L's of India.
LEVITATING STONE Maharashtra
LIVING ROOT BRIDGES Meghalaya
LEOPARD SAFARI Rajasthan
LAL BAZR Sikkim
LUANGMUAL HANDICRAFTS Mizoram
LOKTAK LAKE OR LANGTHABAL Manipur
LEPAKSHI HANGING PILLAR Andhra Pradesh
LOTHAL, INDUS VALLEY SITE Gujarat
LE CORBUSIER CENTRE Chandigarh
LONAR LAKE Maharashtra
LEVITATING STONE MAHARASHTRA
A flying stone is not such an uncommon thing-but what if it weighs 200 kilos? Then it's close to a miracle. And you can see it in Shivapur, about 180 km east of Mumbai. The intriguing fact about this stone (there are two) is that if 11 people touch their finger to the stone and shout Qamar Ali Darvesh's name, the stone flies in the air. Legend goes that Qamar Ali was born into a family in which men prided themselves on physical strength; but Qamar Ali was gentle and reflective. The two stones at this akhara were used by the wrestlers to exercise. Others would tease Qamar Ali about his lack of muscular power. He later became a famous Sufi saint and declared that the large rock could be raised with eleven fingertips touching it if his name was called out, and smaller rock with only nine. That's how it's been all these years!
Good to know: There are no organised tours to the Shivapur Dargah, which is a four-hour drive from Mumbai via Pune.
LIVING ROOT BRIDGES Meghalaya
Necessity is the mother of invention, and when necessity strikes even nature can be the mother! The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, many years ago saw that the rubber tree's secondary roots can tightly perch themselves on boulders along river banks. To guide the roots in a particular direction, the people used the trunks of the betel nut tree, sliced and hollowed out, across a river. In this very wet place, a dependable bridge is built naturally, and it lives and grows. The living root bridges, sometimes taking more than a hundred feet long, may take 10-15 years to be usable. Some of the bridges in Cherrapunji are said to be more than 500 years old!
Good to know: In Cherrapunji, do not miss the deep, dark and mysterious Mawsmai Caves 6 km away, in which the maze of tunnels, and the stalactite and stalagmite formations are other worldly. If you are very adventurous, you can try spelunking--the exploration of caves.
LEOPARD SAFARI RAJASTHAN
There is nothing better than travelling with a local who has insider knowledge! Thakur Devi Singh in Bera is just that and more. He's a conservationist and wildlife enthusiast with experience of more than four decades. He has been working with the local villagers to protect the leopards, blue bulls, crocodiles and birds in the area. After a delicious breakfast, you go on a jungle safari on a 4 x 4 vehicle and try to catch sight of your first leopard. People come from far and wide to see the elusive big cat here. You can also trek up the hills to the Jawai Dam for a beautiful view and spot migratory birds; or enjoy a picnic and a swim in the special pool near the dam. And if you want true local flavour you can visit the villages of the Rabaris, Bhils and Garasias.
Good to know: For private stone cottages and more Contact: Leopard's Lair, VPO Bera, Distt Pali-Marwar, Rajasthan; email: email@example.com; tel: (0) 80039 79964/82393 65771
LAL BAZR Gangtok SIKKIM
For a truly local flavour, make your way to Lal Bazr in Gangtok. Set in a building, this is where the locals go to shop for their daily needs, so you get authentic stuff. Walking around you can get a peek into a Sikkimese table. Fresh produce is brought here from all over Sikkim and is centred on the first floor, though of course you get other things as well including clothes. This floor is the most distinctive and exotic... you will keep discovering new eatables and veggies--including cherry pepper, mushrooms of different varieties and bamboo shoot. There's fresh trout from the river Teesta also, but don't miss out on buying and sampling yak milk ghee.
Good to know: Lovely stay option in a beautiful locale, the Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino has India's very first five-star on-shore live gaming Casino called the Casino Mahjong. Contact: Mayfair Gangtok, Lower Samdur Block, Ranipool 737 135, Gangtok, East Sikkim; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: (03592) 250 555/666/777/888/999
LUANGMUAL HANDICRAFTS MIZORAM
Just half an hour from Aizawl, the Luangmual Handicrafts Centre holds bounty for both nature lovers and shopaholics. As a day trip, Luangmual awaits with gorgeous mountain views of the beautiful Mizoram highlands and its sceneries: lakes, waterfalls, hills, bamboo forests, mists, skies and villages. For the suitcase fillers, there's more than you can probably fit in. Choose from a huge variety of the uniquely designed traditional Mizo shawls and do not miss out on the 'khumbeu' ceremonial bamboo hat, which is made using waterproof hnahthial leaves. Only men wear it in Mizoram, but that shouldn't hold you back--it's worn only on special occasions and is a very special memento to have.
Good to know: About 110 km from Aizawl, Lakeside Cottages are simply appointed; the real gift is outside in the absolutely gorgeous natural lake--Tamdil, surrounded by bird-filled forests and the lake filled with many species of fish. Legend has it that there was once a big mustard plant here, and when the plant was cut off, water flowed out creating the lake. Tamdil means lake of the mustard plant.
LOKTAK LAKE OR LANGTHABAL MANIPUR
In Manipur most rivers lead to Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the North-East. This tranquil lake has several small islands that are actually floating masses of vegetation, created by organic waste, biomass with thickened soil particles forming phumdis (floating islands with heterogeneous mass of vegetation and soil). On these you will find tenements and the world's only floating wildlife park. On the lake and on its fringes, the Keibul Lam Jao National Park is home to Manipur Eld's Deer (Cervus eldi eldi), or Sangai, an endangered species and definitely worth being on anyone's life list--they are called 'dancing deer' for their ballet-like graceful gait as they negotiate the floating wetlands.
Good to know: For great food and service, stay at: The Classic Hotel, North A.O.C, Imphal-795001, Manipur; for reservations email: email@example.com; tel: (0385) 2443 967/69/2445 162; www.theclassichotel.in
LOTHAL, INDUS VALLEY SITE GUJARAT
Go right back into history and be proud of a heritage that goes back more than 4000 years ago. Lothal is one of the main sites of the Indus Valley or Harappan Civilisation, dating back to 2400BC. A thriving port then, with links to nearly all the civilised world of that time, its remnants show the docks and landing platforms of that age. Most of the smaller finds such as coins have been moved to Dholavira, another Harappan site in Gujarat, Lothal's ambience is thrilling, especially when you imagine those hoary times and the amazing innovation, architecture, planning, sanitation and shipbuilding. It is said that we can still take lessons from the well planned roads and city layouts. It has a huge well and drainage canals, while the houses have bathroom toilet structures. The ASI museum near the site is small, but helps to understand the exhibits.
Good to know: Burkhi-Lothal station is 5 km from the excavation site and museum. Lothal is connected to Ahmedabad by train, which starts from Gandhigram station in Ahmedabad.
LE CORBUSIER CENTRE CHANDIGARH
If you have a penchant for history and architecture, make your way to the Le Corbusier Centre. The name of the Swiss architect named Charles-Eedouard Jeanneret-Gris but commonly known as Le Corbusier is so inextricably entwined with India's urban landscape and architecture. Through old documents, sketches and photos the museum archives the many enduring works of Chandigarh's chief architect, Le Corbusier, one of the pioneers of urban architecture. Besides the nostalgic black-and white photographs, there is some incredible memorabilia like a letter from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the Chief Minister of Punjab dated November 4 1960, which mentions Le Corbusier, whose career extended through five decades and whose work beautified Europe, India and America. The effects of this artist, sculptor, architect and designer speak for him.
Good to know: For an unusual experience just outside Chandigarh, head for Siswan Jungle Lodge, an eco-lodge on the banks of a tiny water harvesting dam. Contact: Siswan Jungle Lodge: Village Nawanagar (21 km from Chandigarh); email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: (0)9872 044855
Lepakshi hanging pillar Andhra Pradesh
The Lepakshi temple in Anantapur district has a large grey pillar which is a hanging column. The guide will pass a twig or a newspaper sheet under it, to show you the gap between the pillar and the floor.
Good to know: The weather is hot and early mornings are the best time to visit. Also check out Dharmavaram for silk-weaving centre, and in Hindupur and nearby villages where, lovely cottons are woven.
Lonar Lake Maharashtra
The Lonar Meteorite Crater, two km in radius and about 100 m deep, is said to be the world's only crater on basalt rock. Trek to the lake, and walk down the narrow track of steps.
Good to know: The lake is great for birdwatchers, with peacocks, hornbills (especially the grey hornbill), lapwings, and more than 50 species of birds in the vicinity.
Reproduced From India Today Travel Plus. Copyright 2014. LMIL. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2014 India Today Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by Syndigate.info , an Albawaba.com company