Month: December 2014
Uttar Pradesh Government has planned to develop an ambitious theme park project in Agra in collaboration with Bollywood actor, Sanjay Khan. The project will be built over a land area of 1,580 acres. The mega park will be a cluster of seven theme parks and international expertise will be required for developing the project.
Officials have said that the Agra Theme Park will be developed on the lines of Disneyland Park in USA. An amount of Rs 5,000crore is estimated to be spent for the project. The park will contain snippets of Indus Valley Civilization, pre- independence India town and a futuristic city. Prabhanshu Srivastava, secretary, Agra Development Authority (ADA), stated that Sanjay Khan’s company has been selected as the project’s strategic partner. He also mentioned that building up of such a project is expected to change the present status of tourism in Agra. Not only that, the park is also going to be a major tourist attraction in Agra.
By developing replicas of past and future civilizations, the theme park is going to be one of a kind in India. December 2016 has been set as the deadline to finish the project.
The vacations are about to start and all of us have already put on our reading glasses researching on the best places to head to this winter. A major chunk of the tourist junta of North India goes down south during this time of the year. However, it’s time to go unconventional. Instead of taking a trip to the backwaters of Kerala, why not take a trip to the Kutch? The most awaited fest of the state of Gujarat has started. Yes, we are talking about Rann Utsav.
Rann Utsav in Gujarat usually takes place every year from December and goes on till Holi in March. However, Rann Utsav 2015-16 commenced on 18th November 2015 and will last till 29th February 2016. It is a carnival where you get to witness the beauty of the landscape, the traditional music and dance, local cuisine and the Gujarati culture at its best. The fest began way back in 2006 by the efforts of the then CM of Gujarat and now the PM of India, Narendra Modi. This is possibly the best time to book a flight to this region and take advantage of enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the locals. This is the best time experience Khushboo Gujarat ki at its best.
This fest includes camel cart rides which are perhaps the best thing to experience on a full moon night in the shimmery sands. A visit to Gujarat is incomplete if you do not shop local handicrafts items, jewellery, wall paintings, embroidered garments (Suf, Khareek, Paako) and traditional Bandhani sarees. Apart from this, live music concerts and dance performances take place periodically. The music is definitely one of its kinds, folk with a hint of Sufi. Moreover, there are special arrangements on the New Year’s Eve and Kite flying event on Makar Sankranti.
Activities to indulge in here comprise Helicopter joy ride, star gazing, Tandem Bicycle, Archery, Rifle shooting, Bungee run basketball, Para motoring, ATV (All terrain Vehicle) Ride etc. For the adventure freaks, this is definitely the place to be. The Rann of Kutch is seasonal salt marshland located in the Thar Desert. A part of it lies in Gujarat and the rest of it lies in Pakistan. Kutch happens to be one of the largest salt deserts on the globe and hence, it becomes all the more significant for the curious traveller in you.
Taste the traditional flavour in the form of Gujarati thali that consists of Kadhi (Yellow coloured curry made out of yoghurt and besan), roti or rotla as its is locally called, khichdi (quite different from the regukar khichdi we have in the North and a lot more delicious) and green chilli pickle served with chaas (buttermilk) so as to neutralize the spice. Sweet dish includes jalebis, basundi (dessert made of thickened milk quite similar to North Indian rabdi), sukhadi or malpua. Vegetarian food is synonymous to the Gujarati clan. Hence, do not expect non vegetarian food in this region.
It has been rightly described as a riot of colour sprinkled on the white sand. The moustaches, the colourful lehengas, the traditional jewellery, the sumptuous Gujarati thali, the garba and the camel rides, everything is going to sway you away like never before. The Rann Utsav definitely gives a boost to the Gujarat tourism as it witnesses more than 8000 tourists every year.
In order to reach Kutch, one needs to book a flight to Bhuj that is available from all major destinations of India. Alternatively, there are direct buses and trains to Bhuj. When it comes to accommodation, it is recommended that you book in advance. Bookings at hotels in Bhuj can be made at Goibibo.com.
Check out Hotels in Bhuj
Nearby locations to visit include Mandavi Beach (not to be missed), Indo Pak Border, Hodka Artist Village, Ludia Village and Kala Dungar (Black Hill).
So when are you going?
To give a boost to Indian tourism, the government has officially unveiled the much awaited Visa on Arrival (VoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for 43 countries. With this latest mode of tourist visa on arrival, citizens of these 43 countries can now easily avail ETA through nine major Indian airports with the help of a digitized procedure sitting back at home. On arrival to India, visitors have to present the authorization to immigration authorities who would then put a stamp and enable their entry to India.
The countries which will be able to avail Indian visa under this scheme for a duration of 30 days includes Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kingdom of Tongo, Laos, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Papua & New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Korea (i.e. South Korea), Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Palau, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam and Vanuatu.
Foreigners who wish to visit India for the purpose of recreation, sight- seeing, short term medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, etc can avail this facility. However, TVoA enabled with ETA cannot be availed more than twice in a calendar year. Nine international airports of India namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Goa will offer VoA to tourists.
Check out list of Airports in India .
Air Vistara, the joint venture between Singapore Airlines Ltd and Tata Sons Ltd. received the permission to fly from the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The airline that was announced in 2013 has managed to get the Air Operator Permit (AOP) and will begin its operations next year. This joint venture finds Tata Sons Ltd as its majority stake holder in the form of 51% whereas the remaining 49% is shared by Singapore Airlines.
In an interaction with the media, the airline stated, “The AOP is a significant milestone as it is the final step in a highly technical and complex compliance process.”
After the state-run Jet Airways and Air India, Air Vistara is going to be the third in the line of full service air carrier. With its headquarters in New Delhi, Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines aim to offer world class hospitality and finest of services to all its passengers. Tata is a reputed brand based in India with its wings spread all across the globe whereas Singapore Airlines has been in the aviation sector since long and has also made a mark for itself in the industry. Tata also has ties with another low cost Malaysian airline, Air Asia seems to be taking quite big steps in this sector.
To Know More about Air Vistara flight booking
The initial investment into airlines includes over Rs. 600 crores or $100 million coming from both the partners i.e. Tata Sons Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd. It is estimated that the airline will have 87 flights operating weekly in the first year which will then be escalated to about 301 flights by its fourth year. As per its four year plan, the airline seems to be quite promising for the aviation market.
It currently has two leased Airbuses in the form of A-320 which will later on increase to five by its second year in the industry. The bookings for this airline will begin in a day or two. It is going to connect all major destinations of India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, Jammu, Srinagar, Goa and Patna.
Meghalaya, one of the beautiful states that come under the list of seven sisters of east, is among the most visited locations in India. Its scenic beauty, the waterfalls, the hills, the lush green forests and streamlets make it the perfect location for the honeymooners, artists and beauty admirers. There is a spur in the east now with the launch of the first passenger train from Meghalaya. It was flagged off from Assam by our present Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This train would operate between Mendipathar in Meghalaya and Guwahati. The inauguration of this train was done by the PM via remote control system. All of this happened at Railway Stadium in Maligaon, Guwahati. Additionally, PM Narendra Modi also laid the foundation stone of a broad gauge railway line. This was done for the train running from Bhairabi to Sairang in Mizoram.
The function was attended by some of our national leaders along with our current PM. These included the Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu and Chief Ministers of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. In his speech, PM Modi said that his government has decided to allow 100 percent FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in railways. He also said that this would be done to increase the process of modernization of Indian Railways. In addition, the government will consider privatization of railway stations for the purpose of promoting economic activities. This step is definitely going to be beneficial for improving Meghalaya tourism.
To know more about Meghalaya Tourism
He claimed that his government would set up four Universities for the Railways. All students who graduate from these Universities would be able to contribute to the Indian Railways, and also increase the rate of employment. There was a mass crowd at the function and roads were crowded on both ends leading to it. It became a grand occasion for the east as now even the north-east would attract more tourists towards it, just like the other states.
The PM has been putting in sincere efforts in the upliftment of the condition in the north-east and is actively seen participating in the region’s activities. Sometime back, he was present to inaugurate the Hornbill Festival that is held every year in Nagaland. Mr. Modi had kick started the policy of Take in India as soon as he took to the seat of the Prime Minister. If we look closely into the industries being affected as per this program, tourism finds a significant place so we can easily conclude that these steps are being implemented in accordance with the same.
He signed off saying, “It is believed in Vastu Shastra that Northeastern part of the house must be proper. Then things will be good at home. If we take good care of the Northeast, the entire India will move ahead.” This statement definitely implies that his government is going to work for the betterment of this region. The initial steps work out in the favour of Northeast and Meghalaya for the recent matter and continuous efforts will help the government reach out to the masses and touch millions of hearts. The decision of bringing out the railway connectivity here will generate curiosity as well as intrigue people from all across the world to visit the splendid state of Meghalaya.
Goa and beaches go along hand in hand. When we talk about Goa, the first thing that clicks your mind are the beaches. Then the parties, the romantic walks, the local drink, the sea food, the night clubs and so on and so forth. Summer has already set in and monsoon is few months away, which are perhaps best times to head to this beautiful land of ‘sun, sand and sea’, but with a twist. Let’s take a look at places to visit in Goa that goes beyond golden beaches and turquoise sea, let’s explore the best of Goa tourism that does not include the conventional spots.
Situated near the border of Goa and Karnataka, Dudhsagar waterfall in Goa is one of the most visited places after the beaches. The sheer beauty of standing there and watching the water fall is indescribable in words. You need to actually see it in order to understand the sentiments. It is easily reachable through bus and taxi.
To know more about Dudhsagar waterfall
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Located quite close to Panaji on the river Mandovi, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is an estuarine mangrove forest where you can spot some amazing bird species. Named after the great Indian ornithologist, it is spread over an area of 1.78 sq. meters. One needs to take a ferry in order to reach there. It is recommended that you visit this place during early hours of morning.
The Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa lies in Keri (ponda), a small village in the outskirts of the state. It can be reached from Panjim via Mardol. It is undoubtedly one of the best spice plantations you’ll ever get to see in India. Enjoy the typical Goan lunch along with the cashewnut or coconut feni, if you have the capacity to handle it. It is a must do activity in this place and you should know that you are missing out if you are striking Goa Spice Plantations off your list.
Goa’s Portuguese Architecture
Another prime attraction of Goa is the Goan architecture that reflects the existence of Portugal civilization at its best. The churches and old building are clear epitomes of the Portuguese architecture. The bungalows with pillared porches and wrought ironed balconies portray the times of the 18th century pretty well. The inner courtyards happened to be quite common during days and even today, architects in Goa follow this particular style. In order to take a tour of this kind, head to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St. Francis, Se Cathedral, Church of St. Augustine, St. Anne Church and Mary Immaculate Conception.
For more information on places to visit in Goa, please have a look at our Goa Travel Guide .