Istanbul - Where civilizations merge

Being one of the oldest cities on this earth, Istanbul is history lovers' delight...

Puducherry

Neat and clean beaches. French architecture and delightful cuisine options. Puducherry is surely a destination to be explored...

Malana

A place which has been lying forbidden and has never been ruled by any external administration. Malana still follows their culture and traditions...

Bhangarh

One of the most haunted place on the planet. Staying after sunset and going before sunrise is STRICTLY prohited by law.

Musical Pillars of Hampi

Musical notes from the Pillars has bought people from around the world to this place.

Mitawali

The Ancient Temple which inspired the design of Indian Parliament House.

March 25, 2016

Coimbatore, Gateway to the Bliss...

Coimbatore is 2nd largest city in Tamil Nadu and one of the major industrial centres in this state. With these statistics any hopes of good sightseeing should have been effectively dropped. However smoke filled environment and traffic jams were not in my destiny as I came across a well planned beautiful city.

During my stay here, I came to know about lot of beautiful temples in and around Coimbatore and therefore a real temple run was on the cards.
15 km. from Coimbatore and situated in lush green hilly surroundings is the Marudhamalai temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It was twilight when I reached the temple, which is actually the best time to see the hazy ambience created by the blue skies and the hills. Situated on a hill top, temple rises like a mirage to surround over the landscapes.

Getting closer to the main entrance of the temple, it is beautified with number of images of Gods and Goddesses:
Origin of the temple is traced back to 12th century by some of the inscriptions found. Lets go inside the temple for praying and also to enjoy the beautiful inner sanctum.

The divine Cow Kamadhenu is reported to have grazed here in the fields. Hills surrounding the Marudhamalai temple are abounding with Medicinal herbs and it is believed that any physical and mental ailments can be cured with these. Cool breeze and peaceful ambience is a welcome refreshment to all visitors. Also a walk in the temple premises takes you closer to magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.

Regular buses ply from Coimbatore to the foothills of this temple. From bus stand at the foothill, one can take mini buses to reach the temple gate. The temple premises also houses a number of shops, try out local snacks.




10 km. from Coimbatore on main NH-209, Eachanari Vinayagar Temple is one of the oldest in the city and dedicated to Lord Vinayagar (Lord Ganesha).


Legend says that while Lord Vinayagar decided to stay at this place as the axle of the cart transporting the statue broke down at this spot. The deity 6 ft. x 3ft. was actually meant for Perur Patteeswara temple. All the south bound visitors stop here to pray as Lord Vinayagar is believed to be remover of hurdles in the path. Cladded in white temple structures has beautiful carved scriptures of Gods and Goddesses. A sneak preview of the Lord Ganesha.
Temple premises remain closed from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.



Next in line was that Dhyanlinga temple (23 km. from Eachanari Vinayagar temple) consecrated by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a yogi and a mystic. While driving towards this place we all of a sudden found ourselves in middle of a forest and started wondering whether we are on the right path.

However after driving for few more minutes we arrived at the Isha foundation campus, situated at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains in utterly peaceful environment. Check the entrance path flanked by beautiful trees on both sides of the walk way.




There is a huge statue of Lord Shiva at the entrance of the campus, which is actually being used more by visitors to get themselves clicked in front of Lord Shiva. Dhyanlinga temple houses the largest mercury based live Shivlinga, measuring 13 feet 9 inches in height. This temple attracts people of all faiths and from all over the world. India.



One can discover inner peace and benefits of meditation in the exceptionally calm environment here. There are beautiful scriptures in the campus which are soothing to senses...
(Photography is prohibited in the campus, above pictures are taken from the website for illustration)
Yoga programs of various durations are held here and accommodation facilities are also offered at the centre. Occasion of Mahashivratri festival sees a grand celebration in which Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev also takes part and is attended by numerous dignitaries and people from around the world. Regular bus and taxi services are available from Coimbatore to reach Dhyanlinga temple.


Perur Patteeswara temple was on the way while returning from Dhyanlinga temple. This is also a very ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The hall of the temple has been carved with beautiful and rare scriptures. Sanctum of this temple is the result of joint efforts of Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijaynagar rulers during their respective reigns. (Temple premises remain closed from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM)

At a distance of 65 km. from Coimbatore, one can soak himself/ herself in the lavish natural waterfalls, called by name Monkey Falls. Monkey Falls is located near Aliyar Dam between Pollachi and Valparai road in the Anamalai Hills range.

Nestled in the lush green Anamalai ranges with rocky cliffs and Aliyar dam reservoir, this is an ideal destination to unwind your spirits and relax in the laps of nature.

Monkey Falls has got its name due to presence of large number of monkeys here; the actual name of this waterfall is Athirampalli Falls. The spot if full of energies and many people take bath in the medicated waters of this fall. Take care of your belongings, do not leave the window panes of your vehicles open or anything on your bikes.
The falls is easily accessible as all buses between Pollachi and Valparai stop here.

After enjoying for sometime at Monkey falls we started towards Arulmigu Masani Amman temple, 15 km. from Pollachi town. Visit to the Monkey Falls and Coimbatore is considered incomplete without praying at this sacred temple. The drive is amazingly pleasant with coconut trees on both sides of the road.



Dedicated to Goddess Parvati (Masani Amman), this is the only temple in the world where Goddess Parvati is lying down at her back and is watching the skies. The divine idol of Masani Amman attracts large number of devotees.

Anyone who has suffered financial losses or people hassled by enemies take bath; sport holy ashes of the shrine and grind red chillies in stone grinder of the temple are surely blessed by the Goddess. Check out the ladies offering red chilly powder at the pillar outside the temple sanctum.

People here submit their wishes on piece of paper to the temple priest, who in turn places the paper on the trident of the Goddess. It is believed that wishes submitted with pure heart and utmost devotion is fulfilled by the Goddess within 3 weeks.
Also Lord Rama had offered prayers here when he was wandering around in the forests in search of Goddess Seeta, on the route to Lanka. There is a small market outside the temple premises. 



While returning, a thought flashed in my mind that - The price of anything is the value of life you exchange for it. Time spent here in exploring the beautiful temples and exquisite natural surroundings which came as pleasant surprise was definitely worth every moment. Well maintained roads and exceptionally clean neighbourhoods is something worth emulating in other parts of the country too. Someone rightly said to me sometime Southern part of India is altogether a different experienceHats off to the diversity of my country...

Coimbatore is overnight from Chennai (510 km.) / Bangalore (325 km.) and is well connected by trains and roads. It is also strategically located in line to many hill stations like Ooty (90 km.), Coonoor (70 km.) and Valparai (110 km.). Also Guruvayur, site of famous Lord Krishna temple is 140 km. from Coimbatore.
Keep travelling Guys...



March 7, 2016

Super Romantic Places in Malaysia...

While the whole of Malaysian island is paradise, we bring to you an exclusive list of the best romantic places in Malaysia where love is in the air.

While a lot of romantic places around the world, however Malaysia holds an éliteposition especially if you love pristine turquoise waters.



1.      Redang Island, Terengganu
A perfect setting for a beach style honeymoon, Redang Island is blessed with divine waters, soft white sand, and natural surroundings of lush green forests.  Just being there is so relaxing and rejuvenating. The crystal clear water allows you to see beautiful corals and fishes in it. One of the most popular honeymoon destinations in Malaysia, Redang Island does not offer jet skiing and water rides, but you can for sure enjoy kayaking, windsurfing and lots of relaxed time together with your partner.
Popular Activities:
·        Snorkeling
·        Jungle hikes
·        Wind Surfing
·        Kayaking



2.      Pulau Langkawi
One of the exotic Andaman Sea Islands, Langkawi offers one of the most picturesque destinations for honeymoon in Malaysia. Hold your life partner hand in hand and enjoy the serene surroundings of the turquoise green waters on the pristine white sandy shoreline beaches only in Langkawi. The destination has many attractions like the seven waterfalls, cable car ride to Gunung Matchincang and the very famous mangroves safari.
Popular Activities:
·        Enjoying at the Seven waterfalls
·        Underwater world visit (largest in Southeast Asia)
·        Mangroves Safari
·        Pulau Payar Marine Park


3.      Cameron Highlands, Pahang
An ideal place for a memorable honeymoon with pleasant weather, green mountains on all sides and sprawling strawberry farms- Cameron Highlands is a favorite amongst Honeymooners. With a number of exciting activities to do such as jungle trekking, taking a dip in natural waterfalls, visiting the tunnel museum, etc., Cameron Highlands proves to be a perfect place to relax and spend some quality time with strawberries, tea and scones.
Popular Activities:
·        Strawberry farms and tea plantations, visit
·        Golf play
·        Tunnel Museum
·        Jungle trekking



4.      Pangkor Island, Perak
Boasting of one of the most exotic beaches of the Malaysian soil, Pangkor Island is a delight to be at. Spend some time with the amazingly corals, sea cucumbers and breathtakingly beautiful surroundings. Famous amongst tourists as one of the most magical places to be for a honeymoon, Pangkor island should definitely be on your must visit list.
Popular Activities:
·        Banana boat rides and Jet Skiing
·        Hornbill feeding
·        Jungle trek
·        Parasailing

5.      Malacca
Okay, so you are one of those who love the excitement and energy. No worries, Malaysia has just the right place for you. Malacca with its perfect culture and heritage setting makes for an ideal place for honeymooners looking for a vibrant destination. It offers the correct balance of hustle- bustle and privacy. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it has many historical places to see and admire. Shop, eat, entertain yourself and relax in Malacca.
Popular Activities:
·        Old Dutch town hall and city museums
·        A’Famosa Water World
·        Jonker Street
·        Melaka’s Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary



6.      Kuala Lumpur
Another destination that is full of vibrant nightlife, tons of sightseeing attractions, delicious food, and is a shopper’s paradise is the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. With the perfect fusion of culture, heritage, modernization and tradition, Kuala Lumpur has a little bit of everything a honeymoon couple is looking at a destination. Enjoy at the best of spas, resorts and go around the city shopping to your heart’s content.
Popular Activities:
·        China Town market street
·        Sunway Lagoon’s Theme Park
·        Famous bars around Changkat Bukit Bintang
·        Jalan Alor street food lane

7.      Georgetown
If you are looking for a sleepy town with the most exotic beaches in the nearest affinity then Georgetown is your place to be. A place to enjoy a joy ride together on a rented bike during the day and take an evening stroll in the colonial town while admiring the rich local cuisine, Georgetown also has pubs and local markets to keep your nights exciting.
Popular Activities:
·        Upper Penang Road nightlife
·        Local buys at Chinatown markets
·        Pinang Peranakan Museum
·        Dharmikarama Burmese Temple



8.      Sipadan island
If underwater sports are your idea of an adventurous honeymoon, Sipadan island is a must visit place for both of you. Located on the east coast of Sabah in the Malaysian Borneo, Sipadan Island is one of the world’s best places for scuba diving and other water sports. Try snorkeling and discover the amazing coral reefs and if you both are into hard core diving, you might even be lucky to spot sharks, turtles and Manta rays.
Popular Activities:
·        Scuba diving
·        Snorkeling to see famous coral reefs
Malaysia is a tropical country and offers a pleasant weather all year round. So no matter whichever month you get married, it’s always the best time to visit Malaysia. With the perfect blend of three different cultures in a single country, Malaysia packs an ideal recipe for a fun filled and memorable honeymoon.


Contributed by Neha (www.imonholidays.com)...



February 20, 2016

Forbidden Republic of Malana

When it is the year 2016, it is very difficult to believe about places which are still lying disconnected from the mainland. Malana is such a spot which is 45 km. from much popular tourist destination of Kullu and has been lying isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. 

That much mention of such a solitary village was enough to stir the exploring soul of this vagabond. In line to my philosophy that Good travellers never plan in advance, I was on the way to Parvati Valley, situated to the north east of Kullu valley to see the sights of Malana.

Drive to Malana is extremely picturesque with beautiful valleys to accompany you till Malana. The excitement to reach this place coupled with a captivating drive kept me glued to the window and in the process I forgot to click the pictures in the drive.
Malana is considered to be the oldest democracy and locales consider themselves to be descendants of some deported soldiers of Alexander. Their participative type justice system reflects traces of ancient Greek system.
In the way I came across an ancient Lord Shiva temple. A quick pit-stop was necessary to thank Lord Shiva for blessing me with this wonderful opportunity and continued my quest in the snaky roads.



After surfing some of the snakiest roads in these mountains, finally I was at the destination from where cars cannot go further. 

The last 4 km. to Malana Village has to be covered on foot, now this trekker was all charged up as the trek would have taken me to the rock bottom of this valley. A first time experience for me...
45-60 minutes of trekking to Malana will remove all the calcium and rust from the bones and will provide memories worth cherishing forever. At places trek is too narrow and steep but manageable, my trekking capabilities were being rigorously tested. Do not try to test the might of mountains, however cherish the experience of checking the mountains from the bottom...


Finally I was at the cloud nine, the Malana village:

I found here some very exquisitely carved temples:



Please do not touch the temples and structures as it is prohibited. If any outsider touches these structures then purification of the structures has to be carried out from the fine which has to be paid by the defaulter. It is believed that father of Lord Parshuram, Sage Jamdagni performed meditation here to please the gods. 

I found this strange, so I started talking to the locales. By what locales told me I was simply astonished. Malana still follows their form of democracy where village council is unanimously chosen by trust of villagers (no election). Justice is without any favoritism as opinion of everyone in the village is taken into account and thus is agreed by everyone.




Small place, innocent/ simple people are offering big lessons to outside world – Trust, respect and strong believe in God. Here people do everything in front of God, even the justice.
Most of the cases are resolved by this manner. In case of severe disagreement, justice of Lamb comes to the rescue. Yes, Justice of Lamb...??? A cut is made on one foreleg of each of the 2 lambs assigned to each faction; cut is poisoned and sewn back. Accused is the one whose lamb dies first, nobody disagrees then.
Role of external police is not at all required. If the accused want police intervention, a fine has to be paid to the village council.
Locales also told me very interesting facts about their lives, like.
  • Fixing nails on a tree and burning wood in forests of Malana is prohibited
  • Only dry twigs and branches can be carried outside the forest.
  • Hunting of wild animals is forbidden, except for a few occasions and that too with the permission of the village council.
  • The wild animals that attack the villagers’cattle are killed by hunters from the village.
Not only temples, the houses here have distinct construction which is very different from other similar places. The ground floor, Khudang is the cattle shed which stores firewood and cattle fodder. Gaying is the first floor and stores eatables, wool and is used for weaving woolen fabric. The top floor which is the living quarter is called Pati and has a balcony too.

The place is amazing but if you plan to visit in February, you can be a party to Harlala Mask Dance Festival. At this event people dance around in demon like masks.
Request to all travellers: Experience this beautiful place to the extent of enjoying and avoid invading the privacy of local people. People here do not like outsiders mainly due to steady rise in influx of tourists. 

Way to Malana:


Keep travelling Guys. If you still have energies and time, drive to Manikaran Sahib or continue your journey to Manali...





January 7, 2016

Balcarka Caves, Czech Republic...

After Vatican City, our friend traveller Rohit  decided to turn an archaeologist and set out to explore caves in Czech Republic, which are believed to be inhabited by early man. Balcarka Caves are situated in the northern part of Moravsky Kras near the city of Brno in Czech Republic.
The underground labyrinth of corridors, fissures and caves has two floors. The entrance portal of the cave is a significant paleontological and archaeological locality. It is a place where bones of Pleistocene animals were found as well as stone and bone instruments and fireplaces of people of the Early Stone Age. Further parts of the cave were discovered in stages in the years 1923–1948. These caves display beautiful and unique colourful stalactite and stalagmite decorations.

No doubts, this should be included in your Eurotrip itinerary.

Contributed by our friend traveller Rohit Sinha...




January 2, 2016

Puducherry - Place of SÉRÉNITÉ..

Puducherry/ Pondicherry, colloquially known as PONDY is a small place in radius nearly 15 km. Pondicherry/ Puducherry is a union territory situated at 90 km from Chennai on shore of Bay of Bengal. It is one of the big attractions in south India for travellers because of it's neat and clean beaches and old French architecture colony and churches.

Once you hit Pondy, just head to Mission road which is 2 Km from the railway station, there you can easily rent bikes/cars and start exploring.

Famous Beaches - Auro/Paradise/Mahatma Gandhi (MG)
Things To Experience : Sun Bath, Heritage Buildings, Water Sports, Night Life.  
Accommodation - one can rent personal  home and hotel and sea view hotel , resort.
In Pondy you have many options to stay .You can get good hotel with in 2 km range from MG beach. some of them have sea view and are pretty economical.

If  you are ready to go outside of city, 5-6 km from railway station, there are many guest houses cum farm house on beaches with all facilities like food, swimming pool and ample greenery. 





These guest houses have all sports facilities to let you start your day on an exciting note.






Paradise beach is one of the pristine beaches of Pondicherry and is punctiliously taken care of. It's better to reach there in the morning. 
To get to Paradise Beach you will have to catch a boat from Chunnambar boat house, which is around 7 Kms away from the city.






Lovely roads en-route to the boat house will keep your spirits lively.








Enjoy the short boat ride from Chunnambar boat house to Paradise beach.







Lovely Paradise Beach welcomes you in a beautiful way. Once you reach at paradise beach you can't stop yourself from taking dip in it.
Changing rooms are available here for men/women. Enjoy the chilled beer at the beach and the snacks at small bakery.
  
Enjoy your day off, relax, play sports or in short - do whatever you want to do here. Or simply chill...


Can try your hands at Volleyball or any other sports too.






Playing and relaxing we forgot that it was evening now - Time to explore the city and try some local food available.







Mahatma Gandhi beach, also known as rock beach, is in middle of the city. People come here to see sunrise and sunset. Couples can spend quality time in evening here. MG road, beside and parallel to the beach, is a lovely road of almost 1 km.
There is a huge statue, 4 meter high, of Mahatma Gandhi on the beach road.







Statue is surrounded by eight granite pillars, which were supposedly brought from Gingee, a fort some 70 km from Pondicherry.











Pondy is known for it old French style churches. There are almost 8-10 churches designed in old French style, some of them are more than 100 year old. Basilica church is very beautiful and calm place for offering prayers. A huge idol of Lord Jesus and bright light makes it utterly soothing for the devotees... 
Eating - Pondy is also well acclaimed for very delicious french cuisine and south Indian food. There are  few very good french bakeries and very good french restaurants, serving authentic French food.

Bakers Street, 123, Bussy St, Puducherry, 605001.
Delicious pastries, mousse, coffee, apple cake, French doughnut, chocolate truffle and many more...!!!








If you happen to be at Pondy, Bakers Street, during Christmas - must try their traditional dessert  La Bûche de Noël.

Also Le Club, Which claims to be the first restaurant in Pondy to serve French cuisine is a very popular restaurant in the city to dive in for dinner.

THINGS YOU MUST COVER APART FROM ABOVE ... !!!

French war memorial - the most eye catching monument in Pondicherry. The lighting arrangements on the place magnify the beauty in the night.
last but not least, Auroville (Sri Aurobindo Ashram),- MUST VISIT 

Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a well known ashram, devotees from India and all over the world come here for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. The Ashram was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, an Indian freedom fighter, poet, philosopher, and yogi.
Mirra Alfassa (also known as ‘The Mother’) was one of the followers, born in Paris and was so inspired by his philosophy that she stayed in Pondicherry. After 24 November 1926, when Sri Aurobindo retired into seclusion, she founded his ashram (Sri Aurobindo Ashram), with a handful of disciples. With Sri Aurobindo's full approval she became the leader of the community, a position she held until her death. 
Pondicherry Railway Station - Catch connecting trains to Chennai, Bangalore and major stations from here.







Compelling beaches and one of the most acclaimed places in India is calling.

Keep on travelling  ......

Au Revoir....!!!

" With Contribution from Yogendar Singh "