Tag Archives: Indian travel

Weather in India in July
Weather in India in July

AN OVERVIEW OF JULY WEATHER IN INDIA

In July half of the year has passed and India has seen all possible climates already: from snow to heat to rain, from dryness to humidity and from cold and hot temperatures. By end of June the monsoon covers the most of the country with a thick and wet blanket of clouds and weather in India can be called nothing else but wet. From Kerala in the south to the Himalayas in the north, from Rajasthan in the west to Sikkim and Darjeeling in the east, it rains regularly and heavy in all regions. Find out more about the effects of the rain season and how it can impact your travels in this blog.

Most locals will be still quite happy with the weather as the hot summer months are finally over and the rains provide a cooler and fresher air to breathe. Temperatures drop between 5 and 10 °C on a monthly average. Rivers, waterfalls and lakes fill up and therefore the agricultural industry becomes busy. It is a great time for farmers but also for trekking and tropical nature enthusiasts.

SOUTH INDIA IN JULY

Kerala faces slightly less heavy rain showers in July compared to June but it rains more often and long-lasting in this month. It is a great time for trekking and national park visit but we aware of the blood-sucking ledges. But if you prefer less wet holidays with lots of sun July might not be the best time to visit Kerala.

The constant rain can also cause interruptions for travels and activities. In Goa many resorts, restaurants and shacks will be closed from May to September, similarly at the beaches of Kerala. If you find a resort that stays open though you can catch great discounts on stays, even at luxury stays. And both Goa and Kerala offer lush greenery in the countryside.

If you still decide to travel despite the humid and wet weather we would recommend to concentrate on the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site parallel to the coast of the Arabian sea. The region is covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations. You can’t just find various wild and unique flora and fauna species in those hills but also endless fruit, tea and coffee plantations. And in July they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady are such places but also the Dudhsagar Waterfall Hike in Goa. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is very popular amongst domestic tourists to flee the annoying conditions of the cities in the monsoons.

Tamil Nadu doesn’t face the entire power of the rain season in July yet as the monsoon hits this region later from August to November with the wettest month being November. But even here it can be quite cloudy and therefore cooler in July. Tamil Nadu tends to be very hot in the rest of the year (except winters) so it might be a great time to visit, especially if you come mainly for the sightseeing of temples and religious monuments.

NORTH INDIA IN JULY

By end of June and beginning of July the monsoon has also hit Rajasthan and the other central and northern regions with full power. All the popular cities of the North like Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Rishikesh and Amritsar face the highest precipitation and number of rainy days in July and August.

Even though the sun doesn’t shine often through the heavy clouds the temperatures just drop slightly and the humidity increases. Travelers who prefer humid heat to dry heat should come to Rajasthan now but it will leave you feeling exhausted if you are physically active.

The cooler regions at the foothills of the Himalayas seem like a good escape but don’t underestimate the power of the monsoon when it hits the mountains and cloudburst appear. The regions of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand have experienced many such extreme weather events when suddenly a huge amount of water was dropped in very less time. In 2013 thousands of residents, tourist and pilgrims were killed near the holy temple of Kedarnath when a landslide caused by such a cloudburst came from the mountains and carried away everything in its way. Even though that happened in June, cloud bursts and landslides are more common in July so keep this in mind if you want to travel and trek in the mountains despite the rain.

If you want to escape the heat and the monsoon all together and enjoy stunning landscapes in the mountains, Ladakh or Lahual Spiti might be the best destination in India in July for you. The state in the most northern part on India in the midst of the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas offers breathtaking views and great opportunities for hikes. Ladakh is also called the cold dessert for a reason as the precipitation is very low up here. In July the temperatures are at its maximum high for this region but rarely reach higher than 30°C. But it is also the main tourist season for this part of India so be prepared that it won’t be as tourist-free as the rest of India.

The east stream of the monsoon winds hit the north east of India by beginning of June and some regions like Meghalaya get an intense amount of rain. Rather plan a visit to this region after October.

July certainly offers a rather difficult weather in India. It rains a lot, it is humid and it might get hot. The sun shines rarely and flooding and landslides are common. But while the cities might be less hospitable due to the dense infrastructure and lack of drainage systems, in the rural areas and especially the hill stations will welcome you with lush greenery and strong impressive waterfalls. . The very north of India in the Himalayas offers the best choice of travel destinations in June as the temperatures are moderate and the precipitation low.

Plan your trip to India in June with us now and we will suggest the best places to enjoy during this travel time.


Feeling Like Royalty in Udaipur
Feeling Like Royalty in Udaipur

Thank you India Someday for putting me up like royalty for these first couple of cities. The air-conditioned bus (with plush reclining chairs) from Ahmbedabad to Udaipur dropped me on the outskirts of town and I proudly negotiated a 50 Rupee rickshaw ride to the Old City.

My room (or shall I say rooms) at the Madri Haveli, in the master suite, made me feel like a queen. With multiple seating areas to choose from, nooks and crannies with beautifully shaped windows looking out onto the charming old city, a separate regal bedroom, and an eye-catching stone bathroom, larger than my NYC bedroom, replete with a giant tub, two sinks and a great supply of adorable Colgate toothpastes and other toiletries.

I made my way to the rooftop and was awe-struck by the stunning views of the lush mountains, beautiful lakes and enchanting city. I knew I’d be more than content if I never left the grounds and treated myself to some laptop time in what became one of the world’s prettiest offices.

I meandered the busy colorful crooked streets and worked my way towards the quintessential boat ride around Pichola Lake. I entered at Lal Ghat (where all tourists were Indian) and took the 250 Rupee ride around the beautiful waters, staring out onto City Palace and Jagmandir and Jagniwas Islands, quickly gaining a sense of the regal life of India.

Drawn to the green park space nearby, I wandered the windy paths, checked out some sculptures and spotted my first monkey hanging out.

IMG_6376

Working my way back to the haveli, I stopped to visit the Jagdish Temple, all dressed up with lights, streamers and statues, and packed with folks celebrating Janmashtami; Lord Krishna’s birthday.

I slipped off my shoes and joined the packed line of exquisitely dressed women in colorful saris to enter the temple, built in 1651. A clay pot dangling high above the open public square, I grew excited for the community celebration that would happen the following eve. For now, it was teeming of people, lots of music, and in the evening, a midnight procession marking the birth of Krishna.

I was thrilled to meet Udaipur artist, Rajesh Soni. In addition to photography, he does beautiful work hand-coloring, in fine detail, others’ digital pictures, many of which were on display in the Madri Haveli Gallery. We drove in his car to the new part of Udaipur, passing the famous Fateh Sagar Lake (or FS as they call it here), where droves of locals go to hang out in the evening, sitting on the waters’ edge and eating at the plentiful food stands across the road. He brought me to a typical Indian thali place where unlimited vegetarian dishes are served by eager waiters. I’m so loving the yogurts and delicious aromatic flavors of each meal more than the next in this country!

Our drive back was insane, his small car in competition with the motorbikes, bicycles, rickshaws, people, cows, goats and who knows what else. The streets are windy, super narrow and barely have room for one car to go by. He had an impeccable sense of the car-size and magically finessed his way through the tightest of squeezes, at impressively high speeds.

I retreated to my royal room and woke to a rooftop breakfast fit for a king. Fresh fruit, black tea, cheese omelette, banana crepes and four pieces of toast with an assortment of jams and that delicious Indian butter. I enjoyed learning that the Amul brand of butter I’ve been loving, started out as a women’s cooperative. Some women started a milk society, collecting milk from everyone’s house, which eventually developed into a large established company.

Ayurvedic Massage

I spent the day having my first Ayurvedic massage, meandering the Udaipur streets and lap-topping atop my glorious shaded rooftop. Struggling to find the place listed in Lonely Planet and overwhelmed by the plenitude of choices, I decided to go with a place in the Lal Ghat area where I was sold on having a woman provide my massage.

Loving a good massage and having experienced some of the best throughout my travels but never an Indian Ayurvedic treatment, I was curious. Throughout my hour of being gently massaged, I was curious if this woman’s work was indeed a good sampling of Ayurvedic massage because if so, I was going to exchange my rupees for bahts and head to Thailand!

Thankfully, the guy who ran this questionable operation, wanted a genuine debrief and had offered earlier to return my money if I wasn’t satisfied. Dissatisfied though I was, I didn’t intend to ask for a refund. We spoke at length about Ayurvedic massage and I much more enjoyed the next half hour of treatment he gave me. Moral of the story is make sure you go to a reputable place, especially if having a woman is important for you. It became clear to me that this woman had no idea what she was doing.

Overall, a restful day in charming, well-touristed Udaipur, the City of Lakes. I loved hearing the sounds of the Krishna celebrations and staring out at those beautiful hills.

Thank you India Someday.

Thank you You Wander We Pay.

Namaste.


Jaisalmer: The Golden city in the Desert
Jaisalmer: The Golden city in the Desert

Jaisalmer is a beautiful city near the Thar desert. The border to Pakistan is 100 kilometres away. After our arrival at the train station a car from the hotel picked us up and brought us to our accommodation. On the way I saw Fort Jaisalmer for the first time. I felt like Aladdin in Disneyland. The fort is amazing and I felt like I was a part of former times when kings ruled the country. The havelis in the city are also beautiful.

Things we did in Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort

In 1156 the fort was built by the Rajputana ruler Jaisal. I would recommend visiting the Fort Palace. The audio-guide is included in the ticket and we learned a lot about the history of the city. The various rooms inside the palace were beautiful. We walked into the fort and the gates and the havelis were amazing. It all reminded me very much of a fairy tale.

Jain Temple

We also saw two nice Jain temples inside the fort when we walked around. The entry for this monument was quite expensive. We walked around in two temples and especially the reliefs made of sandstone are very detailed and therefore interesting.

Camel Safari

The Camel Safari was the most exciting, romantic and spectacular part in Jaisalmer. We started the trip at 3 pm with a Spanish couple and one guy from Canada. We went to an empty village by car which took us about ½ hour. After that we made a short stop at a village in a rural area with nice inhabitants and children. At 5 pm our camel safari in the Thar desert at the Khuri Sand Dunes Resort started. It was a bit scary when the camel stood up because I was shaking in both directions. To sit on a camel is not really comfortable and it’s very high. We were going in a row, one camel after the other. The view was amazing. After 10 minutes some sheep crossed our way. Two of the small sheep “attacked” two camels. One of the sheep was under my camel and the animal got really nervous and aggressive. It was really hard to stay in the saddle. I don’t really know how I managed the situation but in the end I jumped off the camel. This was a really dangerous situation for me and the Spanish guy. I had to be calmed down for a long time. Marlene was shocked too. After a while everyone was better and we continued our journey through the desert. After about 1 hour of camel riding we arrived at our camp in the sand dunes. It was amazing. There were no people around us and we enjoyed the sunset together. We took some great pictures. After a delicious dinner, the cameleers sang ussome folk-songs. We had a lot of fun together—it was great. We were sleeping outside in very comfortable “beds” with nice big blankets. It was amazing to sleep outside under soooooo many stars and the moon.

In the morning we enjoyed the beautiful sunrise and a delicious breakfast. After that we rode the camels back through the sand dunes to the main street where a car picked us up.

Our accommodation:

Mystic Jaisalmer

This is a beautiful hotel with an amazing roof top terrace and a good view of the Golden Fort. Our room was clean, the beds were comfortable and the room itself had a nice furniture. The staff, especially the boss, was really friendly and informed us about the camel safari.

Restaurants

Mystic Jaisalmer

On the roof-top terrace I enjoyed very good Rajasthani special food with naan and vegetables from the desert. The staff is very friendly and fast. The ambience was very nice with the view of the fort.

Sunset

This restaurant is located inside the fort. Here you can enjoy very good Indian food on a roof-top terrace. And again everything is about the view of Jaisalmer fort.

Jaisal Italy

This restaurant offers very good Italian pasta. It was quite close to international standards. I also ordered one orange-juice. This one was already unfit for consumption but it was no problem to give it back and order another drink. Marlene’s ice tea was very good.

The Bhang Shop

Well this was very interesting, crushed marijuana leaves mixed with milk and served legally. This is a traditional drink in India and lets just say it left us craving a lot of food and parts of the day we cannot remember.


A day of travel, food and spirituality in Amritsar (India)
A day of travel, food and spirituality in Amritsar (India)

This weekend I went to Amritsar to do some research for our India Someday clients. The religious city in Punjab is famous for three things—the Golden Temple, delicious food and the Wagah Border.After a lot of exploring (and a lot of eating!) we’ve come to the conclusion that this is definitely one city you do not want to miss!

The Food

Amritsar is a food lovers paradise. From the moment you wake up, the amount of food you will manage to eat would be quite a revelation even to your own self. The alu puris (potato curry served with deep fried Indian bread stuffed with cottage cheese) and the chole puri (the same bread served with spicy lentils), are great for breakfast. Kanha sweets or Munim di Hatti at Lawrence Road are probably the best places to try these. For lunch either pay a visit to the Golden Temple Langar (we’ll get to this later) or visit Kulcha Land where for just INR 50 -100 they serve great stuffed kulchas and lassi. If you do have some place left for dinner head to Bharwan ka dhaba or Kesar ka dhaba, for some rajma (red beans) and rice or tandoori roti and veggies. If you have not noticed yes there is a slight bias, I am vegetarian.

North Indian food in general is a little heavy on the stomach, but eating in Amritsar is so much fun you will not stop. On every corner of every street there is something being cooked. From alu tikkis to fresh fruit juice, it’s all so tasty and delicious that I cannot stop raving about it. There is lots of butter, lots of fatty foods and loads of proteins and lentils, and the few days you’re there I would suggest throwing any diet out of the window.

Barring the taste the best part of eating in Punjab is the people. Punjabis are a jolly and lively bunch of people who love only one other thing more than eating—feeding someone else. So enjoy your meals hot and served with loads of love and smiles :).

The Golden Temple

The serenity and the beauty of the Golden Temple is mesmerising. People often compare visiting this temple to visiting the Taj and I can guarantee that it is equally spectacular, probably even more so. Continuous chants, the stillness of the water, the thousands of people providing service for nothing in return, and the ornate beauty of the Temple itself all adds up to make a visit here really and truly special. I would recommend also signing up and helping to cook in the Langar. The temple itself has a long line to enter no matter what time of the day you visit.

Side note: A langar is found in every single Gurudwara or Sikh Temple, and is a part of their religious beliefs. It is a 24 hour open kitchen. The food is free to all guests without any discrimination(you can donate a small sum of course and you should!). The entire kitchen is run by volunteers who work in shifts and anyone can be a part of this team. The food is healthy and nutritious and filled with love :).

You should visit the temple in the morning and at night when the religious book is taken back into safe keeping, around 10 pm. If you interested in reading up more about Sikhism and the history of the golden temple click here

Wagah Border: India’s patriotic pilgrimage

IMG_20140930_171827616_HDR

Palpable in the air of Amritsar is the feeling of patriotism that is invoked when you visit the Jallianwala Bagh or the Wagah border. As sad and haunting as the tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is the Wagah border is on the other end of the spectrum, yet both are connected by a heady sense of history and Indian strength. Every evening at the Wagah border (the only road entry point between India and Pakistan), you can witness a fun and competitive Beating Retreat ceremony or the ‘raising/ lowering of flags’ ceremony.The passion with which the soldiers on both the sides fulfill this duty is incredible. Shouting, singing, the thumping of the feet, drums, dancing and trying to out do the other side makes for a surreal experience. 

Staying in Amritsar

The stay in this city is not very expensive, the lower range budget hotels like Akaal Residency are clean simple and good value for money. And you even have a few unique options like Virasat Haveli. But here I would recommend staying at a higher end property as you do want to go back to an empty shell after the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets. My pick would be a stay at the Hyatt in Amritsar, they have nice cozy rooms and the service is impeccable.

Verdict

In conclusion all I would like to say is that if you have the time then you have to visit Amritsar. If you do need help in seeing how you can fit Amritsar into your trip, let us know and we at India Someday can help you plan your trip.