if you have special rather than general needs.

One more interesting way of knowing the goodwill of a travel agency is to carry out the acid test, i.e. ask the people what they think about the agency and its services. Ask the agency for a list of its customers and clients, and contact them to know about their opinion about the travel agency.

A tourist is munificent if he is attended well. Every travel agency or guide must behave as a representative of the destination because it is through him the tourist gathers impressions and information of that particular place and country. Ask your travel agency if they take care that all the facilities provided to the traveler are comfortable enough? Do they arrange hygienic food that is reasonably priced, offer neat and clean affordable lodging etc.?

These days a travel agency offers a lot of value-added services to tourists to make their vacation a memorable and luxurious one. A travel agent arranges escorted tours, discounts in hotel booking, incentive travel, and so on. A travel agency also arranges transport, hotel accommodation, and car rentals for their clients. They are also the primary source of booking for most cruise liners. Travel agencies know about weather conditions, customs and local ordinances, attractions, and so on. For international travelers, they provide necessary information on custom rules, essential papers like passports, visas, and currency exchange rates. Also, if there is any change in the itinerary in the middle of the journey, then the travel agents make alternate arrangements for the client. Find out if your travel agency offers these services at competitive prices?

Traveling can be of great fun if you take a little care and choose a good travel agency. Do meticulous planning and enjoy a pleasant vacation.

About the Author:
Article written by Mr. Vimal Kumar, owner of Nitin International, – Travel Agency India. Nitin International (a travel agent based in Delhi, Gurgaon) also offers online airline ticket booking and online railway ticket reservation services.

Pushkar Travel: Explore the Exotic Locations of Pushkar

rajendra sharma

Tired of your monotonous life? Or looking for some succor and solace? Then this could be your much awaited opportunity to have a vacation. Plan your trip with Pushkar travel to the authentic land of Rajasthan, the city of Pushkar. This is a real pleasure hub of culture, heritage and serenity. Indulge and plunge in this beautiful city that is best described as home of Gods. Pushkar promises to offer you the most unforgettable experience of soaking under the blue skies and bright sun that shines throughout the year. Respire in the high desert air filled with an aroma of sage that can be best described as balmy. With all this you are left with no other option but to comprehend why Pushkar is an amazing destination with no substitute on earth.

A vivacious blooming city with most hopeful prospects and rich legend, Pushkar is a city that India is proud of. Pushkar bills on several extraordinary accomplishments to boast itself as one of the most visited tourist location. The city is a perfect place for those who seek solace in tranquility but for vacationers with a checklist of cities and sights to see. This holy city is basically a house to amusing attractions, beautiful scenic locations and cordial environment. However, many a time an unplanned trip can be chore instead of serving you the comfort and leisure. To escape yourself from this mismanaged chore, customize your trip with Pushkar travel that has everything to offer you a pleasurable experience. The range of hotels and resorts offered are suitably designed to provide a luxurious stay. Every room is well equipped with a mini bar, television with satellite, Internet facility, telephone services and almost everything that one may ask for. Indeed, if you wish to have a soothing trouble free vacation for you and your family Pushkar travel is the most suitable option for you.
Start your day with a visit to the famous Bramha temple. In fact this is the only temple of Bramha in entire India. This architectural site is magnificent and definitely worth a visit. The floor is has studded coins and has a sanctum. Another added attraction is its lakes that serve the most mesmerizing serenity to the visitors wandering for some solace. And this is not all; Pushkar gets to see hundreds of visitors every month due to its long series of events, fairs and festivals. You can gather all the information about such events and occasions by contacting Pushkar travel. They will not only provide you with the detailed calendar but also organize the best possible way to witness these delightful affairs.

As soon as you start your trip with Pushkar travel, you will get the assurance of having a perfect holiday. No vacation can come to end without a handful collection of souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones. The traditional dresses and accessories are enticing enough to grab your attention. The ethnic antique jewelry and world famous art of tie and dye prints on clothes are best materialistic things you can carry to your home other than the beautiful memories.

About the Author:
Rajendra Sharma is a renowned travelogue and has been dealing with travel guides. If you want to know more about Pushkar travel, Pushkar temple, Pushkar hotels, Hotels in Jaipur, Trip to rajasthan,Pushkar festivals, Pushkar camel fair, Fair tour Rajasthan and Pushkar Travel India, you can visit http://www.pushkarresorts.com/

10 Reasons Why India Must Figure in Your List of Holiday Destinations

Vasantha
is a country that is rich in its culture, heritage, monuments, architecture, temples, churches and gurudwaras. India also has plenty of holiday spots.

1. Come to Rishikesh for indulging in adventure sports such as river rafting, climbing, paragliding, mountaineering, skiing and camping. The cool houseboats in Kashmir and the landscape is a treat for visitors during summer.

2. Rishikesh is a haven for those with a spiritual quest. India the land that gave birth to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism has much to offer to the seekers of spiritual enlightenment at the ancient pilgrimage centers spread across India. The temples in India are perfect for those seeking peace of mind. Vaishnodevi temple in Jammu to the Jewish Synagogue at Cochin and the Buddhist stupa of Sanchi and the ruins of Hampi are important pilgrimage centers.

3. Come and be visually treated by the ancient paintings in Ajanta and Ellora caves and the sculptures of the temples of Khajuraho and Konark.

4. If you are a history enthusiast, you have numerous monuments as well as ruins of great monuments, temples, forts and architecture. India is a haven for historians and historical research students.

5. Beach lovers can have a really fantastic holiday experience at the beaches of Goa. The beaches at Chennai and many others dotting the coasts of south India are spectacular.

6. The hill stations like Ooty, Simla and Darjeeling are perfect places for relaxation and rejuvenation. Breathe the fresh air with the fragrance of the rare and vibrant botanical gardens or soak in the therapeutic air filled with herbal flavor.

7. India's landscape is rich in sun bathed beaches, colorful and enchanting flora and fauna hills and valleys with wildlife are a true treat to any admirer of nature. Visit India this summer to see the country at its spectacular best.

8. If you are a health freak, you must not miss the Ayurvedic and modern healthcare and the scenic beauty of Kerala tourism. Bangalore and Chennai have the best worldclass multi specialty hospitals. The houseboats, boat rides in the lakes and rejuvenating massages help you to unwind and distress.

9. India has a number of National parks and wildlife sanctuaries and bird sanctuaries. It is a fascinating experience for tourists from all parts of the world.

10. There is an endless variety of Arts and crafts, folk arts, tribal and traditional arts to enjoy and take home. Shoppers will be pleasantly surprised at the unique and captivating pieces of Indian artifacts.

About the Author:
Vasantha' many interests include travel, self-improvement, alternative therapies, internet enterpreneurship. Visit http://holidayresortsblog.com/

Onam :Festival of Kerala

Dev Sri
National festival of Kerala, onam is the most important annual event for every Malayalees. Onam is celebrated on the 'Thiruvonam' day of Malayalam month 'Chingam', to mark the visit of Mahabali (also called Maveli) to his land. All people irrespective of religious beliefs or color difference celebrate this festival. The national festival of Kerala coincides with the harvesting season of Kerala. The atmosphere also seems to join the celebration, with the blooming of a variety of flowers and sighting of a lot of butterflies, and songs of birds.

Onam Festival
Onam is a ten-day long festival, starting with Atham day or Chingam month. From Atham, the courtyards of houses, clubs, offices, will be decorated with special floral decorations called Athappoo or onappookalam. The schools of Kerala will be closed for ten days, and children play in swings, go to collect wild flowers to make 'athappoo', dance, sing, visit their relatives. The elders also gift their children with new clothes, ornaments. It is time for gathering of all the members of a family.

Kerala Carnival
Onam is also the carnival season of Kerala, people actively engaging in a variety of activities like boat racing, pulikali (dressing up like tigers or leopards on two feet), ball games, playing marbles, playing dramas and the list of activities is endless. Women also engage in dancing, singing etc. There will be also dance performances of Mohiniyattom, kathakali, etc. and martial arts performance of Kalaripayattu.

Onam Feast
The main attraction of 'thiruvonam' day is a special onam feast, locally called onam sadya or onasadya, which is serving of rice with atleast 15 side dishes on banana leaves. Onasadya will be there in each and every home in Kerala. There is also some dress code to eat the onasadya. Men wear white dhotis with shirt and women white or ivory colored saree and blouse with borders embroidered with golden threads, called kasavu. Children will get a yellow piece of cloth called onakkohdi or manjakkohdi.

Onam shoppingThe main shopping item dress and dress materials. Everyone will buy clothes for themselves and as gifts for their loved ones. Onam festival is the biggest shopping season. Over 90% of sale of handicrafts, artifacts are during this season. Electronics, textile items get about 50% of the annual sales in onam season.

The legend of Onam
The legend behind onam has deep roots in the minds of all Malayalees. Onam myth goes like this. Mahabali was a righteous 'Asura' king. The land got prospered and there was peace everywhere in the kingdom. A kingdom was even better than the heavens with no theft, lies or aggression, so that the gods of heaven got jealous of the able king, Mahabali. Maveli was trapped in a well-plotted drama by Lord Vishnu, and was sent to the netherworld (Patalam). Unlike his ancestors, Maveli did nothing wrong or sinful; he was allowed to visit his people once in a year, that is on Thiruvonam day of Chingam month.

Pronounce onam correctlyThe 'n' in the word onam is pronounced like the n in money and honey. (O+ n ^m) It rhymes with the sound of a bell.

Kerala Boat Race

Dev Sri

Kerala Boat Race is a festival occasion at rivers and backwaters of Kerala. Boat races Kerala are characterized by color, sweat, high-pitched folk music, excitement and teamwork. A typical snake boat team has 115 to 125 members. There will be 10 to 14 such teams competing. There are several snake boat race events, among them Nehru Trophy Boat race, is the most spectacular one. This annual boat-racing event at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha district of Kerala was started in 1952 to commemorate the visit of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

He donated a trophy, which is a replica of a snake-boat in silver with the words of Nehru: "To the winner of the boat-race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore-Cochin".
The construction of snake boats is also an engineering marvel. The 'Asari' (carpenter) makes the gigantic boat from a huge tree called 'anjili' in Malayalam, which resembles a huge oak tree, characterized for its strength and resistance to rot. During the time of Rajahs (Kings) these snake boats were the vehicles of aggression and defense. Asaris kept the architecture of snake-boat building a secret. Even today, one has to go through many years of training to master the art of snake-boat construction. Scales are rarely used and it is a wonder that the intuition of an asary can produce such un-sinkable boats.

Kerala boat race is made a festival by almost all Malayalee people. Among the 115 or 125 team members, only 99 will row the boats, the rest are to enliven the stage with folk songs and music.
Kerala boat races are there in all parts of the state, but the most spectacular ones are seen in Alappuzha.

About the Author:
Dev Sri provides Kerala tour and travel information through The Kerala Tourism website. Check out the website to find cool places, genuine Ayurvedic centers and Kerala travel packages.