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INDIA:

 


INDIA is a fascinating destination offering an incredible array of memorable vacation experiences:  from the Taj Mahal to major wildlife sanctuaries to its natural wonders and distinctive cuisine, India has few worldwide co-equals for tourist appeal.   INDIA is comprised of 28 states and 7 union territories.  Despite it’s long and rich history, India is a relatively new nation, as it did not finally receive its independence from Great Britain until 1947.  There are are over 50 cities with a million or more residents, half of which have two million or more in population.  India’s national population, when checked an hour ago, was 1.1 billion residents!  Geographcally it is about one-third the size of the United States.  The Provinces were re-organized in 1956 to better reflect ethnic and linguistic lines.  Several new states and union territories were created.   Several changes have occurred since.  18 official languages are spoken. 

India has a National Park System of 96 parks.  A total of 166 are planned.  www.incredibleindia.com

DOCUMENTATION:  Valid, in-force Passport plus Indian Visa.  Check: www.indianembassy.org 

LANGUAGE:  Hindi, English, Teluga.  Varies greatly by province. 


CURRENCY:  Rupees

HEALTH:  Check requirement two months prior to your visit, and visit your physician before traveling.   www.edc.gov 

Savvy Travel Tip:  Do not drink tap water.  Carefully check seals on bottled water to be certain water is authentic and untainted.  If you are uncertain, don’t drink. 

SAFETY:  Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and displays of wealth.  Store valuables in hotel safe.  Keep wallet in front pocket.  Women should carry purse on arm not adjacent to curb.  

Do not venture outside hotel at night unless in the company of others known to you. 

Watch out for hungry rhesus macaque monkeys who roam freely and have been known to prey on unsuspecting tourists. 

PINCHING PENNIES:  TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP: 

Tipping is not customary except in high end luxury restaurants. 

BEST TIME TO VACATION:  October is ideal.  Summer (June, July, August) are the most popular, but not most desirable months to visit.  

Summer is hot and dry.  Locals abandon the steaming cities for hill station hideaways, beaches, resorts, and spas and cooler locales.  The foothills of the Himalayas and Lakshadweep Islands are very popular retreat destinations to escape the oppressive summer heat.  Temperatures hit their peak in late-March to late May.  

AVOID:  September:  monsoon time. 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS: 

Late October:  Diwali:  The Hindu New Year - a five-day celebration. 

MAJOR HOLIDAYS:  August 15: Independence Day.   


 
ANDAMAN PROVINCE AND NICOBAR ISLANDS  (UNION TERRITORY): 


ANDHRA PRADESH PROVINCE: (East coast of India).   


Andhra Pradesh Province is India’s 4th largest state by area and 5th largest in population.  The state enjoys a 972 kilometer coastline, second in India.  It is often referred to as “The Rice Bowl of India.”  Only West Bengal produces more rice.   Agriculture is the principal source of income in the Province’s economy. I  nformation technology is expanding rapidily.  


LANGUAGE:  Teluga, Hindi, Urdu. 


CUISINE: 

Andaman Pradesh cuisine is one of  the spiciest of all Indian preparations.  Pickles and chutney are used in many dishes.  Rice is a common staple, usually ombinable with curry.  Lamb, chicken and fish are popular. 

MAJOR FESTIVALS AND EVENTS: 

January:  Sankranthi.
 
February/March:  Maha Shivaratri. 

March:  Holi.

March/April:  Ugadi or Teluga New Year.
 
March/April (9 days after Ugadi):  Sri Rama Navami. 

August:  Varalakshmi. 

August:  Vinayaka. 
 
September/October:  Dasara.

September/October of Gregorian calendar:  Atla Tadde 3rd day in brighy half of Aswiyuja month. 
 

October/November (20 days after Dasara):  Deepavali. 
 

Eud ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Muharram.  

Bonalu in Stravanam (celebrated in Telangana region). 

Bathukamma celebrated for 9 days during Durgastami (Nav ratri-Dasara) in Telangana. 
Nowruz.  
 
Christmas. 


GUNTUR:    

 

Gunter is a city of 500,000+ residents. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN GUNTUR: 
 
Savvy Travel Tip:  Visit the excellent Archaeological Museum of Amaravati.  


HYDERABAD:

Hyderabad is the Capital city and center of high tech research and development.  India’s 6th  most populated  city with over 6 million residents.  Half of India’s pharmaceutical companies are headquartered in Hyderabad. 

KAKINADA:  City of 600,000 plus. 

NELLORE:  City of 467,000 residents. 

VISAKHAPATNAM:  City of 1.5 million residents. 

VIJAYAWADA:  

VIJAYAWADA is a c
ity of 1.2 million residents, and an important rail and trading center. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN VIJAYAWADA:  

The Kanakadurga Temple is both famous and one of the most important. 
 
The Victoria Jubilee Museum houses a nice collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, weapons, and idols. 

RAJAHMUNDRY:   City of 457,000 residents. 

TIRUPATI or TIRUMALA:  

Tirupati is the richest pilgrimage city of any religious faith. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN TIRUPATI: 

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is located in the Chittoor District.  It is an important pilgrimage site.  

 
VISAKHAPATNAM: 

Visakhapatnam is the
second largest city in the Province and also the Province’s principal seaport.  It is also headquarters for the Indian navy’s Eastern Naval Command. 


VIZAG: 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN VIZAG: 

The beautiful 11th century Simhachalam Temple is 16 km from Vizag.  The temple is architecturally stunning.   It is often crowded. 

WARANGAL:  City of 500,000+ residents.   

 
ARUNACHAL PROVINCE:
 



ASSAM PROVINCE: 

Assam Province is a far northeastern province. 


TIME ON YOUR HANDS:  Wildlife viewing extraordinaire!
Kaziranga
National Park is the habitat for the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many tigers, elephants, panthers, bears, and thousands of rare birds. 


GUWAHATI:
  City of one million + residents. 

  
BIHAR PROVINCE:

GAYA:  City of 494,000 residents. 

PATNA:  

Patna is a major city of 2.6 million. 
 
 

CHANDIGARH UNION TERRITORY:  


CHHATTISGARH PROVINCE:

BHILAI:   City of 1.1 million residents. 

CHANDIGARH:  City of 1.1 million residents. 

INDRAVATI NATIONAL PARK:

KORBA:  City of 453,000 residents. 

RAIPUR: City of 784,000 residents. 



DADRA PROVINCE AND NAGAR HAVELI
  (UNION TERRITORY):
 


DAMAN AND DIU (UNION TERRITORY): 


DELHI (UNION TERRITORY): 


THE NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI
: (Northern India)

DELHI:  


Capital of India and nation’s fastest growing city.  Resident population of close to 19 million.  18 hour non-stop flight from NYC. 

Delhi is a city of superlatives:  India’s largest mosque, the world’s largest Hindu temple, and Southeast Asia’s largest shopping mall.  

Most of the Muslim population has left Delhi for Pakistan.  

Forign investment began pouring into Delhi in 1991.  Over 60 TV news channels are headquartered in Delhi.  Unlike Mumbai, which tends to be more casual, Delhi residents have an obsession with acquiring and possessing material things and flaunting one’s wealth.


BEST TIME TO VACATION:

October through March weather is warm (90’s), but certainly preferable to the steam bath summer months. 

AVOID:  Savvy Travel Tip:  Summer months which are scorching hot, 120 degrees plus

DELHI:  is the business, fashion and government center of India.  Mumbai is the nation’s financial center.  Residents have migrated to Delhi from all over India. 


MAJOR FESTIVALS AND EVENTS IN DELHI: 

October 2010:  Commonwealth Games


TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN DELHI:    




What happended to “New “Delhi?  It now refers to the capital district.  The rest of the city is simply referred to as “Delhi.”

Delhi’s Indira Ghandi International Airport is a twenty minute drive to the city center. 

Each section of the city, a colony, has its own market, schools and services- its own distinct character.  There are seven colonies.

Local Transportation:  Use taxi cabs.  Air-conditioned taxis are 25% more expensive, but worth it.  Most taxis drive like they’re on a suicide mission.   Beef up on travel accident insurance before visiting Delhi.   A ride is like Russian roulette.  One positive feature:  Your life insurance and accident insurance will pay double to your heirs!  When the drivers aren’t terrorizing you during your ride to hell, they are trying to convince you that they have a relative or friend that “can get you a better deal.” Be firm and strongly refuse such “invitations.”  

 
A typical Delhi street scene is pedestrians scattering to avoid being hit by pedi-cabs, grid-lock traffic with motorists constantly honking and switching lanes, boney wandering livestock ( I, too, would worship cows rather than eat them -- the average cow there doesn’t look tasty to me), foul odors, and unbelievable pollution.  It’s a wonder that gas mask rental isn’t a major enterprise.  Also didn’t notice any Orkin exterminator trucks or street sweepers plying the neighborhood. 

It’s as if anything shiny and new will soon look drab and dirty.  Older sections of Delhi are substandard ramshackle “dwellings” with streets that have exposed electrical wiring, lashed together poorly, resulting in frequent electrical shocks to the unwary.  The living conditions redefine the word “slum.”  The rats are larger than healthy dogs.  Such depressing sights are a cultural shock to most visitors. 


 Delhi is “spiffing” up for the 2010 Commonweath Games.   A 2002 law now requires public transportation:  taxis, buses and auto-rickshaws, to use compressed gas.  Many residents are fleeing to newly created suburbs.  

 
Some sights defy description:  A few blocks from Parliament is a huge, dense forest -smack dab in the middle of the city!  Locals refer to it as “the Jungle,” complete with wild boar and jackals.  Savvy Travel Tip:  Wild monkeys are a problem in Delhi’s parks.  The city employs over one-hundred monkey catchers!  They need to hire 10,000 Rat Patrol agents.  

Animals grazing  on the lawns of five star hotels is a commonplace sight. 

Become accustomed to indifferent service wherever you go.  If you thought Mexican manana was bad, think again. 

 
 Savvy Travel Tips:  Hire highly recommended English speaking driver with air-conditioned auto for sightseeing.  While it may cost you extra, it is money wellspent.  Ask concierge at hotel for suggestions.  

Do not venture out at night on your own. 

Women should dress conservatively and never wear revealing clothing. 
Savvy Travel Tip:  Do not miss Lodi Gardens - a beautiful park filled with 15th  century domed tombs of Lodi sultans and Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, and Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.  


Corbett National Park is an easy side trip from New Delhi.  Excellent elephant safaris.
Do not miss visiting the National Museum - a treasuretrove of Indian treasures.  


The Qutb Minar is the world’s tallest brick minaret (built in 1193). 



New Delhi offers easy train access (125 miles) to AGRA and the nearby, TAJ MAHAL

TAJ MAHAL was built between 1631 and 1648 by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved wife.  This marble masterpiece features opalescent jewel facings that artfully reflect seasonal changes in light.  Entrance fee to Taj Mahal is around $19 with no in and out privileges.  Dawn and dusk are the most impressive viewing times. 


Taj Mahal in the fog of early morning



TASTY DINING IN DELHI: 

No Mortons or Palm in Delhi. 

South (dakshin) Indian food is served Thall-style-no silverware.  You are expected to use the spongy appam bread to scoop up the crispy prawns or pan-fried mutton with coconut and ginger. 

There are many excellent dining places:  check with your concierge for recommendations. 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN DELHI: 

Visit Shajahanabad a.k.a. “Old Delhi”: 17th century red sandstone buildings.  Stroll the Chandni Chowk bazaar trolling for treasures; visit the Jarma Masjid - the largest mosque in India.  Shop in the Kinari Bazaar for inexpensive gold and silver trinkets.   


Kinari Bazaar also features the huge Kinari Baoli Spice Market. 

The Santushti Shopping Complex on Race Course Road, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, is the most elegant mall in New Delhi.   


Barter and negotiate prices before, not after agreeing to a service:  this applies to everything in India:  taxis, guides, tours.  Try to find air-conditioned autos when touring. 
 

GOA PROVINCE




PANAJI:   Capital.

 
GUJARAT PROVINCE:


ALLAHABAD

Allahabad is considered to be one of India’s holiest sites.  Allahabad is where Hindu mythology pinpointed that the Lord Brahma, the creator of God of the Trinity, chose to land on earth during the Prakrishta Yaina.   


India’s 7th  most populated city with over 5 million residents. 

BHAVNAGER:  City of 600,000+ residents. 


GUJARAT PENINSULA:   The west coast down to Goa are India’s best beaches - ideal for water sports. 

GADHINAGAR: 

Gadhinagar is the
Capital of Gujarat. 

JAMNAGAR:   City of 626,000 residents. 

KARNATAKA (BANGALORE): 

BEST TIME TO VACATION:  

October to enjoy Diwali, India’s biggest holiday or August to view the giant elephant statues of the elephant-god, Ganesh, being immersed in the Ulsoor Lake. 

RAJKOT:  City of 1.4 million residents. 

SURAT:  City of 3 million+. 

VALODARA:  City of 1.7 million residents. 


HARYANA PROVINCE:


CHANIGARH:  

Chanigarh is the Capital city.

PANIPAT:  City of 400,000 residents.   


HIMACHAL PROVINCE
:  


HIMACHAI PRADESH PROVINCE:


Himachai Pradesh Province is popular as a summer hill station retreat.  Trekking trails, biking paths, and rafting waters are prevalent.  


GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK:

SHIMLA:  Capital.
 


JAMMU AND KASHMIR PROVINCE
:  


The Jammu Plains are tropical.  Ladakh is semi-artic cold.   Savvy Travel TipBird lovers: The Ladakh desert hosts close to 250 species of colorful local and migratory birds.   Adventure activity opportunities abound: rafting, trekking, biking

DHANBAD: 

The HIMALAYAS, on India’s northern border, is one of the highest mountain ranges in the world - summer months are warm with cool nights - the best time to visit.  Winter months bring heavy snowfall.   

JAMMU:  City of 681,000 residents. 

JAMSHEDPUR:
 

LADAKH:   

Ladakh is a remote region of eastern Kashmir.  


TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN LADAKH: 

Savvy Travel Tip:  Hiking through the Markha Valley at 17,000 feet is not for the faint of heart, but brings rewards to the adventuresome, as one encounters breathtaking scenery of glacial lakes, 21,000 foot mountains, and ancient Tibetian culture.  Best accomplished in the company of a small guided group.  

LEH (LADAKH): 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:  
1st week July:  Hemis Festival - celebrates the birthday of Buddist Guru Padmasambhava. 

RANCHI:

SRINAGAR:  City of 1.2 million residents.    



JHARKHAND PROVINCE: 
 

BOKARO:  City of 580,000 residents.

DHANBAD:   City of 1.2 million residents. 

JAMSHEDPUR:   City of 1.3 million residents.

RANCHI:  Capital City of 1.1 million residents.  



KARNATAKA PROVINCE: 


BANDIPUR NATIONAL PARK: is known fir its deluxe tiger safaris


BELGAUM:  City of 568,000 residents. 

BANGALORE:  

Bangalore is a retirement haven for Indians as well as center of high tech  research. 


BENGALURU:  

Bengaluru is the Capital city of Karnataka Province.  It is India’s fifth most populus city with over 6 million residents.  

DAVANAGERE:  City of 442,000 residents. 

GULBARGA:  City of 521,000 residents. 

HUBLI:  City of 880,000 residents. 

MAISURU:   City of 1.2 million residents.

MANGALORE:  City of 600,000 residents.       



KERALA PROVINCE:  


KANNUR:  City of 558,000 residents. 

KOCHI:  City of 1.5 million residents. 

KOLLAM:  City of 491,000 residents. 

KOZHIKODE:    City of one million  residents. 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:   

Capital city of 1.1 million residents. 
  

LAKSHADWEEP UNION TERRITORY:



MADHYA PRADESH PROVINCE
:


BALPHAKRAM NATIONAL PARK:

BANDHAVGARH:  

BHOPAL:  


Capital City of 1.8 million residents.  

GWALIOR:  City of 973,000 residents. 

INDORE:  City of 2 million + residents. 

JABALPUR:  City of 1.3 million residents. 

KHAJURAHO

MAJOR EVENTS AND  FESTIVALS: 

Late February - 1st week March:  Khajuraho Dance Festival. 

PANNA NATIONAL PARK: 

The Panna National Park 
is 130 miles north of Bandhavgarh.  The drive is tedious: 4 - 5 miles through the heavily forested Vindhya Valley.   Once there, you’ll discover that the Park is filled with teak forests and waterfalls.  January to May is the best time to visit.  Savvy Travel Tip:  The waterfalls are dry during the autumn months.  

Panna is known for its robust wildlife, although the once robust tiger numbers have diminished.  You’ll also see nilgai (common Indian antelope), sloth bears and sambar.Be sure to take the one-hour cruise on the Ken River to see the distinctive gharial crocodile. 
Savvy Travel Tip:  Nearby to the Park (35 miles from the Park’s northern gate) is one of India’s most see sights: the 10th - 12th century Hindu temple ruins of Khajuraho.  These remarkably well preserved sandstone structures soar over 100 feet into the sky.  The intricacies of the carvings is astounding. 


MAHARASHTRA PROVINCE


AHMADNAGAR:  City of 456,000 residents.  

AKOLA:  City of 451,000 residents. 

AMRAVATI:  City of 647,000 residents. 

AURANGABAD:   City of 1.2 million residents. 

JALGAON:  City of 479,000 residents. 

KOLHAPUR:  City of 557,000 residents. 

MALEGAON:  City of 455,000 residents. 

MUMBAI (formerly BOMBAY): 

Mumbai is the Capital city of Maharashtra Province.  You have never experienced automobile traffic like Mumbai’s.  It is not uncommon to take 25 minutes to travel 2 ½ miles!   Mumbai is India’s most populus city with over 21 million residents!  At its current pace, Mumbai will surpass Tokoyo as the world’s largest city by 2020.  It is a city of marked contrasts:  from depressing poverty stricken slums to the world’s first billion dollar private residence.  Mumbai is not an inexpensive city to visit.  Deluxe lodging with set you back $425 - 500 a night. 


THE BEST TIME TO VACATION IN MUMBAI: 
December, January, and February: cool and dry. 

AVOID: 
June, July, August, and September:  monsoon season. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN MUMBAI: 

Savvy Travel Tip: Taxis are a way of life in Mumbai.  Choose by color of the taxi. 
Blue/silver taxis are air-conditioned; yellow/black are NOT air-conditioned.  As you  
sit in traffic sweltering, you’ll be glad that you’re not colorblind.
 
For sightseeing, reserve a hotel car through the concierge of your lodging.  Request an English speaking driver/guide.  The cost?  About $45 a day.  
 
Visit the Gateway to India - a waterfront arch built to honor King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. 


Drive by the ornate Victorian, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – the rail station. 

Mumbai is India’s Hollywood-center of its Bollywood movie industry.  Chances are, you’ll encounter a movie being filmed during your stay.  You can even take a Bollywood studio tour. 
 
Do not miss the Chhatapati Shivaji Terminus:  one of the most outstanding examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in the world.  
 
Visit the Chhatrarapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya - formerly The Prince of Wales Museum. The city’s largest museum houses over 30,000 artifacts, much back to the 7th century.  


The old Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple is an interesting sacred placeto visit. 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN MUMBAI: 

The Kala Ghoda district is the place to browse for top notch Indian art.  Best know your art when forking over mega bucks for alleged original art - there are lots of lurking forgeries. 

NAGPUR:  Major city of 2.7 million. 
 
NANDED:  City of 529,000 residents. 


NASHIK: 

City of 1.7 million residents.  


PUNE:  Major city with over 5 million residents.  

SANGLI:   City of 601,000 residents.   


SHOLAPUR:  Major city of 1.1 million residents.    



MANIPUR PROVINCE:  



MEGHALAYA PROVINCE:  



MIZORAM
PROVINCE:  



NAGALAND PROVINCE:  



ORISSA PROVINCE:   


BHUBANESWAR:  City of 1.7 million residents.  


RAURKELA:  City of 543,000 residents.  



THE NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF PONDICHERRY:   


PONDICHERRY:  City of 567,000 residents. 
 



PUNJAB PROVINCE:    


AMRITSAR:  City of 1.2 million residents.   



AMRITSAR
, PUNJAB, SIKH N.E. REGION:  


BEST TIME TO VACATION:  October to March offers clear skies and cooler temperatures.  December and January are High Season rates.  March through May is hot, but bearable. 

AVOID:  June through September:    Monsoon rains and flooding. 

Manas Wildlife sanctuary is home to many endangered species.Nanda Devi National Park is home of the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer and bharal.  

CHANDIGTAH:  Capital city.   

JALANDHAR:  City of 935,000 residents.  

LUDHIANA:  City of 1.7 million residents. 


 
RAJASTHAN PROVINCE:  

Rajasthan Province is the Land of the Maharajas.   


BEST TIME TO VACATION IN RAJASTHAN: 

October, November, December, January, February and March: cooler temperatures and after the monsoon months.  The disadvantage is lodging is at peak rates and the city is at it’s busiest. 
 
April through June for game viewing. 

   

Shoulder Season:  Late September or early March: lower lodging rates.  The disadvantage is that Bandhavgarh National Park is closed from July through September(monsoon season).  Panna National Park is open year round.  


AVOID:  July through mid-September: Moonsoon season.   


BEST TIME TO VACATION IN RAJASTHAN: April through June for game viewing.   


AGRA:   
 
(SEE DELHI for TAJ MAHAL listing).  


Agra  is home of Agra Fort, an imperial city of the Mughal rulers, with many palaces and two stunning mosques. 

City of 1.6 million residents. TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN AGRA: 

AJMER:  City of 596,000 residents.  

JAIPUR:    flamboyant Capital  city of 3.1 million residents.  

JAISALMER

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:  

Early February:  The Jaisalmer Desert Festival.  

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN JAISALMER:  October, November, December, January, February, March, April:  weather is mild.  

AVOID:  June, July, August:  heavy rain season.  Extremely warm temperatures, high humidity. 

KANCHIPURAM:  is one of India’s seven sacred cities.  A staggering thousand plus Hindu Temples dot the landscape. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN KANCHIPURAM: 

Visit the Ekambareswarar Temple, the most prominent of the temples. 
Shop for inexpensive handwoven silk sold in many stores. 

JODHPUR:  City of 971,000 residents.  

KOTA:  City of 808,000 residents.  


KEOLADEO GHANA NATIONAL PARKwildlife refuge offers some of the world’s best bird watching.  


MAHABALIPURAM:  an ancient seaport. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN MAHABALIPURAM: 

Savvy Travel Tip:  The city is a treasuretrove of huge Pallava dynasty carved rock monuments. 

Visit the architecturally stunning Shore Temple with its “sitting bull” protective wall. 
Another worthwhile stop is Arjuna’s Penance and the Descent of the Granges:  huge carved stones. 

PUSHKAR:  

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:  

November-first week:  Rajasthan’s Pushkar Camel Fair.  
Second week November:   Pushkar Mela. 
 
Third week November:  Pushkar Camel Fair.  


UDAIPUR
:  


Udaipur is a city of 449,000 residents.   Favorite wedding site for Indians.  The palace resorts on Lake Pichola are prime wedding venues.  The weddings typically begin after dark and last an average of 45 minutes.  Witnessing wedding ceremonies and processions is a popular pastime in India, even though the viewers have no relation or aquaintance to the bride and groom.  

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN UDAIPUR: 
Late October through February :  Wedding season in Udaipur. 
December and January experience the most weddings.  


SIKKIM PROVINCE

GANGTOK:  Capital city. 

LADAKH:   remote region of eastern Kashmir.  

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN LADAKH: 

Savvy Travel Tip:  Hiking through the Markha Valley at 17,000 feet is not for the faint of heart, but brings rewards to the adventuresome, as one encounters breathtaking scenery of glacial lakes, 21,000 foot mountains, and ancient Tibetian culture.  Best accomplished in the company of a small guided group.  
  


TAMIL NADU PROVINCE:

 


CHENNAI
:   

(previously known as Madras):   

 

Chennai is India’s 4th largest city, 7 million plus residents, and capital of Tamil Nadu State.    Growing in high tech industry.    Chennai serves as entry point to Southern India. 

 

 TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN CHENNAI: 

St. Thome Cathedral has played a vital role in India’s religious history:  it is here that St. Thomas the Apostle introduced Christianity to the nation in 52 A.D.  It is also his burial site. 

The towering Hindu Kapaleeswarar Temple is nearby and marks a stark contrast to the Cathedral.    Both should be visited. 

COIMBATORE:   City of 1.6 million residents. 

ERODE:  City of 438,000 residents.  

MADURAI:  City of 1.4 million residents.  

TIRUCHCHIRAPPALLI:  City of 949,000 residents.  

TIRUNELVELI:  City of 484,000 residents.  

TIRUPPUR:   City of 608,000 residents.  


TRIPURA PROVINCE


VELLORE:  City of 397,000 residents.    


UTTARAKHAND PROVINCE:  

DEHRA DUN:   City of 709,000 residents.  


GANGOTRI NATIONAL PARK is India’s largest. 

 UTTAR PRADESH PROVINCE


ALLAHABAD:  City of 1.2 million residents. 

ALIGARH:  City of 824,000 residents.  

BARELI:  City of 888,000 residents. 


FIROZABAD:  City of 484,000 residents.  

GORAKHPUR:  City of 708,000 residents.  

JHANSI:  City of 519,000 residents.  

LUCKNOW:  Major city of 3 million residents.  

KANPUR:  Major city of 3.6 million.  

MATHURA:   City of 486,000 residents.  

MEERUT:  City of 1.9 million.  

MORADABAD:  City of 785,000 residents. 

ORCHHA:  

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN ORCHHA:  

February, March: Warm, average mid-80’s, cool evenings—warm, but not uncomfortably hot temperatures.   


SAHARANPUR:  City of 513,000 residents.  

VARANASI:   City of 1.5 million residents, visited by over one million pilgrims each year. 

MAJOR FESTIVALS AND EVENTS:

Hindu rituals are practiced year-round.  
WEST BENGAL PROVINCE:  

DURGAPUR:   City of 538,000 residents. 

KHARAGPUR:  City of 504,000 residents.

KOLKATA:  Capital and intellectual center of India.  Third most populated city in India with over 15 million residents.  

SILIGURI:  City of 556,000 residents.