Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Kerala - there is no dearth of paeans that have been written on this place in verse and in prose. I am wondering what more can I say about 'God's own country'?

While being in Bangalore, if one wants to go for a rejuvenating break, Kerala offers a perfect getaway. So in 2010 we planned a 5 days 4 nights trip to Kerala. We usually keep our trips very relaxed, covering less to enjoy the place in its entirety. The plan was to fly to Kochi, spend a day in Kochi, visit Fort Kochi and see Chinese Fishing nets and head towards the backwaters for the rest of the four days.

We had four days and three nights for the Vembanad lake, Kumarakom and Allepey.   We stayed in Malabar resort which overlooked the lake and  enjoyed the 'made to order' food. Those couple of days were spent blissfully nestled in the lap of nature. The last night we were supposed to spend on a houseboat. It was a houseboat with two bedrooms and a deck on the top tier. What can I write about that one day, that we ended up spending in the houseboat!

That was truly an experience out of this world. Perhaps the words like 'peace' and 'tranquility' were coined for such places only. Usually houseboat is anchored for the night at one place and one gets to see pristine sunset in its full glory. Verdant green paddy fields on one side, sunset on the other, surrounded by serene  water, slightly bobbing houseboat… perfect ingredients for a perfect holiday.

Ours is not a very frequently travelling family, yet we try to visit at least one new place every year. The trip to Kerala remains the best of the lot still.

Places to stay at : Kumarakom Lake resort is a great option. (Make sure you do the reservations well in advance)
Best time to visit : all year through

Important Tips :
1.       Do not try to cover more places in less days, the whole objective of the visit will get defeated.
2.       Make sure to take boat ride inside the lake, you will get a chance to notice different varieties of flora and fauna.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jim Corbett National Park

Visited in : March 2015
Best Time to Visit : November to February, March to June and July to October
Distance from Delhi : 267 km
Distance from Chandigarh : 348 km

Though on paper, the travel time from Chandigarh to the national park is 7 hours but it almost takes 10 hours to reach the destination. This is because of - certain detours to avoid some bad roads, high traffic on highways passing through the cities and reduced speed in hilly region at some places.

Best way to reach there :
  1. By Road : Taxi
  2. By Train : A train runs from Chandigarh to Dhampur once daily. It takes less time but the problem is the arrival time at Dhampur -1:50 am at night.

Good Places to Stay At:
We stayed at Hridayesh Wilderness SPA and Resort, one of the many resorts which are situated on the banks of the river Kosi. But these are not inside the forest. There are many rest houses inside the forest also but there are fixed rules and regulations pertaining to reservation, facilities and timings. Please check the website of Corbett Zone for the same.

The part is divided into two parts - core and the buffer region. The buffer includes Jhirna and Sitabani parts which remain open throughout the year. However the core part includes Birjani, Dhikala and Durgadevi which is usually closed during the monsoon as the mud roads get washed away during this time.

Since the travel itself took such a long time, we had planned to spend three nights there. We reached there by the dinner time, had our dinner and called it a day. The next day, we had a walk inside the resort and the flowing Kosi captured our attention. We sat there, feet dipped in the fresh cold water of the river for a very long time.

We had a Jeep Safari planned for that day but unfortunately because of some incident, the forest gate for which we had the entry passes, got closed. We waited to get entry from some other gate but it could not materialise. When we returned back to the resort, we were informed that our Elephant Safari which was scheduled for the next day had been arranged for that day itself. We decided to go on that one. Perched on the Elephant back, we ventured into the forest. After an hour of persistent search for the big cat, we could finally spot the striped beauty in its full glory near a narrow stream of water. When you actually see the royal beast, you wonder at the awesomeness of nature and its beautiful creations.

We embarked on the Jeep Safari the next day and thanks to one bird enthusiast in the family, we dedicated this trip to bird watching. It was a great fulfilling experience as we spotted some beautiful birds in the jungle. Some of them were - chestnut headed bee-eater, oriental hornbill, white crust laughing thrush, robin, kingfisher, hornbill, rostering parakeet, emerald dove, green bee-eater bulbul, barbet, river lapwig, kalij pheasant and white cap red star.

The forest is a home to diverse flora and fauna and we got a chance to see some of them in their natural habitats.

Other than enjoying the cool breeze of Kosi river and spending some relaxed time on its banks, the in house facilities included - swimming pool, badminton, bicycles, gym and some other indoor games.  We had all our meals in the resort itself and the food was simply awesome.  


  1. Please arrange for the Safaris before you go there. The bookings for the same are done in advance and only a certain number of Safari Jeeps are allowed inside the reserve area every day.
  2. Do not miss Elephant Safari. It is a different experience and where an elephant can go, even a Jeep cannot.
  3. Try to keep it relaxed, taking in the natural sounds and sights rather than covering more in less time. If you plan to add Nainital visit along with this then add more days accordingly.