Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary – Dalhousie

Bowl shaped pasture at Khajjiar, with lake and floating island is a famous tourist spot in Dalhousie.  At the edge of this meadow there is a golden domed shaped temple dedicated to the god ‘Khajinag’ and hence it is also known as Khajjiar.Kalatop has a beautiful and panoramic view of surrounding landscape till the direstion of Jammu and Kashmir and it meets a horizon of snow peaks.

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Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most popular and attractive wildlife sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh.It is located at a distance of 6 km from Dalhousie falls under the district of Chamba of Himachal Pradesh.This sanctuary is spread over an area of 1962 hectares and is flooded by Ravi River. We can see the beautiful hills, snowcapped mountains, the valley, the villages, the rich greenery and rockiness area from here.

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The main flora of this sanctuary includes blue pine, fir, deodar trees. This sanctuary is also rich in animals and home to variety of leopards, bear, deer, and squirrel, barking goral, serow, langur, jackal and Himalayan black marten. Many birds including Eurasian Jay, whitewinged Black Bird, Black Headed Jay, Chesnut Billed Rock Thrush, and Grey Headed Cannery Flycatcher are found in this Sanctuary.This entire forest is covered with thick foliage of deodar trees. This sanctuary also allowed for trekking both at Kalatop and Khajjiar.

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This is one of the most conveniently located and well-connected wildlife sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh. Beautiful stream that meets Ravi /river in the north flows through the sanctuary is treating as ornithologists.Best time to visit this sanctuary is between April to June and October to November. It needs 3 to 6 hours to explore the whole sanctuary. These tidily maintained zigzag roads of the sanctuary make it awesome strolling path to the visitors. Temperature of this place varies from 10 degree to 35 degree Celsius.

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Special permit is required from District Forest Officer of Chamba for entry of vehicle inside the sanctuary. Along with this Dalhousie serves many other beautiful tourist destinations too, which increases the rush of travelers coming here every year. The best way to reach here is via bus, because it offers beautiful natural sceneries to see on roadside. Hence, there is a great demand for best star category and budget ‘Hotels near Dalhousie Bus Stand’.

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Needs and importance of Registration at YRC

Unlike other major pilgrim places, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi temple is located deep in the mountains. So it is not easy for everyone to reach there. But still due to lot of development, many facilities are made available for the senior citizens and handicapped people too. Though all the facilities has been made available all along the way from Katra to Bhawan, but the Holy Mountain has its own limitations and saturation levels regarding its capacity to hold and sustain large crowds. Along with this, the resources made available to provide various services and facilities to the Devotees are also limited, because, due to the absence of a road, the most basic and essential items also have to be carried either on ponies or by humans, so it increases the rush.

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Due to such a heavy rush, it becomes easily possible for the terrorists to attack on this holy spot, and hence there is a requirement of Yatra Slip Counters, to permit registered people to enter into the temple. With the help of these counters, we restrict heavy rush of people to enter this shrine at a same time.

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Once the devotees get registered at YRC, it becomes easy to maintain the record of number of visitors, and also to control the rush and keep the attackers away from this Shrine. After the registration at YRC, devotees can automatically and compulsorily get insured against any accidental causality which is a rare possibility, on their way to the Holy Shrine. This registration is completely free to all those who undertake this holy pilgrimage. The maximum limit of this insurance is Rs.1,00,000/- for majors and Rs 25,000/- for minors which is valid only in case of accidental deaths. It is not applicable for cases of natural deaths like heart attacks.

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Due to all such advantages, all the devotees prefer to stay at ‘Hotels near Yatra Slip counters’, so that they can get easily registered, and also get necessary information within time.

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As the Holy Pindies are situated in a narrow Cave, group visits of large number of devotees are not possible. Hence, the system of Darshans is made through a continuously moving queue, round the clock. So only a limited number of pilgrims can get Darshans every day.

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How and Where to donate at Vaishno Devi?

Whenever the visitors come for darshan of Vaishno devi, the question may arise in their mind that, how and where to donate? To solve this question, here we are going to discuss about Shrine Board, where visitors need to donate something. We are also going to discuss the need and ways of donations.

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The central shrine boards are run by the Vaishnao Devi Community, to accept the donations of pilgrims, and also to carry out their development programs. For the development of temple, and its surrounding, pilgrims are requested to donate generously. Donations made at this Shrine Board are exempted from the income tax, under the section 80 – G of Indian Income Tax Act.

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The donations can either be done directly in the donation boxes kept at various locations within the premises of temple, or the same can also be done at specific donation counters along with proper receipt.

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A Jewellery box is also placed at the sanctum sanctorum, in which the gold and silver jewellery offered by the pilgrims is accepted. The community or board also accepts the donation made by cheques of demand drafts payable to ‘Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’ at Katra or at Jammu. Foe sending the cheques and demand drafts by post, the address of this office is given below:

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Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Boar,

Central Office, SMVDSB

Katra – 182 301

Phone – 01991 – 32025

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Various counters are set up by this shrine Board, to facilitate the pilgrims for donations. These various counters are available at Bhawan, Adkuwari, Sanjichhat, reservation and enquiry counter at Niharika and also at the centrally located office of Shrine Board at Katra. As the complete process of donation is done on the computerized system, it is manned by the trained staff of Shrine Board only.

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Online Donation:

For the convenience of devotees residing either in India or in abroad, an online system of receiving donations has also been started by Shrine Board. Online donations are accepted only through their website.

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There are number of star category and budget ‘Hotels near Shrine Board’, for comfortable staying. Due to all such facilities, there is no issue for any of the visitors about Where to stay? How to donate? How to take darshan? And many such questions.

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Kashmir Travel Information

The beautiful Kashmir valley is a paradise on earth; everyone will fall in love with it at the first sight itself. If you are going to visit this place, with one of the best ‘Kashmir Holiday Packages’, then you should be aware about the following information, which is most important from the travelers point of view.

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How to Reach?

Reaching to Kashmir is quite easy, as the valley is well connected to all other parts of India, with a well-developed network of rail, road, and air.

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By Air
There are daily flights to Srinagar, from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu.

By Rail
Jammu Tawi is the nearest railhead for Srinagar. At this station only, the trains from Delhi, Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai and other cities arrive.

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By Road
NH 1-A is the main highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu. Various private Super deluxe, A-class and B-class busses operate to and from this state.

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Where to leave?

Being a popular destination on the tourist map of India, number of options for accommodations is available there. All types of accommodation facilities are there at every location, with number of hotels, houseboats and guesthouses.

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What to Wear?

Clothing in Kashmir, is depends upon the season in which you are visiting. In summer, you can wear cotton clothes, in spring and autumn season, you can wear light woolens, whereas in winters you can wear heavy woolens.

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Money Exchange in Kashmir?

The currency of the Kashmir valley is the standard Indian rupee, which is available in the denomination of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. Among them Rs. 1000, 500, 100, 50, and 20 are available in currency notes only, whereas, Rs. 1, 2 , 5 and 10 are available both in notes and coins. Several money exchangers in Srinagar, Jammu and Leh towns of Kashmir valley are:

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  • State Bank of India, Residency Road
  • Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd., Residency Road.
  • Canara Bank
  • The Bund. Bank of Baroda, Residency Road

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Languages Spoken in Kashmir?

Kashmiri, is the most dominant of all languages in Kashmir. Other common languages spoken here are Urdu, Hindi and English.

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Transportation in Kashmir?

The main modes of transport in Kashmir are Mini buses and Taxis. Along with them, some other ways of commuting available in Kashmir are auto rickshaws and coaches.

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When to visit?

You can visit this beautiful valley in any season, but still the ideal time to visit Kashmir is between March and October. As this period covers three of the four seasons in Kashmir like spring (between March to start of May), summer (between May to end of August) and autumn (between September to end of October) and also gives best weather conditions, it is suitable to every visitor.

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Kashmir Weather?

Weather of Kashmir is quite erratic, and is divided into four season’s viz. spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Spring:

Duration- From March to the start of May

Temperature- ranges from 23° C to 6° C

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Summer:

Duration- From May to the end of August

Temperature- ranges from 25° C to 35° C

Autumn:

Duration- From September to the end of November

Temperature- ranges from 23° C to 10° C

Winter:

Duration- From December to the start of March

Temperature- ranges from 1° C to 6° C

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Where to Eat In Kashmir

Whenever you have any of the ‘Kashmir Holiday Packages’, the first question comes in your mind is about where to eat in Kashmir, so here I am sharing few information about the eatables in this state.

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Kashmir valley, being a popular destination of India, there are various types of eating outs and restaurants available, by considering all the tourist destinations. The numerous restaurants in the valley are ranging from garden cafes to the serving Chinese cuisine. They are mainly located in Boulevard, Shervani Road, Lal Chowk and Lambert Lane. Almost all the major hotels in Kashmir have restaurants which serve cuisines ranging from Indian to Kashmiri to Continental. You can select any of the following options for corresponding eatables.

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For Chinese Cuisine

  • J&K TDC Nun-Kun Restaurant near Nehru Park
  • Alka Salka on Shervani Road
  • Lhasa at Boulevard

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For Kashmiri Cuisine
Kashmiri cuisine is mainly based on the ancient tradition i.e meat eating of this region. Kashmiris are heavy meat eaters from the ancient times, and the same habit also persists in today’s Kashmir. The most notable ingredient of Kashmiri cuisine is mutton, which is of more than 30 varieties. Other notable ingredient is Balti Curries which is more popular in United kingdom.

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  • Mughal Durbar on Shervani Road
  • Ahdoos on Shervani Road
  • Ruby in Lambert Lane
  • Juniper at Lal Chowk

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For Garden Cafes

  • Solace on Shervani Road
  • Tao Cafe on Shervani Road
  • Shamyana at Boulevard

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For Bakeries

  • Dalgate
  • Shervani Road

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For Inexpensive Restaurants

  • Amira Kadal
  • Dalgate

Some of the famous eatables in Kashmir are:

Wazwan

It is a multi-course meal of Kashmiri Muslim’s, which is treated with great respect. All the dishes of it are meat-based like lamb, chicken, and fish. The traditional number of courses for Wazwan is 36. Wazwan is regarded as a core element of their culture and identity by the Kashmiri Muslims.

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Kashmiri beverages (Noon Chai or Sheer Chai)

Kashmiri people are heavy tea drinkers, and their most popular drink is “noon chai”, which is a pinkish colored salted tea. In Kashmiri language, the word “noon” means Salt. Noon Chai is made up of green tea, milk, salt and bicarbonate of soda. It is also referred as “Sheer Chai” by the Kashmiri Pandits.

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Kahwah

Kahwah is a type of green tea, which is made up of saffron, spices and almonds. It is compulsorily served at marriage feasts, or at any other festivals and religious places.

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Important Facts About Kashmir

  • Playing ice hockey in the Indian Himalayas

Ladakh is a home of India’s ice hockey tournament. It also gave birth to many international players and fans to enjoy the thrill of ice hockey matches played outside, and against the stunning backdrop of the Himalayas. Jakob Horstmann is the first ever international player of ice hockey, belonging to eastern Kashmir.

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  • Time to revisit Kashmir?

Once upon a time, Foreign Office lifted an advice against travelling at Jammu and Kashmir. As per them, the people who have visited Kashmir at least once, must be willing to revisit the same place number of times.

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  • Kashmir is back on the tourist map in pictures 

After advising tourists about travelling to the cities of Jammu and Kashmir for nearly 20 years, the Foreign Office has lifted there guidelines after a fall down in violence. So, the Dal Lake and part of the Valley of Kashmir (one of India’s most beautiful regions), are once again made open to the visitors.

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  • The call of Kashmir

Initially Kashmir used to be called as ‘the most dangerous place in the world’, but today it is earning a very different reputation of being the perfect place for a ski holiday. Due to such a feature there is increasing demand for best ‘Kashmir Holiday Packages’.

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  • Ultimate travel experiences of trekking in the Himalayas

Climbing high on the Himalayas in flip-flops is a real test of faith. Millions of travellers in India, can take this wonderful experience of trekking only at Himalaya in J & K state.

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Some of the other recent facts about Kashmir are:

  1. Muslims and Pundits come together to save the land of Kashmir’s temple.
  2. Group of Pro-Kashmir Hackers started supporting Anna Hazare.
  3. US senator McCain arrives in Kashmir in this August.
  4. Hundreds of Indian websites of Kashmir Holidays were hacked in last September.
  5. Germany lifts bar of travellers to Kashmir.
  6. Bollywood returns to Kashmir, which is its real home.
  7. The Government of Kashmir has abandoned 740 crore of World Bank.
  8. Kashmir Valley has welcomed record break 7.25 lakh tourists in this year.
  9. In last December, there was snow, snow and snow everywhere in Kashmir.

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Such a famous beauty of Kashmir, attracts lot number of tourists, from all over the world.

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Kashmir Houseboats

Beauty of Kashmir always attracts many people from all over the world who came as visitors by selecting best ‘Kashmir Holiday Packages’, but they didn’t want to return their home. These travellers, especially British were not allowed to build houses to live in Kashmir as the Maharajas didn’t permit it. This gave rise to advent of houseboats or floating houses. As British were given to comforts and modern ways of living they designed these houseboats with every luxury of well given to comforts and modern ways of living they designed these houseboats with every luxury of well-built house like attached baths, dining rooms, drawing rooms, pantry, sun deck etc.

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The houseboats of Kashmir, unlike their counterparts in Kerala are usually moored at the edges of the Dal Lake. Some of the houseboats were built in the early 1900s, and are still being rented out to tourists. These houseboats are made of wood, and usually have intricately and carved wood paneling. The houseboats are of different sizes, some having up to three bedrooms apart from a living room and kitchen.

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Houseboats are a special tourist attraction for everyone who visits Kashmir. These houseboats have their own traditional appeal, are usually anchored on the banks of the Dal Lake. Each houseboat is fully furnished and every houseboat has an attendant boy. These houseboats have small boats called Shikaras that take tourists to the flower markets.

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The main idea behind the concept of houseboats is the fact it provides a haven for those who like to spend a quite holiday, away from the noise and bustle of the cities. Pleasant sounds of rolling waters, mist filled morning, sunny afternoons and calm and serene evenings are some of the beautiful moments that can be enjoyed in the land that is also sometimes called the Venice of the east. Kashmir is a land with a vast expanse of legendary lakes, that are woven with an intricate network of canals and backwaters which famously makes it known as the houseboat capital of India.

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A land dotted with natural landscapes, exotic mountain valleys, picturesque villages and comfortable houseboats, Kashmir has been rightly pronounced as the Paradise on Earth. Once you step in this small Himalayan kingdom your holidays change into a magical fantasy where you can unwind and relax yourself.

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