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Mandu - The City Of Joy

“I know of no place so pleasant in climate and so pretty in scenery as Mandu during the rains.” ~ Emperor Jahangir.
In this "City of Joy", the lyrical voice of Rani Roopmati across the Narmada recalls the noble love tales of Baz Bahadur and Rani Rupmati.

The fortress of joy, Mandu is located at an elevation of 634 m in the Vindhya Range. The fortress is enclosed in the 37 km long battlements. In this well-defended plateau, one could find the wealth of palaces, mansions, pleasure pavilions, mosques and tombs. Thus, Mandu showcases structures that are considered as fine specimens of Afghan style of architecture.

During monsoon, the hill range of Mandu is at its best in natural scenery. The entire area is covered in lush greenery with number of torrents and brooks, gushing down into the narrow valley. The beauty of the place is further enhanced by numerous ponds and lakes dotted across.

Mandu is a celebration in stone, of life and joy,of the love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati.
View from Jahaz Mahal in Mandu
Every structure in Mandu is an architectural gem and these were built in the duration of hardly 125 years, i.e., between 1401 A.D to 1526 A.D. Structures such as massive Jami Massjid and Hoshang Shah’s tomb have also been an inspiration for the designing of glorious Taj Mahal.

A ruined city Mandu (Mandavgad) is located in the present-day Mandav area in the Dhar district. Mandu is situated at a distance of 35 km from the Dhar city in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh. From Indore, this fortress town is located at a distance of 100 km.

In the 10th century, Mandu was founded by Raja Bhoj and later in 1304, was occupied by the Muslim rulers of Delhi. In 1401, when the Mughals occupied Delhi, the governor of Malwa, Afghan Dilawar Khan, located his own little kingdom and subsequently golden era of Mandu began.

Mandu was established as an independent kingdom by Dilawar Khan, but it was his son, Hoshang Shah, who made efforts and shifted the capital to Mandu from Dhar. The legacy then was ruled by Hoshang’s son Mohammed, for one year and then was poisoned by the militaristic Mohammed Khalji, who thereafter ruled Mandu for 33 years.

In 1469, Mohammed Khalji was succeeded by his son Ghiyas-ud-din, who ruled for next 31 years. Thereafter, he was poisoned by his son Nasir-ud-din at the age of 80.

Bahadur Shah of Gujarat occupied Mandu in the year 1526. In 1534, Mandu was reoccupied by Mallu Khan after ousting Mughal prince Humayun. After 10 more years of invasions and feuds, Baz Bahadur emerged as the ruler of Mandu. But, later in 1561, Baz Bahadur fled Mandu instead of facing advancing troops of Akbar.

Mandu, after being added to the Mughal Empire, was considered as a significant degree of independence. In 1732, Mandu was occupied by the Marathas. Thereafter, the capital of Malwa was again shifted back to Dhar, and the fall in fortunes of Mandu had begun with the running away of Baz Bahadur, which became a drop.

Jal Mahal,Mandu

Splendid Palaces, mosques, monuments and tombs mark the identity of Mandu. These attractions are broadly categorized into three groups, namely, The Royal Enclave, Rewa Kund Group, and the Village Group. The entry to any of these groups requires a nominal fee of INR 100 and INR 5 for foreigners and Indians respectively. Apart from this, there are smaller ruins dotted across other regions of Mandu.

  • Royal Enclave Group: This is the most extensive and impressive group of attractions in Mandu. This group includes a collection of Palaces, which were built by different rulers around 3 tanks. The multi-level Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) is one of the major highlights of the group. This used to house Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji's substantial harem of women.
  • Rewa Kund Group: This group lies 4 km to the south, and features Palace of Baz Bahadur and Rupmati's Pavilion. You can enjoy the spectacular view of sunset and overlook the valley. The tragic and legendary romantic tale of Mandu ruler Baz Bahadur and beautiful Hindu singer Rupmati make this place popular among visitors.
  • Village Group: This group is located in the heart of Mandu. There is a mosque, which is regarded as the finest specimen of Afghan style of architecture in India. The Hoshang Shah's Tomb is also featured in this group. These both attractions served as the source of inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal centuries later. The Ashrafi Mahal is also worth a visit due to its detailed Islamic pillar work.

How to Reach:
  • By Air: Indore Airport is the nearest airport to reach Mandu. After arriving at the airport, you may hire a taxi or cab to reach Mandu.
  • By Rail: Indore Railway Station is the nearest railhead to reach Mandu. There are taxis and cabs available for hire to reach Mandu.
  • By Road: There are 4 buses that operate from Indore to Bhopal via Dhar. To reach Mandu, you need to change at Dhar. 

Travel Tip:
Mandu (Madhya Pradesh) is an ideal destination for the visitors looking for peace and relaxation. The best way to explore the place is cycling; cycles are easily available on rent. It is advised to plan a leisure trip of 3 or 4 days to explore Mandu. Mandu's picturesque beauty is at full bloom during monsoon making it one of the best places to visit in India during monsoon.

Side Trip:
The visitors can plan to visit the Bagh Caves, situated on the bank of River Baghini at a distance of 50 km from Mandu. These caves, date back to the 5th-6th centuries AD, are a series of 7 Buddhist rock cut caves. The exquisite murals and sculptures make this attraction worth a visit. On a one day trip, you can also visit Maheshwar, the Varanasi of Central India.

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 Top 5 Summer destinations for Holidays in India

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Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter 2016 | Helicopter Service from Baltal

The annual pilgrimage to Amarnath cave will soon commence. This write up talks about why and who should choose Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter besides underlining the religios significance and important things to keep in find while planning for Baba Barfani yatra.

Dates for Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2016

This holy pilgrimage will commence from 2nd July, 2016. All the preparations for this annual event is done by the administration and government of Jammu & Kashmir.  The temple is located at a height of 13,000 feet, and therefore high altitude illness and the effects of extreme cold are quite common here.

Amarnath Helicopter Yatra from Baltal
Amarnath Yatra Helicopter Services from Baltal are available for elderly, families and those short on time
Despite of such tedious and challenging trek, the indispensable faith of pilgrims inspires them to travel up to the cave temple of Baba Barfaani - as the ice form of lingam is referred to. However, tourists who are running short of time, the Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter tour package is the best way to reach the cave temple in a shortest possible time.

Religious Significance of Amarnath Yatra

Lingam formation at Amarnath Cave
The snow lingam formation gives the name Baba Barfani to Lord Shiva's manifestation at Amarnath Cave
“Attainment of Moksha is guaranteed if one completes the holy journey to Amarnath”, this is the belief that invites millions of devotees from all around the world to the sacred cave of Amarnath. Amarnath Cave is the mystical abode of Lord Shiva nestled amidst the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. It is one of the most revered pilgrimages in India. This Yatra organized by the government of Jammu and Kashmir between the months of June and August every year.

Age Limit for Amarnath Yatris

Ideally, age should not be a barrier between pilgrims and their revered deity. But keeping in mind, the challenging terrains, high altitude and extreme cold conditions, the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB) has barred below 13 years old and above 75 years of age for Amarnath Yatra 2016. Also, women with 6 weeks pregnancy would not be allowed to undertake this year’s Amarnath Yatra.

Reaching the Trekking Points for Beginning Amarnath Cave Yatra

The nearest railway station in broad gauge is Jammu Railway Station. From Jammu, there are two traditional routes that lead to the Amarnath Cave. One is Pahalgam to Amarnath Cave and the other more popular is from Baltal to Amarnath cave.

How to reach Amarnath Cave from Pahalgam

Pahalgam is the starting point of Amarnath Yatra and is situated 96 kilometers north of Srinagar. On the way to the holy cave of Pahalgam, pilgrims have to travel to Chandanwari, which is just 16 kilometers away from Pahalgam and from hear to Panjtarni where the route from Baltal merge with Pahalgam route.

How to reach Amarnath Cave from Baltal

Baltal is well-connected to Jammu via road. Once you’ll arrive in Baltal, the journey to the holy cave is just 14 kilometers away by foot or on ponies & dandies.  En-route Baltal, the pilgrims can enjoy the scenic beauty of Kashmir, which is heaven on earth.

Why Amarnath Yatra from Baltal is Popular?

Amarnath Yatra from Baltal to Cave is the popular route for Amarnath Yatra due to its proximity with the cave. The route being shorter, the pilgrims can return to Baltal and even go back to Srinagar on the same day after having darshan especially if the yatris opt for helicopter service. The Amarnath Cave distance from Baltal is about 16 kilometers which can be covered in about 4 hours.

Benefits of Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter

Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter was launched by the government of Jammu and Kashmir in 2004. It is a perfect option for those pilgrims who are either running short of time or averse to the usual trekking route due to health issues.

Different packages offered for the holy Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter could include airport pick-up, accommodation, VIP Darshan and sightseeing excursions to Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg for a complete experience of holidays in Kashmir.

Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter (from Baltal)

The helicopter service from Baltal goes as far as Panjtarni from where the Amarnath Cave is just 6 kilometers walk.

Pilgrims at the entrance of Amarnath Cave
Pilgrims watching the sky as helicopters do the round: Amarnath Yatra 2014

Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter Cost

The ticket price for Helicopter service is disclosed each year by Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB). The shrine board has collaborated with Pawan Hans Limited and Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd for providing helicopter service from Baltal to Panjtarni and Himalayan Heli Services Private Ltd for helicopter services from Pahalgam-to Panjtarni. 

The Baltal to Panjtarni helicopter fares are decided on the basis of competitive bidding by helicopter service provider.The helicopter service from Baltal to Amarnath takes around 30 minutes. You could find details and pricing of Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter at the website of Indianholiday.com

Online Booking for Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter 2016

You could book your Amarnath Yatra 2016 packages directly from indianholiday.com for a hassle free planning and execution of your pilgrimage tour.

Preparation for Amarnath Yatra

The journey to Amarnath Cave is very tough and requires a lot of physical and mental preparation. Hence, these few basic travel tips for Amarnath Yatra will help you in getting prepared for Amarnath Yatra.

1. Since the Amarnath Yatra entails excessive trekking to heights such as 14,000 feet, pilgrims need to be physically and mentally fit.

2. Pilgrims must carry warm clothes in adequate amount. It is also useful to wear a good set of body warmers.

3. Amarnath Yatra is physically exhausting, therefore, it is advised to carry some easy to perishable eatables such as candy, dates, juices, biscuits and dry juices to power oneself along the route.

4. Alcohol and smoking is strictly avoidable.

5. Don’t walk swiftly. Halt for rest if you feel tired.

6. Relax at designated spots only. There are several dangerous spots that are marked appropriately. You must obey these warnings.

7. The route to Amarnath Yatra is narrow at places and is hardly traversed by humans and ponies. You need to walk to the side of the mountains and leave way for laden ponies.

Here are some more tips for planning Amarnath Yatra and how to do registration for the yatra

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Top 10 Places To Visit In India In March Plus A Bonus

March, the month of the spring season, makes everything in the surroundings appear fresh and clean. Blossoms all around make the place appear colorful and vibrant. Thus, there are various travel destinations in India that are best known for their pleasant climate in the month of March.

Thus, here is a small rundown depicting some of the major tourist destinations in India that are worth a visit during the month of March.

Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep - The tiniest Union Territory of India with 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged bank.
Lakshadweep - The tiniest Union Territory of India with 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged bank.

Lakshadweep, formerly popular as the Laccadives, located around 400 km from the western coast of India in the Arabian sea, is one of the union territories of the country. The 12 islands make it a beautiful travel destination in India.

The major highlights are 5 submerged banks, three beautiful reefs, mosques, villages and more. In addition to this, the travel destination is also popular amidst adventure seekers as there are various water sports and activities organized for tourists.


Shillong has beautiful lakes and waterfalls, and is set in pine forests and green mountains.
Shillong has beautiful lakes and waterfalls, and is set in pine forests and green mountains.
In the north-eastern region of India, Shillong is one of the beautiful travel destinations. The capital city is also acclaimed as ‘Scotland of the East’ for beholding a likeness to that of the highlands of Scotland. Additionally, ‘the abode of clouds’ is also another popular name of the city.

The pollution-free environment wins the heart of the guests. Tall pine conifers and pineapple shrubs add a unique charm to the place. The list of major attractions include Gunner's Falls, Sweet Falls, Crinoline Falls, Shillong Peak, Dumpeep Peak, Umiam or Barapani Lake, Ward Lake, and Grotto Church. ‘Gleneagle of the East’, the Golf Course at Shillong is also one of the must-visit attractions.


Darjeeling- One of the best hill stations in the state of West Bengal, India.

In West Bengal, Darjeeling is one of the beautiful travel destinations. In Tibetan, Darjeeling stands for ‘the place of the thunderbolt’. The town is also popular as ‘queen of hills’ and the toy train ride is reminiscing to the glorious old-world charm. During the toy-train ride, the visitors onboard can enjoy the incredible site of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga, lush greens and the cascading rivers.

The town also welcomes adventure seekers as they can indulge in various activities such as river rafting, trekking and mountaineering. Various Hindu Temples and Buddhist Monasteries are also a few major places to visit in the list of tourist attractions. The visitors can buy finest blend of tea, curio carpets and Himalayan handicrafts as souvenirs.

Also check out our feature on best places to go for summer holidays in India

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Andaman & Nicobar Islands - A veritable Garden of Eden and a naturalist’s heaven.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, a cluster of 572 islets, located at the confluence of Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, is another Union Territory of India. During the British Era, the islands were known as ‘Kalapani’.

The present scenario has made the destination a favorite choice for honeymooners. Along with enjoy quality time at the pristine beaches, the visitors can indulge in various exciting water sports and activities.

Interested in vacation in Andaman? Check out Andaman Island tour package.


 Verdant Green Valley - Mahabaleshwar

To escape the scorching summer, Mahabaleshwar is a great place to visit in the month of March. Located in the verdant valley of the Western Ghats, the hill station is beautifully positioned amidst the Sahyaddri ranges.

The natural setting of the location makes the guests enjoy vacation in a dream location. The destination has also earned the title of ‘Queen of Maharashtra's Hill Stations’ as it attracts holidaymakers, filmmakers, adventure enthusiasts and peace seekers. Additionally, the visitors can also opt for a side trip to Panchgani for a memorable vacation experience.

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park - a world heritage site, the park hosts two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned rhinoceros.

The Kaziranga National Park is a must visit for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The national park is majorly famed for providing shelter to the world’s largest endangered population of one-horned rhinoceros.

The rich flora and fauna, and natural setting of the place win the heart of the visitors. The national park has also been enlisted amidst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. There are about 35 species of mammalian, including 15 species of mammals that are regarded as threatened as per the IUCN Red List. The list of attractions to be visited in and around the park includes Bokakhat, Behora, Kakochang Falls and Deopahar.

Also check out some of the top national parks in India.


Hampi - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Hampi, the 14th century charming town, is built on the shores of the River Tungabhadra. There are three major temple complexes that are to be explored to get the best of the Hampi tour. The complexes are named as The Virupaksha Temple, the Vittala Temple, and the Palace of King in Hampi’s ruins. Badami, located at a distance of 140 km from Hampi, offers the opportunity to visit the small hamlet Aihole en-route.

In addition to this, the list of must-visit attractions includes Durga Temple, the Lad Khan Temple, Ravalphadi Cave and the Buddhist Temple.


Rameshwaram - the part of Char Dham Piligimage & considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus.

Rameshwaram is popularly known as the ‘Varanasi of the South’. The town is situated in the Gulf of Mannar on the eastern side of the islands. The town is also regarded as a major pilgrimage destination for Shaivites and Vaishnavaites. The town is also popular as Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Shiva post his victory over the demon king Ravana. Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the major attractions in the town.

The temple is best known for its 1200 massive granite columns and excellent specimen of Dravidian style of architecture. Agnitheertham is another notable attraction, which is popular for the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva after killing Ravana. Pilgrims also tale bath in the holy shrine.


Mcleod Ganj - A well known learning centre of Tibetan culture, rituals and Buddhism.

McLeodganj has gained huge popularity worldwide after the visit of Dalai Lama in 1960. The village hosts various Tibetan settlements, including religious education and different rehabilitation centers. The village is also praised as an important Buddhist center and hosts numerous Buddhist Gompas.

The list of attractions in McLeodganj includes various ancient Jain and Hindu Temples. The Tibetan culture and crafts also win the heart of the visitors. The handicrafts, garments, thangkas, carpets, etc., make great souvenirs.

Trek to Triund in Dharamsala is one of the most popular activity among tourists and visitors in McLeod Ganj.


Wayanad -  The very unique terrain of Wayanad provide for exceptional adventure experiences.

In Kerala, Wayanad is one of the beautiful districts praised for its location amidst lovely landscape. The district is also known as the home to a few of the oldest tribes that are untouched by civilization. The major attributes of the district include sprawling plantations of coffee, tea, rubber, pepper, and cardamom. Tribal village of Wayanad also makes an important tourist attraction in Kerala.

Thus, to make the best of the vacation, do not miss to visit Vythiri, Lakkidi, Kalpetta, Soochipara Falls and Banasura Dam. Elephant safari at Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary is also an important ‘to-do’ activity. 



Naukuchiatal - Best hill station in Nainital

Naukuchiatal, located in Uttarakhand, is considered as a great weekend getaway from Delhi. Situated at a height of 1220 m, the picturesque location is praised for its peaceful environ. Moreover, the beautiful panorama of the hill station wins the hearts of nature lovers.

Here, the visitors get to enjoy the best of the nature. One can also enjoy a small road trip to reach Naukuchiatal as there is proper road connectivity available via NH 74. The hill-town is also dubbed as ‘lake of nine corners’.

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Places to visit in India in June and July
Places to visit in India in August
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Places to visit in India in October
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Places to visit in India in December

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