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Major Indian attractions, wildlife, beaches, backwaters,...

India is a land apart, a destination like no other: mysterious, colorful, exotic, and always memorable. A visit to the country is a changing spectacle of religions, customs, festivals, sights and sounds. With a historical backdrop of 5,000 years, India is one big package of culture and legend that never fails to captivate the imagination of the visitor. But there are also endless natural splendors like the mighty Himalayas that straddle the north, the vast Indo Gangetic Plains, lush tropical jungles teeming with wildlife, and a long coastline embellished with golden beaches.

India has so much to offer on and off the tourist trail, English spoken, good transport, cheap and just plain brilliant. But take it easy and do a little bit at a time. This really is one of the few places on the globe you can still get serious culture shock and sensual overload. Following are the few places that you should not miss on your next trip to India.

Kerala God's own Country
Kerala is an enchantingly beautiful, emerald green land, flanked by the Western Ghats on one side, the Arabian Sea on the other, and strewn with rivers, lagoons, backwaters and rich vegetation in between.

For Visitors, Kerala offers Nature on a platter. Sandy beaches of Kovalam, blue Lagoons at Veli, Hill stations at Ponmudi and Munnar, backwaters of Kollam and Alappuzha, enchanting waterfalls of Athirampally and Vazhachal, greenland plantations in the highranges, wildlife, high mountain peaks, picturesque valleys and intricately decorated temples - Whatever one can ask for.

Must See/do
Backwater ride
Ayurvedic Massage

Important Facts
50 Places of a life Time: National Geographic Traveller's classification as one of the `50 must see destinations' in the world.

Spices: Spice capital of the world.

Flora: Kerala covers 1% of the total land area of India and has over 25% of India's 15,000 plant species. Among them include endangered and rare species, flowering plants, fungies, lichens and mosses.

Goa Paradise of the East
Goa is also known as 'the pearl of the east' and is known for its Gothic churches, age old ruins, palm fringed beaches, coconut groves, ferry rides, and bubbly folk music.

With its long coastline, Goa is an important destination in every tourist's itinerary. Sun, sand and sea being the major attractions, Goa is a perfect heaven for the ones who need and want relaxation.

Must See/Do:

  • Saturday Night Market: This market starts at five in the evening at a beach area called Arpora and goes on till eleven. Foreigners and Indians alike flock here to buy and sell their wares. Prices are sky high but bargaining is acceptable.
  • Basilica of Bom Jesus: The church houses the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa, who died while on a sea voyage to China in 15th century. The following year, while transferring his remains to Goa, in accordance with his wishes, it was found that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. This miraculous phenomenon continues to attract the devout from all lands, and an Exposition or public viewing of his body every ten years attracts millions of pilgrims.
  • Sunset Cruise: The state capital is famous for its cruises along the Mandovi river.The most popular one is the sunset river cruise.There are many boats/ferries offering this cruise,the most popular one being the Santa Monica offering a variety of dances and beverages.
Palace on Wheels
Relish the lifestyles of the kings of yore on board the Palace on Wheels, while listening to the silent tales of glory and valor told by the majestic forts and splendid palaces of Rajasthan.

The journey starts with colorfully attired men and women garland the guests and accord a ceremonial welcome at the Delhi Cantonment Railway Station from where the journey starts. For the next seven days, the guests live in regal splendor as the train winds its way to the Pink City of Jaipur, historical Chittaurgarh and the Lake City of Udaipur, fascinating Sawai Madhopur, the magical desert cities of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, Bharatpur and Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, one of the world's seven natural wonders.

There are a number of other attractions scattered across India and lot of it depends upon individual taste.

Tamil Nadu :

Tamil Nadu, is the most prominent state of India. The capital. Chennai (earlier known as Madras) is a cosmopolitan city and the capital of the state. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past endures into the present. Temples with towering spires called gopurams are a common feature of this state, seldom seen anywhere else in the country. Temples in Tamil Nadu were the fulcrum of society and even today art forms that have their origin in religious worship continue to colour daily life.

Places Of Interest:
Fort St. George & St. Mary's Church, Gandhi Mandapam, Anna Square, Kapaleeswara Temple, Light House, Marina Beach & Aquarium, Parthasarathy Temple, San Thom Cathedral, Snake Park, Theosophical Society, Valluvar Kottam, Ripon Buildings and War Memorial Fort Museum and Govt. Museum & Art Gallery.

Pondicherry:

A French colony upto 1954, Pondicherry is a living monument of French Culture in India. The Aurobindo Ashram and 'Auroville' the international township are famous all over the world.

Places of Interest:
Botanical Gardens, Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus, The Promenade, Govt. Park, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Roman Rolland Library, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, French Institute , Museums & Art Galleries.

Andhra Pradesh:

Andhra Pradesh’s capital city, Hyderabad has the atmosphere of an Arabian Nights fairy tale. Whimsical palaces, erstwhile stately homes and crowded bazaars filled with shops selling Hyderabadi pearls, incense and copper utensils characterise the city, while in the distance looms Golconda Fort. The city’s historical connection traces itself to the rulers or Nizams whose wealth was legendary. Rooms full of jewels and currency notes, a garage full of gleaming Rolls Royce’s are all now part of history, but a unique culture lives on, colouring the city with its distinctive charm. The Epicurean tastes of this most exalted royal house of princely India gave rise to a fabled cuisine based on painstaking preparations and slow cooking. Much of Hyderabad’s old town can be covered on foot. The city’s important landmarks include Charminar, a 16th century gateway, the Salar Jung Museum which exhibits priceless treasures alongside trivia that made up the personal collection of the owner, Mecca Mosque and Golconda Fort. Nagarjunakonda is the site of ongoing excavations which have revealed Buddhist temples, stupas and monasteries.

Places Of Interest:
Birla Temple, Hussain Sagar, Indira Park, Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Osmania University, Qutub Shahi Tombs & Golconda Fort, Nehru- Zoological Park, Public Gardens, Race Course, State Central Library, Tank Bund, Asmongarh, Khajana Museum, Planetarium, State Archaeological Museum, Salar Jung Museum and the very best Ramoji Film City situated on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Useful Links:
1. www.tourismofindia.com
2. www.123world.com/india/
3. www.merukatours.com/

INDIAN CUISINE:

Most Indian cuisines are related by similar usage of spices. Often, Indian cooking is distinguished by the use of a larger variety of vegetables than many other well-known cuisines. Within these recognizable similarities, there is an enormous variety of local styles.

In the north and the west, Kashmiri and Mughlai cuisines show strong central Asian influences. Through the medium of Mughlai food, this influence has propagated into many regional kitchens. To the east, the Bengali and Assamese styles shade off into the cuisines of East Asia.

All coastal kitchens make strong use of fish and coconuts. The desert cuisines of Rajasthan and Gujarat use an immense variety of dals and achars (preserves) to substitute for the relative lack of fresh vegetables. The use of tamarind to impart sourness distinguishes Tamil food. The Andhra kitchen is accused, sometimes unfairly, of using excessive amounts of chilies.

All along the northern plain, from Punjab through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, a variety of flours are used to make chapatis and other closely related breads. In the rain-swept regions of the north-eastern foothills and along the coasts, a large variety of rices are used. Potatoes are not used as the staple carbohydrate in any part of India.
Modern India is going through a period of rapid culinary evolution. With urbanization and the consequent evolution of patterns of living, home cooked food has become simpler. Old recipes are recalled more often than used. A small number of influential cookbooks have served the purpose of preserving some of this culinary heritage at the cost of homogenizing palates. Meanwhile restaurants, increasingly popular, encourage mixing of styles. Tandoori fish, mutton dosas and Jain pizzas are immediately recognizable by many Indians in cities.

Many Indian dishes require an entire day’s preparation of cutting vegetables, pounding spices on a stone or just sitting patiently by the fire for hours on end. On the other hand, there are simple dishes which are ideal for everyday eating.

Most of the spices used in Indian food have been used for their medicinal properties in addition to the flavor and taste they impart. Ginger is believed to have originated in India and was introduced to China over 3000 years ago. In India, a knob of fresh ginger added to tea is believed to relieve sore throats and head colds, not to mention it’s aphrodisiacal properties! Turmeric is splendid against skin diseases and neem leaves are used to guard against small pox.

It is the complexities of regional food in India that make it a so very fascinating try!

 
     
   
     
  ABOUT BANGALORE:  
     
 


Bangalore where every season carries a holiday mood, a city called the Garden City of India, a city which has identified it self as the Manhattan of India, a city which keeps pace with the latest trends and fashion. Bangalore is fast emerging as one of the most industrialized city in India. The present capital of Karnataka, Bangalore was founded by the local Chieftain Kempe Gowda in sixteenth century.
The pleasant climate of Bangalore has been an attraction for one and all. Capital of a state which is rich in Sandal wood, Rose wood and Silk, certainly has more to offer than a day or two of sight seeing. Bangalore has always tried to keep itself peppy and jazzy. The numerous pubs and night clubs can compete with any modern city of America or Europe. It is a city which has adopted to the changing fashion trends in the world. A city which not only has large number of cinema halls but is also famous for its night life. The modern shopping malls full of brightly lit shops and showrooms not necessarily invite prospective buyers but are treat for the window shoppers too.

The greenery of the city is an added attraction with the climate. The numerous gardens and parks, streets lined with trees are very soothing in what would have been a jungle of concrete. The golf course, Tennis lawns and the Stadium are always the venue for some or other activity. Bangalore is a regular host to many events in dance, music and other exhibitions. Bangalore attracts a major chunk of Foreign investment in India. Already it was called electronic city for India but the establishment of the Silicon park on the out skirts of the city has converted it into the Silicon city of the world. With major players in the IT industry gaining footholds here, Bangalore is destined to emerge as the electronic hub of the world.


SHOPPING:
Bangalore is famous for the shopping malls which have some of the finest and biggest showrooms in India. This electronic capital of India has been attracting people for Sandal wood, Silk and hand woven materials. The Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation's 'Priyadharshini' Handloom House is located at various places. Bangalore is a good place to buy specialities from all over the state. Here one can find the fine Mysore silk and Sandalwood & Sandal wood items. The inlay work from Karnataka in Brass, Rosewood are any collectors hunt. Ivory artifacts and the Lambani Jewellery make good decorative as well as gift items.

Premier shopping areas are Mahatma Gandhi Road, Commercial Street, Brigade Road, Public Utility Building, Kempe Gowda Road, Jayachamarajendra Road, Jayanagar Shopping Complex, Russel Market, City Market, Avenue Road.


CLIMATE:
Bangalore is called the Air conditioned city in India. This garden city is very pleasant. The city has dry tropical savannah type of climate. The rains are very frequent and the summers are warm. Winters are cold. But no weather goes to its extreme. One can visit the city any time of the year and enjoy the salubrious climate but it is advisable to avoid the rainy season between July and September.


GETTING THERE:
After Mumbai, Bangalore is fast emerging as an important commercial city in India. With the Silicon park near Bangalore, it has been attracting huge foreign investment. This fast developing commercial hub of India is easily accessible from any where in the country. Bangalore has its own Airport with almost all the major domestic airlines catering services to the city. The airport is 6 kms from city centre. Few selected international carriers are also having their flights to the city. Bangalore has two railway stations, the Bangalore city and Bangalore Cant. The major trains from and to Bangalore terminate & start from the city station. Bangalore is well connected to all the major towns of India. Recently inaugurated Konkan railway is also serving the city and connects it from other places in the country. Rajdhani Express and other superfast trains are available from here.

Being the capital city of Karnataka, Bangalore has very good motorable roads to various parts of the state. Some of the bus services are also serving to the adjoining states. Both private and state transport run buses are available from the beautiful and well maintained bus terminus in Bangalore.


SIGHTSEEING:
Lal Bagh - One of the many gardens in the city, Lal Bagh is the most famous garden in Bangalore. It derives its name from the profusion of Red roses which are in bloom here.

Cubbon Park - In the heart of the Bangalore city is a garden laid down by Lord Cubbon in 1864. The ambience of the city life is broken with presence of such a large park in the center of the city.

The Bull Temple - The 4.57 m high and 6.10 meters long image was built by Kempegowda in the 16th century. The image has been carved out of single granite rock. The original colour of Nandi bull was grey which has now turned black due to the application of coconut oil by the devotees. The statue of the bull has been carved out of a single rock. Non Hindus are not allowed in the temple. The temple is busy always with some ceremony or other going on. On weekends there are musicians who are performing at the temple.

Bangalore Palace - Built in the Tudor style and inspired by the Windsor palace, a Wodeyar king built this palace in 1887. This unique edifice stands in the heart of the city.

Vidhan Soudha - A marvel of neo Dravidian architecture and one of the most imposing building not only in Bangalore but in India, the Vidhan Soudha houses the state legislative assembly of Karnataka and part of the secretariat.

Tipu's Palace - The summer palace of Tipu Sultan was built in Bangalore. The entire structure is built in Teak wood. This double storeyed ornate structure was constructed in 1781-1791. This palace is beautifully decorated with floral motifs on the walls and ceilings. The structure is completed with pillars, arches and balconies. After the death of Tipu, this building was used by the British as their secretariat till 1867. In busy market place of the city are the remnants of this fort built by Tipu. What ever remains of the fort, reminds of the struggle by Tipu against the British. There is a small Ganesha temple among the fort ruins.

Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple - The temple is natural monolith carved cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. On the 14 / 15 January every year a ray of light passes precisely through the horns of the Nandi bull and illuminates the deity inside. This unique phenomenon occurs every year on the Makar Sankranti day and attracts large number of devotees. The precision of the event shows advancement in the technical and scientific knowledge of our ancestors. The architect of this temple combines 'Vastukala' with astronomy which gifts the world an amazing phenomenon.

Ulsoor Lake - The 1.5 sq. km lake is dotted with islands. The picturesque lake is located on the North-Eastern fringes of the city and is an ideal place for boating and shopping. A Ganesh festival is organised in August / September. One of the Kempegowda watch towers stands nearby. There is also a swimming pool which has separate timings for males and females.


EXCURSIONS:
Ramohalli : This picnic spot is located 28 kms from Bangalore on the Mysore road. Ramohalli is a beautiful picnic spot with a KSTDC restaurant. The main attraction of the place is the 400 year old Banyan tree which has its branches spread over an area of three acres.

Bannnerghatta National Park : This lion and tiger safari park is set amidst a picturesque surrounding around 22 kms away from the city. The park is spread over an area of 104 sq kms. One can see the lions, tigers and elephants in closed enclosures. There is also a Crocodile and snake farm which attracts many visitors. There are regular bus services from the city to this place.

Nrityagram : This place was established as an institution for the classical dances. The famous Odissi dancer Protima Gauri had founded this place to preserve the ancient and classical dance forms of India. It is located 30 km from the city center. The dance village as it is called was designed by the award winning architect from Goa, Gerard Da Cunha. Apart from dance this place also teaches allied subjects like philosophy, music, mythology, paintings and choreography. Nrityagram welcomes visitors and guests.

Ramanagaram : This place is famous for the rocks formations and are great attraction for the rock climbers. It is 49 kms from Bangalore city. Ramanagaram is also an important silk cocoon market.

Shivaganga : 50 kms from the city center is a hill which provides a breath taking view of the the nearby areas. There are two famous shrines dedicated to Lord Gangadeshwara and Goddess Honnadevi.

Hassan : 194 kms from Bangalore is Hassan, from where one can go to Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola. Shravanabelagola is a famous Jain pilgrimage with a 17 m high monolith of lord Bahubali standing tall.

Mysore : The erst while capital of the Wodeyars is 140 kms from Bangalore. This city has retained the charm it had acquired during the reign of Wodeyars. Mysore is also known as the city of palace. For centuries Mysore has been visited for Sandalwood and Silk. The Mysore palace is often compared with the Buckingham palace in England. The St. Philomena's Church and the Mysore Dussehra are added attraction to this place. Vrindavan Gardens on the KRS dam is one of the most visited gardens in India. The musical fountains here have fascinated not only the visitors but they have been taken on silver screen too.

 
     
   
     
 
 
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