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Long weekend getaway at Tijara Fort Palace by Neemrana Hotels | Easy Quick Getaways from Delhi-NCR

The winters in North India provide an excellent opportunity to explore the majestic state of Rajasthan with its diverse culture, royal legacy and arid yet fascinating landscape of aravalli mountain range, deserts and even the flat dry landscape. Every year we take a family road trip through Rajasthan covering atleast 8 days. However, this year due to personal commitments, we had to drop the idea of a long road trip. But wanderlust and the desire to take a break from the city, made us decide to take atleast a short break to Alwar region of Rajasthan, which is the neighbouring to Delhi (and actually part of NCR) and has many easy getaway options from Delhi. We decided to spend a long weekend at Tijara Fort Palace by Neemrana Hotels in Tijara, Alwar and it turned out to the be much needed refresher for our family which took away steam from all the pressure of personal commitments we are facing.

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Sushmita Sarkar
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Chandi Devi Temple in Haridwar | Temples in Haridwar, Uttarakhand

Chandi Devi temple in Haridwar, Uttarakhand is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India.  Haridwar is an ancient town and a prime pilgrimage destination for Hindus and has many temples, of which Mansa Devi is one of the primary piths (or pilgrimages). Therefore, it sees busy footfalls all-round the year.  Haridwar also happens to be my second home and I keep visiting it regularly. This time around, we had some  extended family members coming to visit  us in Haridwar and on their agenda was religious tour of the city. So we took them to visit Chandi Devi Temple, along with the usual Har ki Pauri. I am sharing my travel notes for the benefit of religious traveller or anyone wanting to visit the Chandi Devi temple when in Haridwar.

[caption id="attachment_5536" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Chandi Devi Temple Entrance to Cable Car Ride[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
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Things to do in Amritsar, Punjab, India | Amritsar Travel Guide

Amritsar in Punjab is world famous for being the home to Harmandir Sahib - Golden Temple, the spiritual & cultural centre of Sikhism. Devotees and visitors of all faiths from around the world visit Amritsar and it is one of the most important cities in the state of Punjab. I have visited the city twice and both times it has been a spiritual, cultural and gastronomic delight. Amritsar is a historic city with a rich spiritual & cultural living heritage of 'Punjabiyat'  - spirit of being Punjabi. Here are the must do things or things to do when in Amritsar, Punjab:

  • Visiting Golden Temple - The Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib is the spiritual core of the holy city of Amritsar and every time I visit here, it is an uplifting spiritual feeling. A visit to Amritsar is incomplete without visiting the Golden Temple.
[caption id="attachment_3530" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Harmandir Sahib - Golden Temple, Amritsar[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
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Pawapuri Jal Mandir in Nalanda, Bihar, India | Bihar Travel Diaries

Pawapuri Jal Mandir or Pawa is a holy site and temple for Jainism, located in the small town of Pawa in Nalanda district in Bihar (around 101 kilometers from the capital city of Patna), India. I actually had no idea about this important holy site/temple for Jain religion, until I was passing by Nalanda district on a work tour. I am glad to have made this interesting discovery and sharing my experience of Pawapuri Jal Mandir Visit.

[caption id="attachment_5212" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Entry to Pawapuri Jal Mandir[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
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Sailana Cactus Garden in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, India | Cactus Gardens in India

My friend and ex-colleague Mahesh Swamy visited Cactus Garden in Sailana, Ratlam and wrote this beautiful account of his visit. Sailana is a town and a nagar panchayat in Ratlam district in Madhya Pradesh. It is located in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh and 25 km from Ratlam town. It is an overnight journey from Gandhinagar, Gujarat to Ratlam by Shanti Express train.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Uzbekistan in Central Asia | A journey into the Great Silk Road

“Uzbekistan! Why you want to take a holiday of all places there?” The husband asked when I told him of my wish to take a curated trip to Uzbekistan. I was about to tell him at length about all the reasons, but to save time & effort, I said I just want to!! Of course, as always, he had no problems as long as safety factors were taken care of.

Uzbekistan had been on my mind for a long time; for many reasons. I got interested in the Great Silk Road or Route running through Central Asia into Europe, by reading history textbooks in schooldays, the stunning cities of Bukhara and Samarkand (which were the major cities along the famed road) fascinated me, as much as the thought of this great trading route in ancient times which people took on camels & horses to trade and conquer other civilizations. Then when I read about Russian revolution and formation of USSR, I was utterly mystified by the descriptions of Central Asian countries/regions ‘merging’ into the Soviet Union. I wondered how these regions with such a diverse and different culture survived or thrived in the Union, how the people actually felt and lived in Communist rule in these regions.

So it was with great excitement that I finalized my curated trip to Uzbekistan, which was scheduled before Diwali. I was travelling with an all women group Company ‘One Life to Travel’ for first time, which added to my anxiety (and a separate post shall be written on the experience).

Uzbekistan surprised, stunned and made me fall in love with it – it’s stunning heritage, its warm people, rich culture and absolutely rocking night life; it has been one of my most enriching travels and I am glad I took this journey sooner than later (as was my original plan).

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Sushmita Sarkar
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Churches in Ambala ~ Ambala (Haryana, India) Travel Diaries #1

“What’s there in Ambala ?” I asked my brother when he invited me to stay over for a couple of days during the Rakhi long weekend.

“Well, there are these old churches” he promptly replied, knowing very well my love for heritage monuments.

I visited Ambala mainly to spend some time with my brother (as we hardly get to spend time together due to our different locations & constant travels) during Rakhi long weekend. The town (located in Haryana, India), is mostly an Army Garrison/Cantonment town has a relaxed vibe to it and quite an interesting history related to Army. However, for me, the most interesting part was visiting the old churches in Ambala, most of them dating back to colonial era.

img_0091_e (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar