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Top 10 travel ideas for July 2017
Yatra for Iced ShivlingTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

One of India’s most famous annual pilgrimages, to what is considered as one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The Amarnath cave is surrounded by snowy mountains, situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), about 141 km from Srinagar. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave on challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalagmite formed inside the cave. Pilgrims visit the holy site during the 45-day season around the festival of Shravani Mela in July–August. Yatra has already commenced on 29th June and will end on August 7. There are two routes to travel. First one and the traditional one is Jammu - Pahalgam - Chandanwari - Pissu Top - Sheshnag - Panchtarni - Holy Cave. Another one is Srinagar-Sonmarg-Baltal - Domail - Barari - Holy Cave. This is a 14 km. steep trek – one way. Only the very fit can go and come back the same day after trekking for 28 kms. It is possible to hire ponies or palkies. Baltal is, more popular because of its shorter distance. One can also take a helicopter ride close to cave from Sonmarg.

When: 29th June-7th August 2017

Odyssey to LehTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

Leh is mecca to adventurers but it is also the test of nerves. The 13th edition of the Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey is to be flagged off from New Delhi on 9th July 2016. This is for all those who love to ride on tough and testing terrain and have the passion to ride. Road trip to Leh through some of the highest motorable mountain passes in the world is one of the most thrilling journeys, one can embark upon. Adventure seekers have tried every possible vehicle on this route. They go on SUVs, cars, bikes, scooters, mopeds and ofcourse bicycles. Journey normally starts from Manali and climbs to cross Rohtang as the first high altitude pass. Next comes Gramphu, where one road on the right takes to Spiti Valley through Kunzam La. While another route on left takes you inside the Lahaul valley towards Leh through- Keylong, Sarchu and Pang. But the epitome of this route is crossing high altitude passes- Baralacha-La (5030 m), Nakee-La (4739 m), Lachulung-La (5065 m) and Tanglang-La (5328 m). Equally amazing is plateau called More plains at an altitude of 4700 metres. Many places on the way have accommodation for a night stay. There are many places to establish camps as well. Its almost ritualistic for many riders to go to Leh on this route in July. Many groups plan their trips during this time. Those who enjoy the company Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey is best suited to them. Also, debuting this year is Himalayan Odyssey Women's Edition which will have 20 women participants riding on their most memorable motorcycling journey powered by Royal Enfield.

When: 6th to 23rd July 2017

Hemis Tsechu festival, Ladakh Top 10 travel ideas for July 2017

Once you are in Ladakh, you will certainly like to enjoy the monastic festivals as well. The Hemis Tsechu festival takes place annually at the Hemis monastery, the biggest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. This two-day festival falls on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month and commemorates the birth of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. A major highlight of the celebrations is the resident Lamas performing sacred masked dances (or a ‘chaam’) accompanied by music from drums, cymbals and long horns in the monastery courtyard. These dances mark the victory of good over evil. As the Hemis festival is held during the peak summer season, it attracts the largest number of people from within and outside Ladakh. The festival is a good opportunity for all the villagers and families to get together and socialise and also a good chance for travellers to interact with the local people. Actually many of the monasteries in Ladakh have their own celebrations during this time of the year. As Shachukal Gustor (July 11-12), Stongday Gustor (July 12-13), Karsha Gustor (July 21-22), Phyang Tserup (July 21-22) and Korzok Gustor (July 26-27) but Hemis Tsechu is certainly the most celebrated of them.

When: 3rd & 4th July 2017

Feeding of Elephants at Njangattiri AanayoottuTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

The ancient principles of Ayurveda stipulate the Malayalam month of karkkidakam (corresponding to July / August) as the ideal period for rejuvenation. Rejuvenation therapies are believed to be most effective during this period and so it is not just for humans that such therapies are conducted but for the animals too. Animal loving as they are, during this period Keralites shower on the elephants the boons of Ayurveda. The aanayoottu or feeding of elephants with specially medicated food which is held in various parts of Kerala during this time is a very interesting ceremony. These ceremonies are held mostly in the temple premises and the more popular amongst them is the one held at the Njangattiri Bhagavathi Temple at Pattambi in Palakkad district. For the ceremony, elephants lined up on the temple premises are given delicious and healthy food. It is also considered to be a means by which to please Lord Ganesha, the elephant-faced God believed to be responsible for clearing the hurdles along the path of one’s life. Aanayoottu is also held at Vadakkumnathan Temple in Thrissur, where it would be held earlier on 17th July

When: 21st July 2017, Njangattiri Bhagavathi Temple, Pattambi, Palakkad
Getting there: Nearest railway station is Shoranur, about 18 km while nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport (Tamil Nadu), about 55 km from Palakkad.

Boat race season kicks off at Champakkulam Top 10 travel ideas for July 2017

The snake boat race of Kerala or the vallamkali (boat race) is not just an event that lasts for a few hours or a day. Rather, it is a phenomenon the impact of which will last for a lifetime. In Kerala, the season of boat races starts with the famous Champakkulam Moolam Vallam Kali. The festival takes place on the placid waters of River Pamba at Champakkulam, a serene village in Alappuzha district. It is held on the moolam asterism in the Malayalam month of mithunam (roughly June/July). Since it is by far the largest sporting event in the world, the snake boat race is often considered to be the ultimate test of endurance, strength, speed and skill. On the day of the race, people, both locals and travellers from far and near flock to the river bank to enjoy the race.  As the sun comes straight on top of all gathered, boats in various categories like the chundan (snake boat), veppu, iruttu kuthi, churulan and others from nearby regions assemble at the starting point of the race. Among these boats, the snake boats with its fascinating design are the cynosure of all eyes. The largest team sport in the world, the sheer grandeur of the vallamkali and the regal bearing of each of the mammoth snake boats need to be witnessed firsthand to be understood. 

When: 8th July 2017
Getting there: Nearest railway station is Alapuzha, about 17 km, while nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, about 85 km from Alapuzha town

Waynad Monsoon Carnival, WayanadTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

A joint initiative by Kerala Tourism, Govt. of Kerala and Wayanad Tourism, SPLASH – Wayanad Monsoon Carnival used to be hosted every year in the month of July to showcase various tourist destinations and attractions of Wayanad, Splash-Wayanad Monsoon Carnival, is a joint venture by Kerala Tourism, Government of Kerala & the Wayanad Tourism Organisation. Wayanad is a green stretch of land blessed with many of nature’s wonderful gifts and cultural heritage. The name itself is derived from the word “Wayal Nadu” which means “the land of paddy fields”. Wayanad is one of the best hill stations in South India. And this means, there is no lack of beautiful natural sights. But what makes Wayanad so special is its adventurous side. Its strategic location in between of Western Ghats’ mountains gives travelers immense opportunities to trail trekking routes, mountain climbing, hiking etc. Splash earlier used to be a unique platform for Business to Business (B2B) meet. More than 400 travel agents and property owners used to interact here to exchange their views and experiences. Now B2B meet (Splash) is held every alternate year. Last year it ws not held, hence this year it is fun well as business.

When: 7th to 9th July 2017

Colourful Behdienkhlam of MeghalayaTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

The Behdienkhlam festival is one of the most popular religious festivals of the Pnar (a tribal community in Jaintia hills district of Meghalaya). Thousands of devotees and spectators coming from all over Khasi and Jaintia hills even the tourists witness the colourful celebration held at “Aitnar” – a sacred pool. Organised annually by the Seinraij Jowai, this unique festival is held after the sowing season is over so as to overcome any destructive forces of nature including diseases by invoking the God for a good harvest. The Behdienkhlam literally means driving away the plague as “Khlam” means ‘Plague’ and “Beh Dein” means to drive away the plague. Participating in the festival, niamtre faithful both young and old from various localities like Iongpiah, Dulong, Panaliar, Loomkyrwiang, Chilliangraij, Loomiongkjam, Tpep-pale Iawmusiang, Ummulong and Shillong Sein Raij bring their well-designed colourful ‘Rots’ or ‘Raths’ at Aitnar. The various rots carry with them different meaning and messages depicting the present social, political and economic issues of the state and apparently the Behdienkhlam is not all about driving away sickness but to also drive away such social evils that are inflicting the society. The elders of the Sein Raij, including the Dolloi (religious heads) perform various rituals before the rots are brought to the pool.

When: 16th July 2017
Where: Jowai, Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya

A maize which is Minjar at ChambaTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

International Minjar fair is a splendid carnival held in Chamba town of Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh. Known to be a real fun fiesta, the fair comes as a welcome break to the locals and tourists both who throng the region during the fair. Celebrated with a marked enthusiasm, the fair comes as a cultural binding force as it totally rejuvenates the ethnic spirit of the people of this region. Deriving its name from the maize flower, the Minjar Fair finds a lot of legends and folklore’s attached to it. It is believed that an old lady wanted to meet the contemporary king of Chamba and was too poor to buy a nice gift for the king, so the lady took a maize flower along and presented it to the king. The king was so greatly moved by the simplicity of the lady that he declared the day to be feted as maize day or Minjar day. Since then, the day began to be celebrated with great pomp and show. Those festivities take place in the form of Minjar fair at Chamba. It is also said that Raja of Chamba went to Kangra and won the battle. When he was coming back from Kangra via Bhatiyat, the season of Dhan was in full swing, people of the area were busy in their fields, thus, they presented the flower of that Dhan to the Raja. When Raja crossed the Jot and entered other side of Chamba, people were busy in maize crop and they presented the maize flower to the Raja. Minjar mela have now been changed a lot, it has been declared as International fair. Many cultural troupes and Chamba people also  participate in the last day procession. Mirza family specially authorized to make a cord of reshmi dhaga which is called minjar. They offer it to the Lord Raghuvir, and Bhagwan Laxmi Nath before giving to the market. Procession also started from the Akhand Chandi Palace of Chamba. During nights, cultural programmes are organised in which many bollywood artists and local artists performs. Whereas, during day time, sports activities are performed which are main attraction of the Minjar Fair.

When: 23rd-30th July 2017
Where: Chamba, Himachal Pradesh

Fertility of Dree FestivalTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

Dree is a fertility festival of the Apatanis held annually on July 5. The word ‘Dree’ is derived from ‘Diiri’, which means purchasing or borrowing of food items when in scarcity or add to the existing stock in anticipation of lean days. In other words Dree is named after Diiri Piilo, a month in Apatani calendar. According to one traditional version, Anii Donii and Abo Liibo, Mother Sun and Father Moon, obtained paddy seeds from Murtu Yaring and sowed it. The yield was, however, poor so a priest called, Nyibu Kharii propitiated Harniyang Pubyang following which crop yields increased. Ever since, people celebrate this festival for good crops every year. Ever since, Apatains celebrate Dree evry year during Dree Piilo, June –July, for goods crops and family and social welfare. Before 1967 when Dree was given a modern outlook by the educated sections of the society led by Lod Kojee, the festival was observed on a suitable date in villages. A priest inaugurated the festival and then people took out a procession from Lapang, a community platform, with chanting of hymns to appease spirits. Taboos followed performance of various rituals such as Tamu, Metii, and Danyi. During taboos they conduct social discussions, games and sports and entertainments. Main highlights of present day Dree celebration are inauguration of the festival by a chief guest, hoisting of Dree flag, rituals and presentation of cultural activities. Cucumber, symbolizing sacredness of vegetables, is distributed to guests and participants. Games and sports, community feast, and entertainment also form a part of the celebration. The Dree Festival is the biggest festival of the Apatanis and celebrated with zest marked by sacrificial offerings and prayers.

When: 5th July 2017

Swinging on TeejTop 10 travel ideas for July 2017

If down south doesn’t interest you then there is one of the most colourful festivals of the season on up West-Teej. A festival to rejoice the colours, crisscross green-yellow lines, mehandi, rains and jhoolas (swings), Teej is celebrated mainly by the women folk of Rajasthan. Married women who idolize pravati for her devotion to her husband, Shiva, celebrate Teej. The rituals allow the women to pamper and enjoy themselves, to feast, to dress in the best of clothes and jewellery, and to look their stunning best. Antique gilt palanquins, bullock carts pulling cannons, chariots, and gaily decorated horses, camels, brass bands and groups of dances all from a part of this grand spectacle. The palanquin of Goddess Paravati is carried by eight men dressed in red. Though celebrations are held all over the state, it is particularly colourful in Jaipur where a procession winds its way on two days through the old Pink City. On the occasion of Teej, markets in Jaipur are stocked with trendiest women accessories and clothes. Most of the fabric clothes display ‘laheria’ (tie and dye) prints. Sweetshops keep different Teej sweets but ‘Ghevar and Feeni’ is the main sweet of the season. All over Rajasthan, swings are hung from trees and decorated with fragrant flowers. Women both married and unmarried love to swing on these swings to celebrate the 'Sawan festival'. 

When: 26-27 July 2017
Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan

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