My Travel Diary

Kumbhalgarh- A quiet rejuvenating experience

If you are looking for a place where you can sit back and relax, this is the place to be. If you are traveller who is looking to explore mountains this is the one for you, if you are a traveller who is loves driving among mountains this is the place for you.

Location: Near Udaipur-about 60km
How to reach: Well connected via roads. Nearby airport and railway station is Udaipur.
We went there from Ahmedabad.
Various route options are available we took Ahmedabad-Mehsana-Palanpur-Abu Road route.
The Highway: Very good road. Till last 50km it is a four lane highway. Toll route but worth paying. The quality of road is very good.

Road Tips:
·        Plenty of food options in Gujarat.
·        In Rajasthan practically very few choices for food, so stock food and water.
·        No CNG pumps on the way, last CNG pump in palanpur, that too very busy and have long queue.
·        Many liquor shops in Rajasthan, starts just after entry for liquor lovers.
·        Road passes among mountains, some of the places are really good, keep your camera handy.
·        Last 50kms is through villages, single road though good but small. It will kill your time, so keep this in mind.
·        Hardly couple of petrol pumps on the way, tank up on your way
·        No petrol pump in Kumbhalgarh

The Place:
          In fact there is nothing like Kumbhalgarh city or village. Just about 10-15 resorts and hotels, one fort and this is it !
Many good resorts and hotels are here. Your stay should be in good hotel as you will spending most of the time there only.

Local people seems to be poor and water scarcity is obviously seen. When you pass through villages you will not find many people around.
The nearest big village is Kerwada about 10kms away and Sayra about 25kms away.
Kerwada: This connects like a junction. “Miarchi Vada” is famous here, but you will get only till afternoon.
Sayra: About 25kms away, this is junction for going to Ranakpur and Udaipur. It has got petrol pump also.

Places to see in Kumbhalgarh and around

1.     Kumbhalgarh Fort:
·        A fort made for Kumbha Raja. A good famous and one of the main attraction here. In winter you can go any time, but in summer early morning or late evening is a better option. You need about 1.5 to 2 hours to explore the place.  The most exciting feature of this fort is its boundary wall. It has been said that it is second longest after the Great Wall of China.
·        If you have seen other forts of Rajasthan, you might get disappointed. The fort is good but not well maintained. No sign boards, no details about place etc. Rather than displaying more information about various points, there are more number of ASI boards informing is about this being a protected monument. Hiring   is a good option and one should do it. After entry gate you will not find any official inside. The lighting of fort is very good in late evening. The light and sound show is also a good show that happens after sunset.
·        Kids up to 15 years are exempted from entry tickets, the tickets are just 15Rs.
·        Do visit this and place and explore on your own
2.     Parshuram Temple: We did not visit this place, but it is good as per local residents and fellow tourists. You need walk about 1.5kms after parking your vehicle. About 5kms from fort towards Sayra.
3.     Fish Pond-Hamirpark Lake:  Not so famous a good place if you have kids along with you. 2km from Kelwara.
·        A small pond. Here you can feed fish “Gathia”,”mamra” toast etc. You just put some food in water and you will have hundreds of star fish there to ear. Really a scene to watch. Fish rolling over each other to eat food, opening their mouth vide in search of food.

4.     Ranakpur Jain Temple-“Muchala Mahavir: 50kms from here. Via sayra. Will take about 1.5 hours from here.
·        An architectural marvel. Pillars pillars, about 1400 +. Very beautiful temple, you will like it where you are Jain devotee or not.
·        Photography allowed inside temple, just have a ticket at entry point.
·        Really nice work done at places, foreign tourist are really amazed.
·        No shorts or short dresses are allowed, they will give pyjamas on token rent if you are wearing shorts.
·        You can take nice and healthy food here depending upon time.
·        Summer will be hot here
5.     Wildlife Sanctury: If you are a Jungle lover or have young kids along, you must visit.  We could not spot any big animals but really enjoyed the ride. Do not try if you have back problems as obviously no proper roads are there, this a real bumpy ride of about 2 hours. Though we could see “neel gay” “Sattar Singha” “owl” etc. The experience is really good.
·        It starts from 6am in morning up to 9am and 4pm in evening to 6pm.
·        It is a 10km safari in open jeep from a place near fort.
·        Very big area
·        Habitats of Jungle are Leopard,Bear etc.
·        You will find very different rates for safari as usual like any other tourist place.
·        The good idea is to avoid booking from hotel, book directly.

Al(The) Magnificent Dubai

Dubai  is one most favorite tourist destination of world. Again favorite of Indian travelers.   Nearest overseas destination from India, yet economical and giving feeling of seeing the world as Dubai is almost having everything you want. Marvelous architecture, entertainment parks, gardens etc.  Not only Indians people from across the globe come to Dubai. Population is quite diverse comprising of many of Asians.
I am sharing my travelling experience of Dubai; I hope this helps the prospective visitor in proper planning. The planning day wise is just illustrative; one can change the plan as per convenience.
Day 1
1.       Creek Park: A place to spend leisure time. Favorite place for all for lots of activities. Very big park, you can spend time as much as you want.
Entry: 5AED
Must do activities: Cycling, dolphin show, bird show
Other activities: Walking around the park, train ride.

Dolphin Show: Good for all ages. You will be thrilled by performance of dolphins.  You will surely enjoy this. 90 AED is the entry fees for this. Those who have seen this either in USA or Singapore may be disappointed as they will not fine it up to that level.

Bird Show: Specially meant of kids. They will enjoy various birds doing host of activities. 

2.       Meena Bazzar:  India within Dubai. You will most the Indian shops here. Like mini India. This place is famous for gold market, Indian food, electronic items and lots of things which are affordable shopping.
Gold Shopping: You can do gold shopping here.  There are lots of shops here branded, unbranded etc. Do not worry about the price and quality. They are always assured .You can surely do bargain in making charges and ask for some discount. There are various 0 making charges shops which offer good option for those who are buying gold for investment purpose.
Gold Souk: Do not forget to visit this place. You will get to see glam of gold market here. Must visit place is world`s largest gold ring. You can take you photo along with it.
Cruise: You can do a boat ride here to view the beautiful view of the creek.  A must do. There are various options available.1. Cruise –dinner with cruise (Rates vary from 50 to 100 AED).2. Individual Boats like motor boat or Abra(small boats but very good experience-economical option about 10 AED per person.). You can view closely the floating bridge and famous building. Do it in evening only.

Day 2.
3.       Dubai City Tour: You will need full day for this. Various options are available like tour buses, own planning via public transport or hiring a taxi for whole day.
Tour Buses: They are good options for those who do not want take pain of finding things on their own. They offer hope on and off facility so not time restrictions apply. About 250 AED per person.
A: Bruj Al Arab: Beautiful architectural marvel. A sea side hotel.  You can enjoy delicious breakfast here but involves good cost. Approximately 550 AED(not sure). Do not forget to visit beach behind this hotel. Very awesome, you will find lots of people enjoying swimming, taking sun bath etc.
B. SOUK MADINAT JUMEIRAH :(( Jumeirah Mall): A very unique experience. Entire mall is reflecting ancient theme. The entire experience will be quite soothing. Beautiful landscaping in the middle adjacent to hotel. This place is skipped by most of the tour organizers because of want of shortage of time.
C. Monorail to Pam Atlantis: A fantastic ride with great view. This should be the preferred way to reach palm Atlantis hotel.  You will enjoy the ride. This takes you to the hotel. You can have full view of Palm shape residential and other buildings.
D.Palm Atlantis: A hotel to stay in. Though costly,at times attractive deals are available. If you do not stay here you can visit the mall along with it and have glimpse of hotel from outside. There are various activites available like Water Park. Aquarium etc.
E. Marina Walk/Marina Cruise: A must ride or walk. This will take you among the beautiful building of the dubai. Thoes who have visited New York or some us cities can remember the same when you watch this.  There is ferry service which takes you along and goes towards the plam atlantis hotel or burj al arab hotel. The ferry is a comfortable ride, there are viewing desk so that you can stand outside to do photography and watch.
During the day you will come across good number of food outlets which serves variety of food including Indian food.

Day 3
Abu Dabhi- about 2 to 2.5 hour drive from Dubai.  Lots of travel options available from dubai.
The Grand Mosque: A must visit place. An architectural marvel. Males need to wear clothes that cover leg below knee. Half pants and shorts above knee are not allowed. In such case you need to wear cloths given by them.  For females both hands should be fully covered. They will not allow you inside mosque without this.
They are providing free clothes for all if you do not meet the criteria.  A valid photo id is needed to avail this.  Very beautiful photo location. Plenty of very costly and unique lights.  First of its kind joint less carpet inside the mosque is thing to be look for. Do visit toilets; you will be amazed to see the facility for washing feet before offering prayer.
Ferrari Park:
An engineering marvel. Tickets are bit on higher side250 AED for adults and kids about 130cm. please allot sufficient time for this park. Full park is closed and AC, so there is no need to worry about weather.
If you want to enjoy this to fullest you need at least minimum 4-6 hours to enjoy the rides. Various types of rides are available, study the map properly and define your choice first. Kids and adults all will enjoy the joy rides.
But most thrilling and sensational ride is “world`s fastest roller coaster”. You must take this ride to have experience of lifetime.  The roller coaster achieves speed of 250/km/hour in 5 seconds. The ride last for about 2 minutes but your heart beats will remember it for long.
Day 4
Mall of emirates: A very beautiful mall with very nice ambience.  The great part of about all the malls here is apart from famous branded shops they also have various convenience stores, food courts and some or other good attraction or theme park within.  The parking is so Hugh that you have to remember the parking lot with precision otherwise you will get lost.
All the major malls have facility for wheel chair for the needy, simply produce your photo id and you can use it for free.
Ski Dubai: One of the best parts of the mall is this-ski dubai. A must visit place for all. Nicely maintained and full of activities. The only part you have to face extreme cold about.  They are providing everything socks, shoes, hand gloves, suit etc. The good part is all the things given to you are either new or properly cleaned. You will find a stark contrast from Kashmir where you get clothes in very bad condition in spite of paying high rates.
Here also the ticket rates are high about 220 AED for all but justified. Kids will surely enjoy the slides on ice, ball ride etc. The ropeway across the park is very good. You will be definitely be chilled when you reach at certain heights.  All the rides and activities are for adults also.  Some people feel it to cold when then enter, but again the good part is you can come out for some time and go in again without bothering about tickets etc.
Penguin show is added attraction.  Very delightful experience as seeing penguin is not routine. One side wall is of glass you can watch from outside before buying tickets, so you can go only if you find it worth.
In my option one must visit.
Miracle Garden
One of its own.  Full of beautiful flowers all over in difference colors and shapes. You will find famous monuments made up of flowers here. There is a very good all country flags train. A photogenic place, where you will love to capture photos at all the places.  Spare couple of hours to visit garden properly and enjoy the beauty. Entry ticket is 30 AED.
Day 5
Desert safari: One of the famous attractions of Dubai visit. Normally costing between 80 AED to 120 AED depending upon the season. The package includes: Pick up and drop off from your place, safari ride and dinner.
Starts in evening at about 4pm to 8pm. By 8 pm almost everything is closed. There are various camps in the nearby.
First and major attraction is “Safari”. Really a very thrilling experience. Desert everywhere and a ride.  You will take for a ride of 10-20 minutes, but you will remember it for long. The “Dunes”( the sand mountains”  are there to ride up and down. You must wear seat belt on all seats.
After that you will reach camp. The activities here includes: Token camel ride, Photo in local dress, Arabic dance show.  Tea, coffees are offered in the beginning and followed by dinner. Soft drinks are unlimited. The food is ok and there will be lots of people who will not like food. If you have got some seniors or kids travelling with you, please make some arrangements before going there.  Most importantly be light on your stomach before you go there, so that one does not have problem during safari ride.
Photograph with owl is also an attraction there. They charge about 10AED for one person.
Day 6:
Dubai mall:  A city inside the city.  Probably world`s second largest mall. You will find everything under one roof. Shopping, entertainment, kids zone, food everything.
Almost world`s all famous brands are present here. Whether you can buy anything or not, is a different issue.
There is very big fashion street, where you will find latest in fashion across the globe.  A very large footwear section-dream for any women.
Big perfume outlets, all famous brands are available here.
Candy store: Kids will love to visit this place, just opposite aquarium on ground floor. You can see live candy making and even taste it. You will tree of candy here.
Other major Attractions:
Aquarium: one of the world’s biggest water tanks is here. It is about 3 storied and includes water zoo. There are 3 types of entry tickets depending upon the activity that you select. But you must visit this. There is tunnel in which you will find all sorts of fish moving by your side and over head. With good description about various species available there.
There is glass bottom boat ride, which is quite enjoyable. About 20 minutes boating, you can see fish under your feet from the bottom.
On 2nd floor there is under water zoo where you will find again variety of fish along with biggest crocodile.
Kidzania : A place for kids to be. This is maintained and operated by Emirates. There are various activities like role play for kids. They got learn some practical aspects of various professions.  Kids will love this place. Bit costly about 150-200 AED per kid. Need at least 3-4 hours. Parents can put kids here and then move around in mall.
Fountains: Colorful fountain in evening after 6pm. The show lasts for about 3 minutes and repeats at every 30 minutes. Do secure your place in time. The best time is to see them after sunset. Very famous fountains, they claim that they are you tall that they are visible from space.
Burj Khalifa :
Known as Burj Dubai before its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest man-made structure in the world, standing at 829.8 m. Wikipedia
Tallest building of world-The place of Dubai. Feeling of being there is something you will never forget. Everything about this is unique. In fact you can say an architectural marvel.
The building is 163 stories. There is public viewing gallery on 124th and 143rd floor.  Most of the people go up to 124th floor. It is advisable to book ticket in advance. You can easily book tickets online. They are cheaper.  They give you exact time slots. Again the time of day you visit the place also decided the amount they charge. Spot tickets are always costly so please avoid.
The experience is just amazing. The dubai that you see from top is something unique. The lifts just take 40-60 seconds to reach floor no. 124. What a speed!
Do not miss this place in Dubai.

General Tips for visiting Dubai:

Use Maps:
When you visit any big malls just make sure from the customer service desk you collect the map of that particular mall or place. Familiarize yourself with how to use maps.  They are very good ,will save your lots of time and walking if you study it properly.
They have all the necessary details about that attraction and came very handy all the time. So when you get in just spare 10-15 minutes for planning and they move on.
Plenty of shopping options at Dubai.  You have to have enough money to buy. All range of products is available. Famous for gold shopping, electronics, clothes etc.   Range of options are available from costly brands to Chinese goods everything is available.
Water: Finding water to drink at times could be a problem. At many places there are fountains available in malls etc. At other places you have to buy water which at times could be as costly as 5AED for 500 ml. Soft drinks could be cheaper at some places.
Food: Not much of a problem. At most of malls you will find good food court with vide variety of options to choose from. Most of the places you will find Indian food. Please be careful about non veg if you are strict vegetarian like us.
Widely connected.  Metro, tram, buses, and taxis all the options are available.  For short distance taxis are better. For long distance use metro as traffic on road is really a problem and metro is very well connected to all major attractions.
Various options ranging from hotel apartments to hotels are available here. Do a homework before you go and preferably book in advance.

Travel tips to Manali

Travel Guide to Manali

Dear all I am sharing my experience of vacation to manali.I hope it can be useful to you or at least will give virtual tour of manali.

Manali is a very beautiful place. One of the most beautiful hill stations in India.

Best time to visit: During summer season. It is advisable that you keep light woollen clothes with you. Especially the morning and late evening are cool

Easily approachable from all the corners of India.
For travellers from Gujarat one can go via Delhi .Very good bus service is available from delhi to manali which takes about 14-15 hours. The fare is ranging from 900 to 1100 rs for A.C. Volvo,semi sleeper buses. You can look online for good companies. The journey is very comfortable. Most of them start from delhi in evening and reach manali in morning.
After about 70 kms from Chandigardh the hilly areas start. Our experience with Jimindara Travels is good. Surprisingly the state transport Volvo buses from Himachal tourism are equally good and you can book them online also.

From Simla it is about 8 hours by road.

Air port is in Guntur  near kullu but the fares are very high.

Accommodation & Food:

 Absolutely not a problem. You will find all range of hotels here. The main area is model town in the main bazzar.Mall road and heart of manali is walk able distance here.

We are a member of Club Equinox and we have stayed in their partner property Silmog Garden.The hotel is good and clean.The food was really nice and tasty.The staff was very courteous and friendly. Location is also good.

The advantage of staying near mall road is that you can visit main market and most of the eateries with ease. You do not need any transportation for this.Even the famous nature park is very near.

This area has plenty of budget and good hotels.Even the tourism guest house is right in the middle of mall road.

The major brands and big hotels are on the out skirts. If you going for honey moon you may prefer them.

Tips for honeymooners: There is a place called NAGAR which is about 15kms away from manali.The tourism department is having a heritage hotel at that place. Very beautiful place with lots of peace. The near by Rohriech Art Gallery
 adds value to this. You can book this through the tourism department. Do consider this before making a booking. The rates are attractive too.

Please try to workout meal inclusive package as the food available especially vegetarian is not of very good quality. Please try to eat local speciality like chole bhature and all to be safe.

There is one very good chat shop on mall road which is visited most of the celebrities who visit manali known as Delhi Chat Bhandar.

At various place you will find vendors selling fruit chat.chole bread and Maggi.

Sight Scene:
Please spare at least 3 days for this and to have sufficient time to visit almost all the major attractions.
The tourism departs runs buses for this in season or else you can hire a taxi. There are 2-3 official offices of taxi union which will give you good rates and you can rely on them.

Excellent scenic views will be seen during the journey. Each place is having its own beauty. You can stop in between at any place it will be photogenic.

The main routs are:
1.Local-which includes famous hidimiba temple,rishi temple,club house and Tibetan montasaries.
2.Kullu-Vaishno temple,river rafting spot and manikaran
3.Nagar-Jagatsukh,Dashal,Roerich Art Gallery(Must watch)  and Jana Water fall.Do not forget to climb till the root of the fall,it is very easy.You opt for Chotu the boy who will show the way and guide you.It is just 10 minutes easy climbing.
4.Solan valley and Rohtang pass.

The total cost by private taxi for all this about 3500 to 4000 rupees for a small car of 4.If you are in a group of 4 or more this will be cheaper option.

Keep your self light on stomach during travelling to enjoy it most.

Adventure sports:
This is place do lots of adventure and in manali you have go plenty of adventure sports and activities to do.

But, please remember that this is a tourist place and they have to earn their whole income in this season.So you are there to pay them. So be careful and do a hefty bargain at all the places and in all things may it be a shopping or sports.

River rafting is real thrill and fun here. Kids are not allowed. There plenty of outlets along the side of the road at the place. Do a good bargain and check safety first. The shortest distance is about 7km rafting. You will get completely wet you have extra pair of clothes with you.

Solan velly on way to rohtang is really good.You can paragliding which is very good and fun to do.Kids can also do with ease as you will be having pilot with you. Do this in morning hours when. This depends lots on season and wind. Mostly in late afternoon they close it.

Please browse for rates before you finalize and do a good bargain here also. Here ropeway ride and air ball rids is also available.

Depending upon the season the road to rohtang pass will be open.You can enjoy skiing at this place. Take guide and kits from below.In the main bazaar the government has put a board mentioning the rent rates for all like clothes, skiing kits,guide etc.Use it as reference guide.
In general the local people are good. But you have to be aware of cheaters. At the all the leading place you will fine the shops selling CHINGU. Please keep your self away from them.The will give very lucrative offer, but when you think will your presence of mind,you will find that this a mere eye wash.  

In all manali is must a visit place for all ages.You will definitely enjoy the beauty of this.Do visit manali.


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