Train Tour

Dazzling Darjeeling in a Train Tour

Darjeeling is one such hill station of India which is nestled amidst the snow capped mountains of Himalayas. The place has been set in the northern region of West Bengal about 686 kms away from the plains of Kolkata resting at a height of 2134 meters. The most organized hill station has acquired its name from the composition of two words ‘dorjee’ meaning ‘thunderbolt’ and ‘ling’ meaning ‘place’ which literally means the place of dorjee that translates as ‘the Land of Thunderbolt’. Darjeeling bestows enchanting emerald green hill fringed with the tall pine trees and blossoming chap and gurash flowers, which beholds a magnetizing sight. The enigmatic beauty of the hills with charismatic weather and different tourist attractions in Darjeeling will surely leave you spell bound. Darjeeling affirms to be a perfect gateway for people who are seeking immense tranquility as well as harmony with nature.

Darjeeling holds a picturesque view of the Himalayan ranges as well as comprises the most alluring natural beauty with the Kanchenjunga mountain peaks at the backdrop. Tourists from all over the world come to witness the alluring beauty of Darjeeling as well as the spectacular sights which it holds. One can explore the best of Darjeeling with the prominent toy train that rolls over the Himalayan range. These train tours are very popular and desired among the tourists who seek to explore the sheer grandeur of the Himalayas. It even offers its visitors to have a unique experience while travelling through the tea estates and observe how the tea is manufactured and transformed from tea leaves to the tea that is ready to use.

Darjeeling Toy Train Tour let the travelers witness the mesmerizing landscape of Darjeeling while crossing some of the prime destinations which comes in between Siliguri to Darjeeling. These train tours will not just provide an experience to remember in the hills but it also endows a unique travelling experience in the train which one can cherish throughout one’s life. If you are fond of travelling, then you can also opt for Jeep Rides. It will take travelers uphill to observe the incredible landscape with the magnetizing sunrise or sunset. However, with the train tour you get up-close with nature and get the best vistas including sunsets, sunrise, waterfalls, snow capped Himalayan ranges etc. that fluctuate with a blink of an eye. The toy train in Darjeeling is serving its travelers since 1881 with an eternally joyous trail along the hills with a majestic backdrop. The train commences the journey from New Jalpaiguri and via crossing through famous destinations and places including emerald tea estates, waterfalls, monasteries, mountain cliffs etc. it concludes itself after taking its travelers to Sikkim, Gangtok and Kalimpong.

Explore Taj Mahal

Explore the Glory of Taj Mahal With a Tiger Tour

Taj Mahal is the most desired monument of the world which receives millions and millions of visitors every year. The world is well aware of the charismatic brilliance that the place boasts. The story behind its emergence goes like this: the most prominent Mughal emperor promised to make a mausoleum for his most beloved queen – Mumtaz Mahal. After her death, the emperor gave orders to construct a grand mausoleum which would stand nonpareil. In this way, the emperor eternalized his love for his wife. Travelers who visit the place still feel the essence of their love and compassion via this grand structure in marble.

Taj Mahal is a wonder primarily because of the grandeur that it comprises via its structure and craftsmanship. The most magnificent feature of the monument is the delicate inlay work that looks up from every nook and cranny of the façade. Each of the bloom is crafted out in with such minute details that every dot and alphabet of the Pious Quran seems to be precisely cut, etched and inlaid to perfection. The Mughal love for gardens is clearly visible via the laid out gardens with lilies all over. The aura of their pious love and a sense of serenity are pervading in the place. The intricate interiors look solemn and intriguing with their mesmerizing artworks. It was, it is, and it will remain a wonder that none would ever be able to replicate. Taj Mahal, with all of its breathtaking features, is a mesmerizing sight to behold. It affirms to be a glorious gem that the country proudly boasts.

A holiday to Taj Mahal itself is a package but to add more glory to it, it should be merged with some other alluring features of India. India is a prosperous land with sheltering an extensive diversity in terms of region, religion, caste, people and even flora and fauna. It proudly harbors the best of wildlife and plant life and is taking impressive steps to preserve both of them. Ranthambore positioned in the east of Rajasthan amidst the merger of Aravalli hills and the Vindhyan plateau is one such destination of India which preserves an extensive range of its wildlife, especially Tigers. Ranthambore national park is the largest and most popular wildlife park in north India situated in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. It would be a perfect place as well as feature which can be combined with your plain Taj Mahal tour to make it more fascinating and interesting. While exploring the wondrous wilds of Ranthambore, do not forget to pay a visit to the most beautiful Bharatpur bird sanctuary.

Train Tour

Explore Goa in a Train Tour

The most eminent tourist destination of India, Goa has been sanctified with the most enchanting landscape dotted with pristine coastline lined up with swaying palm trees, astounding waterfalls fringed with tranquil surroundings and much more remarkable destinations which makes this state the most favorite place among visitors for spending one’s vacation.

Goa is a 110 kilometers long and 60 km wide stretch of land positioned amidst the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea on the western coast of India. This long and wide strip of land has been divided into two major districts – north Goa and south Goa. Elegantly poised on the Konkan coastal belt Goa has been eminently known as the “Pearl of the Orient” and a “Tourist Paradise” as it’s an absolute destination which offers scores of tourists attractions to its visitors. It serves as a jewel on India’s tourism as well as pride.

The spectacular sandy beaches shimmering under the blue sky with shining sun serve as the main attraction of the place. There are numerous beaches in this tropical paradise whose charismatic beauty is just incomparable. It bestows myriads of attractions and fun activities which visitors can enjoy during their holidays in Goa. One can indulge into water sport activities, or can just relax under the sun along the beach side. One can even have dinner comprising authentic Goan cuisine with traditional drink of Goa – Feni, other than that there are numerous attractions as well like shopping, clubbing, beach side partying, etc.

A Goa train tour will take travelers to this minutest state of India which serves enormously as the tropical paradise that can compete any of the world’s exotic destinations. It is catering as one of the youngest states of India as it has attained statehood after 451 years of colonial rule and 26 years as a Union territory. After which Goa has achieved the most developed tourism infrastructures in India.

Apart from the natural splendor which embellishes the state and serves as the dominant attraction, Goa is known for its astounding churches and divine temples which represent the cultural significance of the place. Goa is an exclusive destination beholding a fusion of varied races, religion, cultures. The place is highly influenced by the east as well as the west due to which it embodies a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle. The influence is greatly reflected in the colonial buildings, various edifices, and lifestyle as well as night life of the place.

The place is modernized but that doesn’t mean it lacks cultural and traditional values. The place has its own distinct culture which is represented in its temples, festivals and the interiors of the city as the exteriors are replete with vibrant beaches bestowing the exciting and fun activities. All of this and much more would be included in this train tour to Goa.

National Park

National Park Freebies – Ten Tips to Trim Your Travel Budget

Although there’s no such thing as a free lunch, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to visit one of over 400 national parks and recreation areas across America. From free admission and tours, to special programs and even transportation, there’s no shortage of freebies to be had in these beautiful public lands. And although many of these cost-saving deals are well advertised, some are held as closely guarded secrets. With that in mind, here are ten tips to help trim your travel budget on your next national park visit.

US Citizens with a permanent disability can get a free Access Pass, which is good for free admission to all national parks, recreation sites, national monuments and wildlife refuges. Passes can be obtained at entrance kiosks, with proof of citizenship and disability. The pass also offers a 50% discount on campsites and boat launch fees.

Active members of the military can also get a free annual pass by presenting their Common Access Card or Military ID (Form 1173). This pass is available to members of all branches of the military — including reservists and National Guard members — and it has the same benefits as the Access Pass.

Many parks have free cell phone tours. For example, In Olympic National Park, visitors can call (360) 406-5056 to get recorded information on different areas of the park. Consult the park newspaper to see if a cell phone tour is available.

If you’re traveling with someone who can’t walk very far, check with the park visitor center, as many times they have manual wheelchairs for loan.

Some parks offer free tours on a first-come basis. Over in Zion visitors can take a free 90-minute ranger-led bus tour of Zion Canyon. Seats are limited and can only be reserved in person at the visitor center, up to three days in advance. It’s always a good idea to inquire at the visitor center whenever you visit a park, as that’s how you’ll discover freebies like this.

While we are on the subject, rangers are an excellent source of free information, so don’t hesitate to ask them for specific suggestions. On one visit to Yosemite, a ranger clued me in that Washburn Point was an excellent stop for wheelchair-users. This information wasn’t in the park newspaper, but the ranger knew because her brother was disabled.

Take advantage of the free shuttle buses in many parks, as they will save you time and frustration. For example, in Bryce National Park parking is limited along the main park road, but folks that take the optional shuttle bus dodge the parking hassle and have more time to enjoy the park.

If you have kids in tow ask about the junior ranger program at the main park visitor center. To become a junior ranger a child has to complete activities in the free junior ranger activity book, then have them checked by a ranger. If all goes well, they are sworn in as a junior ranger. It’s a fun way to encourage kids to learn about the natural environment while they explore a park.

If you have a fourth grader in the family you’ll be able to save even more money this year, thanks to the Every Kid in a Park Initiative. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service all fourth graders will receive a season pass for their family, good for admission to all parks in the 2015-2016 school year.

Last but not least, everybody gets free admission on national park free entrance days. These include the National Park Service Birthday (August 25), National Public Lands Day (September 26) and the first weekend of National Parks Week (mid-April). There’s also no admission charge on Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, and Presidents Day weekend.

Death Valley

Death Valley in Bloom

While Death Valley shamelessly exposes its geology, it is coy in revealing its flora, both thanks to its average of 2 inches (5 cm) of rainfall per year. Death Valley is a land of extremes. In December the air temperature can be 85 degrees F. (29 degrees C.) at Badwater which is about 280 feet (85 meters) below sea level. And yet 20 miles (32 km) away, Telescope Peak, at 11,049 feet (3368 meters) above sea level – the park’s highest point can be buffeted by a snowy gale. In fact, Death Valley is the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America.

In spite of this dryness, this park is home to 1,000 species of plants, including 23 species that grow nowhere else. A couple of factors work in Death Valley’s favor concerning plant diversity. First is its wide range of elevations, which makes it appealing to a wide range of plant types. That Badwater to Telescope Peak elevational change is twice the elevation change of the Grand Canyon. The other factor is that the park is so huge. At 3.3 million acres (about 1.3 million hectares), it is 1-½ times the size of the state of Delaware.

Death Valley’s typically dry atmosphere is a product of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west. When storms roll in from the Pacific across California, they usually travel from west to east. These mountains west of Death Valley wring most of the moisture out of the clouds. After the storms pass the Mount Whitney area, the western slopes of the Panamint Mountains squeeze out still more moisture. On the eastern side of the Panamint Mountains, where Death Valley is located, the now-dry air heats up as it descends into Death Valley. This heating causes any moisture reaching the ground to evaporate quickly and adds to the Valley’s already high temperatures. Some estimates have Death Valley’s annual evaporation rate around 150 inches (381 cm), which means a lake of about 12 feet (3.7 meters) depth would dry up in one year.

Like the rest of California, Death Valley has a distinct winter rainy season and a summer dry season. This is known as a Mediterranean climate (similar to southern Italy, Greece and Spain, and the northern coast of Africa). And how rainy California’s winters are can be profoundly affected by a phenomenon out in the Pacific Ocean called El Niño. This is when a huge portion of the ocean is warmer than average leading to higher than normal evaporation and in turn to higher than normal precipitation in California. While that can lead to flooding and mudslides, it can also lead to spectacular wildflower displays in Death Valley that the rangers call a “superbloom.”

Historically, the winter of 1998 brought 5 inches (12.5 cm) of rain to Death Valley, which usually receives about 2 inches (5 cm) of rain in a year. Wildflowers that don’t bloom every year appeared and the more typical ones were particularly profuse. It became known as the “bloom of the century” and made national television news. Death Valley had far more visitors that year than normal. In fact, the 1999 calendar year has the highest record for Death Valley’s visitation at over 1.2 million.

How good a flowering season will be depends not only on how much moisture the rainy season brings but on how nature doles out that moisture. The 1998 season was a great one, not just because there was more rain, but also that the rain was spaced out over time. The other determining factors for a good flowering season are sufficiently warm temperatures, but not too hot, and a lack of drying winds.

When you go, make your first stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center off State Route 190, where you can ask the rangers how well and where the wildflowers are blooming. Since the visitors center is near the middle of this huge park, you’ll probably have a good idea already by the time you arrive. The visitors center offers several field guides to help you identify the desert wildflowers. A garden filled with native vegetation in front can help you see which flowers are blooming and what they look like before you strike out on your own quest.

You also can learn how plants have adapted to this harsh environment. First, most species are annuals, or more specifically, short-lived ephemerals. They escape Death Valley’s dryness only by growing and flowering when enough moisture is available. They spend the rest of the year as seeds, until moisture returns again.

Second, the common creosote bush illustrates another desert adaptation. It grows fewer, smaller leaves that present less surface area from which to lose moisture, but then covers what leaves it has with a waxy substance to reduce further moisture loss.

A third adaptation to desiccation is shown by the cactus, whose leaves have developed into thorns to deflect the sun’s rays and the mouths of thirsty, marauding animals. Photosynthesis takes place in the pads of a cactus, not its “leaves.”

Furnace Creek Village would make a good base camp for your explorations. For motorhome travelers, hookups are av

Beating Retreat

My Date With Beating Retreat 2016

Being in Delhi for more than three decades, I did not get an opportunity to see the Beating Retreat ceremony live. Since every news paper while reporting about the forthcoming event in 2016 stated that this year it is going to be colourful and more musical and the ceremony during 2016 will be at its best. After seeing that report both me and my wife got excited and don’t want to miss the event this time.

After getting pass for the programme I was eagerly waiting for the event to be held on 29 Jan 2016. The scheduled programme was to start exactly at 5.30 PM. All the Central Government offices located around Vijay Chowk were closed and Security Staff occupied the area and the venue was looked like a war zone. We started from our residence at around 3 AM and reached Patel Chowk Metro Station at 3.30. By that time lot of people started pouring in and were going towards the venue. Security was so tight and it seemed that all security staff watching the public with a suspicion to avoid any untoward incidents. After reaching the venue we found that there were three tier security. This was the first time we went through three tier security and we both felt little nervous.

The sun was about to set in. The reflection of red colour brighten the sky. Entire audience were waiting eagerly for the ceremony to begin. The atmosphere was completely silent. All eyes were turned towards Rastrabathi Bhawan. A white jeep started coming towards the dais. Yeah it was the Chief of the Naval Staff who came first followed by Air Force and Army Chief. Entire audience clapped their hands when the three Chiefs waved their hands towards the crowd.

After few minutes, the crowd stood at their feet to see Prime Minister’s car reaching the venue. It’s difficult to ignore Narendra Modi’s signature half-sleeve kurtas (and churidaars). His crisp formals and that pop of colour make him distinct from other guests. When he waved his hand the entire audience responded with a roar!

When President’s cavalcade entered the venu everybody got excited and the entire crowd waved their hands and the President reciprocated them by waving his hand to the audience.

The Republic Day parade is a wonderful experience and a very proud tradition of our nation. Unlike previous year the much awaited Beating Retreat, that signals the end of the Republic Day festivities, undergone a slight change.The ceremony in Delhi is observed keeping in mind the age old tradition, according to which, soldiers called a close down to the war at sunset.The ceremony officially marks the finale of the Republic day celebrations.

This year the ceremony show caused new blend of music instead of the long tradition of only military music. Sitar, santoor and tabla, will be heard for the first time along with military bands.These newly introduced percussion instruments has changed the usual bugles, pipes and drums usually featured in the show by the colonial military band.

For the better view of the programme for the crowd LED screens, spider-cams and surround sound systems were installed.

And at exactly 6 pm, the buglers sound the retreat and the National Flag is lowered to the National Anthem and soon after Rashtrabathi Bhawan, South Block, North Block and all the surrounding Government buildings illuminated that brought the Republic Day celebrations to a bright and formal end.

Fitness and Fun

7 Fall Activities for Fitness and Fun

With gorgeous foliage and cooler temperatures, fall is the perfect season for outdoor activities. There’s something invigorating about a breezy fall afternoon that quite simply revives the soul. If you’re looking for ideas on making the most of this season, below are a few suggestions for fall activities for fitness and fun.

* Hiking. Whether hiking along a rugged mountain trail or in a wooded area, the time of year is just right for this endeavor. With a sense of adventure in the air, you may find yourself tackling trails that before seemed too challenging. If you own a mobile GPS device, use it to create some new hiking paths.

* Flag football. Reminiscent of a movie scene on a college campus, get together with a few friends for a game of flag football. With high school, college and professional football in full swing, your competitive spirit should be up for the challenge. Flag football is a great way to spend a fall afternoon.

* Jogging or walking. For those who enjoy jogging or walking, fall makes this exercise just a bit more pleasant. Enjoy taking in the sights and sounds of the season on an extra long route on weekend mornings.

* Raking the yard. Who says raking the yard is just hard work? You can actually have some fun with it. Share the task with family members and think of creative ways to make raking a game. No matter who wins, all can enjoy the sense of accomplishment with a cleanly raked yard.

* Bike riding. Another way to get in a solid and enjoyable workout during the fall is to ride your bike. Whether competing in a local race or going for a more leisurely ride, your spirits will soar will when biking on a cool fall day. If you have children, bike riding makes for a nice family activity.

* Yoga. For those who are passionate about yoga, try an outdoor session as the sun sets on a glorious autumn day. The serenity of nature will map to the inner serenity you’ve found. Yoga is such a relaxing form of exercise and meditation, and the fall weather truly compliments this discipline.

* Camping. Finally, if you’d like a weekend filled with both fun and exercise, go camping. Whether setting up camp or scouting for wood for a bonfire, you’ll truly enjoy the camping experience during autumn.

Clearly, fall is a great time of year to pursue countless activities. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy autumn to the fullest. After all, winter is right around the corner.

Outdoor Recreation

Five Surprising Benefits of Outdoor Recreation

When it comes to exercise, many people head straight to the gym, preferring to work their muscles on a treadmill or elliptical machine. While gyms are certainly useful and can give an athlete a head start on their fitness goals, nothing quite beats the benefits of nature. For those looking to improve their physical fitness, outdoor recreation can help boost both physical and emotional fitness and health, while also transforming exercise from a dull routine into a fun adventure. Here are five reasons everyone should head outside.

Improve Physique

Outdoor recreation can often be physically demanding, but the sports work different muscles than those static machines at the gym. Instead of doing countless repetitions on a weight machine, try canoeing or go fishing with a friend. The motions of the sports work the arm and core stabilizer muscles in a different way, boosting the effectiveness of a gym workout and improving muscle tone and strength. Best of all, because the movements come with a healthy dose of fun, it won’t feel like exercise!

Engage With Others

Working out in a gym is often a solitary activity. Headphones and televisions often keep people from interacting or conversing as they work out. Outside, whether it’s on a hiking trail or at a golf course, people can talk to each other, turning a solitary activity into a social outing. Once the conversations start, many people find they have more in common with their fellow participants than they expected, resulting in new friendships and new connections.

Unplug From the Daily Grind

Technology is everywhere in daily life. At work, many tasks are completed on a computer, and at home, countless hours are devoted to the television. Heading outside for a walk or sitting in a park gives people the opportunity to unplug and relax. Rather than focusing on a screen, individuals can focus on watching the clouds or observe the way the leaves blow in the wind. Disconnecting from technology gives the mind a chance to rest and reset, reducing anxiety and stress associated with an on-demand society.

Better Sleep and Improved Focus

Anyone who is familiar with spending hours outside in the sun knows that at the end of the day, their body is tired. Outdoor recreation changes up the way the body moves, exercising new muscles and stimulating the mind. Physical activity helps the body relax and makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Well-rested individuals are better prepared to focus the next day and often see an improvement in the quality of their work.

Develop New Hobbies

Getting outside is a great way to discover new passions and hobbies. Go to a new place, hike a new trail, or play a new sport. Not only will the new experiences help cultivate a passion for the environment, but it will also give individuals an outlet outside of their usual hobbies.