Tag Archives: wildlife

A trip to World’s Rooftop !

Kerala tour packages

Tibet with its formidable mountain ranges which makes even motoring almost impossible is aptly titled as the ‘roof of the world’. In such a place where lofty inaccessible mountains and risky permafrost soil consist most of the landscape can anyone imagine a rail route that connects it to the mainland china? That’s the Qinghai-Tibet Railway the miracle project of the people’s republic of china.

What makes the Quinhai-Tibet railway stand out among other railway lines all over the world is, it’s constructed across terrains where none can dream about transportation – about 17,000 feet tall mountains to climb, tens of kilometre-wide valleys, five hundreds of kilometres of unstable permafrost soil, etc! No wonder this is considered as China’s most costly rail-project till date, and arguable the most costliest of its kind in the world.

Starting from china’s capital city Beijing, the highlight of this train journey is the passing through the astounding Kunlun Mountain Range (the ‘Mother of Thousands of Mountains’) that virtually isolate Tibet from the rest of the world.

Most of this region is dubbed as the ‘Forbidden Zone’ or the zone-of-death as its unpredictable weather… where the average temperature is minus zero, fierce sandstorms and high UV radiation, make living impossible! Here the average altitude of rail track is 13,500 feet above sea level, with the highest point at 16,700 feet – the most elevated rail track in the world!

But for the passengers the incredibly high altitude won’t pose any problems as all the train carriages are fully air-conditioned and pressurised, plus, oxygen masks are available in sleeping cabins as well as all the train corridors and washrooms. With lavish facilities including western / continental cuisines, it’s more like an Aeroplane ride for the travellers.

More than three-fourth of the entire Qinghai-Tibet Railway is thru this majestic mountain range that includes the ‘Tanggula Pass’ (about 16,640 feet / 5072 metres above sea level) – the world’s highest rail track, and the ‘Fenghuoshan tunnel’ – world’s highest rail tunnel.

Even the highly unstable permafrost is well taken care of … the Qingshuihe Bridge, that extends over eleven & half kilometers, is the world’s longest bridge built on permafrost.

To protect Tibet’s fragile, sensitive eco-system that accounts for many rare & endangered flora & fauna, the railway track is aptly elevated at many spots… otherwise, it utilizes fencing and tunnels cut under the tracks; so that the natural wildlife continues, practically unperturbed by the moving train.

Most importantly, the train is equipped with garbage compacters and vacuum toilets, so that no garbage is allowed to be left behind… to protect the unspoilt natural environment.

Covering almost two thousand kilometers, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway opens up to the visitors the undiscovered bewitching beauty if Tibet.

When the climax comes – the final destination of the train – “Lhasa”, it is more like ‘exploring the unexplored’ for the passengers !

This praiseworthy railway project has now thrown up new avenues for exploring the pristine Tibet for the foreign tourists and people from mainland China alike. A trip to world’s rooftop in every sense !!!



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Info Courtesy:  E Cheong, New Huaren Federation

A drive to Munnar…

One cannot simply call it ‘Munnar’; because Kerala’s most beautiful and well-known hill station is always spelt with surnames such as, Magnificent, Mesmerizing, Marvelous …. as the visual treats offered by this abode and its neighboring beauties are often beyond words.

Kerala tour packages

A drive to Munnar itself is a refreshing experience. As it is difficult to describe beauty with so many synonyms the best way is to take a pictorial ride like this…

Road to Munnar winding thro’ the lush high ranges

The first en route treat – Cheeyappara Waterfalls

Further drive brings you to another delightful cascade – Valara Waterfalls

After riding thro’ some exciting hair pin bends in the mountains, as Munnar becomes near you will sight Pallivasal – a pristine location, sight of Kerala’s first Hydro Electric Power Project.

Between Pallivasal and Munnar there lays one more eye-catching cascade – Attukal Waterfalls

Then comes the prime destination – Munnar (‘munnu aar’ means ‘three streams’ in local language, named so due to confluence of three mountain streams – Muthirappuzha, Chandavurai and Kundaly).

One of Munnar’s famous assets – the Tea Plantations

Plantations played a major role in the widespread fame of Munnar. This town houses a unique Museum dedicated to ‘Tea’

Tea Museum – showcases interesting facts, figures and artifacts about the growth and development of tea plantations in Munnar. Here curious ones can learn the techniques about how tea is produced and refined.

As stated earlier, Munnar’s neighboring beauty-spots are quite large in numbers. There are 3 most popular routes from the town which takes to all these spots.

1   Munnar – Rajamalai (Eravikulam National Park)
2   Munnar – Mattupetty – Eco Point – Kundala
3   Munnar – Devikulam – Lockhart gap


First Route

This route brings to Eravikulam National Park alias Rajamalai

Rajamalai – a National Park with many specialties… Apart from great trekking trails plus flora & fauna, this is also home to several highly endangered species in the world, namely Atlas moth (one among world’s biggest moths), Nilgiri Tahr (rare mountain goat) etc. Moreover, this is the site of Anamudi – the highest peak in South India.

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Second Route

First comes Mattupetty, a quiet village best known for its ‘Cattle Farm’ (the Indo Swiss mega project, only one of its kind in Asia). For security reasons this project is not open for public now.

Mattupetty has a splendid dam with boating facilities in its reservoir area

After Mattupetty, comes the Echo Point – as the name implies, here you will ‘hear’ the reverberations of your voice!

Next stop is Kundala – another pristine location with an angelic dam site


Third Route

On this route the first halt is the sensuous little town of Devikulam… abode of lovely lawns and plantations

Then comes the Lockhart Gap where anyone will get rejuvenated with the fresh mountain air, mist-coated hills and enchanting views

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Well, the onlookers certify this as the God’s own hill station without doubt !