Rajasthan – A Vacation You’ll Never Forget

We all dream of that one amazing destination, don’t we? A place where the surroundings sweep us off our feet, a place where history and culture of yesteryears merge seamlessly with the present; a destination that relieves us of our daily stress from back home and most of all, provides a setting for an amazing vacation that we yearn for. Few places tick all boxes and fewer can provide a level of intimacy that we ever so often seek. One of the rare places where you can experience all of this is Rajasthan.

Historical monuments, an amazing culture, heritage that goes back many centuries all amalgamate effortlessly with modern luxury and comforts. As you explore further, you’ll realize that touring Rajasthan is a unique experience which leaves you spell bound. The best part about Rajasthan is that in the midst of the Great Indian Desert, there’s an incredible variety of destinations that you can visit. From the Capital City and the historically significant city of Jaipur to the architectural splendor of Nawalgarh; the border town of Jaisalmer that was once a trade center to the town of Kumbhalgarh which exudes the exquisite art of the Rajput era that was centered around space and luxury. And not to forget the majestic and imposing city of Udaipur, where royalty and heritage merge.

Visiting Rajasthan:

Being located in West-Central India, Rajasthan is connected through road, rail and air to all of the major Indian cities. That’s good news because you probably want to start making plans to visit this amazing place soon. The dawn of the South-West Monsoon that recedes during the month October also signals the start of winter season in India. This is the perfect time to visit Rajasthan. Even though it’s in the heart of a desert, the weather here isn’t too hot; in fact during the months of December and January it can get pretty chilly here!

Places to Visit:

Jaipur

The Capital and the largest city of Rajasthan is also of the popular tourist sites in the State. The many iconic landmarks include,

  • Amber Fort and Palace
  • Shesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors)
  • Jantar Mantar – Jaipur along with
  • Hawa Mahal – Palace of Wind, Jal Mahal,
  • City Palace of Jaipur and the
  • Birla Mandir Temple (Laxmi Narayan Mandir)

These are an absolute must-visit. And don’t forget to sample the signature Rajasthani cuisine here; it’ll blow your mind!

Udaipur

Udaipur is the place where royalty and heritage converge to form a unique, iconic city. Stop by the City Palace on the banks of the lake and bask in the moonlight at the Jag Mandir. Do visit Bagore ki Haveli and other iconic places such as Monsoon Palace and the observatory.

Nawalgarh

It seems as it Rajasthan and incredible architecture go hand in hand. Nawalgarh is a real treat because it’s one of those places where the synergy between Rajput and European architecture is truly breathtaking. That’s not all, rolling farms surround the town and the landscaped lawns of many places are a call to enjoy the enchantment of a time gone by.

Jaisalmer

A fascinating desert destination with lots to explore and plenty to take in, plus movie fans will love this one; the classic movie ‘Border’ was shot here, at the heart of the Thar or The Great Indian Desert. It is an enlightening place that offers much for every traveller. A border town, Jaisalmer is home to the imposing Jaisalmer Fort, a fossil park and many more attractions.

Where to Stay?

The real beauty of Rajasthan is her amazing history, culture and tradition. Hence, to complete this wonderful experience of traveling to this incredible place, it’s apt that you should stay at a place that is steeped in the kind of culture, heritage and even architectural sensibilities that have defined this State’s signature style for eons. Club Mahindra, a vacation ownership company provides just that. The picturesque resorts located in amazing places are true to the Rajasthani style and strive to retain local elements while offering amenities and modern conveniences that we’ve been accustomed to for long.

The best part about Club Mahindra is that with their enticing membership options, you not only get to stay at these resorts, but many others around the country. With memberships lasting 25 years and the prospect of holidaying with your loved ones every year, for two and a half decades, this is one investment you’ll be happy to make!

Amazing Holiday at Puducherry

Puducherry or Pondicherry as it was formerly known was part of French India, i.e., the parts of India which the French controlled. The largest city, located in south-eastern Tamil Nadu, about 150 kilometres south of Chennai still retains some of its Francophile identity. This, along with the presence of traditional Tamil elements makes for a very unique place.

With a fantastic beach and many tourist delights, read on to find out what makes Puducherry an amazing holiday destination!

A Unique Destination:

Puducherry is a quiet town on the southern coast of India. The entire planning and layout of this town still retains a unmistakable French Connection. This and the tree lined boulevards, the quaint colonial heritage buildings, the spiritual sceneries, the endless stretches of virgin beaches and backwaters and a surprising choice of restaurants serving a mélange of cuisines make for experiences that are so unique that they draw travelers from not only India, but all around the world.

The blend of French Influence in India coupled with some very distinctive colonial aspects, Tamil Culture and the cosmopolitan melting pot it has been for the many souls who have built their lives here has given rise to a special aura that resonates throughout the entire town. This is obvious along the promenade near the sea-shore, one of the older areas in this town.

Places to Visit:

Being a small town compared to an urban metropolis, you should try to explore this destination in its entirety during your stay here. Check out the colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 18th century, stretch along a grid of clean straight streets which house French institutions, Hotels, Guest Houses, Restaurants, Boutiques and private homes. There’s an almost Mediterranean vibe to many localities here.

An iconic hallmark of Puducherry is Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Founded by Sri Aurobindo, the ashram grew under the stewardship of Mirra Alfasa, (The Mother) and has seen a plethora of people staying here, away from their hectic lives and trying to fulfil a sense of attainment in their lives. Auroville was envisioned as a Universal Town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. It is an attempt to realize a new society as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Nearly people from 35 countries are living here to realize on human unity and transformation of consciousness.

Auroville welcomes people from all parts of the world to live together and explore cultural, educational, scientific, spiritual, and other pursuits in accordance with the Auroville Charter. Visitors to this area are greeted by mellow hues of cream, yellow, pink and grey compound walls interspersed by flamboyant bougainvillea bursting over gates and walls of courtyards.

Place du Panthéon / Aayi mandapam and Bharti park: This monument is the emblem of the Government of Pondicherry, previously called as La Place du Panthéon and later change into Aayi mandapam. This monument is surround by five parks, and is maintained to remind us the beauty of French architecture.

Also, don’t forget to check out the iconic botanical park and the zoo which formed an important part of the award-winning novel ‘Life of Pi’ and was seen in the movie based on the book.

A Gateway of Tamil Nadu:

One of the best things about Puducherry or Pondi is that it not only has some amazing attractions, but also serves as the perfect base to explore the rich destinations of Tamil Nadu around it. The international City of Unity, the imposing Gingee Fort, the holy temple towns of Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai and Chidambaram, the heritage sculptures and magnificent rock temples of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) and the cool lush hill stations of Yercaud and Kodaikanal are all within reasonable distance and if time permits, should be part of your travel agenda.

Fete De Puducherry:

This is festival of culture and it occurs on November 30th. It coincides with the Liberation Day and the Independence Day of Pondicherry, as it was known then. The Government of Puducherry organizes free evening cultural presentation in various places of the city. If you are visiting during this time, be sure to soak in the vibe of this great festival.

Putting it all Together:

Puducherry is an eclectic mix of French and Tamil culture, civilization and history. Add to the fact that it’s been a melting pot for many cultures is something truly extraordinary. For the ultimate experience, you want a place that translates all of a destination’s qualities into a serene, picturesque resort that exudes the local vibe. With convenient access to the iconic buildings, monuments and attractions, the beautiful Club Mahindra resort in Puducherry is definitely one of the best places to stay.

With Vacation Ownership, the signature offering of Club Mahindra, you truly get to vacation at amazing resorts like the one in Puducherry and 39 others across India and abroad. What’s more is that with a seven night/eight day stay every year, this can be the fabric of magical moments that you cherish forever.

Incredible Goa – Beaches and Sunshine

The months of November and December mark the beginning of winter in India. The cool breeze, sunshine and the lure of the sea makes certain places great to visit. At this time of the year, the State of Goa attracts loads of tourists. Goa has many things in addition to the superb climatic conditions that make it one of the most popular places to visit in November and December. What’s more is that Christmas, during the last week of December is an amazing time to spend in Goa. And it really doesn’t matter if you can’t spend a particular day or date here, don’t fret about it! Starting November and though January, Goa is the place to be!Goa – Just like ParadiseGoa has an incredible history which dates back many centuries. The Portuguese ruled Goa for over 450 years and they left behind many historic sites. Se Cathedral at Old Goa and Bom Jesus Basilica are officially recognised as World Heritage Sites. There are many forts in Goa such as Tiracol, Chapora, Corjuem, Aguada, Reis Magos, Nanus, Mormugao, Fort Gaspar Dias and Cabo de Rama.

The rich flora and fauna and diversity of the same is also unique and makes for a picturesque setting providing contrast to the beaches and sea.  Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries boast of more than 1512 documented species of plants, over 275 species of birds, over 48 kinds of animals and over 60 genera of reptiles.

Goan Culture is unique in that it features indigenous dance and music that has survived the Portuguese conquest and others that have incorporated cultural elements from the European Nation. Music from Goa is famous and has a distinctive sound to it. Goan cuisine is famous and has influences many other cuisines too. The seafood preparations from Goa have become somewhat legendary. The Goan Carnival attracts loads of people every year.

Club Mahindra Emerald Palms

Goa has many beaches each with unique characteristics. Two of the most prominent beaches along Goa’s long, flat coast are Varca and Benaulim. Lying along the proximity of these beaches is the magnificent Club Mahindra Emerald Palms Resort. The resort is located in an area with trees all around it. Plus, with the beach a short walk away, it’s a great place to stay at. Goa was of course under Portuguese Rule till the 1970’s and the influence of the European Nation is still visible in the resort’s architecture.

The resort features many modern conveniences. The spa at the resort is quite famous. Dance workshops are held here. Some of the famous sightseeing places near the resort include Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapel of St. Catherine, Church of St. Francis of Assisi and Shri Mahlaxmi Temple.  The amenities here are top notch and staff is always present to assist you. Goa’s famous cuisine is one of the chef’s specialties here.

You can stay at this and many other awesome resorts for the next 25 years! With Club Mahindra’s several membership plans to suit a wide variety of people, you can find the one that’s best suited for you and your family. What’s more with 40 resorts spread across India and select foreign locations, the prospect of enjoying some quality time with your family on these holidays is truly exciting!

To find out more about Club Mahindra Membership and the Club Mahindra Membership Fees, click here.

Reaching Club Mahindra Emerald Palms

By Air: The nearest airport is the Dabolim International Airport which is around 27 kilometres away. Taxis play to and fro from the airport and are easily available.

By Train: The nearest railway station is Margao. It’s 8.2 kms away and Taxis ply to and fro from the resort.

By Road: The resort lies in close proximity to NH17 – the National Highway which connects Mumbai and Goa.  It’s about 7 km from the highway.

Some Amazing Destinations to Visit This Year

It’s truly amazing to think that India has an incredible amount of diversity. From the snow-capped mountains in Himachal Pradesh to the incredible backwaters of Kerala; from the Great Indian Desert in the West to the mysterious and quaint North-East which has retained its charm over the years. Spoilt for choice, many ardent travelers ask the question – where do I go on a holiday?We pick out some of the best places for you to visit this year and we know you’d like to see some great attractions there, so we’ve chosen the must-visit attractions. The best part, they’re located pretty close to the luxurious Club Mahindra resorts at these destinations!
Dharamshala
Himachal Pradesh is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations; and for good reason. Breathtaking mountains greet visitors at all over. Lying in the Kangra Valley, at the foothills of the Dhauladhar Range, Dharamshala is a small town that is bustling with activity. There are many things to do here, including a visit to the market and the famous Tibetan Monasteries. This little hamlet offers visitors peace and tranquility and a rejuvenating vacation.
Dharamshala Things to do in Dharamshala:
Dharamshala has many amazing sights. Being the Tibetan Capital in exile, it’s home to lot of things native to Tibet. Be sure to visit the McLeodganj Monastery – a true delight for travelers. The St. John’s Church is a throwback to the Victorian Age and ardent fans of cinema might recognize this iconic structure – it served as the backdrop in many movies. Triund and Ilaka Trek and the Aghanjar Mahadev Temple Trek would satisfy the adventure junkies out there and offer amazing views of snow-capped peaks.
Binsar Valley:
India has such a rich history that it seems to shine through the blaze of modernity that surrounds us these days. Take the Binsar Valley for example, ruled by the great Guptas – one of India’s greatest dynasties. Their signature architectural style is still present in the buildings here, including the Club Mahindra Resort. Soak in the rich history and head out for a marvelous journey at Binsar – it’s sure not to disappoint you.
Things to do in Binsar Valley:
Many famous temples are located in and around Binsar. These include the Patal Bhuvaneshwar Cave Complex, Bageshwar Baijnath Kausani and Gananath Temples among others. For nature lovers, it just keeps on getting better. If the breathtaking views aren’t enough, head over to the Binsar Bird Sanctuary where you get to see some truly exotic birds. Binsar
Kanatal
For the majority of India’s population, snowfall is something they’ll never experience in their home town or cities. Fortunately, there are some places in India that are surrounded by snowy peaks and where we can experience snowfall. Kanatal is one such place. The Club Mahindra resort in Kanatal is simply put, amazing! Mesmerizing snow covered hills; thick foliage, forget-me-not skies and pure air surround you during your stay here. It truly is a magical experience. Kanatal
Things to do in Kanatal:
The Kodia Jungle trek takes you through dense forests on to a vast expanse of undulating hills and valleys. Tiny, gurgling natural springs pepper the way, and if you are lucky, a few wild animals will grace you with their presence. The Tehri Dam and the adjoining Pant Research Institute make for a great visit too. And if you’re feeling adventurous, head over to Shivpuri where you can enjoy some river rafting!
Cherai: Cherai Kerala is called God’s Own Country – and for good reason. The sights and sounds of this State are like no other. Cherai is a town that is unique in its locations – it is located between a lagoon and the beach. Hence, you get to enjoy two of Kerala’s most iconic things – the beaches, and the lagoons that are home to the world famous houseboats.  The attractive landscape is peppered with palms and tropical plants.
Things to do in Cherai:
In addition to the amazing beach, Kerala’s very own backwaters and the lake beside the beach, there’s so much more to do in Cherai.  If you have the time, do visit the Portuguese, Kottapuram and Pallipuram forts; they’re a throwback to Kerala’s rich history.
Yercaud: Yercaud Nature awakens nostalgia at the rustic hill station of Yercaud. This quaint town is located in Tamil Nadu is a true hidden gem. Gorgeous Botanical Gardens, horticultural farms, a spectacular lake and a heritage that speaks for itself make Yercaud a must-visit destination for any serious traveler. The town has many coffee estates and has a history going back to the 18th Century. Also, this town was a favorite of the British to vacation in.
Things to do in Yercaud: Yercaud is a nature lover’s delight – the Botanical Garden & Horticultural farms are amazing to visit post-monsoon, with some exotic and native flowers. Yercaud Lake is the center of the town and the Killyur Falls that supply water to this lake are always a must-visit attraction.
Gangtok: Gangtok The gateway to India’s North-East, Gangtok possesses that mystique that makes it dear to almost all travelers. The Capital of Sikkim is rooted in tradition and the sights and sounds of the town are truly breathtaking. Sikkim’s hospitality touches everyone who visits Gangtok. With views as majestic as the Chola Range and as lush as the green valleys, one enjoys the brew of old world charm and modernity at the resort, leading to a very pleasant vacation. Check out some amazing moments at Gangtok Here. Things to do in Gangtok: Where do we start! There’s so much to do in Gangtok! The ropeway that takes you on a slow tour and offers breath-taking aerial views of the city is one of the first things you should do. The Do-Drul Chorten (Stupa), Enchey Monastery and the Rumtek Monastery are places of great history and offer a glimpse into Sikkim’s heritage and culture. If you’re willing to travel a bit, Tashi Viewpoint offers a stunning view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the Tsomgo Lake is sure to take your breath away. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can visit Nathula, the historic border crossing between India and China where trade has flourished for centuries and is now a popular tourist spot.

Celebrate Diwali at Club Mahindra Corbett Park

Diwali is amazing time of the year. It’s the only festival that the entire country celebrates. This year, Diwali starts-off on October 23rd, a Thursday which makes for a really nice long weekend. This is the perfect time for you to relax, unwind and let go of all troubles and spend some time with family. The four day retreat that you can go is bound to be amazing.
What’s more is that Diwali falls right on the cusp of winter. It’s that time of the year when the monsoon starts disappearing and the cool breeze that defined winters is just starting to flow across the land. Hence, visiting a place where you can spend some time quality time with your loved ones is bound to make this holiday really special. The other great thing about visiting a place like this is that you’ll be away from the Diwali fanfare that grips nearly every city in the country. While it’s amazing to see so many people celebrate together, it can get overbearing. Hence, many folks prefer a quiet relaxing holiday. During this time, one of the best places to visit is the Corbett Park in North India.

Corbett Park:
For long, this beautiful, serene National Park has attracted visitors from all over the world. The reasons, plenty to say the least! This is one of the last remaining bastions of true open air wilderness in India. It’s also a fantastic place to visit and explore. Also, because of the way the park is run, wild animals are given their due space and hence, you get an amazing opportunity to catch a glimpse of these animals in their natural element. With so many of nature’s finest creations in close proximity, this truly sets the scene for some magical moments with your loved ones.
Corbett
Magical Moments at Corbett Park:
You don’t really need a truck full of fire crackers to celebrate Diwali. Staying in the heart of the jungle, you’ll be surrounded by the kind of beauty you rarely experience in the urban landscape. Plush cottages surrounded by trees that have many stories to tell, the sound of a river running through the forest and birds that chirp away during the day, there no place like Corbett Park. Think about breakfast overlooking a river watching elephants and gazelle is something that can only be experienced here. There truly is no place this.

Activities at Corbett Park:
Venture deep into the forest on an open-top jeep and get a never-before seen view of wildlife. From the wild buffaloes, to gazelle that sprint like the wind and if you’re lucky, you might spot some really magnificent beasts that truly capture the magnificence of Mother Nature.
Corbett Resort
Amazing places have their own special charm. Corbett Park has a history that stretches back many decades. This place has been carefully preserved and still retains that old-world charm and transports you to a different era. Even the resorts here, like Club Mahindra’s fabulous retreat carry a unique vibe that transports you to another place. There really is no place like Corbett and if you haven’t visited it yet, this Diwali is the perfect occasion to do so!

Masinagudi – A Return to Nature

As the rains draw to a close, there’s calmness in the air. The rain gods have departed the skies for now and yet, the cool breeze they bring with them remains in the air, the lush green surroundings that were borne out of the rainfall that’s become part of India’s folklore, are present all around us. Traveling during such an amazing time is always a treat.

Masinagudi:

When it’s time to decide on a holiday destination during such an amazing time, there are quite a few places that can serve as the backdrop for the magical moments that you cherish on your travels. One of the best things about India’s amazing diversity is that there’s a plethora of such destinations. Masinagudi is one of them. Nestled in Tamil Nadu, a State rich in heritage, culture and one that holds many amazing places within her boundaries, Masinagudi offers something unique to every visitor.

Head back to Nature:

Living in big cities, surrounded by technology and being in a race to beat deadlines in every possible juncture sums up the lives of most people. The perfect antidote to the stress induces by all this? Head back into the heart of Mother Nature. It’s truly amazing how much being surrounded by the raw force that we call nature on all sides can rejuvenate us. Masinagudi in located in the Nilgiris; perhaps the last remaining abode of evergreen forests. This bastion of ecological diversity is truly a sight to behold and lie within it many secrets of nature that can only be discovered upon exploring.

Exploring Masinagudi – An Experience of a Lifetime:

Every destination has something unique to offer. When you visit Masinagudi, the first thing you’ll realize is how close you are to each and every aspect of nature. From the trees and grasslands that have seen the seasons change for Centuries, to the shrubs that lie at the foot of these trees silently observing all around them. And that’s not all, the wildlife here is sure to take your breath away. Elephants and gazelle stroll along pathways, deep thoughts in their minds or wary of a silent predator. This is what being close to nature is all about.

If you want to visit a serene destination that is the picture of tranquility, look no further than River Pykara. The river flows through Murkurti, Pykara and Glen Morgan dams, and forms part of an important hydro-electric power project. On your visit here, you may come across well-protected and fenced sholas, Toda settlements, verdant meadows and a variety of flora and fauna.

Tea Gardens seem to be an omnipresent feature of some of the most scenic places in South India; Masinagudi is no different. Sample the signature Nilgiri brew on your visit to the many tea estates and tea factories here.

Click Here to read about similar holiday destinations.

 

Unforgettable Monsoon Holidays in Thekkady

The timeless and undulating appeal of the Western Ghats during the monsoon is what draws innumerable people towards the picturesque towns along India’s western coast. Nestled in the heart of one of the India’s great forests, this region takes on a new avatar during the rains. Just look at the contrast between the region during the summer & during the rains!

The Western Ghats during summer:

Thekkady 4

 

The Western Ghats during the rains:

Thekkady 3

God’s Own Country:

Rains bring with them something special. The aura of the monsoon brings an optimism and joy that has such a deep connect with us that it’s almost impossible to describe in words. For us though, the rains bring with them a calm and peaceful environment that we need so badly after a hot grueling summer. It’s a chance for us to go out and leave all our worries behind, experience nature and reclaim the magical moments with our loved ones.

One of the best places to experience this is Thekkady in Kerala. Unlike other tourist destinations, Thekkady is different. It transports you to a special place and the beauty of the surroundings alienates all the stress you’ve picked up in your daily routine. It’s truly a place filled with wonderment and awe amongst undulating hills and spice scented plantations.

Thekkady 1

Sights and Sounds:

The Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the most fascinating wildlife reserves left. The total area of the reserve is 777 sq. kilometres, of which 360 sq. kilometres is thick evergreen forest. The best thing about this reserve is that you can get real close to the wildlife and observe them at close quarters. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is sure to leave a mark on you.

Because there are so many wonderful things all around you, it doesn’t really make sense to leave these picturesque surroundings. As a result, the places you want to stay at are the ones that capture the vibe of this exquisite location. Resorts which exude the history and culture of Kerala, which have colorful umbrellas all over the house, lush greenery all around that greets you, the reflections of the coconut trees in the paddy fields, and most importantly, built with traditional machan style, are the best places to stay.

Thekkady 2

Magical Moments:

No journey is complete without experiencing the unique facets of a locality. When you’re on a holiday here in Thekkady, you must take a boat ride in Lake Periyar which is smack in the middle of the wildlife reserve. Seeing the colourful flora & fauna up close will leave you mesmerized; and if you’re lucky you might spot elephants playing along the shore of the lake.  You can’t afford to miss the famous elephant rides which provide you with the best view to check out the amazing wilderness around you.

There are a number of places in Kerala you should check out if you have the time – Chellarkovil, a hamlet with a view to die for and an incredible waterfall, Vandiperiyar, where you can check out some of Kerala’s best tea plantations and Idukki Dam, the only Arch Dam in India.