Boat Festival in Vrindavan: A Journey of Devotion and Joy

BOAT FESTIVAL

BOAT FESTIVAL

boat festival image 1

Vrindavan, a sacred town nestled on the banks of the Yamuna River in India, holds a special place in the hearts of Hindus and spiritual seekers around the world. Brimming with divine tales of Lord Krishna’s playful and loving antics, Vrindavan attracts pilgrims and tourists seeking solace and enlightenment. Among the numerous festivals celebrated in this holy town, the Boat Festival, also known as Kartik Purnima, stands out as a captivating and joyous occasion. Let’s embark on a journey to understand the significance and magic of this unique celebration that fills the air with devotion and enchantment.

Amidst Vrindavan's sacred embrace,
A city of devotion and grace,
Where Krishna's love forever dwells,
Lotus feet dance, enchanting spells.
Gopis' hearts in rapture sway,
In Vrindavan, devotion's play,
Divine abode, where souls unite,
Eternal bliss, in Krishna's light.

The Significance of the Boat Festival:

The Boat Festival in Vrindavan is celebrated with great fervor on Kartik Purnima, which falls on the full moon day of the auspicious month of Kartik (October/November). This festival is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, with references to Lord Krishna’s cherished moments with his beloved Gopis on the banks of the Yamuna River. It is believed that on this day, Krishna, along with Radha and the Gopis, would joyfully float small boats adorned with flowers and lamps on the tranquil waters of the Yamuna, their love and devotion reflected in the shimmering river under the moonlit sky.

boat festival image 2

The Joyous Preparations:

As the date of the Boat Festival approaches, the town of Vrindavan comes alive with preparations and anticipation. The local temples and ashrams buzz with devotees making elaborate arrangements for the celebrations. Colorful banners, festoons, and decorative lights adorn the streets, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere. Pilgrims from far and wide gather in Vrindavan to be part of this joyous occasion and to seek blessings from the divine deities.

The Boat Procession:

The Boat Festival commences with a grand procession that showcases beautifully adorned idols of Lord Krishna and Radha, accompanied by enthusiastic devotees singing soulful bhajans and chanting prayers. The deities are placed on elaborately decorated palanquins, and the procession winds its way through the town, filling the air with an aura of divinity and devotion.

The Boat Ceremony:

As the sun sets and darkness blankets the sky, the highlight of the festival begins. Devotees light small oil lamps (diyas) and place them carefully on intricately crafted boats. These boats are often made of banana stems, covered with leaves and flowers, symbolizing the vessels of love that once sailed on the Yamuna River carrying the divine couple and the Gopis.

Amidst the chanting of hymns and mantras, the boats are tenderly placed on the gentle currents of the Yamuna River. A hushed excitement prevails as the crowd watches the illuminated boats drift away, carrying their prayers and wishes to the divine abode. The flickering lamps on the river’s surface create a magical sight, evoking a sense of peace, purity, and spiritual connection.

A Feast of Love and Unity:

The Boat Festival is not just a religious celebration; it transcends boundaries and brings people from different walks of life together in the spirit of love and unity. The event showcases the essence of Lord Krishna’s teachings, emphasizing love, compassion, and devotion as a means to attain spiritual enlightenment and inner peace.

boat festival image 3

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Udaipur: A Journey through Royalty .Exploring the Enchanting Charms.


Udaipur, a gem of Rajasthan's pride,
Where palaces reflect on lakeside,
With vibrant hues and stories untold,
A city of culture, resplendent and bold.

Why Udaipur is so famous in India ?

Udaipur holds a prominent place in India due to several factors that contribute to its fame and popularity. Here are some key reasons why Udaipur is renowned and celebrated:

  1. City of Lakes: Udaipur is often referred to as the “City of Lakes” because of its picturesque lakes, including Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, and several others. The serene and scenic beauty of these lakes, with palaces and architectural wonders reflecting in their waters, creates an enchanting atmosphere that captivates visitors.
  2. Architectural Marvels: Udaipur boasts a rich history and is known for its magnificent palaces, forts, and havelis. The City Palace, a sprawling complex with intricate architecture, dominates the cityscape. The Lake Palace, situated on an island in Lake Pichola, is a mesmerizing white marble palace that adds to Udaipur’s allure. The harmonious blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is a testament to the city’s regal heritage.
  3. Cultural Heritage: Udaipur is a cultural hub, deeply rooted in Rajasthani traditions and art forms. The city is renowned for its vibrant festivals, folk dances, music, and performing arts. Visitors can witness lively dance forms like Ghoomar, Kalbeliya, and Bhavai, which showcase the rich cultural tapestry of Rajasthan.
  4. Romantic Destination: Udaipur has earned a reputation as a romantic destination, attracting honeymooners and couples from around the world. The serene lakes, palaces, and breathtaking sunsets create a romantic ambiance that has been featured in movies and literature, further enhancing its allure.
  5. Film Shooting Location: Udaipur’s ethereal beauty has made it a sought-after destination for Indian film shoots. Numerous Bollywood movies have been filmed here, adding to its fame and increasing its visibility on a national and international scale.
  6. Traditional Crafts and Artistry: Udaipur is known for its skilled artisans and traditional craftsmanship. The city is a hub for exquisite miniature paintings, intricate embroidery, marble carvings, pottery, and other forms of art. Visitors can witness these traditional arts and even purchase authentic handcrafted souvenirs.
  7. Hospitality and Luxury: Udaipur is renowned for its warm hospitality and luxurious accommodations. The city offers a wide range of palatial hotels and resorts that provide a royal experience to visitors. The combination of exceptional service, regal ambiance, and stunning views contributes to Udaipur’s reputation as a luxury destination.

These factors, along with the city’s rich history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage, have earned Udaipur a special place in the hearts of both domestic and international travelers, making it one of the most famous and beloved destinations in India.


udaipur

How to reach Udaipur from Delhi?

To reach Udaipur from Delhi, you have several transportation options. Here are the most common methods:

  • By Air:
  • The fastest way to reach Udaipur from Delhi is by taking a flight. There are direct flights available from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur. The flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • By Train:
  • Another popular option is to travel by train. Udaipur City Railway Station is well-connected to Delhi through regular train services. There are several trains that run between the two cities, including both day and overnight trains. The travel time by train can range from around 11 to 15 hours, depending on the train you choose.
  • By Road:
  • Udaipur is connected to Delhi via a well-maintained road network. The distance between the two cities is approximately 660 kilometers, and it takes around 11 to 12 hours to drive by car, depending on the traffic conditions. You can either drive yourself or hire a taxi for a more comfortable journey. There are also bus services available from Delhi to Udaipur, operated by both government and private bus companies. The travel time by bus can vary but generally takes around 12 to 14 hours.

Where to stay in Udaipur ?

When visiting Udaipur, there are several wonderful accommodations available to suit various budgets and preferences. Here are some popular places to stay in Udaipur:

  1. Lake Palace (Taj Lake Palace): A luxurious and iconic hotel situated on Lake Pichola. It offers stunning lake views, opulent rooms, and world-class hospitality.
  2. The Oberoi Udaivilas: Another luxury hotel located on the banks of Lake Pichola. It features grand architecture, lavish rooms, and beautiful gardens.
  3. Fateh Prakash Palace: A heritage hotel within the City Palace complex, offering a royal experience with its elegant rooms and captivating views of Lake Pichola.
  4. Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel: A charming heritage hotel located on the banks of Lake Pichola. It has well-appointed rooms with traditional décor and a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views.
  5. Trident Udaipur: A luxury hotel set amidst landscaped gardens overlooking the serene Fateh Sagar Lake. It offers comfortable rooms and excellent amenities.
  6. The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace: A heritage hotel perched on a hilltop, providing breathtaking views of the city and Lake Fateh Sagar. It boasts spacious rooms and a regal ambiance.
  7. Devra Udaipur: A boutique hotel situated in the outskirts of Udaipur, surrounded by nature. It offers eco-friendly cottages, tranquility, and a warm atmosphere.
  8. Jaiwana Haveli: A heritage hotel located near Lake Pichola, offering comfortable rooms with a blend of traditional and modern décor. It has a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views.
  9. Udai Kothi: A boutique hotel near Lake Pichola, known for its Rajasthani architecture and well-appointed rooms. It features a rooftop restaurant and a swimming pool.
  10. Madri Haveli: A budget-friendly heritage hotel in the old city area, featuring traditional Rajasthani architecture and comfortable rooms.

Best time to visit in Udaipur?

udaipur

The best time to visit Udaipur is during the winter months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and ideal for exploring the city’s attractions. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons in Udaipur:

  1. Winter (October to March):
    This is the peak tourist season in Udaipur, as the weather is cool and enjoyable. Daytime temperatures range from 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F), while nights can be colder, with temperatures dropping to around 5°C (41°F). It’s recommended to carry some warm clothing, especially for the evenings. This is a great time to explore the palaces, take boat rides on Lake Pichola, and attend cultural festivals, such as the Mewar Festival and Shilpgram Crafts Fair.
  2. Summer (April to June):
    Udaipur experiences hot and dry summers, with temperatures ranging from 30°C to 45°C (86°F to 113°F). April and May are the hottest months, and the scorching sun can make outdoor activities uncomfortable during the daytime. If you visit during this time, it’s advisable to plan your sightseeing in the early mornings or evenings and stay hydrated. However, some travelers who don’t mind the heat may find this time suitable as the tourist crowds are relatively lower, and hotel rates may be more budget-friendly.
  3. Monsoon (July to September):
    Udaipur receives moderate to heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. The temperature ranges from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F). While the city looks lush and vibrant during this time, heavy rains may hamper outdoor activities, and some attractions may have limited accessibility. If you enjoy the monsoon ambiance and don’t mind occasional showers, you can visit Udaipur during this period. Just be prepared for occasional disruptions due to rain and plan indoor activities accordingly.

It’s worth noting that Udaipur hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, so you may consider aligning your visit with these celebrations to experience the local culture at its best. Regardless of the season, Udaipur’s charm remains intact, and with proper planning, you can make the most of your visit at any time of the year.

Places to visit in Udaipur.

udaipur

Here are some must-visit places in Udaipur:

  1. City Palace: A majestic complex that dominates the city’s skyline, the City Palace is a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. Explore its intricate courtyards, ornate balconies, and magnificent rooms that offer panoramic views of Lake Pichola.
  2. Lake Pichola: A picturesque lake that is synonymous with Udaipur’s charm. Take a boat ride on the tranquil waters of Lake Pichola and witness the beauty of the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir Island, and surrounding hills.
  3. Jag Mandir: Located on an island in Lake Pichola, Jag Mandir is a beautiful palace known for its marble structures, manicured gardens, and stunning views. Enjoy a serene retreat and soak in the tranquil ambiance.
  4. Jagdish Temple: A large and architecturally impressive temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Admire the intricate carvings and beautifully sculpted idols as you experience the spiritual aura of the place.
  5. Saheliyon-ki-Bari: Translating to “Garden of the Maidens,” this serene garden was built for the royal ladies. Enjoy the lush green lawns, lotus pools, marble pavilions, and beautiful fountains that create a peaceful atmosphere.
  6. Fateh Sagar Lake: Another enchanting lake in Udaipur, offering scenic views and a refreshing breeze. Take a boat ride or walk along the promenade, and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.
  7. Sajjangarh Palace (Monsoon Palace): Perched on a hilltop, the Monsoon Palace provides panoramic views of Udaipur’s landscape, especially during sunset. Enjoy the scenic drive to the palace and witness the mesmerizing colors in the sky.
  8. Shilpgram: A rural arts and crafts complex located 3 km west of Udaipur. Experience the vibrant folk art, traditional crafts, cultural performances, and rural ambiance of Rajasthan.
  9. Bagore Ki Haveli: A historic haveli-turned-museum that showcases Udaipur’s cultural heritage. Explore the various rooms, exhibits, and puppet shows that offer insights into the region’s history and art.
  10. Gulab Bagh and Zoo: Udaipur’s largest garden, featuring a variety of roses and other exotic plants. The garden also houses a small zoo where you can see animals like tigers, leopards, and birds.

These are just a few of the many attractions Udaipur has to offer. The city’s charm extends beyond its popular landmarks, so be sure to explore its narrow streets, bustling markets, and hidden gems to truly experience the essence of Udaipur.

Things to do in Udaipur.

Udaipur offers a plethora of exciting activities and experiences for visitors. From exploring historical landmarks to immersing in local culture, here are some things to do in Udaipur:

  1. Take a Boat Ride on Lake Pichola: Embark on a serene boat ride on the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola. Admire the stunning views of the City Palace, Lake Palace, and Jag Mandir as you glide along the tranquil lake.
  2. Explore the City Palace: Discover the grandeur of the City Palace, a magnificent complex of palaces, courtyards, and museums. Marvel at the intricate architecture, ornate decorations, and panoramic views of Udaipur.
  3. Visit the Vintage and Classic Car Museum: Automobile enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to this unique museum, which houses a remarkable collection of vintage cars and classic automobiles from the bygone era.
  4. Attend a Cultural Performance at Bagore Ki Haveli: Experience the vibrant Rajasthani culture through dance and music performances at Bagore Ki Haveli. The evening shows feature traditional folk dances, puppet shows, and live music that showcase the rich heritage of Rajasthan.
  5. Explore the Old City and its Bazaars: Wander through the narrow lanes and vibrant markets of the Old City in Udaipur. Shop for traditional handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, and souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the colorful and bustling atmosphere.
  6. Visit the Saheliyon-ki-Bari: Relax in the tranquil Saheliyon-ki-Bari, a beautiful garden adorned with fountains, kiosks, and marble pavilions. Enjoy the serene ambiance and take a leisurely stroll amidst lush greenery.
  7. Discover the Art of Miniature Painting: Udaipur is renowned for its miniature painting art form. Visit art studios and interact with local artists to learn about this intricate and traditional art form.
  8. Experience a Traditional Rajasthani Thali: Indulge in the flavors of Rajasthan by enjoying a traditional Rajasthani thali. Savor a variety of dishes like dal baati churma, gatte ki sabzi, and an array of sweet and savory delicacies.
  9. Visit the Shilpgram Crafts Fair: If you happen to visit Udaipur during the Shilpgram Crafts Fair, immerse yourself in the vibrant folk art, cultural performances, and traditional crafts showcased by artisans from different parts of Rajasthan.
  10. Take a Cooking Class: Learn the secrets of Rajasthani cuisine by participating in a cooking class. Discover the techniques and spices used in preparing authentic Rajasthani dishes and get a hands-on experience of cooking traditional recipes.
  11. Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Get a bird’s-eye view of Udaipur’s magnificent landscape by taking a hot air balloon ride. Float above the city, lakes, and palaces, and witness the breathtaking beauty of Udaipur from a unique perspective.
  12. Attend a Yoga or Meditation Session: Udaipur offers tranquil settings for yoga and meditation practices. Join a yoga or meditation session in serene locations, and rejuvenate your mind and body amidst the serene surroundings.

These are just a few of the many experiences that Udaipur has to offer. The city is brimming with opportunities to immerse yourself in its rich heritage, natural beauty, and cultural traditions, ensuring a memorable visit.

What are the famous street food of Udaipur?

Udaipur is not only known for its regal palaces and picturesque lakes but also for its delectable street food. Here are some famous street food items you must try when visiting Udaipur:

  1. Dal Baati Churma: A traditional Rajasthani dish, Dal Baati Churma consists of baati (baked wheat dough balls) served with dal (lentil curry) and churma (sweet crumbled wheat). This hearty and flavorful dish is a must-try for a taste of authentic Rajasthani cuisine.
  2. Mirchi Bada: Mirchi Bada is a popular snack in Udaipur. It features green chili peppers stuffed with a spicy potato mixture, dipped in gram flour batter, and deep-fried until crispy. It’s often served with chutney and makes for a spicy and delicious treat.
  3. Pyaaz Kachori: Udaipur’s version of the famous Rajasthani kachori, Pyaaz Kachori is a deep-fried pastry filled with a spiced onion mixture. This crispy and savory snack is perfect for a quick bite while exploring the city.
  4. Dabeli: Originally from Gujarat, Dabeli has become a popular street food item in Udaipur. It consists of a soft bun filled with a spicy potato mixture, topped with various chutneys, peanuts, and sev (crispy fried noodles). The combination of flavors and textures makes it a delightful snack.
  5. Kachori: Udaipur is known for its flavorful kachoris. These deep-fried, flaky pastries are stuffed with a variety of fillings like spicy lentils, potato, or peas. They are typically served with tangy tamarind or mint chutney and make for a satisfying snack.
  6. Makhaniya Lassi: Beat the heat with a refreshing glass of Makhaniya Lassi. This thick and creamy yogurt-based drink is flavored with saffron, cardamom, and topped with a dollop of malai (clotted cream). It’s a perfect drink to cool down and rejuvenate.
  7. Jalebi: Indulge your sweet tooth with hot and crispy jalebis. These deep-fried swirls of batter are soaked in sugar syrup, resulting in a syrupy and melt-in-your-mouth treat. Enjoy them as a snack or pair them with a glass of milk for a delightful combination.
  8. Kulhad Coffee/Tea: Udaipur’s streets are dotted with small stalls serving hot coffee or tea in kulhads (clay cups). Sip on your favorite beverage while enjoying the local ambiance, and experience the unique earthy flavor imparted by the kulhad.

These are just a few of the mouthwatering street food options available in Udaipur. Exploring the city’s streets and trying its local delicacies is an integral part of experiencing the vibrant culinary scene of Udaipur.

What to buy while travelling in Udaipur ?

udaipur

When visiting Udaipur, there are several unique and traditional items you can consider purchasing as souvenirs or to bring a piece of the city’s rich culture and craftsmanship back home. Here are some things to buy while traveling in Udaipur:

  1. Traditional Rajasthani Handicrafts: Udaipur is known for its exquisite handicrafts, including miniature paintings, marble sculptures, wooden handicrafts, and embroidered textiles. Look for intricately designed artwork that reflects the region’s rich heritage.
  2. Bandhani and Leheriya Fabrics: Udaipur is famous for its tie-dye textiles, such as bandhani (tie-dye patterns) and leheriya (striped patterns). You can find vibrant and colorful fabrics, sarees, scarves, and stoles that make for beautiful and unique fashion statements.
  3. Silver Jewelry: Udaipur is renowned for its silver jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Look for intricate designs featuring traditional motifs and semi-precious gemstones. The city’s bustling markets offer a wide variety of options to choose from.
  4. Pichwai Paintings: Pichwai is a traditional style of painting that originated in Udaipur. These intricate and colorful paintings depict Lord Krishna, often shown in various poses and settings. Pichwai paintings make for striking and culturally significant pieces of art.
  5. Pottery and Ceramic Ware: Udaipur has a rich tradition of pottery and ceramic craftsmanship. Look for hand-painted ceramic bowls, plates, and vases that showcase the city’s artistic finesse.
  6. Rajasthani Mojari (Juttis): Mojari is a traditional Rajasthani footwear known for its intricate embroidery and craftsmanship. These colorful and ornate shoes make for a unique and stylish accessory.
  7. Rajasthani Spices and Masalas: Bring home the flavors of Rajasthan by purchasing authentic Rajasthani spices and masalas. Look for blends like garam masala, panch phoron, and regional spice mixes to add an aromatic touch to your culinary creations.
  8. Traditional Handmade Paper Products: Udaipur is known for its handmade paper industry. Look for journals, notebooks, greeting cards, and other paper products made from eco-friendly materials. These make for thoughtful and sustainable souvenirs.
  9. Rajasthani Lac Jewelry: Lac jewelry is a traditional Rajasthani craft made with lacquer and embellished with colorful stones and beads. You can find a variety of earrings, bangles, and necklaces in vibrant designs.
  10. Udaipur Miniature Souvenirs: Bring home small hand-painted miniature replicas of famous Udaipur landmarks like the City Palace, Lake Palace, or Jag Mandir. These miniature artworks make for beautiful display pieces and reminders of your visit.

Remember to explore the local markets like Hathi Pol Bazaar, Bada Bazaar, and Shilpgram for a wide selection of authentic Udaipur products. Negotiating prices is common in these markets, so be prepared to bargain.

What to wear while travelling in Udaipur ( Rajasthan)?

When visiting Udaipur, it’s a good idea to dress in a way that is both comfortable and respectful of the local culture. Here are some tips on how to dress up while traveling in Udaipur:

  1. Respectful attire: Udaipur is a city with a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites. Avoid wearing revealing or skimpy clothing. Instead, opt for clothing that covers your shoulders, chest, and knees.
  2. Lightweight and breathable fabrics: Udaipur can get quite hot, especially during the summer months. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen to stay cool and comfortable. Loose-fitting clothing will also help you beat the heat.
  3. Traditional attire: Udaipur is known for its vibrant traditional clothing, and you may choose to embrace the local culture by wearing traditional Indian attire. For women, a salwar kameez (a long tunic paired with loose pants) or a saree are popular choices. Men can wear a kurta (a loose-fitting shirt) paired with pajamas or trousers.
  4. Footwear: Comfortable footwear is essential, especially when exploring the city’s narrow lanes and walking around the palaces. Opt for lightweight and breathable shoes, such as sandals or walking shoes, that provide good support.
  5. Sun protection: Udaipur experiences plenty of sunshine, so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or a scarf to shield yourself from direct sunlight. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and carry sunglasses.
  6. Layering: While Udaipur is generally warm, evenings can be cooler, particularly during the winter months. It’s a good idea to carry a light sweater or jacket to layer over your clothing when needed.
  7. Cultural events and festivals: If you plan to attend cultural events or festivals in Udaipur, you may want to dress up a bit more. Indian festivals often involve vibrant colors and traditional clothing. Consider wearing colorful attire like a lehenga choli for women or a sherwani for men.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s always a good idea to observe and respect the local customs and norms while dressing up in Udaipur. Enjoy your time exploring the beautiful city!

History you should must know ,before get ready for Journey to City of Lakes ‘Udaipur’.

udaipur

image source – udaipurian.com

Before embarking on a journey to Udaipur, it is valuable to familiarize yourself with the city’s history to truly appreciate its cultural significance. Here’s a brief overview of the history of Udaipur:

  1. Foundation and Early History:
    Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II, a Rajput ruler of the Mewar kingdom. He established the city as the new capital, shifting it from the previous capital of Chittorgarh, due to its vulnerable location. The city was strategically situated in the Aravalli Hills, providing better security from external invasions.
  2. The Mewar Kingdom:
    Udaipur served as the capital of the Mewar kingdom, which was one of the most powerful and prosperous Rajput kingdoms in Rajasthan. The Mewar rulers traced their lineage back to the Sisodia Rajputs, claiming a connection to the legendary warrior-hero, Bappa Rawal. The kingdom had a tumultuous history of defending its sovereignty against various invaders.
  3. Battles and Struggles:
    Throughout its history, Mewar faced numerous battles and struggles against powerful adversaries, including the Mughals and Marathas. Maharana Pratap Singh, a celebrated warrior king, led the resistance against the Mughal emperor Akbar in the famous Battle of Haldighati in 1576. The valor and bravery of Maharana Pratap have become legendary.
  4. Cultural and Artistic Patronage:
    The Mewar rulers were great patrons of art, architecture, and culture. They supported the development of distinctive Rajput architectural styles and promoted the flourishing of art forms such as miniature paintings, sculpture, and music. Udaipur’s palaces, forts, and havelis stand as testimonies to the artistic achievements of the Mewar dynasty.
  5. The City Palace and Lake Palace:
    The City Palace in Udaipur, originally built by Maharana Udai Singh II, was expanded and enhanced by subsequent rulers. It became the seat of power and the residence of the Mewar rulers. The Lake Palace, situated on the Jag Niwas Island in Lake Pichola, served as a summer retreat for the royals. Today, both palaces are iconic symbols of Udaipur’s architectural beauty.
  6. Independence and Modern Era:
    After India gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947, the princely states were integrated into the Indian Republic. Udaipur became a part of the state of Rajasthan. The city has since undergone significant development, embracing tourism and preserving its rich cultural heritage.

Understanding the history of Udaipur helps visitors appreciate the city’s architectural marvels, cultural traditions, and the spirit of resilience that shaped its identity. As you explore the palaces, visit historical sites, and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere, the knowledge of its past will enhance your experience of Udaipur’s timeless charm.


HAPPY JOURNEY


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Exploring the Serene Beauty of Kumarakom: A Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

image source – kerelatourism.org

How to reach Kumarakom from Delhi?

To travel from Delhi to Kumarakom, you have multiple transportation options, including air, train, and road. Here’s a detailed guide on how to reach Kumarakom from Delhi:

By Air:
  • Book a flight from Delhi to Cochin International Airport, which is the nearest airport to Kumarakom.
  • Several airlines operate flights on this route, and the duration of the flight is approximately 3 to 4 hours.
  • Upon reaching Cochin International Airport, proceed to the next step.
By Train:
  • From Cochin International Airport, you can take a taxi or a pre-booked cab to Ernakulam Junction, which is the nearest major railway station to Kumarakom.
  • The journey from the airport to Ernakulam Junction takes around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the traffic.
  • Alternatively, you can take a taxi directly from the airport to Kumarakom, which is approximately 70 kilometers away.
  • Check the train schedules and book a train ticket from Ernakulam Junction to Kottayam, which is the nearest railway station to Kumarakom.
  • The train journey from Ernakulam Junction to Kottayam takes around 1 to 2 hours.
  • Once you reach Kottayam, proceed to the next step.
By Road:
  • From Kottayam railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus to Kumarakom, which is approximately 16 kilometers away.
  • The journey by road from Kottayam to Kumarakom usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the traffic.
  • You can also consider hiring a private car for a more comfortable and convenient journey.
  • Make sure to communicate your destination as “Kumarakom” to the driver.

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Best time to visit Kumarakom.

The best time to visit Kumarakom is during the winter months, from November to February. This period offers pleasant weather with moderate temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Here are some reasons why this time is considered the best for visiting Kumarakom:

  • Weather: The winter season in Kumarakom brings cooler temperatures and lower humidity, providing a comfortable and enjoyable climate for exploring the region. Average temperatures range from 18°C to 32°C (64°F to 90°F), creating a favorable environment for outdoor excursions.
  • Festivals and Events: Kumarakom celebrates several festivals and cultural events during the winter months. The most prominent festival is the Kumarakom Boat Race, also known as the Sree Narayana Jayanthi Boat Race, which takes place in November. This event attracts a large number of visitors and offers a vibrant and festive atmosphere.
  • Bird Watching: Kumarakom is renowned for its bird sanctuary, and the winter months are the peak season for bird watching. During this time, migratory birds from different parts of the world, such as Siberia, flock to the sanctuary. You can witness a diverse range of bird species, including herons, egrets, darters, and more.
  • Houseboat Experience: Kumarakom is famous for its backwaters, and exploring them on a houseboat is a popular activity. The winter season provides pleasant weather and calm waters, making it an ideal time for a houseboat cruise. You can enjoy the serene surroundings, lush green landscapes, and the unique experience of staying overnight on a houseboat.
  • Ayurvedic Treatments: Kumarakom is known for its Ayurvedic resorts and wellness centers. Winter is an excellent time to indulge in rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments and therapies that help you relax and rejuvenate in the pleasant climate.

It’s worth noting that while the winter months are the peak tourist season in Kumarakom, the region’s natural beauty and tranquility can be enjoyed throughout the year. If you prefer fewer crowds and are open to slightly warmer weather, you can consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of October and March, which also offer favorable conditions.

Where to stay in Kumarakom?

When it comes to accommodations in Kumarakom, there are numerous options available that cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are a few suggestions on where to stay in Kumarakom:

  1. Luxury Resorts: Kumarakom is known for its luxury resorts that offer a perfect blend of comfort, elegance, and natural beauty. These resorts often feature private villas or cottages with stunning views of the backwaters or lush gardens. Some popular luxury resorts in Kumarakom include The Zuri Kumarakom, Kumarakom Lake Resort, and Coconut Lagoon.
  2. Houseboats: For a unique and immersive experience, consider staying on a houseboat. These traditional Kettuvallams have been converted into floating accommodations, providing guests with a chance to live on the backwaters. Houseboats offer comfortable bedrooms, living areas, and even personal chefs to cater to your culinary preferences. It’s an excellent way to truly experience the serenity of Kumarakom’s backwaters.
  3. Homestays: For a more authentic and personalized experience, opt for a homestay in Kumarakom. Many locals open their homes to guests, providing comfortable rooms and an opportunity to experience the warm hospitality and local culture firsthand. Homestays also offer home-cooked traditional meals, making it a great choice for those seeking a more intimate and immersive stay.
  4. Resorts and Hotels: Kumarakom boasts a range of mid-range and budget-friendly resorts and hotels that offer comfortable accommodations without compromising on quality. These properties often come with amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and recreational facilities. Examples include the Backwater Retreat, Abad Whispering Palms, and Lakesong Resort.
  5. Eco-friendly Retreats: If you are conscious of sustainable travel practices, Kumarakom has eco-friendly resorts and retreats that prioritize environmental conservation and responsible tourism. These accommodations often feature eco-friendly architecture, organic farms, and initiatives to minimize their ecological footprint. A popular eco-friendly resort in Kumarakom is the Coconut Creek Farm & Homestay.

When choosing where to stay in Kumarakom, consider your preferences, budget, and the kind of experience you want to have. Whether you prefer luxury resorts, immersive houseboats, or intimate homestays, Kumarakom offers a wide range of options to suit every traveler’s needs.

Places to visit in Kumarakom.

Kumarakom is blessed with natural beauty and cultural heritage, offering visitors a plethora of places to explore and experience. Here are some of the top attractions and places to visit in Kumarakom:

  1. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Spread across 14 acres, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a haven for bird lovers. It is home to a wide variety of resident and migratory bird species, including herons, kingfishers, egrets, and the rare Siberian crane. Take a leisurely walk through the sanctuary’s lush greenery and witness the fascinating avian diversity.
  2. Vembanad Lake: As the largest lake in Kerala, Vembanad Lake is a major attraction in Kumarakom. Embark on a boat ride to explore the tranquil waters and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. You can also witness the famous Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race, a traditional boat race held annually on the lake.
  3. Backwater Cruise: A trip to Kumarakom is incomplete without experiencing the enchanting backwaters. Embark on a houseboat or a traditional canoe cruise and immerse yourself in the serene surroundings. Drift along the calm canals, witness the rustic village life, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the palm-fringed backwaters.
  4. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls: Located around 18 kilometers from Kumarakom, the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls is a picturesque cascade nestled amidst lush green forests. The falls offer a breathtaking sight as the water tumbles down from a height of about 100 feet. Enjoy a picnic amidst nature or take a refreshing dip in the natural pools formed by the cascading water.
  5. Pathiramanal Island: Situated on the Vembanad Lake, Pathiramanal Island is a small, picturesque island that translates to “Midnight Sands.” It is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Explore the island’s walking trails, spot migratory birds, and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.
  6. Bay Island Driftwood Museum: For art lovers, the Bay Island Driftwood Museum is a unique attraction in Kumarakom. It houses an impressive collection of intricately carved driftwood sculptures crafted from tree trunks and roots washed ashore. The museum showcases the creative talents of the local artist, creating a visually captivating experience.
  7. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple: Located near Kumarakom, the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is renowned for its architectural beauty, particularly its impressive mural paintings and the presence of a golden idol of Lord Shiva. The annual festival of the temple, Ettumanoor Festival, attracts devotees from far and wide.
  8. Village Life Experience: To immerse yourself in the local culture, take a village tour in Kumarakom. Visit the local homes, interact with the villagers, and gain insights into their traditional way of life. Experience activities like fishing, toddy tapping, and coconut climbing, and savor the flavors of authentic Kerala cuisine.

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Things to do Kumarakom.

Kumarakom offers a wide range of activities and experiences that cater to different interests and preferences. Here are some of the top things to do in Kumarakom:

  1. Houseboat Cruise: Explore the enchanting backwaters of Kumarakom on a houseboat cruise. Drift along the serene canals, lakes, and lagoons, enjoying the peaceful ambiance and scenic beauty of the surroundings. Experience the unique lifestyle of the local villagers and indulge in delicious Kerala cuisine prepared on board.
  2. Birdwatching at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, home to a diverse range of resident and migratory bird species. Take a leisurely walk through the sanctuary’s lush greenery and witness the beautiful birds in their natural habitat. The best time to visit is during the migratory season from November to February.
  3. Ayurvedic Spa and Wellness: Treat yourself to a rejuvenating Ayurvedic spa experience in Kumarakom. Indulge in therapeutic massages, herbal treatments, and yoga sessions that promote holistic well-being. The tranquil surroundings of Kumarakom provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation.
  4. Village Tour: Immerse yourself in the local culture by taking a village tour in Kumarakom. Interact with the warm and friendly villagers, visit their homes, and gain insights into their traditional way of life. Experience activities like fishing, coir-making, and coconut climbing, and savor the flavors of authentic Kerala cuisine.
  5. Sunset Cruise on Vembanad Lake: Enjoy a scenic boat ride on Vembanad Lake during sunset. Witness the sky ablaze with vibrant hues as the sun dips below the horizon. The tranquil setting and breathtaking views make for a memorable experience.
  6. Explore Pathiramanal Island: Take a boat ride to Pathiramanal Island and explore its natural beauty. Walk along the trails, spot migratory birds, and enjoy the tranquility of this picturesque island on Vembanad Lake.
  7. Visit the Bay Island Driftwood Museum: Marvel at the unique collection of intricately carved driftwood sculptures at the Bay Island Driftwood Museum. Admire the artistic creations crafted from tree trunks and roots washed ashore, showcasing the creative talents of local artists.
  8. Try Traditional Kerala Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of traditional Kerala cuisine. Sample dishes like appam (rice pancake), puttu (steamed rice cake), karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish), and avial (vegetable stew). Don’t miss out on the delectable seafood options available in the region.
  9. Enjoy a Kathakali Performance: Witness the vibrant and colorful art form of Kathakali, a traditional dance-drama that depicts stories from Indian epics. Attend a live performance and marvel at the intricate costumes, expressive facial makeup, and graceful movements of the performers.
  10. Take a Bicycle Ride: Rent a bicycle and explore the beautiful countryside of Kumarakom. Pedal through the scenic landscapes, pass by paddy fields, and immerse yourself in the serene surroundings. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and enjoy the natural beauty at your own pace.

Famous street foods in Kumarakom.

Kumarakom, being a popular tourist destination in Kerala, offers a variety of delicious street food options that showcase the region’s culinary heritage. Here are some famous street foods you can savor while exploring Kumarakom:

  1. Puttu and Kadala Curry: Puttu is a traditional steamed rice cake made with rice flour and coconut, typically served with Kadala Curry, a flavorful black chickpea curry. This combination is a popular breakfast choice among locals and visitors alike. The soft and fluffy texture of puttu combined with the spiced chickpea curry is a delightful treat.
  2. Banana Fritters: Known as Pazham Pori or Ethakka Appam in Malayalam, banana fritters are a popular street snack in Kumarakom. Slices of ripe banana are dipped in a batter made with flour, turmeric, and sugar, and deep-fried to golden perfection. The crispy exterior and sweet, gooey interior make these fritters a delicious and addictive snack.
  3. Kappa and Meen Curry: Kappa (tapioca) is a staple food in Kerala, and it is often paired with Meen Curry (fish curry). Boiled or steamed tapioca is served with a tangy and spicy fish curry made with coconut milk, tamarind, and an array of aromatic spices. This hearty and flavorful combination is a must-try for seafood lovers.
  4. Vada: Vada is a popular South Indian snack made with a lentil-based batter. The batter is deep-fried to create crispy and savory fritters. Medu Vada, made with urad dal, is a common variant that is enjoyed with coconut chutney and sambar. These golden-brown delights are perfect for a quick snack or breakfast on the go.
  5. Parotta and Beef Fry: Parotta is a layered flatbread made with all-purpose flour and ghee. It is typically served with Beef Fry, a spicy and flavorful beef dish cooked with onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. The combination of flaky parotta and succulent beef fry is a favorite street food choice for meat lovers in Kumarakom.
  6. Banana Chips: Kerala is famous for its crispy and savory banana chips. Thin slices of raw banana are deep-fried until they turn golden and crispy. These chips are a popular snack that you can find in local markets and street food stalls in Kumarakom. They make for a delicious munching option while exploring the town.
  7. Appam and Stew: Appam is a soft and fluffy pancake made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It pairs perfectly with a mild and aromatic vegetable stew. The stew typically contains vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and green peas cooked in a creamy coconut milk-based broth. The combination of appam and stew is a popular breakfast or dinner choice.

Things to buy in Kumarakom.

image source- pixabay.com

Kumarakom offers a variety of unique products and souvenirs that reflect the local culture and craftsmanship. Here are some things you can consider buying while visiting Kumarakom:

  1. Handicrafts: Kumarakom is known for its exquisite handicrafts made by skilled artisans. Look for items like wooden sculptures, carved masks, bamboo products, coir products (mats, rugs, and baskets), and traditional pottery. These handicrafts are not only beautiful but also serve as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  2. Spices: Kerala is famous for its aromatic spices, and Kumarakom is no exception. Consider buying high-quality spices like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. You can find them in local spice markets or specialty shops. These spices make for excellent additions to your kitchen and are a perfect souvenir for food enthusiasts.
  3. Ayurvedic Products: Kerala is renowned for its Ayurvedic treatments and herbal remedies. Take the opportunity to buy authentic Ayurvedic products such as massage oils, herbal soaps, medicinal herbs, and skincare products. These natural and wellness-focused products are popular among visitors who seek the benefits of Ayurveda.
  4. Coir Products: Kumarakom is known for its coir industry, and you can find a variety of coir products made from coconut fiber. Look for items like coir mats, rugs, carpets, wall hangings, and other home decor accessories. These eco-friendly products not only showcase the craftsmanship of the local artisans but also add a touch of Kerala to your home.
  5. Tea and Coffee: Kerala is home to tea and coffee plantations, and you can find a range of locally produced varieties. Look for high-quality tea, including black tea, green tea, and specialty blends like masala chai. You can also find aromatic and flavorful coffee, especially Arabica and Robusta varieties. These make for great gifts for tea and coffee lovers.
  6. Handloom and Textiles: Kerala is known for its handloom fabrics and traditional sarees. Look for Kerala Kasavu sarees, which are made of fine cotton and adorned with golden borders. You can also find handwoven fabrics like Mundu (traditional dhoti) and towels. These textiles showcase the craftsmanship and weaving traditions of Kerala.
  7. Traditional Jewelry: Kerala is famous for its intricate gold jewelry designs, especially the traditional temple jewelry. Consider buying traditional earrings, necklaces, bangles, and waistbands known as “oddiyanam.” These jewelry pieces are crafted with attention to detail and are perfect for those looking for unique and culturally significant souvenirs.

Remember to shop from reliable and authorized sellers to ensure the authenticity and quality of the products. Shopping for these items not only supports the local economy but also allows you to bring home a piece of Kumarakom’s cultural heritage.

What not to do while travelling in Kumarakom?

While traveling in Kumarakom, there are a few things you should avoid to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some things not to do while traveling in Kumarakom:

  1. Disrespecting Local Culture: Kumarakom has a rich cultural heritage, and it is essential to respect the local customs, traditions, and religious beliefs of the community. Avoid any behavior or actions that may offend or disrespect the local culture, such as inappropriate clothing, insensitive behavior, or disregard for religious sites.
  2. Littering: Kumarakom is known for its pristine natural beauty, including backwaters, lakes, and wildlife sanctuaries. It is crucial to maintain the cleanliness and ecological balance of the region. Avoid littering and dispose of waste responsibly by using designated bins or taking it back with you until you find appropriate disposal facilities.
  3. Disturbing Wildlife: Kumarakom is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including numerous species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. Respect their natural habitat and do not disturb or harm them. Refrain from feeding or chasing animals, and follow any guidelines or regulations provided by the local authorities or tour guides.
  4. Overloading Houseboats: Houseboat cruises are a popular attraction in Kumarakom. If you plan to take a houseboat ride, ensure that you book a reputable and licensed operator. Avoid overloading the houseboat with excessive luggage or exceeding the maximum occupancy limit for safety reasons.
  5. Neglecting Safety Precautions: While enjoying water activities or boat rides, always prioritize your safety. Wear life jackets when required, follow the instructions of boat operators, and be aware of any safety guidelines provided. It is advisable to choose licensed and experienced operators for water-based activities.
  6. Engaging in Illegal Activities: It is essential to abide by the law and avoid any involvement in illegal activities. This includes purchasing or consuming illicit substances, engaging in wildlife trafficking, or any other unlawful actions that may harm the environment, wildlife, or local communities.
  7. Haggling or Bargaining Excessively: While negotiating prices for goods or services is common in many places, it is important to do so respectfully and fairly. Excessive haggling can be seen as disrespectful or offensive. Maintain a friendly and polite attitude during any price negotiations.

By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can have a responsible and enjoyable travel experience in Kumarakom while respecting the local culture, environment, and community.


HAPPY JOURNEY


Journey's path unfurls,
New horizons I explore,
Adventures to treasure,
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