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Jagdalpur

Jagdalpur, Chattisgarh – With lush green mountains, frivolous streams and waterfalls, Jagdalpur is a perfect retreat for the nature lovers

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Jagdalpur is the city located in the Bastar district of Chattisgarh. It is the administrative headquarter of the Bastar district and was the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Bastar.The history of Jagdalpur dates back to the ages of Valmiki’s Ramayana. It was the famous Dandakaranya from where Lord Rama is supposed to have passed. With the evergreen mountains, the deep valleys, dense forests, streams, waterfalls, caves, national parks, the marvellous monuments, rich natural resources, the magic herbs, enthusiastic festivity and the serene solitude, Jagdalpur is a magical tourists spot. The site also boasts of its royal past. The beautiful Bastar Palace is an example of this.

Places to see in Jagdalpur: Jagdalpur is a mixed bag, with varied sightseeing spots. These include:

Bastar Palace

Bastar Palace, also known as Jagdalpur Palace, is a famous monument in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, built by the rulers of Bastar kingdom when they shifted their headquarters from Barsur to Jagdalpur. The palace is steeped in legends of heroism and chivalry of these kings, and has a rich wealth of art and architectural work that illustrates their refined aesthetic sensibility.

Indravati National Park

Indravati National Park, established in 1975, spans an area of 2,273 sq km on the south-east of river Indravati. Rich in natural beauty, it comprises a series of hill ranges and tropical mixed deciduous forests that are home to wild buffaloes and hill mynah, the most important species in this national park. Other fauna of the park are tiger, sloth bear, panther, gaur, bluebull (nilgai), chital, sambhar, chousinga, barking deer, wild boar, chinkara, wild dogs, jungle cat, langoor, black buck, jackals, hyena, fox, python, monitor lizards, steppe eagle, phakta, bhura teetar, kala teetar, tree pie and drongo. The park is a favorite haunt of photographers, adventure seekers, nature lovers and also ordinary holiday makers.

Zonal Anthropological Museum

Located at Jagdalpur, Zonal Anthropological Museum exhibits the ethnographic objects of the tribes of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Library facilities are available.

Nearby attractions around Jagdalpur: Chitrakot Waterfalls, about 38 km to the west of Jagdalpur, is a beautiful cataract on the river Indravati. Chitrakot, with an awesome height of 100 ft, is also considered a mini-Niagara because of its horse-shoe shape. The main attraction for travelers is the play of rainbow hues on the falls. To enjoy the beauty of this milky cascade amidst the dark of the night, you may stay at hotels and resorts available around Chitrakoot.

Things to do in Jagdalpur: Sightseeing in Jagdalpur is really a delightful experience. Apart from

Best time to visit Jagdalpur: The best season to visit Jagdalpur is the winter season in the months of October to March.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest Domestic Airport from Jagdalpur is Swami Vivekananda Airport, located in Raipur, roughly four hour drive from the city. It is very well connected to major cities of country like Delhi, Mumbai, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

By Train

It has its own Railway Station named as Jagdalpur Railway Station. It is well connected with the cities like Raipur, Bilaspur, Delhi, Puri and Visakhapatnam. There are no direct trains between Kolkata and Jagdalpur. You have to halt at any of the three places: Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneshwar or capital city Raipur.

By Road

There are many ways to reach Jagdalpur. It is 15 Kms from Madpal, 21 Kms from Dhanpunji, 36 Kms from Kotpad, 62 Kms from Boriguma, 114 Kms from Dabugaon, 129 Kms from Ambapani, 133 Kms from Raighar and 290 Kms from Raipur. Chhattisgarh State Road Transport Corporation (CSRTC) and some private bus operators provide good bus service between these areas.

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Where to stay ?

Jagdalpur has an array of accommodation options. Some informations are given below:

Tourist Rest House (Chattisgarh Tourism): www.chhattisgarhtourism.net
Royal Bastar Farm: 91 9406358172, 9406356302 Website: www.royalbastarfarm.com
Hotel Akanksha: +91- 7782 225335, 225336, 222349 Website: www.hotelakanksha.com
Chetak Hotel: +91-099935 09500

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Panaji

Panaji, Goa – The capital city dotted with mesmerizing sea beaches, magnificent historical monuments and churches

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Panaji is the capital of  Goa. In Konkani it is often pronounced as ‘Ponnji’. In Portuguese it was called ‘Pongim’, from which originated the other name  Panjim. The name Panjim is used mostly by English speaking people.  Lying on the banks of the Mandovi estuary, in the district of North Goa, Panaji means ‘the land that does not flood’. The place is built around a church that faces a prominent square. The capital city of Goa is well furnished with terraced hills, concrete buildings with balconies and red-tiled roofs, churches, and a riverside promenade. Previously this was a small village on the riverfront. In 1843 the city was renamed as Nova Goa ( ‘New Goa’ for the Portuguese) when it officially replaced the city of Goa (i.e Old Goa of the present days) as the administrative seat of Portuguese India.  It became the state capital on Goa’s elevation to statehood in May 1987. Each avenues of the place are scenic, with rows of gulmohar, acacia and other trees.

Places to see in Goa: The tourist attractions in Panaji are admired with scenic natural landscape, historically famous monuments and serene ambiance. These include:

Goa State Museum

One of the Panaji attractions, the GoaState museum is popular both among the history lovers and general tourists. The Goa State museum in Panaji was officially inaugurated on 29th September, 1977. In the year 1996 it was newly built in Patto on a new complex. The museum has twelve galleries of the Goa State museum housing historic and wonderful artifacts. Some of the galleries are: Sculpture Gallery, Numismatic Gallery, Christian Art Gallery, Furniture Gallery, Cultural, Anthropology, Contemporary Art Gallery. The place is a must visit specially for the history lovers, art lovers, and religious inclined people

Shanta Durga Temple

The Shanta Durga temple is a famous temple located close to the capital city. The entire complex of Shanta Durga temple covers a total area of 33 km. The temple is located on the hilly region of Kavalem in Ponda. It is one of the central tourist spots in Panaji. The temple has a structure like a pagoda and the rooftop is built out of blocks of stone and stands in the midst of lush green surroundings. The main temple is built in the center of three other temples where the image of other deities can be seen. The main temple is known to possess a quaint looking dome that catches the eye of many a visitor. The floor has been made out of Kashmir stone. Adorned by the image of the goddess Shantadurga, also known as the goddess of peace this is a highly believed and worshipped place of the native inhabitants of Panaji.

Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim is one of the oldest churches in Goa. This 17th century church is located in the center of the prosperous Panjim city. The simple yet wonderful decorations of the church are its most note worthy aspect. The clean and tidy well maintained complex pleases the worshipers and tourists alike. This church has a couple of altars dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary and Jesus.

Basilica of Bom Jesus

This is a church is located in the ancient part of Goa and is just 10 km away from the capital city Panaji. This is one of the most eminent monumental landmarks in the history of Christian religion. Having the image of St. Francis Xavier, a disciple of Ignatious Loyola and the founder of the Jesuits community the church has a huge crowd of visitors every year. This enormous monumental structure was built by a skilled sculptor from Florence called Giovanni Battista Foggini. This church has been built in exquisite style. The interiors have been finely decorated. The floors have been made out of white marble. The smooth pathway of the altars is worth appreciating. The church has many paintings amongst which the painting of St. Francis Xavier is the most noteworthy. On the upper side of the church there lies the most enchanting relics of art called the Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery.

Secretariat Building

One of the distinguished landmark of the Panaji City is the Secretariat Building. The oldest building of the city is today one of the popular Panaji attractions. The Secretariat Building is situated close to the Chapel of St. Sebastian. Panaji’s SecretariatBuilding is a classic example of Portuguese architectural style.  It was originally built by Adil Shah, the Muslim ruler of Goa of the 16th century. Then the structure was modified by the Portuguese into a fantastic rest house for the area’s viceroy.

Miramar Beach

The popular and crowded Miramar beach is only 3 kilometers from Panjim, the capital city of Goa. This dazzling sea beach also known as ‘Gasper Dias’. It is a golden beach fringed with palm trees. The soft sands of the beach makes it the best site for evening walks. Moreover, ‘miramar’ in Portuguese implies ‘viewing the sea’. Tourists can get a glimpse of the majesty of the Arabian Sea from the Miramar Beach at Goa.

Calangute beach

The “Queen of the Beaches” in Goa, Calangute beach remains largest one in the northern region. The beach was discovered by the hippies during the 60’s and it became famous since then. The beach represents a true replica of Goan beach culture and hence its popularity. It is an ultimate place to spend great time through splendid beach experience.

Candolim Beach

14 kms north of Panaji, Candolim Beach is a part of a long extension of beach coastline along the Arabian Sea that begins at Fort Aguada and ends at Chapora Beach. The place is famous as being the birth place of one of the freedom Fighters Abba Faria, the Father of Hypnotism. The white, silvery sand dunes make the Candolim beach naturally beautiful and attract a lot of tourist every year.

Vagator Beach

Vagator Beach has dramatic red cliffs looking down on the shore and two fresh water springs within a stone’s throw of the sea. VagatorBeach is split into two main beaches by a seaside headland, while facing the sea, on your right is NorthVagatorBeach (Big Vagator) and on your left OzranBeach, more commonly known as Little Vagator Beach. Vagator is a little more laid back, though still pretty much steeped in the rave culture. The tourist traffic is predominantly Western backpackers, however it has also become popular with Indian tourists, who particularly come to watch the sunset from the rocks. The sunset through rocks is breathtaking from Vagator Beach.

Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a seventeenth-century Portuguese fort standing on Sinquerim Beach overlooking the Arabian Sea. Constructed in 1613 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas, it is one of the well-preserved historical monuments. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe at that time. This old Portuguese fort stands on the beach south of Candolim, at the shore of the Mandovi River.

Anjuna beach

Famous for its stunning natural beauty, the beach is margined with swaying palms trees on its one side. The soft powered white sands and the cool and soothing sea breeze will make your stay idyllic for spending some time forgetting all the anxieties and tensions. The beach is marked by an unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of white sand and black rock that juts out into the Sea. This area was known as the Jewel of Anjuna and called “Ozran”. Anjuna beach is a favorite haunt of the hippies who used to organize the famous rave beach parties. It was in the late 1950s to mid-1960s that hippies started visiting Anjuna beach and since then popularized the wild rave parties with trance music which have now become the characteristic features of Goan beaches.

Nearby attractions of Panaji: There are some places near to Panaji that are worth a visit. These are:

Ponda

Ponda is 33 km from Panaji and lies inland to the east. This region is famous for its complex of Hindu temples surviving the inquisition, and was conquered only in the late 18th century long after it had ended. The temples attract a very large number of devotees.

Terekhol

The name is commonly used for both a river and the fort located on its bank.  In its upper reaches the river is known as the Banda River and in the lower reaches as the Terekhol. It a boundary between Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra state and North Goa district of Goa state for some distance. Fort Tiracol located on the mouth of Terakhol River was originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century. Now it has been converted into a tourist hostel, maintained in excellent condition. Terekhol is 57km from Panaji.

Things to do in Panaji: Take a stroll in Fontainhas the Portuguese quarter where the narrow streets are filled with lovely red bricked houses, churches with stained glass windows and a sprinkling of pubs and restaurants. You can also enjoy a river cruise up the MandoviRiver or evening walk down the promenade of Miramar beach. The water sports here also thrilling and fun filled. Shop some souvenirs to take back home. Done with all the sightseeing and shopping ? Then savour a feast on some good old Goan food in any of the many restaurants here.

Best time to visit Panaji: The best time to visit Panaji is between late October and early April.

By Air

The Dabolim Airport lies just 29 kilometres from the state’s capital, Panjim. It is well connected by daily flights from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore. Passengers travelling from Kolkata have to halt at Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai as there are no direct flights available from Kolkata to Goa.

By Train

The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim, are well connected by trains from to all major rail stations in India like Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar etc.

By Road

There are a number of public as well as private bus operators in Goa, which offer options for intra-city and inter-city conveyance. KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC are some of the Government undertakings that operate from Panaji, Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama.

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Where to stay ?

Panaji offers numerous decent and cosy accommodation options for the tourists suitable to the budget. Some options are:

Panaji Residency (Goa Tourism):  +910832 222 7103
Paradise Inn: +91- 0832- 2420657  Website: www.paradiseinngoa.com
Hotel Palacio de Goa:  +91-0832 2424289, 2426742, 24217856  Website: www.palaciodegoa.com
Hotel Fidalgo: +91-0 832 – 2226291 to 99, 2225061 Website: www.hotelfidalgo-goa.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Kankaria Lake

Ahmedabad, Gujarat – Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, it is a startling metropolis with a long history of India’s freedom struggle

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Ahmedabad, is the largest city and former capital of the western Indian state of Gujarat. Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, it is 30 km from the state capital Gandhinagar. The city was built by Nawab Ahmed Shah in 14th century and hence derives its name.

Places to see at Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad is an ideal base to explore a number of tourist attractions. These includes:

Gandhi Ashram

Gandhi Ashram is established by Mahatma Gandhi on a quiet stretch of the Sabarmati river in 1917. During the lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi it was known as Satyagraha Ashram and was the center of India’s freedom movement. It was from here, in 1930, that the Mahatma began his famous “Dandi March” to the sea to protest against the Salt Tax imposed by the British. ‘Hridaya Kunj’, the simple cottage where he lived, is preserved as a National Monument. A Gandhi Memorial Centre, a Library and a Sound-and-Light spectacle offer an interesting display of the Mahatma’s life and work.

Science City

Located at the Sarkhej Gandhinagar Highway, Science City is an ambitious initiative of the government of Gujarat to trigger an inquiry of science in the mind of a common citizen with the aid of entertainment and experiential knowledge. Covering an area of more than 107 hectares, the idea is to create imaginative exhibits, virtual reality activity corners, and live demonstrations in an easily understandable manner. Currently the 3D Imax theater, musical dancing fountain, energy park and simulation rides interest visitors.

Jumma Masjid

Jumma Masjid of Ahmedabad is one of the most beautiful mosques in India. It was built in the year 1423 by the founder of the city, Sultan Ahmed Shah, and is located in the old city. Built in yellow sandstone, this monument is capable of outshining any other monument of Ahmedabad. Jama Masjid is a fine example of Indo Saracenic architecture, with the special touch of the Sultan himself. It presents an extraordinary blend of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture.

Rani Roopmati Mosque

Named after the Hindu wife of Sultan Mohmed Beghara, Rani Rupmati’s Masjid in Mirzapur was built between 1430 to 1440 A. D. It has three domes supported by pillars with the central dome slightly elevated so as to allow natural light into the mosque. The mosque has richly carved minarets, balcony windows and perforated stone lattices. Its three domes are linked together by a flat roof. However, the mosque and tomb of Rani Sipri at Astodia surpasses it for its planning, structural arrangement richly carved minarets. Popularly known as Masjid-e-Nagina, this mosque is the most exquisite gem of Ahmedabad.

Jhulta Minara

Known as Shaking Minaret or Jhulta Minar, this is an epitome of historic architecture. When one minarets is shaken the other one begins to vibrate. The mosque was built by master craftsmen and the crucial mechanism that causes the vibration is still a mystery.

Sardar Patel National Memorial

Sardar Patel National Memorial is one of the most important buildings in Ahmedabad city of Gujarat. It is a museum as well as an exhibition center, dedicated to the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It is located in the Moti Shahi Mahal, in Shahibag area.

Vaishnodevi Temple

 A popular temple of goddess Vaishno devi located on S.G.Road (Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway). It is modeled based on Vaishno devi temple situated in Jammu & Kashmir. It can be seen crowded everyday, and on weekends devotees from all over the India visits this temple. Located on Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway Vaishno Devi temple boasts of huge crowd round the year that includes devotees and tourists as well. Principle deity being Vaishno Devi the temple is considered to be a true replica of the famous temple in Jammu & Kashmir for what devotees of Goddess Vaishno Devi flocks here round the year. The only difference between the two is that one at Ahmedabad can be visited with in a couple of hours. The Vaishno Devi temple of Ahmedabad also remains flooded with followers during Navaratri and is decorated beautifully when the devotee offers coconut, clothes, fruits, rice etc. The temple draws huge crowds of devotees from all over India.

Hutheesing Jain Temple

This remarkably elegant temple created out of white marble has been sacred to many Jain families, generation after generation. It was built in 1848 A.D. at an estimated cost of 10 lakh rupees by a rich merchant Sheth Hutheesing as a dedication to the 15th Jain tirthankar, Shri Dharmanatha. Traditional artisans working in stone belonged to the Sonpura & Salat communities. The Salat community constructed masterpieces of architecture ranging from forts, palaces to temples. The work of the Hutheesing Jain temple is attributed to Premchand Salat. One scholar has remarked, “Each part goes on increasing in dignity as we approach the sanctuary. Whether looked at from its courts or from the outside, it possesses variety without confusion and an appropriateness of every part to the purpose for which it was intended.”

Kankaria Lake

Kankaria is one of the most popular and favorite tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. It is a circular lake constructed in 1451 by Sultan Qutubub-Din. In the center of the lake is an island garden with a summer palace known as Nagina Wadi. The lake is a popular recreation center, surrounded by parks, ‘Bal Vatika’, an aquarium, a boat club, a natural historical museum and a zoo. The local authority has recently done wonderful changes to the surroundings with the whole perimeter blocked for vehicular traffic to make it wholly a walkway for the tourist to enjoy.

Nearby attractions from Ahmedabad: You can organize short trips to places like:

Lothal City

80 km from Ahmedabad, Lothal city is one of the well known cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization and is one of the primary sites of archaeology. Lothal was an important trade destination till 1900 BC. The most interesting sites here is the dockyard famous for maritime architecture of ancient world and the Sabarmati river just before its meeting with the sea in Gulf of Cambay. It is an example of Harrappan town planning.

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

This sanctuary situated at a distance of 70 kilometers from Ahmedabad represents a pleasant lake with clear blue waters, named Nal Sarovar and a marshy plot which serves as the docking site of an entire caboodle of migratory birds that undertake a sojourn from Siberia to reach this wonderful locale in the winter.

Ranchhodraiji Temple

Dakor, 50 km from Vadodara and halfway to Ahmedabad, is famous for its Temple of Ranchodrai, a manifestation of Lord Krishna, and is a sacred place for the followers of Lord Krishna. The shrine of the Ranchhodraiji Temple has been enclosed in a huge square shaped complex, having four gates to the outer walls. The main door faces the Gomati River of India. The doors to the main Ranchhodraiji shrine remain open throughout the day, except for the afternoon time.

Things to do in Ahmedabad: The sight seeing is the primary activity worth enjoying in Ahmedabad.

Best time to visit Ahmedabad: The best time to visit Ahmedabad is during the winter season.

How to go ?

By Air

Ahmedabad Airport is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, which is about 14 km from the heart of the city. Airport is connected with all major cities in India and also with many cities in abroad, like Muscat, New York, London and Colombo. Pre-paid taxis are available in Airport.

By Train

Ahmedabad railway station is connected to many major cities including Mumbai and Delhi. It is connected to all major cities in Gujarat.

By Road

The closest metro is Mumbai. Bus services are available from Mumbai and also from all major cities in Gujarat.

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Where to stay ?

There are both budget and luxury hotels in Ahmedabad. Some options are: 

Toran Hotel: +91-079 -2755 9342
Ginger Hotels: +91-079 -6666 3333  Website: www.gingerhotels.com
The Pride Hotel: +91-079 3011 5555  Website: www.pridehotel.com
Hotel Balwas: +91 79 25507135  Website: www.hotelbalwas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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harnai-beach

Harnai, Maharashtra – An excellent harbour dotted with distinguished historical constructions and cozy sea beaches

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Harnai is situated 15 km from Dapoli district Maharashtra is mainly a port and the main fishing village of the region. Harnai promises a quiet and peaceful natural harbour with clear waters, delicious sea food, beautiful seascape and rocky coasts. The site poses a mixture of olden styles of Maratha architectural buildings and the modern terraced buildings. Harnai is also dotted with many ancient temples.

Places to see at Harnai: Harnai offers quiet a lot of tourist attractions. These include:

Suvarnadurg Fort

Lying on the beautiful Harnai coast the fort showcases the architecture and history of Maratha. It is 17 km from Dapoli at Harnai, the Suvarnadurg ‘boat travelled’ fort consists of two forts: Kanakdurg and Suvarnadurg the land and sea fort. It is a small sea port built by Adil Shahi dynasty and later conquered by great emperor Shivaji and converted to a ship building port in Maharashtra. From Kanakdurg Fort (a sub fort of Suvarnadurg) Fategad, ecstatic view of fishing boats and sunset can be viewed.

Anjarle Ganesh Temple

It is a famous ancient 12th Century temple set on a cliff in which the Ganesh idol is right-sided (trunk curves towards the right) which is rarely found. Anjarle beach located to close vicinity is an unexplored tourist destination

Burundi Beach

Resting within the close proximity to Harnai, the natural emerald green beauty of the beach converges with the nature’s blue clear skies. Cool breeze, gushing waves, the clear sands and greenery make Burundi a unique tourist destination

Durgadevi Temple

The Durga Devi (Goddess Mother) Temple is a celebrated temple of the 18th Century in the Konkan belt located nearby Harnai beach. The temple is visited regularly by devotees. The temple talks of architectural style consisting of beautifully carved 28 wooden pillars and the grandeur entrance is adorned by a large bell. There is a cool water pond used for the temple rituals behind the temple.

Siddhi Vinayak Temple

It is an ancient famous temple near Harnai located in Dapoli town. The temple was built around Madhavarao Peshwa period in 18th century with the prime deity as the Lord Ganesh made in marble. The temple encloses a stone staircase of about 250 steps placed on a high mount, and a big hall with many pillars and a dome with an attractive lake in the front. The Vinayak Chaturthi festival celebrations here are a feast to the eyes. SiddhiVinayakTemple is one of such important ancient temple dating back to 18th century attended by regular devotees and tourists. Shri Siddi Vinayak has high blessing power to remove all obstacles in the path of prosperity of the devotees.

Unhavare – Hot Water Springs

There are natural hot water springs at Unhavare Village, just 20 km from Harnai. This is a famous tourist attraction. Many legendary stories are associated with this spring having medicinal or magical power and medicinal value and a dip in the Unhavare Hot Water Springs is said to cure skin and body ailments. Lots of people from surrounding areas come here regularly to bath in the Hot Sulphur water springs. Separate accommodation are made for men and women to take a dip in the rejuvenating hot water

Karde Beach

It is an idyllic beach front in Murud Harnai area, excellent for spending some idle time and unwinding oneself.

Murud Beach

Situated in the Ratnagiri district of  Konkan area, Murud is a picturesque beach resort of Maharashtra. It is a small town on the sea coast, about 12 kilometers from Dapoli and 35 kms from Khed (NH-17) possessing the most beautiful and longest beach in the Konkan region. Besides the serene and clean beach the land is admired with softy sands, green surroundings, and has a rural character.

Nearby attractions from Harnai: Just 25 kms. from Harnai, Kelshi is a typical small Konkani village. Want to taste the real village life in konkan, then Kelshi is the ideal getaway from Harnai. The village is very small and you can experience real peace away from the cacophony of the modern cities. The 2.5 Kms. beach at Kelshi is very beautiful and secluded and there are beautiful sand dunes on the beach where children enjoy sliding down on the sand dunes. There are no hotels in kelshi and you can only stay at places where people offer lodging facilities in their homes.

Things to do at Harnai: Sight seeing is the primary activity here. You can also laze around at the scenic beach here and go for early morning boat ride to view Dolphins. Do enjoy the sumptuous sea food here like fresh pomfret, prawns, crabs, Bombay duck and lobsters.

Best time to visit Harnai: Harnai can be visited during any time of the year. However it is better to avoid the high tide time from October to February.

How to go ?

By Air

Nearest airport is Mumbai, 200-km away from Harnai. From here you can hire a cab to reach Harnai.

By Rail

Mumbai located 200 km away is the nearest railway station. After reaching Mumbai or Dadar, Mandavi Express or Konkankanya Express will take you to Khed station. Hire a car from here to reach Harnai.

By Road

State Transport buses ply from Mumbai, Pune and Mahad to Harnai.

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Where to stay ?

Lotus Beach Resort: +91-02358-234828, 234582, 698151 Website: www.lotusresortmurud.com
Dr Dalvi’s Ashiyana – Harnai: +91 -02358 – 652135  Website: www.ashiyanaharnai.com
Silver Sandbeach Resort:+ 91 (02358) 234501  Website: www.beachresortsilversand.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Kunkeshwar

Kunkeshwar, Maharashtra – About 580 km from Mumbai the place has breath taking natural beauty

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Kunakeshwar is a quaint and small sea-side pilgrimage centre in Devgad taluka of Sindhudurga district in Maharashtra. About 6-7 kms from the taluka headquarter, the site has not only extravagant scenic beauty, but also the ancient temple of Shiva or Ishwara. It is famous for the best quality Hapus(Alphonso) Mango. These mangoes are exported to various parts of Mumbai and even in other parts of Maharashtra.

Places to see at Kunkeshwar: Kunkeshwar offers quite a lot of tourist attractions. These include:

Vijaydurg Fort

Vijaydurg or Viziadrug, this is the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast, and was constructed during the regime of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar dynasty (construction period 1193-1205). It was earlier known as “Gheria”, as it is situated close to the village of “Girye”. After Shivaji captured this fort from Adil Shah he renamed it as “Vijay Durg” as the then Hindu solar year’s name was “Vijay” (Victory).

Kunkeshwar Temple

Kunkeshwar Temple is an ancient Shiva Temple. This beautiful temple near beach has excellent architectural work reminding us of South Indian style of temple architecture. This temple is well known as the Kashi of South Konkan. Every year a huge celebration takes place on the occasion of Mahashivratri, accompanied by huge crowds.

Kunkeshwar Beach

The mesmerizing beach located across the temple on one side of the hill gives a tranquil effect on the mind. Swimming in the clear water freshens the mind and if you are lucky ones you can get a rare view of dolphins diving in the deep sea from a distance. Greenery of coconut and mango trees surrounding one side of the beach adds to the beauty and makes the whole experience of every visitor a memorable one.

Devgad Beach

Just 16km from Kunkeshwar this mesmerizing sea beach will greet you with enchanting music of the sea waves waves rushing up to the shore and the cool and soothing breeze. For hours, watch the Arabian Sea spread till the horizon and listen to the enchanting music of the A lazy stroll on the unpolluted supple sandy beach is a wonderful experience.

Vimleshwar Shiva Temple

 The Vimleshwar Shiva temple is dedicated to Lord Vimleshwar, a form of Shiva.

Nearby attractions from Kunkeshwar: Ambolgad is a coastal Hamlet 61 kms from Kunkeshwar and  renowned for its Fort and stunning Views of the Arabian Sea

Best time to visit Kunkeshwar: The best time to visit Kunkeshwar is from Cctober to May.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest airport to Kunkeshwar is Dabolim in Goa, 160 km away.

By Train

The nearest railway station is Kankavli, 47 km away. Kankavli is connected to Mumbai by the Konkan Kanya Express, Shatabdi and Mandovi. It is connected to Delhi by the Mangala Express. Coming from any other cities, it is preferable for you to reach Mumbai first. From here Kunkeshwar is 580 km. You can hire a car from here to reach Kunkeshwar.

By Road

The Maharashtra State Public Transport buses connect Kunkeshwar to nearby cities like Belgaon, Panaji, Pune and Mumbai.

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Where to stay ?

Kunkeshwar has very limited accommodation options. One option is:

Savli Resort: +91-02364-248614

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Alibag

Alibag, Maharashtra – A historical place, an ideal holiday destination with picturesque beaches near Mumbai

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An idyllic town, Alibag lies on the western coast of India, known as the Konkan region. It lies on almost the same latitude as the southern tip of Mumbai and very close to the tip across the narrow strip of the Arabian Sea. Alibag, a lovely beach that remains unspoiled till now. It is a 300 years old city. Shivaji’s admiral Kanoji Angre, made it the capital. It is also a home to Jewish Synagogue and cemetery, the only place in the konkan to have a Portugese and a Maratha sea fort on opposite banks of the same inland waterway. Thus it is best known for its historic marine forts, fine beaches and clean water. This stunning beautiful town is just 145 kms away from Pune and 30km to the south of Mumbai. It is well known for its mesmerizing calm weather and dense coconut groves.

Places to see in Alibag: Alibagh has various sight seeing destinations which includes:

Khanderi Fort

The Khanderi Fort is 3-4 km into the sea from Thal beach and was built in the year 1678.  A lighthouse was constructed later on. The Fort stands on a small island.

Alibag Beach

Alibag Beach is the main beach of the town. The beach has the blackest sand of the region. The beach is very lively with bathers in the morning and many food stalls in the evening. AlibagBeach is tardily but certainly growing into a tourist attraction. Ali Shah Bawa’s mazhar is right in the center of the town and the beach is also named after him so as the beach town. The government has built a good platform for the tourist to enjoy the sea and to take bath with safety. The Alibag Beach is the main beach of the town and the Kolaba fort can be seen from here.

Kolaba Fort

The Kolaba Fort was constructed by Shivaji Maharaj. It is located 2 km inside the sea. Visitors can visit the fort only during low tide.  The fort consists of sweet water well in the middle. There are many temples and fortifications along guns which face the sea. The fort is 300 years old. Carvings of tigers, peacocks, and elephants on the entrance arch can be seen. Near the gate there are shrines of Mahishasura and Padmavathi and other gods along with fort deity. A Ganesha temple was built in front of the sweet water tank in 1759.

Undheri Fort

At a distance of 300 meters from Khanderi is the fort of Undheri which is an island fort. It was built by Siddi Qasam in 1680.

Akshi Beach

The Akshi Beach is a beautiful white sand beach. Plenty of suru trees can be seen along the coast. The water is very clean and it renders safety for swimming. The beach is also a favorite among the birdwatchers and nature lovers. The hamlet of Akshi is just 5 km away from Alibag. The village is full of fishermen and it is not crowded at all. The beach at Akshi is a favourite tourist spot. One could slug around the clear beaches and step inside the warm and unruffled Arabian Sea. It is just a perfect getaway for a weekend.

Brahma Kund

The Brahma Kund is a great work. It is on the hill top. There are two kunds the shiv pool and the Brahma’s pond. Brahma Kund is a rectangular tank which is encircled by steps on all the 4 sides. It is a very beautiful site. The site is excellent for photography. There is a small Maruti Mandir in its vicinity. As one nears the temple one can see a small statue with an encoding ‘Mirchi Baba’. This encoding was done in the year 1612. This pool was created by the water which was collected after Lord Brahma bathed lord Krishna.

Kihim Beach

The Kihim Beach is situated at a distance of 12 km from Alibag. It is a secluded place. The beach is famous for thick cover of coconut trees. The place is also well known for variety of woods which serves as a cover. Nature lovers will be thrilled to visit the place for it provides sight of rare butterflies, birds and flowers. The most attractive part of the Kihim beach is that the place is not entirely discovered and unpolluted. The environment is very attractive. KihimBeach is the best place for day trippers and weekenders as well. An unconventional ‘Tent Holiday’ with all modern facilities attached can be seen at Kihim.

Nagaon beach

Around 7 km away from Alibag is the unique Nagaon beach. It is famous for coconuts and betel nuts. The visitors are attracted by the loving area of the tiding Arabian sea. The area is not only charming but also breathtaking. The place is famous for clean and serene beaches. Beautiful and long stretch of calm water the beach is covered with suru trees. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of water sports including parasailing, banana boat and Jet-Ski rides.

Versoli Beach

Located on the outskirts of Alibag the Versoli Beach is full of tranquillity. The sand on the beach is white and the sea water is clean and clear. The beach is not visited by many tourists. It houses a very large naval base. Varsoli is a tiny satellite village. The vegetation of this hamlet is complete with coconut and Casuarina.

Kanakeshwar Devasthan Temple

The Kanakeshwar Devasthan is a very famous Shiva temple. The temple is 13 km from Alibag.The temple is on a 900 feet high hill. To get to the temple one has to climb a flight of 5000 well paved stairs. One forgets the tiredness as soon as one enters the temple premises. This temple premises comprises of various small temples. The Shiva temple is the main temple. The height of the Lord is 54 ft. Behind the temple is the Pushkarna Kund. No one is allowed to access the Kund because of some mishaps in the past.

Kanakeshwar Forest

The Kanakeshwar Forest is a dense forest. Tourists are allowed to venture into the forest at their own risks. The population of the forest comprises of wild boars, poisonous snakes and panthers. They are the right owners of the forest. The silence of the jungle and the hills can be felt in this area. Wild leopards can be seen roaming the forest areas. Even though the KanakeshwarForest is dense, it has a lush green look. But due to its depth, the forest looks dark even during the day time.

Nearby attractions around Alibagh: Alibaugh also has some spectacular distance locations apart from the sight seeing spots. These includes:

Mandwa Beach

Mandwa beach is located about 20 km north of Alibag. The ferry services can be utilized from Mumbai to the Mandawa jetty. Mandwa is a natural port. The place is famous for many Bollywood celebrities bungalows. Mandawa is a beautiful and un trodden beach. When the sky is clear the enchanting view across the bay till the Gateway of India cannot be expressed in words. They are a joy to the mind and a feast to the eyes. The village is charming and it is a beauty of its own. The beautiful groves of coconut palms are very pretty.

Rewas Jetty

Around 23 km away from Alibag is Rewas Jetty. The jetty is famous and important for Mumbai Launch service. Tourists coming to Mumbai use the launch services of the Rewas jetty to travel. Rewas Jetty is 6 km from Kihim. The jetty is a weekend retreat. The rich and the famous have their bungalows along the beach. They also live in the interior of the place. The propinquity to the city is the major asset of the beaches. Tourists crowd along these beaches in large numbers. When one is at the jetty and stands facing the beach Uran can be sighted.

Murud Janjira

One of the strongest marine forts of India, Murud Janjira is just 54 km from Alibagh. Situated on a rock of oval shape near the port town of Murud, is 165kms south of Mumbai. The word ‘Janjira’ is a corruption of the Arabic word Jazira for island. Spread over 22 acres, the fort has 19 bastions which, despite the ravages of time, still stand intact. The fort’s main gate faces Rajapuri and can be seen only when one is quite close to it. It has a small gate which opens to the sea and was used for escape. A small fishing village, Murud is famous for its beaches too. Glittering sandy coastline and the village with beaches hemmed with coconut groves attracts large crowds especially on weekends.

Things to do in Alibagh: Alibagh offers a variety of things to do that include sight seeing to the beautiful temples, beaches, old forts etc. You can enjoy the tonga ride on the beaches or try some mouth watering local snacks available with hawkers. Want to enjoy a quiet beach then make a visit to the VarsoliBeach that lies on the outskirts of Alibag.Don’t miss the scrumptious sea food available in huge variety that includes fresh pomfret, prawns, crabs, Bombay duck and lobsters. You can also buy some nice junk jewellery, bags, antiques etc.

Best Time to Visit Alibagh: The best time to visit is from October to March.

How to go ?

By Air

The closest International Airport is Mumbai. Alibag is 108 km from Mumbai by road, a journey of 3 hours via Navi Mumbai. After getting off at Mumbai, you can hire a private can or avail the bus service (if any) to get to Alibag.

By Rail

Konkan Railway trains from CST Mumbai stop at Pen, 28 km from Alibag, from where you can take a bus, autorickshaw or taxi for Alibag.

By Road

Alibag is 108 km from Mumbai by road, a journey of 3 hours via Navi Mumbai. The quickest way to get there however would be to catch a ferry from Gateway Of India.

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Where to stay ?

The place is equipped with a number of beautiful beach resorts. Some options are:

Sai Inn Holiday Resort: +91- 02216- 1639, 2218- 1678, 2216 1666, 6446 6311  Website: www.sai-inn.com
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug: +91-9833 59 1515, 9833 12 9272  Website: www.alibaugbeachresort.com
Sun N Sea Beach Resort: +91-98339-25393  Website: www.hotelsunnsea.com
Hotel Sahyadri:+ 91- 022 2862- 5858, 2862- 5959.

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Pune

Pune, Maharashtra – The birth place of the great Raja Shivaji dotted with magnificent forts and palaces

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Queen of the Deccan, Oxford of the East, and cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune is a city with a future that promises to be as interesting as its history. Long-standing fortress of the Maratha empire and the home to the legendary Raja Shivaji, the Pune district is marked by magnificent land and forts, an emblem to its glorious past. Located in the western part of Maharashtra and a part of the Western Ghats mountain region, Pune is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra.

Places to See in Pune: Being a historical city, Pune has a long list of the places of interest. These include:

Aga Khan Palace

Aga Khan Palace is one of the finest piece of architectural beauty in the western India. The exquisite palace is surrounded by the lavish green gardens all around. Aga Khan Palace in Pune also houses some lavishly decorated guest rooms and suites which take you back to the royal past of the heritage building.

Osho Commune International

The Osho Commune International in Pune strives to fulfil Osho’s vision of ‘Zorba the Buddha’. Innumerable visitors come to the Osho Commune International for either short visits or several months’ attendance: to participate in daily meditation or the exhaustive programs of Osho Multiversity or contribute practically.

Lal Mahal

The Lal Mahal of Pune is one of the most famous monuments in Pune. In the year 1643 AD, Shivaji’s Father Sahaji Bhonsale, famously known as Dadaji, established Lal Mahal for his wife Jijabai and son. In the year 1998 Pune Municipal Corporation refurbished the Lal Mahal of Pune. The popular JijamataGarden located inside the premises is now a recreational park for kids. You can enjoy some time with your family here. The popularity of the Lal Mahal of Pune influence many people to visit the monument.

Shivneri Fort

Shivneri Fort is famous for being the birthplace of great Shivaji, the famous ruler of Maharashtra. Shivneri Fort in Pune is a well known historical military fortification. Shivaji spent his childhood in the fort and took lessons of all his military training here. The people who are inclined to trekking, Shivneri Fort are the ideal place for them to visit. The boundary wall of the Shivneri Fort was built so high to protect the fort from the enemies. Inside of this fort there is a temple of goddess ‘Shivai Devi’. A larger than life statue of Shivaji is situated in front of the Shivneri Fort. A traveler has to cross seven doors to reach in the Shivneri Fort. Inside of the Shivneri Fort there is a water pond called ‘Badami Talav’, which is located in the middle of the fort. A statue of Jijabai, the mother of famous ruler Shivaji, with her son is located beside the water pond of the Shivneri Fort. One interesting feature of Shivneri fort of Pune is a mosque with two towers which are joined by a graceful arch. Many other tourist attractions are located very near to this fort, such as, Nane Ghat, which is famous for beautiful scenery of Konkan Region and Jivdhan, which is famous for trekking.

Empress Garden

The Empress Garden lies adjacent to the Pune Solapur Road. This is a rather large garden, covering an area of about 59 acres. Empress Garden of Pune is basically a botanical park, which is located near the Pune Race course. Here there are several varieties of fruit and flower bearing trees. People often turn up in large numbers for a picnic at the Empress Garden of Pune.

Peshwa Udyan

Peshwa Udyan of Pune is one of the most famous garden areas of the city of Pune. It is maintained by the Pune Municipal Corporation. Apart from the Peshwa Udyan Zoo within the premises of the gardens, there are also provisions for some animal rides and boating.

Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwar temple of Pune is a 17th century Partvati temple, known for its endurance during the floods of Panshet in 1962. The Omkareshwar temple is known for its extraordinary construct and its extravagant style.

The Ganapati temple

The Ganapati temple, located on the banks of river Krishna at Sangli, is one of the most beautiful temples in the southern region of Maharashtra, and is known for its rich design and marvellous architecture! Dating back to the 17th century the Ganapati temple of Pune is one of the marvels of Maharashtrian architecture. The Ganapati temple of Pune, bearing the deity of Lord Ganesha is carved out of black stone made available from the compound comprising of a big platform, an excellent hall and a ‘Nagarkhana’. The doors of the Ganapati temple of Pune are also elaborately designed – the door is made up of a multi-colored natural wood.

Parvati Hill

Parvati Hill and Temple, a temple dedicated to the Hindu deities namely, Parvati, Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Devadeshwar, is situated in the southern part of Pune from where one can get a beautiful glance of the city. The Parvati Hill and Temple of Pune is the combined name of Parvati hill on which the Parvati temple is situated. The temple is located so high on the hill that one has to climb a series of 108 steps to get to the main temple. The Parvati Hill and Temple of Pune, situated at a height of 2100 feet from sea level, offers a rhapsodic view of the city. It is believed that Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao used to watch the defeat of the Britishers from this site.

Katraj Snake Park

Katraj Snake Park in Pune is a famous conservation park boasting a vast collection of snakes, reptiles, birds and turtles. It later became part of the Rajiv Gandhi Udyan in 1999. There are over 160 species of snakes here, of various shapes and sizes. The prize collection is a 6 years old, nine feet long King Cobra.

Splash Mountain Water Park

It is situated at 118 Ashoka Mall Bund, Garden Road in Loaehgaon, opposite the Holiday Inn. Splash Mountain of Pune is one of India’s largest water parks, which may quite rightly claim to be at par with worldwide standards. Various types of rides are available at Splash Mountain of Pune, for diverse age groups. One may participate in water games with friends and family at this park. The scenic location combined with the attractive water games helps to attract large crowds on weekends, especially in summer.

National Film Archives Museum

National Film Archives Museum was set up in the year 1964 and is one of the largest film archives in Asia. The museum preserves all the classic movies and all the details on the classic movie makers. It is located in the Jayakar Bungalow on the Law College Road. The National Film Archives Museum at Pune holds the largest collection of films in Asia. The museum is making news every year for showcasing some of the rarest classical movies from all across the world. Every year it is adding up its library with some new titles that are not available in the market. Museum in Pune holds the record from the first film to first talkie film. It is the best place to get each and every detail on the film industry including how it works, how a film is made. National Film Archives Museum is of great help to research scholars and students of film studies who take up research on Indian films, directors, actors, etc.

Nearby attractions of Pune: Pune is an idyllic base to visit the places like:

Matheran

The distance from Matheran to Pune is around 118 km. It is the closest hill station to the city of Mumbai. It takes around two hours to reach Matheran from Pune.

Malshej Ghat

Malshej Ghat is a popular hill station. It lies in the middle of the Sahyadri mountain range. The place is a top tourist draw for the scenic waterfalls and surroundings. The distance from Pune is around 126 km and it takes 2-3 hours to reach there.

Things to do in Pune: Pune is a beautiful city to roam around and explore the wonderful sight seeing locations.

Best time to visit Pune: The best time to visit is from July to February.

How to go ?

By Air

Pune airport is situated almost 10 kilometers from the heart of the city which is located in the Lohagaon area. Outside the airport, one can easily get a taxi and major other bus services to reach the city.

By Train

Pune is one of the major and most important railway junctions on the Indian railway. The city connects with major other cities like Kolkata (Azad Hind Express), Chennai (Chennai Egmore – Dadar Central SF Express), Bangalore (Yesvantpur – Bikaner Special), Bhubaneshwar (Konark Express) of the country which makes it quite easy to answer how to reach Pune via railways.

By Road

Pune is well linked with major parts of the country and then it further connects to the major cities in Maharashtra as well. Major bus services are offered by state owned bus services which are quite economical and budget friendly as well. Some major cities near Pune include Ahmadnagar(115 km), Mumbai (120 km), Aurangabad (215 km) and Bijapur (275 km) all of which are accessible via road.

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Where to stay ?

The accommodation options are in plenty in Pune city. Some are:

The O Hotel: +91-020 4001 1000  Website: www.ohotelsindia.com
Hotel Sapna : +91-8888846566  Website: www.hotelsapnapune.com
Hotel Ideal: +91- 020- 2444 1709
Hotel Alankar: +91-020- 2613 4499

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Aurangabad

Aurangabad, Maharashtra – Famous for the World Heritage sites Ajanta and Ellora caves

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The gateway to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad is named after the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. Aurangabad the only tourist location in India having two-world heritage monuments to its credit. Moreover it is hoped that there will be good addition of two more in near future.  Barring these heritage monuments of Ajanta, Ellora, Daulatabad and Bibi-Ka-Maqbara the district is rich in monuments, historical and religious, of National importance.  Hence, it deserves the epithet as Tourist District of India. Lying along the right bank of the Kham River, the city is the district headquarters, which offers visitors all the modern comforts and amenities.

Places to see in Aurangabad: The sight seeing spots of Aurangabad includes:

Bibi Ka Maqbara

The tomb of Rabia Durani, wife of Emperor Aurangazeb is an excellent example of Persian architecture. It is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal though less ornamental.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Tourist attractions in Aurangabad that have made it to the list of World heritage sites are the Ajanta and Ellora caves. The Ajanta and Ellora cave shrines cut out of rock, by hand, rank amongst the most outstanding historical tourist attractions in India. It is believed that, originally, Buddhist monks sought shelter in these natural grottos during monsoons and began decorating them with religious motifs to help pass the rainy season. Later they taught and performed rituals in these caves, which became their Chaityas (temples) and Viharas (living quarters), the ancient seats of learning, and centers of the Buddhist cultural movement. Using simple tools like hammer and chisel, the monks carved out the impressive figures adorning the walls of these structures, depicting the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD.

Panchakki

A watermill dating back to the pre-mughal period, which was used to operate large grain grinding stones, which served as flourmills, is an example of the engineering marvel of the 17-century.

Aurangabad caves

It lies 3km north of Aurangabad, and excavated out of a south-facing hillside between 3 and 11 century and belong to the Buddhist era.

Daulatabad Fort

The magnificent Daulatabad Fort, once known as ‘Devgiri’ stands on a hill just 13 km. from Aurangabad was given the name Daulatabad, the ‘city of fortune’, by Muhammad Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi who made a blunder trying to shift the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad. This fort is considered as one of the oldest existing and invincible forts of India.

Nearby attractions from Aurangabad: Aurangabad is an ideal base for making excursions to places like:

Paithan

The ancient city of Paithan, 56km South of Aurangabad, now known Paithan, was the seat of the Satvahana dynasty that ruled from 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD. Situated on the banks of the sacred river Godavari, the little town is famous for its Shrine of ‘Sant Eknath’ where people flock every year during the time of ‘Paithan Yatra’. Paithan, which was once an important seat of learning, is also famous for its beautiful silk saris which sport intricately embroidered gold or silver borders called ‘Paithani’. The Shrine of Sri Sai Baba, Shirdi, 130 km from Aurangabad is a place of pilgrimage for devotees of Sri Sai Baba.

Grihneshwar Temple

Grihneshwar Temple, 30 km from Aurangabad near the Ellora caves, is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and sacred to Hindus.

Things to do in Aurangabad: The heritage site of Ajanta and Ellora is really attractive. Try to visit each and every caves. The intricate Buddhist architecture is mesmerizing. Inside the caves the giant size Buddha statue will take you to the ancient times. Apart from this the other sight seeing spots are also worth a visit.

Best time to visit Aurangabad: Aurangabad generally offers moderate temperature with low humidity and the best time to visit the place is from October to March.

How to go ?

By Air

Aurangabad Airport (Chikkalthana Airport) is an airport serving the city and has connecting flights to Hyderabad, Delhi, Udaipur, Mumbai,Jaipur, Pune, Nagpur and Kolkata.

By Train

Aurangabad railway station is not in the main route but is directly connected to Delhi (Sachkhand Exp), Mumbai (Janshatabdi Exp) and Ahmedabad (Rmm Okha Expres). Nearest Railway Station is Manmad which is 120 km away from Aurangabad. From here connecting trains running through the major cities across the country are available.

By Road

You can easily get regular buses to Aurangabad from other cities of Maharashtra like Pune, Nasik, Mumbai etc.

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 Where to stay ?

There are plenty of accommodation facilities in Aurangabad.  Some options are:

VITS Hotel Aurangabad: +91-0240-2350701, 60017555  Website: www.vitshotelaurangabad.com
Lemon Tree Hotel: +91-0 240 6603030  Website: www.lemontreehotels.com
Hotel Regal Plaza: +91-0240 2329322, 2345578  Website: www.hotelregalplaza.com
Hotel Rama International:  +91 -0240- 6634141  Website: www.itchotels.in

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Vijaywada

Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh – 257 km from Hyderabad, a destination having religious, archaeological and historical importance

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257 km from Hyderabad, Vijaywada is situated on the bank of river Krishna. It is the second largest city of Andhra Pradesh. It was earlier named as Vijayvatika. Bounded by the Indrakiladri hills on the West and the Budameru River on the North, there are a number of tourist spot having religious, archaeological and historical importance. “The Place of Victory” which is the literal meaning of Vijayawada, it was founded by Arjuna around the Malleswara temple and Indrakiladri hills in commemoration of Lord Shiva’s Darsan he had.

Places to see in Vijaywada: Vijaywada has a no. of tourist spots located in and around the city. These include:

Prakasam Barrage

The impressive structure of the Prakasam Barrage stretches 1223.5 meter long across the Krishna River. The barrage serves also as a road bridge and spans over a panoramic lake. The three canals associated with the barrage, run through the city of Vijayawada giving it a Venetian appearance. One of the first major irrigation projects of South India, the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada was a complete success. It was named after Sri Tanguturi Prakasam, the first Chief Minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh largely owes its richness in agriculture to the Prakasam Barrage as the project has helped in the irrigation of huge agricultural lands. The barrage provides gorgeous view with the shimmering lake. The balmy breeze and the placid waters make it one of the major travel attractions in Vijayawada.

Kanaka Durga

The Kanaka Durga Temple is a must visit site while in Vijayawada. Goddess Kanaka Durga is the presiding deity of the temple and of the city of Vijayawada. She is believed to be the Goddess of riches, power, mercy and benevolence and is believed to have self manifested or Swayambhu. Wedged on top of the Indrakiladri hill, the Kanaka Durga Temple overlooks the city of Vijayawada. The Kanaka Durga Temple is a must visit site while in Vijayawada. Goddess Kanaka Durga is the presiding deity of the temple and of the city of Vijayawada. Kanaka Durga is the Goddess of riches, power, mercy and benevolence and is believed to have self manifested or Swayambhu. Wedged on top of the Indrakiladri hill, the Kanaka Durga Temple overlooks the city of Vijayawada. The added attractions for a visit to the Kanaka Durga  Temple are the ancient rock cut caves on the way. These caves are dedicated to Akkanna and Madanna who were ministers belonging to the court of the 17 th century Qutab Sahi ruler, Abul Hasan Tanashah. Another cave dating back to the 2nd century BC houses the sacred deities of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.

Rajiv Gandhi Park

It is one of the most favored of the travel attractions in Vijayawada. Created and maintained by Vijayawada Municipal Corporation, the Park is located just at the entrance of the city, as if giving a warm welcome to those who visit the city. The park is maintained excellently. It is a hot favourite with the city dwellers. The garden is gorgeously manicured and the park is home to a number of trees that are important in terms of horticulture. The Rajiv Gandhi Park of Vijayawada is embellished with musical fountains that dance to the melodies, every day from 7:30 pm to 8:15 pm, except on Mondays. This attracts a lot of visitors and the garden looks like a kaleidoscope of colors as the illuminated musical fountains spread its bright hues. An added attraction is the mini zoo making it an exciting destination especially for the children. Apart from the animals, there is an educative park within the premises. This educative park has massive replicas of dinosaurs and other pre-historic animals which are really awe inspiring for the children.

Gandhi Hill

Gandhi Hill was earlier known as the ‘Orr Hill’. It was named after Mahatma Gandhi and is famous for the Gandhi Stupa. Perched on top of the hill at an elevation of 500 feet above the main city of Vijayawada, the Gandhi Memorial Stupas were built in 1968 and till date rule the Vijayawada skyline. Raising to a height of 15.8 meter, the Gandhi Stupa is accompanied by six more stupas that made the first Gandhi Memorial of the country. The inspiring teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are inscribed on the stone slabs of the stupas.  The Gandhi Hill in Vijayawada houses the well stocked Gandhi Memorial Library and the city’s very own planetarium. A light and show program is organized every evening after sundown relating stories from the life of the great leader, Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Hill also provides an expansive view of the whole city of Vijayawada. The glittering lights of the city, the balmy breeze and the crowd together turn the place into one of the travel attractions of Vijayawada.

Undavalli Caves

Undavalli Caves is reputed to be one of the most renowned travel attractions in Vijayawada. The caves are located at a distance of 8 kilometers from the center of the city of Vijayawada and are easily accessible by the tourists. The caves are situated by the River Krishna and houses the rock cut illustrations of Lord Buddha. The UndavalliCaves near Vijayawada were excavated in the early 4th and 5th century. The statue of Lord Vishnu carved in granite stone reigns in the sanctum sanctorum of the caves and is sacred to the followers of the religion of Buddhism. The statue also represents the architectural brilliance of the region in the early centuries. A statue of Lord Vishnu lies within a cave in a reclining position and measures around 5 meters in length. The Undavalli Caves rises to four storeys. The magnificence of the ancient cave is one of the primary tourist attractions of the city of Vijayawada, in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, and attracts both national and foreign tourists.

Mangalgiri Temple

Of the three well known temples of Andhra Pradesh that enshrines Pankala Narasimha, the Mangalgiri Temple is situated at a short distance from the city of Vijayawada. Mangalgiri is divided into two shrines. The one located atop the Mangalgiri hill is dedicated to the worship of Pankala Narasimha. The other shrine is located at the foothills of the Mangalgiri hill and is dedicated to the worship of the consort of Pankala Narasimha, Lakshmi Narasimha. It is believed that the temple was founded by the epic hero Yuddhisthira. The temple dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi Narasimha has been constructed architecturally to support the 11 storeyed Raja Gopuram that was constructed by the chieftain of the region. The interiors of the temple have inlaid inscriptions that reveal that the famous King of the Vijaynagar Empire, Krishna Deva Raya had visited this temple. The temple tank placed adjacent to the temple is believed to be created by the Gods and is named Lakshmi Pushkarini. A unique feature of this temple of Pankala Narasimha in Mangalgiri is the magical disappearance of the jaggery solution offered to the shrine. Half the liquid poured into the mouth of the deity is believed to be regurgitated by the shrine. This miraculous act rekindles faith and spiritualism in the tourists who visit the temple.

Bhavani Island

Bhavani Island is one of the most favored travel attractions in Vijayawada. The beautiful island stretches itself in the KrishnaRiver, 4 km upstream from the city of Vijayawada. Perhaps the largest river island, it is spread across an area of around 133 acres. The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) has elaborate plans to develop the Bhavani island, all the more, because it already attract thousands of visitors to this picturesque spot. One may opt to treat oneself to an boat ride and explore the serenity of the surroundings. BhavaniIsland is a unique aquatic joint blessed by the placid waters and rows of shady bowers. The picnickers can spend an exclusive day out with the family, friends and relatives at a low budget. Fringed by mangroves and manicured gardens, the woodlands, sparkling water bodies and undulating meadows, Vijayawada Bhavani Island is just the right destination for fun and amusement.

Kondapalli Fort

The Kondapalli Fort, as believed was built by Prolaya Vema Reddy around the 14 century He was the founder of the Reddy kingdom of Kondaveedu, and constructed the fort in the Kondapalli village, located at 16 km in the west of the city of Vijayawada. It served as the leisure palace for the king and was used for his relaxation as well as for recreational purposes. The Fort near Vijayawada is graced by a majestic rock tower that stands up to three storeys. Situated on a hillock the fort rules the skyline and is clearly visible from a long distance. The Fort had been witness to the rise and fall of many dynasties. The dargah or shrine of Gareeb Sahib, a renowned Persian saint, is situated near the Kondapalli Fort. The surrounding Kondapalli village is famous for its Kondapalli toys that are made of light wooden material ‘Poniki’ available from the wood land on the hill itself. These toys are brightly colored and have characteristic Indian motifs as the subject. All these together make Kondapalli Fort one of the major travel attractions in Vijayawada. Animals and birds, fruits and vegetables, mythological and religious figures usually provide the imagination for these wonderful Kondapalli toys.

Victoria Jubilee Museum

Built in 1887 to honour Queen Victoria’s coronation jubilee, the museum has a small collection of art and arms, and a garden with temple sculptures from around the state.

Nearby attractions from Vijaywada: Apart from the enchanting tourist spots located within the city, Vijaywada also has some interesting locations around it. These are:

Amravati

Sited on the banks of River Krishna, Amravati is a sacred place known for Amareswara Temple. The town has been mentioned in the Indian epics as Dhanyakataka and Andhranagari. Located about 66 km to the south of Vijayawada, Amaravati is an excavation site of an earliest Buddhist Stupa. It is one amongst the important Buddhist sites in India. With such places of religious and historical significance, Amravati is a major centre of pilgrimage and tourism.

Manginapudi Beach

Manginapudi Beach revives the times of the yore, when its port used to serve as a gateway of India. Located near Machilipatnam, this spectacular beach falls along the coastline of Andhra Pradesh. Apart from its natural splendor, the coast also has historical significance. Its natural bay, with moderately shallow and safe waters, boasts of being one of the safest beaches for water sports. Unlike other beaches, ManginapudiBeach has black soil instead of sands. A little away from the seashore, a park has been established here, that has fountains and well-lit surroundings. ManginapudiBeach is a wonderful place to relax, far from the turmoil of city life.

Kuchipudi

Located at a distance of 60 km from Vijayawada, Kuchipudi is the same place after which the State’s dance has been named. Kuchipudi, being the hometown of Siddhendra Yogi (instigator of Kuchipudi dance), is known for its artistic and literary pursuits.

Gudivada

Also known as ‘Vidarbhapuri’, Gudivada is prominent for its historical temples. This place is believed to have been existed for over 2000 years, though it was popularized during the time of the Satavahanas. Sited about 45 km from Vijayawada, Gudivada was named after the numerous temples it had. The site has got ruins of age-old temples and is worth-visiting.

Things to do in Vijaywada: You can visit the two most notable and revered temples of Mangalgiri and Kanaka Durga. If you are looking for souvenirs to take home buy a kalamkari painting or two. A little out of town is the old Buddhist centre of Amravati or if you have an interest in the arts, do make a visit to Kuchipudi where the dance form of the same name originated.

Best time to visit Vijaywada: The best time to visit Vijayawada is between November and March.

How to go ?

By Air

Vijayawada Airport is the main airport of the city. It is located 24 km away at Gannavaram. The airport has regular flights from Delhi and Hyderabad. It is also connected with the cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The Hyderabad Airport which is the nearest international airport located 276 km from Vijayawada. From the airport you can take a bus, rent a car or taxi or take a train to get to Vijayawada.

By Train

Vijayawada is on the Calcutta-Chennai coastal line. There are trains to Vijayawada to all parts of the country including Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhuvaneshwar etc.

By Road

Both APSRTC buses and private buses are available from Vijaywada. It has efficient and frequent bus connections to other places in the region. Hyderabad (273 km), Tirupati (407 km) and Chennai (449 km) are the few places near Vijayawada. Buses from Vijayawada to Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Secunderabad, Chittoor, Tirupati and other cities are easily available.

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Where to stay ?

Vijaywada has adequate accommodation facilities. Some options are:

Hotel Punnami (APTDC): +91-0866-2418057
Bhavani Island Hotel (APTDC): +91-08571-2793
The Gateway Hotel: +91-0866- 6644444  Website: www.thegatewayhotels.com
Hotel Garuda: +91-0866-2499991, 2499992, 2499993  Website: www.hotelgaruda.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh – With a number of tourist spots, the hi-tech city remains a major tourist destination in India

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HYDERABAD is the capital city of the Indian state Telengana and Seemandhra. Located on the bank of Musi River, Hyderabad is endearingly called the Pearl City. The history of Hyderabad goes back to the period when Quli Qutub Shah seized power from the Bahamani Kingdom in 1512 and established the city of Golconda and the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Today’s Hyderabad is one of the major metropolitan cities of the country. The city is famous for its IT industry, bio pharmaceutical sector, and the Telugu film industry. Though cosmopolitan, Hyderabad has retained its glorious past. With a number of tourist spots the hi-tech city remains a major tourist destination in India.

Places to see in Hyderabad: Hyderabad is admired with multifarious tourist attraction. These are:

Charminar

The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It is said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. The architectural grandeur of that time is prominently visible as you visit inside. The monument is illuminated in the evenings. Its beauty at that will mesmerise you.

Mecca Masjid

A two hundred yards south-west of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. The Qutab Shahis never finished the building of the mosque. It was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694.

Hussainsagar Lake

Excavated in 1562 A.D. by Hussain Shah Wali during the time of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, the lake has a promenade that is a busy thoroughfare today. Boating and water sports are a regular feature in the Hussainsagar. One of the World’s tallest monolithic statues of the Buddha stands on the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’, in the middle of the lake. Added to all these, AP Tourism have additional boating facilities like speed boats, motor boats, 48 seater launch etc. Starlit dinner on-board and private parties also can be arranged on the Launch.

Salar Jung Museum

This museum houses one of the biggest one-man collections of antiques of the world by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III. The objects d’art include Persian carpets, Moghal miniatures, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquerware, famous statues including the Veiled Rebecca and Marguerite and Mephistopheles, a superb collection of jade, daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jahan and the Emperors Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb’s swords and many other fabulous items.

Golconda Fort

Golconda is one of the famous forts of India. The name originates from  the Telugu words “Golla Konda” meaning “Shepherd’s Hill”. The origins of the fort can be traced back to the Yadava dynasty of Deogiri and the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Golconda was originally a mud fort, which passed to the Bahmani dynasty and later to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1518 to 1687 A.D. The first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years. The fort is famous for its spectacular, palaces, ingenious water supply system and the famous Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.

Osmansagar Lake

Osmansagar, better known as Gandipet, on the outskirts of Hyderabad is an excellent picnic spot. Osmansagar is one of the two lakes on the city’s periphery that supplies drinking water to the great metropolis. The lake is a reservoir created by a dam across the Isa, a tributary of the River Musi. Abutting the lake and the bund are lush gardens that provide the ideal ambience for an outing. Overlooking the lake is the heritage building, Sagar Mahal, built as a resort by the Nizam of Hyderabad and converted now into a lake resort managed by AP Tourism.

Nehru Zoological Park

Spanning 300 lush green acres, the Nehru Zoological Park is a must for nature lovers. It has over 250 species of animals and birds, most of which are kept in conditions as close to their natural habitats as possible. This is the first zoo to create moated enclosures for animals. The Lion Safari Park, Natural History Museum and Children’s Train are the added attractions.

Ramoji Film City

Ramoji Film City, a tribute to the bewitching magic of cinema, is the dream destination for entertainment and relaxation. Millions of tourists from all over the world come to the complex every month to revel in its infinite leisure and recreation options. Spread over idyllic 2,500 acres and studded with hills, woods, lakes and striking architectural triumphs, Ramoji Film City is one of Asia’s fastest growing tourism destinations.

Nearby attractions of Hyderabad:From Hyderabad you can make excursion to places like:

Nagarjuna Sagar

170 km from Hyderabad Nagarjuna Konda is one of the Buddhism’s most visited sites, named after Nagarjuna, an authority on the Mahayana form of Buddhism. He is credited to have introduced Buddhism to Andhra Pradesh in the 2nd century AD. One of the popular excursions from Hyderabad, Nagarjuna Sagar is famous for being the largest masonry dam in the world. Nagarjuna Konda Island in the middle of the Krishna River has a Buddhist Museum housing antiques.

Ettipotala Water Falls

18 km from Nagarjuna Sagar, Ettipotala Waterfalls is famous for its pristine and stunning beauty. The fall cascades from a height of 22 metres from to join the main stream Krishna River. The sound of gushing waters echoes all around the landscape. This inviting spot attracts picnickers in hordes. A crocodile breeding centre has been set up here.

Warangal 

155 km from Hyderabad, once the seat of power of the Kakatiyas, Warangal is an absolute must visit for those looking forward to exploring f the south Indian temple architecture. The 1000 pillared temple and Ramappa Temple are glowing instances of the exquisite architecture patronized by Kakatiya kings who ruled the greater part of present-day Andhra Pradesh from the late 12th to early 14th centuries AD.

Things to do in Hyderabad: While in Hyderabad do not forget to taste the delicious Hyderabadi biriyani the unique dish of Hyderabad. Apart from that shopping the items of pearls is also worth. The cinema lovers must not miss the spectacular Ramoji Film city, a tribute to the enchanting magic of cinema.

Best time to visit Hyderabad: Hyderabad has a warmer climate and hence cooler months, i.e. October to March are considered ideal to visit the city.

How to go ?

By Air

The Rajiv Gandhi International terminal, Hyderabad’s international airport is well-connected with major cities across the globe. The airport also has a domestic terminal called NT Rama Rao which is connected to most of the Indian cities. It is approximately 20 kilometres away from the city. The cabs are available to take you in different parts of the city. Fares may vary depending upon which part of Hyderabad city you would like to go.

By Train

There are three major railheads in the city, namely, Hyderabad Railway Station, Secunderabad Railway Station and Kachiguda Railway Station. These railheads connect major Indian cities like Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Some of the popular trains that run daily from Hyderabad rail junctions are Kacheguda Express, Hyderabad Express, Charminar Express, Konark Express, Andhra Pradesh Express and Shatabdi Express.

By Road

The city is well-connected to its neighbouring towns like Aurangabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Tirupati and Panaji. The bus terminal is managed and well-organised by Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC). You can also avail private cars to reach your required destination.

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Where to stay ?

There are some budget and luxury hotels. Some options are:

Taramati Baradari (APTDC): +91- 040 – 20030352
The Golkonda Hotel: +91 -040- 6611 -0101, 1800 425 0202 (Toll free)  Website: www.thegolkondahotel.com
Katriya Hotels and Towers :  +91- 040- 23325678, 4066135678, +91-9849597052  Website: www.katriyahotel.com
The Park Hotels: 1800 102 7275  (Toll Free), +91- 1800 102 7275  (Outside India)  Website: www.theparkhotels.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Amaravati

Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh – Eminent for the Amareswara temple and Buddhist Stupa

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Located at a distance of 65 km from Vijaywada, Amaravati is a town rich in architecture, trade and was instrumental  in spreading Buddhism to the east coast. The place was previously known as Dhanyakataka or Dharanikota and is famous for the  Amareswara temple and Buddhist stupa. Amravati was also once amongst the four major learning centres in India which attracted a large number of students from all over the world. Having a good transport network, this place is a popular tourist destination of the recent times.

Places to see in Amaravati: Amaravati is admired with a number of sight seeing locations which includes:

Amareswara Temple

As per the Hindu mythology, Amareswara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the ‘Destroyer of the Universe’. The shrine embraces a 15 ft high marble Shiva lingam. It is believed that Lord Siva is present here in the form of five lingams -Pranaveswara, Agasteswara, Kosaleswara, Someswara and Parthiveswara. Built in the Dravidian style of architecture, Amareswara Temple has many legends behind its origin. Another interesting fact about the shrine is that it is located at the point where the river takes a different course. Since slabs with Buddhist inscriptions were found in its groundwork, the temple is said to have been a Buddhist shrine in the previous times. ‘Maha Shivaratri’ of ‘Magha Bahula Dasami’ is the major festival celebrated here. The divine aura of the shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.

Mahachaitya

Built around the 2nd century, Amravati Mahachaitya (The Great Stupa) must have been the largest stupa in the whole country. It is believed to have been constructed with the efforts of the great saint, Acharya Nagarjuna. Excavated a few years back, this stupa is engraved with intricate carvings that depict the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. Here is a small museum, which houses numerous artifacts and terracotta antiquities.

Buddhist Stupa

The great stupa at Amaravati accidentally came under limelight in 1796, when a certain raja decided to build a new capital at a place called Amareswaram. While digging at this place, the workers hit upon some bricks and some white stone pieces which had carvings on them. These were remains of the ancient stupa. The site of Amaravati lies in the valley of the KrishnaRiver in the modern state of Andhra Pradesh. Like other important stupa sites, Amaravati also grew and changed. Over time, stone pillars and railings were added. Eventually, the surface of the stupa was covered with beautifully carved white limestone slabs, resembling marble. The railing around the stupa and the four gateways were also decorated with carved limestone slabs. While some of the carvings and sculptures were purely decorative, others had philosophical connotations and tried to tell the story of the Buddha’s life. The railings and gateways of the stupa had many inscriptions carved on them.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum at Amaravati is a home to many relics that dates back to thousands of years, found during excavations. This museum unfolds the wealth of Amaravati that belonged to 3rd century BC, through the galaxy of sculptures that once were a part of Mahachaitya (the Giant Stupa). There are different galleries that take you close to the very old history of Amaravati and the life of the Buddhists in those days. The museum is closed on Fridays and on other days it is open from 10:00 am to 5:00pm.

Nearby attractions from Amaravati: From this historical site you can organize itinerary to  Vijayawada,the second largest city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.  Historically enriched, the city has many tourist attractions with famous landmarks both in and around the city. Some of the notable places includes, Prakasham Barrage, Kanaka Durga temple Gandhi Hill, Rajiv Gandhi Park, Bhavani Island etc.

Things to do at Amaravati: Sightseeing is the most important thing that you can do while in Amaravati. The town offers quite a lot of places of attraction to look out for.

Best time to visit Amaravati: Best time to visit Amaravati is from October to March.

How to go ?

By Air

Vijayawada domestic Airport is the nearest airport to Amaravathi located at a distance of 51 km from the town which is connected with all the major cities of the country like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. One can get taxis and other modes of transportation at a reasonable cost from the airport.

By Train

Amaravathi comes under the Hyderabad-Vijaywada and Hyderabad-Guntur line. Vijayawada Junction is the closest one connected with the major cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Bhuvaneshwar.

By Road

Amaravathi is well linked with Guntur by road. Private and government buses and cabs take people to Amaravathi from Guntur on a regular basis. The town is also well connected to the state capital, Hyderabad.

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Where to stay ?

There are both government and private hotels in Amaravati. Some options are:

Amaravati Guest House (APTDC): +91-08643-22466
Hotel Sindoora Residency: +91- 08643-254200

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Thanjavur

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu – Famous for the Brahadeeswara Temple, recognized by UNESCO as the world heritage site

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Thanjavur also known as Tanjore is the temple city of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur rose to glory during the later Chola period between the 9th and 14th centuries A.D. It also flourished later during the rule of the Nayaks and Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries and known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for the celebrated Brahadeeswara temple. This temple is recognized by UNESCO as the world heritage site. The green paddy fields and the Kaveri River make the site a picturesque location.

Places to See in Tanjore: Being a temple city, its sight seeing spots mostly includes temples. However there are some historical sites too.

Brihadisvara Temple

It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Thanjavur. It was constructed by the great Chola king, Rajaraja I. Built in the 10th century AD, the temple of the finest example of Chola architecture. The architecture of the Brihadisvara Temple of Thanjavur is reminiscent of the Egyptian pyramids. The temple is about 63 meters high. The dome of the temple is said to be built with the help of a gigantic piece of granite. The granite which is used to built the dome of the temple is estimated to weigh about 81 tonnes. The dome of the temple is a grandeur in architecture.

Brihadisvara Temple is one of the important shrines in the city. Every year thousands of tourists come to Thanjavur to reverence to the titular deity. Moreover, it is noteworthy that Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur has certain restrictions about entering the shrine. According to the rules and regulation of the temple, only Hindus are permitted to go inside the temple and worship there. Others are exempted from entering the temple.

Shrine of Subrahmanya

One of the famous tourist attraction in the city, this 7th century shrine, is also known for its decorative architecture. The Shrine of Sri Subrahmanya is an example of carved stone-work. The delicate pattern and the motifs of the shrine add delight to sightseeing.

The Shrine of Subrahmanya, Thanjavur is specimen of Dravidian architecture. It is known for its delicate artistry and elaborative patterns. The temple possesses a tower, which is 55 feet in height. The tower of the shrine stands on an area of 45 square feet. The Shrine of Sri Subrahmanya in Thanjavur is adorned with beautiful paintings. The portraits of Mahratta kings beautify the walls of the Mandapam.

Annai Vailankanni Shrine

The tour to Annai Vailankanni shrine is particularly not missed by the tourists who have an inclination for religious structures. The Annai Vailankanni shrine is located on the Elliot’s beach at the place called Besant Nagar in Chennai. The picturesque location of the Annai Vailankanni shrine on the Bay of Bengal shores makes this shrine all the more popular. The shrine is located at adistance of about 10 kms from Nagapattinam. A mythical story is associated with the shrine of Annai Vailankanni. According to popular belief, Reverend P T Arulappa saw mother Mary and little Jesus in a dream. Thereafter, he established this wonderful shrine to pay homage to the Virgin mother of God. This close association of the shrine with the international religion of Christianity makes it one of the important religious structures to all the Christians around the world. Mother Mary is often related to the concept of global unity and hence stands for peace and harmony among people belonging to different socio-cultural and religious backgrounds. Innumerable people belonging to Christianity and other religions come on a trip to the Annai Vailankanni shrine.

The closest railway station of the Annai Vailankanni shrine is located at Nagapattinam at a distance of about 10 kms from Vailankanni. The closest airport is situated at Tiruchy at a distance of around 154 kms from Vailankanni. Buses can also be availed from Chennai, Nagapattinam, Pondicherry and Madurai.

Royal Palace and Museum

Also known as the Thanjavur Palace is a huge building dating back to 1550. Situated near the Brihadiswara temple, the palace was partly built by the Nayakas and partly by the Marathas. It has arsenal towers, broad corridors and gigantic halls. The palace is known to possess an art gallery, a museum and a library. The art gallery of the palace houses a rich collection of bronze statues belonging to the Chola Dynasty.

Gangaikondam Cholapuram

A Cholan architectural masterpiece, this temple has been visited by numerous travellers across centuries. The structure has been designed in a manner that at any given point of time, the sun-light shall fall directly on the idol of main deity.

Vijayanagar Fort

Situated about 2 km away from the Brahadeeswara Temple this fort is one of the popular historic monuments of Thanjavur. Siva Ganga Garden, Sangeetha Mahal, and Saraswathi Mahal Library are located in this fort.

Nearby attractions at Tanjore: There are quite a good number of excursion options available from Tanjore:

Airavatheeswar Temple

Airavateeswar Temple is an exquisitely built temple that is located 30 kilometers from the city of Thanjavur. The temple that was constructed around 12th century A.D is counted among the bests of Chola Temples in India. Going by its unique architecture, the place has been recognized by the UNESCO as a WorldHeritageMonument.

Kumbakonam

A visit to the temple town of Kumbakonam is a must for every tourist.  Just 35 kilometers off to the city of Tanjore, Kumbakonam is famous for its temples sculptures having erotic overtones. Some of the must visit temples are Sarangapani, Kumbeswarar, Nageswara and Ramaswamy temples. Kumbakonam is also the venue of the Mahamaham festival that is celebrated every 12 years.

Manora

Manora is situated 65 kilometers from the city of Thanjavur. The building is considered as the largest and tallest of the monuments built by the Tanjore Marathas. Manora is an eight-storied miniature fortress that is hexagonal in shape and is skirted by a moat. Sarfoji II constructed the structure in the year 1815 in honor of Britain’s victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

Darasuram

Located just 35 kilometers from Tanjore, Darasuram is a magnificent temple that is dedicated to Lord Siva. The temple is among the hundreds built by Rajendra Chola. Darasuram is also famous as a silk weaving center.

Poondi Matha Basilica 

The Poondi village is about 35 kms. from Thanjavur and the nearest Railway Station is Budalur. It is a Roman Catholic Pilgrim Centre like Velankanni. Accommodation is provided to the pilgrims by the Church Authorities.

Thirukarugavoor

The Arulmighu Mullaivananathar and the Karpagarahshambigai temples are situated in the riverbed of River Vettaru a branch of the Cauvery, at a distance of 20 kms northeast of Thanjavur at distance of 20 kms southwest from Kumbakonam. This place Thirukarugavoor is ancient and has been extensively quoted by the Great Shaivite saints Thirugnana Sambandar and Thirunavukkarasar on the dieties Eswara Mullaivananathar and the Goddesses Gharbharakshambigai.

Thiruvarur world Heritage Monument

Located at a distance of 55 km, the Thyagarajaswami temple of Thiruvarur has the biggest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. This is the birthplace of Saint Thyagaraja, the poet-saint and composer. The Arulmigu Thyagarajaswamy Car Festival is celebrated in March –April, every year. Boating at the Kamalalayam Temple tank is being organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. from April 1997.

Things to do in Tanjore: Apart from exploring the other sight seeing locations which are mostly the architectural master piece, try to make a visit to the famous BrihadisvaraTemple in the evening when the rocks capture a hot palette of reds, oranges, yellows and pinks on the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. The sight is just breath taking. Thanjavur is a good place to shop for handicrafts and arts. Don’t forget to carry atleast one piece with you that will adorn your showcase by its magnificence.

Best time to visit Tanjore: The best time to visit Thanjavur is from October to March, when you can visit the temples and can opt for outdoor activities.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest Airport Thiruchirapalli is 55 kms. Indian Airlines and Air Lanka operate flights to Sri Lanka. Indian Airlines also connects Trichy with Madurai and Chennai directly.

By Rail

Thanjavur is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Nagore and Chennai directly.

By Road

Thanjavur is connected with all major cities. Regular Bus Service connects all places of interest in and around Thanjavur.

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Where to stay ?

Tanjore has plenty of accommodation options.

Hotel Tamil nadu (TTDC):  +91 04362 231 325  Website: www.ttdconline.com
Star Residency:  +91-0452-4343999  Website: www.starresidencyhotels.com
Hotel Valli: +9104362 – 231584 , 231580 , 231064 , 231043  Website: www.hotelvalli.com
Hotel Raks Thanjavur: +91 -4362 -227 806

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Tiruchirappalli

Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu – Popularly known for Rock Fort Temple of the Cholas

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Tiruchirappalli or Trichy is situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. It was a fortress of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. Apart from the Fort, there are several Churches, Colleges and Missions dating back to the 1760s. The town and its fort, now in Trichy were built by the Nayaks of Madurai. This city has given great Tamil scholars whose contributions to the Tamil literature have been very significant.

Places to see in Tiruchirappalli: Tiruchirapalli is dotted with numerous tourist attractions which include:

Government Museum

The Government Museum in Tiruchirappalli is one of the most sought after tourist destinations. It is situated at a distance of 40 km from Trichy near the Pudukkottai station. The museum is home to a unique and interesting collection of objects related to Zoology, Paintings, Geology, Anthropology, Epigraphy and History of the state. However if you want to visit the museum avoid Mondays as it remains closed.

Viralimalai Sanctuary

If you love nature then the Viralimalai Sanctuary is just the right place for you. Viralimalai is a quaint little town located near Tiruchirappalli which is popular for the spectacular Murugan temple and the captivating Peacock Sanctuary. The village attracts tourists and pilgrims from all parts of the country. The sanctuary is simply a treat to the eyes as it promises sights of numerous wild peacocks roaming around and dancing freely.

Kudumianmalai

Kudumianmalai is another famous village situated at a distance of 25 km from Trichy. Kudumianmalai houses a temple dedicated to Lord Sikhagireeswara. This temple is unique in the sense that it is huge and has a hall that is made up of a thousand pillars. The temple itself is a specimen of south Indian style of architecture adorned with beautiful sculptures.

Rock Fort Temple

The Rock fort or Ucchi Pillayar Koil is one of the most important tourist spots in Trichy. The Rock Fort Temple is located at the top of a huge rock in Trichy. The complex is home to two prominent Hindu temples constructed in the 7th century. One temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The rock on which this temple complex is situated is believed to be one of the oldest in the world.

Sri Ranganathaswami Temple

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is another significant place of interest in Trichy. It is located in Srirangam which is situated at a distance of 7 km from Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is a popular Hindu pilgrimage center in India. The temple is one of the foremost abodes of Lord Vishnu. Constructed in true Dravidian style of architecture the temple finds mention in the early medieval literature of the state.

Tiruvanaikkaval or JambukeswaraTemple

The Tiruvanaikkaval is also a marvelous Hindu temple in Trichy. Situated just 2 km from Srirangam the Tiruvanaikkaval temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple attracts millions of devotees every year on the occasion of Shivratri.

Nearby attractions from Tiruchirapally: You can make a trip to the places like:

Mukkombu 

Mukkombu is a wonderful picnic spot where the river Kollidam branches off from the Kaveri. The place is just 20 kilometers from the Trichy and is very popular among the kids.

Kallanai

The town of Kallanai is located 25 kilometers from the city of Trichy. The city is famous for The Grand Anicut. It is an ancient dam built by Karikala Chola across the river Kaveri in the 1st century AD. This dam is still in use as part of the district irrigation system.

Viralimalai

Viralimalai that is situated 30 kilometers from Trichy is famous for a Pallava temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya. The temple is located atop a hill, which is also the site of a peacock sanctuary.

Sittanavasal

Sittanavasal is located just 60 kilometers from Trichy. The place is famous as a site for an ancient Jain monastery that is located in a cave. The caves have some of the most exquisite fresco paintings in Peninsular India.

Thanjavur

Thanjavur, the capital of the imperial Chola dynasty, is situated just 50 kilometers from Trichy. The city is famous for its temples and shrines, the most notable being the magnificent Brihadeswara temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from that, the Thanjavur museum and Art gallery is also noteworthy. Thanjavur or Tanjore is famous for souvenirs like Thanjavur Art Plates, handicrafts, hand-woven silk and bronze icons.

Things to do in Tiruchirapally: Sightseeing is the major activity of the tourists visiting Tiruchirapally.

Best time to visit Tiruchirapally: Best time to visit Tiruchirappalli is during the month of November to March as you can get pleasantly cool weather.

How to go ?

By Air

Tiruchirapalli airport, located about 5 km far from the city. Passengers can get regular domestic and international flights to various cities.

By Train

This city has its own railway station which is connected to various states such as Bengal, Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and many more.

By Road

Roads are well linked and offers you comfortable journey to different destinations. It is very easy to reach Tiruchirapalli from Coimbatore (206km), Chennai (330km), Bangalore (331km), Kochi (362km) and Trivandrum (391km).

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Where to stay ?

You will find an array of accommodation options in Tiruchirapalli. Some options are:

Ramyas Hotel: +91-431-4000400, 2414646, 2414747  Website:  www.ramyas.com
The SRM Hotel: +91-431- 2421303, 2421304, 2421305, 2421306  Website:  www.srmhotels.com
Breeze Residency: +91- 431-2414414, 4045333  Website:  www.breezeresidency.com
Femina Hotel: +91-431-2414501  Website:  www.feminahotels.in

 Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Hampi

Hampi, Karnataka – The capital of the erstwhile Vijaynagar dynasty, declared as a world heritage spot by UNESCO

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The capital of the erstwhile Vijaynagar dynasty Hampi at present is enlisted as a world heritage spot by the UNESCO. The place is located at the Bellari district of Karnataka on the bank of the Tungabhadra river. Hampi was constructed by Harihar and Bukka in the year 1335. But it was Raja Krishnadeva Ray who decorated Hampi by constructing its rich architectural splendors. The ruins of this imperial capital are spread out over an area of 26km². Hampi is well worth the visit. The area is simply stunning and you will be in awe of the millions of boulders surrounding the area. Within this arid landscape lies a little oasis with lush palm, banana, and mango trees nestled near the river. Hampi is a great place to spend a few days wandering around and discovering the rich, vibrant history while also having a bit of ‘your’ time.

Places to see at Hampi: Tourist attractions in Hampi lie in its boulder-laden landscape and rocky outcrop designed upon a lush green surrounding. The ruins reminds of a mighty empire, which dominated large part of south India after the Mughals.

Virupaksha Temple

Amidst the ruins of the ancient city Vijaynagar the Virupaksha temple stands tall with all its earlier structures still intact. The temple personifies Lord Shiva and is still used for worship. The inside of the temple consists of a sanctum with a madapam in front, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall. Among the three towers the eastern tower is the tallest standing at a height of 160 feet and is 11 tiered. Virupaksha portrays Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in their various avatars. The chariot festival is celebrated in the premises of this temple during the month of February.

King’s Balance

This 5-meter or so tall ‘balance’ is located near the Vittala temple. Also called as Tula Bhara or Tula Purushadana, the king used to weigh himself with gold, gems, silver and precious stones, and distributed to the priests. It’s believed that this had been done during the special ceremony seasons like solar or lunar eclipses. You can spot three loops on top of the balance, into which the balance actually hung. Also in one of the pillars you can spot the king’s image carved along with his concerts. This structure almost appears like as archway at the end of the Kampa Bhupa’s Path just behind Vittala temple. The path in fact passes through this arch like structure.

Krishna Temple

This temple was built by the king (Krishnadevaraya) in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of the eastern kingdom of Udayagiri or Utkala (in the present day Orissa state). The main idol installed in the temple was the figure of Balakrishna (Lord Krishna as infant). This idol is now displayed in the state museum at Chennai. A huge slab installed inside the courtyard of the temple states the story of this temple and the conquest of Ulkala.

Veerabhadra Temple

Being located at the highest point in Hampi, the VeerabhadraTemple at the Matanga hilltop commands some special significance. The temple is in a ruined condition. Still this temple dedicated to the cult deity Veerabhadra is equally thronged by the pilgrims and the tourists.

Queen’s Bath

This is the first ruined structure you would see when you enter into the Royal center from the Kamalapura-Hampi main road. For some mysterious reasons this was called as the queen’s bath. But in all probability this was a royal pleasure complex for the king and his wives.

Mahanavami dibba

This is the tallest structure in this area and hence the first thing you would notice as you enter the RoyalEnclosure. From a distance this looks like an ordinary elevated square stage. As you go close, the details emerge. The whole structure is made as a giant square structure in three layers.

There are mainly two stairways to reach the top. The front one (east facing) is highly decorated on either sides with carvings of elephants, horses and a host of other things. On the top there is nothing special to see except the great views on the campus around it. At the back of the platform a twin staircase is located. Probably this was used as a service staircase during the ceremonies. King Krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over Udaygiri (now in Orissa). The king used this platform to watch the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical performances and also the most important Navarathri celebrations, the nine day-nine night state festival. And this was the annual occasion the governors of various provinces under the king visited the capital to pledge their loyalty to the king’s dominion. For the king it was an event to demonstrate the imperial pomp and power at his disposal.

Hampi Bazaar

Located near the Virupaksha Temple, the Hampi Bazaar is also known as Virupaksha Bazaar. On either sides of this one kilometer long street near the temple, are pavilions which were once a part of the markets of the nobles. Most of these pavilions, particularly towards the west of VirupakshaTemple have shops and restaurants.

Matanga Hill

Matanga hill is a well known tourist destination in Hampi. Its main attraction is the breathtaking view of the Hampi landscape during sunset or sunrise. When on top, you can appreciate the sheer wisdom of the Vijaynagara rulers for selecting Hampi as their capital. The trekking enthusiasts can enjoy trekking along the path that begins from Hampi bazaar to the Achyutaraya temple. The picturesque sight from the top comprises the TungabhadraRiver, the Kodanda Rama temple, the Veerbhadra temple and the Turthu canal. Matanga hill is historically connected to the epic Ramayana as it was the hiding place for Sugriva, the ruler of Kishkinda.

Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Covering a sprawling area of nearly 55.87 sq km Daroji Bear Sanctuary is located in the Bellary district of Karnataka, 15 km from Hampi. In October 1994, the Bilakallu forest reserve – a vast stretch of barren land was declared as Daroji Bear Sanctuary by the Karnataka government. Within a span of few years this area was converted into a lush green forest with enough vegetation for wildlife. With an estimate of nearly 120 sloth bears, 90 different species of birds and 27 species of butterflies, Daroji bear sanctuary is a must visit for all tourists. The best months to visit the sanctuary are between August and April.

Vithala Temple Complex

A unique architectural masterpiece, Vithala temple in Hampi is situated opposite to the village of Anegondi. The temple is named after Vithala, an avatar of Vishnu worshipped by the Marathas. Vithala temple is built in the form of a complex with compound wall and gateway towers. The one thing that immediately catches attention is the stone chariot which has assumed iconic heights over the years for Karnataka tourism. The pillared halls are intrinsically carved with sculptures that speak volumes about the glorious past of Hampi. Another feature that is worth mentioning here is the musical pillars that emanates the seven notes when tapped.

Hazara Rama Temple

The Hazara Rama temple complex in Hampi is located in the middle of the Royal Centre and was once used as a place of worship by the royal family members. Inscriptions inside the temple indicate that it was built by Devaraya I in early fifteenth century. This temple is renowned for its elaborate frescos extensively portraying scenes from Hindu mythology. There are about one thousand fantastically carved bas relief and inscriptions that illustrate the mighty epic Ramayana and the Mahanavami festival. Depiction of processions of elephants, horses with attendants, dancing girls and armoured soldiers testify the expertise of the Vijayanagara artists.

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

The Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Hampi attracts tourists specifically due to its monolithic structure and the sheer enormity of its size. It is the single largest statue in Hampi with a height of 6.7 meters. Narasimha, the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is depicted as sitting on the giant coil of the celestial snake Adisesha. The seven heads of the giant snake shielding Narasimha, arched by a Kirtimukha Torana in the front, is an architectural masterpiece in itself. However, several features of the monolithic structure are missing and the most prominent among these damaged and missing structures is the seated figurine of Narasimha’s consort Lakshmi on his left lap. By entering inside the enclosure, one can see the land of Lakshmi on Narasimha’s back with her fingers, nails and rings, all beautifully sculptured.

Elephant Stables

A large dome shaped building was used as Elepahant Stables to house the ceremonial elephants of the royal household. The architectural style of the building has a strong Indo-Islamic influence that gets reflected in its domes and arched gateways. The building consists of eleven chambers amongst which ten of these are crowned with domes. These chambers were used as elephant stables. The metal hooks that were probably used to chain the elephants are still visible in the ceiling of some of the rooms. Special manholes were constructed for the mahouts to facilitate their easy entrance to the elephant compartments.

Nearby attractions from Hampi: If you want to explore further afield, organize an exciting trip to

Tungabhadra Dam

Located at a distance of 7 km, the Tungabhadra Dam harnesses the waters of the TungabhadraRiver. At the base of the dam is a garden styled along Japanese lines.

Ramanadurga

It is a Hill-Station amidst a group of granite hills. There is a temple dedicated to Ramadeva.

Things to do at Hampi: Savour the beautiful architectural creations of the Vijaynagar temple.

Best time to visit Hampi: Hampi’s climate is generally warm and dry. The best time to visit the place is between September and February.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest international airport is around 350 km away. The domestic airport nearby Hampi is Bellary at a distance of 60 km that allows tourists to reach the place comfortably.

By Train

The nearest railhead from Hampi is Hospet that is at a distance of 13 km. From there tourists can hire taxi or cab to reach the place comfortably. Hospet is well connected to major cities and towns and some of them are Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa etc.

By Road

Hampi is well connected by bus services from all nearby major cities and towns. There are many private buses, tourist buses, luxury buses and state buses that run from place to place so tourists can easily reach the place without any difficulty.

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Where to stay ?

There are as such no accommodation facilities at Hampi. You can stay at Hospet having plenty of accommodation facilities, located at a distance of 13km from Hampi. Some options are:

Hotel Mayura Vijayanagar: +91-08394-259270
Hotel Priyadarshini: +91- 08394-228838, 39
Hotel Vishwa: +91- 08394-227171
Kiran Guest House: +91- -08394-204159, 09448143906

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Badami

Badami, Karnataka – Famous for its unique Cave temple

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Badami is an ancient town situated in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It was originally named as Vatapi and was the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty that ruled over the most parts of peninsular India. Situated at an average elevation of 1922 ft above the sea level at the mouth a ravine, Badami is tucked in between two rugged sandstone outcrops. The innovative constructions that are now in its ruins were made by Chalukya king Kirti Varma and his brother Mongolesa. Badami is also famous as the city of the cave temples and attracts a number of tourists annually.

Places to see at Badami: The chief attraction of Badami is the cave temple. There are some other sight seeing location too which include,

The Badami Cave Temples

Badami is famous for its four cave temples – all carved out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. They all share the same plan – a veranda with columns and brackets leading to a main hall, the pillared maha mandapa which in turn leads to the small sanctum which houses the sculpture. The four cave temples represent the secular nature of the rulers then, with tolerance and a religious following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The First Cave

The first temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You would have to climb about 40 steps to reach it. Built around 578 AD, this is believed to be the earliest of the fourtemples. This cave depicts Shiva in his dancing form – as Nataraja depicted with eighteen arms. There are no less than 81 different dancing poses of Nataraja depicted in this cave. The first cave has gigantic carvings of Ardhanareeswara and Harira manifestations of Shiva in bas relief.There are also reliefs of Ganapati, Shanmukha and Mahishasuramardhini, and may be the oldest in Badami. It is made of red sandstone and has a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall.

The Second Cave

This cave temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Here he is depicted in the magnificent Trivikrama form, where he is measuring the earth with one foot, and the sky with the other, with a third food resting on the head of Mahabali.

The Third Cave

The third cave is dedicated to Vishnu, and is the best and the biggest, and it has splendid giant figures of Paravasudeva, Bhuvaraha, Harihara and Narasimha. All these statues are engraved in a vigorous style. An inscription found here records the creation of the shrine by Mangalesha in 578. There are some paintings on the ceiling and the style indicates maturity but has lost its original dazzling colour. The bracket figures on the piers here are some of the finest.

The Fourth Cave

The fourth cave is Jaina which lies a little east of cave III. The sanctum is adorned by the image of Mahavira. The pedestal contains an old Kannada inscription of the 8th century A.D. which registers the death of one Jakkave. A number of Jaina Thirthankara images have been engraved in the inner pillars and walls. In addition to it, there are some idols of Bahubali, Yakshas and Yakshis. Some scholars assign the cave to the 8th century.

Bhuthanatha Temple

The Bhutanatha group of temples comprises of a group of sandstone temples, all dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Bhutanatha group includes two major temples, one on the east and the other on the north-east side of the Agasthya Tirtha or AgasthyaLake. The temple is situated on the eastern side of the Agasthya Tirtha. It is one of the earliest examples of structural temples in South India. This edifice was built during the reign of the Chalukyas of Vatapi, as Badami was known then. Later additions were built by the Kalyani Chalukyas of the west.

Agastya Lake

The lake is named after one of the Saptarishis, Agasthya.

BanashankariAmmaTemple

The BanashankariAmmaTemple was originally built by the Chalukyas during the 7th century. The Goddess Banashankari was their family deity. According to an inscription, this image of the Banashankari Amma was installed by Jagadekamalla I in 630 AD. This temple was later renovated by the Marathas in the 18th century. Its modern structure now reflects the Vijayanagara style of architecture more than the original Chalukya style.

Nearby attractions around Badami: The place is also dotted by some architecturally rich destinations located nearby.

Aihole

Located at a distance of 38 km from Badami Aihole is a historical town situated on the banks of Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Earlier, this historical town was also called as “Ayyavole” and “Aryapura”. Aihole was once capital of the early Chalukyan dynasty (6th to 8th centuries). Aihole is rewarded as “the cradle of Hindu rock architecture”. There are about 125 temples divided into 22 groups spread all over the villages and nearby fields. Most of these temples at Aihole were built between the 6th and 8th centuries.

Pattadakal

Just 20 km from Badami, Pattadakal located in Bijapur district of Karnataka was not only popular for Chalukyan architectural activities but also a holy place for royal coronation, ‘Pattadakisuvolal’. Temples constructed here mark the blending of the Rekha, Nagara, Prasada and the Dravida Vimana styles of temple building.

Things to do in Badami: The unique cave temple which is the chief attraction of Badami will undoubtedly attract you. It is really a wonder. Apart from this the sight seeing trip is also worth enjoying.

Best time to visit Badami: Badami has a pleasant climate during winters and spring. The best time to visit the place is from September to February.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest airport to reach Badami is at Belgaum (150 kms). The nearest international airport is at Bangalore (504 kms). Domestic flights like Jet Airways and Kingfisher are available for Belgaum.

By Rail

Badami, the beautiful town is situated on the Hubli-Sholapur rail route which is exactly 163 kms from Bijapur and 128 kms from Hubli.

By Road

Badami is connected by road to Pattadakal (22 kms), Aihole (44 kms) and Hubli (128 kms). Karnataka State Transport Corporation buses ply from Badami to different major locations of the state.

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Where to stay ?

There are a number of accommodation options at Badami. Some are:

Mayura Chalukya(Karnataka Tourism): +91-08357-220046
Hotel Moombalika Deluxe:+91-08357-220067, 720637
Hotel Anand Deluxe: +91-08357-220074, 221074  Website: www.hotelananddeluxe.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Halebidu

Halebidu, Karnataka – This site is famous for the beautiful Hoyasaleswara Temple

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Halebidu literally means ruined city and got its name after it was attacked twice by the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th Century. Located at a distance of 16 km from Belur, Halebidu was the capital of the Hoysala empire during the 12th and 13th century with the name of Dwarasamudra.

Places to see at Halebidu: The main attraction of the place is the ancient Hoysaleshwara temple.

Hoyasaleswara Temple

The construction of the Hoyasaleswara Temple was started in AD 1121 and continued for around 90 years, but never completed. Nevertheless, even in its incomplete form, this temple is the most outstanding example of Hoysala art and architecture. The temple comprises of two temples standing on a single platform. The walls of the temple have detailed friezes and sculptures depicting scenes narrated in Mahabharatha and Ramayana.Two massive monolithic bulls are also carved inside the temple. it is enclosed by a garden.

The Archaeological Museum

There is also a museum -the Archaeological Museum, located in the temple premises displaying sculptures, woodcarvings idols, coins and inscriptions of 12th and 13th centuries also nearby.

Nearby attractions around Halebidu: From Halebidu you can also plan for a trip to places like:

Belur

Located at a distance of 16 km Belur became the capital of the Hoysala kings in the face of attacks by invaders like the Delhi Sultanate. Subsequently Belur witnesses a spawning of Hoysala temples prominent among which is the Chennakeshava temple.

Shravanabelagola

Another destination named Shravanbelgola is also located near to Halebidu. It is a sacred Jain pilgrimage, Shravanabelagola is known for the giant monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara. During the festival of Mahamastakabhisheka, thousands of devotees throng this holy shrine.

Chennakeshava Temple

A supreme example of Hoyasala temple architecture, the Chennakeshava temple in Belur, Karnataka leaves one spellbound with its exquisite structure. The temple was constructed in 1117 AD by Hoysala king Vishnuvardhan to celebrate his victory over the Cholas at the battle of Talikad.

Things to do at Halebidu: The architectural splendours built during the Hoysala dynasty still adorning the place is really a pleasure to watch for all the tourists visiting the place.

Best time to visit Halebidu: The best time to visit Halebidu is between the months of October and April.

How to go ?

To reach Halebidu you have to reach Bangalore first which is connected by rail, road and also airways to all parts of India nad abroad. From Bangalore buses ply to Hasan which 30 kms from Halebidu. No direct transport facilities are available from Bangalore to Halebidu at this time.

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Where to stay ?

Halebidu is ideal for a day trip. However there is a Government tourist lodge. For booking details you may contact:
Maurya Santhala: +91- 08177- 273224

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Mysore

Mysore, Karnataka – This City of Palaces still beholding its erstwhile royal charm

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Mysore city is at 770m above sea level and 140 kms from Bangalore.  The place is also known as the City of Palaces, and retains a quaint charm, and never fails to enchant. According to the myth it is here that Goddess Chamundi killed the demon king Mahishasur. The place derives its name from here. Situated in the southern part of the Deccan Plateau, Mysore District is like a tableland covered in parts by granite outcrops and decorated by lush forests. Mysore is a popular tourist destination, offering a number of tourist attractions that is not only confined to palaces or historical places. Mysore city is one of the favourite tourist destinations in Karnataka.

Places to see in Mysore: Also known as the ‘Sandalwood City of India’ it offers a number of sight seeing spots which include;

The Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace is an example of the Indo Saracenic style of architecture. Once the residence of the royal family of the Wodayars, the palace still retains the regal air with which the royal family reigned in the Durbar Hall, Kalyana Mantap and the Golden Royal Elephant Throne. Another royal palace the Jaganmohan Palace has been converted into an art gallery and house the paintings and the miniatures of the 19th century.

The Brindavan Gardens

The Brindavan Gardens in Mysore is one of the most famous tourist attractions not only in South India but all over the country. Covering a land area of about 150 acres, this garden has been a very popular setting for many Indian films. The colorful fountains and lights are the major attractions of the BrindavanGardens of Mysore. On weekends the complex and the fountains appear more gorgeous when they are illuminated with multi colored lights.
The musical fountains of this place are very popular among the visitors for their beauty. The ambiance created by music, light and water make the evenings spent in the BrindavanGarden memorable one.

Chamundi Hills

Three kilometers to the south east of the fort in Mysore, lays the Chamundi Hills that rises to a height of 1050 meters above sea level. Atop the hill is the temple dedicated to the ancestral Goddess of the Mysore royal family, Goddess Kali who is also referred to as the Goddess Chamundi. The Mahabaleswara temple stands close to the Chamundi Temple atop the hill. The Mahabaleswara temple is believed to be the oldest temple of the region constructed in the 13th century.

The stucco figure of the demon king Mahishasura who was slain by the Goddess, is placed close to the temple. On the way to the temple on Chamundi Hills in Mysore, the tourists will come across the 4.8 meter monolithic statue of the animal companion of Lord Shiva, Nandi. The statue of the bull is ornamented with anklets and a pendent bell. The elaborate ornamentation of the bull reveals the master craftsmanship of the artisans who created it.

The temple dedicated to the chief consort of Lord Shiva on the Chamundi Hills is one of the primary tourist attractions of Mysore. Prayers were offered by the king of Mysore who had his palace built on the hill. The RajendraVilasPalace has been now converted into a hotel which houses pilgrims who arrive to offer prayers to the Goddess and to visit the sandalwood city of Mysore. To reach the temple, the tourists may climb a flight of 100 stone steps or travel the 13 kilometer distance to the summit in the car.

Datta Peetham

Spread over a total area of 35 acre, Datta Peetham is a religious and spiritual dwelling of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda. One of the revered religious gurus of Mysore, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda is known for unique concept of treating patients with serious ailments through the harmonious blend of music and meditation. Sri Ganapati Sachchidannada belongs to the lineage of Dattatreya Avadhoota and is famous for his spiritual message of love and harmony. Located at the foothills of the exotic mountain ranges of Chamunda, the spiritual ashram and meditation center of Datta Peetham draws several devotees from far and wide who have greatly benefited from the traditional method of mediation and Yoga.

Jaganmohan Art Gallery

Upholding the traditional heritage and old grandeur of Mysore, the Jaganmohan Art Gallery is a vast reserve of exquisite paintings and artifacts of the bygone golden era. Situated within the luxuriant MysorePalace, the JaganmohanArtGallery bears testimony to the enriched traditional art and craft of the ancient times. During the year of 1875, the JaganmohanPalace was transformed into the famous JaganmohanArtGallery that portrays the artistic skills and creative imagination of the artists of the ancient times. The enriched imagination of renowned artists of Raja Ravi Verma of Travancore and Svetoslav Roerich, the Russian painter has been captured in the colorful canvas of the JaganmohanArtGallery.

Jayalakshmi Vilas

Constructed by the mighty ruler of Mysore, Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar for the royal comforts of his eldest daughter, Jayalakshmi Vilas reflects the rich architectural splendour of the ancient times. The magnificent building of Jayalakshmi Vilas was erected in the year of 1905 at a huge price of rupees seven lakhs that portrays the parental affection of a father towards his daughter. At present, Jayalakshmi Vilas is a part of the MysoreUniversity and is known for its museum that contains numerous artifacts of the ancient period.

Karanji Lake

Krishna Raja Sagara: Located at a distance of about 12 Kilometers from Mysore, the Krishna Raja Sagara dam was built in the year 1932. This marathon project was conceptualized and designed by Sir Mokshagundam Vishweswaraiah and the construction work took place during the times of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The Krishna Raja Sagara dam is about 130 feet in height and 8600 feet long. The Krishna Raja Sagara dam is an excellent example of hi- tech engineering, in fact it is the first dam in the world to use sluice gates which work automatically.

KukkaranahaliLake : The Kukkaranahali Lake is located within the Manasa Gangothri which is the campus of the MysoreUniversity. A home to a number of birds, it is also a retreat for many migratory birds who fly in from the different parts of the world. The Lake is a perfect place to witness the antics and other interesting actions of these rarest birds. The KukkarahaliLake is also a favorite of the sports lovers as a number of water sports are organized in the region.

Lalitha Mahal

The regal mysticism of the city of Mysore lies in the majestic Lalitha Mahal that stands at the summit point of the city presenting a spectacular and panoramic view of the city that lies beneath. The Lalitha Mahal at Mysore was once the residence of the guests who visited the royal family of the Wodeyars in Mysore. It is presently one of the most reputed five star hotels of the city that still retains the heritage and the royalty of the yesteryears.

Namma

Representing the rich traditional art and craft of the ancient times, Namma  is a plethora of cultural programmes that are presented by the members of the charitable trust of Divya Deepa. Formed on the lines of social service and with a noble aim in mind, the charitable trust offers the underprivileged children with education, monetary help and selfless love and attention.

St. Philomena’s Church

Built in the gothic form of architecture, St. Philomena’s Church is one of the largest churches of the continent of Asia. The church stands on the grounds where the older church built by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III stood. The new church was constructed in the year 1933 by the grandson of the earlier king, Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. The church retains the heritage that is more than 200 years old.

Mysore Zoo

Mysore Zoo was established in the year of 1892 by Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar. He is considered to be one of the architects of the modern Mysore city as well. To honor the famed founder the zoo was named after him as ‘Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens’.

Nearby attractions around Mysore: Besides the place of interest in Mysore city, there are many tourist attractions and places of interest around Mysore.

Somnathpur

Located at a distance of 25 km, the star shaped temple at Somnathpur is a splendid example of Hoysala architecture. It is decorated with a profusion of finely sculpted friezes and panels. The Somnathpur temple is well preserved and not to be missed.

Bandipur National Park

The Bandipur National Park has open forests and facilities for viewing wildlife from elephant back.

Talakad

Talakad is situated on the banks of the river Cauvery, near Mysore and is known for its sand dunes. There are a number of temples on the banks of the Cauvery in Talakad that are buried under the sand dunes and are excavated once in 12 years for special worship.

Coorg 

Situated at a distance of 120 kms, is a little hill-station that covers an area of 4102 sq km.

Melkote

Another important pilgrim center that is close to Mysore is Melkote or Tirunarayanapuram. Melkote is about 60kms from Mysore city and is located in a hilly region that comprises some of the oldest rock formations on earth.

Nanjangud 

Another popular excursion from Mysore city is Nanjangud. Nanjangud is 25kms from Mysore. It is a holy place because of the Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple. It is called Garalapuri because of this famous temple.

Shivanasamudra Travel 

Shivanasamudra is about 85kms to the east of Mysore. At Shivanasamudra the river Cauvery cascades down a deep rocky gorge in two breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls- Bharachukki and Gaganachukki. The sight of these two falls is enchanting and the best time to visit them is during the monsoon.

Things to do in Mysore: Nick named as the sandal wood city of India, don’t miss to carry a piece of sandal wood from here. The saree lovers must shop the lovely Mysore silk from here. Apart from the sight seeing tour, the gorgeous city of Mysore is in itself a pleasure to wander about.

Best time to visit Mysore: Mysore can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is from September to March.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest airport to Mysore is Bangalore (139 km). All the domestic airlines in the country operate their flights to Bangalore from all the major cities in the country.

By Train

Mysore is connected with a number of trains to Bangalore. The super fast luxury train the Shatabdi Express connects Mysore to Madras. The quickest and most comfortable way to reach Mysore is via Bangalore.

By Road

Mysore is 139kms to the south west of Bangalore. The state highway that connects these two cities is very well maintained. Travelling from Bangalore to Mysore by road is a pleasant experience and will take about 3hrs.

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Where to stay ?

There are abundant accommodation options in Mysore. Some are:

Kings Kourt: +91 -0821 242 1142, 99452 47205 Website: www.kingskourthotel.com
Mysore Hotel Complex: +91- 0821-4192141, 2426217, 2426218 Website: www.mysorehotelcomplex.com
Hotel Royale Heritage: +91-821-4265 033, +91-821-4265 330 Website: www.hotelroyaleheritage.com
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel: +91-0821-2526100 Website: www.lalithamahalpalace.in

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Orcha

Orcha, Madhya Pradesh – A quaint historical destination

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Orcha is a quaint destination on the bank of river Betwa. It was founded by Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap. The kingdom reached at its highest glory during the reign of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, who made the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chattris. From here you will get the spectacular view of the soaring temple spires and the cenotaphs. The interiors of the construction represent the finest flowering of the Bundela School of painting.

Places to see at Orcha: A multi-arched bridge, will take you to the Orcha fort has three palaces set in an open quadrangle. The most spectacular of these are:

Jehangir Mahal

Constructed during the reign of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate chhatris and trellis work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness. 

Raj Mahal

Situated to the right of the quadrangle, this palace was built in the 17th century by Madhukar Shah, the deeply religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. The plain exteriors, crowned by chhatris, give way to interiors with exquisite murals, boldly colourful on a variety of religious themes. 

Rai Parveen Mahal

Poetess and musician, Rai Parveen was the beautiful paramour of Raja Indramani (1672- 76) and was sent to Delhi on the orders of the Emperor Akbar, who was captivated by her. She so impressed the Great Mughal with the purity of her love for Indramani that he sent her back to Orchha. The palace built for her is a low, two-storeyed brick structure designed to match the height of the trees in the surrounding, beautifully landscaped gardens of Anand Mahal, with its octagonal flower beds and elaborate water supply system. Skillfully carved niches allow light into the Mahal which has a main hall and smaller chambers. 

Chaturbhuj Temple

The temple lies upon a massive stone platform and reached by a steep flight of steps, the temple was specially constructed to enshrine the image of Rama that remained in the Ram Raja Temple. Lotus emblems and other symbols of religious significance provide the delicate exterior ornamentation. Within, the sanctum is chastely plain with high, vaulted walls emphasizing its deep sanctity. 

Laxminarayan Temple

A flagstone path links this temple with the Ram Raja Temple. The style is an interesting synthesis of fort and temple moulds. The interiors contain the most exquisite of Orchha’s wall paintings. Covering the walls and ceiling of three halls, these murals are vibrant compositions and cover a variety of spiritual and secular subjects. They are in excellent state of preservation, with the colours retaining their vivid quality. 

Phool Bagh

Laid out as a formal garden, this complex testifies to the refined aesthetic qualities of the Bundelas. A central row of fountains culminates in an eight pillared palace-pavilion. A subterranean structure below was the cool summer retreat of the Orchha kings. An ingenious system of water ventilation connects the underground palace with Chandan Katora, a bowl-like structure from whose fountains droplets of water filtered through to the roof, simulating rainfall. 

Sunder Mahal

This small palace, almost in ruins today is still a place of pilgrimage for Muslims. Dhurjban, son of Jhujhar, embraced Islam when he wed a Muslim girl at Delhi. He spent the latter part of his life in prayer and meditation and came to be revered as a saint. 

Chhatris (Centaphs)

There are 14 Chhatris or Memorials to the rulers of Orchha, grouped along the Kanchan Ghat of the river Betwa. 

Shahid Smarak

This epitaph is built to commemorate the great freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad who lived and worked in hiding in Orchha during 1926 and 1927. Other places worth seeing are the shrines of Siddh Baba Ka Sthan, Jugal Kishore, Janki Mandir and the Hanuman Mandir at Ochharedwara. 

Ram Raja Temple

The Ram Raja Temple is perhaps the most important though unusual of all the temples in Orchha. This is the only temple in the country where Rama is worshipped as a king that too in a palace. According to legends, once Lord Rama appeared in a dream to king Madhukar Shah and directed him to build a temple for him. The king followed the instructions given by Rama and brought his idol from Ayodhya, the birthplace of the lord. However, the construction of the temple was not complete when the idol arrived from Ayodhya. So it was kept in the palace for the time being. Later, the king remembered that in the dream Lord Rama had specifically mentioned that his idol could not be removed from the place where it has been originally kept. This led the king to abandon the construction of the temple and instead the palace where the idol was kept was converted into a temple.

Nearby Attractions around Orcha: Orcha has a number of nearby attractions.

Jhansi Fort

The fort is about 20 km from Orcha and was built by Raja Bir Singh. The fort lies upon a rocky hill in the town of Balwantnagar now known as Jhansi. The fort has fine collection of sculptures which provide an excellent insight into the eventful history of Bundelkhand. The places of interest include Karak Bijli Toup (Tank), Rani Jhansi Garden, Shiv temple, and a Mazar of Ghulam Gaus Khan, Moti Bai and Khuda Baksh.

Barua Sagar Fort

Perches on a picturesque location from where the excellent view of the lake is really captivating. The place is named after the Barua Sagar Tal, which was created about 260 years ago by Raja Udit Singh. The town is situated on the road to Khajuraho from Jhansi.

Jarai-ka-Math

This beautiful temple is located 20 km away from Orcha and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The battle of Maratha and Bundela kings were fought here.

Things to do at Orcha: Lying along the Betwa River which very rough here, if you have any adventurous bend of mind enjoy the river rafting here. Lying on the other side of the river is the Orcha wild life sanctuary. This was once the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Bundela.

Best time to visit Orcha: The ideal time to visit Orcha is from October to March.

How to go ?

By Rail

Jhansi railway station which is 16 km frm Orcha is the nearest railway station. From there you can hire a car to reach Orcha.

By Road

From Jhansi or Gwalior buses leave from Orcha.

By Air

Nearest airport to Orchha is at Gwalior (119 km), which is connected with regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai.

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Where to stay ?

There are some hotels at Orcha.

Orcha Resort: +91-7680-252222, 290390 Website: www.orchharesort.com
Amar Mahal: +91-7680-252102, 252202, 09893496031  Website: www.amarmahal.com
Hotel Aditya: +91-92111 77444 

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Hotel Sunrise: +91-9425342335

Indore

Indore, Madhya Pradesh – A place with rich architectural grandeur

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One of the most prominent cities of Madhya Pradesh, Indore boasts of an imperial past. Designed and built by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar; the city is bejewelled with some magnificent monuments belonging to the Holkar dynasty. The ‘Rajwada’ and ‘Lalbagh Palace’ are notable examples that highlight the royal splendor and propitious lifestyle of the Holkars. Besides, Indore is one of the most advanced cities of the state. Its rich variety of edifices, its urban trimmings and its vicinity to other places of interest makes it a perfect holidaying getaway. Get to know the various tourist attractions around the place and explore what excursions from Indore covers.

One of the most prominent cities of Madhya Pradesh, Indore has a glorious imperial background. The Holkar queen Rani Ahilya Bai designed and built this city. It is decorated with some magnificent monuments that belong to the Holkar dynasty. The prominent examples among them are the ‘Rajwada’ and ‘Lalbagh Palace’ highlighting the royal splendour and lavish lifestyle of the Holkars. Indore has become one of the most advanced cities of the state. The place is facilitated with all sorts of urban requirements and well connected with all parts of the country. Beside its vicinity to other places of interest makes it a perfect holidaying getaway.

Places to see in Indore:  Indore is dotted with the architectural grandeur. There are also other places of interest here.

Indreshwar Temple

Indrehwar Temple is a temple of Lord Shiva. It was made by Raja Indra Singh on his way to Ujjain. The city of Indore derives it’s name from this very temple.

Khajrana

The citizens of Indore have great faith in this Ganesh temple, built during the reign of Ahilyabai Holkar. It is believed that all wishes are fulfilled by praying here. Nearby is the dargah of Nahar Sayed. This is an important pilgrimage place for Maita Muslims.

Town Hall:

Made in 1904 and originally named King Edwards Hall, it was renamed Mahatma Gandhi Hall in 1948. Its architectural style is Indo-Gothic. Made in Seoni stone, its domes and staples are a landmark of Indore today. It has a four-faced clock tower in front, because of which it is locally known as Ghanta Ghar. It is frequently the venue for the various book and painting exhibitions, fairs and festivals held throughout the year. The building also has a library, a children’s park and a temple.

Bada Ganpati:

Better known for its size than antiquity, this temple houses perhaps the largest Ganesh idol in the world measuring 25 feet from crown to foot. Created as a result of the dream of an Avantika (Ujjain) resident, Shri Dadhich, it was built in 1875.

Hrinkar Giri:

The largest Jain shrine of Indore, situated at a hillock near Indore Airport.

Lal Bagh Palace

Lal Bagh Palace is one of the grandest monuments the Holkar dynasty left Indore. A reflection of their taste, grandeur and lifestyle, its construction began in 1886 under Tukoji Rao Holkar II, and was carried out in three phases. The final phase was completed in 1921 under Tukoji Rao Holkar III. Many royal receptions were held here. It has a total area of 28 hectares, and at one time it had the reputation of having one of the best rose gardens in the country.

Gita Bhavan

Adorned with many statues of gods of various religions, its construction is inspired by the religious motto “many names to a God is after all of one God.”

Gomat Giri

This is an excellent set of Jain temples built on the top of Gommatesher Hill. The main attraction is 24 feet tall statue of Lord Bahubali, and 24 others temples for each of the 24 jain tirthankars.

Chhatris

Chhatris are the tombs or cenotaphs erected in memory of dead Holkar rulers and their family members. The Chhatris picturesquely poised on the Khan river banks near Rajawada are incomparable in terms of Maratha architecture and sculpture of their period. At Chhatri Baag is the main collection of tombs housed in two compounds. Close by is the beautiful Bolia Sarkar’s Chhatri constructed in 1858 AD in memory of Sardar Chimnaji Appa Sahib Bolia.

Annapurna Temple

This temple was inspired by the Meenakshi temple of Madurai. Four life-sized elephants hold an ornately decorated gate in plaster. Inside the temple of Annapurna Devi are also temples of Shiva, Kal Bhairava, Hanuman and a Pravachan Hall. The outer wall of the main temple is decorated with colourful motifs from mythological stories.

Kasturba Gram

8 km from Indore, the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Its headquarters were shifted from Wardha to Indore in 1915. The main objective of t his trust is showing ways of improvement in the quality of village life and the welfare of rural women and children. Some of its many commendable activities are : agricultural production, research, training, experiments in fruit orchards, social forestry, new renewable sources of energy, gobar gas, better water management, rural institute for girls, village sanitation programmes etc.

Kanch Mandir

The Kanch Mandir also known as Glass Temple is an exquisite example of a marvel in glass. This JainTemple also known as Jain Mandir was built by Sir Seth Hukum Chand Jain(Kasliwal) in the early 20th century.It is located in the Itwaria Market. The speciality of this temple is that its doors, pillars, ceilings and walls are entirely inlaid with glass with minute detailing. It is one of the most famous tourist attraction of the city. The temple also has paintings which are depicting stories from the Jain scriptures. The top of the temple multiplies the three statues of Lord Mahavir which makes this temple more beautiful place.

Shri Riddhi Siddhi Chintaman Ganesh Temple

It is a famous Ganesh Temple.

Gurudwara

Indore is historically attached to Sikhism. It has numerous Gurudwaras. Gurdwara Imli Sahib is Sikh shrine situated in Indore. In the year, 1567 Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the way of his itinerary diverted from southern states to the north-west and reached Indore. It is centrally located and innumerable devotees assure spiritual knowledge, peace and bliss here.

Gurdwara Charan Paduka Betma Sahib is situated in the small village of Betma. Betma is a town and a nagar panchayat in Indore district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Betma Sahib is one of the pious gurudwaras of historical significance for Sikhs, as it is believed that Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited this place during his southern Udasi.

Bijasen Tekri

A 2 minutes drive from the airport leads you to a hillock on which was perched a guest house of the Holkars, now converted into Border Security Arms Museum, as well as a small temple of Bijasen Mata, built in 1920, which has a magnificent view of the sunset. A mela (fair) is held during the Navratri. A good picnic spot, with a breathtaking view of Indore city by night.

Nearby attractions from Indore: There are many other tourist destinations that are close to Indore. From Indore also arrange for excursions to places like:

Mhow

23 km from Indore is the Military Headquarters Of War (MHOW) which was supposedly the war management centre of the British during the World War. Presently one of India’s most prestigious military training establishments for senior and higher commands, the whole cantonment is beautifully landscaped.

Patal Pani

36 km from Indore, famous for its waterfall. Water falls from a height of 150 feet into a kund, the depth of which is still unknown. It is believed that the bottom of this unfathomable kund reaches Patal (netherworld), hence the name Patal Pani. It is a popular picnic spot.

Wanchoo Point

A high dam on Narmada and main source of water supply for Indore. A popular picnic spot.

Dhar

64 km from Indore on the Indore-Ahmedabad road is Dhar, the capital of Parmar Kings, among whom Bhoj was the most prominent. During the Muslim rule, Dhar was under the Sultans of Delhi. In the monuments one can see the combination of Hindu, Afghan and Mughal architecture. Bhoj Shala, Laat Masjid, the Fort and the lakes are the main tourist attractions.

Jhabua

151 km from Indore on the Indore-Ahmedabad highway, it is the home of the tribal Bhils and Bhilalas.

Nemawar

128 km from Indore, this is situated on the other side of the bank of the Narmada, and was the place where Jamdagni, the father of Parasuram, meditated. The temple of Renukaji is situated near the village, as also the ancient temple of Siddhanath. At Suryakund, is a statue of Lord Vishnu.

Omkareshwar and Maheshwar

These cities which are sanctified by faith are the popular tourist destinations.

Mandu

Mandav or Mandu’s was earlier known by the name of “Shadiabad” meaning the city of happiness (Anand Nagari), it was after the name of princess Mandvi Chouhan of Khandwa, the name was given by then ruler Allauddin Khilji. The city is the tribute to the Legendary love story of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur and his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati. The city is located at a distance of 97 km from Indore.

Ujjan

Known as Ujjayini in the ancient times, it is a City of temples and a home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva. The city perches at a distance of  62 km.

How to go ?

By Air

Indore is connected with Bhopal, Delhi and Mumbai airports.

By Bus

Indore is connected by bus with Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Gwalior, Mandu, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Ujjain, Sanchi and Vidisha.

By Rail

Indore is on the Western railway and is connected with major Indian cities.

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Where to stay ?

Indore offers numerous hotels for you to relax and savour various delicacies. Some options are:

Ginger Hotels: +91- 731 – 666 3333
Lemon Tree Hotel: +91 – 99 11 701 701
Radisson Blu Hotel: +91- 731-4738888  Website: www.radissonblu.com
Hotel President: +91-731-2528866, 4040616, 4232425  Website: www.hotelpresidentindore.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Ujjain

Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh – An ancient city & renowned pilgrimage on the bank of the river Shipra

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Ujjain is a sacred and pious land and a renowned pilgrimage of the Hindus. The existence of this city can be traced from the time of Puranas. It was named as Avantinagar at that time.  The bank of the River Sipra  is the hub of devotees for prayers as well as for taking a sacred bath in the river, flowing within the city. One of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, the lingam at the Mahakal is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself) deriving currents of power (shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.

It is in Ujjain that the famous poet Kalidasa wrote his eternal writings. During  the time of the Aryan settlers, Ujjain seems to have acquired importance. By the 6th century B.C. Avanti with its capital at Ujjaini, is mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great powers along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha. Ujjain is also an ideal destination for the tourists having true interest in history because of its rich historical tradition. Beginning from the Aryan age, the eminent powers like the Rashtrakutas, the Mughals, passing the Marathas upto the Scindhia’s Ujjain deserves special mention. Ujjain acquires a cultural splendour of its own which is equaled by very few other cities in India.

Today, Ujjain abounds in temples, hoary old tradition attached to each of them. But though most of them have been built upon sites of antiquity, none of them has survived in the original splendour. Desecrated and despoiled time and time again, the structures that stand today are of more recent date, renovated or rebuilt over the years. And yet, the temples form an integral part of the city and contribute to the continuity of Ujjain’s tradition of greatness.

Places to see in Ujjain: There are numerous places of visit at Ujjain:

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir

This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.

Chintaman Ganesh

The temple is standing across the Shipra on the Fatehabad railway line. The Ganesh idol enshrined here is supposed to be swayambhu – born of itself. The temple itself is believed to be of considerable antiquity. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha. The artistically carved pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period. Worshipers throng to this temple because the deity here is traditionally known as Chintaharan Ganesh meaning “the assurer of freedom from worldly anxieties”.

Pir Matsyendranath

This is an extremely attractive spot on the banks of the Shipra quite close to the Bhartihari Caves and the Gadkalika Temple. It is dedicated to the memory of one of the great leaders of the Natha sect of Saivism-Matsyendranath. Since muslims as well as the followers of the Natha sect call their saints ‘pir’, the ancient site of Pir Matsyendranath is venerated by both. Excavations at this site have yielded some antiquities which date back to the 6th and 7th century BC.

Bhartrihari Caves

These caves are just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite use of the Sanskrit meter.

Kaliadeh Palace

Situated on the banks of the Shipra, the island-like site immediately conjures up the natural beauty of ancient Ujjain which poets down the ages have waxed lyrical. The glorious landscape of the flowing river on both sides of the palace and the man-made tanks and channels, with water gurgling through them, provide a spectacular backdrop to the imposing building. The central dome of the palace is a beautiful example of Persian architecture. Two Persian inscriptions found in one of the long corridors of the palace record the visits of Emperor Akbar and Jehangir to this palace. The palace was broken down in the time of the Pindaris and was restored by Madhav Rao Scindia in 1920 to its present glory. The Sun Temple was also restored by the family.

Durgadas Ki Chhatri

It is a distinctive monument glowing like a small jewel in the surrounding lush landscape. Vir Durgadas earned a secure niche for himself in the history of Marwad by his undaunting, selfless service to the State. He fought for the independence of Jodhpur after the death of Maharaj Jaswant Singh and helped Ajit Singh to ascend the throne against the wishes of Aurangzeb. Durgadas died at Rampura in 1718, and his funeral rites were performed according to his wishes on the banks of the Shipra. The rulers of Jodhpur had built the chhatri to consecrate his memory. This beautiful structure, built in the Rajpur style of architecture, houses a statue of Durgadas which crumbled down.

Harsiddhi Temple

This temple occupies a special place in the nebula of ancient sacred spots of Ujjain. Seated between the idols of Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati, the idol of Annapurna is painted in dark vermilion color. The Sri Yantra, the symbol of power or shakti, is also enshrined in the temple. According to the Shiva Purana, when Shiva carried away the burning body of Sati from the sacrificial fire, her elbow dropped at this place. There is an interesting legend in the Skanda Purana about the manner in which the Goddess Chandi acquired the epithet of Harsiddhi. Once when Shiva and Parvati were alone on Mount Kailash, two demons called Chand and Prachand tried to force their way in. Shiva called upon Chandi to destroy them which she did. Pleased, Shiva bestowed upon her the epithet of ‘one who vanquishes all’. The temple was reconstructed during the Maratha period and the two pillars adorned with lamps are special features of Maratha art. These lamps, lit during Navaratri, present a glorious spectacle. There is an ancient well on the premises, and an artistic pillar adorns the top of it.

Siddhavat

This enormous banyan tree on the banks of the Shipra, has been vested with religious sanctity as the Akashyavat in Prayag and Gaya, Vanshivat of Vrindavan and the Panchavata of Nasik. Thousands of pilgrims take a dip in the Shipra from the bathing ghat built here. According to one tradition, Parvati is believed to have performed her penance here. It used to be a place of worship for the followers of Natha sect. One legend has it that some Mughal rulers had cut off the Banyan tree and covered the site with iron sheets to prevent its roots from growing. But the tree pierced the iron sheets and grew and flourished. The little village of Bhairogarh near Siddhavat is famous for its tie and dye painting for centuries. In ancient times when trade with other countries flourished, exquisitely printed cloth from Bhairogarh used to find its way to Rome and China.

Kal Bhairava

The worship of the eight Bhairavas is a part of Saivite tradition and the chief among them is Kal Bhairava, believed to have been built by King Bhadresen, on the banks of the Shipra. There is mention of a Kal Bhairva temple in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana. Worship of Kal Bhairava is believed to have been a part of the Kapalika and Aghora sects. Ujjain was a prominent centre of these two sects. Even today, liquor is offered as a part of the ritual to Kal Bhairava Beautiful paintings in the Malwa style once decorated the temple walls, only traces of which are visible.

Sandipani Ashram

The fact that ancient Ujjain apart from its political and religious importance, enjoyed the reputation of being a great seat of learning as early as the Mahabharata period is borne out by the fact that, Lord Krishna and Sudama received regular instruction in the ashram of Guru Sandipani. The area near the ashram is known as Ankapata, popularly believed to have been the place used by Lord Krishna for washing his writing tablet. The numerals 1 to 100 found on a stone are believed to have been engraved by Guru Sandipani. The Gomti Kunda referred to in the Puranas was the source of water supply to the ashram in the olden days. An image of Nandi, belonging to the Shunga period, is to be found near the tank. The followers of Vallabha sect regard this place as the 73rd seat of the 84 seats of Vallabhacharya where he delivered his discourses throughout India.

Gadkalika

Situated about 2 miles from the city of Ujjain, the deity in this temple is believed to have been worshipped by Kalidasa. The legend goes that he was an idiot and it is by his devotion to the goddess Kalika that he acquired great literary skills. Emperor Harshavardhan had this temple renovated in the 7th century AD. There is further evidence of renovation during the Paramara period. The temple has been rebuilt in the modern times by the erstwhile Gwalior State.

Mangal Nath

This temple is situated away from the bustle of the city at a serene location and can be reached through a winding road. The temple looks upon a vast expanse of the Shipra waters and fills the onlooker with an indescribable sense of peace. Mangalnath is regarded as the birth place of Mars, according to the Matsya Purana. In ancient times, it was famous for a clear view of the planet and hence suitable for astronomical studies. Mahadev or Shiva is the deity which is worshiped in the temple of Mangalnath.

Gopal Mandir

This huge temple is situated in the middle of the big market square. It was constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde in the 19th century. It is a beautiful example of Maratha architecture. The sanctum sanctorium is inlaid with marble and doors are silver plated. The door in the inner sanctum is said to have been carried to Ghazni from the Somnath temple and from thence by Mahmud Shah Abdali to Lahore. Mahadji Scindia recovered it and now it has been installed in this temple.

Navagraha Mandir (Triveni)

Situated on the Triveni Ghat of the Shipra, the temple is located away from the old site of Ujjaini town. It is dedicated to the nine planets, attracts large crowds on new moon days falling on Saturdays. Its religious importance has increased in recent years though there is no known reference to it in the ancient texts.

Mahakaleshwar

The god of the gods Lord  Shiva, in all his splendor reigns eternal in Ujjain. The temple of Mahakaleshwar, its Shikhara soaring into the skies, evokes primordial awe and reverence with its majesty. The Mahakal dominates the life of the city and its people, even in the midst of the busy routine of modern preoccupations, and provides an unbreakable link with past traditions.

The Vedha Shala (Observatory)

Ujjain enjoyed a position of considerable importance in the field of astronomy. Great works on astronomy such as the Surya Siddhanta and the Panch Siddhanta were written in Ujjain. According to Indian astronomers, the Tropic of Cancer is supposed to pass through Ujjain. It is also the fist meridian of longitude of the Hindu geographers. From about the 4th century BC, Ujjain enjoyed the reputation of being India’s Greenwich. The observatory extant today was built by Raja Jai Singh (1686-1743), who was a great scholar. He translated the works of Ptolemy and Euclid into Sanskrit from Arabic. Of the many observatories built by him at Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura, and Ujjain, the one at Ujjain is still in use actively. Astronomical studies are conducted through the Department of Education and the ephemeris is published every year. There is a small planetarium and a telescope to observe the moon, Mars, Jupiter and their satellites. The observatory is also used for weather forecasts.

Vikram Kirti Mandir

Established on the occasion of the second millennium of the Vikram era, this was the cultural centre to perpetuate the memory of Vikramaditya, the Vikram Kirti Mandir houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, an art gallery and an auditorium. The Scindia Oriental Research Institute has an invaluable collection of 18,000 manuscripts on various subjects and runs a reference library of important oriental publications. Rare manuscripts in Prakrit, Arabic, Persian and other Indian languages cover a wide range of subjects from Vedic literature and philosophy to dance and music. Palm leaf and bark leaf (Bhurja Patra) manuscripts are also preserved in this institute. Apart from an illustrated manuscript of Shrimad Bhagavata in which actual gold and silver have been employed for the paintings, the Institute has a rich collection of old paintings in the Rajput and Mughal style. The museum also exhibits a rich array of images, inscriptions, copper plates and fossils discovered in the Narmada valley. A huge skull of a primitive elephant is of special interest. Vikram University: A famous centre of learning in the past, Ujjain continues to uphold that tradition. The establishment of the Vikram University in 1957 was an important landmark. Situated on the Dewas Road, this university plays a significant role in the literary and cultural activities of the city.

Kalidasa Academy

The academy was set up in Ujjain by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to immortalize the memory of the great poet dramatist-Kalidasa, and to create a multi-disciplinary institution to project the genius of the entire classical tradition, with Kalidasa as the apex, enable research and study in Sanskrit classical and traditional performing arts, and facilitate its adaptation for contemporary stage in different cultural settings and language groups. The Academy complex consists of a theatre, museum, library, lecture and seminary halls, mini stage for rehearsals, research facilities for scholars, and a large open air theater.

Ram Janardhan Temple, Ram Ghat, Harihara Teertha, Mallikarjuna Teertha, Ganga Ghat, Bohron Ka Roja, Begum Ka Maqbara, Bina Neev Ki Masjid, Maulana Rumi Ka Maqbara, and Digambara Jain Museum are some of the other prominent places of interest in Ujjain.

Nearby Attractions from Ujjain: From Ujjain you can arrange a trip to the places like:

Dewas

36 km from Indore on the National Highway No. 3, Dewas is famous for its hill- top temple of Devi Chamunda.

Agar

66 km from Ujjain it is an ancient archaeological site.

Nagda

60 km from Ujjain. It is an industrial town with ancient temples.

Sailana

Sailana, 21 km from Ratlam is famous for its cactus garden with over 1200 species of cactus (only 50 are Indian); perhaps the biggest collection in Asia. It is also famous for its culinary tradition.

Maksi

39 km from Ujjain, it is famous for Jain temples.

Mandsaur

84 km from Ratlam, Mandsaur is famous for the Ashtamukhi Pashupatinath Temple situated on the river Sivana. The width of the temple varies from 2 to 33 metres and its height from 3 to 55 metres.

Gandhi Sagar

The river Chambal has been dammed at Gandhi Sagar, situated 91 km from Neemuch, at the border of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The water spread is extremely scenic and picturesque.

Bhanpura

Situated in the Mandsaur district, this place gets its name from King Bhaman. It is 127 km from Mandsaur, and has a museum depicting the popular arts of Mandsaur. Illustrated oil paintings are also to be found around Bhanpura. At the museum, art from the Gupta era to the time of the Pratihars and Parmars is depicted, and well- sculpted portraits of Uma- Maheshwar, Kartikaey, Vishnu, Gavoi and Nandi are displayed.

Indore

 It is the Commercial Capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Things to do at Ujjain: Apart from this the sight scene trips, visit to Ujjain will remain incomplete if you come back without buying any souvenir or memento from the place. Ujjain is also known for stone crafts, that is, beautiful small statues carved out of stone. If one ponders on what to buy in Ujjain, one should head straight to the local bazaars and the handicrafts emporium to get exclusive and ethnic artifacts of Madhya Pradesh. Simhastha is the great bathing festival of Ujjain, which is celebrated once in twelve years. Ceremonial bathing in the holy waters of Shipra begin with the full moon day of Chaitra (March) and continue up to the next full moon day.

Best time to visit Ujjain: The best period to visit Ujjain is from October to March when the climatic condition remains soothing.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest airport is at Indore (55 km) which is connected by flights with Delhi, Bhopal and Mumbai.

By Road

Regular bus services connect Ujjain with Indore, Bhopal, Ratlam, Gwalior, Mandu, Dhar and Omkareshwar.

By Rail

Ujjain is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Kolkata, Chennai & Cochin.

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Where to stay ?

There are plenty of lodges and hotels as well as guest houses both government and non government in Ujjain. Some options are:

Shipra Residency: +91-0734- 255 1495
Avantika Yatriniwas: +91-0734-2511398
Hotel Raj Palace: +91-0734-2530325, 4011006 Website: www.hotelrajpalaceujjain.com
Hotel Grand Tower: +91-0734- 255 3699 Website: hotelgrandtower.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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