FLY WITH SPICEJET TO RED, HOT DESTINATIONS IN 2019
Indian fliers have always marveled at how SpiceJet has always been on the ball, in its impeccable quality of service as well as in constantly upgrading a vast, well-connected network. Even as the airline is inducting Bhopal as its 50th domestic destination (see the News section elsewhere in this magazine for details), it continues to provide more and convenient flights to and from the airports it services. The end result is that the air passenger — business as well as leisure — has a wide variety of options as far as destinations are concerned. We spell out some of the best destinations that SpiceJet flies to — and also detail the reasons why it makes sense to visit at least some of them in the new year. Read on and join us in exploring some of the most interesting places in this large and diverse nation of ours.
Founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh II, Udaipur is also known as the City of Lakes thanks to its numerous water bodies hemmed in by the lush green hills of the Aravallis. These include the likes of the beautiful Lake Pichola and Jaisamand Lake. Among the architectural wonders of the city are City Palace and Monsoon Palace. If you are in the city at the end of the year, do enjoy the 10-day-long Shilpgram Festival devoted to arts and crafts. There are many other attractions and places to visit and explore while in
Udaipur. To begin with, there is the stunning Fateh Sagar Lake. This artificial lake is connected to Lake Pichola by a canal. Located just outside the city is the 19th century Monsoon Palace. It offers an awe-inspiring sight of the Udaipur skyline. The Ahar Museum has an impressive collection of earthern pottery. Also within the premises of the museum is a 10th century attractive metal figure of
The natural beauty of the hilly terrains of Leh is almost on everyone’s travel bucket list and this is with good reason. A motley mix of monasteries, royal palaces, mountain peaks, wildlife safaris, and adventure spots amidst stunning natural
vistas makes Leh an absolute must-visit city. Start at one of the landmarks the Khar that houses the Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle, Namgyal Gompa and a museum that exhibits ornaments, thangkas and paintings that are centuries old. Also check the Shanti Stupa atop a hill in Changspa region located at a jawdropping altitude of 14000 feet that offers
breathtaking and panoramic views of the beautiful city. If you want to know what it is like to be patriotic do visit the Hall of Fame to salute the spirit of heroes of the Kargil War and also see how the soldiers in Siachen live here as they continue to work tirelessly to protect the border. For some retail therapy head to the Leh Main Bazaar the best place to pick some of the finest woolen
wear and indulge in local food. Located close to Leh Palace behind the Jama Masjid in the Leh Main Baazar is Datun Sahib a Meswak tree believed to be the first ever tree planted by Guru Nanak.
Capital of the union territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and located on the east coast of the South Andaman Island, Port Blair is the gateway to a string of pristine islands. It is an island town offering waterbased activities like snorkeling, sea cruises and scuba diving. The Aberdeen Bazaar forms the centre of the town and most of the popular restaurants and hotels are located in close proximity to this area. The airport is only four kilometres away. There’s a lot you can do in and around Port Blair. These include checking out historical sites like the Cellular Jail and Ross Island and museums like Samudrika (Naval Marine Museum), Anthropological Museum, Zoological Survey of India Museum and Fisheries Museum. The historic and expansive Cellular Jail was used by the British to exile political prisoners including Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Batukeshwar Dutt. The original building had seven
wings and was constructed from bricks brought from Burma. Named after surveyor Sir Daniel Ross, Ross Island was inhabited from 1788 onwards but is now entirely abandoned. But it still attracts curious tourists who love treading on the brick walkways all over the island.
The capital city of India has so many places to see that it makes for a destination like no other. Having just celebrated its 107th birthday recently, Delhi is a potpourri of history, culture, arts and tradition peppered by a liberal dose of its cuisine that makes it a city to see. It is a must-visit destination for culture and art aficinados. On top of your list is to get a history lesson by visiting the renowned monuments including the Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Humayun’s Tomb, Jama Mosque, Lodhi Garden, Safdarjung Tomb
and Red Fort. Delhi has several colonial buildings as well and the India Gate and President House are places on your to-do
list. Do stop by at the Sunder Nursery, a heritage park complex next to the Humayun’s Tomb that has a history that dates back to the 16th century and is bursting with colourful flowers.
Arguably the most pristinely beautiful part of India, Jammu is a city like no other. Often eclipsed by its other half Kashmir, Jammu has a charm that is quite like no other. Start your exploration at the Amar Mahal Palace Museum that was the palace residence of Maharani Tara Devi and from where you can get a bird’s eye view of the picturesque Shivalik ranges and river Tawi. This place has several art galleries that promote both Indian art and artists. Also check the Bahu Fort the oldest fort of the city that was originally constructed over 3000 years ago by Raja Bahulochan. Within the fort there is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali and an extensive terraced garden called Bagh-e-Bahu has been developed around the fort. This is a large aquarium with 24 aquarium caves, a public gallery, museum, laboratory and a multimedia conference hall. Mubarak Mandi Palace dates back to 1824 and has a
Rajasthani, Mughal mixed architecture with baroque elements. While in Jammu, do not miss the beautiful Sheesh Mahal.
Himachal Pradesh’s panoramic hill station known for its thick deodar forests is also home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Naturally this is a unique destination for thrill seekers as well as those who want to go on a spiritual sojourn. With views that seem straight out of a painting, Dharamshala has an interesting mix of nature, monasteries, temples, forts, waterfalls and museums that is sure to make your visit feel special. Start by admiring the stunning sculpture of Lord Buddha at Tsuglagkhang Complex that was built in 1959 when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited India for the first time. Apart from his abode you can also catch Tibetan dance and music performances here. For some more Buddhism gyan head to the Namgyal Monastery, the private residence of His Holiness that also houses a Tibetan museum, bookstore, library and a monastery café. To soak in the abundance of nature stop at the Kareri Dal Lake whose picturesque surroundings surrounded by green deodar trees and snow-capped mountains are sure to leave you feeling rather mesmerized.
Your visits to Goa can be broadly classified under two categories: places to explore and things to do. From the first lot, you have a wide choice like beaches, lakes, springs, spice plantations, temples, churches, mosques and museums. In the latter category, you can take off on a wildlife or birding trip, shop till you drop, ride on an electric bike while exploring Goa’s heritage and local culture, go up in a hot air balloon or undertake a Ayurveda de-tox programme. Among the places to explore, there are some globally famous getaways, including its 50 plus beaches.
The coastal city of Mangalore will take you on a unique journey of discovery thanks to its varied mix of sights. Start at Sulthan Battery a black stone watchtower built by Tipu Sultan in 1784 that is now largely in ruins. Being on the banks of the sea this is where you can see large fishing boats that are docked and also catch a magnificent sunset if you time your visit well. Also check the Light House Hill Garden that has a light house and surrounding landscape that were built by Hyder Ali, Tipu’s father. The well-panned space has a small water body as well as a library. However Mangalore is best known for its beaches and paying a visit to the Ullal beach, Panambur beach, Taneerbhavi beach, Kaupu beach and Someshwara beach are a must and each beach is different from the other. The Kadri Hill Park here is the highest and largest park in Mangalore and is maintained by the Department of Horticulture of the Government of Karnataka. The Pilikula Nisargadhama which is another park is also situated near the Kadri Hill Park and this is more like a destination by itself and needs a few hours to explore. One of the most revered sites in this Karnataka town is at the Kudroli Sri Gokarnatheswara Kshetra which is dedicated to Gokarnath, a form of Lord Shiva.
Located in the heart of the Kashmir valley at an altitude of 1,730 m, Srinagar spans both sides of the Jhelum river. A changing play of seasons and the salubrious climate ensure that the city is attractive to visitors
One of the best cities to start your exploration of the North East, Guwahati has several unique sites that will leave you asking for more. Among one of the most popular sites the Kamakhya Temple — said to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas — is a must for the devout. Likewise the Umananda Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva dates back to 1694 AD and has some interesting sculptures and carvings. A must see is the Assam State Museum that showcases the local history and culture through its numerous galleries that have sculptures, tribal artwork and fabric used several hundred years ago. For some rest and relaxation hop on to the Alfresco Grand for a two-hour dinner cruise on Brahmaputra River that includes a lovely local meal, folk dance and music that will ensure that your entertainment is spot on. If you are travelling with family pay a visit to the Nehru Park that is surrounded with lush greenery and has several activities for children. This is where you can see local
artists as well who perform at the open-air theatre during the season. The Guwahati Planetarium is where you and your family can enjoy an interactive learning experience that is as fun as it is educative. The Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden extends 432 acres and is home the one horned Indian rhinoceros.
The union territory of Pondicherry offers a unique experience with its mix of modern heritage and spiritual culture. With a predominantly historical background, Pondicherry takes one centuries back in time. Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, it is a quiet little town with a striking French connection. You will marvel at its treelined boulevards, quaint colonial heritage buildings, spiritual sceneries, endless stretches of beaches and backwaters and a wide choice of restaurants. Among the touristy attractions here are colonial buildings, some going back to the 18th century; and the sprawling premises of the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram; and Auroville, the international City of Unity. Pondicherry has a wide choice of hotels to choose from: beach resorts for tourists and families, heritage hotels for those who want to experience something out of the ordinary, high class commercial hotels for the corporate visitors and the neat ashram guest houses for the spiritual seekers.
India’s first planned city is famous all over the world for its coloured gems. It was established in 1727 by Jai Singh II, the Raja
of Amber. He shifted his capital from Amber to the new city because of the rapidly-growing population and an
increasing water scarcity. Rajasthan’s capital city is a unique blend of heritage and a modern metropolis, forming one of
the three corners of the golden Delhi- Agra-Jaipur triangle. Since 1876, most of the buildings here have been painted in
pink, symbolic of hospitality. Do take time out to visit the Amber Palace, 11 km away from Jaipur and a beautiful melange of
Hindu and Mughal architectural styles. It was built in 1592 as a strong, safe haven against attacking enemies. Made from red stone and white marble, it stands out for its carvings, precious stones and mirrors. Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest of five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. It houses 16 geometric devices, designed to measure time and track celestial bodies. Another favourite with tourists is Albert Hall Museum (Central Museum), designed in Indo-Sarcenic architectural style.
With numerous sobriquets like the city that never sleeps, the city where dreams are made of or the financial capital of India, Mumbai has it all. Arguably a city that is as vibrant as it is historical Mumbai has several aces up its very able sleeve. Start exploring the city at the Gateway of India a historic monument that signifies the place from where the last British troops left the country for good. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus an iconic landmark is also the most famous railway station in the country and a striking example of Victorian Gothic and Indian architecture is an absolute must see to understand the pulse if the city. For more architecture lessons stop by at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel that was built in 1903 on the banks of the Arabian Sea. For some quiet time, head to the shrine of Haji Ali Dargah that dates back to 1431 built in the memory of Sayyed Peer Jaji Ali Shah Bukhari.