Last week I told you about white beaches of Boracay Island in Philippines, and this week I would like to unfold the mystery of our own White Beach of India actually the salty run way – Runn of Kutch, which very few of us know is located in northwest of Gujarat in Thar Desert, India. The Rann of Kutch is divided into the Greater Rann Of Kutch and the Little Rann Of Kutch. The fact that the area has desert on one side and the sea on the other makes the Rann of Kutch an interesting region for tourists from all over the world.

Breathtakingly beautiful, ravishingly white, unbelievably exciting – Runn of Kutch!

Known as Runn of Kutch is an unusual marshland spanning an area of approximately 10,000 sq. km and separating Gujarat from the Sind region in Pakistan. The dry season is extreme as it dries out the marshland leaving isolated salt islands on a vast plain. The monsoon is no different in extremity, as it floods the marshland and the whole area is transformed into a vast inland sea.

The salt plains seen here are caused by flooding of the Rann by sea, river and rainwater. It is punctuated by highlands called bets, which have scrub flora and grassland vegetation offering refuge to wildlife.

It is divided in two parts:

The Greater Rann Of Kutch: As the name suggests the Greater Rann Of Kutch spans an area of 7505.22 Sq. km and is comparatively larger than the Little Rann Of Kutch. The greater Rann Of Kutch is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. Migratory birds deem it an abode during diverse weather conditions.

The Little Rann Of Kutch: It occupies 4,953 sq. kms and is spread out in the districts of Surendranagar, Banasakantha, Patan, Kutch and Rajkot in Gujarat. It is well known as The Wild Ass Sanctuary, named after endangered Ghudkhur (Equs hemionus khur), that is seen here in large numbers. Established in 1972 the sanctuary came under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1973.

What would add to the excitement of your trip to Rann?

• An interesting feature for adventure lovers is a jeep or camel safari in and across Rann of Kutch with tented camps on the baits. These trips add more thrill as they last for about a week.

• For photography enthusiasts, special rides and camouflaged boats are provided

• A trip to a typical Saurashtra village and an insight into the art of handloom weaving and Dyeing Units can be enticing due to the vibrantly colored dyes and the exquisite craftsmanship. The age old craft of pottery can also be viewed from close quarters.

• Tribal life is best experienced with the tribal people and there is no substitute for a stay at the typical tent. These camps are organized between July and September.

* Around the Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary, you may shop for Patola Silk Sarees, Bandhanis, Ghagra-cholis and marriage costumes. You will also find interesting wall hangings, embroidered quilts, cradle clothes, cloth toys, embroidered footwear, lacquer furniture and curious.

Rann Mahotsav

This month long carnival organized at the various locales within Kutch takes one around the natural grandiose while introducing the visitor to the indigenous cultural and ethnical flavor of the people. Semi parched Grasslands of the Banni hosts the most magnificent display of vernacular architecture as the exhibition platform for the varied range of arts and crafts of the region. While an array of folk music and dance performances organized in the shimmering moonlit landscape provides the most enchanting experience. The colorful fairs held near the beach or the banks of a lake swings one with the spirit of festivity, fervor and flamboyancy while the organized tour around Kutch is an ideal occasion to be part of the region and experience the zeal and uniqueness of the people through a celebration of life!

Located in Kutch region of Gujarat:

Kutch is also famous for exquisite crafts like embroidery, applique work bed sheets and cushion covers. The ever so popular Bandhani (tie and die) fabrics, enameled silverware and other handicrafts are also found here and are a thing of interest for tourists. o if you want to get a feel of vibrant Gujarat, make sure to visit the Rann of Kutch – a tourist destination par excellence. lethora of varied hues, profusion of design, superfluity of culture, cornucopia of music and dance, all together in the arid lands of Kutch creates a mosaic of exquisiteness which reflects the identity and spirit of the region. Kutch, one of the most ecologically and ethnically diverse district of the state is a celebratory land of art, crafts, music, dance, people and nature. During the full moon night of the winters amid the awe-inspiring and contrasting landscape each year a three day festive extravaganza brimming with hospitality, vigor and traditional flavor of the area is hosted and known as the Kutch or Rann Mahotsav.

The Kutch Mahotsav or the great Kutch festival offers access to the interior and beautiful recesses of the desert district of Gujarat. The Kutch Festival is celebrated in Kutch, near the days when Shivratri is celebrated in Gujarat, India. During the celebration of Kutch Desert Festival, colorfully attired dancers, music concerts, Sindhi Bhajan performances, Langa Desert Music and shops selling traditional Kutchhi embroideries and jewelry are too, the hallmarks of the Kutch Desert Festival, being celebrated in Gujarat, India.

While being there to attend the festival you may take a look at the beautiful palaces, forts and bird rich marshes. You may all visit the Rann of Kutch to get a glimpse of the colorful and vibrant lifestyles of the people of Kutch.

I am going…are you too?
Gujarat Tourism makes elaborate efforts to ensure comfortable and enjoyable stay for tourists. For details, visit:

Philippines>>> GEM of Pearl of Orient – Boracay Island!

White beach and boatiful splendour
White beach and boatiful splendour
Breathtakingly beautiful wihite beach
Breathtakingly beautiful wihite beach
Sandcastle at Boaracay
Sandcastle at Boaracay

Bulabog beach
Bulabog beach

Nicknamed ‘the Pearl of the Orient’, the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands. Combining all its shores would make it one of the longest coastlines in the world. It is believed that these islands contain more of the world’s great beaches than any other country, and low cost too – but it’s just not that easy to get there!

• Steady Winds, White Sands, Great Waves
• Fire Dance Performances
• Snorkelling, Windsurfing
• Delicious cuisines
• Greenery, White Sands
• Resorts, Restaurants, Bars
• Sun-bathing, Skin tanning!

All this & much more in Boracay Islands in Philippines!!

Although this has been one of the world’s best beach holiday destinations for many years there is still plenty of undiscovered paradise potential among these lush and lovely islands. The Philippines is a hot and humid tropical country in southeast Asia, populated by attractive, relaxed people and scattered with tropical jungles, hideous cities and glorious beaches considered by many professional travelers to be the world’s top seaside spots.
The country costs little to travel in unless you stay at a fancy beach resort, and that’s not necessary as there are plenty of cheap hotels and down market guest houses available. It’s impossible not to be swept up in the sweet island life once you get out here.!

The sun shimmers on diamond reefs and local fishermen catch fresh crustaceans straight from the ocean. It’ll be quite easy to get addicted. Good thing, there are thousands of islands to satisfy your craving. The beaches here are the perfect escape from those cold, icy, extra-long winters. You can see as many as you can in a day. Rent a kayak to paddle around the islands with, or get a guided boat tour, which usually includes a perfectly grilled lunch.!

Boracay is a tropical island surrounded by stunning white sand beaches about an hour’s flight from Cebu or Manila just off the larger Philippines island of Panay. The name Boracay is attributed to different origins. One story says that it is derived from the local word “borac” which means white cotton with characteristics close to the color and texture of Boracay’s white sugary and powdery sand. Another credits the name to local words “bora,” meaning bubbles, and “bocay,” meaning white. Yet another version dating back to the Spanish era says the name is derived from “sagay,” the word for shell, and “boray,” the word for see!

For beach connoisseurs it competes with the best beaches of more popular destinations such as the Caribbean and the South Pacific as well as neighbouring Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. For those wanting to just lounge around and top up their tan, beach-front hotels usually have lounge chairs set up just a few steps away from the hotel entrances. The more active will appreciate water sports and activities such as sailing, wind surfing, snorkelling, diving and jet skiing. The fun in Boracay doesn’t end when the sun sets Boracay Island is located approximately 350 kilometers south of Manila, Philippines. The island is a short distance off the north-western tip of Panay Island, which is in the western Visayas in the Philippines. Boracay Island is about seven kilometres long and its narrowest point barely 1 kilometer wide, comprising an area of 1,083 hectares.

Bulabog beach on Boracay island is known for its great waves, steady winds and adventure sports whereas there are other beaches like Diniwid beach where you can spend your lazy afternoons lounging on the beach or going in for relaxing spa treatments like sea weed wraps or salt body scrub. You can spend nights watching fire dance performances. Wonderful if you are adventure lover – The Filipino islands waters are a treat for snorkelers and you can take private boat to nearby Carabo Island, catch the wind during your sail while windsurfing. White Beach is on the west coast of the island between the villages of Angol and Balabag, this legendary expanse of white sand remains cool even on the hottest days. It undauntedly pervades a diverse atmosphere of resorts, restaurants, bars, discotheques and stores that vibrantly frame the renowned beach. It is also sends out an idyllic setting for sunbathing, people watching or simply lounging with friends over a favorite drink.

Boracay has more than ten distinctive beaches nestled in the coves surrounding the infamous island. All of them feature the same powdery white sand that has undoubtedly made the island prominent around the world. By far, the most popular beach is a seven-kilometer stretch, officially called White Beach.

Planning your next trip to Boracay, don’t forget to check the link:

Rimjhim Gire Saawan “…And it rained that night”

Rim Jhim Gire Sawan…sung beautifully by India’s Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar and melodious Kishore Kumar brings out beauty of Mumbai on a rainy night. My account of …and it rained that night!

Mumbai welcomes monsoon with open arms as it gives respite from sweltering heat to Mumbaikars, rain showers bring relief and add beauty to Mumbai though it is not bereft of problems…traffic, water – logging, flight delays, restricted movements…what not!

Come monsoon and we start looking at gateways away from Mumbai to enjoy rains, but believe me Mumbai becomes beautiful in rains and I experienced that just the other day.

Mumbai rains1

I would like to share the experience:
From suburban Borivali to towny fort, I set out for a meeting in Fort area. Not very enthusiastic about going for a meeting on a rainy evening in Mumbai, I ventured out. It was raining all through during the train journey and as I reached Church Gate – it was full blown rain with no cabbie in sight. This is typical of Mumbai…cabbies want to enjoy rains with long distance passengers. Though it was evening time, but it had become absolutely dark by the time I reached meeting venue!

With no option in sight I started walking towards venue meeting…the breeze was awesome and the rains heavy. Fort area Horniman Circle – looked like Trafalgar Square in London, wide roads, greenery on both sides, epic statues, well lit old monumental building, office crowds in their colourful rain jackets and umbrellas, some of them even enjoying bhuttas, others enjoying piping hot tea on the road side stalls, vendours selling umbrellas – all these made monsoons very interesting sight. Though I was worried how would I reach home and it was already 8 o’clock with network going bust.

Watching all this and lost in my thoughts I reached the venue.

The meeting was boring, no where close to expectations, I came out and set out on reverse journey. After reaching there I thought why not catch a glimpse of Marine Drive…I walked for another 10 minutes with my good for nothing umbrella, heavy office bags, heavy rains & windy night… for the first time I listened to my heart, and walked towards Marine Drive, just to catch the glimpse of rain drenched Mumbai. I was already very late…still I showed courage to enjoy Mumbai rains in full fervor…And it rained all night..

mumbai_rainlead630  mum rains 5 mum rains 3 Mum rains 2 mum rains 6

It was unbelieving, sea was overwhelming with couples and children enjoying the rains, fearlessly walking on the parapet, completely drenched in huge seas waves…Marine Drive looked lovely as shown in Bollywood movies. Could not stay for long…but my day oops night was made…the trip looked not that bad! I think after a very long time I looked at Mumbai Monsoons positively – other wise I find them quite bugging, just bringing problems nothing else. No wonder Mumbai monsoons have inspired so many Bollywood numbers.  I got back home only to be welcomed with garam garam chai and pakoras with radio humming in the back-drop Rim Jhim Gire Sawan…And it rained all night!

I love month of Shravan as it announces rains, brings festivities like Teej, Rakshabandhan and particularly all Mondays of Sawan are considered very auspicious.

It was different this time – my spirits lifted, I was one with rains. Why don’t you too step out to enjoy monsoons on Marine Drive.

If can’t do that enjoy this video and you will know how right I am!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Arch of Ctesiphon, Chief (attraction) of Baghdad!



Today I am going to tell you about a very unique tourist destination which is located in Iraq.

Iraq which has been struggling incessantly with its own internal and external wars, it seems now wants tourists on its land. And in its effort to woo tourists has decided to carry out an elaborate restoration of the ancient
Arch of Ctesiphon as a part to boost tourism to this once popular site. This famed sixth century monument, is world’s biggest brick built arch and the last structure still standing from the ancient imperial capital Ctesiphon has fallen into despair.

It lies in south of Baghdad, just a short distance from tomb of Salman Pak, one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed. Together, the two sites from what was once one of the Iraq’s main tourist attractions in the town of Madain.
But this was badly hit due to unrest of decades which once thriving tourist destination.

History of arch of Ctesiphon

Ayvan (or Taq)-a Kesra (the Palace of Khosrow), the most famous of all Sasanian monuments and a landmark in the history of architecture, now only an imposing brick ruin. While actually belonging to the city of Asbanbar (Asbānbar) on the east bank of the Tigris below Baghdad, the Ayvān-a Kesrā (also called Ayvān-e Madā’en) is usually associated with the name of Ctesiphon, which lie, immediately to the north of Asbanbar and is another of the cities which made up the multiple complex of Mada’en (Figure I ). Situated near the modern settlement of Salman-a Pak (Salmān-e Pāk), the Ayvan-a Kesra is the legendary throne hall of the Sasanian kings of kings.

The standing monument consists of a large ayvan (ayvān) 43.50m deep by 25.50m wide, penetrating a blind facade that stretches 46 m in either direction from the center line of the ayvan and stood originally 35 m above ground level to the height of its cornice (Plates II-III). The articulation of the blind-facade is formed by a series of six stories of brickwork, consisting of columns, entablatures, and arched niches. The ayvan is roofed by a parabolic vault, with the side-walls tapering from 7 m to 4 m and brought forward by slight corbelling below the impost in order to reduce the enormous width to be spanned. The true part of the vault, for which slanting lays of brick on edge were employed (permitting the construction of a vault without cantering), is confined to the upper third of the structure; this arch tapers from 1.80 m at the point of the spring line to 1.30 m at the crown.

The great arch dominates the layout, but the area behind the facade can be shown to be taken up by a pair of large rectangular and square chambers on either side (if one can assume symmetry of plan) which are separated from the axial ayvan by a vaulted corridor system. Access to the corridor is gained through a doorway which penetrates the facade. Behind the ayvan, and connected to it by a narrow door, is an arrangement of rooms which are remarkable for their comparatively small dimensions. Through a cross passage and the central chamber one can enter the large hall at the rear of the complex. It is a later addition and measures 26 m wide by 38 m deep.

The great arch and its facade have aroused comments that generally have acknowledged its impressive qualities. Ebn al-Faqīh (p. 255) considered it to be one of the marvels of the world. Tabarī (111, p. 320) reports that the caliph al-Mansūr was advised by his Persian minister Khāled b. Barmak not to attempt its demolition. This advice reflects both the building’s prodigious dimensions and its reputation as a monument.

Hope and wish after this restoration, Iraq once again regains its glory of offering tourist attraction to its visitors.

So if you are planning your next International trip in 2014, don’t forget to include Iraq for its Arch of Ctesiphon.


Today is World Tourism Day…June 9


I Congratulate all avid travellers on World Tourism Day.

It is important to take few pledges this day to make our travel more enjoyable like:

1. Plan your trip in advance especially foreign ones.
2. Book your tickets, book your hotel, chart out sight seeing plan
3. Plan your social visits
4. Plan your shopping sojourns so that you make most of your trip.
5. Try travelling light, don’t take elaborate costumes as you are a tourist afterall.
6. Take medicines for common ailments, allergies
7. Not to forget taking Travel Insurance
8. Keep all your Passport / Visas intact
9. Take toileteries like Sun screen / sun block / moisturisers dont leave it for buying there
as it may leave you with some skin allergies
10. Carry comfortable footwear not the fancy ones

If you keet these things in mind, your trip will certainly be more enjoyable!

Happy tourism day!