Facts You Should Know About the Statue of Unity in India

The 182-meter-high gigantic ‘Statue of Unity‘ is a tribute to the country’s first Home Minister ‘Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.’ He was known as the ‘Ironman’ of India. His contribution to independent India is noteworthy.

Size

It is believed to be the world’s tallest monument now leaving behind China’s ‘Spring Temple Buddha Statue‘ and the renowned ‘Statue of Liberty‘. It is 29 meters taller than the Spring Temple Buddha Statue and almost 93 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Location

The statue is located at the Sadhu Bet Island on the Narmada river, between Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges in Surat. You could imagine the scenic view from the description of the location.

Now, to pay respect to the great legend, our honorable Prime Minister has chosen the date of the inauguration on the 143-birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.

It is indeed a massive project, and it is said that it took a whopping amount of around Rs 2,989 crores to complete the project. That’s a considerable amount.

This prestigious project was given to the Turner Construction and the Larsen and Turbo company. They have done an incredible job.

Things to see

Apart from the statue, there is a museum and an exhibition hall that has been constructed inside this enormous structure, representing the life and contribution of Sardar Patel. An overview of pre-independent and post-independent India.

It has also constructed an additional 52 guest rooms, auditoriums, and galleries for the tourists.

One of the fantastic things about the statue is, it has a viewing area where you can reach by elevator.

After all the overindulgence, there remains a question:

Is the amount invested in the project is worthy? Will, the project itself, can attract tourist? Can it boom the tourism sector?

The Gujrat government expects flourishing business in the tourism industry. The motive is to promote ‘sustainable economic growth and to promote the local culture.’ But investing almost 3000 crores towards a statue isn’t worth for economic development. As per research, it won’t drive that much tourist unless they are offering something more for the tourist.

Some people think ‘the government could have invested this much amount of money towards the agricultural and industrial sector.’

The economic growth of which the government is talking about or expecting can be attained if there is a better agricultural facility, ways that could give rise to more job opportunities.

The youth of our country needs motivation.

If the core purpose is to bring forth the tourism business then it is my firm opinion ‘our government could have financed the money in the maintenance of the numerous historical ruins of our country.’ Those are neglected and left behind for decades.

Still, I would say, it is a proud thing for all the citizen of India. The ‘statue of Unity’ symbolizes discipline, unity, and determination. I hope Indian citizens especially all state governments and the central government will hold to what it stands for.

Featured Image Credit: India Today.

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10 most Instagrammable spots in India that will make you fall in love with the country

Just a few years ago, I wasn’t even aware of a social media platform named ‘Instagram’. It was only Facebook I knew, and before that, it was ‘Orkut’ which has now got disappeared in the air.

Anything visual is always attractive and beautiful. Instagram is such a cool social media platform that introduces itself as a “platform to share a series of pictures with the world.” Over the years,  microblogging platform like ‘Instagram’ and ‘Twitter’ has become much more popular than Facebook.

Some people are earning in thousands of dollars from ‘Instagram’ only by sharing beautiful travel pictures and promoting. Even, I also follow Instagram more, post my travel pictures and share.

Let ‘s come straight to the point through this article; I will share 10 such popular Instagrammable spots in India that are truly beautiful and make you travel to those places. Have a look!

  • Taj Mahal

The 17th-century Mughal-style most alluring and beautiful monument is worth a visit for all. Who doesn’t want to capture the beauty of Taj Mahal and its aura?

It very much represents the Mughal graciousness and love for art. Now that Instagram is the most lovable social media platform, you will find pictures of Taj Mahal in the Insta feed frequently.

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  • Hampi

One of the most beautiful and ancient monuments situated in Karnataka and one can photograph the place in different directions resembling its grandeur. Hampi is UNESCO heritage site, and its ruins are its beauty.

It is one of the places that I have added in my travel list and you should too if you haven’t yet.

  • Hawa Mahal

Jaipur is itself a very popular place among the tourist. Its impressive architecture, colorful buildings, local craft, and Rajasthani culture, is what tourist are attracted towards.

While planning to Jaipur, your list of ‘to-do’ can be extended. As there are several places that you won’t get tired of exploring and the journey will take you to such magical places that you will fall in love with.

And among all the landmarks, ‘Hawa Mahal’ is one of the most instagrammable spots in India.

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  • Amber Fort

Amber Fort is yet another widely recognizable landmark in Jaipur where tourist love to visit and try to blend in with the local culture and tradition. The fort is, so there are numerous spots where you can capture amazing architectural details and share that on your instafeed to gain more followers and likes if you want.

  • Pangong Lake

One of the most picturesque lake and most prominent tourist attraction spot in our country is Pangong Tso situated in the edge of Himalayas. The allure and wide-open sky with mountains, rugged terrain, and blue water is a perfect blend for a fantastic picture on Instagram.

Every traveler in India or a travel enthusiast would dream to go on a bike trip from Manali-Ladakh. The experience is something worth remember throughout your life.

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  • Munnar

When I say Munnar, the visual image of scenic tea plantations come across my mind and believe me, it is the only reason Munnar is so beautiful. Indians love tea. Perhaps the love for tea and love for mountains has driven many tourists to go there.

It is one such tourist place in India that people love to Instagram the most.

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  • Golden Temple, Amritsar

Do I need to say more?

Have you ever heard anyone saying that he/she was in Amritsar and didn’t visit Golden Temple?

You simply can’t miss it.

Let me tell you; it isn’t a temple it is a Gurudwara (holiest place for Sikhs)

Irrespective of caste and creed, Golden temple is for all.

  • Pondicherry

A place with a series of historical events, exotic blend of French, Portuguese, British and Indian culture, French quarter, colonial architecture and influence in cuisines. All these elements represent Pondicherry. A popular holiday destination and a lot of spots within the city to photograph.

If you scroll or swipe up and down on Instagram, you will at least see a picture of Pondicherry at every refresh.

  • Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Sikkim

I believe, almost every destination that we visit is instagrammable but yet there are a few that gives us a purpose of traveling. The Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Sikkim is a spot that you will often find on Instagram. The Tibetan culture, their lifestyle, cuisine, the mountainous road everything together is itself unique and adventurous. Traveling in that altitude will give an opportunity to get yourself near nature.

If I talk about photography? It is definitely a place which will give you ample such themes to photograph like nature, portrait, landscape, and culture.

  • Jodhpur

The famous blue city of Rajasthan is no less known place for the tourist across the world. The city is all about representing culture, delicious food, friendly locals, amazing talent in handcraft materials, rich history and fantastic architecture.

Do you need more?

Then I must say go and visit this amazing vibrant place.

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If you want to add any other places, kindly let me know.

I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this article.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Thank you.

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10 Things Bengalis Love to do During the Days of Durga Puja in Kolkata

“Maa asche..matro r ko ak din baki..” which means the idol of Durga, the most awaited festival of Kolkata is coming in a few days from now.

Although a festival is for all. Regardless of caste and creed, a festival brings happiness and joyful moments in everyone’s life. But, when I talk about the ‘Durga Puja’ it is predominantly a festival celebrated by Bengalis. A celebration which is no less than a carnival, and depicts our Bengali culture.

I have grown up staying in Kolkata and enjoyed the Durga Puja session each year. For the past three years; I haven’t got the chance to visit my hometown during this festive time which I terribly miss. Even this year too, I had to give it a miss for some reasons.

You won’t believe until you see the city how beautiful and vibrant does it look during this time. The city, its people everyone waits for this festival to come. People believe that the arrival of Goddess Durga will shower happiness and merriment in our life and will take away all the pain and struggles.

“A holy moment to hope for the good.”

Now, I will tell you what we love to do during the days of Durga Puja in Kolkata. How we Bengalis celebrate and why it is a part of our life.

  • The most obvious Shopping

So, the last-minute shopping is done. Everyone is rushing to the shopping malls, grabbing the best-designed clothes at a fantastic festive deal. If it is not sufficient or didn’t get time to shop then online platforms like Myntra, Jabong, Flipkart and Amazon are the best with a huge collection.

I am heavily dependent on online shopping as it saves my time and I often get a superb sale which is a respite to my wallet.

  • The countdown begins with Mahalaya

With Mahalaya; the first day of the auspicious festival sets the mood. We love to start this particular day by listening to the special Mahalaya chants. These chants are spiritual, and almost all the Bengalis love hearing to them early in the morning of Mahalaya.

  • Puja special edition

Every magazine publishing house releases a Puja special edition which we Bengalis follow enthusiastically. These special edition magazines consist of things and events happening around Kolkata during these puja days, like the latest fashion to follow, and several other entertainment stuffs.

I remember, how I used to buy the Bengali “Anandamela” magazine from the local newspaper salesperson each year before the festival gets started. So, basically, we go through these magazines because they publish pretty amazing things during these festive times.

  • No mood for work or study

Durga Puja is a festival that we keep waiting for the year.

How could we concentrate on work or study? Because our concentration is always on what to do these 5 days, where to go, what to wear to look the best and it’s an unending list that the mind occupies.

Most of the corporate offices remain closed on these 3 auspicious days (Ashtami, Novomi, and Doshomi). Schools and Colleges remain closed during Durga Puja.

  • Waking up with the sounds of ‘Dhak.’

Well, there is no escape from the beat of ‘dhakis.’ Dhak is a musical instrument which in layman’s word we say ‘drum.’

The early morning ‘dhak bajna’ means the ‘rhythmic sound of the drum beating‘ which is so hypnotic and it makes your heart feel alive and cheerful.

Durga Puja without dhak er awaj (drum beating) is impossible.

I love the spellbinding rhythmic sound of the drum beating. I feel like to dance. It gives me a different happy feeling.

  • Saying no to food is a crime

If you are on a diet?

It is better to forget about that for these 5 days.

Imagine you are surrounded with a lot of varieties of some lip-smacking food, and you can’t taste it.

Of course, be it any festival one should always enjoy, and the food is one such way that keeps us happy.

You can never resist yourself with Kolkata’s famous kathi roll, puchka, chaat, kobiraji, bhog in the pandal etc etc.

  • We don’t forget to post pictures in Social Media

Hey tag me also if you are posting on Facebook and don’t forget to post all the picture.”

With social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, posting pictures nowadays seems to have become an important thing to do.

“I still don’t understand why there is such an urgency of posting pictures in social media. During my days, there wasn’t this much craze of social media. I didn’t even have an account with any of this. Unlike now, I didn’t have that privilege of buying a smartphone. My first handset was a Nokia simple phone with no camera.

I can feel the difference, and I had enjoyed way more in those growing years than now.”

Anyways, let us move from my story to what we do now during the Durga Puja days.

  • Reunion

Festival is a great time for gathering with family, old friends, and neighbors. Because it is a 5 days occasion people have time to meet and gather around. Those who live outside of Kolkata for work they also try to come.

Like me, I live in Pune which is in Maharashtra; a western state in India. I try to go home during this time and if I can I make plans with my old childhood buddies to meet and ‘adda‘ which means ‘a friendly get together‘. It always feels amazing to be around friends and family.

But modern life doesn’t allow that to happen every time whenever we want, so a special occasion like Durga Puja is an appropriate time to share some amazing moments with some amazing people of our life.

  • Ashtomi is always a special day for ‘Onjoli’

Onjoli’ is a short prayer to Goddess Durga where we chant some ‘montro‘ meaning rhythmic slogan or Vedic hymn with flowers in hand.

We take an early morning shower, wear clean clothes and go to the ‘mandap’ (temple) to perform the prayer.

  • Doshomi Visarjon – Sindoor khela and special misti (sweets)

Doshomi‘ is the last day of the festival where the idol of Goddess Durga is being immersed in the water which is called ‘Visorjon’.

It feels little sad watching the idol getting immersed and at the same time the feeling of departure to our old monotonous and busy life.

During this day, most of the local sweet shops make special sweets like ‘goja’, ‘mihidana’, ‘jalebi’, and several other varieties which are truly delicious.

‘Sindoor khela’ (vermilion) is something that every married woman plays after they take blessings from the Goddess Durga. It is a fun activity with cultural value.

In the end, I would say, we Bengalis have a unique way to celebrate the most happening festival in Kolkata. If you ever want to visit Kolkata I would suggest you come to this festival; you will be awestruck to see how everything in the city looks unimaginably gorgeous.

If you want to share your experience or anything related to Durga Puja, I would be happy to know.

Thank you.

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8 Reasons for Settling Down in Pune is a Good Decision for You

I have been living in Pune for the last 3 years, and I realized how much the city is developing. Last year, Pune was listed among the top “Smart Cities“.

Inside and out, in many ways, the smart city concept is getting well appreciated by the people. New thinking indeed to bring positive changes in the city and their well-being.

Pune has everything that anyone needs to live a better and sustainable life. My husband works in an IT firm in Pune and before that he had lived in cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Mumbai.

What about me?

Well, practically lived the 25 years of my life in Kolkata and then two years in the USA. My opinion of living in Pune is based on what I see and how I feel about the city.

Through this article “I would be stating the 8 reasons for settling down in Pune is a good decision”.

  1. Growing IT hub

The city has a great career opportunity to offer in several sectors specifically in manufacturing, automobiles and IT. It has gained prominence in the IT sector and has been able to establish an IT hub in Magarpatta and Hinjewadi.

Most of the companies have their corporate headquarters in Mumbai.   But Several companies find Pune a better option for investment and opening their offices as compared to Mumbai. With increasing in job opportunities, the real estate sector is also booming as I see. Over the past few years, I am witnessing many real estate developments taking place in the city.

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IT hub Hinjewadi is rapidly improving its infrastructure and connectivity to attract more and more investors. Not only this, the IT corporate offices are now spreading quickly in areas like Baner, Blewadi, and Kharadi.

    2. Improving Infrastructure

If we see the infrastructure of the city?

I would say, it is progressing. With the excellent connectivity between Mumbai and Pune through Mumbai-Pune Expressway, it has never stopped working on different infrastructure projects ever since. The PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) has been recently approved of their metro rail project and a new airport. The work for the Pune Metro has already started.

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Furthermore, the PMC is expecting to invest around Rs 30,000 crore for infrastructure development of the city. The city is yet to improve seriously on the public transportation, water supply, and traffic control.

   3. Smart City Project

The Smart City Mission has remained one of the prime priorities of the government of the state and Centre. The smart city project includes efficient public transportation, improved traffic management, power generation, go green environment, better road connectivity and communication, drinking water treatment and several other projects that are on the way.

A positive initiation to make the life of the citizen easy and sustainable.

   4. No language barrier

Every state has their language that is spoken by the locals. As a non-Marathi, I can say living in Pune is easy-going. 80% of people speak here Hindi which is the national language of India.

Even, the locals are so friendly that if you try to speak their language, they feel pleased and correct you when you are saying it indifferent. It feels good. I now understand a bit not thorough of course. So, no problem at all for the non-Marathi speaker.

   5. Clean and Green

I was surprised when I found “Pune bags the 10th position in India for cleanliness“. I won’t lie, I have seen places around the city where there are dumps of garbage. The state needs to check on the ground reality. But also, areas like Hinjewadi, Magarpatta, Kalyaninagar, Koregaon Park they reflect pretty much clean surroundings.

If I have to say about “green“?

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Pune is quite a green city. Trees on both side of the broad road. There are gardens for kids and recreational activities.

   6. Closeness to holiday destinations

There are no fewer options for the people who live in Pune to go to beautiful places to refresh mind and soul. Those who love to drive will never get bored of Pune. What do you want to see? or go?

Beaches, hill stations, hiking through forest and trekking to forts you can spend your weekend in traveling activities and fun.

Some of my favorite places are:

  • A drive to Malshej ghat during monsoon
  • A drive to Tamhini Ghat during monsoon
  • Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
  • Alibaug
  • Matheran
  • Ratnagiri

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   7. Safe to travel at night

We often go for late night movie shows and return home quite late at night. I never felt unsafe traveling in this city. Ola cabs and autos are available at night, young men and women are always seen returning from pubs at midnight. I haven’t heard of anything wrong happened with anyone at night. But it is still better to travel at your vehicle.

   8. Good traffic Controlling

Traffic is one of the things that we all face while staying in a city. Under the smart city project, they have plans for better traffic management that will ease the daily commutation. Constructions of several fly-overs in the city might improve the condition of traffic as per the PMC.

Still, I will say Pune traffic is much better than cities like Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi.

   9. Good Education Institutes

Pune is indeed a good city for education. With top management institution like Symbiosis student across the country come here to study and job. How can I forget about the Pune University and Fergusson College?

One of the top prestigious university and college in India.

All the above 9 reasons determine the fact according to me that Pune could give you a better lifestyle and is certainly a better city to settle down.

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Photo Credit: Copyright free images

Slideshow Image: by Paulomi Dutta

Why Coming to Mumbai During Ganesh Chaturthi will Give You Goosebumps

We all get so excited and happy when festivals come. Ganesh Chaturthi is yet another such amazing Indian festival which people celebrate in a very grand way particularly in Mumbai.

As I mentioned, we all keep waiting for festivals to come which brings positivity, love, joy, celebrations, and togetherness.

This year in 2018 I got a chance to see the Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Mumbai. If you ask me how does it feel I would say in one word ‘heaven.’

Let us know something about the festival

This popular Hindu festival is celebrated for 10 long days, begins with the welcoming of a statue of God Ganesh with traditional drumbeats and chanting.

Who is Lord Ganesh?

Lord Ganapati or Ganesha, is said to be the God of Wisdom. Ganesha is a Hindu God with a body of Human and head of Elephant. Devotees enjoy the celebration with ceremonial rituals, offering foods and flowers, decorate temples and houses. It is a festival of human relationship and love.

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Lord Ganapati is fond of a sweet named ‘Modak,’ so devotees offer Him a platter full of modak along with other desserts.

Celebration

The 10 days of the celebration includes traditional singing, dancing, and prayings. There are groups of young men and ladies who perform the traditional drum beating festival which is very powerful and make you feel alive at every beat. With the drum beating goes the chanting ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya.’

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Last day

On the 11th day, it is now the time for the Ganapati to go home. The devotees carry the idol to be immersed in the water. Due to the fast-urban life, most of the devotees celebrate the four days of the festival.

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Why Mumbai?

The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is the biggest and most lively festival in the city of Mumbai. This festival rules in the heart of the Mumbaikars (people of Mumbai). It is said that the festival was originated more than 125 years ago in Mumbai.

The best thing about this festival which I respect is ‘equality‘ and ‘togetherness of all class of people.’

You will be amazed to see the magnificence of the celebration. The entire city remains in the mood of joyful celebration during these 10 days.

The artist of Mumbai takes pride in making the idols of Ganapati. They create huge idols made of clay to be worshipped by the people of Mumbai. With each year, there come changes. People now mostly prefer their idols’ eco-friendly’.

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If you are planning to visit Mumbai just for a trip, then I would suggest do come during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festive time. You will see a different Mumbai altogether.

Almost all the celebrities who live in Mumbai, they celebrate the festival at their residence with great pomp and vigor. Social media is the best source where we can see the photographs and enjoy.

Traditional Drumbeating

Lalbaugcha Raja

If you want to look at the most massive statue of Lord Ganesh, it is in Lalbaug in Central Mumbai. Millions of devotees from across the city come to get a glimpse of the idol. The decoration of the god, its temple with varieties of flowers and illumination, varieties of sweets and fruits as offerings makes it unique.

All the devotees regardless of caste or creed take every responsibility happily and offer their praying and respect to the Lord together.

Although, Lalbaugcha Raja is everyone talks about there are few others that are famous too like Mumbai Cha Raja, Chinchpokli Chintamani Utsav Mandal, Andheri Cha Raja.

I love festivals; it invokes the human relationships. So, plan a visit to Mumbai during the Ganesh festival and turn your trip into something unusual.

Thank you guys and if you like the blog post please do share or like or follow.

Photo Credit: all Copyright free download images.

Video: Paulomi Dutta (i.e by me).

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15 Less Traveled Hill Stations in India That Are Offbeat and Make You Fall in Love With the ‘Incredible India’

It’s been months you haven’t planned for a trip. You want to take a break for a long time, and at last, you got that chance to get rid of your busy daily schedule and set on a journey to a hill station.

When we say ‘hill station’ there are a few that comes to our mind the very first say for Shimla, Darjeeling, Ooty, Nainital, Srinagar, Manali, and Gangtok. But why to choose these places over and over again? Why not you think of going to a less traveled hill station in India? Hill stations that are less crowded, more peaceful, serene and unexploited by the tourist.

You can plan with your friends or family, but your trip must achieve the purpose of traveling. Almost all the famous hill stations remain jam-packed with the visitor during the season. If you want to experience a different holiday spent in tranquility, there are a lot of other beautiful hill stations that you might want to visit. These are unique places so you might have to travel through difficult hilly roads, but it will be worth memorable.

So, below I will provide a list of the less traveled hill stations of the ‘Incredible India.’ Let’s have a look.

  1. Khajjiar

You don’t have to spend a lump sum to visit Switzerland when you can have a glimpse of ‘mini-Switzerland’ in India itself. Khajjiar is a small wonderful and picturesque hill station. A combination of three ecosystems: Lake, mountains, and forest. How beautiful it can be, imagine. You can spend hours sitting and staring at the views that nature has bestowed. There are countless spots with natural beauty; you won’t get bored even for a second. Spending your vacation in Khajjiar could be the best holiday for you.

Many tourists prefer Shimla over Khajjiar I don’t know why. The ambiance is indeed magical.Khajjiar_during_august.jpg

  1. Kausani, Uttarakhand

An idyllic small town situated in the hills with magnificent sunsets is a fantastic lesser-known hill station in Uttarakhand. Although Uttarakhand has many other popular hill stations too Kausani is an offbeat perfect place to retreat. You can enjoy the peace and dense pine forest. Not only this, if you love culture and art then you can take a tour of the local handloom factory run by the locals.

You can stop by in Kausani instead of places like Dalhousie or Almora.

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    3. Naukuchiatal

You must have been to Nainital in Uttarakhand. If not, then think of stopping at a small hill station named ‘Naukuchiatal.’  Embraced by the majestic mountains, lake, and greenery all around is among the places which are unspoiled by the tourist. The picturesque lake is worth a visit and captured. It is near to Delhi, so it is a privilege for the people those who live in Delhi. Naukuchiatal can be a good long weekend road trip.

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  1. Coonoor

This small captivating hill town in Tamil Nadu has become quite popular for its green slopes of tea plantations and misty hills. There are several viewpoints around with reasonable accommodation.

If you stay in Tamil Nadu, I assume you must have visited Coonoor but people from the north, west, and east they should consider coming to this enchanting little hill station for their holidays too. Even, there are other popular places also around Coonoor like Ooty, Coimbatore.

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  1. Yercaud

Now, if you love small hill stations, then you will love to go to Yercaud in Tamil Nadu. A beautiful place where you can see the coffee plantations, and other species like cardamom and black paper. The weather remains pleasant from October to June.

I would say a perfect place for a long weekend retreat.

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  1. Ziro valley, Arunachal Pradesh

I am quite sure when you plan for your vacation and want to spend on a hill station, Ziro valley comes nowhere in your mind. I feel disappointed when I see how people keep ignoring the Northeastern region of India. The Ziro hills are beautifully covered with bamboos and pine trees. You can see the Ziro tribe and their tradition, how they live, eat or wear. Everything is different.

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  1. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

You must be aware of Tawang and what is it famous for. But despite its extreme natural beauty, Tawang is relatively less famous. Tawang represents the Buddhist culture and tradition. The main attraction of that place is the Tawang monastery. A trip to Tawang isn’t for the faint heart people because of its thrilling high altitude.

If you want to have, an exciting and adventurous road trip go for Tawang.

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  1. Chopta, Uttarakhand

There are one of the endless options of hill stations in India for you to choose from. One such is Chopta – a paradise with patronizing mountains and green trees that will give you awestruck scenic beauty. Who doesn’t enjoy that? If you are hoping for some exciting adventure, then Chopta will offer you that too. A perfect trekking and camping destination.

Mother nature is waiting for you to embrace its serene beauty with joy.

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  1. Chaukori, Uttarakhand

Chaukori is another hill station situated at the foothills of the great Himalayas surrounded with lush green gardens and trees. It is a small village where you will get to see a fantastic sunrise and sunset with several religious places. Away from the modern-day life, a trip to Chaukori will give an opportunity to experience the rustic yet peaceful village life.

Himalayan_range_Chaokori.jpg      10.  Ponmudi, Kerala

Have you heard about the place? As per my knowledge, Ponmudi is a newbie among all the other popular hill stations. It is a picturesque 3-4 hours of drive from the city. A wide array of mountain flora and fauna can be seen.

Most of the people don’t know about Ponmudi but now as you have come to know you should consider Ponmudi for a short weekend trip.

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  1. Kurseong, West Bengal

North Bengal has plenty in its bag to offer to the tourist. We all know about Darjeeling, Sikkim, Siliguri, Sandakphu. Among all, Kurseong is such a quiet and beautiful township on the Siliguri-Darjeeling highway. Kurseong enjoys the mild, pleasant weather throughout the year. The tea plantations, clouds, forest on both side of the roads with the charming view and the experience will be amazing once you set your foot in Kurseong.

Forget about Darjeeling; this isn’t the only hill station in North Bengal. Choose a different place that will be more interesting to experience.

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  1. Munsiyari, Uttarakhand

You must have read about this amazing place in a travel magazine, and you may have thought ‘such a beautiful place is worth a visit. But you forgot about Munsiyari, and you end up planning to Shimla. This happens to many of us.

A small hill station amidst the Himalayas located at an altitude of 7250 ft above the sea level. The snow-clad mountains, no pollution or traffic, will take you far away from the vicinity of city life. The road to Munsiyari could be pretty rough. It takes almost 10 hours of drive from Almora. But going along the way, you will see hundreds of waterfalls and breathtaking scenic views. Worth a try I would say.

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  1. Mount Abu, Rajasthan

A hill station in Rajasthan ‘land of the desert’? You have all read in the school books or have seen pretty amazing photographs of Mount Abu. But even if you plan for Rajasthan tour, it includes visiting the major cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur but not Mount Abu.

A distant relative of us lives in Mount Abu. They send us pictures of Mount Abu, and it is an incredible place that we are planning to visit soon on our next trip hopefully.

Nakki_Lake_from_Mount_Abu_Wildlife_Sanctuary.JPG     14. Kanatal, Uttarakhand

Mussoorie isn’t something new to you all. It is one of the most popular hill stations in India where tourist prefer the most to go for holidays and honeymoon. Kanatal is a quintessential small town in Mussoorie which hasn’t yet attracted the tourist that much. Kanatal will give you every reason to go and enjoy the quiet spirit of nature.

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  1. Lepchajagat, West Bengal

Darjeeling has become saturated with tourist. Every year thousands and thousands of tourists keep swarming in here for its beauty, colder climate, and scenic view. But there are parts of North Bengal that hasn’t been yet explored much. ‘Lepchajagat’ is one such beautiful small hill station. I find the name ‘Lepchajagat’ very cool and funny. It is very near to Darjeeling, just a drive through the forest on both sides. There isn’t much activity to do, but you will find calm and peace here unlike in Darjeeling.

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I have listed 15 offbeat hill stations in India that I find extremely beautiful. Ignore the crowded and popular hill stations and go where your heart takes you. Start exploring the unmapped spots, see how beautiful these places are, experience the culture of the locals and see how ‘incredible‘ is our country.

See More: 14 Best Ways to keep yourself fit and healthy while traveling

21 best places to travel in West Bengal for a perfect family vacation

 

 

 

 

Why should you take a Road drive to Goa from Pune during Monsoon?

When we planned to go to ‘Goa’ on a road trip during the monsoon, a few of our friends suggested that it will be a disaster. I wasn’t sure whether to continue with our plan or not. What if it rained so much that it ruined our entire four days trip? After giving a deep thought, I told my husband to drop the plan. But my husband without my knowledge had already booked a resort near the Candolim beach in North Goa. And the charges weren’t refundable of course. So, we had to move ahead and planned accordingly.

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We love road trips. Ever since we came back from the USA, we got addicted to road drives. The experience is entirely different from that of going on a trip via flights.

If you live in Pune, I would suggest you go by road when planning your long weekend trip to Goa. It is incredibly a fantastic drive. There are a lot of overnight bus services available from Pune city to Goa costing 2500-3500 rupees approximately per person which is fair enough.

But if you enjoy driving, you can also hire a rental car even if you don’t own a car. There are plenty of options available now where you can rent a car like Zoomcar, Myles, MyChoice, DriveZy etc.

I am excited to tell you all why should you too take a road trip to Goa during monsoon.

  • Offbeat season traveling

Monsoon isn’t an ideal time to visit Goa but we still chose to go because we knew the driving through the ghat (pass) areas will be breathtaking.

During monsoon, the ghat roads look attractive with lush green and wildflowers. The wet roads and numerous waterfalls make your drive worth a visit and drive. But you will get heavy rain at the altitude which makes your driving more challenging.

I must admit that it was raining in Goa for those four days, but because we had our car, it wasn’t an issue for us. We opted not to spend much time in the beaches instead we explored and drove through the less traveled village roads and other exciting places that even a guide won’t tell.Snapseed

 

Note: You have to be extra cautious while driving. You mustn’t get distracted by the allure of nature.

  • Good road conditions

With the distance of almost 500kms, from Pune to Goa that we covered in one day took us around 10-11 hours of the drive with halts for lunch and refreshments. There were some detours till Satara due to road constructions. As we left at 4:30 am in the morning we didn’t get much traffic throughout. We were very pleased with our journey to Goa.

We enjoyed driving the most on our way to Goa especially from Kolhapur to Belgaum NH4 (Maharashtra – Karnataka border), and the entire Chorla ghat was breathtaking. There was no traffic at all. We drove smooth like butter.

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But while returning, we chose to come by NH66 via Amboli ghat and then NH4. The drive was splendid, but we faced terrible road conditions before touching the ghat roads which was irritating for us.

  • Chorla and Amboli ghat during monsoon is astonishing

Yes, one great positive factor driving during the monsoon is you can enjoy the view and pleasant cooler climate of the ghat areas. There are several ghat areas around Pune which are great for a drive. But Pune to Goa road drive is strikingly beautiful. You can drive through both the Chorla and the Amboli ghats. People generally plan for a road drive to Goa to enjoy the beauty of nature which gets enhance during the monsoon.

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Goa isn’t very far from Pune. So, plan for a long weekend trip and hop into your car. I encourage my friends to go for a road drive if possible with your family. I think it is economical and more adventurous but requires a bit of researching about the routes and everything. It is best to either follow the navigation or download the route map to make it a hassle-free trip.

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If you want to know about the details of the routes and planning that we did on the trip. I welcome you to ask me anything you want to know. I will be happy to help you.

You can also check for the article:

12 Best Eco-Friendly Travel Tips to Make your Trip More Responsible

Thank you all for reading.