Saturday, December 31, 2011
|On the eastern coast of India, the Tuticorin Port is a bustling area with numerous large ships and boats coming in all through the year. The strategic location of the port sheltered from thunderstorms and cyclones that are common during the monsoons. Most of the marine trades with Maldives, Sri Lanka and other coastal regions and countries are conducted through this port.|
|The Basilica of a Lady of Snows|
|The ancient church popularly known as Basilica of a Lady of Snows has been enshrined with the holy statue of Virgin Mary was constructed in 1582 A.D. It was one of the first churches dedicated to Mother Mary. Due to the significance and popularity amongst the people, Pope John Paul II gave it the status of a Basilica in the year 1982. The beautiful Basilica attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.|
|The favorite goddess of the city, Devi Jakkammal has been enshrined within the temple complex at Panchalankurichi. This ancient temple is located close to the fort and is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination here.|
Friday, December 30, 2011
|Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary|
This sanctuary boasts of dry, deciduous to tropical wet evergreen forest patches of pure needles. The sanctuary covers an area of 567-sq-kms. There animals seen here are the same as those seen at Kalakadu, except for the absence of elephant and gaur. This is an excellent place to look out for various species of birds and varieties of reptiles and insects.
The sanctuary is also known for its extensive "Tiger reserve projects". You can also indulge in trekking here with prior permission from the Forest Department. The best time to visit this place is between October to January.
|Kattabomman Memorial Fort|
| Just 18 km from Tuticorin, Kattabomman Memorial Fort is a splendid memorial to honor the valiant warrior, Katta Bomman who fought against the British in the 17th century. It was built in 1947 by the government of Tamil Nadu and is under the heritage maintenance of the Archaeological Survey of India. One can also visit the cemetery of the British soldiers who died here. |
|Kalakadu Wildlife Sanctuary|
The sanctuary is bound to delight animal lovers and lovers of nature alike. Sprawling in an area of 223 sq km in Tirunelveli district, the sanctuary is a popular hunt for botanists and ornithologists as it is home to a great variety of flora and fauna. Tourists can expect of some great fun amidst the gallery of varied species of animals and dense forests.
Animals seen here include, lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaque, langur, nilgiri tahr, sambar, sloth bear, gaur, elephant, tiger, flying squirrel, panther, wild dog, and pangolin.
You can also indulge in trekking here with prior permission from the Forest Department. The sanctuary is also known for its extensive "Tiger reserve projects". The best time to visit this place is between the months of September and March.
|Situated within the Ettaiyapuram town, the splendid Ettaiyapuram Palace is one of the popular tourist spot. It was built during the reign of the Pandya dynasty. Originally the place was known as Ilasanadu and local people from Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh were brought and made to work as guards at the fort. It was later that the beautiful palace was built after a rule of 150 years.|
|Gomati kund is one of the important holy spots by the Gomti river bank because, this was the place where Durvasa was served by the lord himself. Gomati kund is not only the place of religious importance, but people also come here to take a look at the merger of this river with the Arabian sea. The belief is that if you visit this place once, your sins will get washed away. And it is believed that if you go to Dwarka, you should definitely visit this place and take a bath in the river.|
| Samsing, Bindu and Murti are some of the other famous tourist destinations near Chalsa.|
The other places include Baikunthapur Forests, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Chilapata Forests, Dooars, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhu tea estate, Ivill tea garden and so on.
|The Queen of Dooras or Chalsa|
|The Queen of Dooras or Chalsa is filled with natural beauty. The forests in Chalsa have variety of wildlife. Chalsa has several forests, hills, and rivers that are good tourist attractions. The village is also popular for its beautiful tea estates.|
|The Gorumara National Park|
|The Gorumara National Park is a good sightseeing destination near Chalsa. Elephant and Jeep safaris are popular here. The Chapramari sanctuary close by is frequented by tourists.|
Thursday, December 29, 2011
|Excursions in Chalsa|
|For short excursions from Chalsa, there are several places worth a visit. The famous Gorumara National Park is just 14 km from Chalsa. Samsing is 15 km and Lataguri is 20 km away from Chalsa. Siliguri and Jalpaiguri are beautiful places nearby that can be visited from Chalsa. The other places include Baikunthapur Forests, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Chilapata Forests, Dooars, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhu tea estate, Ivill tea garden and so on.|
|Activities at Chalsa|
|The main activities in Chalsa include sightseeing, jungle safari, minor trekking and camping, angling, river picnic and so on. A drive through the national highway itself is a remarkable experience.|
The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is considered to be one of the top ten wildlife destinations in India. Literally meaning "beautiful jungle" in Bengali, the Sunderbans ecosystem is the world’s largest delta and mangrove swamp.
The Tiger Reserve lies at the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna and spreads across 2,585 sq. km. It is the largest estuarine sanctuary in the world, and home to some of India’s most interesting wildlife.
The littoral forests of the Sunderbans are one of the few ecological habitats in the world suitable for the Royal Bengal Tiger. The tidal forms and mangrove forests here provide ideal habitat for several species of aquatic and semi-aquatic animals that inhabit these forests. It is home to an enchanting variety of wildlife including the spotted deer, wild pigs, monkeys, herons, kingfishers, white-bellied eagles and about 270 Royal Bengal Tigers.
The tigers at the Tiger Reserve are known to be mostly man-eaters. The uniqueness of the habitat and the lack of suitable prey seem to have contributed to this behavioral trait of Sunderbans tiger. The man-eating trait is considered to have been hereditarily acquired over a period of generations in the process of consumption of saline water. A posse of policemen accompanies all visitors who venture into these 'beautiful forests’.
A visit to the Tiger Reserve is an exhilarating experience and if you are lucky, you might actually get to shoot one with your camera lens.
|Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary|
The Sajnekhali Sanctuary is adjacent to the Sunderban Tiger Reserve and is considered a part of the Sunderbans ecosystem. It lies on the confluence of Matla and Gumdi rivers within the buffer zone and spreads across an area of 885 sq km.
With a rich and varied avian population, the Sajnekhali Sanctuary provides a visual treat for your eyes. The most noteworthy among the feathered flock are spotted billed pelican, cotton teal, herring gull, Caspian tern, grey heron, large egret, night heron, open-billed stork, white ibis, common kingfisher, brahminy kite and paradise flycatcher. A rare winter migrant, the Asian dowitcher can also be found here.
The trained eye will be able to spot several birds of prey like the osprey, Pallas’s fish eagle white-bellied sea eagle, grey-headed fishing eagle, peregrine falcon, Oriental hobby, northern eagle owl and brown fish owl. Photographers, keep your cameras handy to shoot the spectacular sight of colorful birds in flight. Several colorful species of Kingfisher, Plovers, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Sandpipers, Whimbrels, Lapwings and Curfews can be seen here.
Apart from a heronry, you can also visit the Visitors' Centre where you can see a crocodile enclosure, a shark pond, a turtle hatchery and a Mangrove Interpretation Centre.
The Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project lies close to the Sunderbans and is a breeding ground of the world's largest estuarine crocodiles.
The Project is reached through Namkhana. You can take a conducted tour of the exotic Sunderbans by a motorized launch and keep an eye out for the magnificent crocodile. While at Sunderbans, a trip here is well worth the effort
15 km from the pretty tourist town of Diamond Harbor in Raichak is the Raichak Fort.
Also called the Chingrikhali fort, it was built by the British in the 18th century, for guarding against pirates who infested the region. It was thus strategically positioned on the bend of the Mighty River Hooghly. The remains of the ancient fort have now been converted into the enchanting 5-star Radisson Fort Hotel and resort. The fort offers a spectacular view of the Hooghly River.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
If you are looking for an exciting, funfilled weekend, head for the spectacular weekend getaway of Diamond Harbor. Earlier known as Hajipur, the old British Port lies at the mouth of the river Hooghly and is a pleasant 48 km drive out of Kolkata.
At this beautiful spot, the river Hooghly turns south towards the blue seas of the Bay of Bengal and the river gets deeper and wider, making it ideal for a port. The Port was once a bustling British Port and you will still see large arHocean going vessels docked here.
Apart from the natural beauty, there are several amusing diversions to keep you occupied here.
One of the chief attractions is the cruises down the River Hooghly. You can book yourself on a river cruise and spend an entire day, just lounging around, doing nothing and soaking in the gentle breeze.
An ancient Portuguese Fort called Chingrikhali fort, was said to have been a sanctuary for pirates, hiding from the watchful Portuguese. Today, the remains of the Fort have been beautifully incorporated into a resort, the Radisson Fort. You will also find an old lighthouse here, its very theme a source of great attraction for youngsters.
The pilgrim centre of Sharisha Ramakrishna Mission Ashram that is located here is deeply revered by Kolkatans and attracts the devout and the curious. Take a tour of the neighboring township of Joynagar where you will find a small collection of manuscripts and stone images of Buddha, Mahavira and Lord Vishnu. Decent accomodation is available for tourists at a number of private hotels. Its proximity to Kolkata makes this tourist destination an ideal day out picnic spot for city dwellers.