Friday, October 31, 2008

Golden Temple, The Pool of Nectar, Hari Mandir Sahib

Whats This? Golden Temple also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib is the significant place of worship of the Sikhs and one of the oldest Sikh gurdwaras. The city of Amritsar was built around the Golden Temple and the Amrit Sarovar lake, from which it derives its name. Surrounded by a fortified wall with eighteen gates, the temple complex has its main north entrance under a Victorian clock tower known as the Darshani Deori. The entrance is up a flight of steps and down again to the temple and holy tank. Located in the city of Amritsar, it was established by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of the Sikhs and the city that it was built in, is also due to the shrine, known as "Guru Di Nagri" meaning city of the Sikh Guru.

Located Where? Amritsar is a big town with a population of about one million. It is a major trade centre.It is located in the Majha region of the Punjab. Majha is also known as the Bari Doab, since it is the Doab (Do = two, ab = rivers) or the (fluvial) tract of land which lies between two of the five great rivers of the province, the Ravi and the Beas. The temple is surrounded by a large Sarovar (manmade lake), known as the AmritSar (Lake of Holy Water or Immortal Nectar).

How do we Reach There? Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple is reachable by all major links. It is reachable by air, by road and by train. Amritsar has a major train junction operated by the Indian Railways and an international bus terminal operated by the Department of Transport, Punjab which is equipped with most modern amenities. The fastest way for international tourist to reach Harmandir Sahib would be to travel by air. The holy city has a modern airport called Raja Sansi International Airport and Guru Ram Das International Airport. The airport receives international flights from Europe, North America and Central Asia. Most major world cities including London, Tashkent and Toronto are also linked by air with Amritsar. The capital city of India, New Delhi is about 300 miles from Amritsar.

Best time to visit : The Golden Temple, and the city of Amritsar itself, are best visited in the winter. The months between November and March are pleasant (even cold), although the
summer can get blisteringly hot.

Major Attractions: The Harmandir Sahib possesses a fine collection of jewellery and valuable articles of considerable artistic and historical importance:
GOLDEN DOOR PANELS - There are four pairs of them.

GOLDEN CANOPY - The canopy studded with precious jewels, is an object of exquisite workmanship and great artisitic value.

JEWELLED HEAD-BAND- It is a gift from Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was prepared for the marriage of the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, at the time of marriage. The Maharaja presented it to the Harmandir Sahib.

Around Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) places that you can visit are:
AKAL TAKHAT: Built by the Sixth Master Guru Hargobind. A number of weapons used by Guru Hargobind, Guru Gobind Singh and other Sikh heroes are preserved at Akal Takhat

BABA ATAL: A nine-storeyed tower, built in memory of Atal Rai (D. 1628), son of Guru Hargobind, is called Baba Atal. Atal Rai died at nine. He was called 'Baba' (an old man) head over young shoulders. The tower was built between 1778 and 1784 & is 108 ft. height.

GURU KA LANGAR: Cooked food is serviced in the kitchen of the Golden Temple 24 hours to all visitors irrespective of religion, caste, creed and nationality. The expenses are met out of the Temple funds. Approximately 40,000 visitors share the meals everyday presently.

SRI GURU RAM DAS NIWAS: The Niwas is a free hostel for the pilgrims maintained by the Temple authorities. It has been built by the Gurdwara Committee. It has 228 rooms and 18 big halls. Unlike the ordinary 'Dharamsalas' (place to stay) the Niwas supplies the facilities of free beddings, cots, lights and fans etc. to the lodgers. A lodger is not generally allowed to stay here for more than three days at a time. The doors of the hostels are open to all.Other places where visitors can stay comfortably are Guru Nanak Niwas, Akal Rest House, Guru Hargobind Niwas, Gur Arjan Dev Niwas.

CENTRAL SIKH MUSEUM: Central Sikh Museum has paintings of Sikh Gurus, Saints, Sikh warriors and other prominent Sikh leaders who have contributed a lot to the enhancement of Sikh Religion.

The Jallianwala Bagh: is situated in the northern Indian city of Amritsar where, on April 13, 1919, British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired, or 33 rounds per soldier.Located at the outskirts of the Golden Temple the garden reminds one of the martyrs who lost their lives to bring India its freedom.

Wagah Border: Wagah is the only road border crossing between India and Pakistan, and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsar, India and Lahore, Pakistan. The Wagah border is a ceremonial border where each evening, there is a ceremony called 'lowering of the flags'. At that time there is very energetic and thrilling parade done by Border Security Force (B.S.F), India and Pakistan Rangers soldiers. It may seem slightly aggressive to foreigners, but it really is just entertainment for the crowds from both sides. Border officers from the two countries sometimes walk over to the offices on the other side for day to day affairs. A bus service operating within the partitioned state of Punjab between Amritsar and Lahore was started in 2004, as relations between the two countries improve.

Mosque at Fatehabad: With flowers as the motif, the mosque is built 40 kilometers away from the Golden Temple. It is immensely popular with the tourists for its brilliant architecture.

Summer place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: If luxury is the word then it is synonymous to the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The grandeur and the area of the palace bears testimony to the world of comfort that the Maharajas enjoyed during their reigns.

There are other places of interest as well that one can visit around the Golden Temple, they are:

Dukh Bhanjni Ber (Jujube Tree)
Thara Sahib
Ber Baba Budha Ji
Gurdwara llachi Ber
Ath Sath Tirath (Sixty eight holy places condensed into one)
Gurdwara Shaheed Bunga Baba Deep Singh

General Info / Tips: One can offer prayers at the Golden temple, take strolls in the surrounding lawns of the temple; listen to the enchantment of the hymns and devotional songs performed in the temple, can shop at the numerous stores surrounding the Golden Temple. Phulkaris (embroidered materials), woodcarvings, woolen garments, shoes and various food items are available at all the shopping corners of the city.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vaishno Devi- A Religious Place to Visit

Hello friends,
Jai Mata Di!!
For a change let me take you all to religious places in India. The place today we shall know about is Vaishno Devi. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi is considered to fulfill anything and everything that a person wishes for in life, in a righteous way. It is an experience of all, that no one goes empty handed from Her Great Pilgrimage.The culmination of this journey is at the Holy Cave where She merged Her Human form with the astral form of Her creators, the three Supreme Energies. The holy cave shrine of Vaishno-Devi is situated in a beautiful recess of the Trikuta Mountains forming a part of the lower Himalayas as in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are images of three deities viz, the Mahakali, Maha-Lakshmi and Maha-Saraswati.
Whats This? Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji resides in a Holy Cave located in the folds of the three peaked mountain named Trikuta (pronounced as Trikoot). The Holy Cave attracts lakhs of devotees every year. In fact, the number of Yatris visiting the Holy Shrine annually now exceeds 5 million. This is due to the unflinching faith of the devotees who throng the Shrine from all parts of India and abroad.Darshans (to view the deity) are open round the clock throughout the year.

Located Where? Katra is 50 kms from Jammu. This small town serves as the base camp for visiting the famous shrine of Vaishnodeviji in the Trikuta Hills. The shrine is approachable on foot along a 12 kms long well laid foot-path. Every year, nearly 4 million pilgrims pass through Katra on their way to Vaishnodeviji. Accomodation is available in Tourist Bungalows, Yatrika and a number of private hotels, beside pilgrims ''sarais'. The Holy Cave of the Mother is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft. The Yatris have to undertake a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Katra. Katra town is located at an altitude of nearly 2500 ft above sea level while the sanctum sanctorum is located at nearly 5200 ft. above sea level. There is obviously a significant temperature difference between the two locations.

How do we Reach There? In order to visit the Holy Shrine of Vaishno Devi, one has to reach Katra, a small town situated around 50 kms. from Jammu, the winter capital of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Katra serves as the base camp for the yatra. Katra is well connected to Jammu and Jammu, in turn, is well connected to the rest of the country by Air, Rail, and Road. Jammu is well connected to the rest of India by air, rail & roads. Many superfast trains ply on the route and one can reach Jammu overnight from New Delhi. Passengers using Air or Rail as a mode of travel have necessarily to break their journey at Jammu and from thereon select an alternative mode of transport. However for passengers traveling by road, either through public or own transport, there is an option of taking a by-pass from Kunjwani, nearly 10 kms. off Jammu and heading straight for the base camp i.e Katra.

Best time to visit: The Yatra to the Holy Shrine is open throughout the year. The summer months of May, June and July and the festival period of Chaitra (spring) and Sharad-Ashwin (Autumn) Navratras and New Year vacations witness peak rush.Devotees have to often wait for 12-20 hours before having Darshan (to see the deity) during this time. Instead the monsoons and winters are good periods to plan a yatra. The winter months of December and January witness snow fall.
Clothing & Accessories: One needs to carry heavy woollen clothing during the winters. For the rest of the year, light woollens are needed. Even during hot summers, Katra turns hot and humid, the main Shrine area, known as Bhawan continues to remain on the cooler side especially in the nights. Blankets are available a plenty free of cost and there is no need to carry them. One may also need canvas shoes for the Yatra. For those going on foot, a walking stick is very helpful in negotiating the steep climbs. Umbrellas and rain coats are required during the rainy seasons. Shoes, cameras, walking sticks, torches, head bands, umbrellas and many more such articles for which a person may not be prepared beforehand are readily available on hire at various private shops all over Katra and also on the way to Holy Shrine. Rates as usual are negotiable.
Major Attractions:
Around Jammu you can visit the
Raghunath Temple: which is situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of other temples, this temple dedicated to Lord Rama is outstanding and unique in Northern India.The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides.

Ranbireshwar Temple: Located on the Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat, and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in1883 AD, Ranbireshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has one central 'Lingam' measuring seven and a half feet height (7.5 ft.) and twelve Shiva 'Lingams' of crystal measuring from 15 cms to 38 cms and galleries with thousands of Shiva 'Lingams' fixed on stone slabs.

Amarmahal: This is a beautiful palace of red sand stone which stands amidst the most picturesque environments of Jammu. There is beautiful view of the Shiwaliks at the north and the River Tawi flows down below adding to the Grandeur. This was once the residential palace of Raja Amar Singh the palace has been converted to a museum. The museum has a gallery of paintings known as NAL DAMYANTI. It has a library of around 25000 books on various subjects and disciplines. This is a beautiful spot to be visited round the year in Jammu. Hotel Hari Nivas Palace Hotel, a heritage Hotel is also located adjacent to this place.

Bahu Fort / Temple: 5 kms from Jammu city situated on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi, this is perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali inside the fort popularly known as Bave wali Mata.Today the fort is surrounded with beautiful terraced garden which is favourite picnic spot of the city folk. It has waterfalls, flowers and big trees.
Mansar Lake: is a beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills. Boating facilities are available on the spot. Every year around Baisakhi (April), a food and crafts festival is organised here by J&K Tourism.

Around Katra you can visit

Patni Top: 112 kms from Jammu, this famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu. There are a large number of huts and Tourists Bunglows, all managed by J&K TDC. You can enjoy trekking (summer), skiing (winter), aero sports (May-June and Septemer-October are best suited for paragliding), boating here.

Batote: This place is on the National highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar,125 kms from Jammu situated at an altitude of 1560 metres on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. One can enjoy the beauty of Chenab gorge from this place, take long walks in deep jungles and enjoy the beauty of coniferous forests camping in the jungles, trek upto Sanasar and Patnitop.

Mantalaii: Situated a few kilometers further away from Sudh Mahadev, Mantalaii is surrounded by lush deodar forests, at an altitude of over 2000 metres. It is believed that Lord Shiva had got married to the Goddess Parvati here

Shiv Khori: There are many places of tourist and religious importance around Katra also. The devotees coming for the darshans of the deity can club their pilgrimage with a visit to these places. Shivkhori- the Holy Cave abode of Lord Shiva is situated at a distance of 70 Kms from Katra. The cave is a real wonder to be seen and measures nearly half a kilometer in length with a 4 feet high naturally formed Shiv-lingam at the heart of the Sanctum Sanctorum. The cave is in the shape of Lord Shiva's Damroo i.e. wide at the two ends while very congested at the center. You can observe natural milky water dripping from the top to the Shiv-Ling symbolizing the eternity of the holy river Ganga. The Shiv-Khori Shrine is well connected to Katra / Jammu by road.

Precautions :

  1. Avoid resting near landslide prone areas.
  2. Avoid carrying too much cash, jewelry and valuables. Take proper care whatever you carry and beware of pickpockets and petty thieves.
  3. Don’t trust strangers with belongings. Deposit all excess baggage in the cloak rooms.
  4. Don’t eat anything offered by strangers
  5. Beware of suspicious persons and unclaimed articles and report about the same to the security personnel.
  6. Obtain cash receipt for any cash paid at the Shrine Board outlets.
    Avoid using routes closed for repairs. This can prove extremely dangerous.
  7. Yatries with high blood pressure or heart or asthamatic problems must seek clearance from their doctors before starting the journey.
  8. Yatries with any kind of medical problems are strongly advised against using the stairs.
General Info / Tips:
All pilgrims without exception are required to register themselves before undertaking the Yatra. The task of registration is done by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board which is the only STATUTORY & LEGAL authority for the purpose. No other organization, private or public is authorized to issue the Yatra slip. The registration process is entirely FREE and is fully computerized. This process is carried out at the Yatra Registration Counter, popularly known as (YRC), situated at Bus stand, Katra. Under this, a visitor has to register his name along with the number of companions and he is issued a computerized Slip (Yatra slip/Parchi) which is the documentary permission for him to proceed on his journey to the main Shrine. He is required to cross the first Check Post located at Banganga (around 1.5 kilometers from the YRC) within 6 hours of the issue of the slip, failing which his slip is confiscated at the Check Post and he is required to take a fresh slip altogether.One Yatra Slip is issued for a maximum of 9 family members only.

Free Accomodation: For the convenience of the Yatries(Pilgrims), a number of halls have been provided at at Adhkuwari, Sanjichhat & Bhawan. These halls are available free of cost but their availability is on a first come first served basis. Pilgrims can also spend the night in these halls. Free accommodation is also made available at Katra in the Niharika complex. Accommodation in the form of sheds is also made available near the Yatra Parchi counter II (YRC-II), adjacent to the New Bus Stand (Bus Stand No. II ). Besides accommodation, blankets are also provided free of cost.

Rented Accomodation: For the benefit of the pilgrims, Vaishno Devi Shrine Board provides clean, well maintained and very economical accommodation. This accommodation is available at Jammu (at Vaishnavi Dham and Saraswati Dham near Railway Station), at Katra (at Niharika Yatri Niwas and Shakti Bhawan situated at the Bus stand) Katra.

1.Before proceeding for the trek, obtain a Yatra slip from Yatra Registration Counter, near bus stand Katra.The slip is issued free of cost. No one is allowed to proceed beyond Banganga check post without obtaining the Yatra slip.

2.In case you wish to avail of the facility of rented accommodation at Katra, Adkuwari, Sanjichhat or Bhawan, please get the room reservation done from the Enquiry and Reservation Counter at Niharika Complex (near the Bus Stand) Katra.

3.Kindly confirm the rates of the Porters, Ponies and Palanquins before hiring them and ensure that they carry a valid registration card. Note down their numbers before entrusting them with your valuables. Please do not pay more than the approved rates.

4.Video cameras, mobile phones and other electronic equipment are not allowed on the track. Please make arrangements for their safekeeping at Katra itself.

5.Travel light. Please leave all unnecessary clothes and luggage at Katra itself. Food, drink and blankets are freely available. There is no need to carry these items along.

6. Avoid loud dresses, vulgar language or offensive talk or gestures.

7. Consumption of liquor, intoxicants and non vegetarian food is strictly prohibited.

8.Video film shooting is prohibited enroute. Please leave your video cameras at Katra.

Jai Mata Di!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Malaysia- Land of Glass Towers, Beaches, Mountains, National Parks

Hi Everyone,
After a long time, let me take you to a city of glass towers, beaches, mountains & national parks. A place where you will love to eat, relax & enjoy the serene beauty of nature.....Thats Malaysia for you......
Whats This? Malaysia- a land of glass towers, superb beaches, mountains and national parks in Asia. Its the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in southeast Asia.

Located Where? Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in southeast Asia. Malaysia lies entirely in the equatorial zone. Peninsular Malaysia forms part of the Sunda Shield. Its Triassic fold-mountain belt, the spine of the Peninsula, continues from eastern Burma through Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, the Banka and Billiton Islands, and eastwards into Indonesian Borneo.

How do we Reach There? Malaysia's main international airport is at Sepang, 75km (47mi) south of Kuala Lumpur. Most tourists either fly into Sepang or arrive overland from Thailand or Singapore. However, Penang also has international flights, and Kuching in Sarawak and Tawau in Sabah have flights to/from Kalimantan. Departure tax (around US$40.00 ) will be included in the ticket price. Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Air Asia are the main domestic airlines, servicing both the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak. It's cheaper to fly to East Malaysia from Johor Bahru than from KL

Best time to visit: It's hot and humid year-round in Malaysia with temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C (68°F), even at night, and usually climbing to 30°C (86°F) or more during the day. It's best to avoid the November to January rainy season on peninsular Malaysia's east coast if you want to enjoy the beaches.

Major Attractions :
Batu Caves (Ipoh Road): Just north of Kuala Lumpur is the impressive Batu Caves. A flight of 272 steps leads up to Temple Cave. Beyond the towering main cavern, the space opens to an atrium-like cave at the rear. Many visitors are more spellbound by the monkeys that scale the vertical cliff faces than by the shrines which are dwarfed by the scale of the cave. The whole spectacle has been enhanced of late by an enormous golden statue of Muruga, also known as Lord Subramaniam, to whom the caves are dedicated. Each year in late January or early February up to a million pilgrims visit here during the three days of Thaipusam.

Lake Gardens (JIn Parlimen, Lake Gardens district, Kuala Lumpur): These 92ha (227ac) of manicured gardens lie west of Merdeka Sq and were once home to the ranking British official. There's a butterfly park, planetarium, insect museum, walk-in aviary, orchid garden and hibiscus garden. You can also hire boats on Tasik Perdana (Premier Lake).

Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre (Sepilok ): One of only four orang-utan sanctuaries in the world, Sepilok is among Sabah's top tourist attractions - so much so that the atmosphere can be a bit like a circus or a zoo. A visit to Sepilok can be a memorable experience. "Orang Utan" which means "man of the forest" in Malaysian.

Taman Negara National Park (Three boats daily from Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan): This magnificent wild area is a haven for endangered species such as elephants, tigers, leopards and rhinos, but numbers are low and sightings of anything more exotic than snakes, lizards, monkeys, small deer, and perhaps tapir, are rare. Traditionally, the park was only accessible by river. These days there's a road, but the boat trip is still recommended for the full Taman Negara experience.The jungle at Taman Negara is dense but sightings are never guaranteed. The jungle here is claimed to be the oldest in the world none of the Ice Ages had any effect here.

Kuala Lumpur (KL): is an intriguing mix of architecture throughout the city; elegant colonial buildings contrast with soaring modern edifices such as the twin Petronas Towers. Its a bustling metropolis with one of the world's tallest buildings. KL is hot and humid almost all the time with overnight lows rarely sinking below 20°C (70°F) and maximums rising above 30°C (86°F) on most days.Rainfall is variable and falls all year round.

The major attractions in KL are Aquaria KLCC, Badan Warisan Malaysia, Bazaar Baru Market, Buddhist Maha Vihar, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Butterfly Reserve, Chan She Shu Yuen Temple, Choon Wan Kong, Chulan Tower, Civil Service Memorial, Cosmo's World, Deer Park, Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery, Galeri Petronas.

The famous places to shop around in KL are Avenue K, Ayurvedium, Bangsar Village I & II, Berjaya Times Square, Central Market, Chow Kit Clothes Market, Curve, Dive Station, Escentials, Imbi Plaza.

The numerous night markets scattered around the city are crowded and atmospheric. On the west of Kuala Lumpur you can find Actors Studio Bangsar famous for theatre & comedy, the Chinese Assembly Hall famous for traditional theatre, performance, music, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas famous for classical music jazz/blues traditional music, and Digi Imax Theatre for cinema. For enjoying bars you can visit the Bar Flam, Bar Upstairs, Beach Club Café, Bed, Black Hole, Blue Boy, Ceylon Bar, Chinatown Liquor Shop.

Melaka City: One of Malaysia's most sought after destinations, is the small city-state of Melaka. The temperature in Melaka ranges from 21°C (70°F) to 33°C (91°F) and average humidity exceeds 82%. There is rain throughout the year, with September to November the wettest months.Melaka is 144km (89mi) from Kuala Lumpur and just 94km (58mi) from Port Dickson. Most travellers arrive and depart from Melaka overland, as the airport outside town does not handle domestic flights. Melaka is easy to navigate and compact enough to explore on foot, bicycle or trishaw (bicycle rickshaw).Taking to Melaka's streets by trishaw is a popular tourist option. Melaka's airport is at Batu Berendam. The famous places to visit here are Baba-Nonya Heritage Museum, St Paul's Church a religious/spiritual cemetery hill , Stadthuys a government museum.

Penang's: sprawling main centre, Georgetown, has impressive colonial architecture, temples, lively Chinese culture, great shopping and even better food. Penang is well known for being the "food paradise" of Malaysia & has a tropical climate, with incredibly consistent temperatures year-round. Average monthly highs range from 30°C to 31°C (86-88°F) for the whole year; average monthly lows are between 23°C and 24°C (74-75°F). Penang's mainland strip of Seberang Perai is easily accessed by road and rail from other parts of the peninsula. Butterworth is the transport hub and the departure point for ferries to Pulau Penang, which is also linked to the mainland by road-bridgeThe famous places here to visit are Alpha Utara Gallery an art gallery, Khoo Kongsi, Kek Lok Si Temple, Snake Temple, & Penang Hill.
Precautions: The islands and coastal areas of Eastern Sabah are considered very dangerous for foreigners, who are at high risk of being kidnapped by terrorist groups.

General Info / Tips: The Official language spoken here is Malay.
Currency- Name -Malaysian Ringgit, Symbol -RM

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A land of Deserts,Beaches & Shopping Malls- Dubai

Hey,Hello & Salaam-Valeikum!
Dear friends as always let me take you to another exotic destination.... to a place of desert safaris, parks, museums, beaches, palm trees, shopping malls, lovely people, warm climate, & lots of exciting places to visit.... Yes you guessed it right.... Dubai... This is the place that i like to visit & im sure you will love it too...

Dubai has managed to achieve what other Arab cities have failed to do, create the right balance western influence and eastern tradition. Its culture is rooted in Islamic traditions that penetrate the Arabian peninsula and beyond, but the city’s visionary development is proof of an open-minded and liberal outlook.

What’s This? Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the Persian Gulf. Its the emirate's main city, sometimes called "Dubai City" to distinguish it from the emirate.

Located Where? Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast in the northwest of the United Arab Emirates. The city is the capital of the emirate. Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast.

How do we Reach There?
Air: Dubai 's international airline is Emirates.Daily number of flights take off and land on Dubai International Airport and flights from Dubai to North America, South America, East Asia, Southwest Asia, South Asia, Australasia, and Africa from operates here. Dubai International Airport is the hub for Emirates Airline, services the city of Dubai and other emirates in the country.Dubai International Airport is 4 kms to city centre. Distance from Dubai International Airpor to other emirates:

Abu Dhabi:170 kms

Sharjah: 15 kms

Ajman: 30 kms

Umm Al Quwain: 55 kms

Ras Al Khaimah: 100 kms

Fujairah: 130 kms

Best time to visit : Average temperature:Mininum - January between 14 and 24degrees C.Maximum - August between 29 and 41 degrees C.

Climate : Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Between November and March, Dubai weather is warm and sunny without being unbearably hot. Winter temperatures are around 23 degrees C in the daytime, while nights are cooler.

Major Attractions :

Dubai Creek: is considered to be one of the most significant and safe harbor for all the ships. It has a very beautiful, calm and serene atmosphere. Abras are serving as water-taxis for crossing from Deira side to Bur Side.

Dubai Museum: The building of Al Fahidi Fort was built against foreign invasion. This splendid fort is now Dubai Museum. Dubai Museum offers a unique trip to desert life, traditional Arabian homes, mosques, fishing, pearl diving and trade. Major highlights of Dubai Museum are artefacts from excavated graves, musical instruments. Deadly weapons also form the major part of Dubai Museum, such as swords, spears, bows, arrows, shields, pistols and axes.

Al Boom Tourist Village:
Adjacent to Creekside Park, the village consists of a 2,000 seat banquet hall, a coffee shop, restaurant, amusement park, ornamental lake and a marina with five cruise boats. Its traditional architecture forms a stately city landmark. Located next to Wonderland Family Fun Park. It is open 7 days. Timings: 9 am - 1 am. Entertainment includes evening boat cruises with dinner served.

Desert Safaris:
A trip to the desert should be compulsory on everybody’s itinerary as the breath-taking beauty of the desert will remain a vivid memory for many years to come.

Bedouin Village:
For those who are adventurous by nature, trip to Bedouin Village would be quite exciting! Experience the traditional way of living in a desert! Enjoy the camel riding lessons from the inhabitants of Bedouin Village. Looking for more excitement? Then plan for accommodation at Al Maha! It is one of the most popular and unique luxury resorts and is spread over 3,300 acres of sun kissed dunes. Staying here would enable you to experience the thrill of desert safari.

Deira Covered Souk (District):
The Deira Covered Souq has more of an Indian feel than an Arabic one, with folks hawking textiles, spices, kitchen wares, clothes and henna. The aromas, the sights and the flavours of this place is quite intoxicating.

Gold Souk:
Dubai boasts one of the largest retail gold markets in the world, selling everything from ingots to intricately worked jewellery at bargain prices. The street-front stores hide alleys of smaller shops with glittering show windows.

Grand Mosque:
Situated on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek near the Ruler's Court, Grand Mosque was re-built in 1998 and now has, at 70 metres, the city's tallest minaret. It has 45 small domes in addition to nine large ones boasting stained glass panels, making it a distinguished landmark and important place of worship.

In the foothills of the majestic Hajjar mountains, Hatta is a comfortable resort, ideal for a weekend getaway. The historic Hatta fort overlooks the town. The area is a much frequented picnic spot, and is about one hour drive from Dubai.

Heritage and Diving Village:
A traditional heritage village, located in the Shindagah area has been created where potters and weavers display their crafts. The Diving village forms part of an ambitious plan to turn the entire area into a cultural microcosm, recreating life in Dubai as it was in days gone by. Located near the mouth of the creek, this area is also popular in the evenings as a venue for its open-air cafeterias and live entertainment. Several shops also sell handicrafts. No entrance fees.

Jumeirah Mosque:
Located on Al Jumeira Road this mosque, one of the most beautiful of all, and a fine example of modern Islamic architecture. The beauty of the mosque, the city's largest, is seen at its very best particularly when floodlit after sundown, when the subtle lighting throws its artistry into relief. The mosque is one of the most visited and photographed sights. Tours are at 10am every Sunday and Thursday mornings. For tour information, contact the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, which is open 8am - 3pm, Sat-Wed.

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House (Museum, Port Rashid, Dubai):
Shaikh Saeed was the grandfather of the present ruler and his house has been restored as a museum.Sheikh Saeed's House was built in a commanding position near the sea so the Ruler could observe shipping activity from its balconies. With its wind-towers and layers of rooms built around a central courtyard, it is a fine example of regional architecture. An ambitious restoration project has returned the house to its former glory and makes it a showcase for the history and development of Dubai.
Sheikh Saeed's house can be visited as part of the Big Bus Company's tour of Dubai. The ticket price of Dhs 75 includes the entrance to Sheikh Saeed's House and Dubai museum as well.

Spice Souk:
The narrow lanes of the spice souk are redolent with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, incense, dried fruit and nuts. Imported from all over the Middle East, they are sold straight out of open sacks that surround the shop keepers.

Other attractions include:

Dubai Dolphinarium- the first fully air conditioned indoor (temp 21-25c) Dolphinarium in the Middle East.The aim is to provide solid family entertainment and education about Dolphins, Seals, and other marine life.

Wild Wadi: Located next to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Wild Wadi offers thrill-seekers and families hours of fun at one of the world's most advanced water theme parks. Featuring the tallest and fastest water speed rides outside North America, other attractions include Log River, Ring Ride, Flood River, Wave Pool, Flow Rides, Lazy River and much more. You can check opening timings and discounted 'sundowner' rates as these vary from month to month.

Dhow Dinner Cruise & Wild Wadi SpecialCruise along Dubai Creek: You can dine on board and enjoy the music. During the Cruise you can enjoy the spectacular modern architecture and the fascinating old city on a modern boat or a traditional wodden vessel to enjoy the cruise on the warm waters of the historic creek. Dinner will be served on board as you take in evening sights and sounds.

Desert Safari: Safari drivers will take you through the magnificient sand dunes to experience the thrill of dune bashing. Take a camel ride on the golden sands, relax by the bonfire. For the ladies Famous Henna designer is on call to exibit her talents. The evenings enterainment begins with session of belly dancing followed by a delicious barbeque dinner served under the stars accompained by authentic Arabic music.

Beaches in Dubai:
Palm Beach:Dubai has a number of beautiful beaches like famous Palm Beach in Dubai and beach parks offering a wide range of recreational and entertainment facilities in resorts to its visitors. The year round sunshine and excellent soft sandy beaches along the coast are ideal for relaxing, lazing or sun bathing. For the more active, there are water sports to be enjoyed in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Jumeirah Beach: is the most famous and popular beach in Dubai. Actually, it is a long stretch of beach on the Arabian Gulf flanked by hotels and private clubs, interspaced by a few public access marine beaches. The Jumeirah beaches have soft white sand that slip into the shallow warm turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf

Al Mamzar Park: There is also a public beach at Al Mamzar Park on the Deira side of the Creek. The public facilities include playgrounds, barbecue sites, food kiosks, and picnic areas for families at Palm beach.

Clothes to be taken: Lightweight summer clothing is ideal with a wrap, sweater or jacket for cooler winter nights and air-conditioned premises. Although the dress code in the UAE is generally casual, guests in the larger hotels do tend to dress more formally in the evening. Since you are visiting a Muslim country, bikinis, swimsuits, shorts and revealing tops should be confined to beach resorts.
Women are usually advised not to wear short skirts and to keep their shoulders covered. Note that in Sharjah women are prohibited from wearing swimsuits on public beaches.

Precautions :

PERSONAL SAFETY: The UAE is one of the safest places in the world to visit. In fact, it has been designated the world's safest holiday destination by the international travel industry.

General Info / Tips :
Visa Requirements:Every nationality entering the UAE needs a visa except citizens of GCC countries (Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) expatriate residents of the GCC (certain nationalities and professions) and British citizens with the right of abode in the UK. The following citizens of Europe also receive visas on arrival citizens of : Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and the Vatican. Please note that Israelis and travelers whose Passports bear Israeli stamps will be denied a visa.

This visa is issued through tourist companies and it is valid for 30 days. It You cannot renew it or extend it. If the Visa holder of the tourist visa stays more than the 30 days, that person has to pay a fine per day plus some charges are for an out pass.

Visa is issued through DNRD. It is stamped for 30 days validity but it is valid for 60 days and can be extended for 30 more days by paying some amount. The extension needs to be done before the 60th day. If the visitor stay more than 60 days or more than 90 days (after the extension) they will have to pay a fine per day plus some charges for an out pass.
Certain passport holders can enter the UAE without obtaining a visit visa prior to arrival and stay up to 30 days.

Documents required:
1) Photocopy of the visitor's passport
2) Visit Visa Application form, completed and signed by the sponsoring company.
3) Photocopy of the trade license of the company
4) A Guarantee letter from the company stating its responsibility of the visitor during his visit.

These visas are issued for people want whether to work or do business in UAE. It is valid for 60 days only, during this the work residence visa has to be processed. If the person delays in stamping the residence he will pay 25 AED fine for each day. (Please see Residence Section for further details about how to stamp the residence).
There are different types of Work visas:
Private companies or Establishments employees (Issued from labor Office)
1) Servants
2) Partners
3) Investors
4) Governmental institutions and Ministries (Issued from DNRD) and the person can only work in governmental institutions.

Currency:Dhs = UAE dirhams. 100 fils = 1 dh
Notes: Dhs 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 & 5
Coins: Dhs 1, fils 50, 25, 10

Local time:
Dubai Time is + 4 Hours GMT. The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT. The time does not change during the summer. This means that there is a three hour difference between UK and UAE local times in summer and a four hour difference in winter.

No special immunizations are required, however it would be wise to check beforehand if you are traveling from a health-risk area. Tetanus inoculations are usually recommended if you are considering a long trip. Polio has been virtually eradicated in the UAE and hepatitis is very rare and can be avoided by taking precautions. Hepatitis A is transmitted by contaminated food and water, Hepatitis B, C, D through sexual contact, the use of unsterilized needles and blood transfusions.Certificate required for cholera and yellow fever if arriving from affected area.

Languages Spoken: The official language is Arabic, Arabic and English are commonly used in business and commerce. Hindi and Urdu are also widely used.

Shopping: The Famous Dubai Shopping Malls are: Deira City Center, Burjam Center, Mercato Mall, Wafi City Mall, Al Ghurair City, Lamcy Plaza Al Mulla Plaza, Al Bustan Center, Al Mamzar Shopping Center, Al Manal Center, Bin Sougat Center, Hamarain Center, Karama Center, Mazaya Centre, Oasis Center, Palm Strip Shopping Mall, Town Center, Twin Towers, Ibn Battuta Mall,

Dubai Shopping Festival: held in the months of January/February/March every year, is a celebration time for both the shopkeepers. Almost 30 million bulbs illuminate the streets and by lanes of Dubai in electronic patterns during Dubai Shopping Festival. Goods are cheaper by 25 % to 50 % than in their country of origin at Dubai Shopping Festival. Discounted rates are not the only attraction, as you will be drowned with fabulous free gifts, bargain offers and raffle tickets. Dubai is the 'international shopping Mecca' of the world. During Dubai Shopping Festival,malls-shops offer deep discounts on their merchandise, daily car raffles are drawn, and fireworks light Dubai's night sky.

Ambulance 998 or 999
Fire 997
Police 999
Coastguard 04 3450520
East Coast Coastguard 09 2380380

Hours of work: Government - 7:30 am - 14:30 pm. Closed- Thursdays and Fridays.

Nightlife in Dubai is vibrant whether its coffee culture, bar-hopping or night clubbing, the city has something to offer to everyone. The cosmopolitan nature of Dubai is well documented in its night life. Regional visitors tend to congregate in the city’s main coffee shops while westerners are generally drawn towards the city’s sophisticated wine bars, relaxed pubs and night clubs.

Bon Voyage

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A trip to Paradise- Maldives

Hello friends, once again, i shall take you to the magnificent white beaches,swaying palm trees, turquoise lagoons, 'the last paradise on earth', a pristine, tranquil tropical island- Maldives.
Whats This? A tropical island basking in year-round sunshine, surrounded by sparkling white, palm-fringed beaches and turquoise seas, sun, sand and massive lagoons with different depths and infinite shades of blue and turquoise, dazzling underwater coral gardens, an ideal tropical holiday destination is what Maldives famous for. The capital of Maldives is Malé, the centre of trade, commerce, business, health and education.

Located Where? Maldives is Southwest of Sri Lanka, on the equator. The Maldives is forty five minutes from Colombo, three hours from Dubai, four hours from Singapore and thirteen hours from London.

How do we Reach There? Regular flights connect the Maldives to Colombo (Sri Lanka), Thrivandrum (southwest India), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and there are numerous charter flights from European centres in the peak season. Malé International Airport named Hulule International Airport is about 15 minutes’ boat ride from the capital. - Hulule Island is 2km (1.2 miles) from Malé (travel time by boat – 15 minutes). Boats from the various island resorts meet each arriving plane to take visitors to their accommodation.

Best time to visit : Climate here is generally warm and humid. Sun shines all year through. Average temperature around 29 - 32 degrees Celsius.T-shirts and cotton clothing are most suitable to be worn. The hottest month on average is April and the coolest, December. February is the driest with January to April being relatively dry, May and October records the highest average monthly rainfall. The southwest monsoon from May to September is the wet season. If you're looking for a few extra hours of sunshine then you should visit the Maldives between December and April. The Christmas-New Year period is the busiest and most expensive part of the high season, when many of the all-inclusive package tourists arrive from Europe and America.

Major Attractions : A variety of life underwater have fascinated divers and snorkellers since Maldives was discovered as a diving destination. Diving, snorkeling, surfing, wide range of water sports, world-class spas are the major attractions of Maldives.

Malé – the capital: The Islamic Centre is not only the most famous architectural landmark in Malé, but also houses one of the biggest and finest mosques in the Southeast Asian region.

The Hukuru Miskiy (Friday Mosque): built in 1656 is another fascinating monument that is an essential stop on any tour of Malé. All the walls in the mosque are built with coral stones intricately carved with Arabic calligraphy and ornamental patterns; the roof, window frames and doors made of different kinds of wood such as teak, sandalwood and redwood.

Medhu Ziyaaraiy: is the shrine of Abu-al Barakath Yusuf al Barbaree – the Moroccan scholar believed to be responsible for the advent of Islam in the Maldives in 1153 AD; and is also a must-see monument.

Mulee-aage: next to the Medhu Ziyaaraiy was originally built by Sultan Shamsudheen III for his son just before the First World War.

Dive Sites:
"Lion's Head": is a protected marine park situated in a channel. Subject to strong currents, this deep wall reef boasts many exciting overhangs and forms the perfect environment for a large variety of fish, tunas, sharks and turtles, magnificent sponges and some very pretty hard and soft corals covering the reef.

"Kudu": is a protected marine sanctuary shaped like a two-humped camel's back.

"Girifushi Thila": is one of the best known and most beautiful dive sites on this island nation.

"Middle Point": is situated in the middle of the Tamburudhu channel and offers a drift dive for the experienced and adventurous. It rises from 100 meters below the sea to ten. When commencing your dive you will jump into the deep blue of the ocean.

Nassimo Thila:This dive takes place in the spectacular Bodu Kalki channel. "Nassimo Thila" is a large reef with imposing reef pillars standing proudly at a height of 40 meters.

Okobe Thila:The "Okobe" marine reserve is one of the most awe-inspiring dive sites in the Maldives, a small thila consisting of three large rock formations.

Rasfari: is a spectacular outer reef in the North Male Atoll.

Sunlight Thila: is a formation of two small reefs that attract giant manta rays between March and October, when the winds from the south carry a large amount of plankton to this area.

"Banana Reef": is a very well known dive site in the Maldives - one of the first, one of the best and one of the more treacherous due to strong currents.

The "Maldives Victory": is a 110-meter long cargo vessel that sank in February 1981. Diving here takes you 12 meters down a rope to the ship's main deck, where you will be sheltered from the strong currents.

Fish Head: Also called Mushimasmingali Thila, this is one of the world's most famous dive sites. Its steep sides are spectacular, with multi-level ledges, overhangs and caves supporting sea fans, anemones and black corals.

National Museum: Many of the National Museum's exhibits are things once owned by local sultans. Some of the fabrics are beautiful, especially the rich brocades. Weapons include bonthi sticks, which were used in martial arts. Especially interesting are the pre-Islamic stone carvings collected by Thor Heyerdahl and others from sites all over the country.

For those who would love to see the underwater but hesitate to take the deep plunge, snorkeling is a wonderful alternative.The lagoons of Maldives are so clear that with just a snorkel mask and fin you can be witness to the activities of the many different species of fish and fauna on the unique Maldivian reefs. You are guaranteed to encounter playful fish and rare corals even on the resorts’ house reefs and perhaps a turtle or some other curious creatures too if you are lucky.

The best time to surf in the Maldives is from April to October, with the biggest swells likely to occur in June-September. Due to the monsoonal winds from the Indian subcontinent and the swell generated from the south, the conditions during these months are predominantly off-shore all day. There are two major surf areas in the Maldives – the North Malé Atoll (April – October) and the Outer Atolls (February – April).

Water Sports: The most popular among water sports are snorkeling, windsurfing and catamaran sailing. Among other popular water sports activities are parasailing, kayaking, kite-surfing, water-skiing and jet skiing.

Island Hopping: An ‘island-hopping’ excursion would take you to another resort, an uninhabited island and an inhabited island all in a day-tour designed to give you a taste of the country. You would also get the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters of a desert island and experience a barbecue on the beach.

Sea Plane Tours: The sea plane companies operating in the Maldives offers spectacular flights over the atolls – perfect for photo trips, sight seeing, aerial photography that allows one to capture the natural beauty of the Maldives as seen from above; or just plain enjoyment.

Precautions : Bikinis and other scanty beachwear are not acceptable in Malé or on any other inhabited island.

General Info / Tips:
Maldives Tourism Promotion Board has an information counter setup for ease of the tourists visiting the Maldives. Especially those who are Free Independent Travelers or FITs. Any information including Maldives, hotels and rates will be provided by the MTPB staff at the counter. A ferry service is available from the airport island to the capital around the clock. Set charge per person for the ferry service is USD 1/- during normal operating hours and a charge of USD 2/- per person at midnight.Since the airport island is geographically separate from the capital the only means of transport to the capital is by sea. Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways operate special air transfer trips to most of the resorts.

Visa Requirements: No prior visa is required to enter the Republic of Maldives. Entry permit will be granted to visitors on arrival at designated ports of entry, based on the immigration requirements. Visitors of all nationalities in possession of the following would be granted entry into the Maldives:
A valid international travel document issued by a sovereign state’s government.
A valid return air ticket and necessary visas to a destination where the passenger has permission to.

A minimum of US$30.00 per person per day or confirmed hotel reservation for the intended period of stay in the Maldives.

Departure tax: None if airport tax has been paid before; otherwise, US$12.

Currency: The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa and Laaree. The exchange rate for US Dollar at the time of writing is MRf.11.82 for the dollar. One Rufiyaa is equivalent to 100 laarees. Rufiyaa bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. Coins are in the denominations of MRf.2.00, MRf.1.00, 50 laarees, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 laaree. The US Dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency.
Languages Spoken: Dhivehi is the language spoken in all parts of the Maldives. English is widely spoken by Maldivians. English, German, French, Italian and Japanese are a variety of other languages spoken.
Local Time: GMT + 5 hours. The Maldives is 5 hours ahead of the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A trip to the Blue waters & white beaches of Mauritius

Hello friends, today for the first time i will take you Abroad to a beautiful & magnificent place called 'Mauritius'. If you want the company of lively and warm people, want to enjoy relaxed vibes and the music of everyday life, lovely beaches, luxurious hotels and crystal-clear waters this is the right place to visit. Mauritius is the most accessible island in the Indian Ocean - a tropical paradise akin to Maui or Martinique but more budget-traveller friendly.If you are looking for a very special place to spend your honeymoon, Mauritius is definitely the place for you. Every hotel on the island offers extensive wedding and honeymoon packages.

Located Where? Mauritius is located approximately 2000 kilometres to the south eastern coast of Africa and lies east of Madagascar on 20°5, 57.5E. The country covers an area of 1865km with 330 kilometres of coastline. Mauritius is 45km in width and 65km in length.

How do we Reach There? Air Mauritius operates over 30 weekly flights to and from all the European major cities including 15 combined flights with Air France to and from Paris. British Airways operates four weekly flights, Emirates Airlines three and Condor one.

Best time to visit : The temperature on the coastal areas varies between 22°C in winter and 34°C in summer. The sea temperature varies between 22°C and 27°C. In the central part of the island, the maximum daytime temperature varies from about 19°C in August to about 26°C in February. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the East and the South.

What to Wear? Take your best beach and casual wear. In the winter months (June -September), carry some light woollen clothing for the cool evenings.

Major Attractions :

Grand Bay: was the first area of the island to fully experience the tourist boom. A shopping and leisure paradise, people also come here for a fun-filled night out (restaurants, bars and discos). It is one of the best areas for sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.Recently renovated, La Cuvette beach is well worth a visit.

Pereybère : This remarkable small cove half-way between Grand Bay and Cap Malheureux is one of the finest bathing spots on the island. It is a public beach popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs.

Balaclava Ruins: many tortoises in the area, can be found the ruins of the old Balaclava estate.
The Triolet Shivala: is the longest village on the island, Triolet offers an opportunity to visit the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, first built in 1819 in honour of the Gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha.

The Labourdonnais Orchards: Here you can discover a large variety of tropical fruit trees, colourful and perfumed exotic flowers. Trips on mountain bikes or hiking are possible.

Dutch Ruins: At Vieux Grand Port, the oldest settlements in Mauritius, you can see the ruins of the first Dutch fortifications.

Ile aux Aigrettes: This island has become an international standard for the protection of natural resources and endangered species. A few of the world’s rarest birds, including the kestrel, can be seen there. You can also discover the extremely rare Pink Pigeon, the Green Gecko Phelsuma and the Aldabra giant tortoise.
Mahebourg: is one of the main fishing villages on the island. Built on the magnificent Grand Port Bay. The Martello Towers represent the scene of the ancient rivalry between old colonial powers and the ingenuity of mankind.

Domaine du Chasseur: has splendid hunting grounds covering an area of 900 hectares. Stags, monkeys and boars live amidst the luxuriant vegetation of the hillside.One can watch a few species of endangered birds, including the kestrel. The Domaine contains four thatched-roof bungalows and a restaurant with a panoramic sea view.

Souillac: A small seaside resort alongThe Waterpark Leisure Village the rugged coast of the Savanne district A popular viewpoint is found at the southern end of the village, right on the cliff top

Flacq Market: the most important villages in Mauritius, the country’s largest open air market.

The Waterpark Leisure Village (Coastal road, Belle Mare): You can enjoy with family & friends sliding on the giant chutes, a good time to relax & have fun.

Ile aux Cerfsis: is a paradise for water sports and has the most beautiful beach in Mauritius.

Martello Towers: The Martello Towers represent the scene of the ancient rivalry between old colonial powers and the ingenuity of mankind.

Chamarel: You can find coloured earths of Chamarel an undulating landscape of different and contrasting shades of colours. The different shades of blue, green, red and yellow are apparently the result of the erosion of the volcanic ash. The neighbouring waterfalls of Chamarel rise from the moors and the native plant life. The site possesses a rare beauty.

Salt Pans: Owing to the exceptional high level of sunshine the district receives, Tamarin is naturally the heart of salt production in Mauritius.

Casela: Here, the bird park stretches over 25 hectares and contains more than 140 bird species from all five continents. Other attractions include fish ponds, tigers, tortoises, monkeys, deer and orchids.
Yemen: You will be able to get close to the herds of deer here in the Yemen Reserve, as well as admire some splendid species of Mauritian fauna.

L’Aventure du Sucre: You can visit an interactive and ultra modern exhibition situated at the heart of an ancient sugarmill and discover the fascinating history of Mauritius and its sugarcane adventure. You can then purchase some unique gifts, souvenirs and tasting of special unrefined sugars as well as local rum.

Ganga Talao - Grand Bassin: Beyond La Marie and Mare-aux-Vacoas is found one of the two natural lakes of Mauritius. It rests within the crater of an extinct volcano. Ganga Talao is an important pilgrimage site and many Mauritians of the Hindu faith walk there during the Maha Shivaratri festival or the night fasting dedicated to Shiva.

Black River Gorges: This national park of 6,574 hectares was created in 1994 for the protection of Mauritius’ remaining native forests. You can enjoy magnificent landscapes, with endemic plants and rare bird species.


Mauritius is a real paradise for those who want to enjoy the sea or just to soak up the sun. Here is a list of the island’s finest public beaches:

Belle Mare: You can find miles and miles of white and spotless beaches from Belle Mare to Trou-d’Eau Douce.
Blue Bay: is one of the most popular bathing spots in the South-East of the island. An ideal spot for windsurfing and sailing.
Le Morne & Tamarin: Offer kilometres of beaches for bathing and are very popular for surfing.
Flic en Flac: You can discover the magic of white beaches fringed with filaos or Casuarina trees here.
Other beaches worth visiting are Grand Bay and Pereybere mentioned above.

Marine Life:
The Mauritian sea has the multi-coloured fish, moray eels, magnificent coral beds.You can enjoy with experiences of Skin-diving masks, flippers and scuba diving.
One of the most spectacular ways to explore the ocean beds is to go on board the Blue Safari submarine.

Le Nessee, a semi-submersible, will provide you a one hour trip under the sea in complete safety. A unique experience with optimal viewing for passengers of all ages. And for those who want to experience the feelingof walking on the sea bed, Undersea Walk Ltd will help you enjoy the thrill in complete safety.

Other Attractions:

Central Market: In the Port-Louis central market you will find all the ingredients that help to create the charm of Mauritius- local crafts, vegetables, herbal tea sellers.
China Town: is an area where you can find almost anything at an affordable price. You can find sellers of boiled chow mein and fish balls in the affordable market of Port Louis China Town.
Caudan Waterfront: Offering more than just rows of shops and restaurants Caudan Waterfront also enables you to discover Fast food or gourmet cooking, jewellery and local crafts, everything to suit all tastes.
SSR Botanical Garden: The gardens are known to naturalists throughout the world for their large collection of indigenous and exotic plants, including the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies and many species of palm trees, a spice garden and the Talipot Palms, said to flower every 60 years after which they die.The deers and tortoises are sure to delight the youngsters here.
Shopping: What can one buy in Mauritius?
Models of old ships, textiles production, pull-overs, knitwear, leading brands of shirts, trousers, suits, dresses, suits for women, shorts or swimwear are sold at unbeatable prices. Basketwork, embroidery, pottery, cut stones and recycled glass are very much in demand. Those who love cooking will be able to take back fruit jellies, chillies, and other types of spices and pickles - delicious bits of raw vegetables soaked in oil, spices and chilly. Do not forget to buy some vanilla tea or rum. Only accredited shops are allowed to sell duty-free goods to tourists.

Precautions : Keep an eye on all personal belongings at all times.
Be careful when withdrawing money from a cash point.
Avoid wearing expensive jewellery.

Do not leave anything inside your car.
(For trips or purchases) use only recognised operators or suppliers.
Keep your passports, plane tickets, jewellery of value and large sums of money in safe custody.
For sea excursions, do not rent boats with inadequate security standards.
During individual sea trips, always notify the person responsible for the boat house.
Do not go swimming in areas where it is forbidden.

General Info / Tips:
Visa & entry requirements: A visitor must be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. A visitor’s visa is normally granted for a period of two weeks to one month upon arrival, to almost all holders of a valid passport, with one or two exceptions. Visitors are strongly recommended to contact the Passport and Immigration Office in Mauritius or the nearest Mauritian Embassy or Consulate.
Health: No vaccinations are required. However a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age who arrive from areas where yellow fever cases are reported.
Time Zone: Mauritius is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and three hours ahead (2 hours in summer) of mid-European Time.

Currency: The monetary unit is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs.) which is divided into 100 cents (cs). At the latest exchange rate, one Euro is worth around Rs. 30.

Languages Spoken: Most people in Mauritius are bilingual and are equally fluent in English and French. Creole and French are the main languages in the everyday environment.

Driving: People in Mauritius drive on the left-hand side of the road and give way to the right.