Munnar Tea Plantation.
Bruno Morandi/Getty Images
Monsoon season is fast approaching, with there only being a couple of weeks left until the south west monsoon hits Kerala (the current prediction is that it will arrive by June 3, as opposed to June 1 as is usually the case, due to a cyclonic storm that's over the central Bay of Bengal).
If you don't mind the rain and would like to save money, June-September is the perfect time of year to visit Kerala. The Kerala Tourism and Development Corporation offers some very attractive monsoon packages, staying at some of its best resorts in Kerala's top destinations.
Getty Images/Lisa Romerein.
Ayurveda has helped Kerala become recognized, worldwide, as a medical tourism destination. According to state Tourism Director Rani George, it's resulted in tourists increasing their average stay in Kerala from 14.1 to 18 days -- which is the highest in India.
The only issue is that getting an Ayurvedic treatment in India takes time. This means that visitors often end up missing out on seeing many of Kerala's top destinations and attractions. The good news is that Kerala Tourism has come up with a solution, called "Age Halt", that seamlessly combines Ayurveda with travel.
Getty Images/Anna Henly.
If you want to experience the best of what Kashmir has to offer (as well as escape the summer heat), the next two weeks are the perfect time to visit the region. Jammu & Kashmir Tourism is holding its 2013 Kashmir Festival there -- from May 15-29, 2013 -- to help create awareness about the region's attractions and expand the tourist circuit.
The main venue is Kashmir Haat in Srinagar. Stalls have been set up to showcase handicrafts, agricultural produce, and the traditional Wazwaan cuisine. Daily cultural programs will also take place to entertain visitors.
Overlooked by tourism until recently because it was off the beaten track and lacked accommodations, these days Tadoba National Park and Tiger Reserve in Maharastra is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best places to see a tiger in the wild in India.
Unfortunately, as a result of its growing popularity, entry fees were hiked substantially late last year. However, this increase in popularity has also resulted in more accommodation options -- and not all of them are costly.
Air India, India's government owned airline, doesn't have the best reputation. As is to be expected from a government airline, it has its share of inefficiencies. Flights are often delayed, flight attendants and in-flight service leave a lot to be desired, and its safety history is questionable.
(Last week, Air India was again in the news after an incident whereby a plane's auto pilot was accidentally turned off on a flight from Bangkok to Delhi, amidst claims that two air hostesses were occupying the cockpit while the pilots were sleeping elsewhere. Air India later denied this, but stated that the two hostesses had overstayed their time in the cockpit and "due to distraction the co-pilot had touched the autopilot disconnect button momentarily, but the same was connected back").
Airports Authority of India.
It's more than two years behind schedule as per the redevelopment plans approved way back in 2008, but the new Chennai Airport is finally in the process of being opened. Flights started departing from the domestic terminal on April 11, while it's been announced that the international terminal will commence functioning in a limited capacity by mid May. However, it hasn't been smooth flying and problems abound.
Unlike the redevelopment of Delhi and Mumbai airports, which was handed over to the private sector, construction was managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the insistence of the government -- and that, according to many people, is where the issues lay.
India Surf Festival.
Surfing in India? You may be surprised to learn that India's 7,000 kilometer long stretch of coastline has waves suitable for beginners, right up to the highest level of professional surfing. The Surfing Federation of India recently held its first national surfing competition (the 2013 Spice Coast Open) in Kovalam. And, not only that, an annual Surf Festival is held in India every year (the next one's coming up on January 16-18, 2014).
But when are the best months to catch those waves and where are the best spots?
Dum Pukht, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts.
When it comes to fine dining in India, most of the renowned restaurants can be found inside India's luxury hotels, and there's nowhere better to be than Delhi. The city's restaurants serve up a medley of delicious regional Indian cuisines, making them a big hit with foodies.
Whether it's traditional Indian fare that you're after, or Indian with a contemporary twist, your mouth will be watering over what's on offer.
Which restaurants should you try?
These Top 5 Indian Fine Dining Restaurants in Delhi won't disappoint!
More About Restaurants in India:
- Top 5 Bengali Restaurants in Kolkata
- 5 Best Bangalore Restaurants
- Top 8 Mumbai Sunday Brunch Restaurants
Rishikesh is one of the most popular places to study yoga and meditation in India. As you'd expect, there are plenty of ashrams to choose from there. I often get people writing to me and asking for recommendations as to which one is best.
It's difficult to give a definitive answer because each ashram has its own focus and style of teachings. Some are located in the heart of the action, while others are in more isolated areas. In addition, some have guesthouses for short stays, while others only provide accommodations for people who enroll in their longer term courses.
However, to get an idea of what's on offer, take a look at these 10 Top Rishikesh Ashrams for Yoga and Meditation and see if any appeal.
More About Rishikesh:
Indian Railways train.
Around this time last year, Indian Railways decided to increase the advance reservation period for train travel from 90 days to 120 days, effectively allowing passengers to book their tickets four months in advance. However, it looks like that little experiment failed.
According to this news report, from May 1, 2013, Indian Railways reservations will only be able to be made 60 days (2 months) in advance. There are some exceptions. Foreign tourists can book tickets up to a year in advance under the foreign tourist quota. In addition, the reservation period for some short distance trains (such as the Taj Express and Gomti Express) will remain as 15 days in advance.
So, what happened? Read More...