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Thailand in Thai means “Land of the Free”. And the country goes all out to make sure its tourists don’t have a single thing to worry about. Whether you are craving for lip-smacking food at 3.30 am or want to go shopping at a strange hour, Thailand let’s you do it all.

Here are the country’s 7 best experiences you must absolutely not miss!

#1 Shopping At Bangkok

Treat the shopaholic in you to the vibrant atmosphere of the some of the world’s best street markets located in Bangkok. Wood carvings, jewellery, bags, paintings, ceramic wares, Buddhist amulets and much more are available at reasonable prices. And when you find something you really like, make sure to put your best bargaining skills to test. Travelling divas will not be disappointed!

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#2 The Full Moon Party

Fancy an all night beach party? Head to the Haad Rin beach on the Kho Phangan island on a night of full moon. The party goes on until sunrise the next day and is a heady blend of dancing, skipping fire ropes and of course, bonding with other fun tourists from around the world. With the grand success of the Full Moon Party, ‘Half Moon’ and ‘Quarter Moon’ are also in vogue these days. Just what a #GetawayGoddess needs!

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#3 Exotic Thai Cuisine

Thai food is considered one of the most coveted international cuisines thanks to the perfect fusion of exotic flavours and fragrances that give you a gastronomical high. Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup), Khao Pad (Fried Rice), Pad Thai ( Thai Style Fried Noodles) and panang curries are a few delicacies that Samui is known for. Give them a try; you’re sure to find at least a couple of favourites.

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#4 Visit To The Elephant Farm

A visit to the Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai is a must do. Why? Because you can literally have the time of your life as you bond with the elephants, love them, learn about them, feed them and even bathe them! Ride one of these gentle giants and you know what a goddess really feels like!

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#5 The Ghost Festival

At Phi Ta Khon, also known as the Ghost festival, residents invite protection from the spirit of the Mun river. What follows is a series of games and a procession of people performing in amusing outfits and scary masks. The second day is packed with the Rocket festival, flamboyant costumes, dance contests and plenty of fun with each person trying to outdo the other. On the last day, the villagers listen to sermons from Buddhist monks. Perfect for a travelling goddess, isn’t it?

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#6 Spa Session At Krabi

Why should you go for a massage treatment at the spas of Krabi? Simply because it’ll do you a whole lot of good, and relieve your sore and aching muscles after a long trip. You might experience a little discomfort initially but remember ‘ no pain, no gain’. You can choose to get a massage service at the hotels, city centres or even at the beach. This is what “travel like a goddess” means!

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#7 Snorkelling At Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi islands has one of the world’s most abundant and stunning coral reefs. Snorkelling at these picture-perfect beaches is nothing short of being on a fantasy planet. It could be a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the sharks (supposed to be shy & gentle creatures).

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Scuba diving, snorkelling, island hopping, rock climbing or chilling on the beach, whatever may be your reason, Thailand has got you covered.

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For most children, winters are synonymous with holidays, picnics, and family meets. And since it is about family bonding, there is nothing like going on a vacation together. Here are 7 family vacation destinations in India to choose from.

Admire the breath-taking snowy landscape of Kashmir to enjoy winter in all its glory

Admire the breath-taking snowy landscape of Kashmir to enjoy winter in all its glory

In fact, the run up to the actual vacation–the deciding on a place, choosing activities to do there, and the entire planning is half the fun. There are plenty of places in India that offer a different vacation experience in every season. Here are our picks of the best places to visit in India during the winter:

#1 Kashmir

Things to do: Ride a shikara on Dal Lake, ski and gondola ride in Gulmarg

If you are still to make your maiden visit to this paradise, a winter vacation is as good a time as any. While Kashmir is spectacular at all times, visiting in the winter months it lets you enjoy the snow and winter-related outdoor activities.

Complete your Kashmir trip with a Shikara ride on the famous Dal Lake

Complete your Kashmir trip with a shikara ride on the famous Dal Lake

Whether you want to try your hand at skiing on the slopes or prefer to enjoy the views from a gondola, Gulmarg is the destination to head to. Do not miss out on a snowball fight with the family. A trip to the Dal Lake is also an unmissable part of any Kashmir visit. The Mughal Gardens in Srinagar is another attraction where you can feast your eyes on the region’s beauty.

Kashmir Fact File:

Location: In northern India, mostly in the Himalayas
How to Reach: Srinagar airport has daily flights from Delhi and other cities. Private and state buses connect the state to nearby places. Jammu Tawi Railway Station is the nearest railhead
Official Language: Urdu
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Temperate
Food & Drink: Must-try dishes of the Kashmiri cuisine include Qabargaah, Shab Deg, and Rogan Josh. Noon chai is a popular tea in the state.

Auli

Things to do: Skiing

Known for being among the top ski destinations in the country, Auli, located in Uttarakhand, is the perfect place for a memorable winter vacation. Kids and adults alike will enjoy learning the ropes of skiing from professional instructors. In fact, if you wish you can also attend the annual National Championship of Skiing, held in Auli every January.

Adventure and outdoor lovers will love skiing in Auli

Adventure and outdoor lovers will love skiing in Auli

December in Auli also means snow-clad peaks like the Mana Parbat and Neelkant, providing soothing scenic views for travellers who just want to enjoy breath-taking mountain scenery with a steaming cuppa. The region also wears a festive look around the time of Christmas, if you were planning to make a short trip to Auli during the vacations. Spend some time at the Auli artificial lake. It not only makes a pretty sight, but is also an excellent backdrop for clicking vacation pictures.

Uttarakhand Fact File

Location: In northern India, bordering Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tibet, and Nepal.
How to Reach: Air connectivity available to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport and Pantnagar Airport close to Nainital. There is good rail connectivity to places within Uttarakhand and other cities in India. Buses are available to Auli from different places.
Official Language: Hindi, Sanskrit
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Pleasant to hot summers depending on the place, while winters are typically chilly.
Food & Drink: Mostly cooked over wood or charcoal, Uttarakhand’s popular dishes include chapatis, kafuli, dubuk, and Garhwal ka fannah. Jhangor ki kheer is the dessert to try.

Konark

Things to do: Attend the Konark Dance Festival, visit the Sun Temple and beach.

The mere mention of Konark brings the stunning Sun Temple to mind. This is no doubt a must-visit attraction not only for history and architecture lovers but for all travellers; but there is a lot more to enjoy in this Odisha town. If you are travelling in December, add the Konark Dance Festival to your itinerary.

An Odissi dancer strikes a pose at Konark’s Sun Temple

An Odissi dancer strikes a pose at Konark’s Sun Temple

This is not your average dance performance in an air-conditioned auditorium. Rather, this annual festival treats attendees to the finest of live performances by participants from all over the country, performed to the decked-up backdrop of the Sun Temple. The sound of ghungroos and musical instruments added with the magnificent view is a true feast for the senses.

Spending time at the pristine Konark Beach with its golden sands is the perfect way to wind up a visit to this fascinating little town.

Odisha Fact File:

Location: India’s eastern coast, bordering West Bengal.
How to Reach: Bhubaneshwar’s Biju Patnaik Airport has regular flights from many Indian cities; the city is also well-connected by rail. A good road network connects Konark and other parts of Odisha to major Indian cities.
Official Language: Odia
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Tropical
Food & Drink: Rice is a staple; Pakhala, a dish made from soaked cooked rice, is popular. Pahala Rasgulla and Chhena Poda are must-try sweet dishes.

Meghalaya

Things to do: Visit the Umngot River, explore Shillong and Cherrapunjee

If you are looking for a holiday that completely destresses you while also maintaining the fun factor, Meghalaya is the place to be. Starting from the Umiam Lake and Elephant Falls to charming churches and a vibrant music scene, this north-eastern state has it all. Cherrapunjee’s Mawsmai Cave and Nohkalikai Falls are some of the top attractions in one of the wettest places on earth.

But the Umngot River deserves special mention. Something of a hidden gem of the region, this river is known for having water so clear that a person on a boat can see right to the river bed.

 Hop onto a boat on the Dawki River for a serene experience

Hop onto a boat on the Dawki River for a serene experience

For a truly unique experience, go for a hike on the Double Decker Living Root Bridge – a natural wonder that has marvelled visitors since many years. When not exploring the mesmerising outdoors, you can tuck into Khasi delights in Shillong, watch a football game in progress, or simply soak in the sights from one of the many cafés.

Meghalaya Fact File:

Location: Close to Assam, Meghalaya is also bounded by Bangladesh. The capital city of Shillong lies 100kms away from Guwahati.
How to Reach: You can take a flight to Guwahati and travel to Meghalaya by road. A helicopter service from Guwahati to Shillong is also available. Guwahati also has good road connectivity to Meghalaya.
Official Language: English
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Meghalaya is the wettest place in the world with high rainfall and humidity.
Food & Drink: Non-vegetarian, with spicy meat and vegetables. Pumaloi (a rice dish) and Jadoh (pork and rice) are local favourites.

Rajasthan

Things to do: Visit forts and museums, shop in Jaisalmer, try Rajasthani cuisine

If you have always wanted to explore Rajasthan but the idea of travelling in the heat has kept you from doing so, plan a trip during the winter to experience the charm of the land without having to deal with the blistering desert heat.

 A camel decked with local decorations at the Pushkar Fair

A camel decked with local decorations at the Pushkar Fair

Riding the sand dunes on camel-back is a quintessential Rajasthan experience, as is visiting its famous forts and palaces, most of which have now been turned into hotels. The Amber Fort, Udaipur’s Lake Palace, and the Mehrangarh Fort will please architecture and history enthusiasts. Set some time aside for Mount Abu, the state’s only hill station.

November is when the famous Pushkar ka Mela takes place, which offers a fascinating insight into local trade and culture. If you are travelling with children, do remember to watch a puppet show while in Rajasthan.

Rajasthan Fact File:

Location: In India’s western part, bordering Pakistan.
How to Reach: Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur have domestic airports; and a good railway network provides regular connectivity from Rajasthan to different Indian cities. Bus services are available from several neighbouring states.
Official Language: Hindi
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Tropical desert
Food & Drink: Mostly vegetarian; dishes to taste are Dal-Baati-Churma, kachori, mawa, and ghevar.

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Perfectly suited for reptiles, the lush, dense forests of India are an ideal habitat for giant snakes and their abundant prey. Among the more than 270 species of snakes found around the country, there are about 60 that are highly venomous. As India celebrates the festival of Nag Panchami, we give you a quick peek into the most interesting facts about the exciting world of dangerous snakes. 

From Indian cobra, krait, russell’s viper and saw-scaled viper, let's sneak a peek into India's most majestic of snakes

Indian cobra, krait, Russell’s viper, saw-scaled viper and more, take a look!

#1. Cobra

Found in the Western Ghats & the wet regions of West Bengal, the Cobra is one of the most venomous snakes

Found in the Western Ghats & West Bengal’s wet regions, the cobra is one of the most venomous snakes.

#2. Python

Found in the Central, Western and Southeastern regions of India, Pythons are sly and dangerous. Mostly found underwater.

Sly & dangerous, pythons are found in central, western and southeastern regions of India, especially underwater

3. Russel’s Viper

Found in the Coromandel Coast, the Russels Viper is one of the 'Big Four' and deadliest snakes in India

One of the deadliest snakes in India, the Russel’s Viper is a common sight along the Coromandel Coast

4. Saw-Scaled Viper

Found throughout the mainland regions of the Indian Subcontinent, the saw-scaled viper is known for its aggression

The easily missable, but very aggressive saw-scaled viper can be found all across the Indian Subcontinent

5. Krait

Found in the jungles of South India, as well as in the North East, the Krait is known to have caused the maximum number of snakebites in India

Found in the northeast and in South India’s jungles, the krait is the cause of most snakebites in India

6. Brahminy Worm Snake

Don't get fooled by its tiny size, the brahminy worm snake are found across the country, up to areas at an elevation of 1515 metres and can slither its way around anywhere

Don’t be fooled by its size, the Brahminy worm snake slithers across India, and can even be found at a height of 1,515m

6. Common Sand Boa

The common sand boa are found found mostly in agricultural lands of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, North India and the Western Ghats and are also considered as a delicacy in some parts of India

Found in the agricultural lands of North India and the Western Ghats,  the common sand boa is a delicacy for some folks in India.

7. Green Keelback

Found in whole of peninsular India, the Green Keelback is very similar to the mighty cobra

Found all across the Indian peninsula, the green keelback is very similar to the mighty cobra

8. Rat Snake

Most commonlyfound in forests, scrub lands, semi-desert, grasslands, mangroves and wetlands, and is common in urban areas, Rat Snakes are what accompany our snake-charmers

Rat snakes are commonly found in forests, scrub lands, semi-deserts, grasslands, mangroves and wetlands

9. Black-Headed Royal Snake

Found in the deserts and semi deserts of Northern-western, the black headed royal snake is an elegant sight to look at

An elegant sight, the black-headed royal snake is found in the deserts and semi deserts north-west India

10. Ornate Flying Snake

Found in the Western Ghats, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, the ornate snake is beautiful, yet scary

Found in the Western Ghats, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, the ornate flying snake is a beautiful, yet scary sight

11. Dog-Faced Water Snake

The dog-faceed water snake is found in the mangroves and mudflats, across the mainland coast as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The dog-faceed water snake is found in mangroves and mudflats all across the coast, and also in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

12. Vine Snake

Found all over India including the north-east states, it's mostly harmless

Found all over India, including in the northeastern states, the vine snake is mostly harmless

Intrigued about the charming and exotic reptiles you might come across in India? Choose to visit the best snake parks here and marvel at the beautiful reptile species.

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Times are changing and senior citizens are fast becoming the new globetrotters. Read on for where to go and what to do when you travel in India.

Senior Citizen? Explore India and its corners.

Senior Citizen? Explore India and its corners.

When you think about it, it makes complete sense–you’re retired, your children are independent, and you have a lot of leisure time on your hand. You might even have a pension or investments that are now paying off. A lot of senior citizens choose to spend this time by travelling to new destinations and exploring new cultures. Plus, the Indian government has made travel easier for senior citizens by offering various benefits, such as senior citizens concessions on economy class air tickets and flat 30% off on train fares.

Some of the places that serve as the best destinations for senior citizens include:

Goa For Senior Citizens

The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa

Go back in time and explore the charming Basilica of Bom Jesus church in Old Goa

Goa has been awarded the Traveller’s Choice Award in 2017 and with good reason. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, this beach lover’s paradise is the ideal destination when all you want to do is sit back and relax. Senior citizens can visit one of the several gorgeous beaches here and spend hours on end, enjoying delicious cuisine and pints of beer (or fresh fruit juices). Architecture lovers should head to Old Goa to marvel at the baroque architecture of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hire a private car and roam around Goa in comfort!

Fact File

Location: In the coastal region in Western India bordered by Maharashtra in the north
How to Reach: You can reach Goa via the Goa International Airport, the South Western Railway Line, the Konkan Railway, or the National Highways
Official Language: Konkani
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Tropical monsoon climate
Food & Drink: Goa is known for its fresh seafood. Fish recheado, chicken cafreal, rava fried fish, pork sorpotel, and chicken xacuti are some of the most popular dishes in Goa.

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Amritsar For Senior Citizens

soak in the beautiful sunrise and seek blessings at the Golden Temple

Soak in the beautiful sunrise and seek blessings at the Golden Temple, Amritsar

Amritsar is the spiritual capital of the Sikhs because of the beautiful Golden Temple here. Visit this temple after dark to see the illuminated golden dome and the beautifully lit up premises. Open for approximately 20 hours a day, eating the free meal served here (langar) is a must. History lovers must visit the site of the horrifying Jalianwala Bagh massacre and the Wagah border ceremony. Since most of these attractions are located close to each other, senior citizens will not need to walk much.

Fact File

Location: A city in the north-western state of Punjab
How to Reach: Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport is the main airport of Amritsar. Amritsar is well-connected to the other Indian cities by roadways as well as railways.
Official Language: Punjabi
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Semiarid climate
Food & Drink: Sarson ka saag, Amritsari kulcha, lassi, tandoori murg, and Guru ka langar are some of the dishes that you must try in Amritsar.

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Kerala For Senior Citizens

The backwaters of Kerala, are sure to mesmeriser you and make you visit the 'God's Own Country' again and again

The backwaters of Kerala, are sure to mesmerise you and make you visit the ‘God’s Own Country’ again and again

Dubbed as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala has a number of things on offer for senior citizens – right from the scenic backwaters to the world famous Ayurveda treatments. Go on a backwaters cruise and enjoy breath-taking views of sunsets, or choose to go on a moonlight cruise at night. Get rid of all your body aches by pampering yourself with one of the well-known Ayurveda massages in Kerala.

Fact File

Location: South Indian state bordered by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and the Lakshadweep Sea
How to Reach: Well-connected to the major Indian cities by three airports, roadways, and railways.
Official Language: Malayalam
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Maritime tropical climate
Food & Drink: Some of the most famous dishes of Kerala include mussels stir fry, pumpkin and lentil stew, spicy chicken fry, dosa ghee roast.

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Rajasthan For Senior Citizens

Visit the time-honoured Amber Fort which is soaked in royalty on you visit to Jaipur

Visit the time-honoured Amber Fort which is soaked in royalty on your visit to Jaipur

Stunning desert landscape, spectacular palaces, larger than life forts, legends of romance and bravery–Rajasthan is a destination that offers all this and more. The state has ensured that most of the attractions here can be accessed by senior citizens. For example, instead of climbing the hill to Amber Fort in Jaipur, senior citizens can take an elephant ride and enjoy a royal experience.

Fact File

Location: Largest state of India, sharing its border with Pakistan
How to Reach: Rajasthan is home to three airports – Jodhpur Airport, Jaipur International Airport, and Udaipur Airport. Several major cities in India like Delhi, Indore, and Ahmedabad are connected to Rajasthan by roadways and railways.
Official Language: Rajasthani, Hindi, and English
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Tropical desert climate
Food & Drink: Rajasthani kadi, gatte ki khichdi, dal baati churma and badam ka halwa are some of the must-try dishes in Rajasthan.

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Rishikesh For Senior Citizens

On your visit to Rishikesh, don't miss out on visiting the iconic Lakshman Jhula

On your visit to Rishikesh, don’t miss out on visiting the iconic Lakshman Jhula

When you want to go on a spiritual journey, there is no better destination than Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. This spiritual and cultural mecca is also known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ and is the best place for senior citizens to meditate and learn yoga. If you want to try your hand at adventure sports like beach camping, river rafting, and bungee jumping, this is the place to be. Get in touch with your spiritual side in the that the Beatles meditated in!

Fact File

Location: At the foothills of Himalayas in the Dehradun district of Uttarakhand
How to Reach: Rishikesh railway station connects this city to all the other major cities in India. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is located 35km from Rishikesh.
Official Language: Hindi and Sanskrit
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Humid subtropical climate
Food & Drink: Some of the dishes that should be tried in Rishikesh are banana curry, dal makhni, and moong dal pancakes.

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The old city of Aurangabad still reflects the royal heritage and time-honoured magnificence of the Mughals & the Nizams of Hyderabad. If you love archaeology, wildlife and history, this is the place to be. But there is more to this ancient city; here’s a sneak peek through its flavours & food!

Apart from its grand history, Aurangabad’s delectable cuisine is a rich blend of flavours from the west and south of India, with just the right amount of curry leaves, tamarind and coconut. Love street food? Stop at famous places like Buddi Galli in Naralibag and Uttam Sweet Shop and savour mouth-watering delicacies like Tikki Kebabs, Chicken Kentucky, and the iconic Imarti.

Travel with us through this fabulous foodie paradise; this video is sure to make you drool!

Get, set, travel: Explore the best of Aurangabad NOW!

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India is a diverse and multicultural land, and it has a variety of experiences on offer for anyone who is interested. The best thing about this country is that not all these experiences need you to loosen your purse strings – some of them are completely free! No matter how financially independent you are, who wouldn’t find great experiences at no cost, enticing?

 Let your inner child loose and make the most of these free experiences

Let your inner child loose and make the most of these free experiences

Cross International Borders For Free

Soak in the religious fervour at the Buddhist monasteries in Nepal

Soak in the religious fervour at the Buddhist monasteries in Nepal

India offers you the unique experience of crossing international borders and entering a foreign country for free. Plan a trip to Nepal–and you will not spend a penny for a visa or for crossing the border. The only thing that you need to enjoy this free experience is a valid passport. Do check out the gorgeous natural landscapes and the Buddhist monasteries when you are there.

Venture Into The Unknown At Agrasen Ki Baoli

Make it a point to visit the eerie premises of Agrasen Ki Baoli in Delhi

Make it a point to visit the eerie premises of Agrasen Ki Baoli in Delhi

Do you believe that ghosts and spirits do not exist? A visit to the Agrasen Ki Baoli in Delhi will make you question your beliefs. The ambience of this place will give you goose bumps, and make your blood run cold. And when there is complete silence, just whisper into the well here, and you’ll hear the reverberating echo.

Enjoy Finger-Licking Langar Food At The Golden Temple

Don't miss out the authentic Punjabi food and the beautiful sunrise at the Golden Temple in Amritsar

Don’t miss out the authentic Punjabi food and the beautiful sunrise at the Golden Temple in Amritsar

Everyone who comes to the Golden Temple, whether they are rich or poor, Sikh or non-Sikh, is treated equally. This is evident from the fact that this temple serves delicious food made by volunteers, to everyone who is hungry, without discriminating. What’s more, just the delicious aroma of the langar will make you want to stick around for the meal.

Get Access To Rare Books At The National Library In Kolkata

Read as many books as you want, and that too for free at this library

Read as many books as you want, and that too for free at this library

The National Library in Kolkata was opened to help out needy students. Today, this is India’s largest library and offers free reading facilities to anyone who is interested. A dream come true for bibliophiles, isn’t it?

Go Quirky And Visit The Toilet Museum In India

Two EcoSan toilets on display at the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in Delhi

Two EcoSan toilets on display at the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in Delhi

Rated as one of the weirdest museums in the world by the Time magazine, Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is open 365 days a week. Learn more about the history of hygiene and sanitation all over the world at this museum. You can see how sanitation seats have actually evolved over the years, at this museum.

Enjoy Free Chocolates At The Chocolate Factories In Ooty

Now that's totally a dream-come-true for any chocolate lover, right?

Now that’s totally a dream-come-true for any chocolate lover, right?

Ooty is not only renowned for its spectacular scenery, but is also famous for its mouth-watering chocolates. Some of the chocolate factories here give you coupons, which let you enjoy chocolates for free.

Make The Most Of The Beats Of The South Asian Band Festival

Enjoy soulful music for free of cost at Purana Quila, Delhi

Enjoy soulful music free of cost at Purana Quila, Delhi

If you have ever wanted to experience a music festival, head to Delhi in November. South Asian Band Festival has hosted many well-known bands such as Tantrum from Sri Lanka, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Kailasa from India, and Fanoos from Afghanistan, over the years. The best thing about this music festival is that entry is FREE!

Attend The Coconut and Cashew Festival in Goa & Taste Feni

Get to watch how your favourite Fenni is made in the farms and get a taste of it!

Watch how your favourite Feni is made in the farms and get a taste of it!

A specialty of Goa, Feni is an alcoholic drink made from cashews. Visit Goa during the Coconut and Cashew Festival in Panaji, where some of the best brewers of Feni display their products – and you can taste it for free! Mind you, it has a strong taste and a distinct flavour that may not sit well with everyone.

Look At Delhi From The Top Of The Jama Masjid Minarets

For stunning views,walk up to the top of the minarets of Jama Masjid

For stunning views, walk up to the top of one of Jama Masjid’s minarets

Unlike the Willis Tower in Chicago, you don’t pay a penny to enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Delhi. All you need to do is climb to the top of the Jama Masjid minarets in Delhi and take in the vast panorama!

Stay At Puducherry For Free

Now isn't that a fun fact you didn't know about? Book your holiday right away!

FREE stay in Puducherry! Now isn’t that a fun fact you didn’t know about? Book your holiday right away!

Renowned for its amazing beauty, Puducherry (formerly known as Pondicherry) is located in southern India. What’s surprising is that you can actually stay at this Union Territory for free. Get in touch with the ashram here and they may just offer you free accommodation as well as free meals. Auroville in Puducherry also offers you things like film screenings and Yoga classes for free.

Enjoy A Bonfire At Malpe Beach In Karnataka

Venture onto one of the least explored beaches of Karnataka!

Venture onto one of the least explored beaches of Karnataka!

Head to Malpe Beach in the winters and take away the chills by enjoying a bonfire with your friends. This promises to be an unforgettable memory, and it is absolutely free!

‘Beating Retreat’ Ceremony At Wagah Border

‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at the Wagah Border

Roar with pride at the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at Wagah Border

Want to see India and Pakistan being mutually co-operative? The two nations that have constant skirmishes, take part in a fascinating ritual at the Wagah Border in Punjab. You can visit anytime as the lowering of the flags ceremony is a daily drill here.

Learn Yoga At Rishikesh

Explore your spiritual side at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand

Explore your spiritual side at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand

Yoga is not merely a form of exercise, it is a way of life. What better place to learn yoga than in Rishikesh, which is also known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’.

Light Up At The Sight Of Countless Fireflies At Purushwadi

Follow the fireflies as they light the path for you at Purushwadi

Follow the fireflies as they light the path for you at Purushwadi

Approximately 180km from Mumbai is the charming village of Purushwadi in Akole, Ahmednagar. Visit this village and be blown away by the effects of the millions of glow worms that fly by you. The best time to visit this village is during the Fireflies Festival in May and June.

Bask In The Sun At The Enigmatic Payyoli Beach In Kerala

Go sunbathing for free at the Payyoli Beach

Go sunbathing at Payyoli Beach

Unwind and get a tan at the mysterious Payyoli beach in Kerala. The Velliyamkallu rocks are unique to this beach, and cannot be found at any other beach.

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Ladakh features on every serious traveller’s bucket list, and for good reason. Its soothing mountain vistas coupled with challenging roads and the many monasteries offer something of interest for every visitor. Rosy-cheeked children, delicious Thukpa, and yaks on the mountain slopes complete the experience.

The sun setting over snow-capped mountain peaks like the Nun Kun Massif is a sight bound to take your breath away.

The sun setting over snow-capped mountain peaks like the Nun Kun Massif is a sight bound to take your breath away

The Shanti Stupa located on a hilltop in Chanspa is serene and exciting at the same time, and one of the most popular Buddhist attractions in Ladakh

The Shanti Stupa located on a hilltop in Chanspa is serene and exciting at the same time, and one of the most popular Buddhist attractions in Ladakh

Colourful prayer flags fluttering in the wind is a common sight all over Ladakh. These make excellent souvenirs too

Colourful prayer flags flutter in the wind; a common sight all over Ladakh. These make excellent souvenirs too!

The Kiagar Tso Lake, located at more than 4000 metres, is quite close to Tso Moriri. This area is home to the Changpas, Ladakh’s nomadic people

The Kiagar Tso Lake, located at more than 4000 metres, is quite close to Tso Moriri. This area is home to the Changpas, Ladakh’s nomadic people

Test your riding skills at Khardung la, counted among the highest motorable roads in the worldTest your riding skills at Khardung la, counted among the highest motorable roads in the world

Test your riding skills at Khardung la, counted among the highest motorable roads in the world

Do not miss a visit to the Nubra Valley. Here stands the magnificent statue of Maitreya Buddha, a 32-metre structure located near the Diskit Monastery

Do not miss a visit to Nubra Valley. Here stands the magnificent statue of Maitreya Buddha, a 32-metre structure located near Diskit Monastery

Catch sight of the elusive snow leopard at Hemis National Park. This protected area is known for having the highest density of these magnificent wild beasts in the world

Catch sight of the elusive snow leopard at Hemis National Park. This protected area is known for having the highest density of these magnificent wild beasts in the world

Made famous by many a Bollywood movie in recent times, the Pangong Lake is a spectacular must-visit place in Ladakh

Made famous by many a Bollywood movie, Pangong Lake is a spectacular must-visit place in Ladakh

Not many know about the population of Bactrian Camels in Ladakh. These double-humped camels are found in the Nubra Valley and there are even rides offered to travellers

Not many know about the population of Bactrian Camels in Ladakh. These double-humped camels are found in the Nubra Valley

The Zanskar River offers excellent white water rafting conditions for the adventurous ones

The Zanskar River offers excellent white water rafting conditions for the adventurous

Masked dancers at the annual 2-day Hemis Festival held around July at the Hemis Gompa

Masked dancers at the annual 2-day Hemis Festival held around July at the Hemis Gompa

A fruit-laden apple tree in a Ladakh farm. Apples and apricots are the primary fruits grown in the region

A fruit-laden apple tree at a Ladakhi farm. Apples and apricots are the primary fruits grown in the region

The Yak is an important animal in the region. It is used for transport as well as for its meat, milk, and other products

The yak is an important animal in the region. It is used for transport as well as for its meat, milk, and other products

Thangka paintings, a Tibetan Buddhist art, is a popular souvenir purchased by travellers in Ladakh

Thangka paintings, used in traditional Ladakhi meditational practises, often depict deities or scenes from the Buddha’s life. They make for popular souvenirs

Young Ladakhi monks pose for a photo against the splendid snowy mountain backdrop

Young Ladakhi monks pose for a photo against the splendid snowy mountain backdrop

There is nothing like a plate of steaming momos to end a long day of exploring Ladakh. Sip on some yak butter tea for the complete experience

There is nothing like a plate of steaming momos to end a long day of exploring Ladakh. Sip on some yak butter tea for the complete experience

Interested in a Ladakh holiday?

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Ceaseless deserts, an abundance of waterways, marvelous architectural wonders, and a culture to soak yourself in; Egypt is much more than just The Great Sphinx and the pyramids.

Explore the ancient ruins and stone carvings at Abu Simbel, Egypt

Explore the ancient ruins and stone carvings at Abu Simbel, Egypt

One of the oldest modern countries in the world, there are a lot of places in Egypt that are mainstream, some remain unexplored and others, thoroughly underrated. We’ve listed them below for you to take note of so you can cross them off your bucket-list when you visit Egypt. Read on to know more!

1. Cairo
Of Egyptian Museums, the Sphinx And Giza Pyramids

Soak in the stunning vistas of the Cairo skyline!

Soak in the stunning vistas of the Cairo skyline!

It’s here that Egypt’s glorious past casts a beautiful shadow on the present; Cairo, as we all know, is a timeless journey. The sprawling capital of Egypt, puts the busiest of countries to shame. From roadside sellers to guides at every nook and corner of the town, you’ll find this capital city hip, happening and lively. Enjoy a leisure stroll through a profusion of gardens or go for a quick bite of Koshary at a restaurant overlooking the majestic Nile. Fall in love with Cairo, it’s sure to fall back in love with you.

Visit:
Pyramids Of Giza

The ancient Sphinx by the Great Pyramid of Giza is a must visit when in Egypt

The ancient Sphinx by the Great Pyramid of Giza is a must visit when in Egypt

Your trip to Egypt isn’t complete without coming here! The fascinatingly attractive pyramids of Giza are a must visit for tourists and globetrotters alike. Explore this monument to know what has wooed travellers here since centuries!

Khan el-Khalili

Go on a shopping spree to Khan el Khalili and buy trinkets and other artefacts

Go on a shopping spree to Khan el Khalili and buy trinkets and other artifacts

One of the biggest markets in the world, yes, that’s right, Khan el-Khalili is quite a handful. Explore this bazaar and buy a bunch of trinkets and souvenirs for your loved ones back home.

The Great Sphinx

The Sphinx in all its glory, isn't it majestic?

The Sphinx in all its glory, isn’t it majestic?

A part of the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx is so beautiful it deserves a place in this list. With tons of mystery surrounding the origin and what it stands for, this monument is definitely enjoyable in its own right. Don’t miss out!

2. Taba
Of Resorts, Casinos & Monasteries

Soak in the beautiful views of the Red Sea and coast Sinai in Taba, Egypt

Soak in the beautiful views of the Red Sea and coast Sinai in Taba, Egypt

With stunning views of Saudi Arabia on one side and Jordan on the other, Taba, in Egypt is an extremely underrated destination. From islands, beach resorts and ample casinos, tourists here are sure to have a fun-filled vacation.

Visit:
Castle Zaman

Graciously nestled atop a desert cliff, situated in between Taba and Nuweiba, Castle Zaman is a sight to behold. Watch the glorious sunset against the backdrop of the red mountains or wind up with a swim at the natural pools.

Wishwashi Canyon

 

Dive deep into the Wadi Al Wishwash Canyon in Egypt

Dive deep into the Wadi Al Wishwash Canyon in Egypt (Image: Pinterest)

One of the hidden gems, Wishwashi canyon is just a short walk away from the popular beach area, Ras Shaitan. Set up camp here or climb up the vertical rock walls, the view you’ll be greeted with is beyond beautiful.

3. Dahab
Of Windsurfing, Canyons and Safaris

Cool off with a swim in the east coast of Dahab, Egypt

Cool off with a swim in the east coast of Dahab, Egypt

Formerly a Bedouin fishing town, Dahab is now regarded as one of Sinai’s most treasured diving destinations. Douse yourself in the golden sands and relax in the huts. Backpackers, luxury travellers and families travelling for leisure, you’ll find them all here frolicking around on the beaches. Looking for inexpensive, comfortable holidays that stay etched in your memory? Try Dahab!

Visit:
Blue Hole

Visit Blue Hole, one of the most popular diving spots in Egypt!

Visit Blue Hole, one of the most popular diving spots in Egypt!

When in Dahab, don’t miss out on visiting Dahab’s most popular beach, Blue Hole. The place got its name after a huge falling star crashed into the earth in the ancient days and caused a large blue hole.

 4. Alexandria
Of Bibliothicas & Ruins

Bask in the view of the iconic Alexandria harbour, in Egypt

Bask in the view of the iconic Alexandria harbour, in Egypt

The second largest city in Egypt, Alexandria will charm you with its Roman ruins and Mediterranean vibes. Founded by Alexander the Great, this city is where legends tell their tales in the form of splendid architecture and faded remnants. Explore Alexandria, for its ambiance and cosmopolitan charm. Sip coffee in time-honoured cafes, stroll across Alexandria Port, marvel at the French architecture and more!

Visit:
Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a major library located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a major library located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a major library located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

If you’re someone who’s fond of arts, history, philosophy and science, this is the place for you. The vast building complex is where all this comes together and also offers a myriad of activities, open to various kinds of intellectual discussions, dialogues and understanding.

5. Luxor
Of Royal Temples And King’s Tombs

The highlight of every Egypt journey, Luxor is a must visit!

The highlight of every Egypt journey, Luxor is a must visit!

Luxor can rightly be called the world’s greatest open-air museum. Backed by the stunning Nile on one side and the enigmatic temples of Karnak on the other, Luxor spells grandeur and old-world charm in every corner. Explore this city in Egypt to live inside the magic Theban landscape and its unparalleled architectural heritage!

Visit:
Karnak Temple

Explore the Temple of Karnak (ancient Thebes) when in Egypt

Explore the Temple of Karnak (ancient Thebes) when in Egypt

Known as the largest religious building ever constructed, Karnak temple is known as the cult of Luxor and Egypt. Dated from circa 2055 BC to circa100 AD

Weave a beautiful story of travel and love on your holiday to Egypt, book your Egypt tour now!

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Orissa, or rather Odisha (the name was changed in 2011) is located close to where the ancient Indian kingdom of Kalinga once stood. One war, several rulers, and a British era later, the historic influences are still visible in the region. Along with its history come breath-taking vistas, natural reserves, beaches, and a fascinating culture complete with elusive tribal communities.

 The decked-up chariots for Puri’s Ratha Yatra, a festival that draws over a million people annually

The decked-up chariots for Puri’s Ratha Yatra, a festival that draws over a million people annually

Diverse, colourful, and relatively less-visited, Orissa is home to many religious attractions and events like the famous Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) of Puri. Apart from attracting travellers on a spiritual journey, the state also offers a lot for adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers, art and culture aficionados, and peace seekers.

Places to Visit in Orissa

Orissa is where one can experience fascinating cultures, ancient relics of different religions, delectable cuisine, and a variety of local art and crafts. For the traveller who wishes to spend time sightseeing, Orissa has numerous options. Here are a few absolutely unmissable ones:

Jagannath Temple

Standing strong since 1198, this temple in Puri is a revered pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is built in honour of Lord Jagannath, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is accompanied by Subhadra and Balabhadra. Interestingly, all the Gods and Goddesses are decorated as per the season and occasion. The magnificent structure has four entrance gates and features exquisite carvings in the inner sanctum. The temple also hosts the grand annual affair, the Puri Rath Yatra.

The Jagannath Temple has a pyramid-like structure with a tall spire

The Jagannath Temple has a pyramid-like structure with a tall spire

Chilika Lake:

The Chilika Lake is a nature and bird lover’s paradise as it is a hotspot for various migratory birds and is among the world’s most important wetlands. It also has the distinction of being the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia. This natural wonder is home to a number of small islands, including the Nalabana Island and Satpada Island, where dolphins are often spotted.

Sun Temple:

The iconic temple in Konark is an architectural interpretation of Surya’s (the Hindu Sun God) chariot. Built in the 13th Century by King Narasimhadeva, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a breath-taking, colossal structure with intricately-carved stone wheels, walls, and pillars. The design features seven horses in addition to twelve wheels, which is meant to carry Surya across heaven.

The Sun Temple in Konark is an architectural marvel and a top tourist attraction

The Sun Temple in Konark is an architectural marvel and a top tourist attraction

Bhitarkanika National Park:

Around a million Olive Ridley turtles have Bhitarkanika as a nesting site, just one of the many delights in the region. It is also the second-largest mangrove area in the country and attracts visitors who come hoping to spot various birds, monitor lizards, crocodiles, spotted deer, Indian pythons, and much more.

Fun Facts about Orissa

  1. The region of modern-day Orissa is also known as Utkala, which is mentioned in the Indian National Anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”.
  2. This was the first state in India to be formed on the basis of linguistics.
  3. Odissi, the traditional dance of Orissa, is considered the oldest surviving dance form in India.
  4. At Puri’s Jagannath Temple, firewood is used to cook food inside seven pots, all stacked on top of another. But the contents of the topmost pot get cooked first, followed by the bottom one.
  5. Rasgulla, the famous Bengali sweet, originated in Orissa.
  6. There are more than 62 different tribal groups residing in the state, and each has its unique culture and traditions.

Useful Words and Phrases for Orissa

  1. Namaskar: Hello
  2. Kemiti accho: How are you?
  3. Mu bhal achh:I am fine
  4. Tuma nama kana: What is your name?
  5. Mora nama…: My name is…
  6. Mun bujhi paruni:I don’t understand
  7. Dayakari: Please
  8. Dhanyawad:Thank You
  9. Sahajya!: Help!
  10. Subha din: Have a nice day

Travel Tips for Orissa

  1. October to March is the best time to visit Orissa.
  2. Whenever possible, book hotels and guest houses that are registered with the Department of Tourism in India, Odisha.
  3. Always carry sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, etc. if you are travelling in the state during summer.
  4. Rental taxis for sightseeing are available, but you can use private auto rickshaws as a cheaper mode of local transport.
  5. Hiring a tourist guide is advisable, but choose one authorised by the Government of Orissa and fix his/her fee before starting the tour to avoid hassles later.
  6. Do not display a lot of cash in your wallet in public places, particularly in front of local guides, taxi drivers, etc.

Local Cuisine in Orissa

When in Orissa, the Pakhala is a must-try dish

When in Orissa, the Pakhala is a must-try dish

Fish and seafood are integral to Oriya cuisine, since the state lies in a coastal region. Lunch and dinner in Orissa usually consist of rice and lentils with curry, while breads, poha (flattened rice), and muri (puffed rice) are eaten for breakfast. Pakhala, a dish that is made from cooked rice that is soaked overnight in water, is a local favourite.

Using Money in Orissa

The Indian Rupee (INR) is the currency that you will be required to use while in Orissa. To exchange money, visit accredited bureaus or nationalised banks if not the airport. There may be currency exchange services available in various places, but ensure that they are legal places as you may have a chance of getting counterfeit cash in return otherwise. It is wise to change your money at the bigger cities like Bhubaneswar and Puri as the smaller towns may not have these facilities. ATM machines are also available at most places across Orissa. Do not carry all your money when visiting popular tourist attractions, but keep loose change handy for temple and museum visits, etc.

Orissa Fact File:

Location: On India’s eastern coast near the Bay of Bengal. It is bordered by West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand.
How to Reach: Bhubaneswar’s airport is well connected to major Indian cities; trains ply regularly between Bhubaneshwar and other places in Orissa from various parts of the country. A national highway connects Orissa by road to Kolkata among other neighbouring cities.
Official Language: Odia
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Tropical
Food & Drink: Pakhala (a rice-based preparation) and seafood are popular among Oriya people. Desserts to try include rasagulla, chhenna, and pitha.

Interested to book a holiday to Orissa?

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Nicknamed the ‘Spice Garden of India’, Kerala in South India is known for its rich cultural heritage, lush hill stations, and gorgeous beaches. One of the major draws for travellers are the backwaters of Kerala – the palm-lined scenic stretches of lagoons, lakes, deltas, and canals that flow into the Arabian Sea.

A tranquil network of canals and lakes that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea in Kerala

A tranquil network of canals and lakes that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea in Kerala

Originally used as a route for transporting goods like rubber, coconut, and spices, these backwaters have become one of the most important tourist attraction of Kerala today. Approximately 900km of these labyrinth of waterways is navigable, and locals still use backwaters for transportation and fishing purposes.

Best Time To Visit Kerala Backwaters

Truth be told, you can explore Kerala backwaters throughout the year as there is no particular season for backwater cruises which run all through the year. It completely depends upon you whether you want to enjoy the backwaters when it is hot and humid or when the climate is cool and pleasant.
The most popular way to explore the backwaters of Kerala is to hire the traditional kettuvallams (rice barges which have been converted into houseboats).

The Kerala-style houseboats that are used to glide through the backwaters.

The Kerala-style houseboats that are used to glide through the backwaters

Numerous luxury hotels and resorts also offer you the opportunity to stay in their houseboats along the backwaters.

Most Popular Backwaters In Kerala

The backwaters in Kerala boasts a unique eco-system. The distinctive species of marine life such as frogs, terns, cormorants, mudskippers, and crabs found here are a testament to this fact. The greenery surrounding the backwaters is thanks to the pandanus shrubs, palm trees, and the other bushes growing here.
Taking a backwaters cruise will truly be an unforgettable experience because you will get some exhilarating views of paddy fields, sunset, and glistening moonlight. With so many backwaters to choose from, here are the most popular backwaters in Kerala.

Alleppey

Perhaps the most popular backwater region in Kerala, it is also known as the ‘Venice of the East’

Perhaps the most popular backwater region in Kerala, it is also known as the ‘Venice of the East’

Renowned for its houseboat tours and natural beauty, Alleppey is home to a huge network of inland canals. It is one of Kerala’s most important tourist centres – it is the start and end point of quite a few backwater cruises. As you are enjoying your ride through the Alleppey backwaters, you can see small well-maintained villages through the paddy fields and palm trees. The best time to visit the Alleppey backwaters is during the harvest season because this is the site of the famous Nehru Boat Race that takes place annually.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom is a stunning backwaters region located next to the Vembanad Lake

Kumarakom is a stunning backwaters region located next to the Vembanad Lake

Kumarakom backwaters are truly a sight to behold and are quite different from the other backwater regions. While other regions mainly offer you palm trees and paddy fields, Kumarakom backwaters go a step further and give you breath-taking views of the Mangrove forests. What’s more, the canals here are filled with blooming white lilies. It is this lush greenery and peaceful surroundings that have made Kumarakom one of the favourite backwater destinations. Bird watchers will be in delight when they visit this region because it is home to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. You will find many migratory and exotic birds at this sanctuary.

Valiyaparamba

The suspension bridge on the Valiyaparamba backwaters

The suspension bridge on the Valiyaparamba backwaters

Valiyaparamba is not only the largest backwaters in North Kerala, but it is also the third largest backwaters region all over the state. These backwaters are usually the preferred choice because less human intervention has ensured the tranquillity of this place is still undamaged. Hunt for some crabs when you are looking for some excitement at the Valiyaparamba backwaters. History buffs must definitely have a look at the traditional equipment that is still used by the locals here.

Kuttanad

A beautiful view of the Kuttanad houseboats and backwaters

A beautiful view of the Kuttanad houseboats and backwaters

Located in the heart of the backwaters in the Alappuzha District of Kerala, Kuttanad is also known as ‘Rice Bowl of Kerala’. It has acquired this nickname because it is the only place in India where farming is done below sea level (1.5 to 2m). Kuttanad backwaters also crosses the four main rivers of Kerala, namely, Manimala, Pampa, Achankovil, and Meenachil. On your journey through these backwaters, you are sure to enjoy mesmerising views of lush greenery, vibrant paddy fields, rural homes in Kerala, churches, farms, and temples. If you are lucky and attentive, you may also see a glimpse of the green hues of a parakeet and the blue tint of a kingfisher.

Kochi

Soak in the verdant greenery and beautiful Chinese fishing nets of Kochi

Soak in the verdant greenery and beautiful Chinese fishing nets of Kochi

Composed of a group of islands on the Vembanad Lake, Kochi is also referred to as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Apart from the verdant greenery of the surroundings, you will also see numerous Chinese fishing nets when you are exploring the Kochi backwaters. If you are interested in spotting some wild flowers and water birds, head to one of the islands like Gundu, Bolgatty, and Vyppin in Kochi. When you are planning to visit Kochi in December, ensure that your dates coincide with the Indira Gandhi Boat Race. This famous boat race on the backwaters of Kochi attracts both tourists and locals alike.

Fact File

Location: In southern India, on the Malabar coast
How to Reach: Connected to the important cities in India and the world via the three international airports (Trivandrum, Calicut, and Cochin). It is also well-connected by roadways and railways.
Official Language: Malayalam
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Maritime Tropical Climate
Food & Drink: Some of the most popular dishes in Kerala are Appam with Stew, Chemmeen Curry (Kerala Prawn Curry), Thalassery Biryani, Palada Payasam (dessert), and Fish Moilee.

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