Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kodanad – The Elephant Training Camp in Kerala

Kodanad, the very beautiful and charming village in Eranakulam district of Kerala, lies in the banks of the river Periyar. It is one of the famous Elephant Training Centre in India. Kodanad is almost 45 km away from Cohin and 12 km to the east of Perumbavoor town. It is the head quarters of Malayattoor Forest Division.

Things to Do and Enjoy

Here you can enjoy the beauty of restless baby elephants and the greenery around you. You can have an elephant ride to the places nearby. One can take comfortable bath in the river. You can also enjoy your days by cycling to the nearby places and by sailing on a country craft.

Important Places around Kodanad

1. Malayattoor Church
A five-minute country boat ride across the river Periyar can take one to the famous Malayattoor Church.

2. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
It is also known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This sanctuary is also on the banks of the river Periyar.

3. Cherai Beach
Cherai Beach is the beach in Cherai village which is very near to Kodanad. Swimming and sunbath is possible here. The 15 km long golden beach is very neat and clean and you can chase the waves.

4. Historic Village of Chendamangalam
Chendamangalam, the historic village in Paravur Taluk in Eranakulam District is also near Kodand. Chendamangalam Fort, the 450 years old fort, is one of the oldest forts in India. You also get to see the blend of cultures and religion as you find a church, a temple and a mosque and the remains of a Jewish Synagogue at the same place in the neighborhood of the Chendamangalam Fort.

5. Kapprikkad Village
Kapprikkad, the main shooting location in Kerala is a neighboring village of Kodanad.

6. Mini Zoo with Rare Species
A mini zoo with a lot of rare species is also the main attraction of tourists.

How to Reach Kodanad

Kochi Airport is the nearest airport to reach this place. Aluva railway station on the Perumbavoor road is the nearest railway station which takes only 10 minutes to reach this spot.

Where to Stay

LAZY GACE, a cozy hideout tucked away in the town of Aluva, is a clean and affordable place to stay. It is on the banks of the river Periyar. There are just two independent rooms, a spacious common space, manicured lawns and, of course, the river flowing right in front of you. The rooms are well-ventilated and neatly furnished.

There is no in-house cook; however, Lazy Gaze has an arrangement with a few good restaurants from where guests can order food. Once you plunk on the bed, you gradually begin to soak in the silence and beauty of the place.

There are no ‘must-do things’ here. The whole place has been structured to provide absolute relaxation. The promoters also have a tie-up with a couple of boatmen who can ferry you along the river.

In these days of increasing work pressure, doing nothing has become a human necessity. And Lazy Gaze, the homely hideout, provides exactly that ambience.

9847043131 or 0484 2443318 for more details.

Mount Kailash - The Greatest Of All The Earthly Pilgrimages

Mount Kailash is the most enchanting pilgrimage in the world and, for a Hindu, the ultimate one. It’s Himalayan and enchanting, the greatest and most demanding of all earthly pilgrimages. Mount Kailash in the Tibetan Himalayas is called SHIVA’S PARADISE. The 6714-metre-tall mountain is also holy for Tibetan Buddhists, who identify it with Mount Meru, cosmic centre of their universe. The foot of Kailash is sacred to Jains, who believe that their first Thirthankara attained nirvana there.

Not far from the fabled mountain lies Lake Manasarovar, circumference 88 kilometres. The great lake is so named because, Hinduism maintains, it was conceived in the mind of Brahma, the Creator.As per Hindu theology, Lake Manasa Sarovar is the abode of purity and one who touches the earth of Manasa Sarovar will go to paradise. One who drinks the water from the lake will go to the heaven of Lord Shiva.

The Mount Kailash region is known to be the source of four of four of Asia’s greatest rivers, the Brahmaputra, Indus, Karnali and Sutlej. “There are no mountains like the Himalayas,” says one of the Puranas, “ for in them are Kailash and Manasarovar.”

Pilgrims have undertaken the rigorous Kailash - Manasarovar (K – M) yatra for centuries. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, travel to these sites has been guaranteed in the Sino – Indian Treaty of 1954, but the trail had been closed for 20 years after the war of 1962. Access to the area from India is via a high pass, north of Uttarakhand.

Actually the trek to Kailash – Manasarovar is very dangerous and arduous. Though the journey is dangerous, people like to go there because scriptures claim that those who pray before Kailash and bathe in Manasarovar’s holy waters are cleansed of sin and delivered from the cycle of death and rebirth. One can go for pilgrims trek only after passing the medical fitness test of the Ministry of External Affairs. (They send 16 groups every year).

Those who can’t climb and walk a long time can opt for ponies. Especially, the older people and ladies depend on ponies to reach up. Helicopter tours are also available now. This is the best place for those kinds of people who are interested in trekking and audacious journey.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Raia and Other Beautiful Villages in Goa

Goa is a cliché for a reason. Tourists flock here because they are guaranteed a good time. Excellent food, free flowing drink, and you could spend days barefoot on a beach, soaking up the easy life that is best described by the Portuguese word susegade.

There is plenty of Goa to discover off the beaten track. When in Goa, lose yourself. Take the day off to wander through fields and leafy bylanes in Utorda, sit in the village tavernas of Assagao and chat with the locals, sip feni at dusk and wander through the heritage quarters of Margao and Fontainhas where you can almost hear serenades in jasmine scented gardens. Play football with the lads in the school grounds in Aldona. Walk into churches and Saturday markets that you pass around Saligao. Eat poi and sanas flavored with toddy for breakfast. And you will stumble onto a unique slice of Goa.

The village of Raia, close to Margao, is a beautiful spot where you can spend your holidays with your family and friends. It is just a typical Goan village, set among rice fields, with quaint little gaddos or corner shops that sell everything, and the church of Our Lady of the Snows. Rail is still unspoilt and strangely beautiful, set as it is between scenic Loutolim and serene Rachol with its famous seminary, on the banks of the Zuari.

“But then to every Goan, his own village is best.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Patnitop - An Excellent Vantage Point to Enjoy

Patnitop is a beautiful hill station in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the best tourist spot for adventure sports, peaceful walks and unforgettable picnic. It is 112 km ahead of Jammu. It is a 20th century hill station and all other hill stations of this state had been discovered centuries ago. This area is bounded by dense forests of pine and cedar trees. There are three ice-cold freshwater springs in the area, which are said to have medicinal properties. In winter, the resort is generally covered with snow, thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing.

Best Time to Visit

Although Patnitop, the quite paradise, is an ‘anytime’ place, summer is the best time for visit because of its cool and bracing climate. If seeking snowboard joys, December to March is the time to be here. September and October is also a best time to be here.

How to Reach There:-

a) By Air

The nearest airport is at Jammu. It will take 3 hours to reach Patnitop.

b) By Rail

The nearest railway station and rail-head is also located at Jammu.

c) By Road

Buses and taxies are available from all the important cities like Jammu, Kata, Udhampur, Chineni etc. The route from Jammu is NH1A to Patnitop via Domel, Udhampur and Chineni.

Activities to Do


All the trekking routes are open in summer season. It is a suitable place for any long and short treks. Trekking equipments like rucksacks, jackets, carry mats, tents, sleeping bags and windcheaters are available from tourism shops of Jammu and Kud.

2. Skiing

Skiing is possible in January and February for tourists when there is snow all around. One should get a host of skiing options at a place called Madhatop which is around 6 kilometers from Patnitop.

3. Paragliding

Paragliding joyride is possible at Sansar which is 20 kms away from Patnitop. Anybody within a weight limit and with an average health and courage can experience a paragliding joyride here. There is a pilot who will fly the Paraglider, you will be a passanger attached to the glider and tothe pilot, in tandem.

4. Pony Riding

If you wish, there are ponies on hire and one can utilize this opportunity.

5. Camping and Walks

The flowery meadows of Patnitop consist of an ideal place for walks and camping. It is easy to walk around Patnitop – never too hot and crowded.

Must-Visit Spots in and around Patnitop:-

Chinar Garden, Skating Garden and Picnic Spot are the three must visit spots of this place. Madha Top, the ridge opposite Patnitop and Sansar, a grassy meadow fringed by fir trees are the other two must visit spot out of Patnitop.

Places of Religious Importance:-

1. Nag Temple

The 6th century Nag Temple at Ishadhari is within Patnitop itself. The small bazaar that has sprung up around it offers some cherry-like dried fruits that double up as ‘prasad’ as well as mementos.

2. Shudh Mahadev Ka Pahad

Shudh Mahadev is famous for its archeological importance. It stands on the bank of the holy river Dewak. It isone of the well known pilgrimage centre of Jammu and Kashmir.

3. Shiv Khori

Shiv Khori, the holy cave, is situated 100 kms away from Jammu. It is considered second only to the shrine of Vaishnodevi according to religious importance.

4. Mantalai

Its religious link is that Lord Shiva is said to have married Parvathi Devi here.

5. Krimchi

Krimchi is one of the oldest temple in Jammu region.

6. Raghunath Temple

Raghunath Temple is in the heart of Jammu. It is surrounded by a group of other temples. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama.

7. Budha Amarnath Temple

Budha Amarnath Temple, the unique Shiva Temple is the other important pilgrimage centre near Patnitop.

Important Hotels at Patnitop

1. Hotel Green Top

Hotel Green Top, the business hotel, offers modern amenities and facilities. It also offers unmatched views and it enjoys the most silence.

2. Subash Palace

All the rooms of this hotel face the valleys of the Chenab Basin. This is a very comfortable hotel with modern facilities. Don’t miss the indoor games here.

3. Vardaan Resorts

The resort has comfortable rooms with television, heaters and refrigerators. The entertainment centre of this hotel offers some indoor games for its guests. It also offers equipment for trekking which includes trekking.

4. Asia the Oasis Resort

Asia the Oasis Resort in Panchot, 4 kms away from Patnitop offers great view of the gorge. It has an open air restaurant with multi cuisine meals. All the rooms are cozy and comfortable.

5. Hotel Holiday Inn

All the rooms are comfortable with modern amenities. The hotel has a bar and a multi cuisine restaurant. It is also in closeness to the main shopping area.

6. Hotel Sushant

The hotel has a swimming pool, business centre and a bar. Other basic amenities are internet, gym, restaurant with tasty food etc. The two star hotel is suitable for those on a fixed budget and provide prim and proper accommodation.

7. Hotel Forest View

The hotel has parking facilities and good possibilities for all levels of skiing. Other services and facilities include travel desk facility, direct dialing STD/ISD facility, room service, power backup etc.

8. Hotel Jayshree

It offers cozy accommodation with state of art facilities to its guests. All the hotel rooms are well designed with table, luggage rack and cupboard for the convenience of the guest. The important hotel facilities include travel assistance, car rental facilities, parking area and house keeping services.

Take a break from the activities of daily life and go to Patnitop. A holiday here will surely leave you relaxed and invigorated. While in Patnitop you can really enjoy your holidays with your family and with friends by visiting all the places in and around the city.