A Site of Incredible Beauty

15One of the largest of its kind in the city of Bengaluru, Ulsoor Lake provides travellers with an ideal destination to indulge in a calm row across its surface, relax on its grassy green banks or venture to any one its many islands.

Ulsoor Lake presents an extremely scenic destination in India that has also made it the shooting location of more than one local film. Watching the sunset over the lake is yet another aspect of the area’s beauty that should not be passed over when presented with the opportunity.

For those wanting to traverse the lake on a boat, there is a small boating club located near the lake. This provides the perfect chance to see the whole area in a new light and stop off at one of the many islands that are located in its waters. Visitors have the choice of either taking a boat out by themselves or book a tour that takes all the boating responsibility off their hands.

Travellers coming to Bangalore between August and September will be able to witness a special Ganesha festival that takes place exclusively during this period. Another religious attraction that is located here is the gurudwara which is the largest such Shikh shrine in the entire country which lies next to the lake.

Various buildings that were constructed during the British colonial era still stand in their original locations next to the lake including a swimming pool which visitors can use to take a dip. Two other structures located nearby are Kensington Park and the Subbaraya.

When exploring the many attractions of the city, travellers will need to find a suitable Bangalore hotel for their stay. Ista Hotel Bangalore is a popular choice among the many Bangalore luxury hotels due to its location that offers spectacular views of Ulsoor Lake.

Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.

The Beauty of the Lake District

14The Lake District National Park in Cumbria is full of beautiful scenery that cannot be beaten pretty much anywhere else in Europe. The landscapes, rugged mountains, lakes and farmhouses are truly a mesmerizing sight which only those that have been can truly appreciate.

There are around 880 square miles of beautiful scenery to explore. Since 1951 the area has gained National Park status which means the area is being conserved for all to appreciate its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage. Anyone planning on visiting England for the first type should most definitely visit this great area or natural beauty known as the Lake District.

Sheep farming has been the main source of economy over recent years. Today sheep farming still remains a very important factor to the economy of The Lake District. The area attracts visitors from all around the world and this tourism is a serious boom to its economy. The region remains one of the main sources of granite and slate which is both used in the building industry. The quarrying has left is marks on the landscape but does not really ruin the landscapes.

English literature and The Lake District goes hand in hand with may famous authors putting their mark on the area. The first person to make its mark in terms of literature is the poet Thomas Gray. He was one of the first to visit then document his tour of the area in 1769. His account of the area is known as Gray’s ‘Journal of his Tour in the Lake District’ was published in 1775 and went on to became one of the eighteenth-century’s most popular and most read guides to the Lakes.

It was the English poet William Wordsworth which really put the lakes on the map. He moved to the now famous Dove Cottage in Grasmere. After years living in the area he wrote his ‘Guide through the District of the Lakes’ which was published in 1820. Today you can take a tour of Wordsworth’s international collection of manuscripts, portraits, and valuables in the museum which has been named after him.

Beatrix Potter is another famous name associated with the area. Today she is remembered for artistic and literary skills in her writings. Most famously “The tale of Peter Rabbit” which was inspired by her visits to the area as a child. There is now a museum dedicated to Beatrix where you can see some of her illustrations and learn all about her life and love of nature. When she died she left most of her property to the National Trust.

The Lakes freshwater is great for watching otters, pikes and British sharks. There are many tours, events and activities which centre on and around the lakes. You can go on a cruise of Lake Windermere all year round except Christmas day. One cruise last for about three hours and includes a visit the aquarium, a steam railway and the World of Beatrix Potter. Some of the lake cruises originate from Victorian times.

Because the area is steeped in rich heritage and beautiful landscapes it’s not hard to see why it has become a chosen destination for millions of tourists each year. The challenges of the mountains, the horse riding hiking and sailing are all top activities which attract visitors. This area is truly a beautiful destination for a short holiday or break which has something for everyone. If you have never been and are planning to visit you will not be disappointed.

Discover the Beauty of Lake Geneva

13Geneva is a beautiful city to visit, and one that you should try to explore a bit even if you had just planned to pass through on your ski transfers. Geneva has a long and exciting history and there are many landmarks to enjoy, such as St Pierre Cathedral and the Jet d’Eau.

However, it is also famous for its natural surroundings, with the stunning Lake Geneva being one of the most impressive natural spectacles in the area.

A Vast Body of Water

Lake Geneva is one of the biggest lakes in Western Europe, with a total surface area of 223.95 square miles. It is divided between Switzerland and France, with 133.32 square miles located in Switzerland. It was formed by a glacier and has a unique crescent shape, and if you get up close and personal to the lake during your ski transfers, Geneva is an excellent place to do so.

There are many sites of interest around the lake, with Geneva being one of the most important, and others such as Nyon, Villeneuve, Vevey and Lausanne a few of the most popular. All around the lake the shores are known for their beauty, with wooded slopes and lush green fields, and at the eastern edge the landscape becomes Alpine.

Explore the Lake

There are many ways that you can enjoy the lake when you pass through Geneva on your ski transfers. Geneva is a great place to stop off and explore, so try and take the opportunity at some point if you can. One of the most popular ways to experience Lake Geneva is by taking a cruise from the city. This is one tourist attraction that comes highly recommended. Summer is the best time to do this, and when you head out you can enjoy cruises lasting from an hour to a lot longer to really immerse yourself in the beauty of the lake.

See the Sights

There are many exciting sights that you can see from the lake when you head out on a cruise in between your ski transfers. Geneva has a number of famous landmarks, and some of these are even more impressive from the lake. These include the Jet d’Eau, the huge water fountain for which the city is famous, St Pierre Cathedral with its high spires, and a number of other impressive buildings lining the lake shores – including castles and large buildings further along the lake shores.

Cycle or Walk

Two of the best ways to see the lake are cycling or walking around it. There are lots of cycle and hiking trails for all levels, and the entire lake offers thousands of miles of trails if you really want to go exploring. However, when you are in the city, you can still walk or cycle along the edges of the lake.

Explore this Beautiful Lake

If you decide to explore Lake Geneva between your ski transfers, Geneva is a good place to start. Head to the city, take a cruise and then either go walking or cycling to discover the beauty of this stunning lake for yourself.

Why Kerala Is the Best Tourist Destination for Travellers

124When it comes to tourism, Kerala is one the most popular tourist destinations that attracts thousands of tourists each year. Located in the southwestern region of India, this state with an unbroken coast line along its entire length and with its natural greenery and picturesque surroundings, has been rated as ‘one of the ten paradises of the world’ and ’50 must-see destinations of a lifetime’ by National Geographic Traveller.

Unique Features

Blessed by Mother Nature, the abundance of backwaters, lakes, beaches and tropical greenery beckon every traveller to this beautiful serene land to enjoy the ambience of nature’s beauty. Families, newly weds, nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, choose this paradise for its serenity and natural scenic beauty; This state with the highest literacy and lowest child mortality rates, is one of most progressive states with diverse culture and a home to some of the best eco-tourism destinations in India.

Besides the famous Kovalam beach, hill stations of Wayanad and Munnar and backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom, here are some other best places to visit in Kerala including a few eco-tourism destinations:

Some Famous Hill Stations

Munnar – One of the famous hill stations situated at the junction of three rivers. The tea-planted hills with mist and special shades of green present a beautiful sight. Some places (Pothamadu, Pallivasal, Mattupetty, etc) near Munnar with striking landscapes, waterfalls, trekking trails, lakes and dams; and Top Station where the famous Nilkurinji blooms once in twelve years, enliven the surroundings and makes it an unforgettable experience.

Vagamon – Famous for Meenachil River, Thekkady, Ponmudi, Lakkidi, Vythiri, Idukki, Malampuzha and Mattupetty are some other locations that attract tourists in Kerala.

Some Lesser Known Hill Stations

Gavi: It is located in Pathanamthitta and is a perfect place for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Wildlife and bird watching, tree houses and spice garden, camping and safari in the forest are some other activities that attract tourists.

Athirapally: Situated in Thirussur, is known for its waterfall which has a total height of 82 feet. A scenic landscape and the beauty of the gushing Athirapally waterfall are best enjoyed in the monsoons. It is also a home to a number of animals and plants, including endangered species.

Ayyampuzha, Charalkunnu, Kalpetta, Thiruvambadi, Malakkappara, Vithura and Ranipuram are some other places to have a stress relieving vacation.

Nature walks, trekking, bird watching and other activities have attracted tourists and helped in promoting eco-tourism. Thenmala, Silent Valley National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve are amongst the best eco-tourism destinations in Kerala.

Backwaters of Kerala

The backwaters of Kerala are famous for its interconnected rivers, lakes and canals. These lagoons are destinations all visitors enjoy with a cruise ride and a vacation at the magnificently created boat houses that ply the backwaters. The backwaters are also a home for a variety of aquatic plants and animals.

Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam, Kuttanad, Kasargod, Allappuzha, Munroe Island and Thiruvallam are some hot spots and important backwater regions.

Beaches

Besides the crescent shaped Kovalam Beach famous for relaxing, ayurvedic treatment and massages, Varkala Beach is also one of the famous beaches situated in Thiruvananthapuram. It is the only region where one can see cliffs with unique geographical features due to their elevation on the flat surface of Kerala, making it a geological monument. This beautiful location attracts more people to its scenic beauty and to catch a glimpse of the beautiful hues of the setting sun. This amazing destination is one of the best reasons for Kerala to be known as God’s Own Country.

Other beaches to enjoy the scenic beauty: Bekal Beach, Khozikode Beach, Allappuzha Beach, Meenukunnu Beach, Chavakkad Beach, Kappil Beach and Cherrai Beach.

A Few Forts

Fort Kochi, located in the city of Kochi, is one of the best sightseeing places in Kerala with the European inspired architecture and planning. Other major attractions are its beaches and the sight of marvellous traditional fishing in the region.

Bekal Fort, situated in Kasargod, is the largest fort in Kerala spreading across 40 acres of land.

Bekal with its exotic beauty, serenity and magnificent view is among the top three honeymoon places in South India.

Other Places of Interest

Marine Drive, facing Kerala’s backwaters, is one of the most enchanting places with beautiful sunset and gentle breeze from the Vembanad Lake. The popular Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge offer surreal view of the backwaters.

Mattancherry Palace is one of the finest palaces of Kerala. The palace with Kerala murals and Hindu temple art was built by the Portuguese and reflects the 15th century architecture. It was renovated by the Dutch and is known as the Dutch Palace.

Malayattur is a small village in Ernakulam famous for Christian pilgrimage. It is famous because it is the place where St Thomas had fled to save himself from his enemies who were trying to kill him and believed to have prayed on this mountain.

Wayanad – Famous for the heart-shaped lake on the way to the top of the Chembara peak and wildlife sanctuary, Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram, Periyar National Park in Thekkady, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (World Heritage Site) harmonized with Thoovanam Waterfalls, Eravikulam National Park in Idukki, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and Edakkal Caves are some other places in Kerala that are popular.

Beauty Of Yosemite

123I visited Yosemite just after my marriage in 2013 and the beauty of the place has captured my heart ever since. It could be that Yosemite felt so amazing because it was my honeymoon, but the fact remains that it is rich in bio-diversity with lakes, mountains, glaciers, granite cliffs, giant sequoia trees and several other scenic attractions.

Yosemite National Park located in the central eastern part of California is one of the most picturesque spots of United States visited by millions of tourists and has been the world heritage site since 1984.

We stayed in America’s Best Value Inn near Yosemite south gate which is an affordable and convenient place to stay for tourists. We had our car, so we drove to the national park everyday to explore the various parts of it. The park is huge and has several spectacular views, so the three days were worth spending here.

Yosemite consists of a valley that extends up to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains whose terrain is majorly composed of granite. The granite gives the cliffs the bold look with the sharpness of its edges quite eye-catching. Among them El Capitan is one such cliff which has been quite popular among rock climbers. However I liked the Half Dome more which is a naturally formed granite dome around 5000 feet above the Yosemite valley floor because of its unique shape. I had visited several hill stations situated in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. The snow-covered peaks are of course the stunner but I had never seen such a remarkable shape among the peaks as that of the Half Dome. It looked similar to the face of a lady with a veil covering her head.

The other extraordinary feature of the Yosemite valley is the high density of water falls and clear water streams. Among them the Yosemite falls are the tallest falls in North America. I remember sitting on one of the rocks and watching the falls cut through the granite cliffs for hours together. The lush greenery and the rays of the sun penetrating through the leaves falling on the water and making it sparkle is a sight worth capturing. These wildly romantic views are one of the many reasons that photographers come flocking to Yosemite for creating their very own natural masterpiece.

There are two rivers that cross the valley, Toulumne and Merced. It is difficult to tell the color of the water. It’s a certain shade of blue mixed with the deep and light green colors of the shadows of the trees around the rivers. On the Merced, there is a beautiful perennial waterfall, the vernal falls which flows all through the year unlike its ephemeral companions. The vernal falls are quite clearly visible from the glacier point which gets its name from the abundance of glacial materials found here.

A strenuous but picturesque trail leads to the mesmerizing viewpoint which is closed during the winter months because of the slippery snow accumulation. There are many such beautiful trails which are not that strenuous and are great for observing wildlife and for breathing in the fresh air mingled with the sweet smell of pines.

Along with the natural beauty there is a museum which tells about the history of the American Indians who used to live in this area for thousands of years. The evidence about their life ways and culture majorly comes from the archeological evidences and oral histories passed down through generations. Earlier Yosemite valley was called Ahwahnee meaning ‘gaping mouth like place’ and the inhabitants came to be called as Ahwahnees. Behind the Yosemite museum is a reconstructed Indian village of Ahwahnee.

During the California gold rush in the mid-nineteenth century there was an influx of many non-Indian miners who settled in this region and caused the local population to deplete. The ruthless search for gold lead to the killing of thousands of native people of Yosemite.

One of the foreign settlers called Galen Clark discovered the Mariposa grove in Wawona, an Indian encampment in the now south-western part of the park. The giant sequoia trees in the Mariposa grove are surely a tourist’s delight. They are very tall around 60 meters in height and have a formidable structure. I had heard about these trees and throughout my visit to the park me and my husband made wild guesses as to which trees could be those giant ones. There were blue oaks and grey pines everywhere and some of them were also huge trees. But when I first saw the giant sequoia my mouth remained wide open with astonishment for a few minutes to say the least. Among them the most famous was the tunnel tree which had a carriage wide tunnel cut through it. It was 69 meters tall and 27 meters wide and very popular with the tourists. We were no different. Both of us clicked several photographs standing around and inside the tree. There were other giant sequoia that had interesting names like the ‘Grizzly Giant’.

The widespread coniferous forest of the park is also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. We were lucky enough to spot quite a few like the golden-mantled ground squirrel and coyote. There are many more like the grizzly bear, Sierra Nevada red fox, bobcats and many species of birds and reptiles, some of which are rare sightings.

We had visited the park in the summers, so I cannot describe its beauty during the winters. However the bookstore in the Yosemite Valley visitor center had some beautiful picture postcards and books with amazing views of the snow-covered cliffs of Yosemite. While returning back I felt refreshed but at the same time a little sad to leave behind such magnificent surroundings. Even today sometimes when I close my eyes I imagine myself strolling in the beautiful green meadows of Yosemite.