The Crown Jewels Of The Indian Sub-Continent

The Crown Jewels Of The Indian Sub-Continent

The Crown Jewels Of The Indian Sub-Continent Posted: 2024-01-19

Life defining voyages through Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and South India……

A journey to the Indian subcontinent is a sensory odyssey through a tapestry of vibrant cultures, where ancient traditions coalesce with bustling modernity. From the majestic peaks of the Himalayas to the sun-kissed beaches of the Indian Ocean, each step unveils a kaleidoscope of landscapes. Visitors immerse themselves in the symphony of colors, tastes, and aromas as they traverse through the historical wonders, bustling markets, and diverse terrains that define this enchanting region.

Venturing beyond borders, the neighboring countries of the Indian subcontinent beckon with diverse allure. From the majestic heights of Nepal to the cultural richness of Bhutan, and the tropical paradise of Sri Lanka, each of India’s neighboring destinations promise a journey filled with intriguing encounters and unexplored wonders.

I intend to create for you a brief acquaintance with the jewels of the Indian sub-continent.  

Sri Lanka stands as an unparalleled destination, seamlessly blending a tapestry of enriching heritage, breathtaking natural beauty, and diverse wildlife. Sri Lanka’s landscapes unfold like a canvas, showcasing rich architectural and spiritual legacies that bear witness to the nation's profound creativity and spiritual heights throughout the centuries. While traversing this gem of an island, you'll be captivated by the unique facets that weave together a vibrant mosaic of images, from serene natural wonders to intricate architectural marvels. The heart of Sri Lanka lies not just in its historical and cultural legacy, but also in the warmth and openness of its people. The locals, with their natural friendliness and genuine curiosity, carve delightful imprints on your heart, embodying a living testament to the nation's enduring spirit.

Within the enchanting landscapes of Sri Lanka, an array of incredible hotels delightfully harmonize luxury with the island's captivating charm. From boutique hideaways nestled amidst lush greenery to elegant resorts overlooking pristine beaches, each accommodation is a testament to opulence and personalized service. Whether immersed in historical splendor or cocooned in modern elegance, these hotels offer a unique tapestry of comfort, ensuring that every stay becomes an unforgettable chapter in the journey through Sri Lanka's unparalleled beauty.

Sri Lanka is adorned with warm smiles and genuine hospitality, as its friendly people, known for their kindness and generosity, welcome visitors with open arms. Engaging in conversations with locals reveals not just a rich tapestry of cultural diversity but also a shared sense of friendliness that makes exploring the island a heartwarming and memorable experience.

Sri Lankan cuisine is a tantalizing blend of flavors, featuring aromatic spices and vibrant ingredients. Indulge in the mouthwatering experience of dishes like "rice and curry," where an array of curries, sambols, and chutneys accompany fragrant rice. Don't miss the beloved "hoppers," bowl-shaped pancakes with crispy edges, or the fiery kick of "kottu roti," a stir-fried medley of chopped flatbread, vegetables, and meat. With influences from various cultures, Sri Lankan food offers a spicy and diverse culinary journey for every palate.

There is perhaps no destination as Nepal that beautifully juxtaposes world famous creative expressions of the humans alongside God’s benevolence in sprinkling incredible natural splendours.  Our tours attempt to reflect both these indelible aspects of Nepal. 

In Kathmandu, one will find the opportunity to explore the incredible manifestations of the artistic triumph reached by mankind in the ancient cities of Swayambhunath, Durbar Square, Patan City etc and, as witnessed in the street markets, bazaars, colourful temples and ornate architecture here. Centuries of tradition, art and architecture are concentrated in this valley. Our travels will also explore traditional crafts such as wood carving and weaving that have sustained and re-generated over time immemorial.

The other place of interest would be Chitwan National Park. This Park is distinguished by its extraordinary biodiversity and unique conservation efforts, serving as a sanctuary for endangered species like the elusive Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, and the rare gharial crocodile. The park's lush landscapes encompass diverse ecosystems, including dense forests and picturesque riverbanks, offering a captivating blend of natural beauty. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chitwan stands out for its successful conservation initiatives, showcasing the harmonious coexistence of wildlife and responsible ecotourism.

Pokhra would be a nice place to visit to experience the countryside and beautiful view of the Himalayas Pokhara, nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and serene ambiance. The city is adorned with the majestic Annapurna mountain range and the pristine Phewa Lake, creating a picturesque setting that captivates visitors. Pokhara is a hub for adventure seekers, offering a gateway to the Annapurna Circuit trek and a variety of water activities on the lake. Its vibrant lakeside atmosphere, vibrant markets, and panoramic views make Pokhara a truly special destination. A visit to Pokhra would also takes us to Sarangkot to witness an amazing view of the snow-capped Himalayas and lovely countryside at sunrise. We will drive up to here. Sarangkot does mark the beginning of major trekking routes.

You will fall in love with Bhutan. Largely untouched by the modern world, Bhutan is an enigmatic mountain kingdom of green valleys crowned with dzongs (fortresses) and chortens (shrines). A journey through Bhutan will take you through rich forests, over high mountain passes and to some of the most biologically diverse national parks in the world. The cliff-hugging Tiger’s Nest is one of many white-walled monasteries that overlook yawning valleys, which burst into bloom with wildflowers in spring. And, you’ll find the Bhutanese welcoming in showing you their deeply Buddhist and traditional way of life, where Gross National Happiness is more important than gross domestic product !!

Traveling to Bhutan is a uniquely special experience due to its commitment to Gross National Happiness, a holistic approach that prioritizes the well-being of its citizens over economic metrics. The country's pristine landscapes, including breathtaking monasteries and the lush Punakha Valley, offer a serene and culturally rich backdrop. Bhutan's strict tourism policies, emphasizing sustainability and cultural preservation, ensure an exclusive and authentic encounter with its traditions, festivals, and ancient monasteries. This combination of cultural authenticity, stunning scenery, and a focus on happiness distinguishes Bhutan as an exceptionally special destination for travelers.

Paro: Nestled in the enchanting Paro Valley, the town of Paro captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring Paro Taktsang monastery, perched on a cliff, and the picturesque Rinpung Dzong, blending Bhutanese architecture with natural beauty.

Thimphu: As the vibrant capital of Bhutan, Thimphu beckons with a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, where colorful markets, the iconic Tashichho Dzong, and the serene Buddha Dordenma statue create an atmosphere that seamlessly bridges the nation's rich heritage and contemporary aspirations.

Punakha: Set amidst lush rice fields and blessed with the majestic Punakha Dzong, the former capital exudes tranquility, offering a serene retreat for those seeking the cultural splendor of Bhutan, highlighted by the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers and the vibrant Punakha Festival.

Bumthang: Immersed in the heart of Bhutan, Bumthang enchants with its spiritual ambiance, featuring ancient monasteries like Jakar Dzong and Jambay Lhakhang, while the picturesque landscapes and the timeless Tamshing Lhakhang monastery invite visitors to experience the spiritual and natural harmony of this sacred valley.

Hiking to Taktsang Lhakhang, or the Tiger's Nest, is a soul-stirring journey in Bhutan. Ascend through lush pine forests, encountering prayer flags and spiritual energy, to reach this iconic cliffside monastery, where panoramic views and a profound sense of tranquility await, creating an unforgettable pilgrimage for both the adventurous and the spiritually inclined.

India of course is a melting pot of contrasting cultures. However, here, I would delve primarily into what makes the South of India so unique. Almost untouched by invasions throughout its history, the Southern states of India, can be considered the most `Indian ` part of India. The Aryans never brought their meat eating influence to the south. The Muslims and British influence was minor. As a result Hindu forms of lifestyles and artistic as well as cultural expression are stronger here compared to anywhere else in India.

Our tours of South India attempt to present to the visitor a blend of all that makes South India such a mesmerising destination. We explore incredible architectural heritage, peel the surface off to reveal the innocent, but, extremely vibrant as well as hospitable lifestyles and then immerse ourselves in the incredible natural beauty of the region - especially, Kerala. The crowning glory would be the ethnic food as also the unique heritage style accommodation that does not compromise in bringing your way creature comforts discerning travellers as your good selves would seek. The motivation behind creating our tours is to bring your way a multi-dimensional view of South India, rather than focus exclusively on temples. 

Our tours reveal some of the great artistic heights achieved by humans as on display at Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Pondicherry, Kumbakonam, Trichy, and Madurai. The temple architecture in these venues is famous the world over for their detail as well as size and the fact that they have remained a vibrant testimony of human skills achieved centuries back in time.

Besides bringing your way the rich architectural traditions of Tamil Nadu, our tours traverse through Kerala. There is perhaps no greater enchantment in any region as in Kerala. The food, the natural beauty, traditional accommodation, lifestyles and the hospitality is spell bounding as well as one of its kind.

Also, we go beyond witnessing the major tourist sites of South India. A committed effort is made to bring to the visitor a beneath the surface feel of the destinations. Following are what we endeavor to achieve during our sojourn in South India. 

Travel to South India would not be complete unless you have explored the flavors, scents, customs, and traditions of the region through your ambling down the narrow alleys of bustling Bazaars. Doing so, offers you a rare opportunity to accustom yourselves with the fascinating history, mythology, and the local folklores.  

When in Madurai, we propose a special walking tour that discovers the local life of the people of this holy city. The ancient South Indian city of Madurai is a place of great historical importance. Madurai is said to be the oldest city in South India that stands on the banks of the river Vaigai. You walk early in the morning on the streets of Madurai city. We interact with local people to have an understanding of their day to day lives and views... A real feel is provided as the walk takes us through a variety of street markets. The walk brings us in contact with vendors as well as shoppers as we tread through flower markets, fruit markets and the residential parts of the city.

A journey through South India also affords to us the opportunity for living in traditional homes that have been carefully converted into boutique hotels in the heart of this fascinating region. This is a region renowned for its palatial homes, fiery cuisine and colourful culture. 

We also recommend stepping off the tourist trail to experience the flavors of outback venues. A major highlight of the trip would be your stay in a typical, but, comfortable Village Home of South India. Our guests love to experience India in its starkness so that they have a better understanding of what goes into the making of South India such a heart-stopping  travel experience.

Our tour also traverses natural splendors and beyond. While in Munnar, our tours propose a 04WD drive to Kolukkumalai tea Plantation. This is a journey where new vistas of natural beauty are revealed at every twist and turn. We would be off road as you get to the world’s highest tea plantation. The views down below of the valley, hills and the Munnar town are quite spectacular.  Drive through the tea plantations and scenic beauty valleys, Lock heart gap, spice plantations and visit the scenic eastern slope of Western Ghats. During the journey, we enjoy a beautiful and panoramic view of emerald green tea estates and the curvy hills of Munnar that just touch the low lying clouds. Experience an amazing jeep drive through the tea plantations. 

The tour also explores the unique specialty of cruising aboard a traditional but, a very comfortable houseboat. An overnight houseboat experience unfolds a magical journey through the serene backwaters of Kerala. Revel in the charm of traditional houseboats, relishing delicious local cuisine, and immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature as you glide along picturesque waterways, creating unforgettable memories under the star-lit sky. 

Then, when in Mumbai we explore the city’s Dharavi slum. The latter has the dubious honour of being the largest slum in Asia, and you can explore this seething mass of humanity for yourself on one of these tours. Rather than being a depressing experience, the tour aims to break the negative stereotype associated with the slum. Put aside your initial apprehensions and you will discover a place that is alive with small scale industries and high community spirit. The tour is led by local Dharavi residents, who refer to the slum as the "Land of Opportunity". Dharavi was the setting for the famous Hollywood movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ that was internationally acclaimed.

Also in Mumbai, we have specially set up for you a unique food tasting tour, that is guaranteed to pamper your taste buds as well as blend with your culinary interests. This is a personalized private tour accompanied by a skilled guide who would educate you on the subtle nuances of the Indian cuisine in Mumbai. The tour would be a dream for the vegetarian, and, is guaranteed to tingle and challenge your taste buds hitherto undiscovered tastes!!

Traveling through diverse regions of the Indian sub-continent evokes lasting memories: Sri Lanka captivates with ancient wonders like Sigiriya, Nepal leaves an indelible mark with Himalayan landscapes and spiritual sanctuaries, while Bhutan's unique Gross National Happiness philosophy and monastic serenity linger in the heart. South India, with its lush backwaters in Kerala and intricate temples in Tamil Nadu, offers a rich tapestry of cultures and landscapes, leaving travelers with a vivid and cherished mosaic of experiences.

Trinetra Tours once again extends a hand of friendship and invites you to join us on a potpourri of life defining experiences.