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Matheran, Maharashtra

This is Bombay's nearest hill station, which is an oasis of tranquillity with healthy & salubrious climate, unpolluted air, beautiful surroundings, charming shady walks, magnificent panoramic views.

This popular holiday resort, is best visited during the season from October to May. Many visitors come to this lovely hill station to get a new lease of life charmed by its refreshing atmosphere. Its dense forests, cool climate and the lines of hills scattered on all four sides, has a healthy and therapeutic effect.

Woodlands hotel in the heart of the woodlands of Matheran has become a favourite resort for many visitors to Matheran.

It has a peaceful homely atmosphere and is only a ten minutes walk from the railway station and 20 minutes from the taxi stand.The tariff includes all meals, which are simple, but tasty.The rooms are provided with colour television showing cable and satellite programs, direct telephone dialing, and air coolers for your comfort. The hotel also has game facilities and play ground for children.


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Rajasthan

Rajasthan is among India's most popular tourist destinations, with an abundance of palace-hotels that reaches the height of luxury in Jaipur, the capital, and Udaipur, where one of several palaces glistens white in the centre of a lake. Forts adorn almost every town and city, and range from modest bastions to immense citadels, such as that at Chittaurgarh. The outlying countryside offers a rich assortment of wildlife. Tigers Leopards, and a host of other animals and birds can be sought out in the grasy Sariska National Park not far from Delhi, and in Ranthambore National Park further south, which affords vistas over lakes and forested hills beyond. The wetlands of Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur boast India's densest concentration of migratory birds, and attract almost three hundred species in the cool winter months.

Rajasthan's climate reaches the extremes common to desert regions. Temperatures can rise unbearably to over 45C between May and June, before the heavy skies over central and east Rajasthan break with a fierce monsoon that revitalizes the arid land and fills empty river beds. The summer heat remain until mid September to October, when night temperatures drop considerably. The best time to visit is between November and February, when day time temperatures rarely exceed 30C and celebrations at fairs and festivals.

 

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Goa

The very word '' Goa'' may be synonymous in some circles with hedonistic hippy holidays, but in reality, each of the countless beaches of this 100 kilometre long state seems to attract its own different kind of tourists from Bombayites on weekend breaks, to fortnighting European holidaymakers, as long stay shoestring travellers. Moreover, the fabled palm fringed coastline, lapped by the warm waters of the Arabian Sea, is only part of the picture. Separated from the rest of India by the jungle covered hills of the Western Ghats, Goa's heartland and most densely populated area is the alluvial strip inland from the beaches - a lush patchwork of paddy fields, coconut plantations, whitewashed churches and gently meandering rivers.

Goa has a visibly latin influence architecture, and also a fish and meat rich cuisine that would be anathema to most Indians. Another marked prevalence is of alcohol. Beer is cheap, and six thousand or more bars around the state are licensed to serve it, alond with the more traditional tipples of feni, the local hootch, and toddy, a derivative of palm sap.

Which beach you opt for when you arrive largely depends on what sort of holiday you have in mind. Heavily developed resorts such as Calangute and Baga, in the north, and Colva ( and to a lesser extent Benaulim ), in the south, offer more '' walk in '' accommodation, shopping and tourist facilities than else where. Anjuna, Vagator, and Chapora, where accommodation is generally more basic and harder to come by, are the beaches to aim for if you have come to Goa to party. To get a taste of what most of the state much have been like twenty or thirty years ago, however, you will have to travel further north; or to Arambol, a sleepy village cum hippy hang out in the far north: or to Agonda and Palolem, near the Karnatakan border, where, as yet tourism has made very little impact.


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Kerala

It's overpowering tropical greenness, with 41 rivers and countless waterways, fed by two annual momsoons, intoxicates every newcomer who comes to Kerala's. Travellers weary of daunting metropolises find no such problems here. Kerala's cities are small scale, relaxed and generally a good deal less expensive than elsewhere. For visitors, the most popular is undoubtedly th great port of Kochi ( Cochin ), where Kerala's extensive history of peaceable foreign contact is evocatively evident in the atmospheric old quarters of Mattancherry and for Cochin, hubs of a still thriving tea and spice trade.

The capital, Thiruvanathapuram ( Trivandrum ), almost as far south as you can go and a gateway to the nearby palm-fringed beaches of Kovalam provides visitors with varied opportunities to sample Kerala's rich cultural and artistic life.

However, more so than anywhere in India, the greatest joy of exploring kerala is the actual travelling - above all, by boat, in the spell binding Kuttanad region, near historic Kollam ( Quilon ) and Alappuzha ( Alleppey ). Vessels from cruisers to wooden long boats ply the backwaters in day long voyages, well worth taking for the chance of a close-up view of village life in India's most densely populated state. Furthermore, it's always easy to escape the heat of the lowlands by taking off to the hills. Roads through a landscape dotted with churches and temples pass spice, tea, coffee and rubber plantations, and natural forest, en route to wildlife reserves such as Peppara or Periyar, roamed by herds of mud caked elephants.


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