The best of India

Some of the most interesting and best travel attractions in India


A Quiet Little Charming Coastal Town...

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ushakiran on June 19, 2009

MANGALORE

To the south of India , by the shores of Arabian Sea is located the port town of Mangalore, a rambling,lush green, friendly town.This place is promises a serene getaway, a little off the beaten track and ideal for those who want a relaxed laidback sort of vacation. An ideal place to unwind without the usual hustle and bustle of the more frequented tourist spots in India... Mangalore has an ideal location on a narrow coastal strip between the towering Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian sea on the other.There is greenery everywhere and one can see coconut palms all over the place...

Geographical destination

Mangalore or Mangaluru as it is called now is the district capital of South Kanara district, in the Karnataka State in India.It is located on the western part of India.It is a coastal town and a major port city of India.It is at a distance of 350 kilometers from Bangalore or Bengaluru as it is known now, which is the State Capital of Karnataka.
Mangalore is connected through Air,Rail and Road from most major cities of India.There is an International airport as well which has a few flights operating to the Middle Eastern countries like Dubai and Kuwait, and to far eastern countries like Singapore.It is now being developed into the second largest airport in the State , which will finally be connected to many more International cities..

Many people compare Mangalore to Goa as it has the same kind of landscape infringed with coconut palms and a number of beaches .The beaches here are far less crowded than the Goan ones and much cleaner..
The city is very scenic , it is made up of a group of hills and hillocks, so there are winding roads as you climb up and down from hill to the other.And one has a lovely view of the sea and the distant hills from many parts of the city...
The places within the city are named accordingly, you have Kadri Hills, Mercara Hills ,Lighthouse Hill, Sanyasi Gudde which means 'Hill frequented by the saints' , Hat house hill,Mary Hill...it is a very interesting little place.

The landscape is dotted with tiled-roof buildings, topped with the famous Mangalore tiles, which is made with the locally available hard red clay.

There are a lot of very old beautiful churches, as there is a considerable number of Mangalorean Christians , who speak Konkani. the other languages spoken here are Tulu and Kannada.

There are some old temples as well, mainly The Kadri Temple dating back to about 1068 A.D, nestling at the foot of the highest hill in Mangalore, The Kadri Hills..
There are many places of interest around Mangalore . Kudremukh, a small, very beautiful hill station in the Western Ghats which is about 60 kilometers from Mangalore.There are no glamorous casinos or resorts here, just a couple of simple guest house run by the Kudremukh Iron ore companies(KIOC).But the charm of this place is its abundant beauty and nature.It is absolutely beautiful with waterfalls , streams, a Dam and a little river that is not too deep and one can walk across easily...we have had such fun spending hours ..
There is Huge Botanical garden atop the Kudremukh Hills maintained by the KIOC.This place is definitely worth visiting, as it is off the beaten track and one can have their fill of nature and its bounties...

One can visit Udipi another coastal town at a distance of 55 kilometers further up to the north of Mangalore which has the famous Krishna Temple and a famous beach called 'Malpe' and' St mary's island beach' which can be reached by a boat.

A little away from Udipi is ' Manipal' which is a center of Education.It has world class universities providing an allround education...Medical, Dental, Management,Engineering to name a few..

Mangalore is very famous for its cuisine, both vegetarian and non vegetarian...
Most of the south Indian chain of authentic vegetarian restaurants are owned by Mangaloreans..It is a big business in Mangalore.
And the variety of Sea food and other Non vegetarian dishes are mind boggling, served at a very affordable price...A good meal consisting of Rice, Naan,Vegetable, Dhal, Chicken sukka ( dry), Fish fry, Prawn masala with a couple of drinks can be had for about 15-17 Dollars for 2 people as the servings are large here... or for even lesser at smaller places...

There are many good Hotels in Mangalore and around Mangalore.
One should be able to get a decent Air conditioned room at a good hotel for about Rs 1500/-( 30 Dollars ) or even less..

Mangalore is home to many famous personalities notably former Miss world and famous Actress Aishwariya Rai, Actress Shilpa Shetty who was caught up in a racial controversy last year in Britain while taking part in the television series Big Boss, and Vijay Mallya Industrialist, who owns the Kingfisher Beer and airlines...
Mangalore is now poised for super growth as there are many industries being set up here and the property prices are already skyrocketing here..

Not many people are happy about this because of the negative impact it has on their lives..I come from Mangalore and most of our family members and old relatives live here. Many of them are dependent on rice cultivation in large paddy fields. But now these fields and the houses which are generally built amidst the fields as it is convenient to work from there, are being taken over by the authorities to make way for large housing colonies and for other commercial purposes.The land owners are very poorly compensated, and , this has rightfully angered the locals .
Yet at the same time there is no way one can halt progress.

Mangalore, as a tourist destination is a must visit place for tourists traveling through the southern parts of India. It can be planned as a stopover, while going to Kerala .In fact Mangalore borders Kerala State and is well connected to Cochin and other major cities in Kerala...


The Garden and Pub City of India...

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ushakiran on June 5, 2009

BANGALORE is the capital city of the state of Karnataka , in India..It is the fourth largest city in India next only to Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay) , Kolkotta (Calcutta) and vying with Chennai (Madras) for the 4th place...

It is one of the fastest growing metros in the world, which means that it is getting more and more polluted and stretched to its limits.
Given a choice most Indians would prefer to settle down in Bangalore. Most of the Indians working abroad target Bangalore when they plan to return home and settle down....The property prices are soaring, already comparable to London property prices
The city is very large and spread out and connected through various Ring Roads .There are more being constructed and planned..

Bangalore has many advantages for anyone looking for a comfortable life on international standards..
There are excellent Restaurants,malls , well stacked super markets and a decent transport system, which is being upgraded all the time..
The new International airport can compete with any of the standard Airports in other major cities across the world...

AS A MAJOR TOURIST SPOT

For a tourist planning to tour Karnataka or the South Indian states,Bangalore is an ideal base, as it is well connected to most tourist spots and almost all the major cities in India and most major cities across the world....

Bangalore is one of the fastest growing cosmopolitan cities in Asia. It is called the "SILICON VALLEY OF INDIA" with thousands of IT Companies, and lots of outsourced jobs. It is an outsourcing hub where many of the critical projects from Fortune 500 companies are being done here.

It is known as the Pub City of India ..with more than 200 pubs scattered all over the city....but as of now , they all close at 11.30 pm.There is a major protest going on against this by most techies, students and other pub regulars...in fact it has infuriated almost all the citizens of Bangalore except, probably the authorities who claim that , the early closure brings down the crime rate..one fails to see the connection here....
Bangalore, maintains a moderate weather year-round , hence it is liked by most people even within India.

There are 2 major Parks the Lalbagh Botanical gardens, which was started as a private garden by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the Moghul rulers, is now being maintained by the state government. Today, the garden is a lush green paradise with an area of 240 acres in the heart of the city and a lake with boating facilities....boasts of nearly 673 genera and 1,854 species of plants ....The collection of the plants has made it a veritable treasure house .Biannual flower shows are organized by the state every year in January and August, where a lot of private growers take part in the various events.......

Another impressive park is the Cubbon Park, with a history of more than 100 years...It was established in the year 1870 by Sir John Meade, the then acting Commissioner of Bangalore..
The park has been designed in an area of 188 acres and houses the Parliament house called ' Vidhana Soudha ', and the High Court buildings...It has lush greenery and is being maintained by the Horticultural dept..

Tippu Sultan's summer palace located bang in the center of the city is a beautiful rose wood structure and a major tourist attraction..

There are several lakes in the city. The Ulsoor lake ,Nagwara
Lake (Lumbini gardens), Hebbal Lake , Sankey Tank.. All these lakes offer beautiful walks, gardens, and boating facilitie,s, restaurants...

Bangalore is an upcoming Spa destination. There are a number of these on the outskirts of the city..There is the Ayurgram, Soukhya, Golden Palms, Jindal's Naturotherapy - which offer fantastic healing therapy packages....

There is plenty to shop in Bangalore...Clothes, silks, cottons,Sarees , Artifacts, Handicrafts , Leather goods, Sandal wood products etc; etc;.Compared to other major international cities the prices are very reasonable and there are lots of bargains all through the year....Indians are perpetually celebrating some festival or the other , all round the year...and the shop keepers generally have reduction sales and bargains during such times.

Bangalore has some of the finest restaurants catering to all kinds of tastes.T here are the major American fast food chains like the Pizza hut, Mcdonald, KFC and others...and innumerable Indian food of all kind...The Tandoori joints,Mughlai food, Sea food,Vegetarian and many Chinese, Japanese, Mexican restaurants , most of them at very reasonable prices...

PLACES OF INTEREST AROUND BANGALORE

Mysore, the palace city with many attractions including 5 Beautiful palaces, One of the largest Zoos in the world, and the K.R.Saagar water reservoir with the famous Brindavan gardens , is at a distance of about 150kms .Now with the new highway in place, it takes less than 3 hours to drive down.

Nandi Hills ,at a distance of 60 kms is a lovely picnic spot offering great views from atop the hill...It has a vast expanse of lush grrenery and tropical forest and open spaces..there are a couple of restaurants , quite well maintained ..

Coorg, is another place of interest,situated at a distance of about 230 kms and known as "The Scotland of India" ,with its vast expanse of Coffee Estates and water falls it is a must visit place.....

There are Jungle resorts and elephant safaris at Bandipur Forest range and Nagarahole National Park, both bordering on Coorg...

There are enough hotels catering to all kind of budget and taste, the choice is unlimited...Most of the hotels have pick up service from the International Airport...

BANGALORE NOW...

Bangalore's growth over the past decade has taken everyone by surprise, including the Bangalore city authorities, hence there is a lot of confusion within the city..with major road works at the beginning stages and the metro construction amidst the city center.....It does put one into a lot of inconvenience.Hopefully the city should be better organised once all the work is done.

Cities don't grow old. They change, sometimes subtly, often drastically. When such transformation affects the character of a place, something is lost forever. For better or for worse.....One wonders if that has happened to Bangalore? No doubt it is outgrowing the planned growth limits. Yet the urban authorities promise to protect the natural valleys, water bodies, forests and national parks in its vicinity even when the comprehensive plan is put into action.....But one can see that a lot of trees are being cut for widening the roads and the bird life is being affected...

There are days when you look around and see how much the city has changed in the last 12-15 years ,the city has grown enormously; the pace of construction is nothing less than crazy; traffic is near-impossible to navigate during the rush hour (which is pretty much all day except for may be an hour here or there in between) there are homes, shops, and buildings the likes of which one never thought one would see in Bangalore. Yet There are a lot more people coming in here, and ,people from all over the world and all over the country... because of this there are many more slums; and everything is at least 10 times more expensive....

But for old timers living in Bangalore for generations, Bangalore evokes such a deeply-felt nostalgia.There is in Bangalore a core group of people who would do anything in their power to care for the old Bangalore and its ethos. Steps are being taken to maintain the older buildings and monuments and the citizens of Bangalore are pooling in towards this effort.There are many active , concerned organisations within the city helping in improving the general quality of life in Bangalore, by helping out the authorities as and when they can...

There are days when you look around and see how much the city has changed in the last 12-15 years - the city has grown enormously; the pace of construction is nothing less than crazy; traffic is near-impossible to navigate during the rush hour (which is pretty much all day, except, for may be an hour here or there in between). There are homes, shops, and buildings the likes of which one never thought, one would see in Bangalore. There are a lot more people coming in here, and ,people from all over the world and all over the country.Because of this constant migration there are many more slums; and everything is at least 10 times more expensive....


Bangalore is growing up to be a great city but it also has its problem like high traffic volumes, choked roads,and it is costlier than any other Indian city....there is a lack of sufficient growth in the Infrastructure ..a one sided growth as it happens now..
But with all its faults it is still a great place to visit with its perfect blend of history and modernization.It has the true essence of India and has still managed to maintain some of its old world charm...

Summary: Worth a visit ..

A Coffee Break from the Cares of Life...

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ushakiran on May 25, 2009

The enchanting Orange County -Coorg (Karnataka, India) is set amidst the cool coffee plantations and borders on to the Dubare forest range..I have never seen a place that is as relaxing and refreshing and rejuvenating as this. It was sheer bliss staying for a weekend at Orange County.

I was just not prepared to see something as stunning and overwhelming as the resort. It is spread over an area of 50 acres of cultivated land and 300 acres of coffee plantation and paddy fields , a lake and the River Cauvery flowing by the side. One word to describe it - Magical !.The only sound one gets to hear within the resort is the birds chirping and the sound of the rain...

We went on a 3 night 4 day package which included all meals starting from lunch on day one to breakfast on day four..
When we checked in we were asked to park our vehicle at the car park located at the entrance, after which we were taken with our luggage to our cottage on a buggy, the only vehicle that is allowed into the resort and the planation around it. So one gets to do a lot of walking through all those lovely winding roads and paths after those hearty meals served at the resort.

The package included a Spice walk through the entire plantation with a guide who introduced us to all the exotic plants grown around there.There are some lovely species growing around the resort like Wild Orchids and various varieties of attractive Tropical flowers and of course various spices like Cardamoms, Pepper, Cinnamon, Beetle Nut and of course Coffee...They have some rare trees like the Mulberry on which the Silk Worms are bred, and a lot of herbs and medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. All of us thoroughly enjoyed this very educative walk which took about 3 hours in the afternoon after lunch.

The package also included a Jungle walk through the Dubare forest range where we were taken for a trek of 8 kilometres into the wild jungle and we got to see some spotted deers, an Elephant family bathing in a stream and even a huge Cobra. The guide was very efficient and well trained to act in an emergency if one arises.The only drawback was the Leeches, they manage to somehow leave their mark on any part of the human body that is exposed... we had tried everything that was recommended, like applying Dettol on the exposed parts and carrying a recommended Herbal cream, but nothing seemed to deter them..

The food here is another thing worth a special mention. It was superb and in a great variety. Excellent and beautifully served in all the restaurants..The coffee shop overlooking the paddy fields with its comfortable seats and a collection of a variety of reading material was our favorite haunt especially when it rained!! it was sheer bliss having a hot cup of coffee and watch the rain from the verandah..



Facilities provided here :-

Other than the usual facilities like a Swimming pool, actually 2 pools here and a Multi cuisine restaurant by the Swimming pool, a Vegetarian restaurant called Plantain Leaf and a Non Vegetarian restaurant 'The Pepper corn' , there is an Ayurvedic village housed in a traditional Kodava house, complete with all kinds of treatments like 'Panchakarma' which means a five fold treatment for mental and Physical well being
'Abhyanga' - a body massage with medicated oil
Shirodara -A continuous stream of oil, herbal decoctions and medicated milk poured over the forehead...
and many other such treatments along with facials and Keshini, a hair treatment using ayurvedic herbs...

About the Accomodation :-

The accomodation come in Tudor style cottages and Private pool villas.. extremely comfortable and Airconditioned with a spic and span bathroom and everything that is needed including moisturiser , shampoos,Ayurvedic oil and creams and an umbrella to be used as it rains right through the year, which is part of its charm.. excellent room service and other facilities.I was totally impressed by this.

There is ' The peppercorn ', an exclusive Kebab and sizzler restaurant, which seem to be the favorite haunt of most guests..we were at this place for most of our meals except the breakfast which we used to have at Plantain leaf...

I would definitely want to go back to this place for a longer stay if possible sometime in the near future..
The package for 2 cost us Rs 35,000 inclusive of taxes which in my opinion is fantastic for the kind of holiday we had...

Orange County resorts
Karadigodu post,Siddapura
Coorg
karnataka
Tel: 91(o)8274 258 481/2/3/4/6
India

E-mail:coorg@orangecounty.in

( Coorg is a district in Karnataka state situated about 250 kms from Bangalore, the state capital.Kodavas are the native warrior people of Coorg.According to one theory ,they are the descendants of the soldiers of Alexander the Great, who invaded India in 327BC.)
Orange County Resort
Karadigodu Post
Bangalore, India
(827) 445-8481

A Unique Tourist Destination

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ushakiran on May 27, 2009

Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari (virgin girl, or unwedded girl) as it is known in Tamil is a popular tourist destination located at the southernmost tip of India , in the state of Tamilnadu.Here the 3 oceans merge into one another...the Indian Ocean, Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal.
It has the Sea and the Western Ghats in the background and the town is covered with paddy fields and coconut groves.
It is a holy place for Hindus.There is a temple on the sea shore for Goddess Kanyakumari, consort of Lord Shiva.

It is one of the most popular tourist spots in south India- a spectacular place and has the most unique sunrise and sunset.
There is a gigantic statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar, built on a Huge rock jutting out to the ocean which gets submerged at high tide .This is the tallest statue in the whole of Asia. Just by its side is the Vivekananda rock memorial, which can be reached through ferry boats.

The other major attractions here are the Udayagir fort, an ancient fort of the Chola dynasty, the view from the fort and the park atop a hill is breathtaking to say the least!
There are innumerable ancient temple built by the Chola kings like the 'Adikeshava' temple at Tiruvattar believed to be nearly 2200 years old and the 'Suchindram' Temple at the nearby Nagarkoil.. There is a spectacular waterfall The Thirparappu falls which also has an ancient temple at the bottom of the falls.
One of the largest Aqueducts in Asia The Mathur Hanging Trough is an Aqueduct built across a small river originating from Western Ghats.It has a walkway along the duct which is at a height of 115 ft , one can walk along the side of the Aqueduct and watch the water flow. It is a thrilling experience to walk along with the flowing water..

Kanyakumari is a very interesting tourist spot .The beach is filled with Rocks and it is a lot of fun to jump from one rock to the other.It is safe for children because of these rocks which break the force of sea waves.
The major drawback here is the food .It was cheap no doubt, but the quality was sub standard.There were not many eating joints serving decent food. It was surprising taking into account the number of tourists visiting the place.We were filling ourselves with tender coconut water, water melon, bananas and other fruits.

The Vegetarian meal came at Rs 25 (50 cents) at most places.
The breakfast was good , mainly Souh Indian Idlis and Dosas which was o;k. However I am told that since the time I visited in 2003 and after Tsunami, a lot of things have changed and a great many restaurants have come up serving good food..

Shopping is great in Kanyakumari.One can buy a lot of interesting items ranging from, Straw hats, Conches, Sea shells and Sea shell jewellery, Handicrafts , straw bags and the like, mainly hand made items.

Kanyakumari was one of the worst affected places by Tsunami, which has now been rebuilt and restored , so travelers who had visited the place earlier are bound to notice some changes ...

How To Reach there:

Trivandrum is the nearest Inter national Airport
There are train services from Chennai , Trivandrum., Bangalore, Cochin, Bombay, Delhi and Kolkatta..

City with an Old World Charm

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ushakiran on June 11, 2009

Mysore, the princely city of Karnataka(India) is situated at a distance of about 150 kilometers from Bangalore, the Capital of karnataka.

Mysore as a city is very well connected by Road , and Rail, and very soon will have an airport of its own.But the greatest advantage this city has is its close proximity to Bangalore which is connected to most parts of India and other major destinations across the globe.

The beauty of Mysore is its old world charm, the old rambling houses, the great palaces of the once popular ruling Royal family the Vadayars.
The weather is very pleasant all round the year ..

There are lots to see here beginning with the Palaces.There are a total of 4 palaces out of which only a part of the main palace located in the centre of the city is in the possession of the existing Prince .
The rest of the palaces have been taken over by the governement and converted into museums and an elegant Hotel atop the Chamundi hills.
The just over Dusserah celebrations are the main attraction of Mysore, the festivities go on for 9 days and culminate on Vijaya Dashami and the whole city comes alive on these days with cultural programmes and the final Jamboo sawari when the Godess Chamundi is carried on a Royal Elephant back round the city.

There is a zoo which is probably one of the best maintained with a very large number of animals and a animal nursery is one of the largest zoos in Asia.
There is the enchantinf Brindavan gadens built by the side of a large water resevoir, K.R.Sagar, which attracts a lot of tourists from India and elsewhere.Besides the well maintained vast flower garden , there is a musical fountain show at night here.

There are a number of old churches with some great architecture and many beautiful temples.

This city makes me feel nostalgic as it reminds me of old Bangalore which was traditional and yet was a very cosmopolitan city.
Mysore has some of the best vegetarian restaurants like Dasa Prakash, Ramanashree and some hotels like the Mariotte being housed in an old colonial house surrounded by lush greenery.This place has awesome food , Indian and continental..

One can go to Coorg from here which is just about 70 kilometers away and the other places of interest around Mysore include Bandipur the protected forest area which has guest houses run by the forest department and a safari included with the cost.

Close to Mysore is Sreeranga patna with its old fort still intact with the old city within the fort , the fort built by Tippu Sultan.There is Ranganthittu a bird sanctuary with a lake and river flowing around a little island that gets submeged during monsoons.This is a place worth visiting as it has one or the other species of migratory and nesting birds all the time.

There are a number of water falls around Mysore, the Shivana samudra falls, Hogenekal falls and Meke daatu which are all ideal picnic spots and easily accessible from Mysore.

I have visited mysore a dozen or more times and i love this city with its wide tree lined avenues and slow pace of life and the jasmine markets the famous sweet Mysore pak..i see it not changing much during my past visits , however, now since the past 5-6 years one can see a lot of changes with the IT boom happening there as well.T
Its proximity of Bangalore has benefited Mysore in this.Most IT companies are extending their operations to Mysore as it is a lot cheaper than Bangalore in every respect.
But having said that this very shift has hiked the property prices up and now Mysore is competing with Bangalore in every way...

Summary: A place that has lots of interesting things to see and do..
The Mysore Sight Seeing Trip
Mysore, South India
Karnataka, India

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