Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Living Heritage of Buddhism Ladakh

Ladakh is predominantly inhabited by people of Tibetan descent, leading to a very rich Buddhist culture. There so many beautiful monasteries that dot this high altitude desert that you cannot but visit them to be awed by their architecture and history. These monasteries in Ladakh are truly a living heritage of the Buddha and definitely warrant a visit.

Hemis Monastery

The Hemis Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in this region, belonging to the Drukpa or Dragon order. It stands on the western banks of the Indus River, about 50 kilometres southeast of Leh on the Leh-Manali highway. The monastery was founded in 1630 by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso when he was invited by the then King of Ladakh, Singey Namgail and offered a religious estate. Beautiful statues and mural paintings adorn the monastery halls. It has a great collection of sacred thangkas and other artefacts in its 900-year-old museum. The most important festival here is the Hemis Festival where you can witness the enchanting sacred mask dance. It is held on the 9th and 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar.

Spituk Monastery

Built on the side of a hill, the Spituk Monastery also known as the Spituk Gompa was founded in the 11th century by Od-lde as a monastic community. Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo, the great translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan, gave the monastery its present name, meaning exemplary, as he felt an exemplary religious community would arise here. The old gompa has been restored, while a new one has also been constructed within the monastery complex. The largest building, the Dukhang Hall, has seating along the wall with a throne at the far end. Miniature stupas and sculptures adorn the altar. A little higher up the hill is the temple of Goddess Vajrabhairva. The statue of the goddess is kept covered and is unveiled only once during the Spituk Festival.
One hundred monks reside in the monastery and during the annual two day Spituk Festival held in the 11th month of the Tibetan calendar, the monks perform masked dances representing good over evil and stories depicting the life of Buddha.
Located just seven kilometres south-west of Leh, it is not a very difficult climb up to the monastery. The views of the airport and town below are spectacular, as are the sunrises and the sunsets visible from here.

Thiksey Monastery

This is undoubtedly the most beautiful of all monasteries in the region. A fine example of Ladakhi architecture, the Thiksey Monastery is located 17 kilometres south of Leh. It is a smaller version of the Potala Palace of Lhasa in Tibet. First built by Sherab ZangpoIt in Stakmo, it was later established on a hilltop by his nephew Paldan Sherab, where it stands now. The monastery belongs to Gelukspa or the Yellow Hat order.
There are 10 temples in this 12 storied monastery with the main prayer hall housing a 40-foot statue of Buddha seated on a lotus. Many precious and rare statues, mini stupas and swords are on display inside the monastery. There is also a temple dedicated to Goddess Tara here.
The Thiksey Gustor Festival is held here during the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar when the sacred mask or Cham dances are performed by resident monks and nuns as a part of a ritual.

Alchi Monastery

The Living Heritage of Buddhism Monasteries in Ladakh-Alchi-monastery
The Alchi Monastery, built in the 12th century, is the oldest Buddhist learning centre in Ladakh. Located 70 kilometres west of Leh on the banks of the Indus River, it is also the largest and most famous of the gompas built by Lotsaya Rinchen Zangpo. With the lack of a monarchy, he appointed four families to look after the monastery till the 15th century when it was taken over by the Lekir Monastery.
Different from other monasteries, this one is built on flat ground instead of on a hill top. It has three main structures. The Du-khang is the assembly hall and the largest part; the Sum-tsek is a three-storied structure with a four armed statue of the Bodhisattva occupying two storeys with figures of Maitreya Buddha, Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri on the ground floor; the third structure is Jampe Lhakhang, a temple of Manjushri. This temple also has a sculpture and painting of Rinchen Tsangpo.
Here’s some movie trivia – parts of Bollywood hits like Dil Se and Tashan were shot at Alchi.

Stok Gompa and Palace

Located just 15 kilometers south of Leh, this gompa is the residence of the Royal Family of Ladakh. It was founded in the 14th century by Lama Lhawang. The library at the monastery has 108 volumes of Buddha’s teachings. The entrance veranda has beautiful mural paintings of the guardians of the four directions. The main assembly hall is decorated with thangkas and banners. The walls have images of Vajrapani (the deity with the thunderbolt), Sukyamuni (Buddha as a sage) and Avalokitesvara (the four-armed deity). The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of the Avalokitesvara.
The Palace has a museum with a collection of the king’s crown, the queens head gear with 108 turquoise pieces, royal dresses, jewellery, old currency, the wooden palanquin in which the queen arrived here when she got married and various other personal items of the Royal family.
Early June sees a ritual mask dance being performed near the monastery. The two-day Stok Guru Tsechu Festival is held here every year in February. The interesting thing about this festival is that the prayers are not offered by a priest but by a common man, who is selected by the lamas and then groomed for the occasion.

Shey Gompa and Palace

En route to the Hemis Monastery, 15 kilometres from Leh is the Shey Gompa. Shey was originally the capital of Ladakh and Lhachen Spalgigon, the first king, built this hilltop fortress. In 1655, King Deldan Namgyal built the Shey Palace. There are hundreds of stupas and the Dresthang Gompa built around the palace. Currently, the palace is a monastery with the largest Buddha statue made of gilded copper, covering three floors of the building. Beautiful paintings and murals adorn the walls and the sculptures are marvellous. The lower chapel has a library with the largest collection of thangkas in Ladakh. Below the palace, along the roadside, are five Buddhas carved out of rock. Close to this monastery is the Druk Padma Karpo Institute, now renamed Rancho School. This was the school featured in the Hindi movie 3 Idiots.
There are two festivals held at this monastery every year – Shey Srubla on the 30th day of the 1st month and Shey Rul-lo on the 10th day of the 7th month.

Phyang Monastery

Seventeen kilometres west of Leh, on top of a hill is the Phyang Monastery. It is one of the two monasteries that belong to the Dri-gung-pa sect of Buddhism. Legend has it that Denma Kunga Drakpa laid the foundation stone of this monastery. He pitched his tent on top of the hill and during meditation, saw the protector Achi riding her blue horse. He took this as a sign and built the monastery there. The monastery has a 900-year-old museum housing a vast collection of idols, firearms and weapons, old thangkas, wall paintings and murals of Mahakala. The old temple of Mahakala (the Gomkhang) was built at the time of the foundation of monastery.
Phyang Monastery is home to a school, which imparts modern education along with Buddhist studies to its students. The Phyang Tseruk Festival held on the 2nd and 3rd of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar attracts a large number of tourists. The spectacular Cham dance is the highlight of the event.

 For More Information Contact:
Twitter : @btpyatra

Friday, 30 May 2014

Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu)

Kodaikanal is one of the very popular and most sought after Honeymoon and holiday destination hill resorts in South India. This hill station stands 7200 feet above sea level and situated in upper palani hills of the westernghats near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Kodaikanal is also popularly known as the princes of Hill Stations.
The cool and misty weather, the scenic beauty of the rolling hills and the wooded forest of Kodaikanal and its surroundings will mesmerize any visitor throughout the year. Walk through the wooded forests, row in the lake, bath in one of the splashing waterfalls, go for horse riding and cycling around the lake or simply admire the views.

History of Kodaikanal :

Kodaikanal is the only Hill Station in India developed by the Americans.
During 1821, Lieutenant B. S. Ward, a British surveyor was, the first European to visit Kodaikanal, who was on the lookout for a healthy place to live, for the foreign missionaries working in Madurai and the surrounding areas to escape from the summer heat and epidemics.
The early visitors to Kodaikanal, had to travel by horse, bullock cart or palanquin. The forest were infested by robbers and wild animals, and yet it became very popular with the elite families, because of the wonderful climate and clean air.
In 1834, the Collector of Madurai climbed up from Devadanapatti and built a small bungalow at Kodaikanal. By the second half of the 19th century, churches and other colonial structures started popping up in and around Kodaikanal. Examples of some beautiful structures are the Union Church built in 1895, and a large number of private bungalows.
In 1863, Sir Vere Hendry Levinge, the Collector of Madurai, created the 60 acres Kodai Lake by damming three streams flowing through. He stocked the lake with fish. He also brought the first boat from Tuticorin. A boat club was formed in Kodaikanal in 1890. Since May 1929, the club has permitted tourists to join the club as temporary members and avail of boating facilities.
Missionaries established church properties. Many of the ruling princes built summer holiday-homes. Clubs, school and hotels came up. Civic amenities were introduced. Kodaikanal developed slowly, but steadily. They also established the famous Kodaikanal International School.
The extension of the railway line from Chennai to Tirunelveli (598 kilometres) made Kodaikanal really popular. A station was built at Ammainayakkanur - 80 kilometresfrom Kodaikanal. (This was later renamed Kodai Road.) The first steam engine arrived in 1875 and made the journey to Kodaikanal far easier. Though construction of the road was completed in 1914, it was opened to the public only two years later - in 1916. And suddenly, Kodaikanal was thrown open to the general public and tourists started flocking the area in large numbers.

For More Information Contact:
Twitter : @btpyatra

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Gujarat " Jewel of The West "

Gujarat is well known for its rich history with culture, tradition and heritage. Blend with modernity with change in time frame, Gujarat has the influence of Hindu, Islamic and European culture. Located strategically, the progressing State to scale the charts in global map, has a tourist inflow from all over the world. It has become Tourists’ Paradise and is emerging the most sort for destination.
Gujarat State Government presents Saputara, a beautiful ‘Hill Station’ in Gujarat with nearby attractions offering Gujarat’s green cover locations promoting eco tourism.
Saputara is perched at an altitude of 1000 m, and is situated in the heart of Dangs district. Nearby Surat city,it is located on the second highest plateau of the Sahyadari range with cool bracing climate and a scenic view of the verdant valley.
The thick forest around Saputara is dotted with tribal villages and their unique dances are of great interest. Saputara has been developed as a planned hill resort with all the necessary ameneties like hotels, parks, swimming pools, boat club, theatres and a museum to ensure an enjoyable holiday in the cool of the hills.

Gujarat has extensive coastline and hence, many hills are located in Gujarat. Holiday Homes are planned by Gujarat Government to enjoy vacations in places like Tithal, Bulsar District, Ubhrat, Surat and Chorvad in Junagadh District. Pavagadh has a hill top and Tulsi Shyam which is known for hot springs, is in the heart of Gir Forest.

The major tourist destination, Udwada in Valsad district, is being developed as an International centre of peace and harmony.

Gujarat is a home to incredible diversity. Ahmedabad, the cultural and intellectual capital of Gujarat hold the country’s prime Tourist places. Gandhi Ashram, being the tourist destination from people visiting from all over the world, the city attracts major tourists.

For More Information Contact:
Twitter : @btpyatra

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Sightseeing In Udaipur...

  • City Palace

    City Palace, Udaipur
    The balconies of the city palace provide panoramic view of Jag Niwas.

    Jagdish Temple

    Jagdish Temple, Udaipur
    Jagdishji, is a major monument and should be seen carefully...

    Pratap Smark (Moti Magri)

    Pratap Smark (Moti Magri)
    Atop the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake.

    Dudh Talai

    Dudh Talai
    A beautiful laid out "Rock Garden" from where one can enjoy sunset...

    Gulab Bagh & Zoo

    Gulab Bagh & Zoo
    Rose Garden is situated near the palace on east side of Lake Pichhola.

    Solar Observatory

    Udaipur Solar Observatory
    The Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO) is in Udaipur in the Fateh Sagar Lake.

    Fateh Sagar & Nehru Park

    Fateh Sagar & Nehru Park
    A beautiful lake, overlooked by a number of hills on the three sides...


    This small ornamental garden was a popular relaxing spot for royal ladies...

    Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal

    Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal
    Collection exhibited by this Indian folk arts museum includes folk dresses...

    Pratap Museum

    Pratap Museum
    Government Pratap Museum housed with old sculptures and inscriptions.

    Ahar Museum, Mahasatya

    Ahar Museum, Mahasatya
    Ahar boasts of a profusion of royal cenotaphs of the rulers of Mewar...

    Sajjangarh Fort

    Sajjangarh Fort Udaipur
    Monsoon palace looks its best during the rainy season, overview of the city...

    Jag Mandir

    Jag Mandir
    In the middle of lake Pichhola is the island palace Jag Mandir...


    Shilpgram Udaipur
    The Shilpgram Utsav organised every year attracts massive crowd...

    Musical Fountain

    Musical Fountain
    Musical fountain in Udaipur situated near lake Pichhola, Din Dayal Park...

    Sukhadia Circle

    Sukhadia Circle, Udaipur
    A beautiful garden and large fountain surrounded by a pond, boating...
    For More Information Contact:
    Twitter : @btpyatra 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Tourism in Singapore

Tourism in Singapore is a major industry and contributor to the Singaporean economy, attracting 13,171,303 tourists in 2011, over twice Singapore's total population. It is also environmentally friendly, and maintains natural and heritage conservation programs. Along with this, it also has one of the world's lowest crime rates. As English is the dominant one of its four official languages, it is generally easier for tourists to understand when speaking to the local population of the country, for example, when shopping. Transport in Singapore exhaustively covers most, if not all public venues in Singapore, which increases convenience for tourists. This includes the well-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.

The Orchard Road district, which is dominated by multi-story shopping centres and hotels, can be considered the center of tourism in Singapore. Other popular tourist attractions include the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, which allows people to explore Asian, African and American habitats at night without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals. The Singapore Zoo has embraced the 'open zoo' concept whereby animals are kept in enclosures, separated from visitors by hidden dry or wet moats, instead of caging the animals.

Jurong Bird Park is another zoological garden centred on birds, which is dedicated towards exposing the public to as much species and varieties of birds from around the world as possible, including a flock of one thousand flamingos. The tourist island of Sentosa, which attracts 19 million visitors in 2011, is located in the south of Singapore, consists of about 20–30 landmarks, such as Fort Siloso, which was built as a fortress to defend against the Japanese during World War II.

Guns from the World War II era can be seen at Fort Siloso, from a mini-sized to a 16 pound (7 kg) gun. Moreover, the island has built the Tiger Sky Tower, which allows visitors to view the whole of Sentosa, as well as the Sentosa Luge, a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleighs supine and feet-first. Steering is done by shifting the weight or pulling straps attached to the sled's runners. Singapore has two integrated resorts which house casinos, namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

For More Information Contact:
Twitter : @btpyatra

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Kamakura ( Japan )

60 minutes from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. Or 60 minutes from JR Shinjuku Station on the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line.
Go to Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. Kita-Kamakura Station is one stop before Kamakura Station. Traveling time from Kamakura Station is 3 minutes. A 1-minute walk from the station.
Visiting the Engaku-ji Temple
The Engaku-ji Temple is a Zen temple built in 1282. The entire premises are designated as a national historic site.
There are many sights to enjoy on the extensive premises. The Sanmon Gate (representing the three gates to emancipation, with san meaning 'three') in particular features frequently in Japanese literature. It is said that this gate frees one of various obsessions and brings about enlightenment. Pass under the gate with a pure mind.

Sightseeing time: 60 minutes
Admission: 300 yen

Sightseeing in the local area on foot.
A 10-minute walk.

 Kencho-ji Temple
Established in 1253, this temple was the first Zen dojo (school) in Japan.
After you pass under the first gate, you will be facing the 30 m high Sanmon Gate.
The large wooden structures and the huge bell will help you to experience the Zen mindset, while the simple garden will bring feelings of wabi (austere refinement) and sabi (quiet simplicity).
Please make sure that you allow sufficient time for your visit.

Sightseeing time: 60 minutes
Admission: 300 yen

Eating Shojin-ryori
There are some famous shojin-ryori restaurants nearby where you can enjoy a traditional Buddhist vegetarian meal.

Go to Kamakura Station from Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. A 3-minute ride.

Fare: 130 yen

From the station, walk down Wakamiya-oji Street, the main street of Kamakura. After about 10 minutes, you will reach the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine.

 Wakamiya-oji Street
Constructed along the lines of Kyoto, Wakamiya-oji Street was built by shogun Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199) and stretches 1800 m to the sea. The city of Kamakura was created around this street.
There is a raised stone walkway named Dankazura that leads from the station to the Hachiman-gu Shrine, forming an avenue of cherry trees and azaleas that is breathtaking in spring.

Visiting the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine
The Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine was built by shogun Minamoto Yoritomo after he established the Kamakura Shogunate in the 12th century.
Within the extensive premises, you will learn of the various legends involving samurai warriors.
If you ascend the stairs, you will have a full view of the city of Kamakura.
A lucky charm in the shape of a pigeon, which is a symbol of this shrine, is very popular for its ability to make your dreams come true.
Why not pay a visit to the Kamakura Kokuhokan (Kamakura Museum) with its impressive collection of the city's cultural assets.

Sightseeing time: approx. 60 minutes
Admission: 300 yen (Kamakura Museum)

It is fun to take a jinrikisha (rickshaw) from Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine on a quick tour of the area (9,000 yen for 2 people for 30 minutes).
After that, you can walk back to Kamakura Station.

 Komachi-dori Street
This is the busiest shopping street in Kamakura, lined with souvenir shops and cafes and shops specializing in Kamakura-bori carved items, chopsticks and bamboo ware. The Kichoan Museum with its collection of the works of Rosanjin Kitaoji (1883-1959) is also situated on this street.

Born in Kyoto, Rosanjin possessed tremendous talent in various fields including calligraphy, pottery and painting. At the same time, he was also known as a gourmet who even opened a Japanese restaurant and made all the tableware for the restaurant himself.
Recently, his art has found new appreciation in Japan. If you are interested in Japanese culture, his world will fascinate you.

Change to the Enoshima Dentetsu train from Kamakura Station.
This train, nicknamed the Enoden, connects Kamakura and Fujisawa Stations over a distance of only 10 km. It runs close to private houses and along the sea shore, so it is very popular for sightseeing and enjoying the scenery, something like riding on a tram.
Arrive at Hase Station after about 5 minutes.

Fare: 190 yen

Visiting the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) at the Kotokuin Temple
A 7-minute walk from Hase Station.
Kamakura is renowned for the famous Daibutsu. Daibutsu means great Buddha statue and its formal name is Amida-nyorai-zazou. The Buddha statue here was made in 1252.
Its height including the plinth is 13.35 m and it weighs 121 tons. It is a wonderful statue, not only for its size but also as a sculpture that has retained its appearance since it was cast.
It used to be housed inside a building, but the building was washed away by a tsunami at the end of the 15th century, and since then it has remained outside.
Although there is an additional fee for going inside the statue, we definitely recommend this if you have the chance (admission: 20 yen).
Sightseeing time: 40 minutes
Admission: 200 yen
A 5-minute walk.
Visiting Hase-dera Temple
The historical Hase-dera Temple was built in 736. Thousands of tourists come to visit in the season of autumn leaves when the temple is lit up.
The main statue is the beautiful Hase Kan'non Statue 9.18 m (30.1 ft) in height.
It is called Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu (11-headed Goddess Kannon) because it has 11 faces with different expressions: one on top of the head, one facing front, 3 facing to the right and left, at the back and at the apex in addition to the main face.This Bosatsu (Goddess) statue listens to the wishes of all people.
In Amida-do (the Amitabha Hall), there is Amida-nyorai. Minamoto Yoritomo had this statue made in shining gold to dispel evil spirits. The temple is situated on a hill and has a lovely view of the sea.
Its garden with a walking course is known for the beauty of the flowers.
The Homotsukan museum (free) displays a collection of treasures from the temple and deserves a visit.
Sightseeing time: 60 minutes
Admission: 300 yen

A 10-minute walk.
Walking on Yui-ga-hama Beach
In good weather, enjoy a walk along the beach at Yui-ga-hama. Known for its beautiful sunsets, the area is filled with seaside visitors in the summer.
If you are lucky, you can see Mt. Fuji over the sea in the distance.
On the 2nd Sunday in August, a popular festival is held with a spectacular fireworks display over the water.

A 5-minute walk back to the station. 3 minutes to Kamakura Station from Yui-ga-hama Station on the Enoden Line (fare: 190 yen). Yui-ga-hama Station is an unmanned station. Return home from Kamakura Station on the JR Line.

For More Information Contact:
Twitter : @btpyatra

Friday, 23 May 2014


There are several good rock climbing areas in India the Aravali hills have good climbing faces at Dumdama, Dhauj and Nuh, all situated near Delhi. The Western Ghats have Mumbra and Dudha beyond Pune. Himachal Pradesh offers the Manali Valley, Chattru, Manikaran and the Rohtang Pass. Rajasthan has Mount Abu and Sariska which have gentler rocks. In Karnataka there are the Chamundi Hills. Sahyadri Range (Western Ghats) having natural rock climbing areas with various grades of difficulties. Many virgin rock pinnacles & cracks in the un-explored region waiting to be explored.

Best Time:  

Rock climbing can be undertaken throughout the year. India is a vast country and different parts of the country have different climatic conditions. Although you can practice rock climbing in most parts of the country, the the Himalayan region provides the best rock-climbing challenges for he expert climber. The ideal months to practice this sport in the Himalayas are from April to June. In Delhi, however, the winter months are better than the rest of the year because this is the time when you can combine rock climbing with the pleasure of sightseeing. The weather in South India is ideal for rock climbing throughout the year. The November to April is good time for climbing in Western Ghats
Rock Climbing in India if we divide in four Zones as North Zone: Sheer rock faces, ideal for rock climbing, can be found in many areas. The Aravali hills have good climbing faces at Dumdama, Dhauj and Nuh, all situated near Delhi. Himachal Pradesh offers the Manali Valley, Manikaran and the Rohtang Pass.

West Zone:  

The Western Ghats have Mumbra and Dudha beyond Pune. There are several good rock-climbing destinations near Mumbai like Kanheri Caves in the Borivili National Park, Mumbra Boulders, and Manori Rocks. In Gujarat, Pavagadh is a favourite rock-climbing destination. Rajasthan has Mount Abu and Sariska which have gentler rocks. In Karnataka there are the Chamundi Hills.

South Zone: 

Badami, a five-hour drive from Bangalore, is a good place for rock climbing. Bangalore is in the centre of a number of rock-climbing destinations like Ramanagaram (the setting for the Hindi blockbuster Sholay), Savandurga, Thuralli, Kabbal, Raogodhu, and others. Kambakkam at a distance of around 100 km from Chennai provides good climbing in many grades while Hampi in Karnataka has some of the best granite rocks in India providing the climbers ample opportunities to test their skills.

East Zone:

 In a 300-km radius adjoining Calcutta, there are some good rock-climbing destinations like Purulia, Matha Bura, Jai Chandi, and Susunia Hills. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute provides some courses in Mountaineering at Gombu and Tenzing Norgay Rocks.

For More Information Contact:
Twitter : @btpyatra

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Go Goa...

‘Now our road takes us to the magnificent kingdom of Goa…The people of this kingdom are strong, prudent and very hardworking… The kingdom of Goa is the most important in India…It is civilized, having famous orchards and water. It is the coolest place in India and it is the most plentiful in foodstuffs.
‘The white people make a practice of going to the kingdom of Goa to enjoy the shade and the groves of trees and to savour the sweet betel.’
These revealing remarks on Goa come not from the hippies or ‘flower power’ generation of the sixties and early seventies who thronged the beaches of Anjuna, Vagator and Arambol in search of salvation and ‘peace’. These remarks were made over five centuries ago by the Portuguese Ambassador to China who visited Goa around the year 1511. They serve as a vivid precursor to the generations that followed in our times to the fabled land of Goa.

In those tumultuous and rebellious times in the sixties, it was then not the ‘sweet betel’ that was the prime attraction but a different kind of ‘weed’. But Goa, since those days of the angry generation, has moved on to attract a multitudinous, peaceful and cosmopolitan school of visitors from all around the globe.

Down the corridors of time Goa has been different things to different people. To the Portuguese conquerors it was ‘Golden Goa’, the El Dorado, the ‘Rome of the East’. Such was its beauty and grandeur, that a traveller was moved to remark: ‘Whoever has seen Goa, need not visit Lisboa’—Lisbon, which was then the grand epicenter of the Portuguese dominions.

Some decades later, the early 17th century French traveller Francois Pyrard wrote: ‘Whoever has been in Goa may say that he has seen the choicest rarities of India, for it is the most famous and celebrated city, on account of its commercial intercourse with people of all nationalities of the East who bring there the products of their respective countries, articles of merchandize, necessaries of life and other commodities in great abundance because every year more than a thousand ships touch there laden with cargo.’
Pyrard continued with near prophetic veracity: ‘…as for the multitude of people, it is a marvel to see the number which come and go every day by sea and land on business of every kind…One would say that a fair was being held every day for the sale of all sorts of merchandise.’
While the contemporary traveller may not come to modern, thriving Goa ‘for the sale of all sorts of merchandise’, the ‘fair’ is still very much on. The traveller is here to find something different: a balm on the busy mind, to enjoy days of freedom on Goa’s
 magnificent beaches, to parasail or swim with the tide of fellow visitors from all around the globe, to savour its unique cuisine and imbibe its spirits, to take a long and invigorating trek in its unexplored interiors, to marvel at its majestic temples and churches, in short, to be at one with the most friendly people in the country.

In the sixties and seventies, it was, as we have remarked, a haven for the hippies. Since then Goa has moved on to fullfledged Statehood, its own Council of Ministers, a magnificent new Assembly complex, its citizens among the most literate in the country with a per capita income the highest in the land.. At the hub of this prosperity, is the Tourism industry. At the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), we take a humble bow in acknowledgement, in some small measure, of putting Goa on the tourist map of our country.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Daman & Diu Tour

Daman Daman earlier called 'Damao', is situated on the west coast of India, bordered by the Arabian Sea. It is surrounded by the Kolak River on the north, Gujarat on the east, Kalai River on the south and Gulf of Cambay on the west. The clean and picturesque beached of Daman are very inviting to all the tourists especially the ever tensed and tired urbanites.
The amusement park on the Devka beach and Nani Daman rejuvenates and recreates the tourists. The illumination on festive days is a treat to the eyes.
The Jampore beach offers a very silent and serene atmosphere, an ideal place for 'solitude-hunters'. Other tourist places in Daman are Nani Daman Jetty Garden, old churches, forts, lighthouse and a summerhouse.

Altitude : 12 meters, Climate : (deg C)- Summer- Max 36, Min 20; Winter- Max 26, Min 20, Best Season : October to May.

Places Of Interest:
Fort, Moti Daman,Fort, Nani Daman; Light House (in Moti Daman Fort), Bom Jesus Church and Our Lady of Rosary Chapel (inside fort, Moti Daman fort) Our lady of Sea Church (inside Nani Daman fort), Hilsa Aquarium, Kachigam Water Tank, Nani Daman; Hathi Park, Moti Daman; Bridge Side Garden, Nani/Moti Daman; Municipal Children Park, Nani Daman.

Devika Beach- 4 km, Near Devka Colony, Nani Daman, Jampore Beach-6 km, Near Jampore Village, Moti Daman.

Reach -
By Air: Nearest airport is Bombay– 193 kms.
By Rail: Nearest railhead is Vapi– 12kms.
By Road: Bombay- 93 kms, Ahmedabad- 67 kms, Diu- 763 kms, Panaji via Bombay- 87 kms.
Pandavas during their fourteen years of exile are believed to have passed a few days at a place known as Mani Nagar (DIU) which was under the Yadavas led by Krishna Vasudeva during Mahabharata period. According to mythology, Diu was ruled by the great king Jallandhar who was a daitya (Demon) and was killed by Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshan Chakra. The temple of Jallandhar still exists in Diu.
A palm-fringed, largely deserted and secluded beach, Nagoa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in India. The unique shoe-shape of the beach makes it all the more beautiful.
The island of Diu, an erstwhile Portuguese colony, is situated off the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat bordering Junagadh district. The other equally beautiful beaches are Ahmedpur, Mandvi,Chakratirath, Jallandhar, and Gomtimata all having their own charm and thrill.The word 'Diu' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Dweep'. During the period from the 14th to 16th century Diu was one of the best Sea Ports and a Naval base.

Area: 38.5, Altitude : 29 meters, Climate : (deg C)- Summer- Min 20, Max 38; Winter- Min 20, Max 25, Rainfall: 70cms, Best Season : October to May.

Places Of Interest:
Diu Fort, Forte do Mar, Gupta Prayag at Delwada , Gangeshwar Temple , Nagao Beach , Shaking Tower at Delwada.

Girnar Hill, Junagadh-185 kms, Palitana-195 kms, Somnath Temple- 72 kms, Sasangir-128 kms, Tulsi Shyam- 45 kms, , Chorwad- 97 kms, Ahmedpur Mandvi-130 kms.

Reach -
By Air: Well connected to Bombay and Ahmedabad.
By Rail: Nearest railhead is Delwada-9 kms.
By Road: Una- 30 kms, Ahmedabad- 495 kms, Bhavnagar- 225 kms, Bombay- 930 kms, Daman- 763 kms, Sasangir-128 kms, Rajkot- 261 kms, Somnath- 87 kms, Veraval- 77 kms.                                                                                                                                                                         

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Twitter : @btpyatra