Travel Travails of Bengal Fan

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Christmas in Mexico – Feliz Navidad!!

Mexico

Christmas is a 48 days celebration in Mexico. It begins on December 16 with the posadas procession and continues till Candlemas on 2nd February. The celebrations in Mexico are very different from the entire world as they celebrate the festival for the longest duration. Mexican traditions are influenced by the Latin American culture.

And know that I’m with you always; yes, till the end of time – Jesus Christ.

The posadas are the main tradition of the Mexicans, they were earlier as a form of entertainment and are now have become a ritual. Kids or even family members enact the legend of birth of Jesus Christ. They dress up like pilgrims and carry idols of Mother Mary and Joseph. They knock at every house and ask for a shelter. They keep moving to and fro until someone finally allows them in. The posadas continue every day until the Christmas Eve ‘nochebeauna’. On The Christmas Eve the entire sky lights up with fireworks. People make artworks and keep candles inside of them and decorate their houses with it. Special decoration done in Mexico is making the piñatas stars. They have seven pointed tips and inside them confetti and candies are filled. Children using sticks break open the arms and grab the candies.

Every house there is a scenario of the Bethlehem Stable and The Three Kings, Shepherds and women working in a small replica. People eat circular ring shaped cakes on the Christmas Eve and a baby shaped item is inserted in it. Anyone who gets the baby in his or her slice is considered blessed. The Christmas meal has beuritos, salsa, puddings, tortillas and tamales. A special drink made of honey and dry fruits is served ponche con piquet.

The Mexican traditions are ab nitio creations. They have formed their own methods of celebrating the festival. After all Christmas allows everyone to celebrate and indulge in merry making the way they like – in the Church or under the Mistletoe!! 😉

Carols are the major part of any Christmas celebration. Mexican posadas are all about carol singing. People sing carols meaning that “Oh!! people inside the house we are tired pilgrims let us in” which is replied that “no we can’t allow you” until the last house door is knocked where the idols are placed. Then a thanksgiving prayer is done and the people proceed for the mid – night mass.

A very unique attribute is that Mexico has a warm pleasant weather during Christmas time and hence there is no snow. Christmas trees also don’t grow in that season and have now started becoming a trend in the Country. People go out shopping and enjoy buying presents for their family and friends. They also wish each other with Christmas messages.

The celebrations continue till The Candlemas Day on 2nd February. On this day people dress in their tuxedos and ladies in their most traditional gowns and they carry Jesus images to the Church. The people who had allowed the posadas presenters in their homes sell some sweets and cakes which are bought by the people.

The celebrations end after a long merry – making season!!

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This Winter In Riviera Maya

Mexico

Consistently ranked as one of the top destinations for travelers worldwide, Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo is truly a wonderful creation of nature. The beauty, diversity and ease of travel make it a destination frequented by vacationers. The archeological sites, festivals, villages, biodiversity, outdoor adventures, accommodations, cuisine and cultures of the region have been appealing the globe immensely.

Being the cradle of Mayan culture, Riviera Maya real estate region is undoubtedly the best place for exploration and immersion in it. Maya history begins with the Pre-Classic Period from 2000 BC – 250 AD. The Classic Period, 250- 900 AD, represents the apex of Maya civilization, marked by construction of large temples and the development of the only written language to be created in the Pre-Columbian Americas.

Xcaret, an eco-archeological park in the Riviera Maya offers the perfect opportunity to explore the region and culture. With underground rivers, a rotating scenic tower, marine turtle area, Jaguar Island, coral reef aquarium, as well as cultural exhibitions it is a great centre for learning as well as entertainment. Visitors can stroll around the St. Francis of Assis Chapel, Mayan archeological sites, a Mexican Village and Cemetery. The park also organizes cultural exhibits, programs, shows and events on a regular basis. History is interpreted in the Xcaret Night Show through music, dance and drama. These performances are made by more than 300 artists.

Riviera Maya is also a bio-diversified region hence making it committed to sustainable and ecotourism. Such responsible tourism has been beneficial in boosting the local economy. It is a region that is filled with adventures and fun options that create memories for a lifetime. The destination is both unique and affordable as numerous options in terms of entertainment and living are available. It is also easily accessible as numerous airline companies fly to this world renowned destination.  It is a favorite among those who wish to leave the cold behind and soak up the warm Mexican sun. In all Riviera Maya is a great destination with all the flavors of the country.

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5 Best Waterfalls In India That BollyWood Movies Love

India

A waterfall is said to be cool and crystal clear which falls gently, cleansing the mind and soothing the soul. The sight of a waterfall can make you feel very nice.

Waterfalls have an impressive and exclusive power and beauty of nature. Shimmering and falling, breaking into a thousand shards of spray.

Crashing water scares and attracts soul. Now, let us look at some of the most beautiful waterfalls in India that are frequented by people and are seen in Bollywood movies very often!

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Umbrella Falls

This is one of the beautiful waterfalls in India. The sound this one makes it truly astounding as tones of water come crashing down every second.

Perhaps the best thing about this water fall is the little bridge which runs over the base of it. It is located about 53 km from the town of Nashik in Ahamednagar in Maharashtra. The scenic beauty of this place is truly great! You will lost in the beauty of this place.


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Hogenakkal Waterfall

Hogenakkal Falls is a waterfall in South India on the river Kaveri. It is a huge complex of waterfalls in the Dharmapuri area  which together make a pretty breathtaking view and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

The word Hogenakkal is formed of two Kannada words, “ hoge” and “kal”. When the water falls on the rocks it appears as if “hoge” or smoke is coming out from the top of the “kal” or the rock. It is all because of the force of the water, therefore the name is Hogenakkal.


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Abbey Falls

Down south deep in the Western Ghats of Karnataka lies this beauty of a waterfall which has a lovely pool at the bottom. You can swim over there if you want to. This falls is close to the tiny town of Madikeri. It is well accessible by a well-laid road till the coffee estate gate.

The sound or rather the roar of the falls can be heard from the road itself. Earlier the falls was called Jessi falls named after a British Officer’s wife. Abbey falls is a visual treat.


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Kiliyur Waterfalls

The Kilyur Falls is a waterfall in the Shervaroyan hill range in the Eastern Ghats, Tamil Nadu. The waterfall serves as a run of from the Yercand river and the proceed to drop 300 feet.

To visit you have to make your way to the Shervaoyan hill range in Tamil Nadu. The best time to visit this place is immediately after the monsoons. This waterfall is truly exotic.


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Papanasam Waterfall

This waterfall is located in Tamil Nadu in the Tirunelveli district. Vikramsingapuram and Ambasamudram are the two nearby towns.

The waters of this river are considered by Hindus as holy and the falls are now an important pilgrimage site – as a result a small village has cropped up around the falls with local entrepreneurs attempting to sell the wares. The location is just excellent! You are bound to love this place.

Listen to the sound of the waterfalls, enjoy its scenic beauty and give some peace to your soul!

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Five Most Visited States In The United States

United States

The perk of my previous job was that I was able to not just visit but travel USA extensively. I have traveled so much that I am jokingly referred to as Guide Gunthrey. I know all the states and their capitals and probably their populations too 😛

There are fifty states in the United States of America. These states are bound in union with each other. Among them there are several states which are most visited by travelers every year. In this article there are top five most visited states in the United States.

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1. New Jersey

New Jersey is a northeastern U.S. state. New Jersey managed to be in the top 10 of most visited states and enjoy an 8% surge in international visitors since 2012 despite not having a single city among the top 20 most visited American cities. The question is what is bringing in so many foreign travelers to this place. Well, the answer is New York. The Newark airport is one of New York City’s three airports and the state’s close proximity to New York City, with its huge amount of visitors, has made New Jersey a popular place for all.

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2. Massachusetts

Also known as the Bay State, It is home to the Museum of Fine Arts and other notable institutions. Boston, however, still receives more visitors than any city in Texas, as it’s the chief entry point for most visitors to Massachusetts and a world leader in higher education. Massachusetts has contributed to American arts and culture a lot. To see these, visitors from all over the world come to Massachusetts.

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3. Illinois

Ilinois is a Midwestern state bordering Indiana in the east and the Mississippi river in the west. It is famous for its skyscrapers. Each year 1.378 million international visitors travel to Chicago to discover America’s second city, which is known for its deep-dish pizza, blues bars, sports teams, unique architecture and laid-back attitude. This place is marked by farmlands, forests, hills and wetlands. A beautiful place indeed!

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4. Texas

Texas has surpassed both Illinois and Massachusetts to become the sixth most visited state in the United States. Texas is derived from the word “Tejas” which means “friends” in the Caddo language. It has more than 1.57 million visitors. Texas received 17% more international visitors in 2013 than it did in 2012, which is one of the largest increases of any state. Houston and Dallas are the state’s most visited cities. Houston is its biggest city. Texas is the second largest state in the U.S by both area and population.

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5. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, named by Governor William Penn after his arrival in the New World in 1682, is a diverse destination that has a number of beautiful cities, like Philadelphia, a central location on the Eastern Seaboard and some rural places like the Pennsylvania Dutch Country or the Pocono Mountains. The number of international visitors is increasing day by day thus making it a popular destination. Tourists are drawn to this place by its monuments to America’s revolutionary history, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

If you are planning to visit the U.S., you can go to any one of the above places first. These states are known for its beauty and infrastructure as well as art and culture.

 

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My Personal Travel Guide To Goa

India

As you may know, I have moved to India for some years (read about my adventure in Nubra). Earlier I had spent 5 years in Playa del Carmen also. So I guess, beach and sun are what my body and soul agrees to. Here is a brief article which sums up almost everything about Goa and draws heavily from my feedback and experiences bitter and sweet.

Are you planning to go to a sea beach? Is Goa there in your list? Then read this article and get to know big as well as small bits and pieces which will help you a lot to travel smoothly. Make your own plan soon.

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Where Shall You Stay

  • FORT TIRACOL HERITAGE HOTEL

This hotel is unique in its own way. There are seven well-decorated rooms designed with unique Portuguese and and contemporary interiors which are named after the seven days of the week. It is only an hour or forty minutes drive from Goa, Dabolim International Airport. You will get everything which you need along with a good restaurant and a bar too!

  • PANCHAVATTI GUEST-HOUSE RETREAT

It is just over an hour’s drive north from Dabolim International Airport lies the island of Corjuem, created by the meandering Mapusa River; on it. In several acres of tropical gardens, is this retreat. The rooms are well-furnished and comfortable. The surrounding is too good for the eyes and your mind if you are in search of peace and beauty at the same time. Your stay in this guest house will definitely be memorable and satisfactory.

  • PARK HYATT GOA RESORT & SPA

The resort has a radical design: a series of cobbled passages lead inwards from the modern, monochromatic, beautiful rooms and suites to a central village square, where there is an extensive outdoor seating area linking several restaurants. The spa over here is quite soothing. It will help you to relax.

The Best Time To Go To Goa

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Are you planning to go to Goa? The west coast of India is hot and humid all year, but from November to March it becomes quite bearable and sunny. Please avoid the monsoon season from May to September. Go during the best months – December to February – instead. The climatic conditions during these months are quite suitable.

How To Reach Here

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AIRPORT
Goa’s airport is at Dabolim, 29km from the capital Panaji, on the coast near Vasco da Gama.

AIRLINES FROM THE UK
Currently only charter flights go directly to Goa from the UK: Thomas Cook flies from London and Manchester to Goa.

You can also fly to Mumbai from where it is a one-hour flight to Goa. Several flights are available like Kingfisher Airlines, Air India etc. You just need to choose the one which is best suited for you.

 

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My Last Summer Vacation To Nubra Valley, India

India

About Nubra Valley

Local communities once prospered on an extraordinary trans-Himalayan trade which originated with the Silk Road. It comprises of huge mountains, deep valleys and vast uninhabited hinterlands, most of Ladakh’s boundaries may look almost impenetrable on a map. But,  for centuries great caravans of wool and cloth, opium, spices and skins, coral and turquoise, gold and indigo negotiated several routes and their hazardous passes mainly between Leh and Yarkand (in China). The already withering trade finally died in the late 1950s when China largely sealed its borders.

The low key tourism in Nubra did not allow it to prosper but as the numbers of tourists visiting Ladakh increased each year, they got more tempted to go the extra mile and come here.

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What is more relevant to today’s visitor is the journey to Nubra. It is claimed to be the world’s highest motorable road.

All Nubra’s settlements have a fairly large home and a barley build for their cultivation. It is a remote village. A couple of ancient Buddhist monasteries can be found here.

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Places of Interest

Diskit has become Nubra’s commercial centre, but it is still a small place. The main attraction here is DIKSIT GOMPA, or monastery, perched high above town on a craggy spur. You can drive up here but it’s a joy to walk among the mani walls (elongated, almost artfully arranged mounds of stones engraved with Buddhist prayers and mantras) and whitewashed chortens (dome-shaped monuments housing Buddhist relics).

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There is a ruined watchtower from where you can get superb views of the Shyok Valley.

About 10km west of Diskit stands Hunder village. Camels can often be seen grazing on the dune-like landscape between the foot of the mountains and the braided Shyok River. The village is small but beautiful.

Other beautiful places are there too.

How To Reach Nubra Valley

BY AIR

Leh is the nearest airport. From Leh you can avail a bus or a taxi to reach Nubra Valley.

BY TRAIN

Jammu is the nearest railway station. One can board a bus or take a taxi to reach Leh. From Leh you can go to Nubra valley.

BY ROAD

Nubra valley can be reached by road from the nearest point, that is Leh.

Where To Stay

HOTEL STEN DEL at DISKIT TOWN, NUBRA VALLEY:

It is a comfortable, clean and cozy hotel. Price range: Rs 2500-3000 for a double bedroom.

OLTHANG GUEST HOUSE:

It has clean rooms and bathrooms with a parking space. Price range: Rs 1000-1500 for a double bedroom.

SAND DUNES GUEST HOUSE:

It is a nice hotel where you will get good and cheap food as well. Price range: Rs 600-900 for a double bedroom.

YOURDUM GUEST HOUSE, HUNDER, NUBRA VALLEY:

Small but a comfortable hotel with a reasonable cost. Parking space is also available. Price range: Rs 700-1000 for a double bedroom.

If you want to stay close with nature and experience every corner of it, then visit Nubra Valley. The beauty of this place is mesmerising and the surrounding is pleasant and peaceful.