9 Famous places to visit in Solan- 6 hours drive from Delhi

If you’ve not visited Solan yet, then you don’t know what you’ve missed! The beautiful destination is a paradise on Earth as vouched for by innumerable tourists and promises to give you an enchanting vacation by all means. Indulging in Solan sightseeing will give you a whole new perspective while the rustic charm of the area will engulf you, particularly if you visit during the major Shoolini festivals in Solan.

Solan is located at the Outer Himalayan foothills and is a lovely hill station which has lovely mountain views and Deodar forests all around. Instead of looking up places to visit near Shimla, this is the ideal spot for your next trip.

How To Reach Solan?

You can drive to Solan via the National Highways 44 and 5 and it is approximately 295 km away from Delhi which means a 6-hour picturesque journey. The Kalka-Shimla Railway line also connects to Solan and the journey is also a treat for the eyes. You can also fly to Chandigarh which is the nearest airport. Solan is only 35 km away from here.

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9 Best Places To Visit In Solan

  1. Bon Monastery
  2. Christ Church
  3. Shoolini Mata Temple
  4. Monkey Point
  5. Dagshai Jail
  6. Toy Train between Shimla and Kalka
  7. Kuthar Fort
  8. Gilbert Trail
  9. Barog Grave

Here are the 9 famous places or experiences that you certainly should visit during your trip.

1. Bon Monastery

This monastery is popular with tourists and is 12 km away from the city centre in Solan. You will love the Buddhist way of life here and the spiritual tranquillity that you find here. The monastery remains open between 9 AM and 5 PM so plan your trip accordingly.

2. Christ Church

Located in nearby Kasauli, this is another major landmark that will overwhelm you with its architecture and the sheer beauty of the surrounding landscape. The legend goes that the church was founded 180 years back by a British family which also paved the way for the foundation of Kasauli.

3. Shoolini Mata Temple

Shoolini Mata Temple

This is where the festival or Shoolini fair takes place every year. The Durga Mata idol in this temple is a treat to behold and you will love the serene ambience here by all means.

4. Monkey Point

Monkey Point Kasauli

Kasauli’s highest point, Monkey Point, will offer you amazing views worthy of some fantastic snapshots! You will love the view of Chandigarh looming in the distance and the landscape all around.

5. Dagshai Jail Museum

Dagshai Jail

The museum is an ancient British prison and legend has it that even Mahatma Gandhi stayed here voluntarily for one day to support the Irish independence movement. This is the second jail that has been transformed into an enchanting museum after India attained independence.

6. Toy Train between Shimla and Kalka

Shimla-Kalka toy train

Book your tickets for this is one of the best experiences you can partake of! The journey itself is fabulous and the train ventures through 864 bridges and 107 tunnels. If in Solan, you can board from Barog, Kumarhatti, Salogra or Solan stations.

7. Kuthar Fort

Kuthar Fort

This fort was built 800 years back by the Gorkha monarchs and is the oldest place in Solan. The fresh-water springs are a delight and so are the imposing towers and art-work spread all over the structure.

8. Gilbert Trail

Gilbert Trail

Located in Kasauli, this is where you can rekindle your natural connection with a lovely 1.5 km hike through the forest which starts at Lover’s Lane. This lovely trail has recently become hugely famous with tourists.

9. Barog Grave

Barog Tunnel

The railway tunnel in Barog has the garden adjacent to it in the memory of the British architect Barog who took his own life due to his inability to finish constructing the Barog Tunnel. Legend has it that this tunnel and grave is haunted and so is the railway station. Go ahead and find out for yourself!

These are the top 9 experiences awaiting you in Solan and make sure that you partake of your fill! Solan promises to be a delightful affair bolstered by the lovely weather, winding roads and serene hilly landscape. What are you still waiting for? Book your tickets now and plan a trip to this magical mountain paradise without further ado!

Famous 10 ancient caves in India

Caves represent a special aura, one of mystery and history fused together in an enchanting combination that draws out our inner explorers. India is blessed with several caves that promise delightful trips by all means. You must have heard of Angkor Wat in Cambodia which is on many a traveller’s bucket list. However, you can plan a simpler visit to some of the best caves in India to satiate your craving for adventure.

10 Most Famous & Ancient Caves In India

  1. Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves
  2. Elephanta Caves
  3. Badami Caves
  4. Tabo Caves
  5. Dungeshwari Cave Temples
  6. Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves
  7. Undavalli Caves
  8. Borra Caves
  9. Karla Caves
  10. Mawsmai Caves

1. Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves

These two caves are arguably amongst India’s most famous ancient caves and are located in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon. They are UNESCO World Heritage listed sites and promise unforgettable experiences by all means. Ajanta comprises of 29 caves while Ellora comprises of 34 caves. The former are majorly Buddhist caves while the latter showcase a mixture of Jain, Hindu and Buddhist influences. These caves have some enchanting sculptures that you should not miss. The Kailasha/Kailashanatha temple is situated in the Ellora caves and is the largest cave temple in India. This is a fascinating monolith that has been carved from just one rock.

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2. Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves

Located only 10 km away from Mumbai, this UNESCO World Heritage site promises to give you splendid experiences on your visit. The main cave itself covers the Gun Hill on the fabulous Elephanta Island and has delightful Lord Shiva sculptures along with panels showing the stages of life for an ascetic.

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3. Badami Caves

Badami Caves

Located in Karnataka, the Badami Caves go back to 6th/7th century AD and there are four caves in all, out of which there is a Jain temple and three Brahmanical temples. The caves have incredible sculptures and images showcasing the Tirthankaras, Mahavira and other Hindu Gods. There are other attractions like carvings of Lord Ganesha with two hands, a dancing Shiva with 18 arms and more.

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4. Tabo Caves

Tabo Caves

Located near the Tabo Village in Himachal Pradesh’s Spiti Valley, these caves housed Buddhist monks in the past and there are many prayer flags inside, indicating that meditation is still done here. The serene atmosphere inside is a major plus point by all means.

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5. Dungeshwari Cave Temples

Dungeshwari Cave Temple

This is located at Bihar approximately 12 km away from Bodhgaya and is regarded as a meditation spot for Gautama Buddha. There are two shrines which commemorate his journey towards enlightenment.

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6. Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves

Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves

These caves are situated near Bhubaneshwar in Odisha. Udayagiri has specially carved caves that were supposedly shelters for Jain pilgrims in the past and the Tiger Cave will draw your attention with its entrance that resembles the mouth of a tiger. The Queen’s Palace Cave is another major attraction. Khandagiri also has several enticing caves worth exploring.

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7. Undavalli Caves

Undavalli Caves

These caves are located on the River Krishna’s Banks, approximately 8 km away from Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada. Made from sandstone, the caves have a huge Lord Vishnu Statue along with shrines dedicated to the worship of Mahesh, Vishnu and Brahma. There are pictures of Lord Buddha as well.

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8. Borra Caves

Borra Caves

Situated 90 km away from Vishakhapatnam, these caves are archaeological wonders and are close to 150 million years old. The Shiva Lingam formed naturally inside these caves is a major attraction along with other formations like the human brain, mother and child and crocodile.

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9. Karla Caves

Karla Caves

These caves are located near Lonavala which is a major tourist landmark. These caves go back to 200 BC and they showcase amazing architecture along with the biggest chaityagriha, arched entry points and the Ashokan Pillar complete with a torana and stone face.

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10. Mawsmai Caves

Mawsmai Caves

The pride of Meghalaya, these caves showcase limestone formations that will catch your eye instantly. The caves are lit up completely and showcase an intricate network of chambers and pathways.

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These fabled and ancient caves promise much more than sheer exhilaration and adventure; they also promise oodles of peace, tranquillity and spiritual bliss in most cases. Check out the caves that you would like to visit first from this list and then plan your trip accordingly. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed even one bit!

Travel Guide- Hampi

History lovers will fall in love with Hampi. It is food for the soul for those who love history, past grandeur and magical stories. Hampi is of course a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws domestic and foreign tourists in huge numbers every year. Hampi tourism has earned itself a place on the map of coveted Indian destinations globally and with good reason!

This charming hamlet, believe it or not, was the last capital of one of the greatest Hindu empires of Vijayanagar. The ruins in the area are a spectacular sight along with the plethora of other attractions.

How To Reach Hampi from Bangalore

Thinking about how to reach from Bangalore? Fret not; You can hop onto an overnight train from Bangalore to reach Hospet which is the nearest railway station to Hampi. There are private buses running from Bangalore and Mysore along with Gokarna and Goa. There are tuk-tuks (auto-rickshaws) plying from Hospet to Hampi along with local buses.

The nearest airports are at Belgaum and Hubli which are approximately 3-5 hours away on an average. You can fly from Bangalore and then take buses/taxis to reach Hampi.

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Best Time To Visit Hampi

Hampi is best experienced between November and February since the heat starts rising from March. The cool weather from November ensures that you can walk around leisure and suitably explore the place.

One of India’s most colourful and vibrant festivals, the Hampi Festival, takes place in November ever year over three days. It is also called the Vijaya Utsav and is peppered with drama, dance, fireworks, puppet shows and music. There is another Purandaradasa Aradhana classical music festival that is held in January or February every year for commemorating the birth of the poet Purandaradasa. The Virupaksha Car Festival takes place in March or April every year. You can plan your itinerary accordingly if you wish to view one of these festivals in Hampi.

10 Best Places To Visit In Hampi

Hampi is itself a historical and architectural marvel. It is also a major spiritual centre. The ruins here go all the way back to the 14th century and cover 500+ monuments over a 25 km radius.

1. Vijaya Vittala Temple

Vijay Vattala Temple

Arguably Hampi’s most eye-catching monument, this temple worships Lord Vishnu and it is located amidst surreal boulders with 56 musical pillars dotting its main hall. The stone chariot is something to behold by all means.

2. Royal Center

This is another popular landmark that is located towards Kamalapura. Tourists have to venture southwards to this attraction to get a glimpse into how the royals governed their populace and lived out their lives.

3. Elephant Stables

These can be viewed anytime between 8.30 AM and 6 PM on a daily basis.

4. Virupaksha Temple

Hampi Virupaksha Temple

Another towering attraction in the Main Bazaar, this temple worships Lord Shiva and is believed to have existed even before the establishment of the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple has several gateways and shrines. In an interesting addition, the functioning of the very first pinhole cameras can be observed here.

5. Hampi Bazaar

The old Hampi Bazaar or the Virupaksha Bazaar is a charming retreat for travellers with its artefacts and quaint pavilions on the sides of the street.

6. Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

Lakshmi Narsimha Temple

The statue of Lakshmi Narasimha is the biggest in the area. This something worth viewing by all means.

7. Krishna Temple

Built by famous King Krishnadevaraya back in 1513 AD after his victory over the Kingdom of Utkala/Udaygiri, the main idol was Balakrishna (Lord Krishna in his infancy) which is now showcased at the Chennai State Museum.

8. Sasivekalu and Kadalekalu Ganesha Temples

These two Ganesha temples are also worth a visit if you’re an architecture lover.

9. Hemakuta Hills

For amazing views of the ruins, this hill is where you should be and it is also dotted with several pavilions, temples and archways. Viewing the sunset here makes for a mind-blowing experience, not to mention fabulous pictures!

10. Matanga Hills

Matanga hills

The hill is centrally located and offers a gorgeous view of Hampi which is even better during sunrise/sunset.

Some other places of interest include the Hazara Rama Temple, Pampa Sarovar, Anjaneya Hill and Temple and of course, the Durga Temple located at the base of the fort. You can also check out the Courtesan’s Street, Sugreeva’s Cave, Bhima’s Gateway, Mahanavami Dibba and Queen’s Bath.

Some Other Tips Tor Travellers

You can definitely rent a bicycle and get around the place or simply walk around as much as you can. You can go on a ferry ride to Anegondi by crossing the river. This place also has a few ancient landmarks while a two-hour journey will bring you to the Krsma Estate vineyards. Enjoy some of the finest wine as you take in the pristine ambience of the place.

You can always cross the river to Virupapur Gadde if you’re a non-vegetarian since alcohol and meat are not available in Hampi town. The place does not have ATMs as well. The nearest one is about 10 minutes away at Kamalapura so keeping some cash in advance will always help.

Visit Dhanaulti For The Ultimate Inner Peace – Travel Guide

Misty mountains, pleasant weather and romantic strolls down winding paths- If this is your idea of a relaxing vacation then by all means, check out Dhanaulti. A beautiful small town near Mussoorie, Dhanaulti is known more as a pit-stop for those exploring other attractions in Uttarakhand. However, it can actually be a good place to enjoy a truly calming holiday, situated 2286 m high and dotted with cute cafes and a multitude of other attractions.

How To Reach Dhanaulti?

Wondering how to reach Dhanaulti? The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun which is approximately 83 kilometres away. The Rishikesh Railway Station is also located 83 kilometres away from Dhanaulti while the Dehradun Railway Station is around 60 kilometres away from the area.

There are buses going to Dehradun, Rishikesh and Mussoorie from Delhi as well. Hop onto one of these since you can easily take a cab from any one of these popular hill stations to access Dhanaulti.

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Best Time To Visit Dhanaulti

Travel Guide- Dhanaulti - 1

Dhanaulti is best enjoyed in the months between March and June every year since you get lovely views of the mountains and clear skies. The weather is really comfortable and it will be more convenient in terms of traveling to popular tourist places from here.

Places To Visit In Dhanaulti

Dhanaulti is home to several landmarks and some of these include the following:

1. Surkanda Devi Temple

View from Surkanda Temple

This temple is one of the top religious landmarks in the area and is located 10,000 feet high, dedicated to Goddess Parvati. One of the Shakti Piths, this temple is also favoured by trekkers since there is an adventurous trek spanning 1.5 km from the Kaddukhal Village.

2. Dashavatar Temple

Talk of the historical significance of the place which is supposedly one of North India’s earliest Panchayatan temples. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is famous for its beautiful panels and mythological inscriptions on the walls.

3. Deogarh Fort

Picture an imposing fort, regal palaces, breath-taking murals and pristine Jain temples. You have the Deogarh Fort which is a photographer’s paradise and one of the best places to visit in Dhanaulti.

4. Dhara and Amber Eco Parks

These two eco parks have beautifully maintained gardens along with surrounding cedar and deodar trees which combine to create a spectacular ambience. These are ideal options for lazy walks, picnics and having fun with near and dear ones.

5. Potato Farm/Aloo Khet

A unique attraction but enticing nonetheless, this is basically a huge tract of land where you will see the most potatoes you have ever seen in a lifetime! This farmland has now become a tourist spot in Dhanaulti and gives you Instagram worthy photos as well!

6. Dhanaulti Adventure Park

For jaw-dropping views of the Himalayan mountain range, this is the place to be. Of course, adventure junkies can indulge in guided treks to Surkanda Devi and Top Niba or opt for rappelling, mountain biking, camping and horse riding.

7. Tehri Dam

Tehri Dam

Another spot that is out of a picture postcard, the Tehri Dam is ideal for a day trip with its lovely gardens and gorgeous views.

8. Chanderi Town

Another day trip marvel, Chanderi Town will bowl you over with its architectural marvels such as the Koshak Mahal, Badal Mahal and Victory Arch among others.

Bonus Attraction- Apple Orchard Resort and The Glasshouse Restaurant

The Apple Orchard Resort is where you can gleefully indulge in picking up the choicest organic vegetables and fruits from the orchard while taking some great snaps at the same time. Once you’re done, sit down for a lip-smacking Garhwali meal at the Glasshouse Restaurant which offers amazing views of the hills and valleys.

This experience truly encapsulates the essence of Dhanaulti- relaxed, undisturbed, serene and attractive. Planning a trip to Dhanaulti is definitely what you need, i.e. oxygen for not just your body but also your soul!

Ramoji Film City- Amusement Park in Hyderabad

Ever wondered whether there is still an inner child hidden in your mind? I have always thought of this and wanted to feel that childhood rush of excitement, playfulness and of course, the buckets of energy that I used to have! It is this inner child that came out when my sister suggested a trip to the famous Ramoji Film City Hyderabad with her two little kids (my nieces) in tow. Marry Bollywood to fun and what you get is a true roller-coaster in terms of the overall experience.

Things To Know Before Visiting Ramoji Film City

Ramoji Film City 2

A Ramoji film city tour can be booked in advance and even online. Ramoji Film City is the biggest film studio complex across the globe as mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. It covers a whopping 2,000 acres and there’s simply no way you’ll be able to traverse it fully in a single day. There are several luxury hotels available for stays here as well.

The Ramoji film city timings are between 9 AM and 5.30 PM while the Ramoji film city price ranges from Rs. 950 for every child to Rs. 1150 for every adult. There is also the Ramoji Star Experience available as a package at Rs. 2,049 per child and Rs. 2,249 per adult (figures are subject to change) which comes with a souvenir chocolate box and buffet lunch too. We chose the individual tickets minus the package since we wanted to explore some of the gastronomic options on our own.

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10 Things To Do at Ramoji Film City

Ramoji Film City 3

1. Adventure and Playtime

My little nieces had a blast with adventure sports like bungee ejection, climbing through a loop and swinging with me keeping them company. There are several other playtime picks including football, cricket and more.

2. Tour of the Studio

We hopped onto the Studio Tour in the iconic Ramoji Film City tour bus. We visited the Japanese Garden, Askari Garden, Angel’s Fountain Garden, Mughal Garden, Sun Fountain Garden and Sanctuary Garden as part of this tour. I feel goose bumps seeing the actual studio and shooting locations for several popular films over the years.

3. Cinematic Experiences

Ramoji Film City 4

The Movie Magic Park simply wowed us with the special effects like earthquake motions, free falling simulation, sound and acoustic effects, Action Studio, Filmi Duniya and lots more. This is a must visit for everyone visiting the film city.

4. Kids Park

This was another popular haunt we went to with several rides such as Borasura, Wonderville, Thrillville Rides, Ballerina Fount, Dadajinn’s Ark and many more. Needless to say, my little nieces had the time of their lives and even we couldn’t help ourselves!

5. Bird Park

Wings is the beautiful bird park in Ramoji Film City and being somewhat of a bird-watching enthusiast myself, I scrambled to catch some of the varieties here including the Swainson Lory and green napped Lorikeet. The whole ambience is just magical with the waterfalls and the melodious chirps.

6. Historical Experience

What’s all fun and games without a little learning right? So I decided to take my nieces to the Eureka zone which offers an amazing display of artefacts and stories right from ancient history including the Mughal Period and even more.

7. Catching a live show

We were lucky that we walked in on a live show which was named the Wild West Stunt Show and boy was it exciting! We were thrilled and also came to know that there are several dome theatre, street shows and other live performances that take place here.

8. Visiting the Eco Zone

Our senses were soothed by this lovely Eco Zone with its pristine gardens and rows of beautifully maintained plants. Trust me, I didn’t want to get up and leave from this place.

9. Feasting on lip-smacking grub

Foodies like me will find several fabulous restaurants here such as Superstar, Chanakya, Alampana and Gun-Smoke. I decided to try the food at Chanakya and boy was it wonderful! After all the exploring, I ate like I never had in my life!

10. Shopping your heart out

Post eating and with a full belly, it was time to digest all that food and burn off some calories at the same time. We decided to go shopping and the Meena Bazaar was the icing on the cake! There were several souvenirs which I picked up along with other knick knacks for my home at attractive prices.

Ramoji Film City 5

What I later felt was that Ramoji Film City is a complete experience, a full outing for the family and with loved ones. From Bollywood and cinema history to souvenirs, memorabilia, amazing sets, gardens, natural and man-made attractions to delightful tours, shows, food and shopping. Basically everything that you can ask for and a whole lot more! I strongly recommend a visit if you’re looking to pamper your inner child anytime soon.

Things to do in Chail & Mashobra

Amazing weather calling me outdoors along the lovely lanes and huge mountains and yet increasing my urge for some hot tea at the same time. Well, this is the diary entry I made after landing in Chail, one of the most beautiful and relaxing hill stations I have ever been to in Himachal Pradesh. What I liked best about Chail is that there’s something for everyone, be it the adventure traveller, the close knit family or even the couple looking for romance.

Yes, Kufri and Shimla are within commutable distance from Chail but I would still recommend that you stay here for a day or two to get a feel of the place. Here are some of the best things to do in Chail hill station which I found irresistible and I’m sure you will too!

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Sightseeing in Chail & Things To Do


If you’re going sightseeing in Chail, you can definitely start with the Chail Palace Hotel which is what I did. It is a masterpiece that is out of the world with its beautiful gardens, the lovely valleys and views (I couldn’t stop clicking!) and of course, the history behind it all. The Maharaja of Patiala sure had good taste, going by the décor of this now-heritage hotel and you will go gaga like I did over the ancient and traditional styles, interiors and furniture.

If you’re a foodie like me, you will love the heavenly grub at the Café Palace which has a spectacular open-air dining zone with lovely views. The Chail Sanctuary is another place which I loved and it is truly a treat for wildlife lovers. I also went to the School Play Ground which truly looked gorgeous and I was delighted to learn of its cricket connection. This is the highest cricket ground in the world and the experience is surely one to savour.

If you’re in the mood for some relaxation (remember dipping your legs in a swimming pool and how good that feels?), try the Sadhupal Lake. I just couldn’t bring myself away from this pristine place, having dipped my legs in the beautiful waters and embraced its soothing effect. I loved the chicken momos that came fresh out of the oven. I also indulged my spiritual side with trips to Kali Ka Tibba and the trek to the temple helped me work up a healthy appetite! Gurudwara Sahib and Siddh Baba Ka Mandir were also calm and peaceful.

A date with nature

Things to do in Chail & Mashobra - Mashobra (2)

Nature is all around with its beauty in Chail. There are lovely nature walks that you can take throughout this delightful hill station. The Pine Forest is a must-try, particularly for photography lovers. The Himalayan Nature Park is a short distance away in Kufri and contains several animals that you can spot including the Tibetan Wolf, Black Bear and even the Leopard Cat.

Jhajja and Gaura are adventure lovers’ delights as well, particularly if you love trekking like me. You will love the beautiful pine trees all along the route and the fresh mountain air. There are gorgeous viewpoints where you can click some lifetime pictures as well.

Living it up in Mashobra

Chail palace hotel

Moving on to Mashobra, I was initially clueless about things to do in Mashobra but some friends came to my rescue and suggested the Reserve Forest Sanctuary (which you have to take permission to visit) that turned out to be a dream excursion. The mountain views are of course to die for and you can spot barking deer, jackals, birds and even the occasional leopard if you’re lucky (I wasn’t!). I also loved going down the pathways lined with oak and pine trees and apple orchards and also the lovely streams scattered here and there.

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The Fruit Research Centre or Craignano is a fabulous experience while I like innumerable others, clamoured to the Tattapani Sulphur Springs to get a taste of the medicinal and healing properties. The Craignano trek is a must-try and so is the Mashobra Valley trek, the one I went on. The route itself goes through forests and there is even a temple that is 400 years old. If you wish to go skiing, you can try Kufri which isn’t that far away from Mashobra.

Temple in Chail

Tattapani is an ideal spot for rafting and also fishing. You can also go camping if you want since the hills in Mashobra are ideal for this purpose. In fact, adventure junkies can enjoy their fair share of paragliding in the Mashobra Valley (the views are the bonus) and even quad biking (yes it’s a thing here as well!) along Tattapani.

All in all, I was glad my better half and friends coaxed me to go on this picturesque trip covering Chail and Mashobra and several other little hamlets that looked straight out of picture postcards. Both Mashobra and Chail have the beauty of the mountains to offer you along with the best weather and awesome adventure activities. Simply taking in the views will be an experience that is unforgettable! As it happened with me, you’ll never want to come back!

Take a Spiti Road Trip the right way: Here’s all you need to know

Often it is essential that you chuck everything and just embark on a journey. Being caught in a hectic lifestyle, we get so engrossed in the daily drama called life that we forget to just live sometimes. Being a fan of the mountains, I did spend a fair amount of time exploring Darjeeling and Nainital with my family and family friends during my childhood (and that embedded a deep respect and admiration for the majestic mountains) but as I grew up, those trips got shorter and fewer in between due to academics and professional pursuits. Soon, it was time for me to imagine solo trips or a trip with buddies but thanks to competitive exams and then job, these became distant dreams.

I came across Spiti Valley while surfing the net for a project and one of my school friends posted pictures of this heavenly place and instantly I knew that I have to go there. Soon, I and my friends were planning a Spiti road trip. Spiti Valley is a mecca for trekkers and backpackers. Our research told us that Spiti is located 12500 ft. above sea level (and that excited me) and the weather is very cold. Another interesting fact is that the name means middle land and rightly so as the Spiti Valley is the land between India and Tibet. The snow clad peaks, the promise of solitude and abundant fresh air made our decision easy. We latched strongly on to the spiti valley trip plan for summer. Though I strongly wanted a winter wonderland trip, the trekking part needed a lot more stamina so we settled for a summer road trip with a few camping jaunts in between.

A memorable road trip – Move over Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara!

Take a Spiti Road Trip the right way Here

Firstly, we checked out the entire google gallery to get a feel about the place and then we read about the accounts of people who took the trip. We planned to reach Delhi first and then start our road trip from there. After a two hour plane ride to Delhi and checking out, we went to the nearest car rental outlet and rented a car out.

You can consider renting a car from Delhi since the charges are on the lower side as we found. You may also go on the journey from Delhi to Spiti Valley in your own car with buddies if you genuinely love spending time behind the wheel and live in Delhi.

5 Days Trip To Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh

Day 1

A 12 hour drive from Delhi took us to the quaint village of Sarahan. We reached there around 12 pm in the noon and immediately set off to explore the village. The Bhima Devi Temple was a must visit and even though I am not much of a believer, the temple setting and the cloud covered valet did leave an impression on me. It was a beautiful scene. We gorged on momos and thukpa for our dinner and checked in at the local hotel for the night.

Day 2

Early morning we set off for Chitkul where we were to camp for the day. This last village of India situated at the Indo-China border is a beauty unto itself. Before setting up shop, we decided to explore the village and it is a gem! The locals were friendly and greeted us with warm smiles. Some even offered us accommodation given we were a bunch of city kids but we declined for we had to harden up! So they treated us with lunch. We then took a stroll at the market and brought some food for the night. Our decided camp site was near the Baspa River. As it was around sunset when we returned to the site, we decided to set up the camps first and then enjoy the last view of the day beside the river. When night fell, we were blanketed in solitude with just the sound of the river. The endless stars above created a perfect setting for a dinner date with friends.

Day 3


After a hearty breakfast and with really heavy hearts we left for our next destination, Kaza. We decided to skip Kalpa and reach Kaza which is about 15 hours from Chitkul. This was the longest part of our spiti road Trip – and the most important one too. We did stock up on some munchies and water from Chitkul before leaving.  Till Kalpa it was all about scenery and we did occasionally stop to take some pictures. We stopped for lunch at a hotel in Kalpa and gorged down North Indian cuisine of roti and chicken bharta, washing it down with butter tea. On the way we did stop at two famous spots. One, the Nako Monastery which is famous for its intricate architecture and Two, Gue Monastery to pay homage to the 600 year old mummy of a monk.

Day 4

Once we reached Kaza the first thing we did was restock on petrol. There is a petrol pump near the Mangalam Guest House where we checked in. It was around 12 pm that we reached Kaza (the night ride was easy and slow). We decided to stroll around a bit and a local suggested Café Sol to us for lunch. The food was amazing! The lady treated us well with waffles and pancakes. Then we set off for Langza – the highest village in the world in the afternoon. It is an hour’s drive from Kaza.

Day 5

Situated at 14200 ft. above sea level, the village of Langza is a sight to behold. We reached there at around 4 pm and were the last to visit Key Monastery and gape at the architecture. By 9 we returned to our rooms to call it a night. The next day, we embarked on our return journey.

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I remember the scene from Yeh Jawani Hai Diwaani where Naina decided to listen to her heart and go on the trip that was being taken by her school friends. The instant decision changed her life. While I did not find love nor did any fancy dances at the valley, I did find myself falling in love with myself. The Baspa River and its solitude, the view from Langza or the food we ate or the silence when we travelled the Kalpa to Kaza route at night, these helped me find bits about me which I lost while growing up. We did mess up a bit, especially with the timings which made us skip quite a few sights but I guess it is destiny’s way of telling us that we are to return again.

P.s. You might like these related resources:

Taj Mahal- One of the Seven Wonders of the World

If you’re an Indian resident and haven’t seen the Taj Mahal yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Trust me, I have been there twice and every time it has been nothing short of a surreal experience to say the least. Everyone has heard of the basic Taj Mahal details, namely the fact that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and also that the Taj Mahal India was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

This incredibly designed monument goes back all the way to 1630 and now that your questions have already been answered about who built Taj Mahal, you will be awestruck to know that the construction of this labour of love required 22 years and 20,000 workers. The main architect of Taj Mahal is widely regarded as the chief architect in Shah Jahan’s own court, Isa Khan or Ustad Ahmad. He may have also been the architect for Delhi’s imposing Red Fort as well. As to where is Taj Mahal, it is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh which is roughly 200 km away from the National Capital and is a part of the Golden Triangle circuit for tourists which you have probably heard about.

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My experience of the Taj Mahal

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The first sighting of the Taj is always worth it, something of a Wah Taj moment! It makes all the crowds and lines and scrambling about for tickets worth it for sure! I was just lost in the sheer architectural beauty and splendour of the Taj Mahal, the pristine reflection pool, the lovely fountains and the soothing interiors which are another treat to behold. It’s not just about the craftsmanship, the flowing Yamuna nearby, the surreal ambience and the calming marble.

It’s also about experiencing a pit in the stomach, of reminiscing about the story behind the creation of this global masterpiece that will forever keep India on the map as far as tourism is concerned and of course, about appreciating the bygone times and their architectural, creative, cultural and romantic expertise if I may use that term! I spent an entire day just sitting at the Taj Mahal after exploring it inside out on my first visit, other attractions in Agra were simply forgotten. The whole ambience is something I cannot explain in words. You have to see it to believe it! Of course, with the daylight changing its own hues, the monument also appears to be changing colour, something that is absolutely amazing. Coming here at sunrise or dusk is another treat altogether.

Things To Know Before Visiting The Taj Mahal

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I visited the Taj Mahal in December which is apparently a good time on my second visit. The best time to go is anywhere between November and February or else you will not like the heavy rainfall or unbearably hot weather. You can visit the Taj Mahal on a day’s trip from New Delhi. Agra also has a good railway network with the Agra Cantonment Station being linked by trains from Delhi and several other cities.

I loved the drive down the Yamuna Expressway from Delhi and traveling time has come down to a maximum of 3 hours or even less. There are also buses which leave from Anand Vihar every day. The Taj Mahal remains open between 6 AM and 7 PM every day. The only exception is Friday since it remains closed for prayers. The night viewing timings on full moon nights is between 8.30 PM and 12.30 AM for 5 days. This does not happen during Ramadan. You will have to pay up the entry fee which is Rs. 50 if you are a resident of the country and it is free for children below the age of 15 years. You can buy tickets online or at the offices situated in proximity to the entry gates.

What else to know?

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Vehicles are not allowed to come within 500 metres of the monument on account of pollution related concerns. The entry gates are West, South and East. There are stringent security provisions and your bags will be undergoing scanning. You cannot take day packs or big bags inside. Other items that are forbidden include electrical items like headphones, chargers, torches and camera tripods. You can carry a camera, cell phone and water bottle only. Edibles are not allowed along with lighters, tobacco products and so on.

What are you waiting for? Book your tickets and come visit the pride of India, the Taj Mahal, in all its splendour. The sheer essence and magic of the Taj Mahal is neatly summed up by the calligraphy on the Great Gate. This says (translation) – O Soul, Thou Art at Rest. Return to the Lord at Peace with Him, And He at Peace With You.


Getaway to Gulmarg: 8 Attractions that make it a worthy destination

Mughal emperor Jahangir on his visit to Kashmir could not help but quote the famous couplet “Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.” Translated, it means if there is paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here. People who thought this were to be a bit of an exaggeration quickly changed their minds when they took a trip to Kashmir and its picturesque town of Gulmarg.

With the Pir Panjal range within your fingertips and the highest gondola service in the world, Gulmarg with its purity and serenity, captivates the hearts and souls of everyone who takes a trip there to unwind and reconnect with themselves or with their loved ones.

Best Time To Visit Gulmarg

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The beauty of Gulmarg is such that you should visit this heavenly town at least once in your lifetime and when you are planning to visit, you will obviously be keen to know when the best time to visit gulmarg is. While any season is splendid in this quiet place, your tolerance level will mostly determine your trip planning. There are three main seasons that play a major role in India – summer, monsoon and winter.

The summers in Gulmarg are mild and pleasant, perfect for the somewhat experienced trekkers and nature lovers and gulmarg in May is when you get to witness the best blooms of exotic flowers. Winter in Gulmarg is quiet as the freezing temperature dissuades many tourists but the avid trekker will be spotted traversing mountain ranges with his/her usual determination. You can take a cab or board the bus from the Srinagar airport to reach Gulmarg.

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8 Things To Do In Gulmarg

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If you have settled for summer, which is the best time to visit gulmarg, then you still need to pack some woolens as the temperature tends to be between 13 to 17 degrees Celsius.

There are several things that you can indulge in when you are in Gulmarg but make sure your itinerary includes these 8 places to visit and activities to make the best out of the trip.

1. Experience the beauty of Khilanmarg

Khilanmarg is 6 km away from Gulmarg and a short trek will take you to a view of your lifetime. The green valleys and the panoramic view of the snow clad mighty Himalayas will make you fall in love with nature’s color palette. Take a stroll amongst the fragrant blooms which you can capture only in your memory.

2. A date with wildlife

Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is a paradise for the nature enthusiasts. With an exotic range of flora and fauna, this reserve is a safe haven for many rare species like the musk deer, red fox and many migratory birds who makes this their winter home.

3. An architectural delight

Church St marys

St. Mary Church is a 100 year old structure situated at the meadow of Gulmarg. The Victorian style architecture is something that is worth taking note of as it highlights the best features of the era gone by. Not to mention the peace you feel when you are within the sanctuary. A small trek will take you to the church and you do not have to be a believer to pay homage to something that is beautiful.

4. Amazing Gondola Rides

Gondola ride is must for without it the trip to Gulmarg will remain incomplete. This is the world’s second highest cable car with the journey being segmented into two tiers. The first part takes you from Gulmarg to Kongdori. From there the second phase takes you to Aparwath Peak which is at an elevation of 3747m. The aerial view of the valley is breathtaking and will leave you speechless.

5. Witness Alpathar Lake in all its splendour

Alpathar Lake is a day’s trek away from Gulmarg. Summer sees the lake clear and rippling with ducks waddling and flowers surrounding the bank of the lake. This is best visited while you are trekking at Khilanmarg. The beauty of the place will surely bring out the writer in you. Silent and surrounded with nature sounds, this place is a treat to all your senses – like a relaxing day where you connect with yourself.

6. Try out a spot of golfing

Golfing is something you should give a try, especially when the golf course in Gulmarg is touted to be the second highest course in the world. Whether you are good at it or not, golfing is a sport you should try with an open mind and a happy heart.

7. Go on an adventurous picnic

Ningli Nallah is a well-known picnic spot and if you want to enjoy a good moment with your loved ones then this is the place to be. It is also a great camping spot and the adventure seeker will love the 8 km trek to reach the Nallah. Once you have reached there, make sure you are not out of breath as the view will surely leave you breathless.

8. Indulge your love for skiing

Skiing is something that you should try your hands at when you are in Gulmarg and there is no better place than Aparwath Peak to taste this sport. Covered in snow throughout the year, tis peak is ideal for all sort of skiers. But make sure you have loads of fun even if you fall multiple times and have your friends take weird pictures of you!

I do plan to visit once again in winter to witness snowfall in Gulmarg and take in the Gulmarg Snow Festival. This festival takes place very December and promotes winter sports like sledging and skiing.

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While the valley receives a negligible amount of rainfall, the temperature is just right for some cool camping in the wilderness or taking pictures of shining lakes, gushing waterfalls and fuller blooms with the onset of autumn. The local cuisine is splendid, especially the Rogan josh and vindaloo. However, they are both better suited for colder climates as the spices are meant to keep you warm. Each season has their own flavor if you’re thinking of the gulmarg best time to visit. So take your pick, pack your bags and embark on a journey that will make you appreciate yourself and nature more.

7 places in Ukhrul you have to be a fool to not visit

Fancy some time away from all the din and hustle? Or maybe you want to spend some time with Mother Nature to forego of all the tensions and responsibilities of day to day life? In any case, the hilly town of Ukhrul, situated in Manipur is a must visit for nature lovers, travel enthusiasts and those who just want to spend a few days far from the madding crowd.

Situated in the lap of misty mountains and lush green valleys, Ukhrul is surrounded by virgin forests along the Myanmar border which houses a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Best Time To Visit Ukhrul

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Like almost all hill stations, the prime season to visit Ukhrul is the summer season. With temperature fluctuations as varied as 31 degrees by day to 10 degrees by night, Ukhrul provides the perfect respite from the heat wave washing over the country at the time.

However, you must take care to avoid visiting during the monsoons as torrential rains at times causes landslides which lead to the disruption of the communication and transportation systems.

7 Must Visit Places In Ukhrul

  1. Shirui Kashung Peak, Khayang Peak and Khayang Waterfalls
  2. Kachouphung Lake
  3. Ango Ching Forests
  4. Khankui Cave
  5. Lunghar Seihai Phangrei
  6. El Shadai Park
  7. Duncan Ecological Park

Ukhrul has its own seven wonders which draw adventure seekers and nature lovers throughout the year. Do make sure to tick these off one by one when you visit Ukhrul.

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1. Shirui Kashung Peak, Khayang Peak and Khayang Waterfalls

For a taste of natural splendor, check out the Khayang Peak or Shirui Kashung Peak which offer views that are not for the faint-hearted and rugged treks. The latter overlooks the border between Myanmar and India and has acres of virgin forests and green valleys surrounding it. While you’re at it, you can go lily spotting since Shirui lilies grow abundantly in the entire region. In fact, bird watchers on the Shirui Kashung Peak will be rewarded with sightings of rare species like Mrs. Hume’s bar-backed pheasant and Blyth’s Tragopan.

The Khayang Waterfalls are located in an off-beat destination and you may require extensive trekking for 5-6 days to reach this place. However, the end result is the possibly the most mesmerizing view you have ever seen in your lifetime. The 754 ft. high waterfall is tucked away neatly in the heart of the forests, making for an excellent experience by all means.

2. Kachouphung Lake

Nature lovers will appreciate the Kachouphung Lake which is approximately 7 km away from the Khayang Waterfalls. You can spot some colourful fishes and carp here. If it’s available, you can go boating as well.

3. Ango Ching Forests-

If you fancy a vast and untouched green space which is far away from civilization, Ango Ching is the place to be. This forest covers the border and is home to wild cats, leopards, sambars, black bears, elephants and tigers. Talk of some adventure! You should not be venturing in too deep without a local guide by your side.

4. Khankui Cave

The Khangkui Mangsor Cave or Khankui Cave is Disneyland for every aspiring archaeologist. There is a huge hall which was supposedly the Durbar Hall of the Devil King (as local legend has it). The cave was also a shelter for townsfolk during World War II.

5. Lunghar Seihai Phangrei

Planning to go on a picnic with your near and dear ones? Lunghar Seihai Phangrei is a wonderful option in this regard, being a lovely hill range joining the Shirui Kashung Peak. There are several fruits like passion fruit, grapes and pears growing in the region. Go ahead and take a bite!

6. El Shadai Park

This is a bustling park in the heart of the town and is easily accessible through cabs and rickshaws. This is the perfect spot for lounging about amidst the trees and flowers. Want to recharge yourself after some hectic exploration? You know where to head!

7. Duncan Ecological Park

3 kilometres away from the Ukhrul district headquarters, the Duncan Ecological Park has a popular children’s park inside it and offers a calm ambience amidst some ruins.

Go and get your deserved rest and fun

If you are on your way to do some soul-searching or going through a crisis or maybe just want to enjoy a solo trip, Ukhrul is your place. If you want to have a blast with your friends or embark on a budget adventure, again, Ukhrul is the perfect place to start.

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Budget friendly and easily accessible through Imphal, Ukhrul is going to help you make memories to cherish for a lifetime. And above all a highly literate local population ensures that even if you don’t know the local language, English and Hindi will do just fine.