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Anjaneya Parvat - Birth place of Lord Hanuman

Off late Vijaynagar had become a 2nd home, have been visiting it almost every 2nd week. While one of these visits got 3-4 hours break from my schedule, so thought of making use of these 3-4 hours. I knew of a hill top temple at Anjaneya Parvat, place believed to be birth place of Lord Hanuman.  So called up the taxi driver and asked if can do Anjaneya Parvat in 3-4 hours? Driver told yes, but slightly tough, Vow decision was taken and I was on my way to Anjaneya temple well before the first ray of sunlight.
Anjaneya (also pronounced as Anjana) Parvat is at a distance of 5 km. from the site of Hampi in Anegundi village. We were soon driving through the ruins of Hampi and river streams on our way to Anjeyanadri Hill.
Locally known as Anjaneyadri hill, this place is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman (the most powerful of the Gods). Nearby attractions like Pampa Lake, Rishimukh Parvat reinforces the connection of this place with the time of Ramayana.  Lord Hanuman is also known as Anjaneya, that’s why the name of the hill as Anjaneya Parvat. Hanuman temple at the top of the hill is the main attraction here. However you need to climb 575 stairs in order to reach the summit. Check out the way to hilltop temple.

The climb to top of the hill is a welcome to all trekkers. Place gets too heated up, but the Stairs are well constructed and covered.
However at some places you need to make your way from beneath the huge boulders.
Enjoying the trek, it took around 20 minutes to reach the hill top Hanuman Temple, white colour temple with a Red Flag. 
And a long pillar in front the entry gate. Prayer time to the all powerful Lord Hanuman.
Being associated with Lord Hanuman, presence of monkeys shall be an auspicious omen. There are lots of monkeys on the hill. But need not worry, the monkeys here are well mannered and disciplined. They will walk besides you/ pose for pictures, no problem at all. With their presence, monkeys look like they are guarding this place, staying true to the legend that this is the birthplace of their Supreme Deity, Lord Hanuman.
From the top we noticed that the stone boulders are not just huge but are gigantic. Rounded off from the edges, makes you wonder about stability of these boulders. Sheer size also make these boulders a spot for some magic moments.
Pilgrims from far off places come to visit this hill top temple.
As told by locales, Anegundi was previously known as Kishkindha, same city of Monkey king Sugreev mentioned in Ramayana. And Kishkindha in local language means forest where monkeys live, by this time whatever doubts I had regarding birthplace of Lord Hanuman, were getting evaporated.
Anjeyanadri Hill is surrounded by lovely plantain and paddy fields. Early morning and evening time is best for capturing natural beauty of the surroundings. The sight of the Hampi valleys and the Tungabhadra River makes journey to the top more interesting.

From Hyatt Hampi, I started at 5:30 AM and returned back by 9:30 AM, with lovely memories of another offbeat exploration.
Keep exploring Guys.

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List of Best Treks in Uttarakhand that you must try

Uttarakhand often referred to as Dev Bhumi or Land of the Gods, is no less than heaven for all the nature buffs and adventure lovers out there. Uttrakhand is surely one of the most fantastic places in India, which is all covered with ethereal beauty. Situated in the foothill of Himalayan Ranges, Uttarakhand comes with an ample number of opportunities of trekking and camping, and with every new place, there’s something different and interesting present there to gain a whole new experience. Well, now summers are approaching and there could be no better excuse to take a leave from your work and make your way towards the mighty mountains. If you too wish to experience that adrenaline rush, take a look at some of the best treks in Uttarakhand and go on the trek you feel like trying out.

Bali Pass Trek
Let’s get started with the very famous trek to Yamunotri, which is situated there inside the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and allows you to take a closer look at rich flora and fauna. You need to start your trek from Sankri and continue walking along the Supin River. After this, you need to climb up slowly to the Dhatamir and Osla Village. While walking through the pathway, you’ll come across River Tons and Siyan Gad. Go on and reach Har ki Doon, a cradle shaped valley full of a large variety of flowers, mind-blowing views, and amazing wildlife. Then you need to continue to the Ruinsara Tal that passes through mesmerizing grasslands and conifer forests. Walk slowly and reach the base of Bali Pass. After you cross the path, you’ll go downhill through the pastures and open forests to the Yamunotri shrine. After this, the route will take you to Janak Chatti and Hanuman Chatti. 
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Mohan Shakti Heritage Park, Solan

If you think that mountains are all about valleys, flowing water streams and precisely located temples, well your thoughts may be going for some serious reconsideration.
After travelling 8 kms from Solan towards Shimla, turn right on a narrow downhill road. You have to be a very confident driver for this 7 km. of road, if driving yourself, in order to find this Khul Ja Sim Sim like Treasure of our Heritage.
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Radha Binod Pal Memorial, Tokyo - The Indian, respected in Japan

While walking around Yasukuni Jinja Shrine, came across a memorial. Going close to it, found that the memorial is dedicated to Dr. Radha Binod Pal.

Next thought in my mind was who this Mr. Pal is and how come he has a memorial in Tokyo? Curious investigation there itself revealed that Dr. Pal was the judge at International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) who had exonerated Japanese leaders, who were being tried for war crimes (after World War II). 

Paying homage to bravery and dedication of Dr. Pal, who with utmost honesty tried to defend justice of law, a memorial dedicated to him stands adjacent to main shrine at Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine, which commemorates Japanese war heroes. This small memorial is looked after carefully, the flowers kept here are always fresh.

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7 Tips and Tricks on How to Pack for a Warm Weather Vacation

Most travelers relish the thought of a vacation with sunny, warm weather, even if it’s to a destination without beaches or swimming. However, warm-weather travel can come with its own inconveniences. If you’re traveling outside of the summer months, the weather can change, and a sunny day can quickly become uncomfortable.
Fortunately, experienced travelers know how to mitigate problems and keep everyone in their group happy. It can be tempting to under-pack on warm-weather vacations, but don’t forget the essentials for staying safe in the sun. Check out these travel tips and hacks for ways to minimize problems and maximize fun adventures on your next getaway!
1. Make smart fabric choices 
Denim can be stylish, but is it really the best option for traveling to Key West in the middle of July? Try linen, white cotton t shirts or performance fabrics for breathable, comfortable outfits. Lighter fabrics roll up easily, too, saving valuable luggage space.
Tank tops can be very comfortable, but remember that the more skin you expose, the more time you have to spend putting on sunscreen. Consider covering up with lighter fabrics to help manage your sun exposure.
Also, remember to pack for layers, like lightweight jackets or cardigans. Even tropical destinations can cool off in the evening, so keeping an extra layer around can make the difference between a fun adventure and an uncomfortable evening. Air conditioning can also vary widely between restaurants, hotels and public transit, so a lightweight jacket might even be useful during the day. Leggings are also a good option for fashion-conscious travelers heading out on nighttime adventures. If all else fails, there is nothing wrong with a classic crewneck, especially since there are so many different ways to style them for any occasion!

2. Pack a proper hat and sunglasses
Even springtime sun can be intense enough to cause sunburns, and squinting in the sun is sure to interfere with your enjoyment of world-famous sights. A lightweight hat or bandanna is a good choice for shielding your head. Bringing comfortable hats for your kids can also prevent whining and misery later on. If you aren’t fond of hats, a sun parasol can be a stylish and fun option for staying out of the sun.
The best sunglasses for your trip will depend on what you’re doing and where you’re going, but don’t overspend! Sunglasses are far too easy to lose or break while on vacation. Buy a neck cord and be careful to double-check for your sunglasses before leaving restrooms, hotels and restaurants.

3. Plan your sunscreen, bug repellent and allergy medication usage
While some may find sunscreen a pain to keep safe in your suitcase, packing it may be better than buying it at your destination. Your sunscreen brand and selection options may be limited if you wait to buy it, and you may find yourself stuck with a product that’s inconvenient or insufficient for your needs. It may also be cheaper to pack sunscreen. For most U.S. destinations, you can probably access the same general types of sunscreen across the country, but do your research for overseas destinations.
The same rule applies to bug repellant and allergy medication. Some destinations have mosquitoes almost year-round, and you may need bug repellant even if you’re not going into the woods. Unfamiliar flowers and trees can trigger allergy symptoms that keep you from fully enjoying your trip. Research your destination carefully to determine your best options.
Remember that some airlines or countries may have restrictions on bug repellent ingredients, aerosol cans or medication ingredients.
4. Pick a bag that suits your needs
Lugging around multiple bags after a day of fun can put a damper on the rest of your evening. It can also be troublesome to forget a bag of souvenirs, food or a water bottle someplace because you had too many bags to keep track of.
If you’re traveling alone, a small carry-on suitcase or cheap backpack may suffice, but running around with children makes a large backpack mandatory. Look for something with padded straps made of a material that is breathable. An ideal warm-weather backpack will also have easily accessible space for water bottles, as well as room for souvenirs and snacks. If you’re planning a day at the beach, pack plastic bags for storing wet swimsuits.

5. Print out your transit options and safety plans
Nothing is less fun than lugging around a giant suitcase in 90° F weather because you misunderstood how the bus system works and there are no taxis in sight. Triple-check your plan for getting from the airport to your hotel and have a written backup plan in case something goes wrong. Also, keep a phone number for a local taxi company saved to your phone in case you truly need it after a day in the sun, and make sure you know how to quickly get to the hospital in case of accidents.
In many warmer regions, sudden storms can mess up a dream vacation. Popular warm-weather tourist destinations can be prone to storms in certain seasons, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the area’s flood, tsunami or other natural disaster evacuation plans, and even pack a printed copy, if possible.

6. Bring a backup option for shoes
Tennis shoes can be great for hiking but can quickly become uncomfortable when they’re sweaty or muddy. Pack a pair of padded sandals for hot days when you’ve planned a lot of walking. 
If you’re planning a beach vacation, a pair of flip-flops may be worthwhile, but keep in mind that most flip-flops can hurt your feet after walking significant distances. Flip-flops also do little to protect your feet from the sun, and sunburnt feet can quickly put a damper on your dream vacation.
Children, in particular, can be quick to complain about sore, hot or blistered feet, so make sure to have backup options for them. It’s well worth the extra luggage space!

7. Carry a reusable water bottle
Reusable water bottles can save you money and help protect the environment. A well-designed reusable water bottle is lightweight, easy to clean and can be quickly opened and closed to protect the mouthpiece from the elements. It also reduces your need to find a trash can or recycling bin.
In some locales, though, clean drinking water is only readily accessible in bottled form. Do your research ahead of time and see if it’s wiser to pack vending machine change than a reusable plastic bottle. However, many international destinations have clean drinking water access at major tourist sites, so don’t waste your money on disposable water bottles unless you have to.

Guest Post - Brenda Kimble is a writer and travel blogger from Austin, TX. She is also a mother of 2 daughters and a son. Her life's journey has taken her to 5 continents, 25+ countries, and all 50 United States. When she is traveling, she is typically doing yoga, crafting with her kids, or writing for The Talkin'T-Shirts Blog, where she is a frequent contributor. 
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Maheshwar - Cultured by Ahilya Bai Holkar

Once the legendary devil Ravana took up a fight with King Sahastrabahu. However, the result did not went as per his expectations and Ravana was taken as prisoner by king Sahastrabahu. The place where Ravana was kept as prisoner is mentioned as “Mahishmati” in Ramayana.

Yes, the same “Mahishmati” which was mentioned in blockbuster movie Bahubali. But where this city Mahishmati is or had existed in the past? After finished our exploration of Mandu, we were all set to Maheshwar, 45 km. from Mandu situated along the banks of river Narmada.

This small and peaceful town is noted for its mammoth Ghats, temples and Sarees. Lots of pilgrims and saints come here to offer prayers and worship sacred river Narmada. Lot of Saints, why? Reason being - The mythological city of Mahishmati “, is now known as Maheshwar. Our spirits soared to unprecedented heights to realize that we were standing in legendary mythological city of “Mahishmati”.

To thank the Gods for this fortunate trip, we went to the banks of Narmada river for thanksgiving. That is the first thing to be done in Maheshwar. Neat and clean mammoth structures alongside the Ghats (river Banks) will ensure every moment spent here is worth. Ahilya Ghat is the most prominent place of worship on river Narmada.
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8 of the Best Things to Do in the Ouachita National Forest

Did you know Arkansas is the home of the largest national forest in the south? The Ouachita National Forest provides access to all types of outdoor activities, on the trail, on the water, and beyond. The opportunity to enjoy the park is not just limited to the young and super fit. The national parks and forests are mandated to be all-inclusive. Because of this, even the family caregiver will find many activities accessible to all, including those who use adaptive equipment such as a cane or wheelchair. The park can give anyone a break from routine and leave you with a lifetime of memories.

As you and your family plan what activities you want to take part in, consider the needs of your group first and foremost. If Mom enjoyed hiking but is now in a wheelchair, you may want to opt for wheelchair-accessible trails for her to indulge in. You can ask for help from her caregiver if she has one. Caregivers are responsible for making a realistic assessment of your family member’s abilities, both physical and mental, and can help you plan a day out. You don’t want to be one mile into a three-mile hike, only to find out Dad is running out of energy.

Here are some suggestions for all activity levels:
1.      Go for a car ride.  Start with a car ride on the Talimena Scenic Byway. This highway runs from Mena, AR to the Oklahoma portion of the park. There are numerous scenic overlooks as well as attractions worthy of a stop and a picture along your route. There are many picnic sites along the way too. Take a break to eat your favorite lunch. If you happen to be a family caregiver for an elderly parent or disabled family member, a car ride through this magnificent forest will be stress-free and enjoyable for everyone. The Talimena Byway is particularly beautiful in spring when the wildflowers are blooming and in fall when the leaves turn into a blaze of reds and golds.

2.      Go for a hike. Ouachita National Forest has some of the best hiking trails in Arkansas. The serious hiker will want to consider backpacking the longest trail in the park, the Ouachita Recreational Trail, which travels the entire length of the park and is a rolling, winding, jaw-dropping 192 miles. Don’t worry! The day hiker will find trails that range in difficulty and length to satisfy their level, too. The best plan is to choose an area of the park you want to explore, and then choose the trail that matches your ability. There are even several wheelchair-accessible trails available, including the Friendship Trail, the Orchard Trail, and the Shady Lake Trail. Friendship Trail has an added bonus of a fully accessible bathroom at the trailhead, which helps simplify elder care services.

3.      Ride the trails.  Horseback riding trails are available throughout the park, and parking is even available for your horse trailer. Have a mare that loves a challenge? An old plod-along gelding that prefers something simpler? The trails vary in difficulty, length, and surface, with some being covered with gravel. You can find the perfect trail in the park for your horse’s needs and your own desires.

4.      Hook the big one. If you love to fish, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to cast a line in the Ouachita National Forest. Most of the lakes within the park are accessible to boaters ready to hook the big one. If you are a shore fisherman, there are fishing piers located throughout the park, including North Fork Lake, Shady Lake, and Lake Hinkle. There’s also a fishing pond right on the side of the wheelchair-accessible Friendship Trail. Ouachita is also full of rivers and streams for fishing if you’re willing to hike rougher terrain to get there. Bring your fishing license and hook one of the crappies, bass, sunfish, and catfish swimming around the park.

5.   Search for treasure. Crystal Vista is a must if your family member is interested in treasure hunting. Once the site of an old quartz mine, Crystal Vista is now open to the public. There is no fee, and you are allowed to remove up to 20 pounds of material for your personal use. Even if you are unsuccessful in finding quartz crystals, the view is worth the climb. The site overlooks Ouachita Lake and Mount Ida. Note that this site is on the top of Gardner Mountain and is an approximate 25-minute uphill hike on a well-maintained trail. 

6.      Pitch a tent.  If you and your family are ready for an extended visit to the park, there are numerous options available for a cozy campsite. There are sites for tent camping as well as RVs and campers that require electrical hookup. Camp Clearfork even has rustic cabins available by reservation only for groups such as family reunions, church groups, etc. Grab your sleeping bag and favorite book of scary campfire stories and find your spot.

7.      Go boating.  Whether you’re fishing, tubing, or just drifting around the lake, boating is a great way to spend the day at the park. Many of the lakes have paved boat docks for you to launch your boat easily for fishing or just sightseeing. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent a boat at numerous sites on the Ouachita Lake.  Most can also provide non-motorized equipment such as canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats. Which brings us to our next suggestion …
8.      Hit the off-road trails.  Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) are growing in popularity and, yes, they are permitted in the park. There are numerous trails designated for OHVs; wever, they are all multi-use trails. Some of the trails include room for ATVs, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders all potentially at the same time. Be respectful of everyone when you pass.
Open year-round, the Ouachita National Park offers things to do throughout the year; however, some amenities are seasonal. If you are planning on a specific activity or area of the park, you might want to call first to be assured that it is available when it is offseason.

Guest Post - By Susan Ashby.
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Mandu - City of Love destroyed by Powerquest

Situated approx. 100 km. from Indore, Mandu is a small ancient city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Mandu rose to its peak of glory under patronage of then king Baz Bahadur. This was the time when love story of Baz Bahadur and his queen Rani Roopmati had painted the Mandu in colours of love during 16th century. Till date their love story is the flavour of all folk tales and song-dance theme in this Malwa region. Baz Bahadur (commonly known as Brave Hawk) was a warrior par excellence who fall in love with Roopmati, a shepherd with a symphonic voice.
Testimony to their fairy tale saga: To respect the desire of Roopmati to worship river Narmada every morning, Baz Bahadur constructed a Pavilion (Roopmati Mandap) cum military observatory fort to enable Roopmati get a sight of and worship river Narmada daily from terrace of pavilion.

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LALITGIRI - The Pilgrimage from Ancient History!

Flourished under the patronage of legendary king Ashoka, the kingdoms of Magadh and Kalinga became important centers from where Buddhism spread to the outside world. Present day areas of Bihar-Jharkhand used to be the kingdom of Magadh and parts of Odisha-Andhra Pradesh composed Kalinga kingdom. At their peak these places were often referred as most prosperous regions on the earth and were full of amazing temples and universities imparting ancient Indian knowledge. However, with passage of time dust accumulated on these sites and these places gradually faded out from the eye of common people. In fact, many got buried with layers of earth and since then have been waiting to get resurfaced in future.

With the development coming to these areas, many of these extinct places are coming to life. One of the such places I came to know during one of my visit to this part with lots and lots of things to discover was Lalitgiri. Lalitgiri is situated at a distance of 10 kilometers beyond the River Virupa in Cuttack district, about 90 kilometers from Bhubaneswar which is the capital of Odisha state.
Excavations in this region have indicated towards existence of very ancient Buddhist complex. With the discovery of Lalitgiri, and stitching together the chronology of event with iconographical similarities, the timeline of Lalitgiri goes back to the 2nd century BC. Based on this, Lalitgiri can be safely considered as one of the most ancient Buddhist establishments. So I was about to walk into one of the lost chapters in our history, with due excitement. 
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