Category Archives: Adventure

When an official meeting turned towards JAL MAHOTSAV!

It is highly unlikely that an official meeting would turn the tide towards Jal Mahotsav in Madhya Pradesh, but it happened just yesterday. My guests told me that they handle the account of M.P. Tourism and mentioned that I should visit Jal Mahotsav currently on…my curiosity as a travel blogger grew and I wanted to know more about this water carnival of Madhya Pradesh. The State is very close to my heart as it is India’s heartland and the land of my childhood too.  The water carnival, which is currently on, will last until January 2, 2018.

So for the uninitiated, including me, Jal Mahotsav is set up in the lap of Hanuwantiya Island besides the pristine waters of Indira Sagar Dam on Narmada river, where the picturesque escapade compliments the joy that lies in the spirit of adventure. The water festival has now made the culturally rich Madhya Pradesh is known for its adventure tourism too. It gives one more reason to the people to tour to Madhya Pradesh. Along with celebrating the spirit of adventure, the festival also celebrates the spirit of MP. The absolute brilliance of the local artisans and craftspeople, melodious folk music and performances and lip-smacking cuisine – all these precisely describes and defines what “The Heart Of India” truly stands for.


Once an unexplored place, now a destination where India’s largest water carnival is held. Close to Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, lies an island in the backwaters of Indira Sagar Dam on River Narmada. Hanuwantiya Island, has now turned into an adventure hub with the support of MP Tourism. Derived from local village name with the same name, MP Tourism found Hanuwantiya suitable for water tourism activity. This is the story behind the makeover of Hanuwantiya from an untouched island to an adventure addition in Madhya Pradesh tourism packages.

Flying above the sparkling waters or speeding through it, India’s one of its kind water festival is full of land, water and air adventure activities all set on one canvas called Jal Mahotsav. The festival also represents the culture of Madhya Pradesh – a culture that stands for the rich skill set of its artisans, rich heritage and not to miss out, sumptuous cuisine! MP Tourism Jal Mahotsav is truly a dream for every adventure lover and a desire of every individual who seeks a holistic rejuvenation.

Here’s how the grand festival – MP Tourism Jal Mahotsav became possible. In its efforts to make Madhya Pradesh known for its adventure tourism too, MP Tourism revamped the unexplored and untouched Hanuwantiya Island and turned it into a small city in itself. A tent city where people can rejoice and relax while at the same time be adventurous! In a small span of its inception, Jal Mahotsav has now become a very important part of Madhya Pradesh Tour packages with more and more people coming over to Madhya Pradesh to discover a completely new face of the state.
Here you can lose your heart and soul to the beauty of state where “The Heart of India” lies!!

Once an unexplored place, now a destination where India’s largest water carnival is held. Close to Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, lies an island in the backwaters of Indira Sagar Dam on River Narmada. Hanuwantiya Island, once an unexplored and unknown place, has now turned into an adventure hub with the support of MP Tourism. Derived from local village name with the same name, MP Tourism found Hanuwantiya suitable for water tourism activity. This is the story behind the makeover of Hanuwantiya from an untouched island to an adventure addition in Madhya Pradesh tourism packages.


Nestled in this Hanuwantiya Island is Jal Mahotsav – a striking contrast of adventure with serenity, of excitement with relaxation. An extravaganza to rekindle the spirit of adventure within oneself, India’s one of its kind water festival is all set to rule the hearts of all the adventure lovers once again! Well, if you aren’t an adventure buff, you shouldn’t be disappointed since the place unwinds surprises for everyone. Those in search of relaxation and a break from routine life can treat themselves to the comfort of a luxury tent, sit back and feel the cool breeze relaxing every nerve of your mind and body.

 With the vision of Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan to make “the heart of India” known for its adventure tourism, a dream called Jal Mahotsav was born.

I am GOING, ARE YOU?

Explore the Unexplored part of MP Tourism

 

Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India, Home to BIG CATS

Come 2018, & I will head to Kanha National Park for a DATE with ROYAL BENGAL TIGERS!!

Kanha National Park, located approx. 165 km from Jabalpur and 254 km from Nagpur, also known as Kanha Tiger Reserve, is a vast expanse of grassland and forest in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Tigers, jackals and wild pigs can be spotted in Kanha Meadows. The elevated plateau of Bamhni Dadar is home to birds of prey. Animals often gather at the watering holes of Sondar Tank and Babathenga Tank. The park’s flora and fauna are documented in the park’s Kanha Museum. Spread across 940 sq.km, Kanha National Park is one of the largest parks in Madhya Pradesh where the majestic royal Bengal tigers are found in good numbers.

The Park is respected globally for saving the Barasingha from near extinction. No doubt, it is one of the best-managed parks in Asia and a part of Project Tiger. National Geographic’s award-winning ‘Land of the Tigers’ was shot here, but the park is home to leopards, wild dogs and Barasingha as well. A safari in Kanha will surely get me thrilled, the way I was on a trip night Safari in Singapore, truly memorable.

The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel “Jungle Book”. The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger. The Park’s landmark achievement is the preservation of the rare hard ground Swamp Deer (Barasingha), saving it from near extinction. Stringent conservation programs for the overall protection of the Park’s fauna and flora makes Kanha one of the most well maintained National Parks in Asia.

A heightened attraction within the Park is Bamni Dadar,  popularly known as Sunset Point that offers the most awe-inspiring backdrop of the sunset against grazing Sambhars and Gaurs, magnifying the natural splendour of the area. Aside from its diverse wildlife and bird population, the frequent sightings of Tigers roaming in the wild at Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary remain the most popular draw.

Be there, for your first outing in 2018!!

Why I am going there? Later on that!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Costa Cruise to Male, Maldives…

…Costa Cruise would be leaving from Mumbai Shores in November 2017, you can plan your trip in this cruise to Maldives – the most beautiful island country tucked in between India and Sri Lanka. But before that before that, you should know why visiting Maldives should be on your travel wish-list. Besides having out of the world cruising experience with Costa Cruise, you can view Maldives for its enormous natural beauty, greenery and vibrant marine life.  It is on my wish-list too, lets see when my wish is granted!

So, let’s dive down to know what Maldives Marine life has to offer you as a tourist.

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

The Maldives officially the Republic of Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. It lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The chain of twenty-six atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the south. Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres (115 sq mi), the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, as well as the smallest Asian country by both land area and population, with a little over 393,500 inhabitants. Malé is the capital and most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” for its central location.

Maldivian waters are home to several ecosystems, including a variety, 187 species, of vibrant coral reefs. This area of the Indian Ocean, alone, houses 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, 400 species of molluscs, and 83 species of echinoderms. The area is also populated by a number of crustacean species: 120 copepod, 15 amphipods, as well as more than 145 crab and 48 shrimp species.

Among the many marine families represented are Pufferfish, Fusiliers, Jackfish, Lionfish, Oriental Sweetlips, reef sharks, Groupers, Eels, Snappers, Bannerfish, Batfish, Humphead Wrasse, Spotted Eagle Rays, Scorpionfish, Lobsters, Nudibranchs, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Squirrelfish, Soldierfish, Glassfish, Surgeonfish, Unicornfish, Triggerfish, Napoleon wrasses, and Barracudas.

These coral reefs are home to a variety of marine ecosystems that vary from planktonic organisms to whale sharks. Sponges have gained importance as five species have displayed anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

In 1998, sea-temperature warming of as much as 5 °C (9.0 °F) due to a single El Niño phenomenon event caused coral bleaching, killing two-thirds of the nation’s coral reefs.

In an effort to induce the regrowth of the reefs, scientists placed electrified cones anywhere from 20–60 feet (6.1–18.3 m) below the surface to provide a substrate for larval coral attachment. In 2004, scientists witnessed corals regenerating. Corals began to eject pink-orange eggs and sperm. The growth of these electrified corals was five times faster than untreated corals.

Again, in 2016, the coral reefs of the Maldives experienced a severe bleaching incident. Over 95% of coral around the islands died, and, even after six months, 100% of young coral transplants had died. The surface water temperatures reached an all-time high in 2016, at 31 degrees Celsius in May.

Recent scientific studies suggest that the faunistic composition can vary greatly between neighbour atolls, especially in terms of benthic fauna. Differences in terms of fishing pressure (including poaching) could be the cause.

Source: Wikipedia

Honey Moon Point, Mt. Abu, most serene point!

 I liked that place the most & found it to be the best in entire Mt. Abu!

The reason, it is most picturesque point and on a huge height from where entire city looks just awesome!! & me and my daughter had ball of a time there!

Perched at an elevation of 4000 feet, with the backdrop of Nakki Lake and Old Gateway to Mount Abu; Honeymoon point is a must-visit if you wish to catch an exquisite view of the sun setting down the horizon. It has been named so mainly because of the Love Rock that is located here. It is often known as Anadara Point as well. This is an ideal spot if you are looking for a rather serene spot to spend your time at. This area’s untwining vibe and scenic beauty owing to the fact that this is one of the most popular attractions of Mount Abu. Hold hands, enjoy the pleasant weather and treat your eyes to the mesmerizing beauty spread all around you.

Don’t forget to spend some time there, however senior you are while in Mt. Abu!!!

See it to believe it!

I share here some beautiful clicks taken at Honeymoon point.

 

Royal Enfield celebrates the spirit of riding with motorcycle enthusiasts as a precursor to Himalayan Odyssey

To celebrate the growing passion of community riding amongst motorcycling enthusiasts and riders, Royal Enfield hosted an event with the riding community at Royal Enfield’s exclusive gear store in Khar, Mumbai recently. The evening witnessed participation by over 30 men and women motorcycle enthusiasts and riders who engaged in conversations around Himalayan Odyssey and community riding overall. The focus of the gathering was also to encourage more people to follow their passion for motorcycling. 

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The motorcyclists spoke about how they are preparing to be on the Himalayan Odyssey. Some of the experienced riders provided some golden tips about riding in the Himalayas to those riders who are visiting that terrain for the first time.  event was a precursor to Royal Enfield’s 14th edition of Himalayan Odyssey is being held from July 6th to July 23rd this year.

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Himalayan Odyssey is considered one of the most gratifying motorcycle journeys in the world from Delhi to Khardung-La – the highest motorable road in the world at 18300 feet above sea level. For the 14th edition of Himalayan Odyssey this year, Royal Enfield is taking over 50 participants on the Himalayan Odyssey including men and women.  One of the biggest motorcycle ride of its kind in the world, Himalayan Odyssey will see participants traversing through some of the roughest terrains and highest mountain passes in the world covering a distance of close to 2200 kilometers in 18 days on their Enfield motorcycles.

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The Himalayas have been the mecca for motorcyclists and the Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey has been their chosen journey to ride through the mighty mountains. Year on year Royal Enfield riders gather at Delhi to thump all the way to Khardung-La to experience one of the most memorable motorcycling journeys in the world. The ride will witness camaraderie of fans and participants flagging off on Saturday, 8th July 2017 from India Gate in New Delhi. What is interesting to see is the camaraderie amongst riders from different corners of India and the world that grows stronger with every passing day.

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During the ride, the weather would shift remarkably, from scorching hot to icy cold as riders will make their way to the picturesque regions of the Himalayas, which house within themselves one of the most hostile environments for motorcycling including Narkanda, Sarchu, Jispa and Leh, all the way to Khardung-La. Each turn exposes the riders to a new landscape like no other, eventually getting them surrounded by the overwhelming beauty of the great Himalayan peaks.

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The period between the months of May and August is the ideal time when hundreds of Royal Enfield motorcyclists ride up to the Himalayas. The HO is an opportunity for passionate men and women who seek to look beyond the obvious and venture into the unchartered territories of one of the most challenging terrains in the world. A journey of self-discovery for many, the Himalayan Odyssey has given birth to inspiring stories that become a part of motorcycling folklore.

At a time when our lives have come to be defined by our professional selves, Himalayan Odyssey appeals to the free-spirited motorcycle rider in oneself and quintessential seeker of life beyond concrete jungles. The ride emphasizes on harmony with the terrain while at the same time encouraging one to overcome their personal barriers and realize the potential that lies within them. Over the past 15-20 years, scores of riders have had the pleasure of riding their Royal Enfield motorcycles through the picturesque landscape of Ladakh to Leh and then beyond to Khardung La.

To know more about #HO2017 visit: www.royalenfield.com/ho

Be a part of one of the largest communities of motorcycling enthusiasts; like Royal Enfield on Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/RoyalEnfield

Follow Royal Enfield on Twitter – https://twitter.com/royalenfield

The oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, Royal Enfield made its first motorcycle in 1901. A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield has created the mid-sized motorcycle segment in India with its unique and distinctive modern classic bikes. With its new manufacturing base in Chennai, India, Royal Enfield is able to grow its production rapidly against a surge in demand for its motorcycles. With more than 50% growth every year for the last 5 years, Royal Enfield is fast becoming a very important player in the global mid-size motorcycle market and is working towards re-inventing this space with motorcycles that are evocative and engaging and great fun to ride.

Royal Enfield also organizes and supports many motorcycling events and rides globally, more prominently the Rider Mania – an annual gathering of Royal Enfield riders from all over the world to the lovely beaches of Goa, and the Himalayan Odyssey, the most arduous motorcycle ride over some of the toughest roads and highest mountain passes in the Himalayas. Royal Enfield also conducts the popular ‘One Ride’ where people around the world ride out on their motorcycles on the first Sunday of April.

 

 

“The Real High” by Arré Outdoors with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism launched on a “High Evening”

Arré has launched Arré Outdoors, a new vertical, focused on travel, adventure, and more. Arré Outdoors, like Arré, is a multimedia, multi-genre platform with content ranging from videos to text to audio to doodles and more.

The first property from the Arré Outdoors stable is a first-of-its-kind travel-and-adventure reality series – The Real High, in partnership with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Nissan Terrano, Woodland and O’cean Active.

A vibrant & studded evening was organized at Taj Lands End on May 31, 2017 to unfurl the details of  “The Real High”  amidst the presence of  Shri P. D. Sona, Honourable Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

Arré Outdoors is a call to city slickers to get out of their automated city lives and comfort zones and get real and raw in nature. Arré Outdoors will take viewers and readers in a series of interactive digital journeys to undiscovered places and experiences in their purest form, starting with Arunachal Pradesh.

The show is an eight-part series where leading youth icon Rannvijay Singha takes six ultra-urban city dwellers on an incredible journey to the forests of Arunachal Pradesh, to experience life without beds, baths, and phones. The participants are given a once-in-a-lifetime experience to rethink their life and choices and to discover “The Real High”

Shot in the breathtaking mountains, rivers, and forests of Arunachal Pradesh, the show is a visual delight blended with the fun experiences and wild adventures of the six participants along with Rannvijay, as they pitch their own tent, build their own raft, cook their own food, mingle with the locals, and experience life in a way unknown to any of them.

Anchoring the event in his own inimitable style, Rannvijay Singha said, “I’m super excited about the launch of ‘The Real High’. It will be interesting for viewers to see how the participants adapt to life outside the city and without taken-for-granted comforts, apart from the breathtaking sights of Arunachal Pradesh. We had a lot of fun shooting the show and I hope the audience enjoys it as much.”

Saikumar, Founder, Arré, said, “Travel is no longer just a passion point pursued by some but is increasingly becoming a way of life, as places and people get closer in the digital age. We travel the world in 80 minutes or even 80 seconds through pictures, 360-degree videos, interactive maps, and every other technology at our disposal. Arré Outdoors is a fresh take on travel through stories and formats that will take our viewers and readers to places and nudge them to get out of their homes and journey these experiences themselves, one trip at a time. ‘The Real High’ is our first property from the Arré Outdoors stable and we are very thrilled to be partnering with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Nissan Terrano, Woodland, and O’cean Active to create this special show for our viewers”.

Shri P. D. Sona, Honourable Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, commented, “We are very focused on making Arunachal Pradesh the adventure and exotic tourism hub of India. We expect the number of tourist arrivals to grow exponentially this year, through many projects that engage with the youth. We are very delighted to partner with Arré on such an interesting initiative and believe that such initiatives will aid awareness and encourage travelers to visit Arunachal Pradesh to experience its many unique attractions.”

In an exclusive to travel-knots.com, Mr. Sona shared, “Ministry of Tourism Government of India is supporting the Infrastructure Development in Arunachal Pradesh in a big way. But the bottle neck is PAP and we are writing to Govt. To ease out the norms of this PAP regime, once the PAP is lifted, we will have a huge flow of international tourists. Arunachal Pradesh tourism department is looking at filing these critical gaps. The Bhupen Hazarika bridge which was inaugurated recently, which is actually in Assam but with this bridge Arunachal Pradesh is going to benefit more. Earlier travel was really difficult but now with this all-weather bridge, it will take hardly 15-20 minutes to cross over.  As far as domestic tourists are concerned if you talk in terms of percentage, in relation to the total population it is more than 20%, now with the relaxed regime of PAP we are expecting a lot of foreign tourists.”

Watch the trailor of “The Real High” to get the feel of “The Real High” 

Episode 1 of the series will be out on arre.co.in, the Arré app, and its partner platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, SonyLIV, Yupp TV, Jio Cinema, and Ola Prime Play on June 10.

 

Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga – Truptsthan!

जहाँ हवाओं में राजस्थान का संगीत है: माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

My colleague Trupti Sharma along with her bunch of young, adventurous & enthusiastic friends ringed in New Year in mesmerizing Rajasthan & the choice was in favour of Dessert trek at Jaisalmer.  In over a week – long trip to Jaisalmer, Trupti experienced Rajasthan like never before…

… Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga!

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Trupti was gracious enough to share her experiences along with unique photo-essay for travel-knots readers. Enjoy reading it here!!

Phir dekhiye Rajasthan appko bhi kuch aisa lagega!!!

Jaisalmer Trek: The Transition:

  • From 2016 to 2017
  • From one state to another
  • From Camp to Second Home
  • From Strangers to Friends
  • From Friends to Family
  • From Can I do it to I bet you cannot do it

But it was truly:

Challenging | Freezing | Arid | Windy | Quiet | Calm | Noisy | Golden | Royal | Natural | Raw

It was anything but boring…

Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Camel Ride, Boating, Posing, Singing, Folk Dancing; Challenging your physical and mental endurance, we did it all in Rajasthan

Base Camp: Jaisalmer City – Border Home Guard Ground

Higher Camps: Kharara Camp | Sam Sand Dunes | Sudasari Sand Dunes | Bama

When Trupti decided to be part of this trek and started checking on tickets to neighbouring cities of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, which was good three months ahead, I was surprised to note that all tickets to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur or any possible city in Rajasthan were full or super expensive and she had to take Mumbai – Delhi – Jaisalmer route to reach base camp.  Unexpectedly she found Delhi not at all cold and she even enjoyed cold water shower there. From Delhi she embarked on her journey to Jodhpur.  This is the magic of Rajasthani soil…माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

Thankfully she found Jaisalmer to be super impressive, quite a deal for true – blue Mumbai girl. Trupti found Station very clean and did not shirk it from terming it “One of the best”.

I present here the Trupti’s account of her Jaisalmer trek:

Jaisalmer is the largest district in India in fact even bigger than many Indian States which is also clean and royal in its look and feel.  It is endowed with perfect lighting which provided ample reflection for our pictures. I found everything there to be so grand and royal, even houses are made of hand carved stones which I had never seen before. It was a pleasure ogling at those beautiful stone house which a rarity in Metro we live in.

After this our next destination was “Patvaaon-ki-Haveli” where we found forever welcoming Rajasthani folk-singers, where we found Rajathani folk music spreading like aroma in the air.  We sang and even danced with these Rajasthani folk artists. Moreover, they did not expect much money from us; they thanked us for whatever we gave them. Indeed they were very humble, warm and welcoming.  I would like to mention here that colourful turbans have perpetual charm midst tourists coming here which would cost you not more that Rs. 50.  Before entering “Patvaaon-ki-haveli” don’t forget to gorge on delicious Paani – Puri where law of multiplication applies in full – force. Go on gulping, without counting though.

Now we had to embark on our first higher camp – the Kharara camp, where we came across lot of windmills and trust me windmills are one of the best inventions, just like mountains even they make you and your problems look relatively very small. To give you an idea- to reach top of an industrial windmill one needs to have 60 levels on a Human pyramid or terrace of a 38 storey building.

After walking around 12 Kms, we reached our second higher camp – Sam Sand Dunes, my first experience of sand dunes was quite amazing, nothing short of mesmerizing. It was little crowded since most people travelling to Jaisalmer visit Sam dunes but in a lot of ways it was still untouched. I must admit, evenings are the best part of a trek and you don’t have to walk with super heavy rucksack. Moreover, it is neither very hot nor very cold here. Last but not the least, you get to chill, sing, rest, roam around and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets.

So after all this and more like sand sliding, photo shoot and amateur Dangal, we were all set to march back to our camps. On our way we encountered few folk singers –  two kids and one ‘ol chap – and I am happy we met them as it was so much fun singing and dancing along on Rajasthani folk music for over an hour.  So much so that we broke into an impromptu “Sangeet Ceremony”  of our friends  Unnati & Madhu who are chained to get married in coming few months to their respective groom and bride.

In the second leg of our trek from Sam Sand Dunes, we had to reach Sudasari Desert National Park, which threw biggest challenge as we had to do 10 kms ride on camel and 12 Kms of walking along with crawling and hitch hiking!

I can term Camel ride as good and bad both, but to enjoy camel ride, you need to be in sync your rhythm but how do you keep up to a camel who keeps switching songs?

Moreover, trek to Sudasari is not at all easy. Firstly, it is near impossible to get permissions for trekking groups and even for individuals it takes at least three months of approval process but thanks to YHAI’s goodwill and good work that we (group of 40 people) were not just able to trek in but also got to camp one night.

Sudasari Sand dunes were amazing, so calm still so powerful… trust me deserted deserts are much more beautiful.

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Other major take away from this trip is that I got to know so many people from different parts of India say now I have friends from AP, Gujarat, Jharkhand, TN, Karnataka and parts of Northern India.

Pictures & text courtesy: Trupti Sharma

 

 

Goa on your mind for vacation? Think Havelock Island!

Few days ago when I called my cousin Rinku who is an Administrator with IIT Kanpur, she surprised me by excitedly telling me that she was going to Andaman for her April Vacation with husband Anuraag and children Gauri (Aged 10) and Gauransh (Aged 2) with group of friends. My interest grew in the place and I probed more being a travel blogger. She told me that they would be taking a flight from Lucknow to Kolkata, after which they would go to Port Blair. Port Blair would be her base but their main tourist destination would be Havelock Island. Havelock is a picturesque natural paradise with beautiful white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs and lush green forest. It is one of the populated islands in the Andaman group with an area of 113 sq. km. and is located 39 km of north-east of Port Blair. She added, “Havelock Island is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches fringed with green canopy of the rain-fed forests. We are going to enjoy the frolic and fun at the azure sea.” She would be there for nearly a week; I wished her a very successful journey and hung up.

With snow-white beaches, teal shallows, a coast crammed with beach huts and some of the best diving in South Asia, Havelock has a well-deserved reputation as a backpacker’s paradise. For many, Havelock is the Andamans, and it’s what lures most tourists across the Bay of Bengal, many of whom are content to stay here for the entirety of their trip like my cousin Rinku and her group of friends.

Now I wanted to know more about Havelock Island and I started digging for articles on the place. Luckily I bumped on with an article on Havelock in Mid-Day titled Seven Beach high in Havelock by Bindu & Radhakrishnan Unni. They shared that Andaman’s Havelock Island offers a 7-beach in 1 offer within 113 kms. Indeed it was a very wonderful account of the place.

So if you are planning your next trip to Goa, think again, in favour of Havelock Island!

Havelock Island (often just Havelock for short) with an area of some 92 Sq.Km is the largest of the islands which comprise Ritchie’s Archipelago, a chain of islands to the east of Great Andaman in the Andaman Islands. The island population is comprised of Bengali settlers. It is one of the few places that the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory of India has permitted and encouraged development of tourism, with a focus on promoting eco-tourism.

Havelock Island avoided much of the devastation which was visited upon most of the shores affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its resultant tsunami, and there were no documented casualties. Beach No. 7, better known as “Radha Nagar” Beach, is one of the most popular beaches in Asia. The elephant beach at Havelock is known for rich marine life, especially the corals. Beach No. 5 is famous beach for Israeli tourists.

Elephant beach is another ideal site for snorkeling. It has a rich coral reef formation and amazing underwater marine life. One can reach Elephant beach by small cruise boat from Havelock Jetty in about 40 minutes. By road one can go up to the Forest Camp which is 8 Kms from the Jetty towards Radhanagar side and from there by walk to the Elephant beach which will take another 40 minutes. Private ferry operators organize tours to Elephant beach from Havelock.

Beach-combing, sunbathing, scuba diving, seawalk, snorkeling, watersports, surf riding, swimming, game fishing, watching the sunset or sunrise, elephant ride, bird-watching, trekking, sailing, kayaking and much more you can do in Havelock.

The abundance of marine life around Havelock provides a rich variety of varied diving sites.  ‘Seduction Point’, ‘Aquarium’, ‘Lighthouse’, ‘Pilot Reef’, ‘Mac Point’, ‘Minerva Ledge’ and ‘Turtle Bay’ are promising areas for diving. The ideal dive season is from December to May.

Vijaynagar Beach, Havelock, is a long stretch of sand on the east coast of the Island, punctuated occasionally by rock section. Most of the beach is lined by mahua trees, whose trunks grow along the ground for many feet before they begin to climb vertically. These trees have lent a distinct character to the sea front and provide shade, close to the water. Vijaynagar Beach is perfect for long walks along the sea. Dolphin Resort run by the Tourism Department and many other hotels are also located on this beach.

One can enjoy swimming at the calm and clear waters of Radhanagar, Vijaynagar and Elephant beach. Snorkeling is available to view shallow areas of the coral reefs without going underwater with scuba equipment. Under the water, one can glide along the coral shelf and experience the strange and striking coral formations. One can see fish swim, nibbling at colorful algae, sea anemones and plankton right next to you.

Havelock Island is logged using elephants.  The spectacle of elephants working in the forest and bathing and swimming in the nearby sea is a special attraction. The Elephant Training Camp managed by the Forest Department at Kalapathar open its doors to tourists occasionally. The Island is surrounded by emerald lagoons and tropical evergreen forests. In some stretches, mangrove swamps line the shores.

It is a landscape of primeval splendor. White-headed mynas or the woodpecker with a white-barred black mantle and red crown, fulvous-breasted woodpecker are endemic to the island. The olive-backed sunbird and Andaman swallow are other endemic birds in the islands, which are a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Kayaking is also gaining popularity in the Havelock Island. Safe and calm creeks offer an excellent scope for kayak lovers.

The main dive sites on Havelock are:

  • Lighthouse (6-20m)
  • The Wall (10-55m)
  • Minerva Ledge (10-18m)
  • Aquarium (12-15m)
  • Pilot Reef (6-18m)
  • Dixon’s Pinnacle (18-40m)
  • Jackson’s Bar (20-35m)
  • Johnny’s Gorge (25-30m)

One of the most popular sites, this is a small rocky outcrop in the open sea surrounded by an ocean of sand. The outcrops are home to large and small species. Dolphins, white and black-tip sharks, giant groupers, rays and eels among various others are found here.

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Mid-January until mid-May sees the best weather, and often the best diving conditions. The days are mostly sunny at this time of year, and the sea sometimes flat enough to reflect the clouds. The monsoon usually hits around late May, lasting until the end of July, and is probably the worst time to visit the island – strong winds, frequent rain and low visibility underwater. August thru November see some occasional showers and slightly rougher seas, but diving can still be great at this time of year. The weather often takes a turn for the worse for the month of December through early January.

Havelock Island now has two ATMs; SBI and Axis bank. Some of the hotels and resorts are able to perform card transactions. Nevertheless, it is best to make sure you take plenty of cash with you from Port Blair. Also, it is hard to buy some items in the market – differing factors of sun cream can be hard to find, as can mosquito repellent.

 

Thank God, Tiger did not spot me!

I visited Jim Corbett National Park many years ago while in school and was really petrified to see the place. Jungle hi Jungle all over, I asked my friend, “Why are we here”? She replied, “To spot tigers”? I gave vague expression, Tigers? But why Tigers? What if they attack us? Or even eat us raw? Poor friend, no answers. Today I don’t recollect whether we spotted the Tiger or no but I certainly remember that muddy, dusty terrain, hills, marsh lands, lakes …ideal for Big Cats and not for Small Fries like us.  Reluctantly I spent the day…bickering all day long…we could have done boating in Malli Taal instead of being here. Camera was just out of reach for us, moreover I being the child of that era did not even have the guts to for ask for one from my parents. Somehow trip to Jim Corbett got over…me highly scared and completely drained though relaxed, thinking thank GOD Tiger did not spot me!!

Times certainly changed when my daughter Tanya visited Jim Corbett National Park from her school trip few years ago, who was super excited to be amidst Big Cats and not scared out of her wits like me. They took jungle safari tour in the morning which started at 5 AM in the morning, for which she got up at 4 AM in the morning. I sighed, sacrificing sleep for Safari and never for Studies! Any way group of children in Jeep ventured out and probably they could catch the glimpse of tigress. She was delighted. Tanya still has fond memories of that trip…and me too, I was scared all through, till the time all children were out of Jim Corbett.  I was relaxed, thinking that Thank GOD they could spot Tiger!!!

Recently, my niece Dr. Tanvi and her husband Dr. Siddhant Taneja along with Arushi & Sankalp were in Jim Corbett National Park at Club Mahindra Resort there. The expressions on their faces are quite chilled and relaxed unlike me who was shit scared throughout. Looks like they had great time there! Adventure loving Medicos Dr. Tanvi & Dr. Siddhant share same passion for outings and particularly adventure trails. As mentioned by Tanvi, they too had some scary moments when a wild Tusker blocked their way or scary sight of a wild bear. But over all they enjoyed being there and clicked some really nice pictures which I am sharing for my readers in the form of a Photo – Essay.  This time Jim Corbett looked wonderful, serene, scenic and certainly a place to be amidst Tigers!!! Relaxed, thinking that thank GOD, they could enjoy so much!!!

Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, a Project Tiger Reserve lies in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The magical landscape of Corbett is well known and fabled for its tiger richness. Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett has the glory of being India’s oldest and most prestigious National Park. It is also being honoured as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973. This unique tiger territory is best known as the father who gave birth of the Project Tiger in India to protect the most endangered species and the Royal of India called Tigers.

Spans over an extent of 520 square kilometers, its whole area comprises of hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and large lake. It is among the few tiger reserves in India that allows overnight stays in the lap of the National Park. Nature watch and wildlife viewing in the park is done in an open four wheeler Jeep and on elephant back. Sheltering a healthy population of tigers and rare species like Otters and the endemic fish eating crocodile, the national park is one of the most sought after destinations for the wildlife buffs. Dhikala, situated at the border of the extensive Patil Dun valley, is the most popular destination in Corbett because of its superb location and sheer abundance of wildlife present.

How to Reach Corbett
Ramnagar is perhaps the best approach to the Corbett National Park which forms the headquarters of CTR. This small city is well connected by road and rail network with major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad, Nainital and Bareilly. Once you reach Ramnagar, then it takes only half an hour to reach Corbett National Park. The park is around 15 Kms from Ramnagar railway station.

By Road: Ramnagar has a very good network of road that connects the different cities. The Corbett National Park is situated at an approximate surface distance of 260 Kilometer from India’s national capital Delhi. The state government of Uttarakhand plies buses at a short interval of time from Delhi, Moradabad, Haldwani, and Nainital that reaches Corbett directly.

By Rail: The railway station in Ramnagar receives trains from different major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad and Bareilly. A direct train to Ramnagar runs from Delhi. You can check out for Ranikhet Express, Corbett Link Express and Kathgodam Express that takes you directly to Ramnagar.

Distance from Major Cities:

  • Delhi: Delhi – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar (260 Kms)
  • Nainital: Via Kaladhungi to Ramnagar (62 Kms)
  • Lucknow: Lucknow – Bareilly – Kicha – Rudrapur – Kashipur – Ramnagar (436 km)
  • Dehradun : Dehradun – Ramnagar (232 km)

Corbett Tiger Reserve provides Accommodation and Day Visit facility to visitors. Online booking for Accommodation and Day Visit can be booked in advance through their website: www.jimcorbettnationalpark.co.in

Information courtesy: jimcorbettnationalpark

Pictures Courtesy: Dr. Siddhant & Tanvi Taneja

Land of two suns!

The Miracle has happened today USA and CANADA saw two suns. This is called as Hunters Moon..

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Due to change of orbit the sun sets and moon rises at the same time with both being opposite to each other at a particular angle or degree moon reflects the sun so bright that it almost feels like another sun.
Effects stays for couple of days.

Received this as facebook post – thought of sharing with you!