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Rajasthan” the city of colour”

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A tour through the coloured cities of Rajasthan, India, is an amazing spectacle of the wars, honour and extravagance of the Rajputs (now bewilderingly reduced to commoners). There’s Udaipur the white city, Jodhpur the blue city, Jaisalmer the golden city and jaipur the pink city

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Rajasthan’s beautiful Pink City Jaipur, was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. Known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city, Jaipur’s bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. Western Rajasthan itself forms a convenient circuit, in the heart of the Thar desert which has shaped its history, lifestyles and architecture.

Jodhpur, once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar, is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort, and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan; the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur.

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The name Jaisalmer evokes a vivid picture of sheer magic and brilliance of the desert. Legend has it that Rawal Jaisal laid the foundation of the city in 1156 AD. after consulting a local hermit by the name of Eesul. Tricuta was the hill chosen and Jaisal abandoned his old fort at Lodurva to establish this new capital.

Rajasthan- the land of royalty is a glittering jewel set in the golden sands of a barren deserts landscape. The light that reflects off the golden sands engulfs a land renowned for its vibrant colors, people in bright clothes and beautiful jewellery, living in cities dotted and dominated by towering forts and palace that rise from the sands like mirage.

The brightness of its life, the legends of its heroism and romance are all captured in the vibrant and evocative music of this desert land.The richness and diversity of Rajasthani music comes from its old and undisturbed tradition.Music which is rich evocative heroic plaintive and joyful governs all aspects of Rajasthani lives. The voices both male and female are strong and powerful. The numerous songs sang by the women reflect the various feminine moods and strong family ties that govern their lives.
Splendid moonsoon of Rajasthan call for special songs without which no celebration is complete.

Men and women of Rajasthan sing devotional as well as festive songs. Songs by the saint-poets like Kabir, Meera and Malookdas are part of the folk repertoire. They are sung all night during the raatjagas (all night soirees spent singing devotional songs) which are held as thanks giving to a particular deity. The resonant singing of the Rajasthani folk is accompanied by music from simple instruments like the Baara and Algoza, that usally give a beat or a drone to offset the poetry.
Fairs and festivals bring an even greater riot of colour and music into lives of these desert people .Holi the festival of colours,brings forth the joyous,lively rhythms of the change and dhamal songs Marriage ,childbirth ,the visit of the son-in-law, all call for song and music. Even children have their own special songs called the saanjhi and the Ghulda. Favorites that are sung at all times are the Panihari, Eendoni, the famous Kurjan Digipuri-ka-raja and the Rasiya songs of the Braj region.

Mysore the Sandalwood city of India.

 

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The name Mysore is often used to refer Mysore district, Mysore sub-district, Mysore city and in historic contest the Mysore kingdom that spanned most of the present day Karnataka state.

Mysore is one of the top tourism destinations in India. This city itself is a major attraction with numerous popular sites like the Mysore Palace, St. Philomena’s Church, Chamundi Hill, Mysore Zoo, Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Rail Museum and so on. There are close to 200 structures in the city with a heritage tag.
In  addition Mysore city serves is an ideal gateway/ base for exploring the numerous places around Mysore which are popular tourism destinations. For example the historic Srirangapatna, Somnathpur known for the Hoysala era temple, the Brindavan Gardens at KRS, the ancient Jain center of Shravanabelagola, Bandipur National Park, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the Tibetan center of Bylakuppe , the Coorg district etc are some of the attractions that can be easily accessed from Mysore city.

MYSORE, India — The most spectacular of the many palaces in this southern Indian city is the former Maharajah of Mysore’s home, built in 1911 to replace an all-wood building that had burned.

Some say it was inspired by Buckingham Palace, but the intricacies of its Hindu-Muslim detail far surpass the relative simplicity of Queen Elizabeth’s London home.

Mysore is a clean and orderly city of broad boulevards lined with shade trees, well-kept buildings and gardens and parks offering the aroma of jasmine and roses. The pace is leisurely, particularly when compared to the usual bustle associated with large Indian cities.

The city is known for its handicrafts, including magnificent wood carvings inlayed with sandalwood, teak and rosewood. Every well-dressed Indian woman dreams of wearing a Mysore silk sari.

A thriving cottage industry of sandalwood incense sticks, used throughout the country, gives Mysore its nickname of “Sandalwood City.”

If the visit to the Mysore palace has exhausted you or you would love to have a more romantic getaway, the Brindavan Gardens is the right place for you. These world famous gardens would be familiar to many viewers of Bollywood, Tollywood films where the hero and heroine would croon sweet nothings. Built in 1932 during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV on the terraces of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam its a meticoulosy planned garden. While the dam was built by Vishweswarayya the gardens were designed by Sir Mirza Ismail. The massive dam was conceived as a multi purpose project by Shri Viswesarayya,for satisfying the water needs of the agricultural lands in Mandya, Mysore and ensuring power supply to Sivasamudram project. The gardens contain a number of fountains in all shapes and sizes and in the evenings they are tastefully illuminated giving the entire gardens a fairy tale look.

 

The Chamundi hills which dominate the landscape of Mysore contains the 12th century temple of Chamundeswari Devi, the patron god of the Wodeyar Dynasty. The 16 ft high Nandi statue carved out of a single rock is one of the most magnificent sculptures and the second of its kind in India (the other one in Lepakshi, AP). The Chamarajendra Art Gallery contains the famous Mysore paintings and invaluable paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. There is a vast collection of art objects like the drama clock from England, Japanese carvings, Roman carvings etc.The Mysore Zoo established in 1892 is regarded as one of the finest zoos in India. The zoo has a collection of white tigers and there are 2000 animals, 85 species of plants in the campus. The St. Philomena’s Church is one of the oldest churches in India. Built in 1840, this is patterned on the lines of the Cologne Church in Germany. The cathedral rise to a height of 165 ft and has beautiful glass stained interiors which depict the story of Christ.

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And any visit to Mysore would be incomplete without a visit to Srirangapatna, the summer capital of Tippu Sultan. Now a small dusty town, its name is derived from the massive Ranganatha Temple dedicated to Lord Ranganatha and one of the 3 temples to contain Vishnu in a sleeping pose (Srirangam in Trichy and Anantapadmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum are the others). The most famous sight is Dariya Bagh the summer palace of Tippu Sultan which he built in 1784. He named it as Dariya Daulat Bagh which means wealth of the sea. The walls of the palace contains paintings of the battles fought against the British and the various belongings of Tipu are also exhibited, including his famous sword. The Gumbaz at the other end of the town contains the tomb of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.

Apart from that Mysore is also the starting point to many other famous tourist spots like the wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur, Nagarhole and Ranganathittu, the hill stations of Coorg and Ooty, historic places like Halebid, Shravanabelagola. Mysore is also a major center of fine arts and culture in India. The famous Mysore paintings originate here. The prestigious Fine Arts college imparts teaching in Music, drama and dance. The sandalwood crafts made her are world famous while the silk saris are the most sought after by Indian ladies. The rich culture of Mysore can be seen during the Dussehra festivities when leading musicians, singers, dancers exhibit their talents here. Mysore is also one of India’s leading educational centers in India. The Central Food Technological Research Institution, DRDL, are prominent among them. The Mysore University is one of the oldest ones in India. The National Institute of Engineering is one of the most prominent engineering colleges in India. It also has the famous Mysore Medical College and a number of professional institutions.

Ajanta Ellora oldest and Beautiful caves in india.

The Ajanta Caves are one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The carvings and paintings at Ajanta date back to the beginning of the era of classical Indian art. Th Ajanta caves along with the ones ta Ellora are some of the most beautiful caves in India. These caves are some of the most mesmerizing ones in the country, especially with paintings that take us back in time all the way between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The caves are now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. The caves of Ajanta are home to some of the most magnificent masterpieces of Indian art. Located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, the Ajanta caves are one of the places history and and culture enthusiasts will enjoy an excursion to.

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Ajanta Ellora both caves are situated in the middle of Sahyadri lands. Not much far from Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra, these Ajanta and Ellora Caves are visited by every person and tourists coming first time to India. Thus, this Ajanta Ellora Caves are also known as the biggest spot for those heritage seekers from the entire world. According to rituals, most of the crafting and architectural designs of these Ajanta Ellora Caves refer to various religions like Hindu and Jainism but major part for Ajanta and Ellora Caves describes the traditional view of Buddhism and life journey of Lord Gautam Buddha. As these both Ajanta and Ellora Caves are different; thus, both are located in different locations. Ellora Caves are located just thirty kilometers form the city called Aureangabad. These Ellora Caves are the most treasured architectural heritage monuments of our country. Consisting of 34 caves in it, these Ellora Caves are the largest traditional ones which define three various religions in it. Mostly Jainism and Hinduism are included in it but, the major one on which these Ellora Caves are based upon is the Buddhism.

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta caves lie deep in the semi-arid Sahayadri hills, above the Waghora River. Discovered only in the 19th century and since then brought to the world’s light, Ajanta caves have panels depicting tales from the Jatakas, a rich collection of stories dealing with several reincarnations of the Budhha. Numbering as many as 29 caves, Ajanta caves were built as secluded retreats of the Buddhist monks. These monks taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas.

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Ellora Caves

With 34 caves devoted to Buddhist, Jain and Hindu faiths, Ellora Caves have an amazing wealth of sculpture. About 30 kms northwest of Aurangabad, Ellora caves are caved into the sides of a basaltic hill. As the finest specimens of cave temples, Ellora caves have elaborate facades and intricately aesthetic interiors to hypnotize your sensibilities. Carved during the 350AD to 700AD period, Ellora caves have 12 caves to the south that are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre dedicated to Hinduism, and the 5 caves to the north are Jain.

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Buddhist monks spent a significant amount of time at the Ajanta caves during the monsoons as they were forbidden from travelling during that particular period of the year. This was the time when the monks put their creativity and time to use and painted the walls of the caves

Apart from the stunning paintings and sculptures, there were also huge Buddhist mounds like stupas built, massive pillars intricately detailed carvings on the ceilings and walls made big news, giving the Ajanta caves the status of a heritage site.During the first phase of construction, the sanctuaries known as the Chaitya-grihas were built in the canyons of the Waghora River. Caves 9, 10, 12 and 15 A were built in the first phase during the Satavahana dynasty.

Drass the “2nd coldest place in the world”

Zojila-Pass-To-Drass-SectorDras, or Drass, is a small township situated about 60 km away from Kargil, on the road to Srinagar. Dras is widely recognized as the second coldest inhabited place in the world. Dras is popularly known as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’. The small town is situated at a height of 3230 meters ie 10,990 feet above sea level. During winters, mercury level in the Dras region can plummet to as low as -45 degree Celsius. However, despite biting cold temperatures, Dras is known to host riveting contests of Horse Polo. The easy going and quiet life of Dras is best fit for passing tourists. The region is also home to several treks and hikes for those interested in exploring the region on foot. Dras first came to limelight in the year 1999, when Pakistan Army incursions started the famous Kargil War. The Indian Army was quick to retaliate and captured the region which is now one of its bases in the extreme north region. A War Memorial stands tall in remembrance of the martyred soldiers of the Kargil War.

Photograph by Chetan Karkhanis

The site holds great prominence and is visited by thousands of tourists who come to pay their regards to the brave sons of our country. Dras is home to the Dards and Baltis, people who live in scattered huts. The estimated population of the township is around 1,021. The town has a small Muslim majority  along with a  few Buddhists. The inhabitants of Dras are extremely well versed with the region. The Zoji La pass, which is the starting point of Dras valley, gets covered in snow during autumn and spring. The area also experiences frequent snow storms which make life even more difficult. The locals, however, have been able to deal with the adverse conditions in the region since ages. They continue to play a key role in transporting merchandise and assisting tourists surfacing the Dras region. Dras continues to attract tourists from all parts of the world. Despite the growing presence of the Indian Army, the region guarantees a fulfilling experience. The magic of Dras speaks for itself and the idea of braving freezing temperatures to reach some of the most picturesque viewpoints further magnifies the adventure quotient. Out of all the places to see in Dras, the Manman Top (about 10 km from Dras) is perhaps the most important one. Upon reaching Manman Top, one can view the entire Dras valley and even the Line Of Control (LOC). Then there is the Chorkiat Forest offering a variety of flora and fauna, the Dongchik village which has zero cases to its name as per Police record, Laser La which is a little known hill-station, the Brigade War Gallery providing information regarding the Kargil War, Tiger Hill, and much more. So go ahead and plan an ambitious, adventurous, and truly invigorating trip to the second coldest inhabited place in the world. The best time to visit is obviously during summer when the temperature is marginally warmer, between the months of May and September. Not that it needs to be said but be sure to

It all began with Drass. The discovery of beauty in barren brown mountains, the intensity of (let’s call them) anti-green landscapes and the thumping sound of the heart in the ears.

Drass was the town we chose to spend our first ever high altitude night in. It turned out to be so much more than just an “altitude acclimatisation” stopover on the way to Ladakh.

Drass-Kargil-48The fun started with Zoji la.

The mountain pass which leads the 400 km Srinagar-Leh national highway. It is essentially a bridge between the lush greens of Kashmir  and the golden browns of LadakhWhile we were on it, it also felt like a bridge to the other side of life! There were plenty of opportunities for the vehicle to skid and topple over to go plunging into the Indus which flows all along the Zoji la.

After Zoji la, it is a smooth drive to Drass. A board declaring Drass to be the second coldest inhabited place on earth (Siberia being the first) greeted us. Just next to it is the accommodation facility of the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department.

Ladakh the “land of Snow”

Lamayuru Monastery or Yuru Gompa in Ladakh, India1

Ladakh is located in the western Himalayan disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir in far northern India. Ladakh is bordered by Tibet to the east, Pakistan to the west, Xinjiang, China to the north and  Himachal Pradesh to the south. Ladakh, often referred to as “Little Tibet” is a stunning area with a very unique and preserved culture. It is one of my favorite regions of the Himalaya. It is filled with amazing Himalaya mountain views, stunning alpine lakes, amazing treks and some of the friendliest people I have ever met! Not many travelers make it to this remote area. From 2011 to 2013, Ladakh averaged only about 38,000 foreign travelers per year with another 140,000 Indian tourists per year.

Ladakh is divided into 2 districts: Kargil and Leh. Kargil lies in the western section and is predominantly Muslim (with the exception of Zanskar), while Leh lies in the eastern section and is predominantly Buddhist. Ladakh was an independent kingdom for 900 years. To this day, Leh still looks and feels more like Tibet than India. Many dozens of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are found across Leh and Zanskar. The town of Leh was once the capital of the Kingdom of Ladakh and now serves as the administrative seat of Ladakh.

The Town of Leh

Leh, pronounced “lay”,  has a population of around 35,000 and has an interesting mix of Buddhist Ladakhi’s and Muslim Kashmiri’s. The architecture in the town shows both Buddhist and Muslim styles. From just about everywhere, you can see a sweeping panoramic view of the Himalaya’s rising above town. The highest peak in the vicinity is Stok Kangri, a 6153 meter peak that is popular in the summer months for trekking and summiting.

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In town is the Leh Palace, which was built in the 17th century and served as the home of the royal family until the middle of the 19th century. The royal family then moved to the Stok Palace, 15 kilometers south. The Leh Palace is 9 stories high and is built on a mountainside. Its architecture is modeled after Lhasa’s Potala Palace. A major restoration project was been underway at the Leh Palace for several years, but it remains open to the public. The views of Leh and the surrounding mountains are quite impressive from the palace.

The Shanti Stupa, built in 1991, is located a few kilometers south downtown Leh, several hundred meters above town. You can take a taxi there or climb an endless series of stairs (I don’t recommend climbing the stairs until you have had a couple of days to acclimatize to the elevation). The view of Leh and the Himalaya is quite amazing from Shanti Stupa. Be sure to bring your wide-angle lens!

Leh isn’t very big. It can, for the most part, be navigated on foot. There are many excellent guesthouses and mid-range hotels to choose from in town. I recommend choosing one that offers good views of the mountains. There are also numerous restaurants around serving great Indian, Tibetan, Kashmiri and Western food. Most restaurants, hotels and travel agencies can speak English well. The Ladakhi language is very similar to the Amdo dialect that is spoken in eastern tibet.

There are 2 main roads leading to Leh, however, both roads are closed in winter time due to heavy snow. The first road is the 422 kilometer road connecting Srinigar to Leh via Kargil. The road closes in the early winter due to heavy snow at the Zoji La Pass. The second road connects Leh with Manali, which is 479 kilometers to the south. This road is normally only open for 4 or 5 months each year due to heavy snow. In addition, there are daily flights from Leh to Delhi all year round and weekly flights to Srinigar and Jammu.

Leh is the starting point for visiting many amazing areas in the region such as the Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Lamayuru, Tso Moririr, Thiksey Monastery and the overland routes to Kargil, Srinigar and Manali. Ladakh also offers plenty to do outdoors such as trekking and mountain climbing.

The town of Kargil

Kargil is a small Muslim town located approximately halfway between Srinigar and Leh. Few people stay here very long. Most only stay for just a night enroute to either Leh or Srinigar. In the center of Kargil, population 12,000 or so, there are several guesthouses to choose from as well as good restaurants. Off of the Main Bazaar are the bus station and the jeep stand where you can take transportation to Leh (213 kilometers, 9 or 10 hours), Srinigar (221 kilometers, 9 or 10 hours) and even to Padum Village in Zanskar (240 kilometers, 16+ hours).

Zanskar Valley 

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Zanskar is one of the most stunning valleys in Ladakh and is a trekkers paradise. Surrounded by gorgeous mountain peaks and being completely remote, it’s easy to see why this region attracts avid trekkers. Most people who travel to this area do so on foot, however it is possible to take a vehicle here from Kargil (240 kilometers, 16+ hours).

The small village of Padum, population 1500, serves as the administrative center for the Zanskar region. Padum has few facilities. There are a few guesthouses in town that are usually only open during the summer months and early autumn. There are numerous trekking companies in Leh that can arrange treks in this stunning region. Treks include to Lamayuru, to Kargil and to Darcha.

Pangong Tso

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Pangong Tso is the most famous lake in Ladakh. It is located in eastern Ladakh along the border with Tibet. About 1/3 of the lake is in Ladakh with the remaining 2/3 being in Tibet. This beautiful lake sits at an elevation of 4350 meters/14,270 feet. The lake and sky are both amazing shades of blue that are a must see when in this part of India.

Pangong is about 158 kilometers from Leh. To get there, you cross over the 5360 meter/17,586 foot Chang La Pass, which is covered in snow for much of the year. An Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required to travel to this region, which can be arranged by a travel agency in Leh. Supposedly these permits are given to groups of 2 or 3, but I have been able to get a permit just for myself without any problems.

Travel agencies in Leh can arrange transportation to and from Pangong. The road is surprisingly good for most of the way. Some people just go to the lake on a day trip. The drive to the lake takes a little over 4 hours. The first place you arrive to at the lake, Lukung, offers tea houses and restaurants to eat lunch at. If you wish to stay at the lake, that is possible. There is a small village along the shores of the lake called Spangmik which has several basic homestays to choose from.

Mumbai,The City of Dream.

Mumbai originally formed conjoining seven islands in Arabian Sea namely Colaba, Fort, Byculla, Matunga, Worli, Parel and Mahim is the capital city of Maharashtra. Seated on the western coast of India over the time the city has expanded to present day Greater Mumbai. This could happen because of the status of the city as one of the oldest centers of business and trade for more than a millennium and long lineage of this city as a place for common Indians to move either for resettlement, or for finding work or for fulfilling their aspirations of a better life in multiple ways and this is precisely the backdrop behind the coinage of the epithet, Mumbai, the city of dreams. In the process Mumbai leads the country as capital of Commerce and Entertainment.12977024_1150567231621044_7173231838784687163_o

Mumbai, the Commercial Capital of India

Mumbai is rated as one of the top 10 centers of the world in terms of commerce and trade. The city is the abode of most top level industrial houses of India, to name a few are Tatas, Ambanis, Mittals, and Godrej. Umpteen number of business houses of repute be it industry, commerce or trade of large, medium or small operate in Mumbai. The city is corporate headquarter of many national and numerous multinational corporations. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), public sector banks as well as foreign banks which have huge business transactions either for investment proposals in the country as a whole or for catering to trade and domestic clientele, run their national operation from this city.

A large majority of frontline corporate and financial institutions of international recognition and reputation are headquartered in this city, no wonder that in global index of talent accumulation it would be one of the top cities in the world and being the greatest destination for young talents to materialize their career dream this city easily justified the long standing epithet, Mumbai, the city of dreams. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is the largest stock exchange of India and one of the most acclaimed stock exchanges in the world. Thus Mumbai is a reputed city in global financial arena rightly recognized as “Financial Capital of India“. Tatas and other Parsi houses are appropriate reference of how business dreams grew in the city. Other communities followed suit in exemplifying their pursuits. Number of markets and shopping malls has grown as daily trader to corporate swarmed in Mumbai to fulfill retail business aspirations and for many decades Mumbai leads the country in retail sector turnover.

Mumbai, the City of India’s Largest Film Industry

 

Bollywood the largest film industry in India and one of the largest in the world is no less than a wonderland for those who dreams big and come to the city with determination to make it a reality. Film industry of Mumbai has set up a very high entertainment norm. Fathered by renowned producers, directors and actors, singers, dancers and musicians Mumbai film industry made its hallmark in the international arena as well and for last few decades with growing number of international releases thanks to the huge NRI market and enthusiasm Mumbai film Industry even surpassed Hollywood in number of releases in a calendar year or in other parameters like gross number of film productions but that is only one part of the story.

Most importantly Mumbai showcase the color, spirit and variety of cultural identity and aspirations of the whole India in its timely expressions and no film Industry in the world could represent so huge diversity in celluloid and from this alone we can understand why people from small towns or villages aspire for a technician’s or minor acting role to enter this industry, it becomes the part and parcel of their dreams and the epithet, Mumbai, the city of dreams is best expressed in their reality and aspirations. This is the way that budding actors, directors, photographers, choreographers and other technicians of varied skills from all over India harbor dreams of getting opportunity to work with the stalwarts of their time and build career in the film industry. Some of them learn and perfect their art from the masters and create a place of their own in this city while many others, a big majority just get back to those parts of India where they originally belonged to. This typical tradition of modern migration is continuing for years and now Mumbai with its sizzling density is also one of the fastest growing cities in terms of population. The dream of a better life that used to fetch forefathers still inviting the young generations post global India. Even the television industry play a pivotal role in fulfilling dreams and aspirations of many as it itself creates a sea of opportunity for both beginners as well as experienced. Many new career paths and technical specializations have been created because of Mumbai film and audiovisual industry as a whole.

Mumbai, India’s Fashion City

The most young yet making a mark with prodigious statement is the fashion industry and youngsters opting for fashion designing as a career still find Mumbai as the city of outstanding avenues leading to fun, fame, money and reputation as a fashion designer. Yes, Mumbai with its glamour, glitz and typical flamboyance of always going with the trend is always the Fashion city. Most glamorous and star studded fashion shows and fashion parades are held in Mumbai with a long row of presence from international design houses and designers. Only Mumbai could make the boutique culture rise to its present day avatar as a new avenue of clothing business in India. Just imagine how models aspire to make a star studded modeling career from this city that normally come to this city with little background and then goes up the ladder with years of persistence, it is needless to mention the huge number of people left behind them. Markets and shopping malls started to showcase designer dress materials in India with Mumbai in the lead role. With so many avenues offering scope to the generations of people from diverse cultural and ethnic background to come in entertainment, fashion and media the city truly deserves the epithet, Mumbai, the city of dreams.

Mumbai, a City for all to Make a Livingcropped-pexels-photo-30732

One can observe that the city creates enormous opportunity and hence it attracts hundreds to come to the city to make their dreams not only a reality but also enlarge their canvas. The city also welcomes them with open arms and has been accommodating huge number of migrants from all around India. With various avenues ranging from small scale industries to big corporate houses to the entertainment industry Mumbai makes dream come true for most of them though some do not. Mumbai has a very eventful and fast life and it seems that everybody is on the run to achieve something or the other. Professionalism is running in the veins of the city. Though the standard and cost of living in the city looks quite high for a newcomer, one can find a varied range of options to choose from.

Variety of living accommodations is one aspect that would make any newcomers head swing, from costliest living accommodations of Asia to Chawls on the labyrinthine lanes of huge slums; Mumbai is ready to accommodate all. Dharavi, one of the most famous and largest slums in Mumbai accommodates around one million people, on the other hand just look at the sprawling riches of Malabar Hill on the north or Kolaba in the posh southern suburb or the skyrocketing real estate prices of Marine drive or Corporate Nariman Point. The city is ready to welcome everyone within its greasy population and skyscraper dominated cityscape and just when you know even residing in a rat’s hole you can pursue your preferred career path until the good winds blow in your favor, you know the meaning of that saying, Mumbai, the city of dreams.

Mumbai, the City of Festivals

India is a huge country both in geographical size and large population. To achieve their goals people migrating to Mumbai not only come from every walk of life but also from different regions across the country having different language, caste, creed, ethnicity and background. Most of them settling in Mumbai for good give it a cosmopolitan culture. A mix of all these (class, creed, culture and ethnicity) is witnessed which culminates into a whole new culture, a culture called colloquially as Mumbaia is hard to ignore and is automatically accepted in the popular reference to Mumbai. This is apparent from the way the Mumbaikars take part in all the festivities and celebrations. It seems that not only a particular religious community, but the whole of Mumbai is celebrating one and all festival irrespective of cultural and religious differences. Mumbai also showcases its avid interest in art and culture by conducting several festivals dedicated to art and craft, music and dance. Some of the festivals that are celebrated grandly in Mumbai are Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Kala Ghoda, Eid, Christmas, Film festival, Elephanta festival and many more. Festivals offer a multifarious color of the city comprising various eyhnicities and culture, a true sign why the city referred as Mumbai, the city of dreams by common Indians.

After a hectic week’s work, the Mumbaikars given a choice can opt from a varied range of pursuits for rejuvenating themselves. Away from the hustle and bustle yet very near they can go for hill stations such as Khandala, Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar or can go for a trip to Shirdi or Aurangabad and even to a trip to the mesmerizing Goa. A family evening in the Juhu or Chowpaty beach is a common scene. Mumbai also has a very vibrant and active night life with DJ’s playing up some electrifying numbers in the discos and enthusiasts jamming the floor till wee hours.

Mumbai, the City with Exceptional Riches of Travel Interest 

India is bestowed with great natural tourist destinations in varied hill stations, waterfalls, forests, deserts, seashores besides religious places, beautiful monuments from different dynasty with exquisite arts and architecture. Although Mumbai cannot be claimed as one out of these high end tourist spots, even then it is a dream destination for travelers. Mumbai will never let one take a break or sly away under a blanket. The most famous and modern metro in India Mumbai has earned a special place in the mind of tourists. Firstly cluster of islands building into a city with overlooking Arabian Sea and cool breeze makes Mumbai a special destination. Old history of Mumbai under different rules has left a permanent mark on the city. Fusion as well as pure Portuguese, Victorian, Italian and Indian architecture and style of olden days alongside sky scrapers of modern engineering has made special attraction for people to visit Mumbai. Even traveling is an aspect that makes the city loom large justifying the saying as it goes, Mumbai, the city of dreams.

Kerala, “GOD’S own Country”

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How Kerala got the name? Kerala located in South india in an extra ordinary land with almost all elements of nature. Kerala is the 100% literate state in India is also famous for tour and tourism. Poets wrote poems about this state and many writers find hard to express the full beauty of this place.Nestled between the pristine waters of the Arabian sea on the west and the lush Western Ghat mountains on the east, its intense network of rivers and lagoons, thick forests, exotic wildlife, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters and a long shoreline of serene beaches make it a traveler’s paradise. God’s own country! Paradise !!! The rich cultural heritage , the dance form and the essence of music are so impressive that the tourist will be spell bound by this magic features of kerala. The literary meaning of Kerala is “the land of coconuts”. “Kera” in Malayalam (the language of Kerala) means coconut. As Kerala is abundant with coconut plants, it naturally got the name Kerala. In Kerala, you can find Coconut trees everywhere. The state has such wonderful and magnificent attractions beyond one’s imagination.

Still we have not covered our core point or the question: How Kerala got that magical tagline “The God’s own country”? In fact even many of the Malayalees, the son of the soil, don’t know how it got that attractive tag-God’s own country
it was created by one Mr Walter Mendez, who was also the Creative Director of a reputed Ad agency in India. The creation took birth in the year 1989. Sadly, the man is no more now as he died some 10 years ago. Walter coined the tag on the request of Kerala Tourism Department when the Kerala government wished to market Kerala’s high tourism potentialities before the travel world. The phrase “God’s own country” did wonders. Also it had a magical impact. The tourists changed their travel plans and made Kerala their preferred destination when they noticed the ads in tourism magazines and other periodicals. They longed to experience and feel the luxury of “God’s own country”. As the tag was so catchy, the travel folks easily developed a love to see the land. And they were never disappointed while returning.

Every nook and corner in Kerala you will see Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and Christian Churches; and unlike many other parts of India, people live happily without communal riots and great religious tolerance. Hence it is God’s own country full of worship places!
1. Climate : People might call the weather tropical but they are missing the best part. The MONSOONS. The monsoons in Kerala are a sight by itself. It’s a different fact that the drainage gets clogged and other water redirection problems but the sight of the rain gods blessing the place for a good 2 to 3 months is something people should experience.

2. People : The people of Kerala are very much different from those residing in other parts of the country. They possess the perfect mix of ” How are you? ” and “I don’t give a fuck “. This is very rare to find. Bringing my personal experience in, I was allowed to drive a Honda Dio which belonged to a perfect stranger to buy Pepsi at 1 in the night just because he didn’t want me to walk. I’m just citing one, there are tons.

3. Food  : The food in every part of Kerala is unique and awesome. From seafood to sadyas ( , every part of the state have their own delicacy to treat the taste buds.

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 Calicut, a place where I lived for 4 years, is the centre for seafood aficionados. And there are many varieties. You’ll only find out once you get there.

Festivals and celebrations : Ah! If you’re not impressed yet, this should change your mind. Kerala loves celebrations ( the literal meaning and the alcohol brand of the same name ). Temple festivals are held in scales that are scarily huge. If you haven’t heard of the Thrissur Pooram, please dedicate 10 mins of your day towards wiki-ing that.

( yes, those are people )
And to drive in the fact of the people, even with such a large gathering of people, they all come in unison to celebrate and there are hardly any fights around. There are festivals all around the year and even the smaller temples have huge ‘Poorams’.

7. Beauty : If nothing of the above succeeds in enticing you, come here for the beauty. From the hill stations like Munnar to the backwaters in Allapuzha,if you’re looking to kick back from your strenuous schedule and chill out, Kerala is the place.

The Queen of hill station “Mussoorie”

mussoorieMussoorie, Queen of the Hills, located some 290 km north of New Delhi, is among the most popular hill stations of the country. It is a captivating paradise for leisure travellers and honeymooners. A perfect summer resort and a major educational and cultural centre has been rolled into one hub. Located on a 15 km long horseshoe ridge with the grand Himalayas as a backdrop, the colonial hill resort of Mussoorie spreads across at a height of 2,005.5 m above sea level. From this vantage point, Mussoorie offers superb scenic view of peaks of the Himalayas in western Garhwal. Mussoorie boasts of some of the most spectacular views of the Himalayas. Hill ridges, irregular in shape and partly wooded, form layer after layer to the horizon, where snow capped mountain peaks are visible as though you can touch them. From West to East, the mighty peaks of Bandar Poonch, Srikantha, the Gangotri group and the Chaukhamba present a mesmerizing panorama. 34 km from Dehradun, Mussoorie overlooks the majestic Doon valley to its south and the impressive Himalayas up north. The mountains beckon climbers, trekkers and adventure sport enthusiasts. Trekkers begin their journey into the popular trekking area of Hari-ki-Doon with its snowscapes and verdant-forested slopes from Mussoorie. The holy River Ganga is visible from one end of the ridge and Yamuna from the other, a stretch of around 20 km in all, from Cloud’s end in the west to Jabarkhet in the east.

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One of the most easily accessible hill stations in Northern India, during the peak tourist season, Mussoorie becomes a bustling resort with hordes of holiday-makers ambling down the central Mall. The suburban area of Landour, about 300 m away from the main town, is quieter and has managed to retain some of its old colonial charm. Surrounded by lush wooded expanses and winding lanes, it offers exclusive opportunities for quiet walks. It overlooks the sprawling Doon valley and the city of Dehradun, the gateway to Mussoorie and to entire Garhwal.

Mussoorie is one of the best  beautiful hill stations in India and the most frequently visited.

We were travelling from Rishikesh ( Hope to write About That Place some time) in the month of September 2008.
We went to Deharadun and from there, we took a taxi to Mussooorie.

It was raining heavyly ,News Papers were splashed with flood photographs of Delhi and a part of Uttranchal…The rain never paid any attention of my presence and tried his best to drench me…
When we reached Mussoorie, We had to run for shelter to keep us dry…
The Taxi stand is just below the famous Mall road..
It is 2 km long. One end is called Library the other end is Gun Hill Uran Khatola Point…

We booked a hotel near the other end as Library point is too much noisy It is full of hotels (Residential + Eating joints) and lined with shops who are selling curios, sweaters, shawls etc…

Unlike Darjeeling or Simla, Mussoorie does not have a mall. But it has beautiful and clean Mall Road. It will give you a rare feeling of happiness when you walk down on this road. It has no elevation flat through out. The added bonus is the view of the Doon Valley from this road.

After check in, washing , lunch and a little bit of Siesta we set off for Gun Hill. The rope way station is at the end of the Mall road. It is 400 M journey to 2nd highest point of the town..

From Gun Pont you can have panoramic of the beautiful Mussoorie and the Himalayan Ranges.. As it was cloudy and foggy, we were deprived from viewing the snow peaked ranges…but what was offered in our platter just floored us…

 

Next day ,we proceeded to Dhanolti, about 30 km away.
The only thing you will enjoy during this travel is greenery and beauty of hilly areas..
But we were forced to stop due to land slide. I did not see any effort from the Govt. to clear the road..
Local villagers were breaking the huge boulders.. But they were more interested in the stones than the clearing road. So I asked our taxi driver to negotiate with other side taxi driver. We passed through narrow path and started our on ward journey…

Dhonulti has a Nature park. It is pay and enjoy park. Must do it, if you love nature…
We also purchased Rhododendron syrup, which the shopkeeper claimed is available there only..

After, changing to our original vehicle ( the road was not still cleared), we proceeded toward Lal Tiba.
The highest point of Mussorie.. Here, Mussoorie municipal authority installed a powerful Japanese telescope( You have to pay for this facility, It is fixed on elevated platform) and get bigger and closer view of the same landscape what you see with your normal eyes..
I must advice if snow-peaks are to be viewed then use this facility.

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From there I started for Kempty falls which every body of Mussoorie and all my friends suggested.
But I felt I was duped or slapped brutally.
It is cascading fall, even the heavy rainfall of the last night did not add any force to the waterfall.
What pained me more unplanned and out of Sync construction of viewer galley at the falling point. And Uttranchal Govt. allowed commercial shops and shades to proliferate within 15 feet of the fall!
What a callous attitude to wards beauty of the nature.

Kashmir the heaven on Earth

kashmir-holiday_0Kashmir is known as one the most beautiful places in India where time stands still.  Water, in all or any  forms, is one of Kashmir’s charms like rivers, lakes, springs, make music all

The alluring and majestic sweeps of forested mountains are tempered with miles of flowering meadows.

It has many breathtaking and attracting places that is beyond imagination. In this beautiful land, fruits grow in abundance: apple, cherry, peach, pear, plum, loquat, almond, walnut and pine nut.

The most crowded, attractive and important city in this valley is Srinagar. Other attractive destinations of Kashmir valley near Srinagar are Gulmarg – famous for skiing, Pahalgam – favorite film shooting hub and health resort, Sonamarg – the alpine meadow, Betaab Valley – on the bank of Sheshnag River, a beautiful picnic spot. The most gorgeous jewel on the crown of Srinagar is Dal Lake, a wide beautiful lake with house boats to offer you a great stay. The Shikaras are there to offer transport from land to houseboat and also for pleasure voyage in the lake. Shikaras are one type of open or semi-open long boats and symbol of Kashmiri culture.Shalimar Garden, also known as Mughal Garden, is another major attraction of Srinagar. This beautiful garden full of colorful flowers has one picturesque canal flowing through it. There are four terraces one above another and the top most one is most beautiful. This garden remains open for tourist in the day time.

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Kashmir is also famous for handmade woolen wears, named after the valley Kashmiri shawl which is also called Kashmiri pashmina, Kashmiri carpet, bags, dresses, show pieces, flow vases and many more. Even Kashmir has a special type of stitching known as Kashmiri stitch which offers very elegant look in the dresses.

Getting to Kashmir

The nearest railheads of Srinagar are Jammu Tawi and Udhampur. Banihal road tunnel is the gateway to Jammu and rest of India for Kashmir valley. Though there is no direct rail connection, but Srinagar has its own International Airport to get connect to the rest of the worlds by air.

Time to visit

Summer is the best time to visit Kashmir valley as temperature remain comfortable. With the ice of melted snow, the valley blooms with colors in the month of April.

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“Ooty” The Queen of South India.

 Ooty is a beautiful town located in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is widely known as Ootacamund and is the Queen of hill stations. It is the capital of Nilgiris district and is one of the most famous tourist spots in India. Anybody who has traveled in South India and follows Indian movies, knows the secret of Ooty tourism. Ooty Travel Guide brings forth you a lot of information about sightseeing in Ooty, hotels in Ooty, restaurants in Ooty, climate of Ooty and the colonial atmosphere of Ooty.994361_673962062614899_1640923273_n

Ooty Travel Guide is full of references to the mesmerizing scenery and serene spots. Some of the renowned places to visit in Ooty that are situated in and around the town are Raj bhavan, Mudumalai  Wildlife Sanctuary, Government Museume Ooty Botanical Gardens, Ooty Lake etc. Ooty is also famous as The Blue Mountains as it is situated in the Nilgiri Hills. It was originally a tribal land which was occupied by the Todas alongside with other tribes through trade.

Ooty is a land of picturesque picnic spots having blooming vegetation and astonishing tea gardens and fine pine and eucalyptus trees which keep pleasing to the eye the beauty of the place. Ooty tour packages like the Annual Tea and Tourism Festival create an occasion for the crowd to gather in huge numbers to have a great time in this wonderful place.

Ooty also encircles some eminent tourist destinations of India. Ooty Travel Guide alos talks about nearby destinations from Ooty like the Bandipur National Park, coonoor, Mysore, coimbatore and Palakkad.

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If you are a nature freak then you don’t have to bother when to visit Ooty. Even the monsoon procures a tempting nature. Ooty as an ideal escape for crazy couples is also a rejuvenating getaway to the workaholics. But when it comes to leisure travellers, especially when you are planning a trip to Ooty with your family or a honeymoon trip then it’s better to be aware of the best time to visit Ooty. Truly speaking, this hill station in south India bears a mild and pleasing climate throughout the year. The weather in Ooty is quite pleasant during the summers whereas winters are cool, and monsoons are enticing. Nonetheless the best time for visiting Ooty is from October to June.

The temperature in Ooty in October nestles in between 15 degree to 20 degree whereas the bracing November bears a temperature swirling around 12 degree and 15 degree. Ooty weather during the peak winters is as quixotic as it is cool. The temperature in Ooty in December and January dwells in the range of 5 degree and 10 degree whereas it hops up to a cuddling spring. The temperature in February and March cuddles at 15 degree to 22 degree.

The weather in Ooty quite pleasant during the months of April and May when rest of India is receiving the scorching heat of summer. The temperature in Ooty in April and May ranges in between 22 degree to a maximum of 27 degree whereas from June, after the first shower, the temperature drops to a minimum of 17 degree. During the peak monsoon, the hill station receives moderate to heavy rainfall and thus it interrupts sightseeing in Ooty but it is during this time when nature lovers can enjoy the green fresh look and the more picturesque side of the place in monsoon season.