Travel Category

The 10 Best Travel Books That Will Ignite Curiosity and Deepen your Love for India

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There is a famous saying “the thing about books is they let you travel without moving your feet” and this is one of the best ways to travel when you are unable to do so. A way to satiate your travel lust till you can actually travel to India, travel books make you travel to places, uncover the deepest of secrets and enrich you with incredible experiences. India is a land of infinite travel experiences and the travel books capture the charms of the land that ignites curiosity and deepen your love for India.

If you are a voracious reader and lived life through the books or just starting with reading, the travel books about India will take you to a world of wonders, inspire you, and in fact change you forever.

Let’s run down some of the best travel books about India that are a must read for the love of the country.

1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi - William Dalrymple

The City of Djinns is written with much love by William Dalrymple who has been enamored by India and especially the capital city, Delhi. The book narrates a curious tale of the centuries-long history of the eight cities of Delhi along with the legend of the djinn, the spirit that assures the restoration of the city like a phoenix, no matter the times it has been destroyed.

2. Chasing the Monsoon - Alexander Frater

As the name suggests the travelogue by Alexander Farter is all about Chasing the Monsoon in India and thereby exploring this vast and diverse land in all its glory. The beautiful descriptions of flooded paddy fields to rain-washed monuments, the blissful season of monsoons is lovingly captured in all its moods, soothing the reader and te traveller.

3. No Full Stops in India – Mark Tully

A must read for travellers in love with India, the book beautifully capture the love story between this BBC correspondent and India. The half-century long love affair with India is fondly captured with an account of travels through the country and his reflections. The everyday stories make you fall in love with India and experience affectionate feelings for the country.

4. Q&A – Vikas Swarup

A thought-provoking tale of the diversity of India, this novel is the script of multiple Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. The story speaks about the contrasts which exist in the urban landscape of metropolitan India. The of various cultures, various people and all their stories and the hope that make India a true treasure to explore.

5. A Passage to India – E.M Forster

A must read for the tarvellers in love with India, a Passage to India is one of the 100 great works of 20th century English literature by the Modern Library and is considered to be one of the most beautiful accounts describing pre-Independence India. The story is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It paints the colourful and charming painting of vast and diverse India.

6. Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India ­– Pankaj Mishra

A light-hearted book that narrates the tale of travelling in India, Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India is a fascinating read. The name of the book is taken from one of India’s most favorite meal for non-vegetarians- the savory Butter Chicken. The tale is about the author’s encounters with the charming people of India and the fascinating culture while exploring places such as Mandi, Pushkar, Kottayam, Murshidabad, and extensive travel through small towns in India.

7. Wanderings in India and Other Sketches of Life in Hindostan – John Lang

A fascinating travelogue for travellers who are want to explore India or discover the country in a new light, the Wanderings in India and Other Sketches of Life in Hindostan is a must-read. The fantastic narrative of India during the colonial times and the many lifestyle habits of the British, this book helps travelers explore the colonial architecture of India in its various hill stations and cities now.

8. Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India – William Dalrymple

An Indian travelogue, the Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India is another masterpiece by William Dalrymple. The novel captures an experience of the spirituality of this diverse land through the narration of the lives of nine Indians from different religious backgrounds and the uniqueness that each exudes. This is a must-read for the ones who are in awe of the magical world of India.

9. Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found – Suketu Mehta

This Pulitzer Prize finalist, Maximum City is a must read for travellers curious about India or in deep love with India. The chronicle of India’s most vibrant metropolis, Mumbai, the novel captures the extremities of life, the colourful characters within the ‘the biggest, fastest, richest city in India’ and the unity and charms within the vast diversity.

10. All Roads Lead to Ganga – Ruskin Bond

A lovely piece of writing by the classic novelist Ruskin Bond, this is also a must read. It is a masterfully-crafted painting of the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand and the author who has lovingly made his home here. It reads like a love letter to the Indian countryside and especially the nature of Dehradun, Mussoorie, and the Char Dham pilgrimage routes to the source of the Ganga (Ganges) River.

While the list of travel books that deepens the love for India is vast, we specifically chose the top ten must reads.

 


The Top Seven Heritage Sites in India on the Ultimate Bucket list

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Monuments are the heart and soul of India's history. The Taj Mahal is but of course the most recognized monument in India, but there are also many more. India has 38 UNESCO World Heritage Site to its name; many among them are incredible specimens of architecture, heritage and culture. So, when you are planning your India tour packages, plan a visit to the most amazing heritage sites in India.

Before going through the list of the must-visit heritage sites in India, a brief must be given about the Taj Mahal in Agra the most popular of architectural wonders in India. The Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world that is also the most-photgraphed sites in India.

Beyond the Taj Mahal, take a look at the top heritage sites in India that must be on your bucketlist.

        1. Temples at Khajuraho

The architectural masterpiece of The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is one of the treasures of heritage of India. The group of Hindu and Jain Temples in Central India are well known for erotic figures and sculptures. The stone carvings capture sensuality in a very beautiful way. Both human as well as animal forms in erotic poses are intriguing. Dating back to the years between 950 to 1050 CE, the temples were built in the reign of the Chandela dynasty. The architectural finesse is extraordinary and worth exploring and are enlisted among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

        2. Forts of Rajasthan

The mighty forts of Rajasthan are undoubtedly some of the most prized sites of Indian heritage. The Hill Forts of Rajasthan are the epitome of incredible architecture and defensive strategy. Witness to some of the most interesting episodes of history, some of the hill forts are inscribed as UNESCO World heritage Sites. The six forts include Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort, and Jaisalmer Fort, each a masterpiece of grandeur, planning and intriguing to explore.

        3. Humayun’s Tomb

The inspiration behind Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb is an architectural wonder. The first of its kind, the garden mausoleum is a grand marvel of the Mughal architectural style.  Nestled in the lush greenery of Central Delhi, the garden tomb is pictorial setting inspired by the description of paradise in the Holy Quran. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is magnificent to awe at.

        4. Ajanta-Ellora Caves

The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The caves are well known for their Indian-rock cut architecture. A treasured amalgam of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religious mythology, these caves are testimony of the tolerance which was extended towards different faiths and beliefs in Ancient Indian History.

Ajanta Caves date back around the 2nd- 6th century CE and comprise of the finest masterpieces of 31 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments, paintings, and sculptures. Ellora has about 34 rock-cut temples and caves which can be dated to about 600 to 1000 AD.

        5. Qutub Minar

A brick minaret might not sound interesting but when it comes to Qutub Minar, it is definitely awe-inspiring. Towering at 73m in height, the Qutub Minar was built in the owner of a Sufi Saint, highly patronised by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the ruler of the Slave Dynasty in the early 12th century. In the ruins are also several ancient monuments like one of the first mosques in India.

        6. Ruins of Hampi

One of the most fascinating heritage sites in India, the ruins of Hampi deserve as much as attention as the Taj Mahal. Once the pride of the prosperous kingdom of Vijayanagara, now the ruins are marvelous specimens of Dravidian art and architecture date back to the 16-17th centuries. The open-air museum is displays finest of artistic craftsmanship. Hampi stands as the last remains of one of the mightiest empires of South India.

        7. Fatehpur Sikri

A city of heritage sites, Fatehpur SIkri is worthy of its status among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On the outskirts of Agra, the city was a capital of the Mughal Empire for a decade before being abandoned. Known as the 'City of Victory', the walled city is full of marvelous Mughal buildings and incredible architecture. Starting from its mighty entry gate ‘Buland Darwaza’ to the many palaces, tombs and gardens, the city is a testimony of wonderful marvels. Though abandoned for centuries, the city still retains its bygone charm.


Exploring Mountains, Monasteries and Tea Gardens of Darjeeling

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An absolute paradise on earth, Darjeeling is one the most sought-after destination of North East India. The beautiful hill station is a mix of splendid mountains of the Himalayas draped in snow, alluring tea gardens, colonial architecture, ancient monasteries, enjoyable ride on the toy train, and other cherished experiences

Courtesy to the magnificent mountain backdrop, Darjeeling has earned a name as the “Queen of the Himalayas”.  What more is the hill town is perfect for vacations with family, a romantic honeymoon; a holiday to discover the unexplored North East, or anything you wish, Darjeeling fits all requirements. In fact is Darjeeling and Sikkim tours are the perfect getaway in North East India.

Here’s our checklist of the best of Darjeeling Tours (North India Tour Packages)  

Tiger Hill: The sunrise point

The outstanding panoramic view of the Himalayas, especially the mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga, the Tiger Hill stands at an astonishing height of 2,500 meters. The tourist puller showcases the best view at sunrise. The view of the sun rising over the Kangchenjunga is spectacular and something to cherish throughout the lifetime. The best time for the incredible views from the Tiger Hill is from mid October to mid January.

Ghoom Monastery: Darjeeling’s oldest Tibetan Monastery

A scenic tourist attraction, the Ghoom Monastery is one of the must-visit places of Darjeeling. A holy shrine of Buddhists built in 1875; it is one of the popular monasteries in North East India. Home of a 15-ft high statue of ‘Maitreya Buddha’ the monastery complex has many treasures of the goodness of religious bells, intricately decorated thangkas, drums and more. Walk through the holy shrine and feel the serenity, interact with prayerful monks, and participate in Buddhist rituals.

Japanese Peace Pagoda: A serene farewell

Another pilgrimage site for Buddhists, the Japanese Peace Pagoda was built atop a hill overlooking the mountains in 1970. The white marble shrine is an icon of peace and harmony. According to the Buddhist Lotus Sutra the structure has the four avatars of Lord Buddha. Mystical music of drums, chants of prayers and the serenity imparts all visitors to new heights to divinity.

Happy Valley Tea Garden: Oldest tea estate of Darjeeling

The beautiful tea gardens of Darjeeling are a unique beauty. Darjeeling tea finds mention among the elite collection of a tea connoisseur. Valleys and rolling hills of the town are covered in a layer of budding tea gardens.

Walk amid the lush estates, watch the workers pluck fresh leaves to brew and there are also options to learn the entire process of tea-making. Darjeeling’s Happy Valley Tea Garden is worth exploring. Stretching across 437 acres area, this is the oldest tea estate of Darjeeling and a popular tourist attraction.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: ‘Aim to climb from peak to peak’

The mighty mountains of Himalayas always capture the attention. Be it adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers or a holiday seeker, mountains are always inspiring, The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute allows to capture the mighty heights. Founded in 1954 in the memory of Tenzing Norgay who was the first to climb the Everest, the mountaineering institute helps you aim to climb from peak to peak. The instituer comprise of a tall climbing wall for training purpose, museum, souvenir shop, eatery and an auditorium, which features movies, lectures, and workshops on mountaineering.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR): A joyride with the Toy-train

Inscribed with World Heritage Status by UNESCO, the Darjeeling Toy train is not just an icon of incredible engineering but also a marvelous ride. The train starts from the plains and rises to 2050 meters above sea level. The toy train passes through some of most beautiful views of the mountains, lush jungles, sheer drops and amazing bridges and more. A trip of the Darjeeling Toy Train is one of the best experiences of tours in India and not just the breathtaking North East India.

Batasia Loop: Darjeeling’s spiral railway

Along with the Darjeeling Toy Train, the Batasia Loop is one of the must-visit attractions of the hill station. Spread across an area of 50,000 square feet, the railway track assists the Toy Train to journey around a circular loop that ultimately takes you to the mighty heights of Darjeeling. Besides its beauty, the site is an engineering marvel that makes it possible for the train to get to the heights.

With lush gardens, eateries and incredible vistas of the panorama, Batasia Loop is an amazing site to soak in the pleasures of Darjeeling.

The Mall: A leisure stroll

To truly experience Darjeeling, the Mall Road is the place to not miss out. Located in the heart of the town, the lane is full of markets and the best eateries. Savor the best of Nepali, Tibetan, and other cuisines. Shop for handicrafts, carpets, metal figurines, shawls and other local wares at the many stores on the Mall road.

Darjeeling tours are an experience of a lifetime. To make it all the more special, stay at the best hotels of the hill station. Choose to stay at the Glenburn Tea Estate to experience the bliss of tea gardens. For the colonial feel, there are many other choices. The Elgin Hotel is a 120-year-old residence, reminiscent of the days of the British Raj. Windamere Hotel is one of the three Jewels of the Raj.

Trekking in Darjeeling is one of the best adventures to try. Sikkim tours is also a wonderful addition with Darjeeling.

 


COVID-19 Travel Advisory

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Ministry of Tourism(Government of India)

New Delhi, 14th March, 2020


The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) as a global pandemic.  In order to contain the spread of the disease, Government of India has taken the following measures :-

(i) All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13thMarch 2020 at the port of departure. 

(ii) Visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is kept in abeyance till April 15th 2020. This has come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure.

(iii) Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission.

(iv) All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15thFebruary, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13thMarch 2020 at the port of departure. 

(v) Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India. 

(vi) Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

(vii) Provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy to be made and collection for samples to be organized accordingly. Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days. 

(viii) All types of passenger movements through all Immigration Land Check Posts located at Indo-Bangladesh border, Indo-Nepal Border, Indo-Bhutan Border and Indo-Myanmar Border will be suspended with effect from 0000 hours March 15th 2020 till further orders except through designated posts as mentioned in MHA OM No25022/12/2017-Imm dated 13th March 2020.
https://www.mohfw.gov.in/GuidelinesDT13032020.pdf

(ix) Travellers are further advised to adhere to advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 11th March 2020 
https://www.mohfw.gov.in/ConsolidatedTraveladvisoryUpdated11032020.pdf

(x) Frequently Asked Questions on New Visa restrictions in view of COVID-19 outbreak may be seen at the following link:-
https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/images/faq-covid-19.pdf

*****
 

ADVISORY FOR COVID-19 issued by ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ADMINISTRATION SECRETARIAT (Port Blair, dated the 14th March 2020)

The World Health Organization characterizes the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) as a Pandemic and declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In order to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in A & N Islands, all tourists are advised to refrain from travelling to the Islands from the midnight of 16.03.2020 (i.e. 12.00 A.M. of 17.03.2020) to 26.03.2020. Further, all tourism facilities of the Islands such as on jetties, beaches, eco-tourism sites and water sports activities shall remain suspended from 16.03.2020 to 26.03.2020. All tour operators may appropriately advise their clients so that tourists intending to travel to A & N Islands are forewarned and advised to refrain from traveling to A & N Islands. This advisory will be reviewed on 23.03.2020 for being continued beyond 26.03.2020 or otherwise.

www.transindiaholidays.com


Unlock the Secrets of Wellness at the Ayurveda Resorts in India

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Wellness tourism is on the rise with more and more people seeking to travel for health and wellness. India caters to tourists from far ends of the globe with wellness retreats, holidays and experiences. Wellness tours refers to travelling wherein activities planned for health and well-being are on top priority. These include spa treatments, meditation, Yoga, Ayurveda and luxury activities. Ayurveda is the ancient science of health & wellness dating to the Vedic Era, almost 5000 years back

India’s vast and diverse landscape makes the ideal destination for a spa holiday, with a wealth of specialist and traditional Ayurveda spa centers and some extraordinary luxury accommodation options. Stay by peaceful Kerala backwaters, sunny beaches, in the foothills of the Himalayas or follow the footsteps of the Maharajas in sumptuous historic palaces.

Take a look at a comprehensive collection of some of the best Ayurveda Resorts in India. Make the most of your Ayurveda, Wellness and Yoga holidays in India.

  1. Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Situated on a forested hillside along the River Ganga, Ananda in the Himalayas is an ultimate spa getaway in India. Built in the former palace estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Gahrwal, the 100-acre luxury resort is a luxurious refuge from the cacophony of everyday life.

Wake up to yoga classes based on the principles of the Bihar School of Yoga, snooze under the trees on the tranquil lawns, and tuck into healthy meals. There are complimentary cooking classes on offer. The award-winning 24,000 sq. ft. spa is one of the best spas in the world and not just India. With over 80 body and treatments both Indian and Western traditions, this is the ultimate wellness getaway. Sessions in alternative healing like reiki, chakra balancing and crystals are also available. For those who do want to leave the resort’s cocoon for Rishikesh, Ananda can arrange for white-water rafting, nature trails and wildlife safaris, and a view of the Ganga aarti.

Getting There: Ananda in the Himalayas is 32 km/1 hr from Dehradun airport, and 18 km/33 min from Rishikesh railway station.

  1. Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort, Pallakad, Kerala

Nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats in ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala, The Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort is one of the best wellness centres in the world. Featured among top 10 in Asia & top 50 in the world by National Geographic Traveler, the Ayurveda resort is settled on 50 acres of lush greenery in Palakkad. The refuge for weary souls to be pampered by Ayurveda, the health resort unlocks many secrets of wellness.

The health resort is a complete Ayurvedic healing village. Built adhering to Vaastu Shastra, the retreat grows herbs and trees which have immense curative & restorative powers. In addition of its eco-friendly features, the resort has many 5-star amenities for the utmost comfort of guests. Everything about the resort is soothing as it follows the concept of “Return to Nature”. Besides customized Ayurveda therapies, the health resort also offers Yoga, Meditation, Astrology, palmistry, nutrition, therapy, spiritual training and traditional Indian rituals (pujas).

Getting There: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort is 60 km/ 2hr from Coimbatore Airport.

  1. Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort, Kovalam, Kerala

Overlooking the blue Arabian Sea, set atop a hill, Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort is a haven of authentic and traditional Ayurveda. Set amid 15 acres of beautiful tropical gardens, the resort enjoys views of endless blue of the sky and the sea. Classy amenities have been properly soothing bliss that unlocks many secrets of wellness.

A getaway from the mad hustle-bustle of the city, Somatheeram pampers with superb Ayurvedic facilities, yoga classes and meditation programmes. Ayurveda is the soul and essence of Somatheeram, as each and every treatment is practiced in the traditional way since its inception. Treatments in the Ayurveda centre includes Panchakarma / Detoxification / Body purification, Rejuvenation therapy, Stress management, Beauty care and various customized packages. Yoga and meditation are added delights of the resort.

Getting There: Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort is 15 km/ ½ hr from Trivandrum Airport and Railway Station.

  1. SwaSwara, Gokarna (near Goa)

SwaSwara is named from the Sanskrit words for “self” and “sound”. The soothing beach Ayurveda resort is set on 26-acres of natural bliss. Enveloped by the melody of the waves and refreshing breeze from the sea, the property is a soulful retreat. Fully dedicated for healing and recuperation with Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and other natural therapies. The Ayurvedic wellness retreat rejuvenates the body, mind and soul.

Start the day with sunrise yoga classes. Indulge in pampering massages as part of the treatment prescribed by an Ayurvedic doctor. Meditation sessions, walks on the nearby Om beach, pottery and art classes make your holiday healing and harmonious. The resort also arranges hiking, boating, and kayaking excursions. SwaSwara is one of the leading names for spa holidays in India.

Getting There: SwaSwara is 159km/ 3.5 hrs from Dabolim airport, and 14km/22min from Gokarna Road Railway Station.

  1. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom, Kerala

Settled on the banks of the Lake Vembanad, overlooking the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, The Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom is among the best luxury Ayurveda resorts in India. Like its name the resort is surrounded by coconut groves and is accessible only by boat. The ethereal setting is the reason it knows the secrets of wellness and shares with its guests.

The eco-friendly resort has won several awards and is among the best in the wellness industry. Besides the scenic views, soothing massages and therapies, mouth-watering food and a pleasant experience. The Ayurveda centre offers customized treatments as prescribed by Ayurveda practitioners. The therapies include everything from beauty to rejuvenation and stress-management and cure for many maladies, all based on India's ancient healing art of Ayurveda. Bird watching tours, houseboat rides, canoe rides, village visit and more also enhance the wellness vacation.

Getting There: Coconut Lagoon is 58 km/1.5 hrs from Cochin Airport and 15 kms/ 25 min from Kottayam Railway Station.

  1. Spice Village Resort , Thekkady, Kerala

Like its name suggests, The Spice Village Resort is set literally in the midst of a spice plantation in Kerala. Located on the borders of the Periyar National Park in Thekkady, it is a complete wellness getaway in India. The Ayurveda resort is fragrant with the many spices Kerala is so well-known for. The entire property is modelled on the native dwellings which takes you back to the heart of natural bliss. The spices grown in the property are also a part of Ayurveda treatments. The laid-back and homely setting is blissful and the main reason why this is one of the most popular wellness destinations in India. Besides Ayurveda treatments, there is yoga and meditation, nature walks, delicious therapeutic food and so much more.  

Getting There: Spice Village Resort is 162 km/4.5 hrs from Cochin Airport and 108 kms/ 3.5 hours from Kottayam Railway Station.

  1. Shreyas Retreat in Bengaluru, Karnataka

Set on a lush 25-acre property on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Shreyas Retrat is a healing wellness centre. With 20 guests at one time, it is quite and calming. The ultimate getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city, this one is special place to escape from schedules and recuperate in natural bliss. Each of the cottages have tented canopies in the garden and beside the infinity pool (the latter is wheelchair-accessible).

The blissful features includes sessions of ashtanga and hatha yoga, meditation, chanting and massage. Other amenities includes gym, cricket nets, swimming pool, heated outdoor Jacuzzi, lush gardens and delightful vegetarian meals, with ingredients grown in the organic vegetable garden.

Getting There: Shreyas Retreat is 33km/1hr from Bengaluru airport, and 35km/1hr from Bengaluru City Junction railway station.