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We all know Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals in Bengal and as well as in India. And not only in India but in all corners of the world. In long years the Puja has changed in many ways. But one thing remained unchanged. That is the pure bliss, the joy, the excitement that has never changed throughout the years. The style of Durga Puja in Calcutta during the British period was a little different. Even before the British rule, the Durga festival was celebrated in Calcutta even during the Muslim period. Earlier, Durga Puja was not so glamorous at that time, then Raja Krishnachandra of Nadia was the first to bring great splendor to this festival. And seeing his glorious Durga Puja festival, those who became rich during the time of the British government also started the same glorious worshiping of goddess Durga.

Also, Read KOLKATA IS AN EMOTION

Durga Puja Invitation

From the middle of the eighteenth century till the rule of the famous Act No. 10 of 1840, Durgoutsab was the best social festival in Calcutta irrespective of the class of the society. The joy of the natives in this festival is more than that of the company. From Esplanade to Enntali, from Latbahadur to normal clerk, no one could have dreamed of leaving Calcutta during Pujo. Most of the time they were almost ready to wait when Pujo’s invitations would come from different big houses.

Nemantanne ( Invitation) never made mistakes. During Durga Puja, Durga Puja tickets or invitation cards used to go to different houses. At that time generous advertisements were published for the common people on behalf of the big zamindars. Advertising was an invitation for everyone. Because Babura knew, even though the occasion was Durga, this festival was the festival of the company. In the beginning, just like the money given by the company, in the end, the only desire was to get the company’s favor.

Britishers Holiday During Durga Puja

In the late nineteenth century, British officers based in Calcutta started going out of Calcutta with their families during Durga Pujo. They went on vacations to various places in Shimla, Manali, Darjeeling. Following in the footsteps of the British, the Babu community in Calcutta at that time used to leave Calcutta. At that time, Durga Puja meant to them to travel outside Calcutta like the British. The Barwari Durga festival did not start in Calcutta at that time. Durga Puja used to perform only in the house of the big zamindar of Calcutta. Durga Puja was not performed in large numbers, as all the zamindars or big people in Calcutta used to travel outside Calcutta. At that time Pujo was not so glorious in Calcutta. But from that time onwards this touring tradition began. So far, the people of Kolkata have gone out of Kolkata for the Pujo holidays.

Also, Read Unique Story- Of 7 Indian Villages

Debt-Ridden Prisoners

Apart from various pleasures of dancing, singing, and drinking during the puja, the people of the Babu community in Kolkata used to free the prisoners who were in debt. In the old days, a class of prisoners could be released only if they repaid the loan. At that time some rich people used to repay their debts and release those prisoners. They used to release more English prisoners to please the British government. As a result, during the puja season or at the small causal court, a crowd of underage people would gather. They want to go to jail right now, before Pujo. Because there is the hope of liberation soon.

Also, Read 5 India’s Most Ancient City

50 Rupees Durga Puja

At that time British officials used to perform Durga Puja with their own money. One of the employees of the company used to do Durgotsab with his own money. He is John Chips, the famous manufacturer of Hunter’s Annals of Rural Bengal. The popular ‘Sree Chikbahadur’ of Birbhum. When Chips set foot in Calcutta as a writer for the company in 1782, he was only sixteen years old. Within a few years, it was heard that he had been appointed Auditor General of the company. In due course (1787) he was appointed the first commercial agent of the company in Birbhum. The company then traded in cotton, silk, lacquer, dyes, etc. Chips added to that, personal business. The company’s office was in Sonamukhi, and Chips’ home was in Surule, near Santiniketan. Shyamkishore, a descendant of Lord Singh of Raipur, was the dewan of chips.

He started Durga Puja in the words of his Dewan Shyamkishore to improve his business. Chips already knew about the company’s official mood about Durgotsab. He organized the Durgo festival of the people with pomp and circumstance. And he used to believe that this Durga Pujo was the reason why his business flourished and every year Chips continued to perform Durga Pujo in his place. Mr. Chips used to spend only fifty rupees a year on this. Pujo costs only seventeen rupees. With the rest of the money, the people of the village used to get new clothes, and a full feast on the day of Mahasthami.

Also, Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

Six Indian States Opened For Travel – cover picture source by Google Image

Many Indian states opened for tourism in compliance with the Covid-19 rule. At the moment, as well as there are various protocols for travel in Indian states. Safety is the most important thing when travelling somewhere during this pandemic. In addition to complying with the Covid-19 Rules for travelling to different States, you should also maintain your own safety. Wearing Mask, social distancing and sanitisation is the most important part of travelling during this pandemic. From mountains to beaches, here is a list of destinations that you can visit if you follow these protocols.

Also, Read Unique Story- Of 7 Indian Villages

Goa

Goa is a name in India where most tourists want to travel. Before the Pandemic, the number of domestic tourists visiting Goa was 7.81 million and foreign tourists arrived at around 0.9 million. But since the Pandemic, this tourist amount has been declining. Last year, in 2020, only around 9.1 lakh tourists went to Goa. Travellers who are planning to go to Goa at this time have to abide by the Goa Covid-19 Rules. Chief Minister Promod Sawant said that visitors to coastal states would have to show the results of a negative RT-PCR test or a certificate of vaccination of both levels.

Also, Read The Perfect Detour – Goa

Himachal Pradesh

COVID-19 Negative Certificate or vaccine certificate (signal or both doses) is mandatory while travelling to Himachal Pradesh last update 5th august 2020. Rt-PCR test reports are not required if a tourist has taken the first or second vaccination dose. The Himachal government has made it mandatory to wear a mask. Those who are not wearing a mask could face a fine of up to Rs 5,000 Rs or 8 days in jail. And they are warning people to maintain social distance. Although many hotels or guesthouses are open in Himachal, many homestays in Himachal are yet to entertain outside tourists to stay at their homes.

Also, Read World’s 5 Places Where People Are Healthy & Long-Lived

Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand opens for Indian travellers. But if you go to Uttarakhand, you have to follow the strict Covid-19 rules of Uttarakhand. Double doses Covid vaccinations (minimum 15 days ago) report will be required to enter the Vally Of Flowers. If someone has not been vaccinated with double doses then it is mandatory to bring RT-PCR negative report, must be within 72 hours to enter Uttarakhand. These rules apply to visit Chardham and Corbett National Parks as well.

Meghalaya

If you enter Meghalaya then it is mandatory to all travellers must register on the State portal to generate a unique registration ID: http://meghalayaonline.gov.in/covid/travel.html or http://meghalayaonline.gov.in/covid/testing.htm before their arrival. As well as all travellers are undergone RT-PCR tests at the entry points. Although proof of a valid final certificate of vaccination will exempt you from the test.

Sikkim

The Sikkim government had for a long time baned the arrival of tourists from other states. From 5th July Sikkim State Government lifted the ban on the entry of travellers from others states of India. Now they allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the Himalayan state through Melli (South Sikkim) and Rongpo ( East Sikkim) check post without RT-PCR test.

Also, Read Stranger Meetup In Travel -Part 1

Ladakh

As per the latest report travellers from other parts of India are allowed to travel in Ladakh. It is strictly mandatory that all travellers have an RT-PCR negative report that is not older than 96hrs. You need this negative report to go by air to go by road. If any travellers are unable to deliver a negative report, they will have to undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing upon arrival. And all travellers want to have an Aragya Setu app on their smartphones.

Pondicherry

If you want to go to Pondicherry then it is mandatory-you need an RT-PCR negative test. And this report will also be useful for all hotel bookings there. Those arriving Pondicherry by road need an e-pass.

NOTE- Covid-19 related travel rules are changing every time in Indian states. Before going to any destination, you should check the latest rules or protocol of that destination.

Cover Image source by Google Image

In this pandemic situation all over the world, travelling is one of the difficult tasks now. It’s a strange time to be a traveller or travel enthusiastic. Our world predicated on the belief that everywhere, anywhere, is just a drive, ride or flight away. These past few months of being strictly at home, even sometimes walking down the street not even possible. If there’s no travel, there’s no travel blogging. During this time I realise maybe travelling is not physically possible for a certain time but there are many ways to explore your travelling passion.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

When Travelling In Your Hand

Virtual travel experiences that let you explore the world from your suitable place. This tours can take you pretty much anywhere, without your passport. Travelling is a learning process. Either you are in physically travel or either you travel virtual, you learning lots of unknowing things. In this pandemic situation, we don’t live our nomadic life that’s right but we watch travel documentaries, travel show and many more things. In the digital platform, there are a ton of travel vlogger publish their travel experiences. You want to know lots of new things, tips and idea about your travel destination, then there it is.

Also Read Mask Works, So Make Your Masks Work

Reading An Alternative To Travel

I always prefer to read some book, about my travel destination. Because its help me making a sudden decision during my trip. Reading is mind travel. Reading a book is clear your thought and it gives you imagination power. Last few months we all are stuck at our houses for the pandemic situation. No travel at all. Maybe coming few months are also a little difficult for the travel lover. So do that mind travel choose your next travel destination and pick the book about your destination. And I am sure your mind reached your destination. In India, there is a famous Bengali author named Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay he never been African jungle, but he wrote a famous novel called Chander Pahar (The Mountain of the moon). This Novel is published in 1937 and believe me that era not even know the power of Google or the internet. The mind is the most powerful thing we have.

Also Read Stay Healthy While You Travel

Photograph Is Another Journey

Travel without photographs means an ocean without water. A photograph is the first thing to encourage your travel. When you are home during this pandemic situation watch travel photographs. Watching travel photograph is eye-soothing and cheerful. In my childhood, I saw some African safari photos these photos till then encourage me to go to Africa. I am sure you have some travel photograph in your mind when you want to go someday.

Also Read A Trip With The Nagas

People Have A Lot Travel Stories

In my childhood, I used to listen to my father’s travel stories. I used to cherish those. Every detail, every incident used to take me to that place. Not only that, but I also got to know about so many places that hardly mentioned in any travel destination list. Now when I am an adult, I still use the same old trick. In my neighbourhood, there are people who travelled to many places. From them, I get to know about Visa procedure, places to visit, their best travel experience. These tips always help me to plan my travel and bookings.

Travelling is in your mind. Nothing in this world can stop that travel. It’s only you who can set a limit. Decide your own limit and travel as far as you can.

Also Read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh Blog Cover picture source by timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Chhattisgarh was on my travel list in 2020. But COVID 19 pandemic change all travel enthusiasm plan. If I will be allowed to going Chhattisgarh this year, then Dholkal hill Ganesh temple was one of my top list places. This temple not like that normal classic temple. The 1100-year-old this small, mysterious shrine located atop a hill in the middle of a dense forest In Dantewada district, about 350 km from Raipur in Chhattisgarh. The small hill shape of which resembles a dhol (Indian drum), and hence, it became popularly known as Dholkal. I don’t know this temple is man-made or some mystery had happened. But this temple’s location and its scenic beauty attracted everyone. I am just eagerly waiting to visit this place.

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Chhattisgarh The Untouched Melody

Sliced off from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh is one of the newest states of India, but one of the oldest enclaves, thriving with ancient tradition and customs. Weekly Haats (markets), ancient temples, dense and deep jungles, frothing waterfalls, a well-defined spiritual circuit, and intriguing customs are some of the things that awaken travelers to a new but old era.

The Myth

As per the mythology, folks believe, a battle occurred between Lord Ganesha and sage Parashurama on Dholkal hill a long time back. This was a fierce battle in which Parashurama attacked Ganesha with his farsa (ax) and cut one tooth of Ganesha. That’s why Ganesha is known as “Ekdant“. The village nearest to the hill named Faraspal (the name derived from Parshuram’s weapon). It is also saying that, because Parshuram’s farsa fell here, the Bailadila mountain range became rich in iron ore.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh
source by timesofindia.indiatims.com

11th Century’s Temple

According to history, In memory of the battle between Parashurama and Ganesha, the kings of Chindak Nagvanshi dynasty set a stone idol of Lord Ganesha at the hilltop in the 11th century. The 2.5 to 3 ft idol has carved in the shape of a Dholak (musical instrument) hence, the hill has been named Dholkal. The idol depicts Ganesha seated in his typical Lalit asana or playful and easygoing posture. The local villager worships the idol of Ganesha throughout the year, and a special fair has held at this site in the month of Magha, between January-February.

Also Read An Epic Connection With Ramayan Mahabharat – Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh

The Journey

The most interesting part about the ancient temple its journey. Raipur to Jagdalpur 300 km and Jagdalpur to Dantewada town another 80 km. Both private cabs and public buses are easily available from Raipur to Jagdalpur and Dantewada. Dantewada town to Faraspal village is 18 km away and Faraspal to Dholkar hill another 5 km trekking in the dense jungle it would help you immensely to hire the service of a local guide to make your way through the dense conifer forests. So definitely Dholkar Ganesh temple and Chhattisgarh are my bucket list. You also join me actually for this ancient city travel. Till then be safe.

Also Read Stay Healthy While You Travel

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees.” -Henry David Thoreau

No plan is the best plan. Connect to the primitive. We have heard these kinds of phrases so much that it became generic statements for us. It starts losing impact on us. Until that one-day comes in our life, when we understand the real meaning of these phases, and we adsorb the thoughts. The excess greenery does soothe the eyes and mind. When you can hear your breathing sound, the sense of alive overpowers your mind, then you can understand yes, sometimes the obvious works wonder.

Also Read The Perfect Detour – Goa

Walk in the woods lamahata
Walk in the woods PC-Neel Malakar

Why The Realisation:

In Darjeeling I got bored. Next day the plan was to move to Sikkim. So in between, I got an unwanted spare day, which I did not know how to utilise. Post breakfast, I started walking on random roads. It was 8:30 am and cold. I thought I would spend my day doing Dandi march. In a few minutes, I saw a little crowd. Few car and drivers were waiting and calling for the passenger and few people were getting on the car. “Lamahatta for 100 rupees”. I moved towards it. I asked them about the place and hopped in the car when they said Lamahatta is 45 minutes away from here. New place, about an hour’s journey, I could not think of much except one thing: No Plan is the best plan. The car started in 15 minutes.

Also Read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

Time spent among trees is never time wasted
Time spent among trees is never time wasted PC- Neel Malakar

The Moment Of My Existence:

I reached Lamahatta. It was 10:15 am when i checked my watch. Before I moved away, the driver said, it might be difficult to get a car in return. But they could wait for me if paid 1000 bucks for up and down. I smiled and moved away. I did not know at that time, whether to keep the car, or not. One thing that I could feel is that I did not want to think. It’s okay to go with the flow. Let the time come, I would figure out. That’s all I could think that time.

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walk solo lamahata eco village
walk solo

Walk In The Woods:

That moment waited for me. Sometimes we wait for some moments and sometimes the moments waiting for us. Those tall green trees were everywhere. Big rocks and hills peaks were peaking behind them. I never had seen such fresh greenery and such peace. Yes, here you can see peace. It looked calm, pure, mature. I sat on the rocks, stood on them, spread my arms and then again I sat down quietly. It was the moment when you had to do nothing, just exist. We travel abroad, spend a fat amount to get this kind of peace and happiness. Trust me sometimes the unexpected thing fulfil all your expectation. I did not compare my busy city life with that peace. I just let it flow, let it go.

For hours it healed my soul and mind. I was feeling calmer. There was no smell of worry. The place looked so primitive yet so modern. I walked on those woods for hours until the sunset. Walk in the woods is not a journey, but a feeling. You live it once but carry the sense within you until you die. Words won’t be enough to describe but definitely, it is a worth sharing story.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

Lastly, when at 5 P.M I started getting off. There it was dark and no conveyance. But strangely I was not worried about my return. As I started walking, I heard a car. It came from behind and stopped near me and asked, “Sir, it is hard to get anything to return. Can I drop you somewhere?” I smiled.

I was on my way to Kohima from Dimapur. It was already 5:30 pm, the sunset time. My shuttle car was moving slowly through the mountain valleys and my phone ringing continuously. The network was pretty bad there. Still, I picked up the call and a hasty voice asked me about my whereabouts. “Call me when you reach Kohima. Me and my family waiting for you”, the voice yelled.

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Finally, at 7:15 P.M I reached Kohima. I called him, and the network was a little better. He said that he had arranged for the car for me. His friend was the driver and owner of that car. He was waiting for me near the Kohima main bazaar. From Kohima to his house was another 40 minutes. He asked me not to worry as his driver friend would drop me safely and no payment required. On another side of the phone was Stany, my host in Nagaland.

When I decided to visit the Hornbill festival, It was mid-November. And the festival would be starting on 1st December. The hotels, homestays, and tents were prior booked for the festival. Desperate me was randomly searching Naga people on Facebook, asking for a homestay near hornbill festival ground. Then someone contacted me and told me about Stany, his friend, who had started for the 1st time a new homestay business. Post my conversation with Stany had sent me a few pictures of his house. And I was a little worried, whether to book a 1st timer in a new strange place. It could turn into my nightmare. But I didn’t have any other option but to book his house. So I did.

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FAMILY HILL HOME STAY :

I found out the place was in a dense forest and surrounded by mountains. Post reaching there I saw the house was in the deep dark. It was freezing outside. The dimmest light was coming from a bulb which had no intention to spread the ray. Suddenly, a flood of light came on me. I was shocked by that sudden presence as a man was holding a torch. He was merely visible in the dark. Stany was waiting for my arrival. He gave me the warmest hug on our first meet. That was enough to defrost all the ice in my mind. An 8 years-old girl came to me with a smile and glass of hot water. It was so pleasing and overwhelming. I chose a mixed dormitory with 5 more beds in the room. My bed was beside a window. And I already loved my stay.

HILL HOME STAY Nagaland
HILL HOME STAY

MEETING MARLINE:

Next morning when I woke up, I heard children’s playing. That sound was enough to lift my mood. As I came out of my room, I saw the beautiful red and yellow house was lonely in between the valleys. In front of me, there was a huge ground. Wherein the children were playing football. The place was surrounded by greenery. And the same beautiful 8 years old, Angela, who gave me hot water last night, was playing with her beautiful small sister Marline. I could not stop myself from joining them. But 8 months old Marline did not welcome her unwanted guest. 

Also Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

As I sat near her, she made a crying face. Instantly I made a safe distance. And she became normal. But she kept an eye on me. I utilised that to please her. Marline looked at her left, I did the same. She raised her hand and touched her cheek, I replicated her actions. Now she found it fun and started noticing me. I made funny faces, she smiled, and at a point, she laughed. Post her green signal, I sat near her and stretched a finger. She stretched her finger too and touched mine. Rest of the day she was on my lap. 

Marline

MY EXTENDED NAGA FAMILY:

Stany made my stay beautiful in Nagaland. His village name is Kigwema village. And his sweet home was situated over a hilltop. As per my calculation, it was the tiniest hill, as his house was surrounded by the biggies. I never imagined to wake up to that breathtaking scenario. The festival ground was a 10-minute walk away. While I was playing with the kids, Stany’s wife came and greeted me with a hot cup of teas. Every day with the children I used to play a football match. Life seemed like a Bollywood film. Good morning Nagaland.

Aka, Stany’s wife, served me typical Naga breakfast, with some fried beans, pork bacon, 2 toasts, and a banana. During the breakfast Stany made me understand the way to the festival ground and the way back home. He mentioned specifically to come early from the festival and to have dinner with them. The menu for the dinner was pork curry, sticky rice along with some other things.

Also Read A Trip With The Nagas

Roland & Angela
Look at the Cute smile

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THAT NIGHT:

The last Party

One night I was very late and lost my way to Stany’s homestay. It was 11 pm. Due to the entire day’s activity, my phone was charged out too. It was pitch dark and lonely. After a point, I felt so helpless that sat on the road not knowing what to do. Suddenly a man was coming from a distance with a torch. I asked him eagerly about the way to Stany’s homestay. The man called my name, “Shuvo, I am Stany. I came out to look for you”. And I followed him home silently as sometimes gratitude can’t be expressed in words

THE END:

My Naga Window

The end of stories is always special to me. I met some Naga friends in hornbill festival and we bonded quickly. They forced me to join them at their place for the rest of my days in Nagaland. I did not want to leave Stany but their warmth was also unavoidable. Stany and Aka made me share their contact numbers, their addresses with them. I am not a kid, but I felt that was more of a family member’s concern.

Stany arranged a small party for my last night. He asked to join his few friends and my new friends as well. With rice beer, besides the warm bonfire, we celebrated the togetherness. While interacting with my new friends Stany found out a common thread between them. I just laughed as he was so relaxed post that. Next morning when I say goodbye to them, Angila and Roland asked me, “are we not playing today?”

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Hanoi is a perfect blend of history and contemporary. The city is being developed for over 1000 years since 1010, because of the constant destructions by the different invaders from time to time. It inspires the visitors with its combination of oriental lifestyle, French colonial construction, tree-lined roads, and peaceful lakes. 

Also Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

Found Yourself In Old Quarter:

In Hanoi, make sure to head to the Old Quarter. This is the historic heart and commercial centre of the city. It’s noisy with heavy traffic, but it is a collection of about 36 streets, which all specialize in selling goods like jewellery, pillows, shirts, baskets, toys, shoes, sunglasses etc. You can find many bars; restaurants and the biggest demonstration of street food places and the travel agencies, which are selling tours to Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Perfume Pagoda etc.

TIP: 

Make sure to survey online before booking a tour in one of the agencies. In Old Quarter make your landmark St. Joseph’s Cathedral church it’s been there since the late 1886s. It’s popular and a meeting place in the city. Be careful with the directions as the difference of language may create confusion for you. 

Also Read Best Day Trips from Hanoi

Hanoi Train street
Train Street

Train Street: 

Just before the train speeds past, with a couple of feet of clearance, drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors and the bikes pulled to the side of the road. The train passes the narrow road early in the route that connects Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. It is located between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in the Old Quarter. Homes and business go side by side of the railway lines. You can enjoy your snacks and coffee while experiencing a train to pass an inch away. 

Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake

Walk Around Hoan Kiem Lake:

In the centre of the Old Quarter, beautiful and charming Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Turtle Lake) is one of the unmissable things with amazing views. The best part is that there are no cars and no scooters, so it’s a nice break from the terrible traffic of Hanoi. You just need to cross the red bridge which leads to the island at the centre of the lake, as this is where the lovely Ngon temple is located. The Turtle God’s figure is persevered there, which makes you believe the myth. It costs 20000 Vietnamese Dong (VDN), which is less than $1.

Temple of Literature Hanoi
Temple of Literature

Visit The Temple Of Literature:

Dedicated to Confucius, the temple was built in 1070. It then became a male university for Mandarin students. Around the temple, there are stelae which are dedicated to the students. To know the civilization and, presently, you just need to know their past. 

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Take A Ride: 

On the sidewalks, you will find many drivers with their motorbikes, who are ready to take you anywhere around the city if you ask. You can also use the apps Grab or Uber to book a ride. It’s cheap.

Ta Hien street  Vietnam
Ta Hien street PC- levitalks.com

Be In The Beer Street:

Known as “Beer Street” Ta Hien street is THE place to party on any night of the week. In this area, everyone is sitting outside on small chairs, drinking beer and eating BBQ with their friends before heading to the clubs until the early hours of the morning. Grab a local beer and wander around Ta Hien to see street performers!

One pillar Pagoda Hanoi
One pillar Pagoda

Visit Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda:

Hanoi has a variety of museum. Check out Hoa Lo Prison, Ho Chi Minh Museum and Fine Arts Museum. Uncle Ho’s figure is preserved in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Close to that, there also is Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and the One Pillar Pagoda, which are two of the utmost famous Hanoi attractions. 

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Please Note: 

The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is closed after 10:30 A.M and on Monday and Friday.

Hanoi Opera House:

One of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi is the Opera House, which was built in 1911 under French rule, now known as the French Quarter. The Opera House was pretty much left to the elements when the French left Vietnam, but it was renovated in 1997. You can experience Vietnamese opera performances, concerts and even ballet. The prices start at around $4.

Go To The Water Puppet Show:

The Water Puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a huge tourist attraction. The “classic puppet show” in water, consists of strange instruments and entirely held in Vietnamese, showcases Vietnamese way of life, culture and even religion. The show lasts about one hour and it costs around $10.

Go Shopping:

Vietnam is an excellent shopping destination. There are various markets around Hanoi. One of the most famous ones is the Dong Xuan Market. The building is anything but charming, but if you passed the fish section, it can be a cool place to shop. The market closes at 7:00 pm.

Weekend Night Market:

Open only on weekends, starting at about 7 PM and going until about midnight, you will find hundreds of mini vendors side by side in tents selling everything from shirts to Shoes to lamps. You should bargain for everything. 

TIP: 

Sharpen your bargaining skills well!

Also Read Mask Works, So Make Your Masks Work

Hanoi Day Trips Cover Pictures Source By Google Image

We will find hundreds of tour agencies on the Hanoi streets. We can explore and book any of these tours. It is not necessary to book in advance. These tours mostly are all-inclusive, which will cover all transportation, accommodation, and food costs. Any kind of extra activities will be at your own cost. The following are the best day trips around Hanoi.

Also Read Travelling-Explore The World From Your Home

Ninh Binh (Google Image)

Ninh Binh –

Ninh Binh is a small but beautiful city just 50 miles south of Hanoi. It is an hour about ride each way, it’s best known for its stunning landscape, which is comparable to Ha Long Bay with regards to tall mountains, caves, and greenery. A suitable day trip from Hanoi with the range of $10 – 40 is a must.

Also Read Hanoi Egg Coffee

Ha Long ( Google Image )

 Ha Long Bay 

It was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value. Ha Long Bay is the main reason why people visit Vietnam. You can take either a day trip or a 2-3-day trip from Hanoi. It’s about a 4 hour drive each way from Hanoi. If you take a 2-day trip, you will sleep overnight on the boat and wake up to the best sunrise you’ve ever seen. Day Trips to Halong Bay are about $40, and 2-day trips are around $100 depending on your ride.

Also Read 5 Reason To Visit Nagaland

Sapa valley (Google Image)

Sapa Valley 

This Beautiful place is 7 hours driving each way on a sleeper bus, famous for its green countryside and rice terraces, which are alongside steep hills. While trekking (half-day, full-day, or 2+ days), you will visit several villages. The locals who live there are part of the Hmong tribe – they speak their own dialect and look physically different than people in Hanoi. It’s really a great experience!

Also Read Perfume Pagoda: The best day trip in Vietnam

Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda –

The journey to the Perfume Pagoda is itself an interesting experience. Located about 60 km southwest of Hanoi in the Huong Son Mountain range you will need to take a car for around two hours before boarding a wooden or iron boat to reach the temple complex.

The boat journeys down a narrow flowing stream fringed by rice fields, temples, and grass and you will have the option to stop and visit some of these temples. However, if you are short of time it’s best to head straight to Huong Tich Cave. It’s an uphill walk to the Perfume Pagoda which will take around one hour. Things can get slippery, so remember to bring walking shoes or boots.

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If you can smell better then you can see better and can hear better. That means all your senses are working fine and you are safe and sound. To protect your senses, your family’s senses you must visit The Perfume Pagoda in Vietnam as the “Viet” does. Besides the blessings, as a bonus, we will get to see something so beautiful, so serene, so peaceful that you will never forget. This striking complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines is built into the Karst cliffs of Huong Tich Cave (Mountain of the Fragrant Traces). Among the better-known sites are Chua Thien Tru (Pagoda Leading to Heaven); Chua Giai Oan Chu (Purgatorial Pagoda), where the faithful believe deities purify souls, cure suffering, and grant offspring to childless families; and Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige).

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Perfume Pagoda
Perfume Pagoda

Position: 

This pilgrim is extremely popular with Vietnamese tourists from February to April. It is located about 60 km southwest of Hanoi; and getting here requires a journey first by road, then by the river, then on foot or by cable car. The journey is half the fun, but don’t try and do it without a guide: most tour operators offer day-return trips here from US$30 to US$50, which serves the purpose. From Hanoi you need to travel by car for two hours to My Duc. There you can go to the restroom, drink tea and buy offerings for the pilgrims as well. Then take a small boat, rowed by women from the local village, to the foot of the mountain.

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The Journey of perfume pagoda
The way Google Image

The Journey: 

The entertaining boat trip takes an hour and travels along scenic waterways between limestone cliffs. Allow a couple more hours to climb to the top and return. The path to the summit is steep in places, and if it’s raining, the ground can get very slippery. There’s also a cable car to the summit (one way/ 100,000 – return/160,000d); a smart approach is to take the cable car up and walk down. The bus journey, an hour’s boat ride, half an hours trekking will reach you to the first pagoda. And there the history and story will take you to the era of the medieval age. 

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The Myths:

Perfume Pagoda

Thien Tru Pagoda:

As a popular belief, if you don’t pray here, the sky will be angry on you. Thien Tru Pagoda is also known as Heaven’s Kitchen. The starlight falls exactly on the spot where the king’s kitchen was, there the entire kingdom’s food used to be cooked.

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Huong Tich Chu Pagoda:

Post pleasing the sky you can climb up more 3 storied stairs and take a ropeway ride to reach the second pagoda, Huong Tich Chu, which belongs to the lady buddha. The Cave Pagoda has the appearance of an open dragon’s mouth with Chu Nho characters carved in a wall at the mouth of the cave. Again, a breathtaking visual and mind goggling story is waiting for you, how the younger daughter of a King became the lady Buddha with thousand hands and eyes post the greatest selfless sacrifice.

Inside of pagoda

On the route from Thien Tru to Huong Tich cave is Giai Oan Temple, also called ‘Clearing Unjust Charges’ Pagoda. There is a pond called Thien Nhien Thanh Tri (Natural Blue Pond), also called Long Tuyen Well, and Giai Oan stream, with its 9 sources.

Perfume Pagoda I recommend as a must if you fit to take the journey. 

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Find Your Reason To Visit Hanoi:

Things To Do In Hanoi

Vietnam is the port of Southeast Asia because of its position on the world map. And it occupies the eastern portion of the mainland. Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital with a growing population above 9 million people and It is located in the northern part of the country. Because of its scenic beauty, Vietnam’s popularity is increasing day by day among travelers. Therefore, you will get to see a lot of tourists and backpackers in Hanoi, mostly Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Australians. As a result, civics has become more outgoing, more subtle. They are positive about the mixing as well as overseas friends.

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In large Hanoi, the most happening place we will get to see is the Old Quarter. And here you can chill 2 – 3 days max while visiting loads of cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, lounges, markets, clubs, street food vendors, and many more. Another, the city generally closes around 7 to 8 pm, except for the night market.

Hanoi train street
Hanoi Train Street

Besides Old Quarter you must visit Tay Ho (means West Lake). Generally, refugees and English teachers live in this part. That’s why it has all the fancy restaurants and foreign foods to offer. So, you can change your taste there when you want to.

A local told me once, “we have a population of 10 million with 8 million motorbikes”. And it is true because buying a car is a luxury to the Viet. While buying one, they have to pay almost 40 percent road tax. So, motorbikes save their lives and money day to day basis. But you may face challenges while crossing the streets. Hence, you must keep maintaining your pace while walking and crossing the road, then the drivers will go around you. If you slow down or speed up, then there might be trouble.

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The People PC The Statesman

Hanoi People:

People in Hanoi mostly love to spend time chilling outside on the streets, drinking tea and spitting sunflower seeds, sitting in small chairs and tables. Nobody seems to be in a rush. You might find it a sight. If you are not very tall you can also enjoy the sit.

They mostly don’t speak English or speak at a very beginner level, except the workers in hotels, restaurants, cafes, and college-goers. So, it is necessary for you to be prepared.

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Vietnamese Words To Know:

It is in your best interest to learn a few Viet words for interactions as I told you earlier people are not good with English. PFB a few essentials:

Xin Chao – Hello

Cam On – Thank you

Khong co chi – You are welcome

Hen gap lai – See you again

Tam Biet – Goodbye

Ban giup toi duoc khong – Can you help me

Xin Loi – Excuse me

Money & Prices –

Vietnamies Dong

The currency is the Vietnamese Dong, and the exchange rate is $1 = 23,000 DONG as of February 2020. Therefore, in Hanoi, you may feel like a millionaire and it can boggle your mind. But my advice is to start shopping for the reality check, as a bottle of water will cost you 20,000 DONGS. With the exception, everything in Hanoi is cash only, so make sure to have double as much cash as you think you’ll need. Also, it’s pretty normal to be confused with Vietnamese Dong.

That being said, almost everything is cheap in Hanoi – $1 for a bowl of Pho, $0.50 for a taxi ride around the city, and $1 for a T-shirt! Just sharpens your bargain skills. And don’t be fooled.

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