Monthly Archives: April 2014

Patience is the Secret, The Royal Hyderabadi Cuisine



Patience is the Secret, The Royal Hyderabadi Cuisine

Hyderabad, the city of the Nizams. The city of Pearls. One of the most happening places in the country booms with one of the best cuisines in the country and in the world. The Hyderabadi cuisine. This has been one of the most heard attractions in the country, ‘Hyderabadi Biryani’.
This cuisine was developed during the rule of Quli Qutb Shah. When, the rulers promoted their methods as well as the native cuisine styles. The Telugu, Turkish, Mughal, Iranian and Marathwada cuisines are important sources of evolution of the famous hyderabadi cuisine. The cuisine extensively comprises of broad combination of wheat, rice and meat along with a masterly of natural herbs, spices and naturally edible items. The people in this believe that the key to good cooking is with patience, ‘itmenaan se’. The main ingredients include, meat, rice with coconut and tamarind adding to the taste.

hyderabadi     the niza,
In the modern day, the Hyderabadi cuisine is spread over the deccan region of India which includes the Telangana, Marathwada and Karnataka-Hyderabad region. This cuisine is known for aroma and skillful use of the spices. The cuisine also has dishes that are largely city specific such as Hyderabad’s Hyderabadi Biryani, Bidar’s Kalyani Biryani, Aurangabad’s Naan Qalia and Gulbarga’s Tahari. The main ingredients that separate these recipes from the North Indian cuisine are the red chillies, coconut and tamarind. Chicken and mutton are among the most loved meats in this cuisine. Apart from the dishes stated above, there are other dishes that have stood the test of time and have been treating many people, Hyderabadi Haleem, Paaya, Qubani ka meetha, Baghara Baingan and Pathar ka Gosht are a few dishes.

Hyderabadi Biryani

biryani    biyan
This is a well known celebration meal of the Hyderabadis. Its a combination of mainly Lamb and rice. The Hyderabadi Biryani is famous all over the country. There are basically two types of biryani, kacchi(Raw meat) and pakki(cooked meat). This dish is also available with chicken and assorted vegetables. There are many varieties of this dish. The Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Zafrani Biryani and Kache Gosht ki Biryani. Paradise, Bawarchi, Hyderabad House and Pista House are one of the famous places in Hyderabad that serve exceptionally delicious biryani. The iconic Hyderabad Biryani is a specialty in the Hotel Paradise. Paradise was so successful that, it has outlets in United Kingdom, United States of America and many other places abroad.

Hyderabadi Haleem

hyderabadi haleeemhaleem

This is one another famous dish of this cuisine, The Hyderabadi Haleem is a stew made of meat and lentils which is  mainly eaten during the holy month of Ramzan. Hyderabadi Haleem is also the Hors d’oeuvre for all the occasions like weddings, festivals, etc. Haleem means patience. It often takes as long as a day to prepare this high calorie dish. The perfect haleem is said to be made over a period of a week. The main ingredient of this dish are, meat ( goat, beef or chicken), wheat, ghee, milk, lentils, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric. There is an intricate use of spices such as cumin seeds, caraway seeds (shah zeera), cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, saffron, jaggery, natural gum, allspice (kabab cheeni) and dry fruits such as pistachio, cashew, fig and almond. It is served hot The toppings used are chopped Boiled egg, coriander, onion, lime and garnish. Two people are generally involved in the preparation of this nutritious dish. One of them has to continuously keep stirring the contents to make sure there is uniformity and the paste-like mixture is formed properly. This serves as the perfect dish for people to break their fast in the evening. This dish is one of the most popular delicacies across the world. During Ramzan, in hyderabad, there are over 70 places that prepare haleem. Most of them are temporary and last only for the month of ramzan. During this month, about 30% of Haleem that is produced in the city is exported to various places across the world. This is also the first non vegetarian dish in India to be awarded with Geographical Indication. For the transport of this tasty dish to various places across the world, a special type of courier service is used.

irani chai paaya karachi
When in hyderabad, you must definitely try the Irani Chai, Rio Samosa, Osmania bicuits and the world famous Karachi Bakery’s fruit biscuits. Irani Chai ( Tea ) is believed to relax you at the end of a busy day’s work. Its famous in the Old City area of Hyderabad. There are many places which are famous for their food items. The Multi-cuisine restaurant Paradise has won many awards for its Biryani. Paaya(Bone soup) is one of the most famous breakfast dishes in the city. The Osmania Tea biscuits are very famous too. They are named after the Nizam king, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

paradise

Hyderabad is famous for its people, the hindi and its heritage architectural sites too. The people of this city have always been giving one of the greatest importance in their lives for their food. Food is never just to fill their stomach or nutrients, for a Hyderabadi, food is a passion and one of the best things of the city. The people who are not comfortable with a little spice in their food would miss what is an essentially unique cuisine of this princely estate. Hyderabad has been recognized for the culture, language and food that it maintains over time. For a unique, tasty and an everlasting experiencing, you should enjoy this irresistible cuisine of the erstwhile Nizam Kingdom.

Of Luxury and Affluence: Isla Verde, Puerto Rico



Of Luxury and Affluence: Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

Luxury resorts,the beach and nightlife describes the region of Isla Verde in Puerto Rico in a nutshell. The misleadlingly named Isla Verde which literally translates to ‘Green Island’ is a hip, hot and happening getaway for the rich and famous. If your pocket allows it, Isla Verde would be the perfect destination for some clubbing, good resorts and celeb spotting. The beautiful crescent shaped shoreline allows you to switch settings between seaside and big city in no time at all.

Isla-Verde-Beach

Deriving its name from the tiny 0.6 acre island north of Punta Medio, Isla Verde is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the North, Condado, San Juan in the West, Santurce, San Juan in the South and by downtown Carolina in the East.  Book a trip to this Puerto Rican paradise to experience a day in the life of a fat walletted jet setter.

Getting There

Take a cab from the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport which should cost you around $10 to $20 depending on the destination. Tipping the taxi driver is customary here so keep a little spare cash at hand for the same.

Isla-Verde-Beach

Accommodation

Although Isla Verde is most famous for its luxury resorts, accommodation is available in various price ranges.

For a relatively inexpensive stay, book a room at the Coqui Inn with its friendly staff and good facilities. The Boriquen Beach Inn offers budget accommodation in the vicinity of the beach.

The well located Courtyard by Marriott offers moderately priced accommodation and is a great family style hotel.  ESJ Towers allows you to rent one or two bedroom apartments right on the beach at a moderate price.

If you’re willing to splurge, the El San Juan Hotel and Casino is one of the best casino hotels in Puerto Rico, perpetually bustling with activity. Another option for the large budget is the Water and Beach Club, a super stylish, hip and sexy boutique hotel. If you have cash to burn, you can check out the Ritz Carlton which boasts a superb casino, an enviable spa and gorgeous, elegant rooms.

Dining

If you’re looking to try local Puerto Rican delicacies, Isla Verde isn’t really the best place to be. It tries to cater to the dietary needs of international clientele and sees a lack of businesses serving an authentic Puerto Rican platter. Certain restaurants like Platos are your best bet to try local dishes with a unique spin.

La Piccola Fontana is popular for authentic Italian cuisine. Ceviche serves internationally acclaimed Peruvian cuisine specialising in seafood. Tangerine at the Water and Beach Club is an excellent option if you’re looking for some place stylish, expensive and sexy to grab a bite.

Espana Bakery has been touted the best place to sample authentic Spanish cuisine in the area. Taste the delectable pastelitos, Fabada Austriana, Caldo Callego, sandwiches and cafecito- the local coffee drink that this 30 year old bakery has to offer.

Shopping  

Relative to other neighbourhoods in San Juan, Isla Verde doesn’t boast bustling bazaars and shopping destinations. Tourist stores are found along the main street of the area. Puebla can be viewed as a Puerto Rican take of a supermarket. There are haute couture and high end jewellery stores at the El San Juan Hotel and Casino and the Ritz Carlton. Algo d’Aqui is a popular tourist store on Isla Verde Avenue for distinctive souvenirs.

Activities  

Spend a day sunbathing or swimming at Isla Verde Beach or Carolina Beach, the latter offering more amenities. You can also take a dive in the clear, blue waters of the area. San Juan Waterfun at Isla Verde Beach organises activities like boating, parasailing and other water sports.

Isla Verde Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Caribbean

Take a gamble at one of Isla Verde’s several quality casinos. For an unusual spectacle of cockfighting, head to Club Gallistico de Puerto Rico.

Any trip to Isla Verde is sorely incomplete without a night out at one of its many nightclubs. An international party hub, the area never fails to impress with the sheer excess of its nightlife. Party among the affluent at Club Brava, the hottest club in San Juan at the El San Juan Hotel and Casino. Visit Wet at the Water and Beach Club for the impressive rooftop setting. Lupi’s on Isla Verde avenue is popular among the younger clientele for its affordable Mexican fare and generous drink portions.

To wind down and relax after a big night out, head straight to Isla Verde’s superb spas. The Edouard du Paris Spa at the El San Juan Hotel and Casino is a popular favourite. Visit the spa at the Ritz Carlton for local ingredients, essences and aromas. The spa at the Intercontinental boasts treatments, facials and body wraps by Elemis.

Want to be King for a day? Jet around between the best of hotels? Party like there’s no tomorrow? Sip pina coladas while watching the world carry on? Get a suntan amongst the most expensive string bikinis in the world? And find leisure and solace while you’re at it? Save up and head to Isla Verde,  Puerto Rico. It may burn a hole in your pocket, but its well worth it.

Montserrat- the other side of Caribbeann



Montserrat- the other side of Caribbeann

Located in the picturesque land of the Caribbean is the island of Montserrat which is an overseas territory belonging to the British Empire. This place belongs to the Leeward islands which is a part of Lesser Antilles, a chain of islands in the West Indies. Many inhabitants of this place are of Irish descend and that is the reason why Montserrat is also called as The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. Surrounded by water on all sides there is not much of land available for the island to stretch itself. It’s length is 16 km long while the width of the island stands at just 11 km. However, it has a long coastline measuring approximately 40 km.

Although a teeny-weeny island floating in the bluish-green water of the vast ocean, Montserrat has never been overlooked as any other island. It had caught the attention of even the most famous sailor and adventurer Christopher Columbus, who used it as a resting place after being informed that it was uninhabited. ‘Santa Maria de Montserrat’ was the name given to the island by Columbus after the Monastery of Montserrat, located in present-day Catalonia, Spain.

Montserrat-_048

In 1632 the place came to be controlled by England. There were also some Irish who made Montserrat their home after being driven away in the anti-Catholic riots at Nevis. From here on, the island made a lot of economic progress. It was cultivating and exporting many different commodities and was also earning by way of tourism. In the 1970s, the producer of Beatles, George Martin opened his new recording studio at Montserrat and named it AIR Studios Montserrat. Since then the island began attracting many musicians and band members to come, compose and record their songs in the serene tranquility of this island. However, one major natural calamity completely destroyed the throbbing life of this land. That was the volcanic eruption.

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The island of Montserrat was always home to a volcano, but it was dormant and did not pose a threat to the lives of the many citizens. But one fine day, in the month of July 1995, this volcano began showing signs of a huge and major eruption. It threw out gravel, rocks, ash along with hot molten lava that would burn and destroy anything and everything that came in its path. The air was filled with thick black smoke billowing from the mountainous eruption.  Such was the magnitude of this volcanic activity that rocks and ash were thrown up to 20 feet high in the air. This natural hazard wreaked normal lives and caused a lot of damage. Many people lost their lives, houses were destroyed or completely buried under the layers and also some people were rendered homeless. Not to mention, all economic establishments like shops, cafes, business centres and banks were reduced to a rubble, which is why people also lost their jobs and were soon unemployed. Hospitals and schools could not function efficiently too. Even the airport was damaged and the docking facilities at the port were affected. Obviously, this hindered trade, both export and import and even reduced the number of tourists who would otherwise be seen swarming the island. In short, the economy of the island had come to a complete standstill.

montserrat

The city of Plymouth which is the island’s capital was also destroyed. Many people were evacuated from their homes and put up in temporary shelters. However, with the destruction of the economy due to the volcano eruption, and with absolutely no proper housing, electricity or sanitation facilities, many people decided it was best to leave the island and look for work elsewhere. The volcano did not go hush after this burst. There were many aftershocks which were reported due to the continuous movement of the land. There was also some other minor eruptions which were seen in the late 1990s. One eruption which happened in the year 1995 was sudden and it reportedly killed 19 people while many other residents suffered burn injuries.

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Although some braveheart citizens decided to return back to their homes and start with their lives afresh and anew, most of the island now remains abandoned. Farms were destroyed and even to this day, you will find many houses which are either partially or completely buried under the ash. The activity of the volcano was seen during the first initial years of 2000s also, but it was only the venting of ash in the air. The ash spreads in the northern and western direction and it was in these two directions that most of the damage occurred. But a still northern part of Montserrat remained untouched by this brutal destruction and is still lush green.

The airport was officially opened in February 2005 and is now named as the John. A Osbourne Airport. Most of the flights operating in and out of the island are handled by Fly Montserrat Airways.  Even shipping services are now slowly resuming and coming back to normalcy. The docking facilities are available at Little Bay which is also the new capital town of the emerald island. However there is still construction activity going on here, and just a little distance away is Badres which is the new Government Centre.

The task of building the new capital city is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development.

The City of Arts and Science: Valencia, Spain



From Flamenco dance to bull fighting, Spain is home of so much colorful and unique festivals and traditions. The scenic beauty and amazing coast line of Spain is also worth mentioning but it’s the beautiful cities that make this country a great tourist destination. One of these pearls is Valencia which is the third largest city of Spain. It is located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. If you are into some adventurous stuff then this place is heaven for you as you will find any kind of sports here like diving, hiking, river rafting, trekking and more. Valencia also has been the host of sports events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the America’s Cup which earned it a great recognition. You can purchase a Valencia Tourist Pack which facilitates you with a tourist guide and stay at a good place and sightseeing off course.

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The climate of Valencia, because of its location, is Subtropical Mediterranean climate. It has hot and dry summers with not so cold winter months. The weather remains pleasant throughout the year and the temperature during summers can reach a maximum of 86 F. The best time to visit Valencia is spring time when the weather remains fairly mild.

How to get here?

How to get here

The Valencia International Airport has air connections with all major countries and not very far away from the city centre. Outside the airport, there is metro station from where you can catch a metro train and reach downtown within 20 minutes. There are a lot of taxis and local bus services from airport towards the city. There are six railway lines that connect Valencia to Utiel, Caudiel, Mogente and some other cities and it has its own city centre station. There is AVE service, Shuttle buses, Metro and taxis available to get around in the city.

Accommodation and Food

Accommodation

The accommodation facilities in Valencia are quite rich and you will easily find hotels, guesthouses, hostels, apartments, youth hostels and campsites around the city in every price range. If you want a grand luxury hotel then Hotel Las Arenas Balneario Resort, The Westin Valencia, Caro Hotel, hospes Palau De La Mar and Sh.Valencia Palace are the 5 star hotels in the city. There are also budget hotels like Ibis Valencia Aeropuerto and Ibis Valencia Palacio De Congresos. If you require budget hostels then Ding Dong Telas, Hostel Antigua Morellana and Miramar are good options.

Food

Valencia is the greatest place for dining but there is a long range of restaurants, cafes, bars and food corner that offer some high quality cuisine. You will get almost every taste you want from Italian and Greek to Indian and Turkish, from Japanese to Lebanese and from Mexican to American. You can enjoy some delicious Italian food at Don Salvatore Italiano, Al Pomodoro, Maramao and La Pappardella and some great Spanish food at El Rall and Chust Godoy. Other good options include Plaza Doctor Collado, La Diabla, Pans & Company, Horchaterria Santa Catalina and La Sardineria.

The Attractions

Ibiza

ibiza

Ibiza is a little island just 79 km from Valencia with some beautiful villages, nautical services, shopping spots and some sports. Ibiza even has its own airport and has direct access from airlines like Spanish Peninsula and Europe. You can reach by boat from Valencia and enjoy the 18 km long beach with natural sand, crystal clear water with all kinds of outdoor sports. After relaxing on beach you can have some coffee or food at local restaurants and cafes here. There are a lot of places to visit here like Cala de Sant Vicent, Dalt Vila and Port de Sant Miquel.

L’Oceanografic

L’Oceanografic 

L’Oceanografic is the largest aquarium of Europe and home of over 45000 sea residents of 500 different species. Main attractions here are dolphins, belugas, sea lions, turtles, sharks, rays, starfish, jellyfish and crustaceans. The aquarium is divides in some little buildings identified with different aquatic environment like the Mediterranean, Temperate, Wetlands, the Antarctic, the Red Sea and Oceans. There is also an underwater restaurant with some delicious food and exotic drinks. The aquarium is located at Eduardo Primo Yufera in Valencia and you can get there easily by different means of transport.

City of Arts and Sciences

VALENCIA,SPAIN-SEPT 10:City of Arts and Sciences. September 10,

The City of Arts and Sciences is a complex featuring some scientific and cultural dissemination featuring IMAX cinema, the Ubracle which is a car park, the Principe Felipe Science Museum, the L’Oceanografic and Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. The complex is designed by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela and the striking architecture of this place will surely blow your mind. You will learn a lot about different aspects of science, nature, arts and technology in different events and programs regularly held here.

Mestalla Stadium

Mestalla Stadium

Mestalla is a football stadium with a capacity of 55000 seats in Valencia. It was designed by the architect Francisco Almenar Quinza and opened its gates on 20th May, 1923. The stadium is located on the east of Valencia’s city centre. It is just a 15 minute walk from the main railway station. You can take a guided tour which includes access to dressing rooms, players’ tunnel, VIP boxes, stadium chapel and dugouts. The tour costs $10 per person and lasts about 45 minutes. There are also some eating spots near the stadium like Hotel Renasa, SH Valencia Palace and NH Villacarlos where you can have some refreshing food and drinks.

Other attractions include Valencia Bioparc, Valencia Cathedral, Mercado Central, Llotja de la Seda and many more. So, just plan a visit and experience this marvelous city.

The Scenic Beaches of Florianopolis, Brazil



The Scenic Beaches of Florianopolis, Brazil

Located in the shores of the beautiful country of Brazil, Florianopolis is the second largest city in the Brazilian part of Santa Catarina. The beautiful beaches and the lovely drive in the sea drive of the city are just amazing and thousands of travellers from around the world travel to this place just for the sheer beauty that this place p[possesses. Consisting of a number of smaller islands, the main part of the city is the island of Santa Catarina. The island is mainly continental in looks and has an average population of about 5 Lakh people. Though the population is meagre when compare to other major cities across the world, the city of Florianopolis is the second most populous city in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. With the highest human development index score, this city is one of the cities with the highest quality of living. The economy of this state is mainly dependant on tourism and information technology.

Ponte_Hercilio_Luz_-_Dezembro_1996_-_by_Sérgio_Schmiegelow

Such is the country of Brazil that the coastline in Brazil is always buzzing with activity such as surfing and sailing. The New York Times also voted Florianopolis as the Party Destination of the Year 2009. To add more to the cities’ name and fame, this city was also voted one among the ten most dynamic cities in the world. This city has also attained the cult status of being the best place to live in the whole of Brazil. Tens of thousands of visitors from all over Argentina, Europe and America visit the city of Florianopolis every year.

The southern part of the island is inhabited when compared to the other parts of the island. Though there are no major industries in this region, there are a lot of other main attractions such as fishing and other activities which are also the main sources of income to the people here. To start off with the features of this city, one of the primary aspects that one would look into ius the food and music. Brazil is a city is well known for its cultural heritage and thus it is reflected on the food as well. The tradition with which the food is prepared in any part of the city is quite astounding by itself.

This island is connected with the help of three bridges and the Hercilio Luz Bridge is the oldest of them all at an age of more than 70. The other two bridges are the Pedro Ivo Bridge and the Colombo Sales Bridge and the oldest bridge is closed to traffic whereas these two bridges are the ones that are open to the traffic. One of the most important reasons as to why tourists’’ visit this city is the hot massage and immersion baths that the place is famous for.

NaufragadosBeachFlorianópolis

The world tours that happen for surfing are known as the ASP World Tours and this city, which is well known for its surfing community is one of the locations for it. More than 50 competitors from around the world turn up for this event which is judged by some of the best professionals from across the world. As a matter of fact, this city is the only place that hosts a surfing event of this magnitude in the whole of South America. The history of Florianopolis is quite amazing as well and it is shown out in the Museum that is located in the city. Music and Dance are two fields in which the Brazilians are brilliant in. The cultural carnivals that Brazil is famous for is a classic example to this.

Some of the Beaches that are famous in and around the city are Santinho Beach, Joaquina Beach, Campeche Beach, Barra da Lagoa Etc. The hotels that are present in the coastline are a treat to the travellers. The best coastal food available in Brazil is found along this coastline. The locals here advice the people to make sure that they don’t get struck up in the porche hotels and restaurants. The small open air restaurants and food stalls provide the best possible taste, with the right mixture of cultural heritage and love, which add to the taste.

Florianopolis_BeiraMar

Some of the other activities that are available in the coast are rowing, paragliding, mountain biking and hand gliding to name a few. Small ships with equipment take travellers to the shallow part of the sea and help in deep sea diving. If you are an amateur, it is never a matter of concern as there are a lot of trained professionals who are there to help you out. The coast guards in the beaches have a close eye on all the activities and also alert the people on life saver boats just in case of an emergency. No matter what the situation is, the Brazilian coastguards are the best of the kind and they respond to pin point accuracy in no time at all. This is reflected on the number of accidents that have been prevented in the sea activities over the years. The alertness of the guards and the facilities available in the beach make this place one of the best tourist destinations in the world.

Avenida_Beira_Mar_Norte_Florianopolis

Spectacular Waterfalls of Meghalaya



Spectacular Waterfalls of Meghalaya

waterfall

Meghalaya is a state in North East, India. Meghalaya is also known as ‘Adobe of Clouds ‘. One third of the state is covered with beautiful mountains and lush green forest. The whole Meghalaya is famous for natural beauty rather than man made beauty. Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya, which is also known as one of the major city of Meghalaya. The other major city of Meghalaya is Cherrapunji. Meghalaya is also renowned for spectacular waterfall, where water flows in vertical position in the course of a stream or river. Some of the well-known waterfalls of Shillong and Cherrapunji are: –

  • WATERFALLS IN CHERRAPUNJI

waterfall1

Cherrapunji also known as Sohra is a sub divisional town in the East Khasi Hills District, in the Indian state of Meghalaya. Cherrapunji is one of the wettest place on the Earth which receive highest rainfall throughout the year. The town Cherrapunji is eminent for spectacular waterfalls gobbling down from the high hills. Due to the heavy rainfall in monsoon season, the waterfalls become more enormous due to more provision of water from rain itself. Some of the outstanding waterfalls of Cherrapunji are: – Dain–Thlen waterfall, Nohkalikal waterfall, Kynrem waterfall, Mausami waterfall etc.

 ü  DAIN-THLEN WATERFALL

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Dain-Thlen fall is situated in Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. It is one of the most wonderful fall which remind you of ‘The Great Niagara Fall’. It is also known as peaceful and soft waterfall because it does not make any loud noise while falling from great height. According to the history, it is said that, the waterfall derived its name from Thlen, a giant demon. Thlen used to trouble the people of the town. One day people of the town decided to get rid from the evil man, so they captured the Thlen and killed him on the flat rock behind the waterfall. Till today the imprints can also be seen on the rock where the evil spirit was killed. We can reach their easily through roads. The best glimpse of the waterfall can be seen, when it is raining there. Its serene enviourment and immaculate beauty draws the attention of several tourists to see the remarkable waterfall.

ü  NOHKALIKAL WATERFALL

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Nohkalikal waterfall is one of the tallest waterfall in India. It is situated in Cherrapunji town, in the state of Meghalaya, India at a height of 1100 feet. The flow of water is plentiful in summer season but in winter season the flow of water reduces into a small stream providing an impression of a thin rope in white colour hanging from down from the hill slope. Nohkalikal fall derived its name from the tragic story of a widow, named Likai. Who jumped from the cliff of the waterfall because she unknowingly eaten her child in a meal cooked by her second husband, who just killed the child because he didn’t like the attention she gave to her child. The waterfall is a pleasure for the seeker who love adventure. Below the fall there is a small pool which remains blue in winter and green in summer. The best time to visit Nohkalikal fall is in the month of September and October when the sky is clear. A little amount of fees is charged for taking cameras.

ü  MAUSAMI WATERFALL

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It is one of the spectacular waterfall which is located a few kilometres from Cherrapunji. It is the 4th highest waterfall in India. It is also known as Nohsngithiang or Seven Sister fall, because 7 small falls run with the main fall from the cliff. Due to its height and facing to South East position the fall is enhanced by sunlight from down till dusk. When the sun sets the rays are scattered by the mist, which is formed by the falling of water, creates a magical effect for the tourists.

  • WATERFALLS IN SHILLONG

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Shillong the capital of Meghalaya, is the smallest state in India and home to Khasi. It is one of the major city of Meghalaya, which lies in the centre of the plateau and is surrounded by hills. Being the important tourist’s destination, it is also referred as ‘Scotland of India’. In Shillong, waterfalls are not just meant to generate electricity, but they are eye-catching spot for tourists as well. The unharmed magnificence and atmospheres make them to be the superlative places to visit in Shillong  The beautiful hill station consists of amazing waterfalls all around and they are:-

ü  SWEET WATERFALL

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Sweet fall is one of the most memorising waterfall in Shillong. It is very steep fall which is located near Happy Valley at a distance of about eight kilometres from Shillong. It look like a straight pencil of water which drops in vertical position over a distance more than two hundred feet. The waterfall is eminent picnic spot for the locals as well as tourists. Extreme attentiveness is recommended as there are no barriers nearby and rocks are nearly always slippery due to heavy rain.

ü  ELEPHANT WATERFALL

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Elephant Falls is situated at the borders of the main city of Shillong. It is a dualistic waterfall, which sets in the deep wooden valley of the rocks. Elephant waterfall is named after a stone which resembles an elephant. Though the stone was destroyed by an earthquake. Elephant fall has several small fall which run along it. The water flows with full pressure during rainy seasons. The best time to visit elephant water fall is July and August.

The Sunken Palace of Cleopatra,Alexandria,Egypt



Bored of clichéd, predictable holiday getaways where every experience is but a repertoire of an earlier venture? If that is so, and you crave to peregrinate into the unknown, for once experience the pages of history coming alive and witness the existence of a long-lost ancient city shrouded in mystery, The Palace of Cleopatra awaits you in Alexandria, Egypt. An ancient Mediterranean city founded by Alexander himself and named after him, was one of the largest commercial, scientific and cultural centres, in the ancient Egypt. Inhabited by a polyglot community of people from many Mediterranean countries, reflecting the multiculturalism, multi-cuisine and society with contemporary population of over 4,000,000, Alexandria, now stands out on its hallmarks of heritage.

However, any conversation on this ancient city seems far less than satiating unless some of its illustrious history is smoked into its air. Therefore, as the legend goes, when Alexander the Great had commanded to construct a new capital in the country he had just conquered in 322 BC, a small fishing village called Racotis was what inhabited this territory. As per the plans, Dinocrates of Rhodes connected Racotis to the island facing it, Pharos, by a dyke, forming two harbours. Unfortunately, Alexander the Great never got to set afoot here and Ptolemy became the first king to live and rule from Alexandria and his successor Ptolemy II transformed it into the most important city in the Mediterranean. And, it remained so until the rule of the Queen Cleopatra VII, last of the dynasty.

Historians believe that the illustrious royal Palace of Cleopatra, along with the island of Anthirodos submerged into the depths of the sea, due the earthquake and tsunami that took place few centuries after Cleopatra’s death, some 1,600 years ago. However, little was known of this sunken palace until the 1990s, when French archaeologist Franck Goddio unearthed the ancient writings of a Greek historian named Strabo who had described the great city of Alexandria and the island of Anthirodos, seemed to be located in a bay near by the city’s shore. And, Strabo in these writings also described Queen Cleopatra’s palace, which built on that very island. Therefore, marine archaeologists led by Goddio made excavations on this ancient city where the last queen of Ptolemeis, Cleopatra ruled Egypt.

Despite the fact that the remnants of the glorious palace remained under the sea for 1600 years, many of its treasures are completely intact, wrapped in sediment protecting them from the saltwater. The discoveries, such as a well preserved shipwreck and red granite columns with Greek inscriptions, two statues, one of a priest of the goddess Isis and other of a sphinx whose face is said to resemble Cleopatra’s father, King Ptolemy XII, are now kept in the underwater museum. Other findings include the legendary Timonium, commissioned by Mark Antony, Cleopatra’s lover, where he retreated from the world after his defeat by Octavian, but ended up committing suicide even before the building was even completed, and a colossal head-shaped stone believed to be that of Caesarion, son of Cleopatra and previous lover Julius Caesar. If you’re a possessor of an appropriate dive certificate, wait not to plunge into the underwater museum experience awaiting to unearth the mysteries of the past, right in front of your eyes. However, if you are an enthusiast without a dive certificate, diving guides are always at your rescue! Located amidst the Mediterranean coast of Egypt,179 Km(11 miles) north of Cairo, the second largest city of Egypt, Alexandria, is however, not a very populated by tourists though one can reach here, in almost every possible way, road, train flight or even cruise!

1.Exploring the ancient beach-city!

Once reached and settled down, get ready with your travel journal in hand, a camera and lots of energy for the journey into the perfectly amalgamated abode of the past and the present! Here’s a list of places you HAVE to add onto your itinerary to Alexandria:

 

• Go diving into the underwater Cleopatra’s Palace and museum (of course!), and do look out for the two sphinxes, one of which resembles Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra’s father and of course the temple of Isis, where Cleopatra had supposedly committed suicide.

• Visit the Pharos Lighthouse, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, lost after the Arab conquests and a number of earthquakes in 796 B.C.E. However remnants of the over 100 meters high structure exist in the depths of the sea, only as tumbled blocks. Though, most of it is now destroyed, in its yonder days of grandeur the lighthouse had a huge, about 7 meters high figure of Poseidon, the Greek god of sea on top of it and a complex system of mirrors enhanced the light from the fire lantern ,located on the third floor thus allowing to observe the sea. However, in its place now stands a fortress built by Kite Sultan Bey.

 

• Drive along the Corniche road running along the eastern harbour of Alexandria, which is also a perfect place for a waterfront stroll.

• Explore the city’s local sightseeing spots such as the Roman Amphitheatre, the Pompey’s Pillar & the Temple of Serapeum.

 

• Unleash the book worm inside you in the citadel of knowledge, The Royal Library of Alexandria, which is said to be one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. Dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts, the library flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic Dynasty and served as an eminent hub of learning, from its very inception in 3rd century B.C.E. until the 30 B.C.E Roman conquest in Egypt. It houses rare collections of literary masterpieces, meeting rooms, lecture halls and gardens and was a part of a greater institution known as the Musaeum of Alexandria, a place where most of the lauded and famed intellectuals of the ancient world studied.

2.A Collector’s Zenith!

Egypt is known for its highly intricate antiques, and Alexandria, which still breathes in the Greco-Roman and Egyptian influence has its own rich treasure of collectibles! Attareen( or Attarine) Antique Market is one such abode. Journey through the labyrinth of alleys and backstreets to delve into the indulgent collection of antiques some of which were once possessions of European elites who were forced en masse to make expeditious egress from Egypt after the 1952 revolution.

3.Luscious delight and cultural ecstasy!

Weary after a day-long activity of city-hopping, it’s now time to relax and indulge into the varied flavours of Middle East fused with the Greco-Roman punch!

• If you are a sea-food lover, and wish to indulge in a lunch or dinner of freshly caught fish smoked with middle eastern spices, Alexandria will have a stream of authentic fish restaurants laid out for you, one of which is Kadoura(pronounced as ‘Adora’).One of Alexandria most authentic eateries where food is served at tables lined up in a narrow street, provides an assortments of seafood, starting from sea brass, red and grey mullet, squid, crab, sole, to even bluefish, all freshly caught. And, in the list of specialties sea brass stuffed with garlic and herbs and prawn kishk (casserole) are the most popular.

 

However, another place that seems to stand out in the list of sea-food paradise, is, Samakmak, owned by Zizi Salem, the retired Doyenne of Alexandrian belly-dancing realm, which not only serves fresh fish, like the others, but adds an extra edge to it, as customers flock to this place seeking its specials, which include, great spaghetti with other fish eateries in the clams, crayfish and a fabulous crab tagen (stew cooked in deep earthen pot).

• Meat lover’s joyous abode: A marvellous place for dinner awaits in Alexandria’s Abou Fares, which specializes in Syrian shawarma, along with ambrosial concoction of spicy-grilled lamb or chicken, smeared in garlicky mayonnaise and pickles, rolled up inside roasted flatbread. A very accessible place and well know, it is just 500m before the City Centre Mall.

• For a light snack, with some Brazilian coffee, a sheesha pipe or a hot glass of tea, to give you company while you scribble notes on your travel journal, Alexandria has a plethora of cafes, Selsela Café being one of the best of them. This amazing ahwa past the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is truly unique of Alexandria, where you can do all the above mentioned things while enjoying the sultry sea-breeze, as the rustic open-air tables there are laid directly on the waters, with cheerful multihued lights around the shade of palm trees, set at the far arch of the sea where, traffic noises can hardly be heard. Relax, and cleanse the mind while breathing in the Mediterranean vibe and enjoying the view of sunset. It is truly a great experience, you’d like to end your journey with.

 

Alexandria is a gem of a place, as the quest to venture the mysterious sunken palace of Cleopatra brings the traveller to a lot many surprises represented by a perfect amalgamation of Egyptian, Islamic and Greco-Roman cultures in the backdrop of a modern-ancient city.

However, in these times of modernity, the nation once again faces the tumultuous political anguish, after the disposal of President Morsi, which has made travelling to Egypt least recommended by almost all the western and eastern governments. It is hoped that in near future deliverance from this unrest will dawn upon the nation, and all the Egypt-lovers dispersed across the globe will find another safe opportunity to set afoot in their most endeared place. This isn’t the first time, when Alexandria is facing such jeopardy, in the past it has overcome many such storms and is hoped to maintain so in future. Amen.

 

 

 

Aogashima Volcano, Japan



Tokyo’s Volcanic Crater Island Aogashima

Tokyo’s Volcanic Crater Island Aogashima

“Japan’s Hidden Tropical Island: Aogashima’

Many of the people think that Japan has only four Islands,But in reality japan is having several islands with different sizes.Aogashima is a tropical volcanic island in the Philippine Sea.The shape of the island, which is a small mountain in the volcanic vent, seems like it might even have been designed by someone.It is administrated by Tokyo but is located very far approximately about 358 kilometers (222 mi) south of Tokyo.It a small island in Southern Japan that lies in the Pacific Ocean and the most isolated inhabited island of the Izu archipelago.The volcanic island is about 3.5 km in length with a maximum width of 2.5 km.It is formed by the overlapping remnants of at least four submarine calderas.The village of Aogashima is administered under Hachijo Subprefecture of Tokyo Metropolis.The Island itself is a giant volcanic carter and within that carter there’s another small volcano.As of 2010, the 9 square kilometer island has 98 households and a population of 165, making it the smallest village in whole Japan.The island only has one post office and one primary school with 25 students,when they reach 15 years they have to go to high school on mainland.

The Volcanic Island

The Volcanic Island

History:

The distinctive characteristic of this island is that it has a small crater within the larger crater,which is formed by an eruption in 1783 to 1785. This small crater is called Maruyama and is still emitting geothermal steam around an area where no plants are seen.Looking almost identical like Jurassic Park-like natural fortress, the volcanic island is known as a caldera.According to the records,The first written records of the island appear around the 15th century.It can be seen that many of them are of shipwrecks so there’s a strong possibility that sailors may have taken refuge on the island and eventually they may made it their home place.It is last erupted in the 1780′s,During 1781-1785 the eruptions led to mass evacuation in 1783 and then severe casualties in 1785 – over 1/3 of the population. The only way to reach the island is either through Sanbō port on a small ship during calm seas or chartered helicopter.

Aogashima-The-Volcanic Island

Aogashima-The-Volcanic Island

How to reach:

To reach Aogashima Island, there are two options only-one is to take a passenger boat called “Kanjumaru” and the other is  to take a helicopter provided by Tokyo Island Shuttle Service. Both of them depart from Hachijojima, with the nearest island some 60 km away.Sometimes it can be hard to get a boat to or from the island safely.Before 1993 as the helicopter services are not yet started to this Volcanic Island,all of the goods,food,raw material,all of the resources are carried to this island through boat services only.After the establishment of this helicopter services it became easy to transport goods food and resources to this Island.however, it runs once a day and carries only a maximum of 9 passengers.In many of the cases this service is cancelled due to bad weather conditions over there.This is why Aogashima is still a rarely-visited island with a small amount of visiting travellers.

Aogashima island-helicopter Service

Aogashima island-helicopter Service

Attractions:

The main attraction of the Volcanic Island is the tropical paradise.In the center of the island lies a geothermal sauna.For new people it is a great place to visit and relax and unwind, basking in all the serenity.Walking up to the lookout takes about 45 minutes and the view is spectacular. You can also walk over the rim of the volcano, across the middle and through a tunnel to the South coast, which is where the boat arrives.You could also consider hiking and camping by the volcano, or visiting the volcanic hot springs .The hot streams from the Volcano are used to power up the Island and it is sufficient for the whole Island.Before you want to visit this Volcano you have to keep in mind that it is an active Volcano.There is a public facility utilizing the geothermal power and gas and people use it to cook food and is available for all the people for free of cost.We can find Steamed fresh vegetables, potatoes or eggs which are one of the specialties of Aogashima. The facility also features a sauna, a public bath, and hot shower.All parts of the caldera is covered with environment friendly plants.The rolling hills, small lakes, and all other surroundings is very stunning right here.The folklore songs That are sung by the people over here are mostly about the stories leaving island and parting their loved ones.Hingya the natural salt is produced by using the geothermal steam at Ikenosawa.To produce the natural salt, Kuroshio sea water, abundant with mineral and calcium, is slowly crystallized by the geothermal steam over weeks, that creates a mild taste.

Aogashima-Adventures Island to visit

Aogashima-Adventures Island to visit

The local people are seen to be friendly, helpful and calm to tourists.For people who want to stay for some days, the accommodation can cost about $ 50-95 per night in the area known as Ikenosawa Fumaroles. There are no restaurants available on the island.Aogashima Island is perfect for nature lovers, as the biggest attraction is the double volcano Aogashima.There is a saying that If you did something wrong in such a closed village, there’s the fear that the next day it would be gossiped about by the entire village.

Aogashima Island

Aogashima Island

Aogashima-beautiful-caldera-filled-with-green-plants

Aogashima-beautiful-caldera-filled-with-green-plants

 

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland



Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

Wieliczka salt mine

In the Krakow area of Poland, lies the small town of Wieliczka. Founded in the 12th century by a rich duke, the town was used to mine the rich deposits of salt until 1996.  In the middle ages, the mine adopted the name of Magnum Sal or Great Salt, and thus, went on to be one of the most famous mines in the world today. With a long history that dates back to 1044 AD, It is the only site in the world functioning continuously since the middle ages. Casimir I of 1044 has referred to Wieliczka as “magnum sal alias Wieliczka” as specified in an old document. If you come to notice of the mine from the outside, you won’t think of it as being marvelous at all, you would maybe take into account its impressive maintenance for a mine that stopped mining almost 17 years ago. The mine is as deep as 1079 feet, and lies on 9 levels. To reach the first level itself, it would take you 380 steps. In the mine you will discover things belonging from the 13th century onwards, which are astonishing and remarkable.

Wieliczka chambers

The value of salt in the Middle Ages was as good as the value of oil today. Taking a 2000m walk underground which takes roughly 3 hours, visitors can see its subterranean museum, the oldest part in the mine. Being an art gallery, cathedral and an underground lake, it is not surprising that the mine was a UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978. For tourists, the route begins at a depth of 64 m, consists of twenty chambers, and below the earth surface at 135 meters, where tourists can see the world’s biggest museum of mining housing unique equipment that are centuries-old. It is evident that the miners did not just mine salt rather they left behind a breathtaking record of the time they spent underground in the form of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures, which have been carved out of immense passion and dedication.

Wieliczka chapel

Among the many chapels that they created, they have left behind their bequest in Saint Kinga’s Chapel that took roughly 30 years to complete. On special occasions, mass also takes place here, especially on 24th July i.e. the feast of St. Kinga, 4th December (feast of St. Barbara) , on 24th December a midnight mass on Christmas eve , as well as on each Sunday morning. Being devout Catholics for many centuries, the Polish people, carvings of religious symbols have been more than just a hobby to substitute for their boredom. A lot of the work was done during the miners’ work time and sometimes even after hours, proving that this was indeed, an active worship. Remarkable carvings of Christian aesthetics include carvings of the Last Supper, and the Appearance of Jesus before his disciples. Thus, turning the mine into an important center of Christian art. The most striking highlight of the cathedral are its chandeliers that strikingly, are also made of salt. After first being dissolved, the salt was then reconstructed with its impurities being removed, yielding a glass like finish.

The-Last-Supper-Wieliczka

After seeing the chandeliers, many visitors would expect other similar glass looking structures, however, rock salt come naturally, in shades of grey. Due to the low price of salt in the global market and flooding, the mine was closed down in 1996 after 9 centuries of mining operations. Only 1% of the mine is open to tourists due to safety reasons. In the old visitor’s book you will see the names of well-known personalities that have visited the mine, including European thinkers. The mine also features large scale life sized salt statues that could have taken months or even years to create.  Statues of Pope John Paul II, that was constructed as an expression of gratitude for the canonization of Saint Kinga and Copernicus can be seen carved in salt.In the mine, one can obtain information about the machineries and tools that were used in those years, and that are currently put on public display. The mine also serves as a symbol that shows the progress of mining today. In 1992, a catastrophic flood took place in the area, bringing an end to the commercial salt mining. Today, it stands only as a tourist attraction, and is open on all days.

Wieliczka restaurantsaltminewieliczka lake

The mine has an underground hotel, conference center and even a spa. At 135m deep under the ground, patients have an opportunity to bathe in brine, salt mud or Sulphur water in 12 well furnished rooms. Steam baths are also offered at the center, where patients can relax and de stress in the salt mine while listening to music played by an orchestra. This underground therapy is available to both children as well as adults. After a tiring tour, the visitor can take pleasure in eating delicious Polish cuisine, served 125 meters underground. A bar in the Drozdowice Chamber and the Miners’ Tavern in the Budryk Chamber welcome guests to take a moment and savor the rich Wieliczka salt, that the dishes have been seasoned with. Meals are prepared by distinguished chefs in underground kitchens using fresh products. Being one of Poland’s Nation Historic Monuments, the mine has been visited by personalities like Nicolaus Copernicus, Dmitri Mendeleyev, Pope John Paul II, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Island Of The Dolls-Xochimilco,Mexico



Island Of The Dolls-Xochimilco,Mexico

All adventure seekers, non-believers, wannabe ghost busters, grim ghost-story enthusiasts, psychics, dream analysists, or simply brave-hearts who just LOVE to unravel the most spookiest experiences by visiting the creepiest locales ever and later boast about them, this is You’re place!

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Into the dense labyrinth of the canals of Xochimilco, Mexico, there rests a small island, The Isle de las Muñecas, which literally means, the Island of Dolls, inhabited with hundreds of dirty, castrated, and mutilated dolls, some hanging from the trees, some rotten and putrid and possessing insect nests in place of limbs.

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If you’re ready to venture into this creeptastic island ignoring the forewarnings of the locals, here’s how to reach the, ‘man-made spook-land’. Firstly you’d have to hire a ‘trajinera’, which is a special wooden boat that can steer the canals and the journey will take you two hours on each way, approximately. Once you set afoot on one of the most unnerving locales on Earth, you’d be greeted by hundreds of lacerated, petrifying baby dolls with their blown out heads or empty sockets. They are everywhere, hanging from the trees like dead corpses, or heaped up on the ground, bound together on wooden fence posts or hanging like laundry left to dry. Their lifeless eyes stare back at you from the half-empty sockets, their skin coarse, scabbed and peeling away, while their dirty hair hangs like cobwebs and their pudgy limbs are strewn all around the place-arms and legs bestrewed about chaotically, and the guillotined heads punctured on palisades.

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Now as all such haunted places bear some haunted legends, here’s how this Island grew to become ‘spooked’!

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According to the local legends, a very, very long time ago there lived a hermit in isolation, though some say he was a local farmer of the name, Don Julián Santana Barrera. The tale of troubles starts in 1950, when he had seen one of the three young girls playing on the island, drown in the canal, and later began finding dolls in the very place. He concluded that the place was haunted as no such phenomena could occur naturally, and was truly a sign from an evil spirit. Terrified, Don Julián started collecting dolls, searching them in the canals and trash near the island and even trading for them, only, to protect himself from the evil spirits and the girl’s ghost. He would hang the castrated dolls on the trees and wires stretched between trees like creepy Christmas ornaments and even kept some in his own cabin. Over half a century, he collected more than 1,500 of these little horrors and the oldest one still hangs there in the shed by the entrance and from afar it looks like a hanging rotten corpse of an infant.

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Over time, even those dolls that weren’t already damaged and broken were tormented by time and exposure. Eventually when tourists got to smell something eerie in this place they readily got attracted to it and began paying a Barrera, a small fee for taking photographs of the island.

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However, as according to the Barrera superstition or belief, whatever you might like to think, Don Julián, who lived on the island for over a decade ,all alone, drowned in 2001, in the same manner and at the same place, where the little girl died, whose ghost he hoped to keep at bay. Later, however, it was confirmed that he died of a heart attack, and now a small white cross near the waters, marks his grave.

Now, his cousin Anastasio, lives on the island, running it as a tourist attraction. He claims, “The spirit of the little girl is still here”, and that it’s important not to remove the dolls.

At night, as according to him, the dolls come alive and move their heads and whisper to each other. “It’s very spooky, but I have gotten used to it”, he assures.

What more to experience?

Now, that you have heard the legends, got the warnings from the locals, held on to your spirits and bargained with them and convinced them to bring you on the island on a trajinera, and met the spooky plastic beings, it’s time to know what more can you do on this trip to Xochimilco, instead of just getting scared.

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  • Xochimilco, the Venice of Mexico,is best known for its chinampas that are artificial islands created by the Aztecs to serve as floating gardens where food crops were grown for the ancient city of Tenochtitlan. Though the Island of dolls is one secluded from these, a visit to the other floating gardens, the yonder days’ agricultural breadbasket of Mexico City is worth it! It is one of the last remnants of the ancient Lake Texcoco, and is a perfect destination for young lovers and enchanted travellers seeking a romantic afternoon, on the gondolas, eating, drinking and dancing to the mariachi music all along the way.

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  • Travel to the suburbs of the Mexico City on a small-group tour to the ancient Teotihuacan Pyramids. There are a number of packaged guided tours for that, however, if you’re not a group person and would like to visit it individually, get yourself a guide and leave early in the morning for the pyramids. Here, you can climb the Pyramid of Sun, just before the sunrise to witness the breath-taking experience, this place is best only during the sunrise and sunset. Also visit the butterfly temple and see the Temple of Quetzacoatl, and the Shrine of Guadalupe and explore the ancient Mayan ruins at the famous archaeological site. Then, meet the locals of the typical Mexican town of San Martin de las Piramides, visit the ancient monuments while travelling like a local by public transportation.Also,drop in the cactus factory where they produce candies and creams from various varieties of cacti. And, then end the day at a local home, chatting with their family while sipping on the region’s best pulque, an alcoholic beverage sacred to the Aztecs, whose historical significance and procedure of production will be told to you by your guide.

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  • Embrace the tipsy-trail to Mexico’s Corona brewery and learn about its history and get first-hand beer-making experience. You can even get to taste the sinful array of popular ambrosias-Modelo Especial, Victoria, Corona, Pacifico, Negra Modelo, Cerveza and commemorate this tour with an indulgent experience in company of a few bottles in hand, limes and a nice place to sit by the beach!

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  • Unleash the foodie within you and embark on a Mexican food odyssey, round the city. This gastronomic tour would take you through the markets of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Oaxaca and streets of Puebla to taste sample specialties. You can also learn to make mole in cooking classes and even attend the Mexican barbeque and a pulqueria,or even indulge in a taco crawl through the streets of Mexico. Dining at a traditional cantina, tasting the tender meats at a pit-barbeque, and eating tortillas fresh off the comal (griddle), will follow!

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Though all this wasn’t entirely a part of the spooky island, but elements of it lay scattered in this land, the culture, the folklores, the tribal beliefs and customs, the music, and the Aztec influence. This 3-hour trip to the Island of dolls, through the quiet green pastures with farm animals grazing and birds chirping, brings along with itself a huge list of surprises. Though a scary venture far from the smog and frenzy of Mexico City, upholds the very indigenous essence of the entire place. The local lores, especially the ghost stories and tales of supernatural ,the indigenous music in the drunken haze of the ‘pulque’, sets the entire eerie backdrop of mystery, harmonically entwined with the nature.

island_of_the_dolls

“Ghosts are very real,” Anastasio says. “Some of them are old, like La Llorona, others more recent, like my uncle’s dolls. It’s important to pay tribute to them.” The story of La Llorona is set in Cuemanco, one of the docks from where the gondolas embark, houses numerous crosses and plaques dedicated to her, where she is known as the ‘Weeping Woman’. According to the local legend, she had killed her own children to be with her lover, who when rejected her, she committed suicide by drowning herself. It is said that when the islands are cloaked in fog, there she arrives weeping and crying out for her kids.

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This tradition of passing out legends of horror and supernatural to generations after generations as a gesture of paying tribute to those yonder souls is typical of this place and makes it so uniquely breath-taking.

If you are absolutely sure not to get a heart attack in that eerie ambience, then this place will surely reveal its weary beauty to every traveller ready to pay the much deserved tribute. Although open to all tourists, most locals are always reluctant and scared to take people there, especially after the dusk, as they believe that the ghost of Don and the little girl, inhabit the dolls. A place beautiful in its own strange way, it is to be ventured only at your own risk. Hence, the choice rests upon you, as to whether you take them as mere superstitions, products of man-made fears, or as unfathomable, strange truths.