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Demystifying Coorg

Coorg on the Western Ghats of Karnataka is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations of not only Karnataka but India as a whole. Unfortunately a lot of geographical misconceptions about the localities and distances abound in Coorg, which makes the tourists come back without seeing a lot of hidden attractions. Another problem is of crammed up itineraries of packing too much in too short a time thus making the tourists jaded rather than invigorated by the time the tour comes to an end.

Going by the number of mails we receive in our travel QNA section and frantic telephone calls to our travel counselors, from exasperated travelers asking about Coorg- distances, attractions, transports, ideal itineraries et al, most of them veer round primarily to a lot of misconception about the location.

Mapping Coorg

Mapping Coorg

Considering the lacunas, we have decided to come out with a breakthrough visual distance chart, which graphically traces all the important places of the Coorg(Kodagu) district and beyond. The purpose of this is to assist the enthusiastic travelers to unravel Coorg and also plan a well organized itinerary to make the most of this fantastic original “Coffee Country”.

So set forth and bust the long standing title of Coorg as “one of South’s better kept secrets”.

Madikeri

The confusion starts with Madikeri itself. Many people think that Madikari or Coorg are the same. Madikeri or Mercara is the district headquarters of Coorg aka Kodagu. Madikari is situated at a height of 5000 feet above sea level. A great place for walking leisurely or a purposeful trek amid lush green surroundings, innumerable little streams and expansive coffee and pepper plantations, Madikeri also offers typical tourist attractions like Fort, Abbey falls, Raja’s Seat, Omkareshwara Temple, Gandhi Mantapam.

Abbey Falls

Abbey Falls is located inside a privately owned coffee estate but is accessible to the tourists. It is just 5 km from Madikari and a jeep or taxi takes you to the coffee estate. Once inside the coffee fields a 10 minutes stroll will take you to the picturesque waterfalls.

Siddapur

Siddapur or Siddapura is located around 28 kms from Madikari through a winding driveway. The scenic views along with the fresh unpolluted hill air make the drive exhilarating. The Siddapur taluk offers some nice stay options and is well known for the spice gardens and myriad unfailing streams. Nearby attractions include Pollibetta(12 Km) home to a golf course and Ammathi known for its “hockey utsav”.

Kushalnagar

Kushalnagar is 35 kms from Madikari and is known for the beautiful Namdroling monastery of Tibetan Buddhist settlers nearby.

Nisargdhama

Kavery Nisargadhama is 3 kms from Kushalnagar and 30 km from Madikari. It is a beautiful 65 acre riverine island. The primary attraction of this picnic spot is a 90 m rope bridge that connects this island to the main land.  Other attractions of Nisargadhama include boat rides, elephant rides, deer park and the orchidarium.

Dubare Elephant Camp

Dubare Elephant Camp lies on the south bank of Kaveri River in easten Kodagu. It is located 40 kms from Madikari. Dubare is essentially an elephant capturing and training camp run by the Forest Department of Coorg. Location wise, Dubare is in between Siddapur and Kushalnagar. Visitors to this amazing place can indulge in feeding and bathing of Elephants.

Somwarpet

Somwarpet or Somvarpet is a small town in the northeast coorg and is approximately 40 kms from Madikari. Apart from its undulating natural beauty by way of vast coffee plantations and spice crops it is also the starting point of the trek to Kumara Parvata, one of the most beautiful peaks in the whole of Western Ghats. The trek starts at Bidalli 45 minutes from Somwarpet. Mallalli Falls, around 25 km from Somwarpet, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary (30 km) towards Kukke Subramanya and Honnamana Kere(6km) are the nearby attractions.

Kakkabe

Kakkabe or Kakabe is one of the gateways to Coorg county and 45 kms from Madikari. With its heavy rainforest cover Kakkabe boasts of some rare orchids, dense forests and a birdwatcher’s paradise. Other attractions include Paddi Igutthappa/Subramanya Temple (2 km), Nalkad/Nalnad Palace and the Nilakandi waterfall (3 km).

Talacauvery

Talacauvery or Thalacauvery is 48 kms from Madikari and is the birthplace of the sacred Cauvery River. It is essentially a spring from which the Rivery Cauvery originates. The place is of immense religious significance.

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park comprises three forest ranges namely- Nagarhole, Kallahalla and Thitimati. This National Park is a pachyderm’s paradise along with equally respectable other wild life species. A Safari on the dense jungles here is a special attraction.

Irpu Falls

Irpu Falls is 14 kms from Nagarhole National Park. Irpu or Iruppu Falls is located on outskirts of the Brahmagiri hill range and acts as the gateway to the range. The falls is formed by a tributary of Cauvery, Lakshmana theertha as it jumps down from a height of 170 ft. A temple dedicated to Lord Rama is also located nearby.

Kukke Subrahmanya

Going outside the coorg district but a place enjoing immense significance is the holy temple town of Kukke Subrahmanya. It is located in the Dakshin Kannada district just 100 kms from Madikari. The temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, also revered as  Murugan, in south India lies on the banks of the river Kumaradhara at the base of the western Ghats.

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IHRites Sizzle under soaring Mercury

First and foremost: congratulations to my fellow IHRites who in the times of ‘gloom and doom’ for the travel industry, never fails to spring surprises and quite fast too. The summer’s just started and IHR did some really brisk business for the month of April. Thanks to a combination of some aggressive selling from the sales guys and some diligent organizational planning well in advance. This warranted some celebration and we were there again applauding and cheering- in yet another round of partying.

This time, particularly pleasing is the fact that we have been effectively managing to convince customers that we are the right organization to have a holiday booking with. This is no tall claim and reflected in our gradually increasing Alexa rankings as well as the swelling number of daily leads.

Here’s a small recap on some of the things we did yesterday. The place was again the now very familiar Ankit’s residence or perhaps Ankit’s den is a better word, considering the number of parties it hosts!

With the scorching summer outside the proceedings started literally on a chilling note with loads of chilled beers, snacks and soft drinks for those who really aren’t fussed about the tipple. A game of “improvised Musical Chairs “was followed with another round of dumb charades. In between some rewards were given by IHR’s team lead Priyanka to the best performers of the month.

By the time the ordered Pizzas were finally delivered those present were having a smashin time with dances, jigs and occasionally some impromptu singings thrown in good measure. It was good to see the team members high on spirits (pun intended) gelling well and liberally exchanging pleasantries about others.

With the summer sizzling, the business head promised this is just one of the many that would follow but the challenge lies in maintaining the NUMERO UNO position.

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Moving Forward with IHR Newsletter

It takes time to build trust! That’s what has been our experience with the blog. Overwhelmed by the number of visitors and an increasing surge in stats we thought its time we also start our very own Newsletter to really build an effective, long-term, relationship with our valued customers and readers.
Our weekly newsletter will keep you posted about a range of holiday options- coolest seasonal deals, best weekend getaways, a quick darshan of the holy places, set jetting on bollywood locales etal.

Newsletter of Indiahotelreview.com

Newsletter of Indiahotelreview.com

However, with the newsletter we just do not just want to showcase only the promos and sales in offer by IHR but want to share definitive information about travel in its different modalities and the ways and means through which it explores and enriches us.
We well understand the responsibility towards our readers and do not want the newsletter to be a mere window dressing for the organization and also an undertaking of not sharing or selling your personal information with any third party. So be sure that subscribing to our email will not clog your inbox with endless mailings on “getting your next marriage proposal” or “using viagra to prolong sex life”.
You can unsubscribe at any time, by clicking a link provided at the end of every email that will be sent to you. This will ensure your address is instantly as well as  automatically removed from our list.
So say yes and click for best travel deals and wealth of travel information week after week.

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10 Best Amusement Parks of India

10best1IHR is unveiling a new series of informative articles this summer. To be termed as the “10 Best” Series it will showcase some of India’s best loved places, big and small, entertaining and learning across the four corners and beyond. These places would be based on actual experience on the basis of journeys undertaken by our researchers and writers.

Amusement Parks amuses kids and no less the elders. So we thought of starting our series with 10 Best Amusement Parks in India. At the outset we must clear that it is the fun quotient that will be the deciding factor.

Essel World and Water Kingdom, Mumbai IHR Rating: *****

The Essel World together with Water Kingdom is a water theme park of international class. Essel World is located at Gorai village few kilometers away from Mumbai city limits. This amusement center, spread over an area of 64 acres is claimed to be the largest in Asia. The journey to the park is equally exciting if you opt for a ferry ride from the Marve Beach.

Essel world in Mumbai

Essel world in Mumbai

An assortment of rides makes kids and adults alike to go berserk. Some of the attractions include Ricki’s Rocking Alley, Arctic Circle the ice skating ring, Coin operated Game Arcade, the Convoy Truck, Rio Grande Train and a host of other attractions makes for a perfect break.

Shanku Water Park, Ahmedabad IHR Rating: ****

Shanku Water Park is just 60 km from Ahmedabad on the Mehsana Highway. Shanku Water Park is supposed to be the first of its kind in the country. This park has some amazing rides for the children that include towering slides, twisting rides, Aqua Tubes and rollicking wave pools. A beautiful lake with a crystal clear water and full fledged, fitness club and sports complex are the other attractions here. Children below 2 years are allowed free entry and for adults the tariff is Rs 160.

Veega Land, Kochi, IHR Rating: ***

Veega land located to the east of Kochi in god’s own country Kerala is just 24 kms from the city limits is an amusement park with excellent water sports facilities. The place is very picturesque as it is nestled against a verdant hillside. Attractions here include wet and dry, adventure rides, laser shows, musical fountains, virtual reality theater et al. kids below 90 cm in height are allowed free entry.

Snow World, Hyderabad IHR Rating: ***

Want to experience the snowfall of Kashmir or Switzerland in the scorching heat of the Deccan summer? The place to head straight is the Snow World. Located Lower Tank Bund Road in Hyderabad, the place is one helluva of a place that thrills kids and adults alike.

Snow World in Hyderabad

Snow World in Hyderabad

At temperature below zero degree centigrade visitors can look forward to a snow –filled fun holiday. So along with sliding and skating one can also indulge in throwing snowballs at each other. However, the snowfall the prime attraction here takes place for ten minutes in a session of every one-hour.

Worlds of Wonder, Noida IHR Rating: *****

Coming to our very own Noida, Worlds of Wonder amusement park located as part of the Great India Place, in front of the sector- 18 market is perfect for adventure seekers. We have no hesitation to say that it is the best amusement park in the national capital region(NCR) of Delhi. Spread over an area of 145 acres, the park has a gaming zone, open air cafeteria, rain dance music and more than 30 rides, including those for which you need some real nerves.

Worlds of Wonder Noida

Worlds of Wonder Noida

The park has been segmented into three entertainment zones – for kids, teenagers and one for the families with own set of attractions. Children above 3 feet of height are allowed to take rides. For 3 rides the price is Rs 200 and Rs 400 for unlimited rides.

Baywatch, Kanyakumari IHR Rating: ****

Baywatch proves wrong the popular notion that Kanyakumari is all about pilgrimage and temple. High on the fun quotient Baywatch is located on the Kovalam Road just 2 km from the Bus Stand. Though it is the namesake of the famous TV serial featuring Pamela Anderson, but it has got absolutely nothing to do with it. It is the first Amusement park in India that has received ISO 9001:2000 certification. Apart from the usual rides what makes it stand apart is a Wax museum something of a first in India. The celebrities who have their wax models here include Mother Theresa, Manmohan Sigh, Tamil Nadu’s ex CM J. Jayalalitha, Saddam Hussein, superstars Amitab Bacchan, Rajanikanth, Mohan Lal etal. Kids below 90 cm are allowed free entry into this theme park.

MGM Dizzee World, Chennai IHR Rating: ****

MGM Dizzee World located on the East Coast Road (ECR) in Chennai, is a good place to visit for young and olds alike. The park has all the ingredients for a fun filled day. The usual rides include the Roller Coaster, Flying ship, Flying Train. Musical shows in the evening, artificial Wave Pool, amphitheatre and an artificial water falls called as Chinna Kutrallam draws huge crowd here.

Wonder La, Bangalore IHR Rating: ***

Wonder La is located on the Bangalore- Mysore Highway just 30 kms from Bangalore city near Bidadi. The park may not be that5 big but scores on the cleanliness and maintenance front. It provides enough entertainment for the whole family to keep them engaged for the whole day. Water slides, Crazy cars, Termite Coaster, Kiddies Wheel, Mini Express, Toon Tango are some of the rides to look forward to. Kids below 90 cm are allowed free entry.

Ocean Park, Hyderabad IHR Rating: ***

Ocean Park is located at Gandipet near Osman Sagar Lake just 20 km. from Hyderabad. The amusement park spread over a 20 acres of landscaped garden is divided into different sections. In the section for kids there is a wading pool and fountain along with other rides.

For the adults, apart from some really thrilling rides, water slides are also aplenty. A swimming pool and facility for Jet skiing is also available. For the entry tickets, Children above 4 feet five inches height are charged the same as that of adults.

Fun and food Village,Gurgaon IHR Rating: ***

Fun N Food Village is an amusement park for all age groups. It is located just 3 kilometers from the international airport on the Old Delhi – Gurgaon Highway. Special attractions include a large wave pool, indoor Snow Park, amusement rides, water slides etal. Children, when accompanied by adult below the height of 33 inches is granted free entry to the park and Senior citizens( above 65 years of age) are granted some special privileges.


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What’s Hot in the Hot Summer

After the cold winter months, recession etal summer brings in a bunch of positive vibes all around. Suddenly the word vacation is abuzz and plans are afoot to visit the best of places with the best deals with your friend family and loved ones.

With around 500 leads a day you suddenly realize that summer is banging at the door. So are the teams ready to tackle the onslaught of leads, bookings, performance targets? It’s the time for a litmus test of the battle preparedness indicating no more of free times, no leaves or those extended breaks over the cafeteria!

A look at the team and you know IHR is up to the mark this summer with more trained people, strong internal processing, destination experts, travel guides with enhanced local content and to top it all a more user-friendly brand new UI on our web page.

There is frenzied activities across all processes led by an energetic sales team handling leads, making brisk sales and earning handsome bonuses on hitting the bull’s eye, the busy bee travel counselors hooked on the phones and offering n number of choices with the best deals on earth for cool holidays, an exasperated accounts and operations team looking at their excel sheets without battling an eyelid figuring out the honey, the BD and research team scratching their heads to come out with the best destinations and finally the tech team making sure that we can handle the spurt in traffic deftly.

IHR’s arsenal this summer looks deadly with new forays, smart holiday ideas and cool packages. With regular bestsellers like pilgrimages-Vaishno Devi , Ambaji, Shirdi or Tirupati shows no signs of stopping or the perennial favourites, weekend destinations to Ganpatipule, Yeracaud and Yelagiri -IHR’s hands are full.

This summer we are also unleashing our brand new initiatives in set jetting, wellness and IPL, all new travel ideas marking a new chapter in Indiahotelreview.com’s continuing leadership over the budget travel. Where are you heading this summer?

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Taking the Stand: IHR Supports Earth Hour

On the appointed day of March 28, 2009, at 8.30 pm local time, citizens across 1637 cities of the world would take a decisive step forward towards improving the climate of the mother earth. Earth Hour 2009 touted to be the biggest voluntary power shutdown in the history is an exemplary action towards making earth a better place.

IHR supports Earth Hour initiative

IHR supports Earth Hour initiative

We at IndiaHotelReview.com wholeheartedly support this unique effort and appeal to our clients, customers and all other friends in the travel fraternity to take a pledge towards making lesser Carbon Foot prints. We are for Green Travel what about you?

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Writing the Journey: Kolkata’s Neighbouring Gateways

Imagine this, having returned from a long and tiring trip you report to the office and immediately you are asked to put your thoughts into the word processor so that the whole world reads about the places you have seen.

Sounds easy isn’t it? But life is not on a high for a travel writer with IHR. Most of the time on a short trip, you are challenged with how to squeeze more information in the minimum time. You need the best of photographs capturing the slice of a culture in a single snapshot along with the regular attractions, loads of information about the hotels- rates, accommodation et al, distances along with fares and most importantly reproducing the same excitement and movements of a trip that more often than not makes you feel how farcical about the line “be a Travel Writer and get paid to see the world”.

This time the places assigned were as diverse as Mayapur Dham, Darjeeling, Pelling and Gangtok all within 10 days which meant absolutely no time for any relaxation and traveling leisurely.

My first stop was Kolkata’s Sealdah station. A bustling place, which comes to buzz early in the morning, a scene quite contrary to Delhi’s way.

Road Near Sealdah Station early morning

Road Near Sealdah Station early morning

My first destination was Mayapur Dham the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I took the first local train available for Navadweep the nearest railway station for Mayapur Dham. Navadweep is around 2 and a half hours journey from Sealdah.Navadweepa as I found hold on its own as a tourist attraction for a variety of temples and Vaishnava Mathas.

Sri Devananda Goudiya Math at Sri Dham Navadweep

Sri Devananda Goudiya Math at Sri Dham Navadweep

From Navadweep to get to Mayapurdham the best option is to cross the expansive Ganges on a boat from the jetty. Braving a boat ride along with people, cycles and livestock which was no mean task in itself but listening to the unfamiliar conversation amid bit of trepidation was an altogether new experience.

Boat Ride from Navadweep to Mayapur Dham on the Ganga River

Boat Ride from Navadweep to Mayapur Dham on the Ganga River

From Mayapur a short Rickshaw Ride took me to the famed ISKCON Temple complex. Spread over hundreds of acres, the place is far removed from the stark reality outside the temple precincts.It was a solemn place with large number of foreigners all with big tilak on their foreheads and wearing Dhotis and white Saris chanting prayers throughout the day.

The ISKCON Temple at Mayapur Dham

The ISKCON Temple at Mayapur Dham

Finished with the ISKCON Temple I headed for Krishna Nagar by a local bus to get a convenient train ride back to Kolkata. An ingenuity of a vendor selling Lassi using the railings as racks for keeping his wares caught my attention and I could not resist taking a snap.

Ingenuity of a Lassi vendor at the Krishn Nagar Railway Station

Ingenuity of a Lassi vendor at the Krishn Nagar Railway Station

Back to Kolkata and I was on Kanchenjungha Express ready to venture to my next set of destinations. Darjeeling, Pelling and Gangtok. For Darjeeling I had to get down at the NJP station. NJP or NEW Jalpaiguri station is the gateway to the North East. As It was not a tourist season ( It was during February) the station gave a secluded look and the railway over bridge was one of the most clean I found on the railway station in india.

The clean Foot over bridge at NJP Station

The clean Foot over bridge at NJP Station

Plenty of taxies are available at the NJP railway station for Darjeeling. The 4 hours drive in a share Taxi through the picturesque sceneries and not so comfortable roads cost me Rs 220. The route bypasses the Siliguri Town and links to national highway 55 for Darjeeling. Darjeeling is really beautiful and with the arrival of the malls and multiplexes does not look that much of an isolated hill station.

A busy Darjeeling morning

A busy Darjeeling morning

IF you are South Indian and love Tea then these two things should excite you. Hotel Lunar in the heart of the city provides sumptuous South Indian specialties and Tawang Tea Stall sells finest quality Darjeeling Tea at Rs 5 per cup.

My next destination was Pelling in Sikkim 120 kilometers from Darjeeeling. Tourists to Pelling should note here one or two vital things that I found out. (i) There are no direct vehicle available for Pelling from Darjeeling during off seasons .(ii) You have to reach a place called Jorethang almost midway (iii) From Jorethang you do not get any vehicle for Pelling after 4 in the evening.

Pelling at around 6800 feet is a beautiful place and relatively peaceful perhaps also as I was not in the height of the tourist season. Again a piece of information for travelers, I was told that after 2 pm you can’t get any vehicle for outside from Pelling. This puts a lot of discomfiture to harried travelers like me.

Finally my last destination was Gangtok the capital of Sikkim at a distance of around 120 km from Pelling. Gangtok is a beautiful place and moves at a leisurely pace with no body in any hurry.

MG Marg of Gangtok invigorates with a relaxed pace

MG Marg of Gangtok invigorates with a relaxed pace

From Gangtok plenty of transportation is available for different places. After spending a night I Traveled back to NJP in a share Taxi for Rs 350 and took North east express for Delhi to end my sojourn in the east and north east India.

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