Gangtok

Gangtok

Travel Guide

Sikkim the place with stunning cities for tourism boasts one of the stupendous city and its capital Gangtok. Among many beautiful cities of North-East India, Gangtok is one of the best place to visit. Surrounded by the Himalayan range the place is all time holiday spot as the weather here is mild throughout. The city is located at a height of approx. 5400 meters and lies in the eastern side of the Himalayan range. The city houses many people from different culture ethnicity like Bhutia, Nepali and Lepchas.

Lepchas are the natives while the other two are the immigrants. Mahatma Gandhi road lies in the center of the city and it has been converted into the paved walkaway and the place has been declared as the no vehicle zone, no litter zone and smoke free zone. There are many shops, bars and restaurants on both sides of the amble. One can spent time here sitting and enjoy watching the surroundings. Overall the city has developed quite good and a place to visit during leisure.

Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo lake or Changu Lake is a lake formed from glaciers and is at an elevation of about 12000 fts. 35 kms from Gangtok the Lake is very attractive as the lights reflect on water from hills and make it look beautiful. The route was quite steep and some parts of the route were too dangerous such as the route below Karponang when the route was used for the trade between India and China before 1962. Though the routes are well developed but during the bad weather it is still dangerous. The lake is oval in shape and around 1 km long with a depth of 50 feet. You an see the alpine vegetation and primula flowers during autumn and summers while during winters the lake is frozen. There is a small temple of Lord Shiva on the banks of lake where native people offer prayers and believe temple to be sacred hence no littering is allowed in the adjoining areas. Some distance away from the lake you can find some stalls and shops where you can get a refreshment. These stalls also provide jackets, gumboots etc. but you cannot find any lodging accommodation, so do plan your travel accordingly and yes do not forget to get a permit for photography. The permit would be available from Sikkim Tourist Information Centre at MG Marg or you can request to arrange the permit from the hotel management where you are staying.

Saramsa Garden

Located near Ranipool and around 15 kms from Gangtok the place is to be quite romantic due to the visit of couples in huge number. The place is often used for picnic and leisure. In the early time the place was used for growing fruits but the practice was discontinued in 1940. Afterwards the place was introduced with medicinal plantation but due to non viable situation this practice was also discontinued in 1970. Then the authorities came up with the idea to plant flowers which also included some species of orchid. The plants that are blossomed today are since 1975 and the place also boasts a large nursery inside. There is a convention center present in the garden that has a capacity of 500 people where one can arrange any function or a meeting. Entrance holds a nursery followed by a convention center and just opposite to it there is a garden that is made in various forms and shapes with the help of hedging plants. At the end of the gate there is a mini pool, beside that you can relax on the benches in peace under the shade of canopy trees. The place is full of leafage and it is so dense that just a ray of sunlight could be seen.One can spend time here in the beauty of nature with no hustle and bustle.

Ganesh Tok

Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is located at an elevation of 6500 feet. Apart from offering prayers at the temple the place is also visited for viewing the serene beauty of the nature. The temple is small in size and the view point of the temple captures the Rolling hill, Kanchanjunga mountains and the Gangtok town. Upper level of the temple can be reached by climbing the staircase but you will have to take your shoes off. Down the stairs you can find a complex where you can have snacks and take rest for a while.

Tashi View Point 

The view point is located 8 kms from gangtok in the Tashi. The speciality of the view point is the sunrise that is awesome, as the sun rises the mountain changes its colors but you will have to reach this place very early around 5AM. The circular viewing points accommodate 15-20 people only at once. The monasteries Phodong, Labrang can be seen on the opposite mountains. By paying a mere amount of ₹10 the closer view of the mountains can be seen through the binoculars and telescope available there. You can rest here and get some refreshment at shed cum shops that offer some tea, coffee, snacks etc.

Hanuman Tok

Tok or temple of Lord Hanuman is located at a 7200 feet elevation and 11 km from Gangtok. Similar to Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok is mainly visited not only for offering prayers but also to get the panoramic view of the serene beauty of the Kanchenjunga range. The best view of Kanchenjunga are observed from Hanuman Tok. There are benches installed in between the parking lot and temple. Bells are hanged from above and produces renosance when rung. There are audio appliances that play religious songs and prayers and you can offer prayers and get the divine feeling in the temple. It is believed that while carrying Sanjeevani Parvat from Lanka, Lord Hanuman took rest here for some moment and since then the place is served as Hanuman Tok. The temple is also known as wish fulfilling temple. Beside the temple there is a temple of Saibaba where devotees visit and offer prayers. There is also the cremation ground of Royal Family of Sikkim. Several stupas and tombs can also be seen here.

Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple

Baba Mandir is a distinguished sightseeing place of Sikkim. This “mandir” or shrine is dedicated to “Baba” Harbhajan Singh, who was a soldier of the Indian Army. He died near the Nathula Pass in eastern Sikkim, India. Two shrines have been built to show reverence to Baba Harbhajan Singh. The old one has been built at the site of the bunker, where Baba Harbhajan was posted during his tenure in the Indian Army. The new one has been built at close proximity from Changu Lake.

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary

Boasting the various species of flora and fauna the sanctuary is surrounded by Tsomgo Lake. The place is padded with Rhododendron and dense bamboo. The place is located near Gangtok-Nathula highway, 31 km towards East Sikkim. Mountains covered with snow showcases the serene beauty of the nature. Some species of flora that are found here are Rhododendron, juniper, orchid, wild strawberries, gentians, silver fin, poppies, rare panax and primulasm. There are medicinal plants too like nilo bikh, kutki, polygonum and jatamasi. Species of fauna that are present are serow, black bear, leopard, goral, satyr tragopan, hinalayan marmot, musk deer, tibetian fox, kestrel, red panda, langur, blood pheasant, fire tailed sunbirds, black winged kite, griffon vulture, brown headed gull and lamnergeier. Some places around sanctuary that can be explored are phurchachu hot springs, do-drul chorten stupa, yumthang valley, mangal dham rumtek monastry etc.

Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass is located 52 kms from Gangtok and at an elevation of approx.14000 feet. The place was used for the trade of gold, silk and many other items from India to Tibet and vice-versa. The place was closed for trade after India-China war. The place is fenced as Indo-China border and soldiers of both the countries can be seen guarding at the border. Once former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru visited here in 1958 and his visit has been engraved on a stone here that memorizes that event. There is a memorial that has been built for Indian soldiers who were martyred during the war. In July 2006 the old silk route was opened again but allows only limited trade between India and Tibet. The products that are for trade here includes silk broades, clothes, yak tail and hair etc. that too is limited to border only. Some interesting places that you can find nearby are India’s highest altitude internet cafe at Sherathang which also has a well developed market. Place named Kupup that is most of the time covered with clouds. Kupup also has the golf course that is at highest altitude in India. World’s highest altitude ATM is located at Thegu. The ATM is operated with a generator that contains a special fuel that has a very high freezing point. It is highly recommended that people suffering from breathing problem should carry special measures and visit the place with doctors' advise only. Oxygen cylinders are available at medical shops as the oxygen level is low at the place. Nathula pass is a protected area and no foreigners are allowed here. Indians require a permit and that is available from Sikkim Tourism Department in Gangtok or you can get it from a registered tour agency. The hotel can also provide it by charging some amount.

Himalaya Zoological Park

Also known as the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is named after the daughter of Sarojini Naidu, Padmaja Naidu. At an elevation of 7000 feet the zoo is at the highest altitude in India. The zoo was made public in 1958 and boasts the most sucessful breeding programs for snow leopard, red panda and the endangered Hiamalayan Wolf. As the park is known internationally for conservation and breeding programs, the zoo is the central hub for Central Zoo Authority of India’s red panda program. In 1983 the leopard from US, Leh Ladakh and Zurich were brought here and since then the zoo is actively breeding the species. Some species that are present are barking deer, asiatic black bear, blue and yellow macaw, leopards, himalayan monal, lady amherst, royal bengal tiger, sambar deer, yak, siberian tigers, etc. The place is a must visit for nature lover and animal enthusiast.

  • By Air

The nearest airport is in Bagdora, West Bengal that is 124 km from Gangtok. TSA helicopter is available from Bagdora to Gangtok that takes just 20 minutes to reach Gangtok in comparison with 2 hours via car or train.

  • By train

The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri and is about 148 kms from Gangtok. You can board a state transportation bus or train for Gangtok.

  • By road

The roads are well connected to the city and highway 31A connects the nearby cities to Gangtok. Buses are easily available on daily basis.

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  • State: Sikkim
  • District: East Sikkim
  • Population: 98,658 (2011)
  • Language: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Sunwar, Tibetans, Hindi
  • Pincode: 737101
  • Std code: 03592
  • Best time: September-June
  • Famous for: Adventure and Leisure

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Scotland of the East, Shillong

Scotland of the East, Shillong

Travel Guide

Scotland of the East, Shillong is a beautiful city and must be visited by all travelling freaks and general audience as well. This capital city of Meghalaya boasts the presence of natural beauty like waterfalls, lakes, mountains and landscapes. People here are very jolly and energetic and are well known for their culture. Our country has got many mesmerizing singers from the city so it is also called the Musical Capital of India.

The other thing that makes the place very lively and happening is the musical events that are organised here very frequently. The place is a mixed blend of castes like Assamese, Bengali, Nepali and Christians. The area lies in the high rainfall zone and the monsoons here are longer than usual as compared to other parts of India. If you are visiting Shillong during monsoons get an umbrella in your bag packs as you will need it here most. Happy Rainfalls!

 

Shillong Peak

The peak is located approximately 2000 mts above the sea level in East Khasi Hills district and is merely 10 km away from the city. You can have a panoramic view of the majestic city. The place is best suited for picnic spot and photography fanatics. There is a spot from where one can get a view of various landmarks of the city with the help of a telescope by paying just ₹10. As the city is called the Land of Clouds one can experience clouds all around when on the peak. There are several vendors selling snacks, some local handicrafts etc. So i you have a full day for the place you can spent some time shopping too. The city looks more beautiful in the evening so try to spend time till midnight if possible.

Don Bosco Centre

Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is the initiative that secures the heritage of the North East. The place exhibits the researches, journal publications and precious artifacts that throws the light on the rich architectural inheritance. The centre is a 7-storey building and has been divided into 17 various galleries. The galleries are full of information and interesting too. The galleries boasts the different flora and fauna, several traditions, art forms, culture of the state and its civilization and the artifacts of most of the regions of the country. The place is too informative as it showcases about the human civilization, religions, cultures and various traditions. The museum also preserves the weapons used for hunting, equipment used in agricultural farming, utensils, ancient paintings, photographs and musical instruments. The place displays local art forms in a special gallery where you can enjoy the performance and spent some quality time. The museum also preserves tribal costumes and the jewelry used by the tribe for fashion. The centre has 22 different compartments, each one dedicated to individual tribe of the north east region.

Note: The centre is closed on Sundays.

Elephant Falls

Elephant Falls is located 12 km away from the city. The place is very happening and lots of people gather here daily for spending leisure time. People often with their friends come here to hang around and spend time here gossiping, having fun and remembering memories. The place is also used as favourite picnic spot. The view is very scenic as the place surrounded by lush green vegetation. The scenic view attracts the photo fanatics and the place is away from crowd and fuss of the city. During the rainy season the two tier waterfalls outbursts the water with full strength and even the localites visit here during monsoons to view the amazing sight.

Mawjymbuin Caves

The cave can be reached by the local transportation as it is located 56 kms away from the main city. The beautiful and immense entrance of the cave is 50 mts wide and 4 mts high. There is a huge shivlinga made out from the cave naturally. The stalagmite made shivlinga is worshipped and offered prayers on regular basis and tourists are very much attracted here. The stalagmite and calcareous sandstone in the entire cave is very beautiful and naturally carved for taking photographs. The place is best suited for geologists, photo fanatics and nature lovers.

Hydari Park

Hydari park is designed in a Japanese style and was named after the wife of first governor of Assam; as Shillong was under Assam administration during British rule. The rhododendron plants, landscape speckled with pond and willow trees with their leaves touching the grass of the garden depicts the Japanese garden style. The place is also a resemblance of a little zoo as there is no zoo in the city kids can visit here for picnic and fun with family. Mostly children in uniform are seen with school teachers getting education about animals at the zoo. There are many species of animals and birds at the zoo like leopard, Himalayan black bear, jackal, porcupine, kite, horn bill, myna, sparrow and deer. One can spend time near the pool as there you can find a soothing site of swans resting in the water. The trimmed flower beds and lawns makes the place full of life.

Umiam Lake

Also named as Barapani(The Big Water) Umiam Lake is located 15 km away from Shillong in the midst of the hills towards the north. Stream Umkhrah and stream Umshyrpi, the two streams that are main source of water for the lake. In the early 1960s the lake formed by constructing a dam over the Umaim river. The dam was also the first Hydel Power Project of north east in India. The lake water is used for various needs of the people apart from electricity generation. The lake water is used as drinking water, irrigation, fisheries etc. Here one can enjoy many facilities like adventurous sport, boating, water cycling and kayaking. The State authorities and the Tourism Department of Meghalaya has developed the lake as a tourist spot.

  • By Road: The city well connect via roads with major North East states. Government as well as private buses operates everyday from and to Shillong. One can also travel through their own conveyance. The NH40- Guwahati and NH44A-Tripura and Mizoram are well versed to travel.
  • By Train: Meghalaya does not hold any railway lines and the nearest railway station is 105 kms away from Shillong in Guwahati which is connected to all major cities of the country and travel time is around 3-4 hours.
  • By Air: Shillong domestic airport is in Umroi, 40 km away from Shillong. Flights to Umroi are available only from Calcutta and that too are cancelled most of the time at the last minute due to bad weather. So it is advised to board plane for Guwahati International Airport that is located 104 km from Shillong and is well connected to the major cities all over India and to the other countries of the world.

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  • State: Meghalaya
  • District: East Khasi Hills
  • Famous for: Trekking, Adventure and Leisure
  • Language: Khasi
  • Best time: September-May
  • Population: 143007 (2011 census)
  • Pincode: 793001
  • Std Code: 0364

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Travel guide to Trivandrum

Travel guide to Trivandrum

Travel Guide

Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum the land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy, is the capital city of Kerala. The city is surrounded by Tamil Nadu in the east whereas by Arabian Sea in the west. The scenic view of the city can be seen due to the presence of the wooded highlands of the western ghats on borders of east and north east side. The city attracts the most of the tourist due to the beaches, backwater stretches, historic monuments, mosaics, sculptures, temples and other holy shrines. Tiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is among the most beautiful cities of India due to its cleanliness and lush greenery.

 

 

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The 8th century ancient temple is built in the East Fort of the city and exhibits a mix blend of dravadian and Kerala style. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The deity of Lord Vishnu is reclined on the hooded serpent. The place where the temple is located is believed to be one of the seven Parasurama kshatras and Skanda Purana and Padma Purana also mentions about the sacred temple. The hindu shrine possesses incredible idol that is situated on a single stone which is 18 ft long and said that it was made of 12008 salagramams, bought from river Gandhaki of Nepal. There are three doors in the temple and the idol can be seen from all doors.

First door displays the head and chest, second door displays hands and third door displays feet of the Lord. The temple is carved out of stone and bronze and the interiors are spruced up by paintings and vista. Copper sheet with gold platings covering the enormous sacred dhwaja stambh which is 80 ft high. Sculptural skeleton of the temple is carved with hindu deities. On the eastern side of the temple classical form of dance kathakali is performed on the ground floor in the malyalam month during the ten day annual festival.

Note: Only hindus are allowed in the temple and the dress code for men is only dhoti with no kind of shirt and for women dress code is sari, half sari or skirt & blouse.

Pazhavanagadi Ganpathy Temple

Ganpathi temple is also situated in the East Fort and is famous temple of Lord Ganesha. The temple is close in proximity if one is going to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple as it is just at a throw away stone distance. The main idol of Lord Ganesha is very small in size with a folded right leg in sitting posture. There are about 32 types of paintings of Lord Ganesha inside the temple. The chaturthi and jayanti related to the deity are main festivals of the temple other than vijaya dashmi, mahashivaratri etc. The main offerings to the deity is coconut and the dress code for men is dhoti only and for women any traditional attire.

Sri Chitra Art Gallery

Established back in the year 1935, the art gallery is visit most by the tourists visiting Kerala. For art lovers the gallery is equivalent to paradise as one can find here the awesome creativity of renowned painters from all over the country. The art gallery of Raja Ravi Varma paintings and preserved art works of Mughals, Rajasthani & Rajputs by Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and the ancient times Indian mural paintings are some main attraction of the gallery. The art gallery exhibits the perfect mixed blend of the ancient and modern schools of Indian Art. The gallery also holds the beautiful artwork collections of China, Japan and Tibet.

Note: The art gallery is closed on Monday, Wednesday and Forenoons.

Napier Museum

Situated in the heart of the city and built in the 19th century Napier Museum possesses a rare and unique collection of bronze idols, archaeological and historic artifacts, ivory carvings, a temple chariot and ancient ornaments. The exhibition of Mahabharata and Ramayana by leather figures of Japanese shadow play is very curious and exciting. The museum depicts the glimpse of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage. The museum was named after John Napier the former Governor General of Madras. The place is an exceptional piece of architecture that glorifies the natural air conditioning system and a beautiful combination of Kerala, Mughal, Italian and Chinese architectural style.

Note: The museum is closed on Monday, Wednesday and Forenoons.

Trivandrum Zoo

Spread over 55 acres of woodland, the place was established by the Maharaja of Travancore in 1857. With lakes and lawns the place was first planned for some leisure creation but due to excessive deforestation and danger&effect on wildlife, the goal of the place was changed to flora and fauna preservation. More than 130 years later the place got monetary and technical support from Central Zoo Authority and the place was refurbished by iron enclosures natural ambiance. There are about 82 species of fauna from all over the world.

The zoo also boasts native species like Indian Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Asiatic Lion, Asian Elephants, Nilgiri Langoor and Lion Tailed Macaque. Snake farm exhibits the both poisonous and non poisonous snakes. Zoo also contains some animals from Africa like Giraffes, Cape Buffaloes, Zebras and Hippos. The zoo is a good picnic spot and also a good source of knowledge for everyone.

Note: The zoo is closed on Mondays.

Kovalam Beach

Kovalam beach is one of the Internationally famous beach with an immense headland situated on the banks making inlet of the sea look elegant and attractive. There are plenty of things to do in your leisure time like body toning massages, cultural programs, sunbathing, swimming and catamaran cruising. Visit beach in the daytime can tan your skin as tropical sun is too painful to bear. The footfalls are seen maximum during the dusk and continues till the late night. There are many places to hang around in the beach complex that includes shopping zones, ayurvedic massage centers and health resorts, swimming pools, cottages, assembly rooms and yoga centers.

There is a huge attraction of European tourists since 1930 and the place offers cuisines of all variety in different restaurants and cafeteria. The staying facility is also available starting from budget hotels to five star ones.

Sanghumugham Beach

Sanghumugham beach is the beautiful beach with magical evenings located 8 km from Trivandrum city and can be accessed easily by own conveyance or through city transportation facility. The crowd visits here in the search comfort, relief and soothing of soul and mind as the sea breeze carries cool air that rejuvenates the minds. Wooden boats and canoes can be seen in action meanwhile in the sea during daytime and resting on the golden sand in the evenings. The attractions on the beach are Starfish Restaurants, Indoor Recreation Club, Nehru Park and huge Mermaid Statue. Another attraction at the beach is Veli Tourist Village which is a renowned picnic spot located nearby and connected to the beach by a floating bridge. You can hire paddle and speed boats and have a refreshing splash in the water. The area within holds several restaurants that can be used for refreshments.

Agastyamala

The peak is a approx 1900 mt high and offers a scenic view of Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and located in the western ghats. The peak is believed to be the pilgrimage center for Hindus. Statue of Agathiyar is situated at the peak and devotees offer prayer. Many rivers originates from the mountain which includes river Thamirabarani, Neyyar and Karamana. A Tiger reserve, Kalakkad Mundanthurai lies in the agasthyamala range. If you want to reach the top of the peak, the only way to reach there is trekking which has strict guidelines from the Kerala Forest Department. Bonacaud is the starting point for trekking and is 50 km from Trivandrum. Bonacaud to peak takes 2 days of trekking to reach and is 28 km in distance. Trekking is open from January to mid March. The peak is full of medicinal plant with over 2000 species and can be accessed only with the permission of Kerala Forest Department.

  • By air

Trivandrum International Airport is located 6 kms from city has more than 30 airlines with several countries. Jet Airways and Indian Airlines can be boarded for domestic travel from and to different parts of the country.

  • By road

Long distance buses can be boarded from Central Bus Station at Thampanoor whereas, short distance buses can be boarded from City Bus Station, East Fort.

  • By train

Trains can be boarded directly from all major stations of Kerala as well as of India

  • State: Kerala
  • District: Thiruvananthapuram
  • Famous for: Pilgrim, historical, leisure and adventure.
  • Population: 3234356(2011 census)
  • Languages: Malyalam, English, Tamil and French.
  • Best time: October to February
  • Std Code: 0471
  • Pincode: 695001

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NAMAH Nainital Monsoon Mountain Marathon

NAMAH Nainital Monsoon Mountain Marathon

The more I think of Himalayas, the more I get acquainted to it. My love for the sacred mountain range has been increasing manifolds since I first set foot on the mountains as a child. The family trips during summers used to be fun and as I grew up learning geography these mountain ranges kept on fascinating me. I now realize that apart from the summer and winters monsoon too is a good time to be in Himalayas, the evergreen mountain ranges become greener and one can witness the beauty of the lush green mountains. With this view and to promote tourism during Monsoon the Uttarakhand government co-sponsored this beautiful event NAMAH Nainital Monsoon Mountain Marathon.

Before I spread word about the event we would like to thank NAMAH, a premium hospitality brand of DS Hospitality in India and Manu Maharani, Nainital a Luxury resort for giving us an opportunity to be a part of this event.

As you would have already read in our previous post, the Seventh edition of glorious NAMAH Nainital Monsoon Mountain Marathon organized on Sunday the 28 th August 2016. The marathon saw a whooping participation of various athletes around different corners of the country including highly enthusiastic local population.

The event was graced with the presence of some well-known dignitaries in the state IAS officer Mr. Deepak Rawat (D.M.), Dy. Director of UTDB Ms. Poonam Chand, MLA Sarita Arya, Sr. Divisional Manager P.S.Negi, Retd. Zonal Manager of LIC Mr.Ashok Shah and famous Bollywood actor Mr. Hemant Pandey.

The stage was set, all preparations done the event was set to begin as I could see the athletes and other participants doing some warm up exercises. The boys and girls were having some light moments of fun and laughter. The dignitaries were getting ready for the flag off and the organizers were busy doing the last minute checks and formalities.

With all this energy flowing in the air, I suddenly felt a chill across my spine when a thought flashed to me how would it feel to our athletes who participate in an International event? Even before I could think about some answers to this question the marathon was officially announced open when Bollywood actor Mr. Hemant Pandey flagged the event from the starting point Mallital Pant Park.

The event was divided into nine categories and the winners were:

Category 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
Men Open Pramod Patni Puran Singh Chandar Digari
Nainital Open Dinesh Bisht Vinay Kumar Rahul Dhikari
Women Arpita Saini Ruby Kashyap Parvati
Veteran Jagdish Ram Stephen Ravindra Rajput
Senior Boys Deepak Singh Saurabh Badhani Pawan Kathiyat
Junior Boys Aman Kumar Ajay Pratap Vijay Singh
Senior Girls Gunjan Sanwal Priyanka Budhlakoti Banu Priya Bisht
Junior Girls Mahi Rawat Charu Udita Rawat

 

The total amount of prizes distributed were Rs. 2,67,000/-, where the winners of the Men open category bagged Rs. 50,000/-, Rs. 25000/- & Rs.15000/- for 1st , 2nd & 3rd position respectively. The eminent event of the city was sponsored by NAMAH, the luxury brand of DS hospitality group followed by the co-sponsors Uttarakhand Tourism Department (UTD) who contributed entire prize money that was distributed to the top five finishers.

Main motive and theme of Uttarakhand Tourism Department (UTD) was to promote and attract tourists during the monsoons as the place is panoramic during the monsoon season. In an interview Pramod said, “This course is definitely one of the toughest. Runners who hail from mountain regions will probably have an advantage here, but athletes from the plain areas will definitely find it tough. I have represented India at the international level, but I have never encountered such a tough course. However, competing in these conditions will definitely help me to improve as a runner”.

He added, “This event can definitely grow and the organizers should try to rope in foreign athletes for future editions. But even top international athletes will struggle to produce world class timings on this course”.

General Manager (Marketing and Sales) for NAMAH Mr. Manish Kumar stated “We are happy to see the response of NAMAH Nainital Monsoon Mountain Marathon. As a title sponsor our association will continue for coming years. We see a lot of potential in promoting such events domestically as well as internationally. We want to promote this as a part of itinerary of travelers, who are visiting Nainital. In present times, when India is looking to develop sports culture, such initiative will go a long way in ensuring this objective.”

Delhi girl, Nikita, who missed the third spot by a narrow margin said, “It was a challenging course. But it was a different experience altogether. These kind of events help to popularize the sport in small towns like this. I want to participate here next year.”

The reputed title sponsors hospitality resort, Manu Maharani is located away from the hustle bustle of the city.  The 5-star hotel is finest and luxurious in the entire city. Located in between Kumaon hills the view from the hotel of Naini Lake is awesome and one can also experience panoramic sight of Nainital Valley. Gardenia restaurant was our destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The troop members who were interested in having a drink visited The Viceroy Bar which serves a variety of Indian and international liquors. Cultural evening, barbecue and bonfire were also made available on special request.

With this the ceremony and my journey came to an end with lots of mesmerizing memories and i would like to thank NAMAH once again for such a wonderful hospitality and look forward for the same in the eight edition of NAMAH Nainital Monsoon Mountain Marathon.

 

Kottayam the land of letters

Kottayam the land of letters

Travel Guide

Kottayam is the first town in India to achieve 100% literacy rate. The presence of renowned newspapers and publishing houses along with famous colleges the city got its second name as the letter capital of Kerala. Situated between the backwaters and western Ghats the city is also well known for its spices and rubber trade. The Thirunakkara Shiva Utsavam festival is celebrated at Shiva temple every year in march.The city is blessed with nature and is accomplished with hill stations, ancient and modern churches, temples and beautiful waterfalls. Lush green environment and the nature’s beauty makes the place a must visit destination if you are travelling to Kerala.

 

St.Mary’s Orthodox Church

St.Mary’s orthodox church was built by Maharaja Thekkumkoo in 1579. The church is also known as Kottayam Cheriapelli. There is a blend of Kerala and Portuguese style in the architecture of the church. The walls of the church are embellished with biblical as well as non-biblical artwork that will make you speechless. The figures of angels and St.Mary sculptures are made of stones but carved in woods. Mother Mary statue is situated on the southern side of the church wall. The baptism basin is carved from a single stone. The church is a beautiful piece of architecture with huge doors, stone and granite work, adorable carvings and much more.

Juma Masjid

The mosque is about 1000 years old and is declared as a protected monument by kerala government. It is located on the banks of river Meenachil and decorated with stunning architecture and beautiful wooden carvings. The muslim shrine courtyard is shaped square and there is a pond inside where the devotees use to take a dip before going for prayers. As the mosque was devastated several years ago due to some reasons, it was refurbished in 2012 with strong aluminium sheets, iron columns and stone pillars. A mix blend of Islamic mythology and Indian architecture the place attracts all communities.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Spread over an area of 14 acres and surrounded by river Kanavar and Vembanad lake, the place has a panoramic sight. Filled up with lush green environment the place is full of natural vegetation and green paddy fields which provides the homely ambiance to both native as well as migratory birds. The species of birds that are the attraction of the place are cuckoo, heron, egret, cormorant, moorhen, darter, brahminy kite, waterfowl, Siberian crane, teal bird, flycatcher, etc. There are some parts that are not accessible easily so one can hire a motorboat to visit those places.

Panachikkad Saraswathi Temple

The beautiful temple of goddess Saraswathi was built 1000 years back by a native Brahman family. The temple is also renowned as the Mookambika of south. The temple look beautiful as it is surrounded by lush greenery and has its architecture in Kerala style with stone and woods used in it. The deity is situated in a pond that is present in the temple. There are many open places in the temple that are meant for conducting traditional songs and dance festival. During the festivals the place is decorated with colorful lights and sound that makes the temple look adorable and a must visit during festive season.

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

The lord Shiva temple located in Kottayam at Vaikom and is among the oldest and ancient temple in the state. The Shiva Linga present in the temple is believed to be from the Treta Yug. The temple celebrates many local as well as Indian festivals. The temple is spread in a vast eight acres of land. The two chambers Mukhyamandapa and Garbhgraha are made with woods and stones respectively. The walls are decorated with stones and woods depicting the stories from Puranas. The enormous Nandi is carved out of a single stone and the Shiva Linga present is six feet high made of black stone. The temple is an interesting place to be experienced when on the trip to kerala.

Poonjar Palace

Poonjar palace exhibits royal richness of the ancient period. The palace was constructed 600 years ago by Poonjar Maharajas. Use of woods in the palace shows the traditional architecture of kerala. Wooden carved palace has a museum that exhibits the wooden furniture of ancient times, statues, sculpture of dancing Shiva, weapons, rock-cut lamps and many such antiques. The place is best for art and history lovers and shows how the royal family had lived their lifestyle.

  • By roadKottayam is connected to all major towns and cities in India. Due to excellent networks of roads there are regular buses from major cities to Kottayam and one can also travel by their own car or taxis.
  • By TrainThere are regular trains to Kottayam and from kottayam to different cities.
  • By PlaneKottayam does not has any airport. Nearest domestic airport is 51 km away from Kottayam at Kochi and nearest international airport is 127 km away from Kottayam at Thiruvananthpuram.
  • State: Kerala
  • District: Kottayam
  • Famous for: Pilgrim and leisure travelling
  • Population: 1953646 (2011 census)
  • Languages: Malyalam and English
  • Best time to visit: Aug-Feb
  • Pincode: 686005
  • Std code: +91481

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