Best Of Spain – Barcelona And Seville. Live The Spanish Dream

Spain is everything you can imagine it to be – and more! From flamenco and poetry to fabulous architecture and art. Travel to its heart, boisterous Barcelona and farther to Seville and partake of the good life.

People have different reasons to put this charismatic country on their bucket list. Spain being a football crazy nation attracts a large number of fans as well as an equal number of revellers for its traditional festivities such as the famous Running of the Bulls at Pamplona and La Tomatina at Valencia’s famous town of Bunol. For me though, Alhambra in Granada was a surreal experience, described by Moorish poets as ‘a pearl set in emeralds’.

I have travelled to other beautiful countries but Spain has an invincible soul. It wasn’t just about awesome tapas bars, Gaudi’s architecture, Picasso’s art—there was also a lot of amazing graffiti on the walls of alleys, street artistes performed everywhere and their astounding spirit rubbed off on me soon after my arrival.

However, the two cities that stood ours for me. And definitely gave me the best Spanish experience – are the cities of Barcelona and Seville.

Also read: A Spanish Sojourn – 3 Top Heritage Sites To Visit in Spain

 

Barcelona

Top view of Barcelona in Spain
Barcelona

Barcelona was a revelation, with its boisterous people and musicians strumming their Spanish guitars around cathedrals and the sound of music elating the senses and putting everyone on a happy high. I spent a few days in Barcelona with friends, walking the popular La Rambla, admiring the eclectic craziness of Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, Park Guell and the famous Basilica of Sagrada Familia.

Places to Visit in Barcelona

The Basilica of Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 and it remains among the most visited monuments in the world. I soaked in the zestfulness of the city, getting lost in the alleys of the Gothic Quarters. There was the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria and Placa Reial, where I spent my evenings exploring bars, meeting local artists and savouring delicacies such as black paella and chomping on churros. And then there was the beach, of course, rated among the top 10 city beaches by National Geographic.

Shopping in Barcelona

Barcelona has lots of amazing areas for shopping and you must not miss the La Boqueria market at La Rambla where time stops and everything comes alive. Smells, colours, tastes, sounds and textures fill you up. Here you can lay your hands on the freshest authentic produce, whether it’s meats, cheese, mushrooms or anything that tickles your gastronomical buds.

Barcelona Night Life

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc in Barcelona
Barcelona Nightlife

Barcelonians really know the secret of taking their afternoon siesta so they can dance under the stars while enjoying the buzzing club scene, which kicks up by 2 am and goes on till sunrise. So if you love the party scene, you will be spoilt for choice with an abundance of small bars and popular nightclubs.

Also read: Best things to do in Barcelona 

 

Seville

Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain
Seville

After spending some glorious time in the tourist capital of Catalonia, I flew to the capital of Southern Spain’s Andalusia region—Seville. As a solo traveller, I prefer to use Airbnb and stay with a local, so that the host can share their secret places and things to do in the city. In Seville, my Airbnb house was next to Alcazar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the centre of the city overlooking mandarin trees.

One of the most visited cities of Spain, Seville is a dream not only because it is rich in history but because it is charming and easygoing. It stirs your soul and leaves a sweet yearning when you depart. Sevillianos, as the people of Seville are called, are known for their hospitality, enthusiasm and lust for life. It is after all the city of flamenco, poetry and art.

 

Sightseeing in Seville

I met the sweetest Sevilliano called Pablo who was nice enough to walk with me along the Guadalquivir river, which divides the city. We walked past students sketching, locals playing sports and relishing their tapas with Cerveza (Spanish for beer), people enjoying their city which is blessed with sun for the most part of the year—it was a life of leisure.

We walked around the alleys of Seville exploring some eateries that are popular both with locals and tourists, such as the Confiteria la Campana which has been around since 1885 and is known for its pastries and coffee. Patio San Eloy was one of my favourites, a tapas bar with lovely tiled stairs for sitting at the back.

Alcazar Castle in Seville: If you aren’t going to Granada after this to see Alhambra with its Moorish architecture (which is highly recommended), then Alcazar Castle offers you a close experience to that—with over 200 years of history and beautiful gardens. If you are hooked on the popular TV series Game of Thrones, then you have heard of the majestic Alcazar. We saw a few artists sitting and painting beautiful art inspired by the architecture and the colours of the castle. We walked out of here on winding cobblestone roads behind the castle. It takes you to Barrio Santa Cruz, the primary tourist area of Seville which used to be the Jewish quarters. Its narrow twisting alleys and hidden plaza are what tourists come for to feel the real Spain. It has old bars and taverns and also some of the best hotels with rooftop bars.

Seville Cathedral: The Seville Cathedral, on one of the busiest streets in the city, is the third largest in the world. Interestingly, it’s an old mosque converted into a church and houses the remains of the explorer Christopher Columbus. La Giralda is the cathedral’s tallest tower with the bells. I loved passing it multiple times as there were musicians performing at every corner. The sounds and the life on this street is what I still connect with Seville and Spain.

 

Seville – Culture and Night Life

Seville has the Museum of Flamenco and Fine Arts but for me the best part was to follow the locals to their popular hangouts such as Carboneria, where musicians jammed, flamenco dancers tapped their feet with full gusto and locals and tourists joined in the celebration. Seville’s night life is known in Spain as the craziest and most fun. You can tell a Sevilliano from far as they are believed to be the happiest people in the country.

Triana is a vibrant, less touristy quarter, across the river Gaudalquivir which is connected to the city by the iconic bridge Isabel 11. It is famous for its markets, ceramic shops, but especially its nightlife and flamenco. The locals go once a month to see performances at Teatro Central, Teatro Lope De Vega and Teatro Quintero. For good touristy flamenco performances, you can check out Los Gallos, El Arenal and Casa de La Memorial. You could, if so inclined, get flamenco lessons on your visit to Seville as well. These evenings spent in Seville are embedded in my senses forever.

Also read: 4 Reasons Party Animals Will Love Ibiza in Spain 

 

How to get to Seville:

Flights from all major airports in Spain fly to Seville. You can hire a car and drive past olive trees and beautiful landscapes or take a bus or train to go to all destinations in Andalusia.

Places to eat in Seville:

Bodega, Belmonte, Bodeguita, Antonio Romero, El Patio.

Things to do in Seville:

The locals go once a month to see flamenco at Teatro Central, Teatro Lope De Vega and Teatro Quintero. For good touristy flamenco performances, you can check out Los Gallos, El Arenal and Casa de La Memorial. La Nuestero is the best place to go dance Rumba and Sevillana. It begins around 11 pm.

Local hangouts: Chile bar, Casino, Alfonso, Groucho, Carboneria.

 

Religious Festivals of Spain

Decorations during Semana Santa - Easter week in Spain
Religious Festivals of Spain

Holy Week of Semana Santa during the Holy week of Semana Santa, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s Passion, a week before Easter, millions of people from different faiths come to the city from around the world for the festival. during the week, you can see church processions throughout Spain. People follow the images of Jesus and Mary through the city, and while the atmosphere is quite sombre and emotional, there is spontaneous singing, with locals and visitors getting involved in the event.

Feria de Abril The other big event which takes place just two weeks after the Holy week is Feria de abril, which might sometimes be in May (depending on the Holy week). The festivities of Feria de abril, which was originally an animal fair of horses and cows, is the week of flamenco and rebujito (a Spanish cocktail of a dry sherry and Sprite). The women are dressed in the traje de gitana (a traditional flamenco outfit) and men and women ride on horseback. This is the best time to be in Seville where everyone is in party mode.

 

Climate of Spain

July is the hottest month and January the coldest. August is the best time to swim in the sea, with the average temperature being 23° Celsius.

 

In sum:

So if you are short on time and want to experience the best of Spain – head to its two most charming cities – Barcelona and Seville.

 

Top Places to Visit in Andaman That Must Be On Your Itinerary

The beautiful and stunning islands of Andaman and Nicobar offer you sparkling seas, sunny skies, golden beaches, and abundant natural wonders. It is a perfect destination for a honeymoon, and also attracts those visitors who love to stay in a peaceful environment barely touched by commercialisation. The pleasant weather around the year in Andaman adds to the appeal of this place. Not to forget, the scrumptious seafood and mind-boggling places to visit in Andaman that leave you wanting for more.

If you have made up your mind to book an Andaman Nicobar tour package, make sure you have the following attractions in Andaman on your itinerary to enjoy a splendid vacation.

Also read: Top Sightseeing Places in Andaman

Cellular Jail

A Part of Cellular Jail, Andaman
A Part of Cellular Jail, Andaman

The infamous word “kaala pani” that you must have heard since childhood refers to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. It was a colonial prison in British era where Indian Freedom Fighters were exiled. Many political dissidents were once jailed here. Though many parts of this jail were damaged during World War II, still it stands tall to remind us of its past. The light and sound show here is a must watch for any tourist visiting the Andaman Islands. It takes place everyday in Hindi (5:30 pm to 6:30 pm) and English (6:45 pm to 7:45 pm) except Monday when the jail remains closed.

Radhanagar Beach

Sea Waves Touching Stones at Radhanagar Beach
Sea Waves Touching Stones at Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach is a gem of Havelock Island. Also crowned as ‘Asia’s Best Beach’ by TIME magazine, the turquoise blue waters, breathtaking sunset views, and white sand of this beach charms you completely. Indulge in sunbathing or swimming here for a refreshing experience. It is one of the topmost places to visit in Andaman for its splendid beauty and surrounding green cover.

Also read: A Honeymoon Guide To Andaman Islands

Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex

For all the water sports enthusiasts, Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex is a must-visit place in Andaman. Located in Port Blair, this complex offers you numerous water sports options like banana boat rides, jet skiing, para sailing, speedboat rides and much more. Whether you’ve tried these rides before or not, you can try your hands at it here as the staff is exceptionally well-trained. You are also given safety instructions and provided with safety equipment before you start on any water sport. If you are a honeymooning couple, make sure to get this place included in your Andaman honeymoon package. It promises a day full of fun, thrill, and excitement.

Diglipur

An offbeat destination in Andaman, Diglipur is known for its spectacular natural beauty. It is an ideal spot for honeymooners looking for secluded, scenic places. Well connected by Grand Trunk Road, you can take a private bus or cab to reach here. Pathi Level Beach, Turtle Nesting Point, Diglipur Church, and Kalipur Beach are some popular places to visit in Diglipur. You must explore Chalis Ek Caves and the Alfred Caves for their rustic charm. Don’t expect much luxury in Diglipur as the place is all about natural beauty. On the plus side, you may find many spots to have some cosy moments with your partner.

Ross Island

Tourists Enjoying at Ross Island, Andaman
Tourists Enjoying at Ross Island, Andaman

Ross Island is a treat for all history buffs and photography enthusiasts. Fondly called the ‘Paris of the East’ by the Britishers, the glory and beauty of this small island was wrecked during World War II. But, you can still see the remnants of old buildings such as the church, British mansions and the market. Many machine-gun nests can also be spotted on the island. You can easily visit Ross Island by taking the ferry service from Port Blair. Also, you will find deer, peacock and rabbits roaming freely on this island, adding to the beautiful surroundings of this island.

Also read: Best things to do in Andaman to explore its culture

 

Now, that you have got an insight into the topmost places to visit in Andaman, make sure you get them added to your itinerary while booking your Andaman and Nicobar tour package. Happy Holidaying!

Top 5 Historical Places In Karnataka For Travellers

Karnataka has a rich heritage and some of its most famous historical places include the Mysore Palace, Hampi, Belur besides a host of other sites. Among states of India, it has the second largest number of monuments to its credit (the first being Uttar Pradesh). Undoubtedly it makes for a fascinating visit for history and culture enthusiasts.

We give you an insight into what the top 5 historical places in Karnataka are all about. And these places are a must-visit for every tourist to get an insight into the rich culture of the state and an appreciation of its history. For history buffs of course, the state is a treasure trove.

Also read: Must-visit monuments of South India 

 

The Historic Temples of Hampi

The temples of Hampi on a clear day
Hampi

Temples in Hampi are sprawling in dimensions, have delicate carvings, lofty pillars, and numerous detailed depictions of scenes from epics. Virupaksha Temple is one of the most sacred temples of Karnataka, and one of India’s oldest functional temples. Built in the 7th century, and expanded during the Chalukyan and Hoysala eras these temples showcase the amazing ancient architecture of our country. Within the Zenana enclosure is the Lotus Mahal, shaped like a lotus flower, and built in the Indo-Islamic style. The Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex has around 50 structures like temples, galleries and gateways within it. The largest monolith structure of Hampi is the Ugra Narasimha, which stands tall at almost 7 metres. The Vittala Temple, Bala Krishna Temple, Dasara Dibba, Ganagitti Temple, Badavi Linga and Pattabhirama Temple and are some other historical monuments of Hampi.

Also read: Hampi Ruins and Ancient Temples

 

Mysore – The Heritage City

The grand hall of the Mysore Palace - top attraction in Mysore
Mysore

Known as the city of palaces, Mysore still retains its old world charm. Peppered with heritage buildings, temples and palaces Mysore lives up to its title of the heritage city.  Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill Temple, and St. Philomena’s Church are some of the most famous monuments of Mysore. The Mysore Palace is one of the largest palaces in the country. It is a unique blend of Hindu, Rajput, Islam and Gothic styles of architecture. Its imposing grand structure stands out during the day time. While the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs at night is an other-worldly sight. On top of the Chamundi Hill is the Chamundi Hill Temple, built in 1100 AD. Halfway up the hill is a 5-meter statue of Nandi, the bull, carved out of a single stone.

Also read: 4 Incredible Palaces in Mysore

 

Historical Monuments of Aihole and Pattadakal

The ancient temple of Durga in the Aihole village, Karnataka.
Aihole

These historical monuments are the cradle of Temple architecture in South India.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami together comprise the Chalukyan Group of Monuments. Aihole has around 125 temples constructed primarily between the 5th and 8th centuries. The temples represent Nagara, Phamsana, Dravidian and Gajaprastha models, which make the town historically significant.

Durga Temple, Ladh Khan Temple, Meguti Temple, Hucchimalli Temple, and Konti group are some important historical monuments of Aihole.
While the Kashiviswanatha Temple, Galaganath Temple, Sangameshwara Temple, Papanatha Temple are key historical monuments in Pattadakal. The temples of Pattadakalwhere were built later, and are larger and grander than those of Aihole. The Sangameshwara Temple is one of the oldest temples of India. While the Virupaksha Temple, also known as the Lokesvara Temple, is the largest in the city. Almost all the major temples in Pattadakal are Hindu, built to honour Lord Shiva. Pattadakal has one Jain temple built in the Dravidian style.

Belur & Halebid – Historic Temple Town

The ancient temples of Belur & Halebid
Belur & Halebid

Belur is a temple town in Karnataka famous for its three magnificent Hoysala temples. The Chennakesava Temple, Halebid Temple and Somnathpur Temple are renowned for their minute carvings and polished sculptures. Thus making Belur one of the best historical places in Karnataka. The Chennakesava temple etched with intricate carvings on every surface is the finest example of Hoysala style of architecture. It took some of the best craftsmen more than a century to build this temple. The Darpana Sundari, Shantaladevi sculpture, carved doorway of the sanctum and Narasimha Pillar are some of the highlights of this temple.

Also read: Exploring Belur and Halebid

 

Badami’s Ancient Cave Temples

Top view of Badami Cave Temples in Badami, Karnataka
Badami

Badami is best known for its ancient cave temples. Built in the 6th and 7th century, these caves are some of the finest examples of Chalukyan style of architecture. These caves are historically significant due to the numerous ancient inscriptions found here, which provide us with valuable information about the caves. Carved out of soft sandstone, the four main caves in Badami are of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Tirthankara. Each of these caves have verandahs supported by stone pillars,  which lead to the main hall, and further to a small shrine deep inside the caves. Three of the caves are Hindu, and display scenes from the Hindu mythology and various Puranic characters in great detail.

Also read: 4 Architectural Marvels to Visit in Bangalore

 

Get ready to explore these must-visit historical places in Karnataka! They are sure to leave you charmed.

 

 

3 Islands In Lakshadweep That Honeymoon Couples Must Visit

Defined by their tranquillity, azure waters and pristine nature, Lakshadweep islands are a haven for couples looking for some quiet time together. These islands have increasingly become popular with honeymooners given their sheer untouched beauty, magnificent lagoons, clear blue waters and secluded beaches.. If you are a couple who is planning a honeymoon in Lakshadweep and are undecided on the places to visit, we’ve compiled a list of the three best islands in Lakshadweep. All of these offer a comfortable stay as well as the option for numerous activities..

Also read: Best things to do in Lakshadweep 

Here is a look at the three most romantic islands of Lakshadweep.

 

1. Agatti Island

Beautiful tropical beach against blue sky at the Agatti Island
Agatti Island

If you are taking a flight to Lakshadweep, you will land at its only airport – the Agatti airport. This is the only island where you can expect to find some modern day amenities and a relatively large number of people. This is the reason that Agatti Island features on most Lakshadweep honeymoon packages. Agatti is the best place for snorkelling in Lakshadweep. You can also discover the rich marine life of the island with a ride in a glass-bottomed boat. In the evenings a stroll hand-in-hand around the beautiful lagoons with your partner makes for a romantic experience.

Also read: Explore the magic of Agatti island 

Where to Stay?

For a luxurious and comfortable stay, you can choose Agatti Island Beach Resort. The price per night for this accommodation starts from around INR 8000 per night.

 

2. Bangaram Island

Dried stumps alongside the beach on Bangaram Islands
Bangaram Island

An hour-long boat-ride from Agatti, Bangaram Island boasts of an extraordinary variety of coral reefs. You can even take a 10-minute helicopter ride from Agatti Island to Bangaram Island and soak in the mesmerising aerial view of the Lakshadweep Islands. It is a great way to save on time while adding a luxurious helicopter ride to your honeymoon experience.

Bangaram Island is the best choice for indulging in scuba diving with your partner. The waters are relatively calm here, and the undersea life is exotic and colourful. We advise you to get the activity included in your Lakshadweep tour package in advance for a hassle-free experience.

Also read: Scuba diving with Lacadives 

Where to stay?

Bangaram Island Resort is serene and peaceful. It provides you with a relaxing atmosphere. They also arrange island transfers and water sports for a charge. One night stay in their Beach Cottage costs around INR 15000 for a couple.

#Accommodation For Adventurous Couples: If you and your partner love a thrilling experience, you can opt to camp on your honeymoon on Bangaram Island. Tent stays are offered by Lakshadweep tourism near the lagoons. You can book it by visiting the Lakshadweep tourism website or by calling them. It will cost you somewhere around INR 6,000 per night.

 

3. Kavaratti Island

Tourists arriving at the tropical island port of Kavaratti.
Kavaratti Island

Endless lagoons in Karavatti Island take your breath away. The island is dotted with coconut groves, which add to the charisma of the place. It is the most developed island in Lakshadweep and also the capital of this Union territory. This island is a preferred place for honeymooning couples who love to romance amidst nature, while also having the option to indulge in numerous activities. There are many water sport options on this island like glass-bottom boat ride, jet ski, parasailing, scuba diving among others. The island also has some interesting places to sightsee as the Urja Mosque, Marine Aquarium and of course many lovely beaches.

Where to stay?

Karavatti Island Beach Resort is a cosy accommodation located on Paradise Hut Road. It provides you with homely food and hygienic surroundings. It is the only beach resort available to tourists. A night at this resort costs around INR 6000 for a couple.

Also read: Offbeat destinations for a romantic getaway 

 

Getting around the Islands

Lakshadweep tourist transfer to Island through a local ship
Lakshadweep

You can travel intra-island by hiring a scooter or a taxi. For inter-island commute, water scooters, catamarans, and long-tail boats are some options. You can also take a helicopter ride. It may be heavy on the pocket, but the bird’s eye view that you get is worth every penny spent.

Make sure you visit the islands mentioned above on your honeymoon for a unique experience. Happy honeymooning!

Book your Lakshadweep holiday package now!

 

Ramadan 2019: 5 Best Places To Experience The Celebration

Ramadan Mubarak! The joyous month of Ramadan is here. Marking the ninth month of the Islamic calendar the festival serves as a chance for Muslims to purify their soul and get closer to God. It is the time of celebrations, rituals and feasts. According to this year’s Ramadan calendar, the festival starts from May 6th and ends on June 3rd. While Ramadan dates are dependent on the moon sighting that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a vacation in advance.
While everyone will be busy fasting at home with their friends and family, there are some who can never be homebodies. For them, this month-long festival of Ramadan 2019 creates a perfect travel opportunity to explore new places and yet stay connected to their roots.

So this Ramadan, travel to these exotic countries to experience distinct facets of Ramadan.

 

1. UAE

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque lit up during Ramadan
Abu Dhabi

UAE is hands down one of the top places to experience the Ramadan fervour. Exotic night markets, summer camps, bustling spice markets and top it all, the vibe of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. A visit to one of the world’s largest mosques and having iftar with the local community will make your 2019 Ramadan truly memorable.

Pro Tip: Savour authentic Arabian cuisine in majlis-style tents adorned with cushions and Persian carpets. This Ramadan 2019 in Dubai, do not miss the view of Burj Khalifa.

Also Read: A Handy Guide To Visiting Dubai During Ramadan

 

2. Morocco

Night market in Jamaa el Fna in Marrakech, Morocco
Morocco

The stunning Grand Mosque of Casablanca, the pulsating Jemaa el-Fnaa square and exotic souks of Marrakesh and delicious local food is what makes Morocco an ideal place to visit during Ramadan.
To experience Ramadan 2019 Morocco at its best, head to the popular hub of Islamic culture – Fes Medina. Also, explore the world’s oldest university- Qarawiyyin which is also home to many mosques.

 

3. Malaysia

Girl looking at Malacca Straits Mosque in Malaysia
Malaysia

Being one of the most famous Muslim countries in the world, Malaysia has no shortage of prayer and food facilities during Ramadan and Eid. The largest cities such as Georgetown and Kuala Lumpur along with smaller suburbs come alive during this season. Walk through the bustling night markets and traditional bazaars of Kuala Lumpur to experience the Ramadan vibe. Also, relish the “bubur lambuk”, a famous delicacy served during the Ramadan season.
The country marks the end of Ramadan season with a two-day national holiday and plethora of festivities.

Check out: 10 Best Things To Do In Malaysia

 

4. Egypt

Giza pyramids light up during sound and light show to celebrate the Ramadan Feast festival in Cairo
Egypt

Egypt is the best place to experience the most enchanting Islamic architecture and cultural heritage. There are a plethora of family-oriented hotels, mesmerising mosques and restaurants serving iftar meals. In Cairo, a myriad of luxurious hotels and food options are available to serve people visiting during Ramadan. The stunning beaches of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh provides a respite from the summer heat. Take part in the huge street parties hosted by wealthy Egyptians for the poor, in the spirit of generosity.

 

5. Turkey

Ramadan Bazaar at night in Sultanahmet square
Turkey

What better place to break your fast this Ramadan 2019, than in the magical Blue Mosque of Istanbul. In Turkey, you not only get to offer prayers at the mesmerising mosques but also explore the mystical bazaars and lip-smacking Turkish cuisine. Like most places, Turkey comes alive after iftar, but with a twist. It is customary in Turkey for drummers to cover the streets in the middle of the night for sahur.

Also Read: A Handy Guide Before You Head To Istanbul For Your Vacation

 

Bonus: Ramadan in India

Jama Masjid filled with pilgrims during Ramadan
Delhi, India

Dubbed as the month of prayer and fasting, Ramadan in India is mostly about get-togethers, lip-smacking food and a lot of celebrations. Like Turkey, the seheriwalas of old Delhi carry out the tradition of walking the street chanting the name of Allah and Prophet.
As for the celebrations, cities including Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhopal light up with fairy lights and night bazaars with countless street food options.

So, where are you headed this Ramadan 2019?

 

Historical Places In Bihar Every Tourist Should Visit

A place of great spirituality and learning in Eastern India, the state of Bihar boasts an ancient heritage and culture that goes back over three thousand years. There are many historical places in Bihar which uphold its rich legacy of learning and architecture. We bring you some of the historical monuments of Bihar which are popular on the tourist circuit. Some of these places are also revered centres of spiritualism and attract pilgrims and devotees through the year.

Also read: A Walk Through The Heritage Sites Of Patna

Here is our list of best monuments in Bihar. And they are a definite must-visit for history buffs.

 

Bodh Gaya – Historic Place of Buddha’s Enlightenment

Giant statue of Buddha in Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Bodh Gaya

A pilgrimage site for Buddhists of all sects, Bodh Gaya is believed to be the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Tree is where Lord Buddha sat in meditation for enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Temple stands just next to it. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bodh Gaya receives Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world – including from places as far as China and Japan.

How to reach Bodh Gaya: Bodh Gaya is 114 km away from Patna via NH 22. It takes less than four hours to get there by road. The nearest airport and railway station is at Gaya – 17 kilometres and 13 kilometres off respectively.
Timings: 5 AM to 9 PM.
Entry Fees: None

 

Nalanda University Ruins – Ancient Seat of Learning

The ruins of Nalanda University - the most ancient university in India
Nalanda University

The ruins of Nalanda University are one of the most important historical monuments of Bihar. Nalanda was once a seat of great academic excellence. It was founded by the Gupta Emperor Kumaragupta in the 5th century. One of the most ancient residential universities of the world, Nalanda was a place of Buddhist learning. Other religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Sufism also flourished here. On your visit, you will see Buddhist ‘viharas’ (or monasteries) and ancient ‘stupas’ (dome-shaped Buddhist shrines).

How to reach Nalanda: Nalanda is 62 kilometres away from Patna – the nearest airport. By train, you can come to Rajgir which is 12 kilometres outside Nalanda.
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM.
Entry fees: Indians have to pay INR 15 to enter. Foreign tourists pay INR 200 to visit the ruins of Nalanda University.

Also read: Exploring The Learning Center Of Ancient India- Nalanda 

 

Vikramshila – Historical Centre of Tantric Buddhism

Vikramshila Setu in Bihar
Vikramshila

A famous monument of Bihar, this centre of learning was established by King Dharmapala after the decline of Nalanda University. It is located on the banks of River Ganga in the village of Atichak. It was a centre of Tantric Buddhism. Adorned with terracotta plaques and carved pillars, the ancient site of Vikramshila is a must-visit monument in Bihar. You can easily book entry tickets to Vikramshila on Yatra, prior to your visit.

How to reach Vikramshila: Take a train to Kahalgaon. It is the nearest railway station at a distance of about 14 kilometres. Moreover, the nearest airport is Patna – 277 kilometres off.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM.
Entry fees: Indians and citizens of Thailand and Myanmar have to pay INR 5 to enter. While other foreign tourists have to pay INR 100.

 

The Tomb of Sher Shah Suri – A Historic Figure

Sher Shah Suri was a Pathan ruler from Bihar who founded the Suri dynasty. He is most famous for his victory over the Mughals, In the middle of a lake at Sasaram, lies his tomb. A bridge – built of stone, connects the island to the mainland. Built of red sandstone, the tomb is a fine specimen of Indo-Islamic architecture.
Online tickets for entry to the Tomb of Sher Shah Suri can be booked on Yatra.com.

How to reach: Sasaram is 148 kilometres away from Patna via NH 139. It takes about four hours by road. You can also travel to Sasaram by train.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM.
Entry fees: If you are an Indian citizen, you have to pay INR 5 to enter. However, foreign tourists have to pay INR 100 to visit the tomb of Sher Shah Suri.

 

Visit the state to tour the many historical monuments of Bihar which are of religious and cultural significance. Go ahead and plan your trip now!

Also read: Places To Visit In Patna

 

8 Places To Visit In New Zealand For A Memorable Holiday

Ancient rock formations, beautiful lavender fields, pristine glacial fjords and dramatic Maori culture – New Zealand has much to woo a discerning traveller. With its world-class skiing and surfing spots, it can be an action-packed holiday destination for you. Or, you can enjoy an indulgent vacation exploring its fine food, wine and beer. Add to it some breathtaking landscapes, and you are assured of a holiday of a lifetime.

Also read: 12 Things To Do In New Zealand For An Amazing Holiday Experience

Irrespective of what you seek of your New Zealand holiday, the plethora of options in the country is bound to confuse you on your trip. That’s why we’ve collated a list of places to visit in New Zealand that would give you a balance of both – its mellow as well as adventurous side. To know the must-visit attractions in New Zealand, read on. For your convenience, we have divided the places according to the main divisions of the country North Island and South Island.

 

Places to visit in New Zealand – South Island

With a population of just one million, the South Island of New Zealand offers breathtaking natural beauty. The snow-capped mountains, sublime lakes, sparkling glaciers, beaches and fjords here are a dream come true for any nature lover. Not to forget, the adrenaline pumping activities for hardcore adventure lovers that draw tourists to this place very often. Following are some cities in New Zealand South Island that you must explore when on vacation:

 

1. Queenstown 

Bungy Jumping in Queenstown
Queenstown

Queensland is the home of adventure. It is the adrenaline pumping capital of the country, and famous as the birthplace of Bungee Jumping. It also has a contemporary art scene for creative minds and a rather lively nightlife for those who love to party. For foodies, the city hosts some of the best restaurants for dining. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, on the south-west side of South Island, you find abundant natural beauty here.

Things to do in Queenstown:

Try bungee jumping, skydiving, mountain biking, river rafting or riding on a luge. If you are travelling in winter or spring, do try skiing. Queenstown gondola ride is a must-do activity as it offers panoramic views of The Remarkables mountain range, Coronet Peak, and Walter Peak.

 

2. Christchurch

Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch

Even after being rocked by earthquakes four times from 2010 to 2011, Christchurch managed to reinvent itself magnificently. It retains its old-world English charm even when more than 80% of the buildings had to be carved out again – some even from the old shipping containers. Christchurch is a chaotic and colourful mix of the old and new for the curious traveller.

Things to do in Christchurch:

Explore Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The serene Avon River meanders through the gardens presenting a beautiful sight. The gardens also feature the oldest, tallest, and largest trees of the city. You can also visit North Hagley Park, Canterbury Museum, and the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch. Do take a ride on the gondola that takes you to the top of Mt. Cavendish.

 

3. Milford Sound

Group of people enjoying sea kayaking in Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a fjord where you get to see a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea surrounded by high cliffs. The expansive rainforest and towering mountains of this place are sure to mesmerise you. Numerous cascading waterfalls offer great photo opportunities. However, you will realise that not a single image you’ve clicked compares to the magnificent view before your eyes. For nature enthusiasts, Milford Sound must definitely be on your list of places to visit in New Zealand.

Things to do in Milford Sound:

You can explore Fiordland National Park, and take a Milford Sound Underwater Observatory tour to see the aquatic life of the area. Going for Dolphin sighting is another exciting activity to do here.

 

4. Wanaka

A resort town located in the Alps of the South Island, Wanaka draws tourists by its splendid natural beauty. The lakes and mountains of this region cast a spell on your senses. Lake Wanaka is the prime attraction of this town. Also, its proximity to Mt Aspiring National Park makes it a base for many outdoor activities.

Things to do in Wanaka:

Go for hiking in Wanaka. There are many mountain trails here. You can visit Mt. Aspiring National Park. Art enthusiasts can stroll the streets and be inspired by the galleries and stylish shops here. For foodies, there is a great selection of cafes and restaurants in the area.

 

Places to Visit in New Zealand – North Island

Cape Reinga Lighthouse in New Zealand
North Island

The volcanic activity makes The North Island of New Zealand famous. But, that’s not the only thing for tourists to explore. North Island encompasses many cosmopolitan cities and national parks too. It houses about three-quarters of New Zealand’s population and presents you with a firmly entrenched coffee culture. Also, you find more Maori population here than The South Island, which makes it a cultural hot-spot.

 

5. Auckland

City view of Auckland from Mount Eden
Auckland

Auckland is a modern city with gorgeous towns and beautiful landscapes. It is the largest urban area in the country, which is surrounded by outlying rural areas and islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Due to the bays and islands that engulf it, Auckland is also known as the ‘The City of Sails.’ One Tree Hill – the greatest fortress in New Zealand attracts many tourists to Auckland. The natural delights of the place include rainforests, parks, volcanic cones, thermal springs, and more.

Things to do in Auckland:

Explore the waters of the Hauraki Gulf especially the Waiheke Island, which is home to world-class wineries. The Goat Island Marine Reserve has a thriving and accessible aquatic ecosystem for marine life enthusiasts. A visit to the Wallace Arts Centre, Mt. Eden, and Auckland Art Gallery are some of the other interesting things to do in Auckland.

 

6. Wellington

Top view of Wellington skyline
Wellington

Wellington is the second most populous city of New Zealand located on the southern tip of North Island. The city is quirky, creative, and full of character. You will find funky side streets, weekend markets, and pop-up restaurants here. The craggy coastline and panoramic views of the city from Mt. Victoria are worth capturing in your camera. Locals are friendly here, and the cafes serve amazing blends of coffee.

Things to do in Wellington:

Visit the Wellington Botanical Garden, Zealandia Ecosanctuary, and National Museum Te Papa. Take a stroll on the Cuba Street or the scenic Oriental Parade, and try delectable coffee brews at any of the cafes. Some of the best restaurants here include Whitebait, Noble Rot, and Logan Brown.

 

7. Rotorua

Known for its traditional Maori village and geothermal activity, Rotorua is famous for its namesake lake. The city is situated on the southern shores of the lake and is home to many active geysers including the 30m-tall Pohutu Geyser which erupts multiple times a day. There are various bubbling mud pools and boiling pools, some of which even have a temperature of over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things to do in Rotorua:

Your trip to New Zealand would be incomplete without visiting Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley in Rotorua. You can witness erupting geysers here. Also, Rotorua has a Maori heritage centre where you can expect to receive a traditional Maori welcome. Don’t forget to try a ‘steambox’ meal here. It is prepared using ancient geothermal cooking methods.

 

8. Hobbiton

Hobbiton movie set created for filming The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies in Matamata, New Zealand
Hobbiton

For all Lord of the Rings movie fans, a visit to Hobbiton is a must. The lush pastures, hand-painted mailboxes, quaint lakes, colourful plants and gardens leave you in awe of this place.

Things to do in Hobbiton

Take a tour of the Lord of the Rings movie set. The Shire looks exactly like in the film, and you feel whisked away to the magical place of “Middle Earth”. From sipping a beer at the Green Dragon (they have a non-alcoholic ginger beer too!) to wandering around the tiny houses, Hobbiton offers an ultimate Lord of the Rings experience.

Excited about all these places to visit in New Zealand? Then what are you waiting for? Book your New Zealand holiday package now!

Also read: Your New Zealand Travel Guide is Here. Plan Your Holiday

 

Shimla Mall Road – The Ideal Place For Shopping

A visit to Shimla is concurrent with a visit to its famed Mall Road. Every tourist who visits Shimla will find himself strolling this picturesque road dotted with pretty colonial buildings and contemporary structures. After all, the Shimla Mall Road is the pulsating heart of this hill station. You will always find it bustling with locals and tourists shopping, snacking or simply spending some leisure time. For those who have shopping high on their agenda, will find that shopping in Shimla is an absolute delight. Along its Mall Road, you find a wide variety of handicrafts, clothes and woollens as also local produce and confectionery products.

You may also like: A Heritage Tour Of Shimla

While there are innumerable shops for you to choose from. Here is our pick of top places for you to shop in Shimla Mall Road.

 

Himachal Emporium – For Shopping Variety

Handmade woollen clothes store on Shimla Mall Road
Shimla

The Himachal Emporium is a highly-recommended shopping spot on the Mall Road. It is a unique Shimla shopping mall since there is so much variety to shop from. There are some lovely handmade woollen clothes on display at this shop. Made by Tibetans, these woollen items display their special handicraft, in a unique manner. These are a great buy for your winter wardrobe. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful, colourful jewellery, and other handicraft items. Don’t forget to buy the colourful Himachali hats that are typically worn by the natives of this region.

 

Lakkar Bazaar – Hub for Shoppers in Shimla

Amazing view of the valley from Lakkar Bazaar
Lakkar Bazaar

Lakkar Bazaar is a place you must not miss visiting. This is the perfect place for all things wooden that you might want to buy. All the products are made from the wood of walnut and deodar trees that are found in plenty in this region. The artisans who make these exquisite wooden handicrafts are mostly Sikhs settled in Himachal Pradesh since generations. You can get all kinds of wooden items from clocks, keychains, pens to kitchenware and home decor items. These also make for good souvenirs to take back home. Moreover, Lakkar Bazaar is the perfect place to buy the famous and stylish Kullu shawls.

Also read: 5 Things To Do In Shimla

 

Minchy’s for Delicious Preserves

Fresh fruits and berry jams in Shimla's local store
Shimla Mall Road

Himachal Pradesh is quite famous for its rich harvest of a vast variety of fruits. Can’t take so many fresh fruits home? No problem! Minchy’s has an alternative. A shop that has been around for quite a while, Minchy’s sells jams, preserves and squashes made from local fruits. This is a great gift to take home, especially if you want to give your friends and family useful consumables.

 

Trishool Bakers & Confectioners- For Sweet Lovers

Shimla's famous bakery -  Trishool Bakers & Confectioners
Trishool Bakers & Confectioners

Trishool Bakers & Confectioners is one of the most well-known confectionery shops on the Mall Road. Once you finish with shopping, head here to grab something to satisfy your sweet tooth. Trishool is popular among both locals and tourists for its delectable pastries and cookies. Its famous plum cake is a must-try among other delicacies. Indulge yourself and take some of their delicious items back home too, for friends and family to savour.

 

In sum

If you are still wondering where to shop in Shimla, then find your answer in the above options! Moreover, when you buy locally made products in Shimla, you support the local artisans who depend on you, the tourist, for their livelihood. These products are not only beautiful but also created with incredible skill and love. So make sure you do take out time for some shopping in Shimla Mall Road.

 

Also read: 6 Things You Should Know About Shimla

 

 

6 Historical Places In Mumbai For The History Buff

On your next visit to the commercial capital of the country, take a tour on a different side of this Bollywood city. You will be surprised to see how the traditional and the modern live in harmony here. There are many famous monuments in Mumbai that are well-worth exploring and learning more about. As you tour the various historical places in Mumbai you will get a deep insight into the rich heritage of this contemporary city. So go on and start your tour of discovery.

Also read: 4 Things To Keep In Mind When Travelling To Mumbai

Here is a list of historic sites in Mumbai which certainly deserve your time and attention.

 

1. Elephanta Caves – A Beacon of our Rich Ancient History

Temple entrance inside the ruins of Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves

Dating back to medieval times, the Elephanta Caves are a fine specimen of art and architecture carved out of rocks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has increasingly become a popular tourist attraction of Mumbai, from being just a local sightseeing site. It has two groups of caves – a set of Hindu caves and another of Buddhist caves. You will also see a stunning perspective of the Mumbai skyline from the Elephanta Caves.

If you are planning to visit this place, book the online entry tickets of Elephanta Caves on Yatra.com in advance.

How to reach: Ferries are available from the Gateway of India. It is at a distance of 13 kilometres from there.
Timings: 9 AM to 5:30 PM, barring Mondays.
Entry fees: Pay INR 10 if you are an Indian and INR 250 if you are a foreign tourist.

 

2. Gateway of India – A Historic Colonial Monument

The view of Gateway of India and Taj hotel from a boat
Gateway of India

Overlooking the Arabian Sea, the Gateway of India is near Colaba in Mumbai. It is an impressive structure made of yellow basalt. Built to commemorate the visit of King George V to India in 1911, it is a tourist hub today.

How to reach: It is 25 kilometres off central Mumbai (from near the Bandra Kurla Complex ).
Timings: A open public monument in Mumbai, it can be visited any time. However, it has become a popular hang-out joint during the late evenings.

Also read: Gateway Of India: A Truly Unique Monument In India

 

3. Haji Ali Dargah – An Ancient Site of Pilgrimage

The white minarets of Haji Ali Dargah
Haji Ali Dargah

Set against the backdrop of the Arabian Sea, this shrine dates back to the 15th century. There is a marble courtyard here wherein lies the tomb of Haji Ali. The glass chip decorations of the shrine spell out the name of the Prophet ninety-nine times.

How to reach: The Mahalaxmi Railway Station is closest to the Haji Ali Dargah – approximately two and a half kilometres away. From there, you will find autos and taxis. You can also come here from Byculla Station – about 3 kilometres off. Although it is a short walk from the mainland, both sides of the approach-road remain submerged in water during high tide.
Timings: 6 AM to 10 PM.

 

4. The Siddhivinayak Temple – A Religious Monument

Siddhivinayak Temple from across the street
Siddhivinayak Temple

Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, this temple receives visitors from all over the country. The idol of the presiding deity is built of a single piece of black rock. The idol is also called ‘Chaturbhuj’ as Lord Ganesha has four arms at the Siddhivinayak Temple.

How to reach: The temple is at the Prabhadevi locality – about 13 kilometres off central Mumbai. Dadar is the nearest railway station at a walking distance of fifteen minutes.
Timings: 5:30 AM to 10 PM.

 

5. Victoria Terminus – A Historic Site of the British Era

Victoria Terminus - a famous landmark in Mumbai
Victoria Terminus

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Victoria Terminus is also known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Built in a Gothic-Victorian style of architecture, it is a busy railway station and an important Mumbai monument. Visit it in the evening to marvel at its lit-up grand structure.

How to reach: The Victoria Terminus is a railway hub and the headquarters of the Central Railways. It has good connectivity and stands five kilometres off Colaba.

 

6. The Kanheri Caves – A Walk Down Our Ancient Heritage

Inside Kanheri Caves
Kanheri Caves

A set of caves, they showcase the influence of the Buddhist religion on art and architecture. There are carvings, paintings and sculptures here which will take you back in time. With 109 entrances, you can reach the caves through steps cut out of rocks.
You can book entry tickets to The Kanheri Caves on Yatra.com

How to reach: The Kanheri Caves are inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. This is 24 kilometres off the city-centre of Mumbai.
Timings: 7:30 AM to 5 PM, barring Mondays.
Entry fees: INR 15 for Indians while the fee is INR 200 for foreigners.

 

The monuments of Mumbai speak of the times bygone. Visit them and take a dive into the rich history of Mumbai.

Also read: Must Visit Places In Mumbai If Heritage Is Your Calling

 

Cleanest Cities In India For A Delightful Holiday

If you are looking for an urban holiday then head for India’s clean and green cities. We give you a pick of best places you should be thinking about when you plan your escapade to a city! From Mysore in the South to Chandigarh in the north, from Bhubaneshwar in the east to Gandhinagar in the west. These quiet cities make for great getaways for a vacation. This is because they have the advantages of a city but minus the traffic, bustling crowds and most importantly minus the pollution levels.

So lay your plans and set off to explore these cleanest cities of India. Here is all you need to know about them:

Also Read: Top 10 Cleanest Cities In India That Deserve Your Attention

 

1. Mysuru / Mysore

Wide angle view of Mysore Palace - one of the top places to visit in Mysore
Mysore

Two years in a row, the city with its royal associations has been named India’s cleanest city in the Swachh rankings. Once the capital of Mysore state, the city reveals its rich legacy in its lavish palaces, temples and other monuments. Mysuru, which keeps its many traditions alive, is also instantly associated with fine silk and sandalwood. It is also now a destination for the practice of Ashtanga yoga. Plus, the prospect of eating masala dosa in its birthplace brings foodies here.

Mysore’s Clean mantra:

Mysuru’s clean city status has much to do with how it has managed its sanitation. The authorities can take credit for an efficient door-to-door garbage collection system, recycling practices and for building individual, community and public toilets. Besides putting in place infrastructure, they’ve also managed to bring about essential behavioural changes amongst the public with an excellent communication strategy. Also, several NGOs in the city are dedicated to keeping Mysore clean, and their initiatives enjoy public support and participation.

Getting there: Fly into Bengaluru. Mysuru is a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.

Stay: In the royal city, why not have regal digs? Check out the Lalitha Mahal Palace hotel.

Eat: You must eat the South Indian fare, especially the masala dosa when you’re in this town. Vinayaka mylari comes highly recommended.

Things to do in Mysore / Mysuru

  • Peek into a palace. The Mysore Palace is an extravagant, even over-the-top-edifice built in the Indo-Saracenic style. It is the top attraction in Mysore.
  • Ascend a hill. Take the drive up nearby Chamundi hills, and enjoy the views from there.
  • Escape into the wild. Mysuru is the hopping-off point for the wildlife reserves of Mudumalai and Bandipur.
  • Go shopping. The Cauvery Emporium is a good place to look for silk and sandalwood artefacts.
  • Set aside yoga time. There are several yoga schools in Mysuru.

Also read: Stay at these centrally located hotels in Mysore

 

2. Chandigarh

The most popular shopping sector in Chandigarh - Sector 17
Chandigarh

Le Corbusier’s city, sprawling at the foothills of the Shivalik range, is best known for being India’s most planned city. All that planning has paid off, for Chandigarh has also been named India’s second cleanest city after Mysore. An easy getaway from Delhi, it makes for an excellent city break. Tidy streets, graceful buildings, sprawling parks and gardens, and a lake. Plus vibrant eating out and nightlife scene all add to Chandigarh’s appeal.

Chandigarh’s Clean mantra:

Chandigarh has successfully tackled what was once a challenge—collecting the 370 tonnes of solid waste the city generates every day from the sectors. It also has an efficient and sufficiently large workforce cleaning the city’s streets. There’s a concerted effort by the authorities collaborating with The Energy and Resources Institute to make Chandigarh environment-friendly, which includes using natural construction material and lowering overall energy consumption.

Getting there: Drive from Delhi to Chandigarh, it’s an easy 250 km.

Stay: There is a wide range of accommodation options—from budget to five-star. The Altius is a boutique hotel and gets good ratings.

Travel Tip: From Chandigarh, you can get away to several summer destinations, including Shimla and Kasauli.

Things to do in Chandigarh

  • Explore the city. Start at the Capitol Complex, the administrative quarters and the grand expression of the French architect’s work – the Open Hand monument.
  • Walk in its Rock Garden. Chandigarh’s must-see attractions include the Rock Garden. It is scattered with figures and sculptures created by Nek Chand.
  • Unwind by the lake. Visit Sukhna lake, and enjoy a round of boating or its peaceful environs. Also, take a walk in the surrounding forest land.
  • Go on a museum tour. Chandigarh’s museums and galleries are as well-organised as the city itself. Take a tour of the Government Museum and Art Gallery.
  • Rock the night. Spend an evening in Sector 17, which becomes one big outdoor club every night. There are drinking and dining options aplenty here.

Also read: Tips for a Chandigarh Holiday

 

3. Bhubaneshwar

The ancient temples of Bhubaneshwar
Bhubaneshwar

Capital city Bhubaneswar is the gateway to Odisha’s many splendours, situated at one corner of the famed triangle that includes Puri and Konark. It’s on our list of clean getaways because it has been named the cleanest city in eastern India. Bhubaneswar has its many attractions, including the temples and shrines known for their grand architecture, its monuments and parks. After taking in Bhubaneswar, you can head out to explore the state, a rich tapestry of natural beauty, architecture, art, crafts, culture and cuisine.

Bhubaneswar’s Clean mantra:

Bhubaneswar’s coveted position as the cleanest city in eastern India can be attributed to sustained effort. Private agencies have been entrusted with collecting garbage in a majority of wards with solid waste management being closely monitored. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation sometime back developed an app, ‘My City My Pride,’. It receives complaints from citizens through the app and within minutes a ward officer swings into action.

Getting there: Bhubaneswar is connected by air to all major cities.

Stay: There are lots of reasonably-priced digs in Bhubaneswar, such as Hotel Grand Central and the Crown.

Eat: Never mind the debate about who invented the rosogolla, try Odisha’s sweet creations such as chhena Gaja and kheersagar.

Things to do in Bhubaneshwar

  • Traverse the town. Bhubaneswar has plenty to see. There’s the Mukteshwar Temple and the Lingaraja temple.
  • Explore Puri. The magnificent Jagannath temple witnesses the faith of thousands.
  • Spend time at Puri Beach. Here sand artists show off their creativity.
  • Visit the Sun Temple. See the fantastic Konark Temple, created to symbolise the cosmic chariot of Lord Surya.
  • Chill by Chilika this vast brackish water lagoon is a must-see in Odisha. It’s excellent for bird-watching. In addition, there’s always a chance you might spot dolphins.
  • Shop for craft. Pipli artists’ village lets you take a close look at Odisha’s famed embroidery.

 

4. Gandhinagar

The exteriors of the Dandi Kutir Museum shaped like salt heap in Gandhinagar
Gandhinagar

The capital of Gujarat is not only a clean city, but it’s also one of India’s greenest on account of its 32 lakh trees. Situated on the banks of the Sabarmati, Gandhinagar is famous for its Akshardham temple, museums and the Sarita Udyan. It’s also the gateway to Bhuj, the capital of Kutch. A city which is rich in history and has a unique culture. It makes the perfect getaway for those who enjoy peeking into the past.

Gandhinagar’s Clean mantra:

Gandhinagar is a planned city, just like Chandigarh, and its massive tree cover is part of the plan. Both air and noise pollution is controlled, thanks to the trees. And that’s what makes Gandhinagar seem like a breath of fresh air. Government initiatives have also begun to emphasise the need to shift to solar power.

Getting there: Ahmedabad airport (26.5 km) serves Gandhinagar and is well- connected with major cities.

Stay: In Gandhinagar, the Fortune Inn haveli is a good place to stay and comes well recommended. There are also options aplenty for various budgets in Bhuj.

Eat: Tuck into the foods that Gujarat is famous for. In Bhuj, taste pakwan, dabeli and vada pav. The Gujarati thali here makes for a delightful meal as well.

Things to do in Gandhinagar

  • Make the trip to Sabarmati Ashram. Here relive the moments of our freedom movement and also view Gandhi’s simple living style.
  • Take off to Bhuj. Begin by visiting the Aina Mahal with its famous hall of mirrors.
  • Visit museums. The Kutch museum is among the oldest in Gujarat.
  • Spend a day by the lake. Visit Hamirsar Lake, a sprawling water body in Bhuj.
  • Go shopping. The local markets are worth exploring for their array of products. So are the stores selling local handicrafts such as bandhni textiles and leather work.

 

 

5. Puducherry – An Offbeat Retreat

Visitors to Pondicherry or Puducherry, as it’s now known, is one of the cleanest places in South India. Pondy’s distinct French air is enhanced by the fact that its boulevards are litter-free, its promenade clean and it’s beachfront a showpiece. Moreover, a fascinating colonial heritage and vibrant Tamil culture meld here, making it an utterly enjoyable destination. It offers the prospects of exploring architecture, enjoying beach time, taking up spiritual activities or savouring some French cuisine.

Puducherry’s Clean mantra:

Pondy earned its clean city label thanks to the sanitation and cleanliness standards here. The municipal authorities have managed to tackle solid waste and sewage management, roping in the public to adopt garbage segregation at source. To motivate the population to keep their localities clean, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi recently announced an award for the cleanest village.

Getting there:
Pondy is a six-hour drive from Bengaluru and two hours down the East Coast road from Chennai.

Stay:
The beach-facing Promenade is a popular upscale hotel here. There are also pleasant homestays in the French-style villas.

Shop:
Go to Auroville where the visitors’ centre has a range of exquisite handcrafted products. From stationery to soap, candles to cosmetics, and more.

Things to do in Puducherry

  • Tour the city. Puducherry’s tidy grid of streets lined with French colonial buildings is well worth exploring. Do it like the locals and hire a bicycle to get around.
  • Hit the beach. Serenity Beach is one of Pondy’s nicest stretches of sand and surf. Spend a day here, just enjoying the ocean.
  • Deep dive. Pondy is one of the diving locations on the east coast. Sign up for a session and explore the wonders of the sea.
  • Get adventurous. Chunnambar Boathouse on the river offers boating, kayaking and other water sports. All of these are great for a family outing.
  • Enjoy eating out. Foodies are guaranteed a good time here. There are old favourites such as Satsanga and Rendezvous serving French-inspired cuisine.While in the Tamil quarter, there are lots of good South Indian restaurants.

So which of these cleanest cities in India are you planning for your next holiday? You can be sure it will be well worth it.

Also Read: 5 Destinations In India For A Pollution Free Vacation