Monday, April 16, 2018

Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh

State - Himachal Pradesh

District - Kangra

Location - 11 km from Dharamshala

Altitude - 6889 ft above sea level

Serves as - Hill station, Trekker's paradise, Picnic spot

Famous for - Snow capped mountains, Spiritual retreat

Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh

About Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh

In Himachal Pradesh, destinations like Dharamshala, Shimla and Manali are quite popular among tourists and hence too crowded throughout the season. But there are certain unexplored, hidden destinations in the state of Himachal Pradesh that still manage to hide and preserve their natural beauty and cultural innocence. One of such secret hideaways amidst the mystical land of Himachal is Dharamkot. Dharamkot is located 11 km from Dharamshala and serves as one of most delightful picnic spots in Himachal. This remote town allows you to experience an altogether charm in itself. The scenic beauty of this little town of Dharamkot takes you down the spiritual lane as well as allows you to rejuvenate yourself with it's calm and serene beauty.

This quaint hill station of Dharamkot in the districts of Kangra serves as a spiritual retreat for those who wish to spend time off the real world. If you are one of those who can get some time off the real world and wish to soak in spirituality than visiting Dharamkot is just right. If you are a nature lover, then Dharamkot has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty such as scenic view, pristine beauty, snow-clad mountains, green landscapes, unexplored waterfalls, rocky terrains and beautiful valleys. This place is ideally for those who are looking for some action along with relaxation. Few of the frequent travelers to Dharamkot are foreign tourists and backpackers.  Dharamkot not only allows you to enjoy Himachal Pradesh with it's entirety, but helps you find solace away from the escapades of the city.

The relaxed vibe of Dharamkot astounds you and rejuvenates. Compared to Dharamshala and McLeodGanj, Dharamkot is quiet and peaceful. There are quite many walking trails fenced with deodar trees and scenic landscapes, that one gets to enjoy. You can either visit this place as a one day picnic spot, when you are at Dharamshala or McLeodganj, or you could just stay a couple of days and enjoy Dharamkot at leisure. There are no big hotel accommodations in Dharamkot, but there are motels and home-stays available in plenty. One of the most popular activity enjoyed here at Dharamkot is trekking. This quaint little scenic village of Dharamkot offers quite many trekking trails. And hence Dharamkot is referred as a Trekking Haven for adventure sport lovers, backpackers and nature lovers. Dharamkot is also known as a Yoga Village as there are many yoga workshops held here in few of the local centers.

Best Time To Reach Dharamkot

Dharamkot is one of such places that can be visited throughout the year. The weather is favorable all year around. But the best time to visit Dharamkot depends on the purpose of your visit. If you plan to visit Dharamkot during winter, that is from November to early February, then you witness snow-clad mountains. If you wish to visit Dharamkot for adventure sport options then, summer is the best time to visit. This would be from early March to June. One can thus say that the best time to visit Dharamkot is from September to June.

Things to do at Dharamkot

Relax and enjoy the stay

Take strolls and enjoy it at leisure



Explore the scenic surroundings of Dharamkot

Admire the unexplored, natural beauty around

Explore your spirirtual side


Try some yoga

Trekking in Dharamkot

Dharamkot offers awesome trekking options to trekkers. One such trek from Dharamkot is the Truind Trek. Located 7 km from Dharamkot, Triund trek serves as an excellent trek. Most trekkers from Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj trek to Triund, with Dharamkot serving as the base village. This trek starts from Gallu Temple, where registrations are carried on before one starts trekking. It takes around 3 to 4 hours to finish the trek. There are few restaurants on the way where one can get eatables and water. The Triund trek is one of the most refreshing trek, with a vibrant walking experience amidst panorama. The forest trails are well defined and one can also enjoy night camping.There is a provision for tents on rent at this point. The trek trails pass through lush greenery, scenic surroundings, dense valleys and floral beds of rhododendron and deodar trees. The difficulty level of Triund Trek is easy. Though the trek is small, the experience is exhilarating.

Trekking in Dharamkot

The other trek that can be carried on from Dharamkot is Snowline Trek. This trek starts from Triund and one can thus continue the original trek from Triund and carry on further. The end of this trek offers an excellent view and the altitude of this trek is much higher compared to Triund. There is only one cafe up there, called as the Snowline Cafe which can provide the trekkers with drinking water, sleeping bags and tents on rent.

Camping overnight during trek at Dharamkot

Places of Interest nearby Dharamkot

Tibetan Museum near Dharamkot

Located 20 minutes from Dharamkot is the Tibetan Museum inside the Tsuglagkhang Complex. The museum exhibits Tibetan art in various forms including the old historical documents, handicrafts, pottery and paintings. This official museum is situated right near the main temple of 14th Dalai Lama. The main mission of this museum is to exhibit, teach and preserve the Tibetan culture.

Tibetan Museum near Dharamkot

St. John's in the Wilderness 

Approximately 18 minutes from Dharamkot is the church of St. John's in the Wilderness. Located amidst dense vegetation, this cathedral was built in 1852 in Neo-Gothic architecture and is known for it's architecture. The location of this church amidst scenic surroundings makes it a relaxing place where one can sit for hours in tranquility.

St. John's in the Wilderness near Dharamkot

Bhagsu Waterfall near Dharamkot

A best attraction to be visited during monsoon, Bhagsu Waterfalls is located 6 minutes away in Dharamkot. This is one of the awesome place to visit in Dharamkot. It also calls for a small and enjoyable trek. Being one of the popular destinations to visit in Dharamkot, Bhagsu Waterfall is pretty crowded with tourists.

Bhagsu Waterfall near Dharamkot

Triund Hill 

Approximately 6 minutes from Dharamkot is beautiful Triund Hill. Triund Hill is one of the small hills in the Kangra District located at the foot of Dhauladhar ranges. Triund Hill offers mesmerizing view of the beautiful valley and scenic beauty around. Triund Hill is also one of the most popular trekking option in Dharamkot. It is one of the popular and most visited places in Dharamkot.

Triund Hill near Dharamkot

What Should You Carry While Trekking in Dharamkot

 -  The nights can be chilly so it is advisable to carry warm clothes or thermals, if you plan to camp overnight.

- Torches / LED torch or headlamp

- Trekking shoes and gear

- Sunglasses

- Drinking water

- Mosquito repellant

- Paper towels and toilet paper

- First aid kit

How To Reach Dharamkot

The nearest international airport for Dharamkot is Chandigarh International Airport which is 252 km away. The nearest domestic airport for Dharamkot is Gaggal Airport in Kangra District which is 20 km from Dharamkot. Regular flights from Delhi fly to Gaggal Airport. From Gaggal Airport near Dharamshala, one can take taxi or auto rickshaw to McLeod Ganj and from there proceed further to Dharamkot.

You can take a train from Delhi to Pathankot. Once at Pathankot station you can either take a taxi or a bus to McLeod Ganj. McLeod Ganj is 9 km from Dharamkot. Once you reach McLeod Ganj you can either walk to Dharamkot which is merely 15 minutes away or take an auto rickshaw. You can take a direct bus from Delhi to McLeod Ganj which is approximately 12 hours journey and then continue to Dharamkot either on foot or by taking an auto rickshaw. You can also get down at Jalandhar Railway Station in Punjab and from here continue your journey by bus to McLeod Ganj.

Distance of Dharamkot to McLeod Ganj - 14 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Dharamshala - 8 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Jalandhar Railway Station - 201 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Pathankot Railway Station - 91 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Kangra Airport - 20 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Shimla - 243 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Manali - 246 km

Distance of Dharamkot to Kasauli - 257 km

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Neelakurinji Flowers Blooming Season 2018 in Munnar

State - Kerala

District - Idukki

City - Munnar

Flower Name - Neelakurinji

Botanical Name - Strobilanthes kunthianus

Blooming Season - July to October

About The Neelakurinji Flowers Blooming Season in Munnar

Munnar - one of the most traveled places in India is awaiting a magic of the decade! Munnar is popular among travelers and tourists from all across the globe for its breathtaking tea plantations, lush valleys, dense vegetation, roaring waterfalls, spices, hair-pin roads and captivating beauty. No one is disappointed by their trip to Munnar. As if this all was not enough, this year there would be an added attraction that would attract nature lovers from all over the globe to Munnar to witness the bloom of Neelakurinji flowers. The bloom of Neelakurinji flowers is one of the most anticipated event of Kerala. The Neelakurinji flower is popularly called so, because in Malayalam, which is the main language spoken in Kerala, 'Neelakurinji' means 'blue flower'. Nilgiri Mountains get it's name only because of these flowers as 'Nil' means 'blue' and 'gir' means 'mountain'.This bloom of Neelakurinji Flowers would blanket the hills of Munnar and present the most spell-binding experience.

It is said that the bloom of Neelakurinji Flowers happen once in twelve years. Not just one but around 40 odd varieties of Neelakurinji flowers would bloom all over on the Nilgiri Hills. And it is said that 2018 is the year that is to witness this beautiful bloom again.The blanket of dreamy shade of purplish blue flowers will be finally making its appearance from July 2018 to October 2018 and thus the long wait would be over.  This natural wonder can be enjoyed this year 2018 in Munnar from early July to October. The natural blooming flower show of Neelakurinji flaunts it's beauty over the Nilgiri Hills. The best part of this bloom is the eye-soothing colour of the Neelakurinji flower, which as ages turns into bluish purple which serves as a pleasant backdrop among the green hills. These flowers could be widely seen in Munnar around the areas of Eravikulam National Park. If you are lucky enough you may just witness a Nilgiri Tahr, the endangered mountain goat, strolling lazily down the hills amidst the beautiful flower spread.

These shrubs of Neelakurinji flowers grow on the altitude of around 4265 ft to 7800 feet. The height of this plant is only 30 to 60 cm and hence is counted to be a shrub. The peak season for the bloom is September and October, and that is when Munnar is thronged with tourists, biologists and nature lovers from all around the world. But one can start visiting Munnar right from June or July to witness the mass flowering of Neelakurinji Flowers. The time when the flowers bloom fully is  a peak season in Munnar - pretty crowded.

Tips for Traveler Who are Planning a Visit for the Neelakurinji Flowers Bloom 2018

- If you are planning to witness this awesome sight, make sure you carry on the booking in advance. Many tour operators have already opened the booking schedule.

- Book travel arrangements in advance too, unless you are traveling on your own.

- Visit the place early, preferably early morning. A walk amidst the flower spread is one of the most amazing experience.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Kuttanad in Kerala - The Cultural Sphere of Kerala

State: Kerala

District: Districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam

Location: 21 km from Alappuzha

Altitude: 2 m below sea level

Serves as: Picnic spot, Prime tourist destination in Kerala

Famous for: Houseboat rides, Village tours, scenic surroundings, geographical peculiarities

About Kuttanad in Kerala

Located at the heart of the backwaters in the Alappuzha Districts, Kuttanad is fondly called as the Rice Bowl of Kerala.The place gets this name for being one of the major rice producers of Kerala. The backwaters of Kerala has always drawn thousands of tourists from all around the world. But Kuttanad is the right place, where one should plan a trip to get the real experience. The geographical peculiarities of Kuttanad is what makes it an interesting place to visit. Kuttanad is the only region in India with the lowest altitude. Farming that is done here in Kuttanad is all on land reclaimed from the back waters. Farming here is carried out at 4 to 10 feet below sea level. The farming system implemented in Kuttanad, called as Bio-saline Farming has been declared as a 'Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System.'

Paddy Fields of Kuttanad

But that is not all! Mother nature has blessed Kuttanad with it's beauty. One of the activity most enjoyed here in Kuttanad is photography. Do not walk around Kuttanad without cameras as there is beauty all around Kuttanad with its green paddy fields, enchanting backwaters, the crisscrossing streams, houseboats, canals, birds such as ducks and darter birds, lilies, people and their lifestyle. The crisscrossing canals of Kuttanad are home to tall, swaying coconut trees that make it a picture perfect. Everything about this place is unforgettable and hence needs to be captured in your camera.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary near Kuttanad

What adds spice to the trip to Kuttanad is its local cuisine comprising of fresh fish delicacies like spicy fried tiger prawns or other fish along with fresh toddy. Kuttanad also serves as a perfect one day picnic spot for people staying close-by. The view of countryside from the houseboats is enchanting. The best way to enjoy the scenery and the vast expanse of paddy fields is through boat rides. One gets some awesome clicks while passing through the backwaters, visit the Munroe lighthouse, visit lakes and uninhabited islands and many such breathtaking sights.

Backwaters of Kuttanad

 If one finds houseboat trips expensive, then there is an option of enjoying the boat rides with KTDC Govt. passenger boat rides or short boat trips with canoes which are comparatively cheaper. One can take the boat rides from Kodimatha boat Jetty in the district of Kottayam. One of the best full day houseboat ride can be enjoyed between Kollam and Alappuzha. One can enjoy a beautiful driving experience through the Alappuzha - Changanassery road which lies at the heart of Kuttanad. The experience of journey to Kuttanad will give you memories to reminiscence on for a lifetime. The classic rural beauty of Kuttanad is so mesmerizing that it has even earned the title of being the 'Cultural Sphere of Kerala'.

Boatcruising in Kuttanad

Best Time to Visit Kuttanad

Kuttanad is at it's best during winter. Summer in Kuttanad are hot and humid. The climate is not favorable for boat-rides and sightseeing given the soaring heat. But post monsoon, starting from early October to early March, Kuttanad is the best with it's lush greenery, scenic surroundings and favorable weather. Hence one should visit Kuttanad between October to March.

What to Do in Kuttanad

Go water-cruising with houseboats on the backwaters

Enjoy boat rides to smaller and quaint water inlets in canoes

Go sightseeing

Enjoy a village tour

Witness the scenic beauty

Drift through the calmness and relax

Fresh produce of Kottayam

What to Eat in Kuttanad

Fish, Fish, Fish

Fish cooked in banana leaf


Traditional breakfast dish Puttu

Duck curry

Duck roast

Traditional South Indian food comprising of appams, idli, dosa

Places of Interest in Kuttanad


Champanakulam is one of the must places to visit in Kuttanad. It is covered in one of the village tour. This small settlement amidst the scenic surroundings is split in two by River Pamba, one of the major rivers in Kuttanad. The banks on both side of the river are blanketed with paddy field and tall coconut trees. One of the oldest Christian Church, namely St. Mary's Forane Church is one of the place one should visit. This church is to be believed to have been built in the 427 AD. The trip to Champakulam is trip full of tranquility and rejuvenating.

St. Mary's Forane Church is one of the oldest church of India

Punnamada Lake

Punnamada Lake is the extension of the second largest lagoon in India -  Vembanad Lake of Kerala. This lake is one of the most visited tourist spot in Kuttanad. Kuttanad is also known for boat racing in the Punnamada Backwaters. The Punnamada Lake is famous for the boat racing known as the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. It settles amidst scenic surroundings and is home to vast number of flora and fauna.This is also because the part of Punnamadu Lake further extends into the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, which is known to be the home of migratory birds.


Located 5 km from Kuttanad is the village of Karumady, the home to an eleventh century black granite of Shri Buddha with left hand side of the statue missing. This site is considered to be of great historical importance. It is a very small and peaceful village worth visiting.

Boat racing in the Punnamdau Lake


Located 38 km from Kuttanad is Pathiramanal - an uninhabited lake island home to beautiful migratory birds such as pintail ducks, egret, darter, Indian Shag, purple heron, pond heron, stork-billed kingfish and many more Pathiramanal is also home to some beautiful species of plants. The word 'Pathriamanal' means 'sands of night'. Pathiramanal is a truly bird paradise and worth giving a visit given its scenic surroundings. One can visit this place by boat-rides from Alappuzha.

'R' Block Island

One of the best scenic spots of Kuttanad is the R Block Island. It is a man made island protected with dykes all around. The R Block Island is spread over an area of 1400 acres and is home to many migratory birds. The visit to this place is a memorable one given its mesmerizing beauty.

11th Century Buddha Statue

How to Reach Kuttanad

The nearest railway station for Kuttunad is Alappuzha and Changanacherry. These two railway station connect rest of the Indian cities to Kuttanad. Trains from major Indian cities ply regularly to Alappuzha Railway Station and Changanacherry Railway Station. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport located 85 km from Alapuzzha and Thiruvanathapuram International Airport which is 150 km from Alappuzha. From Alappuzha one can continue journey to Kuttanad by boat services from Alappuzha to Ambalappuzha.

Distance of Kuttanad from Alappuzha - 22 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Kottayam - 45.7 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Alapuzzha Railway Station - 22 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Changanacherry - 27.3 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Changanacherry Railway Station - 28.4 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Cochin - 93 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Munnar - 185 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Athirapally Falls - 140 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Cochin International Airport - 104.2 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Thiruvanathapuram International Airport - 135 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Ambalappuzha - 21.9 km

Distance of Kuttanad from Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary - 54 km

Monday, March 26, 2018

Pahalgam in Kashmir - The Valley of Shepherds as Rightly Called

State: Jammu and Kashmir

District: Anantnag

Location: 91 km from Srinagar

Altitude:  6988 ft above sea level

Serves as: Hill Station, Prime Tourist Destination in Kashmir Valley

Famous for: Snow Capped Himalayan Ranges, Adventure sports, skiing

Pahalgam - The Valley of Shepherds

About Pahalgam

One of the most beautiful towns in the Kashmir Valley, Pahalgam is often refer as the 'Valley of Shepherds'. Settled amidst dense forests, confluence of streams and snow capped mountains this little town of Pahalgam is quite popular among tourists. Located at an altitude of 6988 feet above sea level, this quaint little town is home to beauty itself. It is said that once upon a time, this town of Pahalgam used to be a humble abode for shepherds. There are lush forests, crystal clear lakes, vast expanse of flower meadows and beautiful water streams everywhere you see. Pahalgam is also Asia's only saffron growing region and hence one can see many saffron plants blooming throughout during the month of November.

Pony ride in the Pahalgam Valley

Pahalgam also serves as one of the prime destinations for film shootings. Apart from being a famous hill station of Jammu and Kashmir, the blessed town of Pahalgam is also known for adventure sport activities such as trekking, hiking and river rafting. Trout fishing and skiing is also one of the popular activities tourist indulge in Pahalgam. Imagine enjoying all these amidst beautiful nature with the snow capped Himalayan ranges serving as a backdrop! Considered to be one of the famous tourists destinations of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism, Pahalgam can be visited throughout the year.

Saffron Fields in Pahalgam

The climate in Pahalgam is beautiful; even in summers the weather is pleasant. No wonder tourists flock to Pahalgam throughout the year. But that is not all why tourists drop in to Pahalgam. There is more to Pahalgam than just being a hill station, adventure sports destination and important tourist destinations in India. Pahalgam also serves as the starting point for the annual pilgrimage of Amarnath Yatra. The annual pilgrimage to Amarnath caves is scheduled during the months of July to August. Thousands of devotees flock to Pahalgam to commence the journey of Amarnath Caves during these two months.

Pahalgam with it's scenic surroundings

Best Time to Visit Pahalgam

Given it's pleasant weather, Pahalgam can be visited throughout the year. The altitude of Pahalgam is rather lower than Gulmarg(8694 ft), which doesn't allow the night temperature to drop too low and this adds as an advantage to the favorable climate of Pahalgam. Summers in Pahalgam lasts from April to July with temperature anywhere between 15°c - 30°c. Monsoon in Pahalgam lasts from July to September with temperature anywhere between 15°C to 17°C. Winters in Pahalgam lasts from October to March with temperature anywhere between 0°C to 12°C. Tourists can choose travel plans to Pahalgam as per the weather they prefer.

Buy Pheran - Kashmiri Poncho in Pahalgam

What to Do in Pahalgam

Relax and enjoy the serenity

Explore Pahalgam

Go trekking

Go hiking

Go pony riding

Go trout fishing

Enjoy bike trekking

Enjoy adventure sports

Enjoy water sports such as white water rafting and kayaking on Lidder River

Play golf at Pahalgam Golf Course

Enjoy Skiing, Snow-sledging

Snow clad mountains of Pahalgam

What to Shop in Pahalgam

Clothing variety with chain stitched embroidery

Kashmiri Carpets

Gabbas (flooring made out of old blankets)

Namdas (small Kashmiri carpets or rugs)

Pashmina Shawls and winter wear

Wool products such as bags, mat, pullover

Pheran, which is the Kashmiri woolen poncho

Dry fruits like walnut, pistachios, almonds

Aromatic spices

Kashmiri golden apples

Wicker-work items


Paper mache products

Snowfall in Pahalgam

What to Eat at Pahalgam

Fish lovers can enjoy fresh trout fish, especially rainbow trout and brown trout, right from the Lidder River or Sheshnag Lake. Many restaurants, particularly Troutbeat Cafe serves fresh trout. Other food items to try includes famous Kashmiri cuisine comprising of Dum Aloo, Kashmiri Pulao, Yakhni Chawal and Mutton Rogan Josh. Also try out a unique dining experience in the 'Houseboat Restaurants'.

Festivals in Pahalgam

The Annual Amarnath Yatra starts at Pahalgam every year during the months of July and August. Pahalgam is flocked with devotees from all around the world for the commencement of this holy journey to Amarnath Shrine.

Places of Interest in Pahalgam

Betaab Valley in Pahalgam

Betaab Valley is one of the sought after destinations in Pahalgam. It is said that unless you pay a visit to Betaab Valley you wouldn't believe how exactly beautiful this place is. Sort of heaven on earth!
Located 15 km from Pahalgam, the valley gets its name because it was picturized in one of the famous Bollywood movies, Sunny Deol starrer - 'Betaab'. The famous 'Bobby Hut' continues to be a tourist attraction here. Apart from Betaab movie, many other Bollywood films during the 1970s and 1980s were shot here, including Kashmir Ki Kali, Silsila, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Satte Pe Satta, Aarzoo and Kabhie Kabhie.  Before Betaab movie, this valley was known as Hagan Valley. Betaab Valley is a piece of art in itself, given it's scenic surroundings, deodhar and pine forests, and floral beds.

The famous Betaab Valley in Pahalgam

A visit to this valley is a must whenever in Pahalgam as one has to witness the charm and eternal beauty unfolded within this magical place in form of melodious bird whispers, floral fragrance, snow clad mountains, bubbling streams and captivating beauty of the vast meadows. River Lidder flows beside the Betaab Valley and adds to its beauty. One can view this valley on their journey to Amarnath Caves. Betaab Valley is also a trekker's paradise. Being situated close to the Pahalgam, it also serves as an excellent camping site - enjoyed vividly by adventure seekers, trekkers and nature explorers.

Entry Fee and other details for traveling to Betaab Valley

- Best time to visit this place is during March to October.

- Can rent big shoes at the entrance.

- Perfect spot for family picnics

- Absolutely relaxing spot

- Overnight camping can be done here

Entry Fee per person - INR 100

Entry Fee per child - INR 50

Baisaran in Pahalgam

Baisaran in Pahalgam is also referred popularly as 'The Mini Switzerland of India'. Located 5 km from Pahalgam, Baisaran is beautiful meadow with mesmerizing beauty with it's vast grassy carpet, rolling hills, snow clad Himalayan Ranges, dense vegetation of Deodhar and Pine trees, and scenic valley view. Following the woody trails of Baisaran, one can witness the snaky contours of the Lidder River. The view is panoramic and seems right out of a picture frame. Walking in the Baisaran Pine Forests is a delightful experience in itself. Activities like pony riding and trekking can be done here.

Entry Fee for Baisaran - INR 10 per person

Sheshnag Lake Perched amidst the Himalayan Ranges

Sheshnag Lake in Pahalgam

The Sheshnag Lake or locally known as Sheshnag Jheel is a popular destination in Pahalgam, as one would immediately fall in love with it at the first sight. It is located 24 km from Pahalgam en route to Amarnath Shrine and is frozen during winter and melts only during summers. This greenish-blue Sheshnag Lake settles amidst the Himalayan Ranges 12000 ft above sea level. The Sheshnag Lake holds mythological importance, as it is named after 'Sheshnag' - The divine serpent as per Hindu Mythology. It is said that the Sheshnag had himself dug up this lake and made it's humble abode. It is believed that 'Sheshnag' still happens to reside here. Due to this mythological prominence, the Sheshnag Lake is considered as sacred and is a must visit point by pilgrims who visit the Amarnath Shrine. The water from this Sheshnag Lake is considered pure and of high quality; and is used for drinking.

Other than this sacred myth, the Sheshnag Lake is also an attraction to thousand's of tourists for it is one of the marvels of Kashmir. The Sheshnag Lake settles amidst scenic surroundings with green expanse and snow capped mountains as a backdrop. One of the popular activity enjoyed on this lake is trout fishing, for trout is found in abundance here. Other activities one gets to enjoy here is photography, trekking, hiking and pony riding. The Sheshnag Lake is a delight for nature lovers given its captivating scenery, exotic birds, swans and glittering waters. One can hike to the Sheshnag Lake from Chandanwadi Valley.

Lidder Amusement Park in Pahalgam

The Lidder River that flows through this plesantly old-fashioned town of Pahalgam is the main source of charm of this town. This long Lidder River with it's two tributaries, the Lidder East that flows from Sheshnag Lake and Lidder West that flows from the Kolahai Glacier cascades through the town and through the Kashmir Region. On this river, about 2 km from Pahagam Taxi Stand is Lidder Amusement Park. Lidder Amusement Park is open for snow activities and rides. This amusement park perches beautifully amidst snow clad mountains on all the four sides. Lidder Amusement Park is open from the month of April to November. This park offers lot of adventure rides including miniature railway, paddle boats, bumper car rides and is popular among kids as well as adults. The Lidder Amusement Park offers a complete holiday experience in Pahalgam as it is a much needed attraction for children as well as adults. It serves as a picnic spot as well as a recreation spot for adventure seekers. Nature lovers can just relax and enjoy the beauty around.

Lidder Amusement Park

Entry Fee and Other Details of Lidder Amusement Park

Entry Fee Per Person - INR 100

Entry Fee Per Child - INR 25

Lidder Amusement Park Timings - 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Closed on Fridays

Mamal Temple in Pahalgam

Mamal Temple in Pahalgam is locally known as Mamleshwar Temple. The Lord Shiva as Mamleshwar is worshiped in this temple. It is a very small temple perched on the mountain side of the Kolahoi stream on the banks of Lidder River. The temple is ancient and is dated back to 400 AD. The legendary tale associated with this Mamal Temple is that this is the same blessed place where Lord Ganesha was kept as a guard by his mother Parvati to keep anyone from coming inside. And this is how the temple got it's name - 'Mamal' which means 'do not go'. The temple holds great significance among devotees and hence is thronged with pilgrims throughout the year. The glacier water streams out throughout the year and is considered holy. The Mamal Temple must be one of the oldest temples in the Kashmir Valley. One can relax in the serenity of this temple within the peaceful surroundings. The best time to visit Mamal temple is from April to November given the favorable weather. Taxi services from Pahalgam are available for the Mamal Temple.

Temple timings - 6:00 am to 8:00 pm

Travel Tip and Suggestions - While visiting this temple refrain from wearing leather clothing or fur items. No food items are allowed to be carried inside the temple.

Mamal Temple in Pahalgam

Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary in Pahalgam

Settled between two villages, Overa and Aru, the Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the important tourist destinations of Pahalgam perched amidst tranquility, away from the noises of the city. Spread over an area of 500, the Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare and endangered wild species such as Kashmir Red deer or Hangul, Kashmir Muskdeer, Asiatic ibex, Himalayan Serow, Common Leopard, Asiatic Black bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Egyptian vulture, Flycatcher and European Roller. The Overa Forests have been the hunting reserves of the Maharajas for hundreds of years. Many glaciers and lakes within the sanctuary have managed to keep the expanse rich and flourishing. This biosphere though small, yet maintains a dense vegetation of deodhar and pine trees. Within this lush greenery and high mountain range, the Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal visit for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Bird watching with over more than 100 species of birds, wildlife spotting, hiking, trekking and overnight camping in the hut accommodation provided within the sanctuary are some of the activities enjoyed here. The best time to visit the Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary is from May to August. Bird watching is one of the activity that can be enjoyed preferably in the lower areas of the sanctuary during March to May. Though monsoon is not severe in this areas, yet heavy snowing is experienced during winters. And hence the Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary is not accessible during those times.

Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary

Entry Fee and other Details for Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary

There is no entry fee for Overa - Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, however you will have to pay for the pony rides.

Travel tip - You can explore the sanctuary by foot, though good trekking shoes are advisable. The trek here is bit trickier and slippery, given to heavy snow. Landslides are common occurrence and roads get jammed at times.

Tulian Lake in Pahalgam

Tulian Lake is a beautiful lake and an important tourist destination in the Kashmir Valley. Perched at an altitude of 11000 ft above sea level, the Tulian Lake resembles a shape of '8'. The visit to this lake is popular among trekkers. The trek of Tulian Lake is pretty steep and bit tricky. This scenic spot attracts thousands of tourists given it's breathtaking view and the location of the lake amidst dense pine trees and  snow clad mountain ranges of Zanskar and Pir Panjal. The Tulian Lake is located 16 km from Pahalgam.

Tulian Lake in Pahalgam

Pahalgam Golf Course

Nestled 7900 ft above sea level on a large plain plateau in middle of snow-capped mountain ranges, is the Pahalgam Golf Course. Pahalgam Golf Course is a eighteen hole golf course which is an attraction among golf lovers. A game of golf amidst such scenic surroundings at an such high altitude is a game to remember. Being a plain wide expanse the locals refer it as the plateau. This golf course in Pahalgam settles on the plateau that rises on the confluence of two rivers - Aru and Sheshnag. Several golf championships are held in this area. The golf game played here by visitors are chargeable on hourly basis. Visitors can also visit the famous deer park of Pahalgam which is located at one end of the Pahalgam Golf Course.

Pahalgam Golf Course

Entry Fee and other Details of Pahalgam Golf Course

Timings of Pahalgam Golf Course - 9:00 am to 8:00 am

The Pahalgam Golf Course is open all the days.

Entry Fee Per Person - INR 1200

How to Reach Pahalgam

Reaching the town of Pahalgam is a trickier adventure in itself. It is not directly accessible from the main cities. There is no airport in Pahalgam. The nearest airport for Pahalgam is Srinagar(Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport) which is at a distance of 90 km from Pahalgam on the Srinagar - Kanyakumari Highway. The Srinagar Airport, being a domestic airport is well connected to major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Leh, Amritsar, Indore, Bengaluru and Dehradun. The road journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam is around 3 hours approximately.

 The nearest international airport for Pahalgam is Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar which is 269 km from Pahalgam. From here you can either take a flight to Srinagar and from there carry on to Pahalgam. Or there are many bus serves(government and private) available from Amritsar to Pahalgam. The other best option is to hire private taxis to reach Pahalgam.

The nearest railway station for Pahalgam is Jammu which is at a distance of 255 km. From Jammu Railway Station one can easily continue their journey to Pahalgam by buses(state buses as well as private buses) and taxis outside the railway station.

Distance of Pahalgam from Jammu - 260 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Delhi - 800 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Srinagar - 91.6 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Amarnath Temple - 28.2 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Katra - 233 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Srinagar Airport - 90 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Jammu Railway Station - 255 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Gulmarg - 139.6 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Anantnag - 40.5 km

Distance of Pahalgam from Mumbai Airport - 1680 km

For Information and other Details When in Pahalgam

J&K Tourism

Tourist Reception Centre,

Contact Number: 01936-243224


JKTDC Office

Main Market,

Contact number: 01936-243468


Monday, March 19, 2018

Coonoor In Tamil Nadu - Quaint Little Hill Station in India

State - Tamil Nadu

Location - 20 km from Ooty / 71 km from Coimbatore

Altitude - 6000 ft above sea level

Serves as - Hill station, Prime tourist destination in Tamil Nadu

Famous for - Nilgiri Tea Plantations, Hill station, Picnic spot

Beautiful Coonoor Valley

About Coonoor

Located at the distance of 20 km from Ooty is the city of Coonoor which serves as the second largest hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu. Known as one of the most popular places of visit in Tamil Nadu, Coonoor is located at the height of 6000 feet above sea level. Coonoor is best known for its Nilgiri tea plantations, lush landscapes, misty weather, spectacular scenery, ravines, deep majestic valleys and gushing waterfalls. The signature British style cottages and bungalows of Coonoor takes you down the memory lane and allows you to revisit history. Compared to Ooty, Coonoor is much quieter and relaxing. It is becoming quite popular among tourists, given their preference to Coonoor over Ooty. Ooty is more urbanized compared to Coonoor. For tourists visiting Ooty, Coonoor serves as a one day picnic spot.

Coonoor during Spring

One can enjoy the Coonoor - Ooty journey through the oldest mountain railways in India - The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, which offers an amazing traveling experience and is been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is so much to visit and enjoy in Coonoor. Bird watching is considered to be one for the most enjoyable activity in Coonoor, given the spectacular varieties of birds such as babblers, larks, cuckoo, robin, vultures, eagles and song birds. The annual Tea & Tourism Festival attracts thousands of tourists from all around the world to Coonoor. Similarly the Annual Fruit & Vegetable Festival is also quite popular in Coonoor.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway Connecting Coonoor to Ooty

Best Time to Visit Coonoor

The best time to visit Coonoor is from March to June and September to October. Visit to Coonoor should be avoided during monsoon. The peak season time for Coonoor is from April to June given the vacations.

What To Do in Coonoor

Soak in the panoramic beauty

Enjoy the visit to Nilgiri tea plantations.

Enjoy nature trails

Enjoy bird watching

Enjoy trekking in Coonoor

Visit the lush landscapes and scenic beauty of Coonoor

Enjoy the Nilgiri Mountain train journey.

Visit the best places in Coonoor

Enjoy the local festivals

Festivals in Coonoor

The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts travelers and tourists from all over the world to Coonoor. The Annual Fruit & Vegetable Festival is also quite popular in Coonoor.

Sim's Park in Coonoor

What To Shop In Coonoor

Tea, Tea, Tea


Organic food products such as honey and fresh-made jams from peach, pear, mulberry and passion fruit

Aromatic oils such as lavender and eucalyptus

Gourmet gift items such as chocolates, aromatic teas and cheese

Shadow-work bedsheets

Embroidered clothing items such as pillow cases, towels, cushion covers and bed-sheets from handicraft emporiums

Warm fabric clothing such as scarves, shawls and sweaters

Antique tea-sets, table and other items

Toda jewelry

Coonoor Tea Estates

Places of Interest in Coonoor

Sim's Park

Spread over an area of 30 acres, Sim's Park is one of the most delightful places to visit in Coonoor. This park is located 4 km from Coonoor Railway Station and is usually crowded during peak season. Sim's Park serves as a nature park cum botanical garden as it houses and exhibits innumerable species of flora which otherwise are rarely sighted in Ooty. Sim's Park boasts of it's landscapic walkways and lush scenic surroundings. Sim's Park also has a lake which offers boating facility to tourists. The annual Fruit and Vegetable Festival is hosted in Sim's Park every year. This park is open all days throughout the season.

Timings - 8:30 am to 6:00 pm

Park Entry Fees for adults - INR 10

Park Entry Fees for children - INR 2

Charges for Still Camera - INR 35

Charges for Video Camera - INR 250

Laws Falls

One of the most popular attractions of Coonoor is the Laws Falls which is located 5 km from Coonoor Railway Station. The Laws Falls can be accessed through the Coonoor - Mettupalayam road. The Laws Falls roars through multiple cascades, breaking several times within the rocky mountain range and falls at a height of 30 feet,  emerging into a pool. It's popularity among tourist is huge, given the waterfall's beauty amidst the scenic surroundings. This waterfall manages to draw large number of tourists, especially post monsoons. The access road is beautiful to drive on and the ride is enjoyable. There is no entry fee for Laws Fall and should be visited during day time.

Laws Falls in Coonoor

Lamb's Rock

Lamb's Rock is one of the most popular Coonoor's Suicide Point and best visited picnic spot. Reaching Lamb's Rock is a thrilling trek which offers a scenic expanse of the majestic landscape full of tranquility. The place got its name Lamb's Rock from Captain Lamb who revamped the whole place during British Raj. This place is also known as Echo Rock. It is mostly popular as a film shooting area. The drive to Lamb's Rock is enjoyable and the winding narrow road is fenced by tea ad coffee plantations on both sides.  Most popular activities to enjoy at Lamb's Rock include trekking, photography and viewing the beautiful landscapes. There is no entry fee to visit this place.

Dolphin's Nose

Dolphin's Nose is one of the popular picnic spot in Coonoor and is located 7 km from Coonoor Railway Station. Dolphin's Nose is a rock situated 5075 feet above sea level and it is named so because the tip of the peak resembles the nose of a dolphin. The rock formation of the Dolphin's Nose is enormous  and once you are here you can view the deep ravines and gigantic mountains on the both sides of this point. The hairpin turns and tea plantations add beauty to the existing panorama. The journey to Dolphin's Nose through winding roads, dense jungles and tea estates is scenic and relaxing. With clear and bright skies, one can get a glimpse of St. Catherine Falls from here. Activities like horse riding can be done here. There is no entry fee for Dolphin's Nose.

Dolphin's Nose in Coonoor

Katary Falls

Located 10 km from Coonoor is the third largest waterfall of Nilgiris District - The Katary Falls. Katary Falls falls from a height of 180 feet. The view is panoramic as the waterfall gushes amidst lush vegetation from a high mountain cliff. Reaching the Katary Waterfalls is difficult and one can access the Katary Waterfall by trekking. Katary Waterfall is at it's best during monsoon and post monsoon with gushing water and misty mountains.  The Kateri Hydroelectric System on this waterfall is India's first hydel power plant.

Winding roads view from Lady Canning's Seat of Coonoor

Lady Canning's Seat

Lady Canning's Seat is one of the popular view point of Coonoor. Located 8 km from Coonoor on the same road ahead of Lamb's Rock, Lady Canning's Seat offers mesmerizing view of the scenic surroundings which comprises of lush green Nilgiri hills, misty atmosphere, dense tea estates, meandering village roads, Lamptons Peak, Doorg Fort and a beautiful vintage mansion amidst the greenery. This popular point of Coonoor got it's name because it was the favorite spot of Lady Charlotte Canning, wife of Lord Canning. It is said that Lady Canning used to spend most of her time sitting here and admiring beauty of the surrounding valleys. Lady Canning's Seat also offers few trekking options for avid trekkers. Activities that can be enjoyed here include trekking and photography. There is no entry fee for Lady Canning's Seat. The place could be little foggy at early morning. The best time to visit Lady Canning's Seat is from 8 am to 6 pm.

How to reach Coonoor

The Peelamedu Airport in Coimbatore is the nearest airport for Coonoor. Coonoor is 71 km from Coimbatore and 32 km away from Mettupalayam. There are no direct trains from Coimbatore to Coonoor. The best serving option is to hire private cabs from Coimbatore to Coonoor. Hiring cabs or private taxis from Coimbatore to Coonoor is pretty expensive. The only cheapest way to travel to Coimbatore is by mountain train or to hire private taxis from Mettupalayam. One can travel to Mettupalayam from Coimbatore by Nilgiri Express and hire a private taxi from here to Coonoor. The distance from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam is 33 km.  MTP UAM PASSR(Nilgiri Mountain Railway) is the only train that ply between Mettupalayam to Coonoor.

Coonoor is located 20 km from Ooty. Coonoor is connected to Ooty by the famous meter gauge railway - The Nilgiri Mountain railway. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Ooty to Mettupalayam ply regularly to Coonoor.  There are multiple train timings for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway that ply regularly between Coonoor Railway Station to Ooty Railway Station  and Coonoor Railway Station  and Mettupalayam Railway Station.

Learn more about How to Reach Ooty

Distance from Peelamedu Airport to Coonoor - 77 km

Distance from Calicut International Airport to Coonoor - 110 km

Distance from Coimbatore city to Coonoor - 71 km

Distance from Mettupalayam to Coonoor - 32 km

Distance from Ooty to Coonoor  - 20 km

Image source - Google

Monday, March 12, 2018

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha

Hey Nature lovers, if next time you happen to be in Bhubaneshwar, do not forget to visit the Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens. This beautiful botanical garden is a delight to nature lovers. Visit to this scenic place is de-stressing. This lush green escapade would refresh your vitals and help you rejuvenate yourself. The magic this botanical gardens cast over you is spell-bounding. The Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens is one of the most visited tourist places in Bhubaneshwar and an important tourist destinations in Odisha. Annually more than two lakh visitors are known to visit this place. From early morning joggers to nature lovers to families to picnic-goers, this park is an ideal destination. For horticulturists and botany students this place is perfect institution for nature study.

Entrance of Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens

The Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens is spread over an area of massive 500 acres of dense vegetation. This garden is the biggest botanical garden in Odisha. The botanical garden of Ekamra Kanan was established in 1985 and works towards the conservation of plant biodiversity. The interesting fact of Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens is that with it's back side wall fencing, the garden separates the city of Bhubaneshwar from the Chandaka Reserve Forest - a sanctuary for several wild animals including elephants, sambhar, bear and many more.

Cacti and succulents inside the Glass house

Out of the 500 acres of total land, 100 acres is been developed as the main attraction of this botanical garden which is the Glass House. This glass house is a huge glass pyramid which houses varied species of plants including cacti and succulents. It is said that the collection of more than 1050 species or cacti and succulents in the Ekamra Kanan Botanical Garden certifies it as the only botanical garden in Asia to have these many species. And hence, this botanical garden is also locally called as the Cactus Garden.

Musical fountain inside the Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens

The rest of the Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens comprises of a large green lawn, long walkway, children park, musical fountain(an added attraction), a small lake and and rest serves as a mini forest. There are sitting benches all around the park, for the convenience of senior citizens. The lake inside the Ekamra Kanan Botanical Park allows boating facility with two and four seat paddle boats. This lake and the major wetland around it is an attraction to several species of migratory birds during winter. And hence Winter seems to be the right time to visit the Ekamra Kanan Botanical garden.

Boating at Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens

January month holds a special attraction for tourists and visitors to this park. In collaboration with the Regional Plant Resources Centre, Odisha Tourism and the Department of Horticulture, a huge state level flower show is organized. This flower show is usually held every 2nd Saturday and Sunday of January and attracts thousands of locals and tourists. A varied species of flowering plants, succulents and other saplings are on display. A plant bazar is also held during this exhibition which allows visitors to buy plant saplings of cacti, fern, roses, herbs etc, organic fertilizers and garden tools.

Best Time to Visit Ekamra Kanan Botanical Garden

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Garden is at it's best from mid-October to early March. One can also visit the garden during summers, as the huge trees all around the botanical park provides shade and sight of relief to it's visitors from summer heat.

Entry Fee and other details of Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha

Garden Timing - 8 am to 6 pm during summer and 8 am to 5 pm during winter.

Morning walk and jog Timings - 5:30 am to 7:30 am during summer and 6:00 am to 8:00 am during winter.

Entry Fee - INR 25 per head for adult

Entry Fee for children - none

Entry Fee for senior citizen - none

Entry Fee for joggers - INR 100 per month and INR 5 per person daily

Parking Charges - INR 20/- per vehicle

Boating Charges - INR 25/- for 30 minutes (4 seater) and INR 15/- for 30 minutes (2 seater)

How to Reach Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens in Bhubaneshwar

The nearest airport for Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens is the Biju Patnaik Airport which is 6.4 km away. The nearest railway station is Bhubaneswar Train Station which is 7 km from the garden. One can continue their journey to the botanical garden by autorickshaws that are available outside station. The other nearest railway station is Khurda Road Junction railway station which is 25 km away and Cuttack Train Station which is 25 km away. One can hire private cabs from here.

Distance of Ekamra Kanan Botanical Garden to nearby destinations

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Garden to Nandankanan Zoological Park - 12 km

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens to Bhubaneshwar City - 2.5 km

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens to Puri Beach - 71 km

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens to Chilika Lake - 61 km

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens to Gopalpur Beach - 165 km

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens to Bhitarnika National Park - 144 km

Contact Details of Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens

Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens
RPRC Botanical Gardens,
Odisha - 751015
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