Travel

A Summer Getaway to Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India | Things to do in Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh on a family vacation

Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is a pristine Himalayan region in the kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, India. The Great Himalayan National Park (one of the largest biosphere reserves in India and UNESO World Heritage site) is located in the Tirthan valley and if you are looking for a quiet time away with family amidst lofty mountains and mesmerising natural beauty, then this is the place to head on a summer vacation.  The first time I visited Tirthan Valley and Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP)on a solo trip was in 2006 and was completely charmed by the pretty valley as well the warm locals. However, despite my best efforts, I could only visit it next time last year (2017) on a long weekend getaway at Tirthan Anglers’ Retreat with friends. I so much wanted to come back with my family to Tirthan Valley, so this year, our summer family road trip destination was to Tirthan Valley. It took us 1.5 days to reach the Tirthan Valley from Delhi and equal time to get back, however, the 6 days we spent here absolute bliss and my family was totally taken in by the charms of the pretty valley. Sharing our experiences of a summer family vacation in Tirthan Valley :

[caption id="attachment_5721" align="alignnone" width="688"] By the Tirthan River in Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Long weekend getaway to Corbett National Park in Ramnagar, Uttarkhand with Corbett Wild Iris Resort

“The book of nature has no beginning, as it has no end. Open this book where you will, and at any period of your life, and if you have the desire to acquire knowledge you will find it of intense interest, and no matter how long or how intently you study the pages, your interest will not flag, for in nature there is no finality.”  ― Jim Corbett

I always have been curious about life of legendary Jim Corbett, who was famous both for his hunting of man eaters as well as for wildlife conservation efforts in the Kumaon region of Uttarkhand. It was his endeavour to protect the wildlife of Kumaon region that led to the setting up of Jim Corbett National Park 1936 (formerly known as Hailey National Park). I had been planning to visit Jim Corbett National Park with family for a long time now, but as luck would have it, it was with my fellow women traveller friends that I went off on an almost impromptu long weekend getaway some time ago.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Holi Festival in India | Celebrating Baithaki Holi in Kumaon, Uttarakhand

Holi is one of the most well-known Indian festivals the world over, characterised by playfulness, colours and bonding over poetry, songs & dancing. People from all over the world visit India to celebrate Holi, specifically the version played in North Indian region of Uttar Pradesh. There are many forms in which Holi is celebrated all over India, like West Bengal’s famed Shantiniketan ‘Dol’ celebrations or like Hola Mohalla in Punjab. In the hill state of Uttarakhand, Holi is celebrated over many days in the villages of Kumaon region in what is known as Baithaki Holi. This Holi, I travelled to Jim Corbett National Park in Ramnagar area of Kumaon and among many other experiences, playing Baithaki Holi was one of my most enjoyable & cherished experiences. Sharing my #baithakiholi experience with all readers here.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Morning Boat Ride in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

“Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!”  ― Mehmet Murat ildan

As a city dweller, one of the major misses in daily life is watching the sunrise; even though I am early riser and make it a point to do yoga at the crack of dawn, the high-rises and all the concrete chaos of the city make it impossible to catch a good glimpse of sunrise (or even sunset). Therefore, I relish these nature’s spectacular shows while on my travels. It was an absolute delight to watch sunrise in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on an early morning boat ride in the sea.

[caption id="attachment_5575" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sunrise at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Pinjore Gardens in Haryana, India | Must visit attractions in Haryana

Pinjore Gardens (renamed as Yadavindra Gardens) is a historic 17th century garden located in Pinjore city of Panchkula district,  Haryana, India. It is quite popular local attraction in Haryana and also Chandigarh. Since it is located on the Ambala-Shimla Highway, it’s a popular pitstop for travellers and I happened to take a break for lunch here on my way back from a work trip in Himachal Pradesh some time back. The Pinjore Gardens is said to be one of the well preserved examples of landscaping style of Mughal Gardens. I certainly found the Pinjore Gardens to be a nice place to relax on a sunny winter day.  architectural style, which was renovated by the Patiala Dynasty Jat Sikh Rulers.

[caption id="attachment_5561" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Old Locomotive Rail engine at entrance of Pinjore Gardens[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

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
Delhi

Tughlaqabad Fort in Delhi | Exploring the third city of Delhi – A city of 7 cities

The capital city of India -Delhi is a city of 7cities. Tracing its historic lineage from the time of the 'Pandavas' of the epic Hindu Mythology Mahabharatha in which the city of Delhi is mentioned as 'Indraprastha'  - capital of the Pandava kings, archaeological research points out to the city being the capital city atleast 7 times, beginning from the Tomar dynasty in 9th century to Lutyens Delhi of British rule. Being a Delhi resident all my life, I find it fascinating that there is still so much to explore around the city for a heritage lover like me. I had been planning to visit Tughlaqabad fort for a long time and there could not have been a better day than a sunny winter morning to do this. The Tughlaqabad Fort and mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq are what remains of Tughlaqabad - considered to be the 3rd extant city of Delhi.

[caption id="attachment_5509" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Entrance of Tughlaqabad Fort, Delhi[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Family Getaway to Roopangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India | Driving Holidays in India

The best part of driving holidays or road trips is that one can set the pace of the holiday, relax and unwind whenever the mood strikes. Ofcourse, it takes a bit of last minute re-booking while on the road. On our winter family road trip through Mewar region (Route taken Delhi - Udaipur - Ranakpur-Kumbhalgarh-Mount Abu-Chittorgarh-Nathdwara-Roopangarh-Delhi), we decided to book ourselves a luxury or boutique hotel on our last leg of the trip, so as to treat ourselves to the best before we wind up the mega driving holiday. We chose to avoid Jaipur, which gets too touristy & crowded in December/January months and instead chose to stay at Roopangarh Fort in a small village around 25 kms off the main National Highway NH 8. It turned out to be a good decision as we absolutely loved the property, offbeat location in a small village, heritage property, view, laidback hospitality of the staff and interacting with friendly locals.

[caption id="attachment_5484" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Roopangarh Fort Hotel, Rajasthan[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Things to do in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India | Travel Guide to Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is a small resort town in Tamil Nadu, located somewhere midway between Chennai (60 kilometers) and Pondicherry on the East Coast Road. This sleepy little hamlet town became world famous gradually, since the discovery of many monolithic rock cut temples of the Pallava period, starting from the year 1960. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram was declared an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, making it internationally  famous and attracting foreign & domestic travellers. Today, owing to its easy connectivity from Chennai and also lying on the Tamil Nadu pilgrimage route, as well as its UNESCO World heritage tag, Mahabalipuram is thronged with visitors year round. This once sleepy little town has got some interesting attractions to offer to visitors, depending on their interests. Here’s a list of things to do when in Mahabalipuram :

[caption id="attachment_5475" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Shore Temple Mahabalipuram[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Nalanda Vihara (University) Archaelogical site, Bihar, India | Day visit to UNESCO World Heritage site of Nalanda

The remains of Ancient Buddhist Monastery in Nalanda, Bihar, India is famous world over as the remains of an ancient Buddhist Monastery & university during 5th  to 1200 century B.C., which was visited by scholars from world over, most notably Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsnag   I was in Nalanda district some time back on work and did not let go of the opportunity to visit the archaeological site of Nalanda Vihara, which is an UNESCO world heritage site.

[caption id="attachment_5462" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Nalanda site - UNESCO World Heritage site[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar

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