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Come explore the Kathmandu valley, known for its medieval temples and shrines with exquisite carvings. Here festivals are celebrated with much gusto and skillful handicrafts and pottery are a visual feast.

It is not only home to many World Heritage Sites but is also a soulful place for retrospection. Explore Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a wondrous display of Newari architecture. Visit Boudhanath, a giant white dome that is Nepal’s largest stupa and the center of Tibetan Buddhism where the prayers of many have known to be answered.

Watch as this fascinating city comes to life with our video!

Interested in exploring Kathmandu?

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It is no secret that Indians love their tea.

If you are a tea aficionado, you’ll know all the nook & corners of the country where you can find the best and the strongest flavours of tea. We love tea, just as much as you do and we thought of taking you through a virtual tea-tasting session!

Have a look at this refreshing video and tell us your thoughts about it:

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Mothers play many roles – friends, teachers, confidantes, nurses – she’s the most important woman in any person’s life. In a country like India, mothers are considered to be on the same level as God – after all, they do give us life. Being a mother may look like a glamorous job. However, it is a tiring full-time job. Mothers are at work all days of the week and 24 hours of the day. There is no time for rest, forget about going on trips they have always dreamed of.

Mothers will always find time for their children no matter how tired they are

Mothers will always find time for their children no matter how tired they are

Why wait for an occasion to gift her something? She made every day special for you by attending to your daily needs. Gift her one of the best trips that every mom wishes, but never asks for. Here are seven such trips:

#1 A Spa Retreat

There is no better way to relax your body and mind than to indulge in some luxurious treatments at a spa. No one needs a spa retreat more than your mother.

Let your mothers enjoy a holistic experience at one of the spa retreats in India

Let your mothers enjoy a holistic experience at one of the spa retreats in India

Apart from giving them anti-aging benefits, some spa treatments help improve blood pressure, sleeping patterns, and some even get rid of the harmful toxins in the body. Go along with your mother to a spa retreat and spend some quality time together – she will definitely appreciate this. Some of the famous spa retreats in India are located in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.

Gift your mother a spa retreat:

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#2 A Road Trip

Road trips are fun because of a variety of reasons. These trips allow you to be more flexible – you do not have to follow any schedules or timetables. Plan a road trip for your mother, where she can enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.

Choose road trips because, The journey is more important than the destination

Choose road trips because, The journey is more important than the destination

The Shimla to Manali road trip is considered to be one of the most picturesque road trips in India. Your mom will be stunned by the scenery, lush green mountains and deep valleys. There is no need to look for beautiful places in other states, just scout around for places nearby.

Gift her a road trip in the North East:

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#3 Temple Hopping

If you have a religious mother, send her temple hopping!

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is surrounded by a large lake and attracts thousands of people every day

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is surrounded by a large lake and attracts thousands of people every day

South India offers Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and the Balaji Temple in Tirupati, while North India is home to the Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar and the Kashi Temple in Varanasi. You could also sign her up for a pilgrimage tour around the country that takes her to the important and famous temples all over India.

Won’t she love temple hopping in Gujarat? 

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#4 Weekend Getaway

Sometimes all your mother needs is a weekend break.

Approximately 83km from Mumbai is the scenic hill station of Matheran, located 2516 feet above sea level

Approximately 83km from Mumbai is the scenic hill station of Matheran, located 2516 feet above sea level

So, the next time you see her tired and stressed out, plan an impromptu weekend getaway for her. No matter where you stay in India, there will always be some good places nearby that have something or the other to offer. Give her a weekend where she doesn’t have to wake up early, cook food, or think about tomorrow’s lunch – and boy, will she be grateful!

Gift her a weekend getaway to Vythiri, Kerala:

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#5 An All-Girls Trip

If your mom has a group of friends, planning an all-girls trip can be your best option.

India has so many places that are very safe for women travelling on their own. If your mom is a beach lover, send her to the glorious Lakshadweep Island, while McLeod Ganj is perfect for mountain lovers. Plan a winter trip to Rann of Kutch, and she will be able to enjoy the festival that attracts thousands of travellers.

 

Don the explorer's hat and take a trip with your girlfriends!

Don the explorer’s hat and take a trip with your girlfriends!

India has so many places that are very safe for women travelling on their own. If your mom is a beach lover, send her to the glorious Lakshadweep Island, while McLeod Ganj is perfect for mountain lovers. Plan a winter trip to Rann of Kutch, and she will be able to enjoy the festival that attracts thousands of travellers.

Gift her an all-girls trip to Thailand:

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#6 A Hiking Trip

Does your mom have an adventurous streak? Then a hiking trip would be the best gift you could give her. Nothing can beat the sense of confidence that you get when you reach the summit after hiking for kilometres.

Let her take as much time as she wants to enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the trail

Let her take as much time as she wants to enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the trail

If your mom has never been on a hike before, sign her up for one of the beginner treks such as the Valley of Flowers Trek in Garhwal Himalayas or the Sham Valley Trek in Ladakh. On the other hand, advanced treks like Chadar Trek in Ladakh, Roopkund Trek in Uttarakhand, and Rajmachi Trek in Maharashtra are perfect for hiking enthusiasts.

Would she prefer hiking in Coorg? 

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#7 A Beach Vacation

Since being a mother is a tiring 24×7 job, a beach vacation that lets her lounge around while doing absolutely nothing may indeed be a perfect gift.

Your mom may just want to chill at the beach with a cocktail in her hand

Your mom may just want to chill at the beach with a cocktail in her hand

Your mother will definitely appreciate spending some time lying on tanning cots and sipping on something that’s served by someone else! Plan a trip to the Lakshadweep, or the Andaman and Nicobar Islands if she would like to enjoy a somewhat exotic location. Pondicherry beaches offer golden sands and crystal clear waters, while Goa is an all-time favourite beach destination.

Or explore the beaches in the Andamans?

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Give your mom exactly what she wants by taking her on one of these trips!

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Known as one of the most romantic cities in India,  and deservedly so, Udaipur is replete with the old-world charm and magical, marble mosaics. A work of art, and a kaleidoscope of tranquility, Udaipur is all about countless palaces and shimmering lakes.

Easy on your pocket, and full of surprises at every twist and turn; Udaipur will make sure that you come back to visit the city time and again!

Watch as the ‘Venice of the East’, woos you with her tryst with heritage:

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Tucked away in the magnificent Himalayas, Nepal is brimming with natural sights and other attractions alike, making it a must-visit place on the bucket list of travellers around the world. Read on as we list down what souvenirs you could pick on your trip to Nepal!

ights like these in Nepal will soothe the weariest of travellers

Sights like these in Nepal will soothe the weariest of travellers

Any visit to Nepal feels like it ended too soon, but there is one way to bring back a slice of the beautiful country with you – souvenirs. There are certain things unique to Nepal, and you have plenty of choices when it comes to picking something as a keepsake from your travels. Here is a handy guide on picking the right souvenirs from Nepal:

Metal handicrafts

 

IMAGE: METAL HANDICRAFTS Caption: A metal statue of Nataraja, a Hindu deity

Metal ware in Nepal is abundant, and represents the different faiths of the people of the country in an artistic manner. You can get beautifully carved statues of Hindi and Buddhist idols made from copper, bronze and brass using an ancient method. These statues, available in different sizes, can brighten up any corner in your home, they also serve as excellent gifts for loved ones.
You can even find pieces like hanging oil lamps, water and liquor jars, bowls, etc. available in case you are not keen on buying a statue as a souvenir.

Khukuri

 A khukuri is an excellent handcrafted souvenir symbolising Nepal’s bravery

A khukuri is an excellent handcrafted souvenir symbolising Nepal’s bravery

An instantly-recognisable item, the khukuri (a curved metal knife) is a symbol of triumph and bravery for Nepal, as it represents the Anglo-Nepal war during which Gurkha (Nepali) soldiers fought using this weapon. Buying one of these as a souvenir means carrying home a representation of Nepal’s glorious history.

The khukuris are usually made by local iron smiths and are a popular memento among visitors to Nepal; particularly for those who are collectors of traditional items. However, since it is a weapon, there may be restrictions on transporting such items. Enquire about size limitations beforehand if you plan on buying a khukuri as a souvenir from the country.

Thangka/Paubha

IMAGE: THANGKA Caption: Thangka paintings are known for their intricate details and vibrant colours

If you wish to decorate your home with something from Nepal, you cannot miss out on the colourful traditional painting, locally known as thangka (the Tibetan equivalent). These are painted on cotton/fabric scrolls and depict different deities, monuments, and other religious symbols of Buddhism. While buying, do ask about the story sketched on the thangka that you have chosen. The best of these paintings feature ground stone pigments or even gold and silver threads, which give the paintings their vibrant colours. To ensure originality, ask for the painting’s certification number that indicates the artist and place where it was made.

Pashmina

Quality Pashmina is expensive and much in demand the world over

Quality Pashmina is expensive and much in demand the world over

Known in the western world as cashmere wool, the word Pashmina was derived from the Persian word for wool. Cashmere products are highly sought-after, and are made from a fine wool that is taken from the Himalayan mountain goat’s undercoat. Since this animal is found in remote areas of the Tibetan Plateau, Pashmina woollen products are an exquisite item.

Most of these shawls today are woven in Kathmandu Valley handlooms, so a Pashmina shawl makes an excellent and prized souvenir from Nepal. But be aware of fakes since the markets are flooded with those too. Good quality pashmina is quite soft and is made from yarn of at least 97% purity.

Jewellery

IMAGE: JEWELLERY Caption: Traditional-style jewellery and beads displayed at a storefront
Take a look around, and most Nepali women will be sporting colourful beads in addition to silver jewellery. So if you like collecting jewellery pieces, the markets of Nepal are sure to make you happy. The country is known for selling quality silver jewellery at reasonable prices. And if you’re looking for a design of your own – many small, family-owned stores will create the design you want!

There is also a market selling colourful glass beads imported from all over, and it is located close to Indra Chowk. Many visitors opt to buy local beads and create different necklaces.

Rice Paper products

The ‘Lokta’ paper being handcrafted the traditional way

The ‘Lokta’ paper being handcrafted the traditional way

Rice paper, the traditional paper form in Nepal, is handmade from rice husks and the daphne or lokta bark, found in remote areas. Originally used for manuscripts and paintings, it is now an interesting souvenir to buy from Nepal. You will find stores selling rice paper in areas like Patan and Thamel.
Lamp shades, calendars, journals, etc. are some paper products that have been designed for tourists to carry back home easily (the lamp shades are often available in foldable designs). The Babar Mahal Revisited mall also has a store selling these products.

Singing bowls

IMAGE: SINGING BOWL Caption: The Nepalese singing bowl can also be a beautiful decorative item for the house
Since Nepal has many Buddhist followers, visitors can pick up Buddhism-related souvenirs here. One good choice is the singing bowls, often used during meditation and prayers. The metal bowls come with a short wooden stick that makes a vibration with a soothing sound when the stick is rubbed in a circular motion along the bowl’s rim.
There are both machine-made and handmade versions of these singing bowls available, although the handmade ones are comparatively simple and cost more.

What makes shopping in Nepal fun is that there are many options for bargain hunters as well as for those interested in high-end items. In addition, the vibrancy and enthusiasm you get while buying from small local stores is sure to leave you with fond memories of the place!

Nepal Fact File:

Location: Central Himalayas, in South Asia; bordered by China in the north, and India in the south, east and west
Connectivity: Air travel is best, owing to 41 domestic airports, and one international one, Thribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu; accessible from Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand by road and rail; major crossing points are Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Bairahawa, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi.
Official Language: Nepali
Currency: Nepali Rupee (NPR)
Time Zone: Nepal Standard Time, UTC + 5:45
Climate: Five different climate zones, depending on the altitude; Tropical and Sub-tropical (below 1,200 meters), Temperate (between 1200-2400), Cold Zone (2400-3600), Sub-Arctic (3600-4400), and Arctic Zone (above 4400m); temperature ranges between -15 to 40 degrees, depending on altitude and seasons.
Food & Drink: Dal-bhat-tarkari (lentils, boiled rice, and vegetables) is a staple for Nepalis. Momos, Gorkhali Lamb, and Thukpa are some must-try dishes. Sugarcane juice, tea, and alcoholic beverages like raksi and millet beer are popular.

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Home to mighty kings like Tipu Sultan in earlier years, Karnataka today is a state of diverse delights.Read on as we highlight a list of must-do’s in this state!

Spot the coracle boats on the Tungabhadra River, which flows through Karnataka

Spot the coracle boats on the Tungabhadra River, which flows through Karnataka

The cosmopolitan vibe of Bengaluru, rolling expanses of coffee and spice plantations, spectacular waterfalls, forested areas, destinations for adventure sports, and historic landmarks are just some of the attractions to choose from while planning a holiday to Karnataka. Since that can be overwhelming, here is a list of 10 must-see places to add to your bucket list:

#1 Bangalore/Bengaluru

Visit the The magnificent Bangalore Palace, constructed in the Tudor-style architecture

Visit the the magnificent Bangalore Palace, constructed in the Tudor-style architecture

To start with Karnataka’s most cosmopolitan city, Bangalore is characterised by its IT industry and pleasant climate. A sought-after urban destination, the city got its name from ‘Benda Kalluru’, which in Kannada means ‘the land of boiled beans’. Legend has it that a king once named this place in gratitude of being offered the humble meal.
Heritage structures, corporate complexes, shopping options, and a fun nightlife come together to keep Bangalore bustling and lend it the unique identity that it is famous for. Places to see here include Cubbon Park, ISKCON Temple, and the Bangalore Palace.

#2 Mysore

The lit-up Mysore Palace during Dasara festivities makes a mesmerising sight

The lit-up Mysore Palace during Dasara festivities makes a mesmerising sight

Best known for the grand Mysore Palace, the ‘City of Palaces’ still retains its regal nature in spite of all the modern developments. Mysore, a capital during the rule of the Mysore Maharajas, also used to be an important trade centre for Southern India, and it continues to be a bustling commercial hub for sandalwood, silk, and other items.
Dussehra is an excellent time to visit Mysore and see the grand palace decked up in all its glory for the 10-day celebrations. Brindavan Gardens, Mysore Zoo, and St. Philomena’s Church are some other great attractions.

#3 Bandipur National Park    

Take a safari ride into the park to get a close look at wild elephants, tigers, bears, etc

Take a safari ride into the park to get a close look at wild elephants, tigers, bears, etc

Located about 80 kilometres away from Mysore, Bandipur National Park is a haven for those who find it therapeutic to spend time driving amid lush greenery and watching wild animals in their natural habitat. It was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve and was India’s first Biosphere Reserve. Take a safari ride into the park to get a close look at wild elephants, tigers, bears, jackals, and several bird species.

#4 Dandeli

For adventure and outdoor enthusiasts, Dandeli is a must-visit.

For adventure and outdoor enthusiasts, Dandeli is a must-visit.

River rafting is a popular adventure activity in Dandeli. White water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, nature walks, angling, crocodile spotting, and bird watching are just a few of the things that one can do here. At the same time, the remarkable natural beauty and serenity of the place draws travellers who wish to unwind amid nature. Being a wildlife sanctuary, Dandeli is also home to many wildlife species. Some other top attractions in the region are Kavala caves, Shiroli Park, Supa Dam, Syntheri Rocks, and Ulavi Temple.

#5 Udupi

The spectacular Kaup Beach is sure to reinvigorate every visitor.

The spectacular Kaup Beach is sure to reinvigorate every visitor.

If the name ‘Udupi’ immediately conjures up images of south-Indian meals and eateries, you are not wrong. Udupi is where the famous cuisine of the same name originated. But this town is also known as a Vaishnavite pilgrimage site and for its many temples. The Sri Krishna Temple is the most famous, with the biennial Paryaya Festival being a top draw. Udupi’s pristine beaches are another attraction among travellers to this breath-taking temple town located between the Arabian Sea and the stunning Western Ghats.

#6 Chikmagalur

Views like these make Chikmagalur an excellent romantic getaway Chikmagalur.

Views like these make Chikmagalur an excellent romantic getaway Chikmagalur

A scenic hill station known for its verdant beauty, misty views, and coffee cultivation, Chikmagalur serves as the perfect hilly retreat while in Karnataka. It was the first place in India where coffee was cultivated when a Muslim saint brought coffee seeds in 1670 from Yemen.
Located about 150kms from Mangalore, Chikmagalur has a lot in store for visitors – adventure sports, the Manikyadhara Falls, lakes, and wildlife destinations are just a few of those.

#7 Nandi Hills    

The beauty of Nandi Hills can barely be described in words

The beauty of Nandi Hills can barely be described in words

Located east of Bangalore, Nandi Hills is a popular weekend retreat complete with remarkable views, perfect weather, and historic sites. Even Tipu Sultan used to head to this place to escape the summer heat.
The small hillocks are also popular among trekkers, who scale the hills to reach the famous Yoganandeeshwara Temple. The gigantic statue of Nandi the bull sits majestically in front, and is the reason the hills got their name.

#8 Bijapur

The Ibrahim Rauza built in 1627 houses the tomb of Adil Shah II and a mosque

The Ibrahim Rauza built in 1627 houses the tomb of Adil Shah II and a mosque

Karnataka has something for everyone, and Bijapur is the ideal destination for history buffs and architecture lovers. Once the capital of the Adil Shahi kings, the ancient town dates back to the 10th-11th Century. Here, visitors get to see historic monuments like the Gol Gumbaj, which has the world’s largest dome. Other attractions include the Ibrahim Rauza, Jami Masjid, and Uppali Buruz.

#9 Jog Falls

Also known as the Gerusoppe Falls, it is surrounded by dense forests that only add to its unparalleled beauty.

Also known as the Gerusoppe Falls, it is surrounded by dense forests that only add to its unparalleled beauty

Although not quite a ‘place’ in itself, Jog Falls cannot be left out when you are on your first visit to Karnataka. It is, after all, four cascades combine to make one of the highest waterfalls in India. These then fall gorgeously down into the Sharavati River, creating a spellbinding experience for one and all.

#10 Yercaud

Visit the Yercaud Lake for a memorable boating experience

Visit the Yercaud Lake for a memorable boating experience

Yercaud is a little away from Karnataka, but a popular weekend getaway for people in the state. Located 4,700 feet above sea level, this picturesque hill station has everything from a beautiful lake, and waterfalls to wildlife, temples, and plantations of coffee and oranges. The Pagoda Point, Yercaud Lake, and Shevaroy Temple are some of the most popular attractions here.

Fact File:

Location: In India’s southern part, bordering Goa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.
How to Reach: There are several airports in the state, such as Bangalore and Mysore; rail connectivity is good to Bangalore from other Indian cities. State transport buses and taxis, etc. connects Karnataka internally as well as to other states.
Official Language: Kannada
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Tropical
Food: Varies with the region, although South-Indian vegetarian cuisine like dosas and idlis are common in all. Try Bisi Bele Bath, Chitranna, and Ragi Rotti. Popular sweet dishes include Huggi and Mysore Pak.

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The historical monument of Bara Imambara was built by Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth Nawab of Awadh, for the people during the terrible drought of 1784.

It is an important place of worship for the Muslims who come here every year to celebrate the religious festival of Muharram. It is known for its incredible maze called Bhulbhulaiya (The Labyrinth). The central hall of Bara Imambara is known to be the largest arched hall in the world.

Come view the scenic panorama of the city from atop the monument, and uncover treasures and age-old secrets that this monument has to offer in this video.

 

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