Monthly Archives: December 2013

Travel Essentials: Sravanabelagola

Installment 1 (contd…..)

So, we’re back with a continuation of our article based on travel and sightseeing in Sravanabelagola, Karnataka. In case you missed the previous post, here’s the link for you

Travel Essentials: Sravanabelagola

Bed and Breakfast

Mallige Residency

Category: 2 star

Address: 266, High School Field Road, K. R. Puram,
Hassan, Karnataka 573 201, India

E-mail: info@malligeresidency.com
www.malligeresidency.com

Online booking portal for Mallige Residency

Situated at the heart of the Hassan Township, in close proximity to the train station, bus stand and other commercial centres, Mallige Residency provides state of art amenities and strives to make your stay an experience of a kind.

Portico at the entrance, Mallige Residency Hassan

Portico at the entrance

Facilities available:

• 24 hrs check-in / check-out.
• Well equipped A/C rooms with LCD TV
• Free Internet access
• Electronic-safe
• Direct-dial facilities
• 24 hrs water heating
• Laundry on request
• Doctor-on-call
• Travel-desk
• Room-service
• Fire safety as per international norms

Foyer and reservation desk

Foyer, Mallige residency

Mallige Residency maintains the Parijata Restaurant. Spic ‘n span, and well furnished, it serves the best and most authentic vegetarian delights in town.

Dining Room, at the Parijata, Hassan

Dining Room, at the Parijata

Rooms at the Mallige Residency

Rooms at the Mallige Residency

 

Suvarna Regency

Address: No. 97, B.M. Road,Hassan – 573201,Karnataka

Email:  suvarnaregency@rediffmail.com                                                                                                          info@suvarnaregency.com

Online reservation portal for Suvarna Regency

Also centrally located in Hassan, and frequented by tourists, and visitors to the ISRO central control facility nearby, it’s elegance and rich ambience is sure to impress you. Spanning over 1.5 acres, it has 89 rooms in all, 17 of which are air conditioned. It also maintains suites and cottages.

Entrance Lobby at Suvarna Regency

Entrance Lobby at Suvarna Regency

Rooms at Suvarna Regency

Rooms at Suvarna Regency

 

 

Amenities:

  • 24 hours checkout
  •  STD, ISD, Internet access, fax and banking facilities
  • Travel desk to assist customers for sight seeing trips and onward reservations
  •  24 hours Doctor on call
  • Driver Rest Room
  • Luxurious swimming pool
  • Round the clock room service

Dining: Suvarna regency maintains two separate restaurants in the complex

Suvarna Gate:  Serves a choice of Indian, Continental and Chinese and comes with an adjoined bar.

Suvarna Sagar:  Specializes in serving South and North Indian delicacies.

 

Hotel Southern Star

Address: B.M. Highway, Hassan-573201, Karnataka

Moderate and well maintained, it comes with air conditioned, furnished and well equipped rooms.

Hotel Southern Star, Hassan

Hotel Southern Star

Amenities

  • Spa center and Hair Salon
  • Dining lounge and bar
  • Business center
  • Currency exchange counter
  • Onsite free parking
  • Express check out
  • Fitness facility, gymn
  • Conference halls and seminar rooms
  • Round the clock reception desk

 

 

Travel Essentials: Sravanabelagola

Installment No: 1

In the Travel Essentials series, we will present before you authentic information regarding tourism in some of the lesser explored corners of the Southern Indian Peninsula. Having stood the ravages of time, these places take you on a voyage into the past, to share with you, the lores of royalties from days gone by. Isolated from the tediousness of mortal existence and untainted by the chaos named “modernity”, they invigorate you with a captivating charm of their own.

Location:  Approximately 157kms from Bengaluru

Channarayapatna taluk , Hassan District, Karnataka

Why Sravanabelagola?

  Sravanabelagola, which iterally translates into “White pond of God”, is also referred to as “Dakshinakasi” in popular texts, due it’s prominence as a centre of pilgrimage amongst certain sects of India, specifically Jains. The founder of the Mauryan Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, is believed to have resided here as a monk during the later part of his life, in his quest for nirvana.

The Gommateshvara Bahubali statute, which stands about 57 feet tall, is the world’s tallest man made monolithic sculpture. One needs to overcome a steep flight of nearly 614 stairs to reach the summit of the Vindhiyagiri Hill, where the Gommateshvara is situated.

The Gommateshvara Bahubali at Sravana Belagola

The Gommateshvara Bahubali at Sravana Belagola

Apart from the Gommateshvara, there are several other historic Jain temples in the neighbourhood. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, erected the Chandragupta Basti atop the Chandragiri Hill, opposite to the Vindhyagiri Hill. Also located south of the main township, is the Bhandari Basti, Sravanabelagola’s largest temple. The Chandranatha Basti has well preserved paintings, depicting popular Jain legends.

Look out for….

The Mahamasthakabhisheka is an important Jain festival held once every twelve years in the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka, India. The festival is held in veneration of an immense 18 meter high statue of the Siddha Bahubali. The anointing last took place in February 2006, and the next ceremony will occur in 2018. During the ceremony, the statue is bathed in milk, sugarcane juice, and saffron paste, and sprinkled with powders of sandalwood, turmeric, and vermillion.

Mahamasthakabhisheka at Sravanabelagola

Mahamasthakabhisheka at Sravanabelagola

Bed and breakfast!

The nearest hotels are available at Hassan, the district headquarter, which is about 52Kms away.

Hoysala Village Resort

Nestled in a quiet and secluded corner of Hassan, it’s a luxury resort especially renowned for promoting ecotourism, with an organic village of it’s own nearby, spanning over 200 acres.

The scenic ambience at Hoysala resort

The scenic ambience at Hoysala resort

Facilities and services available:

  • Well maintained pool
  • Indoor games facilities: carom and table tennis
  • Bullock cart ride
  • Horse ride
  • Yoga & Spa (Ayurvedic massage)
  • Conference halls
  • Volleyball and  badminton courts
  • Cycling
  • Trekking

They provide two types of accommodation, cottage and suite, which is slightly more expensive. The rent is of three types, based on season and availability.

                                                          


How to pick up a good hotel.

Its easy for people who travel frequently to pick up a good budget hotel or a luxurious one that can serve their best interests. But often people who are novices in the field of travel, find it difficult to find a perfect place for accommodation that fits to their taste and requirements, be it the case when you are travelling alone or with a family.

 

We sometimes find some best hotels, 4-star hotels lagging behind 2-star hotels when it comes to hospitality. Various guests express their disappointment  through many media forums and reviews on famous sites, that luxurious hotels are not doing up-to-the mark service for the money they pay.

The main qualities one should look for in a good hotel are:

Cleanliness, Safety, Convenience to sites of interest, and its price.

The first and foremost thing a guest notices when he/she enters the room is, if its clean or not. And when the hotels which claim to provide all the basic amenities fail to do so, that’s when they earn the consumer’s wrath.

The hospitality of the staff and their service is also scrutinized. The hotels you choose to stay should have good security and be trustworthy. Proximity to the places of your business is also accounted. Last but not the least, when the above all are not satisfied or satisfied, it all boils down to how much the guest paid and is the service the value of their money or not.

When the hotel staff are welcoming and take care of their guests, it makes the guests feel like visiting again, and they would also recommend the hotel to their peers.

So, if you are someone looking for a comfortable stay, its not necessary that you always opt the branded hotels, or a 4-star or 5-starred ones. Best thing you can do is a bit of research from online forums about the quality of service a hotel provides, and read the reviews of guests who had been to those hotels. There’s a good chance that you find certain cheap hotels providing better service than the luxurious ones in different aspects.

When it comes to the Food issue, you should make sure that hotel has a restaurant. And if not, at least it should be near to some restaurants. You definitely don’t want to travel long way when you’re hungry just for the sake of good food!

That said, make intelligent choices, read reviews and then choose the hotel that best suits you.

Hotels in Trivandrum,Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, also known as Trivandrum, is one of the greener cities of the country and is a main IT hub of the state-the Technopark. There are several institutions of research and education located in this “city of Ananta”. This city is also famous for Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple located at the centre of the city. It is well connected with the other major cities of the state and neighbouring states. And the city is observed to have busy bees swarming all over the alleys on business and other stuff. So, here’s a guide to those travelers for a better executive hotel, budget hotels in the city.

Vivanta by Taj-Trivandrum is a 5-star hotel, located near to many important landmarks is the place where business meets pleasure. With a lot of facilities like a business center, a multiple conference rooms, small meeting rooms, Technology Help Desk; its a definite choice for those aiming for both luxury and a comfortable business trip. The outdoor swimming pool, full-service  health spa and Nightclub can keep you preoccupied when you are not indulged in business.

5-star hotel

Vivanta by Taj

KTDC Mascot Hotel Thiruvananthapuram is a 4-star hotel in the heart of the city near and near to Napier Museum and Secretariat. With 66 guest rooms and amenities like full-service spa, 24-hour business center, 7-conference rooms, bar and lounge, this hotel is a definite executive choice.

4-star hotel

KTDC Mascot Hotel

Keys Hotel is a 4-star hotel with 101 smoke-free rooms, all air-conditioned, with an exclusive restaurant called Keys Cafe’ which provides breakfast,lunch and dinner. With a couple of business meeting rooms and conference halls, and a 24-hour business center, free wi-fi, this hotel has won good reviews among its guests for its cleanliness and friendly staff.

4-star hotel

Keys Hotel

The Capital is a 3-star hotel with restaurant is located near the Technopark and the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple, with a 24-hour business center and other such basic amenities including good internet wireless connection. A good place to stay and value for money as quoted by international travelers and frequent business travelers. Near to airport and in good proximity to other places of interest in the city, this is a good hotel to stay when on business trip.

3-star hotel

The Capitol

Hotel Chaitram, located in the heart of the city and just opposite to the railway station, offers comfort at a decent price. With 88 rooms in 8 floors, its has a business center, restaurant, wi-fi, bar, conference suite, meeting facilities for people on business trip etc., this hotel enjoys being  among the top 10% of the hotels in the city.

2-star hotel

Hotel Chaitram

Araku Valley: The Scenic Hill Station

One of the scenic and lush green tourist places in Andhra Pradesh is the Araku Valley. Its the least exploited scenic place by the commercial tourism in the country and presents us peacefulness in its abode. Araku Valley is the hill station at an average altitude of 911m and is located 114km away from the main city Visakhapatnam. Its an great spot for trekking.

The journey to this Araku valley by train or by bus from Visakhapatnam itself is awesome in its own essence, for, you get to see the plantations on the hills. There are 19 kinds of tribes in and around this forest encompassing the valley and mountains. And their work in coffee plantation has been recognised globally. There are so many tunnels and bridges, and the roads at this Eastern Ghat are very steep with many hairpin that makes this place even more beautiful enchanting.

Araku Valley

Araku Valley

The Govt. Silk Farms, Coffee Plantations, the Botanical Garden at Padmapuram are main attractions in this place. And a few kilometres away from the valley, there is one more famous tourist attraction called Borra Caves. These are deepest caves in the country present almost at an elevation of 705m in the Anantagiri Hill of the valley.

Padmapuram Gardens

Padmapuram Gardens

Borra Caves are known for its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, and the colorful lights installed inside the cave by the AP government shows the exotic beauty of the caves. The Shiva temple built many years ago by a tribe which goes by a legend is there outside the caves for tourists to worship. One who visits Araku Valley makes it a must-visit for Borra caves too. Ideal time to visit this place is during November and December.

Borra Caves

Borra Caves

The tribes in Araku Valley have preserved their tradition all along and the famous old-folk Dhimsa dance which they perform during “Ithika Pongal” is now shown everyday for the tourists. Chaaparai, is another picnic spot, 15km away from the valley.

There are many resorts and hotels in Araku Valley, mostly are budget hotels, present near the bus-depot. Among them are Krishana Tara Comforts, a 2-star hotel providing all basic amenities is just a 10-minute walk from bus station and offers assistance with travel arrangements, taxi service etc.

Budget Hotels in Araku

Krishana Tara Comforts

Hotel Vihar Holiday Inn is a 3-star hotel, which is a new competitor in the hotel business at Araku, boasts of clean rooms and excellent staff service. This is the only hotel in Araku which offers all air-conditioned rooms. With 10-a/c deluxe rooms and 2 a/c suites, basic amenities, multi-cuisine restaurant etc., this hotel is a good choice for tourists.

The Road Trip

We humans often tend to get bored, tired, exhausted at the worldly things like our work at office or sometimes we feel that our body and soul is screaming for a vacation, a break. But there’s always this baggage called work, relationships etc., and at the end of the day, we postpone it or might as well let it dwell in the back of my mind and never ever think about it seriously. But every person need to give time to oneself, to discover his/her own self, be amused and wonder at small things, without which our life is just grey! Hence i propose the idea of a road trip, be it with friends or even better and adventurous, going alone, for such individuals who worked their whole life, and want to feel peaceful and relieved for once.

The Road Trip

The Road Trip

Now road trips can be done either going by a 2-wheeler bike or a 4-wheeler if you have company. The first and foremost important thing is you decide which route you are gonna take, and what places you want to see and set a schedule for it. A detailed plan of the itinerary has to be laid before embarking into the adventure, for you don’t want to end up lost, which may delay your other plans.

Secondly, you pack the resources, all that is required for the trip, like money in cash and cards, fuel and tool box if you are going by car, mobile chargers etc,. And if you are going by car, you gotta check if the cooling system is working properly, the air conditioning and fuel system is right or not before setting out for the journey. Also carry a blanket, very few clothes; for you can buy cheap ‘i-love-india’ t-shirts on the road when necessary.

The road trip

When on road, you gotta maintain the budget, and luxury hotels are strictly out of matter.Motels help in this aspect. You need to stay connected with your family, inform them where you are time-to-time, so that God forbid if something happens, they could help you out.

Have multiple navigation tools, use GPS, and take maps with you apart from Google Maps. Drive only during day, start early, drive till noon, avoid traffic and reach your destination. Its important to enjoy the road-trip instead of spending all the time driving.

One of the best road-trips in the south India is from Goa-Bangalore either via Belgaum or via Shimoga. Your itinerary must places like Jog Falls, Goa forts, Murdeshwara. Going via Belgaum is much preferred.

Bangalore-Goa Road Trip

Bangalore-Goa Road Trip via Belgaum

That said, carefully plan your road trip! And bring color to your life.

Coonoor-A Holiday Spot

Coonoor is one of the holiday spots in Tamil Nadu near Udhagamandalam aka Ooty in Tamil Nadu which is a serene Tea plantation area. Its a hill station located at an altitude of 2000m and only 17kms from Ooty, serves ideally for a holiday spot. Its a part of the Nilgiri Mountain range, and is famous as trekking and hiking base. Bird Watching is famous as many species like cormorants, skylarks, parakeets are seen here.

Coonoor

Coonoor

 

The view-point from Dolphin’s point of view offers a breathtaking sight and the attractions near or around Coonoor include Sim’s Park, which is a botanical garden laid out in late 1870s in the Nilgiri forest. There is  an annual fruit exhibition in Summer in the garden.

Dolphin’s Nose is located 11kms away from Coonoor, near Tiger Hill and the view from Dolphin’s nose shows Catherine Falls, Coonoor .

Holiday Spot

Catherine Falls from Dolphin’s Nose

Lamb’s Rock is another view point is within the Nilgiris and is about 8km from the Coonoor Bus stand. From this point you can see the vast and lush green plains extending all the way from Coimbatore. During Spring view from this point looks even beautiful for the colors of trees are at its awesomest.

There’s Droog Fort in the proximity of this place which used to be Tipu Sultan’s outpost. You can reach this spot by uphill trekking from Coonoor. You can take the assistance of the trek guides for the route.

In the surroundings of Coonoor, you can also visit the Law’s Falls, which is known for its rocky nature, Katery Falls, which is one of the highest in the Nilgiris.

There are many hotels in Coonoor with all ranges, from budget hotels to luxury resorts and guest houses. The most popular hotel is The Gateway Hotel,Church Road which is a 4-star hotel located near the city centre and also near to the railway station. It provides all 5-star hotel facilities and you can enjoy the luxury of full-service spa, business center

Coonoor

The Gateway Hotel

Another 3-star hotel in Coonoor is Sunvalley Homestay. This is close to Sim’s Park and additional attractions around the place include Doddabetta Peak. They have rooms with Mountain view, Park view and provide complimentary breakfast and wi-fi.

And for the experiential travelers, who love to stay close to nature and tea plantations, Adderley Guest House is a good choice, with 5 rooms and a suite, an in-house cook and basic amenities, for it overlooks the scenic hills and green lawns.

For those looking for budget hotels or guest houses, Acres Wild, a family-run farm house with 3 guest house cottages, of 5-room each, is a good choice.

Cottage-Coonoor

Acres Wild Farms

Kovalam,Kerala-The Paradise of South

Kovalam is one of the most visited tourist attractions in India. Kovalam is also called as Paradise of the South.  Kovalam Beach is typically the most sought after beach in India, with coconut trees bordered over the beach, where you can leisurely sit and relax or walk around the silvery white sands of the beach or much better, swim away in those crystal clear waters. There are many sports you can try on to tickle your adventure-borne bone at the beach like waterdiving, parasailing, windsurfing and many more.This beach is just 13km away from Trivandrum. There are many resorts near the Kovalam beach which offer delicious cuisines and great comfort.

Kovalam Beach

Kovalam Beach

There are 3 beaches in Kovalam; the Lighthouse beach, the Hawah beach, the Samudra Beach; among those, Lighthouse Beach is the largest one with a 35-metre-high light house at the hillock near the beach and also mostly visited place due to its surreal beauty in the nights as a result of lighthouse beams. Samudra Beach, is more of a serene place, with ample coconut trees and without the hullabaloo of the tourists, where you can enjoy the nature and the sight of sun setting into the clouds.

Kovalam

Lighthouse Beach

At evenings, you could hear the bonfire stories at these beaches and is a major picnic spot for foreigners from Israel and Europe.  It is near to the capital city of the state, so there won’t be any difficulty in transportation or getting resources.

Vellayani Lake is one of the freshwater lakes in Kerala, 7km away from Kovalam, from where boat service will be available. This is the lake where the world’s renowned Onam Festival’s boat races are conducted. The Durga Temple present near this lake is famous for its allowance of Non-Brahmin Priests to the temple.

Vellayani Lake

Vellayani Lake

Another temple located 12 km away from Kovalam is the famous Thiruvallam Parashurama Temple, known for its age-old existence and the antiquity of the shrine. It is the only temple dedicated to Lord Parashurama.

There are many resorts, holiday rentals and homestays at Kovalam offering comfort and coziness to the travelers at different prices. Of many, there is the famous luxurious hotel, Vivanta by  Taj,Kovalam. Among the resorts, the Swagath Holiday Resort is the place where budget and comfort exist together. Gokulam Homestay also comes in budget and is a 3-min. walk to the Lighthouse beach.

all hotels of Kovalam

Vivanta by Taj Kovalam

A very beautiful place, Kovalam is a perfect destination where you can holiday with your family.

Luxurious Hotels of Hyderabad

Hyderabad, also called as the Nizam’s city is one of the most searched cities in the country according to Google Zeitgest 2013, and as one of the A1 cities, its a great place for both holiday spot and business trip. Here are few luxurious hotels where you can stay and enjoy while in Hyderabad.

Let me start with Taj Falaknuma Palace, one of the best places to stay in the world, according to a travel site, provides you with a royal experience. Built by the Nizam prince, the Taj group of Hotels had converted it to a hotel and stays as No.1 in the city for its hospitality and luxury. Located in old city, Falaknuma, this palace is known for its history, luxury and hospitality. Although a whopping INR 30k per standard room for a day, luxurious travelers vote it as the best option.

Taj Falaknuma Palace

The pride of Nizams-Falaknuma Palace

The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace is located in the Hitech City, the pride of Hyderabadis in the Tech World. Those who visit Hyderabad for a business trip involving conferences at the IT park, this hotel is a sure choice for its proximity with the business centers, railway station and airport. Equipped with a mammoth 427 rooms and a couple of restaurants and bars,  this hotels doesn’t fail in providing elegance with the touch of luxury. Its executive suites, Presidential Suite, golf club and conference room are its pride.

Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Swimming Pool

Novotel Hyderabad Airport is located near the International Airport, is  an obvious choice for travelers looking for comfort and convenience. It is near to most of the tourist spots and offers great hospitality. Amenities like currency exchange, babysitting, SPA, beauty salon, business center, banquet halls, provision of computer and mobile phone on request etc. are few of those various services.

ITC Kakatiya is located in the center of the city and is a business-friendly hotel, which is close to Hyderabad Central, Birla Mandir, Snow World etc.,has conference rooms and banquet halls and there’s a special event space with ballrooms and meeting halls. Internet facility on surcharge and completely air-conditioned, its rooms offer city views, lake views. An executive hotel by nature and a luxurious hotel by brand, this hotel serves you well with all its amenities.

Park Hyatt Hyderabad, located in Banjara Hills, close to the residential areas in Jubilee Hills and Banjara Hills, is strategically placed to close proximity of business center like Hitech city cyber towers, tourist spots like Golconda fort, Charminar and near to the railway station & airport. Their sincere efforts in hospitality for physically challenged guests is admirable. You can mix business with pleasure at this hotel.

Park Hyatt Hyderabad

The Front View

Visakhapatnam Hotels

Visakhapatnam is one of the largest cities in the east coast region of India and the second largest city of Andhra Pradesh. Known for its industries and considered as centre for education; this city is identified as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Visakhapatnam Beach

 

Along with the tag of fastest developing area of the state, this city has a lot of tourist places. So when you visit Visakhapatnam/ Vizag, reason being a business trip or a vacation with family, you surely will have great time enjoying the place. Here’s a brief account of those hotels which you can stay during the trip.

Starting from the luxury hotels, Four Points by Sheraton is the one you can look for both luxury and love. Yeah, that’s right. The extremely hospitable team here try their best in making you feel at home. With their impeccable service, you might actually start missing after leaving the hotel. Equipped with 124 guest rooms and located in Waltier Main Road, it is near to Rama Krishna Beach and many such attractions of the city. And the restaurants here provide a wide range of cuisines with sumptuous meals which will bewitch you. All in all, its a great choice for business trips or a family vacation.

Four Points by Sheraton

Four Points by Sheraton

Hotel Daspalla known for its brand is a 4-star hotel in Visakhapatnam whose restaurants and food are known very widely. Though built a couple of decades ago, this hotel doesn’t fail to maintain its standard and provides homely comfort to its guests. Its got a 24-hours check-in/check-out option, near to railway station and many facilities ranging from business centre, swimming pool to complimentary buffet breakfast and internet/wi-fi; this is the one you can go for a decent stay.

Fortune Inn Sree Kanya of Fortune Group named its hotel after the place its located, is a 3-star hotel business hotel and also recommended for a family stay. Equipped with 68-rooms with high internet facility, this is the hotel where you ‘can mix business with pleasure’ quips the hotel management.

Reception Desk

Fortune Inn Sree Kanya

Coming to the category of budget hotels in Vizag, you have options like Hotel Sai Central  located in the heart of the city near Jagadamba Junction and near to railway station with 24-hours check-in/check-out, restaurant and internet access, meeting rooms for business facilities, this is a decent option.

Sarovar Hotel, Hotel Pariwar Grand, Hotel Atithi Grand are among the budget hotels with decent facilities that can make your stay in Vizag comfortable.