Monthly Archives: November 2013

‘Visit Slovenia’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

 Ljubljana_Montage(Montage source: Slovenia Tourism Board)

Some people wrongly consider Britain and USA to be the only beautiful places in the world. There are a large number of lovely countries where  the tourists have still not yet reached in their millions. Slovenia is one such country which is diverse and beautiful.  Hidden away in the very heart of Europe, Slovenia is where the Alps meet the Mediterrarean and the green forests and snow-capped mountains end up with the Adriatic coast.

EasternEuropeMap 2 500 60Locate Slovenia. (Photo source

With the dissolution of former Yogoslavia,Slovenian Parliament declared the independence of Slovenia on 26th June 1991, thus fructifying the dream of our ancestors.


Capital Ljubjlana around Christmas time- Photo by Anurag Chatrath

Some people call Slovenia-which has Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy as neighbours – a country “On the Sunny Side of Alps”. It is an Alpine country, as well as having tourist resorts at the Adriatic Sea, with healthy spas and a home to the famous Lipica horse-Lippizzaner. Some visitors call it “the best kept secret in Europe”, or “Europe in miniature”. The population of Slovenia is 2,055,496.

India was known to Slovene people many centuries ago.  “India Koromandia” was pictured as a land of abundance in the old Slovene folk songs. The stories of the missionaries, sailors, soldiers and adventurers have kept alive the perceptions about India till this date.

Slovenia officially the Republic of Slovenia is a nation state in southern Central Europe at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. Four major European geographic units meet on the territory of Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinaric Mountains, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean, with a small portion of coastline along the Adriatic Sea It borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.05 million. It is a parliamentary republic and a member of the European Union and NATO. Its capital and largest city is Ljubljana. Ljubjlana town has a population of 280,000.


Ljubjlana Railway Station (Photo by Anurag Chatrath)

 The well known tour operating company Responsible Travel (www.responsible has listed out the following ten reasons why one must visit Slovenia:

1. Slovenia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. In total, it is home to over 24,000 species of animal, 1% of all living beings and 2% of all land animals.

2. Slovenia is the third most wooded country in Europe (after Finland and Sweden). Almost 60% of all its territory is covered by forest. In recent decades, this share has only increased, as more than 200,000 trees are planted annually.

3. Emona, the Roman colony that once stood on the site of present-day Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia,  turns 2,000 in 2014. To mark the occasion, the capital will host numerous Roman-based festivals and exhibitions.

4. The geographical and climatic diversity and variety of Slovenia allows you to pick autumn fruits in the morning, take a swim in the Adriatic in the afternoon and go night skiing in the evening. For healthy, nature-filled breaks the Pokljuka Plateau, set in between Lakes Bled and Bohinj, is a real winter wonderland.

dsc_0578-420-55A stunning building in Ljubjlana. Photo by Anurag Chatrath

5. Slovenia is one of the most water-rich countries in Europe. Its rivers, streams and other watercourses measure 27,000km in total. Moreover, Slovenia has numerous thermal and mineral springs and lots of underground waters.

6. The oldest vine in the world grows in Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia. It is more than 400 years old and 25 litres of wine are still produced from its grapes annually.

7. Slovenia is home to around 3,000 churches, chapels and shrines, making it one of Europe’s top countries for sacral objects per capita.

8. It is one of the best countries in Europe for year-round activities.
Spend your winters skiing in the Julian Alps, sunbathe along the Mediterranean in the summer and try your hand at a long list of sports and activities in between!

9. Slovenia is a country famous for caves including the magnificent Postojna Caves, and the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Škocjan Caves. They are also one of the famous systems of limestone (karstic) caves in the world.

10. Some of the freshest fishing in Europe is found in Slovenia. It is a country with abundant water, making it the perfect destination for fishing. There are more than 45 watercourses over 25km long and many waterfalls, gorges and lakes.

800px-Presidential_Palace._Ljubljana wiki 420 75The Presidential Palace, Ljubljana (Photo source: Wikipedia).

Ljubljana: This town is not only the political capitol of Slovenia, it is the cultural, musical and business capitol. It is full of great attractions –  the Ljubljana Zoo, St. Nicholas Cathedral of Ljubljana, Ljubljana Castle, and historic Dragon Bridge, a remnant of the times when Slovenia was under Austria-Hungarian rule. Other Ljubljana attractions include the BTC Shopping District, the beautiful Congress Square and the Vodno mesto Atlantis. Some famous sites are:

  • Metelkova
  • Illyrian Monument
  • Robba Fountain
  • Tivoli Castle
  • Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
  • National and University Library of Slovenia
  • Dragon Bridge
  • Triple Bridge
  • St. Nicholas Cathedral
  • Ljubljana Castle


  • National Gallery of Slovenia
  • National Museum of Slovenia

Bled: Slovenia has only one island but its uniqueness makes it more attractive than many an archipelago. Sheltered by picturesque mountains, the island reigns in the middle of an Alpine lake. Its charm has made it a symbol for centuries of a town to which guests from all over the world love to return. This town, which has already existed for a thousand years, is Bled.

800px-Bled_Overview wiki 580 95Bled.

(Photo source: Wikipedia)

The town, already famous at the beginning of the 20th century as the most beautiful health spa of the then Austrian empire, attracted the European aristocratic elite. After WWII, one of the most attractive state residences of the former regime was located in Bled. Many of the world’s most important people thus enjoyed the beauties of Bled. And now, for decades already, the pilgrims of the new age have been discovering this town. The total population of Bled as in 2002 was  5252.

Walking and coaching trails around the lake, traditional boats, ringing the island’s wishing bell, the castle treasures, the nearby ski pistes, mountain trails, golf courses, hunting, fishing, the casino, congress facilities –  these are some of the many attractions of Bled.

On the island in the middle of the lake, the ancient Slavs worshipped Živa, goddess of love and fertility. Pilgrims later came to the church of St Mary on the island. A thousand years ago, on 10 April 1004, the town of Bled was mentioned for the first time when the Holy German emperor, Henry II, gifted it to the Bishop of Brixen. At that distant time, a Roman tower already stood at the top of the cliff rising vertically 100 m above the lake, and it still forms part of the mighty castle that now houses a museum collection. The town flourished in the Middle Ages due to pilgrims, and these were replaced in the 19th century by the first tourists. The Swiss hydropathist, Arnold Rikli, discovered that the gentle climate and the lake and thermal waters are a source of good health and well-being. The local people supplemented the health spa offer with guest houses and hotels.

 Air fare: A return air ticket from New Delhi to Ljubjlana costs around Rs. 67,000/.

Weather: The maximum and minimum temperatures in Ljubljana in December are 4 and -1 degrees celsius and in August, which is the warmest month, these are 28 and 15 degrees celsius.

Slovenian Tourist Board: Dimičeva 13, 1000 Ljubljana
tel.: +386 1 589 85 50; fax: +386 1 589 85 60
e-mail: [email protected];

Ljubljana’s airport – Joze Pucnik (LJU) is 20.40 kms from the city centre.

Some useful websites: – The Official Travel Guide by Slovenian Tourist Board.;; (Information in English on Slovenia)

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information:

15 suggested trips / Excursions in Slovenia:

1.      A trip to the Škocjan caves,  PORTOROŽ;

      2.      The city of Koper and Marezige village;

      3.      Vipavski Križ – jewel of historic and cultural heritage,

4.      Ajdovščina’s Technical Heritage,  AJDOVŠČINA

      5.      Excursion panorama by boat

      6.      Gora Plateau above Vipava Valley – Between Two Worlds

      7.      Idrija – on the Mercury Route IDRIJA;

8.      Lokavec – Village of Carters and Blacksmiths,

      9.      Postojna cave and Predjama castle

   10.  Šturje – Home Town of the First Slovenian Puppet Theatre,  AJDOVŠČINA

   11.  Taste of the countryside;

   12.  Ljubljana – The capital city,  PORTOROŽ

13.   Idrija and Cerkno region;

14.  Idrija and Vojsko – the highest village in Primorska region;

15.  The bread my grandmother baked,  ROGATEC;

102 Suggested Tours in Slovenia: For seeing a list of  102 suggested tours in Slovenia, please click at the following link:

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia New Delhi: A – 5/4, Vasant Vihar
New Delhi 110 057, India

T: + 91 11/ 41662891; visa section: T: + 91 11/ 41662893; F: + 91 11 /41662895; E: vnd(at)

Ambassador H.E. Darja Bavdaž Kuret


(Text with inputs from the internet)

  IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  It is intended only for sharing information and experiences with travel enthusiasts. Readers are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

Contact: [email protected]

‘A Commissioner’s memorial to his Collector’ by K.J.S.Chatrath


We in the IAS are used to living under the shadow of the Annual Confidential Reports – written impressions of the Boss. But can you imagine a Commissioner getting an impressive memorial built in appreciation of the work of, and showing his friendship with the Collector?

Unimaginable…but true. The photo above is of such a building.

A detailed photo article on this topic follows on this website soon.

Photo, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath

Contact: [email protected]

‘A brain teaser’ by K.J.S.Chatrath


This photo was taken by me last month some where in Morroco. It  looks like a scene straight out of ‘The Arabian Nights’, no?

But there are clues which tell the tale that it is a recent photo…

What are those anachronisms?

I could count 5.

May be you can find more than five.

Give it a try…

Photo, text & copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath


‘Collectorate building, Allahabad, U.P.’ by KJS Chatrath

Whenever I go to any town in India, I want to visit the oldest local christian cemetery and the Collectorate building. These give me some feel of the pre-Independance history. During my trip to Allahabad last week, the visit to the cemetery was a big disappointment as it was very, very badly kept and it was impossible to move in more that 20 feet because of dense vegetation.

Then I went to the Collectorate building. It was around 9 am and the office had not yet opened. I talked to the people around wanting to know more about the building but did not achieve much. Some one suggested that I talk to the Record Keeper of the office of Collector who was passing by. I asked him about the history of the building and if there was any plaque somewhere giving details. Unfortunately he did not give me any worthwhile information. Since I was short of time, I just moved around the imposing building and took some photos.

Subsequently I came to know of a well known Collector of Allahabad, one Mr. Mayne. A little looking around and I found some very interesting information.

I would be putting up a separate photo article on this soon. In the meantime please take a look at the lovely building of Collectorate at Allahabad.




 You may like to see my photo article on another Collectorate building ‘The heritage office building of Deputy Commissioner, Mysore’:

‘My love is like a red, red guava…(with apologies to Robert Burns)’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

Last week, I visited the great Indian city of Allahabad for the first time. I saw some awesome buildings built by the British during  their colonial  rule. But I was frankly disappointed not to find any food special to the area. I saw people enjoying chaat, but that was about all.


Then my eyes were attracted by rehris (trolleys) selling a red fruit. These looked like nectarines from a distance. On a closer look these appeared to be guavas but with an impossible red colour.


Are these guavas, I asked a fruit seller hesitatingly. Yes of course, take a look he replied and handed me one red guava.


Have you put some colour on these, I asked almost accusingly. What are you talking Sir, have you come to Alalahabad for the first time, he replied laughingly.


I bought one piece. Took it to my room and still not satisfied put it under the scrutiny of tap water half hoping that the red colour would come out. Nothing happened. Feeling a bit embarrassed at my naivete’, I cut the guava and greatly enjoyed its taste and smell.


Now something about the guavas in general.

The apple common guava (Psidium guajava; known as goiaba in Portuguese   and guayaba in Spanish) is a small evergreen tree which is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It is grown extensively in various parts of India. The guava plant usually has three flushes: monsoons, winter and spring.

Of course, there are various varieties that orchards around Allahabad produce but the red one is what beats them all. Known as “Surkha”, meaning red, it gets better as the winter chill increases.

So take my tip, next time you are in Allahabad during the winter months, don’t miss the ‘surakha’ guavas.

My love is like a red, red guava (with apologies to Robert Burns).

Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath

  IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  It is intended only for sharing information and experiences with travel enthusiasts. Readers are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

Contact: [email protected]

Some great cities seeped in history


Peterhoff Garden, St. Petersburg (Photo by KJS Chatrath)

Take a look at this engrossing article (Living in: Great cities for history and ancient ruins) on some great cities- Cairo, Cape Town, Dubai, Haifa, Kyrgystan, New York, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Sydney:

Thank you BBC, but why is there no mention of any Indian city?

And thank you Supreet Dhiman for sharing this link.