Tour Package || Bhutan on Budget

The Trip

This edition of our Bhutan trip is meant for the backpackers, for the budget travelers, and everyone in between. Take part in this 1-week adventure in the land of happiness with EIT and explore the vast mountains, the royal monasteries and so much more!

 Day 01:

Arrival at Phuentsholing. Transfer to Thimphu. Travel Time – 6.5 – 7 hours.
Check into hotel

 Day 02:

Local sightseeing after breakfast (Memorial Chorten, Buddha Statue, Thimphu Dzong, Takin Reserve,
National Museum of Textiles)
Evening sightseeing (Changankha Lhakhang and sightseeing left over from previous day) and shopping etc.

 Day 03:

Mild hike to a monastery near Thimphu
Personalised postal stamps at Thimphu Post Office, and evening free for rest and shopping

 Day 04:

Check out of hotel after early breakfast & leave for Punakha district. Travel time – 2 hours.
All sightseeing in Punakha via Dochu La Pass (Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong & iron suspension bridge)
Evening free for rest after a hectic day

 Day 05:

Early breakfast & leave for Paro Travel time – 3 hours
Local sightseeing at Paro (Paro Dzong, Dungtse Lhakhang, Kichyu Monastery)
Evening free for rest

 Day 06:

Early breakfast and begin climb to Tiger’s Nest/Taktsang. Climb will take about 2.5 – 3 hours.
Evening visit National Museum and thereafter go shopping/exploration in Paro town

 Day 07:

Departure from Paro after breakfast

This itinerary can be customised to include a longer stay in Thimphu, especially for first time visitors to the country. However, the Price Tag will then change

Note: Bhutan trips are planned in association with our travel partners, Easeindiatravel

For reading a traveler’s 1st hand experience please click Here

For Tariff

or

you can directly contact our tour partners, “EASEINDIATRAVEL“on info@easeindiatravel.com. Mention Yatripandit’s name to get special tarrifs.

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Cheers !!

God’s Own Country – Kerala

I love traveling! It doesn’t matter whether the destination is at, above or below sea level. As you know, I work for a corporate house as well getting long leaves is a herculean task. I try to utilize all the long weekends and convert them into holidays. Trust me, it’s not that difficult when you plan in advance and have great set of friends to accompany you. I had 4 of them with me.

Last year, we eyed on 15th August (Independence Day Holiday in India) long weekend and planned a 5 day trip to Kerala – God’s own country.

Flight tickets – Check

Accommodation – Check

Intercity Transfers – Check

After a few morning hiccups and winning over a hefty traffic jam on the way to Pune airport, we   on-boarded a morning flight from Pune to Kochi. We landed at the beautiful Kochi Airport to find our pre-booked cab waiting for us at the airport.

IMG_20160815_165324306_HDR
Kochi Airport

It was a neat, a bit old but well maintained Toyota Innova(my fav car for longer roadtrips). I am always hungry to taste local food while traveling; the cabbie took us to a local restaurant in Kochi to enjoy some delicious local Kerala food.

We commenced our voyage to Munnar aka Kashmir of the south. En route Munnar our eyes could not stop peeping outside the car window without blinking. Mesmerized by the beauty of Valara waterfalls we got out of the cabs to click some memories. Valara falls, where the water cascades from an altitude of about 1000 mts, which itself was a treat to eyes and the camera lens. Munnar is known for magnificent waterfalls, we could not visit all (remember lack of leaves for this poor corporate junkie) here is a brilliant article which gives a great insight. http://www.munnar.com/waterfalls-in-munnar.htm#waterfalls.

Where to Stay? – We stayed in Hotel Munnar black forest www.munnarblackforest.com. It’s a budget hotel located on Kochi Munnar road. Rooms are not that great neither the food is. We do not recommend this hotel and search for better options. Munnar is full of better stay options.

Places to visit in Munnar – This gorgeous hill station in Western Ghats is located at 1600mts above sea level. The height and the climate make it apt for tea plantations. We witnessed the whole of mountains covered with tea estates till horizon. The green leafy carpet and the aura of tea plantations surely make it an #instagram paradise. We even managed to gate crash an estate on the way to breathe tea and some perfect clicks.

  • Munnar Tea Museum – As they say,” tea doesn’t ask silly questions, it understands.” When you have such a huge yield of tea, it needs to be processed, packed and marketed as well. This tea museum imparts you enough knowledge on how a tea leaf is converted and marketed as the tea which we use in our households. Established in 2005 previously owned by Tata’s and now by Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company (P) Ltd. (KDHP), this museum has so many historic machinery and models still preserved in good shape. They show a short film which depicts the history of Munnar and its lovely tea plantations. After the film, it also offers a tour to the factory in which you can see and learn the technicalities involved in processing your favorite beverage to come out of morning blues every day. You can taste and buy some tea varieties e.g ginger, masala, green and white tea.

Baith jata hun wahan, Chai bann rahi ho Jahan.

  • Mattupetty Dam – This dam is built near the confluence of mountain streams of Muthirappuzha, Chanduvarai and Kundale Rivers. It is used to generate electricity using hydel power. The large amount of water favors wild animals and birds to flourish. There are a few small shops to buys some local stuff like cardamom, masala and some munchies.

Places to visit in Alappuzha – This laid back heaven in south India is also known as Alleppey and Venice of the East. Well known for the backwaters, canals, lagoons and houseboats.

  • Backwaters – Shikara(boat) ride across the backwaters is a must do and you may book the ride right from the boarding point at the river side. Ask locals or hotel reception for guidance. Avoid hiring the boat through any agent as you might strike a cheaper deal at the boarding point. There are public boat buses which run across this city of Venice … oops; Alleppey.

While on the boat tour cruising on the backwaters; close your eyes, spread yours arms wide and feel the wind pass through your body. The water is clean, calm and serene. One can write books on the breathtaking beauty of this lake city. It surely is a honeymooner’s paradise, a painter’s painting, a poet’s lyrics and a musician’s beats. The song which kept on playing in my head during this trip, as Godsmack brilliantly sung, “I need serenity and a place where I can hide.”

Link to the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A4Km5PTu5o

Alleppey also has a beach which is usually crowded and not very clean.

Stay in Alleppey – This being  an important tourist destination you can find many stay options from budget homestays to exotic 5 stars. Houseboat can also be a unique idea to stay which serve you great food, comfortable bedrooms and tidy western toilets while sailing across the backwaters. We stayed in a mid-ranged 3 star resort called Pagoda Resort which can be booked here www.pagodaresorts.com. The rooms are comfortable and food is to be relished forever (we were there at the time of kerala food festival). In Pagoda resort, you must gift yourself a kerala ayurvedic massage therapy, to help you forget the worldly affairs, work pressure, targets and let you meet your better and relaxed self. We opted for the relaxing Shirodhara and I vouch for it totally.

When to Go – In Munnar the weather is pleasant throughout the year but if you do not like rains avoid going in Monsoon (June, July and October) season as it rains cats, dogs and sometimes elephants too. Whereas in Alleppey summers are hot and winters is the best season to explore. Or you may plan Alappuzha at the time of Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the Punnamada Lake, on the second Saturday of August every year (we missed it by a week).

What to eat – I strongly recommend eating local food which includes idli, rice, appam, uttapam, dosa, sambhar, rasam, etc. Kerala is known for sea food. One must also try variety of chips/ wafers which are a local delicacy. We enjoyed an authentic south Indian meal and various other food items served on a banana leaf at the very famous Sarvana Bhavan in Munnar.

After cruising about 450 kMs(excluding the air travel) through a few cities and villages, beautiful landscapes, mystic mountains, pleasant waterfalls, a soothing beach, a healing ayurvedic massage, lip smacking kerala food and mesmerizing backwaters we ended up this amazing journey to the God’s Own Country with some memories to be cherished for lifetime.

We can help you plan one such trip. Please write to us on info@yatripandit.com

Abhimanyu@yatripandit

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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.

prem-mandir-night
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 !!