North South East West
North South East West
       
   
     
 
North South East West
 
     
North South East West
North South East West
   
 
HILL HOLIDAYS
North
Kalpa Kalpa: A little known town in the lap of the mighty 19,965 feet tall Kinner Kailash, Kalpa is situated at an altitude of 9,711 feet. Surrounded by snowy peaks for almost the whole year, Kalpa is a tranquil destination to uplift the soul. One gets clear views of the sacred Kinner Kailash as well as its sister peaks. Besides the fantastic scenery and drives, Kalpa offers energetic moments for mountain-biking, mountain-cycling, jeep safaris, trout fishing, star-gazing, camping, hiking, trekking and river rafting. It is the ancient capital of the Kinners of Kinnaur.
(Himachal Pradesh, 220 km from Shimla) ... read more about Kalpa
Jilling: A great place to unwind for lovers of nature, Jilling offers over 120 acres of oak and rhododendron mixed forests to walk around and a sizeable bird and animal population to view. There are jungle cats, mountain deer, wild boar, a great variety of Himalayan birds. It is fed by a mountain spring with pure mineral water and on clear days there are breathtaking views of the snow-covered peaks. Located at a height of 7000 ft in the Kumaon Himalayas, Jilling is great for long and peaceful walks.
(Uttrakhand, 40 km from Kathgodam)
Jilling
Chamba Chamba: Away from the din of Mussoorie, Chamba is a quiet getaway that offers 360 degree views of the Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 1600m above sea level, this haven in the Garhwal Himalayas serves as a junction to the destinations located in the higher reaches. Best suited for those looking for a slice of nature and great views in peaceful environs, Chamba is the place to be. One can reach Chamba in about 7-8 hrs from Delhi via Hardwar, Rishikesh and Narendranagar. (Uttarakhand, 80 km from Dehradun) Arki: An emerald bowl bounded by gentle hills, Arki is a place to look forward to a rewarding holiday that offers history, natural beauty and stunning views. This regal hideaway in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh was the capital of the former princely state of Baghal, which means the land of leopards. The beautifully located fort palace in Arki has now been converted into a heritage hotel. Arki offers an excellent escape from the noise and pollution of the plains. Caves abound in here and so do cave-temples.
(Himachal Pradesh, 40 km from Shimla)
Arki
 
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South
Malampuzha Malampuzha: Adorned with lush greenery and has been acclaimed as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in South India, Malampuzha is nurtured by Kerala's longest river, the Bharathappuzha. Straight out of a picture book, a visit to Malampuzha promises an enchanting holiday experience. There are many places to visit, which include the Malampuzha Gardens (known as the Vrindavan of Kerala), Snake Park, Children's Park, Garden House, Japanese Garden, Hanging Bridge, Sculpture of Yakshi, Ropeway, Road Train, Telescopic Tower, Rock Garden and Fantasy Park.
(Kerala, 15 km from Palakkad and 420 kms from Bangalore)
Coonoor: Located at the head of the Hulikal ravine at an altitude of 1,800 m above sea level, Coonoor is famous for its verdant environs and for a variety of wildflowers and birds. It provides a perfect setting for activities like trekking and hiking. Coonoor offers panoramic view of the lush green Nilgiri hills, with its ravines, valleys, and waterfalls. Bird watching is a popular pastime in Coonoor, as the area boasts of a large variety of species like cormorants, pipits, thrushes, parakeets, skylarks and Nilgiri verditer. Coonoor also formed the backdrop for David Lean's movie A Passage to India .
(Tamil Nadu, 300 km from Bangalore)
Coonoor
Yercaud Yercaud: Often referred as common man’s Ooty, Yercaud is located right in the lap of nature - beautiful, less crowded and economical. Yercaud lies in the Shevaroy Hillls, part of the Eastern Ghats and is spread over 383 sq km. The Big Lake is the main attraction in Yercaud, which offers boating opportunity in the placid waters of the lake. One can hire a 2 or 4-seater pedal boats or row boats. Shevaroy Temple, Bear’s Cave and Lady’s Seat are other prime attractions in Yercaud. (Tamil Nadu, 225 km from Bangalore)...more Madikeri: Part of the Coorg coffee plantations, Madikeri is more than the charming coffee estates and murmuring streams. It is nature’s gift, wrapped in a green foil. There are paddy fields, waterfalls, deep ravines and sloping glades. One of the best things to do here is drive around and smell the coffee-scented air. Madikeri has not only this green foliage; it also has a historical chapter, pages of which can be turned by visiting the Madikeri Fort, re-built by Tipu Sultan. Other important landmarks include Abbi Falls, Omkareshwara Temple and Raja’s Seat. (Karnataka, 240 km from Bangalore)...more Madikeri
 
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East
Kurseong Kurseong & Kalimpong: Land of white Orchids; Kurseong is a small village between Silliguri and Darjeeling that came to light when the Darjeeling – Himalayan Railway was extended. It is known for its salubrious climate and stunning views. Kalimpong at a height of 1250 m above sea level offers excellent views of the Mt Kanchenjunga and the other Himalayan peaks. The popular sightseeing points are Durpin Dara and Deoro Hill. Kalimpong also has several monasteries and a Kali temple. The Tibetan Monastery and curio center and Dr Graham's home are important places of tourist attractions.
(West Bengal, 60 km from Siliguri) ... more
Phulbani: A trip to Phulbani makes for enriching experiences. The headquarter town of Kandhamal district in Orissa has a variety of attractions with a rich tribal culture and colourful flora & fauna. It is also the most convenient base for exploring the various places of interest nearby. Balaskumpa, near Phulbani is a popular tourist destination for the temple of Goddess Barala Devi. The tribal and locals credit the Goddess with the creation of the world. The other places of tourist interest include the Goddess Bhairavee Temple at Puruna Katak and the temple of Lord Charisambhu Ananta Vishnu in Charisambhu.
(Orissa, 210 km from Bhubaneshwar)
Phulbani
Tawang Tawang: Half the fun of visiting Tawang is in reaching here, as one enjoys one of the most scenic hill drives in India. A quiet hill town in Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is the last frontier, strategically placed between China, Tibet and Myanmar. Tawang is an important centre of Buddhist learning and is particularly famous for its 400- year old Twang Monastery. It houses a beautifully gilded 8 meter high statue of the Buddha and a number of equally remarkable idols, thangkas and murals. (Arunachal Pradesh, 200 km from Guwahati, Assam)...more Haflong: At a modest altitude of 2,230 ft in the North Chachar hills in Assam, Haflong is a nature lover’s dream-come-true and offers some picturesque walking trails. There is plenty to do in Haflong. One of the popular activities here is just walk and walk. This, in fact is the best way to enjoy the surrounding beauty of this serene place. You can take a walk to the Haflong Lake or can visit fruit orchards. Get a taste of pineapples and oranges that grow easily here. A picnic to the nearby places with kids can be a wonderful thing to do on your tour of Haflong.
(Assam, 410 km from Guwahati)
Haflong
 
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West
Kajrat Karjat: There are many destinations, which are just a hop, skip and jump away from Mumbai but there is hardly any as serene and as varied as Karjat. Located on the banks of the River Ulhas, Karjat makes for pretty getaway with the rushing river and verdant fields and low green-topped hills. Karjat provides excellent roadways to the mesmerizing Western Ghats. Karjat's scenic view makes it a flawless beauty. There are a number of places to visit in and around Karjat, which include Ulhas Valley, Bhor Ghat, Kondheshwar temple, Bahiri Cave, Chanderi and Nakhind.
(Maharashtra, 90 km from Mumbai)
Malshej Ghat: The forested, mystical and silent Sahyadris are a repository of Maharashtra's rugged history, religious thought, cultural resilience and spiritual energy. Within these hills lies a hilltop town – Malshej - standing 700 m high in the mountains. It is the only hill station where tourists can see the wonder of all the seasons of the year within the span of a single day. It is a wonder world of fauna and flora and offers a quick getaway from the stress of city life. Malshej is also a good place to enjoy bird watching.
(Mahrashtra, 25 km from Mahabaleshwar) ... more
Malshej Ghat
Kamshet Kamshet: Leave behind the well known hill stations of Khandala & Lonavala and head straight to Kamshet. As you go past Lonavala and enter into Kamshet, the change in the scenery will be dramatic. Vast expanse of paddy fields and green hills around will rush to greet you. Kamshet is surely a-back-to-nature destination. Kamshet offers a number of exciting holiday activities. You can try paragliding, visit Bedsa Caves and bow at the Kondeshwar Temple. (Maharashtra, 120 km from Mumbai) Saputara: At 3,196 ft on the southern tip of Gujarat, Saputara is a relaxed and quiet getaway overlooking a lush valley, perhaps the only hill station in the state. It is perched on a plateau in the Dang forest area of the Sahyadri range. Saputara means the ‘adobe of serpents’ and a snake image on the banks of the river Sarpagana is worshipped by the Adivasis on festivals like Holi. It has a sublime climate; the highest temperature even in the summer months not exceeds 28 Degrees Celsius. Saputara makes for an enjoyable and enriching holiday in the Sahyadri range.
(Gujarat, 160 km from Surat)
Saputara
 
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WILD THRILLS
North
Sultanpur Sultanpur National Park: Once a marshy land, the Sultanpur National park is today one of the popular parks in North India to see the avian species. Over 320 species of birds that include the pelican, black necked stork, sarus crane, golden oriole and blue throat can be seen here during the winter months from the various watch towers located at strategic points. Facilities like a library and an education and interpretation center with informative write-ups about birds is also provided. Even butterflies have also made the park their abode with around 18 species being repeated so far.
(Haryana, 15 km from Gurgaon)
Kalatop-Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary: For those seeking solitude, the Kalatop- Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh is the place to be. Unknown and unexplored, the sanctuary with its dense Deodar, Coniferous and Fir forests is a tourist paradise. Once a gaming reserve of the Chamba royals, the sanctuary today, is a protected area and a local picnic spot. The wildlife sanctuary is home to the Ibex, deer, bear, leopards, pheasants and serow. The sanctuary is a wonderful place to spend some quality time with family and friends.
(Himachal, 100 km from Pathankot)
Kalatop-Khajjiar
Hemis Hemis National Park: Situated at an altitude of 3000-6000 m, the Hemis National Park named after the famous Hemis Monastery is known for its amazing natural beauty. A nature lover's dream, the Park located on the west bank of the River Indus and covering an area of 600 sq km has a landscape that is replete with mountains of various shapes and sizes, mixed with vast flatlands, valleys and deserts. The domain of the snow leopard, the Hemis National Park is also a trekker’s delight. The Shang valley in particular is known for its high snow leopard population. The trek through the beautiful Markha - Shang - Rumbath Valleys is extremely breathtaking. (Jammu & Kashmir, 45 km from Leh) Jaisamand Sanctuary: Located on the banks of the second largest artificial Lake in Asia, the Jaisamand Sanctuary extends over an area of 52 sq kms of thick forests land. The sanctuary is home to leopard hyena, jungle cat, fox and wolf among other wildlife animals, which include sambar, chital, langur and chinkara. The Jaisamand lake is the abode of crocodiles, turtles and a variety of fish. Various species of terrestrial and water-birds can also be seen in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated south of Udaipur, the picturesque city of lakes, verdant valleys and hills.
(Rajasthan, 50 km from Udaipur)
Jaisamad
 
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South
Mudumalai Mudumalai Sanctuary: Situated on the northwestern side of the beautiful Blue Mountains, the Mudumalai Sanctuary is one of the oldest national parks in India established in the pre-independence era (1940). A part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Mudumalai National Park has mixed vegetation, because of its location, which is at the borders of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Contiguous with the Bandipur National Park, the Mudumalai Sanctuary besides its varied wildlife is well known for its Moyar Gorge which while cutting through the hills forms a series of spectacular cascades on its way.
(Tamil Nadu, 80 km from Coimbatore)
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Kodagu district of Karnataka, the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is famed for its verdant green forest as much as for its wildlife. Situated near the Nagarhole National Park, the sanctuary covering an area of 180 sq km is an important elephant corridor as well and provides ample opportunities to catch a glimpse of a herd of elephants. The Irpu Falls and the Brahmagiri peaks are the other notable attractions that are located within the sanctuary.
(Karnataka, 110 km from Mysore)
Brahmagiri
Bandipur Bandipur National Park: Drained by the rivers Kabini, Nugu, Moyar and numerous small streams, the Bandipur National Park is located in the Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka at the confluence of the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills. The Park is home to over a thousand elephants, around a hundred tigers and to a large variety of birds not to mention a few other sundry animals like the leopards, dhole (wild dog), gaur and sloth bears. Covering an area of 874 sq km, the park famed for its sandalwood trees is also a trekker’s paradise. (Karnataka, 80 km from Mysore) Silent Valley: Home to the largest population of lion-tailed macaque, one of the world's rarest and most threatened primates, the Silent Valley National Park is located in the Kundali Hills of Kerala. The park's rare and unique flora and fauna has resulted in it being included in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Today, the lush tropical greenery, undulating slopes, hills and rivers have made Silent Valley National Park one of the most beautiful wildlife destinations of the country. The park is home to some of the most exotic birds and animal species.
(Kerala, 60 km from Coimbatore)
Sailent Valley
 
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East
Satkosia Satkosia Sanctuary: Rare scenic beauty of calm picturesque hills surrounded by azure blue waters of the mighty Mahanadi river, the Satkosia Sanctuary is a paradise for the wildlife enthusiast and adventure seeker. With a gorge that 22 kms long, the sanctuary represents one of the unique ecosystems of India being the meeting point of two of the country’s important biotic provinces- the Chhotnagpur Plateau & Eastern Ghats. Covering an area of 795 sq km, the sanctuary is spread over four districts. It is home to the rare long nose Gharial, muggers, monitor lizards, and snakes like python, cobra, viper and kraits.
(Orissa, 165 km from Bhubaneshwar)
Orang National Park: Located close to the Indo-Bhutan and Arunachal borders, the Orang National Park besides being known for its tigers is also a place of great scenic beauty. This despite the fact, that it is surrounded by villages on all the sides. Covering an area of 78 sq kms, the Park is conspicuous by its overgrown woody stretches and high grass and hence sobriquet –mini Kaziranga. The Park in addition to being home to the tigers, rhinos, hog deer and leopards also has a sizeable presence of avian species like the green pigeon, florican, teal, geese, and pelicans.
(Assam, 140 km from Guwahati)
Orang
Ambapani Ambapani Wildlife Sanctuary: Located about 70 kilometers from Bhawanipatna and 45 kilometers from Nowrangpur is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India boasting of more than sixty varieties of mangrove plants and an equal number of rare and unusual plant species. The Ambapani sanctuary is home to Mowgli’s bageera, spotted deer and sambars. Nearby is Gudahandi known for its pre historic caves paintings and the Haladigundi valley that exhibits peculiar features as the days goes down.
(Orissa, 45 km from Nowrangpur)
Namdapha National Park: A lush green virgin forest nestled in the eastern Himalayas, the Namdapha National Park is a botanist dream with over 150 trees, flowers and orchids. This is the place to wake up in the misty mornings to the sounds of screeching gibbons and to the chirping of the endangered hornbills, bar tailed cuckoo doves and red eared woodpeckers. There are fluttering butterflies to chase, if that is what you like. Others can look for white winged duck, the red panda, the pig tailed macaque and the Himalayan black bear.
(Arunachal Pradesh, 150 km from Dibrugarh in Assam)
Namdapha
 
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West
Indravati Indravati National Park: Situated in the famed tribal belt of Bastar and named after the Indravati river, which flows from east to west and forms the northern boundary of the reserve with Maharashtra, the Indravati National Park besides being the only park dedicated to the wild buffalos is also a Project Tiger reserve. The Hill Myna known for its mimicry is also a resident of this forest. Spread over 2799.08 sq km, the Park is replete with lush green vegetation and varied wildlife, which makes it a favorite destination of nature lovers. (Chattisgarh, 160 km from Jagdalpur) Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: The 2nd largest forest reserve of Goa, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary interspersed with semi-evergreen and evergreen patches is noted for its varied diversity. Unlike other sanctuaries where the tiger is the famed resident, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary gives shelter to the lesser-known animals like the gaur, flying squirrel, slender loris, Indian pangolin, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, Malabar pit viper, hump-nosed pit viper, heart-spotted woodpecker, golden-back gliding Snake, and Malabar tree toad. With six watchtowers in the sanctuary, one is bound to get a good glimpse of the jungle’s residents.
(Goa, 77 km from Panjim)
Cotigao
Wild Ass Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary: If you are a brave-heart, then traverses the hostile desert through myriad mirages to reach the only wildlife sanctuary in the world that is dedicated to a species known to be a hardy worker but not particularly clever. Yes, a sanctuary of the Indian Wild Ass. The largest sanctuary in the country, it is also home to chinkara, hedgehog, jackal, fox, jungle and desert Cats. The sanctuary also has a sizeable presence of birds.
(Gujarat, 130km from Ahmedabad)
Sanjay Gandhi National Park: The Park came into limelight when a leopard strayed from its home and made its presence felt to the residents of a nearby slum who had encroached on the land near the park. Aptly titled ‘A jungle within a jungle’ the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is situated amidst a concrete jungle - Mumbai. The Park is a favorite haunt of the Mumbaikars as well as of the big cats, notably the leopard that can be seen perched on tree-tops or sleeping their way to glory in any of the 108 Buddhist monk cells of the 1000 years old Kanheri Caves. (Mumbai) Sanjay Gandhi
 
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SPIRITUAL & HERITAGE BREAKS
North
Shekhawati Havelis The Shekhawati Havelis: Popularly known as open-air art gallery in Rajasthan, the Shekhawati region is famous for its beautiful havelis. Churu, Jhunjhunu, Mandawa, Dundlod, Nawalgarh, Fathepur and Sikar make up the Shekhwati region, which has attracted world wide attention for its magnificent havelis. Renowned through out the world for their beautiful frescos and murals depicting scenes from mythology, folklore, and history, these havelis were constructed by the wealthy Marwari merchants between 18th and 20th century as a sign of their status and wealth. These lavish havelis are painted predominantly in blue, maroon, yellow, green and indigo showcase the artistic excellence of the craftsmen’s of the yore.
(Rajasthan, 180 km from Jaipur)... more
Dilwara Temples: Also known as Jain Temples, these wonder in marble were built between the 11th and 13th centuries. World famous for their stunning use of marble, the temples are a sacred pilgrimage place for the people of Jain community. Considered to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world, the temples are in the midst of a range of forested hills. A high wall shrouds the temple complex. Their sober exterior belies the wealth of their interior ornamentation. The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars and panels is simply marvelous. The temples enshrine various Jain tirthankaras.
(Rajasthan, 5 kms from Mount Abu)
Dilwara Temple
Badrinath Badrinath: Easily accessible of all the Chardhams in Uttarakhand, Badrinath at a height of more than 3000 meters is the abode of Lord Vishnu. Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan, the temple piously stands along the left bank river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth Mountain as the backdrop, the place makes for a scenic hot spot in the Garhwal Himalayas. A dip in the hot spring water here does the miracle and quickly washes all the stress of a long journey. (Uttarakhand, 350 km from Hardwar)...more Anandpur Sahib: Anandpur is a cluster of 40 Gurudwaras and also the birthplace of Khalsa Panth. Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa here at Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib. The present building of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib was constructed between 1936 and 1944 under the supervision of Sant Hari Singh Kaharpuri. The 9th Guru, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur founded Anandpur Sahib in the year 1664 near the ruins of an ancient place, Makhowal. The town came to lime light during the times of Guru Gobind Singh, who spent almost 25 years of his life at Anandpur Sahib.
(Punjab, 90 km from Chandigarh)
Anandpur Sahib
 
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South
Pattadakal Pattadakal: Famous for its group of monuments, Pattadakal represents a harmonious blend of northern and southern Indian style of architecture. Pattadakal has more than a dozen temples of varying sizes and antiquity and is one of the unique places to see the temples representing early Chalukyan architecture. The oldest of them all is the Sangamesvara Temple built by king Vijayaditya during the 8 century AD. Though it is not the biggest of the temples in Paddatdakal but is regarded as one of the fine examples of the high architectural standards maintained by the Chaluykan architecture.
(Karnataka, 22 km from Badami; 514 km from Bangalore)
Jewish Synagogue: Located in the Fort Cochin area, which is a rich mix of heritage and scenic splendor, the Jewish Synagogue is one of the oldest Synagogues in Asia. Dating back to the 1568 AD, the synagogue was built at Mattancherry under the protection of the Raja of Cochin when the original one got destroyed in the 1500s. Also known as the Paradesi Synagogue or Foreign Synagogue, it was later rebuilt by the Dutch after having been partially destroyed in the war of 1662 AD. The Synagogue is still in use even today and houses the scrolls of the original Old Testament and the copper plates, which recorded the grants of privilege, bequeathed by the Kochi rulers.
(Kerala, Kochi)
Jewish Synagogue
Nagarjunakuonda & Amravati Nagarjunakuonda & Amravati: One of India's richest Buddhist sites, reconstructed on top of a hill, which rises from the middle of the lake, gives a fascinating insight into the daily lives of this ancient Buddhist centre. Located in Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakuonda & Amravati are two of the most important Buddhist sites. Named after two of the greatest Buddhist scholars of yore, both these sites are characterized by a large number of monasteries and chaityas. While Amravati is famous for the ruins of a 2000-year-old Buddhist settlement and the great Buddhist stupa, said to be even larger than the stupa of Sanchi, the stupa at Nagarjunakonda is known for its sculptures that depict scenes from the Buddha's life.
(Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjunakonda, 150 km from Hyderabad; Amaravati is 40 km from Vijaywada)
The Cholas Temples: The Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram represent the finest specimen of the Chola Architecture. Built in the distinct Dravida style with huge Gopurams, the temples showcase the might as well as the artistic excellence of the Cholas in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting. Built by the illustrious Rajaraja and his son Räjëndra, the temple of the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur, the temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram marked the zenith of temple architecture of South India. Characterterised by their huge gopurams and ornate mandpams, these temples laid the foundations of a distinct style of temple architecture, which came to be known as the Dravida Style.
(Tamil Nadu, 58 km from Thanjavur)
Cholas Temples
 
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East
Belur Math Belur Math: A place of international pilgrimage and the headquarters of the international Ramakrishna Order, the Belur Math is a famous landmark on the outskirts of Kolkata. The Math combines the architectural elements of a church, a mosque, and a temple, symbolically representing the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. It was established in 1897, when Swami Vivekananda when he placed the relics of Sri Ramakrishna here. The location of the math is beautiful with smaller shrines line the riverbank, and devotees and seekers of spiritual peace roam the grounds. Within the immaculate main shrine, activity is enlivened by evening aarti.
(West Bengal, 1 hr drive from Kolkata)
Bishnupur: Known for its ancient temples and terracotta work, Bishnupur was a nerve centre of Art & Culture in ancient times. Once the ancient capital of Malla Kings of Mallabhum and an important center Bengali culture, Bishnupur today is renowned for its temples, terracotta and Baluchri saris. The temples of Bishnupur unlike other temples are built entirely of terracotta. Dedicated to Krishna, the temples built in bricks and also in laterite represent various hybrid styles. The Shyam Ray Temple, the twin shrines of Jorbangla, the Radhey Shyam Temple, the Sarbamangala and Chinnamasta are some of the notable temples. Besides temples, it is famous for its terracotta pottery, especially the terracotta horse called Bankura, which happens to be the mascot of the town.
(West Bengal, 150 km from Kolkata)...more
Bishnupur
Bodh Gaya Bodh Gaya- Rajgir-Nalanda: Go on a Buddhist trail - see the magnificent monasteries, viharas and the pillars. The Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi Tree are not to be missed as also the ruins of Nalanda - one of the first universities of the world and the greatest seat of Buddhist learning. These three major places are associated with Buddhism. BodhGaya, the place where Prince Siddharth became The Buddha; Rajgir, where he rested during the monsoons, delivered his sermons, where the first Buddhist council was held and his teachings penned down; and Nalanda, the oldest and the greatest seat of Buddhist learning. It is, but natural that the places are now one of the few sacred spots for Buddhists from all over the world.
(Bihar, 180 km from Patna)
Puri: One of the original char dhams of the country, Puri situated on the banks of the Bay of Bengal is the abode of Lord Jagannath. One of the most magnificent temples of the country, the Jagannath Temple is also one of the tallest monuments in the country - 214 feet from the ground level. Even its kitchen is reported to be one of the largest in the world feeding thousands of devotees daily. Also referred to as Purusottam Khetra, Puri is the site of the annual Ratha Yatra festival or the Car Festival. Every year the festival attracts large number of devotees from all corners of the world to catch a glimpse of their favorite deity. In addition to the temple of Lord Jagannath, Puri is also famous for its beach as well as for the mathas and ashrams.
(Orissa, 50 km from Bhubaneswar)...more
Puri
 
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West
Champaner-Pavagadh Champaner-Pavagadh: A crowing glory of Indian architectural style, Champaner- Pavagadh was once a prosperous medieval capital of Gujarat that earned laurels for the country when it became a world heritage site. Representing a fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles, the ruins, scattered over 6 sq km around the foothills of Pavagadh in the Panchmahals has more than 100 small and large monuments dating back to the medieval period. However, recent excavations have revealed the site to be much older than it was earlier imagined. Some important monuments here include the Jami Masjid, which formed a model for the later mosque architecture in India; the Kewada Masjid & the Nagina Masjid, and the ruins of the Begda palace. A Kali temple and a pilgrimage spot called the Shakti Peeth are also located nearby.
(Gujarat, 55 km from Baroda)
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka: A kind of its own in Central India, Bhimbetka is nestled in the midst of the Vindhyachal and Satpura Hills. A world heritage site - rock paintings here look as fresh as they were thousands of years ago. These caves represent the largest collection of pre historic art in the country and are said to be more than 9000 years old. Out of the 642 rock shelters at Bhimbetka, nearly 400 have paintings. Most of the paintings belong to the Mesolithic phase and show the activities and lives of the people of that period. Painted with white, yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, green and black colours, most of the paintings depict scenes of childbirth, decoration of bodies, communal gathering, religious rites and burials, as well as figures of birds and animals.
(Madhya Pradesh, 50 km from Bhopal)
Bhimbetka
Basilica of Bom Jesus The Basilica of Bom Jesus: A world heritage site, the Basilica houses the relic of Goa’s patron saint, Francis Xavier. The embalmed body of the saint is kept in an airtight glass coffin positioned in a silver casket. The casket is divided on each side into seven panels, each of which has two plates representing in relief important incidents in the life of the saint. Once in every ten year thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to attend the ‘Exposition’ or public viewing of the saint’s body. One of the finest specimens of baroque architectural style, the cathedral was built during the 16th century when the Portuguese power was at its zenith as India’s first Minor Basilica.
(Goa, 10 km from Panjim)
Ajmer Sharif: Equally revered by people of all the faiths, Ajmer Sharif is the final resting place of Hazarat Khwaja Mohinuddin Chisti. A buzzing oasis wrapped in the green hills, Ajmer comes alive during the annual Urs. Khwaja left for heavenly abode in 1256 AD after a six-day prayer in seclusion and these six days are celebrated every year as annual Urs. The Urs is attended by innumerable pilgrims, who converge here from different corners of the country. The shrine is considered to be a place of wish fulfillment for those who pray with devout and pure hearts. Even Emperor Akbar sought blessings for his son at the dargah.
(Rajasthan, 150 km from Jaipur)
Ajmer Sharif
 
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WEEKEND GETAWAYS
North
Naukuchiatal Naukuchiatal: Green mountains, shimmering blue waters – that may briefly sum up the hill station but wait, it has more. Vistas of terraced fields, meadows with wildflowers and melodious bird-song, Naukuchiatal offers a pure unadulterated natural beauty. There are a number of things to do In Naukuchiatal - swim in the lake, go boating, walk around its periphery or just sit by the shores and dream away. Naukuchiatal offers all of this and more. Spend your mornings bird watching, get a taste of local cuisine and get acquainted with culture of the hills.
(Uttarakhand, 300 kms from Delhi)
Surajgarh: Situated in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, Surajgarh derives its name from the 18th century fortified Palace Surajgarh. The name literally means 'The Castle of The Sun'. The fortified palace spread over 4 acres is lovingly restored and has been converted into a heritage hotel. There is plenty to do in Surajgarh. Visit painted havelis in the Shekhwati region known as an open-air art gallery. Kajra, famous of its havelis is just 5 kilometers away. Go shopping, as Surajgarh is famed for Laak bangles. Enjoy countryside views setting on a camel or cart.
(Rajasthan, 150 kms from Gurgaon)
Surajgarh
Binsar Binsar: Beautiful, quiet and peaceful, Binsar in the Kumaon Hills is balm for the city jaded soul. Far from the maddening crowd that has invaded most of the hill stations in the north, one can safely head to Binsar for its scenic vistas and tranquil environs. Binsar is perched on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills and completely surrounded by dense forests. Oak, rhododendron, pine and deodar grow in abundance here. Binsar is a wildlife sanctuary that may be termed as a goldmine for birdwatchers.
(Uttarakhand, 30 km from Almora) ...more
Palampur: A magical mesh of tea gardens, rice fields and hidden brooks, Palampur looks like a chapter from a fairytale that’s come into life. Palampur derives its name from the word ‘Pulum’, which means water. A number of streams and brooks criss-cross its scenic landscape. The town came into being when the tea bush was introduced in the 19th century and Palampur became a focus for the planters. Palampur is surrounded by dense forests of oak and deodar, which make it an ideal place for long walks. Baijnath and Chamunda Devi Temples are other places of interest in Palampur.
(Himachal Pradesh, 130 km from Jalandhar, Punjab)
Palampur
 
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South
Maravanthe Maravanthe: A sandy beach sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Satuparnika River, Maravanthe offers a scenic backdrop of the Kodachadri Hills. The endless golden sand, swaying palm trees, clear sky and the soothing sea makes the trip to Maravanthe an out-of-the-world experience. It is a popular picnic spot with it pristine beauty. The water at Maravanthe beach is safe for swimming with huge but gentle tides inviting you and appealing you to come and play with them.
(Karnataka, 130 kms from Bangalore)
Kamarajar Valley: Surrounded by the Kannivadi and Palani Hills, the valley offers sweeping views of coffee, pepper, and cardamom estates. The valley is also home a beautiful lake that is watered by two hill streams - the Kallalar and Kodavan. It is place of sublime beauty and soothing environs. Away from the city's grind and grime, Kamarajar Valley is a place to connect with your inner self and nature. The valley is a great place to listen to the birds in the bushes and around the lake. You can also see scores of weaver-birds weaving their nests in the gardens.
(Tamil Nadu, 60 kms from Madurai)
Kamrajar Valley
Srirangapatna Srirangapatna: A walk down the history, Srirangapatna, is renowned for its seemingly impregnable fort. It was the capital of the warrior-kings Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan - The Tiger of Mysore. The town is set within and around the ruins of Tipu Sultan’s fort. There are a number of tourist places in Srirangapatna that you can visit. Some of the places of tourist interest include Jame Masjid, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple and Gumbaz. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctury, just 4 kilometers from Srirangapatna is another interesting place that you can visit. The sanctuary is home to several exotic species of birds. (Karnataka, 130 km from Bangalore) Vagamon: In the lap of God’s Own Country lies one of the pristine and beautiful escapes – Vagamon. Nestling in a sweep of verdant hills, tea plantations and picturesque valleys, Vagamon is situated at height of 3, 500 ft above sea level. It is a fine blend of religious mysticism and European legacies. Kurisumala, about 10 kilometers from Vagamon is a pilgrim center, that recreates Christ’s journey – the Way of the Cross - in a series of pictures or tableaux. It is a perfect escape for city dwellers with green hills, velvety lawns and cool mountain breeze all around.
(Kerala, 70 km from Thekkady)
Vagamon
 
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East
Frazerganj- Bakkhali Beach Frazerganj- Bakkhali Beach: Head out for a soothing holiday in the un-spoilt environs of these unique white sandy beaches, which are also the summer destination for a variety of migratory birds. Clean, and un-populated Bakkhali is seashore resort about 132 kms from Calcutta. It has a 7 km extended seashore stretch from Bakkhali to Frasergunj with soothingly rising and falling waves. You can also visit the crocodile-breeding centre at Bakkhali, which is home to a number of crocodiles and several deer. You are also likely to encounter stray groups of monkeys.
(West Bengal, 100 kms from Kolkata)
Murshidabad: A city of Nawabs and there splendours, Murshidabad is steeped in history and culture. Named after Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the city is home to some of the best works, which depict the medieval period of Indian history. The city is a witness to the events that changed the course of Indian history. The British established a military barrack here in 1767. In 1857, Sepoy Mutiny took birth here. The old houses of the British army have now been converted into hospitals and government offices. Places to visit include the Hazarduari Palace, Nasipur Palace, Motijheel, and Kath-gola.
(West Bengal, 210 kms from Kolkata)
Murshidabad
Cherrapunjee Cherrapunjee: Reputedly the wettest place on earth; is it a wonder that mists, waterfalls and an overpowering green just add to its power to take your breath away. It is a small town located on the southern edge of Khasi Hills, a dissected plateau at an altitude of about 4823 feet above sea level. Cherrapunjee is locally known as ‘Sohra’ and Khasi people of Mon-Khmer origin inhabit it. This beautiful town is famous for its limestone caves and orange honey. It also has a centre of Khasi culture & literature and the oldest Presbyterian Church. (Meghalaya, 50 km from Shillong)...more Gopalpur-On-Sea: If you are looking for a lovely, lazy holiday away from the regular tourist hot spots, try Gopalpur-on-Sea. A tranquil destination in Orissa, it offers a splendid treat to sea-worshippers. You can have this lovely beach with coconut groves and gentle sand dunes all to yourself. Picture blue waters and high waves…sleepy lagoons and tiny creeks…where you can loll on the sand, stroll down the beach and gorge on seafood. Gopalpur-on-Sea is an ideal place to peacefully meditate on the joys of life.
(Orissa, 180 km from Bhubaneswar)
Gopalpur
 
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West
Bordi Bordi: Though known for its boarding schools, Bordi has a beautiful tourist side to it as well. It is a peaceful and uncluttered beach town, with easy backdrop and simple life style that is sure to soothe your city-jaded nerves. Far way from the hullabaloo of the city life, Bordi is a quiet sea resort. It is well known for the chickoo and other fruits orchards. Beach being the prime attraction in the town, Bordi is a perfect place to unwind and destress amidst the sand fringed with a series of orchards.
(Maharashtra, 180 kms from Mumbai)
Panhala: Situated at an altitude of 977.2m is a fascinating hill station with a rich historical heritage. Dotted with ancient fortifications and buildings that have witnessed the rise and fall of the Maratha Empire, Panhala is an enchanting place. Peaceful beyond imagination, free from pollution, and scenic enough to overwhelm your senses. Places to visit in Panhala include Ambarkhana, which was built by the Marathas and houses the palace, the administrative division and the granary; Sajja Kothi, built by the Mohammedans in 1008 AD; and Ambabai temple built in the memory of Sambhaji.
(Maharashtra, 20 kms from Kolhapur)...more
Panhala
Karnala Karnala: Thick forests, wild ferns, chirping birds and frolicking squirrels, Karnala offers all. A great place to be with your kids, Karnala is just a short drive from Mumbai. It is a tiny wildlife sanctuary that is to over 150 species of birds. It is refuge to endangered species of birds like the peregrine falcon, king vulture and the crested serpent eagle. The four-horned antelope, wild boar, common langur, African monkeys and the barking deer are the commonly seen wildlife. Karnala also has a fort, which was once the Maratha bastion. The fort offers a bird’s eye-view of the Mumbai coastline and the Sahyadri hills.
(Maharashtra, 60 km from Mumbai)
Chiplun: Wide green vistas to gaze upon, beautiful points to drive and good food to satiate your hunger that is Chiplun for you. But wait, there’s more. Chiplun is a peaceful little town on the banks of the Vashisthi and it is located on the Mumbai-Goa highway. A ride in the Vashisti River or a trek in the nearby hills around Chiplun is the perfect way to unwind and relax. Chiplun is also an industrial town catering to mostly the top pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
(Maharashtra, 260 km from Mumbai)
Chiplun
 
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SECRET HIDEAWAYS
North
Tabo Tabo: In the higher reaches of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, there goes an ancient village by the name of Tabo. Situated in the Spiti Valley, the village derives its name from the monastery, which goes by the same name. The temple complex holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns' chamber. Tabo is the largest monastery complex of Buddhist religion. Declared as a protected monument, Tabo has sculptures, stucco images and wall painting, which are similar to the Ajanta-Alora paintings.
(Himachal Pradesh, 265 kms from Manali)
Alchi: Situated on the banks of the Indus River, Alchi is about 67 km to the west of of Leh. It is well known for Alchi monastery, which was built by Translator, Rinchen Zangpo. The monastery dates back to the year 1000 AD. It comprises of a number of temples, including the main one of Rinchen Lhakhang at Lotsa Lhakhang. The other temples are the Jamyang Lhakhang (Manjusri temple) and the Sumtsag Lhakhang. Alchi Monastery is very famous for its painting and architecture.
(Jammu & Kashmir, 70 kms from Leh)...more
Alchi
Munsiyari Munsiyari: Are you living a non-stop life? Give yourself a break. Head to Munisyari. As you leave the plains behind and take the serpentine road to Munsiyari, high rise snow peaks greet you. The drive on the hill road is a breathtaking experience with splendid mountains and valleys waiting to be unmasked at every bend. Munsiyari offers a feast to eyes as you can see panoramic view of the snow-laden mountains. It is not only the scenic vistas but you can also get a glimpse of birds like the whistling thrush, wagtail and hawk cuckoo. The odd leopard, panther, mountain bear and the musk deer has also made their home in the Munsiyari jungles. (Uttarakhand, 220 km from Almora) Shoja: A picture postcard village surrounded by thickly wooded forests, Shoja offers a panoramic view of the snow covered Himalayan ranges. This small hamlet is located 5 km away from the Jalori Pass which links the Shimla and Kulu districts. Shoja offers numerous walks and treks in the surrounding forests and meadows. A walk to the ruins of the nearby Raghupur fort is a must for the stunning views of the valley. Another interesting thing to do in Shoja is to walk to Serolsar Lake through a thick oak forest.
(Himachal Pradesh, 70 km from Kullu)...more
Shoja
 
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South
Lakkidi Lakkidi: Gateway to Wayanad, Lakkidi is about 700 m above sea level and is popular for lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests. It has another claim to fame, after Meghalaya’s Cherrapuunjee-Mawsynram region, Lakkidi registers the second highest degree of rainfall in the world. There are a number of beautiful spots in and around Lakkidi that one can visit. Pookote is a freshwater lake, which is about three kilometers from Lakkidi. It is 21ft deep and is covered in parts with lotus flowers. Flanked by green hills, the lake makes for an excellent picnic spot.
(Kerala, 300 kms from Bangalore)
Devbagh: A beautiful island off Karwar, Devbagh is surrounded by the beautiful blue sea and ivory sands. Accessible by a boat, Devbagh is nature lover’s muse. You can have the beach to yourself, stroll for hours along the beach or simply watch dolphins dance in the blue waters. You may also head to the neighboring islands of Sanyasi, Oyster and Kurumgad. On your way to these islands you may get a chance to see dolphins diving. Adventure lovers can opt for snorkeling, scuba diving, trekking or diving.
(Karnataka, 70 kms from Panjim)
Devbagh
Kabini Kabini: Planning a hideaway in the lap of nature and into the wild? Kabini is an ideal choice. It is home to a large variety of animals and birds though elephants outnumber them. Some 1,500 of them roam free in the jungles of Nagarhole alone, of which Kabini is a primary part. Kabini is also home to a large number of birds, which include the osprey, brown-headed fishing eagle, racket tailed drongo, goldenbacked woodpecker, stork and peafowl. If jeep safari and elephant ride doesn’t excite you try to explore the jungle by a coracle - a circular bamboo boat.
(Karnataka, 225 km from Bangalore)
Bellikkal: At 5, 500 ft above sea level and a little away from Ooty is beautiful Bellikkal. It is a small village tucked in the Nilgiris. A perfect place for leisurely walks along the ghats, Bellikkal makes for a laidback holiday. You can also take a walk down to Bison Valley, which derives its name from the innumerable gaur (Indian bison) that roams around the area. The Kalhatti Falls, Neel Kurinji (blooms once in 12 years) and Bellikkal Lake are other places of tourist interest in Bellikkal.
(Tamil Nadu, 16 km from Ooty)
Bellikkal
 
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East
Mongpong Mongpong: Getaway from it all and head to sublime and captivating environs of Mongpong. An enchanting landscape on the banks of the Tista, Mongpong offers unforgettable picnic spots and panoramic view of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a small place with few shops, huts and a forest check post but there is no dearth of natural beauty in Mongpong. It is an excellent place for trekking and one can trek through the virgin forest near Mongpong. If you are looking for an escape from the grind and grime of the city life – Mongpong is the place to be.
(West Bengal, 30kms from Siliguri)
Netarhat: A beautiful destination famous for its natural beauty and cultural splendour, Netarhat is also called the Queen of Chotagagpur. It is popular for its beautiful sunrises and sunsets as well as captivating waterfalls. Netarhat also has a game sanctuary amidst pine forest. There a number of beautiful falls in and around Netarhat, which include Upper Ghaghri Waterfalls, Lower Ghaghri Walterfalls and Lodh Waterfalls. Netarhat makes for a quiet getaway in the lap of nature.
(Jharkhand, 150 kms from Ranchi)
Netarhat
Majuli Majuli: It is the largest river island of the world and a natural and cultural heritage site. Known for its various Satras or Vaishnav monasteries and their different ceremonies and dance forms, Majuli is an exciting place to visit. The ancient buildings here pulsate with dance, drama and kirtan, which are important components to the satra way of life. Majuli has a sizeable population of the Mishing tribe, which came down from the hills of Arunachal Pradesh. Their handlooms are exquisite, particularly the colourful Mirizen shawls and blankets which can be used as wall hangings or even as bedcovers.
(Assam, 200 km from Guwahati)
Khonsa: Frozen in time, It's orchids, nature, museum and trekking trails that make Khonsa a loveable hideaway. It is a tiny township in south-east Arunachal Pradesh that promises unadulterated beauty and amazing vistas. Khonsa offers exhilarating treks through uncharted forests and fascinating excursions. There are orchids, which are believed to be finest of over 500 species found in the state. You can also visit Khonsa museum that has a collection of traditional tribal artifacts. (Arunachal Pradesh, 216 km from Dibrugarh) Khonsa
 
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West
Dajipur Dajipur: An unforgettable wildlife excursion, Dajipur is a perfect locale for family picnics and wildlife safari. Located in the border of Kolhapur and Sindhudurg districts, it is well known for Dajipur Bison Sanctuary, which is replete with abundant flora and fauna. It is home to some wild animals like bison, wild deer, chital, sambar, giant squirrel, wild dogs and some exotic variety of birds, which include vultures, eagles, jungle fowl, quails, plovers, sand pipers, owlets, doves, and kingfishers. Dajipur has still to see the onslaught of tourists and that is what makes it so special for wildlife and nature lovers.
(Maharashtra, 465 km from Mumbai)
Bhandardara: An idyllic escape from Mumbai that offers rustic charm of Maharashtra, a healthy dose of clean air and that takes you close to nature, it has to Bhandardara. Well known for the Wilson Dam which was built in 1910 on the Pravara River, this getaway from Mumbai has plenty to offer to the city jaded soul. It is very popular as an excellent trekking destination. From here, one can even attempt the famous Ratangad and Harischandragad forts. The Bhandardara Lake and the beautiful Randha Waterfalls are the main draws here. There are various other scenic spots in Bhandardara that offer some breathtaking views.
(Maharashtra, 190 km from Mumbai)...more
Bhandardara
Toranmal Toranmal: A beautiful getaway tucked in the Satpuda Mountains at an altitude of 1,461 m, Toranmal is one of the most peaceful destinations in Maharashtra. It has several little surprises in store as you enter the hill station. You may find ruins of broken sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Interesting places to see in Tornamal include Yeshwant Lake, Khadki Point, Torna Devi Temple, Sita Khai and Machindranath Cave. (Maharashtra, 300 km from Nasik) Purandar Fort: A perfect getaway, Purandar is like re-visiting history of Maratha warriors, who fought hard to save the fort. Perched on a gigantic mountain mass, Purandar is located at a height 1398 meters above sea level and about 700 meters above the plain at its foot. It really comprises two fortresses: Purandar, the stronger and more important of the two, and Vajragarh, small sister fort situated on a ridge running out east of it. The fort dates back to the 13th century. After controlled by many rulers, Shivaji re-captured the fort in 1670. (Maharashtra, 40 km from Pune) Purandar Fort
 
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