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Ten, plus one, Things To Do In Pushkar

Pushkar is a quaint little town with a curious mix of sand dunes, hills and forests. There is a lot to be experienced in Pushkar and here is a list of things that you must do when you visit this gem of a town.

Pushkar Mela

One couldn’t conjure up a list without first mentioning the very best of the place. The city’s namesake is also the most famous af(fair) of the state. It is a complete experience in itself, the things one can witness here range from trading to dancing to games (that involve the foreigners as a separate team!) to what folklore is made of. See it to believe it!

Camel Safari

The best way to take in the beautiful sand dunes that line Pushkar, is by means of a camel ride. The rhythmical bumpy ride gives you enough time to soak in the setting sun, that sets the sand ablaze with its reddish hue.

Shop at the Markets in Pushkar

The city is famous for its vibrant clothes, silver jewellery and rose products. A stroll through any one of the markets will fill your shopping bags with colourful souvenirs of the rich Rajasthani culture.

An Evening at the Pushkar Lake

The Pushkar lake is rather a famous water body, flocked by tourists all round the year. The best way to experience the lake is to have a cup of coffee by the lake side, while you watch the sun set behind the temples.

Kalbelia Dance Performance

Enjoy a performance of this sensuous dance form, to unwind after a hot day.

Satisfy the Foodie in you

When in Pushkar, go on a food trail. There are hoards of dhabas, cafes, and roadside eateries for you to chose from.

Visit the Brahma Temple

Pushkar is home to one of the world's only Brahma temple, the origins of which date back thousands of years.

This 1.5km hike will take you about 2 hours to complete, at the end of which you witness the breathtaking panoramic view of Pushkar.

The Camel Fair

The camel fair is one of the main attractions of the city and tourists from all over the world, flock the fair for its unique competitions.

Witness the Moustache Competition

The Pushkar camel fair hosts an array of unique competitions, the moustache competition being one of them. You just might witness a 3 feet long moustache!!

Take a walk!

Pushkar is home to a rich cultural heritage. Take a walk in the alleys of the town to explore this ever vibrant city.


Preparing for Rajasthan

Rajasthan is home to numerous palaces, vibrant clothes and jewellery, magnificent stretches of desert and culture full of delicious food, melodious songs and captivating dance forms. A trip to Rajasthan is such that it will remain with you forever. Here are a few things to keep in mind while packing for a trip to Rajasthan.

* The days in Rajasthan are hot, be sure to pack scarves, hats, sunglasses, gloves, sunscreen etc. to keep yourself protected from the harsh sun.

*Pack light coloured cotton clothes, which will keep you cool. If you are planning on visiting the temples, do pack a scarf to cover your head.

*Also carry flip flops and mosquito repellent creams.

When in Rajasthan, do not forget to:

*Visit the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur.

The Hawa Mahal is one of the most magnificent structures in Rajasthan. The fifth floor of the Mahal, houses thousands of widows, in all shapes and sizes, allowing the wind to play a sensuous game with the visitors.

*Go on a Desert Safari in Jaisalmer

The vast stretch of sand, glistening in the sun, serves for one of the most picturesque sights in Rajasthan. A desert safari, which ends in a Kalbelia dance performance accompanied by a sumptuous meal, is a match made in heaven.

*Visit the Ajmer Sharif

One of the most famous Dargahs in India, the Dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer is a vision of colourful 'chadars', melodious 'qawwalis' and mouth watering mughlai food.

When in Rajasthan, do not forget to please your inner foodie with these famous dishes:

*Dal Baati Churma

One of the most famous dishes of Rajasthan, Dal Baati Churma is a vegetarian man's paradise. The hard bread, baati, when paired with spice infused daal, serve for a delectable combination.

*Laal Maas

If you are a meat eater, you must not miss Laal maas. The dish s prepared with lamb meat, infused with spicy and red peppers, thereby giving the dish, a delicious red colour. The dish is super spicy, so keep a glass of water handy!!

*Ghevar

A sweet dish, well liked by vegetarians and meat eaters alike, Ghevar is one gastronomic delight!

Down, not-so-under, South

God's own country, Kerala is one of the most famous holiday destinations in India. Kerala serves for an exciting trip for its diverse geography, rich culture, exotic locations, and off course, the sumptuous cuisine. If you still need convincing to take a trip to the beautiful state, here are some exciting facts about Keralam!

*The name Kerala comes from the Malayalam word, "Keram" which means coconut. Given the abundance of coconut in the state, the name seems apt!

*Kerala has had a long, peaceful association with elephants. Elephants are not only considered sacred by the Keralites, they are also adorned with jewels and rich cloth during the festivals and are offered prayers. Check out the state emblem!

*The natives of Kerala are not only the most literate, but live the longest as well! Yes, according to a census in 2011, Kerala has the highest life expectancy of all states in India.

* Kerala is one of the only states where you can enjoy a sunset, lounging at one of its picturesque beaches, take a short hike on of its lush green hills, enjoy a boat ride on its fertile backwaters and enjoy a refreshing shower under one of its cascading waterfalls. Now that's diversity at its best!

*Kalaripayattu, a 3000 year old martial art form, which originated in Kerala, is said to have inspired Shaolin, the Chinese form of martial art. A Kalaripayattu performance is a must watch for every visitor.

*Onam, one of the most famous festivals of India, involves a 24 course meal called Sadya, which is enjoyed by the members of the family during Onam. 24 Courses!

*The fishermen of Kochi, in Kerala, use Chinese nets to fish every day. The Chinese nest are said to have been introduced by a Chinese ruler, and are still used by local fishermen, to this very day!

Buddhism in India: A Step Closer

Buddhism, the perpetuator of peace, moderation and tolerance, is one of the predominant religions of India and has significantly, enriched the country, culturally and morally. Tourists from all parts of the world and all walks of life are gravitated towards Buddhism, in the quest for peace and purpose of life. India is coloured with Buddhist temples, monuments, and heritage sites. The enchanting culture of the Buddhist religion can be best experienced by visiting some of the following, parts of the country, that hold utmost significance for Buddhism.

The Ajanta Caves

A conglomeration of beautifully cut rock, depicting Buddhist tales from the Jataka series, the Ajanta caves are a sight to behold. Built between the 2nd century BCE and 650 CE, the Ajanta caves are one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and a must on every travellers list.

Bodhgaya

A quaint little town, where Gautam Buddha, the perpetrator of Buddhism in India, is said to have born, Bodhgaya holds utmost importance in Buddhism. Among the hoards of spots to see in the city, the Bodhi tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment, and the MahaBodhi Temple, are not to be missed.

The MahaBodhi temple houses a 150 foot tower, with a colossal image of Buddha, gilded into it.

Sanchi

The town of Sanchi is best known for the Sanchi Stupa. A Stupa is a dome shaped Buddhist temple and the Sanchi Stupa stands at the second position in the world, with regards to its size and architectural complexity. Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sanchi Stupa is also famous as it was built by the wife of Emperor Ashoka, an important patron of Buddhism in India.

The search for the essence of Buddhism ends with the search for self. Buddhism urges its followers to search within themselves, for their inner Buddha, who resides in each one of us.

The Fabulous Golden Triangle

A whirlwind of relics of the past, sumptuous food, amazing monuments and warm hearted people, that is what you experience on a trip across the Fabulous Golden Triangle. A short trip planned across the trio Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, serves for the perfect weekend getaway, while giving you a taste of three culturally different states and a peek into India's rich cultural heritage.

Start your journey across the Golden Triangle with Delhi, the capital of the country. For a walk down the Mughal Empire lane, visit the Qutab Minar, Red Fort and Jama Masjid, and while you are at it, do listen to the guide, doling out fascinating information about the monuments.

Next, for a delicious bite, head to Paranthe Wali gali in Old Delhi, and don't forget to grab a handful of trinkets for yourself, from Chandni Chowk market.

Pick your next destination to be Agra, which is 200km away from Delhi. It will take you only a couple of hours to reach there, but the sites there, will mesmerise you. Once in Agra, take in the breathtaking view of the splendid Taj Mahal and the Agra fort, grab a bite at one of the local food markets and head to Fatehpur Sikri.

Another drive away, the sight of Fatehpur Sikri awaits you. Famous for its gate called the Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri is a picturesque palace, made of red sandstone.

Next up is Jaipur, which is another 200km away from Agra. Once in Jaipur, do not forget to shop at one of the local markets. Fill your bags with colourful clothes, jewellery and decorative pieces. While in Jaipur, do visit the City Palace, which is a museum and house of the royal family members, and the Hawa Mahal, famous for its innumerable windows.

Rajasthani cuisine is one of the most enticing cuisines of India, thus, do not forget to grab a quick bite at one of the local eateries before leaving for Abhaneri.

Abhaneri, a small peaceful town, 95 kms away from Jaipur, houses the famous Chand Baori, which is one of the oldest stepwells in India and was built around 800 AD. Do not forget to experience a sunset at Chand Baori, end your trip with a delicious meal a Kalbelia dance performance.

THE SEVEN SISTERS

Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura constitute the seven sisters of North East India and are also known as the "undiscovered paradise". The seven sisters of the North East are a curious bunch of closely knit states, similar yet diverse in their culture. The North East India is an untapped territory and the tourists are welcomed by lush greens, baffling fauna and ever smiling people. To truly experience and soak in the North East, you require at least two weeks, however, here are a few interesting attractions that you can add to your list, if you are planning to pay a quick visit to the seven sisters.

Begin your trip across the North East India with Darjeeling, and the best way to reach Darjeeling is to take the Toy Train. When in Darjeeling, do visit the famous black tea plantations and do not forget to shop at the famous markets in Siliguri, the capital of Darjeeling.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is a haven for trekkers and campers. With its variety of Orchids and beastly feline, namely tiger, leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard, the state has a rich culture for the tourists to explore. Do not miss a visit to the Tawang Monastery!

Assam

If you harbour a love for kayaking, canoeing, river rafting and parasailing, Brahmaputra and its tributaries, flowing through Assam will fulfil all your wishes. A visit to Assam is incomplete without a visit to the Kaziranga National Park. Kaziranga boasts of housing two thirds of the world population of Rhinoceros, a jeep safari through the park might help you spot a few rhinos, and if you get lucky enough, you can spot a lion too!

The best way to experience Kaziranga National Park is by spending a night in the park, in one their bamboo huts.

Manipur

Known as the Switzerland of the East, Manipur houses the world's only floating sanctuary called Keibul Lamjao. When in Manipur, do not forget to witness their famous sport, boat racing or Hiyang Tanaba.

Meghalaya

House to the famous Garo and Khasi tribes, Meghalaya is known for its many museums. The Don Bosco museum is one to not be missed.

Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, is house to world's only 'Root Bridges'. These bridges are made the roots of Ficus Elastica tree and take up to 15 years to grow. They can hold the weight of up to 30 people!

Mizoram

Mizoram is popular among tourists for its dramatic landscape and a pleasant climate. House to famous hill stations like Hmuifang and Reiek Tlang, Mizoram offers the spectacular view of the two tiered waterfall, Vantawng Falls.

Nagaland

Nagaland is a state with a colourful culture. It provides perfect ground for trekking and camping and is an ideal place for shopping for souvenirs, handmade articles made of bamboo and wood and handmade ornaments. Weaving, spinning and dyeing are arts kept alive by the folks of Nagaland!

Tripura

Also known as the Queen of Eastern hills, Tripura is a haven for wildlife lovers as it is house to various wildlife sanctuaries such as Gomati Wildlife Sanctuary, Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary etc. Tripura is also ideal for wildlife photography!

Neermahal is one of the major attractions in Tripura. It is the only water palace in North East and the second largest after Jal Mahal in Rajasthan. The Neermahal is situated in the middle of lake Rudrasagar and is visited by migratory birds every winter.

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