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City Focus: Patnitop, Jammu and Kashmir

Today, we look at a tiny hill station in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The state is famous for its Himalayan destinations such as Gulmarg and Amarnath. But little is known about the town of Patnitop. While most Indians do not know about it, the city of Jammu has been considering this little town a getaway for a long time. During weekends, the entire urban population of Jammu can be seen at Patnitop. This pine tree lined hill station is to Jammu, what Lonavla is to Mumbai / Pune, Nandi Hills is to Bengaluru, Shimla is to Chandigarh and Ooty is to Coimbatore / Mysuru. A convenient one-day or a weekend trip to escape the big city. Let us learn more about this town. Continue reading

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City Focus: Darjeeling, West Bengal

Often called the queen of hill stations, Darjeeling is a dream honeymoon destination for several couples. Nestled in the high Himalayan mountains of Gorkhaland, a Nepali-speaking district in West Bengal, Darjeeling has been a fascination since the British rule. It was built as an escape for the aristocrats of the East India company from the summer heat of their capital Calcutta. Later, Darjeeling evolved as a town with several boarding schools and one premier institution to teach mountaineering. Darjeeling is beautiful, but there is no beauty comparable to the mountain looming from the city’s north. This mountain stands as a backdrop to the busy town, almost watching over it like a guardian angel. It is the third highest mountain in the world — Kanchenjunga. Continue reading

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City focus: Mysuru, Karnataka

Which city has the following things named after itself? A bathing soap, a type of south Indian fast food with stuffing, a variety of silk, a soft and porous sweet dish with a lot of ghee and an erstwhile State Bank subsidiary. The names are: Mysore sandal soap, Mysore masala dosa, Mysore silk, Mysore Pak and State Bank of Mysore. Nestled at the foot of Chamundi hills and watched over by Chamundi Devi or the Mahishasuramardhini, the city of Mysuru is one of the most beautiful, ecologically most balanced and tourism-wise most abundant locations in India. During India 360, Mysuru was one of our most enjoyed cities in India. This was enhanced by the fact that we were at Mysuru right during Navratri and Dassera, when the city is a potpourri of funfairs, performances, flower and food fests. Continue reading