Kanheri Caves

Kanheri Caves are a group of One hundred and nine caves have been chiseled out of a massive basaltic rock outcropping. Kanheri Caves are located at a distance of 6 kilo meters from the main gate of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, to the north of Borivali, on the western outskirts of Mumbai city in Maharashtra state, India.

Kanheri Caves dates back to the period between 1st century BCE and 10th century CE. Kanheri was a well-known Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast those days. There are 51 legible inscriptions and 26 epigraphs inside the caves. There is an unfinished paintings of Buddh inside the ceiling of the Cave number 34.

 Prayer hall with Stupa in cave 03 of Kanheri Caves Prayer hall with Stupa in cave 03 of Kanheri Caves

Each of the Kanheri Caves has a stone plinth for a bed. Most of these caves are Buddhist Viharas with shrine and stupa. These caves were used for meditating, studying and living. When these caves were converted into permanent Buddhist monasteries, the rocks were carved with intricate reliefs of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. There are canals and cisterns that were used to channel the rainwater into huge tanks inside the caves.

How do I go to Kanheri Caves?

Kanheri Caves are located at a distance of 7 km from Borivali Station.

Phugtal Monastery

Phugtal Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, in Kargil district, located in the remote Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar taluk. The Phuktal Monastery is built like a honeycomb around a natural cave, which is believed to have been in existence for more than 2,550 years. The present Phuktal Gonpa of the Gelug lineage was established here in the 14th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo.

Phugtal MonasteryPhugtal Monastery.

Phugtal Monastery is also known as Phuktal Monastery or Phugtal Gompa and the Monastery can only be reached by foot. Supplies to the Phuktal monastery are brought on donkeys, horses, donkeys, and mules in the warmer months. In the frozen winters, supplied are brought through the frozen Zanskar River.

Monastery here houses about 70 Buddhist monks. The monastery is built on a cliff, right under a cave entrance. The foundation is built with clay and twigs. The earliest inhabitants of the cave were the 16 followers of Gautama Buddha, whose images are there on the cave walls of the Phugtal Monastery.

Daman and Diu

Daman and Diu are two coastal districts, which are part of the Union Territory of India , on the Arabian sea coast. Daman shares its border with Maharashtra state and Diu with Gujarat state.

The View of Water Fort Prison from Diu Fort with watch tower of Diu FortView of Water Fort Prison from Diu Fort with watch tower of Diu Fort.

Daman and Diu were part of the Portuguese colonies in India even after Indian independence and were made part of India on 19th December 1961, by military conquest. This Union Territory was known as “Goa, Daman and Diu” until 1987, when Goa was granted statehood.

Daman and Diu are known for its historic buildings, churches, forts and beaches. Tourism is the major industry in Daman and Diu. St. Paul’s Church, Diu fort, Water Fort Prison with watch tower overlooking the Diu Fort, Nadia Caves, etc, are some of the main tourist attractions in Diu. Moti Daman Fort, Daman Freedom Memorial, Nani Daman Fort and the church inside the fort, etc, are some of the main tourist sites in Daman.

St. Paul's Church, DiuSt. Paul’s Church, Diu.

Daman and Diu are having an area of 72 and 40 square kilometers respectively. Daman and Diu lies at around 650 kilo meters distance from each other.

How do I go to Daman and Diu?

Vapi railway station with station code “VAPI”, is the nearest railway station to Daman at around 12 kilo meters distance, on the Western railway line. Diu Airport with IATA code DIU, has commercial flights to Mumbai and Porbander. Daman has an Airport; there are no commercial flights from here and is used as a Indian Navy air base.

Surat and Mumbai are at around 125 and 150 kilo meters distance, respectively from Daman.

Betla National Park

Betla National Park is situated in Latehar district, Jharkhand, India. Betla National Park is part of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. #betla

Betla National Park is part of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. Betla National Park’s name derived from the first letters of the animals found there; bison, elephant, tiger, leopard, axis-axis. Betla Park is also a tiger reserve, under Project Tiger, even though no Tigers were spotted in the recent past!

The park is rich in flora and fauna. Lower reaches of the park consists mainly of tropical wet evergreen forests. Moist & dry deciduous forests forms the middle reaches and alpine forests forms the upper reaches. There are a large variety of animals in the park. Elephants and Langurs are seen in plenty. Other animals found in the national park includes Sloth bear, panther, Jackal , wolf, hyena, gaur, chital, sambhar, mouse deer, four-horned antelopes, kakar, small Indian civets, ant eating pangolin, porcupine, nilgai and mongoose. Large variety of birds are also seen in the Betla National Park. Kamaldah lake is famous for its water birds.

Deep inside the forests in Betla National Park, one can see the main sentinel of the 16th century old fort, which was the seat of the Chero Kings. There is one more old fort inside the Betla National Park.

Betla National Park has many Watch towers and ground hides to those interested in watching the beasts of the jungle. November to March is the ideal time to explore the park. Summer months of May and June are the ideal for those interested to explore the wildlife (when vegetation dries up).

How do I go to Betla National Park?

Betla National Park can be accessed only from Betla village, which is situated at a distance of 25 kilo meters from Daltonganj. Latehar is at a distance of 65 kilo meters from Betla village. Ranchi, the capital city of the Jharkhand state, is at around 170 kilo meters from Betla village. #betla

Gandikota, The Grand Canyon of India

Gandikota, on the right bank of the river Pennar, is a small historic village in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh, India. #gandikota

The Pennar river near GandikotaThe Pennar river near Gandikota.

Gandikota was founded in 1123 A.D. by Kapa Raja of Bommanapalle village ( a nearby village) and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. Gandikota Fort was one of the greatest forts in south India, during its heydays. Many wars were fought for this grand fort. Hyder Ali of Mysore was one among those who conquered Gandikota fort from the Vijayanagar emperor in the 17th century. Later on, the fort went into the hands of The British .

The picturesque Gandikota fort ruins and nearby Grand Canyon (called the ‘The Grand Canyon of India’ or Indian Equivalent of the ‘Grand Canyon’ ) are the main tourist attractions here. Madhavaraya temple (believed to be constructed by Vijayanagar kings who conquered the fort),Granary, Jail, Ranganatha Swamy Temple (Chalukyan style architecture by Chalukya kings who also occupied the fort), etc, are some of the other important tourist places worth visiting. It seems that there are no guides to explain these things at Gandikota. Belum caves are another major tourist place at around 60 kilo meters distance from Gandikota.

Gandikota acquired its name from the Telugu word ‘gandi’ (which means ‘gorge’ ). Telugu is the local language of Andhra pradesh state. Gandikota is situated in the Erramala hills range and the Pennar river flows at the foot of these hill ranges.

The features of the Gandikota fort includes a gorge at around 300 feet above the Pennar river and it comprises of 101 bastions, all over 40 feet high. Gandikota fort was built using red granite stones, with a 20 feet high entry gate. The fort wall runs around the 5 miles in perimeter. Gandikota fort is a one of the best tourist places in India with its exquisite palace carvings, ancient temples co-existing with a mosque and the perennial springs. Gandikota and its surrounding areas offers trekking opportunities in the fort ruins and the canyon. Numerous viewpoints in the area offers breathtaking views of the scenic site.

How do I go to Gandikota and The Grand Canyon of India?

Jammalamadugu city is the nearest city to Gandikota and is at a distance of around 15 kilo meters. Local buses takes you to Gandikota fort from Jammalamadugu city bus station. You may carry food, water and other essential things from Jammalamadugu, as no shops are there at Gandikota, except Hotel Haritha, a guest house from Andhra Pradesh State government which offers food and accommodation .

Kadappa formerly known as Cuddapah, a major town in Andhra Pradesh known for its Black Limestone, is at around 77 kilo meters away from Gandikota.

Muddanuru railway station with station code MOO where most of the express trains stops, is the nearest railway station to Gandikota, at around 26 kilo meters distance .