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New Delhi

New Delhi, the capital and the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient and the modern. Standing along the West End of Gangetic Plain, the capital city, Delhi, unwinds a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries, gardens and exotic shows. Comprising of two contrasting yet harmonious parts, the Old Delhi and New Delhi, the city is a travel hub of Northern India.

Narrating the city's Mughal past, Old Delhi, takes you through the labyrinthine streets passing through formidable mosques, monuments and forts. You will also discover lively and colorful bazaars that boast to cater all sorts of good and items at mind-blowing prices amidst a barely controlled chaotic ambience. The imperial city of New Delhi displays the finely curved architecture of British Raj.

It generates a mesmerizing charm reflecting well-composed and spacious streets under the shade of beautifully lined avenues of trees and tall and imposing government buildings.

Places of interest

AkShardham Temple

Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, also referred to as the Swaminarayan Akshardham or Delhi Akshardham. It displays 10,000 years of traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and moderated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.The monument features a large central monument crafted entirely of stone, exhibitions on incidents from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the history of India , an IMAX feature, a musical fountain, and large landscaped gardens

Appu Ghar

Appu Ghar was an amusement park located in the Pragati Maidan in Delhi. This was the first amusement park of India, and was inaugurated by Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi, who was the Prime Minister of India. Appu Ghar closed on 17th Feb 20.Appu Ghar was opened on November 19, 1984 and was named from the name ‘Appu’ which was the mascot of the 1982 Asian Games. It stretched over 15.5 acres of land which now will be used for new section of the Supreme Court & Delhi Metro station.

Birla Temple

The Laxminarayan Temple, (also called the Birla Mandir), in Delhi, India, is a temple built in honour of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Laxmi, and of her consort, Lord Vishnu – the Preserver in the Trimurti. It is a temple with many shrines, fountains, and a large garden. The temple attracts thousands of devotees on the day of Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.This temple is located to the West of Connaught Place and it is constructed by the 'Birla' industrial house in 1938.

Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk meaning Moonlit Avenue, is one of the oldest and busiest markets in central north Delhi, India .

Chhattarpur Mandir

Chattarpur Mandir is situated at a distance of 4 km from Qutub Minar, in the Mehrauli area of New Delhi. The impressive temple structure is an architectural treasure in itself. All the temples in this huge complex have been built out of white marble.The main temple is devoted to Goddess Durga and displays attributes of the temple architecture typical to South India

Connaught Place

Connaught Place is a vital business nucleus and the main shopping center of New Delhi. It is officially known as the Rajeev Chowk, but popularly referred to as C.P. by the local people in Delhi. C.P. is immediately identifiable on the map of Delhi owing to it's semblance to a wheel with spokes around it.

Dilli Haat

Connaught Place is a vital business nucleus and the main shopping center of New Delhi. It is officially known as the Rajeev Chowk, but popularly referred to as C.P. by the local people in Delhi. C.P. is immediately identifiable on the map of Delhi owing to it's semblance to a wheel with spokes around it.

Fun N Food Village

Fun 'N' Food Village at Delhi was set up in the year 1993. Fun 'N' Food Village is situated at Old Delhi-Gurgaon Highway which is just 3 kilometers away from the Delhi international airport. Fun 'N' Food Village is in records for the longest water slide in the country and 400 feet long water channel called 'Lazy River' at its water park called 'Village Club'. Some of the best fun rides at Fun 'N' Food Village Delhi are Mono Rail, Flying Carpet and aqua Pool. But the star attraction of Fun 'N' Food Village is the wave pool. This is the largest wave pool amongst all the water parks in Delhi.

Humayun'sTomb

Humayun's Tomb is one of the best preserved tomb in Delhi city. It was built in the middle of the 16th century by Haji Begum, who is the senior wife of Humayun. The main things one can notice about this historical tomb is the high arched entrances, which is spreading light inside it and the topped bulbous dome as well as surrounded by the formal types of gardens.

India Gate

India Gate is constructed as a memorial and was built in the memory of 90,00 soldiers who laid down their lives during world war I. Located at Rajpath, India Gate is 42 m high and is popular relaxation area during the summer evenings. India Gate also acts as a popular pinic spot during winter. Also known as the All India War Memorial, India Gate was designed and constructed by Lutyens.Following India 's independence, India Gate became the site of Indian Army's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, known as the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum

Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum was the residence of the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. It is where her own bodyguards assassinated her on 31st October 1984. It was later converted into a museum, after her assassination. Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum preserves her personal belongings very well, and in such a manner, that they are rendered alive by merely their presentation.The museum also contains the personal exhibits of her son Rajeev Gandhi including the burnt clothes and shoes that he wore when he was assassinated in a bomb blast in May 1991.

International Doll's Museum

The International Doll’s museum was built in 1957 in order to display some of the best and unusual dolls from all over the world. Today, the museum proudly puts on display 6500 dolls from over 85 countries. The museum is divided into two major segments; one having dolls from Greece , Yugoslavia , Mexico , Poland , Thailand , South Korea , the United Kingdom , USSR , etc. In the second section, dolls from Asian and Indian places have been put on exhibit.

ISKCON Temple

The ISKCON (Hare Krishna) Temple was completed in 1998 as a complex of temples. This temple has been built on a hilly terrain and is dedicated to the Lord Krishna. The members of the Hare-Rama Hare-Krishna cult commissioned the construction of this marvelous temple. This structure is stylishly built and is regarded as one of the major temple complexes in India.

Jama Masjid

The Masjid-i-Jahan Numa commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India . Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, and completed in the year 1656 AD, it is one of the largest and best-known mosques in India . It is also at the beginning of a very busy and popular street/center in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk.Masjid-i-Jahan Numa means 'the mosque commanding a view of the world', and the name Jama Masjid is a reference to the weekly congregation observed on Friday (the yaum al-jum`a) at the mosque.

Jantar Mantar

The observatories, or 'Jantar Mantars' as they are commonly known, incorporate multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement. These structures with their striking combinations of geometric forms at large scale, have captivated the attention of architects, artists, and art historians world wide.

Lahore Gate

The Lahore gate gets its name from the fact that it faces towards Lahore, now in Pakistan.The Lahore Gate is the western gate to the Red Fort and was commissioned to be constructed by Shah Jahan for his new city Shahjahanabad. One of the main entrances to the fort, the Lahore Gate is a structure having an innermost arc with side towers. The octagonal fort is surrounded by high buttressing walls that have been built out of red sandstone.

Lodhi Garden

The Lodhi Gardens is a recreational area in Delhi, situated between Khan Market and Safdarjung's Tomb on Lodhi Road. The garden in the beginning was a village that was surrounded by monuments from the Sayyid and Lodhi rule. In the middle of these beautiful gardens is the Bara Gumbad or the 'Big Dome' and Sheesh Gumbad or the ‘mirror dome’. The beautiful remains of the then ruling empires are truly attention-grabbing.

Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple is one of the most incredible architectures of the Bahai faith. It is situated at Kalkaji, a place close to New Delhi. The temple has been constructed to resemble a lotus flower. The huge lotus flower has been made out of marble, dolomite, cement, and sand. The temple does not impose restrictions on any visitor and has been thrown open to people of all religions.

Mumtaz Mahal

Mumtaz Mahal( Jewel Palace) is a palace located in the Red Fort, inside Rang Mahal or the Color Palace. It is built entirely out of red sandstone. It is also known as the Jewel Palace.The Mumtaz Mahal was originally built containing six apartments that served to be the Sultan’s harem. It has now been converted into a museum and houses many artifacts belonging to yesteryears like the court textiles, weapons, carpets etc.

National Museum

National Museum, New Delhi is the biggest Musem of India which holds variety of articles ranging from pre-historic era to the modern work of art. It has in its possession over 2,00,000 works of beautiful art, of Indian as well as foreign origin. The art and craft masterpieces on display cover more than 5,000 years of our cultural legacy.

National Railway Museum

The National Rail Museum is located at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi. It is a huge attraction because of its compilation of trains, locomotives and carriages.There are beautiful models dating back to the olden days on display. The trains and coaches mark the development typical to each era of progress.

National Zoological Park

Delhi National Zoological Park lies near the famous Old Fort. One of the best zoos in the entire Asian continent, its uniqueness is that it tries to provide an almost natural habitat to the animals and birds houses here. It proves to be an ideal picnic spots, especially in winters, and is spread over an area of 214 acres. National Zoological Gardens of New Delhi houses more than 2,000 species of animals and birds.

Nehru Park

Nehru Park, Delhi, is large park situated in the Chanakyapuri Diplomatic Enclave of New Delhi. Named after India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the park is spread over an area of 80 acres, close to the heart of the city, and was established in 1969.It is today one of city leading green areas, and a venue for 'Morning Ragas and Evening Ragas Concerts.Apart from this it is a regular venue for Art events, morning Yoga classes, and houses an ancient Shiv Temple, a public swimming pool and cafe.

New Delhi

New Delhi is the capital city of India . With a total area of 42.7 km, New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi and serves as the seat of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT).

Parliament House

The Parliament House or Sansad Bhavan is the seat of the two houses of the Indian Legislature- the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and is therefore by default the most important administrative building in the country and of course in New Delhi. This circular building well known for its colonnade was built as a part of the New Delhi project undertaken by the British Government for its new capital.

Pragati Maiden

The Pragati Maidan was founded in 1982 as the venue of the annual India International Trade Fair that is typically held in November. This seven acre land has permanent buildings for exhibition areas for all the states of the country. The Nehru Pavilion, Defense Pavilion, the Son of India Pavilion, the Indira Pavilion, and Village Complex are worth a visit. Many business units from all over the world partake in these fairs, thus resulting in industrial relationships and joint ventures.

Purana Qila

The Purana Quila or the Old Fort is located at Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi. This magnificent fort is situated to the south-east of India gate and to the north of Humayun's tomb.The fort has an ancient folklore attached to it. It portrays the account of bigotry of two great empires, the Afghans and the Mughals. The fort has four giant gateways, one of which leads to the River Yamuna.

Qutab Minar

Qutub Minar is the world's tallest brick minaret in Delhi, India.The Qutab Minar is notable for being one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture.This beautiful minaret is 234 feet high and is regarded as the tallest individual tower in the world. The Qutab Minar is one of the many masterpieces that depicted the sheer brilliance of the Mughal architects of those times. Qutub-ud-din Aibak placed the groundwork for Qutub Minar in 1199 AD and his descendant Shamsu'd-Din- Iitutmish completed the works on this magnificent structure by adding three more storeys.

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, was constructed in the early half of the 12th century by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak. The mosque is situated in Mehrauli.The mosque has been exquisitely built with a rectangular court in the centre, surrounded by covered passages. These passages were erected with engraved columns and other architectural works.

Raj Ghat

Rajghat is the last resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. The cremation of Mahatma Gandhi took place at the Delhi Raj Ghat only, on 31st January 1950. The memorial stone of Mahatma Gandhi placed there is a simple square platform made of black stone, with the words 'Hey Ram' inscribed near it.

Rashtrapathi Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan ('President House / Presidential Palace') is the official residence of the President of India, located in New Delhi, Delhi, India . Until 1950 it was known as 'Viceroy's House' and served as the residence of the Governor-General of India. It is at the heart of an area known as Lutyens' Delhi.

Red Fort

Shah Jahan is well known for his huge red coloured building miracle in Delhi called Red Fort, this was started to built from 1638 and it continued up to 1648, totally for ten years, and it is located at the east extreme end of the city, on the bank of Yamuna river. This is also known as 'Lal Kila' in India as it is totally constructed with red sandstone and almost of length 2 kilometers, 18 meters in height on riverside and of height 33 meters on the city side.

Safdarjang's tomb

The garden tomb was built in 1753-54 soon after Safdarjang died. It is a red and brown sandstone with double storeyed towers in the corners and is one of the last examples of Mughal architecture.

Sai Baba Temple

This temple is located on Lodhi road in Delhi.A number of prayers like the Kakad Aarti, Noon Aarti, the Doop Aarti and the Shej Aarti are arranged for the devotees who visit this temple.

Swatantra Sangrama Sangrahalaya

The Swatantra Sangrama Sanghralaya is also known as the Museum of the Independence Movement. This museum is located to the left of the Chatta Chowk. The museum is possibly well-presented and gives an insight into the history of independence of India . It has a collection of records dating as far as the revolution of 1857.

Teen Murthi Bhavan

The Teen Murti Bhavan is a beautiful monument that is special since it was the home of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the first Prime Minister of India. It was formerly known as the Flagstaff House, since in those days, it used to be the dwelling place of the British Commander-in-Chief.

Tibet House

The Tibet House is located in New Delhi and is a brilliant store of information offering a quick picture of the Tibetan history. The Museum of Tibet house, holds an assortment of Tibetan artifacts that have been brought to India by Dalai Lama, when he escaped from the Tibetan lands.The other artifacts on display are the splendid Buddha statuettes, the old currency notes, harmonious instruments, antique jewelry etc.

Zafar Mahal

Zafar Mahal, in Mehrauli village, in South Delhi, India is considered the last monumental structure built as a summer palace during the fading years of the Mughal era. The building has two components namely, the Mahal or the palace, which was built first by Akbar Shah II in the 18th century and the entrance gate that was reconstructed in the 19th Century by Bahadur Shah Zafar II, popularly known as 'Zafar' meaning ‘Victory’.

Bangalore

Legend goes that King Veeraballa of Vijayanagara once lost his way in forest. Hungry and tired, he came upon a lone hut in the thick forest where he met an old woman.When he asked for food, she gave him baked beans ('Benda Kalu' in Karnataka).The King found this humble meal taste better than the richest fare.To commemorate this incident, he called the place "Benda Kalu Ooru" (place of baked beans). Bangalore today is getting popular though for a different variety of Beans-JavaBeans.

Capital of the Southern state of Karnataka, Bangalore today is Asia's fastest growing cosmopolitan city. It is home to some of the most high tech industries in India. The I.T industry views Bangalore as the 'byte-basket' of India. Bangalore is also home to some of India's premier scientific establishments. Blessed with a salubrious climate, gardens & parks , natural lakes, architectural landmarks, shopping malls, the best restaurants and pubs in this part of the globe, business opportunities, Bangalore is the ideal gateway to India and beyond. Bangalore offers something for everyone-music and dance concerts (Western and Indian), dramas, exhibitions, carnivals, conferences and more.

Go disco-hopping or pub-crawling, shop till your feet give away,relax in the swankiest restaurants or with your favourite movie stars-in the movie hall or simply tee off to glory. Welcome to Bangalore.

Local sights:

The Bangalore Fort was built by Kempe Gowda and expanded by Tippu Sultan. Within its walls is the well preserved 16th century Ganapathi Temple.

The Bangalore Palace was built by a Wodeyar king in 1887 on the 400 acre space. Inspired by the Windsor castle, this palace was built in the Tudor style, complete with Gothic windows, foiled windows, battlements and turrets resembling the Daria Daulat Palace in Srirangapatanam, this summer palace has been constructed largely of wood and is famous for its carving and paintings.

In June 2005 Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar decided to open the palace to the public to meet its Rs 20 lakh annual upkeep costs. The special attraction is a gallery of nearly a thousand historical photos, including those of viceroys, maharajas and other famous personalities inside and exquisite carvings and paintings.

Entry Fee Structure: Indian Citizens (Adult: Rs 100, Children: Rs 50), Foreign Toursits: (Adult: Rs 200, Children: Rs 100), Video Recording: Rs 1,000, Photography: Rs 500. Visiting Hous: 10 AM to 6 PM (Sunday Holiday). Phone: +91-80-2336 0818, 2331 5789

Lal Bagh

Hyder Ali laid out this famous botanical garden and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing trees and plants from several countries. The garden today houses over 1000 species of flora which include rare and enchanting collection of tropical plants, trees and herbs. The Glass House, modelled alongLondon's Crystal Palace, is the center of attraction in this 2400 acre park. Bi-annual flower shows attracting participants from all over India is held in the Glass House. In July, 2003 it was decided that the Department of Horticulture and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) would jointly take up the development of Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens.

ISKCON

Situated on Chord Road, it is a must visit temple in Bangalore. It stands over a small hill and is a very clean and well maintained temple. Akshaya Patra program sponsored by the temple is very popular.

The Bull Temple

This temple, built by Kempe Gowda, houses the magnificent stone statue of the sacred bull, Nandi. It stands over 15 feet tall and is over 20 feet long . In Nov/Dec every year, when the groundnuts have been harvested, a groundnut fair is held near the temple. The first groundnuts are offered by the farmers to the sacred bull.

The Gangadhareshware Temple

Known for its four monolithic pillars and rare idol of Agni, the God of fire,this temple was built by Kempe Gowda. A unique phenomena is witnessed here on Jan 13/14th every year when the rays of the setting sun enter through the window, pass between the horns of the Nandi and shine on the Shivalingam.

The Dharmaraja Temple

Located at Nazarethpet in the suburbs of Bangalore, this temple is the starting point of the annual Karaga procession. The revered idols of this temple are the Shri Dharmaraja Swamy, hero of the Mahabharata and Lord Krishna.

Dargah Hazarath Tawakkal Mastan

This Muslim shrine,located in Cottonpet, a suburban locality, is associated with the Hindu Karaga festival too. The procession annually visits the Dargah of this Sufi saint, Tawakkal Mastan. His tomb attracts both Muslim and non-Muslim pilgrims.

Jumma Masjid

The Jumma Masjid is probably the oldest mosque in the city. It is an imposing structure with tall ornamented granite pillars adorning the elevated prayer hall. Scores of devote Muslim worshippers throng this masjid during the annual festivals of the Muslims. It is located in the busy market area of Bangalore, K.R.Market.

Ravindra Kalakshetra

The Kalakshetra, built to commemorate Rabindranath Tagore's centenary, promotes cultural activity in the city. It has a superb theatre and houses the Cultural Akademi Offices. Next to it is the Gothic styled Puttannachetty Town Hall whose huge auditorium can easily accommodate over 1500 persons.

St. Mary's Church

Established by a French missionary Abbe Dubois in 1811, St.Mary's church is the only church in Karnataka state to be elevated to the status of a minor Basilica. Every September, The Virgin Mary's festival is celebrated with a procession that attracts people of all faiths. The church is situated near the Shivaji Nagar Bus Terminal.

Indian Institute Of Science (IISc)

Also known as the Tata Institute, is one of the country's finest research institutions, specializing in advanced science and engineering studies.

Gandhi Bhavan

The Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, housed in the Gandhi Bhavan, houses a comprehensive picture gallery and other exhibits of Gandhiji which depict the life and times of Gandhiji. The Bhavan is open on weekdays(10:30 Am to 5:00 PM).

Innovative Film City

Finally Bangalore has something on the lines of Universal Studios (not at that scale though). Get to see yourself how they shoot a movie and enjoy some fun rides! The Film City is on Mysore Road.

Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium

Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium was founded by the Bangalore City Corporation in 1989. It is located on Sir.T Chowdaiah Road. Since 1992, it is managed by the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE). BASE is devoted to dissemination of science among the public and the student community. On the premises there are the Science Centre and a Science Park. The Planetarium has a 15.0 meters diameter dome with a seating capacity of 210.

Ulsoor lake

A picturesque lake with several tree-shaded islands in it, is an ideal picnic spot. You can go boating or go for a swim in the nearby swimming pool that is part of the recreational complex near the lake. You can also go to the nearby Gurdhwar, the largest Sikh shrine in Bangalore...More

Vidhana Soudha

This splendid neo-Dravidian granite building that dominates the northern boundary of the Cubbon park, is the home of the State Legislature and the Secretariat. It took four years of work by 5,000 labourers and 1,500 craftsmen to finish this magnificent structure in 1956. It is a fusion of four architectural styles - Dravidian, Rajasthani, Chola and Kannadiga. It is a magnificent structure granite with 12 massive pillars, archways and a wide flight of steps leading up to its entrance. The Indian national symbol four lions stands atop the biggest dome.

The massive sandalwood door of the Cabinet room is a spectacular feature of this imposing building. The Vidhana Soudha is bedecked in illuminated glory during special periods and is a sight worth viewing. The building is open for visitors only after 3 PM.

The Bangalore Race Course

The Bangalore Race Course is one of the finest in India, with racing events almost all year round (May to June and Nov to Mar). Some of the biggest field stakes in the country can be witnessed here.

Around Bangalore

Several places of tourist interest are located within easy each from Bangalore. Distance shown in brackets is from Bangalore.

Tipu's Palace

Built in 1791, this beautiful two-storeyed ornate wooden structure with exquisitely carved pillars, arches and balconies was one of Tipu's favourite summer retreats.

Hesaragatta

25 Kms away, Hesaragatta is an interesting picnic spot offering water sports to the adventurous. Boating and wind-surfing is the major attraction. It also has a dairy & horticulture farm where you can picnic.

Ramohalli

Ramohalli, located 28 Kms west is a popular picnic spot. A major attraction at Ramohalli is the 400 year old giantBanyan tree which sprawls over an incredible 3 acres. The Banyan tree next to Ramohalli, off Mysore road just of Kengeri is the fourth largest in the country. A word of caution the entire area is full of monkeys so be careful with food stuff they will get snatched.

Muthyalamaduvu

Also known as the Pearl Valley, Muthyalamaduvu is 40 Kms away. The beautiful cascading water falls surrounded by verdant settings provide an ideal picnic getaway.

Ramanagaram

Ramadevarabetta, a hill 5 Kms from town is better known as "Sholay Gudda". Rock-climbers and adventure seekers need look no further. 49 Kms south-west from Bangalore, Ramanagaram, provides the ideal location with landscaped rock faces. Another major attraction at Ramanagaram is the silk cocoon marketing centre. One of the most famous Hindi movies Sholay was shot in Ramanagaram about 30 years ago. The hill also has a Rama shrine and a temple tank. Climbing up can be quite strenuous but it worth for its spectacular view.

Janapada Loka

Janapada Loka was set by late bureaucrat and folklorist HL Nage Gowda. Sprawling across 15 acres, Janapada Loka or "Folk-culture World" is a world of simplicity and art.Janapada Loka, a subsidiary of the Karnataka Janapada Parishath, is dedicated to preserve and promote folk art and culture.The exhibits include a variety of agricultural, hunting and fishing implements, weapons, house hold gadgets, masks, dolls and shadow puppets.

The displays a kept in three buildings namely Lokamahal, Lokamatha Mandira and Chitrakuteera. Lokamahal is the most interesting of the three it houses folk puppets, utensils, instruments, weapons and masks. Chitrakuteera has photographs covering different aspects of folk life. The complex has an art gallery, an open-air theatre, a studio and a museum.

A college and research centre dedicated to folk life is also there in the same premises

Janapada Loka is located near Ramanagaram and is 53 Kms away from Bangalore.

Channapatna

Channapatna is famous for its wooden toys and silk. These two industries form the backbone of this towns economy. Spinning tops, dolls and figures of mythological characters are made from the soft, cream coloured wood of hale tree and given a lacquered finish.

Some products such as napkin holders are popular across the globe, especially in Europe and elsewhere in Asia. A visit to the Lacquer-ware Craft Complex set up by KSHDC at Kala Nagar, provides an overview of how these crafts are made. It is located 60 kms south-west from Bangalore.

Mekedatu

Is a place where river Cauvery and Arkavathi meet, because this is the place of confluence of two rivers it is called Sangam. Legend has it that the channel was so narrow that sheep would jump across, and hence the name Mekedatu (Meke = sheep/goat, datu = cross in Kannada).

It is located at a distance of 93 Kms from Bangalore. The first 89Kms till Sangam can be undertaken in a vehicle, but for the last 4Kms we need to cross a river and either take a different transport bus or go walking.

Gushing waters, imposing landscapes, and untouched picnic spots is what Mekedatu is all about. The Cauvery river squeezing through a narrow gorge before traversing its south-bound terrain is a breathtaking sight.

  • Mekedatu is 4 Km away from Sangam; which in turn is about 89 Km from Bangalore.
  • You can either walk or take a bus, the bus would cost you Rs 20 per head.
  • Food items mainly fish items are available on the road side.
  • There is a restaurant at Sungam called ‘Tender Coconut’ where you can have your lunch.
  • Nothing much to see except water and beautiful rock formations at Sangam, and the gorge at Mekedatu.
  • Take lots of water!!!
  • Crocodiles exits in the water at one particular portion, so be careful and do not venture out to remote places.

Nandi Hills

One of the popular retreats of Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, Nandi Hills offers breathtaking getaway of the weary tourist. Tipu's Drop, a 600m high cliff face provides a magnificent panoramic view of the beautiful terrain. Nandi Hills is 60 Kms north of Bangalore.

Other attractions are Tipu's Drop, Yoga Nandishvara Temple, a beautiful Chola temple, Dravidian-style Bhoganandishvara temple and Muddenahalli, hometown of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, architect of modern Karnataka at the base of the hill.

In March 2005 the Toursim department decided to make Nandi Hills a popular destination by introducing a 5-star hotel, ropeway and para-sailing facility.

Some of the popular Shopping Centres at Bangalore are:

  • M.G. Road: Public Utility Building, Shrungar Shopping Centre, Bombay Store
  • J.C. Road: Unity Building
  • Residency Road: Pinto Towers and lots of furniture shops
  • Brigade Road: Curzon Complex, St.Patricks Complex,Mota Chambers & 5th Avenue.
  • Infantry Road: Safia Plaza and Copper Arch
  • St. Mark's Road: Sophia's Choice
  • Shoppers Stop
  • Lifestyle (near Football stadium)

Places Near Bangalore

  • Nandi Hills
  • Bannerghatta National Park
  • Bheemeshwari
  • Cubbon Park
  • Devarayana Durga
  • Jayamangal
  • Lalbagh and Lalbagh Flower Show
  • Namada Chilume
  • Ayurvedic Colleges in Karnataka
  • One Day Trekking in Karnataka
  • CET/ComedK
  • List of 2010 Government Holidays
  • Stamp Papers buying made easy
  • Places Near Bangalore
  • Yedi Watch
  • IT News
  • Places Near Mysore
  • Trekking in Karnataka
  • Local Sights in Coorg

Mumbai was given by Portuguese as dowry to Charles II of England when he married Catherine. The group of seven island was leased to the East India Company who offered freedom of business and religion to persons who came and settled here. Initially a few Parsis and Gujarati came but soon a sizeable population began to thrive here. This was way back in the 17th century. Today also Mumbai is a city of migrants. People from all over the country have come and settled here. This gives the society of Mumbai a multi-lingual and multi-cultural colour

Place visit in Mumbai

Gateway of India Afghan Church Chowpatty Beach
Haji Ali Mosque Head of Western Railways High Court
Hutatmas Chowk Jain Temple Kamla Nehru Park
Mahlaxmi Temple Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market Malabar Hill
Mani Bhavan (Gandhi Memorial) Nehru Planetarium Rajbai Tower
Nehru Science Center Pherozsha Mehta Gardens Race Course

Hotels in Mumbai

Five Star Deluxe Hotels
  • Eastern International
  • Hotel Le Royal Meridien
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hotel Leela Kempinski
  • Hyatt Regency
Five Star Hotels
  • Hotel Novotel
  • Marine Plaza
  • Hotel Orchid
  • Hotel Sea Princess
  • Park Plaza Royal Plams
Four Star Hotels
  • kohinoor Continental Hotel
  • Mercure Hotel Gustline
  • Fariyas Hotel
  • The Shalimar Hotel
  • West End Hotel
Three Star Hotels
  • Ascot Hotel
  • Hotel Godwin
  • Regent Hotel
  • Royal Inn
  • Supreme Heritage
Economy Hotels
  • Hotel Accord
  • Garden Hotel
  • Silver Inn Hotel
  • Sea Side Hotel
  • Hotel Rosewood

Five Star Hotels

  • Hotel Hindustan
  • MBD Airport Hotel
  • Taj Bengal
  • The Oberoi Grand
  • The Park
  • The Chrome Hotel
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Sonar Bangla Sheraton

Four Star Hotels

  • Golden Park Hotel
  • Hotel Peerless Inn
  • The Kenilworth Hotel

Hotels Around Calcutta

  • Golden Retreat Haldia
  • Larica Sagar Vihar
  • Palm Village Resortm

Hotels Around Kolkata

  • Golden Retreat
  • Larica Sagar Vihar
  • Palm Village
  • The Fort

Kolkata

Although the name Kalikata had been mentioned in the rent-roll of the Great Mughal emperor Akbar and also in Manasa-Mangal, to explore the history of Calcutta, we have to go back to the 17th century. It was in 1690.... Job Charnock came on the bank of the river Hooghly (it's the part of the Ganges) and took the lease of three large villages along the east bank of the river - Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kolikata (Calcutta) as a trading post of British East India Company. The site was carefully selected, being protected by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek to the north, and by salt lakes about two and a half miles on the east. These three villages were bought by the British from local landlords. The Mughal emperor granted East India Company freedom of trade in return for a yearly payment of 3,000 rupees.

Before the British came Calcutta was just a village, the capital city of Bengal was Murshidabad, about 60 miles north of Calcutta. In 1756, Siraj-ud-daullah, nawab of Bengal, attacked the city and captured the fort. Calcutta was recaptured in 1757 by Robert Clive when the British defeated Siraj-ud-daullah on the battlefield of Plassey and recaptured the city. Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of India, made it the seat of the supreme courts of justice and the supreme revenue administration, and Calcutta became the capital of British India in 1772. All important offices were subsequently moved from Murshidabad to Calcutta. By 1800 Calcutta had become a busy and flourishing town, the centre of the cultural as well as the political and economic life of Bengal.

Calcutta became the centre of all cultural and political movements in entire India. The 19th century Renaissance and Reformation in India was pioneered in this city. Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Satyendra Nath Bose (co-author of Bose-Einstein Theory) and many more eminent personalities enhanced the cultural heritage of the city of Calcutta.

Till 1912, Calcutta was the capital of India, when the British moved the capital city to Delhi. In 1947, when India gained freedom and the country got partitioned between India and Pakistan, Calcutta was included in the Indian part of Bengal, West Bengal. Calcutta became the capital city of the state of West Bengal. The 'City of Joy' is the most apt place for the eager visitants as the places of interest in Kolkata are numerous. This eventful city with its many marvels has truly a lot to offer. Since its birth in 1960, it has metamorphosed into one of the most sought after destinations for the tourists from all over the globe. The places of interest in Kolkata include religious places like.

  • Kalighat Temple
  • Dakshineshwar Temple
  • Belur Math
  • Thanthania Kalibari
  • Birla Mandir
  • Pareshnath Temple and many more.

These places are sure to awaken the holy and divine side of an individual and instill feelings of peace and harmony in him. Kolkata also has famous churches like Armenian church, St. Paul's cathedral, St. John's church and renowned mosques like the Nakhoda mosque which indicates that it is a conglomeration of different regions. Among other places of interest in Kolkata are famous monuments like:

  • Howrah Bridge
  • Rabindra Sadan
  • Shaheed Minar
  • Raj Bhawan
  • Victoria Memorial
  • Vidyasagar Setu
  • Writer's Building
  • Marble Palace and many more which is sure to take your breath away in awe.

Kolkata holds a rich heritage of Museums like:

  • The Ashutosh Museum
  • Birla Art Museum
  • Gurudaday Museum
  • Rabindra Bharati Museum
  • Birla Industrial Museum.

In the list of places of interest in Kolkata, next are gardens like Zoological Garden, Botanical Garden and Agri-Horticultural Garden which are destinations of fun and learnings for the kids as well as for adults. Kolkata has a hefty number of amusement parks like Millennium Park, Aquatica, Nicco Park, Swabhumi, Science City, Nalban boating complex and Clown Town which can aid you to rejuvenate yourself and get rid of all worries. If you want to take a quick outing, there are places like Sunderbans, Chandan Nagar and Krishna Nagar.

A view of Victoria Memorial,Kolkata

Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

World famous Gidess Kali Temple in Kolkata

Hand-Rickshaw in Kolkata

Electric Tram in Kolkata

The magnificent renovated building at Princep Ghat is now a must see for all tourists.

Five Star Hotels

  • Hotel Hindustan
  • MBD Airport Hotel
  • Taj Bengal
  • The Oberoi Grand
  • The Park
  • The Chrome Hotel
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Sonar Bangla Sheraton

Four Star Hotels

  • Golden Park Hotel
  • Hotel Peerless Inn
  • The Kenilworth Hotel

Hotels Around Calcutta

  • Golden Retreat Haldia
  • Larica Sagar Vihar
  • Palm Village Resortm

Hotels Around Kolkata

  • Golden Retreat
  • Larica Sagar Vihar
  • Palm Village
  • The Fort

Chennai

Chennai (Tamil: சென்னை IPA: [ˈtʃɛnnəɪ]), formerly known as ''Madras'', is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the fifth most populous city in India. Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai city had a population of 4.34 million in the 2001 census within the area administered by the Corporation of Chennai and an extended Metropolitan Population of 6.5 million. The urban agglomeration of metropolitan Chennai has an estimated population over 8.2 million people.

Though the city itself was established only in the 17th century by the British, some parts of the city like Triplicane predate this by several centuries. The British on settling developed it into a major urban centre and naval base. By the 20th century, it had become an important administrative centre, as the capital of theMadras Presidency.

There's nothing much to see from a traditional tourists's point of view. Most of the colonial buildings are usually in use as administrative offices and the traditional Tamil boroughs of Mylapore and Triplicane, though interesting are densely populated and aren't very welcoming to gawking though one should brave it at least through Mylapore. Chennai is more of a commercial city with various industries, banks, offices, port, & a thriving movie industry. The most popular forms of entertainment are a visit to the cinemas at the weekend or some time at the sandy beaches. Restaurants, watering holes and discotheques have been opening with increasing frequency and while the absolute numbers aren't much, they're more experimental than most Indian metros with the exception of maybe Mumbai and Bangalore. While in Chennai one can drop into one of the following places.

  • The Birla Planetarium,at Kotturpuram, between Adyar and Guindy, is the most modern planetarium in the country. Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which will be of interest to students and other science scholars. Built in memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary, the Planetarium is considered to be the most modern in the country. Programme Timing: 10.45AM - 1.45PM and 3.45PM. English: 12.00 Noon and 2.30PM Tamil.
  • MGR Memorial House,at T.Nagar, is the house of the Late Actor- Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran popularly known as MGR. : 10.00AM - 05:00PM.
  • Connemara Library, Pantheon Road, Egmore
  • Elliots Beach, is in the Besant Nagar suburb of Chennai. Sometimes called Besant Nagar beach, after the area it is located in. It is a popular place to cool off from the city heat. It is a very nice beach, safe and good place for picnicking.
  • Breezy Beach is in the quiet neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar. It is smaller and less popular than the Elliots beach. This beach is not as commercialized as the Elliots beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful.
  • Ennore Port and Ennore foundries.
  • Fort St. George, built in 1653 by the English Company of the Eastern Indies (CAIO), houses the Secretariat and the legislative Parliament of Tamil Nadu. There is a museum presenting objects of the time of the domination of the CAIO, and a banqueting suite going back to 1802 where the portraits of the governors of the fort are hung. The fort comprises also the oldest Anglican church of India, the church of St Mary. This also happens to be the worlds oldest church to the east of the Suez Canal.
  • Government Museum, or National Art Gallery on Pantheon Road, comprises an interesting archaeological collection and a room holding a significant and superb collection of Chola bronzes. One building has modern works, while the other has historical works.
  • Guindy National Park, The smallest national park in India and one of the few located in a metro. The park is an extension of the grounds surrounding the official residence of the governors of Tamilnadu.
  • Guindy Snake Park, next to the Guindy National Park. See the deadly King Cobra,Common Krait,Common Cobra, pythons and vipers as well as other reptiles. There is a Children's Park adjacent with collections of animals and birds.
  • Marina Beach, is one of the world's longest beaches. It is the most popular gathering place for locals, especially in the evenings and on weekends. It can also get very crowded at those times. The beach is relatively less crowded in the early mornings and more pleasant. At almost any time, the sea breeze is a welcome relief. It has been beautified recently and well maintained these days. But it's a great place to "people watch", especially the local fishermen who take their catamarans out to sea, and the families and groups of friends eating from chaat stalls and sitting in small circles on the sand. It's not a swimming beach, though you will see people fully clothed taking partial dips. The tsunami on December 26, 2004, caused massive death and destruction along the beach. It has been difficult to recover, but the community is working hard to make the area attractive to tourists and vacationers once again. Marina Beach is also considered as a gay point for some people.
  • Integral Coach Factory The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum.
  • St.Thomas Basilica The popular myth is that one of the apostles of Jesus Christ died in India and that his body was buried in Mylapore and that this church is built over the tomb.
  • St. Thomas Mount The hill where it is believed that he died. It is a wonderful sight to see the flights take off and land - since the airport is very near to this hill
  • Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam. An auditorium built in memory of the poet Thiruvalluvar. All of the verses of the poet's 'The Thirukkural' are inscribed on the pillars around the auditorium.
  • Vandalur zoo, Tambaram. A zoo which is largest of its kind in Asia. Just a 17 km drive from the heart of Chennai. See the large number of species found there,some endangered species.For details, visit www.aazoopark.gov.in

Temples, Mosque and churches

Detail of the gopuram of Kapaleeswarar Temple

Entry to all structures listed here is free, although token fees may be levied for photography. As usual in south India, non-Hindus are not permitted in the inner sanctum, although they are welcome to tour the outer areas of the temples. Most temple are open in the morning from dawn to 12 noon, close for an afternoon siesta, reopen around 4 PM and stay open until 10 PM or so.

  • Aarupadaiveedu Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony)
  • Ananthaa Padmanabha Swaamy Temple, Adayar
  • Annai Velankani Church, Besant Nagar
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony). The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It looks different from other South Indian temples as it is of modern construction, less then 20 years old.
  • Ayya Vaikundar Nizhal Thangal, Manali Pudunagar.
  • Big Mosque, Triplicane, Chennai
  • CSI Church House Of Prayer, Adayar.
  • CSI Church, Near Gemini fly over.
  • CSI Wesley Church, Royapettah.
  • Guruvayurappan Temple, Nanganallur.
  • Adivyadhihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Swami Temple (32 Feet Hanuman), Nanganallur.
  • ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple, Injambakkam.
  • ISKCON Temple, Perumbur.
  • Jain Temple, Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
  • Kaalikaambaal Temple, Parrys.
  • Kapaleeswarar Temple (Kapaleeshwara), Mylapore. One of Chennai's oldest and best-known temples, said to date to the 8th century, although the present structure dates to the 1600s. Notable above all for its soaring, incredibly detailed 37m gopuram(entrance gate). There is a large water tank behind the temple, used for the Thaipusam festival (Jan-Feb), and plenty of flower shops all around. Within easy striking distance of the city centre.
  • Kaaraneeswarar Temple, Saidapet.
  • Luz Anjaneyaar Temple, Mylapore.
  • Madhya Kailash Temple, Adyar.
  • Mary's Church, Built in 1680 it is the oldest Anglican Church in India. Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale (who later formed Yale University in the USA, were married here.)
  • Marundeeshwar temple, Thiruvanmiyur.
  • Mundakaneeyaman Temple, Mylapore.
  • Nizhal Thangal, Oragadam.
  • Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane.
  • Periaapaalayath Amman Temple, Adayar.
  • Puttaparthi Sairam Temple Sundaram, Chamiers Road.
  • Qurasani Mosque, Adayar (near new bus terminus).
  • Ragavendhra Temple, Triplicane.
  • Ratnagirishwarar Temple, Besant Nagar (near RBI).
  • Santhome Cathedral Basilica, Mylapore, Santhome, where the Apostle St. Thomas is buried according to Christian tradition.
  • Shirdi Sai Temple, Mylapore Tank.
  • Shiva Vishnu Temple, T.Nagar.
  • Sringeri Saradha Peetam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar.
  • Sri Santhana Srinivasa Perumal Temple-Mogappair.
  • St. Antony's Church, Kamarajapuram, Anakaputhur, Ph. No: 044 - 22481447.
  • St. Francis Xavier Church, Pallavaram, Chennai.
  • St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Stringer's St, Broadway.
  • St. Peters & St. Paul Orthodox Chapel, Koyambedu, Near Anna Nagar.
  • Tamil Baptist Church-91, Medawakkam Tank Road, Near Kellys Signal, Kilpauk.
  • Thirumalai Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar.
  • Thousand Lights Mosque, Anna Salai.
  • Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Vadapalani.
  • Vadivudai Amman Temple, Tiruvottiyur.
  • Varasidi vinayakar Temple, Besant Nagar (near bus terminus).
  • Visvaroopa Baktha Anjaneyaar Temple, Ramnagar, Nanganallur (The idol is 32 ft in height.)

DO

  • During summers it becomes too hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stroll during the night (7-9 PM) on the Marina beach and Elliots Beach (Besant Nagar). It's a nice idea to pack dinner and have a picnic on the beach as most locals do. If you happen to drive a car you can also consider taking along a few foldable chairs. Beyond 10 PM, no one is permitted to be on the beach. There are policemen on the beach to ensure people follow this rule, and on some occasions they tend to shoo people out by 9 PM.
  • Stroll along the over crowded Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street and try your skills in bargaining for knick-knacks. Be warned that it is an intensely crowded place, where you have to elbow your way through.
  • Take a bus or an auto to Mylapore Tank and take a walk aroundMylapore especially in and around the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. The crowds, sounds, fragrances of temple incense and flowers and the tiny shops are to be definitely experienced though keep away on Fridays. It gets too hectic even for experienced Mylaporeans.
  • Chennai is also home to one of the best preserved Art Deco architectural areas in India, Parry's Corner. Its also Chennai's oldest Central Business District though it has long since given way to Nungambakkam and T Nagar. If you're particularly interested in architecture or photography, this is a must visit place. Don't forget the nooks and crannies.
  • The Tamil Baptist Church in Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107 year old monument.
  • Kumaran Kundram (The Deity of Lord Murugan in Kumaran Kundram is considered to be equivalent to the one in Swamimalai), (Very near MIT Fly over). small hillock at Kumaran Kundram near by Madras Institute of Technology edit

Located 36 kilometers off Chennai, Muttukadu Boat House is an unusual spot in backwaters for tourists and holidaying families.

Also, Muttukadu is a paradise for anglers since prawns and jelly fish are in abundance here. For those who relish seafood being here could prove to be a memorable experience.

Hundreds of holiday-makers visit Muttukadu Boat House daily to enjoy boat rides. It costs just rupees 50 per person for a three kilometer ride around the vast expanse of water that may be of 45 minutes duration.

Kapaleshwar Temple,Chennai

Stone car

Besent Nagar Beach-South end-Chennai

Images made on sand at Marina Beach. Chennai

Temple at Kanchipuram made in 250 B.C

Five Star Hotels

  • Accord Metropolitan Hotel
  • Chola Sheraton Hotel
  • Fishermans Cove Hotel
  • Le Royal Meridien
  • Park Sheraton
  • Radisson Temple Bay
  • Radisson Hotel
  • Raintree Hotel
  • Taj Connemara
  • Taj Coromandel Hotel
  • The Park Hotel
  • Trident Hilton Hotel

Heritage Hotels

Sterling Swamimalai

Four Star Hotels

  • Ambassador Hotel
  • Green Park
  • GRT Grand Days Hotel
  • Hotel President
  • Quality Inn Sabari
  • Ramada Raj Park
  • Residency Towers
  • Savera Hotel
  • Tulip Benzz Park

Three Star Hotels

  • Aadithya Hotel
  • Ampa Crystal Inn
  • Beverly Hotel
  • Breeze Hotel
  • Days Inn Deccan Plaza
  • Grand Orient Hotel
  • Hotel Ambica Empire
  • Hotel Dee Cee Manor
  • Hotel Kanchi
  • Hotel Mars
  • Hotel Maurya International
  • Hotel Mowbrays Inn
  • Hotel Palmgrove
  • Hotel Royal Plaza
  • Hotel Shan Royal
  • Hotel Shelter
  • Madras Hotel Ashoka
  • Marriott Courtyard Hotel
  • New Victoria Hotel
  • New Woodlands Hotel
  • Quality Inn MGM Beach
  • Radha Park Inn
  • Shelter Beach Resort
  • SRM Hotel Chennai
  • The Aruna Hotel
  • The Marina Towers
  • The Residency
  • The Sindoori Hotel
  • The Vijay Park
  • Windsor Park Arun Hotel

Budget Hotels

  • Balaji Resorts
  • Blue Diamond
  • Buharis Blue Lagoon
  • Eastwoods Resort
  • Goldmine Hotels
  • Henkala Hotels
  • Hotel Abu Palace
  • Hotel Arunachalla Inn
  • Hotel Atlantic
  • Hotel Brownstar
  • Hotel Buena Vista
  • Hotel City Tower
  • Hotel Benzy Hotel Comfort
  • Hotel Dasaprakash
  • Hotel Ganga International
  • Hotel Goutham Manor
  • Hotel Kings Park
  • Hotel Mallika
  • Hotel Maris
  • Hotel MGM Grand
  • Hotel Mount Heera
  • Hotel New Park
  • Hotel Nirmala Dakshin
  • Hotel Oxford
  • Hotel Pandian
  • Hotel Peninsula
  • Hotel Premier
  • Hotel Ranjith
  • Hotel Sree Krishna
  • Hotel Vaigai
  • Liberty Park Hotel
  • L. R. Swami Hotels
  • Nilgiris Nest
  • Picnic Hotel
  • Pleasant Days
  • Sudha Inn Pvt. Ltd
  • Tourist Home
  • Udipi Home

Agra

Perhaps no other historical monument has evoked as much awareness and admiration from tourists and travellers alike, as the magnificent Taj Mahal - fondly called by people as the ultimate requiem of love, from a great Mughal Emperor to his beloved.

So overwhelming is the exquisite beauty and presence of this marble mausoleum that centuries later today, even the very land where it has been located - Agra - has been immortalised as the City of the Taj. Yet, it doesn’t take much for the roving eye to discover that there's more to Agra than just the fabled Taj Mahal. The city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery… a freeze-frame from a resplendant era that's long since gone by. In the great epic 'Mahabharat' the region of Agra is described as 'Agraban' (an integral part of the Brij Bhumi or the land of Lord Krishna). The latter part of Indian history outlines the origins of Agra to 1475 A.D., when the reign of Raja Badal Singh.

However, Agra came into limelight during the rule of Afghan King Sikandar Lodhi - who had made it the capital of his empire.Later in 1526 A.D., the Mughal Emperor Babar took upon himself the task for rendering Agra, a unique character and beauty of its own. The visionary that he was and a great patron of the arts, Emperor Babar brought in a change in the culture and life-style among the people of Agra, which then brought forth some of the finest craftsmen, artists, statesmen, warriors and nobility, this part of India had ever withnessed. The golden age of Agra's history, thus began to set in.

The next few hundred years of Agra witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of three great Mughal monarchs - Emperor Akbar, Jehangir and ShahJahan - all of whom lavished on this fabled city, their love and riches immeasurable to transform the land into one of the great centers of art, culture, learning and commerce.

Much of the city's impressive past lives in evidence even today, in the hunting presence inside the monuments, the majesty of the buildings, the exquisite arts and crafts and not to forget, the lure of an exceptional cuisine… all, cherished as priceless legacies of a nostalgic past. The older city of Agra has impressively retained much of its resplendent history… captivating every visitor with fond memories to take back home. Today, luxury and modern convenience also exist adjacent to tradition - luxury hotels, shopping malls and plazas, wide avenues and a superb choice of venues for recreation, business, sports, pleasure, education and the arts

List of Agra Hotels

Hotel Mandakini Villas, Agra

Located close to the Taj Mahal, Mandakini Villas has 33 fully-furnished rooms and suites furnished with all amenities. The hotel also has a multi-cuisine restaurant, conference & banquet facilities and a travel desk.

Hotel Chanakya, Agra

A budget hotel in the heart of Agra, all rooms here are furnished with most basic amenities. In addition, the hotel also provides ocnference and banquet facilities, internet facilities and several other recreation facilities.

Hotel Sidhartha, Agra

A budget hotel located in close proximity to the Taj Mahal, the hotel has beautifully furnished rooms that are ideal for business and leisure travellers. The hotel also has a fully-equipped business centre, safety lockers and 24-hour room service among other facilities.

Ranjit Hotel, Agra

Ranjit Hotel is a city-centre hotel close to the Taj Mahal. It has clean and well-appointed rooms. The hotel also has a multi-cuisine restaurant, parking facilities, travel desk as well as ample business facilities.

Hotel East Lite, Agra

Located close to the railway station, the hotel has 14 well-appointed rooms fitted with basic amenities. The hotel has a multi-cuisine restaurant serving vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. The hotel also offers airport transfers, medical assistance and parking facility.

ITC The Mughal-The Luxury Collection, Agra

Located close to the city centre, this 5-star hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Agra. It has a wide choice of rooms overlooking either the garden, pool or the Taj Mahal. The hotel also offers several recreational activities as well as facilities for business.

Hotel Delux Plaza, Agra

Close to the Taj Mahal, Delux Plaza Hotel is one of the most popular budget hotels in Agra. along with well-appointed rooms, the hoel also has a business centre, recreation facilities and a multi-cuisine restaurant.

Mansingh Palace, Agra

Located in the city centre, Mansingh Palace has a choice of 100 rooms, most of them offering views of the Taj Mahal. It also has a 24-hour coffee shop and a fine multi-cuisine restaurant.

Jaypee Palace (Hotel & Convention Centre)

Made in red sandstone and white marble, the hotel stands in acres of lush greenery. Its beautifully appointed 341 rooms and suites provide a luxurious stay option. Its other services include a travel desk, valet service and a choice of restaurants.

Rahi Hotel Taj Khema, Agra

A comfortable budget hotel, Rahi Hotel Taj Khema has comfortable rooms that provide a view of the Taj Mahal. The restaurant serves a variety of cuisines and the hotel also provides business and conference facilties.

Usha Kiran Palace, Agra

Located close to the Taj Mahal, Usha Kiran Palace has 24 well-appointed rooms fitted with all modern amenities. It also has a multi-cuisine restaurant, conference & banquet facilities, laundry services and car parking facilities.

Hotel Ganga Ratan, Agra

Located on Fatehbad Road, Hotel Ganga Ratan has 41 spacious rooms that are equipped with modern facilities. Its multi-cuisine restaurant serves Indian, Chinese, Mughlai and Continental delicacies.

HYDERABAD

Hyderabad is the capitaland the most populous city of the South Indian state ofAndhra Pradesh. It is known as the "City of Pearls" and the "City of Nizams" . Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah fell in love with and married a localBanjara girl known as Bhagmathi or Bhagyavathi, naming the city, Bhagyanagaram. Upon her conversion to Islam, she changed her name to Hyder Mahal and thus the city was named Hyderabad, which is a two worded Urdu phrase, Hyder-A'bad, meaning 'Long live Hyder'. But largely it is believed that the city is named after the son in law of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, Ali Ibn Abi Talib whose other name was Hyder. The city of smiles, of lights, of a thousand faces. Endearingly called the Pearl City, Hyderabad offers a variety of tourist attractions ranging from Heritage monuments, Lakes and Parks, Gardens and Resorts, Museums to delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience. Some of the tourist attractions include...

Charminar:

The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It was said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7m. above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. Visitors can view the architectural splendour inside the Charminar. The monument is illuminated in the evenings and a pedestrianisation project around the monument is under implementation.

Golconda Fort:

Golconda is one of the famous forts of India. The name originates from the Telugu words “Golla Konda” meaning “Shepherd’s Hill”. The origins of the fort can be traced back to the Yadava dynasty of Deogiri and the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Golconda was originally a mud fort, which passed to the Bahmani dynasty and later to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1518 to 1687 A.D. The first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years. The fort is famous for its acoustics, palaces, ingenious water supply system and the famous Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.

Sound & Light Show at Golconda Fort:

The glorious past of Golconda Fort is narrated effectively with matchless Sound and Light effects. The unique Sound & Light Show takes you right back in time, when Golconda was full of life, glory and grandeur.

Qutb Shahi Tombs:

The tombs of the legendary Qutb Shahi kings lie about a kilometre away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. Planned and built by the Qutb Shahis themselves, these tombs are said to be the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad. They form a large group and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are built in Persian, Pathan and Hindu architectural styles using grey granite, with stucco ornamentation, the only one of its kind in the world where an entire dynasty has been buried at one place.

Taramati Baradaru:

Taramati Baradari is an amalgation of the romance and the grace of the middle ages. The 7th Sultan of Golconda Abdullah Qutub Shah ode to his favorite courtesan Taramati through the Baradari the open pavilion with 12 doorways. The Taramati Baradari is a popular tourists attraction. It also houses hotel and an ultra modern convention and culture complex. The wide range of services at Taramati Baradari include Air Cooled Theatre with capacity of 500 people, Open Air Auditorium with capacity of 1600 people capacity, Banquet Hall with capacity of 250 people, Accommodation Unit, Board Rooms, Multi-Cuisine Restaurant, Bar, Swimming Pool / Billiards / Fitness Center, Two Green Rooms, and Food Courts.

Mecca Masjid:

A two hundred yards southwest of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. The Qutb Shahis never finished the building of the mosque, which was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694. Mecca Masjid is poetry in stone, with a hall measuring 67m and soaring to a height of 54m. Fifteen graceful arches - five to each of the three sides, support the roof. Towards the southern end of the mosque lie the marble graves of members of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.

Legislative Assembly:

Built in 1913, the building was originally the Hyderabad Town hall. The architecture is a synthesis of Rajasthani and Persian styles, with an all white, aesthetic look. Located adjoining the picturesque Public Gardens, a massive statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a sitting posture is erected at the entrance park to the Assembly.

Osmania University:

Established in 1918, it is one of the oldest universities in India. Named after Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, the university buildings are splendid, especially the Arts College, which is a perfect example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.

Birla Mandir:

This white marble temple of Lord Venkateshwara floats on the city skyline, on Kala Pahad. The idol in the temple is a replica of the one at Tirupati.

Salar Jung Museum:

This museum houses one of the biggest one-man collections of antiques of the world by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III. The objects d’art include Persian carpets, Moghal miniatures, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquerware, famous statues including the Veiled Rebecca and Marguerite and Mephistopheles, a superb collection of jade, daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jahan and the Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb’s sword and many other fabulous items.

Andhra Pradesh State Archaeological Museum:

A visit to the Andhra Pradesh State Archaeological Museum is a delight for art lovers. Located in the picturesque Public Gardens, the museum boasts of one of the richest repositories of antiques and art objects in the country. Built in 1920 by the Nizam VII, the museum building itself is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The museum contains a Buddhist gallery, Brahmanical & Jain gallery, Bronze gallery, Arms & Armour gallery, Numismatics gallery, Ajanta gallery and more. Adjacent to the State Museum is the Contemporary Art Museum.

The Nizam‘s Silver Jubilee Museum:

The stately Purani Haveli, the palace acquired around the year 1750 by the second Nizam, is now converted into a museum with a fascinating collection. The museum exhibits the gifts and mementos presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations in 1937. A 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and a Mark V Jaguar are among the vintage cars displayed. There is an interesting collection of models made in silver of all the prominent buildings of the city and citations in Urdu about H.E.H. Mir Osman Ali Khan, gold burnished wooden throne used for the silver jubilee celebrations, gold tiffin box inlaid with diamonds, and a gold model of Jubilee Pavilion.

Birla Planetarium/Birla Science Museum:

Birla Planetarium is India’s most modern planetarium and first of its kind in the country. It is equipped with advanced technology from Japan and is built on Naubat Pahad adjacent to Kala Pahad. And the Science Museum stands tribute to the advancement achieved by Science and Technology.

Chow Mohalla Complex:

Built in several phases by the Nizams between 1857-1869, this is now one of the heritage buildings. The complex comprises four palaces in Moghal and European styles, of which the main palace is double storeyed with the others being single-storeyed blocks.

Nehru Zoological Park:

Spanning 300 lush green acres, the Nehru Zoological Park is a must for nature lovers. It has over 250 species of animals and birds, most of which are kept in conditions as close to their natural habitats as possible. This is the first zoo to create moated enclosures for animals. The Lion Safari Park, Natural History Museum and Children’s Train are the added attractions. APTDC runs an ice-cream parlour and restaurant here.

Shilparamam - The Arts & Crafts village:

Another attraction at Madhapur beyond Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad is the 30-acre village, which showcases arts and crafts of the country. India is an ocean of various arts and crafts but the talent of most of the artisans and artists goes unrecognized. To encourage them and give the necessary boost to their art, the crafts village hosts annual bazaars, where artists and artisans from all over the country exhibit their talent.

Public Gardens

Hyderabad has several beautiful gardens, one of the most popular being the Public Gardens, which also encloses the State Legislature, State Archaeological Museum, Jubilee Hall, Jawahar Bal Bhavan and Telugu Lalita Kala Thoranam, an open-air theatre.

Boating:

AP Tourism operates pedal boats in Public Gardens pond.

Ramoji Film City:

A dream world created for the celluloid on a sprawling 1000 acres, with every imaginable set and location, Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad offers facilities to produce any kind of movie. Apart from sets, there are hotels where artistes and technicians can stay. Visitors too can go round in conducted tours that the management organises.

Hitec City:

One of the modern monuments of trade and technology, it embodies the newfound attitude of Hyderabad and today finds a place of pride. Situated on the outskirts of the city, it is the nucleus of Cyberabad, the IT destination in this part of the world. Cyber Towers is the main building here.

Lumbini Park:

This beautiful entertainment park is situated on the shore of Hussainsagar lake. The landscaping here is a visual treat. A musically synchronized water fountain and a floral clock are major attractions here. Lumbini Park jetty is a major point for pleasure boating of AP Tourism.

Hyderabad Botanical Gardens:

The first Botanical Gardens in Andhra Pradesh, spread over 120 acres. Already open to public is the first phase, with the completion of some sections. The sections include medicinal plants, timber trees, fruit trees, ornamental plants, aquatic plants and bamboos. The Park has been designed to have large water bodies, rolling meadows, natural forests, rich grasslands and exquisite rock formations.

Hussainsagar Lake:

Excavated in 1562 A.D. by Hussain Shah Wali during the time of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, the lake has a promenade that is a busy thoroughfare today. Boating and water sports are a regular feature in the Hussainsagar. One of the World’s tallest monolithic statues of the Buddha stands on the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’, in the middle of the lake.

Added to all these, AP Tourism has additional boating facilities like speed boats, motor boats, 48 seater launch etc. Starlit dinner on-board and private parties also can be arranged on the Launch.

Osmansagar Lake:

Osmansagar, better known as Gandipet, on the outskirts of Hyderabad is an excellent picnic spot. Osmansagar is one of the two lakes on the city’s periphery that supplies drinking water to the great metropolis. The lake is a reservoir created by a dam across the Isa, a tributary of the River Musi. Abutting the lake and the bund are lush gardens that provide the ideal ambience for an outing. Overlooking the lake is the heritage building, Sagar Mahal, built as a resort by the Nizam of Hyderabad and converted now into a lake resort managed by AP Tourism.

Shamirpet:

Located 24 km to the north of Secunderabad, Shamirpet has a beautiful lake and a deer park. Its peaceful environs make it a great picnic spot. AP Tourism offers comfortable cottage facilities for accommodation, while the forest lodges can be booked with the AP Forest Department office at Saifabad.

Tourist Cottages.

Mir Alam Tank:

Mir Alam Tank is a large lake adjacent to Nehru Zoological Park. AP Tourism operates boats on the lake, for which one has to enter through the Zoo.

Secret Lake (Durgam Cheruvu):

The ‘Secret Lake’ is situated close to Shilparamam Crafts Village and Hitec City, behind Jubilee Hills. AP Tourism organizes boating in the lake. ‘Something Fishy’, a bar Secret Lake (Durgam Cheruvu)

KBR National Park:

One of the largest parks within the city KBR National Park is a Southern tropical deciduous forest and the last vestigial representative of the endemic flora of Hyderabad region, with over 100 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and 15 species of butterflies.

Mrugavani National Park (Chilkur):

Located 25 km. from Hyderabad, the park contains the endemic flora of Hyderabad and is an urban refuge for small mammals like wildboar, jungle cat etc. and birds.

Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park:

Located 15 Km. from Hyderabad, the park has more than 350 black bucks, 400 cheetals and a number of wild boars, small mammals, reptiles and over 100 species of birds.

Resorts & Theme Parks

Ocean Park:

Ocean Park is located at Gandipet, 15 km from Hyderabad, in 20 acres of landscaped gardens. It provides a number of amusement rides, water rides and is equipped with facilities like multi-cuisine restaurant.

Snow World:

It is the World’s biggest and India’s 1st Snow Theme Park. The visitors can chill out at minus 5°C and go merry with SNOW and have a SNOW-FILLED fun holiday. The Snw Park has achieved yet another milestone by introducing Snow Fall, this is the first of its kind of Snow Fall introduced by any Snow Theme Park or Snow Dome anywhere in the world. Slide and skate on ice and throw snowballs at each other, Enjoy India’s first snow park.

Treasure Island:

picturesque holiday spot, the Treasure Island, located on 60 acres of landscape at Gandipet, offers a variety of leisure and fun oriented activities - horse riding, billiards, disco, go-karting, swimming pool and so on. Night stay facilities are available for Members .

Tel: +91-040-23323330

Dhola-ri-Dhani:

This is a typical setting recreated with the entire rustic ambience and charm of an ethnic Rajasthani village, situated at Kompally on Medchal Road. Camel rides, puppet shows, folk dances and authentic Rajasthani cuisine give you the taste of the desert State. A large swimming pool, a lake to go boating, an amphitheatre for plays and entertainment programmes add to the ambience. Conferencing and night stay facilities available.

Pragati Green Meadows & Resorts:

Spread over 26 acres and an hour’s drive from Hyderabad, Pragati Resorts offers facilities like swimming, boating, children’s park, coffee and snack bar, restaurant, conference hall, uniquely designed cottages for overnight stay. Pragati Sparsh, part of Pragati Resorts, set in the sylvan surroundings, offers a complete range of Ayurvedic Treatment and medicines in association with Santigiri Ashram of Kerala.

Dream Valley Resorts:

Nestled amidst lush green environs and located at Gandipet, Dream Valley Resorts is a water theme park with waterslide, cascading waterfalls, water squirts, a 9-hole golf course and go-karting track.

Aalankrita-the Ethnic Gateway:

Spread over an area of 10 acres, Aalankrita blends the convenience of a 4-star resort, the ambience of a heritage Aalankrita - the ethnic gateway site and the ethnicity of the times gone by. Located about 16 km from Secunderabad, the facilities here include an air-conditioned conference hall, Restaurant, Meditation Centre, a covered swimming pool for day and night use, dancing floor, air-conditioned cottages, an antique shop, exhibition hall, walkways and a sprawling open air theatre that can accommodate about 3000 people.

Mount Opera

It is a huge multi-theme' park. Far from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, this amusement part that offers a variety of entertainment and leisure activities for the entire family. Built on a 50-acre plot, the park has special packages for corporates and non-resident Indians.

Leo Meridian Resort

Luxurious urban resort offering exquisitely designed and well appointed 82 ultra - luxury rooms and 6 suites. Other offering at at the resort include 28 recently upgraded, state - of - the - art conference and convention facilities of varying capacities, a Spa, Fitness and Saloon facility, and an ultra modern 350 seat cinema and sports complex.

GolKonda Resorts & Spa

A state-of-the-art leisure resort-cum-spa, Golkonda Resorts and Spa offers grand luxury villas, club cars to explore and enjoy 12 acres of the resort set in natural green settings. There are very well designed 44 rooms in the form of luxurious villas. Every villa is centrally air-conditioned with 24 hour room service, 24 hours hot and cold running water, wi-fi connectivity and Internet data ports. Extensive banqueting and conferencing facilities, restaurants and bars are the other facilities at the Resort.

Celebrity Club

Located on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Celebrity Club is a family entertainment centre offering Luxury cottages with landscaped gardens. The facilities include Barbeque, Bar, Restaurant, swimming pool, golf course, horse rifding and video games arcade.

Lahari Resorts

Lahari Resorts is a perfect destination for both business and pleasure. The Resort is spread over 35 Acres with shimmering water bodies, water fountains, flowerbeds, lawns and paving sculptures, adorning the topography. It boasts of an international standard cricket stadium, swimming pools, rain dance floors and water slides. It also has three restaurants, a three lane bowling alley, a paintball field, beach volleyball court with gaming arcade and dry slides for children. Add to that a discotheque, a state-of-the-art gym and a hotel with 59 centrally air-conditioned luxurious rooms and suites. To cater to business needs, there are five conference halls, which can seat anywhere between 20 to 200 people and are supported by advanced audio-visual facilities. The resort also has an Event Arena for large format events like wedding and corporate family days, and can seat upto 5000 people.

Four Star Deluxe Hotels

  • Hotel Aalankrita
  • Novotel Hyderabad
  • Hotel Amrutha Castle
  • Hotel Green Park

Three Star Hotels

  • Aditya Park Inn
  • Anmol Continental
  • Asrani International Hotel
  • Belsons Tajmahal Hotel
  • Comfort Inn City Park
  • Comfort Inn Woodbridge
  • Deccan Continental
  • Fortune Katriya Hotel
  • Hotel Baseraa
  • Hotel Golkonda
  • Hotel Minerva
  • Hotel Nagarjuna
  • Hotel NKM's Grand
  • Hotel Pearl Regency
  • Hotel Rukmini Rivier
  • Hotel Siatara
  • Kamat Lingapur Hotel
  • Minerva Grand
  • Mount Opera
  • Ohri's Banjara
  • Ohri's Cuisine Court

Budget-Economy Hotels

  • Agni Hotel
  • Ajwa Hotel
  • Alfatha Hotel
  • Amogh Hotel
  • Blue Moon Hotel
  • Celebrity Boutique Hotee
  • Harsha Hotel
  • Hotel Aahwanam
  • Hotel Ambassador
  • Hotel Ashoka
  • Hotel Dwaraka Palace
  • Hotel Jaya International
  • Hotel Karan
  • Hotel Mahaveer
  • Hotel Maurya
  • Hotel Megacity
  • Hotel Parklane
  • Hotel Rajdhani
  • Hotel Rajamata
  • Hotel Sangeetha
  • Hotel Shivani
  • Hotel Tara
  • Saiprakash Hotel
  • Star Of India Hotel
  • Tajmahal Hotel
  • The Royal Hotel

 

 

 

 

Five Star Deluxe Hotels

  • Hyderabad Marriott
  • Kakatiya Sheraton Hotels
  • Taj Krishna
  • The Manohar Hotelt
  • Taj Banjara Hotel

Heritage Hotels

  • Hotel Taj Mahal
  • Taj Falaknama Palace

Four Star Deluxe Hotels

  • Hotel Aalankrita
  • Novotel Hyderabad
  • Hotel Amrutha Castle
  • Hotel Green Park

Three Star Hotels

  • Aditya Park Inn
  • Anmol Continental
  • Asrani International Hotel
  • Belsons Tajmahal Hotel
  • Comfort Inn City Park
  • Comfort Inn Woodbridge
  • Deccan Continental
  • Fortune Katriya Hotel
  • Hotel Baseraa
  • Hotel Golkonda
  • Hotel Minerva
  • Hotel Nagarjuna
  • Hotel NKM's Grand
  • Hotel Pearl Regency
  • Hotel Rukmini Rivier
  • Hotel Siatara
  • Kamat Lingapur Hotel
  • Minerva Grand
  • Mount Opera
  • Ohri's Banjara
  • Ohri's Cuisine Court

Budget-Economy Hotels

  • Agni Hotel
  • Ajwa Hotel
  • Alfatha Hotel
  • Amogh Hotel
  • Blue Moon Hotel
  • Celebrity Boutique Hotee
  • Harsha Hotel
  • Hotel Aahwanam
  • Hotel Ambassador
  • Hotel Ashoka
  • Hotel Dwaraka Palace
  • Hotel Jaya International
  • Hotel Karan
  • Hotel Mahaveer
  • Hotel Maurya
  • Hotel Megacity
  • Hotel Parklane
  • Hotel Rajdhani
  • Hotel Rajamata
  • Hotel Sangeetha
  • Hotel Shivani
  • Hotel Tara
  • Saiprakash Hotel
  • Star Of India Hotel
  • Tajmahal Hotel
  • The Royal Hotel

 

 

 

PONDICHERRY

The Union Territory of puducherry comprises of four coastal regions viz- puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. puducherry and Karaikal are situated on the East Coasts in Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andra Pradesh and Mahe on the West Coast in Kerala.

puducherry is the Capital of this Union Territory. It is on the east coast about 162 kms south of Chennai (Madras) located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. There are no hills or forests in this region. The main soil types in this region are red ferrallitic, black clay and coastal alluvial.

Main languages spoken in the region are Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. English and French are other languages, which are spoken by a considerable number of people. Majorities of the people are Hindus. There are quite a number of Christians and Muslims, whereas very few Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.

puducherry is a unique place. Many feel that it has a distinct spiritual vibration. Stories of resident sages come down through its history from the earliest days. The nickname “Pondy” sums up this shared feeling of belonging, of having come home.

puducherry has a special ambience, not felt anywhere else in India. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied town. The inherent ambience of Pondy, as it is fondly called, becomes most evident in the oldest part of the town which flanks the seashore boulevard.Colonial buildings, some which trace back to the 18th century, line along a grid of straight clean streets and house the French institutions, private homes and businesses, and the sprawling premises of the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The visitor is greeted by mellow colours of cream, yellow, pink and grey with flamboyant bougainvillea bursting over gates and compound walls of cool courtyards.

Quiet beaches and peaceful resorts to the north and south balance the town's bustling, yet easy going life. But Pondy hasn't only its own special attractions to offer.It is a perfect base to explore the rich destinations around it (TamilNadu), even in daily trips: Auroville, the international City of Unity;theimposing Gingee Fort, the holy temple towns of Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Chidambaram, the heritage sculptures and magnificent rock temples of Mamallapuram, and the cool and lush hill stations of Yercaud and Kodaikanal.

puducherry is best accessible by road from Chennai, Bangalore and even from Kerala.Chennai has an international airport which directly connects to the highway to puducherry. And good transit hotels are available in the vicinity for travellers who arrive in the night.

puducherry has a wide choice of hotels for most visitors: beach resorts for the easy going tourist and families, heritage hotels for those who want to experience something else, high class commercial hotels for the corporate visitor and the neat Ashram Guest Houses for the spiritual seeker. And ambient restaurants serve a rich variety of French, Indian, Asian and continental food, with the latest pizza for an American bite.

For the shopper puducherry has a lot to offer and is fast becoming a favourite shopping destination of the southern metropolitan cities. puducherry is soft on your purse with taxes low or non-existent. It is known for its traditional doll-making and textiles and silks. But it is also the birthplace of several world class brands in leather, pottery, aromatics, fashion and handmade paper. These excellent products came to renown solely by their superb quality. A new trend is the proliferation of exquisite decor boutiques and export-quality antique furniture galleries.

As we shall see, however, the Pondy Experience is considerably more than either of these unique and cloistered aspects. It is an experience that captivates all kinds of visitors; tourists, seekers from metropolitan stress, and the families of visiting business people and conventioneers who can sightsee and shop when they want a diversion.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Sri Aurobindo Ashram

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking to it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. It is open to the public daily between 08-1200 hrs and 1400-1800 hrs. Children below 3 years of age are not allowed into the ashram and photography is allowed only with permission of the ashram authorities.

The Ashram was set up in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, one of India’s greatest philosopher-poets, who originally came to Pondy to escape persecution by the British. It was after arriving in puducherry, that he was drawn into the spiritual realm and discovered the power of yoga. His philosophy deeply rooted in yoga and his writings inspired a number of followers.

One of them was a Parisian mystic, painter and musician called Mirra Alfassa, who was so inspired by his philosophy that she stayed on in puducherry and was instrumental in establishment of the ashram. After Aurobindo’s death in 1950, the running of the Ashram was entrusted to his chief disciple and companion, Mirra Alfassa, (also known as ‘The Mother’). The idea of Auroville or the “City of Down” was conceived by ‘The Mother’. She died in 1973 at the age of 93.

The ashram’s influence can be felt in most of puducherry. The main ashram building is where the mortal remains of Aurobindo and the Mother are kept. Their ‘Samadhi’ or mausoleum, which is generally surrounded by supplicating devotees, is in the central courtyard under a frangipani tree and is covered daily with flowers.

Some of the ashram’s facilities like the Library and the Main Building (during collective meditation) can be accessed, only after obtaining a gate pass from the Bureau Central or some of the Ashram Guest Houses.

Auroville

Auroville - or the ‘City of Dawn ’ - was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The idea is to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Auroville came into existence in 1968. Its Charter says, “To live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness”, and describes it as “belonging to nobody in particular, but to humanity as a whole”; as a place “of constant progress”; and as “a bridge between the past and the future.”

Located around 8 kms north-west of Puducherry, Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Around 2,000 people live there in settlements with names likeGrace, Fraternity, Fertile, Certitude and Transformation. Nearly two-thirds of the residents are non-Indians.

Architecturally speaking the buildings are a combination of modern western and traditional Indian elements, set in a rural landscape of deep red earth and widespread forestation, with narrow earth roads linking the settlements. The residents are involved in agriculture, administration, commerce and handicrafts, alternative technology, education, healthcare and development projects, the latter including AuroRE Systems, an international award winning unit involved in solar photovoltaic and thermal systems.

The central Matrimandir, which is not a temple but a place for individual silent concentration, is set in an area of 62 acres at the centre of the emerging township, and is seen as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity.”

During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28th February 1968 , soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and mixed to symbolize universal oneness. This urn is today sited at the centre of an Amphitheatre in the Matrimandir Gardens . The Matrimandir’s 12-sided white marble Inner Chamber has a 70 cms diameter optical-quality glass globe at its centre, onto which a shaft of sunlight is focused by way of a roof-mounted heliostat. The light falling on the globe acts as a focal aid to concentration.

The Auroville Visitors Centre (Ph: 0413 – 2622239) is located near Bharat Nivas, the Indian national pavilion in Auroville’s International Zone, and is open from 0930 to 1730 hrs every day. This Centre has a permanent exhibition on the history and philosophy of the project, an Information Service offering books, brochures and leaflets on various aspects of Auroville, three boutiques, a bookshop, and a cafeteria providing refreshments and international cuisine. Introductory videos on the township and the Matrimandir can be seen at the Centre by request.

Beaching in puducherry

Any trip to puducherry would be incomplete without a visit to its beaches. Though it’s hot and muggy through most of the year, puducherry has four main beaches which are fairly popular with tourists and locals alike. As opposed to the rest of India, the beaches here are relatively clean and not as crowded.

Most of the beaches are a little away from the town except for small stretch of sand behind Seagulls restaurant on Goubert Avenue. However this stretch is not as popular because of its lack of accessibility and security.

Promenade :

The 1.5 km long promenade running along the beach is the pride of puducherry. There one can relax or take a stroll at any time of the day. On the sea front are several land marks. The War memorial cold and dispassionate throbbing the memory of last dreams, the statue of Joan of Arc blazing an inspiration, the heritage town hall, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing tall, Dupleix statue, old light house, the remains of the old pier, the old customs house, speak the splendor of the by gone era. The well furnished tourist information centre is situated in esthetically heritage building facing the sea to cater to the need of visiting tourists.

Paradise Beach :

Located 8 kms. from the town, along the Cuddalore Main Road this beach can be accessed from the Chunnambar Resort. Flanked by a quiet flowing creek on one side, the beach can only be accessed by boat.

Serenity beach :

This beach is a ten minutes drive to the north of the town. This virgin beach, with its serene surroundings is an ideal place to laze away your day.

Auroville Beach :

The Auroville Beach as the name indicates is close to Auroville. It is right off the ECR, opposite the road leading to Auroville. Located around 12 kms from the main puducherry town, its shallow waters and small waves make it an ideal place of swimming. It is a fairly popular destination on weekends. On weekdays it is relatively less crowded.

Temples in puducherry

Though the temples in puducherry are not as well known as their more famous counterparts in towns like Tanjavur or Chidambaram, they are charming in their own unique way, with some of them even dating back to the 10th Century AD Chola period.

Manakula Vinayagar Koil

This temple is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Ganesha. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha. The temple also has a smaller shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan, who is Ganesha’s younger brother. Over 5000 devotees flock to this site everyday. The temple compound also plays host to ‘Lakshmi’, the temple elephant, who uses her trunk to dispense blessings and to collect coins from the devotees.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Located on M.G.Road, this is believed to be the oldest temple in town, dating back to 600 AD. The temple built in the typical Dravidian style, complete with brightly coloured ‘gopuram’ and sculpted pillars, is probably the oldest standing structure in puducherry. This temple is dedicated to Vishnu. Legend has it, that the temple was originally built for the idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman, which were brought to the present site by fishermen, from the sea. The main deity here is Venkatachalapathy (Vishnu). Right behind that is a separate shrine for Narashima (who is also an avatar of Vishnu).

Vedhapureeswarar Temple

This temple also known as the Eashwaran koil, is located on M.G.Road and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has colourful ‘gopuram’, adorned by the statues of gods and goddesses, like most temples in South India.

Kanniga Parameswari Temple

This temple, dedicated to the godess Shakti is unique as it seems to be strongly influenced by the French architectural style. Located on M.G.Road, it has an unusual blend of both Tamil and French architecture. With its arched walls, ionic columns, stained glass windows and even some angel decorations, it is reminiscent of a French building. However, the inner ceiling supported by the more traditional granite pillars and the sanctum sanctoram, which has a typical Tamil design, highlights the more traditional Tamil features.

Kamatchiamman Temple

Located on Bharathi Street, this temple is different from most other South Indian temples by virtue of its lack of colour and ornamentation. Its starkness is what makes it stand out from the rest. This dark rust coloured temple is dedicated to Durga, the goddess of war.

Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple

This is located in a small town called ‘Villianur’, 11 kms. from puducherry. The main shrine housing the ‘Shivlinga’ and the shrines dedicated to the Devi and Murugan date back to the 12th century Chola period. This temple has a little bit of French heritage attached to it, though not in its architecture, but in some of its traditions. The annual Temple Car Festival which is held in the months of May and June, involves the pulling of a 15 metre tall chariot through the streets by a large crowd of devotees.

During French colonial rule, the Governor of puducherry used to join this very procession and actively participate in the drawing of the chariot through the streets. This tradition lives on with the present Lieutenant Governor of puducherry participating in the festival now.

Churches In puducherry

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Located on Subbayah Salai, this white and brown neo-gothic church is one of Pondy’s finest Catholicchurches. It was built by French missionaries in the 1700’s in a contrasting Neo-Gothic manner, with towers flanking a central gable and stained glass windows on the side. The church has an imposing entrance and the beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ’s life. Further along the southern boulevard is the cemetery which has some interesting tombs with ornate marble decorations.

Church of the Capuchins

Located on rue Dumas, this is one of the first churches to be built in puducherry. Even though it was one of the very few buildings that partially survived the destruction of the town in 1761, it is a mere shadow of its past glory, except for its rather interesting gable. Today, it houses an orphanage.

Notre Dame de’

Located on Mission Street, this cathedral, which bears a strong resemblance to a church in France, was built in 1791 in the place of a former church. The imposing façade presents paired Doric columns below and ionic above. In front of the church is a statue of Our Lady with the infant Jesus in her arms. The interior design consists of eight barrel vaults and a central dome pierced with eight circular openings.

The Notre Dame des Anges

The Church of our Lady of the Angels on rue Romain Rolland was built in 1852 in the Greek Roman architectural style. Its façade, flanked by two unadorned square towers, faces east towards the ocean. The interior is roofed by a barrel vault, witha great dome rising over the crossing. The pastel peach and lime colours give it a very serene appearance.

This church is also famous for its rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was a gift from the French emperor, Napoleon III. The cemetery next to the church has the tomb of Marquis de Bussy (dated 1785), who was one of Dupleix’s most enterprising followers.

Church of the Assumption

Located at Nellitoppu, on the western outskirts of the city, this church was built in 1851. The main entrance has an image of Our Lady and on the left towers is the statue of St. George in the act of slaying a yall-like monster. Inside the church you will find some of the finest glided altarpieces including a Crucifix surrounded by flying angels.

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

This interesting located at Villianur, a small town 11 km. from puducherry. It was erected in 1876 is modeled on that of the Basilica in France. The statue of Notre Dame was donated by the French Government a year later. A curious feature here is the Church tank, which is usually common in all the Hindu temples. We can only speculate as to the purpose of the tank. Was it an attempt to assimilate the local customs or was it built out of necessity. The ritual bathing of devotees at the tank here, a long standing tradition, is one of the highlights during the festival honouring the Madonna held in June.

Church of Our Lady of Good Health

The church is located at Ariyankuppam, a tiny village 4 km south of puducherry. The church makes for an interesting cycling expedition off the beaten track. The church founded in 1690 was subsequently rebuilt several times. The interior has rounded arches carrying a vault over the central aisle. A freestanding Crucifix is displayed upon the altar and brightly painted wooden images are set on shelves in the side walls.

Besides these imposing structures there are various smaller churches and shrines in puducherry which have their devout followers, like The Church of Francis Assist, which was built in 1843, the shrine of St. Anthony in the French Quarter, The Saint John Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Mosques in puducherry

JAMAI MOSQUE

Located on Mulla Street, this beautiful mosque’s distinctive architecture and swaying palm trees in the back make it beautiful to behold.

MEERAN MOSQUE:

Meeran mosque is the oldest mosque in puducherry.It was built before 350 years. It has the old gothic Islam architecture in it. It was built by ARCOD NAVAB.It has four lofty pillars below its dome, with MEERHATH near it and MEEMBER next to it. It also has the KALIMA SLAB above theMEERHATH, with clean blankets spread all over the hall.

The bronze KALLASAS in the top of the façade minaret adds beauty to it. It has the divine graves ofMEERAN who built this mosque and SUUBHI ERRAI PERRIAR Mullah’s in it. The mosque has everyday prayers in it.

KUTHBHA MOSQUE:

Kuthbha mosque is the first mosque in puducherry.It is said that it was near the Seventh day school now, during 17th century. As the mosque was in the white area the FRENCHpeople ordered them to vacate the place and shift the mosque and the Islam society to the southern end after the channel.

These streets where built facing MECCA . It has the DAARGA of MOULLA SAIUBU.KUTHBHA means preaching. This mosque has daily preaching and prayers with special prayers on Fridays.

MULLA MOHHAMED MOSQUE:

To have the preaching in URUDHU and URUDHU in Islam one part of KUTHBHA MOSQUE was built asMULLA MOAHMED MOSQUE. This mosque has a small pond with fishes, clean hall, and RAMJAN fasting food cooking hall and JENESHA in it.

BEACH ROAD

No visit to puducherry is complete without a walk along beach road. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and holiday evening are busiest. The Police close both end of the road for vehicular traffic. Beach road has little of architectural interest, but oceans of simple charm and officially called Goubert Avenue.

Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue

It is a seaside park with a statue of a Dupleix. Marquis Joseph Francois Dupleix was an integral part of puducherry’s colonial past. He was the governor of puducherry between 1742 and 1754. The 2.88 m tall statue of Dupleix stands at the southern end of the park. Even though Dupleix left puducherry in 1754, French recognition of his contribution came only in 1870, with the commissioning of two statues-one in puducherry and the other in France.

The Mairie

Located on Goubert Avenue, this charming white building, facing the sea almost transports you to France. Use your imagination a little and you could very well be on a French sea side resort. Today it houses the offices of the puducherry Municipality.

Le Café

It was once the port office when the railway ran along Beach Road from the South Boulevard to the old 240 meters iron pier. A cyclone in 1952 largely destroyed the pier whose remains can still be seen poking out of the water.

Gandhi Statue

This is a highlight of puducherry. A four-meter statue of Mahatma Gandhi is surrounded by eight magnificent granite pillars, which were supposedly brought from Gingee, a fort some 70 Kms. from puducherry.

French War Memorial

The French War Memorial on Goubert Avenue is solemn reminder of those brave soldiers who laid down their lives, for their country during the First World War. Every year on the 14th July (Bastille Day) the memorial is beautifully illuminated and homage is paid to those brave martyrs.

Nehru Statue

Located across the street from the imposing Gandhi statue, the statue is also flanked by four pillars from Gingee. The space in front plays host to various cultural, musical and commercial activities through the year.

19th Century Light House

This light house was used for the first time on July 1st 1836 and continued to be used upto the year 1979. This now- abandoned lighthouse stands on the edge of the sea.

French Consulate

French Consulate General is the only diplomatic mission in town. This colonial building has changed over the years, and yet manages to retain some of its original 18th Century charm. The consulate is open to French citizens.

Around Bharathi Park

The park located in the heart of puducherry, is one of the most beautiful public spots in puducherry, with its lush green surroundings and shady trees providing succour from the harsh puducherry sun to many a weary soul. At any time of the day you will always find a smattering of people including locals. Besides the beautiful Aayi Mandapam in the centre of the park, there are a number of smaller surprises that greet you as you walk around in the park, like the exquisitely carved granite pillars and stone carvings of various gods and yallis. The park is also surrounded by interesting heritage buildings like.

Aayi Mandapam

This gleaming white monument built during the time of Napoleon III, Emperor of the France. The monument commemorates both the provision of water to the French city during his reign and the good deed of a lady some 300 years before.

Raj Niwas

The Government House (Raj Niwas) is a harmonious blend of French and Indian style of architecture. Once the location of the Hotel de la Compagnie (the French trading company that ruled in puducherry from its first settlement in 1674 until the French government took over in 1769) and later played host to Dupleix. It is now the Lieutenant Governor’s residence. It is not open to the general public except on certain national holidays like Republic Day on 26th January, when it is adorned with lights and looks rater impressive. One can however get a glimpse of the grandeur within, through the tall imposing gates, which are guarded by red ‘kepi’ adorning police guards.

Romain Rolland Library

The Romain Rolland library was established in 1872 and has a rich collection of more than 3,00,000 volumes in both French and English. It also boasts of a mobile library service which has a collection of more than 8000 books. These books are taken to nearby villages by bus, in order to make the books more accessible to the common man. The library also houses some rare editions of books. The reference section on the second floor is open to the general public.

UCO Bank

The UCO Bank, which dates from 1916 when it was La Banque de l’ Indochine, preserves for those who wish to change money there a gentle reminder of the complexity of the British ledger system, dead in London but alive and well in Pondy.

Legislative Assembly

It was established in 1962 in what was formerly a private house.

Cercle de puducherry

It is a private club, established for senior French notables in 1899. The activities of its 400 members can be glimpsed through its gate and high, open windows.

Ashram Dining Room

Ashram Dining Room has prepared the food for Ashramites and their guests since 1934. It sits on land once occupied by Governor Dumas in 1735. Even after many reconstructions, it reflects its architectural heritage. Have a look when the gate is open at meal times.

puducherry Museum

puducherry Museum is open from 1000-1700 hrs on all days but Monday and public holidays. It is located in the former residence of the French Administrator building. The Museum is well worth seeing as a fine example of a grand two-storey residence as well as for most of its exhibits. The museum has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu, including remnants of Greek and Roman jars, 200 year old beads made from glass and precious stones and even objects from the Tsung period in China. The museum also has a Geology room, a shell and fossil room and a collection of handicrafts, coins, church relics and French furniture. Also on display is Dupleix’s bed.

The Church of Our Lady of the Angels at Dumas Street (Notre Dame des Anges)

Built in 1855, this is the Greek Roman architectural style. Its façade, flanked by two unadorned square towers faces east towards the ocean. The interior is roofed by a barrel vault, with a great dome rising over the crossing. The pastel peach and lime colours give it a very serene appearance. This church is also famous for its rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was a gift from the French emperor, Napoleon III.The church has old pews (seating) made of cane, Indian stained glass that filters sunlit patterns of colour into the interior.

The Statue of Joan of Arc at Dumas Street

Another example of the French influence in puducherry is a marble statue of the heroic French damsel Joan d’Arc, which is located in front of the Church of Our Lady of the Angles. The statue is placed in the middle of a garden.

The French Institute of the Far East at Dumas Street (L’Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient)

This is an internationally renowned research institute. This institute has two impressive and handsome buildings almost diagonal to each other at the corner of Dumas Street and is known for its research in the field of Indology, history and archaeology. Get prior permission to visit.

Hotel de l’Orient at Romain Rolland Street

Built in 1809, was once the Directorate of Education and is now a hotel-restaurant-gift shop into which you might expressing your interest in its retrofitted charm even if you aren’t a guest.

Hotel Lagrenee de Meziere at Romain Rolland Street (Saint Joseph de Cluny)

Built in 1774 and once a private house, this classic colonial building was donated to the religious order of Saint Joseph de Cluny some 150 years ago. Today it houses a workshop which produces the most beautiful embroidery.

Curio Centre at Romain Rolland Street

A leading shop for antique furniture and curios. The remarkable dimension of the interior rooms, which interconnect directly with each other are notable.

Alliance Francaise at Suffren Street

This very public and busy place houses a cultural and information centre, a school for the teaching of the French language and a library.

Saint Anthony’s Shrine at Suffren Street

This is the most interesting of several small shrines in Pondy. This is one Christian place of worship where footwear is removed before entering.

Public Works Department at Bussy Street

This classic colonial Government building is notable for entrance gate, compound wall, balcony with ironwork and brackets and high arched windows.

Lycee Francais at Victor Simonel Street

It established in 1826, this institute still imparts education to hundreds of Pondicherrians in French. Special permission is required to visit this colonial place, with its well preserved shady courtyard, columns and balconies. It also has an interesting collection of old photographs of colonial puducherry and collection of very rare coins of the French East Indian Company.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Marine Street

The Samadhi is located in the Ashram where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother worked for many years. Visitors are allowed between 08.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00 every day.

Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Educaiton at Marine Street

It is notable for its entrance gate with courtyard, arched windows and parapet.

Le Foyer du Soldat at Law De Lauriston Street

This is the legion hall for retired soldiers from puducherry, who waged wars on behalf of France in Europe and the colonies. The building is interesting, with a dash of colour added to it in the form of the ‘tricouleur’ (red, white, and blue flag) fluttering in the wind.

French Institute at Saint-Louis Street

The classical colonial building is a research institute in Indian Civilization, history and society in ecology, in environment and development in South and Southeast Asia. The Centre of Indology focuses on Indian languages as a central part of India’s cultural heritage. They are preserving lot of palm leaf manuscripts. The building is notable for its entrance gate with pediment, arched staircases, arcades, windows.

Ananda Ranga Pillai House

The single most famous house of the Tamil-French style was built in 1735 across the street Ananda Rangapillai by the chief Dubash of Dupleix the Governor of puducherry. Its architecture represents an unusual fusion of French and Indian styles. This once lavishly furnished house offered fascinating glimpses into a bygone era and vanished lifestyle. However, today it has fallen upon hard times and retains very little of its former. Special permission is required to visit the mansion.

STREETSCAPE

The Vysial Street between Mission Street and M.G.Road has the remaining core of Hindu Tamil houses maintaining the earliest fusion with European style. Some of the houses in this traditional neighbourhood of rich merchants are 250 years old. It has the feature of ‘thinnai’ (a flat-ceiling platform built into the façade and supported by large wooden columns), ‘mutram’ (a central open courtyard surrounded by a colonnaded roofed space) and ‘thalvaram’ (a tiled roof extending from the sloping roof to posts or pillars at the curb, sheltered people from intense rain or shine.

19th Century pale-green and blue-trimmed houses with thick walls in Franco-Tamil-Muslim style can be seen in L’Ancien Hopital (Milad) Street and Cazy Street.

The puducherry Museum

The puducherry Museum is located on Saint Louis street and is open on all days except Mondays and national holidays between 1000-1700 hrs. The museum is located in the former Law Building. The museum has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu (an ancient port just 7 kms. from city that had trade links with the Roman empires).

The Foyer and Courtyard have various stone statues and a fossilized tree trunk.

On the ground floor, the major attraction is the central space with 3 curious transport mechanisms - a coach, a palanquin (sedan chair) and a pousse-pousse (an earlier version of the rickshaw) which required two attendants, one to steer and one to push.

The bronze gallery displays the images of gods and goddesses together with a wide collection of temple lamps; used across different dynasties down the centuries.

Pre-Christian relics which you will find here, such as remnants of Greek and Roman jars, pieces from the Tsung Periods in China and beads made from glass and precious stones were dug out from the Arikamedu site, just south of puducherry.

The museum also has a Geology room, a shell and fossil room and a collection of handicrafts, coins, church relics and French furniture.

Ananda Ranga Pillai Museum

Ananda Ranga Pillai was the celebrated dubash of Dupleix, the governor of puducherry while it flourished under the French glory. Pillai's compilation of diaries serve as a storehouse of information on the 18th century French India.

His mansion, completed sometime in 1738, is one of the oldest surviving buildings on the west side - then known as "natives' quarters".Its architecture represents a curious mix of French and Indian styles.

Bharathi Memorial Museum

Subramanya Bharathi (1882-1921), Bharathiyar to all, was a Tamil poet-patriot who arrived in puducherry in 1908 a fugitive from British India. The Free French air brought the best in Bharathi and some of his finest patriotic and romantic compositions were born here. Bharathi's home also known as Bharathi Musuem, on No. 20, Eswaran Dharamaraja Koil Street, is almost a place of pilgrimage today for the Tamil people.

Bharathidasan Museum

The Bharathidasan Museum, on No. 95 Perumal Koil Street, is the formerhouse of the renowned puducherry born poet and playwright - Bharathidasan (1891-1960) (meaning "Disciple of Bharathi"). Bharathidasan's poems compare with Bharathi's in literary achievement and poetic fervour. He also wrote scripts for films on issues such as Dravidian culture and the rights of women.

Children’s Museum

A small museum located next to the Botanical Gardens, it has a good collection of snail shells from the puducherry region.

Jawahar Toy Museum

Located next to the old lighthouse on Goubert Avenue, the museum is open on all days except Monday. This rater unusual museum has a collection of over 120 dolls, each one dressed in costumes from different Indian states. Also on display is a little ‘fairyland’ with a tiny Ganesha watching over all the proceedings.

Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are located south of the New Bus Stand.The gate leading to the garden is reminiscent of French architecture and it stands out from its immediate surroundings because it is smack in the middle of the old Tamil town. The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The French introduced many exotic plants from all over the world, many of which thrived. With over 1500 species of plants, this could actually qualify as one of the best botanical gardens in South India.

The gardens also have a musical fountain which is active over the weekends, with two shows in the evening. Check for timings and the frequency of the shows as they may change depending on the season.

Bharathi Park

The Government Park or Bharati Park is in the green centre of the French Town and its lush trees provide ample relieve from the scorching sun on a hot summer day. With children playing in ponds, on their hill or in the traffic park, grown-ups sitting or lying on granite benches, families on a picnic and occassional sit-ins of striking citizens, the park is the most appreciated public area in town. Strolling under the cool trees is as dynamic as it gets. Unless people rush to the spot when an occassional movie is being shot.

The Aayi Mandapam has become the unmistakable centre from which four lanes divide the Park in four almost equal parts. The area is dotted with ancient sculptures and not so ancient statues. Around it stand a number of stately buildings:

The Raj Nivas - The residence of the Lt. Governor, formerly the Palace of the French Governor of puducherry.

The Museum - situated opposite the Raj Nivas on St Louis Street, houses an interesting collection of excavated artifacts from Roman Times and heritage from the French Period.

Towards the east, hidden behind a thick wall and huge trees lies the former French bandstand on which the French Army Band used to play.

On the southern side are the puducherry Art Gallery, Hotel Qualithe and the Chamber of Commerce, all built with a street front in colonial style. The UCO bank is surrounded by its own garden premises. A mighty stair invites you to the interior of a traditional bank.

Past the General Hospital on the western side are the Legislative Assembly and the Cercle de Pondichéry.

Turning back towards the Raj Nivas on the left is beautiful Villa Aroumé, which houses the Ashram Dining Room.

Keezhoor

There is a huge banyan tree near the village here. The canopy of the 400 year old tree covers a few acres at the very least. Kizhoor a border village is situated at a distance of nearly 28 kms from puducherry. It is a historic place in the sense that it is here only in the year 1954. Voting took place for the merger of puducherry with the Indian Union. As part of the celebrations of 50th Anniversary of De-facto puducherry, a permanent Exhibition of paintings relating to the merger of puducherry was opened at the Kizhoor Monument.

Chunnambar Backwater

Chunnambar is situated 8 kms from puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cozy seaside tent for yourself. Overnighting within the tree-houses on the backwater banks provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.

The beach at Chunnambar also known as Plage Paradiso, is located near the mouth of the backwater. The sand is pristine and the water, clean. It's and ideal place for sun bathing and beach sports.

A short, pleasant cruise into the sea from here could reward you with the memorable sight of playful dolphins in natural habitat, horsing around.

Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, a PTTDC enterprise, has boating, backwater boat tours, trekking and picnics on Paradise Beach for friends and families. The resort offers various kinds of rental boats (speed, motor, sail, rowed paddled and peddalled) in addition to beach volleyball and other beach sports.

Seagulls the multicuisine restaurant cum bar is a stone's throw from the backwater. It specialises in Chinese and Tandoori food. The restaurant too has a view of the backwaters. It is an ideal setting for a theme party or an offbeat get-together. It also serves food in the huts just outside the restaurant. You can also order a picnic lunch to the beach and you shall be served there in style.

Here accommodation is available on the three tree top houses that offer you the bliss of ecotourism. You can either read a novel, paint, listen to music, meditate or even stay overnight, all on the top of a tree!

'Sunrise Panorama' (a two storey tree top house) gives you an unrestricted view of the backwater up to its mouth. 'Palm house' on the other hand overlooks the artificial pond and the park. 'Nest bird' is the perfect abode for the adventure loving folks, it has a rope ladder that leads to a small balcony. All in a tree house!

Arikamedu, the ancient Roman trade centre is 4 Kms. south of puducherry on the right bank of Ariyankuppam river. It has a long history that dates back to the second century B.C. The port town was inhabited by Romans, Cholas and French who left their mark on this wonderful place. The Roman treasure trail and Arikamedu river cruise take you down the History lane. An unforgettable experience that you wouldn't want to miss.

ARIKAMEDU 200 B.C -200 A.D.

Arikamedu a fishing colony was used as a port for trade with the Romans and Greco-Romans. An ancient Chola coin dating back to 1 B.C. suggests involvement of Cholas in various port related activities. Some names on seals that were found here have been mentioned in the Sangam literature as well. Besides maritime commerce there seems to be evidence of inland trade with other 'megalithic' sites like Kaveripattinam, Alagankulam, Musiri and Suttukeni along river valley routes. Jouveau-Dubreail identified Arikamedu as Poduke in the Periplus Maris Erythraei. Later the site was divided into two sectors northern and southern as they were perceived to have been inhabited by different ethnic groups. It is also known as 'Yavanas' in Tamil literature.

THE ANCIENT TRADE

Wine seems to have been a major import as traces of Amphora jars suggest.'Yavanas' and wine have been mentioned in the same breath in Tamil literature- "having increased the joy by giving to the girls of shining bangles, who every day have taken in hands, vessels beautified by gold, to drink the cool, fragrant wine brought by the Yavanas in beautiful bowls". Besides wine Garum sauce and Olive oil were also imported.

The exports must have included textile, beads, semiprecious gems, glass and shell bangles as wastage at the manufacturing site suggest. Even today if one looks carefully, after about of heavy rains, one can find beads on the bank of the river.

The Romans must have used the Red Sea to come to India as traces of beads have been found in Alexandria and other Red Sea ports

ARIKAMEDU IN MEDIEVAL TIMES

Formerly it was considered that Arikamedu was abandoned after 200 A.D. but fragments of Amphoras and a copper coin of Constantine I minted between 306-324 A.D. suggest that Arikamedu was occupied from 300 A.D. to 700 A.D. There is also considerable evidence to suggest that the site was occupied during medieval Chola times . Finds of Chola coins, Chinese Celadon pottery and other East Asian glazed ceramics suggest occupation of the site and some involvement in the Medieval East-West maritime trade as well. Some pottery found here are very similar to the eleventh century pottery of Gangaikondacholapuram Decorated spouts of water jars and clay lamps of the medieval period are also present.

Two perpendicular walls were accidently laid open and it was suggested that the bricks of this wall and that found in Gangaikondacholapuram are similar, though one cannot be sure. Therefore it is not possible to place the walls in any specific time period yet.

ARIKAMEDU IN MODERN TIMES

Between 1771-73 Monsieur Pigneau de Behaine, designated Bishop of Adran, built a seminary and residence on the eastern part of the mount for the Jesuit missionaries driven out of Siam .

It was abandoned in 1783. The remaining walls of the seminary clearly indicate the use of mixed style of bricks, some of them, probably pilfered from ancient structures.

The mission house has been the point of reference for all excavators viz. Wheeler, Casal and Vimala Begely and co. There doesn't seem to be evidence of any other structure belonging to this French period. There are a few fragments of decorative ceramic tiles and reliefs, pieces of pottery and glass in the puducherry Museum.

ARIKAMEDU TODAY

Except for the perpendicular walls and mission house there is not much that can be seen on the surface as the excavated trenches have been filled up. Coconut and Mango trees are there in abundance. Its almost like they are intent upon reminding one to step out of the time machine into the realm of reality. The plantations take your breath away. The mangoes hanging from the lower branches feel like the forbidden fruit and the orchard itself truns into the garden of Eden.

To experience the aura of Arikamedu you'll have to do more than read this brochure. You have ot go there. Let History seep into your bones.

Restaurants rise or fall with the quality of their food, and chefs are notoriously fickle and footloose. Service and ambience can also make or break a meal's pleasure, likewise a bad stomach can easily interrupt the joys of a pleasant holiday.

Puducherry has different types of restaurants for different types of food. Usually the food is comparatively clean, but it is advisable to order bottled mineral water if one is not sure to get filtered, ozone treated water served. Restaurants are categorised into four: Continental, South Indian - Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian, North Indian - Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian, French, Chinese and Vietnamese

CONTINENTAL, FRENCH & EUROPEAN FOODS

Foreign and other visitors normally gravitate to three restaurants in the French Quarter, two of them next door to each other. Like many Pondy restaurants, their menus contain many categories (the "multi-cuisine" Continental, Chinese and Indian) but they are probably best (and most relied on) for "European" food, including fresh salads which are as safe to eat at these places as anywhere in India, bar Auroville. Why not try them all?

CONTINENTAL FRENCH & EUROPEAN FOODS

 

 

NAME

ADDRESS

PHONE NO.

 

Le Club

38, Dumas Street ,
Puducherry – 605 001

2339745
4210592

Satsanga

Labourdonnais Street ,
Puducherry – 605 001

2225867

 Au Feu de Bois

Bussy Street, 
Puducherry – 605 001

2224572, 2225867

 Carte Blanche in Hotel De L’ Orient

17 Romain Rolland Street ,
Puducherry – 605 001

2343067/68

 The Bistro Café 

38, Dumas Street ,
Puducherry – 605 001

2339745
4210592

 Rendezvous

30, Suffren Street , 
Puducherry – 605 001

2339132, 2330238

 Santhé

Romain Rolland Street , 
Puducherry – 605 001

4308885

 Satsanga

13, Bussy Street, 
Puducherry – 605 001

2225867

 La Terrasse

Beach Road
Puducherry – 605 001

 

 Le Tirous

Labourdonnais Street , 
Puducherry – 605 001

 

OTHER RELIABLE MULTICUISINE

 

NAME

ADDRESS

PHONE NO.

 

L’Heritage at Hotel Anandha Inn

S.V. Patel Road ,
Puducherry – 605 001

2333124, 2330711

Renaissance at the Annamalai International Hotel

Kamaraj Salai, Saram, Puducherry – 605 013

2247001

Nanda at Hotel Mass

Maraimalai Adigal Salai, Puducherry – 605 001

4207001

Seagulls Restaurant

Beach Road , 
Puducherry – 605 001 

 

Salt and Pepper

S.V.Patel Salai (Ambur Salai), Puducherry – 605 001

 

Masala Zone Tandoori(Le Club)

38, Dumas Street ,
Puducherry

2339745
4210592

 

here are five major Shopping area's for visitors

  • Anna Salai
  • Nehru Street (J.N.Street)
  • Mahatma Gandhi Street (M.G.Street)
  • Cathedral Street (Mission Street)
  • Romain Rolland Street

All the sops open from 10.00 a.m to 01.00 p.m and 04.00 p.m to 10.00 p.m. Most shops close on Sunday.

puducherry is the favourite stomping ground of the passionate shopper. It's an octroi - free destination for everything from cars to consumer goods. In addition, there is an enticingly low incidence of sales tax. Shop - hoppers will also relish the pleasant ambience of the boutiques in puducherry, which cater to a wide range of tastes, offering stylish garments, semi - precious stones, perfumes, hand - made incense, candles embossed with real petals, marbled silks and aromatherapy products. One can also find a variety of handicrafts from Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, Kashmir, Tibet and puducherry of course.

Textiles:

puducherry has long been a centre for the production of household linen and garment textiles.Furniture puducherry offers antique furniture and curios such as refinished Tamil, Keralite, and French and British colonial furniture.

Leather:

Making leather the forgotten way, with exacting attention to detail, is what separates the puducherry brands from the rest. Carefully finshed, innovative products with quality can be found in many leather shops in Pondy.

Pottery :

Excellent ceramic artists and artisans work in puducherry and Auroville. They keep a keen eye out for the right kind of clay and glazes and make the kilns appropriate to the local environment. Lending their signature an elegant simplicity and a unique decorative flourish.

Aromatics:

The aromatics in puducherry is world famous for high - quality non - toxic incense sticks and cones as well as scented candles, perfumed oils and sachets, incense holders, ceramic holders and diffusers.

Foods:

A variety of jams is produced by Naturellement in Auroville. Some of the produces available are jellies, jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, French mustard, peanut butter and other exotic preserves. One can also find snacking cheeses and the cooking kind in Auroville. puducherry is famous for its mineral water of which Pondichérry Mineral Water by PASIC is the most known.

Unique Products of puducherry

  • puducherry art
  • Handicraft items
  • Leather products
  • Fashions from Auroville
  • Aromatics from locals, ashram and auroville
  • Handmade paper products
  • Ashram mementoes
  • Ceramic tableware and décor items
  • Décor items from village artisans
  • South Indian collectibles
  • Antique furniture
  • Modern design furniture
  • European cuisine and French bakery items.

World Class Products at Indian prices

  • Leather
  • Modern fashions
  • Silk saries & Textiles
  • Smart casual wear
  • Men’s Shoes
  • Jewellery
  • Watches
  • Modern décor items
  • Indian art
  • Glassware
  • Leather products and Luggage
  • Music and Film CDs and DVDs
  • Bicycles
  • Vegetables
  • Ice Creams & Pizza
  • Spirits

AROUND PONDY

Keezhoor

There is a huge banyan tree near the village here. The canopy of the 400 year old tree covers a few acres at the very least. This is one of the oldest banyan tree in the whole of South India. Kezhoor is just off the road to Villianur.

Marakanam

As per Roman records, this coastal town had been a major port in the 1st Century AD. Kelveli tank near here is an important winter refuge for thousands of migratory birds.

Mandagapattu

Mandagapattu is home to a 7th Century Cave Temple, which is most probably one of the earliest Pallava shrines discovered in the area. Mandagapattu is located 60 Kms. north-west of puducherry. 2 Kms east of the road leading to Gingee. This 7th Century Cave Temple is comparable to those at Mamallapuram and Trichy.

Gingee

For those for an ‘off the beaten track’ experience, Gingee is the ideal place. Located around 68 Kms. from puducherry. Gingee is home to a huge fort complex (stands tall on the 800 ft hill), spread over three hills with the ruins of a place, a temple, a mosque, a granary, an auditorium, stables and even a harem among other structures. Start off early in the morning as the heat will become unbearable once the sun is up. Take stocks of food and enough drinking water.

Singavaram

Singavaram is about 4 km from Gingee. The temple of Lord Ranganatha, is on top of the hill. This 7th Century Cave Temple is a good specimen of South Indian type of rock-cut-shrine. The idol of Lord Ranganatha in a reclining posture, measures 24 ft in length, it is said to be bigger than the idol in Srirangam

Thalavanur

Located about 16 km from Gingee. Thalavanur is home to the Shatru Malleswaralayam rock cut temple. This temple was built by the Pallava King. This is a fine example of temple architecture built without the use of conventional materials.

Thiruvannamalai

102 Kms. from puducherry, Thiruvannamalai is celebrated for the Arunachala Temple. One of the largest temples in South India, built between the 16th and 17th centuries by the Vijayanagara kings. The main deity here is Siva. The tallest of the gopuram here is over 66 m in height. The 1000 pillared hall and the gopuram have some excellent carvings. Ramana Maharshi Ashram is one of the South India’s most sought after spiritual centers and it is the home of samathi of Sri Ramana Maharishi.

Panamalai

Located around 75 km west of puducherry on the road from Villupuram to Vettavalam, this village is home to the Talagrishvara Temple. This 8th century shrine belonging to the Pallava period was built entirely out of red granite.

Vedanthangal

Vedanthangal is 105 km from puducherry just off the NH to Chennai. Vedanthangal is a bird sanctuary. The sanctuary attracts numerous water fowls and provides their main nesting site. The best season to visit is from November to February. The sanctuary is open from 0600 – 1800 hrs.

Chidambaram

Just 58 kms from puducherry. This is one of the most important temple towns in Tamil Nadu. The Nataraja Temple is famous for its sculptures and massive structure. The Annamalai University here specializes in Tamil Studies and Carnatic music.

Pichavaram

Pichavaram is located 15 km east of Chidambaram. Pichavaram on the mouth of the three rivers is a cluster of over 50 tiny islands amidst hundred of canals in the mangrove forest. Row boats are available on hire. Take a guide along as it easy to get lost in the maze of tunnel like cannals.

Gangaikondacholapuram

This historically significant town is 88 km from puducherry. This town is home for magnificent ‘Brihadeeshwara temple’ (like the temple in Tanjavur).

Poompuhar

This small village on the mouth of the river Kaveri was one of the major port of the Cholas. Poompuhar has a decent beach.

Tharangambadi

Tharangambadi is a coastal town 24 km south of Chidambaram. Interestingly this sleepy little town was an important Danish settlement. The remarkably intact Danesh Fort, which overlooks the sea was built in 1620.

Karaikal

In and around Karaikal there are many tourist important places, and holy Shiva and Vaishnava temples are situated which are all recorded in the holy books of Nayanmars and Alwars.Many places of interest are in the Karaikal region in the view of tourist and pilgrim.

Nagapattinam

Located around 170 km from puducherry this fishing town was a former Chola Port and a major centre for Buddhism and it served as emporium for textiles and spices.

Nagore

176 Km from puducherry, this coastal town is world famous for the tomb of the Muslim Saint Hazrat Miya.

Velankanni

184 km from puducherry, Velankanni, is a very popular Roman Catholic pilgrimage centre and is home to the imposing Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health.

Picture perfect places

Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam make the picture perfect for puducherry. Adding a charm to the life and times that define puducherry the three cities give a unique peep into the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Karaikal

Karaikal is on the east coast about 132 kms. south of puducherry and 300 kms. south of Chennai located on the Coromandal Coast of the Bay of Bengal.

Karaikal is known all over the country for its unique and the only temple devoted to the Lord Saneeswara (Lord Saturn) at Thirunallar. More than two thousands pilgrims visit this temple everyday. The Sani Peyarchi festival is the “Kumbh Mela of puducherry” attracting lakhs of devotees. It is the destination for those who seek piety, serenity and leisure.

Karaikal is the Gateway to various places of worship in the eastern coast of Tamilnadu. Two famous shrines Velankanni for Christians and Nagore for Muslims are nearby Karaikal. Tranquebar Fort is just 8 kms from here.

Main language spoken in the district are Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam.

Mahe

Mahe is the flavour of Kerala of puducherry. Situated near the western part of Kerala on the Malabar Coast of the Arabian Sea. Mahe is about 630 kms from puducherry by road, 704 kms from Chennai by rail.

Mahe is bounded on the south-west by the Arabian sea on the north by river Ponniyar (Moolakadavu) and on the other sides by a stretch of calcareous hills of medium height which are linked to the ghats by a series of wooded hillocks. Total area of the region is 9 sq.kms. The river Mahe, which flows towards the west divides the region into two distinct parts. Mahe town like south of river Mahe near its juncture wit the sea.

The small land its every nook and corner has got its own wonderful story to tell which keeps your eyes wild with awe and excitement.

Main languages spoken in the region are Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu

Yanam

Situated on the east cost of the Indian Peninusla, Yanam (in Andhra Pradesh) is one of the region of the Union Territory of puducherry and is 870 Kms. away from it. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal.

“YANAM” means seashore in the dialect of Vijayanagaram and that this territory might have been called thus due its proximity with the seacoast.

The town of Yanam likes on the spot where the river Koringa (Atreya) branches off from Gauthami. The region covers an area of 30 sq.m. The region is bounded on the East and South by river Goringa Godavari. The river meanders through luxurious mangrove forests and discharges itself into the Bay of Bengal after flowing almost 14 kilometers towards south east of Yanam. A cruise at sunset down this river is most spectacular.

The climate here is tropical with hot summer and moderate winters.

Main languages spoken in the region are Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam

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Home Stay

Meeranjali

(Different types of Home Stays and other staying and boarding related services can be provided as per the budget on enquiry)

Ahmedabad is the seventh largest metropolitan city in India, with a population of approximately 5.2 million. Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, the city is the administrative centre of Ahmedabad district and was the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970; the capital was shifted to Gandhinagar thereafter. In colloquial Gujarati, the city is commonly called Amdavad.

Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate, and was named after him. Under the British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernized and expanded. Though incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during British rule, Ahmedabad remained the most important city in the Gujarat region. The city established itself as the home of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname the "Manchester of the East. The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century. It was the centre of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote workers' rights rights and political independence.

With the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad gained prominence as commercial capital of the state. The city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. A rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries, Ahmedabad remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat and much of western India.

Culture


Festivals

Ahmedabad enjoys a thriving cultural tradition, being the centre of Gujarati cultural activities and diverse traditions of different ethnic and religious communities. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan — an annual kite-flying day on 14 and 15 January. The nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba — the folk dance of Gujarat — at venues across the city. The festival of lights — Deepavali is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, the decorating the floors with the rangoli and the bursting of firecrackers. Other festivals such as Holi,Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudi Padwa, Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas are celebrated with enthusiasm. The annualRath Yatra procession on the Ashadh-sud-bij date of the Hindu calendar and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are integral parts of the city's culture.

Cuisine

The people of Ahmedabad enjoy rich culinary traditions. The most popular form of meal — a typical Gujarati thali (meal) — consists of rotli, dal, rice and Shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes withcurry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted papads. Popular beverages include buttermilkand tea; sweet dishes include laddoos and mango. There are many restaurants, which serve a wide array of Indian and international cuisines. Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city's Jain and Hindu communities. The first all-vegetarian Pizza Hut in the world opened in Ahmedabad. Ice creams are consumed in plenty. Amul has many ice-cream parlours in Ahmedabad. Honest restaurant serves variety of ice creams. On Sundays dinner for most families, from the lower middle class to rich, are in restaurants. After having a Gujarati Thali, one should have a pan for smooth digestion. There are many Pan Stalls located near hotels and restaurants in the city.

Surat formerly known as Suryapur, is the Commercial Capital City of Gujarat, also India's eighth largest metropolitan city. The city proper is the one of the most populous cities in the world. Surat is the administrative capital of Surat district and Surat Metropolitan Region.

The city is situated on the left bank of the Tapti River, 14 miles from its mouth. The Population of Surat with its twin city Navsari is above 6.2 million as of 2010. A moat divides the older parts of the city, with its narrow streets and handsome houses, and the newer suburbs. The city is largely recognized for its textile and diamond businesses. It is also known as the diamond capital of the world and the textile capital of India. 92% of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat. Surat is also the Third cleanest city in India after Chandigarh and Mysore. Surat was once the largest city in India. It has one of the highest GDP growth rates in India at 11.5% as of 2008[1]. Surat was the primary port of India during the Mughal period, a distinction it lost to Bombay during the British Raj.

Culture and Festivals

Surat is known for its Surti cuisine, which includes perennial favorites such as Ghari (a type of mithai), Locho, Undhiyu, Rasaawala Khaman, and Surti Chinese. Surti cuisine is not as sweet as other Gujarati food, and is quite spicy. Roadside kiosks, called "laaris" or "rekdis", are popular. In the cooler winter months, Surtis converge at river Tapi's banks to eat Ponk, a roasted cereal that is available only in this part of the world.

All major Indian festivals are celebrated in Surat. Navratri, Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with great enthusiasm. The kite-flying festival of Utraan which falls on Makar Sankranti — 14 January — is very popular in the city. It is also well known for the celebration of Chandi Padvo which usually occurs around October and is a holiday unique to Surat. This day comes after one of the two biggest full moon days of the Hindu calendar year, "Sharad Purnima". On this day, Surtis buy almost 100 tons of Ghari and other Surti delicacies, then head to the city's seaside beach area, Dumas where they have dinner and a late night snack under the full moonlit sky.

Places of interest

The Chintamani Jain Temple — The exquisite wooden carvings and paintings are the major attractions of the temple. The temple actively maintained and visited by the city's Jains is situated in the Shahpor area and dates back to 15 century and houses some extremely rare paintings of the Jain monk Acharya Hemachandra, and of the Solanki King Kumarpal. Any visit to the city would be incomplete without a visit here especially f or Jains.

Dutch Garden — The ancient Dutch gardens, the Dutch cemetery and Makaipul, the ancient original port from where the ships sailed to other parts of the world are other attractions.

The Surat Fort — The Old Fort was built by Muhammad bin Tughluq in the 1546 to fortify the defence against the Bhils. It is now used for municipal offices.

Mughal Sarai - This sarai, or guest house, was constructed in mid 17th century under Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for pilgrims en route to Mecca, and briefly served as a jail in 1857. The finely crafted archways and dome now stand over the Surat Municipal Corporation offices.

The Sardar Patel Museum — Established in 1898, and originally called the Winchester Museum;, this museum has a collection of over 10,000 specimens of arts and crafts.

Rangupavan — It is an open air theater with a 18 meters by 10.5 meters stage and a capacity of around 4000 spectators. This is one of the biggest theaters in the country. Rangupavan was recently closed.

Gaurav Path — A well planned and well-built 6 lane Expresswayto decongest the traffic in Piplod area of the city. Home of multiplexes, shopping malls, show-rooms, restaurants and much more. This expressway connects Surat with its airport and Port of Magdalla. SVNIT is also located on it as well as the beautiful 'Lake View Garden'. Streching this expressway to Dumas is under consideration.

Choppati — This is also a very popular place in the city. It has a large garden and provides Indian fastfood like Paav Bhajee and Pani puri.

Udhana - An Edge Town only 7kms south of Surat hosts more than 3000 industrial units and corporates. Also the place where the HUB skyscraper is being proposed. Also Gateway of Southern Gujarat.

Saputara is a hill station in the Sahyadri Hills only 170 km from Surat at an altitude of 1340 meters above sea level. Lying at a higher altitude Saputara has a cool climate and dense forest. Also known as the Nilgiris of Gujarat.

Wilson Hills, Gujarat is a hill station in the Sahyadri ranges of Valsad district near dharampur at an altitude of 850 meters(2700 feet) above sea level. The nearest hill station of Surat. It enjoys a cool and a serenity climate throughout the year. The place is also famous for the Asia's most dense forest. It is only 120 kms from Surat.

Vansda National Park — It is situated in the Navsari district and is home to leopards, tigers, panthers,pythons and wild boars. The best time to visit is between July and January.

Beaches — There are a number of beaches near Surat. Only 16 km away, Dumas is a popular resort with locals. Suvali is 28 km from the city and Ubhrat is 42 km out, while Tithal is 108 km away and only five km from Valsad on the Mumbai to Vadodara railway line. Suvali has two wells with water rich in iron and sulphur. Suvali beach is fringed by feathery casurina trees.

Thirty-nine kilometres south of Surat, Navsari- The Twin city of Surat has been a headquarters for the Parsi community since the earliest days of their settlement in India. Udvada, only 10 km north of Vapi, the station for Daman, has the oldest Parsi sacred fire in India. It is said that the fire was brought from Persia to Diu, on the opposite coast of the Gulf of Cambay, in AD 700. Sanjan, in the extreme south of the state, is the small port where the Parsis first landed; a pillar marks the spot.

The Dutch Cemetery — Located near Kataragam Gate, this impressive mausoleum is that of Baron Hendrik Adriaan Van Rheede tot Drakenstein, who died in 1691. A massive Dome, beautiful pillars and the huge gallery make it a very outstanding monument.

Science City — One of the best Science City in India. Developed by the Surat Municipal Corporation in City Light Town and is one of the most attractive places in the city.

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