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Best Place to Visit in March in India


 Generally the month of March considered as a wonderful month of travel, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly warm sunny days. It would be best and recommended to go to a hill station or beach holidays which will be cooler. 

Here is the list of most popular tourist places to visit in March. 

 Ooty :- 

(image coutesy:Zigg-E- flicker)

Blessed with natural beauty, Ooty has endowed with scenic beauty and sprawling lush tea farms. It is located in Udhagai district in the state of Tamil Nadu. The temperature in Ooty in March dwells in the range of 15 to 22 degree celecious. There are many trasportation facilty to reach Ooty, you can have many buses and car rental from Coimbatore, Cochin, Mysore, Bangalore and Chennai.

Munnar :- 

 (image coutesy:Raj-flicker)
Second one of the best and most beautiful hill station situated in the Idukki district in the state of Kerala. Munnar is also blessed with the amazing natural beauty, misty hills and growing tea plantations. It could be the best choice for relax and have a great family getaway.

Kodaikanal :-  

  (image coutesy:Thangaraj Kumaravel-flicker) 

This picture perfect hill town in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu also reffered as the "Princess of Hill Stations". It will be the best place where you can relax and get lost in the lush green surroundings. Kodaikanal Lake, Berijam Lake,Palani Hills are few must visit places in Kodaikanal.
To reach here Madurai is the nearest airport at a distance of 120 km and Palani railway station at 65 km away.

Sikkim :- 

 Yumthang Valley
  (image coutesy:Joginder Pathak -flicker) 

It's a small state in northwest India situated in the Himalayas. The best time to visit Sikkim is March to June. A fresh cloudy morning, beautiful view of hills,the amazing richness of greenery and the scenic landscape wins every visitors heart and make it a must visit place during month of March.
Solophok Chardham, Yumthang Valley, Changu Lake, Rumtek Monastery, Nathu La, Lake Tsomgo are few popular places to visit in Sikkim.

Auli :- 

(image coutesy:Anuj Kumar Garg -flicker)

Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand State, it is one of the famous skiing and trekking destination in India and January to March are best time for skiing. Auli is bestowed with abundant natural beauty and the spectacular mountain ranges, tranquil panoramic natural view makes this place ideal for you to visit in this summer.

Manali :- 

(image coutesy:Saad Faruque -flicker)

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas and surrounded by snow covered peaks,  various beauties of Nature and pristine white snow attracts thousands of tourist around the world every year. Manali a beautiful town situated in the Kullu district of state of Himachal Pradesh state is famous for trekking, paragliding, rafting and mountain sports. Along with these there are many tourist places in Manali which are must visit. 

Shillong :- 


(image coutesy:Hrishikesh Sharma -flicker)


Located at the amidst sky touching hills Shillong is the capital city of the  Meghalaya state. It is also know as the "Scotland of the East" The lush green landscape, waterfalls, forests, valleys and pleasant weather makes this place a must visit in the month of March to June.

Coorg :- 

Abby Waterfall
(image coutesy:Aditya Patawari -flicker)

Known as the "Scotland of India" is located in the western ghats of Karnataka state. It is popular tourist getaway because of unique idyllic atmosphere, variety of coffee and tea plantations. Abbay Falls,Irupu Falls, Nagarhole national park, Raja’s Seat, Omkareshwara Temple Nisargadhama and Pushagiri are few must visit places in coorg.

Vrindavan :- 

 Prem Mandir
(image coutesy:Bhavishya Goel -flicker)

Located in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh is a important Hindu pilgrimage place. It is considered that here Lord Krushna have spent his childhood days. As Vrindavan is renowened for the festival of Holi, it's recommended to visit and immerse yourself into the festival of colurs.

 

Mount Abu :- 

 (image coutesy:wikipedia.org)

Mount Abu is the only hill station in the Rajasthan state and has been great retreat for summer vacations. No doubt the senic beauty and rich flora makes you relax and rejuvenate while enjoying scenic beauty and delicious dishes of Mount Abu.
Dilwara Jain Temples, Nakki lake, Peace Park, Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Sunset Point and Guru Shikhar are few important places to visit in Maunt Abu.
Mount Abu is well connected with the other cities of the country. The
nearest airport is Udaipur at a distance of 185 km. from there one can hire a taxi, cab to reach Mount Abu.

Also, if you feel any other place can be added to the list, please comment below.
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5 Most Famous Jyotirlinga in Maharashtra


Aundha Nagnath
          (image courtesy:ghumakkar.com)

Among the twelve Jyotirlinga of India it is situated in Hingoli district in the Maharashtra state. It is also belived and said that the temple of Lord shiva have been built by Yudhishthira, eldest of the  Pandavas during thier 14 years of exile.  The temple is built in Hemandpanthi style of architecture. 


How to reach:-  

Nearest railway station:- Chondi, 21 km away.

Nearest Airport:- Nanded 41 KM away. 

By Road :- Well connected to other cities of the state.


Bhimashankar

Located in small villiage called 'Bhojgiri' which is approx. 50 km northwest of Khed, near Pune district in Maharashtra state is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga in India. Built in the Hemadpanthi style in the mid 18th century The temple is always crowded with devotees, especially during the Mahashivratri festival.

How to rach:

Nearest Railway station:- Pune railway station is 111 Kms away. 

Nearest Airport :- Pune Airport 127kms.

By Road:- Well connected to Mumbai and Junnar through other cities of the state.


Parli Vaijnath

  (image courtesy:wikipedia.org)

Situated on a hill that faces towards the east in Parali in Beed district of Maharashtra state. Though the exact date of construction is not known but it believed that the temple is belongs to 12th or 13th century.  On  Gudi Padawa, Vijaya Dashami, Tripuri Pournima and Mahashivaratri big celebrations take place.


How to reach: 

Nearest railway station:- Parali 2 km away from the temple. 

Nearest Airport :- Aurangabad 218 km away.

By Road:- Parli is well connected toLatur,Parbhani,Nanded, Aurangabad,Hyderabad and Pune.

 

Trimbakeshwar:- 
     (image courtesy:wikipedia.org)

Trimbakeshwar one of the 12 Jyotirlinga located 28 km from the Nashik city and near Brahmagiri mountain where the holy river Godavari originates. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra.  It is said that Nanasaheb Peshwa had built this temple.


How to reach:-  

Nearest railway station:- Nasik road railwaystation 24 km away.

Nearest Airport:- Mumbai 200 km away .
By Road:- Well connected with Mumbai, Nashik city, and Aurangabad.

Grishneshwar:-
        (image courtesy:ddasedEn)

Known as the 12th Jyotirlinga shrines situated in a Verul a small village which is 20 km away from Daulatabad and 30 km away from Aurangabad city.
Ahilyabai Holkar constructed current existing temple. The temple is beautifully structured and has Garbhagriha, beautiful statutes carved pillars


How to reach:- 

Nearest Airport:- Aurangabad airport is 29 km  away.
 
Nearest Railway station:- Aurangabad railway station is 29 km  away.

By Road:- Well connected by road to Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune and Jalna.


All the roads to reach these places are comfortable to travel and hiring a chauffeur driven car rental is ideal if you prefer to make your way around these places without the hassle. 
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6 Best Places in India to Welcome New Year



As we approach the end of the year, it's obvious to start planning ahead to enjoy this occasion  with dear and near ones. Many of you might be already planning many things  but here we present a list of some of cool and beautiful getaways to celebrate wonderful New Year's Eve for those who like to make this time awesome away from their homes and city.


Goa:-




No doubt for all occasion and celebration goa is the first choice of many of you and why not be. Goa has beautiful beaches, awesome places, pubs,lounges and best venues to celebrate new year's Eve.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands:- 


                                                                                                                                             (image courtesy:holidayindia)

Nowadays Andaman and Nicobar islands a landscape full with scenic and picturesque extravaganza, quaint beaches is emerging as one of the best Eco-friendly tourist destination and if you want to spend your new year Eve time relaxing then it will be the best choice and idea for you.  Apart from that you can also enjoy Scuba Diving & Snorkelling, Elephant Safari, Trekking, Island Camping in Andaman and Nicobar.

Mumbai:-


The city of Dreams and blaze also to be considered as one of the best place to celebrate new year Eve party. The city becomes even more dazzling and alive during the festival and celebrations. Mumbai host many events to welcome new year in it's own style.


Shillong :-

                                                                                                                                      (image courtesy: wikipedia)

The city known as the 'Scotland of the East' can be a best place to celebrate your New year Eve. Apart from the usual beaches and water sports activities  the picturesque views and tranquil beauty of Shillong's surrounding will definitely add some of the most cherished moments in your celebrations.

Jaipur:-


                                                                                                                               (image courtesy: Indiatravel)
 
Jaipur is one of the most preferred place to celebrate New year and Christmas vacations and because of it's something special events, entertaining activities and grand royal style celebrations.
A visit to Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jantar-Mantar, Abhaneri Step Well, Galtaji Temple, and Jaigarh Fort could make it a perfect destination for you to welcome the New Year.

Kerala:-
                                                                                                                                             (image courtesy: justkerala.in)

You will have many options to start and celebrate New year with more than just a party if you plan to visit Kerala also known as 'God's own country' . Here you will find the plenty of destinations to celebrate in tranquil style.
It would be truly a blissful experience  to welcome the new year with all the Kerala's picture perfect places with exotic scenery, unique dishes and backwater.

Apart from these places tell us which is your favorite city or travel destination to celebrate a new year.

Clear Car Rental wish all readers a Happy New Year 2016.

5 Reasons Why You Should Book a Car in Advance




    Festivities about to begin and millions of people working out of their hometown are started heading their home to celebrate it in a grand way and of course the rush greatly affect transportation problems, especially on the public transportation services.
But fortunately we have an option to secure and book a cab or travel online easily and people also finding it more convenient than travelling through any other modes of public transportation. If you too are planning to visit your hometown or any holiday destination in this season then you can drag yourself away from this holiday rush by booking early now.

And here we are giving 5 reasons why you should book a car in advance:

1. Save Time and Research more exciting things : 

 Once you have confirmed that where you are going and booked it in advance then it will be easy to look forward to plan many other things such as What to pack?, Exploring the destination and routes, local entertainment listings and many of things  so you can really make the most of it all.

2. Get you to your destination for less :

Ahead of the festive season, fares will be higher than usual so travel experts suggest making reservation as far in advance as possible so you can get the best rate.

3. Better chances of More Choices/Options: 

Early booking or reservations will get more choices. First of all is that you have the best chance to travel on the date you want and second is it gives you an option to compare and choose a best suitable cab, accommodation and your next travel plans according to your requirements in the best price.

4. To Avoid Disappointment :

Many a time you might experienced of no availability of seats or tickets at the end moments, so it's good idea and suggestion to book early all your travel plans to avoid disappointment.

5. To Avoid Cancellation charge :

Generally according to cancellation policies of most travel companies, if a traveler cancels 24 hours prior the pick-up time, he/she will be charge a cancellation penalties. But if you’ve made a cab booking well in advance and your plans change and you have to cancel your booking, you will be aware in advance what charges you are likely to be faced with.

What do you think about booking a cab in advance? Share your opinion with us here!
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9 Colours of 9 Days of Navratri Festival




 Navratri a nine days festival of worshiping Goddess Durga and her nine incarnations. Navratri is a combination of two words 'Nav' and 'Ratri' which literally means 'Nine Nights'.
During this festival mostly devotees are excited to wear nine different colours of dress which signify that particular form of the deity on each day of the festival.

 Now the Navratri begins and everyone is getting busy with purchasing the best combinations of colors to immeresed in festival fever and pandal hopping for garba and dandiya with family and friends, so gear up and take this amazing opportunity to visit and to be a part of celebration with on time and affordable car rental services in your city.

Here are list of nine different colours that are supposed to wear on different days of Navratri.

Day First:  Red colour 
First day of Navratri is called as 'Ghatasthapana'. The day is dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri and the colour to wear on the first day for devotees is "Red"

Day Second: Royal Blue  colour
Second day of Navratri is called as Dwitiya and on this day 'Goddess Brahmachari' is worshipped. the colour to wear on the second day for devotees is "Royal Blue"

Day Third: Yellow  colour
Third day of Navratri or Tritiya is dedicated to 'Devi Chandraghanta' she symbolizes spirituality and meditation and the colour to wear on this day for devotees is "Yellow"

Day Fourth: Green  colour
On the forth day, the creator of the universe 'Godess Kushmanda'is worshipped. The colour to wear on forth day of navratri is "Green"

Day Fifth: Gray
'Goddess Skandamata' is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. The colour to wear on forth day of navratri is "Gray"

Day Sixth: Orange 
'Goddess Katyayani' sixth incarnations of Godess Durga is worshiped on this day of Navratri and the colour to wear on is "Orange"

Day Seventh: White
Goddess Kaalratri the seventh incarnations of Devi Durga, worshipped on the seventh day of Navrartri and "White" is the customary colour of the eighth day of Navaratri.

Day Eight: Pink
Goddess of kindness and morality known as 'Devi Maha Gauri' is worshipped on the eighth day of Navratri and "Pink" color to be worn on the day.

Day Nine: Sky Blue 
Goddess of supernatural power 'Devi Siddhidatri' is worshiped on the eithth day of Navratri and the colour to wear on the first day for devotees is "Sky Blue".


5 Famous Ganpati Idols to Visit in Pune During Ganesh Festival


  Ganesha Chaturthi also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' is the important Hindu Festival celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesha. The celebration has a long history and roots since the days of Maratha rulers. Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak initiated this festival as a public festival in 1894 with a view to uniting citizens and strengthen the patriotic fervour in Indians.
While it is celebrated all over India, Pune is said to have it's own traditions to celebrating this festival with great pomp and gaiety where the festival actually started.

 The city has the five Manache (Respective) Ganesh idols where you have must visit during Ganesh Utsav.

1. Kasba Ganapti: 
        Kasba Ganpati  
         ( image credit: flickr)
                                                               
image credit:
image credit:
Located in the heart of city at Kasaba Peth, it is also known as Gram Devta of Pune and the temple was built by 'Shivaji Maharaj' and 'Jijabai Bhosale'.

2. Tambdi Jogeshwari :
  Tambdi Jogeshwari
( image credit: google)

It is supposed to be a oldest temple in Pune, established in 1893. It stands second privileged Ganpati idol of Pune after Kasba Ganpati Mandal.

3. Guruji Talim :
Guruji Talim
               (image credit: plus.googleapis.com)

It is the third respective Ganapti idol in pune Located at Laxmi Road. the Guruji Talim Ganpati mandal was started by two Hindu and two Muslim families in 1887 even before Lokmanya Tilak started this Sarvajanik Ganesh utsav and hence it's considered as a symbol of Hindu Muslim unity.

4. Tulsibaug :
         Tulsibaug Ganesh Idol
     (image credit: wikipedia.org)

 It is fourth respective Ganpati idol in Pune Located at Tulshibaug. which was established in 1901. This mandal is amongst the first who Glass establishing Fiber statue since 1975.

5. Kesariwada Ganesh Mandal :

      Kesariwada Ganesh
     (image credit: wikipedia.org)

 Lokmanya Tilak established this idol in year 1893 in Narayan Peth, Pune. It is revered of known as fifth respective Ganapati idol in Pune. Lokmanya Tilak started this festival with the motive of to enhance the sense of belongingness as well as togetherness among the citizens and still the mandol takes large cultural and educational events and concentrates more on social work.

Along with these you can also visit Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati idol the richest Ganesh Mandal in the city which was established in the year 1893.
              Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati idol
(Image Credit: bhaskar.com)

 Pune is well connected by air, rail and road to other major cities in India.
  • Nearest Airport :- Lohegaon airport where you can get a transfer taxi to reach the city.
  • Nearest Railway station :- Pune junction is an important station of Central Railway Zone.
  • Bus Stand :- Shivajinagar and Swargate bus stand. The city is easily accessible by state transport buses or rental cars from major cities such include Ahmadnagar, Aurangabad and Mumbai.


 If you are planning to visit to Pune to experience immense fun then we suggest that there’s best way to rent a car for the utmost convenience and safety travel to Ganesh festival.

When should a travel agent proceed for an Car XML API Integration?


Dear future online partners,

Greetings from team Clear car rental Pvt Ltd!!!!

For those of you who might not be aware (or) have reached us for the first time -

Clear car rental Pvt Ltd is India's largest (in terms of reach) on line car aggregator  providing car rental services in more than 250 Indian cities and covering more than 5000 Indian locations & also assists renowned Indian travel brands on car rentals.

Clear car rental also offers it's XML car API's to individual web developers, web development companies who wish to integrate them for their clients (or) even to travel agents who wish take their travel business online while adding a PAN India online cab booking module.

Car XML API

API stands for Application programming interface.

Any API integration offers the convenience of building your own web applications using the data which is sourced by some one else.

In case you are new to API's please do refer The 60 seconds guide to understand API's

An API integration can be said more or like to be an avenue where in you can make different travel services available & for sale for your online target customers. The inventory of services on your online shop (your website) may be procured from different XML feed providers.

When should a travel agent proceed for an API Integration {Car API integration}?

1) A travel agent is exploring options to take your travel business on the web (build a website) so that the services he plans to offer are accessible 24X7.

2) A travel agent plans to launch his new travel portal while offering the convenience to its customers book online different travel services.

3) A travel agent plans to add more travel services to his existing basket of online travel services.

4) A travel agent has built his own strong agent network of associates in different cities in India & would like to offer them an standard online system using which they can book different travel services.

For any (or) all the reasons mentioned above an API integration will be needed.

(Although not mandatory) but a travel agent having a long experience & ready relationships in travel trade may help his online travel project get a boost.

Find more information on the XML car API by Clear car rental Pvt Ltd here

It is great to share that we have our online partners (those who have integrated our XML API) almost in all zones of India.

Feel free to reach us with any queries at nikhil@clearcarrental.com you may have on our car rental XML API & we would leave no stone to assist you the best of our capabilities.

Wishing you business success always!!!

Team Clear car rental Pvt Ltd.


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Kailas Manas Sarovar Yatra series - 9


Was it a dream?!


Even now, at the time of writing this, I recall that experience. What was it that I had gone through? How do I describe it to my folks at home? Was it just about the hardships of an adventurous trekking that I am going to narrate? Or about the beautiful landscape? Or about being able to reach the abode of gods and goddesses? Or about securing a place in the list of those luckiest people who could unload all their sins? Any attempt to give a description of that experience would fail. The pain of giving birth to a baby could not be explained in words, just like the joy of touching the feet new born baby. Whatever may be the name of that place…..I call it the womb….womb of the infinite-the unbound-the formless-the nameless-the omnipresent-the un-manifested in the manifested universe. 
 
We had very little time to spend on the top of Drolma La. Neema hurried us to move on. It might turn out to be fatal for vulnerable people. I rushed to my camera, took a few snaps. I was unable to hold the camera, hands were shaking. Entire valley was covered with fog. Colorful prayer flags had provided wonderful contrast against the background of snow covered valley. We had to move from there, we started descending on the opposite side.
While descending, we saw the Gauri Kund. It is a small pool of water that is supposed to be the place where goddess Parvati (Gauri) is said to have done penance for Lord Shiva. It is situated on a bit lower altitude than the Drolma La. We crossed a frozen river stream after that. After about half an hour we descended and reached the plains of a river stream. We stopped at a tiny restaurant like thing to have our packed lunch consisting biscuits, fruits and bread. We had to complete, again about 22 km trek to reach our camp at Zutulpuk. However, it was on a plain path we had to walk by the side of an unnamed river stream.
Gauri Kund (image credit: Prajna LS)

Ponies had arrived there already with their masters for those who had booked. A fellow traveler, he was the youngest of all in our team, was suffering from severe sickness. He was brought to the camp in an ambulance later. It was a terrific walk. I was lagging behind. I had no energy left to walk. Luckily, looking at my condition, Neema Sherpa and also Veerbahadur Sherpa took great care of me till I could reach the camp. The cute looking Veerbahadur used to cheer me up in between, he made me to drink glucose water, asked me to sit and take rest and made me to move again…like a kind friend.
I recall it was like a walk in the oblivion, as if it were a sleep walk. I was feeling very drowsy. It is a symptom of altitude sickness. In that delusive state of mind I had tried to recall the faces of our elder team mates one by one. Then, realized they were on ponies. Huh. But, not all were. Narayan uncle and the father of Doctor Shailaja were also coming by foot. No idea how they were, where they were…Veer Bahadur cheered, “We have almost reached, don’t worry”. He was just consoling my mind, I know.
It was raining by the time we reached. Must be around 7.30 pm we had reached. My folks at the camp were worried for me. They didn’t know for whom the ambulance was sent. Veerbahadur held my hand in a majestic way and dropped me at the door of our allotted room where my folks had been resting!! I just threw out my shoes, rain coat and jacket and lied on my bed, I was drenched in sweat.
Third day!
Next day morning we walked for about 2-3 hours. It was damn easy compared to the second day! We were feeling very light and were excited. It was drizzling and after sometime we could see tiny-tiny snow flakes settling on our rain coats. The entire valley looked fabulous. I told my aunt that we are blessed by Bhagwan through snowfall!
There is a small mound to mark the completion of Kailas Parikrama. We reached there and it was the end of our great venture. We could see our vehicles at that point. Drove back to Darchen, and after lunch the group proceeded towards Saga. From saga we came to Nyalam and from Nyalam we crossed the Friendship Bridge (at Kodari) again to reach Kathmandu.
When I reflect upon this particular experience of mine, all seems like a dream. A dream sent by the ‘un-manifested spirit’ to illustrate the hardships of realising the ‘sublime’. 
image credit: Prajna LS
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Kailash Manas Sarovar Yatra Series - 8

Kailas Parikrama –Drolma La Pass!

We had walked about 12 km in the rugged terrain of Kailas circuit to reach Dirapuk from Darchen. Mount Kailas is seen from a very close distance here. We were overwhelmed, excited and content. Dirpuk is located at 4, 600 meters above the sea level. Altitude sickness gets severe from here. We rested in tin sheds after initial excitement of passing the first stage of Kailas Kora.
Accommodation at Dirapuk, or at Zultulpuk is getting better year after year, I think. As we heard the experiences of those who had gone earlier, there used to be tents. Now, the Chinese Government has built tin sheds providing space for 4 members each in rooms. 8/10 rooms have been constructed. We didn’t see any latrine there. We had to use open space for the routine.
My aunt, uncle and I were little anxious, since my brother and his wife had not arrived. They arrived an hour later and we were quite relieved! Soon the shades of evening turned black and we were desperately waiting for the soup to be served. It was not hunger, I guess, we needed something hot, very hot. We sipped soups as if we had been starved for months together.
Climate at Dirapuk is quite uncertain. It can rain anytime, and sometimes even snowfall occurs. One can’t be sure of second day parikrama. Sherpas judge the climate condition and advice accordingly whether to proceed or to return. Despite Diamox intake we were feeling nausea, headache, and body temperature. That night, we could not eat much. I had gulped a tablet for fever, and at about midnight I was drenched in sweat. It was pouring outside! Ohh…good sign. I was wishing for the announcement of our return due to bad weather. Delusions of dark hours!!
Image credit:Prajna LS
Image credit:Prajna LS














Second Day was broken amidst fog and slight drizzles. Sherpas were confident of moving further and asked us to get ready. Those who feel very sick can return from Dirapuk, they advised. “Himmat Rakhkho…Himmat se kaam chalega” said Sangya Sherpa with a naughty smile. The Sherpas had already kept a barrel of warm water for washing purpose in front of our rooms. After having a brisk breakfast, we marched towards Zutulpuk which needed about 32 km trek.
This day was the toughest day of all during our Yatra. We were supposed to pass through the Drolma La Pass (18,600 ft) and the famous Gauri Kund. The trek included ascending the slope of Drolma La and then, descending the slope. Once after descending the slope, we had to take up a long trek along a river stream up to Zutulpuk. Exact calculation of the time and distance up to Drolma la (8km) and from there up to Zutulpuk (24 km may be) is not possible. We reached Drolma La pass (8 km up) in three stages. It is a steep up.
The surrounding had received good snowfall the previous night. Not a sunny day. Thick fog had covered the hills making it more difficult for a walk. We were on an unfathomable path, metaphorically! I just laid my burden on my destiny that had led me so far and was confident that I would be taken good care of by my guru Sri Datta.
Image credit:Prajna LS
Sherpas were holding two oxygen cylinders for emergency. But, they had advised us to use that only if it was necessary. They had warned that the oxygen supplement would have side effects, it may block lungs even more and if it happens one may have to go back. It was a testing period of our patience, will power, courage and luck.
We started moving slowly, one after another. It was a narrow strip on a snowy hill partially covered with snow. For every two steps I had to stop, take rest on my walking stick and then had move on. We had to pass through three steep acclivities of which the last ascent was breathtaking experience. Through the misty depth we passed, it was like experiencing the fate of an embryo inside the womb. We could see the last acclivity, on which some hikers were visible, though not so clearly.
We were not allowed to stop anywhere. “Keep walking” Neema Sherpa who was carrying my knapsack along with the camera bag used to poke. Senior team mates on the pony used to greet us occasionally. We walked to strange tunes hummed by the Chinese porters. We were crawling inside the depth of silence.
I was breathing heavily making sounds. I had to consume water in between to prevent dehydration. Dry fruits will help reducing energy loss; keep them in the pockets of your jacket. I was unable to hold even the flask. Neema Sherpa used to hold that and he used to open even the lid of the flask for me! He would give my camera whenever he felt it would be alright to stop for a minute for taking photos. I thank him for being so kind.
One of our senior mates, Manju aunty, had completed the first day Parikrama by walk. But, on the second day, she felt that she can’t climb the ascending slope. Luckily she caught hold of a pony man who was returning from the top after dropping a pilgrim. One will get Ponies till the top only. After reaching the top (Drolma La) one will have to descend a steep slope till some distance. Ponies can’t descend on that slope. However, for those who have booked ponies in advance for all the three days would get back to the pony ride after reaching the ground.
We were ascending the third slope. Someone was sick on the way, was being assisted with oxygen. Neema didn’t allow me to stand there. He hurried me to move on. It was a steep rocky slope. I could feel my legs shaking. The whole area was covered with thick fog. I had forgotten the world that I had left behind! Face of my darling daughter flashed through my mind, suddenly. Move or die! I had forgotten my state of being itself. Inexplicable state of mind that was…….. in tune with the symphony of unbound-ruthless-wild nature. Each step seemed heavy…a state of oblivion.
It was when Neema Sherpa said that we had reached the top I was not in state to rejoice really! Yes, we had reached the top of Drolma La Pass. Huh!



[To be continued….]  

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Kailash-Manas Sarovar Yatra Series - 7

Kailas Parikrama is nothing but a trekking process around the Kailas Circuit. Parikrama means circumambulation. Some go for 3 day trekking, some for 9 days, some for 13 and some choose one day depending upon their health. The total distance to be covered in a three day parikrama is approximately 52 km. This task is an important part of Kailas-Manas Sarovar Yatra, though not compulsory. People who are physical fit and mentally confident may take up the task. It is the hardest task of the yatra, but, the most fulfilling one!
Mount Kailas is revered with great devotion by Hindu, Jain and Buddhist followers. In the Jain tradition, Kailas is considered to be the mount (Ashtapada Parvat) on which the first Teerthankar Rishabhdev attained his salvation. According to Bon Buddhist tradition, the mount is a highly energetic place representing transcendental energy. This place is associated with Guru Rinpoche, the Padmasambhava.
Hindus consider the mount as to be the abode of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Kailas Parvat is said to be the source for many rivers. Indus, Satlej, Brahmaputra, and Ghagra Rivers originate somewhere near the Kailas circuit. By circumambulating the mount, it is believed, that one would attain supreme energy and would be purified.
One can take up the task only after reaching Lake Manas. The trekking starts from a place called Darchen, the base point actually. Darchen is located at about 8 km from Lake Manas, and can be approached by motored vehicles.
image credit: prajna LS

The night before the parikrama, our Sherpa team gave us some tips for the mountain walk. They showed us how to handle fatigue and breathlessness during the parikrama. Not only that, they had also narrated stories of devotees who had died half way! That was very scary and made us to think twice before deciding.
A small backpack containing dry fruits, medicine, a flask, a torch, a pain balm tube and tissue roles were kept ready. Even to carry such a lightweight backpack we had hired porters. Chinese porters will come at the gateway (Yamadwar, the starting point) and we had hired them for 700 yens. The sherpas will collect the money and I guess full amount will not be paid to the porters! Pilgrims who feel uncomfortable to walk can hire ponies. Book your pony for all three days; you may not get a pony in the middle of your parikrama.
Next day morning, after a small breakfast, we had moved towards Yamadwar, the starting point of our Parikrama. Dressed in three layered cloths, we had reached Yamadwar in a bus. Our porters and Pony caretakers had already gathered at Yamadwar. For our group (I, aunt and uncle, brother and his wife) the Sherpas themselves got ready to carry the backpack.

Yamadwar!

I don’t know why it is named like that. But, a scary name it was. Yama, as you all know is the governor of death according to Hindus. This is the gateway to his home! There is a small shrine inside which heads of slain goats and Yaks are hung. There is a small bell inside and by tradition every pilgrim would perform circumambulation of the shrine three times after ringing the bell for a safe return. We were already nervous looking at the shrine. We proceeded further after performing the circumambulation.
 
image credit:Prajna LS
Our target was to reach Dirapuk. We were instructed to walk very slowly leaning on to the walking stick whenever it was necessary. It is not a competion of any sort to reach first. It won’t be difficult to walk on a plain, but, it would be highly difficult for ups. Take rest for a while (not more than a minute) and move forward if you feel breathlessness. We saw a Buddhist devotee prostrating for every other step. He had covered his hands with shoes.
The route on the first day Parikrama was not so complicated. We walked along the Yak River. Our path pierced through the rugged terrain comprising steep rocky hills. These same hills would be covered with snow during winter, but, we had gone there in August. So, the terrain was uncovered, rocky and plain, resonating deep silence.
We could reach the target by afternoon. Dirapuk houses a Buddhist Gompa. But, a surprise was waiting for us when we reached there. It was the last up. We had taken about half an hour to climb up, then, we turned to our right and were dumbstruck at the sight of Mount Kailas from such a close distance. It was such a solemn and serene sight, that I would always cherish in my memory. As we sat on the ground below there, we felt as if we were sitting at the feet of Lord Shiva himself!

Wait for the next episode to read about the second and third day parikrama!
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Lesser-known Facts about the Heritage city Aurangabad

Known:
The heritage city Aurangabad (Maharashtra) is best known for the Ajanta and Ellora caves. The city serves as a base destination for reaching the historical sites mentioned above and attracts tourists from all across the globe. This city was a Mughal Territory in the reign of Aurangazeb and is named after the emperor. The city houses the mausoleum of Aurangzeb’s wife which is known as the Taj of Deccan.
Aurangabad’s proximity to Ellora, Ajanta, Daulatabad and Shirdi has earned the city a prominent place in the tourism industry of India. The city has geared up to cater both national and international tourists by providing good accommodation and transportation facilities. The city is served by a well connected airport and a railway station. MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) provides special tourist packages for seeing Ajanta and Ellora Caves. You can also ask for private transport services or hire a car to reach here.
Lesser-known:

Image Courtesy:Prajna LS
 The city is, so far, known by its historical significance and industrial growth. But, not many know about the internal cultural activities that go unnoticed by the visitors. The city keeps hosting classical music and dance concerts frequently for the connoisseurs. Up until recently, there used to be Ellora Festival every year by inviting international level singers and dancers. The Ellora festival has been temporarily halted.
However, another cultural event hosted by MAHAGAMI (Mahatma Gandhi Mission Sangeet Academy) is making news. It is called the Sharangadev Samaroh. This unique music and dance festival has been initiated by the director of MAHAGAMI, Parwati Datta. Parwati Datta, being a versatile Kathak and Odissi dancer, has been motivating the art lovers of Aurangabad since the establishment of the institution and is coordinating noted artists of the nation to enlighten the younger generation on the path of Indian music and dance heritage. 
 
Image Courtesy:Prajna LS
Image Courtesy:Prajna LS

Sharangdev Samaroh is one such step taken by MAHAGAMI. This cultural event celebrates the rich heritage of classical music and dance that exists in various forms all across India. This event is especially dedicated to the 13th century musicologist Sharangadev, who is said to have lived in the court of Devagiri Yadava rulers. Devagiri is the present day Daulatabad which is at about 17 km from the city.

Sangeeta Ratnakara, the book written by Sharangadev is an important text for the seekers of both Hindustani and Carnatic music tradition. This 13th century text documents almost all the prevalent dance and music traditions of that time and gives descriptions about technical details of dance movements, music, and rhythm. So, to commemorate the contribution made by the author, the Sharangadev Samaroh will be held in the land where the author created such a treatise.
The cultural event comprises of a three day workshop followed by evening concerts. Eminent artists belonging to various music and dance traditions such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Kathak, Odissi, Mohiniattam and Manipuri will present their pieces. Noted artists like Birju Maharaj, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, Padma Bhushan Swapna Sundari, Sadanam Balakrishnan and many other scholars have graced the event so far.
Dear tourist…

If you are planning to visit Aurangabad, please make a note of this event. Normally, the event will be held in January or February for three days and nights. Visitors can make use of this opportunity if they are in the city during that time. Try something different when you are in Aurangabad next time. Experience the lesser- known treasures of Aurangabad.

Less travelled beaches of Goa

image courtesy:prajna LS
 What comes to your mind when you hear of Goa? Beaches of course! Goa, being one of the popular destinations for holidaying on the sea shore, attracts millions of tourists every year. One will not get tired of visiting Goa, be it for a casual or a formal visit. Goa indeed is a tourist’s heaven by providing a true freak out time. Have fun, celebrate, be merry, relax and rejuvenate in Goa. It is that part of India which is the most explored one; yet, one will be surprised to know it is still left with unmarked corners. 

This article makes an attempt to introduce some of the unexplored parts of Goa, focusing especially upon beaches. If you are on a family trip and want to spend some fun times with kids, then visit commercialized beaches in Goa. These beaches provide snacks stalls, water sports, and other entertainments like paragliding, scuba diving, kayaking etc. Goa hosts both commercialized and secluded beaches. Most of the commercialized beaches are situated in the North Goa whereas South Goa hosts most of the secluded ones.

Goa, situated on the western coastline of India, is best known for white sand beaches, churches, temples, and fenny! It is well connected by air, road and railways. It may sound funny, if you search for a city named Goa anywhere in Goa you would not find. Goa is the name given to the entire region on the Arabian Sea coast comprising North and South Goa. So, where would you land up if you are an outsider? You may choose either Panjim in North Goa or Madgaon in the South Goa section as base destinations to travel around the region. 
Panjim is the headquarters of North Goa which is at about 550 km from Mumbai. Madgaon, headquarters of South Goa, is just 45 minutes drive from Panjim. However the airport is based at Dabolim in Vasco, 35 minutes drive from Panjim. Goa has two railway heads: one at Vasco, the other at Madagaon which is connected by Konkan Railway services.
Rental cars, tourist taxis, rental bikes, autos and buses are available for inland travels. Accommodations providing budget, luxury and premium services would be easily available during off season. Advance booking of hotels would be preferable if you are travelling during Christmas vacations. 
If you are interested in exploring secluded beaches in Goa, let me tell you, go towards the south. Make Madagaon the base destination, and explore each beach a day if you are there for more than a week. Southern beaches are less travelled, least crowded, and most of them provide completely secluded private beach resorts. 
Let us start with Colva Beach which is situated near Madgaon city. It is just 15 minutes drive from Madgaon (Margao). This was one of the secluded beaches of South Goa up until recently. Now, it is attracting more and more visitors and hence it has become a popular beach providing entertainment and luxury. It is stretched 20 km on the Western Coast.

Colva Beach
Colva Beach
Colva beach
Image Courtesy:Prajna LS
If we move towards the south of Colva, we find the Benaulim Beach. You can locate the Church of St John the Baptist here on a hill top. This is basically a fishing village. You can buy wooden crafts and furniture here. 
Cavelossium Beach is just half an hour drive from Madgaon. This beach, along with Varca and Mobor beaches, is known to be the most non-commercialized beaches of Goa. A Less crowded beach of course. You may find huts converted as restaurants here and there.

Cavelossium Beach

Cavelossium Beach
Image Courtesy:Prajna LS
Goa is stretched up to Sadashivghad, but Sadashivghad belongs to Karwar district in Karnataka. Sadashivghad is the place where Kali River merges into Arabian Sea. As we move on to further southwards, we find two most important beaches on the western coast situated in Goa. One is Agonda Beach and other one is the Palolem Beach.

Agonda Beach
Agonda Beach
Image Courtesy:Prajna LS

Palolem Beach
Palolem Beach Image Courtesy:Prajna LS
 Agonda is situated at about 35 km from Madgaon. This is for those who would love lonely beaches. Agonda beach is completely untouched by commercialization. You would not find any snacks stalls or accommodation here. It is a lonely white sand beach good for photographers who would like to explore wild and raw nature. 

Palolem beach is at about 40 km from Madgaon and is a bit inhabited beach.  You would find quite a few beach resorts, secluded huts and commercial stalls here. Another advantage is that you can have a boat ride to visit nearby islands. Be careful about high tides and weather conditions. 
 If you are frequent visitor to Goa, make your holidays something special when you visit Goa next time. Explore the South Goa. Be different this time!




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Vacation packages: Consider SUV rental

Try to imagine a person fixed on to his laptop in a cubicle all through the day, comes home and again works till late night. Finds no time for kids except on Sundays. Wrapped up in business meetings, mails and calls. He, who craves for a week long vacation with his family and kids finds no time for making arrangements. Where to go, for how many days, how to go, where to stay…will that be fruitful…he just can’t decide.
We know money is not the only solution for all. Your dreams of having a pleasant vacation may turn upside down by making wrong decisions. Think of a safe, fun filled, refreshing vacation and yet loading no extra burden on your pocket. We, at Clear Car Rentals, make that possible. We think for you and you make a trip.
Clear Car Rental Company, an Online Cab Booking service provider, arranges vacation packages for its premium customers. Wish for Weekend getaways, Romantic getaways, Summer Special, Winter Special, Beach trails or pilgrimages. We arrange cabs of your preference.
Suppose you choose to visit Jaipur and nearby cities, Clear Car Rental offers cheap vacation packages such as Jaipur city tour, Ajmer city tour, Pushkar city tour. You can give your wish list and we make a vacation package including important nearby cities. These packages can be booked for one day and one night or for more number of days and nights.
We suggest you to book a SUV for these long trips comprising more than a day and night. These Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) come in different models providing seating arrangements for 4 to 8 passengers.
Sturdy body, efficient engine, spacious interiors, ample space for luggage and fuel efficiency makes these vehicles superior for long trips. They are best for rugged terrain, for rough roads, for accommodating entire family, best for multi city travels and are safe.
Clear Car Rental Company provides SUVs of Mahindra, Tata brands for economy travels. You can ask for luxury SUVs such as Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Nissan, Audi, Mitsubishi, Ford, Skoda, Land Rover, Toyota and Chevrolet.
Consider SUV rentals for long vacations. It would work out cheaply and it is hassle free. Imagine you have to cover 3-4 sites in a day and the vehicle gets struck in the middle for some technical errors. You would keep cursing the very plan of your entire vacation! Book SUVs for luxury and comfort.
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Cool – Cool Summer: Hill Stations in Maharashtra

Matheran


image credit:matheran.org
 This small hill station is situated at about 94 km from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai. This hill station is a most adored weekend getaway for Mumbai people. Secluded from the vehicle pollution, this hill station gets crowded during weekends.
Matheran is declared Eco-Sensitive hill station. Motored vehicles are not allowed within 10/20 km circuit. Even if you go by your own vehicle you will have to park your car at Neral and from Neral a Toy Train takes you to the hill top. Make prior reservation for the train. You can decide to walk along the railway track by enjoying the scenic beauty around.
Situated at about 800 meters above the sea level, the hill station provides many viewpoints. You can even watch Bombay city from one point. MTDC self contained rooms are available here. There are private hotels also. Restaurants provide thali (plate) meals.
This place is for complete relaxation. Enjoy vehicle free zone, go for early morning walks to refresh yourself and you would be ready for a new week.

Malshej Ghat
Malshej Ghat is famous for Flamingos, and it is near the Shivaneri Fort. Shivaneri Fort is the birth place of Shivaji, the great warrior. This hill station also houses Buddhist caves dating back to 3rd century.
image credit:whatisnature.wordpress.com

You can approach this place via Mumbai or Pune. The hill station is located near Thane and Ahmednagar borders. But you can reach the destination by road only.
MTDC Flamingo Hill resort is the best option for staying overnight. Best time to visit is Monsoon season when the Flamingos start migrating to Malshej Ghat. Not only Flamingos migratory birds of other kinds also come here during monsoon.

You can visit Harischandraghad and Shivaneri fort along with Malshej Ghat.  

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