A Visit To Taj

It was a beautiful morning with the sun glaring in my eyes and the first thought that came into my mind was “Get Set and Go for The Taj”. As my exams got over just a day before, we made a plan to visit the most marvelous monument: “The Taj Mahal”. The Taj Mahal is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India and was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal way back in 1648.
We had whole family trip with my aunt and nephew altogether. So, we started early in the morning so that we can get the tickets and save ourselves from the “never ending queues” at the ticket counters. We booked a taxi and started at 8 am in the morning. As, cars or buses aren’t allowed within a 500 meter radius, as a measure to control pollution, so we decided to take a walk and finally reached  the southern gate of the Taj at around 9 am.
As we proceed further, we were astounded by the enormous walls made of red stone guarding the main structure from 3 sides and then there is “The Great Gate” aka “Darwaza I rauza”. It was a huge gate and this idea drives me crazy as how did they build such huge structures when nobody ever thought of a thing like skyscrapers. On stepping inside, we were stuck for a moment by the mesmerizing view of the Taj. It seemed like the time stopped and our legs got frozen by the ravishing view of the fountains of the ”Charbagh” , aka , “The Gardens” and the marvelous white marble structure behind the them. I wished to stand there whole day and not to take a step forward, but just as I thought about it, I heard a voice from behind insisting me to move forward. I looked back and there was the security guard. So, we moved on further, gazing through the beautiful gardens and reached the counter for placing the shoes/sandals. As shoes are not allowed inside the white marble structure yet you can buy shoe covers if you do love wearing your shoes that much :-).
It was noon by now and the sun was scorching due to which, the white marble on which we were walking was extremely hot. We were literally running to find any shade to stand and rest. Yet, it was an amazing experience running all over the place with blazing feet. As we moved on, we came to know about some of the exciting things about Taj Mahal.
It took 22 years and about 20,000 people to build this amazing structure. The Taj Mahal is one the world’s most symmetric structures with its four sides being perfectly identical. The four minarets were built slightly tilted outside to prevent them from falling on the main mausoleum, in case of any natural calamity like earthquake. One place where it fails to show symmetry is the size of the tomb of the Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal having the male tomb is larger than the female one. The calligraphy inscribed on the walls of Taj by Amanat Khan contains verses and passages from the holy book of “Quran” in Thuluth script.
It took us around three and a half hours to cover the whole monument, taking pictures in every possible posture and then we came out of the monument. On our way back, we saw several Souvenir shops selling key rings, books, miniature models. I also bought one miniature Taj as a Souvenir of my visit at a very reasonable price of 150 rupees. It was overall a very beautiful experience visiting Taj and now I understand why million of visitors come every year, why it is considered in the “Seven Wonders of the World list”, why it is a national heritage.
If you’re in India, and haven’t seen the Taj, you literally haven’t seen anything. So, what are you waiting for? Plan a trip, arrange for tickets and go for it!Bored of travelling solo? No worries. eChutti will help you to find travel partner based on your needs.

My Road Trip From Chennai to Pondicherry

by aniket
I had never thought of going to South India in my life.But I forcefully went to Chennai to my friends place as my exams were over.I reached Chennai at 4 o clock in the morning.My friend was there at the station.As we met each other,the first thing that my friend said was “we’ll be leaving for Pondicherry after sometime” .. I was tired,and I told him we will leave tomorrow. We reached at his place,during the whole journey from station to his place my friend somehow convinced me for the road trip. I was too tired and was totally not in a mood for a long long bike ride all the way to Pondicherry. I asked my friend that is the condition of the bike okay,he smiled and replied that we’ll be going in a car,ahh!! When I heard that i was very happy,because I thought I can sleep in the car. .
Our breakfast was over,and now it was time to leave.My friend was on the driving seat and I was beside him. We left from Chennai and as soon as we were in the highway,the first thing was the roads. The roads are so well maintained and are soo big.The scenic beauty,we could see the sea sometimes from the road. My eyes we wide open,I felt energetic that time. My friend and I we had a bath in the sea it was near to a small village. The people over there used to catch fish to feed themselves and there family,and they also sold them for money.As their was a communication problem so we didn’t wait there for long. We reached Pondicherry,it took 3 hrs or maybe 3 n a half hour. . Roadways in South India is very good. People who love to go for rides and long drives will definitely love this trip.Pondicherry is a nice place. There are many places over there which you will fall in love with.
Plan a road trip using eChutti trip planner, invite travel buddies to go on a long drive. Just publish your road trip itinerary and share it in travel clubs. Find travel partner on echutti if your travelling solo.

Venturesome Solace in Palampur

Being a person who has been brought up in the plains, mountains have always amazed me putting forth their beauty in a strange and bewitching way. So, when we planned a trip to Palampur, my instant reply was ‘YES’, after all, it was a hill station and the best part, it was decided that we’d travel by bus (there is something amazingly different about road trips).
A little introduction before we enter the trip:
‘We’ stands for 16 people from an office in Noida who planned a trip to get away from work for 3 days.
The trip was planned for 29th of Jan 2016. We left Noida at 11 pm with all the enthusiasm we could’ve collected. Everyone was a rockstar and songs motivated us even more, you know, Punjabi songs have vivacity at their core. Anyway, so we started our journey and our first stop was ‘Murthal Dhaba’ in Haryana. We were really too lethargic to go inside the dhaba, so we got food packed and started our journey again (Yummy paratha and other add-ons like butter even further added to our Punjabi mood). It was almost 2 am when we had our dinner and within an hour everyone (of course, we had a few night owls with us so everyone is not an apt word but almost everyone) was asleep. It was around 6 when we woke up, it was drizzling and it was marvelous, we were surrounded by trees, nature and a wonderful breeze. Time flew by, it was around 10 am when we stopped at a small tea stall to stretch our legs and have our 1st tea. After the tea break, we resumed our journey. It was around 1 pm when we reached Palampur situated in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. A person from the hotel came to receive us and our bus began to follow his car. After a while, we were amid the mountains wondering why the bus has stopped !!
Well, we were told that we had to walk further to reach the hotel. We sadly came down and after looking at the view, we were all delighted. It was really amazing as if it had everything that one can possibly dream of about peace, beauty and nature. River, mountains, valley, trees… just fabulous. We had to walk 1 km (or so) to reach the resort and the path was just beautiful. But the resort was even more beautiful.
Tired we ran to choose our rooms and the room that I stayed in had this enchanting view from the window. It really felt that I was witnessing a beautiful creation of mother nature. Mesmerised, we had our lunch and then went to the Beas river flowing nearby. Although we were mesmerised enough, but the cold water compelled us to sit on the rocks and just dip our legs in the water.
We had to go for trekking so we returned to the hotel and got ready to leave. It was already 4 pm. We went to a temple which is known for being “Kuldevi’s temple”, and then took a road (a narrow path in fact) nearby for trekking (or just walking into the mountains without any motive). It was getting dark hence, we decided to stop walking and come back. It was around 8 pm when we reached the hotel, it was dark enough to use flashlights of our phones while walking back and it was cold enough to arrange a campfire and so we got a campfire. Antakshari, dance, talks and stories made the time fly and even the staff there enjoyed with us and told us several horror story (it really felt as if we were part of a horror movie).
Well, the best thing about the night was the clear sky with millions of stars and the beautiful moon. The dark sky filled with stars has its own attraction. Something that we miss in the metropolitan cities. It was around 2 that everyone went to sleep. We had to wake up at 8 am next day for going to Bir for paragliding. You know what is the best thing about paragliding ?? The time when a vehicle (a van, in our case) takes you to a height (literally height) that you never imagined being at and you see people jumping from that height, you shiver inside but can’t tell anyone as the people around you are your friends who’ll certainly make fun of you (although they’ll make fun afterwards as even they’ll be feeling same at that point in time). But the most beautiful thing about paragliding is the feeling of being stable amid cold breeze with nothing but a few wires holding you. It’s just amazing when you look down and everything looks so small, so worthless and so different.
After paragliding, we had lunch and went to a monastery. The monastery was quiet as they are usually and the peace that was being planted inside us can’t be compared with anything else. The seats for people to pray, the incense stick with this captivating fragrance and the solitude, everything was just perfect to make you feel closer to nature.
It was around 4.30 pm so we didn’t have much time to roam around. We also stopped by a tea garden (Only for having some clicks, after all, even that is important ߘ ) We came back at the same time i.e. 8 pm and had campfire again with a few more stories, songs, dances and dinner. We left Palampur at 10 am the next day, but we really wanted to be there a few more days, even discussed shifting our office amidst mountain and valley. Well, we reached Noida around 11 pm but the beauty that place had still remained within us and we still want to go there whenever time and circumstances permit.
Palampur Hill Station is one of the most visited Hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh. Explore various travel related information about Palampur in travel club or travel forum.

A visual treat on the way to Darjeeling

As we whisked past the crowd in Sealdah Station, Kolkata, towards the platform, our heads were abuzz with the excitement of the upcoming road trip. We were making an overnight train journey to New Jalpaiguri that night. It was the last week of December. When we reached the destination station the next morning, our faces were flushed with both fatigue and exhilaration. Having bought some snacks for the journey from the station shops, we booked a Travera on share with a group of college friends. Finally, my family (including my parents, elder sister and her 2-year old toddler) and I, along with the other group, set off for Darjeeling.
At the onset of the journey, the car moved through the urban town of New Jalpaiguri. We had been told that the total distance was approximately around 70 Km. It had taken us close to 4 hours to reach our destination. We headed west, towards the Tinbatti More, keeping onto the Burdwan Road. After a while, as we watched through the window, the roadside houses and shops quickly transitioned into a lush, dense greenery and green-grey hills in the distance. Soon, we all were gazing at the dark green trees and shrubs on both sides of the winding road we travelled along. It was not chilly, but there was a nip in the air. It was an amazing feeling when the breeze gently brushed against my face as I looked out of the window.
Not before long, the car was moving amidst something that looked like a forest. The road was not too wide in that part. While we munched on the biscuits and chips we had bought from the station, the driver told us that it was the ‘Shukna’ forest. The trees loomed over the moving car, tall with thick leaves. Absorbed in small talk, we did not pay heed to how long it was before the forest had passed.
The next notable place, I recollect, was Pankhabari. The road at this juncture was extremely narrow, steep and meandering. Some of us were uncomfortable because of the hairpin curves and sharp bends in the road. I must mention that we all were in awe of the expertise and ease with which the driver propelled the car through the critical twists and turns. The ethereal scenic beauty of the place, on the other hand, was captivating. This road overlooked the famous ‘Makaibari tea estate’. Some dwelling places could be seen at a distance, which we assumed to be the Pankhabari village. As the car moved ahead, we felt as though the clouds were floating beneath us.
A mellow music played on and we were enchanted by the sheer beauty of nature. We had stopped at a small roadside shop here to have lunch and buy drinks. Next noteworthy place on the way was Kurseong, a more residential town than the places we had left behind. Though the weather was very pleasant, we began to feel a bit cold. Kurseong evidently looked like a major tourist attraction, as many plush-looking hotels came into view for the first time along the journey. We also caught a glimpse of the toy-train-track at this place. Some of the streets here were a little populated and seemed to have multipurpose shops. From here, it is mainly the Hill Cart Road (also known as the Tenzing Norway Road or the NH-55), which goes all the way up to Darjeeling.
Further in the journey, the fascinating mountains and valleys, wrapped in smokes of cloud, kept us enchanted and spellbound. I felt as though there existed only the road that we were traversing, in the midst of a huge void. Finally, I remember the driver mentioning the Ghoom area, the highest point on our route. There was a thick mantle of fog and cloud surrounding us and the scenery did not change much from here onwards. The final stretch between Ghoom and Darjeeling was around 8 Km. The driver told us that there were different roads leading to Kalimpong, Gangtok and the picturesque Mirik, diverging out from Ghoom. At last, we began our descent towards the town of Darjeeling and it took us about half an hour from Ghoom to enter our final destination. On a liitle extra payment, the Travera had dropped us near our hotel at the Mall Road, thereby putting an end to our delightful road trip.
Darjeeling conjures visions of snow peaks, serenity of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty. Been to Darjeeling? Share your trip experience by creating your travel blog.

DISCOVERING SINHGADH

Travelling is undoubtedly one of the best mediums to get through stress. People by far opt in for this option midst their leisure time. We were frolickingly passing a bit of our time in Pune at my aunts’. So then, we decided to hop on to a jaunt where Sinhgadh was our cream of the crop. The very next day we hopped in the car at forenoon along with our prerequisites. The road map and the residents kept us going. The fellowship of the near and dear ones made the journey a white-knuckle ride. En route we saw beaucoup Maharashtrian hamlets. Sinhgadh measured a distance of 32 kilometres at an approximate figure from Pune. Après some hours we pulled up in front of the entrance gate. Sinhgadh, also called as Lion’s Fort is nestled along the Sahyadri Mountain ranges and perched 700 metres above the sea level. It was quite gruelling for the driver to get us there as the route to the top was spiral. The view of the scenery kept on minimising as we were reaching the top. Everything from above looked very picturesque. Sinhgadh, a strong fort was well constructed in the turn of the century by the Marathwadas for attacking the foes from above. It also includes the burial of the great Tanaji Malusare that beguiles visitors from all over the country. The plateau region of the Ghats also consisted of a placid lake known as Khadakwasla. It was pretty serene!
The tourist guide aided us well and subsequently we were able to trace a good place where we could sit and eat some food. We chattered for some time and then geared up for some more sight-seeing. There were several tall and thick green trees and shrubs on the plateau region which made the place much comely. Sinhgadh is a place of great historic heritage that also serves tranquillity. Therefore, it is a perfect coalesce for excursion and chronicle knowledge. Being the advent of June, the weather was hot and dry above from the scratch but during the eventide we faced a drastic change in it. From the extreme point of the region we could see the clouds turning grey very closely. It turned dark and started to pelt very soon. People then started breaking away. Fierce thunderstorms and chill bumps were experienced. For a few minutes we snuggled in one of the tea booths which also served pleasant-tasting hot pakoras.
It was raining cats and dogs so we had to quickly move to the parking area. We were all drenched in rain. The place had become lush green and was perfumed with the aesthetic petrichor. It was one of the best adventurous trips that I had ever experienced and the best way to rejuvenate before school. The trip made us very contented. It is still cherished when we all bunch up together!
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Agra-the valentine trip..

4:30 am,Sriparna! Did u call the cab? Its late yaa..we need to reach the Hazrat Nizamuddin Station by 6:30 AM. This is how six of us began our day and finally executed the long time plan to visit Agra. It has been one and a half year in Delhi..we hardly visited any nearby place.Actually the date for the trip was really interesting. 14th Feb, we see couples all over,after all its “their day” to celebrate. We single ladies decided to celebrate the day visiting the place which stands as a symbol of eternal love. A great start to the day,managing all by ourselves. From cab to the station in the early hours of the morning..a time of the day which hardly any of us bother to experience. The beauty of the dawn..the chilling wind..the silent roads..all opposite to the actual scenario of the busy city. We boarded the train around 7 in the morning. The train was on time we started our indefinite journey,as we were uncertain about our return. But none of us seemed tensed or worried we went with the flow. Everything was moving smooth,everything seemed soothing..the train journey felt refreshing,we felt quiet an individual among ourselves. Anyways..time to board down its Agra Cantt. All of us with absolute negative idea of the place stepped out of the station,hired an auto..adjusted ourselves and left for our ultimate destination..The Taj Mahal. Its an eternal beauty indeed.The preciousness of the place cannot be placed into words.One has to experience the beauty..the beauty of the monument can be felt..,can be related to. One would feel the value of LOVE. How priceless the feeling of Love is ..is very well defined by The Taj Mahal. One can fall in love all over again retaining within the peacefulness of the place..thus it is..
THE TAJ !! Spending hours at the Taj Mahal , discussing all optimist opinions about how successful the plan has been as yet,we finally thought over our return. On our way back..all of us kept pondering over the beauty we experienced. May be i was one of them who thought to experience LOVE..
Plan a trip & connect with tourists traveling to the same destination on eChutti. Make friends with travel buddy in your city. Find a travel buddy, travel together and make your journey memorable. Also share your trip experience by creating your own travel blog.

Around the tellus in Khajjiar

by ABHA RIBIAWALA

I was very close to the signature page of my diary and since it was the last week of October I was anticipating I would not have to run for stationary before the new year eve.With calculated amount of coffee in my drawer I lay still surfing YouTube when my mood is disrupted by a not so frequent call.I received a warm call from home and no sooner had I learnt the recent chalking of our Himachal trip being scheduled than I had pulled out the coffee jar into the dustbin.Well,cozy family time was and will always be preferred over solitary comfort confined to the corners of my single bed and laptop .So without further adieu ,bags were packed and enthusiasm was geared for the trip that promised loads to us and a bucketful to me in particular.

I would particularly like to throw light on a part of my Himachal excursion which attracted me the most. After a journey of about 8 hours from Manali ,in the 12 seater bus that we had taken along for our trip, we happened to reach Dalhousie at 8:30 pm. It did not take much long to find a decent hotel to spend a couple of days. Yes, that is what local tour guides in Dalhousie say: A stay of 2 days is sufficient to explore this place to the fullest. Two main spots to visit here are Kalatop & Kalatop forest and Khajjiar. This mesmerizing scenic beauty became a favourite shooting spot of Bollywood. Many Hindi films, including 1942: A Love Story, Vinashak, Gadar, 2013: Lootera(at Kalatop), were filmed here. Having taken refuge at Hotel The Spring, we started feeling the pang of hunger. The freshly cooked delicious hot meal served at this hour of night could not be a better alleviation for our tired bodies. The pleasure in traveling consists of the obstacles, the fatigue. What charm can anyone find in an excursion where he finds all the ease and comfort he can enjoy in his own home. Amidst the jam-packed bus, we were all set to head-start our day and long lost stories from past that were being served with spice and gossip. A short drive of 45 minutes had put us in the considerable heartbeat of Himachal which locally goes by the name of Khajjiar. Guarded with an endless stretch of cliffs and mountains,aesthetically essenced with screeping conifers,with a soil that blessed almost every plantation and a sky who would call for Shakespeare to vividify what it conveyed,Khajjiar did an absolute justice to being the Switzerland for India.

My surroundings had engulfed my attention to an extent that google had to be my guide .It mesmerised me to be in a circular 5 km region that concentrated into itself the entire vitality of the area.Like other aesthetic wonders of Himachal that accounted to 9.75% of tourism GDP, Khajjiar had it’s own drop-beat to discover .Willy blazer,vice chancellor and head of chancery for Switzerland had rightly labelled Khajjiar as one of its minions like the rest 160 places in the world likely.But unlike the previous places loaded with traditions and mouthwatering cuisines,this tiny saucer shaped plateau within the lush meadows had not much to offer .The high altitude and scarce transportation benefits offered us less on flavour cravings.Nevertheless,negating economic drawbacks,the adventurous quotient of Khajjiar was breathtaking.

I have been a witness to jaw-dropping ventures of soaring on a sky-scraping ride that could nauseate even the healthiest for a moment.Looked and felt dangerously magical to move up and down a tower with a crazy velocity and unprecedented pattern.The next moment of recovery has so much in store beyond imagination.That was my n numbered attempt to ride a horse. Yes, I cant remember the count because for a traveller like me,riding on a horse’s back is not a prodigious activity. Yet, walking just sucked away my adrenaline and enthusiasm, so with a strong resolution and a promise from a trainer to keep me from death,I ranged at a relatively higher speed ,across the borders of the greenery through the forest and the pillar like trees.I admit hurting my bones and pelvis seamlessly the next morning but I presume for a college student benched for 6 hrs in a row,this was an out-of-the-box attempt which I proudly confirm to encounter voluntarily again. The horses had galloped ,and with it taken away my every remaining ounce of energy when i noticed rabbits on my mother’s head.It was seated like a crown prince in front of the camera,synchronised with the beaming smile of my mother.I made sure I was the next in this joint family venture where everyone posed as an ardent rodent lover.

Though it seems stupid and inarticulate to mature audience but being the age that the place and company demand has been my asset.I love to try the smallest of details,however insignificant just to fill in the pages of exciting life I have .The rabbits followed flower baskets and shimmery pahari costumes and that brings me to the best part of trips and making memories; “photographs”.They relate and convey.They bridge almost every gap over the years and between the clans irrespective of how weird and untidy it seemed when it got clicked.Crooked faces,jocular actions everything summed up in a 5X7 span of paper that portrays almost the whole of who we were and now relatively.Well ,literally,gathering dozens of those personified sketches is worth the wait and the pain. Just when the sun reached it’s pinnacle before it could set for the day and settle all the hustle,making the calm as quite and peaceful as William Wordsworth describes it to be,it was time for me to reflect upon what not was yet done enough to make myself a better appreciator of the great.Evidently,we had concluded to the aura of the most beautiful set of lives and hives explored. Khajjiar had taken just a plan and gifted a lifetime.places big or small,hunky dory or downtrodden,never fail to surprise because they are not divided by mentalities but just some invisible borders that travellers like us are oblivious to. Indeed, Mountains are the beginning and the end of all the natural scenery.

Plan a trip to grassy meadow Khajjiar called “Mini Switzerland of India” ad enjoy the grassy medows and dense forests. Don’t forget to share your travel experience in travel blogs.