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India's first branded homestay portfolio, ama Stays & Trails, has crossed the milestone of 50 bungalows, with seven new signings across India. This includes picturesque locations such as Alibaug, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani.
Speaking about this announcement, Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Indian Hotel Company (IHCL), said, "This is in line with 'ama Stays & Trails' expansion strategy to tap into the potential of India's growing homestay market. ama Stays & Trails is now able to offer travellers a wider choice as it steps into newer and unexplored destinations. Located in close proximity of our hotels, the ama portfolio leverages the vast footprint of IHCL's network, delivering the assurance of our trusted service."
Each homestay brings alive the local culture and heritage of the destination through authentic and immersive experiences -- be it through outdoor activities, regional cuisine or lesser-known places to explore. It gives families and groups of friends an opportunity to bond together in the exclusivity of beautiful bungalows and villas. With the addition of the new bungalows, the brand currently has a portfolio of 51 bungalows and villas including 18 under development. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Alibaug, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, ama Stays & Trails
Tired of waking up to the usual alarm? How about starting your mornings with the sounds of birds chirping instead, with the added bonus of lush, green afternoons, and nights spent under brightly lit skies? What about picnics by waterfalls and long, rambling walks to discover unexplored lakes? That's just the thing about mountains. You won't know the wonders you can come across, or the experiences you can have. All of this makes the mountains the perfect escape from the city.
Here are some suggestions from Airbnb with stays and experiences that can set the backdrop for the perfect mountainous holiday.
Seclude Ramgarh -- Grishma- Nainital
Forget finding shapes in clouds, learn what it's like to live in them instead. At 4900 feet above the ground, your head will indeed be in the clouds at this secluded stay in Ramgarh. The hill station boasts of a cool climate throughout the year, and with plenty of outdoor areas, balconies, and large windows, you can make the most of the idyllic weather. Seclude Ramgarh is also home to a large common fire pit to warm up your evenings and make it a truly immersive experience.
At 4900 feet above the ground, your head will indeed be in the clouds at this secluded stay in Ramgarh. | Photo by Anubhav Rana on Unsplash
Windflower -- Manali
Manali has always been the go-to place for the avid traveller but the Windflower will make you fall in love with the mountain town even more. This four-bedroom Airbnb home is the perfect place to settle down for any kind of personality -- whether you're the outdoorsy type who is looking for an adventure or the laidback kind who prefers to curl up and take it easy. Either way, Windflower's rustic wooden finish, earthy palette, open-air sit-outs, sauna and fireplace will charm you to no end. After all, there's nothing like sitting by the crackling fire on a cold night after a long day of exploring the mountains.
Manali has always been the go-to place for the avid traveller but the Windflower will make you fall in love with the mountain town even more. | Photo by Surya teja on Unsplash
Cozy Dome & Attic -- Himachal Pradesh
If you are tired of seeing high-rises, why not wake up to high Deodar trees instead? Ditch the regular getaways and try something completely new at Airbnb's Cozy Dome, which offers all the luxury of a regular stay but elevates it a notch higher with a unique hilltop experience. With no city hustle and bustle assured, you can choose to stay snuggled in or take an invigorating hike, explore the valley, meet the locals, and enjoy their culture along with their delicacies.
Ditch the regular getaways and try something completely new at Airbnb's Cozy Dome. | Photo by Naman Pandey on Unsplash
Meena Bagh -- Shimla
If you've ever wondered what it's like to live in a calm Himachali home then Meena Bagh will be perfect. It combines the inspiring charm of the breath-taking locations with comfortable interiors. Made with wood, brick, and mud, its eco-friendly designs add a unique character and style to the already appealing look as if epitomizing everything that Shimla stands for.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to live in a calm Himachali home then Meena Bagh will be perfect. | Photo by Rahul Ranjan on Unsplash
Private Villa -- Mussoorie
When planning a trip to the mountains, Mussoorie can't be far off the traveller's radar. Its beauty can be best enjoyed from this gorgeous Airbnb stay, which also happens to be just five minutes from Mall Road. It's the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, while spending adequate time indoors. Charming and nicely furnished, it has a comfortable, relaxed feel and with three spacious rooms, would be perfect for large families or groups of friends looking to unwind and enjoy each other's company.
When planning a trip to the mountains, Mussoorie can't be far off the traveller's radar. | Photo by Satyam HCR on Unsplash
Guided Historical tour -- Shimla
If you do take a trip to Shimla, the guided historical tour is a great way to learn about the city. It's the best way to absorb the beauty of its historical architecture, which has been preserved in its original state and is something that has intrigued travellers for ages. Along with learning about its design and 'Tudorbethan' architecture, you can be assured plenty of stories from the past.
What all will be covered? The Mall and the Ridge, and most of the heritage buildings in the city, including the former Viceregal Lodge,. You will also see the Gaiety theatre, General Post Office, Imperial Bank, Railway Board Building, Gorton Castle, Knockdrin, Kennedy Cottage, Cecil Hotel, and Viceregal Lodge.
Guided historical tour is a great way to learn about the city. | Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash
Bird Watching -- Sattal
Speaking of waking up to the call of birds, visit the Garur lake area in Sattal for an experience of a lifetime. If birds have ever distracted you while you've been typing away, then this could be your true calling. In about two and a half hours you can learn the calls of Thrushes, Blackbirds, and Parakeets to name a few. Through the walk, you will go from Garur Lake to Hanuman Lake and enjoy everything in between.
Speaking of waking up to the call of birds, visit the Garur lake area in Sattal for an experience of a lifetime. | Photo by Ibrahim Shabil on Unsplash
Hilloferry -- A guided Bike Ride -- Dharamshala
Escape the city traffic and go back to feeling like a child biking through the mountains of Dharamshala. Through this guided bike ride, you will ride far away from the roads and into the wild by lanes of the forests. Who knows, you may even discover a new trail or two. Butone thing's for sure, the beautiful landscape of the Dhauladhar ranges and its tea gardens will leave you awestruck.
Escape the city traffic and go back to feeling like a child biking through the mountains of Dharamshala. | Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash
Hiking -- Manali
With laptops and work from home, our minds have been exercised all day with little attention being paid to physical exercise. Hitting the gym for a couple of hours each week doesn't quite feel as invigorating. Nothing comes close to walking in nature. And that's why perhaps, hiking issoon becoming another reason to hit the mountains. If you happen to be in Manali, then even better. Sign up for this Airbnb experience and you won't regret it no matter where you are in your hiking journey. The hike covers Lamadugh, Patalsu and Jogni.
With laptops and work from home, our minds have been exercised all day with little attention being paid to physical exercise. | Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash
Food & Culture Tour -- Himachal Pradesh
If you're in Bir, Himachal Pradesh sign up for this culture tour that takes you through a journey of peace. Take a walk through the village with a special stop at the small-scale handloom factory where you will witness how a handloom works. You can also visit a local home and try out their traditional Kangri Dham or the Himachali Thali. This means, indulging in local conversations, getting to know their traditions up close, and getting a better understanding of their way of living, which summarises life in the mountains like no other.
If you're in Bir, Himachal Pradesh sign up for this culture tour that takes you through a journey of peace. | Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Mounains, Shimla,Himacha Pradesh, India, Manali, Dharamshala, Sattal, Mussoorie, Nainital
Murudeshwar Temple is located in Karnataka, and is built on the Kanduka Hill which is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on all the three sides.
The entrance of the temple is called the 'gopura', and it stands at 123 feet, and visitors can also witness the breathtaking view of the Lord Shiva statue from the top of the gopura.
One the most magnificent feature of this temple is that the entire surface of this temple is covered in the most detailed carvings. At the same time, the compound of the temple has recently been modernised, except the sanctum sanctorum, which still remains in its original form.
Interestingly, the main deity of worship in the temple is the Sri Mridesa Linga, which is believed to be a part of the original Atma Linga.
The story behind this temple is quite interesting. According to storytellers, the Atma Linga or the Soul of Lord Shiva was the key to invincibility and immortality.
Once, Demon King Ravana decided upon acquiring the Soul of Lord Shiva for which he devoutly prayed. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Shiva granted him the Atma Linga, but on the condition that it must not be placed on the ground before he reaches back to his home, Lanka. However, Lord Ganesh and Lord Vishnu tricked him into putting the Atma Linga on the ground, post which it got attached and became immovable. Seeing this, Demon King Ravana became angry and tried to destroy the Atma Linga, but the force of his attack only managed to scatter the Atma Linga to different places, which gave rise to many a sacred spot throughout the country, one of them being Murudeshwar.
So, if you're planning to getaway this winter season, then you must choose this place as there is no difficulty in reaching here, too. Easiest way to reach the Murudeshwar Temple is by air, and the nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport.
It must be noted that strict dress code is followed, and so men visitors are required to wear only dhotis, and women visitors are required to wear only saree or churidaar with dupatta.
Whats your weekend plan? Care for a trip? Wear your sneakers, pack your backpacks, and escape the daily monotony of life. Read, sing, and dance to the tunes of your favourite song. Pick your buddies, drive through the astounding landscapes, and live in the moment. The beautiful destinations around you are beckoning you to experience the leisure of life.
If you are wondering where to go, here are some beautiful accommodations for an unbeatable weekend getaway that can be explored with your friends and family. While 2020 gave us several long weekends, the Covid-19 pandemic put a full stop to all our travel aspirations. However, the tides are changing. With staycations, revenge travel, weekend getaways gaining traction, this exclusive list of accommodations is a great blend of cosy and relaxing:
OYO Belvilla, Jaipur
For those looking at exploring the regional cuisines, witnessing the unrivalled architecture, experiencing the royal heritage, the pink city is the place for you. From Hawa Mahal to City Palace, from aesthetical bazaars to the evening at the happening Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur has all you need to experience lifestyle, culture, and history. While you're in Jaipur and looking at a comforting place to stay, Belvilla The Umaid Vilas Royal Heritage Haveli is the right place for you.
For those looking at exploring the regional cuisines, witnessing the unrivalled architecture, experiencing the royal heritage, the pink city is the place for you. Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash
The Granary: Wooden Cabin on stilts, Coorg
For those seeking a serene break from the hubbub of city life, Coorg might just be the place for you. The timeless scenery, the friendly local community, the sheer bliss of nature is bound to stir your soul. You can experience the tranquillity of Coorg with its world-famous coffee. While you're in Coorg and looking for a cosy place to stay, check out The Granary: wooden cabin on stilts!
While you're in Coorg and looking for a cosy place to stay, check out The Granary: wooden cabin on stilts! Wikimedia
OYO Belvilla, Gurugram
For those in the national capital region and seeking a short-haul stay, look no further, Gurugram is the right place for you. A cup of tea in a private villa amid the lush green trees, surrounded by the scenic beauty of nature, at complete peace, with your loved ones is all that you need. While you're looking at spending this kind of evening in luxury, comfort, and peace, the Belvilla Private Villa may just be the right stay for you.
Grey-headed Swamphen (Purple Swamphen) - Porphyrio poliocephalus in Basai Wetland near Gurgaon (Gurugram), Haryana, India. Wikimedia
Airbnb Penthouse, Goa
For those seeking to take a deep dive on the pretty beaches and enjoy the exhilarating nightlife, Goa is the place for you. The scenic journey, the lush green trees, the wind that plays with your hair, the thrill of the night, the experience among new people, Goa is sure to leave you wonderstruck. While in Goa, you can choose to stay at Striking Penthouse With a Private Plunge Pool for an experience of a lifetime.
For those seeking to take a deep dive on the pretty beaches and enjoy the exhilarating nightlife, Goa is the place for you. Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash
OYO Belvilla, Udaipur
For those seeking a royal experience in the ethereal beauty of nature, Udaipur is the place for you. The enigma of the royal palaces, the picturesque lakes, the charming architecture will immerse you in an extraordinary experience. While you're in Udaipur and seeking an incredible place to justify the beauty of the City of Lakes, OYO Belvilla, Udaipur is the place for you.
For those seeking a royal experience in the ethereal beauty of nature, Udaipur is the place for you. Photo by Jainam Mehta on Unsplash
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Pack, backpack, jaipur, coorg, gurugram, goa, udaipur