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Posted on: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 At 11:10 AM

Mid Monsoon Post

I know, the rains have barely begin in some parts of the country to call it mid-monsoon. But in Karnataka, it is almost past the halfway mark already. I am in the mood for rainy days and can't stop writing about it. In the hilly and forested regions of the state, it has been raining heavily for the entire month of July. There is a bit of let up in the last week, and the intensity of rains has reduced.

I spent a few days in malnad area in the western ghats last week, which has been seeing a lot of rain in the last month. The place where I went to is very close to Jog Falls, the highest waterfall in the country. 

The countryside in these parts looks so good after the rain has fallen, I found it hard to return. It is cloudy and pleasant, and the temperatures are just perfect. The greenery is lush, the lakes are full and there is lot of life and activity in the nature. Paddy fields have young saplings that form a carpet of green on the earth surface. Streams are full with water. It can't get more beautiful.

I hope I can use the next one month to do some travelling, when the rain continues to bless these parts. Watch this space for updates.

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Posted on: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 At 10:38 AM

Treks In Himachal

The Government of India's Department of Tourism, along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports(ABVIMAS) is conducting trekking programs in different parts of Himachal in September and October.

The treks will be in the mountain areas around Manali, Shimla and Dharamsala, and will be of four days in lenght. The trekking will be managed by ABVIMAS, an organization under Government of Himachal Pradesh. ABVIMAS is the largest adventure sports training center in the country.

See more about the treks at See ABVIMAS website - - for more details about the organization. They have comprehensive training programs in all genres of adventure sports.

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Posted on: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 At 12:57 PM

No More Casinos In Goa

If the Goan government has its way, the Casinos operating from Mandovi River at Panaji may stop operating soon. Licenses of five of the six boats from which the casinos are operating have expired, and are not renewed by the state government. The casinos were said to be creating problems to navigation of barges along Mandovi River. Local NGOs were also unhappy about the impact of casinos to local culture.

Goa was the only place in India where casinos were allowed to operate so far. The government of Sikkim has plans to introduce Casinos in Gangtok, but until that happens, there will be no options available for people who love to spend time casinos.

As of now, only one casino operator has a license that is valid till October. The casinos have now moved to Goa High Court on the order. Watch this space for any new developments.

See more details at -

  1. Goa to sell off 5 casinos -
  2. 5 casinos to be sealed -
  3. Goa to stop casinos -

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Posted on: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 At 12:44 PM

Adventure Carnival At Hyderabad Airport

If you are likely to be travelling into or out of Hyderabad by air between September 25th and October 11th, make sure you check out the adventure carnival to be held in the airport premises.

The GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, in collaboration with Delhi based tour operator Wanderlust Travel is organizing an adventure event at Hyderabad Airport. The event will offer activities like bungee jump, paintball, dirt biking, etc.

See more details at

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Posted on: Sunday , Jul 26, 2009 At 19:15 PM

Change In Unreserved Ticketing In Trains

Until recently, unreserved tickets on Indian Railways could be booked three days in advance. But a new order from Indian Railways has removed this facility, and passengers travelling can buy tickets at the counter only an hour before the hour of departure.

This has been causing trouble at some stations where regular travellers have the habit of buying tickets in advance to avoid last minute rush. In places like Mysore from where a large number of passengers travel to Bangalore using unreserved tickets, there were chaos at the ticket counter.

Indian Railways has not issued any statements about resolving this problem. Till they act, getting an unreserved ticket may mean standing in queue during the last minute rush.

See full story at

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Posted on: Sunday , Jul 26, 2009 At 18:58 PM

Road To Badrinath Closed

People who have been on the char dham yatra and heading towards Badrinath have been asked by Uttarakhand Government not to travel for the next few days. A cloudburst in Chamoli district has resulted in landslides, and the road to Badrinath is currently closed. Uttarakhand government or the Border Roads Organization have not mentioned a timeline for repairing the roads. A few pilgrims are also stuck on the other side of the road at Badrinath.

See more details at'Pilgrims-asked-not-to-come-Badrinath-for-time-being

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Posted on: Friday , Jul 24, 2009 At 13:03 PM

Solar Eclipse - Photos And Videos

The much hyped longest solar eclipse of the century is now over, but the buzz around it has not come down yet. Viewers were disappointed in some areas in India, thanks to monsoon clouds, especially in Targna village in Bihar where the eclipse was expected to be seen at its best. In Bangalore where I live, people waiting for the partial eclipse did not get to see much.

But the web is full of some beautiful imagery and videos of the eclipse from various parts of the world. Boston Globe Big Picture Blog has an excellent collection of images from many countries. See'longest'solar'eclipse'of't.html

The full video of the eclipse from various location can be seen below.


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Posted on: Thursday , Jul 23, 2009 At 17:20 PM

Monsoon Update From Karnataka - Things (not) To Do

During most of June, it was a drought like situation in Maharashtra, Karnataka and other parts of South India. Despite met department's predictions of near normal rains, there was no sight of precipitation. But come July, what started to look like good rains nearly turned into a deluge. People in the hills rarely got to see the sun, and it kept raining day and night.

The biggest troubles were in Coorg. Bhagamandala, the small village on the way to Talakaveri was flooded many times. Rivers overflowed, and there was no let up in rains. It was the same story along the coast, and in the hills of malnad region. The plains in the north did not get as much rains, but the overflowing rivers coming down from the hills supplied the much needed water.

There has been some decline in rainfall in the last few days, and life is returning to normal. If you are looking up to do some monsoon journeys, this would be the time. There are waterfalls to see, that will be running in full force. Jog and Shivanasamudra, the largest falls in the region are attracting many visitors. A long drive in the plains, where it is not raining much but the weather is pleasant and cloudy would be worth it. It is better to wait and watch for some more time before heading to Coorg, but do go if you are not afraid of the pouring rains. Make sure you are very careful near the water - fast currents have pulled in many people in the deluge in last few weeks, and many lives have been lost. Enjoy the monsoons while it lasts, safely!

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Posted on: Tuesday , Jul 21, 2009 At 22:49 PM

Watch Solar Eclipse Live

The countdown for the century's longest solar eclipse has begun. Tomorrow morning, the sun will be masked for more than six minutes at places. Naturally, astronomy enthusiasts are excited. The eclipse can be seen in parts of North India from Bihar to Gujarat, with a small village outside Patna identified as the best location within India.

If you are like me, not able to be there to see the eclipse from where it is happening, the next best thing to do is to watch it live. A few websites are relaying it live, bringing you the eclipse as it happens. Though none of them are broadcast from India, these are from places where the eclipse can be seen at its best.

To see the eclipse live on your computer, visit University of North Dakota website at'Photo.php or go to The eclipse can be seen between 5.28am and 7.40am in various parts of the world.

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Posted on: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 At 12:24 PM

Udaipur Is World's Best City?!

In a surprise of sorts, Udaipur has topped the polls as the World's Best City in travel and leisure category. The poll was conducted by Travel+Leisure magazine, in which Udaipur ousted last year's winner Bangkok. Jaipur also features among the top 20. Incidentlly, neither of the two cities had made a mark in their last year's survey.

Other aspects of the survey included best airlines and best hotels. None of the Indian carriers made it to the top ten. Among the hotels, four properties from India made it to the top 100. Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra stood at number 28, sliding from 6th rank last year. Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur, Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur and Rambagh palace in Jaipur are the other hotels from India.

See the complete list and survey results on Travel+Leisure website -

Incidentally, not every news about Udaipur in the recent past has been very good. Udaipur's famed lake, in which the lake palace is located, had run completely dry earlier this month. However, it seems to be raining well in those parts in last week, and the glory of the palace should be restored sooner or later. See pictures of the dry lake at

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Posted on: Thursday , Jul 16, 2009 At 10:27 AM

Solar Eclipse Next Week

A total solar eclipse is about to occur in parts of North India on July 22nd, creating excitement among astronomy enthusiasts. The eclipse can be witnessed from 13 states, but the best views are said to occur in Bihar.

In Patna, the eclipse is expected to last for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, the longest duration in India. At a point somewhere in the pacific ocean, the eclipse can be witnessed for more than 6 minutes. A little village called Taregana in Bihar is chosen as the ideal place to view the eclipse. There is much excitement in the village as lot of people - scientists as well as enthusiasts - are likely to arrive to see the phenomenon.

The eclipse occurs at 6am on July 22nd. If you are not able to be there to see it, expect to see live coverage in some television channels. Stay tuned to this column for more details.

More information on the eclipse:

  1. Eclipse fever in India village -'asia/8149149.stm
  2. All roads lead to Taregana -

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Posted on: Wednesday , Jul 15, 2009 At 12:49 PM

Darjeeling Is Closed!

Tourism is hit in Darjeeling and Sikkim in the last few days owing to bandh called by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha(GJM). Darjeeling and surrounding area have been in trouble on and off in the last few years owing to demand from locals for a separate state. The hill town was hit by sudden bandh calls several times last year.

A bridge on the affected NH31A

Although the bandh does not affect the state of Sikkim, the approach to Gangtok and rest of Sikkim has become difficult. The National Highway NH31A, which connects Siliguri with Gangtok and other parts of Sikkim is a lifeline of Sikkim. Parts of the highway run through Darjeeling Hills, and have been affected due to the strike calls.

The current bandh was called by GJM to demand removal of some senior police officials in the town. At the moment, talks are expected between GJM and the state government, and the status of bandh may depend on the outcome. If you are planning a visit to Darjeeling or Sikkim, it is best to wait and watch for next few days.

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Posted on: Wednesday , Jul 08, 2009 At 16:42 PM

Air India Updates

I had written last month about possible consequences of flying with Air India. Air India managed to avert possible employee strike, though their last month's salaries will be paid only by July 14th. The management has been in discussion with unions about possible restructuring, salary cuts and other options for keeping the airline afloat. In the meanwhile, government is mulling on major restructuring of the airline and starting a low cost airline. It has asked Ratan Tata to help in reviving the company. No concrete decisions seem to have emerged yet. It is best to wait and watch to see how things turn out with AI.

Related Stories:
1. Air India Employees to get Salaries by July 14th -
2. Ratan Tata asked to help revive AI -
3. Government to restructure Air India -

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Posted on: Wednesday , Jul 08, 2009 At 16:15 PM

Festivals And Events In July 2009

Teej Festival, Jaipur. Held on 24th and 25th July, Teej is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in Rajasthan. See more details on Rajasthan Tourism Website -

Kashmir Peace Festival, Leh. The Kashmir Peace Festival is a 2-day performance that will be held in Leh Polo Grounds. See more details on their website -

Monastic Festivals of Ladakh. Various monasteries in Ladakh have their annual festivals scheduled through summer. Yuru Kabgyat festival in Lamayuru is scheduled for 8th and 9th July. Phyang Monastery Festival is on 22nd and 23rd. Korzok Gustor Festival is on 23rd and 24th. Call tourism office(01982252094) at Leh to double check these dates and know more about festivals in July and August.

If you know of any fairs, festivals and events to be held in your city, leave a comment on this page, and I will include it in the listing.

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arunchs arunchs lives in Bangalore(Karnataka) and is interested in travel, photography, reading, movies, music,...

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