Guest Post || Adventure to Havelock (Swaraj Dweep) Island by ridhi

I and my partner got married in February 2020. Between mountains and beaches, we agreed upon beaches as our honeymoon destination. After considering all options while surfing on the internet, we both agreed on Andaman and Nicobar Group.

On checking the pictures of that place, we were mesmerized and surprised that India has an island group that beats the beauty of most of the renowned foreign countries. We found Havelock as the most beautiful island in this group. The pristine turquoise water of Radhanagar Beach lined with lush green forest and premium water sport activities on Elephant Beach with jungle treks and exquisite coral life offers a refreshing experience in the natural habitat.

Even if one is not interested in water sports, he or she can enjoy the luxurious resorts along the beachside and have a serene experience of the sea waters. Havelock has now been named as “Swaraj Dweep” Island.

 Best Time To Visit

November-March

 Places visited

We started our journey by taking a flight to Port Blair. From the Veer Savarkar International Airport, we headed to Phoenix Bay Jetty to reach Havelock Island through Makruzz Ferry. I was very excited to use the ferry as I have never been to one. The ferry is pretty close to the airport and can be reached through any commercial vehicle. We completed the check-in formalities. After that, we walked towards the ferry. Luggage was loaded separately and we ensured to tag our names to avoid confusion while traveling.

The journey through the ferry was full of excitement. The best part was window seats where one can enjoy the motion of the waves. The interiors are designed more like a flight except for water instead of clouds outside the window:D. It is fully airconditioned, has televisions to watch recorded programs, a café to supply snacks, pastries, and beverages. One could easily wander in the Ferry without having to worry about any kind of turbulence.

After about one and a half hours, we reached Havelock Jetty. We checked into Hotel Seashells which had its private beach.

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Day 1: Radhanagar Beach

We started our Day 1 by visiting Radhanagar Beach which is the Seventh Best Beaches in the world and its beauty is such that you might wonder how can there be any beach better than this. Radhanagar Beach has both beauty of the beach and lush green forest.

One can swim, enjoy the rushing waves, walk with the loved ones, and enjoy the sunset and take shed in the lush greenery. We had also booked a photographer from VsnapU to get our best moments captured in the best beach of South-Asia.

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 Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The funny part of this beach is the care-taker of the restroom. One can easily use the restroom and changing room and also avail locker facilities. One has to pay a nominal price of Rs.10/20 to use the restroom and the caretaker keeps yelling “Joota Chappal Dho ke Jaiye” which means clean your footwear with water before using the restroom. I am sure you will laugh when you pay a visit next time when you meet that man who keeps cleaning after every visitor.


In case you get hungry, fruits and snacks are available outside the beach though things are pretty expensive, we preferred to help them in their small business and me encourage you to do the same.


I would love to share the best moments spent there through the perfect shots taken by VsnapU at the

 Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
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At around 06: 00 P.M. we went back to Hotel Seashells.

Day 2: Elephant Beach


We went through a speed boat. One has to remember its boat name and would be called by not its name but boat name while returning. The Beach has a mobile network issue so take care when the boatman calls you as the Beach closes by 03:30 P.M. I remember our boat name was “Sri”.

Video Link: Speed Boat Ride to Elephant Beach
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Elephant Beach is renowned for its premium watersports activities. I thoroughly enjoyed scuba diving and snorkeling at Elephant Beach with my partner. All activities are done under the supervision of professional trainers and you don’t need to worry even if you don’t know swimming.
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Scuba is the best way to witness the vibrant marine life of Havelock Island. The captivating views of beautiful and colorful fish, swimming around the stunning corals will surely make you gather moments to add to the album of life.  If you are not a fan of going underwater then you can go for a glass-bottom boat ride, Jet Ski or Banana Boat rides. 

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 Elephant Beach, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
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Snorkeling is a complementary activity with the boat tickets to Elephant Beach. Deep-sea snorkeling is however chargeable. Price varies for all activities and has to be paid in cash instantly. Do not register for too many activities as you won’t have enough time to stay on the Beach.

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Shacks have been set up to provide refreshments, fruits, and coconut water.

 Transportation

1. Reach Port Blair by air

Havelock Island doesn’t have an airport of its own. One can reach Port Blair by air from various cities. Most of the flights are scheduled for the morning. Port Blair Aiport is also called Veer Savarkar International Airport.

2. Take a Ferry from Port Blair to Havelock Island.

From Airport take an auto/hired car to Phoenix Bay Jetty which is pretty close to the airport. From the Jetty, one has to take a ferry. There are both Government and Private Ferry. The latter one is expensive. Seaplane is also available with seating arrangements for eight guests and offers exciting aerial views of Island landscapes but is a bit expensive. The Government Ferrys are pretty good. All bookings have to be made in advance. Schedule of the two Government Ferrys are given below:

Schedule for Green OceanBoardingArrivalDuration  6:00 AM8:00 AM2 hours6:30 AM9:00 AM2 hours 30min12:15 PM2:15 PM2 hours12:30 AM2:45 AM2 hours 15min

Starting Price  RefreshmentsSeaviewEconomy- Rs. 1044/-Not servedNot available in Economy ClassLuxury- Rs. 1103/-Not served Available Royale-Rs. 1692/-Not served Available 


Schedule for Makruzz

BoardingArrivalDuration
7:15 AM8:45 AM1 hour 30 min
8:00 AM9:30 AM1 hour 30 min
2:00 PM3:30 PM1 hour 30 min
Starting Price  RefreshmentsSeaview
Economy- Rs. 1457/- Purchase from Mak CaféAvailable
Luxury- Rs. 2008/-Refreshments served.Available
Royale-Rs. 3218/-Refreshments served.Available

We made our bookings for Makruzz and reached the Jetty through a hired car. The experience from Ferry is a fantastic one with clean and air-conditioned cabins, cafe, window-side Seaview, arrangement for luggage. Don’t forget to properly tag your luggage as the same are boarded separately.

3. Havelock Island to Elephant Beach/ Radhanagar Beach and other beaches like Kalapathar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach and Govind Nagar Beach

Check into the hotel and use any commercial vehicle like speed boat/auto/ hired two-wheeler or four-wheeler/trekking hill to reach the beaches. The best experience is definitely through a speed boat.

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 Pro-tips

Traveler’s Tips

  • Mobile connectivity is an issue on this island, so make all bookings in advance.
  • Keep the tickets handy. Wifi available in hotels also do not work sometimes.
  • Carry cash as you may not be able to use your debit/credit cards.
  • As one will be indulged in water activities, do not forget to carry medicines. No medical shops are available on this island.
  • Carry a water bottle wherever you go. Though coconut water is available after every short distance to keep you hydrated.
  • Visit the beach as per the timings so make sure you plan in advance. Elephant beach closes around 03: 00 P.M. while Radhanagar Beach remains open till 06:00 P.M.
  • Carry a bath towel, an extra pair of clothes, a swimming costume, a pair of flip-flops, sunscreen lotion, a hat, sanitizer, and shades. There are changing rooms and washrooms available on the beaches. Comfortable footwear is an added advantage.
  • People here are very friendly and welcoming. They try the best to keep the beaches pollution-free and the same is expected by us.

Author Bio – 
Ridhi loves trying out new foods, seeing iconic landmarks, meeting lots of people, and of course, has a huge sense of adventure. Traveling is one of the best ways to fulfill her need for adventure because so many activities can be considered “adventurous.” Trying out new foods, skydiving, water sports, cultural clothing and salsa dancing in the street can all be considered adventurous parts of her travels. The most fascinating place for her are the beaches. The crystal clear water, roaring waves and lush green forest by the beach is the place where she finds herself at serene.

Part#4–Unleashing Northeast India–Land Of Lama, Rains, Rhinos and Momos by Abhimanyu

Abode of clouds - Meghalaya!

Please excuse me for writing the final part of this journey after a gap of more than a month. Was caught up in adjusting with the “new normal” way of life and remote working.

There were struggles to get the groceries and seamless internet connectivity initially but now it’s all sorted. Meanwhile, I drove down to Raipur from Pune. 1000 kms in 20 hours with a co-driver. It was good fun. 

Reading part#4 directly might not be good idea so please click on the below links to read prequels

After spending 2 days in Assam, relishing local delicacies and meeting Rhinos it was time to hit the road again. Simanta was at hotel lobby with his innova, all neat and clean.

This time for a change, we started late. After lunch around 1:00 pm.

Day#7 –

  • Kaziranga national park to Cherrapunji
  • Travel time – 8.5 hours 
  • Road Condition – Smooth and well consructed
  • Stay – Saimika Resort, Cherrapunji

Lunch served to us @Bonhabi was full of taste and spices. Exactly the way we wanted.

The drive was pretty smooth, and we enjoyed the journey through the small villages, finally reaching the mountains from the plains. We stopped at Jiva Pure Veg to refill our tummies and this place is one of a kind. Very hygienic and full of taste. We ordered momos, noodles and some biryani. Reached at Saimika, resort by 10 pm. It seemed to be a deserted place wherein there was a security guard who led us to our twin-cottages (joined from inside).

Entering the cottages, our excitement reached next level. We had a fireplace inside the cottage. I have stayed in many resorts across India, but this was the first time I had this pretty thing inside the room. We asked the security to lit it up for us. Glasses clanged again with malt on the rocks. It was good fun and very relaxing. Woke up fresh next morning and opened the door of our cottage to be mesmerized by the beauty of this resort which seemed deserted yesterday. Resort is built on a cliff in acres of land, all construction is done using rocks which gives an ancient Roman feel to this place. Looked inspired by Harry Porter movie to a fair extend.

We had some quick sandwiches at the restaurant and left the resort to reach the entry-point of trek to famous “living Root Bridges.”

Day#8

  • living Root Bridges
  • Travel time – Full day trek 
  • Trek level – Moderate to difficult
  • Stay – Saimika Resort, Cherrapunji

At the entry point of the trek, you will meet local boys renting Bamboos and claiming to be guides.

My suggestion – Take Bamboos and not the guide. Because our guide named, Risk DID NOT guide us at all. He just kept walking ahead of us creating un-necessary pressure on us to trek down faster. Guide could be useful for getting some pictures clicked for sure.        

Single root bridge

Started off the hike and reached the,” single decker root bridge” after 1500 steps down hill.

It was tiring but we had some juice left in us so after some rest we moved ahead to the prime attraction of today’s hike – the double decker living root bridge. Another 2000 steps down hill, crossing a river, a few villages, lots of sweating and knee breaking efforts we reached the architectural brilliance, man-made, double decker living root bridge.  

There is a stream flowing underneath it and thousands of fishes are waiting to welcome you from a small pond of fresh, crystal clear water.

Fishes waiting to give you a natural pedicure

We spend time relaxing by the pond side and eating the packed food that we carried from Saimika. Pranthas that were packed had lost the taste completely and I suggest to better order Maggie from small shops around the root bridge.

Some wiki gyan for youA living root bridge is a type of simple suspension bridge formed of living plant roots by tree shaping. They are common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. They are handmade from the aerial roots of rubber fig trees (Ficus elastica[1][2]) by the Khasi and Jaintia[3] peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau. Most of the bridges grow on steep slopes of subtropical moist broadleaf forest between 50m and 1150m above sea level.[4] As long as the tree from which it is formed remains healthy, the roots in the bridge can naturally grow thick and strengthen. New roots can grow throughout the tree’s life and must be pruned or manipulated to strengthen the bridge. Without active care, many bridges have decayed or grown wild, becoming unusable. *

*Source – Wikipedia

We had to trek upstairs again. Although none of us wanted to but we did as we had to.

Knees, thighs and back hurted bad but we kept walking and motivating each other. 

I will write another post on does and don’t while you take this tiring trek of Living Root Bridges. Finally reached the car parking after 7~8 hours to meet ever smiling Simanta.

Had maggie and tea and ditched all plans to see some waterfalls to reach Saimika resort so that we can enjoy this beautiful stay a little more. 

Evening was set with a lovely bon fire outside our cottages where we enjoyed endless chats under the sky full of stars, zillions of them twinkling all night long.

Next morning was a lazy one, got up late and enjoyed our pre-ordered breakfast at the gothic Sai-mika. After quick check-out Simanta took us for some sightseeing around Cherrapunji and Dawki river. The water has no colour and odour is true in the transparent river which flows from India to Bangladesh and merges in Bay of Bengal via Sundarbans. Boating is a must here and if you are enthusiastic like us the do take a dip in the freeazing crystal clear water. Left Cherrapunji by 4 pm for our next destination which was just a night halt for us.

Day#9

  • Cherrapunji to Umsning, Meghalaya
  • Travel time – 4 hours
  • Road condition – Very good and scenic
  • Stay – The Sanctuary Song Resort, Umsning, Meghalaya

All is well when it ends well. Reaching this serene resort, we thought to ourselves, what a showstopper trip end planned by the curator. Nested in nature’s lap within a forest, small stream flowing besides the resort and NO MOBILE NETWORK available. What else does a metro lad need!!

Final Night Celebration

Some local strawberry wine was bought from the reception, bon fire was lit and the night went on and on till 1 am. Crashed in our cosy beds and woke up with chirps of birds, Trisha was the 1st one to wake up and got outside to greet the birds singing in a foggy cold morning.

Day#10 was finally here when we had to board our flight back to Mumbai from Guwahati airport, which is around 3.5 hours smooth drive from the heavenly stay on earth called The Sanctuary Song Resort. I leave you with some pictures here as we end this epic journey of a lifetime with a promise to come back again soon.

Reach out to us for any queries about this trip and for planning and booking yours.

#travel-click-eat-repeat

Send your love to us in comments section and by sharing this blog as much as possible.

Meet the star – Simanta – The ever smiling Mawa Man

See you soon again!

Cheers!

Abhimanyu @yatripandit

Part#1 Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#1 – Reaching Tawang from Assam via Bomdila !

It was the occasion of our 2nd anniversary when four Sharmas’ planned to explore North-east, India.

We had a fantastic company of Dev and Akshata who got married a day earlier than me and Trisha in the same month of Feb and year of 2018.

Me and Dev shared room during my 1st job in Mumbai and we jelled up pretty well for obvious reasons like being Sharmas’ from MP/CG and loving beer. Since we got married almost on the same day, we could not attend each other’s weddings, and this was the chance to cut it by celebrating the anniversaries together.

Tickets were booked in August’19 and we then finalized our itenary during December’19.

We read a few posts and then finally decided to book ourselves with a Freelance travel consultant from Assam.

7th Feb 2020, finally the day had come when me and Trisha embarked the road in our new Honda Amaze from Pune to Mumbai. Akshata arrange for a safe car parking over a week’s time in Mumbai. It was an early morning flight from Mumbai to Assam, we had our masks on as there was a buzz of Covid19 around the world already. Landed in Assam to find our driver, Simanta and pre-booked Innova Crysta.

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Mumbai Airport

None of us had slept last night but there was no sense of deprivation. It was the time to make memories, none of us had been to this side of Incredible India.

I decided to narrate this trip in multiple stories in sequence as it was a beautiful long ROAD trip.

Day#1 – Trip start, 0 Kms

  • Guwahati Airport to Bomdila
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Norgay Guest House Homestay

Journey starts from plains and takes you to the mountains. Located on the Foothills of Himalayas, Bomdila could be considered as an entry point of Arunachal Pradesh. Simanta played some asamese music while driving and halted at a random café so that we can have some Momos, maggie and tea. After 1st stop Hindi music took over Assamese and we were friends with Simanta. He was a character, loved his dose of Indian tobacco(jarda or mawa) while driving and always smiling. Never said no to our demands and was a true host in all senses.

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Lipsmacking Taste

We also got a chance to Enter Bhutan Border, smart Simanta got his diesel tank full as it is cheaper in Bhutan than in India.

As we were driving up-hill the air was getting colder and heavier. We drove alongside a river stream (Kameng river), Simanta told us that it comes all the way from China to meet the mighty Bhramaputra before merging in Bay of Bengal. We will meet Kameng river multiple times during our journey through Arunachal. Just before reaching our homestay in Bomdila we purchased some liquor as it will be helpful in keeping ourselves warm during the course of journey and its cheaper than Goa in Arunachal. 🙂

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Bhutan Border

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River Kameng

Homestay was clean and economical, we had to pay extra Rs. 300/- for a room heater. That’s Ok we were happy and rich (as it was just the first day).

For dinner we walked down the stairs and found a restaurant (name forgotten), but please find it right opposite Dragon restaurant. The momos and noodles which they served were the best that we had during the trip. Please let me know the name of this restaurant in comment section. I can eat those momos all my life and die happily.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

We were sporting jackets and woolens now. Simanta was ready to drive us to Tawang, the dreamland that I wanted to visit since the time I saw it in TV a decade ago.

Day#2

  • Bomdila To Tawang
  • 200 Kms (approx.)
  • Travel time – 8+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Hilly and average
  • Stay – Hotel Mon Paradise

Visited the mesmerising and peaceful Bomdila monastery, saw the little monks chanting and praying in sync. The whole atmosphere was so serene, that trying to narrate it here would be loud and might kill the serenity of the place. Check out our youtube video link below.

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Nam yo ho !! – Buddham Sharnam Gachhami 🙂

After, seeing the monastery we commenced our journey to the land of Lama. The car was cruising slowing with 2 constants, Simanta’s Mawa and Kameng river running alongside.

The drive from Bomdila to Tawang will always be extremely close to my heart because I was about to experience my 1st snow sighting.

Sela pass – You beauty!! I had heard that there is silent a kid within every adult, I was unaware of mine till I saw the 1st snow of my life. I could not stop myself and ran down the stairs, which led to a frozen lake called Sela lake.

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Stairway to Heaven

The whole area was covered with snow we were playing, while clicking some pictures on our phones and many many more in our hearts. While we were down near a frozen lake, those stairs which we walked down seemed like a stairway to heaven. God was generous and suddenly it started to snow, we had such awesome experience before we had to run back to the car as it was a hailstorm. My 1st snow was a helluva experience. Remember the liquor that we bought last night; finally we could do justice to it using fresh snow from the sky..

I even ate some snow. 🙂

Hailstorm turned violent & we had to leave or rather escape from Sela to reach our next pit stop aka Jaswant Garh war memorial. It’s about 22 Kms from Sela and 21 Kms before Tawang.

You must see this video to live Sela Pass a lil more

A bit insight about the memorial – Jaswant Garh is a famous tourist attraction in Arunachal Pradesh and it is widely visited all year round. It is dedicated to the warrior, Jaswant Singh Rawat who was killed during the Indo-China War in 1962. He was an Indian rifleman of 4 Garhwal Rifles, Uttarakhand and for his bravery; Jaswant Rawat was honoured by a memorial at the post where he fought the Chinese army. This magnificent memorial is well kept at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. A small canteen is run by army personnel offering free tea / coffee and hot water to all visitors to keep them warm in cold weather. It is unbelievable in today’s world of worshiping money as God, where almost everyone is running behind money and becoming rich leaving behind empathy towards fellow humans. We relished dosa and idli in Arunachal at such height, it still have the taste in my head while I write about it. My wife, Trisha loved the patty and muffins.

Last but not the least; there is a small shop from where you can buy jackets, socks, gloves, caps, etc to withstand the negative temperatures of Tawang.

The memorial is surrounded by beautiful valley perfect to gaze on while sipping your unlimited free tea.

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Panorama from Jaswant Garh

Hopped back in the innova with happier Simanta, he already had starting chewing mawa.

We reached Tawang in another 1½ hours, the sun sets early and it was almost dark by 5pm when we reached. While, Dev was co-ordinating with the pre-booked homestay owner we had some difficulties in locating the stay. Finally, have found the homestay just to realise that staying there was not a good idea. It was located far away from town in a dark and abandoned area. Girls felt some safety concerns, and we had to honour this being responsible companions. Simanta’s “never say never” attitude and always smiling face helped us find a hotel in the market area. Name of the hotel is Mon Paradise. It was freezing cold, we quickly changed and reached the lobby area with our packed food and theplas. The hotel guys were happy to heat those for us and serve it with dal, egg bhurji and rice which we ordered from them. Sharing our food with a soldier from Indian Army with a lot of border stories was the best thing that we could have thought of in this trip.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Read the part#2 of the story to see Tawang and Dirang from our eyes.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

Guest Post || 8 Things to do in Barcelona – By Daniyal

When traveling, one of the objectives is to make the most of the time and to return home with the feeling of not having lost anything in the newly discovered city. It’s a complicated task, I know, so I’ll give you a hand with this selection of the 8 things you can do in Barcelona. If you have many on the list you can always come a second time.

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Walk to discover the city:
Barcelona is a big city, but it is perfect to witness beauty while walking. Forget about a day of the subway or the tourist bus and re-cross it by giving nice walks and wandering around the roads. You can choose to visit the most important buildings and parks of the city such as Citadels, Joan Miro Park or Montjuic castle, but there is also a Barcelona that does not come in the guides. We encourage you to go up to Horta, to know the charm of the Saint Andreu neighborhood, to see a side of the lesser known Example and enjoy unique panoramas.

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Go to concerts:
Barcelona has plenty of live music venues such as Razzmatazz or Sala Apollo, but it also has wonderful concert halls. The Gran Theatre Del Liceu is a splendid survivor decorated with gold leaf, luxurious red carpets and lots of ornamentation. Check the schedule since the tickets are not always as expensive as it may seem and is a place worth a visit.

On the other hand is L’Auditori, an elegant space with capacity for 2,400 spectators that not only program concerts of classical music but also jazz or world music. The Palau de la Musical Catalonia’s is famous for its modernist architecture and the number of activities it hosts. Barcelona also hosts various festivals from Primavera Sound to Barcelona International Jazz Festival, Sonar and Cruilla, and others.

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Gaudi and Modernism:
Undoubtedly, one of the tourist attractions (and also for those who live here) is to admire the modernist architecture and the works of Gaudi in particular. You can find several examples of his work throughout the city, whether civil or religious buildings. The most famous is the Sagrada Familia, impressive on the outside and inside; The Park Guell, a place almost of the story that emulates an English garden or the Pedrera, but do not miss the opportunity to visit other buildings of Gaudi that sometimes occupy a smaller place in the guides.

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Discover the Barcelona of the young Picasso:
Picasso remembered Barcelona as beautiful and brilliant, a city where he spent his first years. Follow the steps of the genius by visiting the regions that marked his youth. Walk along the street of The Queen Cristina and then cross to street number 3 (street of Merce) where his family lived, although the building was destroyed. If you need to stop on the way, get closer to Ells 4 Gats, a place where artists of the time met for dinner parties, dinners, and art meetings. Finally, visit the Picasso Museum, a gallery that houses
the works of Picasso’s formative years.

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Try the seafood cuisine:
Nobody should leave Barcelona without trying their seafood cuisine. The city offers Rias de Galicia, in Poble-sec and Cachitos which is famous for its fantastic variety of fish and seafood. Cal Pep, in La Born, is known for its three-phase, a mixture of fried chanquetes, squid and shrimp and exquisite noodles. In La Barcelonnette, you will find La Mar Salada and Can Sole with fresh fish and seafood every day.

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Climb the mountain of Montjuic:
The Montjuic Mountain is perfect for strolling through trees and having a great view, but it very costly to access… There are facilities that were built for the 1992 Olympic Games, including the Palau Saint Jordi or the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. Those who have more energy and climb to the top of the hill will find the Olympic Stadium and the Jardi Botanic at its feet, Plaza de Espanya is the most popular entrance to the mountain, and you can also take advantage of the Pavello Mie’s van der Rohe and the Caxias forum cultural center.

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Bath in the Mediterranean:
Barcelona has a little more than 4 kilometers of beaches in which to stretch the towel, plant the umbrella smeared with cream and put the backpack to a good collection is a good choice. With just a few minutes by train or a short drive, you can visit other coastal towns with dream beaches. The Mediterranean is a gift!

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Approach the sky:
Even if you are not a loyal believer, you should visit the magnificent churches of Barcelona for pure artistic and architectural pleasure. Saint Pau del Camp is a rare example of Romanesque architecture with a fantastic cover-up and superb pathway and the elegant Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the best example of the survived Catalan Gothic architecture and is a place of peace up to the atheists. The Gothic religious building par excellence is the Cathedral of Barcelona, dedicated to Santa Eulalia, the
patron saint of the city. The majestic Gothic with a monastery is famous for its 13 white hollows.

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About the author in his own words: This article has been written by Daniyal Buksh a Dan.jpgprofessional content strategist and digital marketer at flights to Stockholm from London. You can catch him on Facebook.

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

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Cheers !!

Secret Campsite at Kasol – Photolog

Our love of Camping is well known, recently we have been to a Secret Camping Site in Northen Part of India Kasol, Himanchal.

 

Here are some Images from our wonderful trip !!

 

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Parvati River

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View from Tent

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Road Less Traveled, Way to Campsite

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Campsite at Nowhere

Mountains
Evening View

River View

Sun and Mountain
Sunset

 

Geo Location 

 

Pictures by: Satyavrat

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Mumbai City of Dreams – Photolog

I was born in Mumbai and spent quite a some time there, for me its more of an emotion rather than a City.

During my stays I have collected quite a few photos

Best thing about Mumbai is Marine Drive

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Largest World Heritage Site Fort Area

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Citylife

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City That Never Sleeps

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PS: Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media. 

Photos and Story 

Utkarsh

 

Guest Post || Vrindavan: Radhe Radhe – by Shivendra

If you are planning to visit Vrindavan, I’m sure you have love for Lord Krishna & Radhe in your heart or you have an eye to appreciate the beauty of magnificent, ancient and deeply revered temples.

This year 2017, I happened to be in India during the Holi festival. I decided to celebrate Holi with God at Mathura-Vrindavan. I booked my room almost 15 days before online. In fact, that was the only room available on the site at that time. During the festive season one must book hotel about a month in advance.

HOLI CELEBRATION AT BANKE BIHARI TEMPLE

How to reach : Reaching Vrindavan is not a problem. It’s 4-5 hrs train journey from New Delhi to Mathura and takes about half an hour from Mathura to Vrindavan. I think 2-3 days are enough to explore Vrindhavan – Mathura. One must prefer to stay in Vrindavan.

Pandit Pitche – Ready reckoner for foreigners visiting Vrindavan

  1. As Vrindavan is a religious city, alcohol is banned in Mathura-Vrindavan.
  2. During the Holi festival and New year eve, you will find heavy rush. Book your hotels well in advance.
  3. Please limit your passion of photography outside the temples, Photography is strictly prohibited inside all temples. Your mobile phone or camera can be confiscated. I remember, ISKON temple is one of the exceptions.
  4. Don’t forget the monkey menace, prevalent in many temples and almost all the narrow lanes of Vrindavan. Be cautious of monkeys, they may snatch anything interesting in your hands, especially sunglasses, mobiles, small handbags, food items in your hand.Monkey Menace
  5. No need to wear shoes or expensive slippers at least during rush time, they might get lost as thousands of pilgrims visit daily. Choose some cheap ones, which you can afford to lose.
  6. Beware of Pick Pockets at crowded places. Especially, take care of your mobile phone. Keep only Rs 200-300 with change of Rs 10 with you in a zip lock. Take back-up of your photos daily, before any unfortunate event happens.
  7. Take care of yourself only on the day of the Holi festival, people throw colours at each other. Sometimes, it becomes nasty on that day. Better be safe than sorry. I preferred to stay in my hotel room.
  8. Suggest you buy printed T-Shirts, short Kurta which will give unforgettable colours to your memories. Buy some for your friends at home, they are inexpensive yet valuable.
  9. Instead of Thank you, Namaste, Good Morning in Vrindavan greet everyone with Radhe Radhe. You can make them your own.

 

What to see?

Prem Mandir: I started from Prem Mandir, No bags, selfie-sticks are allowed inside. They need to be deposited at the entry gate. As you enter, you will find various statues depicting a story of Lord Krishna. It is picturesque outside the main temple.

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Prem Mandir

ISKON Temple: God can’t look more beautiful than we find in ISKON temples. It’s mesmerizing. I suggest when you visit here, spend some time sitting with them and recite “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. Notice them, how contented they are in loving the GOD. 

Shahji Temple: The grandeur of Shah Ji Temple welcomes you with magnificent architecture. One of the biggest temples, its ribbon curved marble pillars and paintings in the sanctum temple which are carved out of black and white marble stones. It makes me wonder how they have built it in 1876. Lord Krishna here referred as ‘Chote Radha Raman’.

Nidhivan: Nidhivan is a sacred temple of Bankey Bihariji which is surrounded by huge bushy forests. It’s believed that these bushes are ‘Gopis’(friends) of Shri Krishna and at night, they perform ‘Rasleela’(Dance) with Shree Krishna and Radha Rani. Hence, they are revered and temple is closed after sunset. From here, the Bankey Bihariji idol was unearthed in 1860s. When you visit this temple, take blessings from the bushes which stay lush green all the year round.

Bankey Bihariji Temple: The Bankey Bihariji Temple is amongst the holiest and famous temple of Krishna in India. Shri Swami Haridasji installed Bankey Bihari ji appeared in Nidhivan. There is no bells or conch in the temple. You will feel eternal bliss, love & blessings showering on as soon as you meet Lord Shri Krishna (Bankey Bihariji). Especially during Holi festival, you will definitely feel as you are in Heaven.

Main temple - Radha Krishna idol
Bankey Bihari Ji

Radha Raman Temple: Sri Radha Raman temple is the most revered temple which was built around 1542. The idols of Radha Ramanji were self-manifested.

Shree Rangji Temple: Largest temple built in 1851 in Dravidian style. This kind of temple architecture reminiscent of South Indian temples which is dedicated Lord Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu)

Mirabai Temple: Mirabai was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. She came to Vrindavan in 1524 in search of Lord Krishna. She was married in Royal Family of Chittor where it was not acceptable to sing songs in temples for Lord Krishna. After the death of her husband, his brother tried to kill her many times. Lord Krishna saved her every time miraculously.

Shri Dwarikadhishji (Thakurji) Temple at Mathura: On my way back to Delhi I visited Mathura and visited the Shri Dwarikadhishji Temple (King of Dwarka, Lord Krishna). The Rajasthani style vibrant yellow colour entrance leads to the courtyard. The murals on the walls, paintings on the roof using gold make it unique and immensely attractive.     

Shri Dwarikatheeshji Mathura
Shree Dwarkadheeshji

 

What and where to eat at Vrindavan?

Brijwasi: If you want to buy Peda (sweets made of milk) for home, buy from Brijvasi in Vrindavan/Mathura. Good quality sweets are also available from the outlet in ISKON temple.

Ammaji Resturant: It is most referred and famous restaurant. Google it or ask anybody, you will find the way to reach there. Paneer Cheela (Indian Cheese Pan Cake): The market, on the way to Bankey Bihariji Temple has Paneer Cheela street food outlet. I had to wait 20 minutes to get mine. Lassi (Sweet Curd Shake): It is available at every corner. I got the best Lassi nearby Shree Rangji Temple.

There are various local delicacies other than I mentioned. Tell me about your favourite ones in the comments section.

Shivendra Rastogi ImageAbout the Author: Shivendra is an “Oil & Gas Professional” and a fabulous company to hangout with. He is an avid solo traveler and always encourages yatripandit.com. He provides expert consultancy in Process Safety and Flare Technologies. You can check his work at http://www.processblogs.com. In addition, he loves to mentors students in unlocking their minds and hearts and encouraging them to create the lives they dream to live. He believes, “travelling alone helps to you to find your TRUE self.”

 

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

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Radhe Radhe !!

 

 

 

Naya(New) Raipur – A Smart City in Making

 

I have been born and brought up in the city of Raipur. I did most of my schooling from this business hub of central India. During school days, I always hated the pollution and dust which blanketed the city. The scarcity of greenery, sports grounds and gardens was always heartfelt. There were no tourist places nearby. The air connectivity was extremely poor. The roads were narrow and traffic was haphazard, with only a couple of traffic signals in the city.

In November 2000, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Prime Minister then), declared Chhattisgarh as a separate state. I was there. I was there when the RTO registration for Raipur changed from MP-23 to CG-04. I was there, when our 1st CM, Mr. Ajit Jogi took the oath. I was there when the state government’s 1st chopper (Maina) was commissioned. I was also there when a lot of roads were constructed across the city. This list can go on and on.

17 years later, the things are a lot more advanced than they were when I WAS THERE. Naya(new) Raipur is going to be the new capital of the state of CG. Naya Raipur is India’s sixth planned city of India and 2nd largest planned city after Chandigarh.

Here we list down 10 things you must know about this city of future:

  1. Green City – Environmental issues have reached to an alarming stage across the globe, and there is a tremendous effort and consciousness required to save it. In Naya Raipur, about 30% of the land is reserved for greenery. The city is has flourishing gardens and grasslands making it the first Greenfield Smart City in India.

12301717_854053938027191_974767572440326675_n2. Fitness first – The NRDA (Naya Raipur Development Authority) has taken a wise measure to promote long lost habit of cycling by constructing smooth and safe cycling lanes across the city. This shall surely reduce pollution and improve fitness.

17498448_1202597613172820_1938008730192688381_n3. Sports is a key focus area – Magnificent Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium has hosted many 1st class cricket matches and 3 seasons of IPL. It’s the 2nd largest cricket stadium in India after Eden Gardens with a capacity of 67,000 audiences. A sports village is being built in Sector 3, ensuring world class facilities for indoor and outdoor sports to promote sports culture.

204. An Educational hub in Making – A sound education system forms the backbone of any region. Keeping this in mind there are many esteemed universities making a mark including Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) which is ranked sixth among the National Law Universities in India.

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IIT Naya Raipur (IIITNR), KIT, ITM University and State Administrative Academy are also operational in the city. IIM-R’s new campus shall be functional soon. A number of national and international schools are laying a good foundation for a bright future.

5. Marvelous Infrastructure – The roads are wide and cut each other at 90⁰, have proper demarcations and are lit with LED lamps. Bus stops are built such that they do not hinder the moving traffic. This smart city sports an underground utility corridor which means that services including water supply, sewerage, telecom, and electricity are developed underground. Waste management and disposal system shall be made matching the global standards.

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Swami Vivekanand International Airport

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6. Welcoming all Industries – Naya Raipur is willing to welcome all sectors with wide open arms, whether be it electronics, IT, pharma, agriculture, jewellery, handloom, hospitality or manufacturing. Sector 22 will be a hub for IT, and services industries. About 194 hectares of land in Sector 5 is reserved for automotive, banks, handloom, etc.

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7. Reliable Medical facilities – No city can be considered developed until it has reliable and latest medical facilities. Satya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, has NO BILLING COUNTERS and is committed to provide free medical treatment and operation facilities for heart patients with no discrimination. More than 3000 surgeries have been successfully conducted here till date. A few world class hospitals such as Vedanta Cancer Hospital, Sankara Eye Hospital, and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are under construction.

aiims38. Seamless connectivity – Naya Raipur will have excellent connectivity via rail, road, and air. The Swami Vivekananda International Airport was decorated with a National Tourism Award and recognized as the best non-metro airport in India in 2016. A new railway line is being constructed to connect Naya Raipur with rest of the country by broad gauge and four railway stations will be built by NRDA.

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Wide Roads

9. Tourism and Recreation: This is the most important aspect from yatripandit’s point of view. Recently, Mr. Narendra Modi inaugurated the Jungle Safari – Asia’s largest man-made forest safari and the Botanical Garden in Naya Raipur. An amusement park is currently being built in sector 24 alongside Jhanjh Lake for thrilling water sports. Ekatm Path, a 2 km corridor is a true bliss for morning walkers and will remind you of Raj Path in the national capital- New Delhi.

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10. The emotional connect – The transformation of this pretty city of Raipur is visible to the world but only people like me can proudly say, “Raipur is not only a city but definitely an emotion for the ones who dwell there and belong to it.”

Now that, I have been living in the big cities of Pune and Mumbai, what I miss the most is the laid back small town life. People actually believe in keeping their lives and things simple. For instance, people in Raipur usually relish their plate of Poha and dahi-jalebi for about half an hour with a lot of worldly gossips with the poha vendor himself.

Keep all this in mind and plan a visit soon to experience this smart, integrated city of future.

Eat-Sleep-Breath-Raipur

Photo Courtesy: NayaRaipur Chhattisgarh FB Page

This 5 minute video by Dainik Bhaskar will enhance your knowledge more.

Check out our story on Bastar to experience the tribal life and tourist attraction of Chhattisgarh.

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Story By

Abhimanyu

Edited By

Utkarsh

Conquering Kundalika – River Rafting in Maharashtra | Yatripandit Original

Rafting is like romancing with a River. It expects respect, understanding and commitment as any other relationship.

We started off from Ghansoli, Navi Mumbai at 8 am, I know its a bit late for a summer road trip! This time we didn’t plan anything but the destination. We didn’t know what to eat, whom to book rafting with, where to stay or whether to stay overnight or return back the same day?

Reached Kolad by 12:30 noon and then the real task of finding a good stay begun. After a few phone calls and referring a number of websites, we found a place called “nature trails” (But didn’t book) which had luxury tents to offer but it was a bit out of budget as the tents were designed for 4 and we were only 2 of us. Nature trails can be booked from www.naturetrails.in . We failed in a couple of other places too as it was a weekday and most of the stays in Kolad operate only on weekends only.

Tired of hunger and burnt of heat, we decided to have lunch first, while having lunch I found a place called “Wilder West” which was very close by had good reviews on google.

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Wilder West Resort

We were there within minutes and got our cottage type room booked. Rent – 5900/- for 2 pax. 1-night stay, all meals and 4 adventure activities. The resort was situated right on the bank of the river and clear water was just a dive away.

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View from Cottage

4 Activities included – Kayaking, zipline, river crossing and WHITE WATER RAFTING.

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Kayaking in Kundalika River

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Fun during Zipline

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Kayaks

The 1st 3 activities were performed on the 1st day evening. Specially Kayaking is a must try. I enjoyed it and was able to learn it quickly.

The dinner was typical Maharashtrian cuisine and full of taste.

The next day morning was so pleasant besides the river that one can keep watching the water gush and listen to melodious birds humming for hours forgetting all worries, sorrows and griefs.

2nd Day, 8 am we left for the much-awaited adventure sport, white water rafting. The start point of the rafting is about 25 kms uphill from Wilder West resort. The rafting in Kundalika river depends on the release of water from Mulshi dam. Our rafting instructor Rajesh was pahadi, who hailed from Rishikesh.

Rafting
Image Credits – https://www.whitewatermag.com/

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Rafts

Note: Listen to the instructions carefully before setting in for rafting, as this sport can be ferocious and life threatening.

White water rafting is a sport where your adrenaline will be on the highest level and there are a few rapids which will give you the desired thrill.

The river has a calm flow after the rapids, wherein you can jump into the water and just keep flowing with the current and your raft.

The duration of rafting is about 2.5 hours but you will surely remember this for the rest of your life.

PS: – Rafting in Kundalika is fabulous for 1st timers and it is the only place to experience rafting in Maharashtra.

Cheers,

Yatripandit

Credits

Story By

Abhimanyu

Edited by

Utkarsh

PS: Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Embraced in the City Of Lakes- Udaipur

It is an addiction and passion to be a traveller. Follow your heart and go out to explore the world. That’s what yatripandit does, packs his bag, takes his DSLR and wanders the beautiful, royal city of Rajasthan —Udaipur Vilas Palace


Lao Tzu rightly says, “ A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” ( Talking to myself sitting on a confined seat inside the bus); it’s been 12 hours since I left Mumbai.
Couldn’t find an ounce of food to eat. Have been just on water… Yeah! This journey is definitely the most testing and exciting one till date.) I never imagined my life would revolve around travelling and photography. Maybe it’s a passion or just an addiction, but travelling and photography is now a culture, a family, a place where you make good friends

Yatrpandit Lakshmi Vilas Palace
Lakshmi Vilas Palace

Udaipur skyline
Udaipur City Skyline

maharana pratap
Maharana Pratap

lake pichola
Lake Pichola

Udaipur
Udaipur City Palace

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Udaipur City Palace

Till date I have made many trips with friends and family, and each time I was fascinated to hear varied stories of different lifestyles and culture or come to know about some amazing place across a river that is still not much explored. Also in each trip, some of the places from the plan use to get skipped because of a shortage in time or road block; some reason or the other. So once I had decided that a solo trip is a must. And it’s the only way I could quench my thirst for good photography.

It was one fine Friday evening when I was coming back from work that I saw a graffiti which read “ Travel far enough, you meet yourself”, by the time I finished reading that, I had already decided that I will be traveling this weekend. The best thing about being in Mumbai is you can go anywhere you want; you can be anyone you want to be! The joy of being in Udaipur for me was unexplainable. For me Rajasthan has always been the answer to the royal and colourful living. It is not just the most visited tourist destination in the world but also the liveliest one. Udaipur is referred to as the ” Venice of the East,” the ” Most Romantic City of India” and the ” Kashmir of Rajasthan” ( a reference to Dal Lake) and not without reason.


Tourists flock to this enchanting city in the heart of the Aravalli Hills, which has three interconnected lakes: Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichhola and the smaller Swaroop Sagar Lake. With its forts, palaces, temples, gardens, mountains and narrow lanes lined with stalls in the medieval historic center, Udaipur is a living memory of a heroic past with valor and chivalry.
Udaipur receives travellers from all over the world every year. The city is still inhabited by people of the Bhil tribe. Udaipur dwellers are really friendly and good to be with.
Here, people usually prefer wearing bright colored clothes. Colorful festivals and fairs depict the cultural prosperity of Udaipur.
I took a hotel near Udaipur Circle ( Shrinath Market) and next morning I walked 1 km to reach Gulab Bagh and the vintage car collection gallery. Then walk 1- 1.5 km to reach City Palace, The splendid City Palace, posing over the fascinating Lake Pichola, is one of the most beautiful palatial structures in Rajasthan. The elegant palace, originally built by Maharana Uday Singh II, rises 30 meters above Lake Pichola and extends up to 244 meters.
Udaipur City Palace is not just one structure but a complex of small and big palaces, museums and gardens. The unique aspect of this conglomeration is that the architectural design ( a rich blend of Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese architecture) is distinctly homogeneous and eye catching.


The palace complex has been built entirely in granite and marble.
The interior with its balconies, towers and cupolas exhibits delicate mirror work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, inlay work and colored glass mosaics.
The complex provides a fine view of the lake and the city from its upper terraces.
There is an entry fee of 115rs pp ( March 2014) and more if you want to be able to take photos.
Then I walked towards Bagore- Ki- Haveli, a mansion built in the 18th century on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat by Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar, now a museum.
It has over a hundred rooms, with displays of costumes and modern art. The building has a large and exquisite collection of Mewar paintings and glassworks, after taking a dose of history and culture I took a sharing auto to reach Chetak Circle and walk 0.5 Km to reach Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandol where I watched fascinating puppet show.


Lifestyle Although there are many diversions for daytime, there is not much in the way of nightlife. There are cinemas and a few cultural shows for evening entertainment, but there are no bars ( other than in upscale hotels) and no discos or nightclubs. Streets become deserted and it’s almost impossible to find a taxi or tuk tuk after 10 pm What to eat You are in Mewar! You must not miss the opportunity to have the really loaded Daal- Baati- Choorma. It is an experience you will remember forever. Look out for a helping of Gatte- ki- sabzi, as well. Udaipur is also famous for its spicy snacks such as mirchi bada and kachori.


Where to stay For tourists traveling on a budget, there are numerous low cost places to stay in Udaipur.
These hotels are clustered around the City Station road which is a bustling area. Many low budget hotels are across Lake Pichola in the Naga Nagri sector. There are also many hotels between the Bandstand to the City palace. Their scattered location and low tariffs make them attractive to many tourists.


HOW TO REACH AIR: There are various domestic flight options available from the Mumbai domestic airport to visit Udaipur.


ACCOMODATIONS Cambay Resort, Udai Kothi, Taj Lake Palace, Jaiwana Haveli, Chunda Palace, Lake Palace, Jagat Niwas Palace, Kankarwa Haveli


 ATTRACTIONS Jagdish Temple, Saheliyon ki Bari, Gulab Bagh and Zoo, City Palace, Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar lake, Jag Mandir

Expense – Approx. INR 6000 PP (Excluding Flight tickets)

— UT@yatripandit.com

**********This Article is published in Leading Daily News Paper************

PS: Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel.     This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media.