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Choosing a honeymoon destination in India

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Honeymoon is one of the most exciting and cherished early events of married life for every newly-wed couple. So whether you choose to soak up the sun on a beach or enjoy drinks together in the quiet beach shack, or just want to lay down in the lush greens thinking about the future, it’s worth spending a little effort to get your plans right!

India is bestowed with many spectacular destinations perfect for your honeymoon, ranging from tranquil beaches, serene hill stations through to bustling metro cities. Your honeymoon is an opportunity to try something a little different and create experiences and memories to share for a lifetime.

Nishat Garden srinagar

A view of blooming flowers at Nishat Garden in Srinagar. (File Photo: IANS)

Here are a few exciting honeymoon destinations –

Srinagar

Which place can be more romantic to spend some moments of love together than Kashmir? The mesmerising beauty of Srinagar will indeed bring more passion to the both of you. Lush green valleys, high mountains and thick pine forests make up the beautiful Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir. Most of the hotels here around the Dal Lake offer beautiful view of the valley.

If you plan your honeymoon staying in the Shikaras (houseboats) embellished with the finest carved walnut wood and hand-embroidered carpets in Dal Lake, you could not have planned it any better. Beautiful lakes, snowcapped mountains, lofty glaciers and charming rivers coupled with Shalimar Bagh, Chashma Shahi and Nishat Bagh are unmissable.

The valleys of Srinagar will offer you the breath-taking views most beautiful mountain ranges with a refreshing environment that you just won’t want to leave!

If you two are a little more active, amongst the scenic views, there are an amazing range of adventure sports available. In no time, you could find yourself indulging in skiing, paragliding, trekking, mountaineering or white water rafting.

kerala

Alappuzha: Participents during the Nehru boat race at Vembanad Lake in Alappuzha of Kerala on Aug 12, 2017. The 65th edition of the race, named after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (Photo: IANS)

Kerala

Kerala, popularly known as “God’s own country”, offers you a land with enchanting natural beauty, lush green forests, palm-fringed backwaters, pristine beaches, exotic flora and fauna, and wild waterfalls.

Not only can you hear the rippling sound of backwaters alongside your houseboat, but enjoy the green countryside in places like Kovalam, Alleppey, Munnar, Wagamon, Devikulam, Cochin, Idukki, Nelliyampathy, Varkala, Kumarakom, Thekkady and Wayanad within the serenity of Kerala state.

Cochin or Kochi is the ancient harbor city of Kerala and counted as one of the most popular historical cities of Kerala. Cochin is visited mostly for its uniquely beautiful beaches and backwaters. Cochin is a modern city and you can enjoy having some retail therapy there.

Alleppey is one of the attractive backwater destinations of Kerala towards the south of Cochin. It is the most sought after destination for the backwater cruises in Kerala. Alleppey is a mysterious maze of canals surrounded by lush green vegetation on the banks. It is no less than a paradise of your dreams on earth, where spending some quality time will be always memorable for you. Alleppey is also centre for the well known coir handicraft products of Kerala.

Kovalam, located at the distance of 16 km from Trivandrum is one of the finest beach destinations of South India. It is a clean, long, beautiful and serene beach that is surrounded by swaying palms.

Goa

File Photo

Goa

Amongst other superb honeymoon destinations across the world, Goa has something special to offer to newlyweds. The former Portuguese colony is truly a honeymooner’s paradise, with lush hills, cool blue waters, coconut groves, and of course the world-class beaches to experience. Goan hotels often offer honeymoon packages so you’ll be sure to find one to fit your budget.

A long list of beaches to choose from including Agonda, Anjuna, Arambol, Aguada, Benaulim, Bogmolo, Morjim, Dona Paula, Mabor, Calangute, Candolim, Colva, Cavelossim, Vagator, Miramar, Palolem, Sinquerim and Varca beach.

You can also indulge in a broad range of activities including various adventure and water sports, cruising the Arabian Sea, shopping at the flea market and much more.

honeymoon planning

Representative image

Some planning tips for honeymooners –

  1. Budget: The destination you choose for your honeymoon will greatly influence your budget. While estimating your honeymoon budget, you need to consider much more than just accommodation. Other expenses can include transportation costs (flights, trains, car rental and taxi fares), local sightseeing, meals, tips, activities, entertainment and night life.
  2. Research: Start with the internet. You can get good deals on hotels and tour packages if you will plan and make bookings in advance. But don’t forget your local travel agents as you can grab some good deals there.
  3. Planning – You can find great honeymoon packages offered by travel agencies and tour operators. They’ll have a range of pre-planned honeymoon itineraries so that you can focus on enjoying the trip instead of organising it.

So, what are you waiting for? Choose your destination and get rolling to explore the moon with your honey!

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

 

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Delhi Ring Railway to soon see steam-hauled service to attract tourists

Two options are being considered: A round trip or a hop-on-hop-off ticket.

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Steam locomotives will be chugging along on all hill railways across the country — besides charting out a new course on the Delhi Ring Railway — as the Railways pushes the idea of reviving the glory of its steam heritage.

With the successful operation of a steam-hauled train on the Palanpur-Jogindernagar section of Kangra Valley Railway, all five hill railways now have steam loco services to attract tourists.

Kangra Valley Railway, which is on the tentative list of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites, witnessed the revived steam loco operation recently after more than 20 years. The regular steam loco operation is expected to boost tourism in Himachal Pradesh.

While Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Nilgiri Mountain Railway have regular steam locos services, the Kalka-Shimla Railway and Matheran Hill Railway are equipped to conduct chartered services on tourist demand.

But the big thrust will be seen in the capital’s long-neglected — and once-popular — Ring Railway, that has fallen by the wayside as the city expanded rapidly.

“It is a big revival of steam locomotives in Indian Railways, and our aim is to have regular steam loco operations in all hill railways — and also in the long-awaited Delhi Ring Railway route,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with rail heritage.

With the advent of diesel and electric locomotives, steam engines were phased out in 1995 by the Railways.

Ring Rail Delhi

Though there was a move to run a steam locomotive on the Delhi Ring Railway during the Commonwealth Games in 2010, this did not materialise for various reasons.

However, the state-run transporter is now actively working on reviving the service to showcase its heritage, bring back the romance of steam engines and promote tourism. The task has been assigned to Northern Railway.

The existing 34 km-long ring railway, which runs parallel to the Ring Road, passes through several prominent places of Delhi like Chanakyapuri, Safdarjung and Sarojini Nagar and is expected to attract large numbers of tourists and rail enthusiasts interested in steam locos.

As per the plan, the train, comprising four heritage coaches with a steam locomotive, would start from Safdarjung station and travel to Anand Vihar, Old Yamuna Bridge, Old Delhi, New Delhi and Nizamuddin station before returning to Safdarjung.

Delhi Ring Rail

Tourists will be able to visit the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, National Rail Museum, the historic Old Yamuna Bridge, Humayun’s tomb and rail buildings such as Old Delhi station, Kashmere Gate and Baroda House by using the service.

“The landscape along the proposed route will be beautified, besides other necessary arrangements to make it operational. The fare structure and timings are yet to be decided,” the official said.

“Two options are being considered: A round trip or a hop-on-hop-off ticket,” the official added.

At present, there are very few steam locos across the world that are still in working condition.

By : Arun Kumar Das

(Arun Kumar Das is a senior Delhi-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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62% prefer self planned trips over travel packages: Survey

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New Delhi, Feb 6: As many as 62 per cent people prefer self-planned trips over the packages provided by travel agencies, according to a survey carried out in six metro cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru.

The survey, conducted by Chrome Data Analytics and Media, was conducted on 2,468 people in the age group of 35-54 years constituting 52 per cent males and 48 per cent females.

It said that 59 per cent of the respondents would prefer a nature-related destination for holidays. It also said that 48 per cent would prefer travelling with their friends.

According to the survey, US is the dream destination for 35 per cent of the respondents.

At least 60 per cent of the respondents “usually” holiday for less than seven days, it said

Around 33 per cent said that their travel plans got affected by the number of official leaves they got.

IANS

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Why a visit to the world’s largest river island is a must

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Bamboo house of Mishing tribe

By Natalia Ningthoujam

Kamalabari (Majuli), Feb 5: Assam’s Majuli faces flood fury — and the threat of erosion — whenever the mighty Brahmaputra river swells. So take a break from your high-tech lifestyle and hop on that double decker boat to live the simple life in the world’s largest river island before it loses the title.

Cruises on luxury vessels can take you to your destination, but to understand the locals’ lives, it is best to travel like them on a rickety motor boat, which can also carry cars, bikes and anything that can’t swim, from Neemati ghat to Kamalabari ghat.

First timers might fear for their lives but for the frequent travellers, it’s like any other public transport. Some are so carefree that they even play cards.

After the half-hour ferry ride, you will reach the shrinking island, which is located over 300 km from Guwahati, Assam’s main city, and is home to approximately two lakh people consisting of Brahmins, Kalitas, Mishings, Deori and more.

Visitors can stay in various resorts, which might remind you of your hostel days due to availability of only basic amenities, or limited homestays.

While driving to your accommodation, you will see paddy and mustard fields, and bamboo plantations along the roads.

Out of the various house forms, the bamboo stilt houses — with an open fireplace in the middle — of the Mishing tribe, are quite unique, and you will see women working on looms made with bamboos and a cycle’s wheel.

Unlike the people of Sualkuchi, a silk-weaving village in Assam, Mishings here make “mekhela chador” and other traditional outfits only for their own use. And men use their physical strength to make beds out of bamboos or other furnitures, when they are not farming.

Majuli, a hub of the Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture, has many satras (religious and cultural institutions).

“Earlier, there were over 60 satras in Majuli but due to erosion, there are currently just 32 satras here. Auniati Satra is the biggest one in Assam. The land measures up to 500 bigha,” Anant Kalita, the satra’s museum guide, told this visiting IANS correspondent.

“We don’t call ourselves monks or pandits. The ones who stay in satras are called Vaishnavs. We worship lord Krishna. We dance, pray and do dramas, which were created by (saint-scholar) Sankardev,” he added.

The satra is open to all — Brahmins, Kalitas and people from other communities of Assam.

“Even Muslims can come. Ladies can come but can’t stay in the satra. After marriage, people need to stay out of the satra.

“There are 350 people in the satra. Vaishnavs and bhakhts stay in satras, the ones who are outside are called disciples,” said Kalita, who has been here for the past 18 years.

The Samaguri Satra, on the other hand, has kept alive the tradition of mask-making.

Its studio houses numerous masks, like those of Narasimha, Ram and Laxman that are used during festivals and Bhaona, which is a traditional form of entertainment through which religious messages are shared.

Explaining the process of mask-making, popular mask artiste Hem Chandra Goswami’s brother Tilak Goswami said: “The masks are made of mud, cotton cloth, cow dung and vegetable colours. One mask takes about 15 to 20 days to make.”

“Our entire family knows how to make masks. We have been making masks for the last six generations,” added the 65-year-old.

After learning the craft here, some even go to Dibrugarh or Guwahati.

It’s not just the people at satras who are warm and welcoming. Once the local children spot new faces, especially with DSLR cameras, they will happily follow you and strike a pose.

You might have to use a lot of hand gestures while communicating with the locals as they aren’t fluent in English or Hindi, but they will leave you overwhelmed — irrespective of their financial condition, they will not let you leave empty handed.

A cup of tea or a plate full of home-made sweets (rice flour pitha) is the least they can offer, and a request: “Please visit again.”

IANS

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