Hello friends! I am back with my new post. I am going to talk about a beautiful city on the banks of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is called Maheshwar. This name itself is made of two different words. Maha and Eshwar. Maha is great and Eshwar is God. Means Great God. Maheshwar is one of the many names given to Lord Shiva.

Maheshwar is a town in the Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh state of India. Situated 91 km(57 mi) from the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh(MP), Indore, it is 13 km(8 mi) east of Agra-Mumbai highway called National Highway-3. It is located on the north bank of river Narmada. This is the place for both pilgrims as well as tourists. The beauty of Maratha architecture of that time, carved on different temples and forts is breathtaking and one can go on admiring them endlessly.

HISTORY OF MAHESHWAR - Up till 6th Jan'1818, it used to be the capital of Malwa during the rule of Maratha Holkar. Thereafter, Malhar Rao Holkar shifted the capital to Indore. Traditionally, Maheshwar has been an epicenter of handloom weaving. Since 5th century, it has been famous for weaving India's finest handloom fabrics. Maheshwari saree, weaved by handloom weavers here is very famous. Fabrics for other cloths are also weaved here. Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar was the most powerful female ruler of the Holkar dynasty and she built a palace for herself here (more of it later).

BOLLYWOOD CONNECTION - Maheshwar has a very old connection with Bollywood. Many Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and other language movies have been shot here. The latest being Akshay Kumar starrer Padman.

WHAT TO SEE - There are numbers of temples and forts with stunning artistry and architecture in Maheshwar. There are around 100 temples, mostly situated on the right bank of Narmada river near Maheshwar ghat, each having it's own unique style and telling the history of Maheshwar. Most of them are situated in the vicinity of Rani Ahilya Bai fort. Some of them are Sahastrarjun temple, Raj Rajeshwar Mandir, Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Chaturbhuj Narayan Mandir, Ahilya Mata's chhatris, Chintamani Ganapati Mandir, Gobar Ganesh Mandir, Narsingh Mandir, Anant Narayan MandirKhedapati Hanuman, Ram and Krishna Mandir, Banke Bihari Mandir, Bhawani Mata Mandir and Pandrinath Mandir. A small island in Narmada river has Baneshwar Mandir . Another prominent temple Jaleshwar Mandir is a little far from here. I have tried to include details of some prominent ones here.

Jaleshwar Mandir - It is Lord Shiva temple. Lord Shiva is the third God in Hindu holy trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Shiva has many forms. He is kind hearted and benevolent on one side but becomes fearsome on the other. But all in all he is considered invincible and has no limits. This temple has been built to honor his these qualities.

Pandrinath Mandir - Located in the heart of the city, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the protector of the universe. It is believed that Lord Krishna incarnated on the 8th day of Amavasya(dark fortnight) in the month of shravana, considered holy by hindus, when Dwapar yuga(era) ended. Pandrinath is another name of Lord Krishna. This temple is a marvel of architectural. Particularly on the doors of the temple, you can see complicated artistry done beautifully.

Ahilyeshwar Mandir - This is again a Lord Shiva temple. But it also has a shrine of Lord Rama. You can see intricate designs and artistry bearing testimony to Marathi architecture in this temple. It has a very calm and soothing atmosphere and you must visit this temple after a busy day to calm your nerves. Here, aartis take place twice a day. Timings are 8 am and 6 pm. It is just 1 km from the center of the city.

Omkareshwar Mandir - Two sacred rivers, Narmada and Kaveri join here and this temple is situated at their confluence. That's the reason it is regarded as the most pristine temple in Maheshwar. Legend has it that once Danavas(demons) had defeated Devtas(Deities) in war. Lord Shiva then took the form of Omkareshwar to defeat Danavas. It is situated on an island named Mandhata, which is 59 km(37 mi) from the city. This island is in the shape of Om.

Raj Rajeshwara Mandir - Again a temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is very close to Ahilyeshwar temple in the center of the city. This temple has 11 akhand jyoti deepak or eternal light lamps which are considered very sacred. Devotees offer ghee as offering, which is used to light these lamps. You will find more rich and intricate architecture in Raj Rajeshwara temple.

Ek Mukhi Datta Mandir - Also called Shiva Datta Dham and built on 30 acres area, this is a newely constructed temple in Sahastradhara on the bank of Narmada river. Sahstradhara means 100 streams and it is so called because at this point river Narmada breaks into many small streams and flows forcefully. The main attractions in this temple are very beautiful idols of Lord Ek Mukhi Datta, Maa Narmada and Lord Ganesha. An adventure water sports center is also supposed to come up here.


Ahilyabai Fort or Holkar Fort and Palace - The most powerful female ruler of Holkars lived here and she also used it as her administrative headquarter during her rule. Situated just 1 km from the city center, this structural marvel will transport you to the ancient times. This palace is an example of the prime of Maratha architecture. Currently it is being used as a guest house. It also houses weavers cooperative society in it's premises.

A view of Ahilya Bai Fort at Maheshwar

Narmada Ghat - Built on the bank of Narmada river, it is around 1 km from the center of the city. Ghat is a flight of steps leading down to the river. Narmada ghat has lush green surroundings. This is one of the many places constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai. It is a wonderful spot for a picnic. Devotees come here to take bath in the holy river.

Narmada Ghat at Maheshwar

Rajwada - This architectural marvel was again constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai. But apart from amazing Maratha architecture, it also has French and Mughal inspired designing trends. A tall statue of Rani Ahilya Bai, right at the entrance is a major attraction in Rajwada. It is located just 1 km from the center of the city.

Rajwada at Maheshwar

Rehwa Society - This is heaven for shoppers. Here you will find whole variety of hand woven Maheshwari sarees. This society was found about 250 yrs ago by Rani Ahilya Bai.

MAJOR FESTIVALS - There are some festivals which are celebrated with a lot of devotion and excitement in Maheshwar. Major among them are Nag Panchami, Gudi Padava, Teej(onset of Hindu new year).

Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra - Swadhyay Bhavan Ashram located in Mahalakshmi Nagar organises a Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra ( Chariot rally) every year. It is held on the Sunday just preceding Makar Sakranti( that is the Sunday just before Sun is about to enter Capricorn) which culminates on the bank of river Narmada. First of it's kind in the world, it is held for the welfare of humanity.

Mahashivaratri - Considered to be the most sacred day in Hindu mythology, this is believed to be the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Shiva ling is bathed with milk, honey, curd and sugar etc. It is believed that we are freed of our past sins by Lord Shiva by worshiping him. It is considered a very significant day for women, both married as well as unmaried, who observe fast to please Parvati. They believe that Maa Parvati will bless married women with a long and prosperous married life and unmarried women would be blessed with a husband like Lord Shiva who they consider as an example of ideal husband.

HOW TO REACH - Maheshwar can be reached easily by air, rail and road.

Air - The nearest airport is Indore, which is about 91 kms(57 mi) from here. All the major cities of India are connected to Indore airport. From here you can hire taxis to reach Maheshwar.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Barwah, which is about 39 km(25 mi) from Maheshwar. Again, you can hire taxis from here. But this is not a major rail station, so all trains do not stop here. The nearest major rail stations are Indore and Khandwa. Khandwa is 118 km(74 mi) from Maheshwar. Again, you can hire taxi from there.

Road - It is well connected by road to all the major cities of Madhya Pradesh. You will easily get taxis from there to this place. State run buses are also available from Indore, Barwah and Khandwa to reach Maheshwar.

WHERE TO STAY - There are many hotels in Maheshwar to suit all budgets and you can choose one as per your requirement.

The best time to visit Maheshwar is October to March. After March, weather becomes hot and it becomes a little uncomfortable to roam around in the city.


Hello friends! Hope you are having a good time traveling and exploring. Today I am going to serve a slice of history.

India's most beautiful city, Chandigarh has a number of tourist attractions in and around it. But there is none to beat the historical Yadavindra Gardens, popularly known as Pinjore Gardens for their splendor, architecture, greenery and enchanting scenery.

HISTORY - It was built as Mughal Gardens for Aurangzeb, as a summer retreat by his foster brother and architect Muzaffar Hussain (also known as Fidai Khan) in the 17th century in the foothills of mighty Himalayas. Later mughals abandoned this garden and it came under the rulers of Patiala dynasty in the 19th century. They used the terraces of the garden to grow roses for making fragrances/perfumes for the Maharaja. Later Maharaja Yadavindra Singh restored it to it's erstwhile glory and so it was renamed after him as Yadavindra Gardens.

Yadavindra gardens
LOCATION - Yadavindra or Pinjore Gardens are located on Ambala Shimla road on highway no. 21,  in Pinjore city of the Panchkula district of Haryana state. It is near to 8th century Bhima Devi Temple. It is just 22 km(14 mi) from the city of Chandigarh and 255 km(158 mi) from Delhi, the capital of India. And the best part is it is just 5 km(3 mi) from world heritage Kalka - Shimla railway. It is very easy to travel to this place from Delhi as well as Chandigarh. It has been used for shooting many Bollywood films.

ARCHITECTURE - Yadavindra garden has a layout in the shape of seven terraces. All at different levels. The main gate of the gardens opens in the highest terrace. Spread over an area of 100 acres, it has a central waterway with walkways on both sides of the waterway, which is in a channel shape. Both sides are covered by greenery and flowers and are provided shades by trees. The sloping ground has water fountains, which are located inside the waterway. Water channel runs along the entire length of the garden. All these give added charm and elegance to the gardens.

A palace called Sheesh Mahal(palace of glass) is built on the highest terrace. You can see the water channel from the glass floor of this palace. It has bedrooms and double bathroom. It is said that ladies of Patiala royal family used to stay in sheesh mahal during their sojourn here. It is adjoined by Hawa Mahal(airy palace), a romantic place.

Yadavindra gardens waterway
Next terrace has another palace called Rang Mahal(palace of colors). It boasts of an arched doorway. 
In the third terrace you will see cypress trees and flower beds and further down it leads to dense groves of fruit trees.
Next terrace has another palace called Jal Mahal (water palace). A square fountain bed and a platform for relaxing are situated here. It also has a bedroom and a bathroom. Maharajas of Patiala dynasty used to stay here. This terrace provides a panoramic view of the Pinjore gardens along with orchid and beautiful mountains. Full moon nights here will leave you spellbound.
Next terrace is again full of fountains and tree groves.
The lowest terrace, which is designed as a disc, is provided with an open air theater.

PINJORE GARDEN SITE MUSEUM - The garden and Bhima Devi Temple are in an open air museum complex and are joined by pathways, which are well drained to remove any waterlogging. In the evenings, whole complex is very well illuminated.


1. Pinjore Baisakhi Fastival - Baisakhi is the harvest festival celebrated in North India, particularly in the states of Haryana and Punjab and union territory of Chandigarh. It is usually celebrated in the second week of April. In Pinjore gardens there is a two day festival during this time. You can see live folk arts and cultural festivals. These are spiced up with regional gourmet foods and traditional handlooms.

Pinjore gardens near Chandigarh
2. Pinjore Mango Fair - This is again a two day affair, held during second weekend of July every year. This summer mango festival helps in promoting India as the largest producer of mangoes. People from as far as Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and also from Haryana, Punjab , Himachal Pradesh come here to participate with their produce. There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes on display and they delight everyone with their fragrance, taste and shape. There are anumber of activities during this festival which include mangoes competition, cultural programmes and a crafts bazar. There is also a cart competition for school students. And of course there is a food court also to satisfy your appetite. This festival receives almost 4000 entries every year, out of which around 3500 are for varieties of mangoes and rest are for mango products like pickles, jams, chutneys, squashes and juices etc. Various awards are given to the winners like Haryana Kesari(champion of Haryana), Hind Kesri(champion of India) and Aam Kesri( champion of mangoes for foreign participants). They are provided with shields and certificates. From this year i.e. 2018, Pinjore mango festival has been accorded international status.

3. Pinjore Heritage Festival - This is again a two day festival, celebrated in the last week of December every year. It is held to showcase and celebrate the cultural heritage of Haryana. You can see cultural festivals, music and dance competitions and crafts bazar displaying local crafts. Then there is food court and evening performances by various artistes. Whole Yadavindra garden is decorated with cutouts and lights. Gates are decorated and it is very well illuminated at night.

Illumination at Yadavindra gardens
HOW TO REACH - Pinjore gardens are very easily accessible from all parts of India, particularly from Delhi and Chandigarh. It is well connected by road, rail and air. Nearest airports are Chandigarh and Delhi. Nearest rail station is Kalka. You will easily get taxis from Delhi as well as Chandigarh for Pinjore. Buses are also available to reach Pinjore.

WHERE TO STAY - There are number of hotels in Chandigarh and Panchkula to suit every budget.

So next time you visit Delhi or Chandigarh, don't miss a visit to Pinjore Gardens.

Cheeeers! Happy traveling!!


Hello Friends! I hope you must have heard about Spiti Valley. This is a hidden paradise in the lap of great Himalayas, with virgin beauty and natural splendor. Surrounded by huge mountains on all sides, it's rustic charm would take your breath away. Add to it adventure options, and you have a dream vacation waiting for you.

ABOUT SPITI VALLEY -  This is basically a desert valley located at a very high altitude in Himalayas, in Himachal Pradesh state of India. Word Spiti means "middle land" and it has been given this name because it separates India from Tibet. Located at a height of 12500 ft(3800 m), it is a part of Lahaul and Spiti district, with it's headquarter at Kaza, which is around 5.5 kms(3.4mi) from Spiti. Kaza is located on the banks of the river by the same name i.e. Spiti river. The Spiti river originates from Kunzum range and it's tributaries are Tegpo and Kabzian. After travelling for about 150 kms(94 mi), it meets river Satluj in Kinnaur.

Spiti valley and it's surrounding areas are very sparsely populated and infact have the least population in India. The local people here follow Vajrayana Buddhism and the valley serves as a research and cultural centre for Buddhism. It has the oldest Buddhist monasteries which include Tabo monastery, which is favorite of the Dalai Lama. A few surviving Bachen Lamas of Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism can be found in the Pin valley nearby.
Since it is a mountain desert, there is scarcely any vegetation. However, fluttering of prayer flags and monks in their robes will mesmerize you. You will find similarities with Tibet. The crystal clear rivers, snow capped hills, glaciers, architecture of ancient monasteries, the forests and the quietness will leave you spellbound.

Picture of Spiti Valley

ROAD TO SPITI VALLEY -  High mountains surround Lahaul and Spiti and it is separated from Kullu Valley by Rohtang pass which is at a height of 13054 ft(3979 m) and are cutoff from each other by Kunzum pass which is higher in altitude at 15059 ft(4590 m). Due to heavy snow, the road connecting these two is frequently closed during winters. Also, during winter storms, from November to June, the southern road is also closed but is restored within few days after the storms and valley is accessible via Shimla and Satluj in Kinnaur district.
Spiti valley is accessible via Kinnaur from Shimla throughout the year. The road is difficult and is 412 km(256 mi) long. Foreign nationals are required to get inner line permits to enter Spiti Valley via Kinnaur. However, during summers, it can be reached through Rohtang pass and Kunzum pass via Manali, which is about 201 km(125 mi) from Kaza, the district headquarter of Lahaul and Spiti. There is a 8.8 km(5.5 mi) long tunnel in Rohtang pass, which is open in all weathers, which reduces the travel distance by 48 kms(30 mi).

ADVENTURE IN SPITI VALLEY -  There are quiet a few trekking trails and mountain biking sites available in and around Spiti. Some of the popular trekking trails are Pin-Parvari, Parang-La and Pin Bhaba. Kunzum pass, which serves as an entrance to Spiti Valley, leads to Bara Sigri glacier. It is the second highest glacier in the world.

WHAT TO SEE IN SPITI VALLEY -  There are a number of Monasteries and gompas here, which represent the traditions and ancient culture of Spiti. Apart from these, there are many other spots to visit, which will enthrall you with their sheer beauty.

1. Komick Village - This is the highest village of Asia. It is very sparsely populated(estimated to be just around 120). But the picturesque mountains surrounding it make it a must see place. It also is famous for Lunduptsomo Gompa Monastery.

Village Komick in Spiti

2. Losar Village - The first village you find on entering Spiti from Kunzum pass is Losar village. It is situated at a height of 13400 ft(4100 m). The houses here are mostly made of mud and have prayer flags of Buddhism fluttering atop them.. Surrounded by colorful mountains, it provides a very scenic view. The village has it's own monastery.
3. Chandra Taal lake - It means moon lake. Situated at a height of 14100 ft(4300 m). Taal means a pond or a pool. It is called so because it has a crescent shape. Though it is in barren land but it is very beautiful. But during spring time, it has vast stretches of green and a variety of wild flowers. It houses the best camping sites.

Chandra Taal Lake in Spiti Valley

4. Udaipur of Himachal - The most famous spot here is the Marikula Mata Temple. This picturesque hamlet is located on the banks of river Chandrabhaga. Both Hindus as well as Buddhists consider it a holy pilgrimage site. It is situated at a height of 8500 ft(2743 m). Udaipur and Keylong are the two important pilgrimage sites in Lahaul and Spiti. This temple is a mix of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Add to this the greenery and breathtaking views, it becomes a very charming place. It is one of the more popular camping sites.
However, you have to carry your own food and water if you wish to visit this place. There are no hotels or restaurants in Udaipur and the nearest place is Keylong.

Marikula Mata Temple in Spiti Valley

5. Key Monastery - This Buddhist monastery is over 1000 years old and is the oldest learning cebter of Lamas. Situated at a height of 13668 ft(4200 m), it is famous for it's architectural style called Pasada style. This style often plays the role of Fort Monastery. It has three floors. A basement, ground and first floor. Basement serves as stock store. Ground floor has a large meeting hall called Du-Khang and some small rooms for monks. Rooms are decorated with murals called Tangyar and are must see. Ancient weapons and rare thangkas are other attractions here. A sizeable collection of musical instruments like trumpets, cymbars and drums can also be seen here. And don't miss the statue of Buddha in dhyana(meditation).

Again, no restaurants or hotels are available here. You must carry your own food and water.

Key Monastery in Spiti Valley

6. Pin Valley National Park - Situated at an altitude of 11500 to 20000 ft(3300 to 6000 m), Pin Valley National Park is spread over a core zone of 675 sq. km and has a buffer zone of 1150 sq. km. Located in the cold desert area of Lahaul and Spiti, it was constituted in the year 1987.

Pin valley National Park houses over 20 species of animals and birds. The main among them is the endangered snow leopard. Other animals found here include Siberian ibex, bharal, weasel, red fox and marten. The species of birds found here are pika, golden eagle, snow cock, bearded vulture, chukor, griffon, Himalayan chough and raven. Best season to visit this park is in winters as animals migrate to lower regions because of cold weather.
Besides wildlife, park also boasts of floral wealth. It has over 400 species of plants including herbs. Two rare species of plants namely Juniper and Birch are also found here.
The park's periphery has 17 villages, all of them thinly populated. The total population of these villages comes to about 1600 only.
Foreign nationals are not allowed inside the park and even Indian citizens also have to get a permit to enter the park.
Once again, you have to carry your own food and water with you.

By Air - Nearest airport is Kullu, which is about 247 km(155 mi) from Spiti Valley. From here you can hire taxi.
By Rail - Nearest rail station is Shimla on the narrow gauge. However, the nearest major rail station is Kalka which is 90 km(56 mi) from Shimla. Spiti Valley is about 445 km(278 mi) from Shimla. Again, you can hire a taxi from Shimla.
By Road - Spiti is connected by road with Shimla, Kullu and Manali.

WHERE TO STAY -  There are some hotels in Spiti. But not many. A few rest houses and tourism guest houses are available along with some hotels in Kaza. A lot of accommodation is available in Keylong, which is the headquarter of Lahaul. Guest houses are available in Kaza, Tobo, Losar, Poh and Sagna in Spiti.
You can look for homestay options also, if you want to acquaint yourself with local people and culture. The best part is that your money doesn't go to owner only, part of it goes to community also. You can find homestays in six villages. They are Langza, Komick, Demul, Lhalung, Dhankar and Mikkim.
You can get Indian and Tibetan food in and around Kaza. And there are some ethnic restaurants in Spiti, which specialize in Tibetan and local delicacies.

FESTIVALS -  Locals celebrate festivals like burning the devil, Chaam dance and Pauri festival. During winters, even locals don't venture out of their homes. They stock the food for this period and engage themselves in making handicrafts.

WHEN TO VISIT -  The best time to visit Soiti Valley is May to October. Usually the weather is good and the temperature ranges from 10 to 22 degrees Celsius.

So whether you love adventure or are looking for peace, inclined towards spirituality or are admirer of nature. Spiti Valley is the place to be in.


Hello friends! This is the month of spring, full of colors and excitement. So why not travel to a place full of music, dance and colorful ambiance. And all this forming a segment of a big collection of art and craft. Let me take you to cultural bonanza that is Surajkund International Crafts Fair.

Architectural entrance to Surajkund Crafts Fair
One of the Entrances to the Fair

This is an annual fair held in the first fortnight of February in Faridabad, Haryana adjoining Delhi. Spread over an area of 40 acres, Surjakund International Crafts Fair the largest crafts fair in the world. This year is the 32nd edition of the fair. It started in the year 1987 and has been gaining in size, participation and footfall since then. This year more than 20 countries, apart from all the Indian states are participating in the fair. More than 1100 artisans are displaying their crafts here.

HISTORY OF SURAJKUND - Surajkund literally means Lake or Reservoir of Sun. It was built by king Surajpal of Tomar dynasty in 10th century. Surajpal was a devotee of Sun God, hence the name. It has an embankment shaped as an amphitheater and it is built in an arc resembling movement of Sun, that is from east to west.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT SURAJKUND INTERNATIONAL CRAFTS FAIR - India is a diverse country and each of it's states has a unique culture of it's own. and it is here that you find all the cultures merging along with those of participating foreign countries. The main aim of the fair is to promote craftsmanship of different regions and to give a platform to small artisans to reach bigger markets. It is a celebration of the skills of the craftsmen and showcases to the world, the wide range and high level of creativity present in India. It is difficult to find so many different cultures and crafts at one place.

It is a riot of colors all over the fair premises. Folk artistes and dancers from Indian and foreign lands enthrall you with their performances. And cuisines from different territories are there to satisfy your appetite.

People enjoying Biscope at Surajkund Crafts Fair
People Enjoying the Good Old Bi Scope

But the best part is the different crafts displayed by artisans from different regions. You will be simply astonished to see the kind of  craftsmanship on wares on display. You can see variety of items on display and sale. From amazing handicrafts to furniture, from garments to home decor and from utensils to carpets, you will find everything here, all made by local craftsmen.
Every year, fair has a theme state and a partner country. This year Uttar Pradesh is the theme state and Kyrgyzstan is the partner country. Apart from this, all other Indian states are participating. The foreign participants include countries like South Africa, Thailand, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia etc.

Brass handicrafts from Morocco at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Moroccon Handicrafts made of Copper

Turkey Lamp Shades at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Lamp Shades made from cut glass from Turkey

Stalls are built in the shape of huts and have a floor of mud. It gives you a country side feeling and ambiance. All participants are dressed in their respective traditional attires. You can easily get intoxicated by this cultural cocktail.
The crafts displayed at the fair broadly fall under the following categories :
1. Woodden Handicrafts
2. Textiles
3. Pottery
4. Home Decor
5. Mud Craft
6. Brassware
7. Natural Cosmetics
8. Food items like locally made pickles

Tunisia stall at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Olive Wood craft from Tunisia

Handicrafts from Madagascar at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Handicrafts from Madagascar

You can shop till you drop but still you wouldn't have had enough of the stuff available in the fair.

The fair has an amusement park also where children as well as grownups can delight themselves with joyrides.

Handicrafts made of Fiber at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Handicrafts made from Fiber from India

Indian Craft at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Earthen Utensils from India 

FEEDING YOUR TASTE BUDS - Fair has a food court, where you can enjoy delicacies of different regions. While you can have Dosa, Idli or Meduvada from south India, you can have Litti Chokha from Bihar in east India. If you want more variety, go to central India's Rajasthan food stall to relish Dal Baati Churma, Missi Roti or Bajra Roti or you can have Pav Bhaji from western India. Then you have spicy food from north India by way of Rajma Chawal, Chole Bhature etc. Apart from this, there are many more options available by way of sweet dishes, ice creams and shakes. Then there is a stall put up by Institute of Hotel Management, where students of the Institute serve you delicacies prepared by them.

CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA -  Surajkund International Crafts Fair has two Chaupals(open air community places). A Badi(big) Chaupal and a Choti(small) Chaupal. Folk artistes and dancers from different regions and foreign countries enthrall you with their performances throughout the day. And at 6 every evening there are special performances and programs. Here you can see different cultures mixing with each other effortlessly.

Local Rajasthani boy playing drum at Surajkund Crafts Fair
A small boy in traditional Rajasthani dress playing a Drum

Holi with Radha and Krishna at Surajkund Crafts Fair
Folk Dancers from Uttar Pradesh, India performing at the Chaupal

TICKETS - Tickets for the fair are very nominally priced at INR 120/- for weekdays and INR 180/- for Saturdays and Sundays. These can be booked online from the site www.bookmyshow.com or can be purchased from the fair site.

HOW TO REACH - Surajkund is located in Faridabad and is around 40 kms from central Delhi as well as Gurugram(earlier Gurgaon). Haryana government runs A.C. as well as Non A.C. buses from designated spots in Delhi and Gurugram to the fair site. Otherwise you can hire private taxis to reach the venue.

WHEN - This year Surajkund International Crafts Fair is being held from 2nd February to 18th February and is open on all the weekends falling during this period. Time is 10.30 am to 8.30 pm daily.

So if you want to celebrate different cultures, enjoy the riot of colors, want to see, appreciate and buy the amazing handicrafts created by some unknown but highly skilled craftsmen don't miss a trip to the world's largest crafts fair, Surajkund International Crafts Fair at Faridabad in Haryana, India.


Hi friends! Spring season is around the corner and each one of us looks forward to seeing flowers blooming to their full glory. What if I take you to a place not only filled with amazing flowers in full bloom but also complete with stunning natural beauty and rare wild animals, coupled with all the adventurous stuff you may want to have.

I am talking about Valley of Flowers National Park. As the name itself suggests, it indeed is a valley full of beautiful flowers in full bloom. So whenever and wherever you are in India, try not to miss it.

Valley of Flowers was found accidentally by three British mountaineers in 1931, when they were on a trekking mission and lost their way. Until then it was completely unknown. But today it is a world heritage sight.

Beautiful Valley of Flowers
A Scenic view of Valley of Flowers

LOCATION - Valley of Flowers is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state in Northern India. Situated in west Himalayas, it is about 500 kms(312 mi) from New Delhi and about 300 kms(188mi) from Haridwar. It is situated at a height of around 3600 metres(app. 14000 ft).

It comes in the Zanskar  and Himalaya mountain ranges and is complemented by Nanda Devi National Park in the east and together, both of them cover a unique transition zone between these mountain ranges. Both parks form part of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, itself a part of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.
It derives it's picturesque beauty from a diverse range of endemic flora. Besides floral postures, Valley of Flowers has plenty of running streams complemented by beautiful backdrop of green mountains. Green meadow, white clouds and mountains blend and it becomes a location, one often dreams of.

Valley of Flowers at it's full glory
Flowers in Full Bloom
During winters, it remains covered in thick snow. However, flowers are in full bloom during July-September period. Pushpawati river's water splits the valley into two. The musical sound of flowing water, the fresh breeze and dew drops on flowers make for a very romantic view. Locals believe that fairies used to live in this area. That is why this area looks like a fairyland.
Apart from rich floral wealth, Valley of Flowers is also home to many rare and endangered species of animals. Some of them are Asiatic black bear, red fox, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear and blue sheep. Birds found here include Monal Pheasant and many other high altitude birds.

CLIMATE - Climate is generally moderate here with maximum temperature touching around 19 degrees from April to June. July to August are heavy monsoon months.

Stunningly beautiful view of Valley of Flowers
Stunningly Beautiful

HOW TO REACH - As described earlier,Valley of Flowers is about 500 kms from Delhi and 300 kms from Haridwar. You can take a train from Delhi to Haridwar. From Haridwar, the nearest motorable town to Valley of Flowers is Govindghat near Joshimath. You can reach there by bus via Rishikesh or hire a taxi. Alternately, you can hire a taxi directly from Delhi to Govindghat.

From here it requires a trekking of about 17 kms(10.5 mi). From Govindghat shared taxis are available for upto a distance of 4 kms and then the trek begins. After a trek of 11 kms you reach Ghangariya which is 3 kms from the valley(You can also hire porters, mules or helicopter to reach Ghangariya). From here, trek is common for both, the valley as well as Sikh temple of Hemkud Sahib. It takes 3 days to reach the Valley of Flowers from Haridwar.
On reaching Ghangariya, you will be welcomed by fields containing perfumed wild roses and wild strawberries.
Here, you have to take a permit from the Forest department to visit the valley. This permit is valid for 3 days. You can trek only during the day time as night trekking is not allowed here. Further, you have to stay at Ghangariya as staying is not permitted in the valley.

TIMING - It opens at 7 am every morning and last entry is at 2 pm in the afternoon. And it closes at 5 pm. You must reach there by 6.45 am to get the tickets. Tickets are priced at Rs 150/- for Indians and Rs 600/- for foreigners. This is valid for 3 days and for every additional day, Indians have to pay Rs 50/- and foreigners Rs 250/-. 

WHEN TO VISIT - Although Valley of Flowers is beautiful all the time, to see the flowers in full bloom, the best time is from late July to September. But if you love glaciers, best time for you is in June. If you want to see Brahmkamal flowers in Hemkud Saheb, visit in August and September.

WHERE TO STAY - You have to stay in Ghangariya. It has plenty of guest houses and hotels. Food can be an issue at the valley as not many options are available. So you must pack some food with you when you go to valley.

So it has something for everyone. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventurer or a wildlife enthusiast, Valley of Flowers is the place for you.


Delhi, the capital of India is a large city, having grown exponentially over the last few years. It is spread non uniformally in different directions and is densely populated. Traveling in and around the city is quiet confusing unless you are aware of different modes of transport, available to move from one point to other. I have tried to squeeze in as much information as possible here to make it easy for a newcomer to travel in and around the city. Let's start with the Airports.

 Delhi has two airports. One is domestic and the other is international. Palam airport is the domestic airport and Indira Gandhi International Airport(IGIA) is for the international flights. Flights from almost all the major international destinations land at and take off from IGIA.

IGI Airport

CONNECTING WITH THE CITY - When you come out of the airport, you have the choice of different modes to move into the city.

Taxi and Autorickshaw - Pre paid taxi and auto stands are available, where you can hire taxi or auto to any location in the city, by paying a pre fixed fare at the counter and getting a receipt in lieu and get into taxi or autorickshaw. You need to handover the fare receipt to the driver once you reach your destination.
Metro Rail - Delhi metro runs trains from IGIA to New Delhi Railway station (called Airport Metro), passing through a location near domestic airport. An interchange station is coming up shortly en route at Dhaula Kuan, where one can change to other metro line for moving to a different location in the city.
 Bus - Delhi Transport Corporation runs AC buses from both IGIA and domestic airport for different locations in the city.

Railway Stations - Delhi has five major railway stations for interstate travel. They are Delhi Junction(popularly called Old Delhi Railway Station), New Delhi Railway Station, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Sarai Rohilla and Anand Vihar Terminal.
Delhi Junction - This station majorly handles trains going towards North and East India. It is the oldest railway station of Delhi. It was built about a century back. It's building highlights the Indian architecture. Pre paid taxi and auto stands are available outside the station, where you can hire them by paying a pre determined fare to any location within the city. It is also connected to Delhi metro rail's yellow line. Delhi transport corporation operates buses to different locations from here.

Delhi Junction Station

 New Delhi Railway Station - Located in central Delhi, this station majorly handles railway traffic to parts of West, South and East India. It is very near to heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. It is directly connected to Delhi airport by Delhi Metro's Airport line and another metro service on yellow line passes through this station. Pre paid taxi and auto stands are available here also. Delhi Transport Corporation also has a bus terminus here. It has two exits. One is called Paharganj side and the other is Ajmeri Gate side.Bus terminal is on the Paharganj side.

Hazrat Nizamuddin - This station is located in south central Delhi and mainly caters to traffic bound for parts of South and West India. This is a smaller station compared to other two stations described earlier. It again has pre paid taxi and auto stands and a Delhi Transport Corporation bus terminal. It also has two entry and exit points, namely Sarai Kale khan and Ashram sides. Bus terminus is on the Ashram side. It doesn't have a direct metro link, but a metro station is coming up on the Sarai Kale Khan side very shortly. The nearest metro station as of now is Jungpura on the violet line, which is about 2 kms away.

Sarai Rohilla - Situated in north central Delhi, this is mainly a terminal and it handles rail traffic to parts of Central and West India. It is not very well connected by local transport or metro and you have to rely on taxis or auto rickshaws to ferry you to and from this station. The nearest metro station is at Jhandewalan on the blue line, which is again about 2.5 kms from here.

Anand Vihar Terminal - As the name itself suggests, this is again a terminal which handles traffic majorly to North and East India. This is located in East Delhi and is well connected with local transport. There is a metro station on the blue line of Delhi Metro and there is a Delhi Transport Corporation bus terminal also located in the vicinity. Again, pre paid taxi and auto stands are there.

 Delhi Metro Rail Corporation(DMRC) - Delhi Metro is the lifeline of the city. Presently, it operates seven lines on different routes and is in the process of starting another line this year. Let's have a look at the different lines and there area of operation.

DMRC Train

Red Line - This is the oldest line of DMRC. It connects Rithala in the North West corner of the city with Dilshad Garded in the East, bordering Uttar Pradesh. It covers areas of east, north and north west Delhi. There is one interchange station on this line which is Kashmere Gate, from where you can change to Violet and Yellow line.

Blue Line - This is one of the busiest lines of DMRC. It connects Dwarka in the Soth West corner to Vaishali and Noida in Ghaziabad, satellite towns in Uttar Pradesh, bordering east Delhi. It passes through major commercial hubs like Connaught place, Karol Bagh etc. It has four interchange stations. At Dwarka sector-21 station, you can change to Airport metro for airport. At Kirti Nagar station it connects with Green line. At Rajiv chowk, it connects with Yellow line and at Mandi House station, it connects with Violet line. At Yamuna Bank station, it bifurcates into two different lines, one going to Vaishali and the other to Noida.

Yellow Line - Another busy line, it connects Samaipur Badli in North Delhi with Gurugram, a satellite town on the southern end in Haryana. This line connects almost all the alighting points of Delhi. It passes through New Delhi and Old Delhi railway stations as well as Kashmere Gate Inter State bus terminus. It also connects to major points like Connaught Place, Delhi University. It has three interchange stations. Central Secretariat for Violet line, Rajiv Chowk for Blue line and Kahmere gate for Red and Violet lines.

Violet Line - This line connects Kashmere Gate in north Delhi with Faridabad, another satellite town on the southern end in Haryana. It passes through commercial hubs like Nehru Place and some landmarks like Kalkaji Temple and Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. It has four interchange station. Kalkaji Mandir for Magenta Line. Central Secretariat for Yellow Line, Mandi House for Blue Line and Kahmere Gate for Red and Yellow Lines.

Green Line - This line connects Kirti Nagar in west central Delhi with Mundka in western corner of the city, bordering Bahadurgarh in Haryana. It has one interchange station at Kirti Nagar, where you can change for Blue line.

Airport Line - This line connects New Delhi Railway Staion with IGI Airport. It is a luxury line and has higher fares compared to other lines. It has one interchange station at New Delhi Railway Station, where you can change for Yellow Line. Another interchange station is coming up at Dhaula Kuan.

Magenta Line - This line connects Janakpuri in West Delhi with Botanical Garden in Noida. Currently this line is operating only partially between Kalkaji Mandir and Botanical Garden. Rest of the line is expected to be open shortly. So far it has two interchange stations namely Kalkaji Mandir for Violet Line and Botanical Garden for Blue Line.

Buses - Delhi has three major Inter State bus terminals.

Kahmere Gate - This is the oldest, biggest and the swankiest bus terminal in North Delhi. It caters to bus services operating majorly towards North Indian cities. It is well connected with metro with three metro lines passing through or terminating here. They are Red Line, Yellow Line and Violet line. It also has pre paid taxi and auto rickshaw booths.

Sarai Kale Khan - It handles inter state bus traffic going towards North and Central Indian cities. Located in South Central Delhi, it is adjacent to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Staion. A metro station is also coming up shortly at this place.

Anand Vihar - A very busy bus terminus, it handles interstate buses moving towards North India, majorly Uttar Pradesh. It is well connected to metro with station on Blue Line being in it's vicinity only. Anand Vihar Railway Station is also at a walking distance.

 I hope this information will be very helpful for anyone, new to the city. Please leave your comments on the information provided in this post.


MALVAN - There are a number of factors which play a part when deciding when deciding on what would be our next travel destination. I believe that of all the factors, what plays a very important part is our own preferences. Usually in India, people like to go to well known places, about which they have heard a lot and have sufficient word of mouth information too. Particularly if it is a family vacation.

However, if we do a little research, we will find that there are so many places which are still largely unexplored but equally or even more amazing than the regular places we visit. I, for one, love to explore such places.Would you like to travel to such offbeat destinations?


One of such places, I have found absolutely enchanting is Malvan in Maharashtra, India. It is a town in Sindhudurg district of the state of Maharashtra. Situated on coast of western India, it has some really beautiful beaches and a rich cultural life. Malvan is located about 505 kms(314 mi) from Mumbai and 140 kms(87 mi) from Ratnagiri. It boasts of historically important Sindhudurg fort which, when translated literally means Ocean Fort.

Sindhudurg Fort at Malvan
Another side of Sindhudurg Fort

  Sindhudurg is a sea fort, surrounded by water from all sides and can be reached only by boat.Built by Maratha warrior Shivaji in 1664 on Kurte island, it was completed in 2.5 years. It contains three sweet water wells.

Malvan is a small town with a population of just about 20000. People are mainly occupied in fishing, but it produces Alphanso mangoes also. But the main attraction here is the number of beautiful beaches, unspoiled by tourist invasion


Beach at Malvan

ATTRACTIONS IN MAVLAN - Apart from Sindhdurg fort, there are a number of tourist attractions here.

Tarkarli Beach - This is situated 8 kms from Malvan town. It boasts of serene surroundings. It has sand particles which are devoid of any red tinge and sky reflecting waters. If you go further north for about 6-7 kms, you will see Tarkarli creek and a lovely estuary. A great way of spending time here is a boat ride to creek.

Rock Garden - Located on the rocky shore of Malvan, it is situated near Arase Mahal.
Jai Ganesh Mandir
Tendavali Beach - It is located 19 kms north of Malvan.
Achra Beach - It is located 22 kms north of Malvan.
Devbaug Beach - It is located 12 kms south of Malvan.
Chivla Beach
Rameshwar Temple - It is 23 kms north of Malvan
Vetal Mandir - It is 4 kms north of Malvan.
Sai Bollywood City - It is located in Dikwal village in Malvan and is approved by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.

Apart from visiting Sindhudurg fort and relaxing on clean beaches, there are many more things you can do here.

Marine Wildlife Sanctuary - As Malvan is surrounded by sea, this is a marine wildlife sanctuary. Due to it's rocky terrain, it is ideal for marine life. It was established in 1987. Here main attractions are black headed gulls, turns, plovers, water fowl, ducks and egrets.

Scuba diving and snorkeling - There are very few places in India, which provide scuba diving facilities. As sea water is relatively clean here, it becomes a perfect spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. You will also find live corals and colorful marine life near the outer walls of Sindhudurg fort.

Scuba Diving at Malvan Beach

Water Sports - You can indulge in water sports in Malvan. There are many options available here. You can visit Tsunami Island(nothing to do with Tsunami waves though). It is a small island near Devbaug beach. You can enjoy boat ride here in the back waters of Tarkarli river. You can also do Jet sking, banana boat ride, bumper boat ride and kayaking etc. here.

By Air - The nearest airport is at Dabolim in Goa which is 145 kms ( 92 mi) away. From here Malvan is well connected by road.

By Rail - Nearest railway station is Kudal which is 28 kms (18 mi) from here. Daily trains are available from Mumbai to Kudal. From there it is again well connected by road and you can get buses or cabs.

By Road - M.S.R.T.C. runs daily buses from Pune to Malvan (400 kms/250 mi). Also, Kolhapur is the central bus junction, which is 100 kms (65 mi) from Malvan.

CLIMATE - Climate here usually remains same throughout the year. It is warm and moderately humid, with temperatures ranging from 16 to 33 degree Celsius.

FOOD - People here have a staple diet of rice and fish curry. It has a famous sweet Malvani Khaja. Apart from this, other sea food is also available here.

WHEN TO VISIT - The best time to visit Malvan is October to May.

WHERE TO STAY - There are lot of guest houses and hotels of all budget available in Malvan.

So if you love clean beaches, water sports and adventure, pack your bags and head straight to Malvan.