Traditional Sports of Northeast India

The north-eastern part of India is largely unexplored and for ages has held a mystique charm of its own. Tourists who plan to venture out to this part of India not only get a chance to explore this region and its natural beauty, but also to learn and understand the culture of its people. Alike other parts of the country, religious festivities are an integral element of the lives of the locals. Another facet of the people living in the northeast states is their love for traditional sports. On vacations to any of these states, travelers can watch people playing these traditional sports while the enthusiastic ones can also partake.

Assam

Dhopkhel

Dhopkhel is the most popular game in Assam, and it is played by two teams of 11 players each, inside a 125-metre long and 80-metre wide field. A rubber ball is thrown to the playing court of the opposing group to hit one of their members. If this attempt is a success, then the member who was hit with ball has to leave the game. This way, the team that is able to oust their opponents, wins the battle.

Arunachal Pradesh

One of the games that tourists can play while on a visit to Arunachal Pradesh during their holidays is Porok-Pamin Sinam. The competition tests the flexibility and balance of the participants. Competitors hold one of their legs in their hand and keep the other hand on their shoulder. They hop on only one leg and attempt to hit their rival and push him out of the marked circle. Whoever is able to achieve the feat, wins the competition.

Sikkim

archery

By far, the most sought-after traditional sport in Sikkim is archery, which has roots in the warring culture of the inhabitants. Men aim at a 3-feet long and 1-feet wide target from a distance of 130 metres. Women give these matches a rather colourful tone by hurling abuses at opponents of the men they are supporting. Some even come between the archers and their targets to distract them and make them miss their mark.

Manipur

Kang Shanaba

Kang Shanaba

During tours to Manipur, the famed sport known as Kang Shanaba can be played with the locals. It is played by two teams with both of them having seven members. In olden days, the kang used to be the seed of a fruit, but later it started to be made of lac. The game is played by throwing the kang at targets, kept on the playing courts or by sliding them past lines, drawn across it. It is somewhat similar to the game of marbles.

Mizoram

Insuknawr

Insuknawr

An exciting way to enjoy Mizoram trips is by taking part in an Insuknawr competition. This indigenous game is played by two people, who stand in a circle. A single rod, about 8-feet long and roughly 3-4 inches in diameter, is held by both opponents under their armpits. As per the rules, at least 4 inches of the rod-length should be under the armpits and the rod should stay symmetrical to the center of the circle. The participants attempt to throw each other out of the circle by pushing the rod and the opponent.

Nagaland

A game known as cock-fighting originated in Nagaland, and it is played by two men, who try to win the surrender of their rival by continuously kicking him.

Tripura

A sport, called Gella Chutt, is played by two teams of 7-10 players each with great zeal in Meghalaya. One group is called the in group, while the other is out group. The in group appoints a leader and out group invades its court. The former attempts to stop the invasion of the latter, by touching the opposing members, in an attempt to keep their leader safe. If the leader is touched, he is declared dead, following which the teams interchange their roles

Meghalaya

A game called Wa Pong Sala can be enjoyed in during tours to Meghalaya. In this sport, two rivals sit in front of each other with stretched legs and a bamboo stick is kept between them. They attempt to pull each other by hand and the one who pulls his opponent from the ground, wins.

An Exciting Time at Wonderla in Bengaluru

A great way to make Karnataka holidays even more enjoyable is to plan a fun day-out at Wonderla. XD Max and Cinemagic 3D in the dry section showcase films, accompanied with vibrating seats, winds and water splashes. Its laser show and musical fountain, with lights, sound and music, is another fun activity to witness. Visitors can take a high cable-car and view the entire park while seated in Hang Glider. The vessel of Pirate Ship swings vigorously and tilts people to an almost 180-degree angle. Net Walk, as hinted by the name, is a walking path for children, made of nets. Wonder Splash is a car that travels through rails to a good height and then comes down and drops straight into a pond, spraying all riders in the process.

Techno Jump and Toon Tango are merry-go-rounds: one high above the ground and the other close to it. Riders can sit in any car of the 13-storey Sky Ferris wheel, which, with a diameter of 30 metres, rotates slowly. People may also try Termite Train and Coaster to go around crazy paths or to cruise up and down with high velocity, respectively. Dungeon Ride takes visitors on a thrilling journey through a haunted mansion. Travellers can also sit in small vehicles and bump others in Crazy Cars. Crazy Wagon is a carriage, fixed to a long circling arm, taking riders 21 metres up in the air.

Water and High Thrill Rides

With Lazy River, travellers go through the meandering stream on a rubber tube. Boomerang takes riders through a water tunnel and then drops them to a slide. The slides of Harakiri, Uphill Racers and Pendulum involve going up and down before thudding people in water. Visitors lie on rubber mats and slide down colourful water-filled tracks in Fun Racers. Banded Kraits involves sailing down a turning and dropping path into a pool. Numerous water slides, ending into a pool, are combined to form Twisters. Wavy and Vertical Fall is a ride, beginning from a six-storey height and then falling into the reservoir.

The High Thrill section, standing by its name, has the most hair-raising rides at Wonderla. Flash Tower and Drop Zone have seats fastened along spires that shoot up 40 metres and then fall freely. Equinox and Y-Scream elevate the thrill factor multi-fold with revolving round platform and swinging arms. With Insanity and Mixer, revellers swirl in every possible direction, and experience the ultimate adrenaline surge. Spinning on Hurricane is like sitting on the blades of a ceiling fan. The seats of Maverick twist, turn, spin, turn upside down and do every insane thing possible. Wonderla Bamba is a long platform, which swirls in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.

Kids Rides

Carousel, Lion Swing, Magic Mushroom, Jumping Frog, Merry Ghost and Flying Jumbo are merry-go-rounds, either close to the ground or a little above. Mini Venice takes children on a journey, which transports them to the famous canals of the Italian city. Smaller and less thrilling versions of the Pirate Ship, Drop Zone and Sky Wheel can also be enjoyed by kids. Mini Express and Convoy allow children to journey through colourful places and over hills. Wonderla is open on weekdays between 11 am and 6 pm and on weekends between 11 am to 7 pm.

India holidays based on Its Geographical Features

India provides a unique holidaying experience. This ancient country is a place of sages and software at the same time. Travelers can get to see vast variations in natural surroundings as well as in the cultural landscape of the country. If one were to plan India holidays, why not think of its geographical features and then understand what all can be done there. Lets get down to the basics and identify the broad geographical regions.

Hills of north and south

Himalayas provide the cool environs in north of the country whereas the Ghats and the Nilgiris provide the same in south. Hills of north and south are regions of popular hill stations and associated geographical features such as waterfalls. The rivers flowing through the region and other topographical features provide avenues for adventure sporting action such as paragliding, rafting, rock climbing, trekking, motorbiking, etc.

Desert region of west

Deserts are desolate places but these places have their own unique and peculiar features which can be turned into tourism attractions. Camel safaris and jeep safaris on sand dunes are popular activities that are performed here. Living in the tent houses or other makeshift camps on sand dunes is one of the main attractions of this region.

Beaches and coastline of Peninsula

India is a country dotted with vast coastline flanking its eastern and western borders in south. There are a number of beaches where people from all over the world confluence and make merry. These are also famous destinations for water sporting action such as parasailing, snorkelling, etc as well as for ayurvedic massages. Natural surroundings provide ample scope for adventure tours.

Virgin forest lands of north east

The north eastern part of the country is still the land where virgin forests are found a plenty. Combined with the mountainous terrain, this region is famed for wildlife tourism and natural surroundings.

Isolated island territories of Andaman and Lakshdweep

Andaman and Nicobar islands and Lakshadweep are two main island groups that provide seclusion to the tourists. Pristing waters of the sea and the sea life as such provide unique experience. Water sporting activities can be done in these territories.

The Ruined Peshwa Heritage at Shaniwar Wada

Pune is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra in the central part of India. It is also the seventh largest city in India with an area of about 710 sq km. The average elevation of the metropolis is 560 metres and more than nine million people live here. It can be said that the region was inhabited in 8th century AD, by carbon-dating, the copper plates which were excavated here. The 17th century was a time of stiff competition among the Marathas and Mughals, who desperately wanted to control it. For nearly a century from 1720 to 1817, Peshwas like Baji Rao controlled the region and built a number of temples. The Battle of Khadki, resulted in the Peshwa defeat and the British victory. A lot of development happened in the city after India gained independence in 1947 and since then, it has gained a reputation as a preferred holiday destination. A Pune tour can be planned to come here and visit its attractions like Shaniwar Wada, public parks, Aga Khan Palace and Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum.

Shaniwar Wada

 

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwar Wada is a royal palace in the city, the construction of which was started by Baji Rao Peshwa in 1730. Teak from Junnar, stones from Chinchwad and limestone from Jejuri was brought to build it at a total cost of INR 16110, which was considered a lot in those times. It was opened after performing elaborate Hindu rituals on January 22, 1732. During the course of its existence, many additions and modifications were made to it by its residents. The Dilli Darwaza is the most important of the five gates into the complex. As the name suggests, it faces the city of Delhi and is large enough for elephants to enter. Metal spikes have been erected on it, facing outwards, to prevent an invasion by elephant-mounted soldiers. It is further strengthened with metal bars and heavy bolts, at the joints. The right door has a smaller door from where humans can enter.

Buildings

A path, turning at right angles first to the right and then to the left, leads to the main complex. This is another defensive feature that is characteristic of military fortifications. Khidki, Mastani, Ganesh and Jambhul are the names of the other four gateways into the castle. Most of the important buildings like the audience hall, dance hall and mirror hall were ravaged by the fire of 1828; hence, only written descriptions of them are available. According to these accounts, all the structures had carved arches and teak pillars supporting the ceiling. These columns are said to be exquisitely carved with images of vines and flowers. Scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata were depicted on walls and polished marble floors.

Gardens and Directions

The most significant feature of the fort that survives till date is its expansive lush gardens. It situated on two levels: one is on the ground and the other is slightly raised and is accessed via a small flight of stairs. The gardens are dotted with numerous water pools, fountains and are dominated by a statue of Lord Ganesha, in one of its corners. This tourist attraction is located 3 km from the railway station and 11 km from the international airport, which serves flights coming from major Indian cities, along with Dubai and Frankfurt.

Up-Close-and-Personal with Large Mammals in Kenya

Kenya is situated in Eastern Africa, to the west of the Indian Ocean. It borders Tanzania in the south, Uganda in the west, South Sudan in the north-west, Ethiopia in the east and Somalia in the north-east. Lying on the Equator makes it extremely hot with little change in the weather. Crocodile fossils, discovered in the region, hint that beasts inhabited the country as early as 200 million years ago. Homo habilis appeared in the region in about 2.5 million years ago and was the earliest humanoids. More than 44 million humans live in the 581309 square kilometres area of this largely agrarian nation. Industry is the second biggest contributor to its economy making it the most developed country in East Africa. Grain processing, beer production and sugarcane crushing are some significant food industries. Other industries are cement, oil refining, assembling of vehicles from parts, household goods and farm equipment. Apart from them, tourism is also helping the economy to grow and is contributing to it immensely. Most visitors take a Kenya tour to enjoy safaris in its national parks like Amboseli, Kora, Tsavo East and Nairobi.

 

Tsavo East National Park: Geography and Attractions

 

Tsavo National Park

Tsavo National Park

With an area of about 13747 square kilometres, the Tsavo National Park is the largest protected wildlife hotspot in the country. The main entrance gate in Mtitio Andei is located about 233 km from Nairobi. Most of the region is a vast stretch of grassland, known in Africa as Savannah, through which, rivers Athi and Tsavo merge and form the Galana River. The park is also of archaeological significance as many artefacts from the early, middle and late Stone Age have been discovered from the floodplain of the river Galana.

Munduanda Rock

Munduanda Rock

Its rich diversity of animals has made it quite a popular tourist destination. Visitors can consider trekking to the top of Munduanda Rock, which is an isolated hill. The pond below it quenches the thirst of animals and it becomes a good place to view the surroundings and the wildlife. Tourists, who are roaming around, can also undertake a journey to the Yatta Plateau. It is a 290 km long land form, formed by continuously flowing lava.

The Aruba Dam, built across the Voi River and the Lugard Falls can also be explored, while people are visiting this park.

Vegetation and Wildlife

Many large mammals roam in the unhindered and naturally grassy lands. About 675 individual African lions are the biggest attractions here and safaris are the best way to see them in their natural surroundings. Mammals, larger than the king of the forest, include buffaloes, elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes and hippopotamus. Another big cat, which is found here in considerable numbers, is the leopard. Cheetah, the fastest mammal in the world and sometimes considered as a big cat also roams these lands. Among the relatively smaller ones inhabiting the region are various species of primates, rats, mongooses, antelopes, hyenas, foxes, zebras, jackals and rats. More than 500 species of birds also live here or migrate during various seasons.

agama lizards

agama lizards

The monitor, gecko and agama lizards, chameleons and crocodiles make up the reptiles, inhabiting the area. Besides the animals and birds, there are things worth seeing in this protected territory. It can be accessed via road from Nairobi and flights landing on an airstrip in and around the territory.

Sikkim – A Gateway between Two Countries

Sikkim is a beautiful Indian state in the north-eastern part of the country. It is a mountainous state, lying in the Eastern Himalayas, with elevations ranging between 280 and 8568 metres at the summit of Kangchenjunga. It is the second smallest and the least populated state in the country. Padmasambhava, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, is said to have come here in the 9th century. Another legend tells that Guru Tashi, a prince from Tibet, had and epiphany telling him to travel south. Monarchy was established in the region in 1642, with Phuntsog Namgyal being proclaimed as its first king by lamas. In the 18th century, the region saw invasions from Bhutan and Nepal. The kingdom allied with the British against the latter in 1814, resulting in the Gurkha War. It became a part of India after signing a referendum in 1975. Since then, it developed a reputation as a major tourist destination. Sikkim travel is an ideal way to see its alpine lakes, Buddhist monasteries and the pass named Nathu La.

 

Nathu La

 

Nathu La

Nathu La

Nathu La is a high-altitude mountain pass in the south-eastern part of the state. It connects India to the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. In the Tibetan language, its name translates as listening ears pass. Situated at an altitude of 14450 feet above sea level, it is one of the three open borders between India and China. The Indian government has allowed the trading border to develop it into a tourist destination. Only Indian citizens, after obtaining a permit from Gangtok, can visit the site. It was closed after the 1961 war and reopened in 2006. An agreement between the two nuclear military powers allows 29 types of items from the Indian and 15 types from the Chinese side to cross the no mans land. Since ancient times, it has been used as a significant trading route, with the Silk Route passing through here. Crossing the line towards Tibet leads people to the Chumbi Valley.

 

The area is important for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims, who have to undertake inter-country journeys to go to their respective temples and sites. Rumtek Monastery is an important Buddhist destination, where monks and devotees from Tibet arrive. Similarly, the Hindus take annual pilgrimages to Manasarovar Lake and Mount Kailash on the other side. The opening of the pass for human travellers is expected to cut the distance and the time taken to move from one nation to another, significantly. While coming here, tourists encounter many beautiful alpine glacial lakes on the way that further increase the value of the destination. The vegetation changes dramatically as people climb upwards. At lower elevations between 2000 and 6000 feet, pine is the dominant tree type. Above this, up to a height of about 9000 feet, the vegetation comprises deodar, fir and spruce. Further upwards, trees disappear and only meadows of grass, rhododendrons and other herbs like aconite or wolfsbane are found.

 

Many streams and rivers originate from the surrounding mountains gush through the region. The wildlife includes snow leopards, wolves, gazelles, snow cocks, lammergeiers, crows and eagles. The site should ideally be visited between May and August as during the rest of the year, it remains snow-clad.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – the Ultimate Experience

The Indian Railways, in many ways, is the lifeline of the country, hauling enormous amounts of cargo and passengers from one region to another. With a total route length of 65436 km, it is amongst the largest rail networks in the world. Established in 1853, it now provides employment to more than one million people of the country. According to reports, the agency carried about 8425 million passengers and around 1050.18 million tons of freight during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Some of its routes, which go through mountains, are quite popular among tourists and special trains are operated on them. One such service takes people to Darjeeling and their Darjeeling tour package cost may or may not be inclusive of it.

The Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is undoubtedly the most famous section of the entire system. It is an 88 km long route, between the towns of New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, in the state of West Bengal. Being built between 1879 and 1881 makes it one of the oldest railway sections in India. A combination of steam and diesel locomotives haul the trains. Due to the steepness of the climb, many loops and Z-reverses are constructed along the line to make the ascension easier. The train begins its journey from the New Jalpaiguri station, from where it reaches the town of Siliguri, which has two stations along the route. Next halt is at Sukna, after which the plains are left behind and climb to the mountains begins. During the 8 km long run between Sukna and Rongtong, the track cuts the winding Hill Carter Road at many junctures.

Moving further from Rongtong, the line goes through the first zigzag or Z-reverse. Chunabhatti, the next town, is reached after circling around the first loop. Two consecutive zigzags are parts of the line between Chunabhatti and Tindharia. The latter is a major junction, having workshops and sheds. Agony Point is the name given to the second loop, which is encircled from Tindharia towards Gaya Bari. It is named so because it is quite a tight curve and is prone to derailments. The last Z-reverse on the line leads to the town of Mahanadi. The journey to Kurseong does not involve crossing or climbing any loops and zigzags. A market is located above the Kurseong station, which the track crosses through. The shops are just an arm-stretch away from the coaches and it is almost like strolling past the market. Further on the route are stoppages at Dilaram, Sonada, Rangbul and Jorebunglow.

The highest point of the trip, Ghoom (2258 metres), comes after the town of Jorebunglow. A museum on the first floor of the station building and exhibits housed in the freight warehouse can be seen by tourists. The Batasia Loop is the last loop on the way and comes after Ghoom. From here, travellers get a panoramic view of the high mountains, including the 8586 metres high Kangchenjunga and the destination city, which is the last stop on the line and its terminus. All through the way, people can look down at the plains or the Himalayas. A holiday package in India can be modified to take this train to the city.