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The tourism and forest departments of BJP-governed Karnataka plans to launch terror tourism, based on the life and trails of forest brigand Veerappan, shot down by a special police team in 2004.

Veerappan with his band of men Image courtesy: Wikipedia

Tourism Director K Vishwanatha Reddy said construction of ecotourism facilities, including solar electrification, is at an advanced stage in Veer-appan’s village, Gopinatham, 200 km from Bangalore.
A trekking scheme, called Mystery Trails, will be part of the package for high-end and mid-rung tourists.

“Mystery Trails aims to explore the myths surrounding the brigand, his hideouts, escape routes and harsh living conditions,” said Deputy Conservator of Forests Narayan Swamy. “People would surely like to know what were the incidents that took place.

The “incidents” during Veerappan’s 20-year reign of terror across 6,000 sq km of forests in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, included the killing of 184 people, many of them police and forest officials, smuggling of sandalwood worth Rs 103 crore, and poaching of at least 200 elephants.

Western Ghats bordering Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu was dominated by Veerappan until his death

Source: Hindustantimes.com

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Photo

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters, India

PANAJI (Reuters Life!) – A small state on India’s Western coast, Goa boasts of quaint Portuguese colonial charm, sun-kissed beaches and great seafood.

Goa is also favourite haunt for domestic and international travellers, and Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a visit to this beach town.

FRIDAY

7 p.m. – Start off your holiday in Goa the way you are meant to — sipping a beer or cocktail, and watching the sun go down at Baga beach, one of the many beaches that dot the coastline. If you are the more adventurous sort, indulge in some water sports or para-gliding, popular activities on this particular stretch.

9 p.m. – Dine at Britto’s, one of the many shacks located right on Baga beach. Don’t be fooled, however, by the modest surrounds: Britto’s is not just a shack, it is more of a local institution. Try the pepper prawns and their trademark baked crabs and finish with their fabulous home-made desserts, especially bebinca, a traditional Goan sweet made of jaggery and coconut milk.

11 p.m. – Burn off those calories with a walk up to Tito’s, one of Goa’s most well-known — and packed — night clubs. Frequented by tourists and locals alike, the energy and buzz around this place more than make up for the claustrophobia you might experience amid the hordes that turn up every night. If you prefer something slightly more crowded, head over to the Butter Lounge, in nearby Candolim. It may not have as many people, but the music is equally good for dancing the night away.

SATURDAY

9 a.m. – The best, and cheapest, way to get around in Goa is to hire a motorbike. You can get them in most places, even in the smaller towns. Make sure you have a valid licence, put on lots of sunscreen and head out towards Old Goa, or Goa Velha as it is locally known. Visit St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Basilica of Bon Jesus on the other side of the road. The 16th century basilica, built by the Portuguese, who ruled Goa until as recently as 1961, houses the body of Goa’s patron saint St Francis Xavier. The body has been preserved for more than four centuries and devotees from all over the world flock there to pay their respects. This is one of the best places to get a sense of the Portuguese influence that pervades most aspects of Goan life.

12 p.m. – Take the opportunity and explore the countryside a little more. Goa’s beaches are its most well-known feature, but there is more to the place. Green fields dotted with coconut palms, quaint houses with red-tiled roofs, and winding roads make for a great ride. Stop at a local bakery and sample some “pao”, traditional Goan bread, and buy some locally made pottery.

2 p.m. – Head back towards Panaji, but not before you make a detour at Star Bar and Restaurant. Yes, it isn’t the most imaginatively named place, and nor does it have any ambience to speak of, but this place can boast of the best fresh shrimp in all of Goa. Order a full Goan meal and wash it down with the feni local liquor as you watch boats sail along the river.

4 p.m. – Panaji, Goa’s capital, is a charming town set on the banks of the river Mandovi and well worth exploring. Visit the Panjim Church, an imposing structure that looks down on the city, and old quarter of Fointanhas for some traditional Portuguese architecture.

7 p.m. – Goa is also home to off-shore casinos, so if you fancy your luck, try your hand at the slots.

9 p.m. – Have dinner at Fiesta, another North Goa institution, which serves up Mediterranean and continental fare. If that’s not your style, try The Republic of Noodles at Candolim. Located near the Taj Palace hotel, this restaurant boasts of great interiors and delicious South East Asian cuisine.

11 p.m. – If you still have any energy, rev up the motorbike and make your way to the Saturday Night Bazaar at Arpora. A huge, chaotic, throbbing market, this place comes to life past midnight. Expect to find everything from trinkets to clothes to watches and even luggage. There are also food and beer stalls. Don’t forget to bargain hard.

SUNDAY

9 a.m. – Start off your Sunday with a traditional Goan breakfast of pao-bhaji, bread and vegetables in gravy, at one of the many eateries that dot the Baga-Candolim stretch (or you can visit Infanteria which serves great breakfast on the calangute baga rd). Get on the motorbike and head towards South Goa, which has some of the best beaches on India’s Western Coast.

11 a.m. – Palolem beach is one of Goa’s most pristine beaches and is located at the southern tip of the state. Soak in the sun, do some swimming, read a book and just relax – that’s what most people come to Goa to do.

2 p.m. – If you can rouse yourself from your slumber, treat yourself with a Sunday buffet lunch at the Taj Exotica or the Park Hyatt, both in South Goa. If you prefer to do some celebrity spotting instead, ask for directions to Martin’s Corner, a small shack located in the village of Betalbatim. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and actor Shah Rukh Khan are regulars to this family-run restaurant.

4 p.m. – If Goan food has intrigued your palate, perhaps a visit to a spice farm (www.sahakarifarms.com) might be appropriate. Spices play a vital role in Goan and Indian cuisine and an insight into what it takes to cultivate these spices is a good start towards understanding the local food.

8 p.m. – End your holiday with some drinks and people watching at the Taj Aguada Resort, one of Goa’s best luxury hotels. Watch the sunset, breathe in the ocean air and start planning your trip back.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-44827520091218?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

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http://www.the-golden-chariot.com/photogallery.html#

The Golden Chariot luxury train winds its way through the fascinating worlds of Karnataka. Worlds enriched with unique customs and cultures. Worlds frozen in time. Worlds that blend graciously the glory of the past with the magic of today! It’s Karnataka – after all. Here’s a brief run down on the escapes you’ll be visiting on your dream train sojourn.

Bangalore – A bustling metropolis
The silicon valley of India is unique. It’s modern; it’s traditional – at the same time. Historically, the city finds mention in an inscription as old as 900 CE. Technologically, there’s no city as advanced as Bangalore is. No wonder, the city boasts of third most populous city of India.

Explore Vidhan Soudha, the splendid structure used as legislative house for Karnataka assembly; Tipu’s Palace, the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan; Lal Bagh, the most romantic garden in India and MG Road, a bustling market street in the town.

Kabini – A wildlife park
Known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, this retreat is wildlife enthusiasts’ paradise. Little streams, waterfalls, glens and glades make this heaven an ideal retreat to unwind. The sight of wild animals is only a bonus. You’ll get to see elephants, gaurs, sambars, chitals, wild boars and, of course, tigers. Ornithologists, bring extra batteries for your camera as the Park plays host to 300 species of birds.

Mysore – A royal city
Mythical connection of Mysore with demons and goddesses will surely make you hanker for the city. The royal city remained capital of Vijaynagar Empire. Today resplendent palaces, verdant gardens, tree-fringed boulevards, magnificent buildings and sacred temples grace the skyline of the city. Sights of interest? There are many: Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Jagmohan Palace and Art Gallery, Lalit Mahal Palace, St Philomenas Church, Brindavan Gardens and Mysore Zoo.

Belur, Halebid, Hampi and Badami: World heritage sites
Belur is a little town in Hassan district. It was the capital of magnificent Hoysala Empire during tenth and fourteenth centuries. Hoysala Temple Complex and Chennakesava Temple are major attractions here.

Halebidu is a town close by and houses finest examples of Hoysala architecture. Must visits include Hoysaleswara Temple which is resting on a star-shaped base amidst lush lawns. The tourists of Golden Chariot will also visit Shravanbelagola, home to Asia’s largest monolithic statue of Gomateswara.

Hampi ruins narrate the fascinating saga of Vijayanagar Empire’s splendor and fabulous architecture.

Badami, also a world heritage site, offers breathtaking vistas of its embellished monuments. The 18-armed Nataraja in striking 81 dance poses is a must visit.

Goa: A World of Golden Beaches
Goa, the pearl of the orient, is gifted with everything you fancied in your dream travel. Serene beaches, magnificent architecture, lip-smacking cuisine, pulsating nightlife, you name it and Goa offers it on a platter.

The Golden Chariot luxury train travel reaches to its climax on the shores of this Tourists’ Paradise.

source: http://www.articlesbase.com/exotic-locations-articles/golden-chariot-five-great-escapes-1444625.html

Some of the other luxury trains in India are listed below:

1. Places on Wheels

Palace on wheels which covers the beautiful state of Rajasthan is a journey worthy of kings with its cream saloons, with a border of flowers, forbidding fortress, fairytale palaces, fully vestibule and centrally air-condition, truly a Palace on Wheels.

2. Heritage On Wheels

No other region in India, or perhaps, even in the world, has such a large concentration of high quality frescoes as the region of Shekhawati. The Heritage on Wheels, a luxury tourist train on meter gauge enroute to the unexplored regions of Bikaner and Shekhawati, famous beholders of the Heritage of Rajasthan. Heritage on Wheels is a prefect royal treat for all those on board organized with restaurant and shopping facility.

3. Royal Orient

The Royal Orient train is one of the world’s most exotic trains where you get to explore two of the most fascinating and culturally rich states of India, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The journey by the Royal Orient takes you back to the times of Rajas and Maharajas which is fitted with all the modern conveniences you would expect in five star hotels like clean, comfortable and furnished cabin with spacious bath equipped with running hot and cold water and multi-cuisine restaurants, bar and library.

4. Fairy Queen

The Fairy Queen starts once in a month from October to February renowned for its oldest working engine in the world with the capacity of 50 passengers starts from Delhi to Alwar. The train stops at every major destination and the ambience inside the Fairy Queen makes you feel like a Maharaja as you take on the royal journey. The comprehensive two-day tourist package includes on-ground catering, lodging, boarding, transfer facility, visit to Sariska National Park, cultural programmes etc. In the package, the tourists would be taken to Alwar and would be lodged in Hotel ‘Tiger Den’ at Sariska.

5. Deccan Odyssey

The Deccan Odyssey criss-crosses the Indian Deccan Plateau over 2400 km in Eight days covering beautiful beaches in Goa and Maharashtra, the grand forts and palaces of the Marathas, the Osho Ashram in Pune, the historic sites of Ajanta, Ellora, Aurangabad and the modern city of Mumbai. The 21 coach Air-Conditioned Deccan Odyssey offers combination of richly furnished Deluxe Cabins and Presidential Suites. There are two Dining Cars, One Bar Saloon with smoking lounge area, Conference Area/recreation saloon with small Business Centre, Spa Saloon with mini-gym. Each passenger Saloon has four Deluxe Cabins and is serviced by a private attendant/butler, who looks after tea/coffee service and housekeeping.

6. Konkan Train

Konkan Railways, one of the lesser luxurious trains compared to the list above but this journey offers breathtakingly beautiful sights to the commuters, unexplored destinations with natural charm covers the length of 760 kms, with 1,798 bridges and 88 Tunnels on the route. Konkan Railways offers a mesmerizing picturesque from Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram via Veer-Khed-Chiplun-Ratnagiri-Rajapur Road-Sindhudurg-Mapusa Road-Goa-Udupi-Mangalore-Kochi.

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With New Year around the corner, everyone is scrambling to find the
ultimate location to welcome the new year.

We at Great Escapes bring to you the top five hotspots from South
India to celebrate the New Year based on the number of requests
received by our travelers.

Top 5 Destinations to visit this New Year – 2009
1. Masinagudi, Tamil Nadu – This quiet little town is on the top spot
for its mind blowing location with a view of the Nilgiri hills from
its many resorts spread across the foot hills of Ooty. Travelers also
have the option of taking a short ride to this famous hill station
from Masinagudi or try the jungle hike to spot some wildlife.

Masinagudi - Nilgiri Hills

Masinagudi - Nilgiri Hills

2. Coorg, Karnataka – This popular district has been the hotspot for
many travelers who keep coming back for its natural beauty. From river
rafting to elephant bathing, this small district has more to offer
than many popular destination across the country thanks to the river
Cauvery which originates from here.

Tibetian Monastry

Coorg - Byalkuppe:Tibetian Monastry

3. Wayanad, Kerala – Located adjoining the Bandipur forest range and
about 250kms from Bangalore, this everygreen mountain range is an
ideal getaway from the hustle n bustle of daily life. Stay at one of
the many resorts amidst thick palm and coffee plantations and enjoy
the fresh cool breeze right thru the day.

Wayanad mountain range

Wayanad mountain range

4. Baga Beach, Goa – Undoubtedly the best place to party anytime of
the year, but with the clamp down by police on beach parties, this
location has slipped down to the 4th spot. Goa still manages to
attract crowd from across the globe with some of the best DJ’s playing
at the popular hotspots across North Goa. For a quiet celebrations,
head toward the south and stayover at one of the many homestays or
boutique resorts.

Goa - Baga Beach

Goa - Baga Beach

5. Chikmagalur, Karnataka – Chikmagalur is a fantastic weekend getaway
from Bangalore – far from the madding crowd and a perfect refuge from
the hustle bustle of the city. A couple of old friends and I wanted to
experience a ‘good drive’ and spend the night at a place with ‘no
mobile range’, a little bit of monsoon showers and nature.

Chikmagalur forest

Chikmagalur forest

Team GreatEscapes wishes you all a very Happy New Year 2009

Dance, Drink, Party hard but use a driver to get back home

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