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    Image credit: Ramesh NG - flickr

    The best way to see India is at the ground level. When you sit in a train and look out of the window, it is like watching a movie. At different times of the journey, different aspects of everyday Indian existence reveal itself to you. A visit to India is incomplete without feeling the hustle and bustle of a typical Indian railway station. You will be drawn to the safety and simple comforts that Indian train journeys offer you. You will be mesmerized by the constant chanting of tea and food sellers at each station.

    Key information about Indian Railways to plan your journey:

    If you have never been to India, you may be surprised at what you see. Unlike what you saw on television, Indian trains are not bursting at the seams. You find no people sitting atop the train! And the best thing is that rail travel in India is inexpensive. Be it short distance or long distance, train travel is a safe and comfortable way to get across.

    1. Train Routes

    Photo credit: Sakeeb Sabakka - flickr

    You must know that the Indian railway system covers more than sixty thousand kilometers of rail routes. The Indian Railways has more than six thousand five hundred stations. The Indian railway network is only behind Russia and China. Meaning, it is bigger than some of the developed nations of the world. This enormous network creates more employment than any other place. Therefore, the Indian railways employs more than a million staff.

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    You get trains to any destination in India. Some are direct trains. Some are connecting trains. Unfortunately, there are no direct railway lines to the Indian state of Kashmir. A railway line that connects Srinagar to several other parts of India is being constructed though.

    2. Checking Train Times

    Photo credit: Connie Ma -flickr

    Photo credit: Smeet Chowdhury - flickr

    The Indian railway system has been automated. You can check train timings, schedules and fares online, simplifying rail travel altogether. This website only displays direct trains. Some destinations will need you to change at least two trains. You can call the Indian rail toll-free number to get information on this. For instance, if you are travelling between Varanasi to Jaisalmer, there are no direct trains. You have to take a connecting train at Delhi or Jaipur to Jaisalmer depending on where you are boarding.

    3. Purchasing Tickets

    Photo credit: Kelman Chiang

    Indian train journeys are not possible without making a reservation or purchasing a train ticket. Nowadays computerized reservations make it convenient for passengers to purchase train tickets from anywhere in India. Making reservations well in advance helps. There are some train routes that get booked weeks in advance.

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    If you happen to visit any railway station, you will see giant screens displaying berth availability between destinations. You can check berth availability on the indian rail website and a slew of third party websites that source and display this information. Many trains have a foreign quota - this scheme provisions certain number of seats for international visitors.

    4. Important Notes About Reservations:

    Advance Booking

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    All bookings for railway reservations open well in advance of 60. You may not be able to book certain short-distance trains 60 days in advancebut only 30 days in advance.

    International visitors to India can utilize the Foreign Tourist (FT) quota. This facility enables international visitors to book important Indian train journeys at short notice. Tickets bought under this scheme can be paid in US Dollars or Pound Sterling or any foreign convertible currency.

    You can purchase tickets on the IRCTC website - www.irctc.co.in. You need to create an account on this website. You have to follow the registration process as required by this website and setup your account.

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    When you book a ticket on IRCTC, you get an e-ticket or an electronic ticket. You can take a printout of this ticket and undertake Indian train journeys with a valid identify proof such as your passport for example.

    An i-ticket (Internet ticket) option is provided if the e-ticket option is not available for a particular train route. The i-ticket is couriered to your address.

    Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) and Waiting List (WL)

    Photo credit: Kelman Chiang

    With an RAC ticket you can board a train and travel even though you are not allotted any specific seat number or berth number. You can get a berth only if any confirmed passenger has cancelled their ticket. This information is with the railway ticket inspector. At the end of inspection, this person will have a list of all the passengers who have not made it into the train for the journey. The inspector then allots a berth to an RAC ticket holder.

    But now the question is what happens if nobody cancels? In this case, the RAC ticket holder is still allowed to travel in the train. He or she can sit on any of the berths. In some cases a single seat has to be shared by two RAC ticket holders.

    A Waiting List ticket does not allow you to travel in any Indian train journeys. You have to wait till your ticket moves up the list against cancellations. You status will change to RAC and subsequently to confirmed (CNF) status depending on the number of tickets cancelled. If your ticket status remains at RAC, you can travel in the train without a berth. If your ticket status moves up to CNF, then you are assured of a berth in the train.

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    When you book a ticket online or at the reservation counter, a PNR number is generated. This is the unique identification number of your train ticket. You can periodically check the status of your ticket using the PNR number. There are plenty of websites on the Internet that let you check the status of your ticket by entering the PNR number.

    The Tatkal Scheme

    Tatkal means ‘immediate’ in Hindi. Sometimes you may have to travel at short notice. In some important train routes tickets get booked well in advance. To allow short-notice bookings, the Indian railways provisions some berths under the Tatkal scheme. The fare for Tatkal keeps changing. More information can be found at the Indian Railways website.

    5. Classes of Travel

    Indian trains have eight types of classes. However, trains generally do not accommodate all types of classes and only have some of these 8 classes

    Air-Conditioned First Class (AC1)

    Most long distance trains have this class. It is the most expensive way to travel by train. This class consists of sleeper compartments which come in two varieties, four berths or two berths. While booking the ticket you can specify which type of compartment you wish.

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    Air-Conditioned 2-Tier (AC2)

    This class of trains are also found in most long distance trains in India. Most middle class families traveling long distances use this class. The seats are padded with leather and are convertible to flatbeds for lying down. Unlike AC1, the AC2 class is not compartmentalized.

    Air-Conditioned 3-Tier (AC3)

    Photo credit: Kelman Chiang

    AC2 and AC3 are similar with the only difference being the way bunks are arranged. In the AC3 class bunks are arranged in a 3-tiered manner, meaning the AC3 class can accommodate more passengers than the AC2 class.

    First Class

    First class is a non-air conditioned class. This class consists of sleeper coaches available in two types, the 4-berth, or the 2-berth. The seats are however not convertible to beds. Seating is available for an extra charge and if your ticket is booked in advance.

    AC Executive Chair Class

    This class is only available in the Shatabdi Express trains. Seats are arranged in a 2 + 2 fashion. Between the seats is the common pathway. The Shatabdi Express provides food and beverages that is included in the fare.

    AC Chair Class

    This class is a good way to travel if you are traveling only during daytime. The seat arrangement in this class is in a 2 + 3 manner across the width of the train. The AC Chair Class as its name suggests is air conditioned.

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    Sleeper Class

    A majority of Indians use this class. In this class, there are upper, lower, and middle berths that allow you to lie down on them.

    The sleeper class is generally crowded as it can accommodate more number of passengers than any of the aforementioned classes. This class does not have air conditioning. However, there are fans mounted on the ceiling that can provide comfort when the conditions are hot and humid.

    Unreserved 2nd Class

    As the name suggests, this class is for people who could not make a reservation but have to travel anyways. It is also used by people who want to travel short distances. You can purchase tickets from the railway ticket conductor on the spot. This type of class is generally crowded, hence it is not recommended for long distance travel.

    Indrail Pass

    The Indrail Pass is created on similar lines to the Eurail Pass for travel in an Indian train. It is a special scheme for foreign nationals when on a rail travel expedition in India. It enables them to travel to an unlimited number of destinations. The pass is valid from half a day to a period of ninety days.

    There are some of the benefits of this pass.You need not buy separate tickets for different train routes. A single pass is all you need to travel anywhere.This pass is only available for foreign nationals and non-resident Indians. It is bought in foreign convertible currencies.

    Indian rail travel tips

    Photo credit: Kelman Chiang

    For international visitors, the Indian railway system brings them mixed reactions. They are worried about the quality of toilets in an Indian train. They are skeptical about the quality of food available. There are so many fears in their minds. Actually, traveling in a train in India is safer than traveling on road. The following are some proven ways to improve your traveling experience when in a train in India.

    1. A Good Book is a Good Companion in Indian Train Journeys

    Read a good book whilst you melt into the ever changing landscape outside the train window. It helps to get a window seat, although you can see the outside world from any seat.

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    2. Strike a Good conversation

    If you are the gregarious type, then you won’t have shortage of people who would be interested to talk to you. Often, the best way to kill time in a long distance journey is to strike healthy conversations with fellow passengers. There are some precautions to be taken in this regard though. Don’t gladly accept food and drink that your fellow passengers offer. Use your prudence. Sometimes such stuff might be laced with sedatives.

    3. Bring your Own Food

    Bringing your own food solves your apprehensions about the quality of food available on Indian trains. You can do this if you are on a diet or you have special eating requirements. Avoid taking non-vegetarian food in a train.

    4. Go to the Bathroom Early

    Try to get up early in the morning and go to the bathroom. The period between 8 am and 9 am in the morning has a lot of people trying to go to the bathroom. So don’t be stuck in a queue. Get up around 5 am and finish off your bathroom routine.

    5. Anti-Bacterial Liquid Hand Wash

    After you finish your bathroom routine, wash your hands with anti-bacterial hand wash liquid. Bring your antibacterial tissue paper and wipe yourself clean.

    6. Keep your Luggage Safe

    Don’t travel with expensive stuff like SLR cameras, jewelry, and hard cash in any Indian train. Even if you have to do it, try to secure your luggage with a lock. It should be difficult for anyone to break the lock. But nothing is infallible. If you are a couple, try to guard the luggage whilst the other person uses the restroom. The key is to have someone always guarding the luggage.


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.