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Top 16 Things to do in Orissa

Orissa is a state located on the eastern coast of India, with a coastline of about 485 km. So yes, the state is home to exotic beaches too, along with significant shrines, amazing forts, vibrant ethnicity and almost everything beautiful. A radiant flaunt of heritage and history is found in the monuments of Orissa like the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. Owing to variant landforms, Orissa possesses sparkling waterfalls and indeed a sprawling biodiversity. There is so much to see and do in Orissa, so grab your popcorn while we give you a brisk view of things to do in Orissa.

Jagannath Temple

Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa
Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa (Image Courtesy)
This temple of Lord Jagganath (Shree Krishna) dates back to 12th century and is among the most important temples of Odisha. The temple is popular in other parts of India too, for its Ratha Yatra Festival. Jagannath Puri is an important Hindu pilgrimage center of India, mainly because of the fact that this temple happens to be one of the four destinations in Chaar Dhaam Yatra. Char Dham Yatra circuit is considered to have major significance in a Hindu’s life. 

Other than Puri, Badrinath, Rameswaram, and Dwarka are also included in the holy circuit. It is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal and is venerated by the followers of Vaishnavas. Legend says that the King who made this temple had a vision in his dream of Lord Jagannath. In the dream the lord asked the king if could build a temple, and so the king did.

Sun Temple

Sun Temple of Konark - The highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace
Sun Temple of Konark - The highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace
Sun Temple of Konark (Orrisa) is popular in India, owing to its striking design. This temple is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun God) and UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage Site. That’s not it; the temple has also been featured in the list of Seven Wonders of India by NDTV and Times of India. The temple was built in 13th century, by King Narsimhadeva I. 

The temple looks like a chariot, which is ornamented and is believed to belong to the Sun God. The façade faces east. This was done so that the first rays of the sun strike its principle entrance. Some of the structures of the temple fell somewhere around 1837, and a collection of the same has been put into Konark Archeological Museum. Another striking aspect of Konark Sun Temple is its erotic sculptures of Maithunas.

Chilika Lake

Sunrise View of Chilika Lake, Orissa
Sunrise View of Chilika Lake, Orissa
Spread over an area of 1100 km sq and the second largest lagoon of the world, Chilika Lake is home to tremendous amount of bird species, both resident and migratory. The Bird Sanctuary in Chilika Lake’s Nalaban Island is a major attraction here. Chilika Lake is one of the best bird-watching spots of India. Here, you may catch a glimpse of several birds like herons, egrets, spoonbills, storks, teals, pochards and even dolphins.

Lingaraja Temple

Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar ,Orissa
Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar
Lingaraja Temple is dedicated to lord Harihara (Lord Shiva) and is the largest temple in Bhubaneshwar. The temple is about a thousand years old and this is one of the parts of the Golden Triangle of Orrisa (Bhubaneshwar, Konark and Puri). 

The holy text Brahma Purana has a reference of this revered temple. Lingaraja Temple was built in the 7th century by ruler Yayati Kesari. During the whole day, worship services are offered twenty two times in the temple. And the image of Lingaraja is taken to Jalamandir once a year for special offerings.

Nandankanan Zoological Park

Nandankanan Zoological Park Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar
Covering about 990 acres of land, Nandankanan Zoological Park has expansive wildlife, with botanical garden and a lake too. Some part of Nandankanan Zoological Park has been declared a sanctuar. The park is majorly known for its white-tigers, Asiatic lions and Indian Crocodiles.

The zoo also has an aquarium which houses a variety of fresh-water fish. Nandankanan Zoological Park also promotes the idea of Adopt an Animal and manages breeding programs for white tigers, crocodiles and pangolin.

Chandipur Beach

Chandipur Beach, Odisha
Chandipur Beach in Odisha
Relaxing on the Chandipur Beach is an unforgettable and highly rejuvenating affair. This is one of the few beaches of the world where sea waves recede up to 5 km daily. People usually chase the waves by riding a jeep. The babbling waves rising and descending, casuarinas trees stretched to miles and sand dunes conspire to create a peaceful ambience for the weary soul. Chandipur Beach is located 200 km away from Bhubaneshwar, near Balasore Town.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

Udayagiri And Khandagiri Caves, Orissa
Udayagiri And Khandagiri Caves in Orissa
Carved by nature and mankind, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are situated on two hills mentioned as Kumari Parvat in Hathugumpha inscription. About 35 caves were excavated from both the hills. Hathigumpha (Cave 14), Ganeshagumpha (Cave 10) and Rani Ka Naur (Cave 1) are known for their exceptionally brilliant engravings.

The Ananta Cave (Cave 3) has carved figures of elephants, athletes, women and geese. Besides the fine exhibition of craftsmanship, you can savor the beautiful view of the vicinity from the summit of Khandagiri Hill. Udatagiti and Khandagiri Caves are popular caves in Orissa.

[ Also check out the Ajanta & Ellora Caves ]

Puri

Puri Beache - Natural Beauty of Odisha
Puri Beach - Natural Beauty of Odisha
Besides the renowned Jagannath Puri Temple, Puri is brimming with many other spectacular locations; like the Puri Beach. This is often referred to as the Golden Beach of Puri, credits to the sparkling golden sands.

There are several other religious places to visit in Puri like Shree Lokanath Temple, Bedi Hanuman Temple, Shree Gundicha Temple, Chakra Teertha Temple and Mausima Temple.  Puri is one of the destinations of the most revered Char Dham Yatra.

 [ Check Out our list of Top Beaches in India ]

Bhubaneswar

Shanti Stupa in Dhauli, Orissa
Shanti Stupa at Dhauli in Orissa
The capital of Orissa, Bhubaneswar has a rich history datable to three thousand years back. The name of the city has been derived from the word Tribhuneswar (Lord Shiva), which literally means Lord of Three Worlds. Insignia of Kalinga Architecture is witnessed in its nooks.

Also regarded as The Temple City of India, Bhubaneswar merges with Puri and Konark to a venerated pilgrimage circuit, The Golden Triangle of Orissa. Other than the attractions of Bhubaneswar listed in this article; Mukteshwar Temple, Brahmeshwar Temple and Dhauli are must-visit locations in Bhubaneswar.

[ Also check out the top temple in India ]

Konark

Archaeological Museum in Konark,Orissa
Archaeological Museum in Konark
Popular for the Sun Temple, Konark is silently nestled on seashore. As the town is embraced by gurgling sea waves, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Konark also has an exotic beach around its corner, Chandrabhaga Beach. This is one of the best beaches to visit in Orissa.

Konark Dance Festival too is a major attraction of the town. Similarly Magha Saptami Mela is a popular festival of Konark. Kuruma Beach, Archeological Survey of India Museum and Konark Math are other attractions of Konark that must not be missed.

Rajarani Temple

Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha
Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha
Stationed amidst vast paddy fields the Rajarani Temple is locally known as the Love Temple. The reason behind its christening owes to the erotic figurines on the walls. Rajarani Temple dates back to 11th century, and its architecture is believed to have inspired quite a few other temples like Khajuraho Temples and Totesvara Mahadeo Temple in Kadawa. Archeological Survey of India preserves this temple and regards it as an important monument of Orissa.

Simlipal National Park

Elephant at Simlipal National Park,Orissa
Elephant at Simlipal National Park
Simlipal Tiger Reserve or Simlipal National Park is one of the most popular national parks of Orissa. This is a part of Mayurbhanj Elephant reserve; along with Hadhgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary. Talking of Simlipal, it covers 845 sq km of area. Under this sprawling area, there are some beautiful waterfalls, like Joranda and Barehipani. The park is home to Bengal Tigers, wild elephants, gaurs, Chausingha and indeed an expansive biodiversity.

Here are some more wildlife vacation ideas in India if you are just looking to explore wildlife in India

Barabati Fort

Entrance Gate of Barabati Fort
Entrance Gate of Barabati Fort
Nestled adjacent to Barabati Stadium, Barabati Fort is datable to 14th century. Its moat, gate and earthen mound paint a picture of the past.  It narrates the tale of Ganga Dynasty and overlooks the splendid view of the Mahanadi River. Originally it covered about 102 acres of land and used to be a nine-storied structure. This hasn’t lost its charm however, but today it can be listed a popular fort in Orissa.

[ Also check out our list of Hill Forts of Rajasthan ]  

Paradeep Port

Paradeep Port in Orissa
Paradeep Port in Orissa
An important port of Orissa, Paradeep Port is in function 24x7. This also is the largest port of East India. As the shipments cruise along the coast, tourists can indulge in a boating session. It is pleasurable to take a stroll in the Paradeep Beach. In a short distance from the port is Smurti Udyan, a beautiful garden dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the cyclones of 1990s.

To behold the sight of rare species of crocodiles and other animals, proceed to Gahirmatha Beach. One of the popular attractions near Paradeep Port is Bhitarkanika National Park. Also don’t miss to gorge on some drool-worthy sea food around.

Water Falls

Barehipani Falls - one amongst the higher waterfalls in India
Barehipani Waterfalls
Most of Orissa is covered with hills and plateaus and this makes it a state with beautiful waterfalls. Highest waterfall of Orissa is Barehipani Waterfall, which is 399 meters tall.  This is a two-tiered waterfall located in Simlipal National Park. The area is serene and enchanting. Other popular waterfalls of Orissa are Putudi Falls, Khandadhar Falls and Harishankar Falls.

Tribal Villages

Tribal Fairs & Festivals in Odisha (Orissa)

To experience the austerity of an urban township visit the villages of Orissa. Orissa alone is home to about 62 types of tribes. Some of the most popular tribal villages for the tourists in Orissa are Rayagada, Bantalbiri and Onukadelli. Rayagada is known for its wall paintings and its market, Bantalbiri stand out with horticulture and Onukadelli is renowned for its markets.

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23 Best Yoga Retreats in India for Health & Rejuvenation

Yoga was invented on the spiritual lands of India. In the ancient times, it was practiced by saints to gain spiritual peace of mind and body. In today’s world, Yoga in India has spread as a fashion word, like on the urban streets of London and Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the art of Yoga and meditation has not lost its sheen.

Earlier, it was practiced in the lap of nature, now you have fancy yoga homes that are artificially designed to offer peace and tranquility. It can be explained in this way that the essence of this body and soul healing process is still the same, rather the execution has changed a bit. Contrary to the old times, the modern day spirituality strives to heal mind, body and spirit in the most comfortable way. To define the change, here is a list of some of the best yoga places in India that will surely make you join.

Ananda in the Himalayas, Narendra Nagar

Ananda Spa and Yoga Retreat, Rishikesh, India
Ananda in the Himalayas is an award winning luxury spa and yoga retreat near Rishikesh
Nestled amidst the heavenly valleys of Uttarakhand, Ananda offers an experience that is simply divine and traditional. Aptly suiting the trend of spiritual tourism in India, Ananda encompasses all aspects of life to balance the mind, spirit and body.

The center follows the techniques and teachings of the renowned Bihar School of Yoga, which is known as Satyananda Yoga. In conjunction with the modern physical and mental health sciences, the technique is a development of various traditional yogic teachings.

Besides yoga, aspirants are also offered numerous meditation courses which include the techniques for deep relaxation, cleansing the soul and inner visualization. These are named as Yoga Nidra, Chakra Shuddhi and Chidakasha Dharana.

Address: The Palace Estate, Narendra Nagar Tehri- Garhwal, Uttarakhand

[Also check out our post on Luxury in the Lap of Himalayas]

Ramamani Iyenagar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune

Ramamani Iyenagar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune
Ramamani Iyenagar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune
Attracting yoga aspirants from all over the world, the Ramamani Iyenagar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune focuses on Iyenagar Yoga, which is a form of Hatha yoga. Classes at this renowned institute were personally conducted by the Yoga living legend BKS Iyenagar himself before he died. Designed upon the principles of the three levels of humanity-the body, spirit and mind, the design of the center are perfectly suited for attaining blissful meditation. Students at this famous yoga institute are made to use props in a unique style.

One must keep in mind that the students enrolled in the yoga programme of the  Iyenagar Institute in Pune are not entitled to any accommodation or food facility on the site. Thus, aspirants looking for admissions can stay at the apartments in the nearby neighborhood.

Address: 1107 B/1, Hare Krishna Mandir Road, Model Colony, Shivaji Nagar, Pune
Course Duration: One month (6 classes per week)

Bihar School of Yoga, Munger

Bihar School of Yoga, Munger
Bihar School of Yoga, Munger in Bihar
With a vision of imparting yoga training to various households of the country, the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger was established in the year 1964. A perfect center under the spiritual tourism in India, the Bihar School is one of the first institutes in the country which has initiated to train females and overseas aspirants on a large scale.

As an enrolled student, one can benefit from all the research findings on Yoga and meditation. For this, the institution houses a well stocked Yoga Research library  which has a large collection of books and data of various Yogic publications. Distinct thing about this institute is that it does not focus on the traditional postures of Yoga like the other schools, rather the emphasis is on meditation.

Address: Bihar Yoga Bharati, Ganga Darshan, Fort, Munger, Bihar
Course Duration: Four months

Ramana Maharishi Ashram, TiruvannaMalai

Ramana Maharishi Ashram, TiruvannaMalai
Ramana Maharishi Ashram in TiruvannaMalai
Home to the modern sage and Vedanta philosopher, Sri Ramanasramam, Ramana Maharishi Museum is situated at the foot of the Arunachala hill in the state of Tamil Nadu. The place offers a tranquil atmosphere to meditate for the thousands visiting the Ashram.

One of the prominent attractions of the complex is the main ashram which lies near to  the Samadhi of its founder, Sri Ramanasramam. Besides yoga and meditation, the Maharishi Ashram also fits as an educational center. For the aspirants, the educational center provides many books and films about Sri Ramansramam’s life and teachings. You can even take part in the various Pujas which are conducted on a daily basis at the shrine.

Address:  Sri Ramanasramam P.O., Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 606 603

Art of Living Ashram, Panchagiri Hills, Bangalore

Art of Living Ashram, Panchagiri hills, Bangalore
Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore
Spread over a vast expanse of the Panchagiri hills in Bangalore, the art of living Ashram is an ideal location for retreat and meditation. One of the renowned centers for holistic healing in India, Art of Living ashram was started in the year 1986.

With an amazing blend of the modern and traditional architecture, the ashram boasts of a mesmerizing lake, beautiful Vishalakshi Mantap and humongous greenery all across its premises. It is aptly designed to provide a peaceful atmosphere and meet all the requirements of a meditative session.

Besides the usual yoga and meditation sessions, the Art of Living Ashram is highly popular for its ‘Satsangs’, which are held on a regular basis in the evening. These Satsangs are an effective way to achieve the highest state of consciousness through its Music and Bhajans. Other than submerging in these meditative rituals and practices in the Ashram, one can also devote himself in the voluntary service called Seva.

Address:  21st km, Kanakarapura Road, Udaipura, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082, India

Osho Ashram, Pune 

Osho Ashram, Pune
People Meditating at a hall in the Osho Ashram
Drawing thousands of ‘Sanyasis’ (peace seekers), mainly from the western world, Osho Ashram in Pune is one of the renowned stress-busting meditative centers in India.  The meditative center is very well equipped with the modern amenities, which helps in breaking the cliché of traditional yoga teachings.

While strolling in the campus, one is likely to come across a crystal clear swimming pool, basket ball court, massage& beauty parlour, bookshop and a luxury guesthouse. They also have sauna facility as  a part of their meditation curriculum. Although criticized for its manifesting commercialized behavior, the Ashram has managed to successfully run a plethora of courses in meditation.    

Address:  17, 1st lane, Koregaon Park, Pune, Maharashtra 411001

Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh

Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh
Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh
Nothing is more pure and heavenly than connecting with the spiritual side of you at the divine lands of Rishikesh. Parmarth Niketan is one such center in Rishikesh that has the potential to satisfy all your yogic urges. Situated on the banks of the holy Ganga, it is the largest ashram which offers a clean and sacred atmosphere to thousands looking for inner peace and tranquility.

Traditional Yoga in India can simply be understood by the teachings and curriculum of Parmarth Niketan. To make it more relaxing for the visitors, the ashram has beautiful gardens spread all around its premises.

Address: Swargashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 249304  
Course Duration: Anything between two weeks to one month

Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai

Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai
Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai
Founded by TKV Desikachar, son of legendary yoga guru Krishnamacharya, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram is situated on the east coast of South India. Highly popular among international devotees, the center strictly focuses on healing people through yoga. The dynamics of its courses are not so rigid and one can experience a flexible and relaxing atmosphere in the ashram.

The center offers numerous Yoga courses which include programmes like ‘The heart of Yoga, Antargamanam, Raksana Yoga, Pranava Mantra and Yajna’. There is no accommodation facility provided in the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. Thus, aspirants have to look for places to stay in the vicinity of the institute.

Address: Door No 31, 4th Cross Street, R.K Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600028
Course Duration: Two to four weeks

Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Kerala

Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Kerala
People practicing yoga at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram
Founded in 1959 by Swami Vishnudevananda, the Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram is set in the tropical splendor of  the foothills of Kerala. Being situated in the proximity to Neyyar dam, the Ashram flaunts its natural beauty which gets magnified with cool coconut grooves and the colorful cover of its surroundings. Owing to such an atmosphere, Shivananda Ashram is best suited for peace and meditation.

For the visitors to develop an insight into the spiritual essence of life, the ashram offers numerous techniques of classical yoga. The sole motive for the establishment of this center is to promote the science of yoga for physical, mental and spiritual well being.

Address: Neyyar Dam, Trivandrum, Kerala
Course Duration: Ranges from two to three weeks

Isha Yoga Center, Velliangiri

Isha Yoga Center, Velliangiri
Isha Yoga Center in Velliangiri
The all around development of yoga in India has led to the establishment of numerous centers across the country. One of them is the Isha Yoga Center, which is situated on the lush mountains of Velliangiri in the South of India. Propagating the beliefs of yoga, this spiritual center was founded with the support of Isha foundation. The popularity and charm of this Yoga center is so vivid that it attracts devotees from all over the world.

As a part of the teachings, the center focuses on all the major paths of Yoga-Gnana (knowledge), Karma (action), Kriya (energy) and Bhakti (devotion). The architecturally unique meditation hall of the center, which caters to numerous residential programs.  

Address: Velliangiri foothills, Semmendu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641114

Ashtanga Institute, Mysore

Ashtanga Institute, Mysore
Ashtanga Institute in Mysore
One of the most popular yoga destinations in India, Mysore is home to the renowned Ashtanga institute. The Ashtanga form of yoga or Hath yoga has been the key factor of this institute which is taught by the revered guru Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. Being  in function since 1930, the institute offers intensive classes throughout the year.

With a motive of perfecting the body for the perfection of mind and then further spiritual purification, the curriculum of this renowned institute are kept in sync with the international standards of the Yoga Alliance. Following such standards, the institute has hired experienced Yoga teachers in its faculty.

Address: 235, 8th Cross, 3rd Stage, Gokulam, Mysore
Cost Duration: Minimum one month, but not more than six months

Shri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry

Shri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
Shri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry
A spiritual ashram in the union territory of Pondicherry, Shri Aurobindo Ashram aims to transform human life into a divine one. Being established with an objective to achieve higher spiritual consciousness and embody a greater life of the spirit.

During its establishment years, the Pondicherry Ashram was confined to only few buildings. Looking to its popularity, the Aurobindo Ashrm has physically expanded. In the present times, the yoga center houses more than 400 buildings, which are spread throughout the town of Pondicherry.

Address: No 12, Marine Street, White Town, Near Junction of Manakulavinayak Kovil Street and Marine Street, Puducherry, 605002

Swami Dayananda Ashram, Rishikesh

Swami Dayananda Ashram, Rishikesh
Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
Away from the major tourist attractions of Rishikesh, the Swami Dayananda Ashram lies peacefully on the banks of the holy Ganga. The ashram is renowned all across the world for its teachings of Vedanta and Sanskrit. Interesting fact about the Ashram is the classes are conducted in English, while the style of teaching is still ancient. This Ashram was named after its founder, the great philosopher and reformer, Swami Vivekananda Saraswati.

In order to offer its students with all the necessary books on Vedanta, Sanskrit, Religion and Yoga, the renowned ashram has a largely stocked library. To support the curriculum of teaching  ancient texts,  Swamiji and his disciples regularly conduct residential courses with special emphasis on the Upanishads and Bhagavad  Gita. The ashram also conducts regular Iyenagar Yoga camps.

Address: Arsha Vidya Pitham, (Swami Dayananda Ashram), P.B.No:30, Purani Jhadi, Muni Ki Reti (Rishikesh) - 249 137, Uttarakhand

Amma’s Ashram, Amritapuri

Amma’s Ashram, Amritapuri
Amma’s Ashram in Amritapuri
Home to one of the most popular gurus of India, Amma, the Ashram is a great spiritual place located in the state of Kerala in India. With a soul motive of realizing God and serving the world, visitors from Indian as well as foreign lands travel to Amma’s Ashram with full devotion.

Here they get a chance to seek the blessings of the renowned guru Amma and her disciples, staying at the numerous residences in the ashram. Not just for the darshan of Amma, the place is a spiritual haven  for Yoga and meditation as well. Amma’s Ashram offers time to time yoga and meditation courses to its large flock of visitors.

Address: Amritapuri, Near Police Station, Karunagapalli, Kerala 690525
Course Duration:  Two weeks

Santosh Puri Ashram, Haridwar

Santosh Puri Ashram, Haridwar
Santosh Puri Ashram in Haridwar
Located peacefully on the divine soils of Haridwar in Uttarakhand, the Santosh  Puri Ashram offers an ideal retreat for serious spirituality seekers. Being nestled on the foothills of the Himalayas, the ashram provides a tranquil atmosphere to its yoga aspirants.

Here one can adopt the practice of Yoga in its daily lifestyle. With the day starting very early before dawn, visitors indulge in meditation and the morning Aarti. Post that, starts the Hath Yoga class, which is followed by Karma Yoga. Students are also taught philosophy, ayurveda and cooking in their afternoon classes. Finally the day concludes with the evening Aarti.

Ample consideration has been given in the preparation of the meals which are offered three times in this prestigious ashram. Students are provided with wholesome and vegetarian meals, ingredients of which come straight from the organic gardens of Santosh Puri Ashram.

Address: Haripur Kalan, Haridwar, Uttarakhand 249411

Arsha Yoga Gayathri, Cochin

Arsha Yoga Gayathri, Cochin
Arsha Yoga Gayathri in Cochin
Located in the southern part of India, Arsha Yoga Gayathri is a spiritual center that believes in offering ancient science courses like the Yoga therapy and Vedanta in a traditional way. As the location of the Ashram has kept right in front of the paradise beach, it offers a calm and tranquil ambiance for the yoga aspirants.

Here people can relax and learn yoga and put it under its daily regime. Interesting fact about the Yoga classes in Arsha Yoga Gayathri is that locals are taught in their language.  

Address: Thampankadavu Post 680569, Thalikkulam via, Thrissur District, Kerala

Lotus Yoga Retreat, Goa

Lotus Yoga Retreat, Goa
Lotus Yoga Retreat in Goa
A stunning yoga center in the state of Goa, Lotus Yoga retreat offers an eco-friendly accommodation for the aspirants travelling from all over the world. Close to the celebrated Agonda beach, the center is a perfect place for disconnecting from the daily stress.

At Lotus retreat, one can start with the regular yoga classes between the months of November and June. To heighten the meditative experience, the yoga center houses a beautiful Pyramid Shala. As a part of holistic healing in India, Lotus Yoga retreat offers treatments like acupressure, reflexology and shiatsu.

Address: Near Agonda Beach, Beachfront Resort‎, South end Patnem Beach, Canacona, Goa 403702

[ Check out some more luxury hotels in Goa

Sivananda Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum

Sivananda Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum
Sivananda Vedanta Centre in Trivandrum
As taught by the founder, Sri Swami Vishnudevananda, the renowned center offers many yoga courses for the beginner, intermediate and advanced practitioners. The center is in function since 1987 and is centrally located in the city of Trivandrum, right behind the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Highlighting part about the courses of this celebrated institute is that the teachings are based on the five points of Yoga. The adoption of these teachings in the curriculum has inspired spiritual aspirants from all over the world.  

Address: T.C 37/1927(5), West Fort Road, Eanchakkal Westfort Road, Fort, Pazhavangadi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695023

Course Duration: Ranges from two to three weeks

Blue Mango Retreats, Spiti

Blue Mango Retreats, Spiti
Blue Mango Retreats in Spiti
A beautiful fusion of ancient wisdom and modern healing systems, the Blue Mango Retreat is a perfect way to detox from the constant demands of modern living. The center offers a profound experience for anyone who seeks spiritual awakening and balance.

Certain therapies that are mostly adopted by visitors include Guided meditation, Tibetan Om meditation, Yoga, Visualization, relaxation breath work and sound healing, and Catharsis. Being situated in the Himalayan valleys, the cuisines that are offered in this recreational center comprise a mix of various local and tribal recipes. Besides, accommodation options are also quite comfortable at the Blue Mango Retreats. Visitors are made to stay in a luxury hotel that has cozy and clean rooms.

Address:   Kaza, Himachal Pradesh 172114

Tushita Meditation Centre, McLeod Ganj

Tushita Meditation Centre, Mcleodganj
Tushita Meditation Centre in McLeod Ganj
A renowned center for the study and practice of Buddhism, Tushita Meditation Center is located in the forested hills of McLeod Ganj in India.  It is one of the best meditation centers to learn yoga in India. As part of the curriculum, regular introductory courses on Buddhist philosophy and meditation are offered at this Himalayan center.

The friendly and conducive environment of the meditation center allows for a more focused approach in the studies. For all those who get past through the introductory Buddhist courses, the center offers intermediary level teachings like Wisdom & Compassion and Healing Distribution emotions.

Address: Tushita Meditation Centre, Mc Leodganj, Dharamshala, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh 176219
Course Duration: 2-3 weeks

[ Find out more ideas for holidays in Himachal Pradesh ]

Phool Chatti Ashram, Rishikesh

Phool Chatti Ashram, Rishikesh
Phool Chatti Ashram in Rishikesh
Welcoming spirituality seekers for more than 120 years now, Phool Chatti Ashram in Rishikesh is  the next best contender for offering holistic healing in India. The ashram is only five kilometers away from Laxman Jhoola in Rishikesh.

Easily accessible from the town of Rishikesh, Phool Chatti resides on the banks of the holy Ganga. Here, visitors are served ancient Hindu traditions with modern comfort and cleanliness. Designed to provide Yoga and meditation at its very best, Phool Chatti Ashram is one such institution that must be visited by everyone.

Address: Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Course Duration: One week

Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri

Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri
Dhamma Giri in Igatpuri
One of the largest Vipassana centers of the world, Dhamma Giri  is located in the Igatpuri region of Maharashtra. Started in the year 1976, the center today enrolls thousands of students from all corners  the world.

As taught by the founder, S.N Goenka, the disciples of Dhamma Giri focuses on teaching the five principles of yoga and meditation. Once the concentration of mind is developed, the techniques of Vipassana are taught in an orderly manner.

Address: Dhamma Giri Road, Shinde Wada, Bajrang Wada, Igatpuri, Maharashtra 422402
Course Duration: Ten days

Yoga Institute, Mumbai

Yoga Institute, Mumbai
Yoga Institute in Mumbai

Situated in the suburbs of Mumbai, the Yoga Institute is one of the oldest centers in India. The Yoga Institute offers a range of excellent yoga and meditation courses, workshops and camps. Besides these, one can attend the therapeutic health camps which take place from time to time.

These camps are specially designed to cure physical ailments like hypertension, diabetes and respiratory problems. The renowned institute also has special programs, dedicated to children and elderlies.

Address: Shri Yogendra Marg, Prabhat Colony, Santacruz East, Mumbai
Course Duration: From 2 to 21 days


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Top 15 Tourist Attractions in Udaipur

Holding the essence of Rajputana glory, Udaipur stands proudly amid the shimmering Lake Pichola and dense Aravali Hills. A popular tourist destination in Rajasthan, Udaipur is well-known as the City of Lakes. The city is noted for its rich culture and tradition. In the remembrance of its founder, Maharana Udai Singh II, the city houses numerous historical forts, palaces and monuments. The city offers an opportunity to explore and flip back the pages of the glorious past of the country.

When it comes to Udaipur, there is no dearth of attractions. Udaipur opens its arms to make every traveler indulge in the opulence of the magnificent forts, beautiful temples, serene lakes, alluring palaces and museums. The city spreads the magic of romance and sways away every heart with its royal charms. The captivating surroundings of the city add to its charms and make it more captivating.

As there are a number of tourist attractions in Udaipur, you are likely to get confused as to which place to visit in Udaipur. To make it easier for you, we have listed below the top tourist attractions in Udaipur which will help you plan your trip to the city:

City Palace Complex

Front view of the City Palace complex in Udaipur
Front view of the City Palace complex in Udaipur

A beautiful palace complex set in the heart of Udaipur city, the City Palace is one of the biggest palaces in Rajasthan. The City Palace was built back in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh. The palace complex is located on the eastern bank of Lake Pichola and there are many palaces built within this complex. The City palace stands as a symbol of rich heritage of India and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Udaipur.

The palace features an amalgam of Mughal and Rajasthani architectural styles. A fusion of two different styles adds to the colors of the palace. The key highlights of the palace include Amar Vilas, Badi Mahal, Moti Mahal, Durbar Hall and Jagdish Mandir. The City Palace offers a panoramic view of the city and its alluring surroundings which include different historic monuments like Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Jagdish Temple and Monsoon Palace.

The City Palace complex offers a variety of regal attractions. Begin with Udaipur City Palace Museum, flip back the pages of the history of Maharanas of Mewar and get to know about their culture and royalty. This oldest part of the city palace complex, features a mix of Mughal and British architecture.

Just opposite the museum is the Durbar Hall which is currently used as a banquet hall. Earlier, the Durbar Hall was used to serve the royal audiences. You really won’t be able to take off your eyes from the seven crystal chandeliers which enhance the beauty of this hall.

And what could be better than having a look at the largest private collection of crystals in the world at the Crystal Gallery.

The city palace complex lets you enjoy a royal stay with its two authentic palace hotels – Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel and Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel. These heritage hotels of Udaipur offer services that feature authentic royal charm and hospitality. The hotels also serve as exclusive venues for royal weddings.

Interesting Trivia
  • The city palace has been the location of shooting of some popular Hollywood and Bollywood movies. The City Palace complex was used as a hotel in the famous James Bond movie, Octopussy in 1985. The palace also features the Lake Palace and the Monsoon Palace. Also, the palace was used for filming a part of the famous Bollywood movie, Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram- Leela. 
  • Udaipur is rated among the top cities in the World’s best awards by travel and leisure. 
  • Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel has won three National Tourism Awards for best heritage hotel in the “Heritage Grand” category. Fateh Prakash Hotel on the other hand has won five National Tourism Awards for best heritage hotel in the “Heritage Grand” category.

Entry Fee

For Indians: INR 75 per person
For foreign tourists: INR 300 per person
For children: INR 40 per child

Guide charges

Audio guide: INR 250 (available in English, French, German or Spanish)
Human guide: INR 150 for up to five people

Opening and closing timings  

City Palace is open all days of the week from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Jagniwas ( Taj Lake Palace)

Jagniwas - Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace (Jagniwas) in Udaipur, Rajasthan
Set amid Lake Pichola, Jagniwas, rated the most romantic hotel in India, was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II in the year 1754. Originally, the palace was named Jag Niwas after the name of the Maharana. Floating in the midst of the shimmering Lake Pichola with the stark Aravalis in the backdrop and featuring grandiose and at the same time elegant and seamless fusion of Victorian, Rajputana and Islamic architecture, the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur is undoubtedly one of the best heritage hotels in India.

Stretching across an area of four acres, the palace promises to sway away every heart with its unmatched beauty. The architecture of the Lake Palace is immensely beautiful and intricate. This luxury hotel in Udaipur has a number of courtyards which have gardens, terraces and fountains. The palace also houses different rooms by the name of Bada Mahal, Khush Mahal, Ajjan Niwas and Phool Mahal. The Taj Lake Palace also features Sajjan Niwas Suite which is one of the most expensive hotel suites in India.

If you are looking either for a romantic stay or royal indulgence, Jagniwas or the Taj Lake Palace is one of the best and most luxurious places to stay in Udaipur. Do check out the award winning Jiva Spa where you could avail of therapeutic massages and beauty treatments by experts to rejuvenate youself and reclaim balance of body, mind and soul.

[ Read More about Taj Lake Palace ]

Lake Pichola

Lake Pichola - One of the Best Lake attached Heritage Hotel in Udaipur,Rajasthan
Lake Pichola - One of the Best Lake attached Heritage Hotel in Udaipur,Rajasthan
 The crowning glory of Udaipur, Pichola Lake is a beautiful artificial lake. The lake was made back in the 14th century to meet the shortage of water in the village called Picholi. The craggy Aravali Hills form the backdrop of this lake which the lake more picturesque. The backdrop and tranquility of the lake enhances the beauty of the lake.

The key highlights of the place are the four islands which are set in the lake. The four islands are Jag Niwas, Jag Mandir, Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas.

Pichola Lake is a must visit for nature lovers and bird watchers as one can spot a variety of birds near the lake such as tufted ducks, coots, egrets, terns, cormorants and kingfishers.

Though there are a number of things to do in Udaipur, you really can’t afford to miss visiting this beautiful lake.

Ahar

Ahar - A group of royal cenotaphs
Ahar - A group of royal cenotaphs
Yet another in our list of most popular tourist attractions in Udaipur is Ahar, the royal cremation ground of Udaipur set at a distance of around 3km from the city. The place houses around 372 cenotaphs of Maharanas and queens of Mewar set amidst bulbous cupolas and white marble chhatris.
The site also has an Ahar Archaeological Museum which has antiques and excavations from the 10th century. The museum also has copper and pottery objects which are around 3300 years old. Also, there are sculptures of Hindu gods and Jain Tirthankars which date back to the 8th to 16th centuries AD. The place is a must visit for nature lovers, photographers and experience seekers. The museum remains closed on Fridays and national holidays.

Ambrai Ghat

Ambrai Ghat in Udaipur
Ambrai Ghat in Udaipur, Rajasthan
Arguably the most popular attractions of Udaipur, Ambrai Ghat is a unique site located just opposite the City Palace and Lake Palace hotel.

The attraction is a famous hangout place for couples because of the enthralling views it offers. And you really can’t afford to miss the breathtaking sunset sight which the Ghat offers. To enjoy the beauty of the surroundings to the fullest, you can take a boat ride which is available near Pichola Lake.

Ambrai Ghat is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Udaipur as it offers the best photo ops to shoot the panorama that include sight of shimmering Lake Palace that appears floating in the azure waters of Lake Pichola with the burnished Aravalis hill in the backdrop.

Lake Fatehsagar Udaipur

Lake Fatehsagar Udaipur
Lake Fatehsagar in Udaipur,Rajasthan
The Fatehsagar Lake, a popular place for sightseeing in Udaipur, is an artificial lake which was made by Maharana Jai Singh in the year 1678. The lake is one among the must-visit places in Rajasthan. Set to the north of Lake Pichola, the lake is immensely beautiful and serene. The lush green surroundings add to the beauty of the lake.

Fatehsagar Lake is a famous picnic spot in Udaipur and people from all over visit the place to spend some great time with their friends and family.  At the lake, you can also enjoy high speed boating.

Jag Mandir

Jag Mandir in Udaipur
Jag Mandir in Udaipur
Constructed way back in 17th Century, Jag Mandir with its romantic location is one of the most popular venues for royal weddings in India. Located in the heart of the Lake Pichola, this spectacular palace was used by the Maharanas of Mewar Kingdom as a summer resort and pleasure palace where parties were organized yet another testimony to the oozing romance that pervades this palace complex.

The entire structure is architecturally beautiful. Apart from the central building of the palace, there are many set of structures around. The three-storied structure has sections such as Gul Mahal, the Darikhana and the Bara Patharon ka Mahal. The palace makes you flip back the pages of the glorious past of the Mewar Kingdom. History buffs, photographers and nature lovers really can’t afford to miss a visit to the palace.

Jagdish Temple

Jagdish Temple in Udaipur
Jagdish Temple in Udaipur
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Jagdish Temple is set in the City Palace complex. The entrance of the temple is spectacular as two elephants greet you at the entry gate. The temple is famous for its intricately carved pillars and doorways. The main temple has a large four armed image of Lord Vishnu which has been carved out of a single black rock.

You will find many more idols in temple including that of Goddess Shakti, Lord Shiva, the Sun God and Lord Ganesha. People from all over Rajasthan visit Jagdish Temple, one of the most significant temples in Udaipur to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu and attend the special aarti.

Sahelion-ki-Bari

Sahelion ki Bari in Udaipur
Sahelion ki Bari in Udaipur
Built back in 1710, Saheliyon-ki-Bari was built by Sangram Singh II. Sahelion-ki-Bari is an alluring garden which was laid for the enjoyment of the 48 women attendants who came with the princess as dowry.

The architecture of the garden is truly alluring which makes it one among the top tourist attractions of Udaipur. The key attractions of the place include fountains, kiosks, lotus pool and marble elephants. The charm of this garden is further enhanced by lush green lawns and colorful flowers. There is also a museum in the garden where you can find a great collection from royal households. The museum has ancient pictures and items from the bygone era. Walk through the garden and spend some time amid tranquility and beauty.

Eklingji Temple

Eklingji Temple - A architectural marvel
Eklingji Temple - A architectural marvel
One of the most visited attractions in Rajasthan, Eklingji Temple is located at a distance of 22 km from Udaipur city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built back in 734 A.D. by Bappa Rawal.
The double-storied temple is architecturally beautiful and its pyramidal design adds to the beauty and uniqueness of the temple. The temple has a huge four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) which is developed out of a dark stone.  The idol is around 50 feet in height and the four faces are of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Rudra and Surya. Visit the temple to explore the untold stories behind each and every corner.

[ Read More about Top Temple in India ]

Shilpgram

Shilpgram - the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex
Shilpgram - the Rural Arts and Crafts Complex
Shilpgram is a unique craft village which displays the local art and culture of Rajasthan. The uniqueness of this craft village makes it one of the top tourist attractions in Udaipur. The fair is organized every year in November/December.

The fair is a must-visit for shopaholics. The place has much to offer when it comes to shopping. You get to buy from a variety of beautiful handicrafts, hand-woven clothes, mirror work and embroidery work items. Visit the fair and witness the creativity of local artisans and craftsmen.

There are many food stalls in the fair from where you can enjoy lip smacking snacks and dishes from local Rajasthani cuisine.

Hathipole

Shopping in Udaipur - Quality Handmade Stone Inlay Tabletops
Hathipole - Quality Handmade Stone Inlay Tabletops
Counted among the top tourist attractions in Udaipur, Hathipole is a popular market of the city. The market features different type of handicraft and folk arts of Rajasthan. The place is a must visit for shopaholics as they get to choose from a variety of colorful and beautiful items. The main attraction of the market is the famous Rajasthani Miniature Paintings. Explore the colorful side of Rajasthan and take back a unique shopping experience. Don’t forget to relish on those refreshments offered by roadside stalls.

Bagore ki Haveli

Bagore-ki-Haveli in Udaipur, Rajasthan
Bagore ki Haveli in Udaipur

Bagore Ki Haveli is one of the most popular attractions of Udaipur. Set on Pichola Lake, the haveli is well-known for its architectural splendor. The grand structure takes you back to the royal life of the Maharajas and Maharanis of the Mewar Kingdom. The structure has 100 rooms and every room features beautiful decoration with mirror work. You can find jewelry boxes, hukkas, pan boxes, hand fans, copper vessels, nut crackers and paintings. The evening dance and music show is star attraction of the haveli. Also, the place offers a great look of the Pichola Lake and the surroundings.

Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum

Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal – Enriched with The Cocooned Heritage
Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal – Enriched with The Cocooned Heritage
Also known as Udaipur Folk Museum, Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum is one the most popular attractions in Rajasthan. The museum presents a rare collection of ornaments, rural dresses, dolls, puppets and masks. The collection of traditional Rajasthani folk articles is great and it makes people visit the museum from different parts of the country. The museum is a must-visit for those who wish to explore the cultural diversity of Rajasthan.

To maintain the richness of the colorful Rajasthani tradition, The Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir has started an institute. The institute is focused on encouraging the local crafts and art of Mewar.

Monsoon Palace

Monsoon Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan
Monsoon Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan
Perched on the top of a hill, the Monsoon Palace is located at a distance of 5km from Udaipur. Originally known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, the structure is architecturally beautiful and mesmerizing. The palace was built back in 1884 by Maharana Sajjan Singh.

The palace features multiple jharokas, pillars and balconies which are intricately carved. The beauty of the palace takes you back to the glorious past of the Mewar Kingdom. Monsoon Palace is known for its breathtaking sunset view. Also, there is Sajjangarh Wildlife sanctuary nearby where you can visit to make your tour more entertaining and exciting.

[ Check out Udaipur tour packages at IndianHoliday.com]

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