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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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