SMS based booking through BSNL

User should have the following:

  • 1. BSNL SIM card installed.
  • 2. Java enabled mobile phone.
  • 3. Andhra Bank Prepaid card.
  • This is a menu driven application where user has to enter the details asked for in simple step-by-step process to get the ticket.

Registration

  • Install the application.
  • Select the Register option to get the mPIN.

Booking

  • Click the icon BSNL Prepaid Card
  • Select Ticketing > Train (IRCTC)
  • Fill up the journey details such as From stn, To Stn, Train No, DOJ, Class, Quota, passenger details.
  • Enter the mPIN to get the ticket information.
  • SMSes: without charges.
  • PG Charges: Currently NIL
  • Agent Service Charges: As applicable.
  • Helpline No. : 040-39849644
  • Helpline Email : bsnl.support@pyrogroup.com

Note : This service will not be available between 0800-1200 hrs (You can’t book tatkal ticket using your mobile). However, the ticket can still be booked using mobile through IRCTC main site www.irctc.co.in

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the union territories of India, located at the edge of Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. There are twin island groups – Andaman and Nicobar. The capital of the territory is Port Blair while the capital of Nicobar is Car Nicobar, also referred to as Malacca.

 Climate

Andaman and Nicobar Islands experience a tropical climate. It gets medium to heavy rainfall. Summers are pretty hot. One can visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands from mid November to April.

 History of the Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been inhabited since 2200 years according to archeologists. People of varied backgrounds have stayed here. During the pre-colonial era, the islands were occupied by a Tamil Chola dynasty king, Rajendra Chola, who used them as a naval base against the Sriwijaya Empire. The Marathas also made them their maritime base in the 17th century.

In the colonial period, the Danish settlers arrived here and set up the Danish East India Company. They called the Nicobar Islands as New Denmark and later changed the name to Frederick’s Islands.  There were frequent outbreaks of diseases such as malaria and the inhabitants abandoned the islands.

In 1778, Austria established their colony in the Nicobar islands and named them Theresia Islands. The British set up their naval base in 1789 on an island adjacent to the Great Andaman, the Chatham, but later shifted to Port cornwallis and finally abandoned the island in 1796 due to the spread of an epidemic.

The Danish settlers sold Denmark to the British in 1868 and the Britishers included them in British India. In 1858, the British established a penal colony at Port Blair and also bult a cellular jail for the freedom fighters from India.

The Japanese occupied the islands during world war II. Netaji Subhsh Chandra Bose also visited the islands during this time and named the islands as Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep, which stands for Martyr Island and Self-rule island.

In 1950, The islands became part of the Indian Sub-continent and in the year 1956, they were declared a union territory.

Flora and Fauna

Andaman and Nicobar islands offer a beautiful sight for nature lovers with their exotic tropical rainforest trees, which include mixed species of flora from India, Malaysia and Myanmar.There are more than 2200 species of plants. The various types of trees that are found are epiphytic vegetation, dciduous trees, evergreen trees and grasslands.

More than 50 species of animals are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are rodents, reptiles, birds and fishes.

 Places to Visit in Andaman and Nicobar

  1. Baratang
  2. Havelock Island
  3. North Bay Island
  4. Cellular Jail
  5. Barren Island
  6. Mount Harriot
  7. Carbyns Cove Beach

How to Reach

  • By Air – Port Blair is connected to all major cities such as Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi.
  • By Sea – One can also reach Port Blair through a ship. Passenger ships can be taken from Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam and Chennai and back.

Mount Abu

Situated at an average height of 1219 metres above sea level, Mount Abu is a famous hill station in the Aravalli Range in the Sirohi district of Rajasthan. Guru Shikhar is the highest peak on this mountain at a height of 1722 metres above the sea level. Since it has many rivers flowing through it and ample waterfalls, lakes and forests, it is often called the oasis in a desert. It is the only hill station in Rajasthan. It is also the summer capital of Rajasthan. More than three million tourists from the world over visit Mount Abu to enjoy its natural beauty and it makes a fabulous holiday destination for people of all ages.

How to Reach Mount Abu-:

 

  • Road Travel – It is well connected all the major towns in northern and western India. It is 222 Kms from Ahmedabad, 235 Kms from Jodhpur and 156 Kms from Udaipur.
  • Railways – Abu Road is the nearesy railway station, 29 Kms away and one can hire a taxi or jeep or board a bus from Abu Road to Mount Abu.
  • Air Travel – Maharana Pratap Udaipur Airport, Dabok is the nearest airport and it is 207 Kms away. Taxi are available to reach Mount Abu.

 

History

There are many stories about Mount Abu. One popular storey says that the name Mount Abu has been derived from Mount Arbud, which is the youngest son of the Himalaya who is believed to have flooded a gorge in the area with water with the help of a snake to save the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, Nandi.
Another legend says that Mount Abu was earlier ruled by the Chauhans and it was considered as a summer home by this royal family. The Britishers also made Mount Abu their summer retreat to escape from the dust and heat of Rajasthan. Apart from this, Mount Abu has served as a home to many rishis and munis. Rishi Vashishtha was the most popular among them and it is believed that he performed a fire sacrifice (Yagna) in a fire-pit and created Agnikul Rajput clans to protect the earth from demons.

Climate

Mount Abu has a short summer season from April to mid-June with the maximun temperature dipping to 36 °C and one feels comfortable in cotton clothes. The geographical features facilitate a fair amount of rainfall during the monsoons. It gets pretty cold during the winters and heavy woollens are required. One can visit Mount Abu is from February – June and from October-December.

Places to Visit Mount Abu-:

  1. Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 290 square kilometres. It is located on the Aravalli Range which is one of the oldest mountain ranges of India. It was adjudged as a sanctuary in the year 1960.
  2. Adhar Devi Temple – Located three kilometres north of Mount Abu, This famous temple is situated in a cave. One needs to climb 365 stairs to reach to the top of the temple. It is also referred to as Arbuda Devi Temple. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
  3. Shri Raghunathji Temple – This famous Vaishnavaite temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is worth mentioning. It is located very near to lake Nakki. It is believed that a visit to this temple cures all pains of the devotee.
  4. • Dattatreya Temple – Situated 15 Kms away from Mount Abu. this temple is also devoted to Lord Vishnu. It is located on the Guru Shikhar peak. One can get a scintillating view of Mount Abu from here.
  5. Delwara Jain Temples – Situated 2½ Kms from Mount Abu, the Delwara temples are a complex of five temples. The Delwara Jain Temples are made of white marble. They were built between 11th – 13th century AD. The Vimal Vasahi Temple (Shri Adinathji Temple) is the oldest temple. It was built by Vimal Shah in 1021 AD. All the temples have intricate carvings and designs.
  6. The Achalgarh Fort – The Achalgarh Fort, which was built by Rana Kumba in the 15th century encloses the splendid Jain temples. The Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple is 2500 years old. This is the only temple in the world where the great toe of Lord Shiva is idolized.

Mount Abu has state-of-the-art tourist facilities. It is one of the top ten recommended places to visit in India.

Madurai – The Jewel of South India

Madurai – The Jewel of South India
Madurai, also referred to as Koodal, Thirualavai and Naanmadakoodal, is situated on the banks of Vaigai River in the state of Tamil Nadu. The name Madurai has been derived from Madhura, meaning sweetness, coming out of the sacred nectar sprinkled on the city by Lord Shiva. It has been ruled by many rulers such as the Pandyas, Cholas, Madurai Sultanate, Madurai Nayaks, Vijayanagar Empire, Carnatic Kingdom, Chanda Sahib and the Britishers. There are many famous temples in Madurai which include Tirumalai Nayak Palace and the Meenakshi Amman Temple. It is an important educational and industrial hub of Tamil Nadu. More than 9 crore tourists, including many foreigners, visit Madurai every year.

Climate of Madurai
Madurai is located at an average elevation of 101 meters. It is very hot during the summer months, the hottest being March-July. The climate is moderate from August-October. It experiences moderate rainfall. Winters are cool.

Reaching Madurai

  • By Rail – Madurai railway Station is one of the important railway junctions of the Southern Railway. It is well-connected to all major cities in India.
  • By Road – Many national and state highways pass through Madurai. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has its headquarters at Madurai and it has five major bus terminals. It is well-connected to all major cities. Auto rickshaws, local city buses and mini-buses are available for travel within the city.
  •  By Air – Madurai Airport is 12 Kms away from the city and it is an important airport of Tamil Nadu. Domestic flights to all major cities are available, along with international flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Architecture

The city of Madurai was redesigned by the first Madurai Nayak King – Vishwanatha Nayak, according to the Shilpa Shastras, meaning rules of architecture and so it is built using urban planning. The Meenakshi Amman Temple is the center of the city, both geographically and for performing all religious rituals. A number of festivals are celebrated here throughout the year. Huge processions are carried out and large chariots of the temple are used. The temple has four gateways. The elite class people had homes located near to the temple while the poor had their dwellings away. The British also made Madurai as the headquarters of a colonial complex as well as an industrial town. The social

Religious sites

 

  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple– This historic temple is the most important landmark of the city. It is devoted to Goddess Parvati, also known as Meenakshi and Shiva as Sundareshwar, who is her consort. The temple has 14 gateway towers (Gopurams) and two shrines which are golden. This temple has also been mentioned in Tamil literature, since it holds lot of religious significance for the Tamilians. More than 15000 devotees come here every day. There are more than 33000 sculptures in the temple.
  2. Koodal Azhagar Temple – This Vishnu temple has the idols of the nine planet deities, unlike any other Vishnu temple.
  3. Alagar Koyil – Located 21 Kms from Madurai is another Vishnu Temple – Alagar Koyil. The deity in this temple is Azhagar, and it is believed that he is Goddess Meenakshi’s brother.
  4. Kazimar Big Mosque – It is the oldest mosque in Madurai. It was built under the guidance of Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who came from Oman and was a descendant of Islamic Prophet Mohammed. He had received this land as a gift from Kulasekara Pandiyan, a Pandya ruler, in the 13th century. The Madurai Maqbara which contains the dargah of the Madurai Hazrats is placed inside the mosque.
  5. Thiruparankundram – Located 8 kms from Madurai is the Thiruparankundram hill, where the marriage of the Hindu god Murugan and Deivanai had taken place. It is a very popular tourist spot. There are carvings of many Hindu gods on the walls of the temple.
  6. Goripalayam Mosque – This mosque situated in Gorippalayam houses the graves of Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddeen Badhusha, Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badhusha and Hazrat Sulthan Habibuddin (Ghaibuddin) Badhusha.
  7. St. Mary’s Cathedral – The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Madurai is seated in this cathedral.

Other Places to Visit in Madurai

  1. Thirumalai Nayak Palace – This palace complex displays the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. It was built by Thirumalai Nayakar. It has been declared as a national monument and the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department is responsible for maintaining it. A sound and light show is organized here every day.
  2. Palace of Rani Mangamma – It is used as Gandhi Memorial Museum and it has Gandhiji’s blood stained garment, which he had worn at the time of his assassination by Nathuram Godse.
  3. The Eco Park – The Eco Park is located in Tallakulam. The main feature of this park is the lighting in trees and fountains.
  4. Rajaji children’s park – It is located between Tamukkam grounds and Gandhi museum. More than 5000 visitors come here every day.
  5. MGR Race Course Stadium – This stadium is mainly used for athletic meets. It also has a swimming pool. Many national meets have been hosted here. Many national and international level Kabbadi Championships are also held here.

Festivals

Numerous festivals are celebrated by the people of Madurai. The important ones are the Car Festival, Chittirai Festival, and Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam.

  1.  The Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam is a 10-day long festival which is celebrated every year in the months of April and May. More than a million people come to see it. The idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Sundareshwar are taken in a beautiful procession during the Cradle Festival.
  2. Another festival celebrated in September is the Avanimoolam, wherein the thiruvilayadal(64 sacred names of Lord Shiva) are recited.
  3. The Float Festival, also known as Thepporchavam is celebrated to mark the birth of King Thirumalai Nayak, on a full moon day of the Tamil Month – Thai in the months of January and February. The icons of Meenakshi and Siva are decorated and floated in a tank on a raft, which has glittering lamps and flowers.
  4. Jallikattu is the most famous sport of Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated in January during the festival of Pongal. It is the popular bull taming festival held every year.
  5. Santhanakoodu – These festivals are celebrated according to the Islamic Calender to commemorate the Islamic saints.

Indian Railways Ticket Booking using USSD (Menu-based dialling)

USSD Services are currently offered by:-

  1. Airtel Money

Currently only Airtel is providing train ticket booking using USSD.  Below are the steps to follow for booking your train ticket using Airtel money service.

Step 1: Register for Airtel Money

Getting airtel money is super-easy! Register in 3 simple steps:

  1. fill in your basic details like Name and Date of birth
  2. select mPin
  3. enter the One-Time Password (OTP)
  4. http://www.airtel.in/money/register-now/ Visit this link for registration.

Step 2: Load Cash to your Account

Load cash now in just 3 easy steps using

  • Netbanking
  • Credit card
  • Debit card or Maestro Card

Step 3: Book Train Ticket using USSD

  • Dial *400# from your airtel mobile
  • Select “Book Tickets” and then “Rail booking” (On my Airtel mobile it is option 6)
  • Choose “Reservation” ( if you wish to search trains & choose) or “Easy book” ( if you know the train number)
  • Follow the instructions in the menu

Note: When you select ‘Reservation’ for the first time, you will be asked to enter your IRCTC user ID (associated with the mobile number) and upon validation you can continue to book your ticket

  • PG Charges: Currently NIL
  • Agent Service Charges: Currently NIL
  • Helpline No.: 121
  • Helpline Email : 121@airtelmoney.in

And also once you have booked your IRCTC Train tickets, you can check the ticket Status at Pnr Status

Note : This service will not be available between 0800-1200 hrs (You can’t book tatkal ticket using your mobile). However, the ticket can still be booked using mobile through IRCTC main site www.irctc.co.in

How to Book Indian Railways Ticket using SMS 139

Train Ticket Booking On SMS

Book your train tickets in just 2 Simple SMS’s

ANY TIME! ANY WHERE!

Gone are the days when people used to stand and wait in queues for long hours for booking train tickets at the counters!!

Prerequisites to book a ticket through SMS on 139 –

  1. User should be registered on IRCTC’s website (www.irctc.co.in)
  2. User should have MMID & OTP (One Time Password) for IMPS Transaction
  3. Same Mobile Number should be registered with Bank & IRCTC

Step 1 (Booking the ticket): Send below SMS with Journey & passenger information to 139

BOOK <TrainNo> <FromCity> <ToCity> <TravelDate(DDMM)> <Class> <Passenger1-Name> <Age> <Gender> <Passenger2-Name> <Age> <Gender> (upto 6 passengers)

For Example:
BOOK 12420 NDLS GZB 2606 2S Rakesh 55 M Sarita 53 F

If the format sent is valid, you will receive a response SMS from 139

Trans Id: 34004567 Ticket Amount: 120 IRCTC SC: 11.24 Total Amount: 131.24 Seat: AVAILABLE-0095. For Payment SMS PAY <34004567> IMPS <MMID> <OTP> IRCTCUserID to 139 to book ticket.

Step 2  (Paying for the ticket):For payment, send SMS with the following information to 139

PAY <Transaction ID as received> IMPS <MMID as received from bank> <OTP as received from bank for this transaction> <IRCTCUserID>
For Example:
PAY 340045667 IMPS 98453672 453289 Rakesh

Confirmation SMS will be received from 139 on successful booking of the ticket

Your ticket booked successfully. PNR is: 2345678901 Ticket No: :0672261674 Booking Status: Rakesh CONFIRM C1 76 WS Sarita CONFIRM C1 77 Ticket Amt: 120.0 SC: 11.24 Src: New Delhi Dst: Ghaziabad Date of Journey: 26/06/2013 Sch Dep 12:30 hrs

Ticket Cancellation Procedure using SMS:

Case 1: If the ticket has to be completely cancelled

Send below SMS with the following information to 139

CAN <10 Digit PNR> <IRCTC UserID>
For Example:
CAN 2345678901 Rakesh

If the entered information is valid, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

We have received your request for cancellation of tickets for < Passenger 1 Name> for PNR Number 2345678901. Please confirm the cancellation by sending YES to 139 or for any change in cancellation data, send a fresh request.
Once the cancellation is confirmed, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

Your ticket for <Passenger 1 Name> with PNR Number:2345678901 is cancelled. Amount: 60 will be refunded in your account.

Case 2: If the ticket has to be partially cancelled

Send below SMS with the following information to 139

CAN <10 Digit PNR> <IRCTCUserID> <Passenger Number>
For Example:
CAN 2345678901 Rakesh 1/2/3 (Upto 6 Passenger)

If the entered information is valid, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

We have received your request for cancellation of tickets for < Passenger 1 Name> for PNR Number 2345678901. Please confirm the cancellation by sending YES to 139 or for any change in cancellation data, send a fresh request.
Once the cancellation is confirmed, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

Your ticket for <Passenger 1 Name> with PNR Number:2345678901 is cancelled. Amount: 60 will be refunded in your account.

Indian Railways Ticket Booking using USSD (Menu-based dialling)

Note : This service will not be available between 0800-1200 hrs (You can’t book tatkal ticket using your mobile). However, the ticket can still be booked using mobile through IRCTC main site www.irctc.co.in

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

*How to generate MMID *How to receive OTP *List of Banks http://www.npci.org.in/bankmember.aspx

OTHER SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH 139
139 Call:
*PNR Enquiry * Arrival Departure Status * Seat Availability
*Fare Enquiry * Dial a Ticket

139 SMS: SMS HELP to 139 for Keyword Information
* PNR Enquiry * Arrival Departure Status * Seat Availability
*Fare Enquiry * Time Table* Train Name/Number * Location

139 USSD: Dial *139#
* PNR Enquiry * Arrival Departure Status * Seat Availability
*Fare Enquiry * Time Table* Train Name/Number * Location

24*7 HELP LINE NUMBERS: Call: 139 or SMS TKT to 139

Kanyakumari – The Tip of India

Kanyakumari – The Tip of India
Located at the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari lies in the state of Tamil Nadu. In olden times, it was called Cape Comorin. Kanyakumari is one of the most famous tourist spots of India. The name Kanyakumari has been dervised from the name of a hindu goddess Kumari Amman, whose temple is located on the shores of the Laccadive Sea.

Reaching Kanyakumari
Railways – Trivandrum Central is the major rail station near Kanyakumari and it is connected to all major cities of India. Kanyakumari Junction is 1Km from the bus stand.
Airways – Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport and it is 87 kms away. One can hire a taxi from Trivandrum. Trivandrum is well-connected all major cities of India.
Roadways – Kanyakumari is connected to all major cities through the Tamil Nadu and Kerela Road Transport Corporation Services.

Climate of Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari enjoys a moderate climate throughout the year. Winters and summers both are pleasant but it gets a bit warm and less tourists visit here during the summer months. It receives heavy rainfall and also experiences thunderstorms. The best time to visit Kanyakumari is October-March.

Legends
There are many legends about Kanyakumari. One Hindu Legend states that Kanya Devi who was an avtar of Goddess Parvati was supposed to marry Mord Siva but he failed to show up on the wedding day and the grains and rice which were to be used for the wedding feast remained unused. These unused grains turned into stones and these stones are still seen on the seashore.
Another Hindu Legend states that Lord Hanuman had dropped a small piece of the earth when he was carrying a mountain from the Himalayas with a life-saving herb, while going to Lanka during the war between Ram and Ravana. This piece of the earth is known as Marunthuvazh Malai which means the hill where medicine lives. This is why once can find lots of medicinal plants in the area. Marunthuvazh Malai is 7 Kms away from Kanyakumari.
A medicinal expert, the sage Agasthya also lived around this area in the olden times. This is also one of the reasons why so many medicinal plants are found here. A nearby village has also been named after the sage. It is called Agastheeswaram and there is an ashram also where many tourists visit. A can get a fantastic view of Kanyakumari from the top of the hill.

History of Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is well known for its art, culture and religion since the ancient times. In the earlier times, it was also a major centre for trade and commerce. The Cholas, the Cheras,the Pandyas and the Nayak rulers ruled here. The temples built by these rulers display great architectural beauty. Kanyakumari was later made a part of the Venad Kingdom by King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma who made Padmanabhapuram his capital. Between 1729 to 1758, the King set up Travancore and the current Kanykumari town was called as Southern Travancore. In the year 1741, the Dutch East India Company was defeated by Maharaja Marthanda Varma in the Battle of Colachel. After the downfall of the Pandyan Kings, the Travancore Royals ruled over Kanyakumari till 1947. It was during the reign of the Travancore Royals that Kanyakumari got its present name. Malayalam is the preferred language in Kanyakumari.

Places to visit
Tourism is an important industry in Kanyakumari.There are many noteworthy locations in Kanyakumari:-
• The Kanyakumari Temple – The Kumari Amman temple is located on the shore and is devoted to Goddess Parvati. The diety of Goddess Parvati has a scintillating nose ring which is said to be visible from the sea.
• Vivekananda Rock Memorial – Eknth Ranade built this 41 m high structure of the famous Tamil poet and saint Thiruvalluvar in the year 1970. This statue is one of the tallest statues of Asia.
• Sri Padhaparai – This rock is believed to have the footprints of the Goddess Parvati, the virgin goddess and Swami Vivekananda also meditated on this rock.
• Gandhi Memorial – is also place worth-seeing, since Gandhiji’s ashes have been preserved here and can be seen by the public.
There are many other religious sites, beaches, forests and mountain valleys in the Kanyakumari district.

Dwarka – The Swarna Nagari

Dwarka – The City Of God

Located on the western coast of Gujarat, is the city of Dwarka, which is a part of Jamnagar District. It is one of the oldest cities of India. The name Dwarka has been derives from dvar, which means door in sanskrit. It is considered as one of the Char Dham – the four most sacred places in India by the Hindus. The other three dhams are Rameshwaram, Puri and Badrinath. The Vaishnavas have great respect for the city.

The Dwarakadhish Temple

King Vajra, Krishna’s great grandson built the temple but it was rebuilt during the 6th and 7th century. The temple has five storeys. Sand and limestone has been used for its construction. It has two gateways – the Swarg dwar from which the pilgrims enter and the Moksha Dwar, which is used by the pilgrims to exit the temple. The confluence of the River Gomati into the sea can be viewed from the temple. The shrines for Devaki, Vasudeva, Subhadra, Balaramavand Revati, Jambavati Devi, Rukmini Devi an Satyabhama are also located in Dwarka. The Chalukya style of art can be seen in the Dwarkadheesh temple. This temple id dedicated to Lord Krishna while there are other shrines also, such as Vasudeva, Devaki, Revathy, Subhadra and Balarama etc. The deity of Lord Krishna is in black and it looks splendid. There are rich carvings and designs in the temple.
It is mandatory for each devotee to take a dip in the Gomti River. The temple is decorated beautifully on the occasion of Janmashtmi. The Kingdom of Dwarka has also been mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Harivansha, Skanda Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana. It is believed that Dwarka was earlier situated near the current city but it was deserted and gradually it submerged into the sea. Vishwakarma built the city of Dwarka after being ordered by Lord Krishna. The city has a hall by the name ’Sudharma Sabha’, where public meetings are held. There are 70000 palaces in Dwarka, which are made of silver and gold and are decorated with precious stones. It is believed that each wife of Lord Krishna had a palace of her own. There are beautiful gardens and lakes in the city. Around the year 3138 BC, 36 years after the end of the Mahabharata War, Lord Krishna left the earth for Vaikuntha, and the Yadava leaders fought among themselves and got killed. Arjuna went to Dwarka so that he could bring the Yadava wives and Lord Krishna’s grandsons to Hastinapur. After he left, the city of Dwarka got submerged into the sea.

Bet Dwarka

Bet Dwarka is a coastal site which is of great significance to Hindus and it has various temples devoted to Lord Krishna. Archeologists’ findings suggest that a lot of overseas trade used to be carried out from here in the ancient times.

How to Reach

  • By Air – The Jamnagar Airport is the nearest Airport to Dwarka and it is 137 Kms from Dwarka. One can hire a taxi from Jamnagar to Dwarka.
  • By Rail – Dwarka Railway station is well-connected to all major cities in India.
  • By Road – Dwarka is well-connected to all major cities in India through the Gujarat State Road Transport buses.

Climate of Dwarka

Dwarka enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. In the winters, it is cool and pleasant. It gets very hot during the summers. Dwarka gets medium rainfall during the monsoon season. The best time to go to Dwarka is from October – June.

Aadi Jyotirling Shri Somnath Mahadev Temple

Aadi Jyotirling Shree Somnath Mahadev Temple

Located on the western coast of Gujarat in the Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra near Veraval, is the Somnath Mahadev Temple. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of God Shiva. The name Somnath literally means protector of the moon. Sine this temple has been attacked by Muslim invaders more tan sixteen times, it is often referred to as “the Shrine Eternal”.

Climate

Somnath has a temperate climate almost throughout the year. The summers are hot with the maximum temperature going up to 42 °C. Winters are pleasant and cool. Somnath gets heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. The best time to visit Somnath is from October-March.

History of Somnath Temple

According to the Shiv Mahapuran, Brahma had an argument with Vishnu regarding supremacy of creation. Lord Shiva pricked the three worlds as a giant pillar of light – the jyotirlinga. Both Brahma and Vishnu went to search for the end of the light. Brahma wrongly said that he had found the end and Vishnu admitted his defeat. At this point, Shiva placed a curse on Brahma that he would not be worshipped during any ceremonies while Vishnu would always be worshipped. Since then the Jyotirlinga is the ultimate unparsed reality and Lord Shiva appears out of it partly. Formerly it was believed that there were 64 jyotirlingas and 12 out of them are said to be very auspicious and sacred.
The 12 jyotirlinga are Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Somnath and Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain and Omkareshwar in MP, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Viswanath at Varanasi in UP, Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Bhimashankar, Grishneshwar at Aurangabad and Triambakeshwar in Maharastra, Jharkhand, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Deogarh in Deoghar.

Significance of Somnath Temple

According to some ancient Indian traditions, the Moon had married 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati, but he neglected 26 of them and liked only one – Rohini. An angry Daksha put a curse on the Moon and the Moon’s power of light got lost. The Moon took advice from Prajapita Brahma, and in order to get released from his father-in-law’s curse, the Moon went to Prabhas Teerth and built a Shivlinga there. He worshipped Lord Shiva and tried to please him. Lord Shiva was impressed and blessed the Moon. The Moon got relieved partially. Since then, Lord Shiva has rested in that Lingam and therefore it is called Jyotirlingam. Pauranic traditions also believe that the Moon also built a golden temple and a silver temple was built by Ravana. Lord Krishna then built the Somnath Mahadev Temple with Sandalwood.

Damage suffered by the Temple

There is a second temple, which is believed to have been built by Yadava Kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat and they replaced the first temple around 649 CE. The Arab governor of Sind, Junayad tried to destroy the temple in 725 CE and so a third temple was constructed in red sandstone by Nagabhata II, the Gurjara Pratihara King. Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the temple in 1024 and it was rebuilt by Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara, Gujrat and Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa, with wood during 1026-1042. Allauddin Khilji destroyed the temple in 1296 and Mahipala Dev, the Chudasama King of Saurashtra rebuilt it in the year 1308. Mahipala’s son Khengar installed the Lingam later. The Sultans of Gujarat, Muzaffar Shah I destroyed the temple in 1375 and Mahmud Begda destroyed the temple in 1451. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb also destroyed the temple in 1701 and constructed on Mosque with the columns from the temple. A little later, in the year 1783, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, the Peshwa of Pune, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur and Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior built the temple again, adjacent to the mosque.

Restoration of the Temple

After independence, the restoration work of the temple was taken up by the Nehru Government under the guidance of the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies – K. M. Munshi. The mosque was shifted from its site and planted few miles away. The Installation ceremony of the temple was performed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad in the year 1951. Shree Somnath Trust is responsible for the maintenance of the temple.
The Somnath Mahadev Temple is a work of art displaying the Chalukya style of architecture and it really is an eternal shrine.

How to reach Somnath

  • By Road – Somnath is connected to various cities through the State transport buses.
  • By Air – Koshed is the nearest airport and it is 55 Kms away, however one can also go to Somnath via Diu Airport, which is 90 Kms away from Somnath. International visitors come to Ahmadabad or Mumbai and hire a taxi from there.
  •  By Rail – Veraval is the nearest railway station to Somnath and it 5 Kms from Somnath. Veraval is connected to major cities like Vadodara, Mumbai and Ahmadabad.

Chail – A Hiker’s Paradise

Chail – A Hiker’s Paradise

Located at an average height of 2250m, Chail is a hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Beautiful forests with gigantic deodar trees and chir pine trees surround Chail. It is a calm and serene place, 49 kms away from the hustle-bustle of Shimla. The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail. A polo ground and the cricket ground are at an altitude of 2444m. The royal family of Patiala owned them. It is a hiker’s paradise. In the year 1891, when Lord Kitchener restricted Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s entry into Shimla, he decided to make Chail his summer capital. Chail is famous for the Chail Palace.

Climate of Chail

Chail has a pleasant climate in the summers, while it gets pretty cold in the winters. It receives an average rainfall of 150mm. The best time to visit Chail is from April to September.

Tourist Attractions

  1. Chail Cricket Ground – Built in the year 1893, this is the highest cricket ground in the world. It is very well maintained and is used by the Chail Military School. It has a basket ball court too. It is used as a polo ground during school vacations. The ground is also used as a football ground, since it has goal posts. There is an ancient tree in this ground, which has been converted into a beautiful tree house by the Military School.
  2. Chail Sanctuary – Sadhupal – Many distinct species of animals are found in the Chail sanctuary.
  3. Chail Gurudwara – Built in the year 1907 by the Maharaja of Patiala, the Chail Gurudwara is an attractive building with a wooden roof.
  4. Chail Military School – Built by the Maharaja of Patiala, this ancient building stands tall.

Audacious Activities

As stated earlier, Chail is a hiker’s paradise and much-liked by those who daring and like to take risks. There are a host of adventurous activities for tourists, which makes their visit worthwhile.

  1. Flying Fox – A very dangerous activity, the flying fox can only be performed after being trained by professionals under expert supervision. It feels as if one is flying in the forests.
  2. Bamboo Bridge Adventure Activities – This activity involves crossing a river over a bamboo bridge.
  3. Rope Walk – As the name suggests, one needs to walk over a rope at a high altitude and maintain their balance. It is a very exciting yet risky task.
  4. Tyre Bridge – This bridge is made up of tyres in the form of a chain and there are hand rails on both sides but the balance needs to be maintained.
  5. Burma Bridge – This bridge is made up of cables and is very dangerous. Protection is provided to the tourists for performing this task.
  6. Rock Rappelling – This is another risky task and should be performed under the guidance of experienced instructors only.
  7. Commando – This task required walking over a network of ropes as in a spider web.

How to Reach Chail

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Jubbar Hati Airport and it is 63 kms from Chail. One can hire a taxi from there. Flights to Delhi and Chandigarh are available from here. Delhi is connected to all major cities of India and the World.
  • By Rail – Located 86 Kms away, Kalka is the nearest railhead. One can hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Chail. One can hire a taxi from Chandigarh also, which is 95 kms from Chail.
  • By Road – One can board a deluxe or regular bus from Shimla. Buses to nearby cities are available from Chail.

Chail is worth a visit if one wants to take a nice adventurous vacation and escape the heat of the summer months!