Travel

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Atithi Devo Bhava” – one phrase that defines tourism in India. I am proud of being an Indian and cherish its rich cultural heritage. But, with the recent events that happened in this country, tourists from abroad don’t actually feel safer while traveling alone in India. Even if they are not harm physically, they are scared of being harassed or cheated.

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A dessert land by nature, Kutch of Gujarat is very famous for its rich cultural heritage. There’s a famous saying about the Rann of Kutch that says, “Kutch Nahi Dekha, To Kuch Nahi Dekha” which means, “You have seen nothing, if you have not seen Kutch.” Being a significant historical place, Kutch of Gujarat is considered to be one of the top travel destinations in India

One thing that defines the popularity of Kutch and boosts the overall Gujarat Tourism is the annual ‘Rann Utsav’. Celebrated on the mystical land of Kutch, the Rann Utsav brightens parched barren salt marsh with vibrant colors, profusion of music, dance, and frill of traditions. To experience this colorful part of India, one of its rich cultures, and the unending celebration of traditions, you must attend this Maha Rann Utsav happening every year during winter.

What is Rann Utsav?

Every year when winter is on its peak, the Government of Gujarat hosts an annual 3 day festival called the Rann Utsav (festival of Rann). Tourists from different parts of the world visit Kutch during this time of the year to experience the taste of local culture, cuisine and hospitality. All the tourists attending this Mahotsav (Mega Festival) are accommodated in specially built local houses made out of tents to experience the life of people in Kutch. Tourists can also take part in many adventure clubs and travel clubs who organize various expeditions during Rann Utsav.

The event is popularly known as Rann Utsav as it is celebrated at The Great Rann of Kutch which is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert, Kutch district of Gujarat in India to the Sindh province of Pakistan. Spread on 7,505.22 square kilometers, this place is the largest salt desert in the whole world.

Rann Utsav: Where and When?

The major tourist attraction of Gujarat is the Maha Rann Utsav which is organized each year in Dhordo Village in Kutch. The whirlwind cultural extravaganza of Kutch Rann Utsav starts from the administrative city of Bhuj from where, tourists are taken to different locations within the Kutch District and concluded in a gala finale at main destination. The journey to the small sleepy town of Bhuj can be done through a direct flight connecting major cities, by train or through roads. Tourist can reach the small town of Bhuj by train, road and flights for major cities. You can reach to Ahmadabad, Gujarat from where you can easily get bus, taxis to reach Bhuj. You can easily book your holiday package from Gujarat Tourism sites or travel agents.

Schedule for Rann Utsav 2013: 15th December 2013- 15th February 2014

Arranged by the Gujarat Tourism Department, Rann Utsav starts from the full moon time of December on the banks of the majestic Hamisra Lake. People come here to experience the highly energetic and culturally rich region of Gujarat that displays an ethnic essence of this country in the best way.

Rann Utsav: Major Attractions in Kutch

Kutch is known for its harsh terrain and colorful people, but its also stores historical forts, holy shrine, national sanctuary and  soothing beach line. Make sure you visit tourist attraction given below to get the real taste of Rann of Kutch.

  • Aaina Mahal: Built in the 18th century under the rule of Lakhpatji, this palace was designed in a mixed Indo-European style by Master craftsman Ramsinh Malam. He personally crafted the fountains, mirrors and glass work at Aaina Mahal. Make sure to explore the compound outside the palace, to see beautiful carved doorways, elaborate window boxes and balconies.
  • Indo-Pak Border: One of the most favorite attraction of Kutch is Indo-Pak Border. This destination is only open to Indian tourists but no mobile phone or camera are allowed here. People come here to stand just 2 ft away from Pakistan Border and watch Pakistani ranger and an international border pillar.
  • Mandvi: This is the closest sea shore line from Bhuj where tourists can enjoy swim in crystal blue water and relax. If you want more seclude beach then the Vijay Vilas Beach is just right for you.  Relax on this white sandy beach, lovely place to swim and air-conditioned tents are also available here if you are planning to prolong your stay.
  • Dholavira: Visit the most remarkable excavation of the Harappan civilization at Dholavira. See how the water conservation system was established at this ancient city when the resources were scarce. 
  • Narayan Sarovar: Located at the western most tip of Gujarat, Narayan Sarovar is the most important Hindu pilgrim. You can also visit Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary which is home to 184 distinct bird species, wild life species and other endangered species.

Other Things to Do may include:

  • Enjoy Desert Safaris in the Little Rann of Kutch.
  • Sightseeing tour of major attractions of Bhuj such as Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Hamirsar Lake, Prag Mahal and Mata no Madh.
  • Relish beautiful sunset among the Chhatardis at Bhuj.
  • Explore the 72 Jain temple complex in Mandvi.
  • Visit Shipping Yards at Mandvi Port.
  • Other major attractions also include at near by Wankaner such as Ranjit Vilas Palace, Ram Krishna Math and the Jagat Mandir.

How to Book Your Tour to Rann Utsav in 2013-14?

Rann Utsav in Kutch is hosted by Government of Gujarat to promote tourism in the state. I would advice to book directly for the Rann Utsav 2013-14 from their official website here.

There are mainly 2 types of packages available to choose from:

  • 2 Nights & 3 Days Package
  • 3 Nights & 4 Days Special New Year Package

There are twin sharing options available for both packages. You can get the details on the full itinerary from here.

If you are planning to book for Rann Utsav in Kutch 2013-14, then do it now. Its quite popular and many tourists flock in to enjoy the rich heritage of the Rann of Kutch. If you wait long, you may have to try next year. 🙂

Hope you find this guide helpful. Let us know what tourist attraction we should cover next for you in the comments below.

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Life is always on the move now a days and your Smartphone or Tablet is your companion during the whole day. Your smart devices have become so integral part of your life that you may forget to feed yourself once but you would never forget to charge your device overnight or when the battery indicator shows low on your device.

While on a tight schedule or last minute official tour, you might not know where you are going to stay in the day and where you’ll be sleeping at night. You may be spending a lot of time at meetings in unfamiliar conference rooms or sites where there are no plug points for charging your device. At such times you might have to depend on your Smartphone battery life to hold on until charged. But there is always a limit and eventually your phone or other device may need charging.

But there’s nothing to worry now. Manufacturers are beginning to build battery power into bags. Whether it’s a clutch you’ll take on a night out or a backpack built for a week-long camping trip — these tech-savvy satchels might save you from a dead device.

Check out these amazing power bags listed below:

1. Everpurse

Everpurse sells stylish leather bags. If you’re animal friendly or cost conscious you might prefer the fabric ones. If you want a cross body strap, it is an extra $40. The company says that overnight, the bag collects enough charge to refill your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy twice.

The cooler thing about this concept is that you don’t plug in the phone or the purse — no cords. The purse sits on a charging pad to get charged, and the phone fits into a pocket that will charge it cordlessly. The purse is small enough that it will fit inside another bag, so instead of digging for your phone, perhaps you can more easily locate the brightly colored purse that’s filling your phone with battery power. Prices range $189 to $319.

Also Read: Must Have Gym Bag Essentials When You Hit The Gym Next Time

2. Phorce

What started as a Kickstarter grew into something bigger. The original idea was essentially a (well-designed) bag with a battery inside and various cords to charge various devices. Since the makers beat their goal by nearly $50,000, they’ve added to the vision.

The final product will allow a person to “roam free for up to two weeks without plugging into the wall,” a representative says. The bag itself will also be high quality — durable, water resistant and stylish.

Phorce will eventually be sold on phorce.com, but the site is not launched yet. A company representative says they plan to launch in November. Price will be $349 for Phorce for USB and $449 for Phorce for Mac.

3. Powerbag

Think of those times when you’re traveling and after a certain number of hours en route — everything is dead. Your Kindle, your smartphone and your laptop — so you can’t even plug the smartphone into the laptop to get just enough power to find yourself directions to your next destination. Powerbag will charge up to four devices at one time and has enough power to give a smartphone double the power.

You’ll charge the bag by plugging it in, then turn the bag on and devices will plug into the bag. A light on the side of the bag lets you know when it’s low on battery. Various models cost $139-$179.

4. Energi+

Similar to Powerbag, the Energi+ backpack from Tylt holds a rechargeable battery that will charge various devices. It holds enough charge to refill a smartphone four times and can charge up to three devices at once. It charges devices via cords, but you can re-configure which pocket you’d like to keep which device in. The backpack is $199.

5. Hustle

Hustle is a fashion-forward bag that will power your phone up to four times. The bag will alert you when it needs to be recharged and much like Everpurse, the bag charges on a charging pad.

Hustle can be used as a clutch, comes with a cross-body strap or can be placed inside a larger bag. The company raised more than double its goal on Indiegogo. Prices range from $199 to $249, and notably, one of the products offered is a leather wallet, created with men in mind.

6. Birksun

Much like other backpacks on this list, Birksun will charge various devices. Unlike other bags, you might not need to plug Birksun into a wall — if you’re going to be out in the sun. The backpack has solar panels on it, which will charge the battery inside, which then can be used to charge your various devices. It comes with a collection of cords and is probably compatible with any device you have. On cloudy days, charging the bag up at an outlet is also an option.

One hour of sunlight translates into 18.75% of your smartphone charge — not bad if you’re out on a hike or camping. The sturdy bag also has a padded laptop sleeve. It costs $150.

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Everyone wants to get married to the love of their life and set off to a romantic honeymoon trip with their spouse. For most of the newly weds, a Honeymoon trip comes once in a lifetime and this is the time when the couple wish to abandon all the other worries of the world and devote completely into each other’s company. Love can be enjoyed wherever you are but Honeymoon is something special as you visit new beautiful places that adds an extra flavor to the romance.

Check out the following best honeymoon destinations in the world:

1. Hawaii

Hawaii is the No.1 spot that comes to anyone’s mind when they are making a list of top 10 best honeymoon destinations in the world. Hawaii, because of its location and scenic beauty was (and is) hugely popular among tourists and honeymooners alike, even before the place got recognition as one of the America’s fifty states in the year 1959. In Hawaii, you can experience the authentic Hawaiian culture in their rustic eco-resorts or you can also enjoy your honeymoon in the luxury of five-star resorts and beach villas.

2. Rome and other Italian Cities

When we talk about romance, the one country that comes into our minds is Italy. The country has been successful in maintaining their old-world charm and romance intact. Italy is undoubtedly one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world especially its beautiful cities like Rome, Milan, Venice etc. The couples can walk hand-in-hand on the cobblestone streets while enjoying their togetherness as well as the stunning architecture around them or they can take heavenly rides through the river streams on boats throughout the city especially in Venice, Italy. Food is also exotic in Italy and adds a different flavor to your honeymoon trip with their well preserved stock of wine.

3. Paris, France

Almost every couple dreams to kiss each other either besides Eiffel Tower or from the top of it. Perhaps, the top 10 list of best honeymoon destinations can’t be complete if you don’t include France. After all, France is where you’ll find the City of Lights, Paris. Paris is the most favorite destination for lovers as you can sense Romance in the air on the streets of this beautiful city. Because of this unique feature, it gets into the list of top 10 honeymoon destinations. The couple can enjoy royal treatments at the hotels, romantic candlelight dinners and of course enjoy wine together.

4. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

With its crystal clear waters, fine white-sand beaches and many other attractions, Bora Bora situated in the French Polynesia deserves to be included in the list of the best honeymoon destinations of the world. The couple can enjoy a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxurious rooms to charming thatched-roof villas to bungalows on stilts. There are plenty of things to do in Bora Bora both romantic and adventurous. You can go for swimming in the crystal clear waters with your better half or take a helicopter ride to admire the beauty of Bora Bora from the top. There are many nightclubs and bars where you can enjoy some great time with your spouse.

5. The Bahamas

Right from the day it was discovered by Columbus in 1492, The Bahamas has earned a reputation of being one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Hence, we have listed it among the best honeymoon destinations in 2013. The Bahamas has become an attractive tourist spot and boasts of its luxurious and comfortable resorts uniquely blended with their culture and natural charms. The Bahamas is also an ideal place for adventurous couples if they love underwater cave diving, swimming or exploring shipwrecks. The multicolored coral reefs are the major attraction in The Bahamas and you will never forget the experience of the local culture at any of the village.

6. Las Vegas

If you think that Las Vegas is only famous of its night clubs and casino then think again. Las Vegas is full of attractions and you’ll find lots of activities happening here that would keep both of you fully occupied together for the whole day. You can pamper yourself by getting an appointment at any one of the spas for a day and relax. You can have great time enjoying the night at different casinos along the Vegas Strip. If gambling doesn’t appeal to you much, you can still visit the famous theaters, dance clubs, lounge shows and night clubs and have a blast all night long. All these excitements and night life culture makes Las Vegas a deserving city to be included in our list.

7. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is probably Asia’s most famous honeymoon destination. From an exotic culture to beautiful sun-kissed beaches to unspoiled rainforests, Bali has all the makings of the idyllic honeymoon spot. You can take your partner on a number of active pursuits such as paragliding, snorkeling, surfing, or rafting. You can even go on day trips and be entranced by the heartwarming hospitality and the exotic culture of the Balinese.

Of course, you can always take the entire day off and do nothing but be with your loved one. A day spent sharing a hammock with your new wife or husband is a day well spent for honeymooners in this part of the world.

8. Orlando, Florida

If you’re too eager to start the honeymoon and don’t want to stray too far from home, you don’t need to travel far to have the honeymoon of your dreams. Florida can serve as the perfect honeymoon setting for just about anyone. The beaches in Florida Keys are absolutely divine, while the Florida Everglades offer ecological tours for adventure-seeking couples.

For an even greater adventure, why not relive the joys of your childhood by visiting Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando? There are plenty of packages that couples to choose from in order to get exactly what they want in terms of park passes, amenities, and accommodations. One particular package suited for newlyweds is the ultra-exciting Romantic Escape. It’s absolutely wonderful for anyone who wants to spend time at a Disney resort as well as take a lovely cruise to the Bahamas. Walt Disney couldn’t have come up with a more perfect fairy tale setting for you and your Prince Charming.

9. Banff, Canada

Not every honeymoon has to be in a sunny tropical paradise. Banff is a beautiful, romantic resort town set in the Canadian Rockies. You can even take a trip into the wilderness on a whimsical sleigh ride, or you and your honey can also go ice skating on a frozen river, snowshoeing against the backdrop of the rocky mountains, cross-country and downhill skiing, and even dog sledding. After a fulfilling day in the snow, both of you can enjoy the warmth of a fireplace, sip some hot chocolate, and snuggle to your hearts’ content. For the best experience, stay at the Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise (just outside of Banff), or the Fairmont Springs Hotel in Banff.

Aside from fabulous winter activities, the resort has plenty to offer all year round. During the warmer months, lovers can participate in any of the resort’s many outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, and horseback riding. Now, that’s a physically-engaging honeymoon!

10. Munnar, India

Kerala is the most popular honeymoon destination in India, particularly because of its romantic resorts on the beaches, backwaters and hill stations. Top ten honeymoon destinations in Kerala are Munnar Hill station, Kumarakom Backwaters, Alleppey Houseboats, Thekkady wildlife sanctuary, Koavalam Beach, Waynadu Hills, Marari Beach, Athirapally waterfalls, Vagamon Hills and Bekal Beach. Honeymooners include above tourist places in their honeymoon packages.

If you like tea, a visit to Munnar is a must! The surrounding region is renowned for its sprawling tea plantations. See tea being picked and processed, and try fresh tea straight from the gardens. There’s even a tea museum. The area is blessed with the natural beauty of winding lanes, misty hills, and forests full of exotic plants and wildlife. Adventure enthusiasts can trek to Anamudi, the highest peak in south India, explore Eravikulam National Park, or go rock climbing and para gliding.

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I lead a very hectic life which starts me checking on my phone the moment I wake up to the laptop on which I nearly spend 8 hours of my day. To get a break from this boring schedule, I love to on a hiking with my husband. We enjoy the fresh air, nature, tranquility and the fun of being child again.  The hiking trip of ours is only of a day so we don’t really carry much stuff with us. Still, there are few things we never forget to carry when we are out in the wild.

The basic thing to carry while hiking:

  • Shoes: While going for a hiking, the first choice everyone make is going for the hiking shoes which are kind of bulky.  The best way is to wear the shoes which has good grip, waterproof and comfortable. If you wear bulky or tight shoes while hiking, you might end injuring your ankle.
  • Clothes: Wear clothes in which you are comfortable. Best wear loose pants like cargoes while hiking as it give you flexibility to move. Also it protects your legs from any bug bites. A cotton tee and a cargo pant is great pair for me to get going in wild.
  • Water: We love to drink the nectar of spring river water; the only problem is they are filled with tiny incest’s, bacteria and fungus. So, if your are thirsty while hiking, instead of drinking river waters, drink the purified bottle water. This way you make sure that you don’t get any infected water in your stomach.
  • Swiss Knife: In the most difficult situations, pocket knife is the most useful tool, especially when you have tricky situation. Its handy easy to carry and use.
  • Mosquito repellent: You won’t enjoy your hiking if you are busy scratching your leg. Best, you should carry a mosquito repellent and apply between 3 to 4 hours while hiking. This is the best way to ensure that you carry good memories of hiking and not bug bites.
  • First Aid Kid: Carry basic things in your first aid kit which can help you or your friends if you get hurt while hiking. Best is if you carry an antiseptic, some waterproof bandage, pain killer and pain reliving spray.
  • Energy Bars: It’s advisable to carry a good amount of energy bars while hiking. This isn’t a good option as a snack but you can rely on it if you are lost in woods.

Once you got all your stuff in your backpack, you are ready to go for hiking. The best way to enjoy your hiking is to carry the things that will make your hiking comfortable and safer.

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