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South India Temple Tour: Art and Culture

South India is a fascinating land boasting of rich cultural heritage and architectural wonders. South India Temple tour offers you a glimpse of the unique form of architecture which characterizes the temples sprinkled across southern part of Indian subcontinent. 

South India temples are specimen of pure Dravidian style of architecture dating back to medieval times. Various southern dynasties such as the Pallavas, Cholas, Chalukyas, Hoysala and Vijayanagar Empire have subsequently contributed to the evolution of Dravidian architecture over many centuries.
South India temple tours
Tirumala Tirupati by vimal_kalyan (DSCF3796  Uploaded by Joschi90) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The south India temple tour starts from Tirupati. One of the most revered pilgrimage destinations, Tirupati is located in the vicinity of the Tirupati temple. The city is home to a large number of temples of which Lord Venkateshwara temple is the most popular. Some other temples that you can visit in Tirupati are Padmavati temple, Govindaraja Swamy temple, and the Kodanda Rama Swamy temple.

Another major destination when it comes to temple tours in India is Tamil Nadu. It is replete with many temples situated in various cities of this region. Kanchipuram is an ancient city that lies in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu state.  It is also known as “the city of 1000 temples“ due to the fact that it houses a large number of temples. Some of the famous temples that one can explore in Kanchipuram are Kailasanatha Temple, Ekambaranatha, Kamakshi Amman Temple among others.

Another major destination in South India is Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, a 7th century port city of the Pallava dynasty situated in Tamil Nadu. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is known for its historic monuments dating back to 9th century. Some famous temples situated in Mahabalipuram are Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas and Varsha Cave Temple.
South India Vacation
Mahabalipuram by http://www.flickr.com/photos/pnglife/ [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore, is another destination in South India for those on a temple tour to more than 70 temples. The Brihadeshwara temple located here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts tourists from all over the world. Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India, the history of which can be traced back to 2,500 years. The city is built around the Meenakshi Amman Temple which is the topmost attraction here.
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Brahadeeswarar Temple in Tanjore by Aruna at ml.wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
If North India temple tour is incomplete without visiting Varanasi, the same goes for Rameshwaram in South India. Rameshwaram is a pilgrim destination which offers a dash of mythology and religion. Rameshwaram, situated in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, is one of the Char Dham’s in India.  The Ramanathaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the most sacred temple in the city.
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Rameshwaram Temple by Nsmohan at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
You will reach Kanyakumari on the penultimate day of your south India temple tour. Located on the southernmost part of Indian peninsula, the city is mostly visited for Kumari Amman (also known as Kanyakumari temple) and Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Located on the confluence of Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, the temple is a Shakti Peetha dedicated to the virgin form of Goddess Parvati.

To say that south Indian temples are repository of art, culture and Dravidian tradition will not be an overstatement. With each temple draped in sheer architectural brilliance having its own mythological significance, they attract travelers and devotees alike from across the world.  Embellished with intricately carved pillars, huge gopurams and beautifully adorned idols, these temples never fail to catch the attention of the visitors and are major attractions when it comes to cultural tours in India.
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Beginners Guide to Rajasthan Tours

Think of Rajasthan and the rainbow colors of turbans and sari is inevitably conjured up in the canvas of imagination. Although a harsh land when it comes to weather and geography, its association with numerous maharajas of erstwhile Rajputana has ensured that the allure of Rajasthan is indelibly itched in the popular consciousness and folklore. Countless stories of valor, romance, intrigues and sacrifices have lent a unique stature to the state and various journals and annals of the British Raj era have only added to that appeal.

Snake Charmer of Rajasthan (By Paris75000 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Owing to its royal legacy, Rajasthan is dotted with multitudes of fortresses, palaces, temples which form the major attractions of Rajasthan. Then there are vast stretches of deserts and diversity of wildlife which have become intrinsic part of Rajasthan tourism. Further, globally renowned Pushkar fair along with Ajmer Sharif attracts millions of devotees and pilgrims alike from around the globe.

With the ‘things to do’ list in Rajasthan as varied and vast as it is, even a month’s time is too short for a fussy traveler to explore and uncover the treasure troves of this desert state. Although conditions are harsh, traveling is quite easy as the destinations are well connected by road, rail and air with railroad being the best option.

Owing to huge tourist influx, hospitality industry in the state has developed in leaps and bounds. Hotels, guest houses, lodges and homestays have come up across destinations to suit every taste and budget of the travelers. Best time to visit this vibrant state is from October till February when sun is not harsh. Mentioned below are some of the most famous destinations which should be included to make for a memorable Rajasthan trip.

Jaipur also known as the Pink City is the capital and the largest city in Rajasthan. A young Bengali architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya designed the city in accordance with the Shilp Shastra - an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. Today's Jaipur is pink, visually described as the city shaded with the autumn colors of the sunset. Major attractions here include Amber Fort, City Palace, ethnic bazaars and Chokhi Dhani, an ethnic resort in the outskirts of the city.

Beginners guide to Rajasthan tours
By Artist: W. Purser; Engraver: Percy Heath [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
One of the few places with temples dedicated to Hindu creator god Bramha, Pushkar is no more a sleepy little hamlet thronged by domestic and international tourists and pilgrims alike. It is said that when Bramha hit a demon with his weapon – which ironically was lotus flower – it fell to three places and one of them happens to be Pushkar where a lake sprang up. According to the legends a dip in the holy waters of the lake here ensures salvation especially when performed on Karthik Purnima (fteenth lunar day of Kartik month November–December).
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By Nomad Tales from Australia (Hippies at the Ghat  Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Udaipur is another major tourist destination in the colorful state of Rajasthan. Udaipur is popular around the world for its Lake Palace which is considered one of the best honeymoons hotel in the world and which also featured in the James Bond movie Octopussy. There are many attractions in and around Lake Pichola including Jagdish temple, Puppet Museum, City Palace, Monsoon Palace among others. Apart from this, Udaipur is also famous for its festivals, which include Teej, Mewar festival and Shilpgram festival.
tour to Rajasthan
Taj Lake Palace by Indian Luxury Trains, on Flickr
Jodhpur, also known as “the Sun City” and “the Blue City”, is famous for its historical monuments, palaces, forts and temples. This desert city is one of the favorite destinations of tourists coming from various parts of the country and the world. Some of the well known sites to visit in the city are Mehrangarh Fort, Balsamand Lake, Osiyan temple, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Ganesha temple, etc. The festivals of the city also have a huge impact on tourists, which include Teej, Nag Panchami fair, Gangaur and Mahaveer Jayanti.
rajasthan tour packages
By Kroisenbrunner (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore, located in Sawai Madhopur, is one of the most visited national parks in India. Tourists and wildlife lovers from all across the globe are attracted by the fascination of this tiger reserve in Rajasthan. The major attractions of the park are wild animals and numerous species of birds. It includes tigers, panthers, chinkara, sambhar, nilgai, leopards, peafowl, Bonelli’s eagle, jacanas, black storks, etc. Ranthambore National Park is considered to be the best bet in India when it comes to tiger spotting due to its sparse vegetation.
tours to rajasthan
By Rhaessner (taken by myself) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Mount Abu
Highest peak in the Aravali range, Mount Abu is the oasis in the harsh land of Rajasthan. It is the only hill station in North-West India. Besides the salubrious weather throughout the year, major attractions of Mount Abu include Dilwara Jain temples, Nakki Lake, Sunset point, Achalgarh Fort, Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Museum and Art Gallery.

The above destinations are the most famous tourist destinations in Rajasthan and if you are planning to visit this erstwhile domain of maharajas, then including some of these destinations in your itinerary is definitely recommended. Other destination which could also work wonders include Bikaner and Jaisalmer.

Author Bio: A post graduate in marketing from University of Mumbai, India, seek out travel inspiration with friends and often through solo wandering, exploring heritage and culture, meeting new people, tasting local cuisine and choosing homestays over hotels . His travel stories and articles have appeared in several travel magazines, online travel guides and travel blogs among others.
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Jaisalmer: Travel Tips for Rajasthan Tours

If Jodhpur offers threshold to the stark landscapes of the Thar Desert, then Jaisalmer lies in its heart. Jaisalmer is popularly known as ‘The golden city’ due to the extensive use of yellow sandstone in the architecture that glows golden in the sunlight. The city was founded by Rao Jaisal in 1156 AD. The city was once ruled by the famous Bhatti kings of the region. Due to its strategic location on the main trade route linking India to Egypt, Persia, Arabia, Africa and West, the city enjoyed a long lasting trade-relation with these countries in medieval times.
Rajasthan tours
Golden Castle in Jaisalmer
Attractions in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is renowned for its sand dunes, camel safaris, massive forts, striking havelis and beautiful temples. Besides forts and havelis, the 3-day long desert festival is a major attraction for the travelers. Some famous attractions in Jaisalmer are as follows:

Jaisalmer Fort
The Jaisalmer fort, popularly known as ‘Sonar Qila’ (golden fort) is situated on Trikuta hill. The massive structure is built with the extensive use of yellow sandstone which appears golden-yellow in sunshine and honey-gold at the time of sunset. The magnificence of the fort lies in the several inbuilt structures which include intricately carved havelis, sculptured Jain temples, Lakshminath Temple and 99 poles (towers).

Jaisalmer Havelis
Havelis and mansions of Jaisalmer are worth visiting for their intricate designs, decorations and yellow and red sandstone carvings. Some of the famous havelis of Jaisalmer are Patwon-ki-Haveli, Salam Singh-ki-Haveli, Nathmalji-ki-Haveli and Haveli Shreenath.

Jain Temples
The Jaisalmer fort has 7 beautifully carved and decorated Jain temples inside the fort complex. These spectacular temples were built in the 12th century are a part of Jaisalmer’s cultural heritage. Some of the famous Jain temples include Dilwara temple, Parswanath temple, Tirthankar temple and Shantinath temple. Some other Jain temples around Jaisalmer are Brahmsar, Pokharan, Lodavra and Amarsagar.

Desert Festival in Jaisalmer
The 3-day desert festival takes place in the month of February every year. The festival held in the enthralling background of the Golden fort. The festival showcases the rich and colorful Rajasthani folk culture through various traditional art forms which include desert ballads, puppeteers, snake charmers, folk music and dance and camel race. The highlight of this festival is the famous sound and light show performed in Sand-Sam dunes.

Desert Safari in Jaisalmer
One of the ‘must do’ things in Jaisalmer is the camel safari ride in the shimmering glory of the golden sand. A magical safari in the undulating golden sand-dunes of Thar Desert usually lasts for two days with a camping stay in night to behold the rising sun in Jaisalmer. A camel safari ride allows tourists to explore the splendor of Rajasthan.

Shopping in Jaisalmer
Shopping forms an interesting part of your Jaisalmer trip. Shopping at the local markets of Jaisalmer is a unique experience. Jaisalmer is famous for mirror work, silver jewelry, antique items, silk and cotton textiles, handicrafts and embodied garments. The main shopping markets are Sadar bazaar, Manak Chowk, Pansari bazaar, Rajasthali and Sonaron Ka bas.

Hotels in Jaisalmer
Most of the hotels in Jaisalmer are renovated from the old havelis with their interiors designed in ethnic Rajasthani style. These hotels provide cozy accommodation to the guests. An array of hotels in Jaisalmer is available to suit the requirement of the tourists and fit to all price range. Various accommodation varieties in Jaisalmer include heritage hotels, deluxe hotels and budget hotels.

Visit the website of Indian Luxury Trains to choose from an array of Rajasthan Tour Packages. You may also visit the Flickr photo stream of Indian Luxury Trains for the images to get a sneak peek into tours to India.
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North India Temple Tour: In Search of Spirituality

North India temple tour traverses the courses of these significant places which celebrate and preserve the art and culture of various socio-cultural beliefs and practices. Meticulously crafted temple tours to select destination in northern part of India is a quest to bring out the vibrant aspect of spirituality and art embedded in some glorious monuments and temples.
North India temple tours
Evening Aarti at Bathing Ghats by the Sacred river Ganges in Varanasi
Beginning your North India temple tour from Delhi gives you flexibility and variety of choice to cover some most significant places of worship and pilgrimage. Delhi itself is home to many temples dedicated to and serving different religious beliefs. Some of the important places worth mention includes Lotus Temple (The Bahá'í House of Worship), Akshardham Temple (Swaminarayan), Birla Temple, ISKCON Temple, Jama Masjid and Chhatarpur Temple.

Located a few hundred kilometers away from Delhi are Mathura and Vrindavan. These are the places around which lord Krishna was born and brought up. These destinations are major pilgrimage sites of Hindus. Place of interest in Vrindavan include ISKCON Temple also known as Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir, Banke Bihari Temple, Madan Mohan temple and Sri Vrindavan-Chandra Mandir located some 145 kilometers away from Delhi. In Mathura places of interest include Dwarkadheesh temple and Govardhana Hill among others.

One of the major pilgrimage centers of international fame is located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, is the most sacred temple of Sikh community. The temple is popularly referred to as Golden Temple because of the gold plating on the upper floors of the structure.
Golden Temple Amritsar
Vacations in India
In Rajasthan, Pushkar is a major pilgrimage center of international renown famous for its annual fair. Brahma temple, situated in Pushkar, Rajasthan is the most prominent temple dedicated to the Hindu creator god Brahma. Just a short distance from Pushkar is Ajmer which is a major pilgrimage of Muslims. The Ajmer Sharif shrine is renowned for its secular character attracting pilgrims of all faiths.

Temple tours in India especially in the northern part, is incomplete without a visit to Varanasi. Varanasi is the most sacred pilgrimage site of Hindus. Considered one of the most ancient cities in world, the allure of Varanasi lies in its archaic temples and holy bathing ghats of Ganges. A boat cruise in the mythical river Ganges is a must to do thing in Varanasi.
Holidays in India
Lotus Temple (Baha'i House of Worship) - New Delhi
India is home to an array of religious beliefs, creeds and practices. To say that North India Temple Tour is the best way to experience religious fervor and Indian culture will not be an overstatement. With almost every religion practiced here in India, patrons of art and culture have seen to it that multitude of religious monuments dot the length and breadth of India since time immemorial. These places are memorial of the beliefs, culture and practices of the society and temple tours in India offer a window to let you witness the rich heritage of India in these timeless monuments.

To select from an array of tastefully crafted North India tour packages, feel free to visit the website of Indian Luxury Trains.
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Holidays in Kerala: Backwaters Tours

Kerala evokes many images in the mind of global travelers. But one of the most emblematic images of Kerala is manifested in the palm fringed, water hyacinth proliferated and Ketuvallams promenaded backwaters. Vast stretches of backwaters meander through Kerala with elongated networks of canals, lagoons and lakes drenched along the Malabar Coast.

Holidays in Kerala
Kathakali Performers - A cultural dance form in Kerala
Ensconced between Western Ghats and Arabian Sea, Kerala is inherently different from what one expects from a tourist destination in India. Kerala is fondly referred to as ‘god’s own country’ and the fascinating landscape, amazing diversity, spices and flowers and liberal hospitality endorse the ancient ethos of Indian hospitality which proclaims “Atithi Devo Bhava”, literally meaning guests are to be treated as gods. 

Kerala has been voted as 50 Destinations to Visit before You Die by National Geographic Magazine and effusively justify various accolades bestowed upon her.  Blessed with natural beauty, sun kissed beaches, vast stretches of backwaters and fertile land, Kerala not only offers an array of conventional tourism opportunities in state but also happens to be the champion of green tourism in India.

Kerala backwaters tour
Chinese Fishing Nets - A major attraction in Fort Kochi
Kerala backwaters offer one of the most enchanting ways to explore the mystique and charm of this amazing country. A ride in traditional Ketuvallams lets you discover the bucolic splendor of the countryside as you wade through the frail network of canals connecting verdant stretches of rice paddies and coconut groves. Various boat races offering a cultural slice of the region are also arranged every year at various places. The most famous backwater destinations perhaps are the Alleppey or Alappuzha, Vembanad and Kuttanad region.

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A Kettuvallam plying backwaters near Alapuzza
Add to the aforementioned attributes of Kerala backwater holidays, the vibrant traditions and mouth watering cuisines. It’s really one of those places whose fond memories stay with you long after your visit. A truly unique experience of Indian holidays in this endearing paradise will leave you spellbound. With its amazing diversity, rich heritage, vibrant culture and remarkable geography, Kerala tours ensure that you get to spend the time of your life when you plan for your vacation in this “god’s own country”.

For more information regarding tours and package holidays in Kerala send your enquiries HERE

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Royal Blue is the New Color for Royal Rajasthan on Wheels

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, the brainchild of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) and Indian Railways will begin its royal chug from 2nd of October, 2011. Refurbished in its royal blue livery, this luxury train will embark on its first commercial tour of this season with much fanfare from Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi. The most striking feature of this year’s journey on board this royal train is its royal blue color reflecting the spirit of royalty and preservation of the heritage of princely Rajasthan.

The train, which commences its journey from the Safdarjung station in New Delhi, will have two additional destinations Varanasi and Khajuraho which are considered to be cultural and spiritual gems of India. Additional facilities like the gym and a spa salon are made available to add to the pleasure and pampering of a luxury train ride. Other destinations include Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Ranthambore, Jaipur and Agra.

Two additional destinations Varanasi and Khajuraho are now also feature as the destinations covered by this luxury train apart from the usual destinations of Rajasthan and Agra. Regale in the luxury of a royal sojourn. The session beginning from October and concluding in March is the peak season for Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. The train will commence its journey from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi which becomes an exclusive venue to offer a royal treatment to the guests of various luxury trains departing from here. So hurry up and book your journey before all seats are reserved.

Images of luxury trains are available on the Flickr photo stream of the Indian Luxury Trains.
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Deoria Tal Trek, Uttarakhand

Deoria Tal was a part of my trip to Garhwal: Delhi-Haridwar-Rudraprayag -Chopta-Tungnath Temple-Chopta –Sari- Ukimath -Haridwar-Delhi. But without a separate narration of my trek for Deoria Tal, it would be sheer injustice to the beauty of the place and sheer fatigue it caused us to reach there – remember I had already conquered Tungnath temple trek and was defeated by Chandrashila peak the same day.

Children at Sari village which is the beginning point of Deoria Tal trek
The Garhwal ranges of Himalayas posses many treasures of nature which are bestowed with unparallel beauty. Deoria Tal is one among such vista's which captivates you with its irresistible allure. I had read before going there that at a height of 3200 meters, Deoria Tal's crystalline water offers a spell bound images of its beautiful surroundings. But then; let me assure you there was nothing like that…well it’s not that people lie…it was just that it got overcast the day we went there.

View of Deoria Tal, if not for overcast weather Chaukhamba and Kedarnath peak of Himalayas are visible from this angle
The pond was a small one since the water level had receded (probably due to the fact that it was pre monsoon). There was no reflection of the Chaukhamba peak in its azure water – remember it was cloudy that day :-) Still there was something magical and transforming about the place. It was just like you open the wardrobe and step outside into a world full of snow and beauty and an array of enchanting aspects of nature (remember Narnia). The surroundings were suddenly transformed; as if a Rand al Thor by opening a gateway has transferred us to a distant place (Not really Seanchan though).

Although the trail is well paved, gradient is quite steep when you climb to Deoria Tal
After walking a climb of such tough gradient and exhausting all the spirit that we had (literally and metaphorically), reaching Deoria Tal was as if Hermione had by a sweep of a magic wand has brought into effect her spell ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ lifting our spirit (literally). What eternity (yes each moment passed like that while I was toiling) of rest en route couldn’t do to our spirit, saturated our being as the sight of emerald landscape greeted us as we reached Deoria Tal.

It’s a serene place in the true sense of the word. Not much to distract your sight or senses except captivating sights and literally no sound. A journey which lets you drift afloat except that you could hear your own footstep and for that matter even your heartbeats and the wonder of it all is that the pace is just normal even though you have undertook one of the most arduous journeys of your life. I guess this is they say life is lived in moments. More than that, I believe it is the fleeting moments which arrive every once in a while in the journey that each of us has to undertake – a journey called life – which makes us feel…to steal a phrase again…’an unbearable lightness of being’. It release us…it’s so good …and yes traveling is good coz in the first place we are all travelers and each journey that we undertake is invariably a personal quest.

Nowadays arrangements are quite good in terms of camping and dining at Deoria Tal
As for the legends, it is believed that the Devas bathed in this lake hence the name, the lake is also sometimes believed to be the "Indra Sarovar" referred to in the Puranas by wandering, Hindu mendicants Sadhus. It is also believed that it was the place from where the Pandavas (remember Mahabharata they were the set of most pathetic character but that’s a philosophical and ideo-logical debate which is best avoided here) were asked queries by Yaksha. The lake is surrounded in a soothingly inclined field bounded by a deep wood cover. Set majestically in the lap of the magnificent mountain peaks, Deoria Tal is a popular destination among the challenging lots.

And as for the facts, the accommodation in Sari – from where the trek to Deoria Tal begins – is very cheap and also plentiful considering the very small inflow of tourists. There are quite a few cozy guest houses. Food served is mostly traditional but eggs and omelette are also available. As for the transportation it took around an hour to reach Sari from Chopta (private taxi)…not long but winding road. On our return journey we took state bus for Rishikesh which is not at all recommended as the journey consumes your entire day.

This post was contributed by Chandra81. If you want to contribute your travel story and tips, please feel free to contact me.
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Humayun's Tomb, Delhi - World Heritage Sites in India

Humayun’s Tomb is the resplendent example which set the tone for innovations in Mughal style of architecture culminating in the Taj Mahal of Agra. The tomb situated in Nizammuddin, Delhi was built in 1570 was commissioned by the wife of the Mughal King Humayun, Hamida Haji Begum fourteen years after his death. This complex was declared a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site” in the year 1993.

It is the first distinct example of Mughal style of architecture built by a Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyath. The tomb begins the introduction of extensive use of red sandstone in the later Mughal architectures. The tomb begins the introduction of extensive use of red sandstone in the later Mughal architectures. The interesting known fact behind this monument is that Humayun got very much inspired by Persian architecture during his exile and he himself planned to build a tomb which was later commissioned by his wife. It took 8 years to build the Humayun tomb at a cost of Rs.1.5 lacs.

The Octagonal central chamber containing four long and four short sides is surmounted by a 42.5 m double dome clad of marble which has pillared kiosks. The tomb built of ruins granite and red sandstone, uses white marble as a protective clothing and also for the flooring, trellis screens, door frames, roof space and for the main arena. It stands on a vaulted terrace eight-meter high and spread over 12000 sq. meter.

Char-Bagh Garden
The Humayun Tomb is placed in the center of 30 acre four-square garden divided into four main parts in a Persian quadrilateral style. The entire tomb and the garden are enclosed with four rubble walls. The west and south rubble wall are the two-double storied gateways used for the entrances out of which south wall remains closed. The center of the eastern wall is occupied by a baradari and northern wall by a hammam.

Royal Graveyard
The tomb was later used for the funeral of various Mughal emperors and members of the royal family consisting of some 150 graves. It has appropriately described as the ‘Necropolis of the Mughal Dynasty’. Some important names interred inside the tombs are Dara shikoh, Hamida Begum, Bahadur shah Zafar and his three princes and Humayun itself.
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South India Tours: Travel ideas in India

South India tours offer a number of destinations to the travelers with an amazing diversity in the landscape, weather and culture. There is an array of options available to the tourists on a travel in India especially in the southern part with the most popular theme being South India temple tours.

With multiplicity of attractions redolent with historical and cultural significance, holidays in South India offers an unforgettable sojourn with destinations like Mysore, Nagarhole, Madurai and Pondicherry. Holidays in South India are not just about the heritage tours. During the South India vacation, tourists can discover the exotic wildlife at Periyar, Nagarhole and other destinations. Auroville at Pondicherry is another major tourist destination attracting the tourists from around the world.

Mysore Palace is one of the major tourist attractions in Mysore in Karnataka
The Region
The southern India is one of the most developed regions in India in term of social and economic development. Not only in socio-economic indicators, two oceans and two mountain ranges and fertile plateau makes South India one of the most varied region in geographical terms as well as in terms of flora and fauna. The region abounds with salubrious hill stations, exotic forests, cascading waterfalls and amazing biodiversity. All these aforementioned factors make the region one of the most frequented destinations of travel in India.

One of the popular destinations of South India tours is Mysore with its rich heritage and historically and culturally significant past. There are many activities including sightseeing to be done in and around Mysore. The strongholds of the princes of yore, breathtaking gardens and waterfalls, Mysore with its salubrious weather remain one of the popular tourist attractions in Karnataka. Nagarhole National Park, which is a few hours’ drive from Mysore, has a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna. Nagarhole offers an enriching experience to the wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists.

A tiger strolling in Periyar National Park, one of the most rich wildlife sanctuaries of South India
Among the popular and most frequented hill stations in this region are Coonoor and Ooty. Both hill stations offer myriad attractions for guests to explore. There are a number of trekking trails starting from Coonoor for upward climb to the Nilgiri Hills. If beach is what delights you then South India is the perfect region to head to while you are on a travel in India. Beaches in Chennai and Kovalam are much popular among tourists.

Temples and monuments as well as centers of spirituality are other major attractions which fascinate and pull the tourists on South India heritage tours. An array of UNESCO World Heritage Sites which includes Brihadeeswara Temple and Group of Monuments at Mamallapuram are landmarks worth beholding. Auroville and Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry are some of the renowned centers of spirituality and harmony in this region.
Brihadeeswarar Temple is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in temple architecture.

A south India vacation promises to deliver a mesmerizing holistic experience to the tourists during their stay in India. With multiplicity of options to choose from and each offering an unforgettable jaunt during the South India tours, tourists are in for a regaling and rejuvenating holidays during their holidays in South India.

To choose from South India Tour packages, feel free to visit the website of the Indian Luxury Trains.
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Gujarat Tours: Ideas for holidays in India

Holidays in India offer plethora of options to the tourists. One of an important destination for tours to India is the state of Gujarat with its vibrant culture and multiplicity of tourism activities. Gujarat is renowned for its diversity, historical sites and varied wildlife. Popularly known as the “Jewel in the West”, Gujarat is one of the famous tourist destinations in India known for its cosmopolitan hospitality. From historical monuments to magnificent temples, wildlife to colorful festivals, Gujarat tours offer almost everything to make your vacations astounding.
holidays in India
Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad Gujarat built in mid 15th Century
Gujarat has a 1600km coastline and an easily traversable landscape. Gujarat has an industrious reputation, thanks to its Jain Community known for their veneration of ‘divine consciousness and liberation’. Stunning white marble temples, ever-so-slightly sweet vegetarian fare and prohibition laws – alcoholic beverages are banned in the state – most of it could be attributed to this industrious and pacifist community. Gujarat tours let you choose from among a multiple of options. A few of the major tourist destinations in Gujarat according to regional segregation are listed below. 
“Manchester of the East”, Ahmedabad is renowned as the commercial capital of Gujarat. In other words, it is the commercial hub of the state. Ahmedabad enjoys a booming cultural tradition, rich culinary traditions and the forte of the city is their folk art. The attractions include Gujarat Science City, Calico Museum of Textiles, Swaminarayan Mandir, Jama Masjid, Vastrapur Lake and Hathee Singh Jain temple.
Vadodara, also known as Sanskari Nagari, is situated on the banks Vishwamitri river and an important destination of Gujarat tours. The traditional handicrafts of the city are famous all across the country, which include embroidery with gold, silver and silk thread, gold and silver ornaments, and engraving on ebony, sandalwood and other wood and lacquer work. Vadodara is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Gujarat. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, emblazoned as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, is situated nearby.
Gujarat tours
Champaner Pavagarh Archaelogical Park Near Vadodara located in Panchmahal district in Gujarat, India. It was inscribed in 2004 as UNESCO World Heritage Site
Gandhhinagar, situated on the west bank of the Sabarmati River, is the capital of the state. It is the second planned city in India after Chandigarh and is renowned for its Educational and Research Institutes. The city presents the spacious and well organized look for an architecturally integrated city. The city is famous for some of its attractions, which will entice your attention towards their mesmerizing charm. The attractions include Akshardham temple, Children’s Park, Sarita Udyan, Deer Park and Craftsmen’s Village.
The birth place of the “Father of the Nation” – M.K. Gandhi, Porbandar has got its name registered in the history of the country. It is also popularly known as the “White City” because of its white stone construction. Situated on the west coast of India, the city is remarkably planned with stone structures and rich carvings. The city has numbers of religious places and public buildings overlooking the vast expanse Arabian Sea. There are many attractions, which you would like to explore such as Kirti Mandir, Darbargadh, Sudama Mandir, Chowpati, Huzoor Palace and much more.
Situated at the foot of Girnar Hill, Junagadh takes its name from the ‘Old Fort’, which encircles the medieval town. It is a wonderful nature reserve for various flora and fauna and is also the dwelling of the majestic Asiatic Lion. It is an ancient city, which has many eye catching temples, museums, palaces and caves. Some of the tourist attractions of the city are Somnath, Girnar, Uparkot Fort, Chorwad Beach and Sasan Gir Forest and Sanctuary.
District of Surat is another major tourist and commercial destination in Gujarat. it is situated by the bank of Tapti River and is renowned for its textile and diamond businesses. It is also known as the diamond capital of the world and the textile capital of India. Besides these destinations, region of Kutch and destinations such as Lothal, an Archaeological Site and a major city during heydays of Indus Valley Civilization are much popular destinations when it comes to Gujarat tours. Despite its limited diversity in terms of geography, Gujarat certainly scores at the top when it comes to holidays in India, thanks to its industrialization and rapid growth in infrastructure and standards of living.
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A Trip to Bhimbetka: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

India's Cultural Heritage for World
Rocks sure do have a way of their own. Whether carved or painted, they acquire a potency of their own and communicate a thousand words and emotions. Narrating a story of a bygone era and popular mythological beliefs translated into folk lore. India too has its fair share of rock structures. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters situated in the foothills of the Vindhyachal hills in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh in India are one such example of ancient heritage.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter by Indian Luxury Trains
Bhimbetka Temple: A UNESCO World Heritage SIte
These rock shelters showcase the ancient traces of the human race in India which depicts a heritage nearly 1, 00,000 year old. Many paintings found in the Bhimbetka rocks can be signified as the remains of Stone Age. It is also being said that these rock shelters are associated with the great epic hero Bhima in “Mahabharata” known for his immense body strength and the name Bhimbetka has been derived from the name of Bhima itself.

The Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, located in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh are only 46 kms away from the city of Bhopal. The entire area of Bhimbetka rock shelters is surrounded by rich and dense forests of flora and fauna.

Tours to India
The paintings found at Bhimbetka Caves, MP are about 10000 years old. A five or six thousand years old skeleton was also unearthed during the excavation of this site.
Major Attractions for Tourists
Bhimbetka Rock Shelters and caves are full of attractions for tourists consisting of various paintings that signify the culture of different people of different times. Created mainly in red and white with the casual use of yellow and green, the cave and rock paintings usually depicts the everyday events of the life of the people living in caves such as dancing, singing, hunting, horse and elephant riders, animal fighting, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises and masking and household scenes. Some of the cave paintings often depict the race of animal species of that time, religious rituals etc. The cave and rock paintings are categorized under 7 different periods:

1. Upper Paleolithic
The First period known as “Upper Paleolithic” was mainly consists of linear images made in green and dark red color. It shows huge figures of animals such as bison, tigers and rhinoceros.

2. Mesolithic
The second Period known as “Mesolithic” depicts the figures having linear decoration but smaller in size. It consists of both human and animal figures and majorly their hunting scenes which give an idea of the kind of weapons being used at that time.

3. Chalcolithic
This period was a transitory phase between the Stone Age to the Bronze Age characterized by the interaction between the cave dwellers and agricultural communities to fulfill each other requirements.

4-5. Early History
The fourth and fifth period known as “Early History” shows the religious symbols such as figures of gods, tree gods and sky chariots. Also the scriptures of different were painted on the rock caves.

6-7. Medieval
The sixth and seventh period mainly known as “Medieval” were mainly consists of geometric, linear and schematic paintings.

Attractions in India - UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The white colour(bottom) was made from grinding limestone with vegetable oil. The rock shelters have preserved the paintings from rain water.

How to reach Bhimbetka

Travel By Bus: Since the destination of Bhimbetka rock shelters is about 46 kms away from Bhopal, it is easily accessible by Bus.

Travel by Train: The Bhopal route during Delhi- Madras and Delhi-Mumbai mainline is the easiest and most convenient route.

Travel by Airlines:  The cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Indore and Gwalior are connected with the Bhopal Airport which is about 40km away from the caves.

For more information about attractions and heritage sites in India or any other assistance and queries regarding tours to India, please feel free to contact me.
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Planning for Monsoon Holidays in India

Wondering which are the best places to visit in India in monsoon and how to plan for it? Well here we are once again!

Mawsynram near Shillong in Meghalaya
Mawsynramin Meghalaya is India's wettest place with highest precipitation and where else but to enjoy the monsoon at its peak than the place with highest recorded rainfall in the world
As the first showers of the rains lash the country and announce the arrival of the monsoons, many places wipe summer’s dust and grime and don a lush green look.

The southwest summer monsoon, a four-month period when massive convective thunderstorms dominate India's weather, is earth's most productive wet season.

Monsoon time can be a great time to visit India as tourist attractions aren't crowded, airfares can be cheaper, and bargain rates are up for grabs at hotels throughout the country.

Travel in India during monsoon season could be a blessing for the budget conscious travelers; monsoon tourism could be cheap when it comes to air fare, and hotel booking.

Most of the popular monsoon holiday destinations well contacted to the flights and Indian road ways. Further, monsoon also allows you to behold a different facet of India, where nature comes alive in a medley of lush greenery, cool breeze, vigor of landscape and pervading joy.

Where to go for monsoon holidays in India

The best suited destinations for travel and tourism point of view during the monsoon include the desert state of Rajasthan especially Udaipur. Dubbed the "Venice of East" and sprinkled with lakes, monsoon is the time when Udaipur is at its verdant best with lakes brimming rejuvenated with the rainfall.

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
As if floating on the turquoise water of Lake Pichola, Taj Lake Palace is voted the most romantic hotel in India
For honeymooners or those looking for tranquility and seclusion along with rejuvenation and healing, Taj Lake Palace is the place to be if one doesn't minds splurging.

The Deccan Plateau on the eastern side of the Western Ghats mountain range which includes “god’s own country” Kerala (famous for its beaches, backwaters, wildlife and Ayurveda) and Tamil Nadu and Ladakh in far north India.

Stongdey Village, Zanskar, Ladakh
Ladakh is one of the best summer destinations in India that could be visited during monsoon
Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh which have a very low to negligible precipitation rate are 2 most awesome destinations to visit in India in monsoon especially in July and August.

The barren landscape, ancient Buddhist population and stunning scenery and a number of high altitude lakes and trekking ops make these two destinations the best in North India during monsoon.

Lonavala and Khandala in Mumbai are also great places to visit in India in monsoon. The magical landscape and floating cloud shroud these popular weekend getaways from Mumbai and Pune into an ethereal garb. Then there are a lot of things to do near here including nature trails and visits to old forts.

[Also check out some of the popular weekend getaways from Mumbai]

Lonavala during Monsoon
The verdant beauty of Lonavala is at its best during monsoon
Goa is also a haven for tourists looking forward to rewarding monsoon holidays in India during monsoon. With the throw away prices and less touristy crowd, head to Goa to enjoy its spirit of sussegado and to explore its rich heritage and enjoy its vibrant nightlife without getting stuch in crowd.
[Plan your trip to Goa with over 25 Goa tour packages]

Monsoon in Goa
Goa is one of the best places to be at monsoon if you want less crowd and best bargains on hotels
Draped along the Vindhya Hill Ranges at an altitude of 2200 Feet, Mandu is yet another of the places to visit during the monsoon. One of the hidden attractions from tourism point of view located in Madhya Pradesh,the true splendor of Mandu manifest during monsoon

The surrounding landscape drenched in rain take on a cloak of fascinating emerald, the gentle breeze laden with nostalgia soothes your soul and hovering clouds conjures up a mystical ambiance around this place.

Mandu during monsoon
Mandu in Madhya Pradesh becomes a picturesque paradise with the arrival of monsoon in the state
Mandu used to be the pleasure resort during Mughal period and is ingrained in Indian romance for the legendary love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati.

Thanks to its lakes, palaces, natural splendor and the romance associated with this place since antiquity, it is one of the best monsoon destinations in India.

Also check out top 10 monsoon destinations in India to plan your holiday in July and August

Packing for monsoon holidays in India
  • Heavy monsoon cause of flood and it could be affect on the transport system. Floods on the train tracks and road might affect the service
  • Sometimes, rarely flight may get cancelled or delayed too so always have some time in your hand while planning for your next halt
  • Don’t forget to pack up heavy duty umbrellas
  • Always carry a raincoat
  • Waterproof bag/backpack so that whatever you’re carrying is safe from rain
  • Carry mosquito repellant and/or mosquito net as mosquitoes are ubiquitous during monsoon
  • Wear suitable wet weather shoes among others
Booking hotels during monsoon holidays in India

Monsoon holidays in India are a blessing especially for budget travelers when it comes to book their accommodation in hotels in India. Since it’s mostly off season when it comes to domestic casual tourists, hotels are seldom fully booked in advance.

To attract travelers, most of the hotels in India offer generous discounts to those coming for extended stay during the monsoon holidays in India. Accommodations are normally available in all categories of hotels to suit every budget of the traveler.

India in the monsoons is a rhapsody for economy, landscape, environment, wildlife and yes travelers looking forward to explore this incredible country to get a glimpse of the unique hue percolating the landscapes and general mood of the people of this country.

If planned and executed with consideration, monsoon holidays in India offer one of the most fascinating and comprehensive vacations and travel inspirations in India with an additional advantage of the absence of the ubiquitous throngs of casual tourists.

And for a fussy traveler it does makes sense as it brings out the vibrant hue of the countryside and scenery, settles the dust and the grime and last but not the least generous discounts which is offered for accommodation in hotels throughout India.

[Book your hotel during monsoon holiday at IndianHoliday.com]

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Kerala Tourism: A Complete Guide to Travel and Tours in Kerala

Kerala, a state in Southern India is known as a tropical paradise of swaying palms and tropical beaches. It is a narrow strip of coastal territory draped along the Western Ghats in a cascade of lush green vegetation, and reaches to the Arabian sea. Also referred to as “God’s Own Country”, the sheer title presage the magnificence and bounties of nature and gracious hospitality with which Kerala is blessed. Due to its eclectic diversity both in term of geography and heritage, Kerala offers plethora of options when it comes to things to do and places to visit in this nature’s wonderland.

Table of Content for Kerala tourism beginners guide
  1. Introduction to Kerala tourism
  2. Top tourist destinations in Kerala

  3. Getting around in Kerala
  4. Climate in Kerala
  5. Ayurveda in Kerala
  6. Eating in Kerala
  7. Homestays in Kerala
  8. Hotels in Kerala
  9. Dos and Dont's for international travels in Kerala
An introduction to tourism in Kerala
The chief appeal of Kerala lies in its meandering network of backwaters, tropical beaches, hill stations and wildlife sanctuaries. Not to mention the architectural and cultural heritage which includes temples, forts, Kathakali and Mohiniattam dance forms. A veritable tourist paradise in India, Kerala is also a favored honeymoon destination owing to its charming countryside, lush surroundings, endearing backwaters and paradisiacal beach escapades.

Another foremost aspect adding to the romantic appeal of Kerala tourism is Ayurveda and yoga. Kerala tourism gives you an opportunity to explore various spectacular destinations in ‘God’s Own Country’ not to mention it’s green tourism initiatives to promote responsible tourism and reduce the carbon footprints of the traveler while at the same time empowering the locals to become a direct beneficiary of the tourism activities.
Top tourist destinations in Kerala
Alappuzza is one of the major tourist attractions in the state. This spectacular place is often referred to as the “Venice of the East” because of the network of lakes, lagoons and water channels, and its verdant natural beauty. Ketuvallams promenading in the serene backwaters and lush rice paddy fields and pastoral environs adding to the mystique of backwater cruise at Alappuzza is one of the most alluring aspects of Kerala tourism. But it’s not just the foray into the backwaters of the famous Nehru Snake Boat Race. A tour to the pastoral countryside of Alleppey is definitely worth stopping for to soak in some tropical village life before making a beeline for the backwaters. Also, when in Alappuzza, make sure that you gorge on that mouth watering seafood and an eclectic variety of authentic South Indian cuisines. But a backwater cruise in the calm coconut fringed water channels on board Ketuvallams is a must. Ketuvallams used to be traditional rice barge and offer an authentic experience of culture of Kerala.
Draped along the Western Ghats, Munnar is a welcome respite from the heat and humidity of the lowlands of Kerala. Owing its salubrious climate to rolling hills, scenic hillocks roofed with tea gardens and craggy peaks often isolated yet enticing, Munnar is one of the most fascinating hill stations of South India. The major tourist attractions of this place are Eravikulam National Park, Devikulum, Pothanmedu, Attukal, Nayamakad, etc. But don’t go for the usual in Munnar if you are looking forward to enjoy the real charm of Munnar. Head to the surrounding hills and serene countryside of Munnar, only then will you discover the authentic lure of this bucolic retreat.
Lying on the shore of largest freshwater lake in India, the Vembanad a part of the Kuttanad, you can actually stop here in Kumarakom to smell the fragrance which impregnates the air. Those who’ve read Roy’s God of Small Thing’s set in a village adjoining Kumarakom must have a general idea of the backdrop. Tourism in Kumarakom normally revolves around Vembanad Lake and backwaters. Backwaters here consist of spectacular lakes, channels, rivers, inlets, lagoons and canals. A ride in Ketuvallams –refurbished traditional thatched rice barges – is a must if you are visiting Kumarakom.

Kumarakom is one of the most visited places in Kerala after Alappuzza. The Kumarakom bird sanctuary spread across 14 acres of land and marshes is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in the country and a haven of migratory birds. This sanctuary is a home to birds like Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teal, Bitterns, Brahminy kites, Marsh Harries, Waterfowl, Cuckoo, Wild ducks etc. which are seen here in abundance. Siberian Staorks migrating here every year is another major attraction of this birding paradise in Kerala.
Kovalam name to fame was the discovery of its pristine beaches in early 1970s by hippies. An erstwhile backpacker’s paradise, Kovalam has developed into a world class tropical beach paradise in Kerala. It is a favored destination of honeymooners and those looking forward to a rejuvenating time in sand and sun. Another important factor contributing to tourism in Kovalam is Ayurveda and wellness activities to invigorate your body, mind and soul.

Kovalam beach has three semi-circular shaped beaches, which are separated by rocky enclosures. Although the main beaches have become too crowded, thanks to the rapid urbanization of Kovalam, you can still discover the exotic beauty for which Kovalam is romanticized internationally as you wade deeper into the coastline. Shopping for souvenirs and the mouth tingling cuisines served for the platter are two other activities which keep travelers busy in Kovalam.
Wayanad meaning “Land of the Paddy Field” is a verdant hill county draped along the Malabar Coast in Kerala standing testimony to a pre historic culture dating back to Mesolithic ages. Wayanad is known for its cascading waterfalls, picturesque mountains, wildlife sanctuary and responsible tourism initiatives. A medley of green rice fields, frolicking wildlife and surprisingly less visitors makes it an ideal retreat after sun and sand of the low lying planes in Kerala.

Wayanad is one of those few destinations in Kerala which has retained its immaculate environment owing to lesser pressure of tourism and responsible tourism endeavors in place which has roped in all the stakeholders involved in tourism. Set at the convergence of history, culture and wildlife abounding in scenic sub-Savannah forest, Wayanad is a fascinating destination set amidst the Western Ghats and Deccan Plateau.
One of the oldest seaports in the Arabian Sea, Kollam has witnesses the rise and falls of many empires through the trade route of which it was integral part in the days of yore. Be it the Romans, Chinese, Arab, Dutch and the Portuguese who later went on to colonize this part of subcontinent before conceding it to British, Kollam is a very special place in history of India as the commercial hub of ancient sea routes and trade with its ever in demand spices and cashew.

Kollam is also a secret gateway to the backwaters of Kerala with most alluring part being its exclusivity and remoteness, thanks to which it still retains a rustic air about it. Pastoral countryside, antiquated character and the street and bazaars suffused with nostalgia, Kollam offers this and much more to those looking for serene outings in Kerala. Get a taste of the unblemished character of Kerala and its culture as you wander through the lush countryside teeming with coconut groves and cashew plantation. There are lakes and calm waterways and then there is serenity which makes for an invigorating getaway in this sleepy little town.
Fort Kochi
History permeates the air and environs of this water bound region south-west of main Kochi. Fort Kochi is suffused with the nostalgia of past, dating back to when Portuguese were granted the city back in 1503 by then Maharaja of Kochi. The eponymous Fort Kochi built by the Portuguese is one of the major attractions till date. The rule of this tiny emerald changed many hands including the Dutch and the British and a stroll in the street or particularly along the beach with Chinese Fishing Nets in the background is reminiscent of its colonial heritage witnessed in its culture and architecture.

When in Fort Kochi, a trip to the Fort, Chinese Fishing Nets and St. Francis Church is a must for the tourists. Other major tourist attractions standing testimony to the rich heritage and colonial legacy of this fascinating coastal county are Santa Cruz Basilica, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry/Dutch Palace Vasco House believed to be the residence of legendary explorer Vasco da Gama. Besides these major attractions, a variety of cuisines, museums, beachfronts and islands ensure that tourists are on their toes when they visit this charming little town in Kerala.
Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve)
Home to Periyar National Park, Thekkady is known for its scented spice plantations, abundant wildlife blossoming nature and liberal hospitality. The chief attraction of this tiny hill town is the wildlife sanctuary known for its variety of flora and fauna. Spread across the entire district is quaint spice plantations and hill towns which hold captivating prospects for small treks and mountain walks. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar adds to the charm of the park.  This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake.
By Bus
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs an extensive network of buses between most cities in Kerala. They’re not the fastest or most comfortable things on earth, but are consistent and most of the time punctual. Private buses ply the routes covered by KSRTC and some private buses even ply those not covered by KSRTC. Private buses are comparatively comfortable but there timings are a bit erratic.

By Train
Trains are good for long distance travel within the state. Most trains are long distance trains with stops at many of Kerala's stations. Short distance trains are mainly intercity passenger trains, connecting only major cities like Kochi, Trivandrum, Palakkad, Alapuzha, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Kannur and Thrissur. For more information on train you may visit the website of Indian Railways click here for information or click here for direct booking from IRCTC Website.

By Taxi
Taxis are a good but expensive way to cover short distances. Negotiate the price before you get into the taxi. Ambassador/Indica Taxis are the big players.

Kerala has three distinct seasons:
Summer from from mid-February to mid-May. It's really hot and temperatures can go up to 35°C in the afternoons.
The monsoon in place from mid-May until early September. Expect heavy showers.
Winter mild and lasts from about mid-October to early February. Heavy rains occur from the last week of September until until early November, due to the retreat of the South-East monsoon. There is no snow in Kerala, although it is quite cold and misty in the mountain regions.
Ayurveda in Kerala
An ancient Indian art of healing and wellness, Ayurveda is a holistic medicinal tradition of natural therapies handed over generation after generations since the Aryan and Vedic period of history. Ayurveda, suffused with the ancient wisdom of longstanding therapies and treatments have still been kept alive here and this makes the holistic journey in Kerala all the more meaningful and invigorating.

The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ayu” which stands for the integrated relation of body, sense, mind & the soul; and “Veda” means Science. Thus, Ayurveda can be translated to “Life science”. Grounded in the principal of five elements and 3 humours, Ayurveda focuses on energy chakras to restore the natural balance and harmonize your body, mind and soul. Kerala’s salubrious atmosphere, bucolic countryside and serene beaches and abundance of natural herbs and medicinal plants – thanks to its richly vegetated forest and location amidst fertile Western Ghats -  makes it a popular Ayurveda tour destination in India.

An array of spa therapies sessions encompassing and inheriting wisdom of Ayurveda and Vedanta to pamper and breathe a new life into your body, mind and soul at various luxury hotels as well as destination spas and Ayurveda centers across major destinations in Kerala will elevate your senses, restore your natural balance, help you find inner peace and let you rediscover your spirit. For Ayurveda holiday packages in Kerala, tourists can either check into some of the luxury five star hotels which are properties of respected names from hospitality industry or they can choose to stay in special spa centers as per their liking and budget.
Eating in Kerala
Kerala cuisine is distinctly different from food elsewhere in India. The major difference that one can easily notice is dominance of rice as staple food and popularity of non-vegetarian dishes which includes beef and pork normally proscribed elsewhere in India. Seafood is an important part of Kerala's cuisine. In regions bordering the backwaters and lakes, traditional cuisine includes fresh-water fish like Karimeen (Black Pearlspot), Prawns, Shrimps, Kanava (Squid) and an array of other mouth watering delicacies.

Food in Kerala tends to include a variety of spices and most of them are extremely fiery. Kerala also has its own fair share of famous vegetarian cuisines and normally only vegetarian foods are taken during festival days, particularly Onam. One of the favorite for any food connoisseur traveling to Kerala is the sadhya, a traditional buffet in Kerala served in particular during Onam on a plantain leaf. It generally has up to 24 items served in it along with various desserts and sweets.
Homestays in Kerala
The new trend in global tourism is the concept of home stays. In India this is still in nascent stage but is gaining acceptance already. The notion of homestays is based on the realization of the “home away from home” concept. The homestays are becoming popular around the globe as it gives a chance to understand the culture and community the host family lives in. Everything is so natural just like home which inculcates respect, engenders understanding and goes a long way in making travel a journey to rediscover oneself along the way.

Tucked away in verdant plantations, serene beaches, amidst coconut fringed backwaters, along the paddy field in a bucolic village or any of the places with a distinct characteristic epitomizing and oozing with local culture, lifestyle and unique flavor of the land and its people, homestays definitely go a long way in bridging the cultural gaps between the host and the guests while offering an authentic local experience of holidays to the travelers.
Hotels in Kerala
Thanks to the growing popularity of Kerala as a global tourist destination owing to its amazing diversity, equitable climate, vast stretches of coconut fringed backwaters and bounties of culture and nature, a number of big names from hospitality industry have come up with exclusive properties in prime tourist destinations in Kerala. With tourism being one of the most important source for the state's coffers, a wide variety and choice of accomodation is available for tourists across the world, suiting individual tastes, cultural preferences and all options that fits everyone's pocket.

This rapid brush with urbanization has ensured that tourists never fall short of accommodation options when holidaying in Kerala. Be it for Ayurveda, yoga, backwaters, beaches or Responsible Tourism, hotels in Kerala offer pampering and comfortable accommodation to guest and there are hotels and resorts in Kerala catering to the different budgets, occasions and discerning of the tourists. Hotels ranging from tourist lodges to 5 star hotels and theme resorts are present in almost all major cities in Kerala. In addition to plush hotels and resorts, there are youth hostels, home-stays, travel dormitories and small lodges catering budget tourists and backpackers.
Dos and Don'ts in Kerala for international tourists

  • To be on safe side, foreigners are requested to register and submit their itinerary at the Foreigners Registration Office
  • Use bottled water for drinking 
  • Don't consume alcohol in public as it is frowned upon 
  • Do not interact with lone strangers when using public transport however interactions with families is considered okay 
  • Make sure that you are fully clothed and covered when visiting places of religious importance 
  • Nudity in any form is frowned upon for both genders and the rule applies more especially to women
For further queries or assistance regarding tours to Kerala please feel free to visit the website of the Indian Luxury Trains.
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