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                                               MOUNTAIN IDYLL

WAYFARER: Shimla may have lost her former glory, but it still throws up some serious magical moments for those who stop to take a second look, 

These days, as the sunshine blisters the skin and the humidity drowns with sweat remember the winters? The winter holidays? Want to recapture the magic? Well, this winter, I set off for Shimla and thats what Ive been drawing on as the mercury kept creeping northwards.

         Getting there was half the fun! At Delhi, we stepped off the plane and instantly experienced the 15-degree temperature difference between the Calcutta and Delhi winter. Being prepared, I promptly hauled a gigantic alpine jacket from my hand baggage and proceeded to don it, raising eyebrows and imparting an additional chill to those who forgot theirs, and were in thin shawls.

THE GANG

D. Six one, deep rumbling voice, beard, the size of a mountain. B. Slender, fragile, looks 15at 27 and probably will at 50. P. Six two, 130kg, and in his own words, ‘Tall, dark, and contextually handsome’. And me, the normality quota.

        Got into cab, which sagged down to the ground. Driver flashed this brilliant smile and said,Good morning, sir! Which country, sir”? He was somewhere between horrified and fascinated when it turned out to be his own.

        Khan Market. Straight out of the taxi, D stopped, and with a bloodhound-sniff, murmured,Mutton!’ and unerringly followed the scent to an Afghani roll joint. Relaxed until evening and then piled into the Kalka Express.

THE TOY TRAIN

Kalka, early morning fog. Damp cold air, sleepy heads. Exposed skin so cold it hurts, rest of you toasty warm in jacket, exhaling thick white vapour. Deserted station, and finally, a chaiwala. That first sip feels it. Try it. The thrills running down your spine as hot tea slides down through your chilled body

       The Kalka-Shimla route is one of the worlds railway engineering feats. Dozens of Roman—style bridges, and the 103 tunnels it travels through were dug using giant mirrors for lighting, which are still used for repair work.

SHILONBAGH

We arrived at Shilonbagh in the middle of this beautiful winter whether cool, overcast, slight-ly, drizzly, and best of all, seen from behind a pane of glass while wrapped up in a warm blanket in the middle of nowhere, uninhabited wilderness. We met our first yak here.

        Sleet season. Himachal shivering in icy winds. Your ears go cold, freeze, and then go numb. In spite of your thermals, t-shirt, sweater, and double-layered alpine jacket and shoes, cap, and gloves you still stand with whole-body shudders and chattering teeth and frozen fingers.

        Situation desperate. Enoughs enough; D stops at the first desi-daru theka and picks up a bottle of local stuff entitled Suroor.

        Its similar to its namesake—everywhere, not healthy in the long run or large doses, but gives warmth and comfort at a cheap price. And popular with drivers.

        At night, we watched the moon set. Darkness, dead silence, deadly chill. Stepped out on the balcony barefoot, and in second I was screaming and ran inside because my feet were so icy they burned.

THE MALL

Shimlas main market, meeting place, government centerin short, its heart. A vehicle-free zone, old English architecture; a lovely place. You can only move around on foot, horseback, or pram.

         Morning: Indian Coffee House. We stuffed ourselves with the softest, thickest, most delicious, golden buttered toast and scrambled eggs worth the trip just for that. We lounged around on benches; watch the crowds, read, chat. The Mall is a real-world Orkut. Old civil servants in black, college kids, picnicking families, businessman, retirees, aunties, school-kids girl groups original mall rats. Counted a handshake every ten seconds.

         Afternoon: Dhoom 2 at the Ritz. D hooted, hollered, whistled, moaned, and gave censor—unfriendly dialogues throughout, which made up for the movies shortcomings in entertainment. Dont know if the management will allow us back, though the audience was highly appreciative.

         Evening: Christ Church. Lit up at night, brilliant clean yellow against midnight-blue sky in the background as we gulped boiling-hot gulab jamuns, hot enough to burn tongue. Awesome.

SHOPPING

At a Tibetan handloom shop, finally, I found a CD of Tibetan chants. Ive been looking for these for months. But it needs a mountain winter to be appreciated. Down in the plains, its soul, like the wind in the hills, is missing; the melody, lost and lonely.

         A nail-biting ride back to hotel on the dark mountain road, cab swaying in the night to the haunting soft strains of Ya Ali on an old, scratchy tape. It felt like we were flying; Im sure a wheel was hanging over the precipice every now and then.

         The next morning was amazingsky clear, crystalline air. You can see all the way to Karakoram peaks and Rohtang-La, gleaming white in the sunshine, while sitting in the garden of the ABC Shere Punjab, pigging out on aloo-parathas.      

        Why ABC? It used to be a single dhaba called Shere Punjab run by two brothers, but greed and rivalry reared its ugly head, dividing it. One named his half the Zenstha Shere Punjab, and the other, out of ideas, settled on ABC for his pride and joy.

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BOLLYWOOD FLASHBACKS

Naldehra. The scenic site of many 70s Bollywood romances. Riding around on horseback between the pines, stopping at clearings for chai, I kept expecting to see Rajesh Khanna pop out from behind a tree with trademark soulful expression.

         One of the tea-stall owners—An elderly gent called Rajesh ji from Lucknow—who runs his business here, remembered the times when movies used to be shot all the time but now its tapered off. The directors now prefer foreign locales and Naldehra dreams of its star-studded past with nostalgia.

         You have to see the dogs they have here. Theyre the healthiest I ever saw, huge. Obviously from extra layers of bushy fur, but many mongrels have ancestry traceable to retired brigadiers pets—Alsatians, Dobermans, Spaniels, Labradors, even Great Danes? With a does of Bhutan in the mix, you have a classic Himachal street dog—large, thick-furred and bright—eyed, well-kept and well-fed, and generally enjoying such an indolent life-style, you want to jump off the nearest cliff in shame at your own life.

         But that wasnt to be and back we came to the grind of a city waiting for us with not quite so open arms. And so, another holiday ended.  

 

 

                    

Paradise Regained

With its lakes, mountain and meadows, Kashmir remains eternally captivating. And the season’s just right for a holiday in the breathtakingly beautiful Valley

Set like a jeweled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hue with the seasons, always extravagantly beautiful, always a tourists haven. The Mughals aptly called Kashmir the Paradise on Earth and when the soft snowflakes adorn the coniferous, the chilly breeze gently tingles your senses, the tender sunlight deflecting from the ice-capped peaks to spread the much needed warmth for your misty breath, then you realize the picture of a true heaven on Earth. In Kashmir, the land where myriad holidays are actualized, every different season opens new vistas of visual delights. The winter snow, carpets the mountains. Spring and summers honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and clear blue skies beckon every soul, while autumn is poignant in its colours of warm introspection. Srinagar, the city of great antiquity, is located in the heart of Kashmir at an altitude of 1,730 meters above the sea level, with the three majestic Himalayan ranges of Karakoram, Zanskar and Pir Panjal framing the landscape from northwest to northeast. With its almost medieval charm, the old city has sights and smells to enchant even the most jaded traveler.

SWAYING IN A SHIKARA

Kashmir is dotted with breathtaking tourist spots—the fragrance of a million flowers making the air heady with subdued colours that seems to counterpoint natures magnificence. The biggest attraction is the Dal Lake, which is host to the worlds famous shikaras and houseboats. This jewel, in the crown of Kashmir is a sight worth beholding in winter when the lake freezes under a leaden sky. The Nishant Garden, laid by Asif Khan, Queen Noor Jahans brother, Harwan, a garden that has massive China trees and a canal, and the Shalimar Garden, built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, is Kashmirs three most beautiful waterfront gardens. Chashmeshahi or the Royal Spring laid by Shah Jahan, famous for its refreshing digestive mineral water, and Paris Mahal, with its legendary school of astrology and philosophy, are big crowd pullers. Gulmarg, 57kms from Srinagar and a meadow of flowers with a beautiful high—land golf course, is best known for its unparalleled beauty. A cable car (Gandola) taking tourists up to Kongdori is a big hit. Pahalgam is a quaint, nomadic village, 96kms from Srinagar, UN—spoilt by the ravages of progress. Sonmarg, the Golden Meadow, at an altitude of 2,470 meters, is the gateway to Ladakh. The largest fresh water lake in India, Wullar Lake, 60kms from Srinagar. With its turbulent waters, exciting variety of avian life and the sheer beauty of its setting, Wullar Lake represents nature at her most untamed.

             Kashmir has various wildlife sanctuaries, some of them beingthe Decigram National Park, Overa Wildlife Sanctuary, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve and the Ramnagar National Park.

ORCHARDS AND MEADOWS

The joyous chirping of birds, orchards laden with fruits, alpine meadows with grazing herds, the snowcapped peaks, the romantic houseboats, the shepherds with their soothing music—the vivid mosaic of Kashmir captivates you eternally and this, despite the fear of terror lurking in the background. As the unforgettable tapestry of this wonderland—one of the most beautiful places in the world—unfolds before you, you never want to bid adieu.

FACT FILE

HOT TIPS

CINNAMON & CELLULOID

How to go:

You can take a Jet Airways or Indian Airlines flight from Kolkata to Srinagar. You could also take the Himgiri Express from Howrah or the Jammu Tawi Express from Sealdah.

Where to stay:

Many tourists are attracted by the charm of staying in a houseboat, which provides all the conveniences of a luxury hotel. Srinagar has 1087 registered houseboats. There are also good hotels like Aziz, City Plaza, Akbar Residency and Gulshan Valley.

What to do:

Trekking, golfing, skiing, tobogganing, fishing, riding shikaras, picnicking, white water rafting, sledging down the frozen glaciers, horse riding, exploring the jungles and exotic wildlife. Visiting shrines and monuments such as the Hazratbal Mosque, Amarnath Cave, Hari Parbat Fort, Temple of Sharika Devi

 

Best Season: March—October

1. For mountaineering, you need to take permission from the Government of India through the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF).

2. After daylong cycling, one can enjoy memos, noodles with beans, pancakes with jam, and dal with rice at local restaurants!

3. Zanskar and Ladakh are best places for mountaineering.

4. The rivers are fed by melting glaciers, so it is best that you wear wet jackets before you indulge in white water rafting.

5. Cooking fuels like kerosene or gas for cooking stoves must be carried in sufficient quantity to last the duration of the trek, as fuel is scarcely available along most of the routes.

Food:

Kashmiri food is rich and redolent with the flavour of the spices used-cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and saffron. Kashmiri food can be a simple meal for a family or a 36 course-wedding banquet called Wazman where the most commonly served items are rista (meat balls) and seekh kebabs. Non-vegetarian dishes are considered a sign of lavish hospitality but sweet do not play an important role. Instead, Kahva or green tea is used to wash down a meal. Kashmiri breads like sheermal, baquer—khani and lavaare a specialty. Checks out the walnut cakes—they are delicious!

Films and Kashmir:

The Valley was a favourite shoot—ing spot for Hindi film producers in the 1960s, 70s and 80s before the onset of militancy in 1990. Several blockbusters like Kashmir Ki Kali, Silsila, Karma, Aarzoo and Betaab were shot here

 

            

Auli

Auli is nestled in the lap of snow-capped peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas, in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal India, and near the world-famous religious shrine of Badrinath. At an altitude of 2,500 to 3,050 meters above sea level Aulis well-dressed slopes are flanked by coniferous and oak forests, which offer a panoramic view of Mountains. If you are out for adventure, fun and frolic this winter, find yourself in Auli, in the vicinity of the mountain peaks Nanda Devi and Mana Parbat.

           Auli has now become a leading tourist spot. While its slopes beckon daring and gallant skiing enthusiasts, its pristine natural beauty and its alpine atmosphere lure many tourists. A haven for those who want to escape the humdrum of everyday life, conquer their fear of heights, savour nature in its purest form or just throw snowballs at each other.

           Air: - For those traveling by air, the nearest airport is at Jolly Grant Airport (Dehradun) 273km from Joshimath, 17km from Rishikesh.

           Rail: - Coming from any part of India, the nearest rail head is Haridwar 299km from Auli.

           Road: - Auli is only a 13km drive from Joshimath. State transport and Union buses play regularly between Joshimath and Rishikesh (253 km). Local Transport Union buses and State Transport buses operate between Joshimath and Rishikesh (253 km), Haridwar (277 km) and Delhi (500 km).  

           From Joshimath onwards, both bus and taxi services are available for Auli. Deluxe coaches can also be arranged with prior notice for the group of 15 people or more.

           Cable Car: - The most popular way to drop in at Auli is by the famed cable car service, which runs for 3 kms. Traveling by the ropeway, it is impossible to resist the captive beauty of the snow-covered peaks, the alpine forest and the bracing climate. 

 

 

Set to conquer the third highest

Howrah District Mountaineers and Trekkers Association has decided to up their conquest of the third highest mountain in the country, the Kamet, by attempting one of the technically most complicated, the Satopanth in Uttarakhand. But for the club, based at Dumurjala Indoor Stadium, scaling tougher heights is merely a new challenge that it overcomes with ease. Having come a long way from its humble beginnings at a members house in Mandirtala, the club has undertaken expeditions to difficult peaks like Kamet,BlackPeak, Kedar Dome, Bhagirathi II and Dronagiri.

             In 2004, the club had recovered the remains of a 1968 army plan crash in the Daka glacier in the Lahaul Spiti region. “It was unexpected. We noticed the remains while returning from the summit. We found human bones, army badges and broken parts from the plane. It was only later that we heard that the army had tried to find it and failed,” recalls Kiran Mukherjee, the secretary of the club, who was a member of the expedition team. While attempting the Dronagiri peak in Uttaranchal, the team had aclose shave as they had to battle through a blizzard.

             At a height of 23,212 feet, scaling Satopanth is no easy task. But, explains team leader Anal Das: “After Kamet last year, we were reluctant to settle for anything less. Satopanth seemed a fitting challenge”.

             A team of 24 will attempt the mountain, of whom 14 will have a go at scaling the peak, while the rest remain at the base camp. At 65 years, Jagabandhu Kundu is the oldest member. It is only by dint of determination and his love for the mountains that he continues to accompany the team in all its expeditions.

             Mountaineering expeditions are not easy on the pocket; in fact they are dearer than trekking programmes. At a cost of Rs.10,000 per head for the Satopanth expedition, it is difficult for many of the members to pay their way. This year, the club will share the costs of five members, who are students. “The seniors chip in. Donations and advertisements in our souvenir also help us along,” explains Das.

             Satopanth will challenge the team. Das explains: “The terrain beyond base camp will have steep ridges of up to 70 degrees gradient on both sides. It will be fraught with risk between camps II and III. The area is prone to avalanches. There are deep crevasses, where it will be difficult to recover a person if he misses his footing and falls in”.

             But the club does not limit itself to visiting the mountains. A bit of social work is also on the cards. For the past few years, they have helped the local people in the villages they pass through with medicines and the children with books. “We also try to teach them the basic alphabets. We hope it makes some difference,” says climber Subrata Banerjee who started the idea. They distributed primary textbooks in Hindi and English to children in Niti, the last village on the road to the kamet peak, at a height of more than 12,000m. “We met some of them on the way back, and when I quizzed them on what I had taught, they remembered a lot of it,” he adds.          

 

 

 

Discovering Mauritius

The striking beauty of this island is enhanced because of the purity of its elements. The merging blue, green and turquoise of its waters, the deliciously verdant palm-fringed sand and spray, the hidden alcoves tantalizing to explore and

 

Mauritius is perfectly poised as a sparkling gem in the Indian Ocean. “While its well-explored beaches, serenity of the ocean and the lavishness of its hotels have attracted tourists world over, Mauritius also beckons for its activity-oriented holidays. The underwater walk, submarine escapades and scuba diving—facilitated by its extended coral reefs and lagoons abounding with fish—make it and adventurers paradise,” Rajiv Nangia of Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), says. Such is the charm of this island that it is luring Indian tourists even from smaller cities; contributing to the 15% growth of Indian tourists to Mauritius in 2007, Rajiv adds.

           The collaboration of MTPA with Shoot Talent Management for the first-of-its-kind Miss India calendar, shot exclusively on some of the most enticing locales of Mauritius this year, also reinforces the natural beauty of this godly island.The shoot with the six beauty queens is aimedat highlighting the virgin locations and hidden getaways that are a natural bounty of Mauritius,” Rajiv says.

           As if this tropical island did not gratifying visual cravings enough, it also caters to sensual delights. The Shanti Ananda Maurice, a spa spread over 35 acres, is situated in the south of Mauritius along the beach at St Felix. Its specially tailored range of Ayurvedic and international treatments, including the full range of ESPA body and beauty treatments, speaks of a divine experience, rejuvenating the body and soul. This sprawling spa is also replete with luxury villas, suites, conference rooms, leisure and fitness centers. The gracefully wooded hills circling the spa make it an idyllic destination. For more information, log onto www.shantiananda.com.

          Besides, the easy accessibility of Mauritius by air, coupled with pocket-friendly fares, makes it a back-packers delight. With no ECNR (clearance stamp) required to travel to Mauritius, Indian passport holders are privileged to get visa on arrival. Rajesh Busgheet, Regional Manager, Indian Subcontinent & Middle East-Air Mauritius, says, “Air Mauritius was the official travel partner for all the Pantaloons Femina Miss India for this project. It started its operations to India 25 years ago, with a commitment of providing best services to our customers. We have six weekly fights to the Indian Subcontinent”. (For flight schedules refer to box).

 

AIR MAURITIUS Flight connectivity

DELHI-Mauritius Thursdays & Sundays MUMBAI-MAURITIUS Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays

MAA (Chennai)-MAURITIUSTuesdays

     

For more details on Mauritius, contact:Mauritius Tourism

C/O TRAC Representations (I) Pvt. Ltd.

A 61, 6th floor, Himalaya House,

Kastoorba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001 Tel: +91 11 23319804 Fax: +91 11 23350270 Email:mtpaindia@tracrep.com

Website:

http://www.tourism-mauritius.mu

         

Summer on the roads

TOP GEAR: Make the most of the scorching Indian summer and go for fun drives to cooler climes,

Sikkim

1.        Distance from Calcutta: 696km

2.        Route from Calcutta: NH34 to Silliguri via Malda, NH31A to Gangtok via Teesta Bazaar.

Why drive?

To be honest, its fun only after Silliguri because the road from Calcutta to Silliguri has quite a few bad stretches. A good option would be to have your car transported to Silliguri or Bagdogra Airport to where you can fly from Calcutta. Silliguri to Gangtok is a splendid drive with views of the Teesta River en route.

Why here?

Gangtok is a very happening town where you can while away an evening or two exploring the boutiques on MG Marg or snacking at the delightful Bakers Café. Excursions include the Tashi Viewpoint and the Tsogmo Lake (41km). Also, the Nathu La (the India-China trade route) is 17km from the lake.

          The Rumtek Gompa is 25km from Gangtok. From Gangtok you can head west towards pelling, which is 118km away (3.5 hours). Here can you visit the Pemayangtse Gompa and the kids will love Khecheopari Lake close to Pelling. You can also visit Yuksom, which was Sikkims old capital.

The Manali-Leh Road

1.        Distance: 480km

2.        Route: Manali—Rohtang Pass—Gramphu—Koksar—Keylong—Jispa—Baralacha Pass—Sarah—Lachungla Pass—More Plains—Tanglang Pass—Upshi—Karu—Leh

Why drive?

You can then claim to have driven across four of the worlds highest mountain passes. The scenery is spectacular from the three-horned Baralacha Pass to the vastness of the high altitude More Plains.

Why here?

This is one drive that can never be boring. The journey from Manali to Leh by road is considered the mother of all driving adventures in India. As in Spiti, this drive is a geography lesion in cinemascope. Leh, of course, is lovely to visit and then there is the Pangong Tso Lake that is across the Change La Pass east from Karu 30km south of Leh. But the drive to Leh is the best part of the trip.

 

Bomdila, Dirang and Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

1.        Distance: From Guwahati to Tawang 510km

2.        Route: Starting off from Guwahati head east on NH37 till the Tezpur turn off. Then NH37A towards Tezpur, Bali Para and Bhalukpong, which is on NH52. From here the roads turn over to Tawang past Bomdila, Dirang, the Sela Pass and Jang to Tawang.

Why drive?

This route follows one of the best roads in Assam, NH37 which heads towards Kaziranga, but then for this trip you need to turn off much before the rhino park. After that, it is a lovely drive past the quaint town of Bhalupong, which is just across the border from Assam. The fog-laden approach to Sela Pass (14,000ft) after Dirang gives an ethereal feel as you approach the summit.

Why here?

Driving through this part of India is quite unique. You will see tribes with bows and arrows and some sporting a Hornbill hat. Tippi, 10km from Bhalukpong, provides for rafting on the Kameng River. You can also see 500 varieties of orchids in the botanical gardens. Tawangs most popular tourist attraction is its 400-year-old monastery with its gilded roofs.

Kashmir

1.        Distance from Delhi/Chandigarh: 876km/646km

2.        Route from Delhi: NH1to Jalandhar, NH1A to Srinagar via Pathankot, Jammu and Patnitop

3.        From Chandigarh: NH95 to Ludhiana, NH1 to Jalandhar, NH1A to Srinagar via Pathankot, Jammu and Patnitop

Why drive?

The road from Delhi to Pathankot is almost completely double-landed and can be covered quickly. From Pathankot head towards Sambha and take the Jammu bypass to Udhampur, thereby avoiding driving through Jammu. Patnitop is an ideal place to take a break. From then on the drive is filled with fantastic views all the way to Srinagar.

Why here?

You are in Kashmir. Thats reason enough. The kids will be thrilled when you drive through Indias longest tunnel, the Jawahar Tunnel (2576m) at Banihal. There is water skiing on the Dal Lake, the unique experience of going shopping in a Shikhara and staying in a houseboat. Gulmarg has a cable car called the Gondola going up to Khilanmarg. You can walk around Gulmarg or take a pony to Alapathar or the frozen lake. Pahalgam is beauty personified and Aru, 12km from Pahalgam, is even more astounding.                

 

Swinging into action

Uttaranchal

Rishikesh is known for its spectacular landscape and crisp, cool climate. The rocky terrain attracts adventure geeks by the droves what with several extreme sports complexes and offsite activity facilities being set up in the area in recent years. There are a host of innovative outdoor activities that are on offer here for beginners and the Tarzan Swing is a good way to start. 

HOT TICKET

!

Wanderlust Adventure Sports India, an offsite adventure provider, has a Tarzan Swing package for rookies at Ganga—banks River Camp near Rishikesh. The package includes charges for equipment such as harness, ropes, jumping and landing platforms. The rental per day is Rs.10,000 but the equipment can be used by any number of people within a group. Padded logs are provided by trained guides to ensure safe landing from the platforms. Accommodation, meals and road transfers are not included in the package.

 

  Haryana

With the stunning Aravalli Ranges and Damdama Lake as the backdrop, the Water Banks Island Resort at Damdama is the place to be if you want to stylishly swing into action. The resort is also the hotbed of interesting leisure activities once you are done with the Tarzan Swing. You can bung in motorboat rides at the lake, try your hand at archery, air rifle shooting, table tennis and fishing, all arranged by the resort authorities.

HOT TICKET

!

Ashex Tourism has a 2 nights programme at the Water Banks Island Resort in Damdama, thats priced at Rs.3,600 excluding taxes. Tarzan Swing is part of a bouquet of several adventure sport activities carried out here.

             Amateurs are asked to try out the Tarzan Swing here since skilled guides accompany participants at every step. Also, newbies are encouraged to practice the swinging action several times under expert guidance before they are allowed to do it on their own. There are absolutely no pre-requirements to participate in the activity but you need have strong arms to support your body weight once you get started on the gravity-defying act.

HOT TICKET!

Ashex Tourism has a 2 nights programme at the Water Banks Island Resort in Damdama, thats priced at Rs.3,600 excluding taxes. Tarzan Swing is part of a bouquet of several adventure sport activities carried out here.

Maharashtra

Karjat, 100km from Mumbai, is a great place to try out the Tarzan Swing since its surrounded by steep slopes and is thinly populated. There are several resorts in the area, which have adventure clubs facilitating activities like the Tarzan Swing. These adventure clubs have steel cables, touchdown equipment and ropes but discourage people who are heavier than 80kg. There are restrictions for cardiac and hypertension patients as well, since the altitude and strenuous nature of the activity requires basic levels of fitness.

HOT TICKET!

River Gate Resort at Karjat, Maharashtra, has AC tents for participants of outdoor activities like the Tarzan Swing. The weekday rental for a tent is Rs.4,400 per couple—this includes the swing and meals. You have to pay Rs.600 extra on weekends. 

Himachal Pradesh

Camp Wonderland, situated at a distance of 30 minutes from Sangla Valley in Himachal Pradesh is a visual extravaganza in terms of rolling slopes dotted with thick forests. Natural elevations in this area give the Tarzan Swing activity a great fillip and enthusiasts flock the camp to avail its sporting facilities. Activities arranged by the camp for its patrons include rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing apart from the Tarzan Swing.

 

HOT TICKET!

Garhwal Himalayan Expedition arranges customized tours to Camp Wonderland if you let them know your preference. You can log in to http://www.infoindiatours.com to submit your option for a Tarzan Swing.   

FESTIVE BONANZA

Emirates Holidays has a royal treat in store for the citys travel buffs this Puja. They have a host of packages to destinations across the globe, starting as low as Rs.34000 per person. If youre pressed for time, opt for the 3 nights and 4 days Dubai package at Rs.34586. If you have more time, go for the 5-nights/6-days Aegean Classic package at Rs.108729 per person. It covers Greece and Turkey and the accommodation is at 4-star hotels. You get to see exotic destinations like Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patomos, Santorini and more. If you have a week in hand, try the Jordan Explorer for size. This 6-nights/7-days package comes at Rs.118268 and it will take you to Amman, Petra and the Dead Sea area. These packages are valid till October 15, 2008. The prices include economy class return airfare, chauffeur driven transfers to and from the airport/station, accommodation at 4-star and 5-star hotels, buffet breakfast, room taxes and service charges. There is more in store if youre looking for a destination in Europe or even South Africa. Log on to www.emirates-holidays.com for more details.  

 

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