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Dharamshala truly is a paradise on earth! It is situated at an altitude between 4100 ft. to 5085 ft. above sea level and overlooking the plains and surrounded by dense pine trees, deodar forests, numerous streams and a pleasant atmosphere. The hill station is set against a backdrop of the majestic Dhauladhar mountains and perched high on the scenic slopes of the Kangra Valley making travellers spellbound for its spectacular beauty. The glory of the mother nature, unexplored ancient heritage sites and the presence of great Tibetan Buddhism culture has made this quaint hill station one of the most sought after travel destinations in India.

Popular Attractions McLeodganj

A suburb in the state of Himachal Pradesh, McLeodganj is also known as the “Little Lhasa”. The city got its nickname owing to the fact that a large population of Tibetans residing here. It is also the headquarters of the famous Tibetan government-in-exile, and home to various popular Tibetan sites dot this place. The scenic hill station offers stunning views of the mountains.

The Norbulingka Institute

Enter into a different world as you step inside the institute. Spend hours exploring the museums, the monastery, the beautifully done Japanese styled gardens, the traditional Tibetan architecture. There is so much to see and do here.

Kangra Valley

Lovely and picturesque Kangra valley is a beautiful gorge nestled amidst lush greenery and misty mountains. This is one of the most scenic treks in Dharamsala and should not be missed.

Masroor Rock Cut Temples

The temple of beautiful 8th century temple, also known as the Himalayan Pyramid, is meticulously carved out from a single coplossal rock. There are 15 temples in the complex. These monolithic rock structures stand as a strong contender for the nomination of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kangra Fort

Located in the outskirts of Kangra, Kangra Fort is a magnanimous structure built by the royal family of Kangra and is one of the largest, oldest and marvelous forts in India. The fort has been mentioned in the war records of Alexander dating to 4th century.

Tsuglakhang Temple Complex

It is the official residence of the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama. Thousands of pilgrims visit the place seeking the blessings of the leader. The temple complex houses a Tibetan Museum, the Namgyal Gompa or Monastery, Kalachakra Temple and is ornate with lovely paintings, traditional Tibetan carvings and architecture.

Tea Gardens

It is a well known fact that India is the second largest producer of tea in the world. In Dharamshala one can visit the tea plantations on the Dharamshala -McLeodganj road. The aromatic mist of the tea leaves along with the verdant scenery all around is sufficient to mesmerize the sense and should be on your to do list to Dharamshala . One can also visit the Dharamshala Tea Company to learn everything about tea processing and production.

Losel Museum

It has a collection of over 150 dolls dressed in different traditional Tibetan costumes. They are arranged to depict interesting scenes from the daily lives of the Tibetan people.

Triund Trek

It is a crest in the Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas famous for tourists activites including a 9 km trek from Mcleodganj. The Triund Hills are also known as the crown jewel of Dharamshala. Look forward to a lot of Buddhist manuscripts (around 80,000 of them) and archives in the library.

Library of Tibetan Works and Archives

The library was founded by the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso and is one of the world’s most important libraries of Tibetan work.

Food

Dharamshala  provides with some famous and popular eating joints that makes you familiar with the real taste of Tibet. The smell of Tibet noodles and Thukpa (both are a must try) will satisfy your taste buds.

Souvenirs to take home

Take a trip to McLeodganj for delightful Tibetan handicrafts. Visit Kotwali Bazaar for rugs and carpets that would make for a colourful addition to your home decor. Tibetan carpets and artifacts, wooden carvings, silk and woolen scarves among others make for a great souvenir.

Best time to visit Dharamsala

It is good to visit Dharamshala any time of the year, though the ideal season will be late February and March. It is the time when Losar, a Tibetan festival to mark the Tibetan New Year is celebrated.

If you are looking for snow, winter months are the best. Summer months are better for sight-seeing, trekking, mountain climbing and other activities.

Nearby major towns / cities from Dharamshala

Chandigarh: 249 Km
Delhi: 526 km
Manali: 242 km
Jalandhar: 160 km

Dharamshala is also popular with backpackers and adventure lovers. So, if you are looking for some adrenaline pumping activity, indulge in activities such as paragliding, camping and trekking.

There are plethora of other sites to explore in this old town, besides the aforementioned list. And for a wanderlust, this place is nothing less than a paradise. Also, Dharamshala is at its peak tourist season in summer and the season is just right now to explore.

Make your Dharamsala travel dream come true with these highly recommended tours

1. Enticing Dharamshala and Shimla

2. Incredible Himachal

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With more than a hundred years old history, Pushkar fair is the world’s largest livestock fair that brings Pushkar back to life, which otherwise remains serene for most of the times in a year. Host to sparkling events and activities, the Pushkar fair is one of the most intriguing cultural shocks you will experience in India. Visually appealing and enchanting, a day at the Pushkar Fair promises unlimited fun and experiences that last a lifetime. So what else are you waiting for? Hop on this roller coaster ride that promises a visual explosion of beautifully adorned camels, Rajasthani men & women dressed in their traditional attires, folk dance performances and bizarre competitions you can only find in Pushkar, the famous town perched on the banks of the Pushkar Lake.

Originally conceived with the intention to draw in cattle & camel traders for business, the fair has now become one of the largest gatherings of the state and surpassed the trading part with a great number of events and activities arranged by the Rajasthan Tourism.

When and Where?

The fair is celebrated every year with great fervor for five days on the Kartik Purnima, in the town of Pushkar, in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan. The celebrations basically take place in between the months of October to November.
Pushkar Fair in 2018: 15th November – 23 November 2018.

Why you must be a part of it?

The Pushkar fair is a celebration that can inspire, enlighten and overwhelm you, all at once. With a variety of scenes to startle your eyeballs, the Pushkar fair never fails to stun those who tread the soil.

1.Out of the box competitions

Competition like turban tying, matka race, camel decoration, and the world’s longest mustache make the Pushkar Fair totally appealing, with travelers and backpackers pouring in from all over the world.

2.Hot Air Balloon Ride

Enjoy the stunning views of the colorful camps, decorated livestock and festivities with a hot air balloon ride, one of the most spectacular activities at the fair.

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3.Love music performances by world’s best fusion bands

If you are a music lover and would love to groove to some amazing tunes by the world’s best fusion bands, then the vibrant Pushkar fair is a must on your list.

4.Shopaholic’s delight

The Shilpgram Handicrafts Bazaar, set by local artisans of the state, is a great place to buy traditional handcrafted jewelry, paintings, leather items and puppets.

5.Desert camping beneath the star-lit sky

As the sun sets, the fun at the fair gets doubled with a whole new bunch of activities one can enjoy under the starred sky. With colorful tents perched all over the fields, one can relish the most amazing accommodation at the famous desert camps of Pushkar.

6.Lip-smacking cuisines of Rajasthan

The Pushkar fair is also one of the best times to take a gastronomical journey and order everything that persuades your taste-buds. Local specialties like Dal Bati Churma, Gatte ki sabzi, Laal Maas and Ker Sangria are must try for those looking forward to a great platter.

How to Reach Pushkar?

By Air: The Sanganer airport in Jaipur (146 km from Pushkar) is the nearest airport to Pushkar. Visitors can hire private vehicles or taxi to reach Pushkar from the airport.
By Train: The Pushkar Railway Station is actively connected to the Ajmer railway station, located at a distance of 11km.
By Road: The town of Pushkar is actively connected to cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Ajmer via active bus services.

So, what else are you waiting for? Get ready for an eye-popping experience with a visit to the Pushkar Fair. For more details on Pushkar Fair and Pushkar Tour Packages, visit us here.

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The land of daunting passes, the world’s coldest desert, snow covered peaks, and colorful festivals, Ladakh is a picturesque destination that never fails to cast a spell on travelers. From solo travelers to couples and nature lovers to adventure seekers, Ladakh treats backpackers with a variety of travel interests. Moreover, it is also one of the most favored destinations among photography enthusiasts who wish to capture the ancient mountain culture through their lens. So, what else are you waiting for? It’s time to get going  for a larger than life travel experience.

Top attractions to discover during your Leh-Ladakh Tour

Zanskar Valley


With a plethora of reasons to enchant travelers including the high passes, rugged terrains, valleys, and mountain ranges, Zanskar has all the fair reasons that entice backpackers to the Lost Valley. The land of moonscapes and the mother of daunting trails that suffice your thirst for adventure, Zanskar charms the best of wanderers with its enthralling sights and the lovely backdrop of the Zanskar Range. The average height of the Range is around 6,000 m and even the highest of the peaks of Himachal Pradesh are found in it. The villages of the valley are dominated with much of the vegetation and the upper slopes are dotted with alpine and tundra species. The hay-fields covered with edelweiss is the most impressive sight at Zanskar. The wildlife here includes marmot, wolf, bear, bharal, snow leopard, wild sheep, alpine ibex, goats, and lammergeier. Also, animals like yak, dzo, sheep, horse, and dog are reared by the locals. With a human history dating back to the Bronze Age, Zanskar Valley is also an intriguing destination among archaeologists. Moreover, the Zanskar River (a tributary of the Indus) also forms gorge at certain heights in the valley, making way for extreme adventure.

Pangong Tso

With a mind boggling altitude of 14,270 feet above sea level, Pangong Tso is  one of the most visited attractions in Leh Ladakh. The 12 km long lake extends from India to Tibet, with two-thirds of it lying in the latter. The reflection of the clear blue sky and the nearby barren mountains on the tranquil lake is a sight that remains etched in the mind for eternity, making it a hot-spot among photographers from across the length and breadth of the world.

Kargil

Perched on the banks of the Indus River, Kargil is the second largest town in Ladakh with a lot of appeal. It also acts as a transit hub with well built roads leading to Padum, Leh and Srinagar. Moreover, those in search for some adventure can also go for trekking and mountaineering during their sightseeing tour in Leh Ladakh.

Khardungla Pass

At a staggering height of 18,380 feet, the Khardungla Pass is the world’s highest motorable road and a must visit. The pass connects Leh with the Nubra Valley and also acts as the gateway to the illustrious Siachen Glacier. Not a typical tourist attraction, Khardungla Pass is one of the most difficult yet thrilling passes to ride on.

Nubra Valley

Blessed with a great scenery on a grand scale, green oasis villages encircled by spine-tinglingly stark scree slopes and harsh arid mountains, Nubra Valley is a tri-armed valley located towards the northeast of Ladakh. The valley lies on the once trading route that connected Turkistan with Tibet via the Karakoram Pass. A visit to this part of the region introduces you to sand dunes, monasteries, the Zimskhang Palace Ruins, 250 years old Ensa Gompa, and the famous two humped camels. Moreover, a whole different culture awaits at Turtuk and Bogdang.

Here are top 7 Adventure Activities in Ladakh for the adventurer in you

A Shangri-la for adventure enthusiasts, Leh Ladakh stands tall as one of the ideal destination with a spectrum of adrenaline pumping action. Every year adventure sport lovers from every nook and corner of the world travel to Ladakh for its rugged landscapes, scenic trails, high passes and deep valleys. Some of the topmost adventure activities you can enjoy on a tour to Ladakh are:

Motor Biking

The rugged terrain of Leh Ladakh lures motor biking lovers to experience a ride on some of the highest roads in the world. A true motor biker’s muse, Ladakh draws in riders from all over the world, especially in between the months of June to October when the roads open up making way for a great road trip.
Best routes for motor biking:
Leh – Nubra Valley – Leh – Pangong Lake – Hemis
Leh – Pangong Lake – Leh – Khardung La
Leh – Pangong Lake – Hemis – Shey – Nubra Valley – Alchi / Ule – Kargil – Sonmarg – Srinagar
Manali – Jispa – Pang – Leh – Pangong Lake – Nubra Valley – Leh

White Water Rafting

The gushing Zanskar and Indus Rivers provide an exhilarating rafting experience in Ladakh. With rapids ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 4, Ladakh draws in newbies as well as pros for a thrilling white river rafting ride, especially during summers.
Best routes for white river rafting:
Hemis – Choglamsar
Phey – Nimmo route
Phey – Saspol
Upshi – Kharu route
Kharu – Spituk

Archery

One of the traditional sports of Leh and Ladakh, you can find a lot of archery contests that are held in the villages of Leh and Ladakh every now and then. As a travel enthusiast, you can try your hands at the sport as well as enjoy singing and dancing with the Ladakhis, getting a glimpse of the cultural regime of the “Roof of the World”.

Best time to visit Leh Ladakh

The best time to plan your trip to Leh and Ladakh is in between the months of April to October. The temperature during this season basically ranges between between 150 Celsius to 300 Celsius. It is the time when the passes are open, the sky is clear and you can easily go for trekking, ride a bike or wander through the remote villages.

So if you are in for some thrill, wish to hop on a great escape to an offbeat destination and wants to treat the wanderer in you to a heavenly experience, then a trip to Leh Ladakh is all that you need.

Recommended Tour Packages
14 Nights/15 Days Kashmir and Ladakh Extravaganza
07 Nights/08 Days Ladakh: The Land of High Passes and Moonscapes

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If your super hectic schedule has been keeping you busy enough and you’ve been planning for an ultimate adventure retreat in India since quite long then Rishikesh is where you need to head to for your next vacation.

Rishikesh is a small town scenically located on the foothills of the beautiful Himalayas. It is a popular gateway to the World Heritage site “Valley of Flowers National Park” – The 8th Wonder of the World & Char Dham Yatra (a pilgrimage retreat to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath). On an adventure note, it is also famous for its spine-chilling river rafting rides and Highest Bungee Jumping in India. For those with religious bent of mind, this place holds spiritual significance as it is considered to be a sacred spot for meditation leading to attainment of salvation. It is also renowned as the “YOGA CAPITAL OF INDIA”. So if you’re mesmerized by the sanctity of this place then it’s time for you to visit this place soon and you can easily plan your stay in Rishikesh by following our 3-day itinerary guide below.

DAY 1: IN RISHIKESH 

1. Head to the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple – a pilgrimage of Lord Shiva

Scenically located at a height of 1,330 meters, the Neelkanth Mahadev Temples is one of the most popular Lord Shiva temples in Rishikesh. A sacred Shivalinga is placed in this holy shrine and devotees here tie a sacred thread around the Peepal tree as a wish-fulfilling ritual.

2. Pay homage at the Kailash Niketan Temple

This 13-storey temple holds distinction from other Hindu temples as it enshrines idols of a huge number of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. This temple is also known as “Tryambakeshwara” meaning the three-eyed Lord Shiva as it has a self-emanated Linga (abstract form of Lord Shiva). Located on the backdrop of the beautiful majestic Himalayas, this temple attracts a huge number of Lord Shiva devotees. Simply put, this temple is an abode of religiousness and peacefulness, beautifully rolled into one.

3. Walk through the Laxman Jhula

Laxman Jhula is an iron suspension bridge with 450 feet length offering picturesque views of the Ganga River and Rishikesh city caressed with a plethora of temples. While you walk through this bridge, hear the rippling sound of the wild waters of the River Ganga as the motor boats and rafts pass underneath the Laxman Jhula.

4. Swarg Ashram – Oldest Ashram in Rishikesh

This Ashram is one of the most notable attractions in Rishikesh where you can enjoy early morning meditation sessions that will help you cleanse your body and mind. This Ashram is frequently visited by foreigners, saints and devouts who are in deep search of higher knowledge and for those who are seeking their actual purpose of life.

5. Evening Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Niketan

The Parmarth Niketan Ashram located on the bank of River Ganga has its own private Ghat where an everyday Ganga Aarti is held. As the sun sets, visit this Ashram to witness this Aarti held on a private pavilion next to the River Ganga. People from all walks of life, of all religions and all languages attend this Aarti to pay homage to Divine Mother “Ganga”.

DAY 2: IN RISHIKESH

1. Take a rejuvenating Meditation session at Anand Prakash Ashram

Co-founded by a Yog Rishi in 2007, the Anand Prakash Ashram lets you soak in the Yogic ambiance of Tranquility and gain Prana from the River Ganges. This Ashram creates a nurturing atmosphere for spiritual seekers offering hygienic food, clean water, and guidance to pursue their yogic journey.

2. Head for a trek to the Patna Waterfall Trek

Climb up to the Patna waterfall through a 1.5 km steep trek. Spend some time in solitude here. This waterfall is also popular for its limestone caves located next to it. An ideal time to visit this waterfall is during the Monsoon season when the water cascades through the caves, green weeping plants and hill slopes.

3. Go for a thrilling River Rafting session at Shivpuri

Proceed the day with a pulse-racing river rafting session that will add unforgettable memories to your life. While rafting, encounter the thrilling rapids of the Ganges and untouched nature at every moment. This is a popular adventure sport here, which is a complete fun-filled activity for every tourist as the spine-tingling waters of the Ganges sway you with its waves.

4. Do Bungee Jumping at Jumpin Heights

For those who love heights, Rishikesh is a perfect getaway to India’s highest Bungee Jumping. Try Bungee jumping from the height of 83 meters at Jumpin Heights in Mohanchatti and feel the adrenaline rush like never before.

5. Enjoy mesmerizing sunset view from the Kunjapurni Temple

Around 30 km from Rishikesh is the Kunjapurni Temple that can be accessed after climbing 100 stairs to soak in its divine ambiance. It is a small temple dedicated to Goddess Durga that is frequently visited by devotees to worship Goddess Durga and tourists for its spectacular sunset views.

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While Holi Festival is all about colours, but like every other festival, the celebrations are incomplete without some scrumptious foods that will awaken your senses and keep your mood upbeat, especially during Holi. Can food be far from festivals? Of course not! I love Holi, not only for the bevy of colours, we love to be immersed with, but also for the mouth-watering dishes unique to this occasion. Different delicacies are prepared in various parts of India to welcome Holi Festival with great zeal and enthusiasm. So here’s bringing to you the absolutely tasty list of some of the best traditional Holi food recipes that you can give a thumbs-up for a grand and colourful start to the celebrations. Take note, the foods are equally colourful as well as appetizing. Drooling already!

Gujiya

Gujiya

Holi and Gujiya are synonymous with each other; it’s the most special and symbolic Holi recipe. This traditional Holi-special sweet dish is made with thickened milk and dried fruits. Native to Rajasthan, these delicious fried dumplings look like mini English Cornish pasties.

Thandai

Thandai

A delicious concoction of milk, dry fruits and spices, thandai is usually served to guests during Holi. This Holi specialty is a must-have while you drench yourself in various colours of Holi. Mainly found in Rajasthan and the northern parts of India, this refreshment is traditionally served with the addition of bhang (a derivative of marijuana). People play in the sun and enjoy sweet sip of thandai in between. Thandai comes from the word thanda in Hindi, meaning cool, and this refreshment does exactly the same.

Pakodas – Fried Fritter

Pakodas and Bhajiyas

Different types of pakodas (fried fritters) and bhajiyas are usually prepared to keep the guests satiated. The fritters may be combined with onion, meat, spinach, potato, cheese or other vegetables. It’s one of the most customary & popular dish during Holi.

Namak Paare

Namak Paare

Another snack prepared in endless numbers for the endless Holi sessions that will keep you filled. These crispy and crunchy savoury snack will keep you nibbling.

Shakkar Para

Shakkar Paare

It is the sweeter version of its cousin namak paare. Prepared specially at festivals to offer to guests. The sweetness will stay with you!

Malpua

Malpua

Similar to a pancake, the malpua batter includes pulp of banana, coconut, flour and milk, while cardamom is added for the enhanced flavour. This sugar-syrupy sweet item is a winner. Slurping already!

Dahi Bhalla

Dahi Bhalla or Dahi Vada

This popular North-Indian chaat (a savoury snack) is a must-have delicacy in most festivals, Holi being no other. It consists of vadas (deep fried flour balls) smeared in sweet, thick curd and sprinkled with spices. Lip-smacking!!

Kanji ke Vade

Kanji ke Vade

A Rajasthani delicacy, specially made for Holi, is prepared from select variety of lentils, which are shaped into round balls, deep fried and immersed in tangy mustard flavoured liquid.

Saffron Rice

Saffron Rice

Saffron rice or Kesar Chawal is easy and quick to prepare and is one of the most common Holi side dishes that you’ll see during the festival. Oh, can you beat that aroma!

Bhang Lassi

Lassi

This Holi food is available all year round. Bhaang lassi is also common during the Holi festival. You’ll never know if you never try!

Kachori

Kachori

Kachoris are widely prepared in every household during Holi Festival, and you cannot miss savoring one of these tasty snacks. These are fried round shaped dough stuffed with spicy ingredients.

Closing Thoughts:

The two F’s – Festival & Food – go hand-in-hand, and that’s the very reason that everybody loves to celebrate festivals, don’t you think so? Food is one of the best way to get a peek into new culture and blend in as you satiate your appetite. So wait no further and join India during Holi celebrations and take home memories (tummy as well) full of colours. Definitely try the Holi dishes when you get the opportunity. Also, we would love to know your food experiences & stories of Holi.

Celebrate Holi in Jaipur with GeTS Holidays on 2nd March 2018

Check out – Special Holi Tours

Further Read: Holi – Festival of Colours in India

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It is the rich cultural and traditional heritage of India that we celebrate endless number of festivals and fairs, every month or the other. One such festival is Holi – one of the most popular, fun-loving and colourful festival of India. The essence of Holi is the same all over India, but it is celebrated a little different from the other in many parts of the country, particularly in Northern India. The selection of the destination is completely based on what type of experience you want to have. Check out the places in India with different Holi festival celebrations that, for sure, will attract you the most.

But first, a Brief of the Mythology Behind Holi Celebrations

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The Indian mythology is interesting beyond believe. There is an array of unending stories and tangy tales narrated to every Indian kid by their parents, or if they are lucky, by their grandparents. There is an interesting legend related to the colorful festival of Holi. Starting off, Hindu mythology is a close knitted combination of Good and evil, good being Gods and evil being the Asura (demon). Hiranyakashipu was an evil lord who was blessed with a baby boy, after his queen secretly prayed to God Vishnu for a child, who grew up to be a kind-hearted boy himself. There was nothing evil about the little prince and this concerned Hiranyakashipu and infuriated him gradually over time. The demon king ordered various attempts to kill his own son, but after everything failed, he ordered his sister Holika, who was blessed with a magical shawl that would prevent her from burning, to sit on the burning pyre with Prahalad. The little boy prayed Lord Vishnu for help and the blessing of Holika reversed; Prahalad remained unhurt and Holika was burnt to death.

From this day onwards, a day before Holi, in the night, pyre is set on grounds and Holika is burned. It is an important part of Holi celebration and commemorates victory of good over evil. So when you take part in the Holi celebrations this year and see Holika burning, remember this story and share.

1. Cultural Holi in Jaipur

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The first day of Holi is celebrated as the Holika Dahan. On this day, people set a bonfire and worship it with beliefs that it brings prosperity and they will be saved by all the impurities just as the mythological legend Prahlad did. People start by throwing colours to each other and kids spray colours with water guns and water balloons. People visit each others houses and greet by putting colours on each others faces. To make Holi more fun & frolic, regular events like folk dances, tug-of-war and other exciting events are organized.

And to add to the extra wow feeling to your experience of Holi in Jaipur, you can attend a local Holi Festival celebration at a Heritage property in Jaipur by being part of the special tour offered by GeTS Holidays. At this Heritage Hotel, the traditional Indian family will join you and you can cherish the experience of a lifetime.

2. Lath Maar Holi in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh

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Indian men don’t always rule the roost! In what is known as Lathmar Holi celebrations, Womenfolk of Barsana – a village near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh greets the men of Nandgaon (the birthplace of Krishna) with sticks (aka laathis). Lathmar Holi is conducted a week before the main day of Holi so this year it will happen on February 25. The celebrations starts at the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana. Though completely aware men come fully padded and enjoy the hits on their shield from the spirited women. The unlucky ones are made to wear female attire and dance in public. The next day, the men of Barsana respond by entering Nandgaon and playing Holi with the womenfolk of Nandgaon. The festivities doesn’t end here; participants dance, sing and immerse themselves in colour alongside the occasional consumption of thandai – a traditional drink synonymous to the festival of Holi, which is sometimes intoxicating. 

So Why Lathmar – Holi With Sticks?

The festival is said to be a recreation of a famous Hindu legend, according to which, Lord Krishna (who was from the Nandgaon village) visited his beloved Radha’s town – Barsana. If legends are to be true, Krishna teased Radha and her friends (gopis), who in turn responded by taking offense at his advances and driving him out of Barsana.

3. Traditional Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan

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To feel the real essence of Holi the best place to be is Mathura & Vrindavan- the land of Krishna. Mathura located at a distance of 04 to 05 hours from Delhi is the birthplace of Lord Krishna whereas Vrindavan is the place where he spent his childhood. The legends of Holi is associated with Radha-Krishna and with the cowgirls called gopis. In Mathura and Vrindavan, the festival of Holi is celebrated for over a week. The famous Banke Bihari temple and Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura is the best place to catch the throwing of colors. At Vishram Ghat, you can see the priests making bhang.

Good to Know: Widow’s Holi

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Vrindavan also celebrates the unique Widow’s Holi. It began in the recent years as a move to break the orthodox traditions that prevented widows from playing with colors or wearing colored clothes. Breaking & defying all taboos and shackles of age old traditions, these women too celebrate Holi with equal fervor. An overwhelming experience it is! Widows in India are treated as outcasts by the conservative Hindu society in India as well as their families, after the death of their husbands. Vrindavan is home to thousands of destitute women who make their way to Vrindavan (India’s temple city) as last resort, and hence Vrindavan is also known as the city of widows.

4. Basant Utsav in West Bengal

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The Indian state of West Bengal celebrates Holi by the name of Basant Utsav. The Nobel laureate and poet Pt. Rabindra Nath Tagore kick-started the celebrations at Shantiniketan, the University founded by him. As compared to the boisterous Holi which is celebrated in the whole of India, here at Shantiniketan it is celebrated with grace and dignified manner. In the calm ambience of Shantiniketan the spring is not only welcomed with colours but with songs, dance, and chanting of hymns. If someone gets a chance to be part of this elegant way of celebrating Holi, he/she remembers it with fond memory for the rest of their life.

5. Hola Mohalla in Punjab

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Holi is known as Hola Mohalla in the state of Punjab. Likewise the name, the celebrations, its significance and meaning are also entirely different. On the day following the festival of Holi, an annual fair by the name of Hola Mohalla is organized on a large scale at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. The initiative of holding the fair was taken by Guru Gobind Singh – the tenth Sikh guru. During the fair, the daring Sikh community display their physical strength by performing dare-devil acts like bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses, Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging is to name a few. Sikh people welcome the Sikh New Year with this festival.

6. Holi in the Holy City of Varanasi

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In the city of Lord Shiva, only the brave travellers who love the carefree vibe and the enthusiastic celebrations can celebrate Holi. To add some fun to Holi, bhang (a mild intoxicating prepared from the leaves of Cannabis) mixed in laddoos (ball-shaped Indian sweets or milk is served to the people. During Holi, the people and the roads are all slathered in different colours. The mania around colours remains only until noon. During the evening, you can go towards Ghats to enjoy the mellow of unimaginable colours. Do treat your taste buds with traditional homemade gujiya prepared by the local womenfolk.

7. Carnival of Colours in Goa

PC: Google Images

Holi in Goa is celebrated as Shigmotsav and is a kind of mixture between the full-fledged carnival and the festival of colours. Irrespective of religion, caste, creed and colour, people from all walks of life come together to drench each other in water and colour. The festival is celebrated over an entire fortnight and on the grand finale colourful parades and folk dance parade are organised by the local Goans.

8. Hampi in Karnataka

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South India is generally overlooked in case anyone wants to celebrate an exuberant Holi. Reason being Holi is primarily a north Indian festival; it’s quite subdued at most places in the south. However, Hampi in Karnataka is an exception! Amid loud music of the drums and dance, the whole town comes out to on the streets to play Holi. Afterwards, the crowd slowly moves to the river to wash all the color off.

Now you know where to go to celebrate Holi in India. Don’t miss to be in India on 2nd March, 2018, during the festival of colours – Holi. Your experience will enhance manifold with special Holi tours crafted by GeTS holidays.

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Come February, the backdrop of the monumental Konark Sun Temple in Odisha will come alive with enthralling live music, dance performances and festivity during the KONARK DANCE AND MUSIC FESTIVAL that is held every year in the month of February. Highly recommended, visit the state during the festival to witness exclusive dance forms of India combined with many exciting sites to discover the eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal – Odisha.

PC: Google Images

Time to celebrate: February, 2018, at the Open Air Auditorium, Konark.

[Dates to be announced soon]

About Konark Dance & Music Festival:

Celebrated as the festival of Classical Dances of India, Konark Dance & Music Festival started in the year 1986 with an aim to promote Konark, as well as Odisha as a popular tourist destination. The festival also aims to provide a platform for classical dancers in India and to showcase India’s cultural depth with the dance forms.

Some of the best dancers of national as well as international repute grace the stage and perform different forms of beautiful Indian classical dances such as Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and other classical, folk and tribal dances & music enchanting the audience.

PC: Google Images

An art connoisseur can enjoy and appreciate different forms of Indian classical dance forms at a single venue. The experience is magical and scintillating.

Other highlights of the festival:

Sand Sculpture; PC; Google Images

Sand art exhibition and crafts fairs (or mela) are also arranged during the Konark Festival, adding much gusto to the festival. Even though dance is the key highlight of the Konark Festival, the event is a complete cultural encounter, wherein the exquisite traditional arts and crafts of Odisha are exhibited.

About Konark Sun Temple:

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Konark Temple is an ancient archaeological and historical site dating back to 13th century. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, the Sun Temple was built by Raja Narasimhadeva of the powerful Ganga dynasty. The temple is designed as the chariot of Sun God, drawn by seven exquisitely carved celestial horses and features Kalinga style of architecture and erotic sculptures. Most parts of this temple is in ruins, but it is still worth paying a visit to because of its exciting history as well as fantastic photography options.

Exquisite architecture of Konark Sun Temple; PC: Google Images

THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN ODISHA:

Odisha is a hub of rich culture, wildlife, nature, architecture and arts are but a few of the many delights that Odisha has to offer. And it’s very likely that you will return with some of the best travel memories of India. There are an array of things to experience here. To name a few:

Go Bird Watching and Dolphin Spotting at Chilika Lake

Migratory Birds at Chilika Lake; PC: Google Images

Watch a Beautiful Sunset at the Pristine Chandipur Beach.

Sunset at Chandipur Beach; PC: Google Images

Take an artwork tour at the heritage crafts village – Raghurajpur.

The artistic village of Raghurajpur

Marvel at the Architectural Wonders of Temples and Caves in Bhubaneshwar.

PC: Google Images

The Festival is a potential platform for the performing artist and dance and music enthusiast. With elegant and mesmerizing dance performances in sight, no wonder the Konark Dance Festival is a big hit with travelers from in and around the globe. And it’s popularity has put Konark on the world map. So mark your cultural calendar for the Konark dance festival, in Odisha, in India.

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The new year has already embraced us and this year’s travel bucket-list must have already been noted down in the diaries of every wanderer, traveler, backpacker, wanderlust and explorer. But how many of you have travelled to places that are off-the-usual or lesser-traveled or less-heard for that matter? I’m sure many of you might have, however, there are still many such wonderful places and destinations in India that deserves your attention. Destinations, which are usually given a miss by most travel guides. And to make it little easier for you to decide, I have listed down some of the most amazing and fascinating off-beat destinations in India for you to plan your journey to this year. What say a New Year Resolution? And the best part, extra points to these places for offering some of the most wonderful photo opportunities ever.

1. Hampi Group of Temples in Karnataka – The tale of stunning ancient temples

Hampi Site. Courtesy: Google Images

This has long been a fantasy land. Take my words, you’ll be flabbergasted once you step at the immensely exquisite and off-beat Hampi Group of Temples. Hampi used to be a well laid out town during the Vijayanagar Empire (mid-13th century to mid-17th century), serving as the capital of one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in the history of India. Now, it stands tall in pride as the UNESCO world heritage site. Each and every corner of Hampi seeks attention, so make sure you come energetic and robust, as the place demands long WALK for you to be explore it fully.

Also, don’t forget to take the wonder ride on a Coracle in Hampi.

Drift on the waters on a very unique ride of Coracle. Courtesy: Google Images

Attractions: Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple, Elephant Stables, Underground Shiva Temple, Nandi Statue, Zenana Enclosure, Sule Bazaar and Achyutaraya Temple, Hemakuta Hill, Queen’s Bath and Royal Centre. Best time to visit Hampi: During Winter (October to March) Nearest Airport: Hubli Airport (143 km away from Hampi) 2. Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh – the fantasy land

Ziro Valley Camping. Courtesy Google Images

For all the Daredevils and Intrepid travelers, there can’t be a much better place than Ziro Valley to go for an offbeat holiday. This one gets my highest vote because this place might appear to be far from the mainland but it’s the hub of young and adventurous looking for an ultimate trip for a lifetime. To reach here you’ll have to trek for almost 4-5 hours from the nearest motor-able road. The journey will be arduous but its worth the effort, when you come to the lap of tranquil nature with amazing views. Meeting the remote Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh the residents of Ziro Valley.

Attractions: Hong, Hija, Hari, Bamin, Dutta, Ziro Putu, Tarin Fish-Paddy Farm, Talley Valley, Tapyo Salt, Dolo Mando, Kile Pakho, Dilopolyang Maniipolyang, Shiva Lingam at Kardo Forest, Pine Grove Special Mention: Visit Ziro Valley during the Ziro Music Festival that is held during September-October, and witness this place turn into an out-of-the-world musical fiesta.

Ziro Valley Music Festival Site. Courtesy: Google Images

Best time to visit: Throughout the year Nearest Airport: Tezpur Airport (280 km from Ziro) 3. Majuli – The largest river island in the world with heart-warming residents

Majuli Island. Courtesy: Google Images

Surely many people don’t know about it, but India is home to the “World’s Largest River Island” – Majuli. And it sure does need a place in the list of off-beat destinations of India. Majuli is one of the best off-beat places to visit in Assam with a mix plenty of history and a whole lot of nature. To feel and witness the out of the world landscapes of Majuli, I would suggest you go on a cycling tour to see its main attractions like Kamalabari, Auniati and Garamur. Go on a ferry ride to spot fishing boats, stop along deserted islands that very well qualify among the world’s best kept secrets. And, do get your binoculars as the birds that one can see here are hard to find elsewhere in India or perhaps even the world.

Attractions: Dakhinpat Satra, Garamur Satra, Auniati Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Bengenaati Satra, Amriteshwar Temple, Garmur, Auniati Satra Museum, Auniati Satra Museum, etc. Best time to Visit: Monsoon (July to September) Nearest Airport: Jorhat Airport 4. Loktak Lake – The only lake with floating land

Loktak Lake with ring-shaped phumdis. Courtesy: Google Images

After Majuli, there’s another unique phenomenon in India that is highly off-beat and deserves an applaud. It is the Loktak Lake – the only FLOATING LAKE in the world. Now that’s something outlandish, isn’t it? The lake doesn’t float, but it’s actually the floating masses of phumdis (a result of decomposing of masses of vegetation, soil, and organic waste) that appears to be floating on the surface. Some of the phumdis are so thick that it can hold a house and even a national park, and in this case, the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Another asset of this lake is – the Keibul Lamjao National Park – the only floating park in the world – home to rare and unique species of wildlife including one of the most endangered species of deer in the world – the ‘Sangai’ (brow-antlered deer), which is also the state animal. Folks, you have to see it to believe the nature’s wonder.

Best Time to Visit: October to May Attractions: Sendra Island, Keibul Lamjao National Park, Fishing Community Vllages and many more. Activities: Local cuisine, boating on the lake and more. Nearest Airport: Imphal Airport (48 km from Loktak Lake) 5. The Hidden Grand Canyon of India – no less than its American counterpart in terms of charm

The Grand Canyon of Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh. Courtesy: Google Images

India has its own version of the Grand Canyon in Andhra Pradesh. This handsome piece of nature’s architecture bewitches every visitor. Located in a small village named Gandikota, which is nestled on the banks of the Pennar River in Andhra Pradesh, the Gandikota Gorge or the Grand Canyon is a tiny paradise on earth blessed with mesmerizing panorama. Admire the shimmering Pennar River adding the much needed grace to the landscape or indulge in some adventure activities like rock climbing, kayaking, etc. The best part about this place is that it is still far from commercialization, and that means less tourist, less crowd, and you’ve the place all for yourself to explore at heart’s content.

Must see attractions at Gandikota: The ancient Gandikota Fort, Belum Caves and Rayalacheruvu Lake. Best time to Visit Gandikota: September to February Nearest Airport: Tirupati Airport at Renigunta (220 km away) and Bengaluru International Airport at Bangalore (345 km away) 6. Osian – the oasis in the deserts of Jodhpur with temples of exotic art

Osian Desert. Courtesy: Google Images

An oasis in the Thar Desert, Osian is an ancient town in Jodhpur in the state of Rajasthan. Surrounded by golden sand dunes and hamlets. Osian has earned the name of ‘Khajuraho of Rajasthan’ due to the erotic sculptures of its many temples, which dates from 8th to 11th century. This place is a delight for those who love historical architecture, and a must-visit destination this year. Osian can be discovered in a day’s trip from Jodhpur. It is a great destination for families, kids and couples.

Attractions: The Sun Temple, Sachiya Mata Temple, Jain Temple, Harihara Temple to name a few. Activities: Camel Safari Best time to visit Osian: November to March when the weather is at its pleasant best. Nearest Airport: Jodhpur Airport (65 km away from Osian) 7. Hemis in Jammu & Kashmir – at the roof of the world with the wild

Snow Leopard Sighting at Hemis

Hemis is the lesser talked about places of India in Jammu and Kashmir. And this year Hemis should be in your must-see off-beat places in India. Surrounded by snow capped mountain ranges all year round, Hemis (situated at an altitude ranging between 3,300 and 6,000 m above the sea level) is a place of surreal beauty, rare wildlife, captivating monasteries, enchanting religious festivals and a lot more in offering to its visitors. How many of you have seen a now leopard? Do it right here at Hemis National Park.

Attractions: Hemis Monastery, Hemis National Park, etc. Activities: Trekking at the mountain with expert and trained guides. Best time to visit: May to June is the best time to visit Hemis as the temperatures in winter can fall as low as minus 30 degrees Centigrade. Nearest Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochhe Airport, Leh (42 km away from Hemis) 8. Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh – India’s oldest art gallery

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. Courtesy: Google Images

The caves of Bhimbetka is the first proof of human life in the Indian subcontinent, the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age happened here. Situated 45 km southeast off Bhopal city, Bhimbetka is a World heritage site and features earliest prehistoric cave paintings dating back to 30,000 years. These paintings display themes such as animals, dance, and hunting. There are around 243 (while the actual number is above 750) rock shelters for you to explore, so come prepared to take a thorough walk of these archaeological treasure, a gift from human races’ earliest ancestors.

Attractions: Auditorium Rock Shelter, Zoo Rock, Bear Rock to name a few. Best time to visit: October to April Nearest Airport: Raja Bhoj Airport Bhopal (46 km away from Bhimbetka) 9. PHUKTAL MONASTERY – The far far away land

Phuktal Gompa, right at the mouth of the cave on the cliff. Courtesy: Google Images

This one is a must! Phuktal Monastery or Phuktal Gompa is by far the most spectacularly situated gompa (monastery) ever, and also the most isolated monasteries in Zanskar region of Ladakh. Phuktal or phugtal is a genuine place for trek lovers, as this place is a great gateway full of awe-inspiring sights and sounds. The monastery (situated 4,000 meters or 13,123 feet above sea level) was constructed in the 12th century and is situated on the edge of a rocky mountain cliff-side, at the mouth of a cave on a lateral gorge. The most interesting part is that Phugtal Monastery is accessible only by foot, so bring along your trekking gears folks, because you will have to take a 7 km long trekking route in this Ladakh region, from your start point at Padum, to reach this monastery. Once there, get a peep into the lives of the Buddhist monks whilst exploring this Buddhist wonder at the no man’s land.

Attractions: Prayer Halls and Library of Phugtal Monastery, Bardan Monastery (on the way) to name a few. Best time to visit: July to September. The rest of the months the road to the monastery remain closed due to snowfall. Nearest Airport: Srinagar and Leh Airport. From the airport, one needs to travel to Padum to connect to Phuktal. 10. DHARAMSHALA – The Little Lhasa in India

View of Dhauladhar Ranges from HPCS Ground. Courtesy: Google Images

Tucked away in the lap of the Himalayas at 1460 m or 4,790 feet above sea level, Dharamshala is one of the most popular centers of Buddhism in India. This little hill station in Himachal Pradesh, known as Little Lhasa, is home to His Holiness – the 14th Dalai Lama. Mesmerizing views of the Dhauladhar Ranges of the Himalayas will simply take your breath away. It is one of the places to learn and explore Buddhism and Tibetan Culture. Those who enjoy solitude in the lap of the nature will savor lifetime moments here. Those looking for an adventure will find their true heaven with trekking and camping opportunities.

Attractions: Headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dal Lake, Chamunda Devi, Mcleaodganj, Kangra Art Museum, Tea Gardens, HPCA Stadium (the highest cricket stadium in the world at 2250 m above sea level). Activities: Shopping in McLeodganj for Tibetan Handicrafts. Best time to visit: March to June is the best time as it doesn’t get too hot or too cold during this season. Nearest Airport: Gaggal Airport (15 km away from Dharamshala)

Each of the above mentioned destinations are capable to blow your mind away with its unique charm. Watch this space for more such unique and off-beat destinations in India that are a must-travel.

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Kashmir is a picturesque kaleidoscope of India’s natural beauty that has always enthralled its visitors by its pristine surroundings, luscious food, traditional handicrafts, changing hues with every season and not to miss, the mighty Himalayas and lots more.

The 331 year-old Mughal dynasty of India labeled Kashmir as the ‘Paradise on Earth’ where they often journeyed to beat the heat in summers. The beauty of Kashmir is impossible to describe in words. Thousands of tourists have been a witness to this splendid place and desire to visit again and again. Nonetheless, it is no less than a dream destination of India.

So let’s see what Kashmir has to offer us.

WHAT TO SEE IN KASHMIR?

1. Sonmarg (Approx. 9,180 ft.) – the land of Gold Meadows

SONMARG

This beautiful hill station nestled in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir is noted for its Golden-coloured meadows of yellow crocuses filling up this valley in the spring. The moment you step into this city, you’ll notice the snow-covered mountain at the backdrop, creating an altogether different charm of white. The major highlights of this town is the wonderful collection of flowers it boasts and is the popular trek base camp that leads to the Amarnath Caves.

Attractions: Zoji La Pass, Thajiwas Glacier, Nilagrad River, and Krishnasar Lake, etc.

2. Gulmarg (Approx. 8,690 ft.)

GULMARG

Gulmarg is a favored tourist spot for skiing activities. It is also home to the 2nd highest cable car in the world – Gondola cable ride that whisks you to an elevation of 13,500 ft. above sea level and stretches over 5 km. Various other activities like snowboarding, snow scooters and snow bobbing are enjoyed by adventure lovers here.

Must Do: Professionally-guided Ski at 14,000 feet above sea level.

3. Yousmarg (Approx. 8,900 ft.)

YOUSMARG

Yousmarg is a grassy hilltop meadow located approx. 47 km from Srinagar covered with dense pine trees, grasslands with multi-hued blossoms and snow-clad mountains in the backdrop. This is a beautiful valley blessed with pristine beauty. It is also regarded as the ‘Meadow of Yesu’ meaning home of the Lord.

Attractions: Pakherpora Shrine, Doodh Ganga, Charari Sharief, Nilnag Lake etc.

4. Pahalgam (Approx. 7,200 ft.)

PAHALGAM

Situated around 95 km from Srinagar, this hill station stands at the confluence of Lidder River. Over the years, this place has entertained its visitors with its spectacular views of Mother Nature. It has been a favored shooting spot of various 90’s Bollywood movies and is the only area where saffron is grown in Asia.

Attractions: Betaab Valley, Sheshnag Lake, Tulian Lake, Chandanwari and Kolahoi Glacier.

5. Drass valley (Ranging from 16,000 feet to 21,000 feet)

DRASS VALLEY

Situated in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir, Drass Valley is considered to be India’s coldest inhabited place where temperature drops to a spine-chilling minus 45 degree Celsius. At dusk time, the untouched beauty of this valley with the barren brown mountains displays different shapes and textures as they move across the rocky landscape. The banks of the Dras River here are an abode of various upland villages that will compel you to gaze at the quaintness and flower-sprinkled grasslands. The freezing temperatures of the Drass Valley is truly a timeless experience to enjoy its most picturesque viewpoints.

Attractions: Dras War Memorial, Matayen village – the first village after Zoji La Pass, etc.

Popular Treks: Mushko Valley Trek, Saliskote Valley, Surunath Valley, Amarnath, etc.

6. Srinagar – Heavenly feast to the Eyes

SRINAGAR

Srinagar is the crown of Kashmir Valley cascading with sky-high mountains that gives an experience, you’ll never forget. The warm-hearted and welcoming people, sumptuous non-vegetarian delights, a Golf-course counted as the largest 18-hole golf courses in the country, hand woven carpets, and varied articles made of walnut wood and copperware, etc., are a few things that will leave you awed here.

Attractions: Dal Lake, Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Mughal Gardens, Nishat Bagh, Jamia Masjid and many more.

THINGS TO DO IN KASHMIR

1. Take a Shikara Ride at the Dal Lake – a worthful pleasure

SHIKARA RIDE – DAL LAKE

2. Enjoy a houseboat stay at the Dal Lake – amidst the glittering white snow of Kashmir

HOUSEBOAT – DAL LAKE

3. Witness the saffron fields in Pulwama – a land of saffrons and clear blue skies

SAFFRON FIELDS – PULWAMA

4. Explore the marble temple of Kheer Bhavani Temple

KHEER BHAWANI TEMPLE

5. Visit the Shalimar Bagh – the largest Mughal Garden of India

SHALIMAR BAGH

6. Take a trek trail to the Thajiwas Glacier – the best of Sonmarg

THAJWAS GLACIER

7. Savor the aromatic Roghan Josh, finger-licking Chicken Biryani and Kashmiri Dum Aloo to get your taste buds going

KASHMIRI DUM ALOO

CLOSING THOUGHTS
As you all now are somewhat intimate with the enchanting KASHMIR, it’s the best time to plan a much needed trip to Kashmir soon. So get going as the HEAVEN CALLS YOU!
HAPPY TRAVELLING!

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UDAIPUR, the Venice of the East in Rajasthan, will sweep you off your feet as you step in this dreamy city of India. Drink in the mesmerizing views of its palaces surrounded by lakes, stroll through its labyrinthine streets, witness the spectacular sunrise and sunset on a boat ride, observe stunning views of the Udaipur city from the Sajjangarh Fort located on a hilltop, get deeper insights of the royal Kings of Udaipur with a visit to the City Palace and on a fun note, enjoy a cultural dance and music show at a popular Haveli and end your day with a sumptuous Dinner besides the Lake Pichola. Enough said, this pristine city nestled in the Aravalli hill ranges has a lot to offer – be it palaces, museums, parks or artisan hubs, you’ll get tired exploring this entire city in 48 hours time. However, we have hand-picked few attractions that will definitely make your trip – unforgettable and worthwhile one. 

If you’re wondering how anyone could explore and imbibe the charm of this city in just 48 hrs then below is a perfect itinerary guide that will let you discover Udaipur like a Pro…

DAY 1: 1. Breakfast at a local cafe – Udai Art Cafe in Udaipur

UDAI ART CAFE

Head to the Udai Art Cafe to begin your day with a refreshing cup of coffee, tasty local and Greek food while you watch the busy city life from this cafe. Owned by a Greek woman, it is a great spot for a delicious breakfast, lovely Greek fresh-pressed coffee with beautiful artwork to glance upon.

Open Timings: 07:30 AM – 09:00 PM

2. Get lured by the pristine vistas of the Sahelion ki Bari
(Approx. 4 km away from Udai Art Cafe)

SAHELION KI BARI

Sahelion-ki-Bari or the Courtyard/Garden of maidens is a beautiful garden located on the banks of Lake Fateh Sagar. It houses many lotus pools, marble pavilions, elephant statues and numerous fountains. It was built by Maharana Sangram Singh and presented to his queen and the 48 maids who accompanied her in her marriage. This garden need not take 30 minutes to explore. Click good pictures without much hindrance here.

Attractions: The lotus pond is one of the main attractions here for its beautifully-sculpted elephants and the mesmerizing charm of the lotus leaves spread over the pond. The unique fountains here create a rain effect for a natural air-conditioning ambiance.

3. Witness the royal palace of Udaipur – City Palace and Museum
(Approx. 4 Km from Sahelion ki Bari)

CITY PALACE

Also known as the Garden of the Maidens, this was a former leisure spot of the Mewar King and royal women. You can take a 30-minutes walk here exploring the old age grandeur of the Mewar Kings, Queens and their leisure. The water gardens, naturally-working fountains and pools are clearly built as 17th century air-conditioning here. Spend time clicking beautiful photographs here.

4. It’s Lunch time! Try a local restaurant

SAVAGE GARDEN RESTAURANT

Now you’ll stop over for Lunch at the Savage Garden – a Garden of Foodies. Located right in the center of the city, a narrow lane leads you to a typical traditional door that further takes you to this cafe. On entering, you’ll be welcomed with fresh pink bougainvillea and an indigo wall at the backdrop. Its surreal ambiance and sumptuous food is the soul of this place that makes it a worth visit!!

Cuisine offered: Italian, Indian and Mediterranean.

Note: If you have difficulty locating it, feel free to ask for directions from local shopkeepers. Don’t be put off when you first arrive at the location. Even though it may be hard to reach here, it’s totally worth it.

5. Witness the old world charm of the Bagore ki Haveli and Museum
(Approx. 350 m away from Bagore ki Haveli)

BAGORE KI HAVELI

This 18th century Haveli of Udaipur located on the Gangaur Ghat is a set of more than 100 rooms and has an in-house museum that displays surreal collection of traditional costumes, modern art, periodic photos of Udaipur Kings, traditional Mewar paintings, beautiful glass-works and belongings of the Rajput Kings including jewelry boxes, dice-games, hand fans, rose water sprinklers, etc. for you to explore. This Haveli offers a sneak peek into the royalty of the Kings and Queens of its time. The folk dances and musical performances in the evening are one of the major highlights here.

Visit Timings: 10:00 Am to 05:30 Pm

6. Pay a spiritual visit to the Jagdish Temple
(Approx. 220 m away from Bagore ki Haveli and Museum)

JAGDISH TEMPLE

You can then make a visit to the nearby Hindu Temple, known as the Jagdish Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu (upkeep of the world). The four-armed idol of Lord Vishnu carved out of a single black stone is the main attraction here. You need to climb through the elephant-flanked steps to reach this temple.

7. Witness the cenotaphs of the royal Kings at Ahar
(Approx. 5 km from Jagdish Temple)

ROYAL CENOTAPHS OF AHAR

Ahar boasts a number of royal cenotaphs that are around 350-year old. It was a former cremation ground of the Mewar Kings and now, it is a renowned architectural site. The architraves of the cenotaphs’ roofs are embellished with ornamentations and are reminiscent of the 15th century temples. All the cenotaphs are built of white marble adorned with intricate carvings and topped with snowy domes.

Main Attractions: The 56-pillared cenotaph of Maharana Sangram Singh and the cenotaph of Maharana Amar Singh are some of the few interesting ones.

There is also the Ahar Museum that has an unusual assortment of antiques to display including pots, iron objects and other artifacts that were used by the primeval people and many other artifacts.

8. Enjoy a spectacular Dharohar Show at Bagore ki Haveli
(Approx. 6 km from Ahar)

GHOOMAR DANCE AT BAGORE KI HAVELI

After a visit to the Jagdish Temple, gear up for a captivating cultural show at the Bagore ki Haveli. Get introduced to vibrant and energetic traditional dance forms of Marwari, Bhil and western Rajasthan – Mer, Samai, Chari, Kalbelia, Ghoomar, Bhavai, Banjara, etc. The Mer dance form depicts the stout physical appearance and fighting spirit of the performance through their dance. The Samai dance involves dancers balancing traditional brass lamps on their head while performing dance movements in rhythm with folk musical instruments playing at the backdrop. The Kalbelia dance is the dance performed by a nomadic group of Rajasthan wherein the movements are somewhat reminiscent of the graceful and supple movements of the snake as they belong to the community of snake charmers. The Ghoomar dance is the dance of the royal families usually performed in wedding ceremonies. The thrilling Bhavai dance is performed to represent how the ladies carry water every day with brass vessels on the head. The artists also dance on sharp edges of metal plates and broken glasses. This show also includes a puppet show, which is one of the most entertaining highlights.

Dharohar Show Timings: 7 pm to 8 pm

9. Prep up for an unforgettable dining experience at UPRE 1559

UPRE 1559 AD Restaurant

For evening, settle in for dinner at UPRE 1559 – a luxury dining spot located on the terrace of Lake Pichola. Enjoy your dinner gazing upon the fountains strung with colored lights, Udaipur’s skyline, the City Palace, Lake Palace, bathing ghats and embankments of Lake Pichola with traditional music playing at the backdrop.

Cuisine offered: Indian and International cuisine with cocktails and wines.

DAY 2:  1. Soak in the traditional ambiance and Italian delicacies at Oladar Restaurant & Cafe in Udaipur

OLADAR VILLAGE CAFE

Sip in freshly-brewed Italian coffee and explore through an extensive menu consisting of Italian, Indian, Continental and other cuisines for breakfast here and experience the feel-good vibe of the space. The interiors of this cafe is inspired from various elements of village life and depicts a fusion of Indian and European-style villages. An interesting feature about this Cafe is that everything in the cafe is made by recycling or redesigning old things.

Delicacies offered: All Day Breakfast, Salad, Appetizers, Sandwiches, Burgers, Desserts, etc.

2. Discover the heights of Monsoon Palace/Sajjangarh Palace
(Approx. 9 km from Oladar Village Cafe and Bar)

SAJJANGARH PALACE

After a hearty breakfast, proceed to the Sajjangarh Palace built in 1884. A former astrological centre, this fort was purposely built to monitor the approaching monsoon clouds better in the area and this is why, it’s also called the Monsoon Palace. Overlooking the Lake Pichola, the bird’s-eye view of the Udaipur city from this fort cannot be described and the beauty of this view multi-folds during the monsoon season. It is also popular for its spectacular sunset views, so try to witness one sighting on your visit. Close to this palace is the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary where you can stroll through the natural habitat of Tigers, Sambhar Deer, Nilgais, Blue bulls, Panthers and many other animals.

3. Savor Indian cuisine for Lunch at a rooftop Sun and Moon Restaurant at Hotel Udai Niwas
(Approx. 8 km from Sajjangarh Palace)

SUN AND MOON RESTAURANT

Stopover for lunch at Sun and Moon – a rooftop restaurant enjoying the highest possible views of the Udaipur city and Lake Pichola. Cherry on the top is the warm staff and owners and finger-licking food that make it perfect for a soul-filling lunch.
Cuisine offered: Indian, Asian, Fast Food

4. Head to Shilpgram – a living museum of traditional Art and Crafts of Udaipur
(Approx. 6 km from Sun and Moon restaurant)

SHILPGRAM

Shilpgram is an ethnographic museum that showcases the local lifestyle of the folkmen and tribals of the region. It is considered as a museum of traditional Art and Crafts of Rajasthan. It is a complex of huts pertaining to a certain type of Rajasthani architecture. Here you can see Contemporary urban ceramists, potters, visual artists, designers, etc.

Note:
1. Explore local food stalls around the complex to savor authentic Rajasthani cuisine.
2. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes that allows you to take a long stroll around the huts and traditional stalls here.
3. Photography is allowed here so do carry your camera along.

Open Timings: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Best time to visit: An annual fair is held here that is entertaining and educational at the same time.

5. Excursion to the Vintage Classic cars museum/Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum


Udaipur is dotted with various museums that showcase the royalty of its Kings in different ways.

Take a leap into the Udaipur royalty at the Vintage Classic Cars Museum:

(Approx. 2 km from Mansapurna Karni Ropeway)

VINTAGE CLASSIC CARS MUSEUM

The Vintage Classic Cars Museum displays a range of working vintage cars that belong to the former and present Royals of Udaipur that have been painstakingly restored.

What to see: A seven-seat 1938 Cadillac complete with purdah system, Rolls-Royce Phantom used in the Bond film “Octopussy” and the Cadillac convertible that whisked Queen Elizabeth II to the airport in 1961 and a lot more.

Watch Udaipur Art at its best at the Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum:

(Approx. 5 km from Mansapurna Karni Ropeway)

BHARATIYA LOK KALA MUSEUM

A private folk-art museum in Udaipur, the Bharatiya Lok Kala Museum offers deep insights into the lavish life of Udaipur kingdom. This museum has a fine collection of traditional costumes, tribal jewelry, turbans, dolls, masks, musical instruments, paintings and puppets, which are the highlights of the museum.

You can visit any of these museums that suits your interest.

6. Explore the local bazaars of Udaipur

FAMOUS CRAFTS OF UDAIPUR

Coming to a shopping spree in Udaipur, the Bada Bazaar, Hathi Pol, Chetak Circle and Palace Road are some of the most famous shopping arcades here.

While shopping, the real charm of shopping comes in exploring the chaotic bazaar streets of Udaipur and bargaining with the local shopkeepers. Make sure that you’ve plenty of time to discover the vibrant Udaipur bazaars.

The bazaars of Udaipur host an amazing variety of handicrafts ranging from hand-made puppets, wall hangings, hand-made diaries, embroidered umbrellas, designer wooden boxes to an assortment of pottery, brass-ware, terracotta sculptures, traditional clothes adorned with batik (wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth) touch. Also, visitors can find stunning jewelry pieces that are reminiscent of the royal and elite cultural past. Look forward to an array of necklaces and bracelets studded with semi-precious stones, Polki jhumkas (chandelior earrings) to Kundan naulakha necklaces (a long necklace studded with a set of gems with gold foil covering between the stones and its mount or Meenakari jewelry (where the grooves or engravings in the ornaments is coated with coloured enamels). Simply said, the bazaars of Udaipur define the culture and skills of the local craftsmen of Rajasthan through its spectacular collection of Rajasthani items.

7. Spend your evening watching Sunset at Lake Pichola – try some good old-styling boating here

SUNSET BOAT RIDE AT LAKE PICHOLA

Nothing can be better than an early morning walk at a lakeside to start your day in Udaipur. Hence, start your day with a stroll around the Pichola Lake at a well-laid walkway, absorbing the captivating sunrise views without which a trip to Udaipur is incomplete. You can also opt a boat ride here.

Note: Reach an hour before sunset as it is the best time to go for boating at Pichola.

8. Dinner at Millets of Mewar/Tribute – A Gourmet Paradise

MILLETS OF MEWAR RESTAURANT

Indulge in a unique gluten-free dining experience, hard to find anywhere else in Udaipur, at the Millets of Mewar – a healthy fusion Indian restaurant. Enjoy floor-cushion seating, instrumental music playing in the backdrop, local art decor at this place. The Millets of Mewar restaurant in Udaipur perfectly alters the perception of “We are What we Eat” and makes use of traditional grains, raw/steamed vegetables, nutritious and eco-friendly food with great taste.

Today if time permits, visit the gorgeous Ranakpur Jain Temple (Approx. 2 hours from Udaipur) – a pure white marble temple carved out of 1,444 pillars.

How to reach Udaipur?

By Air:
The closest airport is Maharana Pratap Airport, located approx. 20 km away. It is well-connected to major cities of India.

By Rail:
Udaipur hosts a vast railway network that is well-connected to cities including Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.

Places close to Udaipur:
Driving distance from major tourist attractions:
Jaipur: 400 km
Bundi: 300 km
Chittorgarh: 120 km
Jodhpur: 270 km
Kumbhalgarh: 85 Km
Ranakpur: 95 km

Notes/Tips:

1. To visit all the popular attractions of Udaipur within time, arrive on the previous day so that you can begin your tour next day.
2. Most of the attractions in Udaipur are present close to the Lake Pichola, it is recommended that you choose your stay close to this lake.
3. The best time for a Boat Ride is early morning for sunrise and evening as the sun begins to set. So, you can head for a boat trip as per your comfort and interest.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Udaipur is a city filled with surprises in every corner. Do not consider the above list, the gist of the city. There is still lots more to explore in this gorgeous city BUT for that you need to plan a longer trip here. So read a little more about the city, know more about its culture and traditions before visiting Udaipur next. We hope this 48-hour Udaipur itinerary offers you enough reasons to actually visit this place and makes your sojourn worthwhile. You can always customize this itinerary as per your trip schedule, stay and interest. However, if your Udaipur stay is 48 hrs then we have ensured that you discover this city in the best way possible within a span of 48 hours. So STOP THINKING AND START PLANNING A TRIP TO UDAIPUR THAT YOU WILL CHERISH FOREVER.

Click here to check out our Rajasthan tours and KEEP TRAVELLING!!

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