05 hand-picked vacation destinations that are worth a visit in Gujarat


  1. The north west desert ( rann of Kutch )

The white sands portrayed in the tourism of ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’ are well within travel reach. This place is an ideal for winter travel as daytimes are less hot while night are really entrancing.

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White Rann of Kuch

Special attraction: there is a place in the Banni Grasslands which is adjoining the Rann of Kutch where according to locals one can see floating lights move around the air. Locals call the phenomenon ‘cheer batti’ or ghost lights which can be seen 2 to 10 feet off ground. Scientists believe the lights are scientific photo emission by oxidation of Phosphine and Disphosphane gases however local legends can be fun to hear over a full moon for adrenaline seeking travelers.

  1. Gir Forest and Girnar
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Cubs been fed my Lioness at Gir Lion National Park, Sasan Gir 

This region between Junagadh and Amreli district are known for its diverse wildlife. It is home to the Asiatic Lion and the Girnar Mountain. This place can be of great adventure for people who find solace in the wild.

Special attraction: the place is the world’s second home to Lions outside Africa. One can also get a chance to mingle with the local ‘siddi’ population whose ancestry can be traced back to African tribes. The mountain Girnar is also a host to ‘Naga Babas’ or naked saints and witnessing them is considered a good omen. It is also a known fact that the formation of this mountain is older than the Himalayan Range.

  1. The deep forests of Dang
Saputara Picnic

Saputara, only Hill Station of Gujarat in Dang Forest Region

Popular among travelers as Saptuara forest; this place is a good winter retreat. The place has a lot to offer for tourists ranging from treks and hiking to a whole unexplored wildlife.

Special attractions: there are a lots of hotels that offer stay in three houses which can be of interest. There might also be a few waterfalls to visit in this area. Taking a good day’s hike in the forests can be of great adventure.

  1. Dwarka & Somnath
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Somnath Temple overlooking Somnath Beach 

These places are of high religious importance. Each of them has a unique spiritual experience to offer.

Special attraction: dwarka is home to ‘bet dwarka’ which is like the lost city of Atlantis and is submerged in water. Somnath is one of the ‘Jyotirlings’ which lord Shiva himself has established which makes it a very significant destination for religious and spiritual people alike. Somnath also has a beach.

  1. Diu & Daman
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Diu 

Contrary to popular befief, Diu & Daman are far away from each other. However both of them offer a good winter gateway with coastal climate and beaches.

Special Attraction: it wouldn’t be wrong to mention it is one of special attractions for anyone wanting to unwind a bit. Daman is soon to be host to onshore gaming complexes (casinos) and it has recently been host to Sunburn Music Festival. Diu is known for its Diu Fort and the Naida Caves.

When the travel bug bites all these places can be on the list for the various special attractions they have to offer. Tourists not wanting to travel far off lands can find proximity in all of these places. After all; all of them have ‘Khushboo Gujarat ni’ in common.

Most action-packed jungles


Tiger scouting, Chitwan National Park, Nepal

If you want to see a tiger that isn’t shuffling about in a zoo or on the front of a cereal packet, head for Chitwan National Park in the Nepalese jungle, where there’s a 75 percent likelihood of a sighting. There are also night tours to further help you glimpse this nocturnal beast. But even if you don’t, it’s still the perfect place to channel your inner Mowgli, with heaps of other wildlife on view, such as leopards, sloths and water buffalo. Travel is via a mixture of elephant back, canoe, jeep and foot.

Tiger Safaris  are accompanied by a zoologist and local naturalist guides. Jeep tours and on-foot tracking tours are available, best taken late November to early May.


Gorilla tracking, Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, Central African Republic

When a trip promises ‘long and uncomfortable journeys’ by plane, jeep and canoe, there had better be a super-bright light at the end of the tunnel. In the case of the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, there certainly is – it’s one of the few places where tourists can track the majestic but critically endangered western lowland gorillas. Fewer than 2000 westerners are thought to have visited this stunning jungle region, which is also home to forest elephants, buffalo, crocodiles and red river hogs, and the local Ba’Aka pygmy tribe, who help with the gorilla tracking.

It can take three to eight hours to track the gorillas, after which you’ll move with the group or sit as they groom.

Joy In the Rains


Monsoons In Maharashtra

A Rain Rendezvous In Kolad, Khandala, Harnai and Lavasa

lavasa

Discover Konkans scenic coastal beaches unique culture and cuisine that is specially lovely in the rains. Monsoon is when the locals love to visit the Sahyadris, when rain brings new life to the region and the water laden clouds hungs so low that you can walk in the clouds. With hundreds of waterfalls mushrooming all over the state, you are transported to a surreal, dreamy world of misty mornings, pleasant afternoons and chilly evenings.

Wake up to the sunrise on a mountain or sea fort and sunsets on a remote beach. Explore the myriad Konkan, its forests, forts and beaches. Go hiking, walking, rafting, segway riding, nature trailing, camping, driving or just watch the rain from your patio.

Experience the best of multiple landscapes in the same trip – Enjoy River, Ocean, Mountains and the Wilderness in the same trip with many ‘unique experiences’ for everybody in the family that makes for a forever memorable experience in Maharashtra Unlimited.

  1. Konkan – In the Middle of the River Kundalika in Kolad at Rivertrail Eco
  2. Konkan – On the Harnai Beach at Lotus Beach Resort
  3. Western Ghats – Overlooking the Valley at The Duke’s Retreat in Khandala and Ekaant Resort in Lavasa

For bookings write to us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or adlertourssafaris6@gmail.com 

 

Walking in the wild


A valley to soothe your soul
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks ( Uttarkhand )

Trekkers, naturalists, artists and poets love to map the glaciers, rivers and streams of the Nanda Devi and Valley of flowers National Park, with its gentler landscape and placid alpine meadows, beautifully complements the rugged, inaccessible, high-mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi. Both parks are ripe with flora and fauna, with a sizeable population of the elusive Himalayan musk deer and even the snow leopard. For bird watchers, the place is an absolute treat.

Tip:- The trek can be arrange through the DMVN Mountaineering and Trekking division in Rushikesh

Highlight:- During and post monsoons, the floor of valley of flowers us covered with a carpet of rare flowers like brahmakamal and blue poppy!

Best time to visit: – July to October. (Valley of flowers) and April – October (Nanda Devi National Park).

Spot the Elusive snow leopard
Hemis High Altitude National Park ( Jammu and Kashmir )

The high – altitude park derives its name from the Hemis Gompa, a famous Buddhist monastery situated near Leh ( India ). The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers cordons the park and is a treat for the eyes. “ While the park is most sought – after for its snow leopard sight – seeing, it’s also home to bharal or the blue sheep, Ladakhi urial, Himalayan Marmots and Tibetan Wild ass,” says seasoned trekker and photographer Neelima Vallangi. The fact that these areas are protected makes them pristine minus any litter. However, there is a high chance of coming down with Acute Mountain Sickness ( AMS ) on this trek, if not acclimatized enough. The only place to stay during these treks is in campsites by pitching your own tents.

Tip: – Light crampons might be useful in crossing snow – ridden sections;

Highlight: – The trek offers some of the most rugged landscapes in the country that keeps changing color and form every few hours;

Best time to visit: – July to September

Waterfall of hope
Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary ( Himachal Pradesh )

Virtually explored, the Kugti wildlife Sanctuary leads you through steep slopes, rough terrain, snow and glaciers. The mountains on this trek are replete with greenery and the slopes are lined with many waterfalls making for beautiful scenery along the way. High – altitude Himalayan fauna species have made this sanctuary their home, including the endangered goat called Himalayan Thar. It also houses the famous Manimahesh Temple that is annually visited by thousands of pilgrims.

Tip:- Ensure all your supplies for the trek are bought at Bharmour since you don’t get much beyond rice and dal at the Kugti village

Highlight :- The trek has medicinal plants along the way with some rare floral species as well.

Best time to visit:- September is a good time as the snow melts and the pass is open for crossing.

A view of Mt. Everest
Singalila National Park ( West Bengal, India )

steal a look at the Everest on this trek located in the higher ridges of Darjeeling Himalayas. One can reach the start of the trel at Moneybhajan by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and further from there in vintage Land Rover jeeps. The trek can be done in three days or more with an option of a side trip of Phalut, through the ridge where one gets unrivalled panoramic views of Mr. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest! As you trek, you will pass through areas full of oaks, ferns, silver firs, bamboo and flowering plants like rhododendrons, wide range of orchids, magnolias and a lot more.

Tip :- there are government – run trekkers’ hut that provide basic accommodation. One can also stay at government – run lodges in Ghoom, Darjeeling or Siliguri

Highlight:- Home to exotic red panda and Himalayan black bear

Best time to visit:- March – April

For Trekking Packages contact us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or visit us at http://www.adler-tours.com

10 MUST VISIT PLACES ON A TRIP TO KENYA


Kenya is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. With its beautiful people from different cultures, animals and breathtaking vegetation, there is no way anyone would not want to visit the country. Tourists come to Kenya for both safaris and business purposes. There are many places which serve as both Kenya luxury safaris rand Kenya normal safaris (cheap). But what are the places that every tourist wants to visit whenever on a visit to Kenya? We have compiled a list of 10 must visit Places while on a Kenyan safari.

1.Nairobi National Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANairobi National Park is about 7 KM away from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi which is equivalent to a 10 minute drive. The park’s environment is comprised of open grass plains and scattered Acacia bushes. There are several tree species found here like, Apodytes dimidiataCanthium schimperiana among others. Some of the animals found here are black rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Ostrich, Maasai giraffe among others. Nairobi’s towers are visible from the park.

2.Maasai Mara National Park

masai maraThis is the most visited tourist attraction site in Kenya. It’s famous for its remarkable population of wild animals and famous wildebeest migration. The Wildebeest Migration which takes place each year from July to October is one of the ‘Wonders of the World’. There are several hotels, Camps and conservancies that offer accommodation while on a visit to Maasai Mara.

3. Lake Nakuru

lake nakuruLake Nakuru is one of the soda Lakes in Rift Valley Kenya. The Lake is famous for its beautiful flamingos that give a breathtaking view to tourists. It’s often referred to as the greatest bird spectacle on earth. Other animals found here are Baboons, Warthogs and the black & White rhinoceros. Other birds also camp at the lake.

4.Samburu National Reserve

samburu nrThe Samburu National reserve is located in Northern Kenya on the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River. This is a nice destination to see wild animals like blue-legged ostriches, Elephants, Leopard, Zebra as well as enjoy the culture and traditional practices of the Samburu People. There are daily flights from Nairobi to Samburu.

5.Mount Kenya

mt kenyaThis is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Second highest mountain in the whole of Africa. Its slopes are covered with forests while its highest peaks are covered with snow. The highest peaks are Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m which are difficult to climb. However, there is another peak Lenana (4985m) which is easily accessible and tourists have much fun climbing it. Tourists can use huts built on the mountain for accommodation or put up tents.

6.Tsavo National Park

tsavo npTsavo National park is comprised of Tsavo east and Tsavo West National Parks. It’s located in the Kenyan coast. Tsavo East National Park is famous for Bird watching, animals like the Cape buffalo, Caracal, African Wildcat etc., Rock Climbing, Falls and dams and several other attractions. Tsavo West is famous for Rock climbing and wide range of wildlife.

7.Malindi and Watamu

malindi and watamuIf you are looking for a beach safari, Malindi is the place to visit while on a Kenyan Safari. It is an island located in the Kenyan coast surrounded by magnificent beaches. Watamu, also found in the Kenyan coast about 15 KM south of Maslindi is surrounded by beautiful beaches and has a National Park. Fishing is also practiced here. This is also where one of the world’s largest spitting cobra called “Nasha Ajei” was discovered in 2007.

8.Lamu

lamuLamu Island, found in the Kenyan coast is one of the oldest cities in Kenya. It is the place to go to when you want to ‘run away’ from the world. There are no disturbing matatus and buses here. Donkeys are greatly used as a means of transport. One will also find comfort in the beautiful oceanic waves. It is a quiet Kenya Safari destination.

9.Amboseli National Park

amboseli npIt is located on the Kenya-Tanzania border on the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro; the highest mountain in Africa. Amboseli National Park is famous for elephants and a very beautiful view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

10.Hells Gate

hells gateAs the name suggests, it’s one of the most adventurous Kenya safari destinations. It is the only place where tourists can take unguided walks and cycles. It is famous for its steep cliffs, gorges basalt columns and varied wildlife (few). Hells gate is one of the historical sites in Kenya.

For Packages, write to us on, adler-tours@hotmail.com
Or visit us at, http://www.adler-tours.com

Travel Thrill in the Chill


High on Heli – Skiing

Get over your latent acrophobia this winter. Have a go at Heliskiing. This adventurous winter sport is all about navigating thick snow and getting over your hear of heights. The helicopter leave you at the top of a snow – capped peak and, from there, you have to crisscross you way downward. The sport brings out the thrill – seeking explorer in you, as you have to ski through un known routes and ridges. Some of the best locations to enjoy this winter activity are : Gulmarg in Kashmir and Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, Rohtang Pass and Chandrakhani Pass near Manali. Gulmarg has the most ideal type of snow for heli-skiing – the fluffy powder or granular snow which is also known as re-crystallized sugar snow. But remember to gather as much knowledge as possible converning avalanches, alternate routes and safety since the terrain is a steep and tough one.

Snow leopard trail

snow leopard ladakh

Tiger safaris suddenly seem last season with adventure travelers booking mountains safaris to chase the endangered show leopard! They don’t mind the cold, nforgiving terrain of Spiti and Ladakh for that one fleeting sight of the ‘mountain ghost’. The best site to spot the cat is Hemis National Park in Eastern Ladakh. You can also spot rare species like blue sheep, argali ( a large horned sheep ), numerous mountain and migratory birds, as well as an occasional Tibetan wolf. Chances of snow leopard sighting are stronger in winter since they descend to lower elevations in search of fodd. If lucky, you can actually see one preched high on the races or balanced on a vertical ridge. We can offer snow Leopard trails combined with the home stay experience. You will be accompanied by a snow leopard expert, a cook, porters and mules to help carry camping equipment on you week – long expedition.

Romantic interlude

Misty views, fragrant tea plantations and an overall dreamy spell in the air – Kurseong is perfect love nest in winter with its small town, non-commercial vibe. Kickstart the journey on a romantic note by taking the toy train or The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, from Darjeeling, to reach this old – world hill station. Check into a nice – bed and breakfast place attached to various tea plantations, like Castleton, Makaibari, Ambotia or Goomtee etc, to enjoy an endless supply of home grown teas. Makabari Tea Eastate also offers visitors an insight into its history, the art of tea processing and a tea garden trek.

Camp in cool dunes

jaisalmer desert fest.

A balmy winter retreat in Rajasthan is ideal for those looking for a moderate cool weather. Flanked by the Thar Desert in the west, Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) bears a dry and hot countenance round the year, except in winter months when it wakes up from its long summer hibernation to celebrate the night chill. The city fills up with color and music with gypsy dancers and sarangi musicians entertaining under a star – lit sky. You could snooze on mattresses under the open sky next to a bonfire or snug up in a cozy Swiss tent for the night. To make it more fin, find out if there are any astronomy trips happening around that time for some star – gazing.

For Tours packages contact:- 00 91 281 2483878 or mail us at adler-tours@hotmail.com
Visit our Website, http://www.adler-tours.com 

Coasting Cornwall


A six—day coastal hike offers up the best of Cornish scenery, history and, of course, pasties

cornwall coast.jpegYou’ll find the best Cornish pasties in all of Cornwall in Porthleven,” the walker told me, leaning on the bar of the Tinners Arms in the village of Zennor. With his walking stick propped against a stool, he was your stereotypical British rambler, and his unshaven and tanned appearance suggested that he’d been hiking for many days. He was probably a long-hauler, walking the full 630 miles of England’s longest footpath — the spectacular South West Coast Path.

In a roller coaster of stunning scenery, the trail scales the tops of rugged cliff lines, descends into isolated sandy beaches where the only company for the walker are seals and gulls. It skirts the ruins of old tin mines, mounts numerous stiles over stone walls dating back to the Bronze Age, and drops each night into one of many traditional mining and fishing villages along the way.

The South West Coast Path is partly based on trails created by coastguards patrolling the area for the many smugglers that abounded in these parts up until the turn of the last century. For this reason, the path literally hugs the coast.

harbour town of St IvsWith limited time I’d chosen to walk  the most scenic six day section, walking from St Ives, around Land’s End  (Britain’s most westerly point) to Lizard Point (Britain’s most southerly point) — a total of 65 miles of Cornwall at its best.

It was an early September day punctuated with the raucous cries of seagulls. Down on St Ives harbour side, amusement arcades rang with the sounds of one-armed bandit machines, while the sea air was tinged with the sickly sweet aroma of candyfloss and toffee apples. Colourfully painted fishing boats were just returning with the day’s catch, salty characters loaded off their catch of crab, kippers and had dock, destined for the town’s numerous fish and chip shops.

In the early sunshine, I walked along the waterfront, past the Three Ferrets where I had indulged in a celebratory few the night before and climbed up the steep road lined with terraced fishermen’s cottages out on to the coastal heathland above the town.

village of porthlevenThe sea breeze whipped the tangy scents of salt and seaweed into our lungs as I pulled away from St Ives. The views of the rooftops soon slipped beyond the farmers’ fields and hedgerows. A few miles further on the going quickly got tough. The trail began a series of plunging descents into rock-strewn coves and torturously steep ascents on to headlands offering panoramic views of turquoise waters below.

The secretive nature of this rugged coastline was perfectly suited to the nefarious trade of smuggling, which for centuries was a way of line in Cornwall. In the 1800s, it became a highly recognised business. Elaborate codes using flashing lights or fires were sent from strategic positions in the numerous coves to let smuggling vessels know of the whereabouts of the excise men.

While walking, I imagined the clandestine landing parties pulling their heavily loaded boats up the beach, to be met by the local residents who, in the dead of night were waiting to cart the contraband away. The clifftops above provided the perfect lookout for anyone approaching from either direction along the coastal pathway.

For my first morning, seven miles wasn’t bad start, and the Tinners Arms, the one-time home of DH Lawrence in 1916, provided a welcome lunch stop. You will get an eyeful of the old copper mines in the next two days and be sure to have a pint at The Star in St Just,” continued the walker in sporadic bursts between mouthfuls of fisherman’s pie.

village of Mousehole“Well it’s all up and down from here to St Ives,” I replied. “And watch yourself around the badger’s sett near Polgassick Cove; it’s right on the path and big enough to fall into.” It was a typical exchange of walkers going in opposite directions on the path.

By 7.30pm that first evening, after a marathon 18 miles to St Just, a B&B had never looked so good and a watering down at The Star was just the ticket to wash away the salt and lubricate my aching muscles. The first day set the scene for the days to come and the good weather continued. Blazing blue skies and no hint of the infamous fogs that can turn the clifftop trail into a treacherous trap.

Day two offered everything the walker at the Tinners Arms had predicted. Like empty eye sockets, the windows of derelict mine pumping stations followed me as I strode past. Old chimneys pointed at the sky like bony fingers and mine shafts dug into sheer cliff faces disappeared into the depths of the earth.

lone outpostThe path skirted past the picturesque engine houses of the Crowns Shaft of Botallack perched far below on a rocky outcrop. The workings once stretched well under the sea and it was said that the miners could hear the boulders rumbling over the seabed above their heads. It was certainly a tough life in such a dangerous and wet environment.

Land’s End is a milestone and, for the British, this magnificent rugged headland marks the most westerly point of the country. For walkers, it is a paradox of beauty and ugliness, but, perhaps more significantly, it’s a left hand turn on the final stretch.

Peter de Savary’s theme park sits like an ugly white elephant on this iconic point. A vast river of cars streams into the car park, disgorging visitors set on having their photos taken under the famous signboard for a few quid. I felt a sense of smugness as I walked past the queue, continuing on my way.

Although mining is the focus along the rugged west Penwith Coast, as I turned east, fishing took over and quaint villages punctuated the gentler terrain. Dropping into hidey-hole villages like Mousehole and Porthleven was a highlight and the promised Cornish pasties at the Porthleven bakery were beyond expectations.

Fishing has long been the mainstay of the economy and many of the towns have wonderful medieval harbour walls where an assortment of colourful boats lies at varying degrees depending on the tide. This is quintessential Cornwall at its most picturesque.

My last stretch was a gentle amble along grassy cliff tips, climbing over numerous stone stiles between fields with only a few steep plunges into wide sandy bays.

After only six days of walking, it was with a tinge of regret that I first caught a glimpse of Lizard Point. The freedom of literally tramping through a land rich with natural beauty and history was addictive. And as I climbed up on to England’s most southerly point, I was already plotting another six days further along the South West Coast Path.

Courtesy by K.T.

chough bakery, padstow

cornish fishing village

beckoning shores

A WALK IN THE CLOUDS


It is a dramatic opening act to an adventurous sojourn. There was a nail-biting and heart-in-the-mouth landing at Paro airport, after lurching through the serrated peaks of some of the highest mountains in the world and a brilliant blue sky. The immaculate airport looks more like an ornate tiered castle with carved windows and wooden roofs – an appropriate portal to this last Shangri-La.

bhutan-traditional outfitI arrive in this country with a blessing –with a sungkeye or a red thread tied on my wrist by a Buddhist priest, warding off evil spirits. Bhutan moves as its own rhythm –sequestered in self-imposed isolation over the years and today following a unique ‘low volume, high value tourism policy’. What is unique about this country is that it has never been conquered, never been occupied by any foreign power. Change came to this Utopia slowly; television and internet in 1999 and cell phones in 2003.

Bhutan is rigidly traditional in so many ways. Even today the Bhutanese life is governed by Driglam Namzhe – an official dress, behaviour and architecture code that traces its roots to Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the Tibetan lama and military leader who sought to unify Bhutan.

The Bhutanese are required to wear traditional dress in schools, public offices and at official functions. The men wear the Kimono-like gho, cinched at the waist like a kilt, with incongruous knee length socks and shoes and the women wear the wrap-around skirts with three panels called kira with silk jackets. Many Bhutanese still walk miles on mountain paths to schools and fields and cook on wood stoves.

traditional architectureI love the traditional architecture which is prevalent throughout the country – exquisitely crafted wooden roofs, painted windows, columns and beams. Motifs of double dorjes or thunderbolts with colourful clouds, dragons and lotuses adorn the houses. Most of the agriculture is still done by traditional methods; crops are mostly harvested by hand.

Everywhere I see the unquestioning reverence for the monarch – a whiff of fresh air to my senses jaded by corrupt politicians. “We love our king” is the constant refrain that I hear when I notice locals sporting badges of the royal couple. The perfect counterpoint to all the tradition is the night clubs where young Bhutanese in jeans and spiky hairdos dance the night away.

Uma Paro

Our boutique Hotel Uma Paro looks like a rustic dzong, built in the traditional architectural style of Bhutan, with shingles held down by small stones, well crafted cornices, carved and hand-painted windows and minimalistic interiors.

Our spacious villa comes with a butler – gentle Sengay is our Man Friday, our guide and fountainhead of all things local. He offers archery lessons, lights a wood fire in the room and plans our itinerary. I am reminded of Linda Leaming in her book Married to Bhutan when i meet Sengay: “if I had to name the biggest difference between Bhutan and the rest of the world, I could do it in one world, civility”.

Paro’s main street is short, filled with stout two-storied buildings with rickety stairs draped with swathes of scarlet chillies, small cafes, prayer wheels and handicraft shops. The Rinpung Dzong looms ahead with its roofs and eaves, a striking contrast against the craggy mountains. Dzong were impregnable fortress meant to keep the Tibetan invaders out – today they house monks, temples and serve as the administrative headquarters. Traditionally they were built with no written plan and no nails.

Rinpung dzongAs I enter the dzong, saffron-robed monks scurry across the stone courtyard. I am entranced by the murals and carvings – a sensory overload with motifs drawn from local culture with gods and goddesses, demons and thunderbolts all women into a fascinating narrative. My favourite is the depiction of the legend of the Four Harmonious Friends, a favourite Buddhist tale. Four animals cooperate here to plant a seed, grow a fruit tree, and harvest its fruit to share with each other.

I visit the Dumsteg Lhakhang or the iron bridge temple and learn about the iron bridge builder Thangton Gyelpo, a Tibetan spritiual master who brought the knowledge of ironwork to Bhutan. He is said to have built more than 108 iron suspension bridges around Bhutan and Tibet. This iron bridge lama seems multi faceted – he used to compose folk songs and indulged in opera too!

Chelela PassWe drive through vertiginous forests of spruce, fir and juniper, with wispy lichen draped on silver fir trees, rejuvenated by the deep mountain silence, passing shaggy yaks at higher altitudes. We crunch our way on icy roads to the highest point on Bhutanese roads, the Chele La Pass with a panoramic view of the Himalayas and the second highest peak Jhomolhari. In typical Bhutanese style, the mountains cannot be climbed as they are revered and holy. Through the gossamer folds of multi-coloured prayer flags, weathered by wind and rain, I look down at the photogenic Haa Valley, only recently opened to tourism. Prayer flags flap in the wind all over the country,carrying prayers to heaven like invisible Morse code- for good luck, protection form an illness or help in achieving a goal.

All along the road, we pass crevices in rocks filled with tsa tsa – small triangular mud pies, painted white or gold, contained ashes of departed souls. We hike up to the Kila La Nunnery, clinging to a vertical cliff where more than sixty nuns live in self-imposed isolation, spending their time in meditation and social service. I get a glimpse of the maroon-robed nuns as they go about their daily routine, many of them teenagers. I understand that many families send at least one son or daughter to be a monk and serve humanity in order to earn “heavenly merit”.

Back at the hotel, I soak in traditional hot stone bath to relieve my tired traveller’s muscles. Heated river stones are used to warm the waters, treated with Himalayan salts and infused with camphor leaves. When you strike a Buddhist singing bowl, unseen hands in the next room send a stone rolling down the chute.

National sport of Bhutan ArcheryEven Bhutan’s entertainment is old-fashioned and quaint. Archery competitions can be witnessed throughout Paro and its outskirts, where women pack lunch and cheer the men on and teams celebrate their hits at targets 140 metres away with a victory twirl, a song and dance and trophies of brightly coloured scarves added to their waistbands. I get a glimpse of the influence of the outside world – the Bhutanese spend a lot of money on their hobby and do not use bamboo but expensive high tech carbon fibre bows and arrows!

We visit the National Museum high up on a hill, which used to be an old watchtower of the dzong and was renovated to become a museum. This peculiar circular building is filled with wooden carvings, coin collections, the biggest mask in Bhutan and a stamp gallery showcasing the culture and history of the country over the years. Bhutan is a heaven for stamp collectors – with a variety of stamps, some even with recordings in them.

Far away I see the iconic Tiger’s Nest monastery, clinging to a vertiginous granite cliff strung with colourful prayer flags, where Guru Rinpoche is said to have arrived in the 8th century, on the back of a flying tigress. I regretfully file it under my mental list of “things to do on my next trip”. I wish I was blessed with a capacious pair of lungs but I am not taking chances with the water thin air that has already made me heady.

The winds of change are blowing over this pristine kingdom. In 2006, the fourth king who was a visionary (he set up health care systems, hydroelectric schemes, and banned western-type buildings) not only voluntarily gave up the throne to his son but also ordered that the country hold its first democratic elections. The last Shangri-La may not be as insulated from the modern world as it has been for centuries. May be the best time to see Bhutan is now.

Courtesy by K.T.

Space out in Namibia


From the towering dunes of the Namibia Desert, which stretches for 1500 km along the Atlantic Coast, to the endless white plans of Etosha, Namibia’s vast open spaces lie at the heart of an amazing travel experience.

01-namibia-jeeps_30453_600x450FOUR TIMES THE size of Great Britain and with a population of just over two million, Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. And while assuring visitors plenty of elbow room, the country’s vast open spaces lie at the heart of an amazing travel experience that is unlike any other.

From the towering dunes of the Namib Desert which stretches for 1500 km along the Atlantic Coast, to the endless white plains of Etosha, one of Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, Namibia unfolds a kaleidoscope of magical landscapes, unchanged with the passage of time. In the south, the Fish River Canyon is perhaps the continent’s most awe-inspiring sight, while the rough seascape of the Skeleton Coast, littered with shipwrecks and bleached whale bones presents one of the most surreal experiences on the planet.

Scattered into the mix are charming German colonial towns which sit anachronistically at the edge of the desert; abandoned mining outposts half swallowed by sands; and nomadic settlements where tribes lead lives not very differently from their ancient ancestors whose rock engravings in the valleys of Twyfelfontein are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Despite the long distances, Namibia’s attractions are easily accessible thanks to its highly developed tourism infrastructure. World class tour operators offer a variety of well organized 4X4 road safaris, camping tours and treks to suit every taste and budget, with itineraries extending from 3 to 18 days. Accommodation options range from 5 star luxury resorts to eco – friendly campsites where the adventurous can sleep under starry African skies.

Namibia’s centrally located capital Windhoek is the ideal base for exploring the vastness of country. Though many of the city’s major landmarks such as Christuskirche and Tintenpalast (Parliament Building) hark back to Namibia’s days as a German colony when it was known as German Southwest Africa, Windhoek also boasts plenty of modern architecture and is known for its remarkable cleanliness. The Windhoek Country Club built in 1995 to host that year’s Miss Universe pageant offers superior lodgings and excellent service along with a casino and 18-hole golf course.

South to Sossusvlei

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Driving south to Sossusvlei brings a taste of the dramatic landscapes that are the hallmark of the Namibian road trip. Just after the town of Reheboth, the gravel road decends into a starkly beautiful wilderness where grassy plains and low hills stretch out in every direction for as far as the eye can see. Passing by herds of mountain zebra, solitary Oryx and the occasional vehicle, the 375 km gravel route to Sossusvlei can be covered in 5 hours – with the immense dimensions of the remote landscape giving the journey a dreamlike feel.

The visually stunning Sossusvlei pan is the most visited part of the Namib Desert. Formed over millions of years when the course of the Taschaub River was smothered by shifting sands, the dried out pan is surrounded by the world’s tallest dunes which rise up to a staggering 450 metres above the ground. Sossusvlei is part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park and a couple of night’s stay in the area is recommended to better appreciate the grandeur of the world’s oldest desert.

Sossusvlei Lodge, billed as the ‘Gateway to the Namib’ is located not far from the park entrance and offers luxury accommodation that blends perfectly into its desert surrounds. Along with alfresco dining to views of springbok and ostrich drinking at the floodlit watering hole, it is a place to enjoy glorious sunsets and perfect solitude.

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The best time to visit the Sossusvlei pan is at dawn when the dunes seem to glow and change colours through shades of deep orange and red as the sun begins its ascent. Those climbing to the top of Dune 45 are further rewarded with sweeping all round views of a sea of massive, crescent-shaped dunes that extend all the way to the horizon, It is a truly magnificent sight that evokes the sheer power of nature, amidst the deafening silence that pervades the scene.

Nearby, the white clay pan of Deadvlei presents a ghostly spectacle. Surrounded by major dunes, the basin resembles a lunar landscape in which the blackened skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees stand starkly against the white clay, their branches reaching out eerily to the sky. Another major attraction in the area is the narrow Sesirem Canyon whose Afrikaans name refers to the six Oryx skin belts that pioneers had to use to lower buckets to the pools below.

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Though there are some good hiking trails in Sesirem as well as the adjoining Naukluft mountains, the country’s top hiking destination is the Fish River Canyon which lies much further to the south. The most popular camping and hiking trail here is a 4 day; 85 km expedition through the world’s second largest canyon that ends at the Ai-Ais hot springs. Shorter and less daunting hikes are also available, as are mule safaris in which all backpacks and equipment are transported by a team of mules.

Atlantic Coast

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It’s another 350 km from Sossusvlei to the coastal resort of Swakopmund. After a brief stop at the town of Solitaire, which comprises mainly a petrol pump and a general store, the road heads north over the Naukluft Mountains, soon crossing the sign that marks the Tropic of Capricorn. At a secret desert location near here crews have been filming Mad Max: Road Fury, the latest edition of the Mad Max franchise.

Arriving at the Atlantic Ocean after days in the outback, Swakopmund paints a pretty picture. The town’s colonial origins are quite evident in the traditional German buildings dating from the early 1900s, with names such as Hohenzollern Haus and Altes Amtsgericht. On the palm-lined seaside promenade, along with the historic former lighthouse there are many cafes and art galleries, and restaurants serving the freshest seafood. Off season the town bears a near-deserted look, making it a great place to stay a few days to soak in the delightful ambience. Although Swakopmund is known for its old world charm, the town is also the extreme sports capital of Namibia. The action lies in the surrounding desert where professional adventure companies offer a host adrenaline fuelled activities such as skydiving, parasailing, quadbiking and sandboarding. Also on offer from nearby Walvis Bay are dolphin cruises   which include a visit to Cape Cross where tens of thousands of seals gather in boisterous colonies.

Namibia is a country of amazing contrasts and adventure lovers are truly spoiled for choice here. From watching lions in the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, to exploring the basalt valleys of Damaraland and the thick woodlands of Kavango, there is a lot more to be discovered. But wherever you choose to go, you are assured to have a series of powerful, soul-lifting experiences that will remain etched in the mind forever; and will make you want to return to Namibia -Land of the Brave.

For packages to Namibia please feel free to contact us, we even  have a self drive package.
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Hidden Gems of India – Pachmarhi (Satpura Range, Madhya Pradesh)


Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh’s most verdant gem. A lovely hill resort girdled by the Satpura ranges, it offers absolute tranquility. Bridle paths lead into placid forest groves of wild bamboo, jamun, dense sal forests and delicate bamboo thickets. It is widely known as Satpura ki Rani (“Queen of Satpura”), situated at a height of 1100 m in a valley of the Satpura Range in Hosghangabad District.

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The single hill station in Madhya Pradesh, Pachmarhi is a large flat terrain, circled by the snooty knolls of the Satpura range. Its countryside is characterized by rocky hills, woody forests and deep canyons. The lustrous greenery combined with the majestic hills and the cascading waterfalls presents eye-catching scenery to the observer. One among the main attractions of this hilly resort is the spectacular sight it provides when the sun sets in the horizon.

In Pachmarhi, the magnificence of nature is well complimented by the hands of man. Large-scale excavations in this hilly terrain reveal so many ancient caves that are of great value on an archaeological point of view.

Location:- 

Pachmarhi is located at 3500 feet above sea level near the heart of Madhya Pradesh the “Queen of the Hills” Satpura Range.

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Access routes by Air:- 

Nearest Airport is Bhopal 210 Km, Indore 390 km, Jabalpur 250 Km and Nagpur 270 Km.

Access by Road:-

Pachmarhi is well connected from Bhopal and Indore. Buses start from Habibganj ISBT of Bhopal and generally take close to 5–6 hours to reach Pachmarhi. The buses move through different towns like Hoshangabad, Babai, Sohagpur and Pipariya.

Access by Rail:-

Pachmarhi is 54 km from Pipariya Railway station. 150 km from Itarsi Railway station.

For packages Contact us on adler-tours@hotmail.com
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Visit us at, www.adler-tours.com

Stay Tuned, for other gorgeous Hill Stations in India !!

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