Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur The Complete Guide

  •  01 Jan 2019      

Mehrangarh Fort or Mehran Fort stands a hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the skyline of Jodhpur. The historic monument is located at the center of the city, spreading over the 5km top on a hill. The illustrious fort was built in around 1460 by Rathore Rajput king Rao Jodha. The fort in its true charm is an epitome of opulence, luxury, and royalty. For over five centuries, the fort has been the home to the royal family.

The sun fort, as it is famously called in reference to the dynasty’s sun deity, attracts many tourists from across the globe every year. The fort was restored by Maharaja Gaj Singh II with the aim of telling its story and of the people who had lived there.

Background

The fort is known to have a gruesome beginning, with the live burial of the man named Raja Ram Meghwal. This was done to ensure the prosperity of the site which was cursed by a hermit who Jodha forced to leave. Meghwal was in return promised that his family will be looked after by the Rathore’s. Till present, his family lives in Raj Bagh of Soorsagar, an estate given to them by Jodha.

What to see in the fort?

On the northeast side lies the main entrance, called the Jai Pol. It is where the ticket counter is. The main attraction of the fort is its museum and many palaces and temples. The captivating museum has an array of royal memorabilia, weapons, arms, costumes, paintings, textiles, turbans, palanquins, howdahs and baby cradle on display. Phool Mahal, Moti Mahal, Takhat Villas, and Jhanki Mahal are other attractions of the fort which are a must see. The fort has two ancient temples in its vicinity- The Chamunda Mataji Temple and Nagnechiji Temple. The Chamunda temple attracts a lot of crowd during the Dusshera celebrations. Nagnechiji temple was the family temple of the Rathore dynasty.

The exuberance of the fort can be seen in the movies ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Veer’.

The Mehrangarh fort is different from other forts in terms of cultural and folk activities being conducted in some part of the fort on a daily basis. The fort also provides tourist-friendly facilities like elevators and audio guides.

Location

Mehrangarh Fort is located in the center of the Blue City, Jodhpur. Jodhpur is easily accessible by air, road or rail. By road, Jodhpur is four and a half hours from Udaipur, five hours from Jaisalmer, and about six hours from Jaipur.

Best time to visit:

It is best to visit the fort during the winters. From October to March, the weather is pleasant which allows the visitors to explore every nook and corner of the fort in its true grandeur and beauty.

Visit hours:

The fort is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the evening. The Indian nationals need to chuck out Rs. 100 whereas the international guests are charged Rs. 600 to visit the museum. The entry to the fort is free.

It is a must to see this fort for anyone on Rajasthan trip.

The Kerala Backwaters and How to Best Visit Them

  •  30 Dec 2018      

One of the most distinctive and attractive features of Kerala is its backwaters. The scenic backwaters of Kerala are a chain of brackish lagoons, canals, and lakes which run parallel to the coast of Arabian Sea. These backwaters attract a lot of tourists who wish to enjoy these scenic landscapes. Kerala backwater tour is a great way to get a taste of these peaceful lined palm trees along the water bodies and have the most rejuvenating experience.

Kerala backwaters are a network of 1500 km of manmade and natural canals, 38 rivers and 5 big lakes which extend from one end of the state to the other. Today, these backwaters are a major tourist attraction of Kerala but traditionally they were used as one of the main transportation alley, fishing, and agriculture.

The backwaters run inland from the coast of Kerala, from Kochi to Kollam. Alleppey is the main entry point situated between these two.

The annual snake boat race which is held along the backwaters is an important entertainment source for the tourists and the locals.

Reaching Alleppey from Kochi Airport

Alleppey is 2 hours’ drive from Kochi Airport and can be reached by prepaid taxi. Cheaper options include taking a bus to Alleppey from Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. Alternatively, Indian railway trains also halt at Alleppey. Aluva is the nearest railway station to Kochi Airport.

Experiencing Backwaters

Kerala style houseboats called as ‘kettuvalam’ are the most preferred option for the travelers who wish to experience the tranquility. Houseboats can be hired for a day trip or for an overnight stay. Freshly cooked Indian food is served on these houseboats.

Luxury hotels, resorts and home stays and other accommodation options are available along the along the banks of Vembanad Lake near Kumarakom in the Kottayam district, and near Alleppey.

Budget travelers can enjoy the backwaters on the various half or full day backwater tourist cruises which are on offer. Backwaters can also be accessed cheaply by using public boat services operated by the State Water Transport Department. The boat services pass through the many small canals and villages and take about two and a half hours with regular departures. However, it is important to note that there aren’t any toilets on these boats.

The most affordable option to experience backwaters is on the Alleppey District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) tour between Alleppey and  Kollam. It is an eight-hour boat journey and takes you through the main waterways instead of the villages. The boat departs daily at 10.30 a.m. from the DTPC boat jetty and Kollam. The ticket for these costs Rs. 300.

Backwater tours through villages

To experience the fascinating village life, many people these days opt for ‘country boat’ tours or canoe trips to villages along the narrower backwaters. One can choose from the following recommendations:

1. Kerala Kayaking: These kayaking tours depart from Alleppey and were the first to begin the service. One can also cycle around the villages.

2. Salmon Tours: These tours departs from Kochi and specializes in village backwater day tours in country boats, houseboats, and speedboats.

3. Sreekrishna's Shikara Cruise: These motorized Shikara boats depart from Alleppey and are much affordable than the houseboats. One can access narrower canals on these.

4. Monroe Island Canoe Tours: These tours offer guided trip to Monroe Islands where narrow canals are splendid. Monroe Island Backwaters Homestay provides inexpensive accommodations there.

Embark on the journey to Kerala and enjoy the beauteous backwaters.

The 5 Best Hotels to Book in Munnar in 2019

  •  25 Dec 2018      

Munnar is the most sought after tourist destination of South India. The idyllic hill station is located in the Western Ghats mountain range in Kerala. The town is famous for its large expanse of tea plantation, exotic lush greenery, flora and fauna, pristine valleys and craggy peaks.

The aroma of spice scented cool air of the region attracts many tourists every year. The beauty of Munnar cannot be described in one single canvas. Eravikulam National Park and the Nilgiri Tahr are the key tourist attractions of Munnar. The city also boasts of a rare flower which blooms in every twelve years. This attracts many tourists and nature enthusiasts.

The holiday becomes more even memorable if tourists have a comfortable stay. Munnar offers the best of hotels and resorts so that the tourists can unwind and savor the true essence of this majestic hill station.

Here is a rundown of 5 best hotels which should be on your radar if you are visiting the phenomenal town in 2019.

Fragrant Nature

This 43 room luxury hotel is close to Attukad Waterfall, St. Thomas Marthoma and Rose Garden. This smoke-free hotel has a restaurant and a 24-hour health club along with a full-service spa. Free buffet breakfast, free WiFi in public areas and free valet parking are also provided. Other amenities include a bar/lounge, a coffee shop and a business center. This luxury hotel also offers a library, tour or ticket assistance and a BBQ.

Blanket Hotel & Spa

This luxury hotel in Munnar is located at a very accessible location. It is 0.7 km from Attukad Waterfall and within 10 km radius of Mount Carmel Church and Carmal Church. This smoke-free hotel has an outdoor pool, a health club, restaurant, café, a snack bar, and an indoor tennis court on-site. This 5-star property offers access to a 24-hour business center.

Blackberry Hills Retreat & Spa

Situated in the mountains, this romantic spa hotel is 1 km from Dreamland Children Park and within 15 km of Attukad Waterfall and Mount Carmel Church. All 16 individually decorated rooms feature free WiFi and room service. Sauna, Spa tub, massage/treatment rooms and free use of bicycles are key attractions. All 16 individually decorated rooms feature free WiFi and room service.

Spice Tree, Munnar

The family-friendly resort features 2 indoor pools, an outdoor pool, a full-service spa, and a restaurant.  All 16 rooms have private spa tubs, and offer balconies and LED TVs. The state of the art business center solves all needs of a business trip as well. This family-friendly 4-star resort also offers a kid's pool and a hot tub.

The Leaf Munnar Resort

This family-friendly hotel features an outdoor pool, a conference center, and conference space. Free continental breakfast, free WiFi in public areas and complimentary valet parking are also provided. Additionally, a children's pool, a children's club, and concierge services are on-site. It is a smoke-free property and all 56 rooms have a fireplace.

Book the best of Kerala tour packages with Travel East to get class apart services at an affordable rate.

Festivals and Events Guide in India in February 2019

  •  23 Dec 2018      

The vibrancy of Indian culture can be seen in the various festivals and events which are celebrated here with great vigour and enthusiasm. Each month of the year is loaded and lined up with some or the other significant festival. Travel East drafts best of India tour packages for one to enjoy the eclectic mix of festivals and events which are celebrated across the country in the month of February.

1. Surajkund International Craftsmela

Date : 1st – 15th February, 2019

Location: Surajkund, Faridabad

It is one of the largest crafts exhibitions in the world and thus attracts millions of tourists. It is one stop place for handicrafts, handlooms and regional cuisine. It is the perfect place to enjoy regional and international crafts along with local traditions.

2. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Date : 2nd – 9th February, 2019

Location: Mumbai

It is the country’s largest multicultural festival wherein one can witness dance performances, music gigs, plays, art displays, food stalls etc. Entry to the festival is free of cost.

3. Sula Fest

Date : 2nd – 3rd February, 2019

Location: Sula Vineyards, Nashik

The tenth edition of the two day festival is a must visit for music and wine lovers. Artists like Nucleya, Indian Ocean, The Raghu Dixit Project, Infected Mushroom and Bloc Party will perform at the festival.

4. Matho Nagrang Festival

Date: 18th – 19th February, 2019

Location: Matho Monastery, Leh

This Buddhist festival is celebrated to invoke divine spirits to help solve the problems and predict the future in Leh Ladakh region. During this two -day festival, there are mask dance performances by monks of the monastery who wear colourful silk brocaded robes and mask depicting various forms of God and Goddesses.

5. Alwar Festival

Date : 13th – 15th February, 2019

Location: Alwar, Rajasthan

The three day festival brings artisans together to exhibit antiques and masterpieces. This popular festival includes fancy dress competition, sketching completion, flower show, fair, elephant polo, film shows among others. This festival is must visit to savour the flavour of the city.

6. India Art Festival

Date : 17th – 20th January, 2019

Location: Mumbai

It is like a modern art fair where artists, art galleries, art collectors and connoisseurs come under one roof together. The artwork includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installation with video and digital art. Panel discussions and workshops are part of the festival.

7. Losar Festival

Date : 5th – 7th February, 2019

Location: Tibet, Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and some parts of Himachal Pradesh

Also called as the Tibetian New Year, this festival marks the beginning of Buddhist new year. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and vigour by Tibetian population. The masked dance is a key attraction of the festival.

8. Taj Mahotsav

Date : 18th – 27th February, 2019

Location: Agra

This ten day long festival is held near the Eastern gate of Taj Mahal. Indian culture and tradition is seen in its splendid form at the festival which attracts tourists from across the country.

9. Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Date : 17th – 19th February, 2019

Location: Jaisalmer

Celebrated across the backdrop of the majestic Jaisalmer fort, this festival is celebrated in all its authentic setting with competitions like Best Moustache competition, turban tying and Mr. Desert pageant amusing the people throughout.

10. Pariyanampetta Pooram Kattakulam

Date : 13th – 19th February, 2019

Location: Kerala

This seven day celebration of Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple attracts many people. The extravagant celebration includes procession of elephants, folk dance, arts, rituals and others. Many dance forms can be seen during the celebration.

Tipping in India

  •  02 Jul 2018      

Tipping or Baksheesh is any part of the world can be a tricky affair and it is uncommon in India too. India, a big country with rich culture and traditions doesn’t have a traditional tipping culture but it is witnessing a little change of trends with the tourist influx particularly in the popular tourism circuits. In the present scenario, tipping is looked upon as courtesy in India especially for a certain kind of services and situations like restaurant, hotels, spas, tour guide, and taxi driver etc.

Even if you are under no commitment it’s always good to leave a small gratuity. Doing so, many times help you get better service in future. But you also need to make sure that you have tipped in subtle manner.

We at Travel East have planned many India tour packages for people travelling to India. We get many questions about India, its customs, diversity, street food etc. Many of the tourists ask about tipping in India at different destinations. If you too need assistance with planning your trip, we are happy to assist you with simple advice and our own experience.

Tipping at Restaurant

India is a land with diverse culture, destinations and food.  Being a tourist on your India trip, you are free to choose your desirable street food stalls, small restaurants or big restaurants to have high-end experiences. To have street food, you need not require tipping.  But on having food in restaurants, you are free to give small tips. Since restaurants often charge a service charge or service tax, no tip can be expected from you.

Tipping at Hotels

Hotels include a lot of staff who never encounter with the guest. And in general, such service arena is recommended for leaving a tip for their staff. If you truly prefer to give tip at hotels, you’re recommended to leave a tip directly to the hotel staff. But usually, reception tip box is considered a good place to leave a tip. This indicates a tip for everyone. Homestays and B&B often bill you for meals and extra services and this is the time you can tip them. But ensure the tip you are offering is for the staff engaged in cooking, cleaning etc.

Tipping to Guides and Car Hires

Taxi drivers rarely expect a tip. If you have negotiated a rate with a taxi driver during your airport pick up and drop, then you need not to tip. Most of the rickshaw person expects you to tell them to keep the change but it’s up to you if you want or not let them keep the change. If you have a rented car during your India tour, tipping completely depend on how happy you are with the service. You can tip between INR 200 – 400.

When it comes to tipping guides, it completely depends on how satisfied with the tour. If you have taken a personalized tour, the price you can pay to your tour guide range between INR 300 to INR 500. If it is a group tour, it’s the best idea to pay INR 50 – INR 100 per person.

The tip amount completely depends on what you feel about the service offered and satisfaction you received with it. So whenever you are in any sort of confusion about tipping in the specific situation, it’s a wise decision, to be frank and straightforward with the service providers.

Top 10 Things to Do in India

  •  16 Apr 2018      

Everywhere you go in India, there is something to do or to see that you most likely have never done or seen before. With a rich culture and storied history, the country captivates people from all across the world. North India tour packages will offer you exciting mix of diversity and an astonishing variety of unique cultural and geographical characteristics and more to fascinate both domestics and foreign tourists to flock to this country every year.

Wildlife

India is a home to a wide variety of wildlife including Bengal tigers, Asiatic lions, snow leopards, clouded leopards and Indian leopards and more – the chances of spotting them are truly high. Some of the renowned national parks for spotting tigers are Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore, Kanha, Pench, Satpura and Corbett national parks and sanctuaries. Making a trip to Sunderbans will enable you see a good population of tigers. Snow leopard and clouded leopards can be found near Himalayan regions. Make your trip to Gir National Park to see Asiatic lions.

Temples

Within the last few years, India has given more importance to pilgrimage tourism, temples play a crucial role in it. With the multitude of religions and deities, there is no surprise that India is a land of temples. Many of temples and caves of India have been the canvas for ideas, architecture, sculpture and arts. Erotic carvings of the Ajanta Allora and the Khajuraho temple in Madhya Pradesh are fine examples in this regard.

Adventure

People with a great love for adventure will find India a thrilling place to hop. For years, trekking, paragliding, skiing have been popular choices for adventure seekers. Manali, the regions of Garhwal and Kumaon, Gulmarg and Himalayas are perfect places that offer great opportunities. These places are surrounded with natural beauty and with extremely popular trekking trails allow you indulge in different adventure activities.

Earthly Paradise

Goa is widely renowned for the palm-fringed shore or beaches. Many of these are overlooked by 17th and 18th-century Citadels. The Andaman Nicobar Islands are a perfect alternative to India. With many of small islands, you can make many things out there. These places are ideal for birdwatching, beach lazing and many different water activities including snorkel, rafting, boating and more.

Rail Route

With strong rail system, India offer golden opportunities to the tourists to explore India using different rails and routes. Each rail journey is as varied as the country itself. Some of the popular trains include Toy Train, Palace on Wheels, the Deccan Odyssey, Maharajas’ Express, Golden Chariot, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and more. Travel East will help you choose the type of train and class according to your budget and experience thrilling journey the utmost.

Spiritual Places

India is a land with many strong spiritual places to get inner peace. Varanasi, the soul-piece providing destination in India allows you to dip your toes into the holy waters and leave all your sins into it. On your India tour, you can also be a part of Kumbh Mela which is renowned for spiritual cleansing. Rishikesh is another place packed with temples, colorful characters and ashrams.

Desert of Rajasthan

Camel safari into the Rajasthan desert may offer you a wonderful experience. Camel safari across the Thar Desert to Jaisalmer will allow you glimpse hidden treasure of Rajasthan. Avail north India tour package and plan your trip to Rajasthan and ensure indulging into the Pushkar camel fair, an annual event where traders from the region get together, showing colorful, camel-trading and more.

Monuments of India

Old monuments are prime attractions of India. Taj Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Lotus Temple, Mysore Palace, Sanchi Stupa, Qutub Minar, Victoria Memorial, Gateway of India and more widely appeals tourists of all interest. These iconic splendor is an example of golden past and each of these own a story of its own and relatively popular and significant from the others.

Houseboat in Kerala

Houseboat of Kerala is a dream destination of millions of tourists across the globe. Backwaters in Kerala form an inherent part of life in Kerala. They are specifically designed for the comfortable cruise and overnight stay. Also, these invite you to relish in a fabulous way to explore the mesmerizing beauties of backwaters. Also, take time to look around Kerala’s colorful city.

Hill Stations

The tranquil hill station of Assam, Darjeeling, Mussoorie, Shimla, Manali, Gulmarg, Gangtok, and Kodaikanal are perfect to make your trip and experience everything. These hill stations are popular vacation spots and also provide travelers scenic views and a chance to escape the summer heart of the plains.

By adding these top the places to your India trip, Travel East can help you to make your trip truly enjoyable and worth visiting too.

5 Most Romantic Hotels in India

  •  06 Apr 2018      

Looking for a romantic gateway? India is an exotic honeymoon destination with most romantic hotels to make your trip truly memorable one. Gone the days of heart-shaped bathtubs and beds, the scenario has changed today, romantic hotels are more about style, comfort and elegance. India tour packages not merely offer a gateway but as well offer fun and romance to the newlyweds. If you are looking for a passionate gateway the list of 5 romantic hotels in India will allow you relish and compose great memories on your honeymoon trip in India.

India with tranquil mountain hideaways, fairytale desert settings, relaxing beaches, and exhilarating jungles always leave a lasting impression. With Travel East, you’ll also find hotels just WOW as the place they’re located in.

Taj Falaknuma, Hyderabad

Want to experience Nizami grandeur? Make your stay at Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. The hotel exemplifies 19th –century splendor with the most spectacular city view. Making your stay in this hotel will enable you immerse in unforgettable profound royal experience.

Perched atop a hill with the city of Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace is a place for true old-world romantics. Making your stay here will also allow you travel in a horse carriage with your loved ones. This hotel is smartly modified with rare furniture, grand marble staircase, invaluable statues, beautifully restored rooms and plenty of antique objects. With the colonial structure, the hotel is ideal for cocktails and a romantic candlelight dinner. Make your stay at this hotel to feel you’re living in your own fairytale and at the same time offer bespoke staying & dinner experiences.

Park Hyatt Resort and Spa, Goa

Winner of several awards, the Park Hyatt Resort and Spa is one of the country’s best luxury hotels. Located in Goa, this hotel is spread over 45 acres of landscaped gardens with spark waterways and lagoons. The small chalets are specifically conceptualized in indo-Portuguese style and each room with pool, lagoon, garden or sea view. Guests have varied options to explore quality food & wine, a special culinary and beverage series which specifically bought to you by Park Hyatt chefs.

Opt for the Park Sea View Suite, with a separate living space and a private lap pool to best meet your preferences. Spend your weekend here and indulge in luxury with your partner.

Oberoi Udaivilas – Udaipur

If you are looking for a romantic place and hotel in India, Udaipur can be a right choice. The Oberoi Udaivilas offers unmatched luxury in the land of the royals – Rajasthan. The construction of this hotel is similarly like a palace and you can relish your stay in a complete imperial style.

Located on the banks of Lake Pichola, the Oberoi Udaivilas is irreplaceable amongst luxury hotels in Udaipur. This hotel offers stunning views across the hotel’s verdant gardens and radiant Lake Pichola. The interconnecting domes and corridors replicate the layout of Udaipur. These areas of the hotels are overflown with sunlight, touched by balmy breezes and offer brilliant views of the lake and gardens. The Oberoi Spa in Udaipur also offers wide ranges of fine international and Indian cuisines prepared by renowned chefs. The hotel also offers spa treatment to its guests to relax, refresh and rejuvenate during their time with the hotel. Make your stay with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in Udaipur for a memorable experience.

The Khyber Himalayan Resorts & Spa, Gulmarg

Many of the movies in the past got shooted in Gulmarg. The world-class resort stands still to welcome visitors and at the same time captures the beauty of its pristine setting. Heavenly built, this resort is smartly designed to indulge you in every way with fine cuisine, plush interiors and restorative dealings at this hotel.

Amidst the majestic Himalayan range of Kashmir, this Gulmarg spotted hotel is smartly designed for all those who are looking for romance in the open air. Glimpsing the pristine pine trees has become easier with the availability of snow –capped mountains. With many of cozy nooks, it allow you to share your trekking takes & skiing stores and make this hotel paradise in every seasons of the year.

Mountain Club Resort – Munnar (Kerala)

Tranquil Kerala is renowned for many things including Kerala backwaters, watercolor paintings, spa treatment and more. With many of luxurious places and hotels, Munnar is a beautiful place located in Kerala – God’s Own Country. The Mountain Club Resort offers 5-star facilities and amazingly situated close to Munnar. Basically, this place is renowned for its Ayurveda Centre which offers Ayurvedic treatment to the guests.

Amazingly built, Mountain Club resort offers excellent facilities including different cuisine restaurant, coffee shop, mesmerizing pool and a health club. Contact Travel East to make your stay in this resort and experience Kerala not merely as a tourist but as a participant plunged in the local culture.

Explore the chaos and colors of incredible India making your stay in popular romantic hotels in India.