Jody Travel brings you some of the best hand-picked experiences in the Southern most parts of India

Hot air ballooning in Araku Valley

Hot air ballooning in Araku Valley Tucked away in the lap of nature and serenity, Araku Valley is known for its pristine valleys, cultural heritage, stunning waterfalls gushing out of the hills and coffee plantations. There’s no more thrilling way to see the stunning undulating landscapes of the Eastern Ghats in Araku Valley than from a hot air balloon. Float over fields of yellow niger flowers, interspersed with navigating streams and green valleys.

Underwater date with colourful corals in Puducherry
Puducherry, the French capital of India, is a destination that offers serenity and sanctity in its true sense. The city is calm and its urban architecture, depicting the French style, attracts people from all over the world. Besides sightseeing, you don’t need to worry about what to do in Puducherry, for the tiny holiday destination has a lot to offer and to make it a fun-filled trip for you.

A walk through Hampi’s history Hampi
once the grand capital of the Vijayanagara empire where every rock and pillar has a story to tell. Modern-day Hampi is a small town in northern Karnataka, with inhabitants living alongside the imposing ruins. At the epicentre of Hampi’s many attractions lies the architectural marvel of the Vittala Temple complex. With striking compound walls, lofty gateway towers, halls, pavilions and temples, the eye candy is of the highest calibre.

Ramayana comes alive in Rameshwaram A place where one will be at a loss for adjectives. Located in the sea region of “Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserves”, Rameshwaram is relatively small in terms of area. Standing firmly in the middle of India and Sri Lanka with its clean sea breezes, less crowded temples and sacred ponds, this famous “Island City” has been the setting of the Ramayana that pervades the landscape.

12-Jyotirlinga-of-Shiva-in-India

12 famous and auspicious Shiva Jyotirlingas

The whole Sawan or Shravan month is dedicated to the worship of Hindu Lord Shiva. In this month, many devotees pay pilgrimage to 12 of the most famous and auspicious Shiva Jyotirlingas.The word Jyotirlinga is composed of two words – Jyoti means light and linga which is an aniconic representation of Lord Shiva. Here’s a list of 12 famous Jyotirlingas located across various cities of India:

1) SOMNATH JYOTIRLINGA

The temple of Somnath, also known as the Shrine Eternal, is located in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The temple is considered as one of the most significant and revered 12 Jyotirlinga located across India.

2) MALLIKARJUNA  JYOTIRLINGA

Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is located in the hilly town of Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh. Situated near the banks of Krishna river, the temple looks like a great fort. The temple has a number of sculptures on its walls appear as a gallery.

3) MAHAKALESHWAR JYOTIRLINGA

Situated in the holy city of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, the Mahakaleshwar temple is the most lively Shiva Temples of India. It is located on the side of the Rudra Sagar lake in heart of historical city of Ujjain. The diety here is also known as dakshinamurti as it’s facing the south.

4) OMKARESHWAR JYOTIRLINGA

A Jyotirlinga temple, Omkareshwar is situated on a holy island of Shivpuri in Maheshwar, Madhay Pradesh. The temple is also famous for the shape of the holy island which looks like the symbol of Shiva “Om”.

5) KEDARNATH JYOTIRLINGA

One of the holiest place for Hindus, the Kedarnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in the hilly region of Uttarakhand, the Kedarnath temple is situated at the head end of the River Mandakini in the Garhwal Himalayas.

6) BHIMASHANKAR JYOTIRLINGA

Located in the Sahyadri ranges near the city of Pune, the Bhimashankar Temple Jyotirlinga is one of the most famous pilgrim places in the state of Maharashtra. The temple has Buddha style carvings on its walls.

7) VISHWANATH JYOTIRLINGA

Situated on the banks of holy river Ganga in the oldest city of India, Varanasi, Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga temple is one of the holiest temple of India.

8) TRIMBAKESHWAR JYOTIRLINGA

The Trimbakeshwar temple is located on the banks of Godavari river in Trimbak, Nashik, Maharashtra. It is the only Jyotirlinga having three faces exemplifying Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva).

9) BAIDYANATH JYOTIRLINGA

The Baidyanath temple is located in the holy city of Deoghar in the state of Jharkhand.

10) NAGESHWAR JYOTIRLINGA

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple is located near the city of Dwarka in Gujarat. Three other Shiva temples identical to this Jyotirlinga includes – the Jageshwar temple near Almora in Uttarakhand, the Nageshwara temple near Dwaraka in Gujarat, and the Nagnath temple in Aundha in Maharashtra.

11) RAMESHWARAM JYOTIRLINGA

The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple is located on the religios city of Rameshwaram in the state of Tamil Nadu. The city is also a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.

12) GRISHNESHWAR JYOTIRLINGA

Located just 11km away from Daulatabad city of Maharashtra, Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is very close to the famous rock-cut Ajanta Ellora caves.

kotilingeshwara-temple

10 most famous Shiva temples in India

10 most famous Shiva temples in India

Shiva, also worshiped as Mahadeva, is the supreme power as per the Hindu religious beliefs. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is represented as a Yogi (a peaceful entity) as well as a fierce deity in the form of a Bhairava or Nataraja.The diety is worshiped across the country as well as outside India in different forms. Here are some of the famous temples of Shiva located across various states of India:

1) AMARNATH
Amarnath is a cave temple located at a height of 3888 m in the hills of Jammu and Kashmir. The main attraction of Amarnath temple is the naturally appearing ice lingam of Lord Shiva which is formed only once in a year. The Amarnath pilgrimage or Amarnath Yatra needs lot of physical and mental strength as it passes through some of the rugged terrains of Kashmiri mountains.

2) KEDARNATH
The temple of Kedarnath is located on the Garhwal Himalayan Range of Uttarakhand near Mandakini River. The temple is considered one of the most esteemed Shiva Temples for Hindus across the world. Located at the hilly mountains of Himalaya, this Shiva temple is counted among the four destinations of Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand along with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Badrinath.

3) KASHI VISHWANATH
As per Hindu beleifs, the person who takes his last breath in Kashi Vishwanath, gets liberated from the cycle of rebirth. The temple of Kashi Vishwanath is located in one of the oldes cities of India – Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). The temple is counted among the twelve Jyotirlingas. The best time to visit this temple is during Shiva Ratri festival. The Kashi Vishwanath temple gets decked in its best during the month of Shiva Ratri.

4) VAIDYANATH
As per Hindu mythology, the temple of Vaidyanath is built on the place where Ravana, the king of Lanka and an ardent follower of Shiva, sacrificed his ten heads in a bid to please the diety. Pleased with Ravana’s devotion, the lord Shiva himself came down to Deoghar and treated the severed head of Ravana as a doctor. Hence, the temple was named Vaidyanath – Vaidya means doctor and Nath denotes Lord. The temple is located in Deoghar, Jharkhand.

4) SOMNATH

The temple of Somnath is located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The significance of this temple increases as it is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has been ruined by foreign invaders many times for its exclusive repository of gems and jewelleries. The current form of Somnath temple was reconstructed in 1947.

5) MAHAKALESHWAR
Located in the historical city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, the Mahakaleshwar temple represent the deity Mahakal. Mahakal is considered as the Lord of death of all three Lokas – heaven, earth, and hades. Representing the fierce form of Lord Shiva, the temple is also included in the list of 12 Jyotirlinga temples of India.

6) OMKARESHWAR

The Omkareshwar temple is actually located on an island having the shape of symbol Om. The temple is situated in the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. The deity Lord Omkareshwar is worshipped three times a day here – the morning worship is done by the temple trust, at mid day the puja is done by the priest of Scindia state while the evening one is performed by the priest of the Holkar state.

7) BHIMASHANKAR
Bhimashankar Temple is a jyotirlinga temple located in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. As per Hindu mythology, to stop the evil deeds of a demon named Tripurasur, the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati took a new form called Ardhanarishwara.

8) MALLIKARJUNA SWAMY
Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is a jyotirlinga shrine located on the bank of the River Krishna in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh. The Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of Mallikarjun and Goddess Parvati is worshipped here as Bhadrakali.

 9) LINGARAJ

Representing the specimen of Kalinga Architectural Style, the Lingaraj Temple is dedicated to Lord Harihara, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Tribhuvaneshwara and Goddess Parvati is worshipped as Bhubaneshwari.

10) KOTILINGESHWARA

Kotilingeshwara temple has around one crore Shivalingams. The temple is located in Kammasandra village of Kolar district of Karnataka. The main attraction of this Kotilingeshwara temple is the huge Shiva Lingam which is considered as the highest known Shiva Lingams in the world.

Himachal Pradesh’s Hidden Paradise:Thirthan Valley

Thirthan Valley  is an unexplored mountain valley in Himachal Pradesh It has something for everyone One can do activities like trekking, birdwatching and camping, etc. at Tirthan Valley India is full of mountains and there is no dearth of trekking destinations. However, most of the trekking destinations in India have now become highly cliche and overcrowded. Wherever you go, you will find tourists loitering around.

Many people go on treks in search of peace and adventure, however, most of the popular trekking spots have now become highly commercial hubs where locals are trying to capitalise on their location. But, there is this one hidden gem in Himachal Pradesh which is still hugely unexplored. the Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is relatively unknown and has something for everyone. It offers activities like wildlife watching, trekking and fishing, etc. Here is the list of few reasons as to why Tirthan Valley should be on your must-visit destinations list. Valley has really beautiful forests and through them flows the Tirthan River. The river is one of the reasons why Tirthan Valley looks so beautiful. Also, you can find riverside guest houses which don’t only look beautiful but are also incredibly cosy. valley doesn’t disappoint the lake-lovers either. There are two beautiful lakes which you can visit, the Serolsar Lake which is a 6 km trek from the Jalori Pass. This lake in the middle of rocks and snow is one of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see. There you can also visit a tiny temple devoted to Goddess Buddhi Nagin, the mother of the 60 Nag Devtas who are believed to reside in the lake. A Hike from the Rolla village will lead you to the beautiful waterfall amidst the forested valley. The tiny waterfall is perfect for a small a picnic. Its clean and pristine water will surely make for a serene ambience.

10 Museums in India that Showcase the Country’s Heritage

10 Museums in India that Showcase the Country’s Heritage

City Palace Museum, Udaipur
The Mewar royal family have converted much of their Udaipur City Palace Complex into a world-class museum, and it’s a remarkable place to immerse yourself in India’s regal history and heritage. The museum is housed in a series of palaces, dating as far back as 1559, that you can walk through. Its exhibits include priceless royal memorabilia such as silverware, musical instruments, family photographs and portraits, artwork, and weapons.

Location: City Palace Complex, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Opening Hours: 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m daily.

Gandhi Smriti, Delhi
This important museum is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi (widely considered to be the Father of a Nation for his role in the independence movement). It’s located in the building where he spent the last 144 days of his life and was assassinated on January 30, 1948. The room where he stayed has been preserved and contains a number of his personal belongings, including glasses and walking stick. Visitors can also see the place in the back garden where he was shot, now marked with a Martyr’s Column. Other items on display include photos, paintings, sculptures, paintings, and inscriptions pertaining to Gandhi’s life.

Location: 5 Tees January Road (formerly Albuquerque Road), New Delhi.
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily except Mondays. Also closed every second Saturday of the month.

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, West Bengal
An iconic and imposing Kolkata landmark, Victoria Memorial was constructed during the height of British reign in India in memory of Queen Victoria. It’s now an extensive fine art history museum with 25 galleries, displaying a collection of 3,900 paintings and more than 28,000 artifacts. The newest gallery, the Calcutta Gallery, details the history and development of the city from the early days of the East India Company up until the transfer of India’s capital to Delhi in 1911.

Location: Kolkata Maidan, near Jawaharlal Nehru Road.
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily except Mondays and national holidays.

Partition Museum, Amritsar, Punjab
Visiting the Wagah Border, which separates India and Pakistan? Now you can discover more about it and how it came into existence. The 17,000 square foot Partition Museum records and preserves the experiences of those affected by the 1947 Partition of India (which took place as part of India’s Independence). Housed in the restored Town Hall, some sections of the museum opened in October 2016, with the full launch taking place on August 17, 2017 (the 70th anniversary of The Partition). One of the highlights is the Gallery of Hope, which tells inspiring stories of people who crossed over to the Indian side with nothing and managed to build successful businesses.

Location: Amritsar Town Hall.
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Heritage Transport Museum, Gurgaon, Haryana
The vibrant Heritage Transport Museum opened in late 2013 and showcases the evolution of transport in India. It’s a private museum that was conceived by vintage car collector Tarun Thakral, and he’s included his collection in the museum’s expansive display. Expect to see all kinds of transport such as howdahs, bullock and goat carts, palanquins, vintage scooters, aircraft, boats, trains, and unusual contraptions used in rural India. Fascinating! In addition to the galleries, the museum also has a library, reference center, conference rooms, mini auditorium, souvenir shop, and restaurant spread over its four floors.

Location: Bilaspur-Taoru Road (Major District Road 132) off NH 8 (Bilaspur Chowk), Taoru, Gurgaon, Haryana. The museum can be visited on a day trip from Delhi.

Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily except Mondays.

Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Love textiles? Don’t miss visiting this museum, which has an enormous collection of traditional Indian textiles, some dating back 500 years. The museum was set up in 1949 at Calico Mills, in the heart of Ahmedabad’s flourishing textile industry, by industrialist Gautam Sarabha his sister Gira Sarabhai. Later, as the museum’s collection expanded and the Sarabhai Foundation took over the management of it, the museum was shifted to its current atmospheric premises in 1983. The ornate chauk features the main galleries, with court textiles of Mughal and provincial rulers from the 15th to 19th centuries, regional embroideries of the 19th century, carpets, costumes, and a display of India’s textile trade with the world. The haveli (old mansion) houses religious textiles with depictions of Indian deities, paintings and sculptures. There’s also a gallery of Indian textile techniques, library and museum shop.

Location: The Retreat, opposite Underbridge, Shahibag, Ahmedabad.
Opening Hours: Two-hour guided tours take place at 10.30 a.m. and 2.45 p.m., daily except Wednesdays and national holidays.

Jaisalmer War Museum, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Learn about the history of the Indian Army, and the bravery of its soldiers during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War and 1971 Battle of Longewala, at the new Jaisalmer War Museum. The museum was conceptualized by Lieutenant General Bobby Mathews and inaugurated in August 2015. It has two large display halls, an audio visual room, souvenir shop, and cafeteria. Up for viewing are numerous war trophies, vintage equipment, tanks, guns and military vehicles. One of the highlights is a Hunter aircraft, used by the Indian Air Force during the Battle of Longewala.

Location: The Jaisalmer Military Station, situated not far from Jaisalmer on the Jaisalmer-Jodhpur Highway.

Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.

DakshinaChitra Museum, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu
This museum, dedicated to south Indian culture, features a collection of 18 authentic historical houses from all over the region. Each one has been transported and reconstructed on the premises, and contains a contextual exhibition related to the lifestyle of the community that it belonged to. The museum opened in December 1996 and is a project of the Madras Craft Foundation. Crafts are promoted via activities and workshops for visitors. The museum also has a handicrafts shop.

Location: East Coast Road, Muttukadu, Chengalpet district, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Next to MGM Dizee World.
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and Diwali.

Tribal Museum, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
The Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum opened in June 2013 as a celebration of the state’s tribal culture. Don’t expect to find the usual staid collection of artifacts at this inventive museum. What makes it remarkable is that its displays have been created by tribal artists, from the various major tribes of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, themselves. The engaging and colorful galleries of tribal life, aesthetics, and spirituality are alive with creativity and artistic expression. You’ll feel like you’ve been magically transported to a tribal village. The museum often hosts cultural programs as well.

Location: Shyamala Hills, between the State Museum and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya Archaeological Museum, Bhopal.
Opening Hours: Noon to 7 p.m., daily except Mondays and state holidays.

Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, Shillong, Meghalaya
This vast and well-organized museum is promoting the indigenous and tribal cultures of Northeast India. It’s spread over seven floors, with each floor having a different theme. The highlight on the top floor is a Sky Walk with panoramic views across Shillong. There are 17 galleries including agriculture, costumes, food, housing, language, people, religion, and weapons. The 10-minute documentary about Northeast India is interesting and worth watching. The museum also has restaurant that serves traditional indigenous Northeast cuisine.

Location: Guwahati-Shillong Road, Mawlai, Shillong.
Opening Hours: 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (until 4.30 p.m. from December 1 to January 31). Closed Sundays and public holidays.

badrinath-temple

Badrinath shrine to reopen for public on April 30 at 4.30 am

The sacred portals of Badrinath shrine in the Himalayas here will be thrown open to devotees on April 30. The shrine is closed annually around October-November for around six months due to snow-bound conditions prevailing in the area during winter. Its doors will open at 4.30am on April 30 following The portals of Badrinath shrine will be reopened to the public on April 30 at 4:30 AM. The date and time for the reopening of the shrine’s portals were announced after ritual astrological consultations at the palace of the erstwhile royal family of Tehri in Narendranagar on the occasion of Vasant Panchami on Monday.

As is the tradition, astrologers, temple committee office bearers and others gathered at the palace of the erstwhile royal family of Tehri at Narendranagar. The head of the erstwhile royal family also called “Bolanda Badri” (talking Badrinath) Manujendra Shah announced the date for reopening of the shrine after consultation of the Hindu almanac Panchang and Ganesh Pooja

8 Facts About Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the fascinating temples in Kerala. In terms of its architecture, the story of its installation and prolonged historical significance, the temple is a top tourist place. It has found the reference in many historical books, including the Vedas which count it as special. Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most prominent Hindu temples in India and even across the world..

  1. It is the richest temple in the world with treasure worth $1 trillion.
  2. The walls and design of the temple are Dravidian styles, one of the rarest and most fascinating designs.
  3. It has 5 chambers, out which Chamber B cannot be opened as it is believed to be cursed.
  4. The Temple has a dress code of dhoti or mundu for men and saree for women..
  5. The temple has Z security mark, it is the most secure temple with foolproof plans. Mysterious Temples of India and Their Mysterious Powers
  6. The temple has three and a half feet gold statue of Mahavishnu in the chamber which weights 30 kg.
  7. The temple is mentioned in Brahman Purana, Mahabharata, Skanda Purana and Varaha Purana as a shrine.
  8. The temple has an image of Lord Vishnu which is sketched with 12,000 fossilized shells of Gandaki River.
A Sadhu (holy man) takes holy dip at Gangasagar (Sagar Island) ‘Makar Sankranti’

Pilgrims take holy dip at Ganga Sagar on Makar Sankranti

Million of devotees from different corners of the country as well countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have gathered to take a holy dip at the confluence of river Ganga and  Bay of Bengal on Makar Sankranti at tA Sadhu (holy man) takes holy dip at Gangasagar (Sagar Island) ‘Makar Sankranti’he annual Gangasagar Fair. About 150 km from Kolkata in South 24 Parganas district, the Gangasagar island is considered auspicious by the Hindus, who gather here on Makar Sankranti, for a holy dip and to pray by offering coconuts at the Kapil Muni temple.

The devout believe that a single dip in the sacred water washes off sins of one’s lifetime

With the gathering of pilgrims increasing every passing moment, the fair grounds looked splendid in a riot of colours, with people speaking in a great variety of languages and wearing different attire.

The monks and ascetics were seen performing ‘havan’ and other Hindu rituals, while a number of religious organisations brought out rallies.