July 19, 2023

Exploring Chimmini Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary

A lazy Sunday morning ended up as an exciting day as we drove through lush greenery to Chimmini Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary. The rains had subsided, but overcast conditions prevailed, which made the journey a delightful one. Also spelled as Chimmony, the dam here is built across Chimmini River in the Thrissur district of Kerala, and borders other popular attractions such as Nelliyampathy Hills and Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary.

As the views on either side of the road gave way to tall trees and hillocks carpeted with shades of green, we knew we were in wildlife territory. However, no animals popped by or crossed our paths. A short walk away from the parking zone, and the sprawling waters of the Chimmini Dam opened up in front us. Still waters with hills in the backdrop and gloomy skies made up for some picturesque frames. There was a small crowd with family and kids loitering the place. However, it still seemed so quiet, as the breeze blew hard and the cows grazed in peace. One can rest under the trees and gaze in oblivion at the beautiful frames on offer, while uncluttering your mind.

You may also take a stroll along the banks of the reservoir or opt for a coracle ride, if you need some action. We opted for the second one, and buckled up our life jackets, before hopping on one of the coracles. Slowly we made our way to the other bank, and more silence followed, which was broken by the oarsman, who spoke about how the tourism development here has helped his life. Coming from the local tribal colony, he reminisced how the place has changed over the years after tourism took over. He did mention that they do spot birds and crocodiles (rare), but we had absolutely no luck. However, the pretty reservoir more than made for that with breathtaking vistas all around.

How to reach Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary:

The nearest major town is Thrissur, 38 km away. The closest airport is in Cochin, 57 km away, and nearest railway station is in Chalakkudy, 37 km away. It is recommended to visit Chimmini in a private vehicle as public services are not frequent.

Food and Accommodation:

There is a small refreshment centre here that sells basic energy boosters, and a couple of push carts outside selling coconut water and ice creams.

July 12, 2023

14 Years of Tales of a Nomad!

I had been to Pykara Lake in The Nilgiris earlier this year, and it brought back a lot of nostalgic memories of my first visit here during my childhood. 

As Tales of a Nomad completes its 14th year today, it's again nostalgia that trickles in, reminding me of the time I started blogging.

Thanks to all the readers for the encouragement and support.

July 2, 2023

Exquisite Yet Affordable: Top 7 Palaces in India to Visit in 2023

India is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, majestic palaces, and opulent architecture that reflects the glory of bygone eras. While exploring the grandeur of Indian palaces may seem like an extravagant affair, it is indeed possible to visit these architectural marvels on a budget. In this article, we present the top seven palaces in India that offer an enchanting experience without breaking the bank. Additionally, we'll provide some valuable tips to help you plan a budget-friendly visit to these magnificent landmarks.

How to visit Palaces in India on a budget?

Traveling on a budget to Indian palaces is certainly achievable with careful planning and smart choices. You don’t have to play EuroMillions online and win the big prize to enjoy these rich and old sites. So, here are a few tips to ensure a satisfying palace tour while keeping costs under control:

·    Plan Your Trip during Off-Peak Seasons: Scheduling visits during off-peak seasons is one way to secure better deals on accommodation, transportation and entry fees at palaces. Prices tend to be higher during holidays and peak tourist seasons so shoulder seasons offer better savings with smaller crowds present.

·     Opt for budget accommodations: Instead of staying in luxurious hotels, look into cost-cutting accommodations such as guesthouses, hostels or homestays that can offer comfortable stays at a much more reasonable cost.

·    Choose public transportation: Public transportation options such as buses and trains tend to be more cost-effective than private taxis or rental cars. India boasts an expansive train and bus network, which can take you directly to palace destinations while still saving you money.

·    Utilize local guides: In lieu of hiring expensive private guides, take advantage of local guides at the palace or audio guides (if available) who may provide insightful insights into its history and architecture at much reduced costs. They could provide invaluable knowledge of its past and present that you wouldn't otherwise gain.

·    Bring Your Own Food and Water: Eating out at restaurants and tourist spots can quickly add up, particularly in popular tourist locations. Bring snacks, water bottles, meals for the day as well as snacks in order to save on costly food options; just be mindful to respect any rules or regulations regarding outside food or drinks in palaces or palace grounds.

Top 7 Palaces in India to Visit in 2023

City Palace, Jaipur

Located in the heart of Rajasthan's capital, Jaipur, the City Palace is an awe-inspiring blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. This sprawling palace complex offers a glimpse into the royal heritage of the region. To visit on a budget, consider purchasing a composite ticket that provides entry to multiple attractions within the complex, including the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal. Exploring the palace's courtyards, gardens, and museum will transport you to a bygone era without straining your wallet.

Tip: Opt for a local guide who can provide valuable insights into the palace's history and architecture at an affordable rate.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is a testament to luxury and grandeur. Built in the 20th century, this magnificent palace is a stunning blend of Indo-Saracenic and Art Deco styles. While a stay at the palace hotel can be expensive, you can explore certain areas on a budget. The museum within the palace showcases a remarkable collection of artefacts and exhibits that shed light on the royal history of Jodhpur. Entry tickets to the museum are reasonably priced, allowing you to appreciate the palace's beauty without breaking your budget.

Tip: Consider visiting during the evening to witness the palace's illuminated facade, creating a mesmerizing sight at no extra cost.

Mysore Palace, Mysore

The Mysore Palace, located in the city of Mysore, Karnataka, is a captivating structure that blends Indo-Saracenic, Rajput, Hindu, and Gothic architectural styles. This majestic palace offers a glimpse into the opulent lives of the Wadiyar dynasty. Entry tickets to the palace are affordable, enabling you to explore the exquisitely decorated halls, intricate carvings, and the stunning Durbar Hall, where royal ceremonies were once held. To maximize your budget, time your visit during the Dasara festival when the palace is adorned with thousands of lights, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

Tip: Pack your own snacks and water to avoid buying overpriced refreshments within the palace premises.

Amber Palace, Jaipur

Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Maota Lake, the Amber Palace is a magnificent example of Rajput architecture. The palace's ornate interiors, intricate mirror work, and expansive courtyards offer a captivating experience. To visit on a budget, you can choose to hike up the hill instead of taking an elephant ride or a jeep. Entry tickets are reasonably priced, and exploring the palace's numerous halls, including the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), will transport you to a world of royal grandeur.

Tip: Engage with local artisans outside the palace premises to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts at reasonable prices, supporting the local economy.

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

Often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts in Rajasthan, the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner boasts an architectural splendour that rivals them all. Built in the 16th century, this fort features a blend of Mughal, Rajput, and Gujarati architectural styles. The fort's palaces, pavilions, and temples are adorned with exquisite stone carvings and elaborate murals. Entry tickets are reasonably priced, allowing you to explore the fort's impressive architecture and rich history without straining your budget.

Tip: Plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and capture stunning photographs in the soft light.

Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh

Perched atop a hill in the city of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, the Chittorgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest fort complexes in India. This historic fort is a testament to the valour and pride of the Rajputs. Entry tickets to the fort are reasonably priced, granting you access to explore its sprawling grounds, majestic palaces, beautiful temples, and impressive towers. As you walk through the fort's corridors and ramparts, you'll be transported to a time of chivalry and romance.

Tip: Carry your own water and snacks, as there are limited options available within the fort premises.

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, Bengaluru

Located in the heart of Bengaluru, Karnataka, Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace is a striking example of Indo-Islamic architecture. This palace was the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Entry tickets to the palace are affordable, allowing you to admire its intricately carved arches, frescoes, and ornate balconies. Explore the palace's various rooms and learn about Tipu Sultan's life and legacy through the exhibits and artefacts on display.

Tip: Combine your visit to the palace with a stroll through the nearby Krishna Rajendra Market, where you can experience the vibrant atmosphere and indulge in local street food.


Visiting the grand palaces of India on a budget is not only an achievable goal but also an enriching experience. Exploring these architectural marvels provides a deeper understanding of India's history and cultural heritage. By following the tips mentioned above and prioritizing affordable options, you can embark on a memorable journey through India's regal past without compromising your budget. So, pack your bags and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Indian palaces, where history and grandeur come alive.

N.B.: This is a collaborative post.

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