Hyderabad- The City of Nizams

Ensconced in the rocky terrain of the Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad had been the proud fortress capital since the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for almost a century. Founded by Mohammad Ali Qutb Shah, it remained an invincible capital of the Shia rulers till the Mughals invaded, and captured the kingdom. The Mughal rulers, however, had vested interests in Delhi, and hence, retreated, thereby entrusting their new booty to Asif Jah I. The latter declared his sovereignty over the region, and proclaimed himself as the first Nizam of Hyderabad. His progenies further extended the princely state, which soon developed as the hub of pearls and diamonds trade in India.

Stretching along the banks of the Musi River, Hyderabad is currently one of the most populous cities in India. This is due to the fact that a large number of multinational companies have agglomerated here, consequently making it a strong contender against Bangaluru, the IT capital of India. The mammoth city is donned with beautiful artificial lakes, theme parks, mesmerizing architecture, historical monuments and gardens.

Tourists never miss the opportunity of visiting Hyderabad which also reflects cross-culture of the north and south. So, if you ever happen to visit India, do make it a point to visit this city which boasts of rich cultural heritage. Do not miss the opportunity of savoring the sumptuous Mughlai cuisines served in all the luxurious restaurants. You could book cabs, or tourist buses which would take you around the city.

Here are some of the places to visit in Hyderabad:

  • Charminar: Towering as a colossal structure, Charminar is a splendid piece of architecture. Donned with Persian elements, this structure was built by Quli Qutb Shah to celebrate the end of miasmic plague. A huge market place has mushroomed around Charminar where the vestibular lanes are sequinned with shops selling artefacts, Persian carpets, ethnic outfits, perfumes, jewelry, motifs, embroidered stuffs and so on. Among all these, Laad Bazaar is a must visit place where you would find shops selling sparkling bangles encrusted with colorful beads, pearls and stones. Also, the famous Kalamkari paintings, and bidriware add to the charm of the bustling market. Besides, the famous showrooms selling genuine pearls are located along Madina Road, which is in close proximity to Charminar. Aroma from the small eateries serving Hyderabadi biriyani permeates the air in this commercial hub. 
  • Mecca Masjid: This is a stately mosque located very close to Charminar. Deemed for its sanctity, this masterpiece structure was built from the soil brought from Mecca, the holy land of Muslims. The central arch of the mosque has the capacity of accommodating 10,000 worshippers at a time, and its sanctity attracts hordes of worldwide tourists. The artificial lake in the campus is a cool haven for those who wish to rest after attending the prayers. 
  • Chowmahalla Palace: Situated very close to Charminar, this is an unmatchable monument providing unforgettable experiences to the visitors. As the name suggests, there are four palaces of the erstwhile Nizams, and their queens. You can see some exclusive jewelry, royal draperies, portraits, and marble statues on display. Exclusive colored crystal chandeliers surrounded by marble pillars adorn the palace halls. The vintage cars on display prove the royal family’s penchant for living in style. The palace complex has been restored by synthesizing various architectural styles. These days, the place is open to grand corporate events and cultural evenings. 
  • Salar Jung Museum: Located amidst minars, and minarets, this place is an exclusive repository of royal, and European elements. The museum has three floors with rooms showcasing English and French crockery, Persian carpets and rugs, royal furniture and portraits, jewelry and cutlery, swords and shields, royal robes and fabrics; thereby symbolizing the power and pelf of the erstwhile rulers. While the portraits of the beautiful queens of Persian, and Turkish queens adorn the rooms the Veiled Statue of Rebecca, and the musical clock simply steal the show! 
  • Car Museum: This museum is the only one of its kind in India showcasing handmade automobiles. A unique theme surrounds the creative vehicles and vintage cars. This is an ideal place to spend time with the children, since they get to see replicas of cars, bikes, and cycles in different shapes, designs and sizes. The assortment of cars have designs bearing semblance with flowers, billiards table, bed, western style commode, helmet, camera, helmet, fountain pen, brinjal, desktop computer and so on. The tallest bicycle accoladed with the Guiness World Record is also on display here. This is one of the most innovative museums in India, and is open on all the week days. 
  • Nehru Zoological Park: This is very close to the Car Museum, and spans across a huge area. Being an abode for different species of flora, and fauna, this huge park is an ideal haven for nature lovers. The Indian rhino, lions, leopards, panthers, elephants, pythons, deer, Himalayan Black Bear, antelopes and birds attract numerous visitors. Also, the Children’s Park, Jurassic Park, aquarium, toy train ride, and Butterfly Park offer fun-filled activities for all. The Safari Complex includes Bison safari, Bear Safari and Tiger safari. Also, there are good eateries in the park for the tourists to sit, eat and relax. 
  • Falaknuma Palace: The royal palace was converted into a luxurious hotel a few years back. A grand driveway leads to this fairy-style palace. Visitors pamper themselves experiencing the royal retreats, and by reliving the era of the Nizams. The gracious staff serves sumptuous feast to all the visitors in style. Guests enjoy the royal privilege of waking up to the peacock calls. There are excellent massage parlors along with an exquisite pool. 
  • Hussain Sagar Lake: Deemed as the largest artificial lake in Asia, this serves as a connector between the twin cities viz, Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Formerly built by Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, this beautiful lake is fed by the streams gushing out of Musi River. The monolithic statue of Buddha made of white granite proudly stands on the “Rock of Gibraltar” at the center. Tourists are ferried across the lake to capture close glimpses of the splendid statue. The famous Lumbini Park, and Necklace Road are very close to this place. The promenade constructed along the banks offers a nice place to enjoy strolls. 
  • Nizam’s Museum: The Purani Haveli was converted into a museum, which exhibits the gifts received by the Nizams during celebrations. Numerous souvenirs, mementos, and artefacts are on display here. The golden throne of the last Nizam, gold tiffin carrier, writing box covered with pearls, silver perfume containers, gold caskets, diamond studded daggers, and exclusive paintings testify the wealth of the world’s richest dynasty. An old lift is a unique piece of engineering, being only one of its kind during those days. The longest double deck wardrobe in the world, and the shoe rack displaying astounding collections of fabrics and footwear respectively prove that the Nizams lived in style.
  • Golconda Fort: This imposing, and majestic has been a silent witness to the numerous wars and historical events. The splendid architecture has been standing in regal grandeur for centuries. The subsequent generations witnessed further fortifications, constant water supply, and sprawling gardens. The fort literally served as a strong bastion against the external onslaughts of the invaders, while a huge population thrived within. In fact, the Mughals had to camp for almost 6 months outside the fort, but failed in their successive attempts to crash open the formidable gate. It’s only after bribing the guards that the invaders managed to gain access through the open gates, thereby leading to the final demise of the Quli Qutb Shahi era. The gigantic fortress is open to the visitors on all the days. Visitors also enjoy the splendid “Light and Sound Show” organized on Saturday evenings. Tales of beatific love, romance, heart breaks, woes, deceit, and treachery are brought into life with the help of special light, and sound effects.
  • Ramoji Film City: Being the largest film studio in India, it is a magical escapade copious with surprises, and ecstatic experiences for all. This wonderful outdoor hosts joyous rides, and sensational entertainment shows throughout the day. Also, people get to witness how sound effects like those of jingling bells, and horse hooves are created. Besides, the sets where the movies are shot reflect astute artifice, and shrewd craftsmanship. In certain places you would feel as if you were in Europe. The artificial interior of an aircraft has been structured with dexterity so as to make people feel as if they are really inside an aeroplane. The numerous fun rides, and eateries keep the visitors sated throughout the day.
  • Hitech City: The majestic road running along the undulating Banjara Hiils, and Jubilee Hills embellished with parks, monolith rocks, hotels, and opulent colonies wind into Hitech City- the cyber hub of Hyderabad. Numerous IT companies have invested here-Thanks to the tech-savvy community, and positive government. The giant multinationals like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have set up their Indian Head Quarters here.

 

Top Beaches in India

Beaches are divine creations on earth where syncretic beauty of the Sun, sea, and land seems to be at its best! Talking about beaches, people mostly mull over Hawaii, Rio, and Australia as some of the prospective destinations, notwithstanding the fact that India has a fantabulous coastline stretching across 7,517 Km. Flanked by The Indian Ocean, The Bay of Bengal and The Arabian Sea, India has some of the exceedingly gorgeous beaches flaunting its coastline.

Hordes of tourists book package tours to India to luxuriate in the cool undulating hills of South India, and the exotic beaches so as to make their visits worthwhile. While the hills serve as ideal escapes for solitary nature lovers, most of the tourists prefer sunbathing on the beaches.

Here are some of the offbeat beaches in India for you to visit:

  • Kovalam: Speaking of the beaches in Kerala, Kovalam deserves special mention due to its visual splendor. The beaches are dotted with coconut trees, and visitors come here to watch the fabulous sunrises and sunsets. Parasailing, swimming, diving, and surfing are some of the activities, which tourists love indulging in. Also, there are Ayurveda resorts where visitors suffering from ailments seek treatment. Numerous cuisines serve lip-smacking sea food to all. Also, there are hotels overlooking the sea, which offer comfortable stay to the tourists. The lighthouse offers fantastic view of the shore line. Monsoon is the best time to visit this place, especially for those who expect immense enefits from ayurvedic treatments. 
  • Calangute: Located in Goa, Calangute is easily approachable from Panaji. Known as the Queen of Beaches, tourists jostle here for accommodation throughout the year. The giant waves hitting the coast offer plethora of adventures to the visitors. Besides, there are banks, post office, cyber cafes, resorts, restaurants and medical facilities. There are big showrooms displaying exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Rajasthan, Tibet, and Indonesia.

 Malpe: Close to Udupi, Malpe is a scenic beach in Karnataka. There are clusters of hotels, and eateries from where tourists could watch the white sandy beach and huge waves. Families enjoy strolls along the spotless beach, especially in the evenings. Also, there is a lot of scope for water sports. It is, however, dangerous to venture deep into the sea due to strong currents. 

  • Baga: For those who love privacy, Baga beach in Goa serves as an ideal retreat. This place is popular among the foreigners who love indulging in adventures and water sports. This place is not much frequented by tourist buses, and hence, has maintained its impeccable charm.
  • Varkala: This is a temple town very close to Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala. The place is famous for its natural spring known for having medicinal properties. Besides, tourists take the opportunity of plunging into the sacred water of the beach, which is believed to capable of purging human souls of vices. Various massage centers, and health resorts have mushroomed here to cater to the visitors.

 Anjuna: This place is very close to Baga and Calagute beaches. Visitors get an excellent view of the azure sea waves from a hill top close to the place. The unusual rocky terrain finally ends as a black rock jutting into the sea. The swaying palm trees, and soft sea breeze form an ideal haven for those who wish to stroll along the silver beach in the moon light.

  • Juhu: Located in Mumbai, Juhu is has become a commercial hub due to the ever increasing number of eateries, restaurants and vociferous hawkers. The place is mostly crowded with local, and international tourists in the evenings. Some of the famous Bollywood movies shot here offer us vicarious experiences of the noisy beach. Also, visitors can see a number of aircrafts roaring overhead while crossing the Indian coastline. 
  • Chowpatty: This is a famous beach in Mumbai, and attracts a huge crowd owing to the branded stores, and eateries which are frequented by a lot of tourists. People come here for jogging, and for viewing the mesmerizing sunsets. 
  • Auroville Beach: This beautiful beach with shallow water lies in Pondicherry. Tourists simply love swimming, and basking in the sun here. Colored shells lie scattered everywhere. Children are seen collecting these beautiful shells, and making castles out of sand.

 Chunnambar: This is truly a tropical paradise in close proximity to Pondicherry. The boat house which overlooks a backwater stretch serves as the iconic point for the visitors to start their sojourns towards the deserted beach. Tourists are ferried across the placid water stretch sequinned by coconut trees along both the sides, till they land upon the beach invaded by the roaring waves. This unmanned, and yet, impeccable beach would simply leave you awestruck with wonder!

 

 

 

Is the World a better Place for Travel

Worldwide economic slowdown, conflicts and terrorist attacks, and the European refugee crisis, apparently seem to have their impact on the global travel & tourism industry.  However, when we look at the actual trend, the industry has maintained its growth despite all the adversities. A report from IPK International World Travel Monitor, 2015 reports a 4.5% growth in actual outbound trips in 2015, with a healthy increment of 4.3% estimated for 2016.

Outbound travel is primarily fueled by Asia Pacific and North America.  Germany, as a country is the ‘world travel champion’ – a leader in outbound travel. The United States follows Germany and continues to be both a leading source and destination for travel. China enjoys a leadership position in the travel industry, being next only to USA in terms of spending.

The European economy has improved slightly from 2014, primarily due to the growth of Germany. Overall, the forecast for Europe is a net growth of 2.8% in outbound travelers. While Europeans have maintained their momentum, they are likely to travel to safer destinations, avoiding the zones of conflicts and terrorism. Also, there is good growth in inbound travel to Europe, and the expected growth is between 3 to 4 % in 2016. Travelers from China and Asia Pacific countries, USA and Japan are all keen for travelling to Europe.

Outboubound Travel Forecast Percentage GrowthEconomic growth has slowed down to a certain extent in Asia Pacific, but, despite the slowdown, the number of travelers have only increased and the projected growth of 6.3% for outbound travelers is on expected lines. The growth rate as per IMF report for 2015 shows that India’s rate of growth is highest at 7.6%, ahead of China, and therefore, outbound travelers from and to India are expected to increase.

While North America is expected to show good growth in outbound travel, South America’s 1.9% growth is a cause for concern. About half of South America’s outbound travel market is catered to by Brazil and Argentina. Traditionally, South Americans travel internationally within the same region. One international event which could improve the percentage of international travel to Brazil could be the Olympic Games planned to be hosted in the city of Rio de Janeiro this year. The last Football World Cup in Brazil in the year 2014 caused more than half a million visitors to Brazil, and this trend is expected to be seen during the Olympics.

The Middle East travel market is one of the fastest growing markets and countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are leaders in this area. The region is noted for travelers with deep pockets, who usually travel for long durations (with average trips for more than 14 nights). Also, more than 30% of travelers are immigrants travelling to meet friends and relatives. Inbound travel to Middle East has been seriously hurt due to the ongoing conflicts in that zone.

Last, but not the least, social media plays a vital role in international travel today. 70% of international travelers are active users of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google+. About 30% of the international travelers actively use social media for planning their trips. Marketers would do well to be creative with innovative approaches, so as to influence this section of buyers to plan their trips.

Things to Do in Munnar

Flanked by lush green hills, Munnar has been one of the coveted holiday retreats since the erstwhile British era. The narrow winding lanes and beautiful towns, the tea gardens and mountain streams, the exotic flora and forests; make this place a heavenly retreat for everyone  in South India.

Munnar is approximately 1,600 meters above sea level, and hence, boasts of salubrious climate throughout the year. People consider this hilly abode to be an ideal refuge after toiling in hot, and humid coastal plains of Kerala. Udumalaipettai is the nearest railway station to reach this place. International tourists could land at Cochin International Airport, and book cabs to visit these lovely hills.

Here are some of the places to visit in Munnar:

  • Mattupetty Dam: The dam, which was built to conserve water, and generate hydro- electricity has become a major tourist haunt in Munnar. The beautiful lake hosts numerous water birds, and tourists also enjoy boat rides here. The adjoining lane offers an ideal stroll to those who wish to walk around the place, and enjoy the scenic views. Also, there are lovely picnic spots nearby for those who wish to spend the day here. 
  • Anamudi Peak: This is the highest peak in South India, and proudly stands inside Eravikulam National park. Tourists need permits from the Forest and Wildlife authorities to go trekking up the slopes. The misty peak is covered with rich forests, which serves as home for certain rare species.
  • Echo Point: This is an adventurous destination for those who love trekking. Situated at a high altitude, Echo Point offers breathtaking views of emerald glades, which cover the adjoining hills. The picturesque place has derived its name from the natural echoes which resonate along the hill sides. 
  • Photo Point: As the name suggests, this scenic spot is frequented by nature lovers, and photographers for clicking stunning snap shots. Nature is at its best during sunsets, and it lies on the way to Top Station and Madupetty Dam. 
  • Top Station: This beautiful hill top has gained popularity because of the Neelakurinji flowers, which bloom once in 12 years. Clouds engulf the peak, and add to the mystic aura of this place. Tourists hire buses, or cabs to reach here, and admire the mesmerizing beauty. 
  • Eravikulam National Park: The park offers splendid views of tea plantations to the visitors. It hosts the largest population of Nilgiri Thar, one of the endangered species. Certain other rare animals, birds, and butterflies also live in this wilderness. The blue hills slopes carpeted with Neelakurinji flowers surround the rich habitat, and attract tourists in hordes. 
  • Kolukumalai Tea Estate: This place is has become a hot spot for tourists because of being the highest tea estate in the world. The tea leaves which grow here have special aroma due to the altitude. The sprawling tea gardens, and an adjoining tea factory witness bee lines of tourists daily. Here traditional method is used for crushing the tea leaves. Visitors take the opportunity of sipping different flavors of tea at the tea center. Also, this place offers excellent views of Tamil Nadu plains. 
  • Lockhart Gap: The winding trails meander through dense forests along the undulating hills, and offer enticing views to the visitors. The scenic heights are flooded with orange glow in the evenings, and hence, are capable of evoking poetic fancies in prosaic hearts as well. 
  • Attukal Waterfalls: Monsoon is the best time to witness this cascading beauty. Cradled by green hills, it has earned popularity due to the marvellous scenic views, which complement its splendour. 
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: This place is simply exemplary for its rich biodiversity. The mixed deciduous forests receive rains almost 10 months every year, and you could see sambhar, spotted dear, elephants, hanuman, peacocks and so on. Adventure seekers have awesome experiences while trekking up the narrow paths. 
  • Lakkam Waterfalls: This is located very close to Munnar. The adjoining valley covered with red blossoms is an ideal place for photography.

 

 

 

Sightseeing in Kodaikanal

Located in Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is seated on plateau, ensconced in the Palani hills. Also hailed as The Princess of Hills, this heavenly hill station in South India is ideal for those who crave for respite from sweltering heat of the plains. The hill slopes are carpeted with grasslands and meadows, acacia and cypress, eucalyptus and pine trees; which make this place a heavenly retreat for all.
Summer is the best time to visit Kodaikanal, also known as The Gift of Forests, though throngs of tourists keep visiting this place throughout the year. Here are some of the enchanting sightseeing places for you to see:

Kodai Lake: This is an ideal place for nature lovers who wish to ruminate, since this star-shaped lake is an abode of various birds. Pedal boats are available for those who wish to go for boating. Tourists love to take strolls along the path beside the lake. Some of them also opt for cycle, or horse rides. The market near Kodai Lake pulls a great deal of crowd as well.

Bear Shola Falls: The beautiful falls derives its name from the fact that bears used to descend from the hills to drink water. The best time to visit this beautiful spot is during the rainy season, since the falls looks absolutely spectacular at its fullness. Tourists gather here at this time of the year to click photos of this natural wonder.

Coakers Walk: The winding path runs along a hillock, which offers picturesque views of colorful blossoms and forests. There is a telescope house, from where you could see the valley, as well as some towns. Visitors need to purchase tickets to gain entry here. A rare phenomenon known as Broken Spectre occurs here, when someone casts his or her shadow on the smoky clouds.

Berijam Lake: This fresh water lake is located amidst serene wilderness on the upper side of the hills. The British had built Fort Hamilton nearby this scenic wonder, which served as a military outpost. The vast stretches of swamps near this lake support dense shola forests, which form an ideal habitat for various species. Free from human intrusion, the potable water serves as home for birds and aqua-marine creatures. Entry to this place is restricted, and visitors need permits from the Forestry Department Office.

Palani Hills: Covered with wet shola forests, Palani hills form a rich ecosystem for different kinds of species. Tourists take a detour from Kodaikanal town to reach these misty hills. Orchids, and grizzled giant squirrels attract nature lovers, who spend numerous hours in trekking, and capturing the scenic beauty in their cameras.

Things to Do in Ooty

Flanked by Mysore in the North, Kerala in the west, and Coimabatore in the south and east, lies Ooty, the most famous hill station in South India. The meandering paths along the slopes are flanked by meadows and flowers, pines and eucalyptus trees, fruit orchards and cardamom plantations, terraced tea and plantations; which add to the surreal charm of the misty hills. In fact, the golden sunsets flood across the hills and valleys, consequently turning this place into a haven for bird watchers.

Ooty has been the hotbed of tourist attraction in South India since the British rule, since its splendor as the “Queen of Hills” remains unrivalled. Here are some of the places for you to visit:

  • Catherine Falls: The silver waterfall cascading down the rocks is, undoubtedly a natural wonder. There is a path which winds up to the top of the rocks from where you could see the falls. The crystal clear pool at the base is surrounded by a scenic landscape. 
  • Dolphin’s Nose: This awesome place is close to Coonoor, and offers a vantage point for the tourists to admire the Catherine Falls. The serene place leaves even the carping critics utterly spellbound! Also, you would get a splendid view of the hill slopes carpeted by tea gardens. One simply cannot curb the urge to sip a hot cup of tea, since a fresh aroma of the tea leaves pervades the chill atmosphere.
  • Ooty Lake: The lake is the prime destination of Ooty. Tourists flock here for boat rides. This is a nice place for spending leisurely hours, and for having picnics. Besides, Ooty Lake is surrounded by luxurious hotels, which offer breathtaking views of the luxurious hills. 
  • Botanical Garden: This beautiful garden has roses of different hues, imported shrubs, and different varieties of flowers. This is an ideal place for nature lovers, since some plants of rare species are available here. Also, there is a wide range of ferns and orchids, which grow in this garden. Certain rare trees like the monkey puzzle trees, cork trees, and paper bark trees also grow here. The Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu organizes a splendid flower show every year, and thousands of visitors gather here to admire the spectacular event. 
  • Pykara Falls: This gushing water lands into a pool, which is ensconced by a picturesque landscape. There is a serpentine path leading into the wilderness dotted with pine trees. The ecstatic charm of this place is bound to evoke a photographer within everyone. 
  • Nilgiri Mountain Railway: This majestic railway is an everlasting legacy of the British, which offers rides for all to cherish! The train runs through bridges, and tunnels curving up the hill sides, consequently offering mesmerizing views of the tea gardens.
  • Dodabetta: This is the highest peak in South India, and yet, tourists do not find it daunting to go trekking up the hill through the green canopy. There is a telescope house from where the visitors could view Mysore hills, and Coimbatore on a clear day.

 

Backwater Experiences in Kerala

Deemed among the “50 destinations of a lifetime” by the National Geographic Traveler, Kerala has awed the world due to its unique ecosystem and rustic splendor. Sprawling luxuriously across the south-west coast of India, this land is traversed by magnificent hills brackish lagoons, rivers, rivulets, canals and lakes; thereby emulating “God’s Own Country” on earth. The labyrinthine networks of waterways running parallel to the coast line have also connected the cities and towns, which serve as the starting point of backwater cruises.

The history of Kerala backwaters dates back to those days, when the gushing sea waves inundated the land, and created a haven for aquatic life and birds comprising varieties of fish, crabs, otters, frogs, turtles, darters, terns, darters, kingfishers, cormorants and so on. Besides, palm trees, shrubs, bushes and other leafy plants lie sequined along the backwater stretches, consequently adding green hue to the place. Over the years, a barrage has been constructed, in order to separate the brackish water from fresh water. Lush green forests and fauna stretching across the hills and lands thrive on fresh water sources.

Cruising across the backwaters in Kerala is a heavenly and wonderful experience, and everybody should savor it once in a life time at least. If you haven’t gone for it so far, then make sure that you do so now!

There are nearly 500 houseboats in Alapphuzha alone, and natural products are used for building them. Bamboo mats, wood and sticks are used for structuring these boats, which offer all kinds of comforts offered by hotels. These houseboats are donned with plush living rooms, kitchens, restrooms, lavish bedroom and balconies. The wooden or palm roofs provide shade against the blazing sunlight. Also, the windows and balconies offer panoramic views of the picturesque landscape surrounding the backwaters. You could also spend hours languishing at the azure sea beach with the lapping waves soothing your nerves.

Skilled oarsmen are hired to row these houseboats across the brackish water stretches. Sometimes, two or more boats are joined to form boat trains, in order to ferry a large number of sightseers to the various inaccessible islands dotted along the backwaters.

The beauty of Kumarakom backwaters is simply a breathtaking one, and you could hire a houseboat for exploring its serene magic for hours. Besides, the water is believed to have healing properties for arthritis treatment. Moreover, the pleasant breeze, scenic beauties and succinct food make the cruise all the more worthwhile. It is a good place for relaxation for those who are tired of their regular humdrum lives, and hanker for getaways. There are safe spots where you could also swim and dive; however, people who do not know how to swim must use life jackets.

Over the years, tourism has led to the gentrification of the small villages and towns connected by the backwater networks. Nevertheless, the simple people residing in these places touch the hearts of the peripatetic visitors through their hospitality.

Places to Visit in Coorg

Stretching across 4,100 square kilometres along the sprawling hills of the Western Ghats in South India, Coorg has earned its name and fame due to its picturesque landscape. This scenic place, luxuriously cradled in the hills, enjoyed absolute obscurity and privacy for centuries; however, when Bangalore came under the global spotlight for being the tech-hub of India, Coorg too started gaining its share of the limelight. Being in close proximity to the Indian tech-capital, it has, of late, become one of the most exotic tourist destinations one could ever dream of!

Over the years, Coorg has witnessed an increasing influx of tourists from the different parts of the world. Moreover, people coming to Bangalore on business trips look for ideal getaways, especially during the weekends, and Coorg seems to be the hot spot for one and all! It has also been noted that people who are stay put in Bangalore or Hyderabad for long term assignments make it a point to visit Coorg whenever they get an opportunity.

Now, you might be wondering about the veracity of this statement! As a matter of fact, Coorg, or Kodagu, as it is called in the local dialect, captivates everyone’s imagination owing to its coffee plantations, thick glades and diversity of fauna; with salubrious climate to add leverage to it. Also, the local populace owes its antecedence to a rich ethnic history of warriors.

Traipsing through the scenic views, here are a few places in Coorg for you to visit:

  • Tibetan Monastery: You need to take a detour close to Kushal Nagar to visit this place cloaked with sobriety. Due to the omnipresence of the Tibetan architecture and Tibetan monks, this is a unique place, especially in the southern part of the country. This place has been a home for the Tibetan refugees for years.
  • Talakaveri: Located almost 12,000 metres above the sea level and ensconced in Brahmagiri hills, this is a highly revered place from where the sacred Cauvery River originates. The road winding up the hills itself boasts of panoramic views. The mist grows thicker as you go up and the soft clouds seem to be caressing your face. You get a feeling of being close to heaven!
  • Raja’s Seat: This place offers a breathtaking view of the Western Ghats, especially during the sunrises and sunsets; when the place is flooded with amber light. Tourists are seen to be languishing here for hours, clicking pictures of the scenic beauty. The majestic gardens spanning the hills were, at one time, the favorite haunts of the Kodagu kings and queens.
  • Abbey Falls: It is an amazing sight to see the silvery waterfall splashing down the rocky slopes, especially during the rains. People spend hours frolicking in the cool water pool formed at the base of the hill.
  • Dubare Elephant Camp: If you have kids looking for fun, then this is the right place for you to visit. The little ones would definitely enjoy the elephant rides across the park, which are pretty safe, since the animals are accompanied by their keepers. Also, there is ample scope for boating and rafting.
  • Nagarhole National Park: The landscape is simply awesome along the gentle hill slopes and valleys. Studded with deciduous trees, it is a luxurious home for almost all kinds of fauna such as the barking deer, hyena, otter, mongoose, leopard, tiger, antelope, wild boar, mouse deer, sloth bear and many more. Also, there are a number of guest houses with excellent accommodation facilities nearby the park. A day seems to be too short for visiting this rich wildlife reserve, and you are bound to have a strong temptation for visiting this natural wonder again and again.

 

Cool Places to Visit in South India

Summers seem to be quite testy every year with the temperatures soaring above 45 degrees Celsius in some places in India. The relentless heat makes life miserable everywhere. With the rivers, lakes and the other water sources almost dried up, there hardly seems to be respite anywhere. The wilting trees look hapless, unable to provide cool shades, while the birds fly away to comparatively cooler places. Under such circumstances, most of the people look for getaways to the hill stations in India.

Now, most of the hill stations in north India are chock-a-block with tourists, notwithstanding the fact that South India too has exotic hilly destinations. Here are some places in South India to visit during summer:

  • Ooty: Cradled by the Nilgiris, Ooty is the most popular hill station in Tamil Nadu. This place became a cynosure during the British era. This was primarily due to the fact that the East India Company officers in Madras looked for hilly destinations in the south. Despite its location in the hot tropics, Ooty has become a hotspot in South India due to its unusually pleasant climate. Most of Most of the hilly terrain is covered with pine trees, eucalyptus and tea gardens. This beautiful place mostly thrives on agriculture and tourism. Consequently, one would see the market place copious with English fruits, dairy products and home made chocolates, while throngs of tourists jostle there to buy them. One could, therefore, spend the entire day outdoors savoring the cool breeze and the picturesque landscape.
  • Munnar: Located in “god’s own Country” Munnar is a blissful toy-town hill station. The placid trails, and strolling paths lead to some of the breath taking lakes, waterfalls and tea gardens. The roads winding up the hills are dotted with small tea stalls, and one could spend the leisurely hours at these tiny joints while admiring the scenic beauty. Also, there are some wonderful restaurants overlooking the hills, which serve freshly prepared aromatic dishes. Munnar is undoubtedly a cool respite in sweltering Kerala.
  • Coorg: Also deemed as the “Scotland of South India” by the British, this place lies beautifully ensconced in the Western Ghats. The gentle slopes, salubrious climate, and soil are ideal for coffee plantations, flora and fauna. Besides, the place is good for outdoor activities like angling, trekking and white water rafting. One could also savor the freshly prepared homemade chocolates, pure honey and passion fruit juice in the hamlets and villages. So, if you have plans to visit Karnataka, then do make it a point to visit Coorg, and savor its rustic charm. 
  • Kodikanal: If one boards a bus from the heat trapped plains of Tamil Nadu, and disembarks at this hilly destination, he or she would be entranced by its mesmerizing beauty. Kodaikanal is hailed as the “Princess of Hill Stations” with beautiful rambling misty hills. It is not at all biting cold here, and the weather is somewhat like an early winter. The rambling hills are covered with shola forests, mahogany, magnolia and rhododendrons. The beautiful lake at Kodai attracts a lot of tourists. 
  • Coonoor: Nestled amidst the Nilgiri hills, Coonoor is a favorite destination for hikers, trekkers and adventure lovers. The British discovered these gorgeous hills, and spent their summer vacations so as to escape the scorching heat. Coonoor became one of the most coveted tourists spots over the years in Tamil Nadu, primarily due to its tea gardens carpeting the hill slopes and enticing climate.