Pondicherry is the capital city of puducherry union territory . Pondicherry is a peaceful city. Pondicherry is referred by names such as ‘Quintessence of French Culture’, ‘India’s Little France’ and ‘The French Riviera of the East’. This territory was under the French rule for nearly 281 years. Still it has the French flavor in it as one can see by the grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards, and placid promenades, spellings on sign boards and buildings, names of roads and public places.


The modern History of Pondicherry can be traced back with the reign of the Sultan of Bijapur who acceded the throne after the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire that came to an end in the year 1638. Since the beginning of the 16th century, the influence of the foreign countries gained prominence in Pondicherry.

The 17th century marked the beginning of colonial era in India. The French East India Company set up its trading centre at Pondicherry in 1673 and eventually became the chief French settlement in India. Dutch and British trading companies also wanted trade with India and thus wars raged between these European countries and spilled over into the Indian subcontinent. The Dutch captured Pondicherry in 1693 but returned it to France by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1699. During the Anglo-French wars (1742-1763), Pondicherry changed hands frequently. It was taken again by the British in 1793 amid the Wars of the French Revolution, but once again returned to France in 1814. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s, they allowed the French to retain their settlement Pondicherry and thus it remained a part of French India until 1954. It was organized as a Union Territory in 1963.


By Air:Pondicherry does not have any airport with in its boundary, Chennai airport is 135 kms from Pondicherry and flights connect to major cities in India and directly to many other international destinations.

By Rail: Pondicherry is connected by rail to Villupuram (36 kms), which connects to Chennai and Madurai/Trivandrum.

By Road: There is a good road network, originating from National Highway 45, which covers Pondicherry: Chennai (150 km), Bangalore (320 km).


The Aurobindo Ashram makes hip leather bags, wallets and sandals with a unique style where patterns are carved out of the leather. They also sell very good handmade paper, incense sticks and batik that comes from their own factory. Other shops also sell similar ware but you must at least check out the Ashram shops.

The exquisite local handicraft items are popular among tourists. Pondicherry being a tax free zone, all items from garments to cars are in great demand here. Infact, Pondicherry is turning out to be a major shopping hub of southern India.


Pondicherry has good accommodation facilities in budget, mid-range and top-end categories. Hotels in the luxury category are Ananda Inn and Pondicherry Ashok. Examples of good hotels in mid-range category are Adhitya, Ajantha, Nadesh and Sooriya.

The Aurobindo Ashram by the sea has some of the best accommodation. The guesthouses are neat, the rates are very reasonable and they are in the best area. No Smoking, No Drinking rules apply strictly and you have to report back by 10:30 at night, but since Pondicherry is anyway a Wee-Willie-Winky town, it shouldn’t hurt much. There are some reasonably priced hotels that give you the luxury of air-conditioning, cable TV and in-house bars out of which The Promenade is recommended as is the De L''Orient Hotel which belongs to the Neemrana chain. Budget accommodation is plentiful and good value for money though most have a shared-bath system.


Yanam River Cruise
Yanam, in coastal Andhra Pradesh, provides a different route to exhilaration. As you enjoy a sunset cruise down the spectacular Goringa Godavari river which winds through rich mangrove forests.

STD Code
Summer 24-38°C, Winter 20-23°C
Best time to visit
October to April

Nandi Hills


60 kms from Bangalore, Nandi Hills of Karnataka is the most popular weekend getaway. Perched at a height of 1455meters above sea level, Nandi Hills provides an idyllic retreat for many tourists, just as it served as an ideal summer repose for Tipu Sultan and the British. The hill station abounds in natural beauty. Walking along the mountain tracks among innumerable scenic spots can be a very rejuvenating experience for you. The rich mountain valley, sharp hairpin turns along steep slopes, small cottages clinging along the mountain edges, the cool breeze and the clear blue sky above, are reasons enough for you to plan your vacation in this pristine hill station.


Air: The nearest airport is Bangalore international airport. It is about 60 km away from Nandi Hills. Taxis are available in the airport and fare is about Rs 1200 from airport to Nandi hills. From Bangalore airport one can travel to all the major cities in India and many cities abroad.

Rail: The railway station nearest to the Nandi Hills is that of Chikkaballapur just 9 km away. Though it is the railhead at Bangalore though 65 km away from the Nandi Hills is connected with all the major places in India through rail. There are frequent trains that connect Chikkaballapur with Bangalore.

Road: The excellent road network links the Nandi Hills with the important places like Bangalore and Chikkaballapur. Nandi Hills is situated on the Bangalore - Hyderabad National Highway


Accommodation is easily available at the Nandi Hills. You may take your pick from hotel, cottage, tourist bungalow, Forest lodge, Guest House et al at the Nandi Hills. Otherwise you may stay at any of the several star categorized hotels or Budget accommodations in Bangalore, just 65 km from Nandi Hills. In fact you may take up the one-day conducted tour to the Nandi Hills from Bangalore coordinated by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and other tour operators. It is an hour and a half's drive from Bangalore to the Nandi Hills.

Chikkaballapur district



Bangalore, the bustling capital city of Karnataka, has historically been known as the "Garden City" because of its pleasant climate and moderate temperature and a good number of gardens, parks and natural lakes. After the IT boom Bangalore came to be described as the "Silicon Valley" of Asia with a number of industries like aerospace, telecommunications, defence organistaions etc setting up their base here. Bangalore is the anglicised version of Kannada language and the official name of the city is Bengaluru.


The name Bengaluru derived from the Kannada word ‘bhenda kaale ooru’ meaning ‘town of baked beans’. Legend says that the name came into being because of a 10th century incident when a local king, Vira Ballala, turned up hungry at the doorstep of an old lady and she fed boiled beans. Out of gratitude to the old lady, the king named the place after food she generously fed him. Some historians however propose that the name simply originates from the word "Benga" or "Ven-kai" tree. The name Bengaluru is also found mentioned in a 9th century inscription regarding Ganga.
In the 16th century a local chieftain and the founder of modern day Bangalore, Kempe Gowda, constructed a mud wall around the city (in 1537). The town was then named " GalluBhoomi" meaning the "Land of Heroes". Later, under the rule of Hyder Ali and then his son, Tipu Sultan, it became an important fortified city with beautiful gardens. When the British took over Mysore State from Tipu Sultan, they shifted the capital to Bangalore from Mysore. Bangalore remains the capital of the state that is now known as Karnataka.
The city progressed rapidly under the British who established civic amenities, constructed grand buildings and parks. In 1881, the Wodeyars were given control of the city.


Air: Bangalore International Airport is 40 km away from the heart of the city, Majestic. It costs about Rs 300 by auto rickshaw and Rs 600 by taxi. Pre paid taxi facilities are available in Airport. Bangalore airport is well connected to almost all airports in India. International flights to major foreign cities are also operated from Bangalore.

Rail: Bangalore Majestic, Bangalore Cantonment (8 km to Majestic) and Yeshwanthpur (10 km away from Majestic) are the three main stations in Bangalore. Bangalore Majestic is connected to all major cities in India.

Road: KSRTC buses connect all cities in the state to Bangalore. Many super deluxe bus services are available from Bangalore to Hyderabad, Cochin, Trivandrum, Chennai, Mumbai, Goa and Mysore.


For shopper's Bangalore is a paradise. Traditional buys of Bangalore include silks, jewellery, sandalwood, agarbatties, antiques etc. Bangalore has a number of new shopping malls and other old markets as well. You will find outlets of all the renowned brands in the shopping malls of Bangalore. For traditional handicrafts Bangalore has a Arts and Crafts Emporim too. Visit the Kaveri Arts and Crafts Emporium which stocks a huge range of superb handcrafted tables, carvings, ivory ware, jewellery, ceramics, carpets and agarbatties.

Shopping in Bangalore can be a fascinating experience because Bangalore has something to offer every kind of customer. Whether you are looking for Kancheepuram Silk or Swarovski crystal, chances are you will find it in Bangalore.
Bangalore is famous for the shopping malls, which have some of the finest and biggest showrooms in India.

Commercial Street is one of the busiest and crowded shopping areas in Bangalore. The shops are filled with shoes, jewelry, art decors, stationery, novelties, and travel kits and sports goods. The South Parade of the British Period, now known as the MG Road still retains the colonial charm even after lot of development and advancement has been made.

This is the place for shopping for electronic equipments, books and magazines, silk saris, textiles, antiques and photography equipments. Brigade Road, which is adjacent to MG Road is famous for electronic items such as televisions, refrigerators, music systems, computers, and washing machines and government emporiums where one can find brassware, wooden furniture, antique jewelry, ethnic printed fabrics, saris and decorative items. One should check out the Majestic area, where one can come away with really good buys and bargains. There are also a couple of markets called the Hong Kong Market, Burma Bazaar with small shops selling imported perfumes, accessories and electronic goods.

Apart form those shopping areas, Bangalore has lots of other commercial areas famous in their own way for the products they have on offer. Richard Square in Russell Market, for instance, is known for cutlery, crockery and household items. Chickpet is famous for its Silk Sarees, Silver and Gold jewelers and Textiles and Arcot Srinivaschari Street for metal items like brass, silver and copperware.

On B.V.K. Iyengar Road one can find wood products, plywood, paper and electrical goods. Avenue Road is known for its stationery, stainless steel ware and silver jewellery. For upmarket shops with an air-conditioned ambience one can go to KempFort, Shopper's Stop or some of the new shopping malls in the city like Forum and Bangalore Central.

Commercial Street: Commercial Street in Bangalore is one of the main shopping complexes in India. The whole of the street is lit by a covering of lights that are threaded from lamppost to lamppost. The energy of the people shopping here is high and one can get a good sense of the chaos that is prevalent there.

The Commercial Street is one of the busiest areas in Bangalore. It is placed between Shivaji Nagar and Kamaraj Road. Garments, hosiery and textile stores form the major part of the shops. In addition there are shops selling shoes, art materials, jewellery, sport goods and other general goods.


Bangalore, the IT Hub of India, also known as the Silicon Valley of India has hotels with international standards. Bangalore hotels range from five-star hotels and luxury resorts to budget hotels.

Bangalore hotels offer well-equipped business centers and meeting rooms for the business traveler. For the economy and leisure tourist, there are hotels near the main shopping area, MG Road which offer a comfortable stay as well as opportunities for shopping in Bangalore. There are also tourist attractions in Bangalore, which are accessible to the tourist.

One of the frequented destinations of India, Bangalore is dotted with large number of hotels. Ranging from five star to budget hotels, Bangalore hotels provide a comfortable stay to guests. All the deluxe and luxury hotels are well-equipped with contemporary facilities, while you stay in Bangalore hotels you feel yourself at home. Important hotels of Bangalore include Hotel Oberoi, Leela Palace Kempinski, ITC Hotel Windsor Sheraton & Towers, Taj West End, The Park, Taj Residency, Le Meridien, Gateway Hotel, The Central Park, The Richmond Hotel, The Chancery etc.

Among the prominent hotels in Bangalore are:


The Oberoi
The Taj West End Hotel


The Leela Palace Kempinski
Le Meridien
Taj Residency


Hotel Basant Residency
Hotel Ramanshree
Nilgiris Nest
Kamat Yatrinivas


Hotel Ashok
St. Mark's Hotel
Central Park

There are numerous accommodation options available for the tourists throughout the city. Some of them are Ista Hotel, Ballal Residency, Casa Piccola, Cottage, Melange, Jayamahal Palace.

STD Code
Summer 23-33°C, Winter 12-23°C
Best time to visit
October to March



Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram as it was formerly known, is an enigma for historians.

The temple city of Mahabalipuram (also Mamallapuram) is situated just 60 km off Chennai on the Bay of Bengal coast in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It extends from latitude 12°37' in the North to longitude 80°14' in the East. The city is well connected through a network of roads from Chennai and other important cities of South India. Many of the Resorts Mahabalipuram are strategically located close to the tourist spots.


Mahabalipuram is one of history's intriguing enigmas. The ancient Mamallapuram, as Mahabalipuram was formerly known, was flourishing port town of the Pallava rulers of south India who chiseled in stone a fabulous "open-air museum" of sculpture under the vault of a burning sky. Apart from this, nothing is known of the place. What was the purpose behind this whole exercise, and, more important, why all the royal patronage this place enjoyed suddenly disappeared, no one actually has any answer. Staying at Mahabalipuram Resorts is an unique way of experiencing its history.

Experts say that there were seven pagodas or temples on the shores of Mahabalipuram. All but one were pillaged by the rapacious sea, though there is little underwater evidence to substantiate their existence.

Most of the temples and rock carvings of this place were built during the reigns of Narsinha Varman I (AD 630-668) and Narsinha Varman II (AD 700-728). Though the initial kings of Pallava dynasty were followers of Jainism, the conversion of Mahendra Varman (AD 600-630) to Shaivism led most of the monuments to be related with Shiva or Vishnu.


Air: The nearest airport is Chennai International airport, which is located at 58 km away from Mahabalipuram. Chennai airport is having two terminals, domestic and International. Chennai is well connected to all major cities in India and many cities in abroad including Colombo, Middle East countries, Singapore and Gulf countries. Taxi fare from airport to Mahabalipuram is about Rs 1200.

Rail: The nearest rail head is Chengalpattu, which is 29 km away from Mahabalipuram city. Chennai is the major railway station nearby which is connected to all major cities in India by rail. Chengalpattu is connected to Chennai. The taxi fare from Chengalpattu to Mahabalipuram is about Rs 600 and Chennai to Mahabalipuram is Rs 1200.

Road: Mahabalipuram is well connected with many cities in and around including Chennai by Tamil Nadu public transport bus services. Many private tourist buses operate between Mahabalipuram and Chennai Central.


Mahabalipuram is a favorite shopping haunt for South Indian artifacts, both wooden and granite based.

The stone artifacts made by the locals are a collector’s delight Mamallapuram Shopping Guide.

Although a popular beach destination, shopping in Mahabalipuram will be an interesting experience as it offers exquisite souvenirs and other memorabilia.

Mahabalipuram is famous for its stone and wooden sculptures. Soapstpones, granite and wood are used to carve out gods and goddesses and unique scenes captures from everyday life. Jewellery and decorative items made of seashells are also good buys to carry home as souvenirs from this seaside town. .

The main shopping areas in Mahabalipuram are on Mount Road. The most reliable places to buy handicrafts are the government emporiums.

The shopping is excellent in Mahabalipuram. Handmade crafts made by people in the region are the specialty. These handmade crafts many times come in the form of stone statues carved to look like the enormous originals that are in the area. These statues are normally carved out of granite which enhances their beauty. Many people are more than glad to travel to this region to acquire such fine artistic pieces made by quality artisans. Soapstone images, wood carvings, jewelry, and items made from local seashells are also popular items that are sold in the local shops.


Mahabalipuram is one of the pristine beaches in India, on the coastline of TamilNadu. Hotels in Mahabalipuram welcome the tourists who flock to this seaside town to enjoy the beaches and see the magnificent monuments and temples.

The hotels overlooking the beaches offer spectacular view. Watching the sunrise or sunset from your window will be a memorable experience. If you are a foodie, then you will enjoy the delectable range of cuisine, especially the seafood.

Some of the prominent hotels in Mababalipuram are:

Temple Bay Ashok Beach Resort
Fisherman's Cove


Open Air Dance Festival: The Open Air Dance Festival in Mahabalipuram is an annual four week festival. It is held right by Arjuna's Penance. The beautiful backdrop adds to the charm of experiencing skilled dancers perform such traditional dances as Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Odissi and Kathakali. The use of this open air stage started about 13 centuries ago. Today, the best folk dancers from all over India come to perform during the festival. Other dancers come to see them dance, as do numerous tourists. The effect of skilled dancers combined with the aesthetically pleasing location ad to the special experience that is known as the Open Air Dance Festival

STD Code
Summer 22-37°C, Winter 19-32°C
Best time to visit
Throughout the year
Famous For
Known for its sandy-sunny beaches and shore Temple


Tirupati, one of the most ancient and sacred pilgrimage spots in India, is known as the abode of the 'Kaliyuga' deity Lord Venkateswara popularly known as Balaji and is famous for the Venkateswara temple in the sacred Tirumala hills. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.


Legend has it that the rulers of Kancheepuram the Pallavas patronnized this shrine way back in the 9th Century AD the temple shot into fame with contributions started pouring in only during the time of Vijayanagara dynasty in 15th Century AD. From the year 1843 till about 1933, the administrative activities of the Tirumala temple were overseen by Mahants of the Hatiramji Mutt. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam was formed in 1933 and this autonomous body looks after the functioning of the temple complex even today.


By Air: Tirupati airport is 15km from the city.

By Rail: Tirupati railway station is in the centre of the town. Good rail links with Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad etc.

By Bus: APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) buses run from all the important places in the south and between Tirupati and Tirumala.


Within the temple complex you can buy various figures of the deities and CDs that recite the various shlokas. You could also take some ''prasadam'' or ‘laddu’ for your family and friends back home.


At Tirupati a number of hotels, guest houses and tourist lodges are available at cheap rate near the railway station and bus stand. You may also stay in the Dharamshalas, located near the temple complex. Some of the famous hotels and lodges of the town are New Bhimas House, Bhimas Paradise, The Bhimas Hotel, Indira Rest House, Vasantha Vihar Lodge, Gopi Krishna Deluxe Hotel, Hotel Vishnu Priya, Hotel Mayura, Oorvasi International Hotel, Raghunadha etc.


Brahmotsavam festival
The Brahmotsavam festival celebrated in the month of October is performed over nine days and is one of the most important and auspicious events in Tirupati. Legend has it that this celebration was started by Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this festival to Sri Balaji at Tirupati as a thanksgiving for the Lord’s protection of mankind.

Chittoor district
Located at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats at a distance of 550 kilometres (340 mi) south of Hyderabad, the capital of the state and 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Chennai.
STD Code
Summer 23-43°C, Winter 10-15°C
Best time to visit
September to February
Famous For
Famous for the Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara