A Royal Ride – to get Mysore-d !!

Yes another long “Once Upon A Time” period story from some tiny memory banks in my br...

Rahul Raju Dusa
6 Days
Move Over Pondi - Chennai's Many Weekend Destinations.

Chennai can now boast of multiple weekend getaways for the new breed of discerning weekend travel...

Shriranjani Rao


Pondicherry
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
For a dose of south Indian culture with a side of French flavours, travel to the city of Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry), perched on India’s east coast in Tamil Nadu. Peppered with Gallic landscapes of bougainvillea draped colonial townhouses, pastel villas and leafy boulevards, Pondicherry is a haven for both – the traveller in the quest for spiritual awakening, and the leisure-seeking tourist. One of the Puducherry’s most sacred attractions, is the internationally acclaimed Sri Aurobindo Ashram located off Goubert Ave. Drawing lakhs of devotees from across the world every year, the grounds are home to the shrines of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother), and a meditation hall, which is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Pondicherry. Another must visit destination is the township of Auroville that was founded in 1968, located 8kms away from Pondicherry. The community, houses people of 45 nationalities. One of the lesser known things to do in Puducherry is bird watching at the Ousteri Wetlands, 10kms from the heart of the town. You could spend your mornings at city’s major beaches - Auroville, Serenity, Promenade and Paradise, and end your trip with a walk along the seafront promenade, as you chase the setting sun.
Thiruvananthapuram
We started from Calcutta to Trivandrum (also called Thiruvananthapuram). Since it was early morning flight we were there early morning hence having a complete day to explore before we reach our property. At Thiruvananthapuram you can visit Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Eravikulam National Park
Best time to visit - April,May,June,September,October,November
This national park is the breathtaking home of a plethora of precious flora and fauna, and lies along the Western Ghats. Considered the magnum opus of Kerala, the park provides magnificent panoramic views of tea plantations and rolling hills blanketed in mist. The grasslands protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and harbour several other species of animals, birds and butterflies, including a new species of frog that was discovered recently. Eravikulam park becomes a sought after destination when the hill slopes get veiled by a carpet of blue, a miraculous phenomena caused by the flowering of Neelakurinji, which blooms only once in 12 years. Anamudi, translating to elephant's forehead and located within the park, is the highest peak of South India and its might and height of 8,842 ft can be enjoyed from a distance at Rajamala, from where the endangered Nilgiri Tahr can also be observed. The park provides a number of safaris for convenient and safe tourism around the park. The Kurinji Trail, which follows through misty tracks of protected animals and flowery grasslands, is a must for trekking lovers. Another famous but charming spot is the Lakkom Waterfalls, which provide an enchanting view along with an eco-shop cafeteria to eat at. Close to these falls is a log house, which offers comfortable accommodation with complimentary food and the much desired solitude and peace amidst the lap of nature.
Ooty
Best time to visit - May,June,September,October,November
This renowned hill station once housed the Madras Presidency during the British Rule and possesses many remnants in the form of regal looking bungalows, such as the Stone House, The Ootacamund Club, Government House and Fernhill Palace. This along with the tall pine trees in the green areas almost makes you believe you are in old English country. Ooty is also home to some of the most breathtaking lakes in the country, such as the Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake and the popular Ooty Lake. For some adventure, one can hop on the Nilgiri Toy Train and enjoy a ride through the blue mountains, winding through dense forests, dark tunnels and valleys from Ooty to Coonoor. Ooty is heaven for nature lovers and a trek through the Mukurthi National Park will be etched on your mind for years to come, offering a stunning panorama of carpet like green hills, home to the tallest peak of the Nilgiri Range, several wildflowers and beauties such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, Leopard, Bonnet Macaque, Mouse Deer, Otter, Small Indian Civet and many more. If you still want more, you can take a mesmerising walk through the charming 19th century Government Botanical Gardens. Ooty's beauty can be explored more adventurously with everything from horse riding to hand gliding and mountain biking, all arranged by various resorts. Avid readers will be overwhelmed to visit the 19th century Nilgiri Library, sheltering around 25,000 books and hosting many events to promote reading habits among all age groups. Chocoholics should place King Star on the top of their itineraries for purchasing a plethora of delicious homemade chocolates. More delicious food from vegetarian, cafe to non-vegetarian cuisines can be enjoyed at popular places such as Quality Restaurant, Earl's Secret and Willy's Coffee Pub, which also has a commendable library for one to delve into while enjoying their drink. Witness Ooty come alive in the month of May, with its vibrant boat races and flower shows, hosted across the town.
Coimbatore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
A major city and commercial hub in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore offers not much in terms of touristic attractions unless you're on your way to Ooty or any of the Nilgiri hill stations. Although some places might make for really interesting stopovers, such as the Kovai Kutralam Falls, Vaidehi Waterfalls and Thoonakkadavu Lake. For a taste of knowledge, there's the Gass Forest Museum, which is a natural history museum, or pay a visit to G.D. Naidu Industrial Exhibition, a science and exhibition centre which has a lot to exhibit in terms of innovation and science. The city is home to innumerable temples, some of them being Marudamalai and Velliangiri hill temple. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park makes for an interesting visit for nature lovers. Places such as Shree Annapoorna, Junior Kuppanna and Anandhas Quality Vegetarian are well known for their Indian dishes.
Kodaikanal
Best time to visit - April,May,June,August,September
Translating to 'the gift of the forest' in the native language of Tamil Nadu and originally home to the Palaiyar tribal people, this modern city has been a retreat long since the 19th century. Located in the hills of the Dindigul district, this city was established by British bureaucrats and American Christian missionaries. Kodaikanal offers an experience of stunning culture and natural beauty. Some famous attractions include Kodaikanal Lake, where one can always take a peaceful boat ride, Berijam Lake and Pillar Rocks. Take a walk in the pine forest or explore the Kukkal Caves and the Devil's Kitchen, a cave with a series of hidden ravines. Bear Shola falls, Glen Falls, Silver Cascade and Fairy falls make for a magical setting for nature lovers to observe and unwind. Religious dwellings such as the La Saleth Church, Lutheran Church and Subhramanya Temple are admired famously for their intricate architecture. For the inquisitive minds, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, which is home to 500 species of taxidermy animals, birds and insects and the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory are great places to visit. Coakers walk, Silent Valley View Point, Perumal Peak and 80 Mile round make for interesting walks and treks, offering breathtaking views of the plains below. Natyanjali Festival, celebrated over 4 days, is a spectacular sight to behold with dazzling dance performances and top notch acts from across the country, which one can enjoy in the months of February or March. You can get a bite to eat at Cloud Street, Cafe Cariappa, Altaf's Cafe and Tava restaurants.
Sathanur

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