Sikkim Diaries: A Bunch from the Flower Exhibition in Gangtok

flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

Gangtok is a beautiful city surrounded with lush greenery and dotted with colorful flowers.  However, if you want to see a variety of flowers under one roof, Gangtok Flower Exhibition is the place. Well, plucking flowers is definitely prohibited, but I picked up some for you…with my camera, of course. 😀

Here are my picks from the exhibition.

bromeliads, flowers, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

flowers, flower show, gangtok, sikkim

purple, flower, flower show, gangtok, sikkim

red flowers, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

flower, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

flowers, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

dianthus, flowers, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

flower, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

orchids, yellow flower, flower exhibition, gangtok, gangtok sightseeeing

yellow orchids, flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim, flowers

flower exhibition, gangtok, sikkim

flower, flower exhibition, gangtok, gangtok sightseeing

For more information on things to do in Gangtok, view my post, Sikkim Diaries: Getting Around in Gangtok.
Indian Bloggers

Why Kerala is Really Gods Own Country?

tea garden, kerala, greenery

The easiest way of identifying the magical state of Kerala is to hear the words ‘God’s own country’. You’d think that there were some substantial reasons Kerala got such a divine reputation, and none would surprise you. The celestial land of Kerala is a land of untold stories and unexplored creations that look like they couldn’t be created by the mundane brain of humans. Thus, even the tourism industry of Kerala uses that phrase to describe the state. But there’s more than just its fantastic appealing factors that make Kerala such a heavenly wonder. What makes Kerala such a magnetic force to be reckoned with, you ask. Let’s find that out.

  • The cuisine is especially authentic

south indian, cuisine, food, kerala

Image via Flickr by Bill Scott

Kerala’s cuisine is unique and you’d find something new in possibly every place you visit in the state. The authenticity of the south Indian delicacies in Kerala have a charm of their own that makes it feel like it’s an unmissable location of India. Calicut’s seafood and Munnar’s diverse cuisine brings tourist from all over the world to this southern heaven. Food can’t simply be described to a lover of delicacies, and you’d have to try and see how truly magnificent the cuisine of Kerala is. Rooftop restaurants, quiet beach-side cafes, the tea stalls of the villages, you name it and Kerala will have it. If you visit the home of a local to dine, there’s much more you’d get to discover apart from their friendly nature and polite hospitality.

  • The heavenly, unbelievable monsoons

kerala, backwaters, monsoon, greenery

Image via Flickr by Sarath Kuchi

Kerala is greeted by majestic monsoons during its time in the south. The rivers feel like they’re descending from paradise, the mountains are covered in a blanket of thickets and trees, the forests are dense and worth getting lost in, and the pleasantness of the swaying palm trees gives Kerala an edge like no other. If you’re feeling adventurous, the bamboo rafting through the valleys of Munnar is an experience one should never miss. Stay in one of those quaint resorts of Periyar and watch the rain take your very breath away with its unmistakable allure. Then there is Alleppey, the “Venice of the East”, grows more beautiful when it rains.

  • The sleepiness of hill stations

kerala hill stations, munnar, thekaddy

Image via Flickr by himanisdas

Kerala’s hill stations have unmatched beauty in them. Thekaddy, Vagamon, Munnar, Ponmudi and others are some of the most attractive hill stations of Kerala. The hill stations are quiet and relaxing, giving you a well-deserved weekend retreat. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, the quaint hill stations perched upon the prettiest of hills in Kerala have stunning factors that would appeal to any traveller. Tourists flock up to Ponmudi and Thekaddy for some calming time out of their busy lives, and the locals scattered around the state also enjoy their very own hideous amidst lush forests and valleys full of explorations.

  • The spice and tea

tea garden, kerala, tea estate, greenery

Image via Flickr by Rajib Ghosh

Kerala is especially famous for its tea and spice plantations. It isn’t called the spice capital of the country for no reason. The aromatic plantations of spices in Kerala have been a constant allure for people throughout the years now. With the delicious fragrances of the spices merging into those of the tea plantations have made a rather substantial impact on Kerala’s tourism, and it has only seen good days so far. You’d find that there is no better tea to sip anywhere other than in Kerala once you’ve had a taste, and your nose will possibly disregard every other perfume the moment it breathes in the spicy scent of Kerala’s plantations.

  • The people

elephant, kerala, culture, elephant ride

Image via Flickr by spisharam

Kerala’s locals are the best. If you’re at your best behaviour the people of Kerala will go to any length in making sure that a guest in their home has a good time. The nature of the people in Kerala is especially friendly and hospitable, and if you become good friends with some of them, expect to be invited to their homes at least once. Keralites follow many age-old customs and traditions which make them all the more interesting to hang out with. You get to learn something new from almost every person you meet. They’ll probably recommend the best places to visit, and you can tour Kerala like a local rather than a usual tourist. It’s a really appealing factor of being in Kerala that the people offer their utmost hospitality to nearly every visitor.

You’ve got to visit Kerala once to know how seriously brilliant it is in reality. Perhaps the spirituality of this calming destination will help you see how Kerala truly is the destination handcrafted by God.


Author Bio:

Rohit is a passionate traveller and writer who shares his experiences on TransIndiaTravels.com from his many travelling excursions and expeditions of around the world.

Sikkim Diaries: Getting Around in Gangtok

gangtok, hills, mountains, morning view

Gangtok is the capital of the state of Sikkim in north-eastern India. But for me, it is a city of flowers. Everywhere I looked around I saw flowers blossoming along the roadside, boulevards, and fences and balconies along the houses. Colorful flowers, green hills and people in fashionable clothes make quite a view to enjoy in Gangtok.

gangtok, sikkim

I was there during the second week of May, 2016. With pleasant weather and abundance of hotels and transport, Gangtok serves as a perfect base for exploring various scenic places in North and West Sikkim. For more information, travel photos and itinerary, check out:

We returned to Gangtok after Gurudongmar trip and stayed there for one night and two days. Gangtok sightseeing comes in packages such as 3-point, 7-point, or 10-point tours for half-day or full day. We booked a 7-point tour package, which covered the following places:

  • Rumtek Monastery
  • Shanti View Point (There is nothing much to see here. However, we enjoyed Momo sold here at reasonable price – Rs 40 for a plate)
  • Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
  • Do-Drul Chorten
  • Suicide Point (Don’t be afraid! This is just another view point. 😉   :D)
  • Flower Exhibition
  • Handicrafts & Handloom Center (You’ll find a variety of Tibetan handicrafts including mask, clothing accessories, carpets, wall rugs, bags, and many more at authentic price.)

It was a half-day tour. We started at around 9:30 in the morning and completed by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The post-lunch session was meant for a ropeway ride and shopping at the main market at MG Marg.

Rumtek Monastery

More than an hour drive from Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery is a must see. The monastery is a center of Tibetan Buddhism offers beautiful and quiet surroundings where you would love to spend some time watching the rituals by the little monks, listening to their chanting, and praising the colorful architecture of the monastery.

Rumtek Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim

Rumtek Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim

rumtek monastery, gangtok, sikkim, architecture, tibetan architecture

rumtek monastery, gangtok, sikkim, stairs, blue flowers

rumtek monastery, gangtok, sikkim

rumtek monastery, gangtok, tibetan art, murals, painting

monks, rumtek monastery, gangtok, sikkim, buddhist, rituals

Oh yes! Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by this handicraft shop once. You may find something interesting to buy.

souvenir shop, rumtek monastery, gangtok, sikkim

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Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

If you want to delve deeper into the Tibetan culture this is a place to be.  The institute conducts different programs to promote research Tibetan history, religion, art and culture. Exquisite silver accessories and beautiful thangkas caught my eyes as soon as I enter the museum.

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Do-Drul Chorten

A Tibetan Buddhist shrine and a peaceful place for prayer Do-Drul Chorten is situated right beside the Institute of Tibetology. The snow white stupa is surrounded with prayer wheels.  I peeped through the window of the prayer hall to find that young priests were chanting and learning their part.

do-drul chorten, tibetan buddhist, shrine, gangtok sightseeing, gangtok

Suicide Point

I don’t know why this beautiful place has a terrible name like this! But I loved walking along the canopied trail that took me to the spot from where I could see green slopes all around and a winding river stream deep down the gorge.

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stairs, prayer flags, suicide point, gangtok, sikkim,

hills, mountains, view point, suicide point, gangtok, gangtok sightseeing

Flower Exhibition

This is a must-see in Gangtok. A variety of flowers with their scientific names and descriptions are displayed in a greenhouse-like place.

flower exhibition, gangtok, gangtok sightseeing, things to do Gangtok

Ropeway

After the day-trip we came back to hotel for lunch. I could see the ropeway cable cars moving up and down sitting right at our hotel’s dining room. By 3:30 pm we set out again for a ropeway ride and walked to the station near Butterfly Bridge.

gangtok, streets in gangtok, sikkim

However, we had to wait for nearly two hours at the ticket counter as there were only two cable cars with a capacity of 24 people each. By the time we boarded the cable car the sun was about to set beyond the hills. 😦

gangtok from ropeway, ropeway ride, gangtok things to do

However, it’s a short 15 minute ride which offers colorful panoramas of the city, Gangtok.

gangtok, ropeway

gangtok, rooftop, ropeway ride, sikkim, things to do gangtok

MG Marg

With a lively atmosphere, numerous shops and restaurants, MG Marg is the pulsating heart of Gangtok. Sikkim government’s Tourist Information Center is also located here. From beautiful accessories to delicate handicrafts to fancy umbrellas there are many things you can buy as souvenirs.

mg marg, market, gangtok, sikkim

Well, if you don’t like wasting money in shopping, just sit on a bench at the plaza and watch people and activities around you. People-watching is a nice time pass, isn’t it? 😉   😀  mg marg, market, gangtok, main market, gangtok shopping

See you soon… 🙂
Indian Bloggers

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Happy New Year 2017

“Travel one new place every year.”

This has become my favorite quote for the past few years. Like last year, I wish to visit and explore another new place in 2017. Saying that, I would like to wish my fellow bloggers, friends, and followers a very happy and happening new year. Keep traveling and keep sharing! 🙂

travel, traveling, travel photo

“No matter where or why you travel, there’s always something wonderfully new to be found.”

Go Goa in December: Yes or No?

To be or not to be in Goa in December?

I was wondering there must have been uncountable debates and discussions on this topic. Well, everyone has his/her own reasons to justify why and why not to visit Goa in December, the peak season when tourists from all across the globe flock to the place.

goa, beach in goa, colva beach

For me, Goa in December means the best opportunity to get into the vibe of the place and experience the true spirit of Goa. While others can say that Goa is overcrowded in December and hotel prices are steep during this season, the reasons to visit Goa in December completely outweigh the cons.

Sunny beaches enlivened with soulful music, late-night parties, abundant seafood, cheap liquors and buzzing casinos, that’s Goa in high seasons.

Electrifying Music Festivals

If you love electronic music you should visit Goa in December. The Sunburn Festival, Asia’s largest EDM (electronic dance music) festival, is hosted in December every year. The newest addition to Goa’s crown is the Supersonic Festival. Organized at Candolim Beach in North Goa, this festival attracts and promotes young talents across the globe. Shake a leg at the music by international DJs and rock bands and have fun on the beach.

supersonic festival. goa music festival, EDM festival

Grand Christmas Celebration

Goa has a majority of the Christian population. The place is dotted with old churches that epitomize the rich tradition of Christianity. Naturally, Christmas in Goa is a grand affair, celebrated with great zeal and fervor, which touches every heart.  Beautifully adorned churches, shops selling homemade cakes and chocolates, and people in happy countenance  everywhere  – all add to the charm of Goa in December.  You can witness Christmas celebration in some of Goa’s historical churches such as Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, and Se Cathedral.

New Year Parties

Goa turns out to be a paradise for party animals during December. With New Year round the corner, the towns and beaches come alive with lights, music, food stalls, and fireworks. With no cops to stop you, go partying on the beach through the night and watch fireworks.

Discovery of Goa’s Heritage

Goa is much more than its beaches and parties. Discover the rich heritage of Goa in its museums, churches, and historic edifices. In December, the weather becomes milder. You can take walking tours and explore the churches and museums without getting tired.  Some of the must-sees are the Naval Aviation Museum, Goa State Museum in Panaji, Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Christian Art in Old Goa.

panaji church, goa,

Flickr Image: selmerv

Watersports and Cruises

Watersports are an eternal attraction of Goa. The sun is softer in December and you can enjoy a lot of beachfront activities in Goa. Banana boat rides, boating, and snorkeling trips are something you can’t miss in Goa. Adventure lovers can go for para-sailing, jet-skiing, surfing, and white-water rafting for more adrenaline rush. Families can enjoy cruising in Mandavi River and go dolphin-spotting in the sea.

Shopping at Arpora

Shopping can be fun in Goa, especially in December. The Saturday Night Market at Arpora can sweep you off your feet with exclusive collections of clothes, accessories, and antique items from across the globe. Shop, eat, drink and listen to live concerts at this seasonal market that offers a carnival-like atmosphere.

Anjuna Beach flea market is another shoppers’ paradise in North Goa. From funky jewelry to local handicrafts, the market offers eye-catching items at cheaper rates.

colva beach villa, goa, villa, goa in december

Offbeat stay experience in Colva villas

There are numerous beach villas in Goa that are ideal for family vacationers.  If you are a solitude seeker like me, you may choose to stay at a Colva beach villa that promises luxurious accommodation along with a range of modern amenities and services to make you feel at home. Colva villa ensures quick access to some of South Goa’s secluded beaches so that you can enjoy your vacation in a peaceful, relaxing manner without missing the beachfront activities and fun in Goa.

Orange County – Your Next Vacation Destination in California

Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, Orange County, California

Beaches, hills, museums, theme parks, and sports arenas, Orange County awaits you with its diverse attractions.  The county comprises large and small cities including Anaheim, the home to Disneyland. The spectacular beach towns of Newport Beach and Seal Beach promise luxurious retreats. Huntington Beach is a surfers’ paradise. The botanical gardens and wilderness parks in Laguna Niguel offer ample scope for outdoor adventure. Explore the beauty of the place and stay in some of the best hotels in Orange County.

Disneyland, Anaheim, Orange County, CA

Image via Flickr by occhietto

Hyatt Regency Orange County – Enjoy Vacation with Family

With spectacular settings, spacious rooms, and pet-friendly policies, Hyatt Regency Orange County is an ideal getaway for families and vacationers. The hotel’s proximity to Anaheim and shuttle service to and from the Disneyland Resort makes it a convenient choice for vacationers. Orange County beaches, shopping centers, and Anaheim sports stadiums are also a short drive away from this hotel. After a busy day at the theme parks, return to the hotel’s guest rooms featuring luxurious beds with pillow-top mattresses, televisions with favorite entertainment channels, and complimentary Wi-Fi access or unwind at the heated outdoor pool.

Hilton Irvine Orange County Airport – Work and Unwind

Located within walking distance from John Wayne Airport, Hilton Irvine Orange County Airport offers quick access to Newport and Huntington beaches. The hotel’s convenient location makes it easy for travelers to explore the local attractions such as South Coast Plaza and Spectrum Shopping Center. The rooms come with the hotel’s signature bedding, 42-inch HDTV, large work desks, Wi-Fi, telephones, and room service. Business amenities include photocopying and printing services, video conferencing, and audio/visual equipment rental at the hotel’s business center.

huntington beach, orange county, hotels

Image via Flickr by Eric Demarcq

Wyndham Irvine Orange County Airport – Combine Business and Leisure

Wyndham Irvine Orange County Airport is another convenient option for business travelers. The hotel offers quick access to John Wayne Airport and several corporate offices in the county. Free Wi-Fi, work desk with ergonomic chair, HD television, plush beds and premium bath accessories are some of the room amenities to help you stay productive and relaxed. The hotel’s business center is also open 24 hours. Other amenities include fitness center, outdoor sports courts, heated indoor pool, and free shuttle service to local attractions.

Atrium Hotel – Walk and Explore Local Attractions

Located close to the Orange County airport, Atrium Hotel offers quick access to the beaches, museums, and shopping centers. Elegantly decorated rooms come with king or queen beds, televisions, and private balconies. A range of leisure amenities includes a heated outdoor pool with pool lounge and private cabana, restaurant, and bar. Business travelers can take advantage of the hotel’s private executive business center, free Wi-Fi, and transportation to and from the airport.

Torrey Pines, Orange County, california, pacific

 Image via Flickr by Easterly Photography

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines – Stay Close to Nature

Nestled at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines offers spectacular views of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean. The hotel offers an excellent opportunity for hiking in the nearby villages of Del Mar and La Jolla. Enjoy the spa services, play a game of tennis, relax in the outdoor pool, or get out and explore the beaches of Del Mar, there are many ways to unwind at Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. Business amenities include fax, photocopiers, printers, modems, Wi-Fi, and office rentals.

Festivals, Outdoor Adventures and the Boutique Hotels in Austin, Texas

lady bird lake, austin, texas

Austin, the “Live Music Capital of the World”, bustles with music, art, film festivals, Formula One racing, and a series of events throughout the year. The city’s numerous parks, lakes, and nature trails offer excellent opportunity for biking, hiking, swimming, and boating. However, autumn and spring are the two seasons when tourists rush into the city. If you’re planning a vacation in Austin during the festive seasons, book your hotel early. Here’s a list of popular hotels in Austin, Texas, to help you choose the best accommodation.

Texas Capitol Building, Austin, Austin hotels

Image via Flickr by StuSeeger

Hilton Austin Airport for Business and Leisure

Only two minutes from the airport, the Hilton Austin Airport ensures easy access to the downtown area with frequent shuttle service from the hotel. The hotel is also close to Austin’s famous Formula One circuit. Sound-proof rooms with luxurious king-sized beds, spacious bathrooms, and a range of modern amenities guarantee a comfortable living experience at Hilton Austin Airport. The guest rooms have Wi-Fi, work desks, and cable TVs. Suites come with other features like boardrooms and exercise rooms. An outdoor pool along with hot tubs and a lounge café are also there for recreation. If you’re traveling with your family, check out family packages and special offers on breakfast and Wi-Fi access to save on your stay at the hotel.

Crowne Plaza Austin to Enjoy the Outdoors

Tucked away in a suburban neighborhood on North IH35, Crowne Plaza Austin promises a quiet stay as well as quick access to the downtown hub and the University of Texas at Austin. Elegantly designed guest rooms come with flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi, work desks, separate living spaces with sofas and coffee tables, and luxurious bathrooms. The hotel offers dedicated Quiet Zone rooms that keep out all the noises and help ensure good night’s sleep. A range of outdoor recreational amenities on site can keep you busy all day. Outdoor activities nearby include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and tennis.

ladybird lake, Austin, texas, Austin hotels

Image via Flickr by notevenathing

Hampton Inn & Suites Austin – Downtown/Convention Center

A contemporary hotel in downtown Austin, Hampton Inn & Suites Austin – Downtown/Convention Center is only a short walk from the entertainment center and nightlife of Sixth Street. Due to its central location, the hotel serves as a convenient base for exploring the city. The rooms and suites are equipped with modern amenities, including large writing desks with ergonomic chairs, lap desks, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Free breakfast, a fitness center, and a rooftop pool will keep you energized. Amenities like laundry service, valet parking, and multi-lingual staff add to your comfort and convenience.

downtown Austin, Texas, hotels in Austin

Image via Flickr by ejmc

Habitat Suites for an Organic Living Experience

If vacationing is your sole intention to visit Austin, Habitat Suites is the place for you. Surrounded by lush vegetation in a North Central Austin neighborhood, Habitat Suites is like an oasis in the city. Experience eco-friendly living in a hotel that offers non-smoking, hypoallergenic rooms, uses solar energy to generate electricity, and serves organic food without compromising taste and quality. Luxurious rooms with private patios and a range of complimentary amenities (including free breakfast, on-site parking, and your choice of wines and beverages in the evening) can make your holidays special at this eco-conscious boutique hotel.