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Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Overview of Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram):
God’s own country with its psychedelic sunsets complete with palm trees swaying to whatever music the wind chooses to play, the wafting aromas of the land of coffee, spices and coconuts, the bastion of communism, a literate people whose friendliness is only surpassed by their curiosity for more. Kovalam Beach A place that fiercely retains and respects the ancient traditions while viewing the modern with tolerance and invitation – Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is Kerala incarnate.

There is beauty and intelligence, the exotic and the mundane; there are Ayurvedic massages that elicit equal amounts of pain and pleasure, beaches and lagoons with the best part being the preservation of it all the way Nature meant it to be.

Trivandrum is also a bustling city, where the business of life is carried out like it is around the world, interspersed with everyday visits to the nearby temple or mosque. Myth has it that the place derives its name from it being the city of Anantha, the sacred serpent of Vishnu. History has it that Thiruvananthapuram had once been the port of call for Romans and Jews, Arabs and Christians. Believable, considering that it remains one of the biggest centers for sea-bound labors.

Trivandrum AttractionsPlaces To Visit:

Government Art Museum
This museum has much to impress the visitor with. Trivandrum MuseumBuilt in an exquisite blend of Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian styles of architecture, the museum is also known as the Napier Museum after the erstwhile Governor General of Madras John Napier. This 19th century building boasts of a unique natural air-conditioning system and the displays include exquisite bronzes, ancient ornaments and costumes, ivory carvings and musical instruments, and a whole temple chariot.

Puttan Malika Palace Museum
Built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balrama Verma of Travancore, an accomplished poet and musician, the traditional Travancore style museum is made better with its exquisite woodcarvings. There is a priceless art collection among other exhibits and the palace also hosts an annual classical music festival between 27th January and 3rd February.

Sree Chitra Art Gallery
Located in the museum compound is this Art Gallery featuring an eclectic collection of works by Roerich and Raja Ravi Verma. This of course is only among the many other paintings from the Mughal, Rajput, Bengal and Tanjore schools of art. There is also a fabulous collection of oriental art from the Far East and Bali.

The Zoological Gardens
With a setting that includes woodlands and beautiful lakes, this is arguably one of Asia’s best laid-out zoos. Whether it is love for the animals or just a need for a good day out, this is an excellent place to visit.

Indian School of Martial Arts (ISMA)
Kalaripayattu, KeralaA definite must see is the ISMA, which continues to preserve and impart training in the 5,000-year-old martial art of Kerala – Kalarippayattu. Established in 1983 it is in Vazhuthacaud in the heart of the city. A three-storied building, the main attraction is the traditional kalari – the arena for practising the art, built 10 ft below ground level. ISMA is also a renowned healing centre where the traditional kalarichikitsa – an exclusive branch of medicine – has been practised for years. The rare collection of olagranthas – palm leaf manuscripts also makes it a place with historical value.

Kovalam Beach
This building, designed in the English Gothic Style, was built in 1878. The main structure rises 54.2 m in height and is surmounted by statues representing Justice and Mercy. Beautiful Kovalam, endowed with a sheltered bay making it safe and pleasant to swim in during the off-monsoon months is no doubt, one of the best places to be. Food, rest, Ayurvedic massages and long walks with the inevitable shopping will make your visit here memorable and a true vacation.

Shanghumugham Beach
Trivandrum Mermaid Statue The Shanghumugham Beach is close to Trivandrum international airport. This is a favorite place for locals to spend their evenings. However do not expect to enjoy bathing in sea here since the water is not really clean and it is pretty crowded.

Veli: The Veli Tourist village, is around 11km away from Trivandrum city where the lake merges with the sea. Veli is a popular tourist destination for Keralites.

Trivandrum ClimateClimate: Pleasantly tropical throughout the year, Trivandrum’s proximity to the sea makes for weather that has its variations. Other than the monsoons between May and October, which are long and heavy, summer temperature goes up to 32°C while winters are a pleasant 29°C.
Best Time To Visit: If you love the rains, anytime and if you don’t, September to May.

Trivandrum FactsThiruvananthapuram Facts:

  • Population: About 3,234,707
  • Main Language(s): Malayalam, Tamil and English
  • Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
  • Phone Area Code: 0471
  • Airport Distance from City Center: 8 kms
  • Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Pre-paid taxi service available

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Port Blair, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
Overview:
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not everyone’s choice for a holiday. They are so far away from the mainland that they tend to be ignored by most visitors. However, those who find themselves on the Islands are rewarded with spectacular beaches, pristine coral reefs and the lovely blue sea.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are part of a string of about 500 tropical islands, which lie scattered halfway between Calcutta and the equator. The existence of these islands was first reported in the 9th century by Arab merchants, who sailed past them on their way to the straits of Sumatra.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman Tourism InfoAndaman Facts: The first western visitor was Marco Polo. The Marathas took over the islands in the late 17th century. In the early, 18th century, the islands were the base of Maratha admiral Kanhoji Angre, whose navy frequently captured British, Dutch and Portuguese merchant ships. Angre remained undefeated by the combined British / Portuguese naval task force, right up to his death in 1729.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands were finally annexed by the British in the 19th century and used as a penal colony for Indian freedom fighters. The colony was set up by Captain Archibald Blair of the Bombay Marine, who gave his name to the capital of the islands, Port Blair. During World War II the Japanese occupied the islands. After India gained independence in 1947, the islands were incorporated into the Indian Union.

  • Main Language(s): English
  • Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
  • Phone Area Code: 03192
  • Population: About 3,50,000
  • Airport Distance from City Center: 4 kms
  • Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Taxi service available at Rs. 50 per pax to city

Port Blair, is today, the pulse of the islands. Most tourists who visit begin their exploration from here. Port Blair extends around a harbour on the east coast of South Andaman, and is the most heavily populated of all the islands.

The one major landmark in Port Blair is the Cellular Jail. This seven-winged national monument tells tales of the torture of India’s freedom fighters who were imprisoned within its walls. The islands were called Kalapani (islands with black water), because of the blood that tainted its waters.

The Andamans are a paradise for ecologists and ornithologists, with 242 species of birds, 46 species of mammals and 78 species of reptiles some of them rare and almost extinct. These birds and animals live in dense rain forests surrounded by mangroves that seem to become part of the sea.

The islands are also home to some of the oldest tribal communities in the world. Six recognized tribes inhabit the several islands. While members of some of the tribes venture into the city, others keep to their forests, and can be quite hostile.

Andaman ClimateClimate: The daily temperature in the Andamans does not vary much throughout the year. It usually averages between 23°C to 30°C.
There are two seasons – the wet, or monsoon season, from mid-May to mid-November, and the dry season, from mid-November to mid-May. Rainfall is heavy and, depending on the location, averages 264 to 437 cm annually.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit is between November and mid-April.

Andaman AttractionsAndaman Attractions – Places To Visit: The stunning beaches are the major attractions of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But there are many other tourist attractions waiting for you in this island paradise.

Andaman Cellular JailThe Cellular Jail
This museum is a reminder of the torture that India’s freedom fighters suffered at the hands of the British. It had more than 600 cells, so prisoners would have absolutely no contact with one another.
Today the Port Blair Cellular Jail is an important tourist spot at Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Beaches
For a day of swimming, and fun in the sun, Corbyn’s Cove and Jolly Buoy are popular beaches. One can also snorkel and visit the underwater world as long as one wants.

Havelock Island
A visit to the Havelock Island is a memorable experience. Its unspoilt and beautiful charm can take you back a hundred years.

Ross IslandRoss Island
Ross Island was once an exclusive preserve of the British who ruled from there for over 50 years. The ruins of bungalows, churches, ballrooms, bakeries, clubs and dungeons, are an interesting and intriguing experience. They relive the glory of early 20th-century colonial life.
Early morning, Ross island is a bird-watcher’s paradise.

Viper Island
The Viper Island contains the dungeons and a natural amphitheater. Another picnic spot, it still has ruins of gallows as reminders of a grim past.

Museum and Zoo
At the Anthropological Museum, Marine Museum, and the Mini Zoo, one can see a panorama of the life of the Paleolithic islanders, a display of marine life with sea crocodiles, dolphins, barracuda, and pearl oysters.

Andaman CruiseHarbour Cruises
A harbour cruise takes visitors around the South Andaman Island and offers a beautiful view of mangroves, rain forests and other delights of this living museum. There are also cruise trips from mainland to Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Volcanoes
The Andamans even have their very own dormant volcano and those who have the courage and stamina to climb to its mouth on Barren Island never forget the sight of the lava inside or the hard lava-like rocks that make the climb a near impossibility.

Los Angeles, USA

Looking for travel information on Los Angeles, USA? Take a look our Los Angeles travel information before you arrive the destination.
Los Angeles is perhaps the most famous city in the world. Dubbed as the city of angels, it is home to many of today’s celebrities, the world centre of movie making and of course – Hollywood. LA is a place where dreams come true and many people reach world wide popularity through acting, singing and art. It is also an important tourist destination.

City of Lights: Los Angeles City at Night
Los Angeles

Los Angeles AttractionsLos Angeles Attractions:
LA tourist attractions and things to do in Los Angeles.Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hollywood:
Los Angeles’ most famous neighborhood is of course Hollywood. People visit it hoping to see famous celebrities and sometimes they actually get lucky. Among the popular landmarks are the Stars’ walk of fame – a sidewalk with different stars incorporated in the pavement, the enormous Hollywood sign that rests on Hollywood hill and the Hollywood Bowl. Madame Tussauds, Los Angeles

Madame Tussaud:
Newer attractions include the Hollywood and Highland entertainment center and Madame Tussaud’s Museum of Wax figures which exhibits wax figures of today’s celebrities.

Los Angeles Shopping:
The city of angels is a prime choice for shoppers from all over the world. Featuring dozens of shopping malls, boutiques and shopping districts, it is the place for every shopaholic to get their shopping fix. The Grove and the Third Street Promenade are among the more popular shopping locales.

Los Angeles Dodger StadiumThere are approximately sixteen museums in the Los Angeles area, each hosting different exhibits of different interest such as Art, History, Culture, Science, Nature and others. Among them are the Museum of Natural History, host to the world’s largest tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Griffith Observatory and the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. Lost Angeles is a city with busy night life and offers a variety of bars and clubs for the younger demographic.

Los Angeles ClimateLA Climate: Located in southern California its climate is warm throughout the year with temperatures ranging in the teens through high thirties. Because California is well known for its tectonic activity, earthquakes can often be felt, sometimes bordering on the brink of being destructive.

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Paris, France

Looking for travel information on Paris, France? Take a look the Paris tour tips before you leave.
With the vast amounts of history and art Paris has become the must see city in Europe for any self respecting tourist. Being one of the oldest cities in Europe, it offers people a large number of activities for every interest no matter what their age. Aside from being home to many historical landmarks, it is also known as the City of Life – la ville the lumiere, as well as the City of Fashion.

Paris Holidays
Photo by: Benh LIEU SONG

Paris Tourist AttractionsParis Attractions
Paris is the home of many monuments of historical importance that have now become some of the most famous tourist attractions.
Eiffel Tower, Paris: The pride of Paris is the Eiffel tower which has now become a symbol of the city and is a must see for everyone that sets foot in the city of romance.
Versailles, Paris
Chateau de Versailles, Paris:
The Chateau de Versailles is France’s most exquisite piece of renaissance architecture, known for its grand size, multiple rooms and lovely gardens.

Other must see places are the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, la Opera Garnier, the Pantheon, the Catacombs and many others.
Paris Louvre Museum
Paris also boasts a variety of museums that help represent different sides of history. The most famous one is the Louvre, which is the current home of the Mona Lisa among other famous paintings. One can’t go wrong when visiting the Picasso museum which shelters Pablo Picasso’s many works of art. The Paris museums have become a home to the paintings of many famous historical artists.

Paris WeatherParis Climate : Paris is gorgeous all year round. Because of its location is has a mild European climate with winters being rather cold, while summers are warm and sunny. The best time to visit Paris is summer time. But as different events ranging from French tradition to the modern Fashion week, it is a city full of tourists throughout the year.
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Baroda, Gujarat

Vadodara (Baroda), Gujarat, India

Overview: Formerly known as Baroda, this is one place whose rulers’ pride in leaving behind a legacy is evident everywhere – from its priceless examples of culture to the beautiful palaces and the thriving art and handicrafts that the state is famous for. Once the stronghold of the Gaekwads, Vadodara remains, even today, the cultural capitlal of Gujarat.

From food to music, paintings and museums to historic monuments, Vadodara has quite a range to offer the visitor. As for its history, Vadodara seems to have two favourite sons – Anshuman Gaekwad and Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, who had more than a hand in giving the city its epithet of a cultural capital. The latter’s presence is everywhere – from the magnificent Laxmi Vilas Palace, which was his home to the number of art galleries and museums that continue to preserve his memory. It is said that Faiyaz Khan of the celebrated Agra Gharana sang for him, while Raja Ravi Verma, the renowned painter created memorable pictures and portraits of the Maharaja’s family.

There is of course more than just a history lesson to enjoy in Vadodara. Gujarati cuisine with its myriad flavours enjoys favour with the local and tourist alike. And then there are the unbeatable dances of the state that Vadodara celebrates just like the rest of Gujarat – all in all, when you plan a trip to this cultural capital, you will be guaranteed a great time.

Population: About 1,306,035

Climate: Unless heat is something you absolutely need, summer may be skippable when temperatures can smoulder at 44°C. Winters are a much better bet, being pleasant at 31°C. Monsoons are moderate and last from mid-June to mid-September.

Main Language(s): Gujarati, Hindi and English

Time Zone: GMT + 05:30

Phone Area Code: 0265

Best Time To Visit: You could plan a trip here the year around but the cooler months from October to March are the best.

Airport Distance from City Center: 10 kms

Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Private taxis available for a flat rate of Rs. 250 for non-A/C and Rs. 350 for A/C within octroi limit.

Places To Visit

Laxmi Vilas Palace
The royal residence of the royal family is royally splendid. Built by Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1878 in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palace was completed in 1890. There are extensive collections of sculptures, both bronze and marble, as well as old armour that stir interest. The Fatehsingh Rao Museum on the grounds houses old paintings and other pieces of art and is a definite must see. Also make time and visit the nearby Naulakhi Well, which is called a baoli or a step-well.

Baroda Museum
Things from times gone by are what museums are normally about and this one is no different. Built in 1894, the Baroda Museum has an extensive art collection including several works by reputed British and European artists. To mention a few of the other attractions would be unfair to all that is in display but to give you a little idea, an Egyptian mummy, a skeleton of a blue whale, elegant Akota bronzes from the 5th century AD, Mughal miniatures and a gallery of Tibetan Art is what you can expect to enjoy here.

Nyaya Mandir
Try and visit the Nyaya Mandir or the Temple of Justice over the weekend. This is because the place still stands true to its name and is even today used to house justice in the form of the Baroda District Court. A classic and splendid example of Byzantine architecture, this medieval structure imposes upon you, both its proportion and style, demanding and getting the attention it deserves.

The Aurobindo Society
Dedicated to the revered Shri Aurobindo, the Society contains memorabilia related to his life and work. Meditation halls within here are open to the public, so you might want to sit down for a few minutes and say hello to your inner self. Also check out the library, which has an interesting collection to delve into as also the sales emporium to pick up some books on Shri Aurobindo and his work.

Sayajibaug and Sardar Patel Planetarium
Built by Sayajirao III in 1879, this park is situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri. Spanning 113 acres, this park has a few attractions for everyone, whether child or adult. The toy train is an obvious must for the former. The expanse of green is one obvious attraction but there are others in the form of a zoo, the Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery, the Museum of Health and Hygiene and the Sardar Patel Planetarium.

Nazarbaug Palace
This is the place to be if art interests you and even if this has not been on your list of enjoyments, the Palace is as good a place as any to start taking an interest in the fascinating world on canvas. The Palace houses the royal art collection and showcases the works of masters like Raphael, Titian and Murillo. There is also other art that is classifiable under nomenclatures like modern western, Indian paintings, Greco-Roman exhibits, Chinese and Japanese art. Also take in the extensive collection of contemporary Indian art, which keeps the flags of painters of the past alive.

Location Map of Vadodara (Baroda), Gujarat, India