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Blog Guide Sightseeing USA

National Parks in Florida

Planning your next vacation? Florida has many beautiful national parks offering primitive sites with amazing views and an ethereal glimpse of nature that should not be missed in a lifetime. These national parks offer a wide range of fun-packed experiences whether it is camping, snorkeling or just historic site seeing.

Each national park in Florida has its own exclusive element where you can delve into the reefs, wildlife, and history. The weather is best from November to mid-April, most of the parks are open whole year but during wet summers, some tend to close for a brief period.

Here is a must-try list of best six national parks in Florida that you should include in your itinerary immediately.

1. Everglades National Park

This national park is one of a kind. Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States which is a 1.5 million-acre subtropical and tropical habitat. It was established in 1947 to retain the biological diversity and is home to alligators, Florida panthers, the American crocodile, 350 species of birds and many other species, giving you an extraordinary view of wildlife and ecosystems.

Best time to visit

Every year over a million people visit this national park specially in from December to March when temperature is low, making it the ideal time for camping as there are lesser bugs.

Directions

This Park is huge and in contrast to most of the other National Parks, the Everglades has three entrances in three different cities. The first main entrance is  Homestead Entrance, the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is located at this entrance, as well as  Royal Palm and Flamingo. The second one is Miami Entrance referred to as the Shark Valley Visitor Center which is closest to the Greater Miami Area, Florida. And the last one is the Everglades city entrance called the Gulf Coast Visitor Center closest to Naples, Florida in the west.

Things to do

For having the best experience of Everglades, it would be advised to either rent a boat as most of the park is only accessible by water .Visitors like to take a walk on the boardwalks and trails along the main park road to join in ranger-led events. If you like biking, you must visit the Snake Bight Trail near Flamingo and the Shark Valley. Long Pine Key and Flamingo campgrounds offer great sites for camping along with the facility of drinking water, grills, rest rooms and tents. There are several walking trails in the park like the Pineland trail, Pahayokee Overlook and Mahagony Hammock trail which vary in hiking difficulty, making them attractive spots. Along with these,

Everglades National Park offers fascinating wildlife view, and if you are lucky, you may also get a glance of exquisite birds or alligators. This park is a famous spot of fishing too.

2. Big Cypress National Preserve

The 720,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve has a similar wildlife and terrain like the Everglades National Park, but this park custom made for camping and hiking. The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp back the prosperous marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. This amazing National Park is massive, diverse and accommodates a blend of tropical and temperate plant communities that are central to a diversity of wildlife including the Florida panther.

You can visit Big Cypress with your own vehicle or take a walk, exploring the scenic drive and a lot of the viewpoints and boardwalks.

When to Visit

People like to visit mostly in dry winter months. Although hiking in this national park is pleasant in all seasons. Programs and activities begin November go through April.

Things to do

Hiking lovers can explore the southern terminus of the  Florida National Scenic Trail which is located in Big Cypress in the winter season. You can also explore Turner River Road that runs alongside Turner River and expect to see alligators, birds, turtles, fish, and wildflowers. Other recreational activities like hunting and camping are famous too. The Loop Road and the  Tamiami Trail are acclaimed for wading and walking.

3. Biscayne National Park

Located in South Florida, Biscayne National Park is the largest marine park in the National Park System covering 172,971 acres and safeguarding the southern section of Biscayne Bay, including a rare combination of aquamarine waters mangrove shorelines and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Almost 95% of this National Park is forest and the bay has broad mangrove forest. Simply rent a boat and enjoy the beautiful park; boat rentals are widely available.

This national park is considered one of the most fascinating parks in the whole country. It consists of four primary ecosystems: the southern expanse of Biscayne Bay, the northernmost islands of the Florida Keys, a narrow fringe of mangrove forest along the mainland shoreline and the beginning of the third-largest coral reef in the world

Things to do

There are many things to do for the whole family, counting guided ranger walks, fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, paddling, hiking, camping, wildlife watching, etc. With a guided boat tour, this park is ideal for saltwater fishing, you can catch lobsters, crabs, snapper but a lot of species are protected so it is better to take fishing awareness classes first and keep yourself informed.

Also, if you are looking for something intriguing, spearfishing is also allowed in this park. Other than fishing, visitors also find snorkeling and scuba diving in the park. You can find many shipwrecks that are amazing dive sites; Biscayne national park is home a minimum of five shipwrecks.

This National Park is also famous for sightseeing. Outside the park boundaries is the Key Biscayne where you’ll find the alluring and historic Cape Florida Lighthouse which has been there since 1825.

4. Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park lies almost 68 miles west of Key West in the  Gulf of Mexico, established in the year 1976. With seven small islands, this 100- square mile national park is mostly open water. It is the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, archipelago’s coral reefs and abundant sea life and the huge number of species of bird life that frequent the area. It is accessible only by boat or seaplane. The center of attraction of this park is Fort Jefferson, an enormous but incomplete coastal  fortress which is the biggest brick structure in the  Western Hemisphere and is buildup of more than 16 million bricks.

It is estimated that on an average about 63,000 visitors annually visit the Dry Tortugas National Park. It is difficult to visit the park with private boat considering the distance that is why most of the visitors come by ferry or seaplane from Key West.

Climate change has shrunk some of the seven islands. The Dry Tortugas is classified as a borderline subtropical-tropical ecosystem. It anchors species that do not commonly breed in and are not ordinarily found anywhere else in the continental United States or the water body enveloping it.

Birds

There are 299 species of birds in Dry Tortugas National Park making this park one of the top birding destinations in North America, however out of the 299 only 8 species nest generally inside the park. During the month of April, birdwatching exercise increases as many migratory bird species pass through the park. Even if you are not an ardent birder they are an eye-catching extension to the amazing scenery.

Snorkeling

During the summers, the water in this park is exceptionally clean and clear, making it ideal for snorkeling as compared to diving in most of the keys. As the park is away from the land and sits in a guarded area, the reef has not been harmed by humans. In comparison to rest of the state, it has more sea life too.

Diving

This national park is considered as one of the most divergent diving sites in the United states where you will see rare nighttime creatures like octopus and basket starfish.

5. Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore bluster the longest stretch of undeveloped beach on Florida’s east coast almost 24 miles of pristine beachfront was created on January 3, 1975. Canaveral is essentially a conservationist beach containing 58,000 acres of barrier island, open lagoon, coastal hammock and pine flatwoods and as a protected area will continue to be as it is today. It is a  United States National Seashore based in  Brevard County and  Volusia County in the  East Central Florida. The best and accomplished aspect in the park is actually man-made -a 35 feet high mound of oyster shells constructed by Native Americans referred to as Turtle Mound which summit gives a splendid view of the lagoon, ocean and the island. It represents an amazing illustration of a comparably stable barrier beach supported by a dynamic lagoon system.

Along with hiking, visitors can spend time in watching turtles and finding out many of the archeological assets in the park. Recreational activities include fishing, canoeing, surfing, sunbathing, swimming, camping, sightseeing and boating. This beach has almost hundred and fifty recorded archeological acquisitions, largely consisting of sea fossils. As wildlife is more accustomed to cold weather, that is why this national park is considered great to be visited in winters and on top of that its location in Central Florida is an added advantage. You can get into the National park either by a plane or drive a car.

In summers the temperature goes up to 90’s and its hot and humid while in winters the temperature remains 60-70 degrees and weather is mild. However, in January and February the temperature can go down to freezing point. The hurricane season starts from June and goes through November and would be most affluent in the month of August and October.

Canaveral National Seashore has a huge, diversified and alluring range and variety of sea and terrestrial animals. The park provides habitat for fourteen species of federally-listed endangered animals which is the second greatest number in the whole National Park Service. These include seven reptiles- Loggerhead sea turtle, Green sea turtle , Leather back sea turtle, Kemps’s Ridley sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle, Eastern indigo snake, Atlantic salt marsh snake and Gopher Tortoise; four birds- Bald eagle, Wood stork ,Florida scrub jay and Arctic peregrine falcon and three mammals- West Indian Manatee, Southeastern beach mouse and Right whale.

6. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a United Nations  National Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida, established in 1988 and extended in 1999.It is named after for the primitive Timucua people  (Timucua Indians) who lived along northeast Florida’s waterways. Considered an ecological time capsule of Old Florida, the essentially undeveloped land comprises of 46,000 acres of wetlands, habitats, city, county, state, salt marshes, coastal dunes, hardwood hammocks and federal land. It is one of the most beautiful national parks in the south and also the most ecologically significant one.

History

The Timucua-speaking tribes who had 35  chiefdoms throughout northern Florida and South Georgia Archaeologists believe their culture had remained originally consistent for more than 1000 years. But that is before the Europeans arrived, after that the Timucuans handled badly and the tribe faded by 1800.

The preserve is huge and entirely free making it ideal to explore openly and settle in for a complete weekend. Visitors take a ferry to reach the preserve which is located on parcel separated by St. Johns River.

When to visit

The best time to visit this national park would be mid-October to April as the weather is cool then and bugs are less. And for the Kingsley Planation’s living history garden, May to September would be the ideal time. Also in those months, you can view American bald eagles, wading birds, and pink-hued roseate spoonbill.

What to do

The four trails of the  Theodore Roosevelt Area located near the Fort Caroline National Memorial give a glance of old Florida, walking on these trails would be give a spectacular and worthy view. This park is considered a great spot for hiking as well.

If you are planning a trip soon, this detailed description of each National park would give you a clear picture.

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Blog Sightseeing

Top 20 Places to Visit in Washington DC

It was the year 1790, when the approval of establishing a capital city on the banks of Potomac River came through. The Congress would have exclusive jurisdiction on this district, under the guidance of the U.S. constitution. This was the ground upon which Washington DC was formed, a district which was not part of any state; and land donated by Maryland and Virginia was used to create it. In 1846,, the part of land which was given by Virginia was returned back to it by the Congress and in 1871 finally a single municipal government was established to take control of this district.

Washington DC houses some of the most important monuments and historical buildings in the country and of you are planning to visit this state then do not miss out on any of them. It holds a population of about 700,000 people and it is one of the busiest places to be in during the work-week. If you are planning to visit then check these top 20 places to visit in Washington DC.

20. Arlington National Cemetery

Starting off the list with a place like this might strike as very unusual but the fact is that everyone should visit here during their trip to Washington DC and pay their respects to the countless people who are resting here. Arlington cemetery is where a huge number of ex-service men and women have been buried and this place will surely send a chill down your spine with its bright green grass fields studded with unending lines of white tombstones. This is also the place where President Kennedy was buried.

19. Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ask anyone who has been to DC and they are going to advocate for the fact that this is the best place to get a sausage in the state. A number of mouth watering recipes are available here, including their famous half-smoke dish. You should try the “chilli half smoke” version for a punch of hot chilis and mustard, topped with onions. On a trip packed with things to do and places to visit, a meal here would replenish all your lost energy.

18. The National Cathedral

Guarded by more than 200 gargoyles and grotesques, this is one of the most well known Cathedrals in the country. It is the resting place of a number of famous and important personalities including Woodrow Wilson, George Dewey, and Helen Keller. The striking visual appeal and superb architectural design is the reason why people come here in huge crowds. About 200 stained-glass windows, wood carvings, exquisite metal work, and beautiful mosaics are just some of the attractions.

17. US National Arboretum

This is a place where nature lovers go; a number of gardens are the centrepiece of the Arboretum. A koi pond, some gorgeous bonsai plants in a beautiful exhibit and some columns which once supported the Capitol building add to the magnificence of the place. The National Arboretum is one of the best places to visit in Washington DC, as it houses a plant collection which is made up of flora brought from different parts of the world including Asia, Australia, Europe etc.

16. The Newseum

This is a unique museum. If you are interested in the important moments of history, the times and incidents which moulded us into the people we are today, then this place is for you. This is one of the few places in the city where you have to buy a ticket to enter, but the price is well worth the experience. Original pictures of the then erect Berlin wall, gruesome pictures taken on the day of 911, photographs which have won the Pulitzer Prize, along with news articles which changed our way of life; all these things line up the galleries in this museum. After having an awe-inspiring time inside, you should go on the roof and soak in the splendid skyline of the city.

15. The White House

The home of the President of USA, this is the most important building in the country. You have to schedule a visit weeks in advance to get a chance of getting inside this iconic building. It is very well known throughout the world, mostly due to its importance, but also due to the very common usage of this building in Hollywood movies. There have been many riots and public outcry infront of this building over the years, with it being burned down once; but it has always been built up again.

14.The Memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If a memorial is meant to signify the importance of a person in history, then there aren’t many memorials in the world which are as much important as this one. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led one of the biggest civil rights movements in history and changed the way the whole world used to think about what it means to be a part of the society and how each and every person is an equal and should hold equal rights in any country. A few of his famous quotes are engraved on the

13. World War II Memorial

The most important war since the modern civilisation came into existence; if we start talking about this memorial then words won’t be enough to explain how important that Allied win was, for the existence of free thought and free speech throughout the world. If the tyrannical rule of Hitler wasn’t stopped then, we would not get any of the things we count as our basic living requirements. This memorial was constructed to honour all the fallen soldiers and to pay tribute to those who won it.

12. The Kennedy Centre

John F. Kennedy was one of the most influential presidents of USA, he was loved by his citizens and the changes he brought forth are still playing a big role in shaping the country’s future. To pay tribute to him, a cultural centre was built on the shores of the Potomac River, in the year 1971. It was named the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A free show is organised everyday at 6pm for visitors and you should go to the rooftop to get a great view of the Potomac and the city surrounding it.

11. The National Gallery of Art

Built in 1937, the National Gallery of Art was the result of a joint resolution of the United States Congress. Many donations have been made by well known celebrities to fill up the shelves of this gallery. The only American painting of Leonardo da Vinci is kept here along with a number of other gorgeous pieces from different periods of time. There is no ticket system and it is one of the best places to visit in Washington DC.

10. The Smithsonian

The museum which has been featured in so many countless movies and story books, this is so much better in real life than all those iterations. You will be awestruck after seeing the Apollo space module and wonder how the first plane worked by looking at the plane built by the famous Wright brothers. It is a magical place for both adults and kids. Also, check out the working process of a real space toilet, it’s a fun experience.

9. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Also called the smaller version of the Roman Pantheon, this is a famous monument which is crowded throughout the year. The inner walls are lined with inscriptions from the Declaration of Independence; people who visit are left amazed due to the magnanimous atmosphere. You should spend some time here and try to comprehend what those wall inscriptions mean.

8. Lincoln Memorial

If you ask the people living presently in the US, most of them are going to point out that their favourite president was Abraham Lincoln; similarly during many interviews, a number of in-office presidents have also stated that they think the most important president in the history of the US might just be him. The Lincoln memorial was built as a tribute to this legend, who led the country through the Civil War and paved the way for the peaceful future we live in today.

7. The National Zoo

Giant pandas, the great apes, the big cats etc. are just some of the animals you should check out here. The National zoo covers an area of about 3350 acres, which is divided amongst two campuses. There is a huge collection of exotic flora and fauna on display here and taking a long walk along the paved pathways would easily take up a day. A day out here with the kids would turn out to be a cherished memory.

6. Georgetown and its Waterfront

Georgetown was founded in the year 1751, it was then a part of Maryland, and its port was there since about 40 years before even the Washington city was founded. If you are visiting DC then spend an evening checking out the different shopping areas of this city and sitting on the banks of the Potomac River. Then enjoy a delicious meal in one of the diners here, with a view of the river and check out the beautiful sunset behind the city’s skyline.

5. The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States of America is the foundation on which the law and order of the whole country is laid. It remains in session through the months of October to April, from Monday to Wednesday. If you visit during this period then check out the cases which are being argued, it is an experience like no other. There are free lectures which are arranged to educate the general public about the history of this building.

4. The Holocaust Memorial Museum

A reminder of what the world would have been like if the World War was lost by the Allied forces, this memorial is meant to pay our respect to each and every life that was tortured and lost during that period of time. You should visit to get a glimpse into the past and realize what could have been. There are many artefacts and photographs which depict personal stories of people who got stuck and those who got out.

3. The Library of Congress

It is by far the largest library in the world. Some of the most important and rare scriptures are kept here, in their locked vaults. There have been many conspiracy theories regarding the texts which are hidden here, they may not be true but it doesn’t take away anything from the fact that this is one of the most intriguing places to visit in Washington DC. It houses more than 160 million items in its three buildings and a number of these documents are not kept in the open for the general public to see.

2. The U.S. Capitol

To understand how this house of government works, you need to take a guided tour of the place. It is entangled with a colourful past to say the least, and it is one of the most legendary buildings in the country. An afternoon spent understanding the different parts of the American legislature is something tourists do very often. The construction of this building was completed in 1800, but the massive dome, along with a number of other extensions were done later.

1. The National Mall and The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument sits at the centre of the picturesque National Mall. It is one of the most beautiful places in the city and you should visit it, even if you are in the district for a short time. The monument is named after George Washington, one of the founding fathers of the nation. It is built out of bluestone gneiss, marble, and granite and it stands more than 165 metres tall above the ground, and it is the tallest column-like monument in the world. Construction of this tower started in the year 1848 and it was completed in 1888; all work was halted for 23 years in between, from 1854 to 1877, due to lack of funds.

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Blog Sightseeing

12 Maui Waterfalls You Must Visit

The Hawaiian Islands were added as a separate state into the United States of America in the year 1959. They form the fiftieth and therefore, the newest state in the country. Maui is one of the eight islands located towards the southeast of the Hawaiian Archipelago. This whole area was once a huge volcano and still to this day the scientists are exploring the possibility of it becoming active again. The tropical climate, beautiful scenery, huge numbers of public beaches, mesmerising waterfalls, and some active volcanoes have made these islands very attractive for tourists, doctors, scientists, geologists etc.

The culture and cuisine of the state are very much influenced by North-America and Asia, so a very unique amalgamation of these cultures can be found here, along with that of the indigenous people. A visit to this beautiful and awe-inspiring land should be on everyone’s bucket-list.

1.The island of Maui

The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui covers nearly 727 sq. kilometres; which makes it the 17th largest island in the United States. The local folklore states that the island was named by the discoverer of the Hawaiian Islands, Hawai’iloa; Maui was the name of his son, who according to the legends, was a demigod. This island was once called “lhikapalaumaewa”. Maui was formed as a result of the collision of molten lava from two different volcanoes.

The whole area surrounding it is covered by a huge array of volcanoes. This has created a certain type of topography and climate which makes this region very rich in flora and fauna. A huge number of beautiful waterfalls have formed throughout the islands with time and you should check these out if you’re planning on visiting Hawaii. Finding a place to stay here might be hard, but the hassles are worth it, and a visit to Maui will be a very bright memory for your entire life.

2. Waterfalls you would enjoy

Many explorers and tourists have said that Maui waterfalls can be named the Garden of Eden because of its magnificence. The romantic roads, unending forests, exotic animals; all of these come up whenever someone describes this land, but what always remains at the top of the list are the waterfalls that are present on these islands. Maui is the home of countless waterfalls and rapids, some of them are big, as tall as buildings, and some are small and hidden in caves.

Exploring the whole area and soaking in the beauty and tranquillity it offers will make you realise just how many surprises nature holds from us. But if you are short on time and you need to figure out which Maui waterfalls to visit then we are here to help you. The following list should be enough to guide you and assist you in planning your travel itinerary.

3. The Twin Falls

The first waterfall you will encounter on the road to Hana. It is one of the most underrated Maui waterfalls. Located in the middle of a splendid forest, you will find two separate streams of water, which have made their own pools at the bottom of the fall. These are of a very small height, but their beauty cannot be explained through words. Take your swimwear with you, because swimming is allowed in both of these pools.

Most travellers do not visit this spot, but still, the parking lot is almost always full, but waiting to get a spot is worth the patience. Make your way past the fruit stand, and then a short trek will take you to the twin falls. One of these two falls has a height of 10 feet, while the other is 30 feet tall. Enjoying the showering water while taking a bath in the pool is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

4. Lower Puohokamoa Falls

Travelling about 8 miles further down the Hana Highway, you will find the Lower Puohokamoa Falls. This is a majestic 200 feet tall waterfall, which can be seen through a gap between the trees of the forest. You cannot go near it but it is a very elegant sight and the area is a dream for nature photographers. Pointing out the exact location on the road is a bit tricky so using an online map or an actual offline map is recommended. The viewing platform is a 10 minute walk down a trail off the highway. This trail is slippery, narrow, and a bit steep; so be sure that you know what you are doing before starting on it.

5. Makapipi Falls

Also located on the Hana Highway; Makapipi falls is a bit different from all the other ones. What makes it different is not really the waterfall, but how we perceive it; while in most cases, we see the fall from the front or the sides, in this one’s case, the highway passes over it; so we get a beautiful and unique bird’s eye view of it. This is one of the most attractive waterfalls on this island, it is about 40 feet high; the clear water pool and the rapid flow when seen from the top, looks gorgeous.

It is easily noticeable while driving, but be careful about where you park and get out, because some cars drive quite fast on the highway, and taking necessary precautions to avoid any accidents is advised. It is located just after crossing the mile marker number 25, on the Hana highway.

6. Wailua Falls

This waterfall comes under the list of unforgettable places you will ever visit in your life. If you go a few miles after crossing the town of Hana, you will reach this place. It is just beside the highway, and travellers from all around the world come to see this one. It becomes crowded during the day, so you should reach at a very early hour; once the tourist buses start lining up, the whole place becomes a bit of a mess. To get a parking space for your car, just go past the falls and park near the beach where the road opens up.

Wailua is about 80 feet high and if you reach at a time when the place is a bit secluded you will enjoy it a lot more than usual. Usually, tourists stick to the road, but you should take a walk down to the pool of water, the path is a bit slippery, so be careful; you can take a refreshing swim here and also take some pretty awesome pictures of the place. Also, the vendors on the roadside have been here for a long time, take some time and start up a conversation with some of them; the stories they have to tell are often very intriguing.

7. Makahiku Falls

Majestic, that’s the first word which will come to your mind when you see this one. It is located along the Pipiwai Trail, which is near Hana. A lush green forest surrounds this 185 feet tall waterfall. If you see from the overlooking platform, it looks beautiful, and you won’t be able to stop yourself from taking a huge number of pictures; but take a hike along the train and you will get to see its real beauty, and just how magnificent it actually is. Arrive here before noon to avoid the crowd.

If you are visiting in the summer, then take a walk down a small trail which leaves the Pipiwai and follow it till you reach the top of the Makahiku falls; here you will find a pool of water known as the “infinity pool”, people take baths here all the time, but it isn’t crowded. Also, be sure to check the weather forecasts, this place is notorious for flash-floods and many people have lost their lives during such incidents.

8. Waimoku Falls

If you keep following the Pipiwai Trail, after crossing the Makahiku falls, you will reach here. Waimoku is a 400 feet high ribbon of water, which attracts a huge number of tourists every year. Along the trail you will go through a very dense bamboo forest, which almost resembles the ones in Thailand; a bit of a new touch during the trip. The trail is around 4 miles long and the elevation increases by about 650 feet.

Be very careful, because the whole path is very muddy and sometimes slippery, so don’t start if you aren’t sure about yourself. But if you do plan on reaching there, then an early start is advisable as just reaching the waterfall will take about 2-3 hours and the same while returning back; and getting back before the sun sets is safer. Even with all these problems and complications, this is one of the most scenic places on this island, or on any place in the world; so you should go and complete the hike if possible.

9. The Pools of ‘Ohe‘o

The water from Waimoku falls drains into the Pools of ‘Ohe’o, otherwise known as the “Seven Sacred Pools”. During the rainy season, the access to these pools is completely prohibited, but when the rains are absent if you take a small walk from the parking lot, you will get to see one of the most graceful sights in the world. The water gently rolls down from one pool to another and the chain continues till it reaches the ocean. You can enjoy a swim in these pools, but jumping into them from the cliffs is prohibited.

10. Alelele Falls

This is one of the most obscure Maui waterfalls. It is not known to most of the travellers and almost all planned-tourism companies skip this one. This is the reason why Alelele falls is a place you should check out. It is highly likely that you will find the whole place to yourself, and you should carry your bathing suits; a swim in its pool with family or friends, away from the crowd will be a rejuvenating experience. It is 14 miles outside Hana and you need to take a 10 minute trek from the highway to reach, this trail has some rocky boulders on it, so a bit of agility is required to complete it.

11. Makamaka’ole Falls

The west Maui waterfalls are mostly inaccessible by road; this is one of the very few exceptions of this. Makamaka’ole constitutes of a set of two waterfalls, set in the midst of a dense tropical jungle. If you take a hike on the Waihe’e Ridge Trail, you will get the chance of observing the full 270 feet drop of the waterfall; but if that is out of the question, you can also check out the falls from the Kahekili Howrah, the view isn’t that good, but still a 60 foot waterfall is better than nothing.

12. Honokohau Falls

This is by far the tallest waterfall in Maui. The biggest problem is that this is one the falls which lies in the western part of Maui and is inaccessible by road. So the only option is to get a helicopter ride and see this from the sky. But while this might be a bit of a downer, the view you will get from the heli will blow your mind away. This magnificent waterfall will be forever entrenched in your memory and just a single ride won’t be enough to quench your thirst. Once you’re done, you are going to want to go on the helicopter again and again, just to see this 1200 feet tall ribbon of silver.

Conclusion

If you are coming to Hawaii then Maui is a must-visit island and skipping it would be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Most of the waterfalls and pools here are somewhat elusive, some might need a bit of hiking, others are hidden away in the wilderness; but every bit of sweat, and every bit of struggle is more than worth it in the end. The sheer beauty and elegance of this island will make you awe-struck and you are going to leave a haunting after-effect on you and you’ll be waiting for a second visit here.

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Blog Sightseeing

10 Best Places to Visit Near Pune

The western Indian city of the state Maharashtra had played an important role in the Indian history with the Peshwas. Pune is a city fully loaded with historical attractions, attractions of the natural beauty and adventurous sports. It is also known as the city of retired persons – the pensioner’s paradise. Those who want to spend a good time in a peaceful and salubrious environment should come to Pune. Though this is a modern city with the industrial hub, educational centre and the axis of information technology, its old charms are the same. Pune has stored many treasures for the travellers.

There are various places to visit in Pune. A tourist can plan an exciting tour covering all the forts, hill-stations, beaches and the places of pilgrimage. The heart of India – Mumbai is just 150 km away from here which is a great place to visit. Another big advantage of Pune is its beautiful weather. Tourists can visit there on anytime of the year.

1. Aga Khan Palace

This spectacular palace is one of the best places to visit in Pune. Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III built this palace in 1892. It was a significant landmark in the history of India as well as it is very famous for its architectural superiority. It occupies more than 19 acres of land. The two-storied structure was built with an exclusive combination of expansive lawns and Italian arches. The uniqueness of this palace is its 2.5-meter corridor around the entire structure. This fantastic palace is now used as the Gandhi National Memorial Society’s headquarter. This palace was used as the habitat of Mahatma Gandhi and his close followers during the freedom movement of India.

It is just 7 km away from the Pune city. The tourists can hire an auto rickshaw, a taxi or can visit by the city bus. October to March is the most appropriate time to visit here.

2. Saniwar Wada

This historical fortification was built in 1732 and was used as the place of the Peshwas (prime minister) till 1818. This place played a significant role to the Maratha Empire in the 18th century. The former Peshwa Bajirao and his first wife Kashi lived there. Now it is considered as one of the most attractive places to visit in Pune. This place mesmerises the tourists with its beautiful forts and fountains. An exclusive 16-petals lotus structured fountain tells the visitors about the great exquisite works of that era.

The statue of the first Bajirao which is placed at the entrance feels amazing to look at. The walls of this palace were painted with the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The fortification wall is consists of five gateways. It played the role of the silent-watchman of the tragic love story of Bajirao-Mastani which led to the disloyalty of Bajirao to Kashi. This exclusive architecture was then started to consider as the torment and ill-fated and finally abandoned. Now this place is also famous for its spookiness.

The travellers can reach Saniwar Wada with a bus, a taxi or an auto because it is located in the heart of the city. It is opened for the visitors from 8:00 am-6:30 pm. 5 rupees entry fee is charged from the Indians. The visitors also can enjoy the light and sound show there. Avoid the summer time to visit there.

3. Sinhagad

On the southwest direction of the Pune city around 25 km away and 1,312 meters high from the sea level, this hill fortress is standing to greet the visitors. This beautiful fort was the centre of many historical battles among which the “battle of Sinhagad” in 1670 was the most important. The archaeologists say that this fort was built around 2000 years ago.

This place is a very peaceful and nice to visit. The trekkers can plan a short trail from the Sinhagad village to the top of the hill. Other people want to avoid hiking, can board a taxi from the foothill village “Donje” to the top. Easy bus services are available from “Saniwar Wada” and “Swargate” in every one hour.

4. Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple

This holy temple of Ganapati is visited by thousands of people every year. The celebrities also visit here. If you love to visit the pilgrimage sites, this place is the one for you. The holy statue of Lord Ganapati here is insured for 10 million. During the “Ganesh Chaturthi” this temple is decorated beautifully, and the devotees celebrate many rituals. The temple has a beautiful architecture. The speciality of the plan is its simplicity. The beautiful Ganesh Idol and the proceedings of the temple can easily be seen from the outside. The 1 meter wide and 2.2 meters long idol is decorated with almost 40 kg of gold ornaments.

This holy place is situated in the middle of the city so the tourists easily can hire an auto or a taxi to reach there. This peaceful temple is one of the best places to visit in Pune.

5. Mahabaleshwar

it is a beautiful hill station in Western-ghat range. If you are visiting Pune, this should be included in the list of the places to visit in Pune. It takes 3-4 hours via road from the Pune city to reach Mahabaleshwar which is a 125 km road distance. There are so many places to visit. Some elevated points like the elephant nose point, Arthur point, kate’s point, Helen’s point where you can sense the tranquil nature. These places will make you feel like heaven. Your soul and mind will get refreshment here.

Some picturesque waterfalls cannot be missed at all whether you are visiting Mahabaleshwar. Lingamala falls, Dhobi waterfall, Venna Lake and Chinaman’s falls which the most beautiful scenery here. The Mahabaleshwar temple is another spectacular place to visit. The hikers can plan a trek to the Pratapgad fort. You should not skip Panchgani which is half an hour distant from Mahabaleshwar. The natural beauty and the fresh air will heal you. The British colonial architecture and the Parsi houses are good for the sight-seeing.

6. Lal Mahal

This is the most renowned monuments to visit in Pune. This palace was built by Sahaji Bhosale in 1630 AD for his wife Jijabai and his son, Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji stayed here until he captured his first fort. The original Lal Mahal became ruins and then it was reconstructed. This palace was famous for the battle between Shivaji and the Mughal Shaista Khan. This is very close to the Saniwar Wada. So the visitors can visit both the monuments at a stretch.

7. Mulshi Lake and Dam

this is a very beautiful place with loads of amazing natural beauty. The visitors get mesmerized with the charm of this one of the most attractive places to visit in Pune. The beautiful Mulshi Lake, the dam, a hill region extension of Sahyadri, a deep forest region, Dhangad and Koraigad fort – all of these places can be visited here. Also, this dam is used for the electricity supply projects in Maharashtra.

This place is very close to Pune. Tourists can get here by bus, taxi or by the other local vehicles. The beautiful Pune-Bangalore highway passes through this place. So, it is very easy to connect. The regular buses leave from “Swargate” in Pune, and you have to trek 7 km path to reach the top. Semi-luxury buses are also available to reach the top of the hill. You will get the bus service from 7:45 am-8:00 pm. So, plan your trip accordingly.

8. Lonavala

A 2-km drive from Pune is Lonavala which is just 64 km away from the city. It is also a hill-station and is packed with spectacular natural beauty. It is contiguous to another hill-station “Khandala” and both are known as the twin hill-stations. Lonavala means many caves. As the name suggests there are some caves to visit in like Karla caves, Bedsa caves and Bhaja caves – these are very close to this place. The Lohagad, Visapur and Tungi fort is the most interesting fortresses to visit near Lonavala.  The lake of Lonavala is another tourist attraction here.

The tourists often visit here. So it should be considered as one of the places to visit in Pune. It is very well-connected with Pune via roads and railways. There are numerous buses, and trains arrive and depart from here. Also, taxis are hugely available to reach Lonavala from Pune. It is on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, so the availability of transports is really easy.

9. Patalaswar cave Temple

This temple is a rock-cut temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also known as Panchaleshvara or bamburde. During the Rastrakuta period of the 8th century, this temple was carved out from basalt rock. It is now located inside the city on Jangli Maharaj Road. The government has declared it as a protected monument. This temple is considered as the oldest monument of Pune which is more than 1300 years old. This unique-structured cave-temple is considered as one of the most interesting places to visit in Pune.

The sanctum (3-4 meters long cube-shaped area) holds the shivlinga inside. There are two smaller rooms each side of the cubical room. In front of the cave, there is a circular mandap which is dedicated to Nandi. This umbrella-like structure is supported by huge pillars. The main temple is also encircled by corridors with stone pillars. The visitors can see the unfinished part of the temple there. It seems that, after completing the Nandi mandap and the main temple, it was left abandoned due to some unknown reasons.

10. Adventure sports

Another attraction of Pune is its huge range of adventure sports. This happening city has a huge scope of adventure activities near it. The tourists love to experience some thrill and excitement; they should try these activities once. Rappelling, paragliding, bungee jumping, scuba diving an array of activities can be tried here.

Pune is surrounded by beautiful hills. During paragliding, you will be able to see the panoramic view of the beautiful nature. Just 45 km away from the city is Kamshet the place for paragliding. The best time for paragliding is from October-May.

You can try a waterfall rappelling at Madhe Ghat which is 64 km away from Pune. This experience will be your most beautiful experience.

If you want to get familiar with the life underwater, go to Malvan. The scuba diving at Malvan will be your lifetime experience.

The distance of Kundalika River at Kolad is 113 km from Pune. The rapid river during the monsoon (June-October) will offer you the best water sport. Though it is a bit far from the heart of the city, the experience can demand a full-day allocation. The experience of kayaking also can be fulfilled here. After the monsoon when the rapidness of the river calms down, that is the best time for kayaking. The surrounding scenic beauty of the forest will spellbind the tourists.

These are the most rated places to visit in Pune for adventure sports.

If you want to make your Pune tour more exciting, plan for a short trip to Mumbai and Goa. These places are not too close to the city, but they are very well-connected with Pune. Random flights, hundreds of trains throughout the day are available to reach those places. If you want to absorb to scenic beauty alongside the roads, you can drive yourself or can hire a car.

Mumbai

The capital of Maharashtra and the largest city of India will welcome you with “the gateway of India”, the great Tajmahal hotel, marine drive, Elephanta cave and lots of other excitement for the tourists.

Goa

The Portuguese colony, will offer you the pure beach culture with the tasty seafood and lots of exciting sceneries. All the beaches look different to the tourists. The Old Portuguese forts will serve you the essence of colonial history.

Pune is a great place for the foodies. There are delicious street- foods and premiere restaurants simultaneously. You should try the local traditional foods and spices to understand the culture of this city.

Plan a trip to Pune and try to visit the places as mentioned above. You will have a great trip. The most interesting part is that a tourist can visit here any time of the year. In general, Pune does not get too hot even in the summertime, people get to the feel cool breeze around. Apart from the months of April and May, any season is pleasant for the travellers. Due to the high altitude, the nights are cooler compared to the other regions throughout the year.

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Blog Sightseeing

Top 10 Best Places in Sicily

Italy is home to many a great tourist hotspots. Sicily or Regione Siciliana, the largest Mediterranean Island is an autonomous region of Italy that attracts a multitude of tourists from across the world to its beautiful landscapes, beaches, cliffs, bays, mountains and cultural treasures. Here we give an overview of some of the must-visit places in the beautiful island of Sicily.

1. Fontane Bianche

One of the main attractions in Syracuse, Fontane Bianche is a great seaside resort. The beach is a beautiful stretch of golden sand and there is also vegetation. Being the most important seaside resort of the area, it is usually crowded with people. There is a medieval city of the dead called the Pantalica necropolis situated in the park. It has hundreds of cave tombs and happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another attraction here is the beautiful Cassibile Natural Reserve. The nightlife is worth a mention here. With the many pubs, clubs, and restaurants, this place boasts of a very happening and vibrant nightlife. One can stay in the resorts, holiday homes or hotels that are available at varying distances from the beach. A variety of activities like water aerobics, diving, snorkeling, swimming and so on are sure to ensure a great vacation.

Entry fee – There is an entrance fee for the beach. If one wishes to rent sunbeds, umbrellas or similar things, then extra amounts have to be paid.

Location – It is situated in the Province of Syracuse in Sicily, Italy.

2. Ficuzza

A quiet, beautiful village in Italy, Ficuzza has many sites of importance to visit. The Bosco della Ficuzza in the Sicani Mountains is a large nature reserve. An important site worth mentioning is the Royal Palace of Ficuzzaor the Real Casina di Caccia, which was once a hunting lodge and is now a museum. There is a bronze statue of Philip IV in the square. Sightseeing tours would be a great way to explore the area and enjoy the picturesque scenes. There are hotels, motels or resorts in the area that tourists may book.

Entry timings – The entry timings for the Royal Palace of Ficuzza are from 9 am to 12 pm, and then from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Location – It is located in Corleone, Italy.

3. Mazzaro

Mazzaro Bay is a beautiful sight in Taormina, Sicily. The beach, with its small rocks, many pebbles and clear blue water is a great place to visit because of the picturesque locations. Some of the locations of interest in Mazzaro Bay include the island of Isola Bella which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Villa Caronina, a naturalistic museum built on the rocks of Isola Bella; and the Grotta Azzurra caves.

There are many activities that can be enjoyed in Mazzaro, including boating, sailing, swimming and much more. The boat trip on motorcrafts or pedalos takes people around Taormina Bay. The place also has a great vegetation. A cable railway from Taormina connects to Mazzaro, providing some good views and ensuring a great experience. There are restaurants, cafes and pubs where one can order food or drinks.

Entry timings – There are no specific entry timings, but there may be times for the activities like boating and sailing.

Entry fee – There are some free beach areas.

Location – It is located in the Province of Messina in Sicily, Italy.

4. Cornino

It has a beautiful beach that is usually only sparsely crowded. Situated near the amazing Mount Cofano, one can get a good view of the mountain. The water is calm and clear, which adds to the peacefulness of the place. It is a rocky beach, and one can swim and do some other activities here. There are also a few cafes, restaurants and shops where food and drinks can be ordered. In addition to that, there may be hotels or apartments at varying distance from the beach. If you visit Sicily and miss out Cornino, the trip is apparently not complete. Visit the place, enjoy the cuisine the place has to offer.

Entry timings – There are no specific entry timings.

Entry fee – There may be free areas in the beach and there is a fee to avail any services.

Location – It is situated in the province of Trapani in Custonaci, Sicily, Italy.

5. Marina Di Modica

Situated towards the south of Sicily, Marina Di Modica provides a breathtaking view of the sea. The nearly a kilometre long sandy beach attracts people of all ages, and with the seaside and the sand dunes, the golden sands are a beautiful place to be in. Perhaps the best time to visit Marina Di Modica would be in July and August when the whole town is abuzz with activities, such as sports and music activities, lines of stalls and much more. One can go surfing and enjoy a host of amazing activities here. The blue waters are often remarkably clear and always a pleasant sight to behold. There are many hotels and resorts in the area for tourists. There are also many restaurants, pubs and cafes where people can enjoy food and drinks.

Entry timings – There are no specific entry timings to enter the beach.

Entry fee – There may be free beach areas and in order to avail any other services there may be a fee.

Location – Marina Di Modica is located in the Province of Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

6. Pollara

Located in the Province of Messina, Pollara is a ‘beautiful, sleepy’ town and home to towering cliffs and an eroded beach. One can enjoy hiking trails, traveling by boats or ferries here. The water is calm and clear, and people often swim in what used to be a volcano crater long ago. There may be sea urchins and jellyfish in the water, according to some tourist accounts. It is generally a quiet town and there are many restaurants and cafes that will provide good food.

Pollara also happens to be the location where the movie II Postino was filmed. Salina or Isola di Salina is another island that is often associated with Pollara and is the second largest island in all of the archipelago. Santa Marina is perhaps the most well-known and beautiful locations in Salina. One can find hotels or resorts overlook beautiful landscapes and offer great views from the balconies.

Entry Timing – There are no entry timings for the town in general but there may be specific entry times for different sites.

Location – It is situated in the Province of Messina, Sicily, Italy.

7. Castelluzzo

Castelluzzo is a town in Sicily that has some of the most serene and stunning locations. It is known for its calm and quiet beaches, the long coastlines, beautiful mountains, blissful ambience and deep blue waters. It is just the kind of place a nature lover would enjoy dwelling in. One can swim in the blue waters and relax in the beach area. There are some nine beaches around Castelluzzo. Other places of interest around here include the Greek city of Segesta and the medieval center of Erice. There are also restaurants and shops, but it is mostly a place that focuses on nature.

Entry Timing – There are no entry timings for the town, but there may be entry timings for the different sites.

Location – It is located in the Province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy.

8. Marinello

Marinello is another beautiful place and a romantic town with its breathtaking views. Situated in the Province of Messina in Sicily, it has the Marinello beach which attracts many tourists and offers many activities in its golden yellow sands and sparkling blue waters. From swimming to tanning and relaxing, this place has it all and is perfect for those who prefer calm places with natural beauty.

The Sanctuary of Tindari set upon a hill is one of the places worth mentioning here. There are many restaurants, cafes, bars and shops from where one can order food and drinks. There are also hotels, resorts and holiday homes meant for tourists, some of which overlook fabulous sceneries and landscapes. It is said that at the Oliveri beach one can view one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

Entry Timing – There is no particular entry timings for the town.

Entry Fee  – There are usually paid services.

Location – It is located in the Province of Messina in Sicily, Italy.

9. Castel Di Tusa

Castel Di Tusa, situated in the Province of Messina is named after a ruined castle and is now home to many natural and cultural sites. There are cathedrals, architectural wonders, city centers, sports centers and so much more to visit. The best time to take a trip down to this island is said to be in fall or in spring. The Lampare beach is one of the best places to visit in this location. Some tourists have also considered it the best Sicilian beach.

Fiumara d’Arte, a beautiful monument, is another site that is worth mentioning here. As with every other place, Castel Di Tusa also has restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs where one can enjoy food and drinks. There is also an enjoyable nightlife. Hotels, resorts and holiday homes will obviously be found in and around the area since it is such a popular tourist spot.

Entry Timing – There are no entry timings in particular, but different sites may their own timings and rules.

Entry Fee – Different sites will have different entry fees. There may also be some free areas.

Location – It is located in the Province of Messina in Sicily, Italy.

10. Poggioreale

Poggioreale is an old, small town in Belice Valley in the Province of Trapani in Sicily. In 1968, due to the Belice Valley earthquake, the town was almost destroyed. It was then rebuilt just a few kilometres of distance away. It is the ruins of the old town that are now visited by tourists from all over the world. The place has been described as ‘hauntingly post-apocalyptic’ and adventurous travelers would still be interested in visiting the place.

The locals in the village ensure that the ruins are not destroyed too quickly and consistently try to maintain it. It is possibly an inconvenient place to visit but has a different kind of fascination about it that holds the interest of some tourists. It is disheartening to see the ghostly ruins, thinking of what the town once was.

Entry Timing – There are no entry timings for the town in general though there may be rules and timings for specific sites.

Location – It is located in the Province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy.

Final Words

Let us all take a moment to imagine eternal crossroads and the beautiful islands Sicily promises us. This is a dream place for every traveller, especially explorers and marine life lovers. The beauty just seduces them to visit and meet the diverse landscapes and treasures the culture has preserved. Perfectly taking its place in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily has been an alluring place of beauty and the look of this place has remained the same since the time of legends.

Cars not being allowed is one proof how the government is keen on keeping the looks of Sicily just as lively as it is. The land that has been praised by poets do not miss out its winning position in offering delicious cuisines. There are ancient ingredients being added in the dishes to maintain the delectable influence.

Sicily’s landscape are diverse and no doubts if it gives you a dramatic first impression. The beauty of the sea, volcano, rocks and mountains guarding the diverse marine life is what nature’s absolute beauty is. The flowery meadows and the plethora of species are not something to be missed out. Hikers can always go chill out in the precipitous coastlines and the photographers must never miss this place. Be a swimmer, diver, explorer, any, Sicily is a must visit if you wish to have the time of your life with beautiful scenic landscapes, fun filled activities and multiple delicious cuisines rolling on.

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Blog Sightseeing

17 Must See Day trips from Phoenix

The region that surrounds Phoenix is a home to enormous number of natural wonders, ancient sites and parks that provide a plenty of outdoor activities and adventures.   Phoenix has some of the America’s most elegant pretty sites, like Grand Canyon and the huge saguaro cactus that is a sign of the Old West. It also contains 100s of art galleries and museums, and moreover many facilities and services that will suit all the travelers whether they enjoy in hiking or joy hotels. There are a lot of places to see in Phoenix.

Check out some of the amazing day trips from Phoenix-

1. Day trip to Sedona

In Arizona, Sedona is contemplated by so many to be of the most stunning destinations on the Earth. This brief town is home to only 10,000 people. It is huge on its beauty, kindness and pure attractions. At the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona sits and it is covered by graceful, towering red rock formations, creating it an ideal destination for kayaking, biking and hiking. In Sedona, the climate is usually dry and temperate which means that weather is mostly ideal. It also consists of different sorts of restaurants, from classic American diners to upscale Italian cuisine. In hotels, bed and breakfasts, marvelous resort properties and cabins, lodging is also accessible.

From Phoenix, you will reach Sedona in 2 hours.

2. Day trip to Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park in Phoenix provides the eye-catching natural beauty found in the world. It is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. It has miles of trails for some of the best backpacking and hiking in the nation. Horseback riding, cycling, fishing, kayaking, boating and camping are all accessible here. It is an awesome destination to stargaze at night. It is open throughout the year. For some of the adventures and activities, special permissions are needed.

3. Day trip to Sonoran Desert

The larger area of land of most of the southern half of Arizona is called as the Sonoran Desert. It covers an area of 100,000-sq-mile and also encircles the regions of Baja, northern Mexico and California. This desert possesses an astounding sort of ecosystems and landscapes. Most of the biomes of the world can be found here, incorporating grassland, tundra, desert, and deciduous and coniferous forest. Dirt and paved roads offer chances for graceful drives and hiking. Man-made charms like an aviary, aquarium and gardens are also there.

From Phoenix, you will reach the Sonoran Desert in 50 minutes.

4. Day trip to Prescott

In 1863, Prescott was originated after the discovery of gold, which was the 1st permanent capital of the Arizona Territory. Break at the Sharlot Hall Museum complex, while in Prescott. Watch the 1st territorial residence of the governor. Stunning town square, residence of the Yavapai County, is another focus of curiosity. The blocks encircling the town square are equipped with ancient shops, hotels and restaurants. But the most prominent past of the square is the Whiskey Row, situated on Montezuma Street. During the days of mining, it got its nickname, when nothing but saloons engaged the street. There is a Granite Dells just a few miles outside the town, which is a geological emergence with 2 reservoirs. These reservoirs are – Willow Lake and Watson Lake. The region characterizes different granite boulders and pleasures like hiking and boating.

From Phoenix, you can reach Prescott in 2 hours.

5. Day trip to Flagstaff

At 7,000 feet above the sea level, the stretching city of Flagstaff places high in the hills. It surrounds about 64 square miles. It is a tourist mecca that impresses approx 5,000,000 tourists and visitors every year. On being a center point of art and culture in Northern Arizona, Flagstaff delights itself. There is a lot to do and watch here, incorporating museums, art galleries, restaurants and shopping. Visitors can take a ride on the ancient Grand Canyon Railway, listen the classics represented by the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, or have a nearby watch of the stars at the Lowell Observatory.

6. Day trip to Apache Trail

By Apache Indians, the worldly prominent, Apache Trail was used as a short route via the hills to reach early Salt River settlers. From the Apache Junction to Roosevelt Lake and the town of Globe, this trail twiddles with the back of the Superstition Mountains. Most of the past of the trail is unpaved but can be conveniently driven by most of the vehicles. It characterizes cliff-sided canyons, fizzy lake, towering saguaro cacti, a huge variety of wildflowers and volcanic detritus. Several other fascinating and captivating places along the trail include-

  • The Boyce Thompson Arboretum
  • Weavers Needle
  • The old western town of Tortilla Flat
  • Tonto National Monument
  • The ghost town of Goldfield
  • Some other pretty places incorporate Roosevelt Dam and Lost Dutchman State Park
  • From Phoenix, you can reach the Apache Trail in 4 hours.

7. Day trip to Mogollon Rim

This huge geological fault, which is named after Jean Ignacio Flores Mogollon, Mexico’s governor, is called to natively as the “Rim”. The rim’s dramatic face is a different colored wall of rock, dotted by Manzanita, pine and shrub oak. When the surface of earth shifted thousands of year ago, this huge wall of rock projected upward a mile above sea level. This rim was made prominent by writer Zane Grey who hunted and fished in this elegant region. For enormous number of his novels, it served as in inspiration.

You will reach Mogollon Rim in 2 hours from Phoenix.

The road becomes an unpaved forest highway and regular winds in a few feet of the fault line, offering an eye-catching look of the rim.

8. Day trip to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

In the United States, Casa Grande is one of the biggest prehistoric structures. It has a big house and series of interrelated irrigation tunnels, remains that where constructed by local desert dwellers over 60000 years ago. Now, the remains stand as the national monument to the 1st settlers of the region. Guided journeys of the remains are provided on a daily basis, weather permitting. Special occasions like guest exhibitions and the Local American Arts Festival are organized all around the year. For children, the park also provides junior ranger and scouting programs. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.

From phoenix, you will reach Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in an hour.

9. Day trip to Montezuma Castle National Monument

This attractive old Native American cliff dwelling is located high above Beaver Creek. It is more than 6 centuries old. Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, for whom the monument is named, never viewed this popular structure. During the 12th century, the Sinaguas, Pueblo Indians moved into the Greater Phoenix, constructed the dwelling from adobe and limestone. White settlers negotiated that only Aztecs have constructed the castle and named it appropriately, when they viewed it some years later. A Montezuma Well is placed approx 7 miles northeast of the castle on the Park Service Road, a limestone sink hole with a natural spring utilized by the local Americans for the purpose of irrigation. Still, the well offers closer Beaver Creek with a regular supply of water of more than a million gallons. It is 55 feet in depth and 470 feet in width.

From Phoenix, you will reach Montezuma Castle National Monument in 3 hours.

10. Day trip to Mission of San Xavier del Bac

The Mission of San Xavier del Bac is a Cathic church that has offered the spiritual requirements of the native residents since 1797. It is also renowned as “The White Dove of the Desert”. Originally, the mission was a region of New Spain and then the region of Mexico before it became the section of the US in 1854. The cathedral is built with Spanish-design framework and is adorned inside with elegant murals and statues. Today, it is still used for masses and special occasions. It is accessible for public from 7 am to 5 pm on a daily basis. A gift shop and museum are also on its premised.

From phoenix, you will reach Mission of San Xavier del Bac in 1 hour and 50 minutes.

11. Day trip to White Mountains

White Mountains in Arizona are situated in the eastern region of the state. It provides distinct sorts of charms and beauties in a weather 30 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Summer activities and adventure incorporate fishing, mountain biking, golfing, hiking, camping, horseback riding and just relaxing, with an elevation of 9 thousand feet. The White Mountains become just white in the winters. Sunrise Ski Resort provides remarkable ski runs and some other sports of winter chances, incorporating ice fishing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Most of the region of White Mountains is on the Native American Land, incorporating the Hon-Dah Casino. The main occasions in the White Mountains section are cultural festivals, parades and rodeos. This place is full with huge range of accessible accommodations.

From Phoenix, you will reach the White Mountains in 4 hours.

12. Day trip to Tucson

Tucson is just 111 miles south of Phoenix, in between rolling foothill terrain. It is popularly renowned as the “Old Pueblo”. The “White Dove of the Desert” is situated at the south of Tuscan. Visitors are welcomed to discover this outstanding mixture of architectural designs that is contemplated to be one of the finest Spanish colonial structures in the US.

From south of Phoenix, you will reach Tucson in 2 hours.

13. Day trip to Kartchner Caverns State Park

This huge cave system has outstanding limestone formations that are contemplated to be “alive”, which means that they are still active and growing as water drips into the cave. Visitors can view the elegant stalagmites inside of this. This park also has a discovery center with a gift shop, a theater, and the displays. At the park, picnic areas, hiking trails, camp grounds and an amphitheater can also be found.

From phoenix, you can reach Kartchner Caverns State Park in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

14. Day trip to Petrified Forest National Park

Genuinely, there is no park in the nation like this Petrified Forest National Park. This desert wilderness spreads foe 107 sq miles and located 5 thousand feet above the sea level. This forest is prominent for fossils of animals and plants that remained in the Late Triassic Period, and special fossil withdrawal events are provided here for children. The stunning “Painted Desert” and the Rainbow Forest are also a section of this park. Visitors can initiate their visit at the center of visitors, which incorporates a restaurant, displays and a book store.  Guided journeys and cultural presentations are provided on a daily basis. The activities like backpacking, camping and hiking are also accessible here.

From Phoenix, you can reach Petrified Forest National Park in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

15. Day trip to Slide Rock State Park

Developed by the homesteader Frank Pendley in 1910, Slide Rock State Park was originally an apple farm. He developed a system of irrigation that permitted him to plant apple trees and other yields along with keeping it livestock. The slippery creek situated on the homestead creates an awesome natural waterslide for tourists and visitors to slide on in the summertime. The property stands in the state park and the sliding rock is still in use as a swimming hole today. The park also has enormous number of pretty creeks and rock formations, picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing regions and a gift shop.

From Phoenix, you will reach Slide Rock State Park in 2 hours.

16. Day trip to Jerome

Jerome is 90 miles north of Phoenix and is at 5200 feet above the sea level. There situates a small town of Jerome. It was a prospering copper mining community with a small population of about 15000 at one point in the history. The need of copper declined and the community became a ghost town of only about 100 people during the Great Depression. Now, it is a lively tourist section that is also a monument to the history of Arizona. Visitors find ancient buildings from the mining days of town along with saloons, shops, boutiques, restaurants and galleries characterizing works by the many native artists of the town.

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Blog Sightseeing

11 Day trips Idea from Rome

There is a lot to see in the Rome. It can be really difficult to stay yourself apart from this beautiful city. But the journey into the entire Lazio area and you will find that there are enormous numbers of historical locations and delicious foodie places to traverse. Moreover, Naples, Florence and Pompeii are all the day-trips within the region of the capital.

Check out some of the awesome day trips from Rome to visit –

1. Day trip to Ostia Antica

One of the peaceful and natural day trips from Rome is to Scavi Archeologici di Ostia Antica. This engaging historical site portrays the outstandingly well-saved remains of the sea port of historical Rome, much similar to the shorter kind of Pompeii. High spots incorporate the Terme di Nettuno, which is a 2nd – century complex with impressive floor mosaic, an inclined amphitheatre, and the Thermopolium, a café where you can make out discoveries of a menu frescoed on the wall. The Ristorante Monumento, a somewhat more advanced eatery provides filling pastas and native seafood near the super entry of the location.

From Stazione San Paolo, take the Ostia Lido train to get to this beautiful and impressive site and reach at Ostia Antica. The journey from the source (Stazione San Paolo) to destination (Piramide metro station) will take only 25 minutes.

2. Day trip to World Heritage Sites in Tivoli

Tivoli is a small town from 30 km east of Rome. In Tivoli, take in 2 World Herigate Sites.  Begin your day at Villa d’Este. It is a modern and elegant Renaissance villa up in the centre point of hilltop. If you are reaching by the public transport, then it is convenient to initiate your day by going to Villa d’Este. Have lunch at the local Trattoria del Falcone when you will adore its Mannerist frescoes and exorbitant garden fountains. After re-energizing, move to Villa Adriana, about 5 km apart. The Emperor Hadrian’s colossal nationwide estate is breathtaking with the remains of towering stretched under gnarled olive trees and many umbrella pines.

You can reach Tivoli from Ponte Mammolo metro station by standard Cotral bus. Take local CAT bus 4 or 4X from Largo Garibaldi to reach Villa Adriana from the ancient centre point of Tivoli. The duration of time between source and destination will be approximately 50 minutes.

3. Day trip to Castelli Romani

On the southern doorstep of Rome, a beautiful pocket of vine-clad hills and volcanic lakes, the Castelli Romani make for an outstanding tasty foodie journey. You can delight on porchetta in Frascati, and native white wine at the Cantina Simonetti, one of few cantine in place. At the Scuderie Aldobrandini, which is a small museum charting the local history of region, so in advance, work up your hunger. Move to Castel Gandolfo and the Antico Ristorante Pagnelli, which is a leading light restaurant providing seasonal food and marvelous views over Lago Albano, for a more pure food. Castel Gandolfo is also a residence to the summer house of the Pope. The Palazzo Apostolico, commonly renowned as the Palazzo Pontificio, currently opened its doors for the very 1st time, with initial bookings; you can now reach its 1st-floor museum and scenery gardens.

From Stazione Termini of Rome, direct trains will help you reach you to Frascati and Albano Laziale line. Within 30 minutes, you can reach Frascati and within 45 minutes, you will be at Castel Gandolfo from Stazione Termini.

4. Day trip to Cerveteri

Move to the Unesco-listed Necropoli di Banditaccia in Cerveteri for a glance into the lost world of the Etruscans. This scary necropolic is just outside of the stylish town, which is a true district of the dead with squares, streets and terraces of rounded grass-headed tombs, commonly called as tumuli. At the Museo Nazionale, finish your education of Etruscan back in the ancient centre, when you will explore the above mentioned site. The top hotspot for refined regional food is the Antica Locanda Le Ginestre, nearby.

From Cornelia metro station, regular Cotral buses will take you to Cerveteri. Off the A12 autostrada, the town is 35 km north of Rome by car. Take bus G from the main square, to reach the necropolis from the ancient centre of the town.

5. Day trip to Orvieto

The cliff-top town of Orvieto is a classical day trip from Rome, which is a midway between Rome and Florence. Its attractive earlier lanes are a delight to find and there are so many of refined restaurants to try. But the question arises that what makes a visit so extra remarkable? The answer is its awe-inspiring cathedral, one of the greatest Gothic churches of Italy. It is eye-catching from inside and outside. The Duomo, which is a zebra-striped characterizes a captivating façade and an amazing fresco cycle by Luca Signorelli representing the Giudizio Universale. From the Torre del Moro, there are many clean views to be admired and caves to be traversed at Orvieto Underground, when you will have visited the Duomo. Find out the Trattoria del Moro Aronne, for a mouth-watering and yummy meal.

From Rome Termini, regular trains will take you to Orvieto. The duration of time will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. It is just off the super north-south A1 autostrada by car.

6. Day trip to Naples and Pompeii

Take a train and move south to Naples and Pompeii for a thrilling day to recall. You can visit both these destinations from day trip of Rome, but you will need to be extremely dynamic and fully energetic. From Termini to Napoli Centrale, go for a Frecciarossa train and then a Circumvesuviana train to Pompei-Scavi-Villa dei Misteri to get to the Pompeii by mid of the morning. It is enormous and you will require about 3 hours to check its vast hits, which incorporate the Forum, Lupanare and amphitheatre. At the Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, check out the true Neapolitan pizza, which is some of the few cult pizzerias in the centro storico, once you will be back in Naples. Move to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale to wonder at fantastic classical art, and the baroque Cappella Sansevero to stare at outstanding Cristo velato sculpture of  Giuseppe Sanmartino.

From Stazione Termini, regular fast trains will take you to Napoli. The duration of time will be 1 hour and 15 minutes.

7. Day trip to Renaissance treasures of Florence

This city can be visited in a day, with Florence only one and a half hour by a fast train. There is no doubt that you will not be having time for each and everything but you will be able to compress in the major sights, principally if you have booked your tickets in advance through Firenze Musei. Walk down to Piazza del Duomo from the train station, which is a home to a triplex of famous sight: the Duomo with its distict red-tiled dome, the Battistero di San Giovanni and the Giotto-styled campanile. So when completed with it, pursue onto Piazza della Signora, where you can visit a luxurious town hall of Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, and arrive face-to-face with renaissance treasures at the Galleria degli at Gilli, which is one of the ancient cafes of the city.

From Rome Termini, frequent trains will connect you with Stazione di Santa Maria Novella of Florence. The duration of time will be 1 hour and 30 minutes.

8. Day trip to Assisi

You can tour to the noteworthy religious sites, Roman remains and creative beauty of the medieval town of Assisi. The supreme attractiveness of the town is the Basilica of St. Francis, which is the everlasting resting location of the patron saint of Italy. Enormous number of the cobblestone streets in the town head to this elegant cathedral where you can appreciate its graceful architecture and inner ceilings and walls that are decorated with outstanding frescoes. You will explore the medieval homes and shops that are well worth a view, encircling the basilica. Some other sites that you should not miss incorporate Pizza del Comune, the town center, with its ancient clock tower, the Church of Sana Maria Sopra Minerva with its Roman columns, and St. Claire’s Basilica, which provides pleasing looks of the valley below.

Regular trains will take you to Assisi from Rome. The duration of time from the source to destination will be 2 hours.

9. Day trip to Capri

This day trip from Rome will require a full day but it is really a well worth day trip from Rome. You will be delighted with a lovely boat ride covering the Gulf of Naples to the major port of Capri, Marina Grande. You can check out different sorts of shops, relish awesome foot at a terraced café and watch crowd passing by along with the colorful boats arriving in and out at this enthusiastic port. Capri provides many outstanding seductions, but the one that should not be missed is the Blue Grotto, which is a cave that displays a dazzling reflection of blue and emerald-colored water.

From Marina Grande, this bright cave can be reached by a short boat ride. Other glamorous view incorporates Solaro, which is the top point of Capri. A chair lift takes the tourists and visitors to the top of the mountain which provides remarkable views of the sea and island. In the town of Anacapri, the brilliant Villa San Michele is moreover worth a visit with its beautiful gardens, Phoenician steps, museum and café.

You can reach Capri after a train ride from Rome to Naples.

10. Day trip to Positano and Amalfi Coast

Positano is the perfect place if you need a short retreat in order to rest up and relax after all the sightseeing in Rome. It is a pretty village of different color types of houses and calm, pebbled beaches, located off the Amalfi Coast. While longing on the elegant beaches of Spiaggia Grande or Fornillo, feel free to laze in the Mediterranean sun, or discover the closer mountains to view marvelous waterfalls and unique species of animals and plants. Try not to miss your visit to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which characterizes elegant architecture and a Black Madonna icon which is steeped in native legend.

Regular trains from Rome to Salerno will take you to this lovely oasis, succeeded by a boat ride to Positano.

11. Day trip to Tarquinia

Tarquinia, which is well renowned for its Etruscan tombs just outside town and its brilliant Etruscan Museum has an ancient center and the Cathedral which has great frescoes dating from the year 1508.

By train, you can reach Traquinia on the Roma-Ventimigila line in a little over an hour approx. some trains leave from Rome Ostiense station while some others also leave from Termini or other along with other stations of Rome.

12. Day trip to Sabine Hills

Dotted with ancient castles and towns, take a day trip from Rome into the countryside of the Sabine Hills. With Convivio Rome, you can take a half-day cooking class or olive oil tour, too.

Regular train will take less than an hour to take you to Fara Sabina.

13. Day trip to Fontana del Papa

Fontana del Papa, which is a cooking school, provides 1-day visit to their bed and breakfast in the nation side, incorporating a cooking class along with lunch. It is an awesome way to view some of the natural beauty outside the Rome and delight a day with a family of Italian people.

Italian people will make arrangements for you to pick you up from a train station.

14. Day trip to Tuscany

There is absolutely no place like Tuscany for its wine, food and its beautiful scenery. Must visit the hill town of Pienza for climbing the castle at Montalcino, shopping, traversing some of the familiar Brunello di Montalcino vineyards and stops at some of the brief towns like short little Monticchiello and Montepulciano, and also the hot springs town of Bagno Vignoni if you have more time. This place i.e. Tuscany is overfilled with marvelous, stunning and elegant places.

Categories
Blog India Sightseeing

12 Must Visit Tourist Places in Jaipur

With just one look at the beautiful coloured stone walls that line the streets, you’ll understand where the nickname ‘Pink city’ came from. Spend your time exploring the deep history of Jaipur and all the magnificent forts and palaces, where the kings and queens once lived.  With just one look at the attractive places, you’ll fall in love with the city. It is one of the most beautiful places in India regarding architecture.

Here are some of the most amazing places and tourist attraction sites in and around Jaipur, Rajasthan that you must see if you visit Jaipur.

1. Jaigarh Fort

The Jaigarh Fort is a spectacularly built fortress that captivates the hearts of the onlookers. It is also referred to as the Victory Fort. Over the years it has been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations because of its aesthetically pleasing architecture. It provides an unusual view of the Jaipur city. It is also famous because of the tales that convey that there is a possibility of a vast treasure being buried under the fort. This fort flaunts to be the one that houses the world’s largest cannon on wheels, known as ‘Jaivana’. It comprises a large palace complex, a museum, an armoury and an Assembly Hall of Warriors called as Shubhat Niwas.

This fort was constructed in 1726 by Jai Singh II to defend the Amber Fort and its palace complex. It is situated at one of the peaks of the Aravali Hills range. It is constructed with thick walls of red sandstone and comprises a beautiful garden.

Entry Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on all days of the week.

Entry Fee: 35 Rupees per person for Indians and 85 Rupees per person for foreign tourists.

Location: Above Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan – 302001

2. City Palace

The City Palace is a mesmerising complex that represents a blend of Mughal and Rajput architectures in its construction. It is aptly referred to as the palace because it is the place from where the Maharaja reigned. It encompasses many popular buildings including the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal. The Chandra Mahal has been modified into a museum, and it has a broad range of articles and products that demonstrate the royal heritage. The city palace is famous for its lavishly decorated gates like the Jaleb Chowk, Virendra pol and much more which form the entrance to the palace from different directions. The palace has become a prominent tourist destination due to its regal architecture comprising extraordinary lattice, murals, and mirror etc.

The City Palace was erected between 1729 and 1732 by Sawai Jai Singh II. It is situated right in the heart of the city of Jaipur and constitutes exquisitely built buildings, gardens, and courtyards.

Entry Timings: 9:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M on all the days

Entry Fee: 190 Rupees per person for Indian citizens and 500 Rupees per person for foreign tourists

Location: Jaleb Chowk, Tripolia Bazar, Jaipur, Rajasthan – 302002

3. Sisodia Rani Garden

Sisodia Rani Garden is also known as Sisodiya Rani Ka Bagh. It is a Royal Garden which is decorated with magnificent paintings of Radha-Krishna story. It has earned immense prominence as a tourist spot because of being a charming garden filled with greenery throughout, and it also constitutes alluring pavilions, fragrant flowerbeds, foliage, pristine water fountains, water channels, galleries, and murals. The garden offers a great level of tranquillity and serenity and makes one feel closer to nature.

The garden layout is an amalgamation of Indian art style and Mughal designs. There is also a palace situated on top of the backyard. It is alleged that this garden was built in 1728 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh for his second queen. Within the garden, there are even temples of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shiva.

Entry Timings: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m on all the days of the week

Entry Fee: 10 Rupees – 30 Rupees per person

Location: NH 11, Lal Dungri, Jaipur, Rajasthan – 302031

4. Albert Hall Museum

Albert Hall Museum is one of the most brilliant tourist attractions in Jaipur. It is a very popular museum and is also the oldest museum in Rajasthan. It is also commonly known as the Government Central Museum. Tourists are greatly impressed by this museum because it houses a massive number of historical items including weapons, artefacts, precious jewellery and apparels and many other articles that belong to the Rajasthani royalty. The museum also contains scintillating paintings, musical instruments, wooden carvings, statues, carpets etc. An exclusive collection of figures made of clay can also be found at the museum.

This majestic museum was built by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ii in the 19th century on the occasion of The Prince of Wales visiting the city. The museum is crafted with breathtaking architecture.

Entry Timings:  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on all the days of the week.

Entry Fee: Rs. 20 per person for Indian tourists and Rs 150 per person for foreign tourists.

Location: Ajmeri Gate, Ramniwas Bagh, Jaipur, Rajasthan – 302004

5. Galtaji or Galta Monkey Temple

Galtaji temple also known as Galta Monkey Temple, is one of the most renowned temples in Jaipur. The temple has a spellbinding structure. The temple complex comprises seven holy kunds or water tanks and also natural freshwater springs. The Galta Kund is considered as the most sacred water tank, and it is believed never to get dry at all. The story behind this temple is that gods were pleased with Saint Galav who performed penance in this place for hundred years and blessed the place with abundant water. There is a huge pilgrim rush in this temple because it is believed that the natural springs of the temple can cleanse the sins of a person.

This temple has an excellent architecture because it was built with pink sandstone among hills and it looks more like a palace. Another reason for the popularity of this temple is due to the presence of multiple tribes of monkeys in the region.

Entry Timings: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on all days of the week

Entry Fee: No entrance fee is required

Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan – 302031

6. Chokhi Dhani

The rich culture and heritage of Rajasthan get reflected accurately at the Chokhi Dhani village. It gives a grand glimpse of the royal lifestyle of Rajasthan. It is a fantabulous resort that offers a broad range of amusements to the visitors. It comprises joyful rides, hangouts, and the tourists are bound to stay amazed with the live entertainment reflecting the Rajasthani art forms like puppet shows etc. The cottages are built to look like forts, and they are embellished with handcrafted materials.

People can savour the delicacies of authentic Rajasthani meals here. It is a fun-filled place that offers a great amount of enjoyment to everyone.

Entry Timings: 4 p.m. 11 P.M on all the days of the week

Entry Fee: 500 Rupees per person

Location: 12 miles Tonk Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan 303905.

7. Govindji Temple

The Govind Dev Ji temple is considered as a very prominent and sacred pilgrimage destination. It is the Lord Krishna temple. This temple had gained immense popularity because according to beliefs, the deity in the temple appears just like the way Lord Krishna looked when he incarnated on earth. This temple is an integral part of the city palace. Lush green gardens surround the temple. It comprises dazzling European chandeliers and elegant paintings of Indian art.

The temple has a lavish appeal because the entire ceiling of the temple is completely decked with gold. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had brought the idol of the lord from Vrindavan and installed it in his palace.

Entry Timings: 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m and 5:45 P.M to 9:30 P.M on all weekdays

Entry Fee: there is no entry fee

Location: Jalebi Chowk, Jaipur, Rajasthan – 302002

8. Amber Fort and palace

Want to look at a few historical beauties? Amber fort should be your first stop. Located in the town of Amber, it overlooks Maota Lake that magnifies the beauty of the fort. It is made out of marble and red sandstone and is on top of a hill overlooking the entire village. This is supposed to be the home of the Rajputs.

The Amber Fort is constructed with four levels namely Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience), Diwan-i-Khas, Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) and Suhk Niwas. One speciality of Sukh Nivas is that the architects have created a cold climate in that room using the winds that blow over Lake Maota. The main gate is called as Suraj Pol meaning Sun Gate. This was the entrance used by prominent officials. Another gate called the Tripolia gate is a gate that opens up in three directions – Jaleb Chowk, Zenana Deorhi and Man Singh Palace and is located to the west of the palace. Another gate called the Lion Gate is said to be one of the most guarded gates as it leads directly to the private chambers of the royals.

One thing to admire is the architecture. The architects who designed this palace were incredibly thoughtful, and their work is excellent.  They have built the castle with an amazing style and elegance and is fitting for the royal household.

Entry Timings: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry Fees: Rs 20 for Indians, Rs. 100 for foreigners

Location: Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001

9. Hawa Mahal

Built by Maharaj Sawai Pratap Singh, it was constructed mainly to let the women of the royal family see the proceeding on the streets without being seen by other people. It is a huge and artistic wall.

If people looked at it carefully, they would find that the Hawa Mahal is built to mimic the crown of Lord Krishna. It has 953 small windows, and the intricate design gives it an incredible aura. It gets the name Hawa Mahal because of the cold breeze that makes its way through the latticework of the building.  Its intricate design allows fresh air to flow to compensate for the hot summers, due to an effect called Venturi Effect. It is a common misconception that the Hawa Mahal is the front of the palace. However, it is the rear.

It rises to a height of 50 feet. It is built using pink and red sandstone; it matches Jaipur, which is also known as the pink city. This architecture is the best example of the fusion of Islamic designs and the Hindu culture. Built by Lal Chand Ustad, this is a piece of ancient architecture that is definitely worth your time.

Entry Timings: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Entry Fees: Rs. 20 for Indians, Rs. 50 for foreigners

Location: Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002

10. Nahargarh Fort

Anyone who visits the Aravalli Hills will surely visit the Nahargarh Fort. Its initial purpose of construction was to stand as a defensive structure for the city. Originally named Sudarshangarh, it was later renamed as Nahargarh which means ‘Adobe of tigers’, which suited the fort as it was built for defence purposes.

It was built Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh II all the way back in 1734. One familiar story that is associated with this fort is that it was haunted by the late king Nahar Singh Bhomia, haunted the fort. And to pacify the spirit of this great man, people built a temple at the entrance.

This fort although built in 1734, was later extended during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh in 1868. It is a magnificent fort which brings out the ethnicity and talent of the architects back in those days.

Entry Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entry Fees: Rs. 10 for Indians, Rs. 50 for foreigners

Location: Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002

11. Jal Mahal

Water Palace, is called so because it is located in the middle of a lake namely Man Sagar Lake. This is a five storied building, built using red sandstone.  Jal Mahal is a perfect picture of beauty. With the lake surrounding it, it portrays a world of grace and royalty. The first four floors of this building are under water while the top floor is above water. The top floor or the roof is shaped in the form of a rectangle and is called Chhatri.

However, in the past some years, there have been many problems due to water seepage and waterlogging.  The Government of Rajasthan is working with the local authorities to reconstruct the palace and bring it back to its former glory. However, this is one magnificent piece of architecture. Building underwater is a difficult task, and the architects behind this mahal executed it with perfection.

Entry Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entry Fees: Rs. 50

Location: Amer Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002

12. Abhaneri Step Well

This step well was built by King Chanda who belonged to the Chauhan Dynasty way back in AD 800. It is one of the oldest structures. Upon completion, the King dedicated it to a goddess called Hashat Mata, who is said to be the goddess of happiness and joy.

It was used to store water which was later used to supply water to public baths. It was also used as a mechanism to conserve or save water. It was also considered as one of the recreational spots, where people used to hang out during hot summers as the air around this well was a bit cold and gave them comfort.

People greatly appreciate this effort taken by the King and look at him as a person who gave due consideration to the environment and most importantly to the needs of his people. Make sure that this step-well is the first item on your list when you go to visit the beautiful city of Jaipur.

Entry Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fees: No entry fees

Location: Near Harshat Mata Temple, Abhaneri, Dausa, Bandikui, Rajasthan 303313

With all its forts, palaces and temples, Jaipur is beautiful and must visit place for everyone with an eye for history, culture and tradition.

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Blog Sightseeing

Top Things to Explore in Pantheon

Pantheon is a grand Roman temple, and currently is a church in Rome, Italy. The word Pantheon is derived from a Greek word meaning “honor all Gods”. It is regarded as one of the best preserved Ancient Roman monuments. Its marvelous architectural design of the great Roman Empire has survived the wrath of barbarian’s raids when other monuments have perished. For Its grandeur and elegant style, it has been a popular tourist destination in Rome.

Location:

It is marking its presence in the center of the ancient city of Rome surrounded by narrow streets and Piazza Della Rotonda. It is an entertaining square filled with cafes, bars, and restaurants; often live bands perform here. If you are looking for a Pantheon guide in your way, you can easily get them within the radius of 100-200 meters. Many private and semi private walk tours are available to guide you through the most famous sights of the city such as the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.

How to reach the place:

Walking is the best way to reach the place as the narrow streets of ancient Rome are far too narrow for public transportation. Multiple tourist buses and metro stations are present to make an easy access. People can start at the Spanish steps and end at Piazza Navona visiting the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon on the way.

Opening time and entrance:

It is a public place, so there is no entry fee, and only a minor security is what you need to pass through. It opens at 9:00 am till 7:15 pm every day. Except for Sundays, National and public holidays, this timing is fixed.

Best time to visit and attractions:

It is best if you visit the place during broad daylight. The sight of light pouring down the glowing Oculus in the dome is breathtaking. It is not a crowded place, and there are much shopping, and food destinations present nearby. But the visuals of inside the building are unique and are enough to keep anyone occupied a whole day.

History:

The exact age of the Pantheon is still a mystery. As per a Roman legend, it was built on the very site where Romulus, the mythological founder of Rome, ascended to heaven. But most historians believe that the temple was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27BC- 14AD).

The original building was first burnt down in 80AD and then again struck by lightning and burnt down in 110AD. It was first rebuilt by Emperor Domitian and then later by Emperor Hadrian. As there are no exact records about how much each contributed to the present day design of the building so, the topic is still controversial.

The structure and the design of the building are also way advanced for that time. The materials used to cement the bricks and stones have almost the same composition as that of modern day concrete. The overall design has also protected it from the damage of time and gravity over the years. You can barely control yourself from taking pictures of this jaw dropping scenery.

Dedication: The church has been in continuous use throughout its history since the 7th century. The Pantheon was the first pagan temple to be transformed into a church. By doing so, it was saved from being destroyed during the middle ages. Early Christian Emperors strictly forbade any sort of worship in the pagan temple.

It wasn’t used until Pope Boniface IV consecrated it as a Christian Church in 609AD. He dedicated it to the Virgin and all Christian martyrs (the origin of the Christian feast of all saints).But it is known to be dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” and informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”. The Pantheon is a state property, so it is ruled by Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism through the Polo Museal del Lazia.

Structure:

The Pantheon is remarkable for its size and architecture. Until this modern era, the dome used to be the largest built man-made structure. It measured about 142 feet (43 meters) in diameter and rose to a height of 71 feet (22 meters) above its base. Except for the bottom part, there is no external proof of brick arch support inside the dome.

The success of its long-standing endurance goes to the quality of mortar used in the concrete and careful selection and mixing of aggregate material. It varies from heavy basalt in the foundations of the building and the lower part of the walls. It goes through brick and tufa ( a stone formed from volcanic dust), and also the highest pumice towards the centre of the vault.

To contain the thrust with the internal brick arches, the uppermost third of the drum of the walls coincide with the lower part of the drum. The uppermost part is seen on the outside, and the innermost part is seen on the inside. The strength of the drum is within the boundary of huge brick arches. Also, piers set above one another inside the walls; these are 20 feet (6 meters) thick.

The structure is divided into following parts:

Exterior

The entire building stands on a 1.3m high base. It originally extended a further 7 meters in front of the collonade. The steps are made up of Numidian yellow marble and extend from the outer ends of this base. The building consists of two principal parts- the porch and the circular main building.

The porch is in a very classical Greek style, and the circular main building is in Roman bathhouse style. The circular building is made up of brick and concrete while white marble stucco is faced with it to match the porch in appearance. The dome is concrete whose external surface was originally covered with sheets of bronze. They were removed by Constans II in 663CE.

According to Modern Architecture

Mark Wilson Jones, a prominent architect, explained the design adjustments carried out in relating the porch to the dome. He proposed that the Pantheon’s porch designed for monolithic granite columns consisting of shafts 50 Roman feet tall (weighing about 100 tons) and also capitals 10 Roman feet tall in the Corinthian style.
The second pediment remained hidden by the taller porch. It was only visible on the intermediate block. When the intended columns failed to arrive, the builders made many haphazard adjustments to utilize shafts of 40 Roman feet high coupled with capitals eight Roman feet high.

Lost parts

In the walls at the back of the Pantheon’s portico are niches or empty spaces. It suggests that they were for statues for a set of gods of Julius Caesar, and Agrippa, or for the Capitoline Triad or Augustus Caesar. Either they were stolen or were never present. The large, gold plated bronze doors to the cella, are not the original ones of the Pantheon. The current doors have been there since about the 15th century. But they were manufactured too small for the door frames.

Porch

It measures 33.1×13.6m and consists of a front Collonade. Eight Corinthian columns 11.8m high make the front Collonade. Mons Claudius and Aswan grey granite with the bases and capitals in white Pen telic marble makes the monolithic column shafts. There is a pediment above the columns which is now empty, but drill holes suggest perhaps a presence of an emblem. It is one of the best thing to explore in Pantheon and make sure, you have enough time in your hand to understand it through the help of a Pantheon guide.

Multiple shreds of evidence show it to be possible of an eagle or wreath which would have been in gilded bronze and symbolized Jupiter. White Pen telic marble is used on the porch which is decorated with pictures of religious rituals like axes, garlands, and candelabras.
The interior of the porch has four rose-pink columns and measures 34x20m creating three aisles. The restored pavement reflects the original design with grey granite rectangle and circle in white marble.

Elimination of defects

To reduce the stress on the dome, aggregate stones were used successively, instead of normal bricks. Especially small pots or pieces of pumice were used in higher layers of the dome.

It was calculated that, if normal weight concrete had been used throughout, the stresses in the arch would have been approximately 80% greater. A useful structural system was formed by making hidden chambers inside the rotunda. This decreased the weight of the roof. The elimination of the apex was achieved by replacing it with Oculus.

The Pantheon still holds the record for the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome and also is substantially larger than earlier domes of its time. It is often seen as a free-standing building, but it is abutted near to a building present to its rear part. The condo helped buttress the rotunda, and no interior passage was there to link both the old and new building.

The Interior

No matter how busy you schedule is, make sure this part of the beauty is not missed. The glory of the exterior dims at the opulence of the interior. The entrance of the circular part of the building or rotunda consists of two bronze doors that measure 12×7.5m. The present ones are ancient but not the original. The diameter of the rotunda is 43.2m which is exactly the maximum height of the dome itself forming a perfect hemisphere.

There is an opening to the sky called Oculus. It is 8.8m in diameter. It contains a decorative bronze sheet frieze. The presence of a light tufa coupled with scoria (a type of pumice), a mix of concrete (caemanta) constitutes the dome. The interior is lightened by five rings of 28 coffers which reduce in size as they rise towards the centre of the dome. Bronze sheets might have originally covered it.

Attractive features of the interior: The dome’s interior might have been created to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. The Oculus that is cemented its footstep at the dome’s apex and the entry door are the only pathways of natural light in the interior.

As the day progresses, the light from the oculus moves around inside in a reverse sundial effect. The Oculus also serves as a cooling method and helps in ventilation. During rain, a drainage system below the floor handles the water that falls through the oculus.

Squares and circles form the binding theme of the interior design. The checkerboard pattern on the floor gives a captivating view. It further dwells with the concentric circles of square coffers in the dome. Each zone of the interior, from floor to ceiling, is subdivided schematically. Due to the difference in schemes, the interior decorative zones do not line up.
The overall effect is eye-catching. If you look through the major axis of the building, the cylindrical space which has a hemispherical dome above looks stunning. This discordance wasn’t viewed highly, and the attic level had to undergo a renovation according to neoclassical taste in the 18th century.

Tombs and Art

The Pantheon is the place of burial of the Italian Kings like Victor Emmanuel II. It is also the tomb of Renaissance painter Raphael. Directly opposite the entrance, above the main altar, is an original 7th-century icon of the Madonna and child. It was there under the layers of paint. This is one of the rare surviving icons that were common in Roman churches of that period.

Conclusion

The place is not only a grand tourist place but also is a National heritage. Every year millions of people visiting Rome make it a priority to visit and witness the mystifying architecture of the Pantheon. When many others built in its time have long perished it still stands strong. However the support of a local Pantheon guide will make the journey more enjoyable and delightful. They will entertain you through interesting stories of associated with the ancient Rome.

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Blog Sightseeing

Places to Visit in Ooty – A Tourist Guide

Ooty or Udagamandalam is a place of paradise in south India. It is a small town of Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu State. It is a tourist place located in the Nilgiri Hills and popular as a beautiful hill station. Nilgirighat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway are well connected to Ooty. The scenery of Ooty from these places is so beautiful that you will find yourself trapped inside it.

History

This place was occupied by the tribes known as Toda, and therefore, it is often called as the hill of tribes. The major tribes include Toda, Baduga, Kota, Irula and Kurumba in Nilgiri areas. The Chera king stayed in this area on his way to the Himalayas and enjoyed the nature with the Kannadigas dance. British East India Company captured this place by defeating Tipu Sultan in 1799.

The first time it was recognized by J.C. Whish and N.W. Kindersley and compared with ‘Switzerland’. Then the road work was completed to visit Ooty, and the place was officially declared as Summer Capital of Madras Presidency. It became the summer resort and after independence, and soon became popular as a hill station.

Beauty of Ooty

The name ‘Nigiri’ means Blue Mountain which can be explained as smoky blue haze. It is situated at an altitude of 7350 feet or 2240 meters. There are Eucalyptus trees to enhance the beauty of Ooty. The area is covered by Kurunji flowers. The speciality of these flowers is that they bloom every twelve years and they portrait as a slope of the bluish tinge. Walking through the valleys of the mountains connects you with the greenish nature of Nilgiri. The weather is very pleasant as the temperature is 15-20ᵒ C in summer and comes to 0ᵒC in winter.

The view of rolling hills on the landscape covered with dense vegetation and the plateaus covered with tea garden is amazing. It is a perfect place for those who worship the beauty of nature and enable them to spend some memorable moment of their life. Because of the unexplained attractive beauty of Ooty, it is known as the queen of Hill Stations and ‘Switzerland of India’. The terrace farm and fresh fruits and vegetables also attract visitors. The 9th mile and the 6th mile are also popular for hosting movie shootings like Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Places of Interest

There are many places to visit in Ooty. Besides the hills, there are a lot of points of attractions in Ooty that one should consider looking for. Some of them are described below;

Garden and Parks

Centenary Rose Park:

CRP is also known as Government Rose Garden. Different Variety of roses covered the slope of the Elk Hill in Vijayanagaram of Ooty town. It has the tag of being the largest rose garden in India which is situated at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level. Recently the total no of varieties of roses is more than 20,000 of 2800 cultivars such as hybrid tea roses, Miniature Roses, Polyanthas, Papagena, Floribunda, Ramblers, Yakimour. The interesting part is you can get unusual coloured roses like black, green. These roses bloom for two-three months in a year and you can buy the seeds of desired roses.

Ooty Botanical Garden:

The Botanical garden covers the area of 22 hectares and maintained by Horticulture department of State government. There are more than 650 species of plants and trees. It includes fossil tree which is more than 20 million years old. One can walk to the uphill to enjoy the beauty of nature with eucalyptus tree pair. An annual festival is organized in May every year which showcases the flower types, the talent of locals and renowned artists.

Deer Park:

This is a zoo at high altitude in India like the zoo at Nainital, Uttarakhand. It is situated on the edge of Ooty Lake. It includes some species of deer and animals. Thus, if you are looking for adventures places to visit in Ooty, go for this one.

Doddabetta Tea Park:

The Park is situated near to the Doddabetta peak. It is popular as Tea Park. Walking around the lush green tea plants gives peace to the mind. It is one of the best places to relax with family. There is a sufficient place for kids’ playing.

Sims Park:

There is a park in Coonoor which is situated at a distance of 32 km from Ooty. The park consists of the unusual, rare plant that anyone could see before. The planning is under process to construct a lake or pond and kids’ play area inside the park.

Thread Garden:

It is a flower exhibition situated in front of Ooty Lake. The flowers and paintings are made from threads. It is a great effort of some NGOs with the collaboration of many weavers.

Lakes and Dams

Ooty Lake:

It is a major tourist spot in Ooty. The first collector John Sullivan constructed in 1824. It covers 65acres area. The mountain streams were dammed and forced to flow down the Ooty valley. The Eucalyptus trees surround the Lake. If you visit in May then you can enjoy the boat races and boat pageantry which are organized for two days at the lake. Boating facility is also available here.

Pykara:

Pykara is a river starting from Mukurthi peak and reaching the Plateau’s edge and passing through the hilly tract. The river is 19 km away from Ooty. It is also called as the cascading river as the water flows through a series of cascades. The length of last two falls is 55 meters and 61 meters respectively. These falls are known as Pykara falls. The Kamaraj Sagar Dam is another attraction near this place. It is also known as Sandynalla Reservoir. It is situated at a distance of 10 km from Ooty bus stand. There is a slope of the Wenlock Downs and popular as a picnic spot and film shooting spot. Fishing is also available in the dam. Students organize study tours.

Peak and Reserve Forests

Doddabetta:

The Doddabetta Peak is situated at an altitude of 2623 meters. It is the highest point and vantage point in Ooty which is at a distance of 10 km from Ooty. It is a junction point of Western and Eastern Ghats. The area is surrounded by the pine trees.This is one of the best places for photographers. You can see far areas up to the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore and just enjoy with the camera by clicking the amazing pictures. Thus, it has been quoted as one among the other places to visit in Ooty.

Mudumalai National Park:

The Park is situated on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills. The place is popular as Tiger Reserve. There are five ranges dividing this sanctuary such as Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi, and Nellakota. It includes endangered Indian elephants, vulnerable gaur, and chital, Bengal tigers and Indian leopards and other threatened species and more than 266 species of birds like Indian white-rumped vulture and the long-billed vulture etc.

Mukurthi National Park:

The Park covers 78.46 square km of area. It is situated in the southeastern corner of the Nilgiris Plateau. It includes its keystone species which protects Nilgiri tahr.

Avalanche Biosphere Reserve:

It is a dense forest which is 20 km away from Ooty. There is an entry gate where you can purchase the ticket for the Jungle Safari. It is a ride of two hours to view the deep forest by government vehicles. There is the scenery of wild animals like Deer, Sambars, Bisons, Foxes, and Elephants. Any types of cameras are allowed inside the jungle. Be careful in monsoon time as it is a heavy rainfall area.

Tribal Huts and Museum

Toda Huts:

One can find Toda Huts on the hills above Botanical Garden and other old tribal huts near Old Ooty such as Kandal and Mund Huts. The traditional construction of huts with concrete attracts the visitors.

Tribal Museum:

The museum is situated in MuthoraiPalada which is 10 km away from Ooty. It is on the campus of Tribal Research Center. Tribal Museum is a heaven for photographers of tribal groups of Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar. It is an anthropological and archaeological primitive human culture, and heritage site in India. It displays the tradition, culture and houses of Toda, Kota, Paniya, Kurumba and Kanikarans.

Wax World:

It is not same as the foreign wax museum and organized by private investors. You can see the old houses from this site. The place is popular for the different type of candles. But recently the funds are not sufficient for maintenance. So it is better to visit at least for support.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway:

It became an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in July 2005 by UNESCO. It is also known as “Mountain Railway of India”. British built the NMR in 1908 and operated by Madras Railway Company. Till now it uses steam locomotives. It is a marvellous creation of engineers in that time such as the blue and cream with wooden coaches with large windows.

Historical Buildings

Stone House:

John Sullivan built a bungalow using stones in 1822 which was known as ‘Kal (Stone in tribal language) Bangala’. It is the first bungalow in Ooty. John bought the land from Todas at a price of one rupee per acre. Then it became the official residence for the principal of the Government Arts College, Ooty.

St Stephen’s Church:

One can find the Church on the roadway to Mysore from Ooty. The governor of Madras Stephen RumboldLushington laid the foundation of the church on 23rd April 1829 for the cathedral of the British. Then it was opened to public communion on Easter Sunday on 3rd April 1831. It is the oldest church in south India.

Annamalai Temple:

The temple is situated approximately 20km away from Ooty. People worship Lord Muruga, and the place is called as 7th Hill house of God. The architecture of the temple attracts everyone. There also present is an observatory on the top of the hill where you can enjoy the magnificent panoramic view.

BakasuraMalai:

The history believes it is the hiding place of Tipu Sultan during the time of war. Geographically this is a meeting place of three states. This point connects you to the three states, i.e. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. It will be a memorable time in your life.

Tea Factory:

After visiting Doddabetta Tea garden, you must visit the tea factory. You will get free tea to taste and buy tea packets. There is also a chocolate factory that you can get better chocolate in Ooty market.The best place to buy chocolate is King’s Star which is the first chocolate maker in Ooty.

Enjoyment in Ooty

Ooty Club:

British built this club for their entertainment. The snooker game was introduced in the Ooty Club in 1882. There is a billiards table present now which was used at that time.

Golf Club:

There is a Gymkhana Golf Course. You can roam around and enjoy the golf. It is located at an altitude of 7600 feet. The golf course covers the area of 193.56 acres and consists of 18 holes.

Ooty Radio Telescope:

It is a Cylindrical Parabolic telescope. The length and width of ORT are 530 meters (1740 feet) and 30 meters (98 feet) respectively. This place inspires Engineers and technical people related to Astronomy or Astrophysics.

Boating:

Water lovers like the experience of boating on PykaraRiver. The fresh air on the water feels so good even if the rate is the little bit high. According to the updated data in June 2017 the rate of boating is as follows.

  • Eight seated motorboat: INR 750/- for 20mins
  • 20 seated motorboat: INR1200/- for 20 mins
  • Two seated motorboats: INR 600/- for 10mins

There is no rule that no. of seated motor boat carry same no of people always. You can get your boat by paying the above prices accordingly.

Horse riding:

If you want to ride a horse, then you can enjoy here with the greenery beauty of Ooty. But you need to prepare yourself because the guides can’t understand English and you have to understand the knowledge of horse riding.It takes one hour to visit around the lake and the countryside around Ooty. You can enjoy the beauty of Ooty on a horse.

Hang Gliding:

It is an adventurous and recreational activity in Ooty. It is situated at 20 km away from Ooty. The site of hang gliding is Kalhatty in the mountain ranges of Nilgiri.

Conclusion

It is one of the best holiday spots to enjoy in India. Nature loving people enjoy the beauty of Ooty in the summertime. It will be a loss if anyone misses to visit Ooty and regret in his life always. People who already visited the place, the beauty already captured their mind.