Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

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Aditya_V
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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 04 Nov 2011 14:30

Singha wrote:
there is no comparison with mum/dilli which have huge nos of people pulling in >1cr / annum through businesses and associated work like law/CA/accounting and the salaried or commission based financial sector. the ability of self-employed indics to under-report their income is anyways legendary.



Waaah CA's who make that kind of money in all of India must be less 2K, the other 2 lacs earn only a few lacs a year and I am in that bracket- :x :x :x :x :x

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Vipul » 04 Nov 2011 22:14

Narendra Modi plans world's biggest stupa near new Maruti plant site.

In a bid to turn Gujarat into a pilgrim place for countries which follow Buddhism, chief minister Narendra Modi is pulling out all stops to build the world's biggest stupa, over 100 km from the place Suzuki has chosen for the biggest Maruti plant in North Gujarat.

The project will cost Rs 1,000 crore, centred around a 351-ft high stupa towering over a 151-ft statue of Lord Buddha. The site - Dev-ni-Mori in Sabarkantha district - is two km away from Shamlaji temple located on the Ahmedabad-Delhi National Highway. An active archeological site, this is the 5th place in the world where Buddha's body relics have been found.

The relics are at present kept wrapped in a silk cloth in a gold-plated casket at the archaeology department of MS University in Vadodara. A team from the department then headed by well-known archaeologist and professor B Subbarao had unearthed the ashes belonging to third or fourth century in Dev-ni-Mori in 1957. It was shifted to Vadodara as the site was getting submerged under the Meshwo dam. Prominent archaeologist and former MSU professor V H Sonawane says the casket's inscription refers to it as bodily remains of Buddha.

Modi is not only eyeing foreign tourists from the Buddhist world but also big business from South-East Asia economies like Japan and South Korea which have lined up bigticket investments here. Of 22 companies which evinced interest in the project, Gujarat has shortlisted two from China, a country Modi is visiting next week.

Lord Buddha himself visited several places in Gujarat. Excavations of stupas and viharas suggest that Buddhism came to Gujarat during his lifetime itself. Chinese traveller Huen Tsang has mentioned about the several monasteries in the Vadnagar-Vijaynagar region and that almost 1,300 monks lived here.

Modi may also steal the thunder of his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, who has been actively promoting Bodh Gaya, Nalanda and other sites. This may enhance his appeal among dalits - a large number of them being Buddhists - besides tribals who also have belief in the Buddha sites in North Gujarat.

Bihar would, of course, not be able to match the money power of Gujarat which plans to spruce up the stupa site with resorts, retreats, ecotourism and a riverfront on the Meshwo. About 100 acres of land have been notified for it and more may be acquired.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Asit P » 05 Nov 2011 02:30


Good to see some one thinking ahead of times. Being the birth place of Buddhism, Jainism and also the 10th Guru of the Sikhs - Bihar has great potential for tourism. But Nitish will take decades to undo the damage done by Lalu and his thugs!

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Virupaksha » 05 Nov 2011 03:17

Asit P wrote:

Good to see some one thinking ahead of times. Being the birth place of Buddhism, Jainism and also the 10th Guru of the Sikhs - Bihar has great potential for tourism. But Nitish will take decades to undo the damage done by Lalu and his thugs!

when it is more than 100 kms from the plant, how the hell in the world did the plant become the reference point.

it is 80 kms from amdavad and 60 kms from gandhinagar...

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby sum » 05 Nov 2011 10:53

^^ Need to show as to how evil govt is usurping land for bid,bad industries na..
Since the riots story is now old news( and has become counter-productive), new funda of "secular DDM" seems to be to target on the pro-rich attitude of the govt..

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Singha » 05 Nov 2011 11:43

bihar's road infra per tourist pix I see is still not upto snuff, so even though some places may be interesting and well kept its hard to get around and cover many places. ..perhaps only by rail.

gujarat ofcourse has huge advantages in roads, airports, diaspora, wealth, cachement area (the rich mumbai-pune region and NCR)..it can be a powerhouse of the tourist business the way jaipur, shimla, ooty are.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Asit P » 06 Nov 2011 04:47

Virupaksha wrote:
Asit P wrote:Narendra Modi plans world's biggest stupa near new Maruti plant site.

Good to see some one thinking ahead of times. Being the birth place of Buddhism, Jainism and also the 10th Guru of the Sikhs - Bihar has great potential for tourism. But Nitish will take decades to undo the damage done by Lalu and his thugs!

when it is more than 100 kms from the plant, how the hell in the world did the plant become the reference point.

it is 80 kms from amdavad and 60 kms from gandhinagar...


Read this article:
Gujarat riots witness stabbed 28 times to death in broad daylight
The victim was probably killed by the people of his own community because he made a complaint against some illegal slaughter house, and yet the heading of this article makes reference to the Gujrat riots !

The bottom line is - media is capable of coming up with such gems from time to time. As readers, it is upto us to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Asit P » 06 Nov 2011 04:53

Singha wrote:bihar's road infra per tourist pix I see is still not upto snuff, so even though some places may be interesting and well kept its hard to get around and cover many places. ..perhaps only by rail.

Agreed Singha ji. The last time I went there, I did see visible improvements on all the fronts. But Bihar still has lot of catching up to do before it could aggressively market itself amidst the national and international tourists.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Vipul » 06 Nov 2011 17:37

Virupaksha wrote:when it is more than 100 kms from the plant, how the hell in the world did the plant become the reference point.

it is 80 kms from amdavad and 60 kms from gandhinagar...


Possibly to target financing from the Japanese by referecing it to Maruti Plant, DMIC ...
Japanese have in the past invested in the Budh gaya circuit in Bihar and also in Maharashtra (Ajanta -Ellora/Aurangabad infra improvement).

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby SBajwa » 07 Nov 2011 00:46

http://www.punjabtourism.in/fort_gobindgarh.html

Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar

The fort occupied a unique place in the Indian military history. Built in 1760, it was called Bhangian Da Kila (Bhangis was one of the twelve Sikh misles). According to historians, during 1808, the fort was known as the fort of Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Later it was re-built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh with the help of Jodh Singh. The legendary Maharaja strengthened the fortification of the fort in order to keep his treasures and treaties in safety. The specially constructed Toshakhana, in the centre of the fort, also stored large amount of grains and provisions for the 12,000-strong army.

The fort was constructed with brick and lime with numerous army bastions and iron gates with 25 cannons on the ramparts, now replaced with modern weaponry. The fort was constructed on a square pattern with a parameter of 1500 sq mt with two strong gates, four large bastions and well-defined rampart. The majestic entrance has been named Nalwa Gate, after the great Sikh warrior. The other end of the gate is known as Keelar Gate and it is rumoured that in its close proximity existed an escape tunnel, connecting to Lahore tunnel. However, the army authorities said that they had not been able to locate any such tunnel so far.

The British Army had added Darbar Hall, Hawa Mehal and Phansi Ghar (hanging place) to the fort after the annexation of Punjab. After Partition, the fort provided a temporary shelter to a large number of refugees from Pakistan. In October 1948, the fort was handed over to the Indian Army.This fort holds a special significance in the freedom struggle. It has been a witness to many nameless freedom fighters who kissed the gallows willingly. Gen O Dyer's office-cum-residence was located just opposite the Phansi Ghar. It is said that he got sadistic pleasure watching the hanging of the patriots in the Phansi Ghar.

Even the staunchest critics agree that the army had tried its best to keep the buildings in the fort intact. However, reservations are already being expressed whether the state government would be able to preserve (and restore) its original glory. A large number of city residents, who had lost their dear ones during summary trials under the British rule, have been trying to gather information about their relatives who were hanged to death in the Phansi Ghar.

Some of the freedom fighters had sought the permission of the government to build a suitable memorial at the Phansi Ghar, which had stood out as a place of resistance against the atrocities of the British military general, General O Dyer, the perpetrator of the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh in 1919. Fort Gobind Garh has been taken over by the Indian army and is now off limit.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby SBajwa » 07 Nov 2011 00:48

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111106/punjab.htm#9

Chandigarh, November 5
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is all set to launch a nine-day special Sikh pilgrimage train in January next year. The train would be covering the five Takhts (temporal seats) of the Sikhs.

The train is being launched by the IRCTC in association with the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) to woo Sikhs living across the globe who aspire to visit the historic five Takhts.

IRCTC's Chief Regional Manager RK Sondh said the train would start from Amritsar and would take the devotees to Anandpur Sahib, Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda District, Hazoor Sahib, Nanded in Maharashtra, and Patna Sahib in Bihar.

It is to be mentioned that the people of Punjab have been demanding a train to connect the historical Takhts. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had sent a proposal to the Union government a few years ago for a similar trip and even deposited the state's share, but the Centre did not respond.

Sondh said the nine-day tour had been specially designed to woo the Sikhs living abroad and who visit the country during winters and aspired to visit their religious places. “The tour will offer free meals, accommodation and other facilities during the trip. The passengers will also be insured during the trip,” he added.

He said the fully air-conditioned train would have first AC, II-Tier AC and III-tier AC and the passengers would be taken in air-conditioned buses to all religious places from the respective railway stations. He said dates were being finalised with officials of the PHTPB and hoped that train would be a success. He said boarding and lodging would be provided by the IRCTC.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 14 Dec 2011 21:59

Was in Kanyakumari two weeks back on a day trip from Trivandrum with family. The whole place looks run down from what I remember from 10 yrs ago. As soon as you enter the town, they flag down out of state vehicles, and ask for tax. Looked like a semi-official setup. All that has done nothing to improve the facilities any bit. It stinks real bad around the areas that tourists would visit. No parking anywhere nearby and no directions either. The traffic police we tried to get help from were the least useful and outright rude, yelling out in Tamil. We immediately contrasted that he help we received in Mysore for directions or near Gudalur across the border. The boat jetty area looked so worse off and service was closed due to winds. But was not expecting to see such a run down place after all these years. Overall a poor job done to promote tourism for that region. Saw some backpacker types even small troupes of women wondering why they were there.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 14 Dec 2011 22:24

Another short day trip done while in Bengaluru was to Nandi Hills. The roads and access was good, but the region looks really dirt poor compared to Bangalore. Such stark differences really make me sad to visit such places. Even here the infrastructure and general cleanliness is not much to speak about. The driver directed us to a small temple (Ganesh ?) at the top but again looked badly kept. Seems like nothing has changed up there for decades from the quality and style of construction. We did not have time to venture around the hilltop structure with a large garden.

We have a long way to go to make our tourist spots even within reach of our major cities stand out in any way.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Sachin » 16 Dec 2011 21:19

Bade wrote:Was in Kanyakumari two weeks back on a day trip from Trivandrum with family. The whole place looks run down from what I remember from 10 yrs ago. As soon as you enter the town, they flag down out of state vehicles, and ask for tax. Looked like a semi-official setup.

Saar. Guess we need to slowly start finding new places :(. Most of the known tourist destinations have become pretty much a dump yard. Last year we made a trip to Ooty, and that made me take a decision that I would NOT visit any popular hill station in India. Too many people, too much noise, and general lack of cleanliness. Luckily we were camping at Masinagudi *, so that meant that some peaceful time at least in the evening.

* There was nothing to see in Masinagudi as well (although the resort owner promised us of elephants and bears). But it was a cool silent place, where one could have a couple of drinks and think about life..

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 16 Dec 2011 22:49

^^ Masinagudi, isn't that the place where the Indian Neutrino Detector lost out to the tigers, but seems like only to be encroached by tourists (with blessings of the TN govt) from the Tri-state area running away from the mess created by them in their cities. :-)

BTW, this trip the most pleasant surprise for me was the short stay in Trivandrum. The footpaths/sidewalks were all laid out in locking tiles, though they could have done with better shade of color, and I could do a pleasant morning walk for more than a few km in the city area from the apartment. Kowdiar looks more beautiful and organized with each passing year. Wish Kochi too looked the same. And they have started doing sidewalks in same patterns elsewhere in the city too, not just around the guvernor's mansions and Statue. Long live benevolent socialism. The city feels so much better than Bengaluru, which looks trashed everywhere you look. Such a pity.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 21 Dec 2011 11:54

Masinagudi is located as part of the best forests in South India, the only thing that town is too crowded and many of resorts do not have permission for safari. they fool tourists by taking them down the raod to Tepakadu and Mayyar Dam. while driving in personal car I say a bear near Mayyar dam and some elephants near Tepakadu. The more expensive resorts on the Karnataka side which take you for jeep drives within the forest are a much better bet.

The place described in pranay post here is hardly 5 km from Masinagudi

http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4728&start=360

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Abhijeet » 21 Dec 2011 13:39

Lonely Planet magazine India has articles on good getaways close to each of the metros in each issue. The quality of the photos and writing is very high.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby SBajwa » 27 Dec 2011 20:49

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/201112 ... /above.htm
by Khushwant Singh

It is likely that New Delhi may raise a monument to honour its builders as part of its centenary celebrations. The decision to shift the Capital from Calcutta to Delhi was taken in 1911 and announced by King George V when he and his royal consort Queen Mary held the Royal Darbar. It was assumed that the new capital would be built on the same site — Kingsway Camp.

Experts found the site unsuitable, and after exploring the countryside on horseback, decided to build it on Raisina Hill with the Viceregal Lodge (Rashtrapati Bhavan) on its peak. The building schedule was upset by World War I (1914-18). It was not until 1920 that actual work was undertaken.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan (Viceregal Lodge) on Raisina Hill is Delhi’s crowning glory
The Rashtrapati Bhavan (Viceregal Lodge) on Raisina Hill is Delhi’s crowning glory

The two chief architects were Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. Lutyens had planned to dam the Yamuna behind Humayun’s tomb to create a huge lake with a broad riverside drive along it. His extravagance had to be curbed. He did, however, lay out the basic features of the city to be built. Besides the two architects, there were a dozen or so engineers of the CPWD. There was only one Indian among them — Teja Singh Malik. Then, there were building contractors to get building material and labourers to give shape to the architects’ designs. All of them happened to be Sikhs: Sujan Singh and his son Sobha Singh, Sobha Singh’s closest friend and next-door neighbour Baisakha Singh, Narain Singh, Sewa Singh, Ranjit Singh, Dharam Singh, Manohar Singh and Ram Singh Kabli. All of them lived on Jantar Mantar Road between Ashoka Road and Sansad Marg. A later arrival was Mohan Singh, who built the American Embassy and lived in the New Friends Colony.

Then, there were the stone masons (sang tarashs), who were descendants of the builders of Mughal forts, palaces and mausoleums. They came from Agra and Delhi.

The most important section of the builders were labourers — more than 30,000 men and women, all from Rajasthan and known as Bagris. The men were paid half a rupee a day and their women six annas. They lived in jhuggi jhonpris, ate chapattis with salt and raw chillies and drank well water: They were the poorest of the builders, and yet the most cheerful.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Asit P » 08 Jan 2012 19:14

Bihar to take tourism development as countries promise funds


With countries like China, Taiwan and Japan promising to invest more than Rs 200 crore, Bihar government is preparing to transform the state into a world-class destination for religious and historical tourism.

While the state government has already chalked out plans for revamping the tourism industry on priority basis, dedicated funds have started to pour in for various destinations after the recent visit of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to Bhutan and China.

"Taiwan has promised to invest Rs 100 crore in restoring the tourist sites at Betiyah and Nandangarh, popularly known as part of the Buddha Trail. Similarly, China has proposed equal investment for Nalanda- the ancient centre for higher learning," state Tourism Minister Sunil Kumar Pintu told PTI.

"Bihar is the birth place of religions such as Buddhism and Jainism. It is also the birth place of Goddess Sita and Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. It also has a special significance for believers of Sufism," he said.

Meanwhile, Japan, besides showing interest in developing the tourist sites, has promised financial support for other projects in the state.

"Japan is ready to support all kinds of projects starting from roads, infrastructure and education," the Tourism Minister said.

"Bihar has undergone some much needed image makeover in last five years. Now the focus is going to be on tourism which has been declared as the top priority area," Pintu said, adding that the budget allocation for tourism department will be more than doubled in the next fiscal.

To cater to the rising number of tourists, the state government has started to empanel hotels, guest houses and other places of accommodation after ensuring that they fulfill the basic needs for catering to international visitors.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/new ... 412172.cms

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Gaurav_S » 01 Feb 2012 05:47

BigB in last phase of his tourism ad shooting in Gujarat. Many photos of BigB in Ambaji near Gujarat Rajasthan border.

Clicky

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Vipul » 05 Feb 2012 22:23

Watch the wonders of Incredible India on Youtube.

You don't have to empty your pockets to take a trip around the country anymore. The wonders of Incredible India are now available on the popular video sharing website Youtube. The public diplomacy division of the external affairs ministry's Youtube channel called 'Indiandiplomacy', will now feature films from the ministry's archives to showcase India's cultural diversity.

The purpose of uploading the films, some of which date back nearly three decades, "is to create more awareness of India and to make the films available to a wider and younger audience," says Navdeep Suri, Joint Secretary and head of the public diplomacy division.

An edited version of a documentary on the Golden Temple, produced with the Discovery channel, is being widely appreciated with over 13,000 views. One user responded with "Lovely! Can't wait to see its full version."

Another popular video is the short film, India and Afghanistan: Hamsaye, which talks about all aspects of the relationship between the two countries - from the Mahabharata connection to Kabuliwallah to the post-Taliban days. A user comments, "I am a proud Pakistani. I feel rather proud to watch our Indian brothers doing good stuff in the world." Another user comments (in his unique Afghani tone), "We love you and your culture my Indian Bai."

Six Yards of Grace talks about a "thousand-year-old romance" of saris, starting from the use of Terracotta two thousand years ago, to now when experiments by modern designers from across the world have become all the rage.

If you thought you knew the true India, you can now add to your knowledge at the channel. For instance, did you know that Musalman, perhaps the world's oldest handwritten newspaper, is still published daily in India? Or that we are one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping troops in disturbed regions of the world. Or, for that matter, that Beating of the Retreat of the army was originally an idea taken from the teachings of Saint Bharat Muni.

The ministry's collection has it all. A 2011 video called, Musalman, named after the newspaper, is the most-viewed video on the channel, with almost 65,000 hits within a few months. It shows how the eighty-year-old Chennai-based Urdu daily uses the dying art of calligraphy to write the newspaper manually, that too in a city where very few people are native speakers of the language.

"This channel is superb. It would prove to be an amazing tool not only to show the rest of the world what India is but also to many Indians who do not know these things," comments another user. The channel has more than 282 videos with over 1,80,000 views.

Short versions of all the films have been uploaded on Youtube, while full-length features can be purchased from the Magic Lantern Foundation. The films are screened by the ministry and Indian embassies abroad to increase awareness about the country.

Then there are the ones which have not attracted much viewer attention. Take for example Youth and Development, which talks about the role played by the youth of Kashmir in developing local infrastructure.

Another film, The Pathbreakers, documents the work done by real heroes from the grassroots who have contributed to their society and improved the lives of others.

The oldest movie in the collection was commissioned in 1980 and was directed by Mazahir Karim. Titled Aao Hajj Karen, it explains how the Islamic pilgrimage rituals of Hajj are performed. Then follows John Dayal's People of Peace made in 1982, which traces the origins of Christianity in India.

Talking about the diversity of cultures in India that is hardly noticeable in other parts of the world, Navdeep Suri says, "The videos convey India's soft power that is its democracy and rich cultural traditions."

But, its not only the Youtube channel where the diplomacy division is making itself known. The ministry even has a presence on Twitter, with almost 21,000 followers, and a Facebook page with over 23,000 likes.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby kshatriya » 05 May 2012 00:29

Planning a mega trip( around 4-6 weeks) to the Himalayan Region(HP, Ladakh, Uttranchal, etc) in a few months. Any tips about must see locales, mysterious spots near the usual Pilgrimage, Tourist points ?

Any other tips ? Is there any monastery where one can stay ?

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 16 Jun 2012 21:03

Karnataka's cuppa Coffee tourism for folks around Bengaluru.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby SaiK » 16 Jun 2012 21:30

serai, chick.. $230 per nite! wow. but a wow place it is.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby kshatriya » 20 Jun 2012 00:01

SaiK wrote:serai, chick.. $230 per nite! wow. but a wow place it is.


Just found out its owned by S M Krish's son in law

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Vriksh » 20 Jun 2012 09:48

x-posted from GDF Nukkad.

Any suggestions for a 3 nights stay in Kerala for 2 (me and wife) around Jul 1/2 onwards. Budget about 20K-30K travel extra.

Would prefer a resort kind of place with massages, good food, houseboating and perhaps visits to Periyar national park. The idea is to avoid too much road travel since wife gets road sick fast.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Dilbu » 20 Jun 2012 10:09

Why don't you try Wayanad? Not sure how good the place is when it is raining this heavily but since you are not looking for too much moving around I would suggest some resort among the thick lush greenery. Vythiri resort is highly recommended by friends though I havent visited the place. I think it should fit your budget also.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby ajit.d » 20 Jun 2012 14:26

Vriksh wrote:x-posted from GDF Nukkad.

Any suggestions for a 3 nights stay in Kerala for 2 (me and wife) around Jul 1/2 onwards. Budget about 20K-30K travel extra.

Would prefer a resort kind of place with massages, good food, houseboating and perhaps visits to Periyar national park. The idea is to avoid too much road travel since wife gets road sick fast.


Try out Whispering Palms in Kumarakom. Part of Abad group and has got good reviews. I intend to be in Kerala in Mid Aug and was reco'ed this by colleagues

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 20 Jun 2012 19:35

Vriksh, Get a houseboat for around Rs9000/- per day. Good for honeymooners. No, I have not done it; might try it this time though it will be family experience with kids and possibly friends too.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby vipins » 21 Jun 2012 00:00

ajit.d wrote:
Vriksh wrote:x-posted from GDF Nukkad.

Any suggestions for a 3 nights stay in Kerala for 2 (me and wife) around Jul 1/2 onwards. Budget about 20K-30K travel extra.

Would prefer a resort kind of place with massages, good food, houseboating and perhaps visits to Periyar national park. The idea is to avoid too much road travel since wife gets road sick fast.


Try out Whispering Palms in Kumarakom. Part of Abad group and has got good reviews. I intend to be in Kerala in Mid Aug and was reco'ed this by colleagues


Yup, Some 3-4 of the bamboo villas have private pools , and common pool have a big view of lake and food is also good.But reaching there is a bit of trouble,you can hire a cab from cochin airport or ernakulam railway station.its a 2 hour ride from cochin.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby rahulm » 27 Jun 2012 11:14

x-posting from Nukkad and continuing here

In addition to all of the useful suggestions already provided--

Some thoughts and I don't mean to be gratuitous:

If you are planning on doing some trekking with a pack load on your shoulders, you would do well to be kind to yourself. No matter how much of a Rambo one thinks of oneself, after the first 2 kms, every gram counts and makes its presence felt, painfully and persistently on the back and shoulders. Double this if going uphill.

You can either be a pack mule or you can enjoy the trip.

There is good quality gear at a price and there is good quality light gear at a (sometimes much) higher price. It pays to get the lightest gear money can buy. You, your back and sanity will be thankful for it and not only will you enjoy your trek but also have some allowance for the inevitable souvenirs that will find their way into your pack. Plus you do not have to worry about luggage weight at airline check in.

Unfortunately, unless you get creative (and this is possible) light gear costs much higher. There is simply no way around it.

The biggest contributors to weight are:

1. The backpack itself - Get the lightest one that money can buy. Aim for a range of 800 gms to 1.5 kgs. Yes, Its possible. While at it a 2 litre water bladder could be useful if water availability is going to be iffy.

For Indian Railway cloak rooms, ensure all compartments of the pack are lockable.

2. The tent - 3 or 4 season? How much wind protection? There are plenty of ultra light choices depending on the answer to these questions. For a 4 season around 1.5 -2kg is a good target.

3. Food - are you going to be catered? If cooking your own what type of meals do you wish to eat.Desi/Videsi/anything goes?.

After cooking dal-chawal and kichhidi type meals from first principles for a long time, I have now switched to dehydrated meals to which I simply add hot water. When away from civilisation, I enjoy 3 hot meals every day consisting of stuff like, poha, upma, puliyogare, dal fry, rice, bisi-bele-bhath, kicchdi, rajma, chole, bhindi, palak paneer - the works.

There is nothing as satisfying and good for the morale at the end of the day as a piping hot Indian meal.

Instant coffee and tea packs are also readily available in desh.

And how are you going to cook this meal? Propane canisters are very tough to get in India. I use a alcohol fuelled Trangia stove. This amazing Swiss stove is an off shoot of a Swiss army stove design and I have cooked meals in 50 kmph winds with heavy downpours. It is wind and water proof and has no mechanical parts.

Alcohol (methylated spirit) is easily available in India in Pharmacies. A a last resort find out the suppliers to local school chemistry labs - they always have it.

A further benefit of alcohol is that it can be used to treat wounds, cuts and bruises. If its spills in your backpack it simply disappears without a trace. Since it looks like water and is very corrosive if ingested, I always keep in a bright and differently coloured bottle.

A dis-advantage is that you need more of this fuel per unit of water as your altitude increases. But since we are only heating water to re-hydrate food its really not much of an issue.

Discard the box cover of the food and lable (very important - as after you get rid of the box, the foil packs all look the same!) and keep the foil packs with the dehydrated goodness.

4. Clothes - layering, layering, layering is the key. Plan in such a way that you should end up wearing pretty much all your layers in the cold and have nothing left to carry in the back. In India, antimicrobial clothes are a god send. Delays smelling like a gutter. A good fleece, wind & water protection and a beanie are essential.

5. A sleeping mat. Thermarest make great light mats.

6. A foldable hat with a chin band so it does not take off in the wind, Rs 2 pouches of Ariel detergent (carry a sink plug and wash your clothes in the hotels sink) & a thin nylon rope to hang your laundry.

7. Anti mosquito spray, good knight repellent for the days when you will sleep with power. Often, clean water to wash hands is not available - a hand sanitiser fixes this problem. An insulated mug will help keep precious tea and coffee warm for longer.

8. Duct tape is like a mother. It fixes all problems (mends tears & breaks). Has saved me numerous times.

9. Oops, missed the sleeping bag. Again get the lightest money can buy for the rating you want. Hooded sleeping bags are really a waste because you will have a beanie.

In the lat 2 years, the maximum my pack has ever weighed is around 16 kgs for my winder expedition to Doda and surrounds. If you are going up the Himalaya's, it could be more. Once I descend, the pack weighs less than 12 kgs with tripod and umbrella and often less than this. For months, I got it down to only 7 kgs. I live out of this pack and I care for my back.

How do I know my pack weight?I have a handheld portable weighing scale that weighs upto 35 kgs :-)

For the day pack I ditched the bulky SLR and carry a prosumer compact that shoots RAW. In the mountains, I ditch the full size tripod and shoot at slow speeds using snipers technique. Plus now days IS is quite good.If I must have greater than 1/15 second exposures, I carry a mini tripod that fits in my palm. What a relief!

I have been backpacking through India for almost 2 years now (and still going). Its been a fantastic experience living out of a backpack and a daypack. From Kerala and Rameshwaram in the south to Bhadawah, Khistwad & Naska in Doda during winter in the North.

This trip I have avoided the well trodden path.

Back where I live abroad in them yonder hills, I have been backpacking for more than 14 years almost every weekend (winters excluded).This is what keeps me sane after my BlackBerry driven week day corporate life. And much of this is off-trail with maps, compass and dollops of misplaced courage:-). And the occasional car camping too with hot showers.

I organised a light tent and Trangia stove for a IA Col. friend and he is having a great time trekking in the Nilgiri Hills with his son. Loves the Trangia.

Have a great trip!

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby rahulm » 27 Jun 2012 12:37

India is not geared for solitary backpacking in the wilderness. There are all sorts of nastie's including animals that will attack, kill and perhaps even eat you, to beloved country men who will simply attack you for all sorts of reasons.

Early on when I was high on enthusiasm and optimistic about my fellow country men's goodwill, I once camped beside a lovely tranquil lake in Maharashtra.

Word must have spread. Come night time, I was surrounded by villagers with [i]mashall's[i], torches, sticks, knives and other sharp farming implements. They could not understand what this whole "camping" business was and I was petrified because frankly, there is little law and order in desh. It's mostly vigilante justice determined on the spot by the aggrieved to real or imagined crimes. And this was a mob which has it's own terrible dynamics.

I was able to convince & talk them out of their fear, After they had cooled down, I was invited to stay the night in the village school which I declined. They eventually left me for a crackpot (which I probably was) and went in peace but they never understood why a person would want to camp like me when I had a perfectly good home and family.

A close call.

There are simply too many life threatening wild animals in Indian jungles to do this alone and maybe even with a group. There is no body like the Aussie SES and no Indian system other than the Armed Forces is geared to provide emergency rescue. I don't even know what would happen if an EPIRB were to be triggered in India and I don't want to find out.

Having said this, there are plenty of good reason's for trekking in India, one of the most significant being that most Indian's are simply not enthusiastic about exerting themselves on a holiday.

Firstly, most of us holiday in U-boat sized wolf pack units of friends, neighbours and extended families who deem to have had a good holiday if they are able to boisterously hunt and raid food places.

Of the remaining who are enthusiastic, plenty are unfit carrying Michelin radial tyres on their waist :mrgreen:

Of the last remaining who are enthusiastic and fit, a miniscule will have SHQ's and GHQ's who share the same passion. This leaves the field open for a very select few to pursue this activity.

Having said this, it is possible and rewarding to pursue trekking in India. I have found it next to impossible to find solitude in India (solitude means no noise, people ok). Trekking is the one option in India where there is a good chance to find solitude.

A good chance but not a certainty because people walk into these beautiful tranquil places and use the worst invention for desh-the dreaded mobile speaker phone blaring "Munni badnam huee" and the next group "Tu meri Chammakchallo". :-( How about sparing a thought for others and using the handsfree? Others have a right to the space as do you.

Trekking with experienced guides is much safer & recommended. One of the best trek's I did was in the Pachmarhi Reserve. They have a very organised system of guides and trekking permits.

Good quality and sufficiently detailed topographic maps are mostly not available freely and if they are it is with the Survey of India. Any request to get a detailed topo map from them is met with responses ranging from suspicion to outright hostility combined with looks that imply you are an ISI agent.

A good guide is worth it. I got hold of an Adivasi (his own words) guide who was born, grew up and now works in the Pachmarhi Reserve. This chap was amazing -a great tracker who knew every animal's foot prints and was able to age the animal footprint and diet using droppings.

The reserve has many big cats.

Chap needed no backpack, He could live of he land and would just grab a plant from the jungle and drink water from it every time he felt thirsty.

Had major injuries and claw marks on his back from the time he fought with a bear on one such trek.

I had a great time.

Jamwal, perhaps, a practical and sensible way to do the Bhadarwah, Khistwad area is using IA hospitality. There is simply no tourist infrastructure worth its name in this part of Kashmir but the breathtaking beauty and serenity make it worth while. I was there for a fortnight and although I had Civilian transport with a driver - because it had "ON ARMY DUTY' on it, people, doors and places just opened automatically for me.

The road side eateries are medieval places, interiors dimly lit by sunlight. Dark and foreboding with occasional shafts of light penetrating the black smoke from the wood fire kitchen serving piping rice, roti, rajma & chana by waiters whose faces I could barely make out in the dark & grime.

Had the best Rajma+rice+ghee. Delicious and like no other place.

I stayed in the Barracks with Delta-force at Batote and in IA quarters in Bhadarwah and Khistwad in the peak of winter! Terrific experience. Much of IA's abilities, successes and capabilities do not make to the public domain and these include Signals and EW capabilities which I am happy to leave as is.

Not a mouse can move or squeak without the IA knowing.

There are pictures of the pure meeting their 72 while engaged in impure and haram acts with members of the opposite sex (Sort of like being "Shot in the Act" :-D) which few nanha BRF mujhadis and aam aadmi may ever see. The pure need a distraction and relief on earth too till they meet their 72 houris in jannat.(BTW, what's in it for the women mujahids?)

I have stunning pictures of the famous Bhagliar backwaters and I may upload some one day. I also visited the dam and was given a nice tour - photography was strictly prohibited off course.

Your IA friends can ensure you get the best and original unadulterated Saffron in India. A single sliver smell lights up the whole house plus the neighbours. My mother is still stunned, never before she had seen such saffron in her life.

Enough for now I think.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby jamwal » 11 Jul 2012 17:01

I spent 6 days in Mceodganj in April 2012 and this is a series of post which I wrote for my travel blog. I hope that some people may find it useful or even interesting.

I wanted to go on a solo trip somewhere for a long time and 1st week of April seemed like a good opportunity. But I had no idea where to go until last week of March. All I knew that the place should be mountainous and not crowded. McLeodganj seemed to be a good enough place and after thinking about it for a bit I chose it as my destination. Getting there from Delhi takes approximately 12 hours by road. I took a Volvo bus which was full of tourists from all over the world. It wasn’t very comfortable journey but I managed to doze through most of it.

I woke up as the bus stopped at the town’s bus stand just before 6 am. As I opened my eyes, I was greeted by the sight of mountains covered with lush greenery and dozens of crows cawing loudly. Unlike their city cousins, these are a bit larger and completely black. Gathering my belongings, I got out of bus and stretched my limbs. First thing that hit me was the cool breeze. It was colder outside than the air conditioned bus ! That’s one of the reasons why I love mountains. <3


I called the hotel I had talked to earlier for a room. Someone picked up the phone and asked me to take taxi to some address. As it happened, the hotel I had asked for after checking on net was full and only available rooms were in another hotel, right in middle of the city. I didn’t like the dinky room and it’s not-worth-it price. The place was full of hotels and lodges and I started looking for another one on foot. After walking for a while down a steep slope, I came across one which I liked. The place had a great view of Dharmshala town in the valley below on one side and snow covered distant peaks on other. Found out that only empty rooms available were with a kitchen attached. Although I had no need for one, I just took it without much haggling and further search. After a hot shower and a short nap, I got ready and stepped out to explore the place.

Image

Luckily this hotel was very near to my first destination, Dalai Lama’s temple Tsuglag Khang. I had to walk up (climb up is a more apt description) a rather steep road to get there. Although it was just a short walk of less than 500 meters, I realised that I needed much more stamina than I had just to walk around. For that, I needed to eat. Found a small eating joint and climbed up the stairs to be greeted by the sight of Tibetan monks having breakfast and watching some soap on a Tibetan channel. A Tibetan lady along with another young Tibetan girl were the only staff. I ordered a chocolate flavoured banana shake with some kind of fruit pie.

As soon as I finished, my phone started to ring. Friends and family calling to congratulate me on my birthday. The thing had slipped off my mind entirely. Seemed like my phone had been mostly non-operational during the night long journey. Keeping the phone glued to my ear I walked around the market a little which was just starting to open up. The place was full of posters and slogans asking for liberation of Tibet. One remarkable thing was number of people who had lost their lives while fighting for their cause. Pictures of one Tibetan activist, Jamyang Yeshi who had set fire to himself a few days back in Delhi were every where.

After a few minutes of walking around, I entered the gates of Tsuglag Khang temple, Namgyal monastery complex. The place is big, full of people and still peaceful. As I entered I saw some people, many of them foreigners engaged in Buddhist prayer rituals. Main prayers are performed in Tsuglakhang complex which has prayer wheels around it’s walls. This was the first time, I had the chance to see them for real and spin. Apart from Buddha, there was an idol of Padmasambhava who is credited with bringing Tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism into Tibet. Interesting thing is that he was born as a Hindu brahmin in what is known as Swat valley in Pakistan. All the idols are made of metal and very beautiful as you can se in the pictures. One exception was a Buddha idol made of wood encased in a glass case visible in the photo above. Right by side, there’s Kalchakra temple which is as impressive as Tsuglakhang. It’s walls are covered with intricately detailed and beautiful Tibetan murals. Lord Budhha is the presiding deity in both places, but both places have beautiful idols of other gods and ancient Tibetan leaders.. Try clicking on picture to take a better look. Unfortunately, photography inside this temple was prohibited.


Image

After spending some time there, I came out and walked around the market which had finally opened up to business. After a walk of 15-20 minutes I reached the main town square, right next to the bus stand. Following signboards and asking a few people I took the path to church of St. John in the Wilderness. It’s about 30-35 minutes walk from the city and very picturesque. The road is flanked by dense growth of trees on both sides and walking on it is a pleasure. I’ve been living in ugly cities for so long, the place seemed like heaven. I stopped numerous times to enjoy the views or look at some bird. A fair amount of vehicles do travel on that road, but it’s almost negligible as compared to a city like Delhi.



After that walk, view of church from it’s gate was surreal and almost eerie. Path from 1st gate to church is flanked on both sides by old graves and beautiful big trees.


Sunshine reaches the ground only in patches and in this setting, the black church seems to have a presence of its own. It was closed at the time, so couldn’t get a view of inside. ( I saw it on another day). It isn’t an architectural marvel as some people say. It’s just an ordinary church made of black stone, but in very beautiful place and ambiance. I spent some time walking in between graves and trying to read the inscriptions on tomb stones. Most were in a state of disrepair due to passage of time and mostly illegible. Almost all were of colonial British officers and their family members .


Wandering around, I came across a small path which lead to slightly bigger graveyard, but with less trees right next to the road. A small brook flowed through it along ruins of a small man made path made of stones. Curious about where it goes, I walked down the path. But it disappeared completely after just a few meters. Undeterred I kept walking down the slope along the brook which was partially paved with stones. There was no semblance of any kind of path or trail, but I kept following that brook down. After struggling through a bunch of dense bushes, trees and slippery ground, I finally stopped at a point where water from the brook formed a waterfall 2 feet high. Not much, but better than nothing :D .

I rested there for a while listening to bird calls. Trying to locate the birds themselves was almost impossible for me and I gave up trying to locate them visually after a while. It was really quiet there except for those birds and gentle sound of that small waterfall. After some time, I got up and traced my steps back to the graveyard. Walked around the graves again, taking some pictures. By then it was almost 1:30 and I was starting to feel hungry. There was no shop or place to eat nearby (thankfully), so I decided to walk back to McLeodganj in order to get something for lunch.





In nutshell, I spent better part of my birthday wandering among old broken graves and trying to read the inscriptions. Interesting to some people, I suppose.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Klaus » 11 Jul 2012 21:58

Question to those in the know of road network in Tamil Nadu: Is the ECR from Nagapattinam to Vedaranyam serviced by mofussil buses/private bus operators? Apparently, the state transport system diverts all south bound (Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Rameswaram) bound buses originating at Nagapattinam to Pudukottai and Kumbakonam. A few of the hoteliers and businesses there were citing tsunami risk to the ECR there. (Nagapattinam-Rameswaram stretch).

Need some clarification on this aspect. TIA.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 12 Jul 2012 15:08

Klaus- 9 years ago when I was doing a stock take of salt pans- next to I think Point Calimore reserve forest, I took a Public Bus which took me past Velankani and then took a private car.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Klaus » 12 Jul 2012 17:02

^^^ The route that the TTDC advertised was Nagapattinam-Thiruvarur-Mannargudi-Pattukottai instead of the more direct Nagapattinam-Velankanni- Pattukottai through Thiruduraipoondi, i.e the salt-pans.

Any specific reason you took a private car beyond Velankanni (apart from work reasons)? Do you remember seeing buses ply between Muthupet and Tondi point?

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Gaurav_S » 16 Jul 2012 16:24

Gujarat allocates Rs 400 crore to promote tourism

Kolkata, July 15:

Gujarat has allocated Rs 400 crore for tourism promotion in the State during the current fiscal. The amount includes Rs 120 crore as grant which has been approved by the Planning Commission for 2012-13.

According to Mr Sanjay Kaul, Commissioner and Managing Director, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd, the funds would be utilised for developmental activities and to improve infrastructure in several key tourist locations.

“Over the last 3-4 years the State Government has laid stress on the services sector including tourism and IT. We roped in actor Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador to grow the tourism sector. This has yielded results and we have been witnessing steady rise in the number of tourist arrivals in the State,” Mr Kaul told newspersons at a road show organised to promote tourism in Gujarat on Saturday.

Gujarat witnessed 16 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in 2011-12 to 2.23 crore. The Tourism Corporation expects 25 per cent growth in tourist arrivals this year. Tourists from Bengal account for about eight per cent of the total number of tourists into Gujarat.

“Our Buddhist Circuit, which includes places like Junagadh and Siyot (Bhuj) have not been publicised too well till so far. We are now going to South East Asian countries to attract tourists from these countries,” he said.

This apart, Gujarat will also work on developing coastal tourism. “The Planning Commission has approved Rs 1,200 crore to promote coastal tourism in Gujarat. This fund will be utilised to develop 14 coastal districts in the State over the next five years,” he said.


Majority of the boost came from BigB doing promotion luring tourists to Sasan Gir. Reportedly there has been sharp rise here.

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 21 Jul 2012 21:17

Anyone has good recommendation for taxi service from Dilli airport for a few days, to do a golden triangle tour. Since I have hotels booked already, all I need is a good car/van and a driver. I found a few doing a google for rentals in delhi, but would like input from someone who has used them before.

The hotel in Agra will provide a pickup from Dilli but it will cost me Rs10,000/- for a one-way trip. That is way more than hotel costs. :-) I thought KL was a rip off in hiring rentals, but this seems way above and daylight robbery. Even the self drive car rentals are like $100+ a day. How do people live in India, unless they want to remain poor with minimum wants or are already filthy rich. Nothing for in between category, unless one has a local network of friends and family to plug in for help !

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby abhischekcc » 21 Jul 2012 22:53

rahulm wrote:BTW, what's in it for the women mujahids?)


A pakistani mullah has weighed in on this issue. He said that a woman's worth is half that of a man, hence women would get half of that.

Before you think that muslim women shahids would get at least 36 pearly virgin boys (and 14 pearly virgin girls), let me clarify that the mullah said that the size of the men would be half. In other words, women mujahids would 72 midgets. :mrgreen: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 23 Jul 2012 19:18

abhischekcc wrote:
rahulm wrote:BTW, what's in it for the women mujahids?)


A pakistani mullah has weighed in on this issue. He said that a woman's worth is half that of a man, hence women would get half of that.

Before you think that muslim women shahids would get at least 36 pearly virgin boys (and 14 pearly virgin girls), let me clarify that the mullah said that the size of the men would be half. In other words, women mujahids would 72 midgets. :mrgreen: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


You mean everything including pokes will be half in size,

OT I don't think it is authetic quote though


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