Best Thrilling Paragliding Locations in South India

Paragliding – the most thrilling and amazing adventure sport that allows you to enjoy the excitement of flying like a bird, soaring up into the blue sky, and admiring the wonderful panoramic views of Mother nature beneath. Paragliding in South India was not so popular until recent times.thrilling

But now South India boasts of some wonderful paragliding sites which is gaining more attention among tourists and locals. South India’s beautiful terrain with a mix of lush valleys, undulating hills, evergreen surroundings, and spectacular views all around makes it the ultimate destination for paragliding. So, wait no more to taste the thrill and fun of paragliding in South India!

Here is the list of Best Paragliding Locations in South India. So check out before you go!

1. Yelagiri, Tamilnadu

A boon for travellers and adventure seekers, the beautiful hill station of Yelagiri in Tamilnadu is currently the hotspot for paragliding in South India. The scenic Yelagiri Hills which were less frequented than other tourist places in Tamilnadu is now a hotspot of tourists and adventure lovers after being promoted as a place for adventure sports.

The best thing about Paragliding in Yelagiri Hills is its altitude and the spectacular views of vast green natural expanse. It is just an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience to soar high up in the air like a bird, at 2200 feet above sea level and enjoy the birds-eye view of the lush surroundings of Yelagiri underneath. Yelagiri Hill Station is located about 3 hours away from the capital city of TamilnaduChennai. Professional experts guide you throughout the process. The hill station has a paragliding club that provides this activity throughout the year. Also, amateurs and intermediate workshops take place here. Yelagiri Hills also hosts International Paragliding Festival that attracts numerous paragliding enthusiasts from all over the globe.

Why Yelagiri Hills For Paragliding?

Amazing scenic views, great altitude, Paragliding workshop for amateurs as well as intermediate, Good service and ensure safety.

Best Time To Go

September to February.

2. Vagamon, Kerala

Vagamon Hill Station in Kerala is yet another much-sought-after paragliding location in South India that attracts paragliding enthusiasts. The stunning location of Vagamon embellished with lovely green meadows, never-ending emerald tea plantations, lofty mountains and lush valleys makes for an ultra-scenic landscape to fly over.

The mesmerizing beauty of the place is aptly complemented by the cool climate and steady winds that makes for a great paragliding experience. Vagamon offers paragliding from a height of 1200 meters. As trained pilots are available here, one can enjoy Tandem Flights at Vagamon. The Adventure Park in Vagamon hosts the International Paragliding Festival that draws a huge flock of paragliding enthusiasts from not only India but also from all around the world.

Why Vagamon Hills For Paragliding?

Can enjoy Tandem Flights, Experienced and qualified guides, Spectacular sceneries, and the lovely cool climate.

Best Time To Go

October to March.

Related:- A weekend visit to Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh

3. Nandi Hills, Karnataka

Nandi Hills in Karnataka is another beautiful hub of paragliding in South India. Located at a height of about 1400 m above sea level, Nandi Hills is favourite among expert paragliders for its perfect climate and plateaued terrain with hill canopies ideal for landing.

The beautiful Nandi Hills is just 70 Km from Bangalore and is easily accessible for city dwellers looking for adventure. Nandi Hills is heaven for countless adventure activities that attract young adventure seekers of Bangalore and Hyderabad, among them, Paragliding is its star attraction.

Why Nandi Hills For Paragliding?

A great paragliding site with plateaued terrain, perfect climate, all-year-round paragliding destination, wonderful sceneries.

Best Time To Go

Throughout the year except in the months of July-September when monsoons arrive.

4. Arambol, Goa

Paragliding over the stunning Arambol Beach in Goa will be one of the most exhilarating and extraordinary adventure rides you would have ever experienced in South India. As you enjoy the excitement of flying over the mesmerizing beach, admire the bird’s eye view of the azure waters and the beautiful shores lined with palm trees.

Paragliding in Arambol Beach is perfect for beginners as the place offers a smooth and calm breeze which is perfect for a no-break flight. Next time, when you visit Goa, don’t forget to try the thrill of paragliding over the beautiful Arambola Beach.

Why Arambola Beach For Paragliding?

For a unique experience of paragliding over the waters, perfect for beginners, mesmerizing vistas.

Best Time To Go

October to June.

5. Munnar, Kerala

The gorgeous Munnar hill station huddled with snow-capped mountains is the perfect spot to go paragliding in South India.  Situated in the Western Ghats at a height of 1600 meters above sea level, Munnar is one of the most picturesque hill stations in Kerala, known for its enchanting beauty and climate.

Paragliding in Munnar gives you a wonderful opportunity to soar across the majestic skies and admire the panoramic vistas of misty hills, lush tea plantations, beautiful valleys, as well as enjoy the cool climate of the hill station. Munnar hill station offers Tandem Paragliding where trained pilots accompany you and glide you across the sky.

Why Munnar Hill Station For Paragliding?

Provides Tandem Paragliding, Trained Pilots, Spectacular location with spellbinding views and a cool climate.

Best Time To Go

September to May.

Related:- International Yoga Festival 2021 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

6. Banjara Hills, Hyderabad

The Banjara Hills in Hyderabad is one of the ideal spots to try paragliding in South India and the place is teeming with adventure lovers throughout the year.

The paragliding activity at Banjara Hills is held under the guidance of expert trainers. The place offers an unforgettable paragliding experience and the spellbinding aerial views of beautiful natural surroundings, as well as the wonderful sites of mountains and valleys, are just out of the world. For first-timers, Banjara Hills will be an ideal choice.

Why Banjara Hills For Paragliding?

Beautiful location, expert trainers, ideal for beginners, provides lifeguards.

Best Time To Go

Throughout the year.

7. Varkala, Kerala

The spectacular tropical beach town in the Thiruvananthapuram district of KeralaVarkala is a tourist hub known for its beautiful beach and thrilling water activities. And it is now slowly gaining popularity for providing seaside paragliding activity.

Paragliding in the beach town Varkala is a delightful experience where one can enjoy a bird-like journey over the blue waters of the mighty Arabian Sea and take delight in the stunning views of the picturesque surroundings.

Why Varkala For Paragliding?

Picturesque location, fly over the mighty Arabian sea, expert trainers to guide.

A weekend visit to Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh

Nagarjunakonda is one of the most noted Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. It was a fully developed metropolis and a renowned Buddhist learning centre for years. Students from all over India and from countries such as China, Sri Lanka and much more used to reside here and undertook their Buddhist studies. If you are a Buddha follower, you must not miss Nagarjunakonda at Andhra Pradesh. It was the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam which led to the discovery of various Buddhist artefacts and scriptures and thus it was concluded that the area was home to an ancient Buddhist civilization 1800 years ago. The collection was then transferred, reassembled and preserved on an island hill spanning 144 acres surrounded by the River Krishna.

Nagarjunakonda History goes like, Nagarjuna, a famous scholar of Mahayana Buddhism lived here during the 2nd century AD and it was his influence which spread Buddhism in the Southern parts of India and South Eastern parts of the Asian continent. Thus, the place was named after him, Nagarjunakonda or Nagarjuna Hill [Konda in the Telugu language means hill]. Though I am a Hindu, I am very much interested in Buddhist principles as well. I decided to make a visit and see for myself what we have got to see at Nagarjunakonda.

Related:- International Yoga Festival 2021 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

I started early in the morning from Hyderabad to Nagarjunakonda. It is a 4-hour journey covering nearly 160 km. The roads are great which helped me reach Nagarjuna Sagar dam in 3.5 hours. This huge dam we all know is an Earth dam and is one of the largest of its kind.

The location is a beautiful, green and hilly area. The ferry launch station is again a 15-minute drive which involves few hairpin bends as well. I reached the ferry area and paid my entrance fees. For foreign nationals, it costs Rs. 200/head and for Indians, 20 Rs/head. Also, there are fixed ferry timings, 9:30 am and 1:30 pm every day. Ferry ride fee is Rs 120 for adults and 100 for children.

The ferry timing for me was 1: 30 pm and it was only 12. I grabbed 2 Bhajjis [local snack] and tea from a local tea shop, fast forwarded 1 hour and I walked on to the boarding spot. I was amazed by the beauty of the surrounding landscape in front of me.  I hopped onto one of the three motorboats parked by the side. I was informed it would be a 45 minutes ferry ride to reach the Nagarjunakonda island museum. It is the only island museum in India and two of the same in the world. One is at Berlin, Germany and the other is at Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh.

Related:- A Tour To Worship The Nine Planetary Deities-Navagraha Temple

There were nearly 20 passengers on board, all tourists from different parts of the country. As we moved, we enjoyed some gorgeous views of the island and the Krishna River. We could see locals rowing round country boats looking for a good catch. 35 mins gone and I could see the walls of the island museum. The museum is opened to visitors from morning 9 am to 4 pm every day except Friday. It is closed on Fridays.

I started walking my way to the museum. The Nagarjunakonda island museum is a near 500 m walk from the boat dropping point. I reached the museum. Cameras are not allowed inside. I went on to check out all the collections on display. The collection of the museum consists stone tools, coins, scriptures of Lord Buddha and of Mucalinda, the Naga [serpent], spears, hammers, carvings narrating the story of Buddha from his birth to his Mahaparinirvana and lot more of other antiquities. An earring and a tooth are also up for display here, which many believe is among the corporeal remains of Lord Buddha himself. I spent next half an hour at the museum.

I followed the crowd to find what else there is to see. First, we came across the Maha Stupa, which is the oldest monument here at Nagarjunakonda. We reached a spot where I found a stupa and a broken statue of Lord Buddha standing tall, probably 10 feet tall. 100 meters to its right there is another Chaitya stupa belonging to 3rd century CE. Later I returned to the boarding point and left the island. I enjoyed the 45 minutes cruise back to the ferry launch station. For me, it was the highlight of the Nagarjunakonda tour.

 

International Yoga Festival 2021 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Does Yoga rejuvenate you from inside? Do you want to your mind and soul to work energetically after a relaxed meditating session on the bank of a bubbly river under the open sky in the lap of a lofty mountain range? If this idea intrigues you, then International Yoga Festival 2021 in Rishikesh is calling you to have an unforgettable experience at the best Yoga venues in Rishikesh.

Yoga

Less centred on religion and more inclined towards spirituality and the union with the divine, Yoga enhances peace of mind, generates joy in the heart, and strengthens your muscles. To let you grab the divine opportunity of being trained by the masters of Yoga, Rishikesh, the Yoga Capital organises a week long annual International Yoga Festival 2021 in the lap of the Himalayas that can indeed be a delight for both domestic and international travellers seeking to visit India for Yoga. Here is a comprehensible guide to this international event that promotes Yoga tourism in India.

Where is it Celebrated?

A heaven located on the bank of the Holy Ganga, at the base of the Himalaya, Paramartha Niketan is the starting point of this grand festival. The scenic setting and quaint environs add to its charm and turns it into the best places to visit for world yoga tourism. International tourists seeking mental peace and willing to explore the hidden gems of spiritual India should not miss out this chance of ever alluring well-being retreats for 2021.

Related:- What are the Seven Best Places to visit in Andhra Pradesh

When is International Yoga Festival celebrated?

Yoga International festival will start from the 7th March and last till 13th March 2021.

What to Expect in International Yoga Festival?

To bless the tourists travelling from across the globe to Rishikesh with an unparalleled experience this time masters of Traditional Yoga Lineages from India will be there for the entire week. Here they will be taking different sessions of Yoga classes where you can get all authentic lessons and information regarding Yoga. Apart from India, the masters of global Yoga schools and styles will also be here to take yoga and meditation classes.

Your Yoga tour packages will include total 60 hours of classes will be taken by the world-class yoga practitioners where they will be teaching about the actual way of practising some of the most useful meditational poses, asanas and particularly multiple styles of Yoga like Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Power Vinyasa Yoga, and Kriya Yoga.

Those who are interested in listening to the religious teachers and saints of India would be blessed by the presence of H.H. Pujya Shankaracharya Swami Divyanand Teerthji, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, H.H. Pujya Swami Dayanandaji, H.H. Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, H.H. Pujya Swami Ramdevji, H.H. Radhanath Swamiji, H.H. Pujya Mooji, and H.H. Pujya Prem Babaji.

Other Attractions

As you know the most sacred river of India, the Ganga flows through Rishikesh, an uncountable number of temples and ashrams are found next to its banks. So, when you have some spare time the best thing to do is to explore the nearby attractions and tourist destinations of Rishikesh which are not much far from your Yoga Meditation Camp.

Go visit some of the most popular destinations of Rishikesh:

Kanaujpuri Temple – This divine temple of Goddess Durga stands in pride at the peak of kanaujpuri. It is one of the most visited sacred places in Tehri district. Kanaujpuri temple is very famous for spectacular views of the ranges of Himalayas like Gangotri, Banderpunch, Chaukhamba and Swargarohini.

Neelkanth Mahadev– 22km from Swargashram lays the magnificent temple of Neelkanth Mahadev. It derived its name from Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva consumed the venom emanated from Samudra Manthan. As a Result, his throat became blue, thus giving Shiva the name of Neelkanth.

Tera Manzil Temple– Located in the banks of the blissful river Ganga Tera Manzil Temple also known as Triambekashar Temple melts the heart of pilgrims with its view and divine tranquillity. It has 13 floors and each storey reveals the marvellous idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Bharat Mata Temple– Bharat Mata Temple is also known as Mother India Temple. It is dedicated to Bharat Mata by Patriotic nationals. The temple was founded by Swami Satyamitranand Giri in 1983 and inaugurated by our Lt. Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi.

The Beatles Ashram – In 1986 Beatles band of Liverpool came to stay here as they were mesmerised by the natural beauty of India. This Ashram used to be the hub of creativity and meditation of the famed Beatles Band. Precious heritage left by Beatles Band and the scenic attractions located nearby makes this place worth a visit.

Laxman Jhula – Tune into the bliss of one of the most beautiful bridges across the holy river Ganga. This bridge has been built in the same place where Lord Rama and his brother Lord Lakshamana had crossed the river Ganga.

Related:- A Tour To Worship The Nine Planetary Deities-Navagraha Temple

Where to Stay in Rishikesh?

There are several good resorts and hotels in Rishikesh. But if you are looking for best places to stay then Parmarth Niketan, the luxurious Aranyam River Retreat, Divine Resort, Ananda in the Himalayas and The Glasshouse on the Ganges are the options for you. For budget accommodation in Rishikesh you can opt for Hotel Welcome, Divya Hotel, Hotel Shivanta Residency, Hotel Risabh -The Grand Castle Resort and few more. Along with a plethora of best hotels and resorts in Rishikesh, there are also a number of hotels in Haridwar for the visitors that also range from budget to luxury, so, travellers have the choice to book accommodation in Rishikesh as well as in Haridwar.

How to Reach Rishikesh?

By Air – Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport to Rishikesh. It will take you around one and half hours drive to reach Rishikesh from Dehradun. However, international travellers need to reach Delhi first.

By Train – Haridwar is the nearest rail head to Rishikesh from where you can hire private taxis or you can take help of local bus service.

By Road – Regular bus services are available for Rishikesh from Delhi and nearby cities of North India.

A Tour To Worship The Nine Planetary Deities-Navagraha Temple

A long year has passed by with lots of worship uncertainties, losses and all-new jargon which even an infant is familiar now like Stress, Lockdown, Work from home, quarantine, containment zones and lot more. 2020 has ended and a vibrant 2021 is born with a new ray of hope and confidence.

Man is a social animal and is in need of people around with positive thoughts especially when he is depressed. The mythological and philosophical findings of Hinduism, which is world’s one of the longest surviving practices have installed temples at strategic locations of every residential circle. The temples were not only for holding the religious activities but also served many purposes. Few of them include inculcating social harmony and peace, center for boosting the local economy in the forms of fairs and festivals, center to motivate and instill confidence with a positive vibes of poojas and rituals done regularly and lot more in the list.

worship

Navagraha Temples attract lakhs of devotees and tourists round the year as it is strongly believed in Hinduism that the planetary transitions in every individuals signified in Vedic Astrology are the major causes for predicting the changes in their lives. The key planets as per the astrology are Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Kethu. The temples known by the name of the respective planetary God are collectively called as the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu.

The temples have not followed any specific architecture, but all of them have followed an uniform style with the gateway tower above the sanctum and odd numbered precincts. Except for the Sun God, all other Navagraha Temples have Lord Shiva as their Presiding Deity. All the other temples are constructed in such a way that the presiding deity in the sanctum faces the direction of Suriyanar Koil, the temple for Sun God.

As the Navagraha tend to transit from one position to another in regular intervals, the astrological interpretations predict the good and bad effect of the transitions. Principles and customs of Hinduism recommends the means and ways of escaping the bad effects and to enjoy the good effects by offering prayers to these planetary deities. In line with the practices followed in other Hindu temples, the offerings and prayers are in the form of clothes, cereals, pulses flowers and jewels offered by the devotees. Every planetary deity has different color codes set of flowers and cereals. Lighting of lamps is also followed invariably all temples.

Plan your tour to Navagraha temples offering you the boons of prosperity and happiness in life !!

The architecture of the temple and towers, placing of idols in the sanctum and other sub shrines, codifications of daily rituals and festivals are all based on one or other scientific principles and it is strongly believed that worshipping the  Gods and Goddesses at the temples when we are distressed gives an assurance not to give up.

Out of thousands of temples dotted across Tamil Nadu, Navagraha Temples deserve a special mention here. Visiting Navagraha Temples and worshipping the supreme power there will surely help us to shed out our negative vibrations and sense of fear and ambiguity. Incidentally, the Nine temples representing each of the planets are situated around the Temple City Kumbakonam, popular for large number of temples and the world renowned festival Mahamaham celebrated once in 12 years.

What are Navagrahas? Is there any science behind it?

Navagrahas are the planets playing vital role in the Hindu astronomical sphere, dating back to the ages of Vedas. For any kind of hindrance, bad luck, illness or anxiety an individual has to go through in his life, the transitions in those planets are held responsible either auspiciously or inauspiciously.

Out of the nine planets, Seven are named similar to the Solar System and Two are Rahu and Ketu.

Yagna Valkiya Smriti  (about AD 300 or later) explains the features of these planets and the need for the worship of the planets (grahas) according to Hindu tradition, as stated below.

One should specially worship that (planet) which, and whenever, it is cruel (malefic) to him”. This book discusses in detail about the effects of every planet on the life of an individual or on the society on the whole.

Is each of the Navagraha Temple unique? If So, How?

Yes, each of the Navagraha Temples is so unique with their religious properties to bless an individual or a society if worshipped with proper codifications. Of course, in all the nine temples Lord Shiva is the presiding deity and the respective planets are housed in sub-shrines.

There is only one consciousness, Have you heard about this? The essence of Quantum Physics. Though there are different loggerheads in Physics and Chemistry, they go well hand-in-hand. This is an analogy to the presence of Lord Shiva in all Navagraha Temples, but what is surprising is in all these temples, Lord Shiva has taken the back seat giving prime importance to the planet!

Related:- Top 5 best places in South India to visit in February

What is special about each of Navagraha Temple?

Let us quickly brief about each of Navagraha temples, its significance and codifications.

Suryanar Koil – Suryan / Sun God

The Suriyanar temple for Sun God is not the largest in the chain, but fairly big. Avoid visiting this temple on Sundays owing to the crowd. What is special about this temple is that this is the only shrine out of the nine, which has sub-shrines for all the other planets.

Special Features:

  • This is the only temple exclusively dedicated to Sun God
  • Guru Brihaspati is depicted in the sanctum performing pooja to Sun God
  • Usha Devi and Pratyusha Devi are the consorts of Sun God
  • Inscriptions refer to this temple as Kulothunga Chola Marthanda Alayam, inferring the age of the temple somewhere in 10th century
  • Sun God is termed to be Atma Karaka (Soul Vitalizer)
  • The temple tower is in the shape of chariot with horses, the vehicle of Sun God.
  • Offer Wheat and do the poojas with red colored flowers
  • Those who suffer from progressing in education, marriage and childbirth visit this temple to get out of their challenges

How to Reach?

Suryanar Koil is a small hamlet 2kms north of Aduthurai Town. Hire a cab as there are many temples around this region to be visited.

Other popular places to visit around:

Tiruvidaimauthur, Tirupananthal and Kanjanu, popular for ancient temples

Thingaloor – Chandran / Moon God

The second major planet controlling the human mind is Chandran or Moon God. This temple has Lord Kailasanathar as presiding deity and it is one of the 274 popular shrines glorified by the songs of Saivaite Saints Samayakuravar Nalvar. Further Thingaloor is the birthplace of Appoodhi Adigal, the disciple of Tirunavakkarasar. The Moon God plays a vital role in shaping our thoughts in a constructive or destructive manner depends upon his transition. Worshipping him in this temple, helps us to think properly and act upon.

Special Features:

  • Exclusively dedicated for Moon God
  • During the full moon day in the Tamil month of Panguni, i.e., between March and April,  the rays of moon fall on Lord Shiva ‘s Linga idol, the phenomenon which you can never see in any part of the world.
  • Poojas on Full Moon days and Mondays are considered to be very special
  • Those who suffer from mental imbalance, skin and nervous disorder are to worship at this temple to get relieved from the illnesses.
  • A sweet pudding made up of raw rice and jiggery, white flowers and white clothing are to be offered to Moon God
  • Fasting on Mondays followed with a special pooja here can help people come out of their worries

How To Reach?

Thingaloor Chandran temple is about 36km from Kumbakonam on the way to Thiruvaiyaru.

Other places to visit around:

Ganapathy Agraharam and Kabisthalam are popular locations for centuries-old temples

Vaitheeswaran Koil – Chevvai / Mars

A 2000 years old temple with a historical name as “Pullirukkuvelur”, referring to the historical data that this is the place where the giant bird Jatayu of Ramayana lived, Rig Veda was worshipped and Lord Muruga is of significant importance. “Pul –Bird”, Irukku – Rig Veda and “Vel – Lord Muruga’s weapon”. In the ancient days, Vaitheeswaran Koil was revered as the headquarters of medical science as there were remedial measures for around 4448 diseases. In addition, the two prominent features are, this is the temple for Navagraha planet Mars/ Chevvai and this is the place where the father of Indian Medicine Dhanvantri attained salvation.

Special Features of the temple:

  • Those who face problems in getting married worship here
  • Physical ailments of all sorts are getting cured after worshipping here
  • Vaidhyanatha Swamy of this temple is believed to have cured Leprosy of Angaraha, the Mars. So powerful is this temple for curing ailments and illnesses
  • Special poojas and rituals are done by the devotees round the year for getting cured from variety of physical illnesses, even prolonged ones.
  • Bad effects are mitigated by prayers and by offering cloths, grains and flowers
  • The town is famous for Palm-leaf astrology and naadi astrology.
  • Know about your past, present and future with naadi astrology, just with an impression of your thumb, which you can never find in any part of the world

How To Reach?

The temple is at 14km from Mayiladuthurai

Other Popular Attractions:

Poombuhar Beach and  Museum, Tirukkadaiyur temple.

Thiruvenkadu – Budhan / Mercury

The Thiruvenkadu Swetharanyeswarar temple is one of the Navagraha Temples where Lord Budhan is worshipped. Devotees throng this temple throughout the year to worship Lord Budhan.

Temple Specialty

  • Budhan is the symbol of intelligence, wisdom and peace.
  • Lord Shiva here is worshipped as Aabathsahayeswarar Temple, meaning one who protects His devotees from all unprecedented problems.
  • The temple Bull is seen with nine holes in its body
  • This refers to the history that when the demon Surapadman came to fight with Lord Shiva here, the Bull interfered and got injured.
  • Because of this, Lord Shiva became furious and took the incarnation of Agora Moorthy to destroy the demon.
  • This temple is also called as Varanashi of South.
  • Offer white colored clothes and cereals and pray to the God to get protected from the planetary transitions.

How To Reach?

You can reach Thiruvenkadu Budhan Koil by travelling a distance of 12km from Sirkazhi or 26kms from Mayiladuthurai. From Kumbakonam, the temple is at a distance of 60km.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Poombuhar Beach, Silappathikara Art Gallery, Town Gateway.

Alangudi – Guru / Jupiter

Transit day of Lord Guru from one Zodiac sign to the other which happens every two and a half years, is believed to have greater impact on one’s life. The Alangudi temple is said to exist from time immemorial and . Kasi Aaranyam , Thiru erumpoolai are the other names for this place Alangudi.

Special Features:

  • This temple is one of the Navagraha Temples where Lord Guru is worshipped.
  • Guru is worshipped here as Lord Dakshinamurthy
  • Guru  is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom
  • Dull headed students, those who seem to have lost interest in studies can worship here to escape from the ill effects of Guru’s planetary transition.
  • Offer yellow colored clothes and channa dal and pray to the God to get protected from the planetary transitions.
  • Offer yellow colored flowers as well and Thursday is very auspicious to worship Guru Baghwan

How To Reach?

Alangudi is very near to the temple town Kumbakonam  at a distance of 14km.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Poombuhar Beach, Silappathikara Art Gallery, Tirukkadaiyur Abirami Amman Temple

Kanjanoor – Sukran / Venus:

Lord Shiva here in this temple is worshipped as the presiding deity and Navagraha Lord Sukran is believed to be in the stomach of Lord Shiva. The temple is so significant that Lord Shiva blessed Parasara Muni, a renowned saint of the ancient ages, with His cosmic dance. This sacred place is also called as Palasa Vanam or Agni Sthalam and so the presiding deity is called as Agneeswarar. It is believed that Lord Brahma witnessed the celestial wedding of Lord Shiva at this sacred place.

Temple Specialty:

  • This temple is one of the Navagraha Temples where Lord Sukran is worshipped.
  • Sukran is the symbol of prosperity and happiness.
  •  Devotees throng this temple throughout the year to worship Lord Sukran.
  • They offer white colored clothes and white clothes and pray to the God to protect them from the planetary transitions.
  • The deity in this temple is so significant that the curses of celestial Gods called Devas and also the God of creation Lord Brahma have got relieved after worshipping this Lord Agneeswarar.

How To Reach Kanjanoor?

By Road Kanjanoor is at a distance of 18km from Kumbakonam and 2km from Surianar Koil

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Besides Poombuhar Beach, Silappathikara Art Gallery, Town Gateway you can also visit the Grand Anaicut, an architectural marvel and an ancient water management system built by Chola King Karikala, 2000 years ago, which is still functioning and is a major source of water supply to the delta region of Tamilnadu.

Related:- What are the Seven Best Places to visit in Andhra Pradesh

Thirunallar – Shani Bagwan / Saturn

The Thirunallaru Sri Saneeswara Bagwan Temple is believed to exist from time immemorial. The interesting story connected to this temple is, the celestial Gods called Devas wanted to marry the Princess of the Nishadha Kingdom, Damayanthi. But she married another King called Nalan. The furious Devas complained to Saneeswar and he made Nalan’s life miserable for seven and half years. At last, Nalan arrived at Thirunallar and worshipped Lord Shiva present in the name of Lord Dharbaranyeswarar. He got rid of all his problems and got a promise from Lord Saneeswara that whoever comes to this place and worship him, should not be affected by any difficulties. So is the sacred temple very popular among the devotees across the country.

Temple Specialty:

  • This temple is one of the Navagraha Temples where Lord Saneeswar is worshipped.
  • Saneeswar is the symbol of will power and courage.
  • Devotees throng this temple throughout the year to worship Lord Saneeswar
  • Transit day of Lord Saneeswar from one Zodiac sign to the other which happens every two and a half years is celebrated in a pomp manner with lakhs of devotees worshipping Him to protect them from any ill effects
  • Black colored clothes and cereals are offered to Him to protect from ill-effects of  planetary transitions.
  • Lord Shiva here is worshipped as Lord Darbaranyeswarar.

How To Reach?

Thirunallar is at a distance of 33km from Mayiladuthurai and 5km from Karaikal.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Karaikal, Pondicherry beach, Auroville, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Tiruageshwaram – Rahu

The temple at Tirunageshwaram is visited by devotees to escape from ill effects of planet Rahu. To know further, Once there was a saint Suseelar, whose son was attacked by the Celestial serpent Dakkagan. Saint Suseelar cursed him to take birth as a human being on earth. After his hard penance towards Lord Shiva, he worshipped Him in the form of an idol Lingam at Thirunageshwaram and got relieved from His curse. As lord Raghu himself got his curse relieved, this place became so sacred with the Naganatha Swamy as the presiding deity and the temple has become very popular among the devotees across the country.

Temple Specialty:

  • This temple is one of the Navagraha Temples where Lord Raghu is worshipped.
  • Raghu  is the symbol of wealth and prosperity.
  • They offer black colored clothes and cereals and pray to the God to protect them from the planetary transitions.
  • In this temple, Lord Raghu is present in the form of Human being with his two consorts.
  • Whenever milk is anointed to the idol of Rahu, the milk turns into blue color which happens even today.
  • Though Lord Shiva in the name of Lord Naganathaswamy is present here as the presiding deity, Lord Raghu is worshipped first and then only the devotees visit the sanctum.

How To Reach?

Thirunageshwaram is at a distance of 6 km to the east of Kumbakonam.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Temples in Trichy ,Tanjore and Kumbakonam.

Keezhaperumpallam – Ketu

Ketu is generally referred to as shadow planet. The historic event referred to this temple is the churning of ocean to give the nectar to celestial Gods. Vasuki was the serpent used for the churning operation and at one point it got exhausted and spit venom. To protect the celestial Gods from consuming the poison, Lord Shiva Himself took the poison. For Her mistake, Vasuki did a penance and Lord Shiva graced with His blessings. From then on, this particular temple is dedicated to Lord Ketu and it is also known as South Lunar Planet.

Temple Specialty:

  • The shadow planet is considered as the tail of the demon snake.
  • Here Ketu is in the form of human body and serpent head.
  • People with certain defects in their horoscopes need to worship here.
  • Worshipped for excellence in education and family prosperity
  • Ketu generally refers to the refinement process of spiritual inclination and supernatural influences.
  • Offer multi colored clothes, horse gram and red colored flowers.

How To Reach?

The temple is at a distance of 35 km from Karaikal.

Other places to visit around:

Pondicherry, Triukkadaiyur and Tiruvenkadu

Navagraha temples are very popular among the pilgrimage packages. As all the temples are located within accessible distances, devotees plan to visit all the temples at a stretch.

Information for visitors:

  • Best Time to Visit – Winter months – October to February. Summers will be very hot and it is better to keep a hat and lot of drinking water handy
  • All temples open at 6.30 AM and close around 1.30PM. Again from 4.00PM to 9.00PM
  • Shani and  Rahu temples are the most crowded temples in the circuit
  • Each day is auspicious for one God, Know that beforehand and plan your tour.
  • Though it is possible to cover all the nine temples on one day, it is better to have two days to club other chola temples and also famous tourist destinations nearby.

Start the New Year with New hopes, New plans and completely New phase of life, unlike the previous year with a revitalizing Navagraha Temple Tour, a truly soulful journey to detox the mind and re-energize the body, mind and soul, the need of the hour for every individual, head of a family, head of the company or whoever it may. Soothing our mind and rejuvenating ourselves for a better tomorrow, keeps us moving on, what may come!

What are the Seven Best Places to visit in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is best known for the most powerful dynasties and the world-renowned Kuchipudi dance. Andhra Pradesh is home to diverse tourist destinations to choose from the beautiful hill stations, sacred shrines, historic monuments, popular museums. The temples in Andhra Pradesh deserve a special mention here for their splendid architecture and the ancient beliefs and faiths behind them. Most of the temples in Andhra Pradesh have Lord Shiva as their presiding deity and temples for other Gods and Goddesses and worshipping centers for other religions are also dotted across the state.

Andhra Pradesh

This blog is an effort to bring forth a few of the trending tourist destinations in Andhra Pradesh, which you can plan to visit this year, where you will find solace after a year dominated by Corona.

Tirupati

The world-renowned pilgrim center, visited by millions of devotees around the year is Tirupati Tirumala Temple housing Lord Venkateswara as the presiding deity. The nine feet tall statue in the sanctum, the world’s one of the very few largest kitchens feeding more than one lakh devotees daily, GI indexed laddu offered to devotees as Prasad, pleasant climate and a scenic ambience are the salient features of Tirupati Tirumala temple and are the compelling reasons for everyone to visit the destination. Tirupati is also acclaimed as one of the richest temples in the world.

Places to visit in and around Tirupati:

Tirumala, Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Kapila Theertham, Chandragiri, Tiruchanur, Srinivasa Mangapuram, Talakona Waterfalls, Sri Kalahasthi, Kalyani Dam and Tiruttani.

Araku Valley

Located at an altitude of 900 metres, Araku Valley is one of the prominent destinations to experience Andhra Pradesh Tourism. Acclaimed as Ooty of Andhra Pradesh, Araku Valley is a scenic destination with lush greenery, waterfalls, pleasant climate and most importantly, is where you find a number of tribal communities residing in sync with nature’s unspoiled beauty. The entire region is like a canvas with wonderful paintings of nature, which will be an experience of lifetime for every visitor.

Related:- Mahamasthaka abhisheka – Bahubali statue Shravanabelagola

Places to visit around Araku Valley:

Borra caves, Katika Waterfalls, Padmapuram Gardens, Tribal museum, Mastyagundam, Tatipudi Reservoir and Tyda Nature camp are some of the popular tourist attractions you can include in your list while planning a trip to Araku Valley.

Sri Kalahasthi

One of the five Pancha Bootha Sthala temples representing the cosmic element Air is Kalahastheeswara temple located at Sri Kalahasthi, in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. An ideal weekend getaway from Chennai to spend two days on a spiritual sojourn is this temple housing Sri Kalahastheeswarar, a form of Lord Shiva as the presiding deity. The destination’s name gets derived from the three creatures Sri(Spider), Kala(serpent) and Hasti(Elephant) who worshipped Lord Shiva with an ardent faith in this location. While planning a short trip to Tirupati and the spiritual destinations around, Sri Kalahasthi tops the list of almost all devotees and tourists.

Places of attractions near Sri Kalahasthi:

Pathala Vinayakar Temple, Tada Falls, Pulicat Lake and Sanctuary, Swarnamukhi River, Kona waterfalls, Tirumala Tirupati temple are the other spiritual and entertainment centers to visit.

Amaravati:

Andhra Pradesh has a rich cultural heritage inherited from Buddhism which had strong hold for many decades. Amaravati is one such destination where you can find the influence of Buddhism wherever you go. The Buddhist stupa is one such monument receiving universal admirations. Amaravati, derived its name from Amareshwara Temple, was once the capital of Satavahana Kingdom. Amaravati has received the attention of tourists across worldwide for its giant Buddhist stupa which is one of the few largest structures ever built.

Places to visit around Amaravati:

Amaravati Museum, Dhyana Buddha Statue, Kondaveedu Fort, Vijayawada, Mahachaitya are the places compelling you to plan a trip to visit Amaravati.

Vizag

Famous for Beaches, Caves and Forts, Vizag is the major sea port of Indian National Army. Also the deepest port of India, Vizag is a tropical region with high humidity round the year. The beaches are relatively clean attracting large number of tourists round the year. An ideal sand shore to relax your nerves and scenic hill stations for trekking options are the highlights of your tour to Vizag this time. Don’t forget to include Vizag in your list while planning a vacation to Andhra Pradesh tourist destination.

Places to visit around Vizag:

Borra Caves, Araku Valley, Yarada Beach, Katiki Waterfalls, Rishikonda Beach, Kailasagiri Hill Park and Indira Gandhi Zoological Park are the other popular attractions in and around Vizag.

Related:- Top 5 best places in South India to visit in February

Vijayawada

The third largest city of Andhra Pradesh, Bezawada , whose name now known as Vijayawada is a prominent tourist destination to experience Andhra Pradesh Tourism. The destination is referred in the history as the place where the Chinese Traveler Hieun Tsang stayed during his visit to South India. Vijayawada is also popular for Kondapalli Reserve Forests which is rich in flora and fauna, which is a delightful sight to behold.

Popular places to visit around Vijayawada:

Bhavani Island, Undavalli Caves, Kolleru Lake, Gandhi Hill, Victoria Museum and Mogalarajapuram caves are the other prominent destinations where you can explore the rich history and tradition of Andhra Pradesh.

Nellore

One of the primary agricultural hotspots in Andhra Pradesh is Nellore, aptly named referring to Nellu(paddy).  Pennar river runs through the town Nellur splitting it into two equal regions. Maurya, Chola, Pallava and Vijayanagara dynasties have ruled this region who have built stunning temples which are timeless beauties and must visit locations while touring across Nellore. Lakes, temples, forts and wildlife sanctuaries make Nellore a strategic and unique location to visit.

Places of attractions around Nellore:

Venkatagiri Fort, Udayagiri Fort, Mypad Beach, Pulicat Lake, Nellapattu Birdlife sanctuary and Sri Ranganthaswamy temple are the other popular attractions in and around Nellore to be included in your list to be visited while touring to Andhra.

Top 5 best places in South India to visit in February

February is the month of Valentine and you must go somewhere lovely, but are probably trying to figure out where? We have got a list of top 5 best places in South India to visit in February month. Take a look-

February

  • Coorg

Are you a mountain lover? Then think no further, head to the Coorg Hills this February and it is guaranteed you will be well entertained. Thousands of acres of sprawling Coffee plantations adorn the hills and the pleasant cool climate all year round makes it a perfect getaway. Tadiandamol, the Namdroling Monastery, Talacauveri, the Abbey Falls and the Raja’s Seat are the major attractions at Coorg.

Related:- How could you tour the ‘ Best of Kerala ‘ in a week?

  • Gokarna

You wish to go somewhere secluded or perhaps enjoy some peaceful time of your own? Hit the waves at the beaches of Gokarna. Relax at the Om shaped Om Beach, sunbath at the Paradise Beach or perhaps go for Beach Trekking starting from the Gokarna beach. Climb and descend the hills [literally trekking, not just walk your way] one by one and visit all the five beaches in Gokarna namely the Kudle Beach, the Gokarna Beach, the Paradise Beach, the Om Beach and the Half Moon Beach.

When you get tired, hang up your boots, hit a café, grab a beer and relax by the shoreline, witness the sunset, enjoy the waves, simply have a nice time of your own. Let February be interesting for you. So Go-Gokarna! Cheerio!

  • Dandelli

Are you an adventure lover? Is water sports your thing? Then you have got Dandelli to catch up. It is a complete playground for the adventure lovers. Surrounded by thick deciduous forest, Dandelli is located to the North of Karnataka state in South India.

Go River Rafting, Rappelling, Kayaking, trekking, Bird Watching and lot more at Dandelli. Do something crazy this February and add it to your travel diary.

Related:- Mahamasthaka abhisheka – Bahubali statue Shravanabelagola

  • Alleppey

Who doesn’t know about Alleppey? This famous backwater destination in Kerala kills it when it comes to holidays. It is probably the most favourite spot for travellers visiting Kerala. If you have never been on a houseboat at the Alleppey backwaters, February is a great time to make it happen. Ask your trusted tour operator to book a houseboat for you.

Glide along the unique stretch of backwater at Alleppey, relish the sumptuous Kerala food prepared exclusively for you on board, take pleasure witnessing the day to day activities by the side of the lake, cruise through the lush green paddy fields and the palm-fringed countryside of Alleppey. Ready? Plan your houseboat tour now!

  • Mahabalipuram

This UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site is a treat for history fanatics and ancient Indian architecture lovers. The Shore temples of Mahabalipuram are world famous for their intricate rock-cut architecture and explicit carvings. You will be literally dumbfounded thinking it out how those ancient artisans worked their sweat out to build this structural wonder. Let the month of February be something informative, at the same time, entertaining as well.  The Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance, the Five Rathas, the Tiger Cave, the Descent of the Ganges and the Krishna’s Butterball are some of the most popular sights at Mahabalipuram.

Now, do not get me wrong when I say Mahabalipuram is for the History and architecture lovers, it is in fact equally entertaining for all types of travellers. The Mahabalipuram Beach is a great spot to relax by the seaside, catch the waves, get wet and have a good time. If you love adventure or crave some excitement, you can go windsurfing or angling on the shimmering Bay of Bengal.

Mahamasthaka abhisheka – Bahubali statue Shravanabelagola

The first among the seven wonders in India, the largest monolithic statue in the world, attracting thousands of tourists every day is the statue of Gommateswara or Bahubali installed in the place called Shravanabelagola. You can reach this place which is at 51 km to the south of the state center Hassan in Karnataka. The place is at a distance of 83 kms from Mysore and 158 kms from Bangalore.

statue

The statue stands as the testimony for the religion Jainism which was predominantly followed before 10th century AD in Karnataka as a Digambara Monastic Tradition. The place has seen many dynasties right from Ganga Kings, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire and finally the Royal Mysore House Wodaiyars. Sharavanabelagola is actually on two hills called Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. The Mourya King Chandragupta Mourya is believed to have spent his last days here leading an ascetic life. There are eight temples in these two hills built by different Kings during different centuries. This place finds mentions in various Historic records with its more than 800 inscriptions illustrating the growth of Kannada Language and Literature.

Related:- Why Vizag tour is trending? Best tourist places in Vizag

The 58 feet tall Gommateswarar statue, installed in the 981 AD by the then King Chavundaraya to honor his mother, stands on the hill Vindhyagiri with lot of inscriptions in the Devanagari script on its base. The Lord is called as “Bahubali” by Jains. There has been a wonderful tradition of anointing this huge statue every twelve years. From the inscriptions, we come to know that the anointing festival called “Mahamasthaka Abhisheka” took place for the first time in 1398 AD and recently it was in 2006. So , the entire Karnataka and people living abroad following Jainism are eagerly looking forward the next anointing ceremony in 2018. The next Maha Masthaka Abhisheka (Maha – Big, Masthaka – Head, Abhisheka – Anointing) falls on February 21st 2018. The events related to this have  already started and the next event is between August 11th and August 13th, 2017, titled as All India Jain Women Conference.

Related:- How could you tour the ‘ Best of Kerala ‘ in a week?

The anointing festival is formally inaugurated on February 7th , 2018 with the religious rituals performed by the Pontiffs in Jainism. The actual celebration falls on February 21st, 2018. Lakhs of devotees from across the world will be attending this festival and the Prime Minister of the country with the other VVIPs from the state and central will be witnessing the ceremonies. The huge statue will be anointed with water, turmeric, rice flower, sugar cane juice, sandalwood paste, saffron, gold and Silver flowers.

Come and join us in witnessing the world’s largest free-standing statue being anointed and get the blessings of Lord Bahubali.

How could you tour the ‘ Best of Kerala ‘ in a week?

Kerala is all about greenery, exotic beaches, shimmering backwaters and wildlife. It would take a month at least to explore all the travel gem spots spread throughout this so-called “God’s own country”, however you could have a taste of Kerala in a week and it is all about panning it rite.

Kerala

Let us help you with the best plan!

In a week you could cover CochinMunnar (Hill station), Thekkady (Wildlife), Alleppey (Backwaters) and Kovalam (Beach). Do remember to book a morning flight on the first day and an evening flight on the last day of your Kerala tour so you would get more time to enjoy yourself.

Now, here is the Kerala trip plan for 7 days-

1Night Cochin- 2Nights Munnar- 1Night Thekkady- 1Night Alleppey- 1Night Kovalam

  • Day 1: Arrive at Cochin

Do local sightseeing of Fort Cochin which includes the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue and the Fort Kochi Beach. Do some shopping if you wish at the local markets of Cochin.

Stay in Cochin.

Related:- Athirapally Waterfalls in Kerala, the “Indian Niagara Falls”!

  • Day 2: Cochin to Munnar [140 km, 4.5 hours]

Morning drive to the princess of hill stations, Munnar. On the way visit the Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls. On reaching Munnar spend some time walking through the verdant grasslands and tea plantations of Munnar. Visit the Tea Museum and the Eravikulam National Park as per the time available. If not, cover the same next day

Stay in Munnar

  • Day 3: Munnar

Today enjoy sightseeing at Munnar. You could visit the Top Station, the most beautiful location in Munnar Hills as per the travellers. On the way, you would come across the Mattupetty Dam, where you could opt for boating along the Mattupetty Lake.

Stay in Munnar

  • Day 4: Munnar to Thekkady [110 km, 3.5 – 4 hours]

Today morning head to Periyar, which would take nearly a 4 hour drive through lush green mountains. As you reach Periyar visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a lot of species of flora and fauna. Opt for a boat ride along the artificial lake inside the sanctuary. You have plenty of other adventure options as well, such as Bamboo Rafting, Night Trekking, Tiger Trail and many more.

  • Day 5: Thekkady to Alleppey [140 km, 4- 5 hour drive]

Today morning, drive towards the world’s most beautiful backwater destination, Alleppey. As you reach, hop on a houseboat and enjoy your houseboat cruise along the backwaters of Alleppey. Float through narrow canals, witness the local life of Alleppey people, enjoy the local Kerala style food prepared for you on board by the houseboat crew. Sit back, relax and enjoy the Alleppey sights.

Overnight stay in the houseboat.

Related:- Why Vizag tour is trending? Best tourist places in Vizag

  • Day 6: Alleppey to Kovalam [180 km, 4 to 5 hour drive]

Morning, disembark from your houseboat and resume your tour with a drive to Kovalam, a spectacular beach destination, often called as the “Goa of the South”. On reaching Kovalam, relax by the Hawa beach and enjoy rest of your day at peace. Enjoy the beautiful sunset from this part of the world. At night you could try the popular seafood at various food stalls by the Light House Beach.

  • Day 7: Kovalam to Trivandrum Airport [20 km, 20 mins drive]

Morning, engage yourself in a sunbath at the Hawa beach or get wet hitting the waves. Later as per your flight schedule, leave to the Trivandrum International airport or if you wish to do sightseeing at Trivandrum, leave 2 or 3 hours early than planned and visit the Padmanabha Swamy Temple, the richest temple in the World, the Napier Museum and the Kuthira Malika [Horse Palace]. Then drive to the airport and board your flight home.

Why Vizag tour is trending? Best tourist places in Vizag

This was coming! Vizag, previously known as Vishakhapatnam, has recently gained popularity among the travel community and is the next hotspot in travel. Situated in Andhra Pradesh and one of the largest city in the state, the port city of Vishakhapatnam houses the oldest shipyard in India. Vizag has a lot to offer its visitors.

Vizag

Starting from the exotic beaches of Rushikonda and Ramakrishna to the ancient Borra caves and the blissful hills of Arakku valley, if you are planning for a Vizag tour? Do not think twice, just set off a journey to enjoy a one of a kind travel experience.

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Below I am listing out the top tourist places in Vizag to visit-

  • Arakku Valley

Arakku Valley definitely tops this list of “Best tourist places in Vizag” owing to its rich greenery, stunning hills and awesome weather which every traveller craves for. A Vizag tour is never complete without making a visit to this paradise. It is nearly 1000 meters above the sea level and 120 kms away from the city of Vishakhapatnam [Vizag]. A day is not enough to see all places in Arakku Valley, it would take at least 2 to 3 days to fully enjoy Arakku. There are numerous spots to explore such as the Dumbriguda Waterfalls, tribal museum the Matsyagundam [Fish pool], the Tyda Park and more. Stroll through its lush green coffee plantations, spend time at the mountain tops, or get wet beneath the roaring waterfalls at Arakku Valley. The tribals of Arakku make one of the best varieties of organic coffee. The train ride to Arakku Valley from Vizag is pretty famous among travellers. It is the only train in India which reaches the highest point in the Eastern Ghats. The 4 hour train journey exposes you to some breathtaking sceneries of Nature.

  • Borra Caves

Located 88 kms from Vizag and 36 kms from Arakku Valley, the Borra Caves hold the title of the “Biggest Caves in India”. It was unknown to the outside world until 1807. Geologists date these limestone caves to be more than 150 million years old, YES! You heard it right, it is indeed 150 million years. At a height of 1400 meters above the sea level, the Borra Caves is a pure natural wonder. If you are into some adventure and love trekking, you would definitely enjoy the trek route up the Borra Caves. As you reach the caves, it would be a whole new world for you, you feel as if you have travel back in time. The air inside, the rocks, small waterfalls everything feels ancient. A visit to Borra Caves is not to be missed while exploring Vizag.

  • Rushikonda Beach

Are you a beach lover? Then Rushikonda is your next love. It is the most famous beach in Andhra Pradesh. Imagine the sight, golden sands clubbed with verdant coconut trees, sea waves hitting the rocky shoreline and the mouth-watering seafood. Do you love Adventure water sports? Surfing? Skiing? Yes? Rushikonda is for you. There are plenty of water sports options for you to get engaged and entertained with. Make a visit to Rushikonda Beach for a perfect beach holiday. Located just 40 km from Vizag it is easily accessible.

  • Bheemli Beach

Just 24 km from Vizag, this is yet another great seaside at Vizag. Bheemli Beach is of great historical importance. It was one among the major Dutch Settlements in the 17th Century and a major trading hub for the British East India Company later. A 16th century Dutch Cemetery and an 18th century lighthouse are the major attractions at Bheemli.

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  • Thotlakonda Buddhist excavation site

Located 20 kms from Vizag on the way to the Bheemli Beach is this ancient Buddhist site named Thotlakonda. It comprises of the ruins of a Buddhist monastery and an advanced center for learning where monks within India and from China, Burma used to reside and learn Buddhist teachings for months. The Thotlakonda Hills are clustered with Buddhist stupas, pillared prayer halls, meditation rooms, stone pathways and many water wells. Archaeologists state the area was active during the period BC 200 to AD 200. Thotlakonda is of huge spiritual importance for the Buddhists and definitely an entertaining site for the history fanatics who love to get deep into the history books. It is a must visit if you are in for a Vizag tour.

  • Katiki Waterfalls

90 kms away from Vizag and 7 kms from Borra Caves is this spectacular waterfalls named Katiki, also known as Katika. It takes a short trek of likely 25-30 mins through dense forest and hills to reach the falls and the trek route is simply beautiful and pleasing. This 100 feet cascading waterfalls is a delight for family travellers and offers many other exciting trekking routes for the adventure junkies and nature lovers as well.

  • INS Kursura Submarine Museum

The INS Kursura Submarine Museum is one of the very few submarine museums which retain authenticity and definitely a must visit spot in Vizag. The INS Kursura [S20], Kalvari-class diesel-electric submarine was India’s fifth submarine. It was of great use during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. The submarine was decommissioned in 2001 after which it is preserved as a museum for the public.

  • Tyda Nature Camp

Tyda Nature Camp, also known as the Jungle Bells Nature Camp is an eco-tourism project at a small tribal village known as Tyda. Set amidst the hills of Eastern Ghats, Tyda is located 70 kms from Vizag on the way to Arakku Valley. Established by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department and the Forest Department, it offers camping, rock climbing, trekking, bird-watching and many other exciting activities. Log huts and tents are available at the Camp. It is a perfect getaway for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

 

Athirapally Waterfalls in Kerala, the “Indian Niagara Falls”!

Often referred as the Niagra of India, the Athirapally waterfalls in Kerala is the largest waterfalls in the state. Falling from a height of 80m, this splendid waterfall is a delight to witness. It is situated in Chalakkudy [Thrissur district] on the 145 km long Chalakkudy River which originates from the Western Ghats and flows to the Sholayar Forest. The location is so beautiful that it has served as a setting for many blockbuster Indian movies like Raavan, Guru and Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se to name a few.

Athirapally

Though I have heard a lot about Athirapally Waterfalls, I never made a visit. Finally, last week I decided to travel to Athirapally. From my hometown Cochin, Athirapally is nearly 70 kms, a 2 hour drive. I started early morning 6am. There are 2 ways to reach Athirapally from Cochin, one is taking a right diversion after Angamaly junction which is the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road, and other is from Chalakkudy. I must say both ways to Athirapally are two of the most scenic routes you would have ever come across. I took the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road which comes shortly after the Cochin International Airport near Angamaly.

From Cochin, it is the shorter route. However, if you are travelling by car, I would suggest you pick the Chalakkudy route as i suffered a bit moving the other route. The Chalakkudy- Athirappally road is in good condition and therefore a better than the former. As I started driving through the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road, I came across some blissful sights of the countryside. No wonder people love this route. There were oil palms, rubber estates, gorgeous rivulets, and smiling estate workers all along. The route passes through many beautiful villages as well. I stopped at certain spots for few clicks.

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Take a look below-

I reached a check-post, where we need to buy the ticket to enter the Athirapally Waterfalls area. It is Rs. 30 per person. For still cameras, you got to pay Rs. 20 and Rs. 200 for video cameras. From there, nearly a 100 m away, there is a sweet spot for the visitors. We get a long yet spectacular view of the Athirapally Falls. The below is an image taken from the spot

A short walk from there got me to the Athirapally Waterfalls entrance. There are lots of food joints and other shops adjacent to the entrance. I started walking through the pathway inside. It takes a 10-minute walk to reach the first viewpoint of the Athirapally Waterfalls. From there I had a panoramic view of the waterways and the surrounding hills along with the side view of the majestic Athirapally waterfalls on to my right. You could see the same below-

A guard informed me to go for a short trek downhill where the “Big deal” is. I started the trek. The pathway is well laid out with bamboo handrails and also bamboo made benches for the visitors to relax during this downhill trek. I reached halfway, and unlike the guard said it did not feel like a short trek for me. I was heavily gasping for air. I sat at one of the bamboo benches by the side. Nearly half an hour gone, i still did not move. Maybe because I am so used to sitting at work for long hours that my body doesn’t like to overdo anything that burns my calories.

I resumed my trek. I guess it is more than half a km walk down the rocky hill. It is tiring, however, I could hear the roaring waterfalls near me, which pumped me to get through. At last, I made it. I saw a group of travellers looking up, standing in awe. I rushed towards them, and guess what- the same thing happened. I was awestruck too, I was lost for words.

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Well! Who would not? seeing THIS-

The sight is just brilliant. I just stood there for a while witnessing the river water gushing down the rocky landscape surrounded by lush green mountains. A blissful sight for any human eye. The feeling was great. I was standing right in front of the largest waterfalls in Kerala. This waterfall is not big, it is simply GINORMOUS! I sat on a rock and enjoyed the sight for more than an hour.

For me, this is one of the finest pieces of art by Mother Nature.

I highly recommend all travellers, especially nature lovers to make a visit to Athirapally Waterfalls and experience the love of nature at this part of the world.