The shivery wind of winter brings along a flood of tourists to Kutch, Gir, Somnath and Dwarka. This also leads to the crowd thronging to the city of Ahmedabad. It is the entry-point or the well-connected city to travel to other parts of Gujarat. In fact, this World Heritage City is more popular for the architectural marvels surrounding it. Ahmedabad having been crowned with the heritage city tag fascinates many travellers. Thus, here, I have compiled a mini-guide covering lesser-known places to visit near Ahmedabad within 2-days. You may skip the places based on your interest to shorten it to One-day trip from Ahmedabad.
The places enlisted here are located within 200 km from Ahmedabad. The roads will take you through the yellow blooming mustard fields and verdant farms. Read more
The Chennakesava Temple of Somanathapura, built during the rule of the Hoysala Dynasty of Karnataka, illustrates the prolific skills of the sculptors of that era. It is a sheer exhibition of Hindu scriptures moulded in lifelike sculptures. For an artist, it is a temple where the creators left behind an art gallery for the generations to come. Even for a layman, it would have been a school to grasp the unwritten mythology through an easy pictorial representation. Historians claim it to be an artwork that led Hoysalas to the zenith of their architectural glory. This ornately chiselled ancient temple of India is located near Mysore and is also accessible from Bangalore by road.
Being a non-functional temple, it opens only at 8:30 am and closes down before the sun sets by 5:30 pm. On any weekend it would be a sea of humans in the temple complex. However, weekdays are quiet and only a handful of tourists come for a visit here. We went on Thursday noon and we were around 10 people on the premise at any given time. We took about two and a half hours to completely understand the stories depicted in each sculpture. Read more
Ayurveda, waterfalls, centuries-old temples, and beaches are the first few things that strike your mind when you think about Kerala. But that’s not it! Kerala is also known for several hill stations that are surrounded by tall mountains and natural vegetation. One such picturesque hill station that falls in the state of Kerala is in the town of Palakkad. The specialty of this town is the Pala trees, one of the most popular flora species that were once the main attraction of Kerala. The town gets its name Palakkad for the abundance of these trees. Read more
“Oh dear Lord, let me be born again in Banavasi, if not as a human then maybe as a honeybee. Let me over the flowery fields surrounding this beautiful land.” – Adikavi Pampa.
The Banavasi village is still a less explored place, the beauty of which has inspired the works of many ancient poets. A belief also persists that Mahakavi Kalidasa was inspired to create ‘Meghdoot’ by the beauty of Banavasi. Dramatically set around the Historic Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi looks like a movie set in the land where Varada River flows on both its sides.
The quiet and often misty lanes of Banavasi are flanked by old-styled and yet aesthetically neat houses. The ancient walled fort dating back to the 5th Century now lies in ruins veiled by bushes and trees. The town of Banavasi also finds its traces in the work of Claudius Ptolemy. (the one who created the first world map) Read more
The moment we hear the name ‘Udupi’ , a spiritual town image pops up in the display screen of our mind. And at the same time, our foody mind scrolls through all the possible images of Udupi sambhar, vada, idli, and dosa. But this little town has one more image of it to show you. With a number of amazing beaches, you can prepare an unending list of places to visit and things to do in Udupi.
A few of the beaches in Udupi are as beautiful as the beaches in the islands of Andaman. In fact. the St. Mary’s Island in Udupi can definitely give you a feel of being in Andaman. Unlike the beaches of Goa and other famous tourist towns, the beaches in Udupi are clean and well maintained. In fact, while in Goa, I totally avoided the crowded beaches and instead opted for the exploration of Museums, spice plantation, Portuguese colonies and the temples of Goa.
But Udupi was altogether a different experience. Read more
Manali in Himachal Pradesh has long attracted tourists, particularly during the summer months, when entire India suffers the wrath of the unbearable heat waves. People need a quick escape in the Himalayas and they usually end up in Manali making it a crowded junction. The ease of access from New Delhi and Chandigarh also made Manali a popular weekend getaway – just catch a comfortable evening bus and wake up in Manali the following morning. While getting to Manali is certainly an easy deal, it has unfortunately lost its originality with such soaring popularity, and with it, any possibility of getting a peaceful holiday experience. From Manali to Old Manali to Vashishth, all connecting towns have become a touristic chaos. And camping near Manali, somewhere away from the town is the only option to escape the madness. Read more
Nyokum Yullo, that literally means ‘coming together to celebrate’ is a pre-cultivation festival of the Nyishi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The chanting of the Mantras, rituals and the sacrifices are made to invoke and please the Mother Nature or Goddess Nyokum who is supposed to bless the land with rains, fertility, and production and also save them from the wrath of nature in any form viz. famine, flood, drought or infections to their crops. The prayers also aim to seek the safety of the Nyishi people from any accidents or unforeseen circumstances.
The festival is also an opportunity for the Nyishis to meet others and cherish the proud heritage of their declining culture. It is a way for the Nyishis to preserve their ancient religion of Donyi Polo during the time of modern influences and the prevalence of other dominating religions. Read more
My first encounter and an impression of the Nyishis, one of the major tribes of Arunachal Pradesh in India, was that of a jolly natured people who dressed like ancient Greeks. And their adaptation of modern fashion stunned me even more. The grand celebration of 50th Nyokum Yullo Festival at Yazali brought me closer to the unbelievable fashion sense and creativity in their tribal costumes. The striking part was that each model showed the indigenous sense of the tribe to utilize the natural objects that almost nullifies the garbage. Apart from the Nyishi tribe that wears a costume called Par Eij and Pomo, here you would see the variety of Arunachal Pradesh traditional dresses.
She roars like a lioness as she plunges down the rocks creating a smoggy riot named Dhuadhaar falls and tumbles down the rocky path creating the wavy music. Then, like a tired child, she falls into a deep slumber in a cradle of the silky marbles. Sunbirds sing a lullaby to her as she quietly slithers through the marble rocks at Jabalpur, leaving them sculpted with indefinite designs. Read more
Ayodhya is a gem for the travelers as it is totally untouched when it comes to the development from the point of view of tourism. The town of Ayodhya has the temples built by the kingdoms of ancient India that also includes the Kingdoms of South. While roaming around this temple town, I came across the temples built by the kingdom of Orchha, Golconda, Datia, Banaras and many more. Thus, you get to see the architecture style of each ancient kingdom of India right here in this town.That’s not it. The places to visit in Ayodhya also includes historic gurudwara, the ghats of river Saryu and the antique streets of this town that looks straight out of some ancient Indian literature book.