DARJEELING


  1. Destination: Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
  2. Visited on: October 4th 2016 – October 7th 2016
  3. Peak Season: October to March
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – There are trains from Howrah and Sealdah station of Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri. From there, one needs to hire a cab to reach Darjeeling

About: Darjeeling  is noted for its tea industry, the spectacular views of Mount Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our Journey Starts:

 I have returned from Bangalore to Kolkata, my home town for the grand festival “Durga Puja”. Before the puja starts, I planned for Darjeeling this time, with my parents. Train tickets and hotels were booked in advance. We reached Sealdah station on October 3rd 2016 and boarded the train “Darjeeling mail” which departs from Howrah at 22:05. Had home-cooked Luchi and alur dam in train and went to sleep. The journey was very comfortable. Reached New Jalpaiguri next day around 9:00. We hired a taxi from the pre-paid counter to reach Darjeeling for a fee of Rs 1600. Had to pay Rs. 100 extra to take us to the hotel.

We reached Darjeeling after a ride of 3 hours. My mother got fever and fell sick on the way. Apart from that, the journey was smooth. We booked hotel “Dolphin” in advance which is located just next to Governor’s house. The area is not at all crowded, yet located next to a Kanchenjunga view point. Many people decides to stay near the “Mall” (Central hub) and complains saying “ Darjeeling is too crowded”. We checked in. The hotel offers clear view of Mt. Kanchenjunga. However, at that time, the weather was cloudy and no view on offer.dsc_7897

Ordered lunch in our room as my mother was very sick then, yet excited to see Mt Kanchenjunga. After lunch, I went out to see nearby places. The first day passed with a stroll in the Mall. Mall is the central hub of Darjeeling and one can get all sorts of shops there including KFC. In the evening, we went went to a heritage outlet called Keventers in the Mall and tried Darjeeling tea with some snacks. The outlet, offers scenic view of the Himalayan range in the morning (if the weather permits). Glenary’s is again a heritage outlet and offers same kind of stuffs.

I woke up early at 5.30 next morning hoping to witness the sunrise reflection on Mt Kanchenjunga. However, the weather was too cloudy to witness nature’s masterpiece. The weather was cold. Locals busy doing light work-out or busy taking a jog. I strolled around the place. Had tea from the Mall and went back to the hotel. In the evening, went out with my parents to the Mall and had Darjeeling famous Momos and tea.We also bought tea, from one of the renowned store called “The House of Tea”. It is operated by Goodricke co. and located in the Mall. While buying tea, get the “First flush”. First flush tea tastes best and slightly on the expensive side. But, buying a small pack will worth.

Batasia Loop

Batasia Loop

Woke up again next morning to see the sun-rise. The weather again turned me down. We didn’t opt to go Tiger hill to view Mt Kanchenjunga closely, as the weather was foggy. Spent most of my time roaming around the place and enjoying the cool weather with nature. We had our tickets booked for a jolly ride in a toy-train pulled by a steam engine. This is a UNESCO world heritage site. The tickets were expensive for the steam engine ride. Normal engines were also available and are less expensive. However, we choosed the steam engine, as we have never tried anything like that before. The train goes until Ghum via Batasia loop. Batasia Loop is again scenic. The train halts for 15 minutes there. And starts it’s journey to Ghum station. Ghum station has a museum related to Darjeeling trains. One can get down at Ghum and come back to Darjeeling by car. Or else, one can board the same train and come back. While returning, it comes to Darjeeling station directly. If booking a round trip ticket, the code you need to put in the IRCTC.COM website is – “DJ” (From) and “DJRZ” (To). And for a one way ride, put “GHUM” (To). The ride was beautiful. But as per my experience, spending so much on a steam engine doesn’t worth. So one can book a diesel engine ride and take photos with the steam engine. Both moves together, one after another.dsc_8618

View of the valley from the view point located next to our hotel was amazing. I couldn’t witness the sun-rise in this trip. However, I did capture the sunsent reflecton over Mt Kanchenjunga through my bare eyes. Also, made a timelapse video of that view. Walking in the hills was fun.dsc_9042-3

Next day, again woke up early. Missed the sun-rise. But got a clear view of Mt Kanchenjunga from our hotel room and also from the view-point. This is our last day stay in Darjeeling. As my mother was very weak, I planned to go for some known sight-seeing alone. I went to the Mahakal mandir located slightly uphill, early in the morning. The place has it’s own charm.dsc_9209

After that, I walked downhill for 15 mins and reached the Darjeeling zoo. The zoo and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute are in the same place. One can hire a taxi also to reach there, but that could be expensive. I went to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute first. They have a museum built. The museum was fascinating with lots of information on mountains and mountain climbers. I bought a T-shirt, sun-glass and a Cap as souvenir. Then moved to the zoo. The zoo has lots of animals like Royal Bengal tiger, White leopard, Black panther, Red panda, etc. Visiting the museum and to the zoo was worth. The museum and the zoo remains closed on Thursday.dsc_9292

Then again walked further downhill for 15 mins and reached Rangeet Valley Ropeway. The rope-way ride cost approximately Rs. 170 per head for a round trip. Option of one-side trip is not available. The queue to the ride could be very long during season. I got my chance after waiting for 45 minutes. The rope-way journey was beautiful. It’s lush green with tea plants below. In clear weather, one can witness the Himalayan range in front. After a journey of 20 minutes, I reached downhill through rope-way. I had to get down (Mandatory) and need to stand in a queue again to go back to the origin. However, I went down from the rope-way and walked to the left in the left. Got a hint of local life. Also got very close to tea-gardens. Checked how the tea leaves, looks like. Came back after spending some time in the tea garden and stood in a queue.  Took the rope-way and got back to the origin.dsc_9013

As I didn’t booked any car, I had to come back all the way back by walking. This time, it was uphill and took 30 minutes to reach my hotel. After having lunch there, we boarded the same cab and reached New Jalpaiguri station. I called the same driver a day before and asked to be at the hotel to take us back to the railway station. He was on time. While returning, we came through a route called “Rohini”. The route was scenic. The car is taking a sharp turn through the hills. Each turn opening up a new scenery. The entire mountain is lush green because of dense tea garden. You can ask your driver to take the route of Rohini while going. Nothing will be charged extra.

We reached New Jalpaiguri station well in advance. Kept our luggage in a restaurant and waited there. Boarded Darjeeling mail which departs at 6PM. Reached Sealdag station next day morning around 6:30. We booked an Uber cab from the station and reached home. The trip to Darjeeling was beautiful with lush green tea-gardens, beautiful sun-set, cold weather, sky full of stars. Nothing more we can expect…

Note:

  • Smoking is not allowed in public in Darjeeling. Locals may shout at out.
  • The zoo and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute museum remain closed on Thursday
  • One must go for the toy-train ride
  • Don’t miss the rope-way ride also.
  • Hotel prices during season may get double.
  • One may hire a geared or non-geared cycle to roam around Darjeeling from local shops.
  • Try Keventers and Glenarys’ for tea and snacks
  • Buy tea from “The House of Tea” located in the Mall. Get the “First flush” tea if the budget permits
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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LONAVALA & KHANDALA


  1. Destination: Lonavala & Khandala, Maharashtra, India
  2. Visited on: July 2nd 2016 – July 4th 2016
  3. Season to visit: June to September (Monsoon) & December to February (Winter)
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – Many trains are available from Pune and Mumbai to Lonvala.
  • By Car – One can easily drive to Lonavala from Mumbai and Pune

About: Lonavla & Khandala are towns and a hill station in Pune district in the Indian State of Maharashtra. It is about 64 kilometers (40 mi) from the city of Pune and 96 kilometers (60 mi) from the city of Mumbai. Khandala is just 3 Kms from Lonavala. 

Our Journey Starts:

It’s been quite a sometime that Niloy has moved to Pune from Bangalore with his wife. I and Anindita planned to meet them. So, we all decided to meet at Pune and then go to Lonavala and Khandala. I prefer to pre-book everything. I and Anindita boarded flight Indigo from Bangalore airport which departed at 05:45AM. As it was monsoon, the weather was worse in Pune. The flight made an attempt to land and at the last moment decided to pull up due to lack of visibility. The flight landed at 7:45 AM. We both boarded an Uber cab and reached Pune station. Met Niloy and his wife Saheli there, and we are all set for our trip to Lonavala.

We boarded a train from Pune station and reached Lonavala station within 1 Hr. The Hotel Metropole, which we have pre-booked is in a walking distance from the station and also in a prime location. When we reached Lonavala, it was raining lightly. The room in the hotel was nice. We freshened up quickly and hired a cab for sight-seeing. It started to rain heavily that time. People visit Lonavala during monsoon and enjoy roaming around drenched in rain, without taking a rain-coat or an umbrella. We took precaution with rain-coat though. On the way, we found, approximately 20 small water-falls flowing through different parts of the hill. People are partying with beer and loud music near the waterfall.

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Misty Hills With Water-Fall

At first, we reached “Bhusi dam”. It was raining and also misty. The driver parked the cab in a parking area and we started walking towards the dam in a misty weather. The walk in the mist was fun. Bhusi dam has stairs in it. And when the dam overflows, the water flows through those stairs and people enjoy taking a bath sitting on those stairs. As it was early monsoon, yet to experience the water flow through the stairs. Food stalls are all around the place. After seeing the Bhusi dam, we stopped in a local shop asking what else are there around the dam. As per their suggestion, we started walking towards a point where three rivers confluence. After walking for 30 mins. through a jungle like ambiance, we reached the point. It was beautiful and obviously better than Bhusi dam. We came back and boarded the cab for the next stop. I must say, the entire journey is happening under full fledged rain.

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Gusty Water Flowing Through The Stairs of Karla Cave

The we reached Lion point . It was misty all around and too windy also. In normal weather, one can witness beautiful stretch of hills all around. But we witnessed only mist. Yet it was a beautiful atmosphere all around. There are food counters everywhere. We had instant noodle “Maggi” and pakoras there with hot coffee. Hot food in cold and wet weather was awesome. After spending some time there, we boarded the cab and reached hotel. After freshening up, I and Niloy went out and got some Vada-pao (Indian version of burger) from a famous shop naming “Golden Vadapav”. We bought liquor too. At night, we are all set together in a room with drinks and food and shared all sorts of stories, including, personal experiences with ghosts. We also calculated the daily expenses.

Next morning, we hired the same cab to visit Ekvira Devi temple, Karla cave and Bhaja cave. We started early today because, as the day progresses, traffic also increases. After a half an hour ride, we reached the base of Ekvira Devi Temple and Karla cave. We had Vada pav from a restaurant and started walking through easy stairs. It took around 30 mins to reach Karla cave. While moving up, gusty water was flowing through the stairs, coming from a nearby river. Walking was quite challenging, yet fun.  

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Inside Karla Cave

The Karla Cave is an ancient Indian Buddhist rock-cut cave. The cave was magnificent. Water flowing through the outer walls of the cave, resulted in a water-fall. We walked around the cave. There are also stairs to go upstairs. We then had to buy tickets to go inside the cave. The sculptures inside was magnificent. Carvings on walls represents history and telling a story of the past. After spending quite a time there, we moved to Ekvira Devi Temple located just next to Karla cave. Niloy and Saheli decided not to go inside the temple. So, I and Anindita went inside. At times, it remains very crowded. But we didn’t had to face any crowd that time. Then, we came back to the parking lot taking the stairs. On the way, we bought some tasty sweets named as “Kalakand” and “Peda”.

We boarded the cab to move to next spot “Bhaja cave”. By that time, too many cars moving to and fro through a narrow road and got stuck in a heavy traffic. Rain didn’t stop yet which started in Day 1, or even before. After spending quite a time in heavy traffic, we reached Bhaja cave. We had to take lot of stairs to reach Bhaja caves. View from the hill was beautiful. It was lush green all around. On the way, we had to buy tickets to visit Bhaja cave. Bhaja cave is a shorter version of Karla cave. We walked around the cave. There are many water-falls there also. I took bath wearing a rain-coat and keeping my phone and camera in my pocket. After that, both my phone and camera got damaged. Luckily, no harm to the camera memory card.  After seeing Bhaja cave, we came back and boarded the cab. The driver took us to a Dhaba (Restaurant) situated on Mumbai-Pune highway. The food was yummy. I liked Rice and Desi chicken a lot. The main-course was complemented by a dessert “Lassi”. After a filling lunch, the driver took us to a spot where we can take bath. I took bath in the water-fall, rest decided to have corn and watch me taking a bath. After that, we came back to hotel. By the time we reached hotel, sun was down

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Way To Bhusi Dam

Again, we chat till late night. Next day, we left the hotel, boarded a train and reached Pune station from Lonavala. From Pune station, we hired an Uber cab to reach Niloy’s place. We were welcomed at their place with warm heart. We decided to cook food of our own. I and Niloy went out to get some mutton. After buying mutton, I marinated that with spices. Everybody put their effort to make the afternoon a memorable one. Saheli cooked rice and arranged all required utensils. Niloy grinded the whole-pepper, Anindita motivated us with her speech and I cooked mutton. After completing lunch, we took some rest. Woke up in the evening, I and Anindita boarded a cab and reached Pune airport. We boarded Flight “Indigo” which departed at 11:45 PM and reached Bangalore airport at 01:15 AM. From Bangalore, we booked a cab again to reach home.

Lonava & Khandala is a beautiful place to hang-around with friends. This is for the first time in my life, witnessed, continuous rain for more than 48 hours. Seeing old friends after quite some-time is also something. Warm welcome from Niloy and Saheli made the trip more special.

Note:

  • Eat food in Dhaba, available in Mumbai-Pune highway
  • Carry rain-coat / umbrella if visiting during monsoon. But tourists prefer to get drenched there
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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WEEKEND TRIP TO YELAGIRI


  1. Destination: Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu, India
  2. Visited on: May 21st 2016 – May 22nd 2016
  3. Peak Season: November to January
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – Many trains ply from Majestic station of Bangalore to Jollarpettai. 

About: Yelagiri is a hill station in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India, situated off the Vaniyambadi-Tirupattur road.

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita decided to go for a weekend trip to a hill station,Yelagiri. We boarded train Lalbagh express at 7:00 AM from K.R. Puram station and reached Jollarpettai station at 9:00 AM. From the station, we took a local bus to reach Yelagiri. It took 90 minutes in bus to reach Yelagiri. One can hire a cab also to reach there. The bus was over-crowded. The winding roads in the hills was fascinating.

We reached Yelagiri lake. From there, took a walk and reached hotel “Hotel Landmark” in 10 minutes. The hotel was near to the Sterling hotel. The room was good and in a serene location. After completing lunch, we went out to Yelagiri lake. One can opt for a boat ride there. The lake was huge. We walked around the lake. There is observatory point up on a tree. I climbed through the stairs to reach the observatory point. Anindita was too scared to climb so high. The view-point was quite high and the scene from there was beautiful.dsc_5953

After that, we went to a park located opposite to the lake. Took a stroll there and came back to the hotel. While coming back, found lot of vendors selling Jack-fruit. There is nothing much to see in Yelagiri. People generally visit in a weekend to relax. We spent time with a bottle of beer and soft-drinks in the hotel balcony.dsc_5924

Next day, woke up early and started to walk aimlessly following the road to see the life of villagers. Found, people busy ploughing fields. The road was not busy that time. Birds chirping all around. A walk with nature all around gave a lovely feeling. We went very far. While returning, came by an auto. Our weekend trip was almost over. I took a dip in the hotel swimming pool. We checked out at noon after completing lunch in hotel. Walked for 10 mins upto Sterling resort bus stop. From there, took a local bus and reached Jollarpettai station. This time, the bus was not crowded.

We reached quite early in the station. Also, the train we have booked, i.e. “Sanghamitra Express” was delayed by 90 mins. Finally we boarded the train around 7PM. And reached K.R. Puram station around 9PM. Reached home by taking a cab. We got very exhausted waiting at the station. Yet, every moment in Yelagiri was refreshing.

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COORG


 

  1. Destination: Coorg, Karnataka, India
  2. Visited on: February 13th 2016 – February 15th 2016
  3. Peak Season: November to January
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Bus – KSRTC Volvo buses are available from Bangalore to Madikeri and Kushalnagar. 

About: Coorg is known for its beautiful scenery. Tourists get fascinated by colourful scenery. Coorg is ideal for trekking.

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita decided to go to Madikeri area of Coorg in the first day and Kushalnagar area of Coorg in the second day.  We boarded the KSRTC Volvo bus (Airavat) from Majestic Bus station which departed at 11.15 PM. The journey was very comfortable. We reached Madikeri next morning around 7:00 AM. We checked in hotel “Coorg shell”. The room was good with basic facilities. We left our bag in the room and went out for sight-seeing. At first, we hired an auto which will take us to Abbey falls, Raja’s seat/tomb, Madikeri fort and Omkareshwar temple.

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Abbey falls

 

All the sight seeing places are very nearby.  At first we went to Abbey falls. Had to climb down some stairs to reach Abbey fall. While climbing down, witnessed, plenty of coffee plants on both sides. The fall had very less water that time. Then we boarded the auto and move to the next sight, Raja’s tomb. It is a monument. Then we moved to Madikeri fort. Nice place to walk around. We walked through the wide fort-wall pavement for quite some-time. Spent a good time there seeing the town from the high fort walls. Then we moved to Omkareshwar temple, which was closed at that time. Finally back to hotel. In the evening, we spent some time in shopping Coorg special coffee. I also tried “Coorgi Pork” (Coorg cuisine) which was delicious.

On the second day, we woke up early and booked a cab from the taxi stand to reach Dubare elephant camp from Madikeri, which is located at a distance of 17 Km. KSRTC buses do not go there. So, we chose to take a cab. We reached Dubare elephant camp in 1 hr, early in the morning at 7AM. The nature is at its best early in the morning. Not had the same feeling later in the day. River Kaveri flowing at a slow pace. We reached Dubare elephant camp through a boat which starts operating around 8:30AM. Reached Dubare elephant camp in 15 mins through boat. Once we reached there, found so many elephants around us. We took a walk around the elephant camp. One can opt to stay there also.

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Dubare Elephant Camp

 

The best part of Dubare elephant camp is, one can bath an elephant in the water of river Kaveri. We bought tickets for that. Elephants were taking a bath with supervision of trained personnel. We splashed water on the elephants and posed with them too. Baby elephants stole the show by running around and taking a deep splash in the river and playing with each other. After spending quite a time there, we took a boat and came back to the other side. Had some food and boarded the hired cab to reach Nisargadham. Dubare elephant camp is also good for people having interest in rafting. However, rafting is like just a boat ride on steady water flow.We reached Nisargadham from Dubare elephant camp in 30 mins. We had to cross a small channel of river Kaveri thorugh a hanging bridge. Many people were busy there taking a pedal-boat ride. Found lots of fishes too in the river. Nisargadham is kind of a forest . We did a zip-line activity there. There are some tree-houses to spend some time. Spend some time in river Kaveri also which is flowing through a rocky bed.

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Nisargadham

 

 

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Another temple inside Namdroling Monastery

After that, we boarded the hired cab again and reached Namdroling monastery in 15 mins. It is a beautiful monastery. The ambiance inside is beautiful . It has a huge statue of Lord Buddha. The paintings on the wall are attractive. From there, we moved to a home-stay “4 seasons home stay” which was booked in advance. After taking rest that evening, we boarded KSRTC bus early morning next day. We boarded KSRTC Volvo bus at 8:00 Am and reached Bangalore around 1PM.

 

Note:

  • Buy Coorg coffee
  • Try to visit Dubare elephant camp if visiting Coorg.
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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MYSORE (MYSURU)


  1. Destination: Mysore (Mysuru), Karnataka, India
  2. Visited on: January 30th 2016 – February 1st 2016
  3. Peak Season: Can be visited anytime
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – There are number of trains going to Mysore from Bangalore. From there, one needs to hire an auto rickshaw to reach hotel. Also may book an Uber or Ola cab
  • By Bus – Number of buses are available from Bangalore which goes directly to Mysore.

About: Mysore, officially renamed as Mysuru, located at the base of the Chamundi Hills about 146 km southwest of the state capital Bangalore.

Our Journey Starts:

My parents visited Bangalore where I stay currently for work. I planned to take them to Mysore this time. Mysore is very close to Bangalore and takes around 3 hours. We booked train tickets in advance. There are many trains and buses going to Mysore from Bangalore every day. We reached early in the morning in the Majestic station and boarded a train. On reaching Mysore station after a journey of 3 hours, we had to bargain with an auto driver to take us to the hotel MB International. The bargain settled at Rs. 120 approximately.

On reaching hotel, we freshened up a bit and finished our breakfast. After that, we took a short walk to reach St. Philomena’s Cathedral. This is a beautiful yet a very old church maintained properly. The photo of this church is also inscribed on the walls of Mysore palace. From there, I booked an Uber cab to visit Chamundeshwari temple. The cab came and the driver informed, the cab doesn’t go through the hills to Chamundeshwari temple. He asked me to take a Volvo. However, I paid him extra and requested him to take us there. He agreed and we reached Chamundeshwari temple. One can take an auto or a Volvo AC bus from Mysore to reach Chamundeshwari temple. Taking a Volvo bus would be the best option.

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Chamundeshwari Temple

On reaching the temple, we had to buy tickets for approximately Rs. 10 per head to enter into the temple. It is a beautiful temple. Need to be in a queue to enter inside. After visiting the temple, we decided to visit Mysore Zoo. We boarded Volvo bus from the stand next to the temple and reached Mysore zoo. The zoo is located very close to the Mysore palace. This zoo is one of the most popular attraction in Mysore and one can witness mighty African elephant there.

This zoo is huge and takes a long time to visit every corner. One can witness mighty African elephant, Indian elephant, Tiger, Lion, Zebra, Giraffe, Rhinoceros, Turtle, Snakes, etc. For us, it took around 3 hours to visit the zoo. Then we booked another Uber cab and reached Mysore palace. We entered the palace premises after buying tickets. The palace premises is huge and one need to be in a queue to enter the actual palace. The architectural style of domes of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic and blends Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. The palace has three entrances: the East Gate (the front gate, opened only during the Dasarah and for VIPs), the South Entrance (for public), and the West Entrance (usually opened only during the Dasarah). The sculpture inside the palace is immaculate. The queue moves slowly inside the palace. While moving, one can witness beautiful paintings and sculpture.img_4798-3

The entire palace lit up with lights at night. Witnessed that and came back to hotel. Next day, we planned to visit Brindavan Gardens. I booked a cab for the next day. We woke up early in the morning and went out for Brindavan gardens. On the way, we stopped at Srirangapatna. There is a summer palace of Tipu Sultan. After that, we have seen Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon and Tippu’s death place. Then the hired cab dropped us at Brindavan Gardens around 2 PM.

The Brindavan Gardens is a garden located in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka, India. It lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam which is built across the river Kaveri. The garden is maintained by the Cauvery Niravari Nigama (Cauvery Irrigation Department), a Government of Karnataka enterprise. It is spread across an area of 60 acres (240,000 m2). Adjoining it is also a fruit orchard spread across 75 acres (300,000 m2) and 2 horticultural farms, Nagavana (30 acres) and Chandravana (5 acres). The garden is laid out in 3 terraces which contain water fountains, Ficus trees, foliage plants such as Duranta plumaria and Euphorbia and flowering plants like Celosia, Marigold and bougainvillea.The garden is open to the public and an entry-fee is charged. We spent around 3 hours there sitting in the lawn and roaming around. There are also accommodation available, if anyone opt to stay inside Brindavan Gardens. But that would be an expensive stay.In Brindavan garden, we took a boat ride also. It’s a speed boat ride for 10 mins

In the evening, “light and sound” show is organized. After watching that show we boarded the hired cab and returned to our hotel. We had an early train next morning. Completed dinner early. In the morning, booked an Ola cab around 5 AM through Ola app. Boarded the train and reached Bangalore around 9AM.

Note:

  • No need to hire cab for sight-seeing in Mysore. Book cab while visiting Brindavan Gardens via Srirangapatna
  • Go inside the Mysore palace during day time and also see the palace when the light is lit in the evening
  • Mysore can be visited any time of the year. But, summer can be hot
  • Bargain while booking cabs
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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ALLEPPEY/ALAPPUZHA (KERALA)


  1. Destination: Alleppey, Kerala, India
  2. Visited on: December 24th 2015 – December 28th 2015
  3. Peak Season: November to February
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Car – Reaching Alleppey is easy by car from Thekkady and takes around 3 Hours

About: Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha is famous for canals, like Venice and house-boats. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO MUNNAR

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO THEKKADY

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita reached Alleppey from Thekkady after a journey of 3 hours. We checked-in at “Keraleeyam Ayurvedic Resort”. The resort is located just next to a wide canal. The room was brilliant with a touch of old India. The door of the room closes in four halves. That was very attractive. We always have time constraint as we do not get enough leaves from office for travelling. As a result, we try to utilize most in a short time. One can stay in a house-boat. We didn’t opt for staying in a house-boat as it moves all day and becomes stationary in the evening until next morning. And one also cannot leave the house-boat in evening. The house-boat has all the facilities inside including AC, TV, etc. But loitering in a small place must be boring. More boring in the evening when it comes to a halt. Nothing to do except watching TV. However, staying in a house-boat is preferred by most tourists and regret their decision next day.

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House-boat

After reaching the resort, we left our backpacks and went for a canoe ride immediately, arranged by the resort manager. The manager gave a call to the canoe person and he came promptly with his canoe. The canoe took us inside small canals. The ride was happening in a slow and steady pace though the canals of Allepey. It was a lovely experience. After a ride, I went for a massage in the resort. From various options, I opted for full body massage this time. In the evening, went to the massage center located inside the resort. The massage was done by an experienced professional and with premium oils with an unique and beautiful fragrance. We also asked our driver to leave as we were so pissed with his behavior, though he had to serve us for another day.

Next morning, we opted for canoe ride again from the same person, on Anindita’s request. This time, he took a different route. He also allowed us to get down at a point and showed us his village. While returning to the hotel sitting in the canoe, I and Anindita both tried rowing the boat one at a time. It was exciting and burned a lot of calories also. After that, we finished our breakfast. I again opted for another massage. This time, it was “Shirodhara”. It is one of the famous massage of Kerala where oil is poured steadily from a vessel over the entire fore-head. It was very relaxing and I went to sleep for a moment .

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Alleppey Beach

After that, we thought of exploring Alleppey further. We kept our bags in the reception as planned to go out after check-out time. We hired an auto and reached Alleppey beach. The beach was nice. From there, we hired another auto and reached “Marari beach”. This is a pristine beach and one of the finest. This beach is mostly visited by foreigners. One can take a local bus also to reach there. There is also a resort adjacent to the beach. We spent quite a relaxing time there. Then returned to hotel taking the same auto. After freshening up in resort’s common wash-room, we reached the Alleppey station. We boarded Bangalore express at 7:30 PM and reached K.R. Puram next day around 8AM. From there, we take took a cab and reached home.

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Marari Beach

Experience in Alleppey was beautiful . Enjoyed the canoe ride and the massage a lot. As a whole, trip to Kerala was beautiful and justifies the name “God’s own country”.

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THEKKADY (KERALA)


  1. Destination: Thekkady, Kerala, India
  2. Visited on: December 24th 2015 – December 28th 2015
  3. Peak Season: November to February
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Car – Reaching Thekkady from Munnar is easy by car and takes around 4 Hours

About: Thekkady (Idukki district) is the location of the Periyar National Park. This place consists of spices and coffee plantations.

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO MUNNAR

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO ALLEPPEY

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita, left Munnar quite early and reached Thekkady after a journey of about 4 Hrs. The route to Thekkady from Munnar is scenic and through the tea-gardens. There are no tea-gardens when it reaches Thekkady town though. Thekkady is renowned for spices and Periyar National Park. Found so many farms with shops selling spices, on the way. The driver stopped at  one of the farm. We went inside and took a spice-plantation tour. Saw some spice plants and rare trees. The tour of 30 mins was good but nothing extra-ordinary. We bougth some spices from the shop. The spices were indeed of very good quality and also quite cheap. Buying spices is highly advisable.

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Coffee plant

If anyone is interested, can bath an elephant in a closed enclosure. We didn’t did that activity as we had the plan of bathing an elephant in an open area. So we visited Dubare elephant camp (Not in Kerala) later. One can also watch Kerala folk dance in evening. Tickets for both the events are sold from the same location, i.e. 10 mins. distance  from Periyar National park.

We reached our home stay in Thekkady naming “Kerala House”. This home-stay is located at the heart of the town and very near to the Periyar National Park, which is the only attraction of Thekkady. We checked-in and rushed to the Periyar National Park. There will be a long queue of cars to get inside. Our driver tried to divert us saying car doesn’t go inside. However, on forcing, the car went inside until the parking lot. Had to pay a parking fee at the entrance.

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Cocoa Tree

There are many activities conducted in this national park. It is highly advisable to book tickets online well in advance from  www.periyarfoundation.online  . Activities conducted are as follows –

  • Nature walk/Green walk – A walk through the forest. Both the activities are almost similar, but different routes are followed in the jungle
  • Jungle scout – A walking in the jungle at night with an armed-guard
  • Bamboo rafting – This is one of the best of the lot. A ride in a raft.
  • Boat ride – A ride in a huge boat propelled by diesel
  • Jungle camp – Camping in jungle.

We opted for nature walk and bamboo rafting. In nature walk, we crossed the water body by standing on a raft. The guid took us inside the jungle and showed marks of tiger paw. It was quite a dense jungle and full of leaches. We had to  cover our feet with short sacks. Leeches attacked us but couldn’t do any harm as we have taken the precaution. All precautionary measures were followed by the administration. After that, we took a stroll around the park. In the evening, we did, what we do every-time when we visit a new place. We walked around. And found there are many message centers (Spa).

The bamboo rafting was planned for next day morning. This happens from a different location (Near to Periyar National park). We had to walk through the jungle for quite some time with the guard to reach the point. There, we realized, we could have skipped the activity of “Nature walk” as most of the path we covered this time were identically same with the previous activity. Finally we reached the point and found two bamboo rafts waiting for us. This was the best part. There were chairs made of bamboo on the raft. We all took our seats and the boat-person was rowing the boat. Spotted some uncommon birds. Spotted a bright kingfisher. It gave a halt in an island and provided snacks. After a short break, boarded the raft again and returned, followed by a long walk through the forest.

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Bamboo Rafting

We met a German lady there who came for a trip. She was out of cash and want to reach Allepey.  We tried to take her in our cab, but the driver denied saying, it is against the policy in a packaged tour. No result even after calling the driver’s manager. We felt very bad. Luckily, somehow, we met her friends in Allepey. Anindita figured that out by overhearing their conversation as she knows German. They confirmed, she managed to come to Allepey by taking a bus. That gave us quite a satisfaction.

We left for Alleppey (Alappuzha), after completing the bamboo raft activity. Rafting in Thekkady was a nice experience.

Note:

  • Visit Periyar National Park
  • If on a tight schedule, go only for bamboo rafting
  • Buy spices
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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