Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Manali Sightseeing

Manali Local Sightseeing

HADIMBA TEMPLE: Manali has many attractions but the chief centre of interest, historically and archeologically, is undoubtedly the DHOONGRI TEMPLE dedicated to goddess Hadimba, the Bhim of Mahabharat fame. It has four-tiered Pagoda shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. This temple located amidst wooden forest of deodar is about 2.5 kms. from the tourist office. It is a pleasant experience to stroll in the temple complex which was built in 1533 A.D. A large festival is held here in May. 

MANU TEMPLE: 3 kms. from the main bazar in old Manali lies the temple of MANU RISHI. It is believed that this is the only temple of Manu in India, who was the creator of human race on the earth. The charming location of Manu Temple, on the bank side of river Beas, adds to its attraction. The temple was rebuilt in the year 1992, when the vaulted ceiling and marble floors were added.

CLUB HOUSE: 2 kms. from the town, club house has indoor games facilities which has been located on the left bank of Manalsu Nallah. There are some picnic spots near it. Founded as a luncheon club in 1914, the Club has operated continuously since being founded and remains an exclusive private club with a diverse membership, attracting senior executives from Wall Street and around the world.

TIBETAN MONASTERIES: There are 3 newly constructed colorful monasteries, where visitors can buy carpets and other Tibetan handicrafts. Two are located in the town and one at Aleo on the left bank of Beas river.

MOUNTAINEERING INSTITUTE: Located 3 kms. on the left bank of river Beas towards Kulu. This Institute organises basic & advance training courses, in trekking, mountaineering, skiing and water sports. Skiing and trekking equipments can be hired from here by booking in advance. Tourists can visit an interesting showroom here.

VASHIST HOT WATER SPRINGS AND TEMPLE: (3 kms) Vashist, a small village located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass is worth a visit. It is renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple dedicated to Vashist Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here. Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists. Turkish style showers fitted baths have also been built nearby. Hot water from the nearby spring is provided for bathing.

NEHRU KUND: 5 kms. on National Highway to Leh,a natural spring of cold clear water named after Pt. Jwahar Lal Nehru, who used to drink water from this spring during his stay in Manali. This spring is believed to originate from the Bhrigu lake situated high-up in the mountains.

SOLANG VALLEY: 13 kms. is a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. It has fine ski slopes. The Mountaineering Institute has installed a ski lift for training purpose. Located here is a hut and guest house of the Mountaineering and Allied sports Institute, Manali. Now a few hotels have also come up. The winter skiing festival is organised here. Training in skiing is imparted at this place.

KOTHI: Situated on the road to Rohtang pass, a picturesque spot, Kothi is 12kms. from Manali. A PWD rest house is situated on a ridge overlooking a narrow valley with a very good view of mountains and valleys. Large number of films (movies) have been picturised at this place and is the ideal resting resorts of poets, writers and the lovers of peaceful environs.

RAHALA WATER FALLS: 16 kms. on way to Rohtang pass. If one goes to Marhi on foot from Kothi from the old road, the sight of the falls is fascinating. It is a good picnic spot as well.

ROHTANG PASS (3979 m): Rohtang pass is 51kms. from Manali on highway to Keylong/Leh. It offers a panorama and spectacular mountain view. The pass is open from June to October each year although trekkers can cross it earlier. It is a gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley just as Zojila pass is a gatway to Ladakh. There are a beautiful sight of glaciers, peaks and Chandra river flows down in the Lahaul valley. Slightly to the left are the twin peaks of the Geypan.

JAGATSUKH: 6 kms. from Manali located on the left bank on Beas on the road to Naggar. The place is famous for very old temples of Lord Shiva and Sandhya Gayatri in Shikhara style, these are worth a visit.
ARJUN GUFA(CAVE): 4kms. from Manali towards Naggar, the cave is situated near Prini village 1km. above the road where Arjun had meditated.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Jaipur Tour

HAWA MAHAL: Built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, is the most recognizable monument of Jaipur. The 5 storied stunning semi-octagonal monument having 152 windows with over hanging latticed balconies is a fine piece of Rajput architecture. Originally designed for the royal ladies to watch and enjoy the processions and other activities, on the street below. Now it houses a well laid out museum. The display “Jaipur past and present” is the special feature of this newly setup museum. Timing 10.00 to 16.30 hrs, Entry Fee Rs. 5.00

Hawa Mahal Jaipur

JANTAR MANTAR (Observatory): Built in 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (Between 1727 to 1733), the huge masonary instruments were used to study the movement of constellations and stars in the sky. Enormous sun-dial still provide accurate time, which are subject to daily corrections. Timing 9.00 to 16.30 hrs, Entry Fee Rs. 10.00.

Jantar Mantar Jaipur
CITY PALACE AND S.M.S. II MUSEUM: Situated in the heart of the old City, it occupies about one seventh of the old city area. The palace is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture, it houses a Seven storeyed Chandra Mahal in the centre, which affords a fine view of the gardens and the city. Diwan-E-Am (Hall of public audience) has intricate decorations and collection of manuscripts, Diwan-E-Khas (Hall of private audience) has a marble pawed gallery Mubarak Mahal has a rich collection of costumes and textiles. There is a Clock Tower near Mubarak Mahal. Sileh Khana has a collection of armory and weapons. Timing 9.30 to 16.45 hrs. Entry Fee for Indians Rs. 35.00 and for foreigners Rs.150.00 inclusive of entry to Jaigarh fort.

City Palace Jaipur

ISHWAR LAT:  ‘Swarg Suli’ or ‘heaven piercing minaret’, the tower, near Tripolia gate, built by Maharaja Ishwari Singh (1744-51). It offers one of the most breathtaking views of the city.

CENTRAL MUSEUM: Situated in the Ram Niwas Garden. This graceful building was founded in 1876 by Prince Albert (also known as Albert Hall). It has a rare collection of archaeological and handicraft pieces. Timing 10.00 to 16.30 hrs, Entry Fee for Indians Rs. 5.00, for foreigners As. 30.00.

Central Museum Jaipur

JALMAHAL - (6 kms) on the way to Amer, this small palace is set in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Renovation around the lake is in progress.

NAHARGARH FORT - (15 kms.) cresting a hill about 600 ft. above the city, the fort was built in 1734. The walls of the fort run along the ridge and within are architectural beauties like Hawa Mandir and Madhvendra Bhawan. Timing 10.00 to 16.00 hrs, Entry Fee Rs. 5.0

Nahargarh Fort Jaipur

LAXMI NARAYAN TEMPLE - is situated just below the Moti 000ngri, known for the intricate marble carvings in white marble, popularly known as Birla Temple.
SISODIA RANI GARDEN - (5 kms.) on the road to Agra, the magnificent palace garden was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1710 for his queen. Timings 8.00 to 18.00 hrs. Entry fee Rs. 5.00,

VIDYADHAR GARDEN - (5 kms.) on the way to Agra, built by Viyadhar, the chief architect and town planner of Jaipur. This beautiful terraced garden has several galleries and pavilions decorated with exquisite murals, depicting Lord Krishna.    Timing 9.00 to 18.00 hrs, Entry Fee Rs. 5.00.

Vidyadhar Garden

KANAK VRINDAVAN - (6.5 Kms on the way to Amer) This newly restored temple and garden, near Jal Mahal, has beautiful gardens and is popular picnic place. This is also beautiful location for film shooting. Entry fee Rs. 4.00 & Timings 8.00 to 17.00 hrs.

AMER - The old capital of the Kachhwahas stands atop a range of craggy hills. The fort is remarkable as much for the majestic grandeur of its surroundings as for its sturdy battlements and beautiful palaces. It is a fine blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The solemn dignity of it red sandstone and white marble pavilions, when reflected in the lake at the foot hill, is a sight to behold. The original palace was built by Raja Man Singh, the additional extensions were built by Maharaja Mirja Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh lIthe last Maharaja of Amer, who built a new city called Jaipur, where he shfted his capital in 1727.

Amer fort

The old city of Amer was the seat of power and bustling with life and prosperity. Other worth seeing sites are Jagat Shiromani Temple, Narsinghji temple, the stepwell of Panna Meena and fine carved royal cenotaphs on the road to Delhi. Timing: 9.00 to 16.30 hrs. Entry Fee For Indians Rs. 10.00, For Foreigners Rs. 50.00, Phone: 2530293, Elephant ride charge Rs. 400.00 (inclusive of all taxes) Timing : 8.00 to 16.00 hrs, Phone: 2530264 (Tourist Office).

Haridwar Rishikesh Tour

Haridwar Rishikesh Tour

Destination: Delhi - Haridwar – Rishikesh - Delhi

The gateway of Gods, Haridwar is undoubtedly a kaleidoscope of Indian civilization and culture. Being blessed by the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh Haridwar holds immense significance for a devout Hindu. The numerous temples dedicated to a host of Hindu gods and goddess is a major puller for the pilgrims. Haridwar also happens to be an ancient shakteepeeth thus again attracting lot of ardent devotees. As it is in Haridwar that the holy Ganges descends in the planes, a large number of Hindus come here to take a holy dip. Read on to know more about the places to visit when in Haridwar.


Har-Ki-Pauri: Har-Ki-Pauri is regarded as one of the major attractions of Haridwar. It is a sacred ghat built by the then King Vikramaditya in the memory of his brother Bhartrihari. This sacred bathing ghat is also known as Brahmakund. Thousands of devotees come here to take a holy dip in the river Ganga during the Kumbh Mela. Just near the ghat is the Gangadwar Temple which is regarded as the most important temple of Haridwar.


Chandi Devi: The temple of Chandi Devi atop the Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in 1929 AD by the King of Kashmir – Suchat Singh. The temple is a 3 km trek from Chandi Ghat. Legend has it that Chanda-Munda the army chief of the local demon king, Shumbha-Nishumbha, was killed by Goddess Chandi here after which the place got the name Chandi Devi. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Sankaracharya in 8th Century AD. Chandi Devi Temple is now accessible by a ropeway also, which starts near Gauri Shanker Temple.

Mansa Devi Temple: The temple on the top of Bilwa Parvat is dedicated to the Goddess Mansa Devi. Here, one statue of the Goddess has three mouths and five arms while the other statue has eight arms. A beautiful view of the city can be had from this place. The rope way carriage operates between Upper Road, near the station and Mansa Devi Temple.

Mansa Devi temple by ropeway

Bharat Mata Temple: This is one of the important temples of Haridwar. It has eight stories in which the images of cities, heroes and great men are installed.

Shanti Kunj: It is the famous ashram of Gayatri. Followers and pilgrims from far and wide converge here for yoga and natural cures.

Shanti Kunj

Bhimgoda: Legend has it that while the Pandavas were here, Bhim with one blow of his horse’s hoof drew water from the rocks at this spot.

Pawan Dham: The place is famous for its Hanuman Mandir decorated with glass pieces.

Vaishno Devi Temple: The newly constructed temple dedicated to the Goddess Vaishno Devi is on the lines of the temple in Jammu.

Vaishno Devi Temple

Gurukul Kangri University: A centre of learning where education is imparted in the traditional Indian way. Within the precincts of the University is the Ved Mandir which houses many archaeological exhibits. It is situated on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. The Ved Mandir Museum with archaeological exhibits in display can also be seen.

Daksh Mahadev Temple: The ancient temple of Daksh Mahadev is situated in the south of Kankhal town. This temple was constructed by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 AD. Kankhal has several temples and ashrams.

Sapt Rishi Ashram:  The Ganga flows in seven streams in front of this Ashram, hence this place is also called Sapt Sarovar.

Sapt Rishi Ashram

Kanva Rishi Ashram: 42 km. The ashram is situated on the banks of the Malini river along the forest road to Kotdwar.

Chila Wildlife Sanctuary: Haridwar is also a popular destination and adventure lovers. Chila Wildlife Sanctuary, part of Rajaji National Park, covers an area of around 240 sq. km. which attracts wildlife lovers with its pristine scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. It has 23 species of mammals and 315 fauna species. One may watch a herd of elephants roaming majestically in the jungle or may find oneself excited by a wildlife of many kinds including tigers, leopard, jungle cat, himalayan yellow throated marten, samber, cheetal, barking dear, wild boar, langur, ghural, sloth bear, king cobra, woodpecker, etc. The river shelters fish in abundance. Fishing is allowed with permits. Time to visit: 15th November – 15th June. No entry before sunrise and after sunset.

Chila Wildlife

Piran Kaliyar: The Dargah of Hazrat Makhdum Allauddin Ali Ahamed `Sabri’ on the outskirts of Roorkee, around 23 kms, is a must-visit-place for every visitor. It is situated towards the south of Haridwar. The place is known as Piran Kalier. This place is one of the living examples of unity between the Hindu and Muslim religions. Famed for its mystical powers that fulfil the desires of the devout, the Dargah is visited by millions of Muslims and Hindus alike from India and abroad.

Rishikesh: Rishikesh is one of the best-located pilgrimage centres along the right side of the bank of the Ganga. The holy river emerging from the high mountains not far from here, runs deep and silent through the thickly wooded hills of the Terai that straddle this region. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife await here. Not to mention the peace and tranquillity of a landscape associated with `munis’ and meditation. According to legend, sage Raibhya Rishi, undertook staunch penance at Rishikesh to please God. In answer to his meditation, god appeared here, manifested as `Rishikesh’ and the place thus came to be called after him. Today, Rishikesh has become a centre for learning and research in yoga and meditation – the renowned Indian methods for mental and physical health.

Rishikesh Shiva

Triveni Ghat: It is an interesting placed to be at dawn, when people make offerings of milk to the river and feed fishes. After sunset, priests set floating lamps on the water during the Aarti Ceremony. Nearby is the Bharat Mandir, the oldest temple.

Triveni Ghat

Neelkanth Mahadev: According to mythological accounts, during Sagar Manthan, Lord Shiva drank all the effluent venom here, which turned his throat blue. Hence, Shiva also became famous as Neelkanth. A four hour walk from Lakshman Jhoola, this temple is situated at a height of1700 meters.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Do Dham Yatra - Yamunotri and Gangotri

Do Dham Yatra - Yamunotri and Gangotri

Distance: Delhi- Yamunotri- Gangotri- Rishikesh-Haridwar-Delhi

Yamunotri Temple

YAMUNOTRI TEMPLE - The Yamunotri Temple is the major attraction of this place. Built in the 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur, the temple was destroyed twice. The first time it was destroyed by a major earthquake in 1923. It was subsequently rebuilt only to be damaged again in 1982. The temple is dedicated to Yamuna, a river considered sacred by the Hindus. The river has its source 1 km beyond the temple. Many interesting legends are related to this place. According to one of them, Yamuna was the daughter of Surya and Sangya. Yamuna is also considered the sister of Yama, the God of deth.

Surya Kund

SURYA KUND - This hot water pool, considered sacred, is used to prepare the prasad or holy offerings to the deity. The prasad, an offering of rice and potatoes is tied in the cloth bags and dipped in the water of the pool. The water is so hot that within no time the prasad gets cooked. The Surya Kund, a thermal spring, is famous for its curative properties. The temperature here is as high as 190°F. The pool is named after Surya or the sun god, the father of Yamuna.

DIVYA SHILA - Divya Shila literally means blessed or heavenly rock. It is customary to worship this rock pillar before entering into the Yamunotri temple. A must visit for all tourists .

Gangotri Temple

GANGOTRI TEMPLE - The most important attraction in Gangotri is its temple believed to have been built in the 18th century by a Gorkha commander, Amar Singh Thapa. The temple was renovated in the 20th century by the Maharaja of Jaipur. It is a white marble structure with a height of 20 feet. The statue is taken to Mukhimath village for six months every year during the winters and worshipped there.

SUBMERGED SHIVLING (JALMAGNA SHIVLING) - Situated near the main temple, this natural Shivling (Shivling is the phallic form of Lord Shiva) is said to be the place where Ganga was received by Lord Shiva in his locks. The Shivling is visible in the winters only when the water is clear.

Do Dham Yatra - Kedarnath and Badrinath

Do Dham Yatra - Kedarnath and Badrinath

Distance: Delhi Haridwar - Rishikesh - Badrinath - Kedarnath - Delhi

BADRINATH TEMPLE - Badrinath temple is the main attraction of Badrinath. The present temple here was built by Adiguru Sri Shankaracharya in the 8th century. But, according to local belief, the temple stands on the site of an earlier temple which was later rebuilt by the Garhwal kings. The temple is divided into three parts—the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), the darshan mandap (the place where the prayers are held) and the sabha mandapam (the place where devotees assemble).

TAPT KUND - Tapt Kund is a natural spring believed to possess curative properties. It is believed to be the abode of Agni (the Hindu God of fire). The temperature of the water is around 45°C. Pilgrims take a holy dip in the Tapt Kund before entering the Badrinath temple. 

SURYA KUND - Besides the Tapt Kund, there are other hot water springs in Badrinath. Surya Kund is one of them. A good number of tourists and pilgrims visit Surya Kund every year. Another spring is Narad Kund, which is a recess in the river near the Tapt Kund. It is said that the idol of Badrinath was found here.

Neelkanth Temple

NEELKANTH - The towering Neelkanth peak forms the backdrop of Badrinath. The main temple is encompassed on either side by Nar and Narayan, the two mountain ranges just by the bank of the river Alaknanda. The ice-capped Neelkanth peak attracts hordes of tourists during season.


KEDARNATH TEMPLE - Built in the 8th century A.D., The temple at Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was renovated and refurbished by the religious reformer and saint, Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. Outside the temple door a large statue of Nandi the bull, stands as the guardian deity.

VASUKI TAL - 6 km. At 4135 mtr. Above sea level, this lake is extraordinary, surrounded by high mountains and offering an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peaks.

GANDHI SAROVER - 1.5 km. A small lake from where Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas, is said to have departed to heaven.

Bhairavnath Temple

BHAIRAV NATH TEMPLE - To the south of the main temple stands the temple of God Bhairav, the deity who guards the Kedarnath Temple in winter, when it is closed due to severe winter conditions.

GAURIKUND - An ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess Gauri or Parvati, the Gaurikund houses the metallic idols of Gauri and Shiva. According to legend, Parvati meditated here for a long time, to win Shiva as her consort. Ultimately, she succeeded, and the cosmic couples were wed at Trijuginarayan.