Thursday, June 18, 2009


An ideal place to unwind on the weekends far from the hustle bustle of everyday din, Khandala is one of the major hill stations in India in the state of Maharashtra. Nestled at an altitude of 625 meters, it sits pretty on the western slopes of the Sahyadri mountain range. Gifted with abundant natural beauty, Khandala offers beautiful green environs and draws the interest of travelers from far and wide.A small but beautiful hill station, the town of Khandala provides a spectacular view of the lush green hilly surroundings. If you are tired of the daily work and toil, you can drive down a distance of 101 kms from the busy city of Mumbai to soak a few moments’ peace and pleasure. It has several trekking trails around it which is a delight for the adventure lovers. Earlier, Khandala was a part of the terrain of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Later it eventually went to the power of the British. Khandala is positioned at the top end of the Bhor Ghat on the roadway between the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan plain. The Ghat serves an extensive amount of both road and rail traffic. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the main connection between the main cities of Mumbai and Pune, cuts through Khandala.
Located barely 5 km from Khandala is the other famous hill station of Lonavala which also has the similar picturesque landscape as that of Khandala. There are plenty of lakes around Khandala like the Tugauli Lake, Lonavala Lake and Bhushi Lake. Also the Walvan Dam located here is worth visiting. Karla and Bhaja Caves, situated amid the hills 16 km away from Khandala, are fine places to visit. These rock-cut cave temples which date back to as early as 2nd century BC and are amongst the oldest and excellent instances of Buddhist rock-cut temple art in India adhere to the Hinayana sect of Buddhism. Amruntanjan point is another tourist interest that impresses its visitors to the core.
If you are looking for an outing far from the noise and din of the city pack your bags for a trip to Khandala, one of the major hill stations in India and if you want to know more about Khandala, read on.
Location of Khandala
Khandala is situated in the western region of the state of Maharashtra, in the western part of India. It is located amidst the hills and valleys of the Sahyadri mountain range. It is situated 101 km southeast of Mumbai and 69 km from Pune and is set at an altitude of 625 meters. Located at a distance of 5 km from Lonavala, it offers beautiful green environs and draws the interest of travelers from far and wide.
Basic facts
· Location 101 km southeast of Mumbai, Maharashtra
· Altitude 625 meters
· Languages Marathi, Hindi and English

· Best time to visit October to May
Climate of Khandala
Climate in Khandala is more or less pleasant throughput the year. Summers ranging from April to June are generally mild and winter months from November-February are cool. Heavy southwestern monsoons hit the place between June and September. It is best to visit the place during the months between October and May.
History of Khandala
Information regarding the origin of Khandala is not much vividly available. Chhatrapati Shivaji, the originator of the first Maratha Empire, ruled the territory around Khandala. Presently it came under the control of the Peshwa rulers, who discovered the second Maratha Empire. It was eventually taken over by the British when they routed the Peshwas.
How to Reach Khandala
Khandala does not have its own airport. The nearest airport accessible to the people of this hill resort is at Pune, at 69 km away and the nearest railway station is at Lonavala. As Lonavala is located on the main railway line between the major destinations of Mumbai and Pune, all trains serving between the two cities halt here and it is easier for the travelers to access Mumbai and Pune. It is three hours travel from Lonavala to Mumbai and a four-hour train ride from Lonavala to Pune. Khandala is also connected by good bus services to Mumbai and Pune by road.


Gangtok is the capital city Sikkim, the second smallest state of India. Famous for its many important monasteries, and for the picturesque views of the Himalayas, Gangtok is one of the important hill-station of the country. In Gangtok you can see a smooth blend of both tradition and modernity. Located at an altitude of 1547 m above sea level, Gangtok houses some of the important Buddhist religious sites too. The existence of the peaceful Chortens or Stupas, old monasteries and the un-spoilt natural beauty of Gangtok offers you a truly unique traveling experience
Gangtok in Sikkim is well connected by roads, rail and air transport. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra in West Bengal. There are helicopter services from Bagdogra to Sikkim. The nearest railhead is at New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, which is connected by regular trains from different cities in India. One can easily reach Gangtok by road from the airport and the railway station. The city is connected with West Bengal by all weather roads which connect Siliguri and Kalimpong in West Bengal with Sikkim. There are a large number of tourist attractions in Gangtok. They include the Government Institute of Cottage Industry, Enchey Monastery, Ridge Park, Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, Do-Drul Chorten stupa, Deer Park, White Hall, Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Himalayan Zoological Park and the Sa-Ngor-Chotshog Centre. One can also have excursions to nearby places around the city like the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Saramsa Garden or the Ipecac garden, Water garden, Changu lake, Nathula Pass, and the Menmecho Lake.The city of Gangtok is also famous for having wide varieties of flora and fauna. The main vegetation in the forests of Gangtok consists of Oak, Katus, and Kimbu. One can visit the sanctuaries in and around Gangtok in Sikkim like the Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. One can visit these sanctuaries between the months of March and May and again between September and November.


This scenic city nestled in the Doon valley is the capital of Uttarakhand , the northern state of India previously known as Uttaranchal. Dehradun is one of the famous tourist destinations in Uttaranchal and attracts a large number of tourists every year.
Location:Dehradun is flanked by the Himalayas in the North, the Shivalik range in the south, the Yamuna river to its west and the Ganges to its east. The city is located in the North western side of the state and adjoins the districts of Uttarkashi, Pauri Garhwal, Hardwar, Nahan (Himachal Pradesh) and Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh). History: Dehra is a variation of the word dera which means camp, or a temporary abode. A group of Sikhs led by Ram Rai on being ordered by the Mughul emperor Aurangzeb to retire to the forests had pitched temporary tents in this area. Dun is the name of the valley and the word means low land at the foot of a mountain. The district is part of the Garhwal Himalayan region previously known as Kedar Khand. This region has been under the reigns of many ruling lines including the Katyuris, Gurkhas, Sikhs, Mughuls and the British. The British gained control of the region as a consequence of the treaty of Sugauli signed after the war with Gurkhas in 1816.
Tourist attractions in Dehradun:Dehradun is a popular tourist spot and a tour to Dehradun includes visits to the many tourist attractions in the city as well as the many tourist spots near Dehradun. The tourist attractions in Dehradun include many academic institutions and research institutes besides many sites of religious important and natural beauty. The major tourist attractions in Dehradun are –
Tapovan :– it is believed to be the location of the ashram of guru Dronacharya , a character of the great Indian epic, Mahabharata.
Robber’s cave :– it is a famous view point and a scenic spot situated outside the city. Tapkeshwar Temple :– an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is believed to be associated with the Mahabharata.
Dakpatthar :– it is a popular spot offering splendid views of the Doon valley.
Central Braille Press :- this is the largest producer of Braille text books in India. Maldevta, Sahasradhara, Lacchiwala, Santhla Devi, laxman Sidh temple and Malsi deer park are some other tourist spots in and around Dehradun. The hill station of Mussorie is 36 kilometers from the city. The famous Sikh pilgrimage center, Pointa Sahib is situated nearby on the banks of Yamuna. Hardwar and Rishikesh are the other two major tourist destinations in Uttarakhand enar Dehradun.


Darjeeling is also called 'Queen of the hills'. This famous hill station in the state of West Bengal in India is one of the highlights of Indian tourism and West Bengal tourism benefits significantly from the vast number of Indian and international tourists that visits Darjeeling every year. The town is also the capital of the Darjeeling district which is the northernmost district of West Bengal bordering Nepal. The town offers fantastic vacations in summer as well as winter. The view of the Himalayas, particularly the magnificent view of the Kanchenjungha is one of the major attractions of Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, popularly known as the toy train, has become the symbol of Darjeeling Major tourist attractions in DarjeelingEvery nook and corner of Darjeeling fascinates the tourist. The mall, the sloping streets, the beautiful colonial buildings, the pines, temples, monasteries and even the whistling toy train combine to make Darjeeling one of the best hill stations in India. The major tourist spots in Darjeeling are-
Darjeeling MallThe mall is one of the most popular places in Darjeeling. It is the center of tourist activities in the town and most of the hotels are clustered around the mall. The mall is also the location of the taxi stands from where tourists can hire taxis to the sites in and around Darjeeling. Many shops including old bookshops and curio stores are a major draw in the mall. The first site to welcome tourists at the mall is the local people offering pony rides and photographers clicking pictures of people as they ride the ponies. People tired from walking can take a break and sit on the many benches placed in the mall and sip the excellent tea sold by local tea vendors. There are many restaurants, cafes, and ice cream parlors around the mall. Early morning and evenings are the best time to stroll in the mall. Ghoom Monastery Ghoom is the last destination of the famous Darjeeling toy train. Located six kilomerters from Darjeeling, Ghoom is home to the famous Ghoom monastery at an altitude of 2407 meters. The main attraction of the monastery is the 4.5 meter statue of Maitreya Buddha.
Himalayan Mountaineering InstituteThis institute is an interesting tourist spot offering information about mountain climbing and the history of mountaineering in the region. Mountaineering gears are on display here along with rare pictures related to Mt Everest and other important mountain expeditions. The institute was established in1954 after the successful conquest of Mt Everest, and offers training in mountaineering and rock climbing. Bhutia BustiThis beautiful monastery situated on CR Das road was transferred in 1879 from its original location on the observatory hill. The monastery has an interesting library that contains many old Buddhist texts and scrolls.
Observatory HillThis place is a popular point from where tourists can get a magnificent view of the entire region and Mt Kanchenjunga on a clear, sunny day. There are many other tourist attractions in Darjeeling. These include the famous tiger hill, Dhirdham temple, Lebong race course, and the handicrafts museum. Kalimpong, Takdah, Mirik, Lava, Lolegaon and Sandakphu are some of the important tourist spots near Darjeeling. A tour of Darjeeling offers wonderful opportunities for shopping and many adventure activities.


Dalhousie is a beautiful hill station in the state on Himachal Pradesh. The city was established in the year 1854 during the British rule in India and is situated on and around five hills. Located on the Western side of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, the city is the gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill State. We at offers you complete guidance on all that you want to know about the beautiful city of Dalhousie.
The city is situated about 6000 ft above the sea level and has a large number of destinations which attracts tourists from all around the World. The hill region in which the city stands is a repository of ancient Hindu culture and is bounded by temples all around. Dalhousie is the home to many temples and Churches. The temples in the Chamba region dates back to the 7th Century AD. The rulers of Chamba were great patrons of art which is depicted in the architectures of these temples. Craftsmen from remote areas of Northern India, who used to take shelter in this region during the medieval Indian Historical period, were patronized by the rulers of this region. The bronze idols made by these craftsmen are still extant in the temples of the region. Some of the important temples in the region include the Lakshminarian Temple, Hari Rai Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple, Lakshna Devi and Shakti Devi Temples, Mindal Vasni Temple, Temple of Purthi, and the Mani-Mahesh Temple. The Minjar fair, which is one of the most awaited festivals every year in the Chamba Valley, is held each year in the month of August. Thousands of tribal people and tourists assemble here on the occasion of this festival.
The British rule in this region also experienced development of a large number of Churches Between 1894 and 1909 AD, there were about four churches made in this region, St. John’s Church being the oldest one. Other Churches include the St. Francis Church, St. Andrew's Church, and the St. Patrick's Church. There is also an elite convent residential school at Dalhousie, which was built in 1910 exclusively for girls. The city has a good transportation system with railways, roads and air traffic services. Pathankot in North Punjab has the nearest Airport and the railway station. Besides, there are private car and luxury bus services to ferry travelers from one part of the city to the other.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Auli is a comparatively recent addition to the tourist map of India. Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand among snow capped mountains, this small town is fast becoming one of the major tourist attractions of Uttarakhand. The main attraction of Auli is skiing. It is considered by many to be the best skiing slope found in Asia. Skiing in India is catching up as a popular winter sport. The vast snow-capped landscape and the perfect slopes flanked by oak and coniferous forests make Auli an ideal destination for skiing enthusiasts. November to March is usually the skiing season in Auli.The landscape of Auli is a visual treat with the Nanda Devi peak standing tall amongst the mountains facing the snowy slopes. The Hathigauri, Neelkanth, Comet and Eravath mountains present a spectacular panoramic view from Auli. The area offers splendid trekking routes to adventure lovers. A ropeway from Joshimath to Auli is one of the longest in India, extending to 4.15 kilometers. Auli is also the venue for the National Winter games in the months of February and March. Among the other interesting aspects of Auli is the grazing land spread over 6 kilomteres, known as Byugal in the local language. A large number of colorful flowers blossom during the monsoon.The population of Auli in Uttarakhand is composed of Tibetans belonging to the Bhotiya ethnic group. Hinduism is the chief religion practiced here.
There are many scenic and interesting spots around Auli. Joshimath, also called Jyotirmath is the site of one of the four religious centers established by the Hindu religious saint Adi Shankara. Badrinath, and Hemkunda sahib are among the famous religious centers located close to Auli. The valley of flowers is known for the colorful flowers that blossom there.Pithoragarh is another important tourist destination near Auli. Pilgrims to Kailash Manasarovar trek through this scenic town. The town of Bageshwar has many historic temples including the Baijnath temple, believed to have been built by the Pandavas. Almora is another important district near Auli. It is famous for many old temples. Auli is attracting an increasing number of adventure lovers and vacationers each year. Thanks to the promotional efforts of the state Government, this little hill station is already a major contributor to tourism in Uttarakhand.