Friday, 16 August 2013

So you want to go to Pushkar ? TIPS, GUIDE , and what to and where to go in Pushkar. read on

Pushkar is one of the important places in Rajasthan, because it is one of the five 'dhams' or pilgrimage centers for Hindus. The other four are, Badrinath, Puri, Rameswaram, and Dwarka. The place is also very popular with the foreign tourists who love to visit the cattle fair that is held annually here. Travel to Pushkar and enjoy the many colors and traditions of Rajasthan..Nestled in a valley, 14 kms from Ajmer is the beautiful Pushkar town. It is a pretty little town surrounded by hills on three sides in the state of Rajasthan in Western India.

So here are the list of places you must visit :

The Pushkar Lake created from the petal fallen from Brahma’s Lotus when he destroyed the demon Vajra Nabha. The lake is no less than a miracle within the dry and arid desert. The lake and its numerous ghats are a place of hectic activities when the pilgrims, eager to wash away their sins, crowd them for a holy dip. The waters are believed to cure various ailments and have also been proved to contain certain chemicals that aid skin enrichment. The lake is surrounded by 52 ghats and over 350 temples. The Pandas at the Ghats are to be dealt with firmly for they with their knowledge and wisdom would try to extract their share of money. For guided tours and rental car and taxis please visit

The Apteshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Mahadev (Shiva). This is one of the temples that were destroyed by Aurangazeb and were resurrected later. The Aptaeshwar Temple is actually an underground shrine. This temple, believed to have gone underground / sunk over a period of time, appears to have been crafted out of mother’s womb has a beautiful Shiv Ling (Lord Shiva’s Genital) installed in the main hall.  For guided tours and rental car and taxis please visit

The only Brahma temple in the world is present at Pushkar. Though the Lord has a temple, he himself is not worshipped. The legend goes that Lord Brahma, desperate to perform a Holy Yajnya (Fire-Worship) at Pushkar decided to marry a local girl since wife Savitri was not ready to come to Mrutyulok (Earth). However, Savitri decided to check in on the erring husband and found him sitting alongside his new bride. Enraged Savitri cursed Brahma that he would loose the right to be worshipped anywhere else other than Pushkar and hence the only temple dedicated to this Lord of the Lords. The temple is magnificently rebuilt in 1809. Make it a point to identify the four-faced icon of Brahma accompanied by his reticent bride, Gayatri. The turtle (pure silver) at the shrine's entrance also deserves a closer look. The entrance is marked by a maroon spire and atop the gateway a Hans (goose) is seen perched.
 For guided tours and rental car and taxis please visit

The Savitri (Brahma’s desolate wife) temple built in 1687 is perched atop the Ratnagiri hill. The Goddess is believed to have rested on the hill upon arrival and refused to join her husband who had married a local girl Gayatri. Her temple is smack in front of the Brahma temple and is believed to serve as a lookout for the Goddess for her erring husband. The route to the temple is through the hills and takes around an hour. Further, the temple atop the hill and its surroundings provide a breathtaking view of the Pushkar Lake and the surrounding desert.
 For guided tours and rental car and taxis please visit

THE CAMEL SAFARI !!!! Ever imagined aimless wander across the desert without loosing the comforting thought of an emergency rescue; you deserve the camel safari. Join the Camel Safari and explore the Deserts of Rajasthan. The Camel Safari explores the charted and sometimes even uncharted routes while halting at en-route villages for an overnight halting interaction with desert dwellers. The Safari stretches anything between 2 days to a month depending upon the comfort level. The Safaris are accompanied by knowledgeable escorts / guides and is an experience not to be missed. The rides are tough yet enjoyable since it caters for carrying your entire family and baggage.
 For guided tours and rental car and taxis please

Pushkar Yoga Garden.  A yoga centre based on ancient ashram tradition.
Yoga is an art and science of right living. On a spiritual level it is described as the union of individual consciousness with the universal consciousness, but on the practical level, yoga is a means of bringing health, happiness and harmony in life so that one can improve the quality of life and live it fully.This is achieved through the proper application of the principles and practices of Yoga in daily life.
 For guided tours and rental car and taxis please visit

So here are the list of places to visit and things to do in Pushkar. I will soon be writing a stay and eatery guide for Pushkar so stay tuned. Please do not forget to Comment and Visit my website

Monday, 5 August 2013

Visiting Mount Abu Rajasthan ? A Must Read on where to visit what to do and what to eat in Mount Abu. A complete guide and itinerary about Mount Abu

Mount Abu is an oasis in every sense of the word. With its lush green forests, water bodies and all-year round cool weather, it is perfect for flora and fauna to flourish and for human beings to get away to. For the religious minded Jain and Hindu communities of the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, it is Nirvana, or Moksha, land. For the fun seekers, this hill station in the middle of the desert is just right for soft adventure, lazing around, eating and even drinking.

Here are ten reasons why you should visit Mount Abu any time of the year:

Nakki Lake
Mount Abu is one of those towns whose identity is linked to their lakes. Think Srinagar and Geneva. Legend says the Nakki Lake was dug out by the Gods using their nails, or Nakh, and hence its name and religious significance. It is another matter that the lake is used more for boating than a holy dip; the attached food kiosks and lawns ensure you have a good picnic here. The clean and pristine lake make boating a pleasure here. If you come early morning you can even spot many species of birds. The whole town seems to be settled around the lake giving it a very peaceful look.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Viewing the sunset seems a must-do on every tourist’s list. With good reason. Sitting atop the Sunset Point, located two kilometers south west from the town centre, with the valley below and sky above, it is the right setting to see the yellows and reds in their myriad hues especially when there is no cloud cover. No vehicles are allowed on the last kilometer leading to Sunset Point but you can always rent a horse or a Baba Gadi. The latter is a small, low rise cart on wheels pushed by one or two persons depending on the ‘payload.’ Be prepared to be pestered by vendors trying to sell peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Forests and Green Cover
If you are seeking a date with a hyena, leopard, bear or a chinkara, head out to Mount Abu’s wildlife sanctuary. Even if you don’t spot any of these animals, you are sure to see one of the hundreds of langurs or over 250 species of birds. Mount Abu is surrounded by forests, and these seem to be on a recovery path after stringent laws put a check on rampant deforestation. The green cover is a pleasure to the eye and the soul, and also allow one to chart their own course hiking. The trails are not very well defined though and you may want to take a guide along to avoid losing your way.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here
Dilwara Temples
It is a pity photography is not allowed in these Jain temples, but the memories of the fine sculpture seen here can never go away. Each square foot of the temple seems to have been a labour of skill and love; the guide tells you these temples are so called because the heart, or dil, has gone into the making of these. The oldest of these is the Vimal Vasahi temple built by Vimal Shah, a minister to the Bhima Dev I, the Solanki ruler of Gujarat. Work started in 1031 AD and took 14 years to complete at a cost of Rs. 18.53 crores at that time; 1500 artisans and 1200 labourers were employed for the purpose. Walk around to marvel at other creations including the Hastishala (Elephant Cell), Luna Vasahi Temple, Pittalhar Temple and Parshwanath Temple all built over a 500 year period.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Guru Shikhar
The highest point in Rajasthan at 5,653 feet, Guru Shikhar is located 15 kilometers from Mount Abu. With a temple and ancient cave for Lord Dattatreya, believed to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, this location is never short of devotees. Or picnickers. Offering 360 degrees picturesque views, you can also shop for tourist souvenirs here while munching on cheese or butter flavoured special ‘American Sweetcorn’ as advertised by vendors. If you seeking miracles, go to the ‘miracle’ cave of Santoshi Maa. If your back and joints are in constant pain, you can buy Mal Kangni oil or Salamushi, a vegetable grown locally. Selling at fifty rupees a pack, it promises to rid you of all trouble within fifteen days. Try at your own risk though.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

The fort, now more of a ruin, was built by Raja Kumbha in the fifteenth century. The place is visited more for its religious spots though. You have the Achaleswar Temple where the toe of Lord Shiva is worshipped. And the 500 year old Jain temples of Lord Adeshwar with 14 imposing statues made of gold and five other metals. As you explore the area, possible only of foot on inclined terrain, you can visit the temples of Chamunda Devi, Mahakali and Meerabai as well as the Gopichand Raja cave and the Shravan Bhado pond. Each with their own legend to tell.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Great Places to Stay
If you want some quality accommodation within a reasonable budget, Mount Abu is the place to be. You have many a heritage property, the most prominent being the Jaipur House built in 1897. Its elevated position makes it an ideal place to enjoy the views of the lake and the surroundings, but its rooms and food seem a bit of a dampener. Head out to Connaught House though. A few minutes walk from the mall, it may have the best service and food in town. Other choices go all the way down from comfortable to budget hotels. Including clones like Holiday In, Sheratone and Hilltone.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Rock Formations
Some act of nature seems to have given Mount Abu and the surrounding hills an abundance of strange looking rock formations. The most prominent one if the Toad Rock looking like a toad ready to plunge into the Nakki Lake. You have others in various shapes resembling some life forms like a skull or even versions of modern art. It is almost as if these were hand made; perhaps the Gods decided to get creative after creating Mount Abu as the legends go. A traveller can make a game out of spotting and snapping these rocks to come up with the best collection of all.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Its geographical location means Mount Abu has to cater to many kinds of taste buds. The main market area is full of restaurants offering Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisines besides those from south and north India as well as imports like pizzas and other western dishes. All the restaurants in the mall area are very basic and may not appeal to everyone’s senses; there is also fine dining at hotels like Connaught House. Most of these are aware of the strict vegetarianism of their guests. For those missing there espressos, there is a CafĂ© Coffee Day. Mount Abu is also a weekend getaway for those from Gujarat seeking a watering hole with prohibition in the state.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

Hill stations in India are usually places to pick up things you will rarely find anyplace else. Walk around the mall in Mount Abu and you can buy ‘gogals’ and air pistols off kiosk like shops. Or have your name written on a grain of rice, or on a keychain with a wooden dangler. Try some curios or handicrafts at the ‘Chacha Museum’ or Rajasthali, the state owned chain of emporiums. You could also bargain for locally made silver jewelry, marble statues and Kota sarees. Not a place to splurge, but definitely carry back some souvenirs and gifts.
For Cheap Car Taxis's and Guided tour please click here

So I hope you will enjoy your trip to Mount Abu and I bet you will.
Have fun and take care and yes please do not forget to comment and please visit my website :

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

10 Days Rajasthan Itinerary Best Itinerary for Traveling in Rajasthan

Most of the tourists who are traveling to Rajasthan are confused on what and how to travel here, to make the most out of their trip. So here is a perfectly planned itinerary to travel in Rajasthan. You can make the changes if you like according to your budget and means of transportation you prefer, but this is almost perfect route you should follow.

Day 1: Jaipur

Arrival at Jaipur 
Pickup from Jaipur Airport / Railway Station / Bus Stand by placard carrying driver and transfer to Hotel. 
Post Lunch, visit to the fabled Pink City, the Jaipur of old.
Jaipur is famous for its marvelous architecture and town planning. Drive through the colourful bazaars to the delicate Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). 
Visit the various museums inside the City Palace and the ancient observatory, Jantar Mantar which is now a world heritage site.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 2: Fatehpur,

Depart after an early breakfast to Fatehpur, Shekhawati (3 hrs away). 
See the Cenotaphs, Stepwells, beautifully Painted Havelis or mansions that this Shekhawati region is renowned for.

Proceed after lunch for Bikaner. If we are in time, we can also visit the Camel-breeding Farm just before Bikaner (open 3-5 pm). Bikaner is 2-3 hrs. from Fatehpur.
Check-in at hotel in Bikaner.
Day 3: Bikaner See the fabulous Junagarh Fort & Lalgarh Palace in Bikaner.
Proceed for Jaiselmer. Have lunch on the way (5 hrs. drive, packed lunch from Bikaner advised).
Reach before sundown, to catch a glimpse of the setting sun on the Golden Fort. 
Check-in at hotel in Jaiselmer.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 4: Jaiselmer

Jaisalmer is a small town best explored on foot. Roam in the old fort, marvel at the beautiful architecture and amazing stonework. In particular, see the Museum and Jain Temple.
Take a walk through the back streets to the Patwon ki Haveli & Kothari Haveli.
After lunch proceed to Kuldhera - an abandoned habitation, and then to Sam Sand Dunes.
Take a Camel Ride and experience the haunting magic of the desert.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 5: Jodhpur

After early breakfast leave for Jodhpur the Sun City via Pokhran (total drive 5 hrs.).
See deer on the way in the Bishnoi villages, and reach Jodhpur by afternoon.
You can see Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada (memorial to an ex-ruler of Jodhpur) and Umaid Palace. 
You can also roam in the colorful bazaars around the old clock tower.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 6: Ranakpur

An early breakfast and we are off to see a fort that they say only Gods could have built, the awe inspiring Mehrangarh Fort. Do not miss the view of Jodhpur's blue houses & sunset from the top of the fort. 
Leave for Mt. Abu, that is 5 hours away. We see the beautiful temples at Ranakpur on the way. Check-in at hotel in Mt. Abu.
Visit to Sunset Point / Nakki Lake in the evening.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 7: Mt. Abu

Visit Dilwara Temples and Brahmakumari Ashrams after breakfast.
Leave for Udaipur after lunch (3 hr. drive). Udaipur, the capital of mewar region is beautiful with lots of lakes and greenery. Enjoy a stroll on the lakefront, or catch a folk dance show at Baggar ki Haveli in the evening.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 8: Udaipur

Full day Sightseeing of Udaipur, covering the City Palace, Old City, Saheliyon ki Badi lakes, Pratap Memorial & Haldi Ghati.
Stay at Udaipur. In evening, catch the sunset from Sajjangarh or see Shilpgram where folk Arts and crafts are on display. The other options are to see a stirring sound and light show at the City palace or stroll in the bazaars.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 9: Ajmer,Pushkar

Start after breakfast for Ajmer. This is a 5 hour drive.
Visit the Dargah of Sufi Saint Salim Chishti, venerated by followers of all religions and leave for Pushkar that is close by.
See the Holy Lake after lunch & visit the only Temple of Lord Brahma in the world. 
Pushkar is famous for rose cultivation too! You can ask the driver to visit a Rose Farm.
Drive to Jaipur (3 hr. drive).
For guided trips and car rental click here

Day 10: Jaipur

On the last day of the trip visit the magnificient Amber Palace, perched on a hill top. You can also hitch a ride of a different kind at the fort, hire an elephant and ride like a maharaja into the fort!
See the Largest Cannon on Wheels in the World and old cannon foundry at Jaigarh. 
Visit to the Kanak Vrindavan Temple in the valley of flowers. 
Drop at Airport / Railway Station / Bus Stand in the evening.
For guided trips and car rental click here

So I hope you liked my suggestion of itinearary to Rajasthan. Please do not forget to comment and visit my website and for For guided trips and car rental click here

Have a fun trip 
Take care

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Visiting Jaipur ? 10 Must visit Tourist spots you must visit in Jaipur.

So I am quite sure that you are acquainted by the fact that Jaipur is one of the top most tourist destination in India. So here is my list of 10 must visit tourist spot that you can't miss if you are visiting to Jaipur. For a guided tour of Jaipur or if you need to rent a car make sure you visit my website

City Palace – Jaipur

City Palace is the combination of Mughal, Rajput and European architect which tends to lead to the unique wonder. City Palace, which was the home of the king Sawai Maan Singh, is different from all the forts of Jaipur which shares the part of the art gallery, marble pillars and carved interiors which can never be seen in any part of other regions.

Jantar MantarJantar Mantar

It is also knows as the place of astronomical instruments built by the king Jai Singh III of Jaipur who was titled the king with brains. All the instruments in Jantar Mantar shares a particular attribute that helps in astronomical measurement.

Nahargarh FortNahargarh Fort

Nahargarh is one beautiful fort in the region of Jaipur which acted as one of the strong defense ring for the city of Jaipur during the ruling times of Sawai Man Singh. The view of the city from Nahargarh is fabulous and breathe taking.

Jaivana CannonJaigarh Fort

Jaigarh Fort is knows as the victory fort which was built by the king Sawai Maan Singh III in order to protect the amber fort and the palace complex within it. The world’s largest canon on wheel is kept in nahargarh fort which embraces the pride and honour of the fort.

Amber FortAmber Fort

Amber fort shares a special place in the hearts of the local people. Amber Fort shares an amazing history which resembles to the victory of Sawai Maan Singh and establishment of Mata temple in Amber Fort. The amazing style of architect force people to enjoy and feel the richness of the culture.

Sisodia Rani GardenSisodia Rani Garden

Sisodia Rani Garden is a perfect example of beautiful nature filled with the amazing surprises and views of peace. The garden was built by the king Sawai mann singh II for his beloved wife which portrays the untouched scenes of Radha Krishna life in the Hindu mythology.

Hawa MahalHawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal is also knows as the palace of winds. This is considered as one piece of architect and smart thinking. Hawa Mahal is a palace with small small windows on the outer which helps the blowing winds in the palace to change their temperature to coolest and does not allow hot winds to blow inside the palace.

Jal MahalJal Mahal

As the name suggest, Jal Mahal is a palace which is built in the middle of the man Sagar Lake. Jal Mahal shares a special place in the category of amazing architectural ideas involved with the city Jaipur.

Birla TempleBirla Mandir

Birla Mandir is one beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and God Narayan. This beautiful temple is typically made by the pure marbles and furnished with many handicrafts shop and refreshing gardens inside the premises which help in astonishing the beauty of the temple.

Albert Hall Museum

Albert Hall is a museum which explains the importance of the old gallery and sculptures from different regions of world. With the global importance, the museum portrays the unique traditions followed in the regions of Rajasthan which is filled with rich values and importance.

So there goes my list of Top 10 tourist spots that you must visit in Jaipur. And remember please do not forget to visit my website if you need a guided tour or you need to rent a car. Make sure you read and make use of all the information available on this blog 

Have a fun Trip

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Visiting Kumbhalgarh ? Here are some info and what to see at Kumbhalgarh and attractions nearby. A Guide to visit Kumbhalgarh

Kumbhalgarh - Location
Its location had always been Kumbhalgarh's greatest advantage. Because it was virtually inaccessible in the 15th century, Rana Kumbha of Mewar built this great defensive fortress on a 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) high hill overlooking the approaches from Ajmer and Marwar. Today, precisely because it is within easy reach of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Pushkar-yet off the well trodden tourist routes-Kumbhalgarh is an attractive destination.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Kumbhalgarh - History
In Kumbha's time the kingdom of Mewar spread from Ranthambore to Gwalior, including vast tracts of present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Mewar's rulers became patrons of all that was best in Indian martial and fine arts, architecture, and learning. Of the 84 fortresses defending Mewar, 32 were designed and built by Rana Kumbha. Of these, Kumbhalgarh with its 36-kilometer long wall and soaring towers is the most impressive. Kumbhalgarh stands on the site of an ancient citadel dating back to the second century AD belonging to a Jain descendant of India's Mauryan emperors. It defined the boundaries between Mewar and Marwar and became a refuge for Mewar's rulers in times of strife. Its steel gray ramparts encircle the fertile Shero Mallah Valley, with ancient monuments cenotaphs, ponds and flourishing farms. Kumbhalgarh fell only once in its history, to the combined forces of Emperor Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, and Raja Udai Singh of Amber, and Raja Udai Singh of Marwar.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Kumbhalgarh - Tourist Attractions

A priest is still employed by the present Maharana to care for the shrines of his ancestors. And twice a day the Pandit's family makes the stiff uphill climb to the castle to light the sacred lamps before vermilion-daubed images of Hanuman, Chamunda, and Ekling. There is an octagonal room in which Rana Pratap was born, apart from, the hall in which his grandson Prince Karan entertained the future Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the beacon tower from which a flame summoned Mewar's chieftains to war. The austere chambers, the vast reservoirs kept full by elephant relays, the simple garden court for the royal ladies, the easily defendable narrow staircases all declared that this was primarily a warrior's hideout, not a palace for princely pomp and show.
The imaginatively designed Aohdi nearby belongs to a descendant of one of those great warrior families, the Rathores of Ghanerao, who enjoyed the distinction of having the only hereditary seat among the premier nobles of both Mewar and Marwar. The Aohdi's castle-type cottages provide comfort and privacy for those seeking a peaceful retreat, plus a base for horse safari and trekking enthusiasts.

Horse lovers and adventure seekers can enjoy the thrill of riding and camping in the Reserve Forest around Kumbhalgarh. Each group is accompanied by experienced sawars. Horses, tents, food and fodder are provided by the Aohdin on prior notice at a very reasonable cost compared to a hacking holiday in Europe or America.

A hazardous, barely jeepable track takes you to the 586 square kilometer Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The main attraction here would be panther, sloth bear, wild boar, four-horned antelope or crocodiles, "scientifically bred" in the lake.

The Crocodile Farm has a guesthouse belonging to the Forest Department and overnight stays are possible. Good forest cover, jungle berries, fruits and nuts, water grasses, algae, and fish provide sustenance for thousands of flamingoes, sarus cranes, spoonbills, painted storks, cormorants, purple heron, egrets, duck, and rosy pelican in winter. One also finds plenty of chakor partridge, crow pheasants, jungle warblers, golden orioles, gray jungle fowl, and the usual peacocks; parrots, pigeons, and doves.
For guided trips and car rental click here

Kumbhalgarh - Places Nearby

Ranakpur Jain Temples

The famous Ranakpur temples are just 50 kilometers from Kumbhalgarh by the scenic route through Vanpura and Saira.

Begun in 1438 by Rana Kumbha, Ranakpur became a strangely tranquil meditation center in a frequently war ravaged land. It also became a magnificent sculpture museum to which wealthy Jain merchants and ministers kept adding shrines and statues. The central Chaumukha Temple is dedicated to the venerated Tirthankara Adinath. With its 29 halls and 1,444 distinctly different carved pillars, this is an astounding monument. Two temples dedicated to the Jain saints, Parasnath and Neminath have beautiful erotic carvings very similar to those which have made Khajuraho famous. And truly worth visiting is the much earlier, probably 6th century, Sun Temple close by, which has polygonal walls richly embellished with warriors, horses, and booted solar deities driving splendid chariots.


Ghanerao is the place where Thakur Sajjan Singhji and his gracious wife have recreated a charming old-world ambience by opening this castle constructed in 1603 to paying guests. The genuine warmth of his greeting as he strode across the courtyard towards us, the bright wall frescoes, hunting trophies, turbaned retainers, peeing maids, carved jharokhas, drawing rooms full of colored windows and chandeliers, Rajput miniatures, ostrich eggs hand printed by the owner in Mayo College, all those old photographs
Parshuram temple
If you want to go back further in past in history then this is a must visit place. A secluded very inconveniently located ancient cave where 'Rishi' parshuram did his sadhna, from era of Ram and Sita. It has almost 500 steps which take you down to the cave. You would definitely get moved by the atomosphere inside the cave. The priest would tell you lot of history along with the formations which are called 'Kamdhenu' if you donate meager 100 Rs, which indeed is a big help for people over there to maintain and sustain themselves in such adverse geographical location.

So this sums up my guide and information regarding visiting Kumbhalgarh Fort. If you need a guided tour or need to Rent a Car or room please feel free to contact me on my website  Please share this blog with your friends too..
Have fun take care :-)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Traveling in India ? Safe Travel Tips and Tricks. Solo Travelers must Read

The world isn't dangerous or unsafe. Quite the opposite. There are some desperate places and people, even in your home town, but these are a minority. In fact, you’re more likely to get into trouble at home than travelling if you follow these common sense tips on your trips.

1. Back (packer) glance

Get in the habit of looking back when you get up to leave somewhere. Travel is very distracting, and you’re probably carrying more stuff than when you’re at home, so you’re more likely to leave a jacket or journal at that Parisian cafe table where you were people watching.

2. Separate your sources of money

You know how you keep all your bank cards in your wallet/purse when you’re at home? Well, don’t do this while you’re travelling. Keep at least one in a different place, preferably not on your person. If you lose all your cards on the road it is very difficult to get replacements, and being without money in Timbuktu can be kind of unfun.

3. Don’t keep your wallet/purse in your jeans’ back pocket

To avoid being pickpocketed, keep your wallet in your front pocket, especially a pocket that can be buttoned up. Best of all, use the inside pocket of your jacket. There are also a load of different ‘money belts’ (see examples here) that either hang inside your shirt or wrap around your waist (under your shirt), etc. Make sure it’s waterproof because travelling can often be sweaty/perspiring work. I’d advise against the bum bag/fanny pack varieties. There is no better way to advertise the fact that you have a load of valuables on you…and, of course, they were never ever cool.

4. Scan all your major documents

Scan your travel documents and email them to yourself. It was traditional to photocopy your passport and visas, travel insurance etc, and keep them in a separate part of your luggage. But that’s old school. These days, digital is best – that way your documents won’t go missing even if your bags do.

5. Don’t trust strangers who wear turtle neck/polo neck tops

Only kidding about the turtle necks. It is hard to get to know the locals at a destination if you don’t trust them, but there are limits to how much you should trust them when it comes to your personal safety (going with them into a risky area of town), money, and consuming their food or drink (if they are not consuming it themselves). Do a search on forum for the latest scams that travellers have reported for where you are going.

6. Get travel insurance

This is mainly for health costs if you get ill or injured while abroad. Hospital costs can quickly get into the tens of thousands of dollars, even for a minor injury. Insurance is worth it

7. Get vaccinated

Visit your doctor before you leave to get all the relevant vaccinations/immunisations for the destinations you’re visiting, and to learn what health precautions you should follow.

8. Avoid PDAs

I mean Public Displays of Affluence (not affection). If you’re travelling abroad then you’re more than likely to be richer than most of the locals, but advertising this fact by wearing gold jewellery or carrying a $2000 camera around your neck is not advisable. It makes you a target for thieves. Leave your jewellery at home and keep your camera in a bag when you’re not using it.

9. Some things are best perfected at home

It may seem like a breeze, but be advised that teaching yourself to ride a motorbike or jet ski in a foreign country is probably unwise. In Thailand, for instance, 38 people a day die in scooter accidents. Nb some travel insurance policies won’t cover scooter-related injuries.

10. Check the fine print and certificates of instructors

If you’re doing a specialist course (scuba diving) or something risky (bungee jumping) then check the operators have legitimate qualifications and a good safety record. There’s usually a reason a course is cheaper than the others.

11. Don’t leave your belongings unattended in public spaces

This is so obvious that I am embarrassed to mention it, but people do it all the time. Most notably, travellers leave their bags at their feet or hanging from the back of chairs when they’re at cafes or restaurants. Either keep them on your lap or wrap its strap around your leg.

12. Give it up

There is a simple rule that people find hard to follow: if you are mugged, give over your wallet, watch etc. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have insurance and you’ve left all your irreplaceable stuff (eg grandma’s necklace) at home. Just do it, and walk away uninjured.

13. Don’t give to beggars

There are exceptions to this rule, such as monks seeking alms. But, in general, don’t give away money to people on the street. Apart from the fact that you may have to get your wallet/purse out, encouraging begging is not the most efficient use of your money (and goodwill). If you want to help out then do some volunteer work in the destination or donate some money to a local charity for the homeless or loan some money to a poor entrepreneur via Kiva.

14. Be wary of using your credit card at an internet cafe

Internet cafes’ computers may have keylogger software or hardware that records your key strokes, so unscrupulous characters (not necessarily the owners of the cafe) can see the username and password to your online accounts (banking, email etc) or grab your credit card details. A good trick to make this more challenging for them has been proposed: : Open a couple of other browser windows (for the website you are using) and half way through entering your passwords or credit card information type incorrect information into these windows.

15. Don’t pat stray dogs and cats

This is more of a ‘note to self’ than to you, after a stray dog tried to pull my thumb off in Buenos Aires. You may be missing your pets at home, but stray animals may be carrying rabies and other fun infections (and big teeth). You should also not feed monkeys, for the same reason.

16. Your worst enemy may be your travel companion

Often your travel companions will take risks that compromise your safety. They’ll ask for help from people that you wouldn’t go near, they’ll aggravate a situation with arrogance, or they’ll break any number of the no-nos mentioned above. Don’t submit to their peer pressure. Stand your ground. And if they continue to be unsafe then consider parting ways.

So I hope you will follow my set of advice. Please do not forget to visit my website . Any one who need a guided tour around the city or travel packages, please feel free to contact me.

Have fun travel safe

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Traveling in India during Monsoon. Tips and Tricks of Traveling in India During Monsoon

There are always advantages to every travel situation in life, and this is never more true than when you are planning a trip to India.

Never forget that this vast country is, geographically, a sub-continent.  From the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in the north, through the deserts to the west, down to the steamy heat of the south, there is a huge range of climatic zones.  So whenever you plan your journey, there will always be the weather factor to be considered.  Given the size of the country, there is no single ‘ideal’ time to visit India.

For example, if you wish to travel to Ladakh, high up in Kashmir, you can only do so during the hot summer months, when the snow melts in the passes, and the road and airport become, once again, accessible.

Much (but not all) of the country experiences monsoons between the months of June-September, with varying degrees of intensity, but do not for a moment let the thought of rain deter you from traveling around India.

The monsoons are, in fact, a lovely time to see the country.  Just a few showers are enough to transform parched dustiness and arid baked landscapes into lush, clean greenness.  Dust is washed away, as is the heat-induced weariness of people.  When it rains, people smile in relief and delight, and go stand out in the street, to relish those first deliciously cooling showers.

Not only does everything look cleaner and greener, there are usually far fewer tourists, so bookings are easier, monuments are not as crowded, and so what if it rains while you are sight-seeing?  You sit it out, chat to the people who will inevitably join you, and when the monsoon shower is over, off you go.

By and large Indians are not whiners.  So, when it pours down, far from grumbling, they smile and enjoy the rain.  You will see more smiles and laughter during the rainy season than at any other time, guaranteed.

So, travel during the rainy season and enjoy a quieter, cleaner, greener India, whilst accepting that it may, at times, be a little more chaotic than usual.

Here are a few tips to surviving the monsoons:

  • Make sure you have a rain cape to cover your back-pack/day-pack – though you will get hot, be warned – and if you have an umbrella for sight-seeing, so much the better.  It will do double duty as a parasol and an umbrella.  Most monsoons showers are just that, showers, so an umbrella often makes more sense – you are not venturing out for hours on end in the rains, remember.
  • Rubber flip-flops (known as chappals in India) are ideal footwear in the monsoons.  You have to take shoes off so often in India – inside places of worship, often inside peoples’ homes – that flip-flops make sense, in any case.  Plus, they don’t get spoiled by a sudden downpour.
  • You must always be careful about drinking water in India – as in never, ever drink the tap water – and you do need to be especially vigilant during the monsoons, since pipes do burst and water does overflow.
  • Inevitably, where there is heat and rain, you will get mosquitoes, so be vigilant about protecting yourself.  Cover up in the evenings, use repellent, and don’t ever leave water stagnating around you – prime breeding ground.
  • If the rains are especially heavy, your timetable might well get a little altered. For example, in the hills, small landslides sometimes happen, and so the road will get blocked, and you will be delayed.  There is nothing you or anyone else can do, so the only thing to do is to enjoy the rains the way the locals do.
  • Sit back, wait for the landslide to be cleared/the overflowing road to drain/the rain to stop, and do that quintessentially Indian monsoon thing – have a steaming hot cup of tea and a plate of pakoras, and enjoy the rain.

I hope these tips and tricks will help you during your trip to India during Monsoons.Please do not forget to visit my website . Please feel to contact me for guided tours and car rentals.  Happy monsoon travels!