Debatree Saha

Debatree Saha

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: A spiritual tour to the Himalayas

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Mount Kailash, situated at an altitude of 21,778 ft is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Mount Kailash forms a part of Transhimalaya in the Tibet Region of China. It is one of the most revered places in the world. The mountain is located near Mansarovar Lake, the highest freshwater lake in the world. Thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the world take part in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. The trek along the rugged Himalayan terrain comes with a magical mix of adventure, faith, belief, devotion and serenity.

The trek to Mount Kailash, one of the world’s most revered places, has more to offer than just adventure. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is known for two things – a parikrama (circumambulation) of Mount Kailash and dips in the holy Mansarovar Lake. The journey to Kailash is fascinating and every step of the trip is filled with thrill.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra starts from Nepal via Lhasa. It can either be done on foot or by helicopter. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by helicopter is more comfortable, comparatively easy and definitely time-saving. The helicopter ride opens up to panoramic views of the Himalayas. However, you need to acclimatize yourself to the high altitude, thin air and the cold weather of the region. We would recommend you to drink lukewarm water at frequent intervals during the trip.

Before proceeding for the yatra, embark on a sightseeing tour of Kathmandu. One of the most spectacular attractions of Nepal is the Pashupatinath Temple. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Another religious place of worship that calls for a visit is the Shiva Mandir at Simikot.

The helicopter ride for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra starts from Simikot. You will come across a spectacular landscape dotted with tiny hamlets, rolling valleys, criss-cross roads and the soaring Himalayan ranges. You will land at Hilsa, a town on the north-western corner of Nepal bordering Tibet Autonomous Region (China). Located at an altitude of around 11,940 ft, Hilsa is the last destination for pilgrims in Nepal.

After de-boarding at Hilsa, get ready for a bumpy one hour drive to Purang. Purang, the administrative headquarters of Burang County, is tucked at an altitude of nearly 13,205 feet in the valley of Sarayu Karnali River. Lake Mansarovar and Mount Kailash lie to the north of Purang. You will need to complete your visa and immigration formalities in Purang before you start exploring the town.

Roam around Purang International Market in the evening and fill your bags with goodies like clothes and jewellery. The majestic Nepalese Mansion is another spectacular attraction in Purang. Once you wake up to the beautiful sunrise in Purang, prepare yourself for the next part of the trip, i.e., the drive to Mansarovar.

Mansarovar is around 3 hours drive from Purang. Lake Mansarovar, located at an altitude of nearly 15,060 ft above mean sea level, is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. According to Hinduism, Lake Mansarovar is a personification of purity and bathing here or drinking its water is believed to cleanse all sins. Soak in the divinity of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar and experience an all-pervading peace of the spiritual land.

The spectacular sight of these natural wonders is definitely going to free you from tiredness. And with this, comes the most awaited moment of your spiritual journey – i.e. offering puja. Perform puja at the lake and take a holy dip in its water. Before returning back, enjoy a parikrama around the lake and immerse yourself in the sublime beauty of nature. The snow-clad Mt. Kailash stands tall and welcomes you to a world of surreal peace and spirituality. Seek blessings of Lord Shiva and have a memorable stay in Mansarovar. Another important highlight of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is the trek to Diraphuk. This is amongst the most difficult treks in the entire trip because it includes a steep climb up to Dolma La Pass. Located at an altitude of 5650m, Dolma La Pass opens up to panoramic views of the landscape.

You need to be physically prepared to take the trek to Dolma La Pass and also to Tungla before driving back to Hilsa. Board the helicopter from Hilsa for your way back to Simikot. Before bidding adieu to the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, enjoy a pleasant stay at Kathmandu. Roam like a local in Kathmandu, indulge in a culinary trail and sample some delicious Nepalese dishes like Daal Bhat, Momos, Yomari and Thukpa. Do not forget to pack souvenirs!

Bid adieu to the beautiful city of Kathmandu and bring back a heap of wonderful memories of your Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by helicopter.

Amaranth Yatra: Journey to the holy caves in the Himalayas

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No pilgrimage comes with ease. Stony roads, high altitudes, strong winds, extensive walks, long waits, bumpy rides and several physical challenges- a pilgrimage includes many all of these, if not all. Amarnath Yatra, one of the most revered pilgrimages in India, is a magical mix of arduous treks through mountainous terrains and soaking in the breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

The Amarnath cave temple is a Hindu shrine located at an altitude of around 3,888m in the picturesque valley of Jammu and Kashmir. It can be reached from Pahalgam or Srinagar. Amarnath shrine is considered to be one of the holiest shrines of Hinduism. A stalagmite is formed inside the cave due to the freezing of water drops that falls on the floor from the roof of the cave vertically. The stalagmite is said to take the shape of a holy Lingam, which is symbolic of Lord Shiva. The cave remains covered by snow almost throughout the year. It opens for pilgrims only during summer. Amarnath Yatra takes place once in a year, between July and August or during the month of Shravan, when the snow melts on the Himalayas.

The trek to Amarnath temple is difficult yet captivating, challenging yet rewarding. However, these challenges mean very petite to pilgrims who prepare themselves for all worse situations while they embark on their annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath. Amarnath Yatra is organised every year by the Jammu and Kashmir government between July and August, depending on weather conditions. The government arranges for food and tented accommodations for pilgrims.

Amarnath Yatra

The journey to Amarnath Temple generally takes around five days.  There are two trekking routes to Amarnath cave- Pahalgam route, which is around 46km and Baltal route, which is around 14km. The Amaranth Yatra route via Pahalgam is recommended for the trek, because, here, the roads are broad and are also open to pony rides.

Many of you may find it difficult to trek to Amarnath. To make your spiritual trip comfortable, several private operators have introduced helicopter service. Amarnath Yatra by helicopter is less time-consuming, less tiring and comparatively comfortable. It takes around two days to complete the Amarnath Yatra by helicopter. No matter how difficult the Amarnath Yatra is, it is one of the most beautiful spiritual journeys you take in your life. The panoramic views of snow-clad Himalayas, rolling meadows, green valleys, and zigzag roads of Kashmir valley paint the picture of a paradise.

The journey to Amarnath Temple starts early morning from Srinagar. It begins with a short drive from Srinagar to the helipad at Neelgrath. The helicopter ride from Neelgrath to Panjtarni is one of the most captivating parts of the yatra. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach Panjtarni from Neelgrath. You need to de-board the aircraft at Panjtarni and cover the remaining distance by foot. The short trek from Panjtarni to Amarnath Cave is safe and easy. An important part of the yatra is the security check before the helicopter ride. Due to strict security measures, you are advised to keep all essential documents ready for verification.

Now comes the main part of the yatra – the arrival at Amarnath Cave. One of the holiest places in India, the snow-clad Amarnath cave is a sight to behold forever. The moment you get the darshan of the Shiva lingam inside the cave, you are transported to a world of sheer peace and divinity. It is the attainment of Moksha. Far away from bustling cities, chaotic traffic and mechanical life, the Amarnath cave in the Himalayas welcomes you to a world of spirituality and surreal beauty. After offering puja, you are required to trek back to Panjtarni to board the helicopter back to Neelgrath. With this journey, you will definitely take back memories of one of the most popular pilgrimages in India.

Despite adequate security and arrangements made by the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Amarnath Yatra comes with lots of preparations. You need to be physically fit, even to undertake the Amarnath Yatra by helicopter. Also, register with the government in advance. It can rain during any time of the rain, so, it is advisable to carry a raincoat or umbrella. Accidents en route the shrine is not unknown. Therefore, it is highly recommended to get yourselves insured before taking the yatra.

The Amarnath Yatra is one of the toughest pilgrimages in India. However, faith and devotion can make it a success. Those who are planning for Amarnath Yatra 2018 can refer to ezeego1’s Amarnath Yatra by helicopter packages.

Char Dham Yatra: Your search for spirituality ends here

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Uttarakhand, popularly known as Devbhoomi is the home to four sacred destinations, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Nestled along the foothills of Himalayas, these destinations are widely revered by Hindus and are considered to be the most popular pilgrimage sites in India. These sites also form the circuit of Char Dham Yatra. However, the main Char Dham Yatra revolves around four destinations – Badrinath in the north, Dwarka in the west, Puri in the east and Rameswaram in the south. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, in fact, form the small circuit of four seats or the Chhota Char Dham Yatra. With time, the popularity of these religious sites has grown and devotees from different parts of the world come to visit these pilgrimage sites in India. Therefore, to avoid confusion, the smaller circuit is now referred to as Char Dham.

It is believed that by going for a pilgrimage to these ‘dhams’, one can eliminate their sins and attain salvation. Amongst the four sites, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Badrinath to Lord Vishnu, Gangotri to Goddess Ganga and Yamunotri to Goddess Yamuna. The temples located here also mark the source of four sacred rivers, i.e., Ganga, Yamuna, Mandakini and Alaknanda.

The spiritual tour starts from Dehradun and a Char Dham Yatra package covers all the four religious sites. The entire Char Dham Yatra route can be covered by helicopter. It generally takes more than a week to cover the entire circuit, but with the helicopter ride, it can be done in two days. The helicopter ride saves time and is a more comfortable way of undertaking the yatra. Flying time from one site to the other is nearly 35 to 40 minutes. Char Dham opens to pilgrims in the month of May and the yatra takes place only during a specific time of the year. The soaring Himalayas on top and the meandering rivers beneath, and cool breeze and unpolluted air surrounding you, the Char Dham Yatra by helicopter is going to be one of the most enthralling journeys of your life.

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First stop of Char Dham Yatra: Gangotri
Gangotri is where river Ganga descended from heaven when Lord Shiva released it from the lock of his hair. Gangotri is the origin of river Ganges and the holy seat of Goddess Ganga. It is situated at an altitude of around 3100 metres in the greater Himalayan range on the banks of Bhagirathi River. The temple town is known for the Gangotri temple built by Nepalese general Amar Singh Thapa. Some other religious places to visit near the temple are Gaumukh, Pandava Gufa, Suryakund and Bhagirath Shila. Gangotri temple remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall.

April to June and September to November are the ideal times for a visit. Gangotri receives heavy rainfall during monsoon and heavy snowfall during winter. It is good to avoid a trip to Gangotri during monsoon and winter.

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Second stop of Char Dham Yatra: Yamunotri
The next place of worship is Yamunotri, the holy seat of Goddess Yamuna. Yamunotri is also the source of river Yamuna. Yamunotri is situated at an altitude of around 3,293 metres in the Garhwal Himalayas and is approximately 30km north of Uttarkashi. The actual source and glacier are located on the Kalind Mountain at a height of around 4,421m, about 1km further up. The approach is extremely difficult. Therefore, the shrine has been located on the foothill and pilgrims offers prayers at the temple itself.

The main attractions at Yamunotri are the temple of Goddess Yamuna, Surya Kund, Divya Shila and holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti. The temple opens on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya and closes on Diwali every year. The journey from Kharsali to Yamunotri temple by palki is one of the most enchanting ones. However, the entire 6km route to Yamunotri cannot be covered by palki. You will have to trek for almost an hour to reach the shrine.
The ideal times to visit are from May to June and September to October. During monsoon, Yamunotri receives torrential rain along with landslides. Winters are chilly with temperature ranging between -7 and 5°C. Yamunotri also experiences snowfall during winter.

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The third stop of Char Dham Yatra: Kedarnath
The remaining two sites in the Char Dham Yatra are Kedarnath and Badrinath. These can be covered in one day if you are travelling by helicopter. The trip to Kedarnath by helicopter begins from Kharsali. You will have to change helicopter at Guptkashi. Kedarnath is situated at an altitude of 3584m near the head of Mandakini River in the Himalayas. The holy town is flanked by snow clad peaks and is the most breathtaking one amongst the four sites. Kedarnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. Apart from Kedarnath temple, other places to visit at Kedarnath are Bhairavnath Temple, Deoria Tal, Ukimath Shankaracharya Samadhi.

May to June and September to October are the ideal times to visit. Between May and June, the weather is pleasant and is ideal for trekking. The region remains cold during most part of the year. During winter, the temperature ranges between – 4°C and – 22°C.

The fourth and last stop of Char Dham Yatra: Badrinath
The Char Dham Yatra comes to an end with a trip to Badrinath. After visiting Kedarnath, you need to return back to Guptkashi for a helicopter ride to Badrinath. It takes nearly half an hour to cover the distance. Badrinath is the abode of Lord Vishnu, who is also known as Lord Badri. Badrinath is famous for the Panch Badri temples, which are Badrinath temple, Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishtya Badri, Adi Badri and Vriddha Badri. Badrinath Temple is nestled between Nar and Narayan mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Tapt Kund, Neelkanth, Vasudhara Falls and Charan paduka are other places of visit at Badrinath. After a trip to Badrinath, you can return to Sahastradhara helipad and bid adieu to the Char Dham Yatra by helicopter tour.

The ideal time to visit Badrinath is between May and June and September and October. Badrinath Temple remains closed from November to April due to winter.

There are no luxury accommodations available here. However, our Char Dham Yatra package promises a comfortable stay. Dehradun is the nearest city to the temple towns of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Char Dham Yatra route is dotted tiny hamlets, gushing rivers, soaring Himalayan ranges and lush green valleys. The air of divinity spreads the note of peace, solace and enlightenment. We all want our pilgrimage trips to be blissful, and ezeego1’s Char Dham Yatra package promises you one such memorable experience. Some highlights of the Char Dham Yatra package are meals, VIP darshan at all temples, and assistance of expert guide throughout the spiritual trip.

These pilgrimages in India are worth taking once in a lifetime

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India is the hub of spiritual tourism. From the abode of Vaishno Devi at Jammu in the north to the Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameshwaram in the south, and from Somnath at Saurashtra in the west to Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri in the east, India’s diverse geography is dotted with religious sites that are worth taking a trip once in a lifetime. The pilgrimage places in India are replete with history and religious mythologies. The air of spirituality is synonymous with India and a journey to a pilgrimage site only heightens it. Thousands of devotees from different parts of the world come to India for pilgrimage trips. Therefore, pilgrimage tourism in India emerged as one of the most prominent aspects of India tourism. Here we list the most popular pilgrimages in India that are worth taking once in a lifetime.

Pilgrimages in India- Badrinath Temple

Pilgrimage tourism in India covers all prominent religious sites located in different parts of the country. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, popularly called the Char Dham, form the main circuit of pilgrimage tourism in India. The Char Dham, meaning the ‘four abodes’ are considered to be the most sacred by the Hindus. Interestingly, the main Char Dham or the bigger Char Dham comprises Badrinath in Uttarakhand, Puri in Odisha, Dwarka in Gujarat and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. These religious sites in India are not be confused with the smaller circuit Char Dham, i.e. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The smaller circuit of Char Dham rests along the Garhwal Himalayan ranges of Uttarakhand. This circuit is also one of the most significant pilgrimages in India.

Pilgrimages in India - Amarnath Yatra

Amaranth cave located at an altitude of 3,888m in Jammu and Kashmir is another major part of pilgrimage tourism in India. Amarnath shrine is considered to be the holiest shrines of Hinduism. There is neither a sculpture nor an idol at Amarnath shrine, but an ice lingam that is formed with water droplets in the cave. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and Puranas that Lingam represents Lord Shiva. A trip to the Amarnath shrine, which is popularly known as Amarnath Yatra is believed to be one of the most famous pilgrimage trips in India. Every year lakhs of devotees from different parts of the world flock the valley of Kashmir for the holy Amarnath Yatra. The Yatra takes place in the month of Shravan (between July and August).

Pilgrimages in India - Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra forms another major element of pilgrimage tourism in India. Kailash is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The journey to Mt. Kailash is considered to be the journey of a lifetime. Mt. Kailash is situated at an altitude of nearly 22,028 feet in the Himalayan belt of western Tibet. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra generally starts from Kathmandu or Lhasa. The spiritual tour generally takes around four days to be completed and is quite challenging and tiring. However, the mesmerizing view of the snow-clad Himalayas and the air of spirituality seem to wipe away all tiredness and adorn pilgrims with sheer peace. The darshan of Mt. Kailash is believed to be an incredible experience which is difficult to describe in words.

People from different parts of the world come to India to seek spiritual enlightenment. Though these pilgrimages are mostly taken by foot, to make it more comfortable, helicopter rides have been introduced. A helicopter ride is definitely less tiring and time-saving. The Char Dham Yatra, Amarnath Yatra and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra are believed to be the most pious trips that help one achieve moksha. Char Dham, Amarnath and Kailash Mansarovar, tucked thousands of kilometres away from the modern bustling cities, take pilgrims to a world of sheer divinity, peace and solace. The Char Dham Yatra, Amarnath Yatra and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra are believed to be the most pious trips that help one achieve moksha.

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free spiritual journey, pilgrims should make a note of the following things:

• A thorough medical check-up prior to the yatra. Those who are prone to asthma, heart ailments or arthritis, should preferably take the helicopter ride.

• Those who wish to take the journey by foot should start going for a morning walk and yoga before the actual yatra begins. This will boost their stamina and help them avoid fatigue during the trek.

• Weather is chilly even during summer. Therefore, it is recommended to wear woollen clothes and also carry adequate woollen garments during the trip.

• Carry food items like chocolates, nuts and dry fruits. It is good to avoid deep fried foods during the trip. Carrying water bottles is a must.

• Follow the rules and regulations listed out by the authorities.

Tea trail: 8 places to visit for the best tea in India and the world

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No matter how old we grow, we cannot get over our love for a cup of tea. Be it the winter morning or a rainy evening, we have a bagful of childhood memories created over a cup of ‘garma garam chai’. We Indians are quite familiar with the phrase ‘chai shai’. Because, in an Indian home, a cup of chai is always accompanied by a plate of hot pakoras, crispy namkeens or sweet and salted biscuits. We are happy to declare that the love for tea is not confined within India. It has extended its arms across Asia and Europe. If you are a tea lover and find it difficult to get your customary cuppa when you travel, then we are here to guide you. We have handpicked eight amazing destinations that serve the best tea in India and the world.

Every tea lover should visit these amazing places, at least once in a lifetime, to solemnise their love for the beverage. Wait not and plan your tea trail to taste the best tea in India and the world. Pack your favourite flavour home and remember the vacation for a lifetime.

Father’s Day 2018: 7 crazy travel experiences you must have with your dad

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Ah! Dads are the best travel buddies. All these days who must have gone tipsy with your friends, or experienced adrenaline rush while rafting or mountain biking with your travel buddies. Now, it is time to experience all these with none other than the man who fills your wallets with pocket money. We thought of giving you some quirky ideas to celebrate this Father’s Day. And, therefore we have listed the most unusual travel experiences you can have with your dad. These seven travel ideas are going to drive you craaaazzzy, make you laugh till you get stomach cramps and give you the chance to overload your Instagram account with uncountable happy Father’s Day images.

1. Dad, let’s party in Thailand like there’s no tomorrow: From Walking Street in Pattaya and Bangla Road in Phuket to Haad Rin Beach in Koh Phangan and Tonsai East in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand is ‘the’ one-stop destination for party goers. Raise a toast with your dad and dance the night away with unknown people from around the world in Thailand. On this Father’s Day, while you both will take a glass of drink and say cheers, trust us, your dad will travel back to his crazy college days. Keep your friends aside and explore Thailand’s nightlife with your dad.

Father's Day 2018: 7 crazy travel experiences you must have with your dad

2. Hey dad! Let’s go biking in Ladakh: If your dad is the one who loves camping, biking and going on adventure trips, take him on a biking expedition to Ladakh on this Father’s Day. The road trip from Manali to Leh is one of the most adventurous road trips in India, and you gotta experience this with your dad this time. Traverse through the harsh terrains of Khardung La pass in Ladakh, one of the highest motorable roads in the world and click a selfie in front of attractions like Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri Lake, Nubra Valley and Magnetic Hill. On Father’s Day 2018, let the rubber meet the road.

3. Daddy dearest, let’s go temple hopping in Bali: If you are the child of the ‘serious wala’ dad who wakes up at 5’o clock in the morning, takes a shower, chants hymns and offers puja for at least an hour, then nothing can be better than taking him to Bali on Father’s Day for a spiritual holiday. Fondly called the ‘Island of thousand temples’, Bali has a culture of its own. Stroll along the backstreets of Ubud, drop into the family shrines, spot hundreds of temples tucked in different corners of the streets, breathe in the air that smells of sandalwood, and take in the beauty of Bali’s enchanting ancient temples, age-old traditions and religious practices. Pura Ulun Danu Batur and Uluwatu and two popular temples in Bali. Eat, pray, love in Bali!

4. Daddy, let’s drink like ‘Kings’ in Goa: While you have fancied going for a trip to Goa with your friends, try planning one with your dad this time. Drop into any of the beach bars or clubs in Goa and chill over drinks and seafood with your daddy dearest. With pocket-friendly alcohol available almost anywhere and anytime in Goa, this trip is going to be crazzzzy. On Father’s Day 2018, fill your Instagram account with photos of your new partner-in-crime.

5. Pa, come try Michelin star street food in Singapore: Do you want to treat your foodie baba with the world’s cheapest Michelin star food on Fathers’ Day? Get him a ticket to Singapore! Ah! The Michelin star food stalls in Singapore do not offer meals at Michelin star prices. With more than 100 open-air food stalls, the ever-dazzling city is believed to serve the coolest and most delicious street food in the world. Take our words; your foodaholic daddy is going to remember this amazing culinary journey to Michelin star restaurants in Singapore for a lifetime.

6. My beach bum pa, here’s a trip to Andaman for you: If your dad’s idea of a perfect vacation is to relax by the seaside, drop into a shack and sample seafood delicacies or take a stroll along the beach, then look no further, because we have got you sorted. Head over to Andaman with your beach bum dad on Father’s Day 2018. Coral islands, clean beaches, deep blue waters, and a hint of history, Andaman is the perfect destination for a laid-back holiday. Plan a stay at Neil and Havelock Islands, watch the Light and Sound Show at Cellular Jail and take a ferry ride to the abandoned Ross Island and keep refreshing your Facebook wall with cool and happy Father’s Day images. Some popular attractions in Andaman are Diglipur, Corbyn’s Cove beach, Radhanagar Beach and Limestone Caves.

Father's Day 2018: 7 crazy travel experiences you must have with your dad

7. Ah dad! Let’s go for a digital detox in Bhutan: World’s last remaining Buddhist kingdom, Bhutan is a quaint little paradise nestled high on the Himalayas. The postcard-like Himalayas on one side and architectural brilliance of temples, monasteries and fortresses on the other, Bhutan is an ideal mesh of man and nature. Dense green forests, Himalayan ranges, and Paro Chuu River make Bhutan the perfect destination to rejuvenate on the lap of nature. Some Father’s Day pics of these unusual experiences are gonna make your dad smile. Remember, to turn off the internet while you do all these!

Father's Day 2018: 7 crazy travel experiences you must have with your dad

A father-child trip will let you bond over the fondest memories of childhood holidays. Pick a destination of your choice and let us know your travel plans for Father’s Day. Trust us, the heart-warming travel tales of Father’s Day 2018 will be etched in your heart forever.

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

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Bhutan, a tiny paradise tucked in the Himalayas, is a land of sheer happiness. Bhutan’s dramatic landscape speckled with history, mystery and monastery touch the heart of everyone who visits the royal kingdom. Interestingly, Bhutan is the world’s last great Himalayan kingdom, which has beautifully balanced the harmony among nature, Buddhist traditions and modern-day living. The kingdom is a land of surprises. Here, rice is red, chillies are considered to be a vegetable and the government measures development by Gross National Happiness and not by Gross National Product. The beauty of snow-clad Himalayas and striking flora and fauna, the warmth of peace-loving people, the unique architecture of Buddhist monasteries and taste of authentic Tibetan food are something you are going to see and experience during your Bhutan trip. With more and more tourists visiting Bhutan, Bhutan tourism has also witnessed a significant spike in last few years. Plan a Bhutan trip and do not leave the kingdom without doing and experiencing these six things:

1. Discover your Gross National Happiness
We all wanna be happy, right? Then you gotta go to Bhutan. This is the only country where development is measured on the lines of Gross National Happiness and not Gross National Product. The Royal Government of Bhutan defines tourism as a major means of achieving socio-economic development. It adheres strongly to a policy of ‘High Value, Low Impact’ tourism. Its mission is to promote the country’s cultural heritage, to safeguard its sovereign status, conserve the environment and promote Bhutan as a high-end tourist destination on the Lines of Gross Domestic Happiness.

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

2. Soak in the beauty of the mighty Himalayas
The view of the Himalayas from the passes in Bhutan is simply mesmerising and unforgettable. Leave the crowd behind and traverse through the spectacular passes of Bhutan, like the Chele La Pass and Dochula Pass. You will get a clear and more panoramic view of the Himalayas, all blanketed by snow. This is the sight to behold forever! You can even catch a sight of Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga here.

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

3. Go on sightseeing tours to the monasteries
Bhutan is dotted with countless forts and monasteries. You need not be a history buff or one with a spiritual mind to explore the monasteries in Bhutan. Taktsang Monastery, perched at an altitude of nearly 3120 metres in upper Paro Valley is one of the recommended places to visit in Bhutan. Trek up to Taktsang Monastery and enjoy the breathtaking views of the unspoilt valley over delicious Bhutanese food. Tango and Cheri monasteries in Thimpu, Rinpung Dzong Monastery in Paro Valley, Rinpung Dzong Monastery in Paro Valley and Lhuentse Dzong Monastery in Lhuntse are other spectacular places to visit in Bhutan. Traverse through the zig-zag roads, catch a glimpse of traditional Buddhist practices and lose yourself in the world of all-pervading peace and happiness. Tiger’s Nest in Paro, Chele La Pass, Dochula Pass, Buddha Dordenma Statue in Thimphu and National Museum Of Bhutan, Paro are some other well-known places to visit in Bhutan.

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

4. Take a deep dive in adventure sports
There are plenty of mountain biking trails in Bhutan. One of the most popular mountain biking routes in Bhutan is the Paro to Bumthang route. Mountain biking is an excellent way to reach to those places which are not accessible by foot. Also, it brings you closer to nature and Bhutan is a paradise for nature lovers.

Trekking is another adventure activity that Bhutan is famous for. Embark on a trek in Bhutan and give yourself an opportunity to fall in love with the unparallel beauty of the Himalayas. Some of the greatest treks in Bhutan are Druk Path Trek, Snowman Trek and Gangtey Trek.

You need not be an expert to raft along Mo Chhu River in Bhutan. Cruise along the gushing waters of Mo Chhu River with your folks and catch a glimpse of some of Bhutan’s natural and artificial wonders. Bhutan tourism offers all such adventure activities for adventure enthusiasts.
A word of caution! Adventure activities in Bhutan are not for the faint-hearted.

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

5. Get to taste authentic Bhutanese cuisine
Bhutanese cuisine mainly comprises rice, pork, beef, chicken, cheese and chillies. The national food of Bhutan is Ema Datshi. It is a brilliant mix of chillies and local Bhutanese cheese. Hoentoe, Shakam paa, Sikam paa, Juma and Goep are some other popular dishes of the kingdom. No wonder, Bhutan is a haven for meat lovers! Are you fond of momos? Then your Bhutan trip can spoil you for choices. Fret not! There are several options for vegetarians too. So, spice up your life in Bhutan!

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

6. Go on a souvenir shopping spree
Bhutan can give you an extravagant shopping experience. Thimphu, Paro and Phuntsheoling are the main places for shopping in Bhutan. Tourists can buy Himalayan beads, sheathes and swords, rugs, wall- hangings, blankets, wooden mugs and lots of ornaments like necklaces, earrings and pins from Bhutan as souvenirs.

6 unique experiences only a Bhutan trip can offer

Do not leave Bhutan without staying in Paro. It is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan speckled with rice paddies, monasteries, local shops and century-old houses.

September to November is the best time to visit Bhutan. The country experiences winter from December to February. Temperature drops to 5 degrees Celsius during winter and this is the ideal period to experience snowfall. You can also plan a Bhutan trip between March and May to catch a glimpse of Himalayan flowers and take part in different festivals.

The sight of uncountable prayer flags spread the air of spirituality in Bhutan. With cascading rice paddies, preserved forests, majestic Himalayan ranges, splendid monasteries, and the gushing Paro River, Bhutan is a delight for every type of traveller. Take a Bhutan trip and discover how the last ‘Shangri La’ leaves you speechless.

Tour packages vs DIY trips: 5 reasons why the former is the winner

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We all love to travel. Of late, travelling has emerged as one of the major stress busters, especially for city goers like us, who always juggle between time and space. Travelling requires planning and to have a hassle-free vacation, we need to plan right, and at times, in advance. Questions like where can I go for a vacation, when is the right time to travel, for how many days shall I plan the trip, shall I grab all-inclusive tour packages, and how much do I need to spend, come up in our mind when we think of going on a holiday. We invest a lot of time in research on domestic and international holiday destinations. At times, we successfully plan the trip ourselves and at times, land in a world of confusion. There are holiday experts who create online tour packages as per our needs and preferences. However, holiday packages vs DIY trips is a never-ending battle. And, the former is the winner.

Are you wondering why holiday packages win the tug-of-war? The reasons are clear and simple. Tour packages or pre-packaged customizable trips save time and money and allows us to travel with a free mind. Scroll below to have a look at the infographic that lists the advantages of online tour packages.