Travel in India

The wounds are still fresh -the story of Cellular Jail

Its 15th August the time to celebrate liberation from British. India will complete 66 years of Independence this August, but the joy of being independent has the grief of sufferings hidden behind it.

The British ruled over us and treated us like slaves, they developed superiority over us in the premises of our homeland. There are innumerable experiences of how the British ill-treated the Indians, one of the most ruthless being the practices of Cellular Jail in Port Blair. Visiting this place can arouse the feeling of patriotism in no time, it gives the sense of being the sufferers and the sense of being the fighters.


Cellular Jail entrance also known as “Kaala Paani”

The Cellular Jail is situated in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, It was built from 1896 to 1906. It is also called ‚ÄúKAALA PAANI‚ÄĚ as it symbolizes darkness and suffering. It serves as a perfect epitome of the torturous practices of the British rulers over the innocent Indians. The Cellular Jail building had seven wings and at the center a tower was situated to act as the intersection, its purpose was to keep watch by the guards, each wing had three stories. There were no dormitories and a total of 693 cells. Each cell was 4.5 metres x 2.7 metres or 13.5×7.5 feet in size with a ventilator located at a height of three metre. No prisoner could see each other or converse with each other, they could only see black walls.


Inside of Cellular Jail


The prisoners included revolutionaries and activists, the British locked all those who tried to hamper their way in the quest of conquering India. Some popular names in the list are: Babarao Savarkar, Barindra Kumar Ghosh, Vaman Rao Joshi etc. The prisoner were treated inhumanly and were made to work as labourers during the course, many prisoners died while their stay at the prison. The cells were designed in a way that no one could interact or look towards each other, it served as solitary confinement without proper light and food, it was impossible to be out of the prison once sent it. Andaman and Nicobar itself was a place without much population and the prison by the British, made it an avertible place.

¬†Two out of seven wings were destroyed by earthquake and other two during the World War 2 by Japanese and it is left with 3 wings. Now the Cellular Jail is open for the visitors, it has a museum which shows the rooms, instruments used by torturing by British. It also has a gallery to showcase the pictures of the older times depicting the lives of prisoners. The Gobind Ballav Pant Hospital is now located in the premises of the Jail. The Cellular Jail National Memorial shows the importance of Andaman and Nicobar in the history of Independence. Andaman was named was named as ‚ÄúSwaraj‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúShaheed‚ÄĚ by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, he hoisted the Indian Flag to proclaim independence on 30th December 1943 at near the jail.

The Cellular Jail completed its 100 years in 2006, and various Indians who suffered in the jail premises during the British Regime where invited for the celebrations. The celebrations were in tribute to the Indians who served the nation in its dark age under the rule of British. The Cellular Jail is now one of the National Monument glorifying the deeds of rebellious freedom fighters. It speaks for the sacrifices by the Indians and celebrates the spirit of bravery. Now the place is recognized as pilgrim destination from being a torturous cell.


The Memorial attracts many visitors, they want to be acquainted with the tragedies of the nation. There is a Light and Sound show every evening to remind the people of the sufferings and heroic attempts of the freedom fighters, it also gives a glimpse of the time spent by the prisoners with atrocities. There is a well maintained art gallery, garden for the visitors. Every corner of the place is worth exploring it stirs the sense of rising like a phoenix after the hard times.

On this occasion of India’s 66TH Independence Day we salute the freedom fighters who preferred the nation over their domestic lives. We have number of incidents that recall the brutality of the British like; ill-treatment of peasants, Jallianwala Bagh massacre etc. Here we have reviews from some visitors of the Cellular Jail that helps us to know how the place invokes within us the pride of being an INDIAN;


My trip to Andaman and Nicobar reminds me of cellular jail that is popularly known as ‚ÄúKaale Paani ki Saja‚ÄĚ. The moment you enter you are just reminded of great patriots Veer Sarvakar and Bahukeshwar Dutt who along with other Indians struggled for our Independence. Today we are moving freely in this independent India because of those patriots who lost their lives because of inhuman tortures some examples being; they were forced to drink urine, treated like animals, made to grind oil for continuous hours at a stretch, forced to sleep in 4-1 room less than the size of an adult human body, no water supply for drinking, no light, no food, and only work and work, these all practices are highlighted in the light and sound show. But still they had a sole aim and motto ‚Äú sar katega par jhukega nai‚ÄĚ, it‚Äôs the freedom fighters who made are life worth living in a free, independent nation. We bow our heads with great reverence.

-Dr.Santokh Kataria

Chief medical officer (N.F.M.C)

New Delhi

 Feeling after visiting the jail.

Thousands laid down their lives to let our country breathe this day, never forget their sacrifices.

“Azadi ki kabhi sham nai hone denge, shaheedo ki kurbanio ko badnaam na hone denge

Bachi hai jo ek bund garam lahu ki, desh ka anchal nilaam na hone denge‚ÄĚ-¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Mr.Tilak Raj Kataria,¬†New Delhi



Travel in India

Another Natural Disaster causing misery : Floods in Kerala

Natural Disasters have caused havoc and misery in South India after the Uttrakhand tragedy. The year 2013 is marked by the disasters caused by floods and ferocious rains, this monsoon turns out be a bad omen for the poor residents of Kochi/Idukki. The region experienced heavy rains and landslides in Cochin and adjoining area to Kerala, 14 deaths have been reported out of which 5 were a part of the relief team. Vehicles and people were trapped under the debris, the rescue volunteers were also stuck under the heavy mass of debris caused by the landslides.

The famous Siva temple near Aluva was flooded and submerged under water. As per the data available 14 lives lost and many more are missing, eight contingents of army and rescue teams have been appointed to clear out the disturbance caused. The increased water level of Periyar River caused the water logging, as the shutters of Idamalayar dams were opened which therefore results in reverse flow through the drainage of airport.

The Cochin International Airport was closed due to water logging on the runway, this was the first time the runway had been closed. Around 20-25 flights were affected due to the closure of airport. After the runway being cleared the taxis and parking is still waterlogged. Many flights were subverted and halted causing delay to widespread passengers. The Airport resumed its operation at the later half of 6th August, 2013.

The district comprises of poor fishermen and farmers and the discrepancy in the weather has changed their lives due to huge crop loss and property loss. The families have lost the ease to sustenance because of heavy rainfall as about 377(approx.) hectares of crop area has been affected. The government will take charge and compensate for the loss the common people have suffered said Mr. Oommen Chandy, the chief minister. The government has decided to grant Rs.2 lakh for the families who have lost their members and cultivated area. In all the government donated Rs.84 crores for the rescue operations and relief strategies.

The India Meteorological Department said in its forecast that heavy rainfall exceeding 7 cm to13 cm will occur over Kerala till the morning of August 7. The fishermen have been instructed not to venture in the sea for the next 2 days as the strong winds 45-55 kmph would accompany the heavy rains near the coastal districts. The IMD also forecasts the heavy rainfall will move toward the north soon.

The heavy rainfall has disturbed the life of the commoners to a large extent , the dis-balance in the climate patterns has been caused due to manmade strategies , the man is harming the environment for his luxuries and is being affected himself in the long run.

Travel in India

Best Hills Stations this Indian Summer

So, you find solace in the arms of the hills? Or you simply need a get away to a better temperature?

Here with whatever reason you might have, for a trip to the hills in India. We have come up with four Hills stations from Different parts of India for your perusal. 

EASTERN INDIA – Shillong is the Best!

Shillong, also called the ‚ÄúScotland of the East‚ÄĚ, the town is surrounded by rolling hills. Shillong, the capital city¬†of Meghalaya is just 55 km from Mawsynram, the world’s wettest place.

Shillong boasts of no rail connection or a proper air connection, though it is well connected by roads with all major northeastern states. Private bus operators as well as state transport buses from other states ply to and from Shillong daily. Taxi service is also available to major destinations like Guwahati and Dimapur.

Places to look out for:

Falls, till you are overtly satisfied with water-

  • ¬†Elephant Falls: The mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in fern covered rocks.

    Elephant Falls

  • Spread Eagle Falls
  • Sweet Falls: It is the most beautiful of all the waterfalls in Shillong.
  • ¬†Crinoline Falls

Panoramic View

  • Lady Hydari Park: The Park stretches over a kilometer and has an adjacent mini zoo.
  • Wards Lake: It‚Äôs an artificial lake with garden and boating facilities.
  • Shillong Golf Course: Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (the worlds wettest) in Asia. It enjoys¬†the rare distinction of being one of the few natural golf courses in Asia.
  • Shillong Peak: A picnic spot offers a panoramic view of the scenic countryside and is the highest point in¬†the state.

Panoramic View of Shillong

РCapt. Williamson Sangma State Museum: For those interested in ethnic tribal culture and tradition this government museum offers insights to the lifestyle of the people.

SOUTHERN INDIA – Ooty is numero uno

It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills, also called Udhagamandalam (sometimes Ootacamund). The town is well connected via rail and road, and it natural beauty attracts tourists.

There are a number of places one can look out for:

  • Government Rose Garden-The Government rose garden is the largest rose garden in India.
  • Ooty Botanical Gardens- The Botanical Garden is lush, green, and well-maintained. A flower show along with an¬†exhibition of rare plant species is held every May. The Garden has a number of species, both exotic and indigenous,of plants, shrubs, ferns, trees, herbal and bonsai plants.

    Ooty Botanical Gardens

  • Ooty Lake- The Boat house established alongside the lake, which offers boating facilities to tourists, is a major¬†tourist attraction in Ooty
  • Wax World- A wax museum that houses life-size look-alike wax statues of personalities of Indian history, culture¬†and heritage housed in a 142-year-old bungalow.


  • Toda huts- There are a few Toda huts on the hills above Botanical Garden,¬†where Todas still dwell. There are other¬†Toda settlements in the area, notably Kandal Mund near Old Ooty.
  • Image

    Toda Huts


The Western India- Mahabaleshwar beats all

Mahabaleshwar strikes as a popular holiday and honeymoon spot, plus an important pilgrimage site for Hindus, as it adorns the Mahabaleshwar Temple. There are more than 14 points in Mahabaleshwar, which offers scenic beauty to the visitors.

Few of them are:

  • Kate’s point is located to the east of Mahabaleshwar and is famous for its view of two reservoirs, Balakwadi and¬†Dhom.
  • Needle Hole Point: One can see a natural rock formation with a hole in between, thus giving the name Needle-hole.Image
  • Wilson Point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar at 1439 m, Wilson point is the only location in Mahabaleshwar¬†where both sunrise and sunset can be seen.
  • 3 Monkey Point: Named because of the natural sculpture of the stones which looks like 3 monkeys of Gandhiji.

And here comes the region which hosts a number of hill stations- the North. Handling many competitors and yet emerging as an unprecedented winner is Kashmir.

NORTHERN INDIA- Kashmir wins the Race!

In the seventeenth century, the Mughal emperor Jahangir set his eyes on the valley of Kashmir. He said that if paradise is anywhere on the earth, it is here. So check it out before the real heaven knocks the door.

By plane Mostly all flights operate to Jammu, Srinagar and Leh.

By train The last stop on the railway line north is Udhampur, where you can catch onward buses or higher taxi.

However it’s better to catch a taxi from Jammu as these are more readily available.

By bus: There are two ways to get in by land Рvia Jammu and up to Srinagar or via Manali in Himachal Pradesh and up to Leh.

Tourist attractions

  • Gulmarg: Gulmarg is surrounded by dense forest. This place is famous for its golf hikes and highland golf course.Image
  • Sonamarg: Also called the Meadow of the gold. This valley shows more amazing facet in Kashmir. It has Snow¬†Mountains as its backdrop against the sky.
  • Bahu Fort: This fort is facing the Tawi River and houses a temple of goddess kali in the fort.
  • Mubarak Mandi Palace was built with the touch of three different styles, Rajasthani, Mughal and Gothic. Most¬†famous part of this Palace is the Sheesh Mahal segment
  • Peer Baba: This is one of the holy places for Muslim saints. It is one of the best trekking destinations around the¬†world. In Winter, Zanskar river freezes up, and get converted into an amazing adventures trek called Chadar-The¬†Frozen River Trek.

And when one visits these, the only lines that might cross the mind is : “There is a green hill far away, Without a city wall, where you can sway”

Travel in India

A Chit Chat with finalists of “India : Been there, Seen That”- Part I Travelogue Contest

The contest India: Been there Seen that Part I was our attempt to encourage budding travel bloggers and to provide them platform to showcase their creativity.
We got 23 entries for this travelogue contest and many of them had written any memoir or blog for the very first time. We got 3 finalists and after intense voting on various social media mediums, Deepak Agarwal emerged as the winner.
We interviewed three of the finalists and get to know more about them. Here are few excerpts of that interview:-
TOT : Introduced yourselves to us along with the things you do (other than blogging)?
Deepak Agarwal:-  ImageHi, I am based out at Bangalore and love travelling, watching cricket, playing squash (Ranked 7 in Bangalore seeding), movies, music,having new experiences and writing!
Riya Gupta:- ImageI am basically from Jammu but now living in Delhi. Reading and dancing is my passion.
Jatin Bavishi :- I am living in Delhi and Defining my hobbies in clear-cut categories will just be an unfair to everything I do. Whatever I do, becomes my hobby. However, my biggest obsession is photography. I do photography anywhere and everywhere; and it may not be from my DSLR. For me, photography is a powerful art, and as long as I could express myself by virtue of a frame, it is commendable. I have traveled to a lot of places in the past one year, all with the intention of photography. 
TOT : How was the experience of writing for “India: Been There, Seen that”?
Deepak Agarwal:- It was a long engaging contest, I love writing and I love travelling. The project IBTST gave me an opportunity to express both my forte And I cannot be happier that I won the contest!
Riya Gupta:- Of course, it is great when you get to read the personal experiences of people travelling through some of the most beautiful destinations of the country. I liked the idea of IBTST but my only complaint was that the contest results were way too delayed.

Jatin Bavishi:-  IBTST is a very good platform. I had never earlier written for a blog. I read the description of the blog, and I really liked it. Somehow I felt travel writing is important. Travelling is just the story before interval. It is writing about your experience that makes the story complete. I would like to thank and congratulate for taking such a good initiative for people like me.

TOT: Any place in India where you people yearn to go?

Deepak Agarwal:- I have not explored north east completely, there are certain places in Shillong and Assam that I would want to explore and possibly gain more from the experience.

Riya Gupta:-  Goa. I have heard so much about the place from friends and other people but never got a chance to visit it. The beaches and churches are yet to be explored and captured down in my camera as well as my memories.

Jatin Bavishi :- Place in India I would yearn to go is Munnar, Kerala.

TOT : Last question, Any journey which turned out TRAP for you rather than being a TRIP?

Deepak Agarwal:-¬†Journey can never be a trap; journey is what you want it to be. A hotel wrong booked?¬†Then, probably that’s the least of your trouble if you think that its a big deal. I have had bad¬†experiences but never a one where I could not turn it around in my favor. I had once taken¬†an navy ship from Kerala to Lakshadweep and then I realized how much sick sea makes me! However, I am spreading the news of the website! Already doing my bit and will continue doing so. All the best!

Riya Gupta:-¬†Not yet and I wish it doesn’t ever¬†and I recommend the website as I don‚Äôt want anyone‚Äôs trip to become a trap¬†rather than an experience of a lifetime.

Jatin Bavishi :- No, as of now, no journey has turned out trap. But, it can happen anytime! I would love to promote I have a strong base of people, and I would surely recommend this site if they ever wish to write their travel experience. thanks all the participants and is looking forward for people to Apply for IBTST- Part II which has started from July 1 – Aug 15, 2013.

Happy Traveling ūüôā

Travel in India

Maha Bodhi Temple : Symbol of Peace & Enlightenment

The Mahabodhi Temple ( Maha : Great, Bodhi : Awakening), is a Buddhist temple at Bodh Gaya, 96 km from capital city Patna. The shrine estimated to be built between 5th and 6th century AD, is holiest pilgrimage for Buddhists from world over. West side of this temple has holy Bodhi tree. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under this Bodhi Tree here in 531 B.C.


Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya- Image courtesy Wikipedia (CC Attribution)

On 7 July, 2013, in a terror attack, 9 low intensity bombs exploded in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, one near Buddha statue and near Maha bodhi tree.

We condemn the act of attacking the international symbol of peace, unity and¬†urge all sections of the society to follow the teachings of Lord Buddha by being tolerant to each other in the matter of religious faith and work towards building one humanistic society and here, at,¬†, we are¬†very much proud of India’s vast heritage and culture hence we updated this blog to express our grief to the loss of life and damage to the shrine.

In humanity, we trust!

Travel in India

And the winner is…

What a great response from all the contestants!!
We are so humbled by your responses and wants to thank each one of you for your zeal and passion for the traveling.
The contest India: Been there Seen that Part I was our attempt to encourage budding travel bloggers and to provide them platform to showcase their creativity.
We got 23 entries for this travelogue contest and many of them had written any memoir or blog for the very first time. We run this contest on 3 different platforms- One being our website, Secondly on Youth 24×7 and Thirdly on¬†UE site.
We thank all the participants and Request them to participate in ISTBT- Part II contest.
The Winner of India : Been there, Seen that is DEEPAK AGARWAL. 
Congrats Deepak and For rest of you, Participate in IBTST- II starting from July 1st and ending on Aug 15, 2013.