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    Since ages, the rich culture and heritage of India has magnetically drawn tourists from all across the globe. From the mystical gullies of Varanasi to the architectural charm of New Delhi, there are innumerable sights to see and countless experiences to enjoy. The forts and palaces of India, even today, resonate with the glories of the past. It seems like the stories of the conquests and defeats of the Maharajas are captured in the walls of these monuments for eternity.

    Introducing the 12 most popular Indian forts and palaces:

    1. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

    The Mehrangarh Fort

    Photo credit - Icekrish - wikicommons

    The Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. Situated on the top of a hill, it has impressive walls that tower over the palaces built inside. At a height of 400 feet, the fort overlooks the city of Jodhpur. There are several beautiful palaces inside the boundaries which are known for their architectural grandeur, expansive courtyards and intricate carvings.

    [Discover more beautiful cities of Rajathan with our Rajasthan Desert Tour]

    The structure has about seven gates, the most notable being the Jayapol and Fattehpol, both meaning victory. The Jayapol was built by Maharaja Man Singh to mark his victory over the Jaipur and Bikaner armies whereas the Fattehpol was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh to commemorate the defeat of the Mughals.

    A must see is the Mehrangarh Fort is its museum which is one of the well-stocked museums in the country. On display are a number of paintings, costumes, period rooms and a grand domed gilt Mahadol palanquin that was won in battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730.

    It is in this very fort that the shooting of movie The Dark Knight Rises took place. Apart from that, the fort is a popular venue for several music festivals. While at the Mehrangarh Fort, do not forget to visit the Chokelao Mahal Terrace which serves delectable Rajasthani cuisine.

    2. Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan

    The grand Amber Fort

    Photo credit: Honza Soukup - flickr

    The Amber Fort (also known as Amer Fort) is situated in the town of Amer, 11 kms away from Jaipur. The fort was built by Maharaja Man Singh and is one of the largest among the forts and palaces of India.

    Made of red sandstone and marble, this structure is best noted for its splendid architectural style and aesthetic beauty. Most famous are the Diwan-e-Aam, which is the Hall of Public Audience; the Diwan-e-Khaas, which is the Hall for Private Audience; the Sheesh Mahal; the Jai Mandir and the Sukh Niwas.

    [Experience the rich culture of Rajasthan with Rajasthan Cultural Tour]

    The construction of the fort was initiated by Maharaja Man Singh in about 1592 and was carried on by subsequent rulers. The royal family continued to live in the palace till Jaipur was built. Attractive features of the palace include cobbled and expansive courtyards, halls and gardens.

    Stunning is sight of the Sheesh Mahal with its glittering walls and ceilings. Today, the Amber Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations among Indian forts and palaces. Another attraction of the fort is that you get to ride an elephant to the gate of the palace in the mornings. This facility is available only in the morning hours, though. So make sure you reach early to enjoy an elephant ride!

    3. Udaipur City Palace, Rajasthan

    The Udaipur City Palace is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the city of Udaipur. The palace was built as the capital of the Sisodia Rajput clan by Maharana Udai Singh after he moved out of Chittor. It stands as an excellent example of an amalgamation of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles and is believed to be one of the largest of its types in the country.

    The beautiful palace is situated on a hill top from where the entire city can be viewed. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace and the Monsoon Palace from the Udaipur City Palace.

    A part of the palace is still occupied by the royal family today. The magnificent structure also houses a Museum which comprises the Mardana Mahal (King’s Chamber) and the Zenana Mahal (Queen’s Chamber). As the construction of the City Palace began in 1559 and continued over four and a half centuries, there are influences of Mughal and British architectural styles. This City Palace is the oldest part of the City Palace Complex.

    [Explore majestic forts and palaces of Rajasthan in our Golden Triangle Tour with Udaipur]

    The Museum here houses some wonderful artefacts and paintings of the yore. It also has some very valuable artwork on display depicting the history of Udaipur even before it got its first camera. Tour by the world’s first silver museum and a gallery of royal musical instruments here. The most interesting part of the museum is that it is built like a maze which was done to defend the fort.

    4. Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

    The great Jaisalmer Fort

    Photo credit: Ana Raquel S. Hernandes - flickr

    The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the biggest forts in the world and one of the most interesting among forts and palaces of India. Among all the forts and palaces in Rajasthan and in India, the Jaisalmer Fort is the only living fort in India. The fort is home to about 4000 residents and a business ground for about 40 hotels and restaurants.

    [Experience and learn more about the royalty of India on our tour through the Golden Triangle!]

    The glorious history of the fort is reflected in its palace complex which displays architectural excellence. There are also some havelis of rich merchants inside the fort and several temples of religious and architectural importance. The fort is a major hub of activities in Jaisalmer and is a must-visit destination.

    The fort was built in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal. The city of Jaisalmer was named after the ruler and the Jaisalmer Fort is one of the grandest forts of the country. The beautiful structure, also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort, stands proud and tall on the sands of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan.

    [Experience the royality and sightseeing in Rajasthan with our Royal Rajasthan Tour]

    Built with yellow sandstone, the fort dazzles in a tawny yellow colour during the daytime and turns into a beautiful golden hue at sunset. The place is one of the most stunning monuments among the forts and palaces of Rajasthan.

    However, the fort is facing serious problems due to illegal construction. Sewage systems are choked, causing water tp seep into the walls of this beautiful monument. In order to curb the damage, the government has announced that it will ban all restaurants and hotels inside the fort.

    5. Jaipur City Palace, Rajasthan

    The Jaipur City Palace

    Photo credit: Richard Moross - flickr

    The Jaipur City Palace is situated in the old city of Jaipur and was built by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II between 1729 and 1732, after he moved from Amber to Jaipur. The ruler had to shift from Amber due to growing populations and increasing water shortage.

    [Explore all famous and enchanting palaces and forts with our Majestic Rajasthan Holiday tour]

    Although the palace was built years ago, subsequent rulers kept making additions to the beauty of the palace till the 20th century. Today, most of the palace has been converted into a large, spacious and well-stocked museum named after Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. The royal family still resides in a part of the palace called the Chandra Mahal and the flag with the royal family’s emblem can be seen flying atop the palace.

    The most attractive part of this palace, which is one of the finest among all forts and palaces in Rajasthan, is the Pitam Niwas Chowk. It is an alleyway which leads to the Chandra Mahal. This is decorated with beautiful paintings and artefacts that reflect the glorious past of the rulers that lived here once. Other features include beautifully painted doors representing the four seasons and dedicated to Hindu gods such as Ganesha, Shiva and Vishnu.

    [Explore the famous old temples and havelis in our Rajasthan Tour with Golden Triangle]

    If you are interested in seeing the interiors of the Chandra Mahal, you will be taken on a tour at an extra cost. Foreign nationals are charged Rs 2500 for the tour while Indians are charges Rs 2000 for the tour inside the Chandra Mahal.

    6. Maharaja’s Mysore Palace, Karnataka

    Photo credit: Kelman Chiang

    The Maharaja’s Palace or the Mysore Palace is relatively new as compared to other forts and palaces of India. It was built by a British architect named Henry Irwin and was the royal residence of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore.

    [Take a bicycle tour of historic avenues and monuments of Mysore]

    The Wodeyar kings first built their palace in Mysore between 1897 and 1912. The predecessor of the Mysore Palace built it in wood and showcased excellent styles of the Hindu architecture. However, the palace got destroyed in a fire. The present palace is a beautiful combination of the Rajput, Mughal and British architectural styles and hence is well known for its architectural grandeur.

    The palace has beautiful marble domes that glisten and gleam in the sun light, which lend a mesmerising aura to the palace. The palace has a number of private and public halls, a gallery of antique dolls, a marriage hall, a collection of sculptures and artefacts, a gallery showcasing royal paintings etc.

    [Experience and explore more of Karnataka with the tours that we offer!]

    The most interesting and attractive aspect of the Mysore Palace is that it is lit up using about 100000 bulbs in the evening, momentarily after the sound and light show. The palace is lit up using these bulbs every Sunday evening and it stays so on all nights during the famous Mysore Dasara festival.

    7. Nahargarh Fort Jaipur, Rajasthan

    The Nahargarh Fort

    Photo Credit : jaipurlove.com

    The Nahargarh Fort is one of the most imposing forts among forts and palaces of India. Situated atop the Aravalli Hills, the fort overlooks the Pink City of Jaipur and presents an amazing view of the sunset.

    [Tour the famed Golden Triangle, a must do tour for any visitor to India]

    The fort formed an important link in the defense ring, along with the Amber Fort and the Jaigarh Fort, for the city of Jaipur. It was also to be used as a place of retreat for the royal family of Jaipur. A major portion of the fort was built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734. It was later extended under the reign of Sawai Ram Singh in 1868.

    The fort was originally named as Sudarshangarh. It is believed that the spirit of a certain Nahar Singh Bhomia haunted the construction site to obstruct it from being made. To pacify his spirit, a temple was built in the premises of the fort. Today, it is known as the Nahargarh Fort.

    Although the structure did not experience any attacks itself, it stood witness to several important events in history such as the treaties with the Maratha forces that had been warring with Jaipur in the 18th century. The fortress also served as a hideout for several Europeans during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

    [Get authentic local experiences as you tour through Rajasthan]

    The beauty of the fort is incomparable along with that of the sunset viewed from its premises. There is a small cafe called the Durg Cafe where you can enjoy the beautiful sunset with a beer in hand.

    8. Red Fort, Delhi

    Photo credit: Paolo Mutti - flickr

    The Red Fort in Delhi is one of the most important among forts and palaces of India. Also known as Lal Qila, it was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, when he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. The construction of the fort was commenced in 1638 and completed in 1648. The credit of its architectural grandeur is given to Ustad Ahmed.

    [Find out what other experiences await you in Delhi with the tours that we offer]

    Built with red sandstone, the towering building is a stunning example of the Mughal architectural styles. It is situated near the River Yamuna which fed the moats that surrounded the fort. The structure was originally called the ‘Qila-i-Mubarak’ or the Blessed Fort as it was to serve as the royal residence.

    The Red Fort is not only important because of its history, but also has great cultural significance. On every Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India hoists the national flag at this place and delivers his address to the nation.

    This fort has been given high security to prevent it from terror attacks. Tourists can visit the fort five days a week, except on Mondays. A light and sound show is held for visitors to share information about the Mughal period. The Red Fort is one of the grandest monuments amongst the forts and palaces of India and has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

    9. Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

    Explore Gwalior Fort

    Photo credit: Manuel Menal - flickr

    The Gwalior Fort is one of the most outstanding and imposing monuments in Madhya Pradesh. This beautiful fort was initially built around 525 AD, but did not rise to prominence till the Rajput Tomar dynasty took over.

    [What better way to experience the Golden Triangle than on bikes?]

    During the reign of Maharaja Man Singh Tomar, several important additions were made regarding it. The fort has two main parts, the main fort and the Gurjari and Man Mandir Palace. The Gurjari Palace was built by the king for his favourite queen Mrignayani. It has now been converted into an archaeological museum.

    The Man Mandir Palace was built between 1486 and 1516. The most attractive feature of the palace is that it has stunning blue mosaic tiles on its exterior walls and rows of yellow ducks lining the walls. The fort was later taken over by the Mughals and used as a prison.

    Spread over three square kilometres, the fortress has a lot to offer in terms of sight-seeing compared to other forts and palaces ofIndia. There are number of historic monuments within the walls such as Hindu and Jain temples. The entrance gates are a specimen of remarkable architectural styles, the most significant being the Hathi Pol.

    10. Chittorgarh Fort and Padmini Palace, Rajasthan

    Photo credit: Santosh Namby - wikicommons

    The Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India and is reminiscent of the history of the Rajput rulers who resided in the fort. The structure is situated at a distance of about 100 km from Udaipur and sprawls majestically on a hillock overlooking the plains of the Berach River.

    [Explore Best of Rajasthan with our exciting tour packages]

    The fort has a number of palaces, gates, temples and commemoration towers within its walls. It once belonged to the Mewar rulers and was subject to a number of attacks. This fort was taken over by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, after he defeated Maharana Udai Singh II. Following this, Maharana Udai Singh II moved his capital to Udaipur.

    Later, Emperor Shah Jahan returned the fort to the Mewars in 1616, but they never resettled there. The place is also known for its cremation ground where more than 13,000 women and children performed Jauhar or self-immolation after the king was defeated by the Sultan of Gujarat in 1535.

    The Padmini Palace is situated on the southern part of the fort. The palace overlooks the Padmini Talab, in the centre of which is the Khattan Mahal. The Padmini Palace is known after Rani Padmini whose beauty mesmerised Alaudin Khilji and finally led to the siege of Chittor. During the attack, Raja Rattan Singh was killed and Rani Padmini committed Johar.The fort spans over a large area and it is best that you allocate at least two to three hours in exploring it.

    [The Golden Triangle and Rajasthan are waiting for you to be explored]

    11. Golconda Fort - Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

    Photo credit: Sanyam Bahga - wikicommons

    The Golconda Fort is situated at a distance of about 10 km from the capital city of Hyderabad. Although the original mud fort was built around the 13th century, the fort as it stands today was built by the Qutub Shahi dynasty from 1518 to 1687. It was founded by the kings of the Kakatiya dynasty of Waranga.

    During the 17th century, the region rose into prominence due to its diamond mines and diamond markets. Some of the world’s most precious gems such as the Koh-i-Noor, the Darya-i-Noor and the Hope Diamond have been mined from here.

    The fort has a number of gateways, stables, apartments and halls, mosques and beautiful temples within its premises.What sets it apart from other forts and palaces of India is its acoustic design. If you stand at a certain location near the dome at Fateh Darwaza and clap, you can hear its echo till more than a kilometre away. This is believed to have been a system of warning the royal family of attacks.

    12. Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

    Discover the Agra Fort

    Photo credit: Matthias Rosenkranz - flickr

    The Agra Fort is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India. The fort originally belonged to a certain segment of Rajputs, but was captured by Emperor Akbar, who later on decided to shift his capital there in 1558. It was Shah Jahan, Akbar’s son, who later made the fort into a palace. Unfortunately, Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son in this very castle later on. This magnificent structure was also witness to the Mutiny of 1857.

    [Explore more of Uttar Pradesh on the activities and experiences that we have to offer!]

    The most attractive feature of the Agra Fort is the Delhi Gate. The beautiful marble work on the gate makes it look stunning and one of the most attractive amongst forts and palaces of India.  However, it is not open to the public anymore.


Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favorite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above the sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the entre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Havelock Island

Being one of the topnotch attractions in Andaman is the sublime Havelock Island brimming with silky beaches and exuberant greenery. A lot of tourist locations, resorts, hotels, attractions and much more are creating the perfect background to Havelock Island to host as many tourists as possible. This is the largest of all the islands in Andaman and comprises of a lot of small islands. The administration in Havelock promotes eco-tourism on a large scale.

 The lighthouse established in 2005 at the northern part of the island gives additional recognition for the island. The accommodation options on Havelock will let you be surprised. Ranging from high-end, luxurious resorts to camps with basic amenities, the stay arrangements done by the administrative people here are unbelievable.

Highlights: The long stretches of different types of beaches are the main highlight to be pointed out. Declared the best beaches in the world, almost all of them are blissfully located on Havelock Island, connected to closely to the main boat jetty on the island.  

Elephant Beach, Radhanagar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Kalapathar Beach which are known in numbers also are proclaimed to have the highest number of tourists every year. The green fringed shorelines, the clear sea water, the colourful marine animals, the long coral reefs, the wild fauna and flora bring forth the astounding picture of Havelock incomparably beautiful.

Activities: Snorkeling and diving are the favourite activities done on the islands though other major water based activities like boating and kayaking are frequently done.

Distance from Port Blair: Havelock Island is lying 42 kms northeast of the capital city, Port Blair. There are regular boat services by the Directorate of Shipping Services which connect Phoenix Bay jetty in Port Blair to Havelock daily.

 

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Chidiya Tapu

As the name suggests, Chidiya Tapu is the perfect haven for unseen migratory birds and common native birds found in Andaman Islands. Recognized as the most enchanting beach in Andaman and tourists arrive here on a large scale as the beach extends the best ever sights for them including the eye catching sunrise and sunset views. This is a silent yet crowded beach encircled by evergreen forests on one side and the short hills on the other side. 

As it is considered to be the presenter of the most finishing touch of sunset and sunrise views, it is the main hub in Andaman Islands. The beach is filled with 46 varieties of endangered species of birds, and white spotted deer. There are a lot of seasonal orchids and other varieties of plants.

Highlights: The major attractions of Chidiya Tapu are the Chidiya Tapu Biological Park, the Sylvan Sands, the Munda Pahar Beaches etc. You will be able to stay at a forest guesthouse located nearby atop a hillock and from there, the panoramic view of Chidiya Tapu in detail.

Activities: Apart from sunset and sunrise views, people come in plenty toward this beach to identify the rare species appear in multiple colours and size. Even though many of the birds are commonly found on the beach, you would find it as a unique and unnatural scene to find the colourful gathering of them. Boating is an attractive activity done here as well as snorkeling and swimming are also a part of the adventure activities usually experienced by those who visit here.

Distance from Port Blair: It is located about 25 kms from Port Blair.


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Neil Island

A tiny island located to the south of Andaman is Neil Island, brimming with less explore marine diversity, coral reefs, long beaches and bewitching greenery. Being one of the tourist destinations in Andaman, Neil is so happy to become the host with revealing all what it has. A romantically silent island unlike the hustle of Havelock Island, Neil Island is termed as the vegetable bowl of Andaman. A perfect place to simply relax and chill is the beaches here and the deserted shores are favourite to those who love to relax in utmost peace.

In two hours, one can explore the island by walking around. It got the name Neil after the British Brigadier General James Neill who stubbornly dealt with the rebels during the 1857 Mutiny. The rich cultivation of paddy is found in Neil Island that belongs to the Ritchies’ Arhcipelago between Havelock Island and Rose Island.

Highlights: One of the major highlights of Neil Island is Neil Kendra, a beautiful curving bay full of white sand and holding the major jetty of the island made attracting by disarraying numerous colourful wooden fishing boats. Known to be the heart of the island, Neil Kendra has Bharatpur Beach on its left and Laxmanpur Beach on the right. The richest collection of marine lives and coral reefs have given Neil Island the peculiarity of being one of the most thrilling scuba diving sites on the island. In addition to diving, Neil Island is home to those who love snorkeling, swimming, birding, cycling etc.

Activities: Glass bottom ride and snorkelling are the major activities available on Neil Island though there are enough opportunities to do diving and other prime adventure activities.

Distance from Port Blair: The island belongs to the South Andaman district is located about 36 km northeast from Port Blair.

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Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach in Andaman has ranked 8th among the top ten beautiful beaches in the world based on travelers reviews and rating available on multiple sources and Radhanagar Beach deserves it for many reasons. One of the most ravishing beauty in Andaman with a lot of tourists visiting it every year, Radhanagar Beach is the gem of Havelock Island. 500 meters away from the beach, one can see only the expansive blue water and the lush green tropical forests but when you reach the beach, the sights are apparently awe-inspiring.

 Radhanagar is commonly called as Beach No.7 and this is one of the closest beach located near to Havelock Island ferry tier. The silky beach is kids friendly as well so that families are found in plenty on the beach to spend their vacation or a short holiday. There are nothing to be worried as the coast guards are roaming around always and the number of people here will be a pleasant sight to see.

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, boating, parasailing etc are some of the most commonly seen activities on the beach and among them Scuba Diving is the best as it offers the clear interaction with the wide range of marine animals and coral reefs around living in harmony. 

The turquoise water gives a rejuvenating experience while you swim across or do snorkeling and since the number of tourists are relatively higher, the Government opens more opportunities for them to spend an ample time on the beach. As it is a superb place adventure lovers also would covet, the fame it has achieved international importance in no time.

Distance from Port Blair: From Port Blair it will take more than three hours to reach Radhanagar Beach as it is located about 72 kms away from the capital city.

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Baratang Island

One of the aboriginal tribes of Andaman lives in Baratang Island, a highly blessed region with years-old wilderness. Earlier, the tribes did not let outside people to enter their community but presently, Baratang Island is a vibrant tourist destination as people love to spend time amidst the huge forests, limestone caves, mangrove ranges and the mud volcanoes.

Baratang is a part of the Great Andaman Chain with an area of 243 sq.kilometers and that marks it as the main island of the group. Middle Andaman is lying to the north and South Andaman in the south of Baratang Island. And it belongs to Rangat Taluk.

Highlights: The active mud volcanoes are the highlights of Baratang Island along with the abundant mangrove forests and evergreen rainforests and the limestone caves located beyond the forests. So adventure lovers find Baratang as a wise choice to indulge in mind blowing trekking and nature walk. Among the multiple number of mud volcanoes, jalki, as the locals call it, is the famous one.

Activity: Nature walk through the wild forests and the extensive mangrove forests is one of the prime activities done on Baratang Island. Boating, trekking, hiking etc are some of the other, identified activities available on the island.

Distance from Port Blair: The island is located about 150 kms north of Port Blair and one can reach the island by ferry services only.


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Elephant Beach

Settled on the sands of Havelock Island, Elephant Beach is a reveling beauty well presented by the long coral reefs and the shining shoreline. A peaceful beach with pure serenity and silent ambience will offer the visitors a soothing melody and that would be the perfect time to relax, to walk around with your love or just to do sunbathing. Among the different beach on Havelock Island, Elephant Beach has a special significance because of its friendly atmosphere and not so crowded shoreline. In addition to the adventurous activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, tourists find time to do boating and similar activities on the beach. The clear water, the calm waves, the cool breeze and the magnificent sights on the shore have their own impacts on the number of people visiting the beach, and it increases only year by year.

Highlights: The long array of private boats, fishing boats and buoys extend a riveting beauty to the beach. Moreover, it is a kid friendly beach as well so that families are found here aplenty. The huge shoreline is the key factor behind the countless visitors appear on the beach every day. 

During monsoon also, tourists would love to come to Elephant Beach. People have reported that at times, the wild elephants from the nearby forests come to the beach and stroll along the white sandy bed.

Activities: An ideal place for snorkeling and scuba diving is Elephant Beach though boating and other fun, water based activities are also done by the visitors often. Tourists have experienced the best sea walking as well on Elephant Beach.

Distance from Port Blair: Elephant Beach is located on the famous Havelock Island. It is lying about 69 kms away from the capital city of Andaman, Port Blair. One can reach the beach via boat from Havelock jetty after reaching there from Port Blair by road or by boat.


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Diglipur

A marvelous town in the north part of Andaman Islands is Diglipur, an amicable tiny town with a lot of good people around. For eco- friendly tourists, this town is an inevitable choice. Though the marine life is the prominent feature of this town but the cultivation of orange and rice has enormous importance in the economy of Diglipur.

Highlights: Lamiya Bay Beach is a highlight of the town, it is located a few kilometers away from Kalipur Beach. The beach is lying in the foothills of Saddle peak, the highest one in Andaman. Around 20 kms from Diglipur is the green Shyamnagar covered by thick jungles and why Shyamnagar is a priority for tourists is because of the presence of mud volcanoes here. Kalipur Beach and Ramangar Beach are the other famous beaches at Diglipur and they are famous for turtle nesting. Moreover, visitors are quite eager to visit Alfred Caves as well where a huge collections of limestone structures are found.

Activities: Since there are plenty of beaches, caves, greenery etc, Diglipur offers the visitors a huge number of activities ranging from refreshing trekking through the jungles to the water based activities like island hopping, snorkeling, boating, fishing etc. Near to Diglipur there are famous spots to do multiple activities.

Distance from Port Blair: Lying 290 kms away from Port Blair, the small town of Diglipur that can be connected by boat from both Port Blair and Mayabunder. The boat services from Port Blair are available twice a week. But one can reach the town by road via ATR from Port Blair.

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Vijaynagar Beach

Known as Beach No.5 is Vijaynagar Beach in the north east part of Havelock Island. Very remote from the crowded locations on Havelock Island, Vijaynagar Beach is close to heart for those who love to spend time in utmost calmness. The regular touch of the sapphire blue water on the pearl like sandy beach makes no noise and it is one of the reasons why tourists chosen it as the perfect space for romantic couples and families. 

The beauty of the beach has been praised so much by those who visited it. It is always better to come here freely, just to roam around, or to float on the shallow water, or to read under the large shade given by the huge trees on the shore or to do sunbathing. The collection of Mahua trees and palms is the significant ornament making the beach a splendid place to sit back and relax as much as time one wants to. This is one of the magnificent attractions in Andaman.

Highlights: A photographer's paradise is Vijaynagar Beach; especially the sunrise views from the beach is incomparably magnificent. When the sun’s fresh rays spread all over the wide sea, the entire atmosphere starts blushing in all possible colours and there is no better sight from the beach would satiate a photographic mind. The native birds appear during the fresh mornings add effective colours to the sunrise pictures.

Activity: The beach is recognized for relaxed swimming and sunbathing. Adventure activities are not yet a fashion on this inevitable part of Havelock Island.

Distance from Port Blair: Vijaynagar Beach is located at a distance of about 38 kms from Port Blair but from Havelock jetty the beach is lying 9 kms away only.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Markha Valley Trek

Adventure lovers always had an affection to Markha Valley and still it fulfills the dreams of a trekker or adventure seeker with the unrivalled collection of natural spectacle. Long day trekking tours are offered by a lot of tour providers all over India which promise a journey through the most scenic locations and villages. The awesomely exciting feature of this trek is that it will let the trekker cross two high altitude passes in Ladakh; Gandala La at 4980 meters and Kongmaru La at 5276 meters.

 Being one of the diverse treks in Ladakh region, Markha Valley trek offers a lot of adventurous moments throughout. The barren land of Ladakh and the Buddhist temples found throughout the journey make the trek special. The route winds past the Ladakhi villages and it goes to Hemis National Park where the chances to spot some rare wildlife species are comparably high. The nomadic groups of people will be a unique picture to keep in heart. The symbols of Buddhism like ‘chortens’, stupas, multi colored prayer flags and numerous monasteries narrate the story of Buddhist culture embraced Markha centuries ago. Another interesting fact heard about Markha Valley trek is that it is also called ‘tea house trek’ due to the accommodation provided in parachute tents in most of the villages during the tour.

Maximum altitude: 15000 feet is the maximum altitude the trek will cover.

Location: In most of the cases, the trek starts from Leh. The trail usually goes through Chilling, Skyu and then to Markha. From Markha it would take the trekker to reach Hankar and Nimaling and finally return to Leh. The ideal trekking distance is 75 kms and it would be graded as difficult.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August, September and October are recommended as the best time to do Markha Valley trek.