1) My first independent project, for which I was the writer/Project Manager: http://www.indiatouristspots.com/
2) Wrote a few scraps for this one: http://www.topindiatour.com/
Here they go....
Luxury Trains Darjeeling Toy Train:
A century old 'legacy' serpents through the sequestered hills of the Kanchenjunga carpeted with forests and tea plantations, hewn in a multi-colored avian and floral metropolis and equally vibrant clusters of tribal villages with giggling Bhutia and Lepcha women... (Read More...)
Shimla Toy Train:
Think of a land where snow clad mountains melt down to serpentine rivulets and the sun languidly penetrates the misty mornings to warm verdant valleys plaited in lush vegetation, multi-colored populace of birds and flowers and equally warm-hearted people! More than a name will come to mind and one of them has to be - Himachal Pradesh... (Read More...)
Palace on Wheels:
Touring through India in a week in a train, so regally Indian, can be the most memorable of your touring memories ever. The Palace On Wheels, one of the Indian Railways imperial gift to the tourism industry, is a luxury train that begins in Delhi and... (Read More... )
Sojourn through the Kingdom of the warrior Marathas in a regal heritage train - the Deccan Odyssey. A mystic week-long journey that takes you back in time through the history of Maharashtra manifest in the fabled caves of Ajanta and Ellora, the handicraft sanctum of Shilpa Gram, the land of dreams and Bollywood - Mumbai and what not... (Read More... )
Heritage on Wheels:
The phenomenal success of the luxury train Palace On Wheels had Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways connive another dream sojourn on board a new luxury train - Heritage On Wheels. The train moves on meter gauge enroute the unexplored regions of Bikaner and Shekhawati, quintessential preservers of the heritage of Rajasthan... (Read More... )
Paragliding in India:
What is it that comes to your mind when you are out in the open and you look up and behold a large eagle soaring high above with its majestic wings spread? "Wish I could fly!", right? Paragliding or sailing-in-the-air is man's closest answer to that dream he nurtured since ages. (Read More... )
Skiing in India:
The thrill of slicing through the snow, purging through the billowy wind, is something only skiers will know best. Indian tourism industry has recognized skiing as one of its thriving tourist-pullers... (Read More... )
River Rafting in India:
Alone in a tumultuous current of roaring water with only a row and the kayak with the waves thirsting to engulf your being any moment - some people must be made of a different 'stuff' to call that - thrilling! (Read More... )
3) Wrote the Homepage for: http://www.wildlife-tour-india.com/
1) Hotel Websites: http://www.delhibudgethotel.com/, www.hotelclarkindia.com/index.html Profiles Dr. Smita Narang's Profile was first of its kind..and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
2) Only Profile I ever charted: For Dr. Smita Narang, Web-Vastu Consultant
I am yet to trace the rest...............
Labels: the assam tribune
For Destination, Horizon, The Assam Tribune
The other day, Jyotirman (a friend of mine from Guwahati), a regular reader of my column, seemingly, advised that it is time I turn my flashlights else where, as too much of Kerala has made him yawn already. Though I laughed it off then, today, as I was thinking over the keypad about which destination to send next, I actually felt ‘done’ with my Kerala raving-spree. So let me tie the loose-ends together and wind up with an ideal weeklong tour itinerary. This is for those who are actually contemplating visiting Kerala.
It begins with flying to Bangalore, from Guwahati, and boarding an overnight train for Kochi (in Kerala).
Check in at one of the hotels at Kochi. It abounds in all types of accommodations, ranging from 5 and 4 star hotels, fully air-conditioned with all luxury features, to 3-star hotels with air-conditioned rooms, and 2 and 1 star hotels which offer basic amenities. Yatri Nivas, Tourist lodges and hostels provide a convenient and cheap base.
You can rent a tourist cab for a sightseeing tour, or alternatively, check the major attractions yourself. The not-to-missed list begins with a visit to the sepia-tinted Fort Cochin, St. Francis Church (the oldest European church in India) and continues up to the walk down a typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves.
Take an early morning drive to the much-fabled and scenic hill-station, Munnar, after breakfast. It should not take you more than 3 hours, which means you have the whole day left for exploration. Once there, visit the Tata Tea Museum to see what goes into the making of your morning cuppa. Head for Mattupetti if boating and horse-riding sounds fun. Wildlife enthusiasts can visit one of Munnar’s many reserves and film some rare wildlife like Nilgiri Tahrs, Atlas moth (largest in the world), lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers and so on.
Leave for one of Kerala’s most enticing destinations, Periyar, early in the morning. The 3 ½ hour drive might leave you tired and you can begin your sightseeing trails by afternoon. Recommended activities are the elephant safari to the spice plantations of Periyar at Kumily. The Kerala Tourism Information Center located near the main entrance of the Park organizes tours to the Connemara Tea Factory (15 km) and to other spice plantations. You can buy plantation fresh cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and pepper from here.
Periyar has more to it to be left in just one day. Take a boat-ride in the Periyar lake to relish the best of its wildlife sightings. During the dry periods, generally in March and April, group of wild elephants frolic in the waters of the Periyar Lake. Sights of sambar, gaur and wild pigs alongside make a truly beautiful vista. And if you suddenly find the air reverberate with the raucous call of the langur and the peafowl, indications are that a Big Cat is somewhere close-by and a quiet wait will be worthwhile.
Alternatively, you can also opt for the eco-tourism activities, popular in Periyar. These include Nature Walk (Guided day trek for Rs.100 per head held at 7am and 2 pm daily), Periyar Tiger Trail (1N/2D and 2N/3D), Bamboo Rafting (the guide takes you into the forest and then back into your raft to sail back in the evening), Tribal Heritage (Rs.100 per head and includes a visit to the Tribal Heritage Museum and a sneak peek into the lives of the tribals, Mannans, who have lived in the forest for years) and Border Hiking (trail through 900-1300 m high hills, where exciting sightings of Gaur and elephant are guaranteed).
Board a houseboat from Periyar to Alleppey by evening so that you can overnight at the houseboat as it sails through the exotic backwaters of Kerala, with the starry sky above and silhouette of coconut groves all around.
By 10 am, you should be there at Alleppey (Alapuzzha). Aptly named, the Venice of the East, Alapuzha or Alleppey district lies sandwiched between the Arabian Sea in the west and the Punnamada backwaters in the east. Enjoy a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage at the beach, hunt for curios, visit the old ruined monuments, take a boating cruise and buy Marine and Coir products. Overnight in an Ayurvedic Resort, of which, both low budget and high-end options are available.
Drive to Kochi early in the morning so that you can have the whole day to yourself, to shop and relax before you depart. Your Kochi shopping spree must-buys are camel bone and wood carvings, various metal-ware, coconut shell decorations, cane crafts, embroidered pine mats and so on. Antique shopping is another Kochi specialty and items to hunt for are rosewood artifacts, coir floor coverings and tablemats, old dowry boxes from Travancore, gold jewelery exclusive to the South, cotton saris, traditional khadi attire and antiques from Jewtown.
Chances are, you would want to delay your departure, but as I am committed to making it a weeklong planner, my Kerala tour itinerary concludes thus! Board your flight/train for Bangalore, to finally set homewards.
Next week, maybe I take up the North-East to rant and rave. And, thank you for your mails and suggestions – they are not just encouraging, but they well me with fresh ideas every time I go through one! Keep travelling!
Published: Destination, Horizon, The Assam Tribune
The Monday morning corporate meeting, which I usually skip or yawn my way through, turned out to be a pleasant surprise. A Norwegian Cruise Company, with an eye on outbound tours from India, came to advertise their product. The presentation so enamoured me that I have sworn to go on one in my lifetime, preferably to Antarctica or the Mediterranean. The price tags attached (more than a lakh, each), got me surfing the more plausible (read ‘affordable’) options in India.
Away from the chafing grind of corporate life, the blazing horns and the traffic jams, the need to be reaching somewhere, doing something – come abroad a weeklong vacation on the sea, with the azure sky, the jingle of waves and sea-gulls, to give you company. The fantasy feels complete with a loved one right beside you, and whether you are honeymooners or bonded in matrimony for years, such a vacation is bound to be your romantic best. Infact, these luxury vessels are designed keeping family and corporate vacations in mind.
In India, the Star Cruises is the only private luxury cruise liner that hosts enticing cruise vacations in the Arabian sea, hemming the shores of Mumbai, Goa and Lakshadweep. The fleet, called Super Star Libra, is made of vessels, each a 216 m (713 ft) long and a mini city of sorts, on sail. It has Indian, Chinese and Continental restaurants, lounge bars, poolside bars, ice-cream parlours to give your gastronomic demands a variety and constant replenishment. There is an outdoor swimming pool, outdoor golf driving range, Jacuzzi, basketball court and jogging track to keep your muscles waxed. Add to it the Deluxe and Executive Rooms with view of the ocean, discotheque, live music and performances at lounges, onboard shopping arcade, photo gallery, cyber café, beauty salon, children’s playrooms to fill up those hours when you are not staring into the deep blue sea or into each other’s eyes.
Entire families, bachelor groups and the likes, are thus, left with options more than many. Lately, Corporate Houses are beginning to reckon it as a veritable haven for Conferences and team-building vacations.
I found these two cruises affordable and lip-smacking – the 4 Days/3 Nights Lakshadweep and Goa cruise rated between Rs. 17,000-Rs. 65,000 and the 3 Days/2 Nights Goa and Mumbai rated between Rs.12,000-Rs.43,000. These rates include breakfast and two meals rates, per person and they vary according to the type of cabins booked. Besides, there is an extra surcharge of Rs. 2800 during festivals (Diwali, Christmas, New Year, Summer holidays). It is recommended that you book your seats through some well-known and trusted travel agent so that you can have special rates and discounts. The 4 Nights Cochin-Goa Cruise mapping Mumbai, Cochin, Goa, Mumbai, also sounded interesting. But I could not find the rates. Most of them are either Sunday or Saturday departure, ideal for weekends.
The other destinations where Star Cruises host cruise vacations are Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Honk Kong, Cambodia, Australia and Indonesia. The Superstar Libra also has a 2 days, 3 days and 5 days cruise from Mumbai, which starts from Singapore after calling at Phuket in Thailand, Chennai and Colombo on the way. There are myriad International Luxury Cruise liners that sail through some of the most exotic cities of the world like Rome, Florence, Venice, Miami, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and many more. For you to have a sneak peek at the International cruising scenario, I picked some rates from one of the tour Operators. They have 4 Nights Carribbean Cruises starting from $189, 4 Nights Mexico Cruise starting from $199, 7 Nights Europe Cruise from $529. These were average rates per person and were inclusive of accommodation, all meals, soft drinks and selected on board activities. Bookings, however, have to be made well in advance and the rates seemingly vary according to availability and seasons.
The Indian Government also has its cruising vessels, like the one between Kolkata and Andaman & Nicober Islands. But, when you are buying yourself a ‘dream’, splurging on a luxury vessel is truly worth it! I am already ‘dreaming’ and I promise to come back and eulogize every bit of it here in my little space of Horizon. I am sure one article would not suffice and the To-be-Continued’s will never seem to end!
Till next time, keep planning vacations! Don’t watch Saturdays roll into Sundays and Mondays, live your weekends!
For Destination, Horizon, The Assam Tribune
It has been tried, tested and proved that vacationing days in the wilderness, recharges our faculties and results in better productivity. And when it is about going back in time (what else would you call camping in a jungle?), India definitely scores amongst the most sought one’s of the segment. And thanks to the Tourism industry, this adventure is no more about fatal combats with bandits or man-eating predators, or mad-rush for a cave during unpredictable weather catastrophes. Today, camping in the wild is about complete tour packages with all facilities and amenities.
What awaits you...
The Himalayan foothills, the oasis recluses of Thar, the premises of the various wildlife sanctuaries, the beaches, you name it and your travel agent will give you detailed tour itinerary for one of your chosen spots. The days remain animate with activities like trekking, forests trails, angling, cycling, photography, bird-watching, river rafting, tiger-tracking, elephant/jeep/camel/horse safari expeditions, trip to the nearest tribal village - according to preferences. In such sylvan purlieu, poetry and paintings ooze without effort and there is no dearth of a quiet place to sit and let them flow on to the paper. The nights come alive with bonfires, grilled meat fiesta, jam sessions and you name it and of course the nerve-tingling sensation of sleeping with wild animals only ear-shot away.
India’s Favourite Camping Zones
Northern Hills: The Himalayan mountain ranges are an ideal choice anytime. Chitrauli, near Nainital (Uttaranchal) is a popular base camp for trekking expedition in jungles strewn with Oaks, Deodars and Pine. Bird lovers and wildlife photographers have ample scope in Chitrauli’s wilderness. Corbett National Park provides Tiger camping. And if you are with your family, Himachal Tourism organizes exciting camps at Sarchu in Lahaul, Sangla and Kalpa in Kinnaur and at Kaza in Spiti, Barog in Solan district, Baspa (Sangla) valley, Tabo (Spiti), Al Hilal (Taragarh) and Dharamsala (Kangra), Dalhousie (Chamba) and camps at Kullu-Manali are popular vacation hubs. Camps at Hatu (Shimla) at a height of 10500 ft, makes you want to touch the sky.
Westwards: Gujarat’s Gir has lion safari camps. The Siana camp and safari in Rajasthan is another ideal place for a wildlife camping. Ranthambore National Park has camping provisions at Dev Villas, with the Aravalli backdrop and adjacent to 13th century monuments. Rajasthan also has desert camping at Jaisalmer Sam sand dunes, for that unforgettable experience of living amidst the endless expanse of sand. Rann of Kutch Wild Ass Sanctuary’s has a choice of adventurous camping haunts. Just stay clear of rains for the desert is made of salt deposits and in case it starts to shower, in no time the region (Little Rann of Kutch), turns into a sea of mud.
Baywatch: The beach at Mandavi place by the Arabian Sea, Kutch, is dotted with beach camps. The Beach camps at Goa, however, remains the hot favorite. With Goa beach festival and the New Year bash there is more to tango.
Designer Camps: Karnataka’s Cauvery Fishing Camp, Kabini River Lodge Camps, Kali Wilderness Camp, B.R. Hills Wildlife Adventure Resort have a choice of tiled and colonial styled cottages, thatched log huts and swiss tents, hurricane lamps to illuminate your nights - all designed to give you a luxurious stay close to nature.These and many more camping joints await your arrival. All tenting provisions, a smart naturalist guide, the best of locales, travel tickets, loads of travel tips - all come in the package. Alternatively, you can pick one of Lonely Planet Guides for India, and set off on your own. And trust me, that would team better with your adventurous wildlife camping plans.
Do’s and Don’ts
Nature too has Her rules of hygiene. Please take care that your camping area is left as clean as it was when you arrived. Trying to steal in some wild flora or fauna is a strict ‘No No’. And while camping in the jungles, a check on your decibel level will help keep the ambiance just as it should be - let only the wild voice itself. A camera and binoculars are a must-carry.
Happy and safe journey!
For "Destinations", Horizon, The Assam Tribune
When was the last time you really cared for a body massage? If a little baby (you) wriggling from a grey-haired lady’s (your grandma, perhaps) stretching exercises at a sun-drenched verandah is all you remember – I suggest you read this article even if you feel dragged till the end.
Relaxing with a body massage may sound too superficial an indulgence for my no-nonsense, intellectual readership, but what if I talk about the therapeutic value attached! Spas are just about that! Literally speaking, a Spa is a resort or wellness centre devoted to enhancing the overall well-being of an individual through a variety of professional services that encourage the physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation. Technically, the spa treatment is basically associated with what is called ‘balenotherapy’ or treatment of a disease with water. Destination Spa (spa at a resort or hotel), Day Spa (spa at beauty salons), Medical Spa (spa with licensed health care professional), Mineral Spring Spa (spa with on-site source of natural mineral water) and so on, are the types of available in India.
Here in Delhi, and like metros, Spas are fast becoming a fad of sorts. Right from the VLCC centres, Kerala Ayurvedic Clinics to Five Star Hotels and Beauty salons, ask for a Spa and you have it. City-chafed Delhiites find solace and instant rejuvenation at these Spas. What more, you can relish a Spa massage therapy at just Rs.1500. The upper limit can shoot upto lakhs, but how does that matter; you spend according to what your purse allows. If you are planning a trip to the capital shortly, you can try the high-end one’s like the Taj and the Oberoi Spa and reasonable one’s like Kairali Ayurvedic Health Spa (Panchasheel Enclave & Mehrauli), Med Spa (Rao Tula Ram Marg), Body Spa International (GK-I), Bliss Medi Spa (Hauz Khas), Genesus Well Clinic (West Patel Nagar) et al.
The Ayurvedic Spas, based on ancient Indian health principles are the most popular. They incorporate pure herbs and flower essences to invigorate the body and soothe the mind. For example, the Spa at the Taj Hotel (Tejas) offers (amongst many others) what is called the Aroma Oil Massage that uses constituents like Camphor, Eucalyptus, Black Pepper, Lime, Ginger, Rose, Lavender and Basil infusion. The Tejas also has a Wet Spa with facilities like Jacuzzi, Steam Room, Sauna and chilled shower.
If you ask me, the best Spa in India and Asia for that matter, is Ananda in the Himalayas. My materialistic wish list has it circled red ever since I happened to attend one of its corporate presentations at my office. This 21,000 sq-ft Spa, nestles at the Tehri-Garhwal region of Uttaranchal. Its menu of over 79 body and beauty treatments that blend Ayurveda with the contemporary Western Spa methods, make it Asia’s most expensive Spa. Try the Water Therapy where you are bathed in pure Himalayan spring water and water jets are used to pummel out tension knots from your body. The Body Treatments use clay and seaweed body wraps, fruits and flower extracts, herbs and spices and many more exotic natural ingredients. The Ancient Indian Honey & Sandalwood Rub is a very popular exfoliating therapy and the results, they say, are ‘mind-blowing’. Honeymoon couples’ favourite is the Couples Massage – a luxurious experience for two in the Kama Suite (one of the guestrooms). Go for the Ananda special 2 nights / 3 days Package where Deluxe Rooms cost somewhere between Rs.18,000 – Rs.21,000. Living at the Ananda, it is said, is a matchless pleasure in itself. The windows open to the pristine valley below and the city of Rishikesh. Leave the draping of your guestroom pulled aside at night and in the morning the benign rays of the Himalayan sun will caress you awake. And as your lung flexes with the mountain fresh, absolutely unpolluted air, you realise what you miss out in the cities and how much it matters to you.
And have you heard of Beer Spas? The latest addition to the European wellness circuit, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria boast of these ‘temptations’ that bank on the fact that ‘yeast is best in keeping beauty skin deep’. They have Victorian style baths where guests can swim in beer, while enjoying a pint poured at a bath-side bar. Sounds lip-smacking, doesn’t it?
The Spas are thus designed to de-stress, detoxify, cleanse your body, check aging, irregular body-weight and what not! The health quotient apart, the session transports you to a different world, at least for sometime. And if moments like these make you a ‘new man’ altogether, why not! Spas are truly worth the splurge!
Labels: the assam tribune
For "Destinations", Horizon, The Assam Tribune
In the midst of a tumultuous river with waves thirsting to engulf you any moment and a row and the kayak to fight the ‘tide might’ sets my adrenaline rushing. And I was about to cancel my third rafting trip to Rishikesh – India’s white water rafting hothub, when Ma, miraculously (reluctantly, nevertheless) gave her approval. My astrologer (she says) has warned me against all water-sports and my argument that it is only a different way of stating that I should learn swimming, would be tagged ‘crap’ (promptly). But this time, my approach was different. I explained to her that with expert guides and the latest equipment, becoming river-smart is easy. Anyone and everyone is eligible, swimmers and non-swimmers, young and old. Even Hydrophobics can join the vacationers, for the waters apart, the rafting trips nowadays also have trekking, camping and a myriad activities added to it make it a complete rafting experience. Lifeline, throw bags, tested life jackets, helmets and paddles are arranged for. You also get a safety Kayaker travelling with each group for emergency. The Himalayas rule the roost of adventure sport activities in India. All the liquid that melt down the snow-plumed mountains thunder into the rivers and gorges to give India her share of ‘aqua-might’! Stretching 3,200 kilometers along India's northern frontiers, the Himalayas are veined with a plethora of wild water bodies. The gush of the currents, the tumultuous waters ready to engulf you any moment are an endless hormonal doze for adventure enthusiasts and its white-waters are internationally acclaimed as amongst the bests.
The Ganges: About 257 km from Delhi, is Rishikesh. Some 28 km upstream from here on the Alaknanda river is India’s best white water rafting zone. This Brad Pitt (Hollywood Star) favorite run starts at Kaudiyala and ends at Shivpuri, passing through pine and oak wooded hills dotted with rare wild fauna, frothing into the famed rapids (technical term for water currents) - ‘Wall’ at Bysi and the 4-km ‘Golf-Course’. Go there between October to March and through the winter. The route Rudraprayag-Rishikesh on Alaknanda, passes through Srinagar and Devprayag forming grade III or IV rapids and some of India’s holiest sites and temples, good for those who would like to blend some spiritual rejuvenation to the adventure. Other runs are --- Chandrapuri-Rudraprayag (26 km, higher grades) on the Mandakini; Matli-Dunda (12 km, mixture of grades), Jangla-Jhala (20 km, a mixture of grades), Harsil-Uttarkashi, Dharasu-Chham (12 km, a mixture of grades) on the Bhagirathi.
Brahmaputra Rafting: Congratulations, for if Rishikesh sounds too far off, you can dare a rafting escapade right at the Brahmaputra. Head straight for Arunachal Pradesh for the best rapids. The Subansiri, has deep gorges that are best rafted between November and March, after the monsoons. The most exciting rafting tracks are along Kameng (Seppa- Bhalukpung), Subansiri (Taliha- North of Daporijo), Siang (entire course) and Dibang (Anini- Assam Border). You can club your trip with trekking escapades. The most exciting trek in this region is around Tawang Chu. This trek starts from Jong, the bus-head in between Se- la and Tawang. From Jong to Mago, the trek route passes through a wonderful jungle flaked with magnificent waterfalls. Lip-smacking, isn’t it?
The Zanskar: Gentler than the Alaknanda’s and Bhagirathi’s and excellent for beginners, the Zanskar, arising near the Himachal-Jammu & Kashmir border, has the Phey-Nimmu route (Grade II or III) and Phey-Nimmu route (Grade II or III). Magnificent monasteries, colorful fluttering flags, verdant valleys beckon adventurers for quick tea-breaks en route. The Teesta: The Teesta river meanders down the craggy eastern Himalayan mountains savoring a blend exciting designer-rapids (Grade III or IV) at Sikkim, just excellent for kayaking or rafting. Makha and Rongpo, stretches between Dikchu and Teesta Bridge and Bordang and Melli are the best runs. The Kali River: At the Indo-Nepalese international boundary, this meandering river makes an exhilarating blend of long float trips, great angling and class III/IV white water rafting. Visit during October to May.The Himalayan rivers, being snow-fed mostly, are best for rafting during summers, i.e. June and July. But for beginners, August and September, when waters are lower and more manageable, is the best time. The Teesta is one of the few rivers where river rafting is confined to the winter months, between October and April.
Once I am completely done with my rafting-hangover, I will plan to pen my Rishikesh Rafting travelogue. Experiences are better penned when they are fresh in your mind, but the trip was too exciting and full of those ‘cannot miss’ moments to be rounded in just 750 words. I can do a series, provided the readers don’t feel bored of my latest water-fetish.
Once again, thank you for all your mails. Have a wonderful weekend! Keep the wanderlust on!
Published: Destination, Horizon, The Assam Tribune
Dated: 22nd Sept
As a kid I would often accompany Pa in his fishing expeditions. Though, it was one of the neighbourhood ponds or the one in our backyard, but at that age, even that little trip with the fishing equipments and all seemed to me an expedition of sorts. My job was to hunt for the bait – little earthworms from our kitchen garden and Ma’s was to cook the catch.
The concept of Fishing has been revamped by the travel industry as ‘Angling’ and aptly tagged ‘an eco-tourism endeavour’ clearing it from the Animal Rights boomerang. This means you wait on the fish, catch it, record its size, pose with it for a photograph (perhaps) and then let it go No wonder, Angling is called an elitist sport. And when it comes to this, I would rather denounce being bracketed an ‘elite’, for after waiting on and on for hours, I truly cannot let the ‘prize’ go. I am a non-vegetarian anyways, so why not catch the fish and eat it too! Anglers and ‘wanna-be-anglers’, please do not take my statement to heart and read on about the angling zones in India.
Veined with some of the mightiest rivers of the world, India is an obvious favourite of professional and amateur Anglers from across the globe. Fisheries have cropped up all over India with special hatcheries that breed local and exotic fish for re-stocking the rivers. And the most sought for breed is the Mahseer ((Barbus tor putitora) or the ‘tiger fish’, other than the more common rohu, katli and trout.
Angling Zones of India
North-East India: The Brahmaputra’s best known angling breeds are Katli, Jhungha and the Mahseer. In Assam, the Jia Bhoroli (white-water rafting also available), Kapili and Manas Rivers are fad with anglers. At Manas, Mahseer angling blended with tiger trekking sample an adrenaline pumping weekend idea. Arunachal Pradesh’s Tezu, Bhalukpung and Pasighat (especially Yingkiong, Bodak and Siom) are excellent spots for angling.
North India: In Kashmir, Mahseers, as large as 220 kg are recorded. The Mahseer craze, at times overshadows the other breeds here like trout, rohu, katla, alwan, chhiruh, kalbose, murrel and catfish. The Himalayan foothills are hemmed with angling spots like Ramganga (near Corbett National Park), Kosi, Mandal and Palain rivers. Jim Corbett, in his fabled fiction, ‘Man eaters of Kumoan’, has quoted a very interesting Mahseer fishing account. You can team your angling expedition with white-water rafting for the complete ‘aqua experience’. The junction of the Sarju River with the River Kali at Pancheshwar, Kumaon is another good spot. Himachal Pradesh’s sylvan Larji Valley in the Kullu Manali area and the Tirthan Valley are networked with trout rich waterways. Angling in North India is replete with scenes of fish eagles hovering in the air, alarm calls echoing in the valley and the occasional tiger pugmark on the river bed.
Down South: Peninsular India’s Mahanadi, Kaveri, Krishna and Godavari with breeds like the high-backed Mahseer, Purree, Khudchee and the White Carp - are open to angling activities except for the monsoons. Trout fishing is done in the Peermund, Kalkundi, Chembar, Portimund streams, Mekod river and the Mukurthi Lake. Kerala’s Elephant lake has good trouts. Do not miss the Elephant safari tour, once there in Kerala.
The Coastline: India’s 3000 km long coastline netting places like Mumbai, Kandla, Nhava Sheva, Marmagao, Kochi, Kolkatta/Haldia, Paradip, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai and Tuticorin - are popular and populous fishing tracts with varieties like Snapper, Perch, Sea Bass, Mackerel, Marlin, Tuna, Sailfish and so on.
Best time to Angle
Fishing for Mahseer is closed during the breeding season in the monsoons from June-September, while the trout season closes down from November till January-end. Angling is still possible in winter if one settles for Himalayan Barbell (Snow Trout) as the Mahseer, Catfish and other carps stop feeding.
Equipments: Basic equipments required for angling include a barbed metal hook, nylon or Dacron line, rods, spoons and reel. For fishing in salt water, one needs heavier rods and reels of the bait-casting type. The angling kit (rods, lines, hooks etc.) can also be hired on request from the zonal Angling offices and Angling clubs. You can also approach some travel agent to get them arranged for you.
Permits: Angling licenses are a must. They are obtained from the respective zonal Angling offices. Angling Camps
Beemeshwari (100 km from Bangalore), Doddamakati (46 kms from Bheemeshwari) and Galibore (16 kms away from Doddamakati) in Karnataka; Potasah (near Tezpur) and the banks of the Jia Bhoroli River in Assam; the Tourist Bungalow at Bhalukpong – host Angling Camps for adventurers.
Angling, as an Eco-tourism adventure sport is meant to be environment friendly and if you are tempted, refer to everything in this article except for my fish-it-and-eat-it bit. Till next time keep your itchy feet travelling!