Culture & Heritage

This Is What Your Choice of Vacation Says About Your Personality Type!

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According to a report by the researchers of the University of Virginia, an individual’s choice of vacation depends on his mindset, perception and attitude towards life. So, if you are wondering why you end up taking holidays to specific places every single time (in my case I always, ALWAYS, choose a place that has beaches), here’s the answer. Read and know what is your personality type.

Personality Type
Divided by Personality, United by Travel. | Photo Credit: Aditi Bhardwaj

1. Mountain Lovers = Introvert: Do you always dream of relaxing and unwinding in the mountains? Well, the study says that people who fall in love with the serenity of the mountains, are introverts. Though the trekkers and mountaineers are considered to be creative folks, they are more often than not shy by nature. Goibibo recommends you to explore the beauty of Manali, Kasol, Ladakh and McLeodganj this summer vacation.

Personality Type
The breathtaking mountains of Ladakh. | Photo Credit: Piyush Sharma

2. Architecture Lovers = Arty and Intellectual: Does your itinerary has more of museums, historical sites, palaces and memorial places than anything else? Then, according to the research, you definitely have an intellectual personality. So why not explore Golkonda Fort, Mysore Palace and Salar Jung Museum  this summer vacation!

Personality Type
The artistic beauty of a historical monument. | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfreund1/9717877088/in/

3. Beach Lovers = Influential People: If you hit a beach on almost every vacation of yours, then the research define you an influential person. The study reveals that people who love walking and taking strolls on the pristine and sandy beaches usually have an influential personality. Why don’t you go and take a beach vacation to Andaman Nicobar, Maldives or Gokarna to beat the heat this summer?

Personality Type
The alluring beach of Maldives. | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130033639@N08/16991780000/

4. Cruise Lovers = Extrovert: The luxury cruise rides are not everybody’s cup of tea. But those who take up cruise vacations are definitely extroverts. Meeting new people, having fun and making the most of the holiday are the signs of people who fall in this category. Mexico, Fort Lauderdale, Amsterdam and New York, where are you cruising this summer?

Personality Type
A cruise sailing on the blue ocean. | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/104417532@N04/15177287527/in/

5. Hippie Travel Lovers = Trendsetter: Travellers who always look out for a popular movie location, love exploring the local places and do quirky things are nicknamed Hipsters. The Argentinian researchers say that these travellers are trendsetters and visit the hidden and unexplored destinations of the world. Goibibo recommends you to explore Amazon Rainforest, Gangkhar Puensum and Pelling.

Personality Type
A walk into the serenity of nature. | Photo Credit: Aditi Bhardwaj

Now, the next time you are planning your vacation, make a note and give yourself a new traveller identity, may be!

goNews: Art of Living to Organize World Cultural Festival in Delhi

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The World Cultural Festival is due to kick off in Delhi on March 11, 2016. The three day festival is being hosted by Art of Living, an India based non-profit organization that was started by world famous philanthropist, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Being hosted across 1000 acres of land, the event is expected to be one of the biggest cultural gatherings that aims to bring together nearly 3.5 million people from different parts of the world.

Art of Living 2
Photo Credit: http://srisriravishankar.org/tour-schedule/world-culture-festival-2016/

A number of world leaders like President Bidhya Devi Bhandari of Nepal, President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka, Vice President of the European Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, and many others are expected to attend the event. According to Bhanumati Narsimhan, director of the Art of Living, “the festival aims to celebrate Art of Living’s 35 years of service, humanity, spirituality and human values.”

Art of Living
Mass gathering at Art of Living session | Photo Credit: http://cdn.artofliving.org/sites/www.artofliving.org/files/unity_carousel_image/wcf3_0.jpg

Here are what all you need to know about the extravagant three-day World Cultural Festival 2016:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to inaugurate the event on March 11, 2016,
  • a number of spiritual leaders from various faiths are expected to come together at the event,
  • more than 10,000 artists will play 40 traditional instruments on all three days,
  • an inter-faith meeting will be held where spiritual and religious leaders are expected to participate in talks on issues of global concern,
  • on the second and third day, a Global Leadership Forum is scheduled to happen, and,
  • each day is expected to end with a meditation session.
Art of Living
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the man behind the establishment of Art of Living | Photo Credit: http://livestream.com/webcast/mahashivratri?_

The festival is open to all and is expected to turn out to be world’s largest platform where millions of people from around 155 nations will drop in to imbibe the most precious learning of life.

Native Language You Must Know While Travelling in India

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Well, we just celebrated the 17th anniversary of International Mother Language Day on February 21. However, we might not know the native language of every Indian state. Never mind, we are here to guide you with! After all, ‘travelling like a local’ is the best way to explore an unknown land and fall in love with its local culture. To ensure you a comfortable holiday and definitely, a safe trip, we have listed some frequently spoken local phrases in Indian metros.

Mumbai

native language
Taj Majal Hotel opposite Gateway of India, Mumbai | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

The ‘City of Dreams’ is a hot favourite of everyone. Here you must gain expertise to adjust yourself in a over crowded local train and to relish the taste of ‘vada pao‘ and ‘misel pao‘. Do remember that Hindi in Mumbai is not the regular one. Mumbaikars love to hear Marathi. So, stay cool and approach them by saying ‘Kya boltaay boss’ or ‘Kya bolttaay bhidu’ (meaning ‘what’s up dude?’).

Kolkata

native language
Sealdah Station area in Kolkata | Photo Credit: Manasij Kanjilal

Ahh!! The city of rosogolla (sweet made of cottage cheese and soaked in sugar syrup) and macher jhol (fish curry) gives a warm welcome to all. Even if it is your first visit, a Bangali babu would love to invite you for lunch or dinner and serve Bhetki Macher Paturi (baked fish covered with banana leaf) or Ilish Maacher jhal (hilsa curry). Don’t hesitate! Just step in and say ‘Kemon acho?’ (how are you?). With a smiling face he will surely reply ‘ami bhalo achi’ (I am fine).

Chennai

native language
Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadblog/8473810896/in/

Confused how to interact with locals in the Tamil capital, Chennai? Rather than considering yourself to be an alien, learn the state’s native language or some local dialects like ‘Nalla Irikiringala?’ (Are you well?) or ‘vannakkam’ (meaning greet or namaskaar). I am sure you are going to have a pleasant stay in the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu!

Delhi

native language
Lodhi Gardens, an historic landmark in Delhi | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

In our capital, every male is greeted as ‘bhaiya’ (brother). Delhi is speckled with historical remains, glorious past and thereby, worthy of travel. While Delhi gives a friendly happy-go-lucky feel, knowing some basic Hindi phrases like ‘Aapka swagat hai’ (you are welcome), ‘phir milte hai’ (see you later), ‘namaste aunty/unchle/bhaiya’ (hello sir/madam/brother) help to interact with locals and get acquainted with local culture.

Bangalore

native language
The road from Bangalore to Nandi Hills | Photo Credit: Kireet Suvra

Don’t get disheartened with the style of Hindi or English you hear from locals here. Bangalore is full of life and here every tourist is treated like God. To travel like a local in Bangalore, you might get to learn a bit of Kannada like ‘inda bandēni’ (I am from …). Wait! There is another way too! Simply learn to say ‘Kannada Gotilla’ (I don’t know Kannada.), and people will guide you towards the right path.

Guwahati

native language
Sarusajai Sports Complex, Guwahati | Photo Credit: Nibedita Basumatary

Like all other north-eastern states, Assam boasts of a peaceful environment coupled with abundant natural beauty. While in Assam, you cannot deny to fall in love with its slow moving life. Knowing its native language like ‘Aapunaak loge pai bhaal lagil’ (Pleased to meet you) or ‘Aponar Bhalne?’ (How do you do?) will let end up making friendship with locals. While returning bring along the traditional gamusa (cotton towel) as a token of memory.

We wish you a pleasant trip!

goNews: Indian Tourism Ministry Launches Mobile App to Keep Tourist Spots Clean

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The Union Ministry of Tourism has launched a new mobile application called the ‘Swachh Paryatan’, to help travellers click pictures of dirty tourist spots and inform authorities about the same. The mobile app has been launched as a part of the ‘Clean India Mission’. It has been made available for around 25 heritage monuments across the country, namely, Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar, and Red Fort amongst others. The ministry also has plans to include other tourist destinations in the application soon.

mobile app
Lodhi Gardens, Delhi | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Tourism minister Maneesh Sharma has stated that with the help of the application people can now click images of dirty and untidy tourist destinations and inform respective authorities for immediate action. At the same time, they can also send their valuable suggestions to restore the condition of tourist landmarks across the country. According to the minister, the cleanliness of the noted destinations will be restored within a span of 1-2 hours.

Initially, the application will be available only on android phones. However, with time it will become accessible to Windows and iOS phones also. The application shall be monitored from time to time by the project monitoring unit of Swachh Bharat Mission. Introduction of such a mobile app came after it has been found that heritage sites like forts, palaces, monuments etc. are gradually shattering down under the blanket of untidiness and unclean environment. With such an initiative, Indian heritage sites are expected to get back their glorious looks of yesteryear.

goNews: Warship INS Viraat to Be Transformed into a Luxury Hotel in Visakhapatnam

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Once decommissioned from service in June this year, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier used by Indian Navy, INS Viraat, will be converted into a luxury hotel cum museum. The Defence Ministry has given go ahead to such a proposal raised by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). After nearly six decades of serving the Indian Navy by sailing across oceans, INS Viraat will get ready to start with its new journey from this year end. The warship will thereby help in promoting tourism in Andhra Pradesh.

luxury hotel
INS Viraat | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Viraat_(R22)

According to Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, this warship turned 500-room luxury hotel will be docked at the shores of the port city of Visakhapatnam and serve as an exclusive tourist attraction. Apart from 500 rooms, INS Viraat will also have a conference hall with a seating capacity of 500 people. Its conversion into a luxury hotel-cum-ship museum will be jointly pioneered by Indian Navy and Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA). The central government will also contribute towards the project. Andhra CM also revealed that tourism-related activities like yachting, sea sports, sailing, gliding, cruising and others may also be allowed on the warship.

luxury hotel
INS Viraat | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Viraat_(R22)

The 28,700-tonne aircraft carrier is presently on its last operational tour of duty. The last British ship was inducted into Indian Navy on May 12, 1987. Visakhapatnam is the only Indian city to have the country’s submarine museum and with the introduction of INS Viraat as a hotel-cum-museum, the city is going to make optimum utilization of its long coastline and multiple beaches, which in turn will take tourism to greater heights.

 

Best Restaurants in Delhi Offering Authentic Regional Food

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Well, I am a foodie by heart! Be it a regional cuisine or a hot-pick Asian delight, my love for food knows no bounds. Staying in Delhi, the land of Mughals, I have had enough of Mughlai Chicken, Awadhi Biriyani and Lucknawi kebabs. I therefore decided to taste state flavours and local spices, India is known for. Hence began my gastronomic tour to regional restaurants in Delhi. Trust me, they all are fantabulous- be it the food or traditional décor. According to me, some of those best restaurants in Delhi are:

City of Joy, Alaknanda-A Chic Bong Flavour

best restaurants in Delhi
Pabda macher jhal | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Take out your old pair of jeans, Kolhapuri sandals and head to relish a perfect ‘Bangali’ lunch/dinner brought from the kitchens of Bengal. Catering to a wide menu of Bengali fish recipes, vegetarian dishes and local sweets, this elegant restaurant has touched the heart of numerous Bengalis and non- Bengalis. Try the mutton and chicken dishes too to savour flavours of herbs and spices from Bengal. The restaurant’s Bengali terracotta chandeliers and cane furniture paint the image of a chic Bong household. So, in City of Joy, feel like a Bong, eat like a Bong!

Where: Aravali Shopping Complex, Alaknanda, South Delhi

Cuisine: Bengali

Must Try: Prawn Malai Curry, Doi Pomfret, Shukto, Kosha Mangsho (Mutton), Fulko Luchi

Cost for Two: Rs. 800

Rosang Soul Food-For the North Eastern Bamboo-shoot Pleasure

Restaurants in Delhi
Nghui Ngosing at Rosang Soul Food | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

They are humble! They are experts of local flavours! Yes, this small calm cosy restaurant in Green Park takes you for a real date with North East India. Chefs and waiters come all their way from various North-eastern states to prepare and serve hearty home-style regional dishes. While the food won’t leave you supersaturated by oil and spices, it will leave you satiated with taste and quantity. Warm service and chat with cheerful staff make for an unforgettable dining experience.

Where: Green Park, near Uphaar Cinema

Cuisine: Assamese, Naga, Sikkim, Arunachal, Tripura

Must Try: Nghui Ngosing, Masor Logot Khorisa, Tokhan, Wild Red rice tea

Cost for Two: Rs. 1000

Yeti, The Himalayan Kitchen-A Fusion of Pahari Spice and Tradition

Best restaurants in Delhi
Pork Lemon Fried at Yeti-The Himalayan Kitchen | Photo Credit: Yeti-The Himalayan Kitchen

Not much places in Delhi offer Nepalese, Tibetan, Bhutanese or Himalayan cuisines. This chic, elegant restaurant in Hauz Khas Village and GK 2 is one of those few places where the not-so-popular food menu tantalize your taste buds with a fine taste of sweet and spice used in the local kitchens of Himachal. Brick walls decorated with Himalayan antics, Tibetan masks, Buddhist prayer flags and art- the restaurant’s ambience is worth appreciation!

Where: Greater Kailash 2, Hauz Khas Village

Cuisine: Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Himachali

Must Try: Bhutun, Shapta, Mutton dumplings and Chow Chow

Cost for Two: Rs. 1,100

Naivedyam-Quest for Dosa Ends Here

Restaurants in Delhi
An authentic South Indian platter | Photo Credit: Sohini Guha

In this land of kebabs and qormas, Naivedyam, an authentic South Indian restaurant does complete justice to the vegetarian fare. Stuffed with dishes (sweet and tangy) brought from kitchens of the south, Naivedyam is one stop destination for a fine vegetarian meal. Soft background music, antique furniture and paintings of gods and goddesses make your dining experience a pleasant one.

Where: Various places across NCR

Cuisine: South India

Must Try: Rawa Dosa, Lemon Rice, Curd Rice, Vegetable Oothappam and yes! Filter Coffee

Cost for Two: Rs. 600

Viva o Viva-Where Crabs from Goa Let Tongue Go Crazy

best restaurants in Delhi
A prawn delicacy cooked in coconut milk | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Haven’t tasted seafood in Delhi? Want to eat something unconventional? Drive to Viva o Viva in Goa Niwas, Chanakyapuri. Goa and seafood goes hand in hand and this restaurant leave you spellbound with Goan flavours that come in the form of crab and prawn platters. Fish cooked with local herbs and vegetarian delights typical to the state are apt for foodaholics in search of an offbeat dining experience.

Where: Goa Niwas, Chanakyapuri

Cuisine: Goan

Must Try: Pomfret curry with pav, King Fish Masala, Butter Garlic Crab

Cost for Two: Rs. 700

The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe-For Bihar’s Heart-melting Litti Choka

best Restaurants in Delhi
Traditional mouthwatering Litti Choka at Potbelly Rooftop Cafe | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Narrow alleys, quaint locality and steep winding stairs- and you land in Potbelly, a rooftop restaurant serving the flavours of Bihar. Plain yet colourful sitting areas, vibrant and chic yet homely interior and an overall aesthetic set up juxtaposed with delicious Bihari food is something rarely experienced in the bustling city of Delhi.

Where: Shahpur Jat

Cuisine: Bihari

Must Try: Litti Choka, Meat Pakora Basket, Khada Masala Mutton, Champaran Style Mutton, Sarso Machhli

Cost for two: Rs. 1000

SodaBottleOpenerWalaThe real World Irani Cafe

best restaurants in Delhi
Bhendi Bazaar Sheekh Parantha | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Your craving for Parsi food ends here! A kitschy colourful café type restaurant replete with pool table, red checked table cloths from the time of nuns and cuckoo clock take you along a trail of Parsi culture. Cutleries like typical chai wala glasses, kettle and aluminium tiffin carriers, are what stands apart. And the menu card? Ah! The layout and name of dishes- both are superb. Heard of Khade Chammach ki Chai? Rest of the dishes are free if you can drink this one!

Where: Khan Market, Delhi and DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon

Cuisine: Parsi

Must Try: Bhendi Bazaar Sheekh Parantha, Berry Pulao, Bacon Keema Macaroni, Prawn Patio, Ginger Biscuit

Cost for two: Rs. 1200

KarimsFrom the Kitchens of Mughals

Best restaurants in Delhi
Kebabs and biriyani at Karims | Photo Credit: Nirmita Roychowdhury

Now this is one restaurant that every Delhite and non-Delhite will love to visit repeatedly. If you are a meat lover, then Karim’s is your ‘Mecca in Delhi’. Be it a family dinner or a food date with fiancée, dining in Karim’s is apt for all. Aroma of steaming nahari, taste of butter naan and a normal dining set up has attracted foodies since years. Don’t mind if you have to a share table. Just concentrate on that juicy tandoori chicken!

Where: Many places across NCR, Karim’s Jama Masjid is the main branch

Cuisine: Mughlai, North Indian

Must Try: Mutton Qorma, Mutton Nahari, Paya, Qeema Naan

Cost for Two: Rs. 800

February is the month of love and celebration. So why not plan a visit in one of these soon? Hold on! Do visit again and share your experience with us.

Have You Visited the Famous Surajkund Mela Yet?

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The ‘Surajkund Mela 2016′, a celebration of Indian folk traditions and cultural heritage, was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and brand ambassador of Haryana Tourism, bollywood actor Dharmendra on 1st February 2016. Organised by the Surajkund International Crafts Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs, the 30th edition of Surajkund Mela will play host to at least 20 countries and all the states of India. It is the largest crafts fair in the world and showcases the richness and diversity of handicrafts, hand-looms and cultural fabric of India and the world as well.

Surajkund mela
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SurajkundCraftsMela/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream

Quick Facts on Surajkund Mela:

Venue: Surajkund, Faridabad

When: 1st to 15th Feb. 2016

Theme State: Telangana

Timings: 10:30 am to 8:30 pm

Focus Nations: China and Japan

Number of Countries Participating: 20

What to Look out For:

  • Day long cultural performances by renowned national and international cultural artists at the open air ‘Chaupal’ within the Mela ground.
surajkund mela
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SurajkundCraftsMela/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream
  • A special ambience created in the Mela area which is divided into five zones themed around the five seasons of India i.e. Spring, Summer, Monsoon, Autumn and Winter.
  • A multi-cuisine Food Court that will serve lip-smacking cuisines from different parts of the country and world.
surajkund mela
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SurajkundCraftsMela/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream
  • Competitions for school and college students.
  • Souvenirs like mugs, key rings, neckties, umbrellas, fridge magnets etc. will be available for sale at affordable prices.
  • Separate section dedicated to amusement and adventure activities for all age groups.

Important Information for Visitors:

  • Entry tickets can be bought online from bookmyshow.com and are available at 20 metro stations including, Dilshad Garden‬, Rithala‬, ‪ Jahangir Puri‬, Kashmere Gate‬, ‪‎Rajiv Chowk‬,‪‎ Central Secretariat‬, ‪‎Saket‬, HUDA City Centre‬,‪ ‎Noida City Centre‬, Karol Bagh‬, Dwarka Sector 21‬, ‪‎‎ITO‬, ‪‎Mandi House‬, ‪‎Lajpat Nagar‬ and Badarpur‬, among others.
  • Tickets: Rs.80 for regular citizens and Rs.40 for senior citizens and disabled persons (weekdays), Rs.120 for regular citizens and Rs.60 for senior citizens and disabled persons (weekends)
  • RO system kiosks have been installed to provide safe drinking water to visitors.
  • e-ticket is also available on the government website of Haryana Tourism.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!

A Rendezvous with Rajasthani Food in Jaipur

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Tucked between rugged hills and besieged walls and speckled with traditional erstwhile monuments, Jaipur boasts of fairy-tale grandeur. However, apart from its majestic forts and royal havelis, it has more stories to unfold. Along with its impressive architecture, Jaipur is a striking name for foodies too. Elaborate meals served on huge impressive thalis and typical Rajasthani food churned in royal kitchens illustrate indigenous traditions typical to the state. On my visit to Jaipur on New Year, this is what I discovered. Its food angle is worth experiencing and appreciating. My 48 hours trip was an epicurean tour with my friend that took me from old traditional restaurants to modern cafés. Come, let’s live those memories for a while.

Chokhi Dhani

Rajasthani food
Traditional Rajasthani thali at Chokhi Dhani | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

Ahh! Jaipur and Chokhi Dhani is inseparable! Nestled around 21 km away from city centre, this ethnic village captures the vibrant spirit of Rajasthan. Food is an integral part of Chokhi Dhani and dining over majestic thalis is a lifetime experience. My platter had Bajre ki Roti with dollops of butter, Chawal, Daal, Gatte ka Sabzi, Bajra Khichda, Kadhi, Lehsan ka Achar, Dhaniya Chutney, Salad, Roasted Papad, Moon Dal Halwa and Bati Choorma. Golgappas and hot milk on earthenware glasses were also available in food stalls. My tummy was super-saturated! We had chosen the Traditional Rajasthani Dining Hall, but options like AC Royal Rajasthani Dining and Multi-cuisine Buffet Dinner can be tried too.

Laxmi Misthan Bhandar

Rajasthani food
Daal Bati Churma at Laxmi Misthan Bhandar | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

To be frank, reaching there from MI Road was difficult. We drove past narrow alleys, old lanes and distant hills to reach the age-old sweet shop cum restaurant in Johari Bazaar. The doorman with his long moustache made way to an over-crowded sweet shop. Huh!! How can I forget it was 1st January? After waiting for long, we managed to get a seat and ordered Daal Bati Churma, Sweet Lassi and Virgin Mojito. After all, LMB is known for its authentic Daal Bati Churma cooked with heaps of desi ghee. It tasted heavenly and the lassi was an icing on the cake. Pack along Rajasthani specialities like ghewars, milk cake, and definitely, Payaz Kachori.

Rawat Misthan Bhandar

Very close to Sindhi Camp Bus Stand on Station Road, Rawat Misthan Bhandar is the only choice for food lovers like me. And being a tourist, how can I miss their lip-smacking Payaz (onion) Kachodi. Thanks to our auto-wale bhaiya for introducing us to Rawat. The crunchy golden Dal and Onion kachoris stuffed with lentils and onions taste delectable when consumed hot. Treat your tongue with Rawat ka Kachori before bidding adieu to Jaipur, just like me.

Peacock Restaurant

Rajasthani Food
The delicious Laal Maas | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

The rooftop restaurant near Vidhakpuri Police Station will initially surprise you with its scenic setting, graceful ambience and astonishing views of the surrounding. My platter had only Laal Maas (traditional spicy lamb curry) and tawa roti, because Peacock is famous for this Rajasthani non-vegetarian delicacy. Like all, I too had to wait to get a seat. Apart from the taste of the food, its decent pricing surprised me too. If you are a meat lover like me, do visit the Peacock Restaurant for its authentic Laal Maas.

If you favour Italian and Chinese, then also Jaipur is ideal for you. Here are two of my favourite picks:

The Chocolate Room

Me and my friend, both were aliens to Jaipur, but food is what we died for. While exploring the newly opened World Trade Park at Malviya Nagar, Jaipur, we had to stop at The Chocolate Room. The small aesthetically decorated Italian Café (not to mention 100% veg) at the food court spread aroma of fresh cakes, sizzling pastas, pizzas, pancakes, toasts, coffees, smoothies and more. We started with sipping the delicious smoothies- yogola mix and very berry and gradually shifted to Mediterranean Pasta. Well, if you ask about price, I would say, ‘be ready to feel a bit of pinch in your pocket’. Nevertheless, getting hold of an authentic Italian café in Jaipur is not an easy affair. Give it a try!

Marigold Restaurant

Rajasthani Food
Schezwan Salt and Pepper Chicken at Marigold Restaurant | Photo Credit: Debatree Saha

The in-house restaurant of Golden Tulip hotel (where I stayed) at MI Road is a haven for food-lovers. Not to forget is its widespread buffet breakfast that offers American delicacies to Indian favourites like Aalo Parantha, Poori sabzi, Idli, Uttapam, Daal Pakoda and lots more. Marigold too expertise in Laal Maas. Thanks to the chef for making our New Year dinner a gourmet affair, one with Schezwan Salt and Pepper Chicken and veg Hakka Noodles.

They all looked royal and tasted yum! In fact, the trip is to be remembered more for our culinary experience. You too can plan one soon!

GoNews: 2016 Edition of Goa Carnival to Start on February 6

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Goa Carnival, which is about to take place between February 6 and February 9, 2016, is expected to be the most colourful and vibrant editions of the festival. The carnival is believed to be the biggest highlight of Goa as well as rest of India. It not only aims to promote unity, harmony and peace, but also showcase Goa’s glorious past and long drawn traditional practices.

Goa Carnival
Street decorations in Miramar at the Goa Carnival 2013 | Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GOA_CARNIVAL_2013_03.JPG?uselang=en-gb

The carnival will be held across four places in the state- Panjim, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa. This year the state is working in close association with Brouhaha International, an arts organization located in Liverpool, United Kingdom, to make its 2016 edition titled ‘Destination Carnival’ a premier state tourism event. There will be an elaborate exchange of ideas across countries like UK, USA, South Africa and India.

Anticipating a larger tourist footfall this year, the state authority has made elaborate safety measures, like increased deployment of police force across all tourist spots, to ensure complete security during the carnival.

Goa Carnival
Beach front in Goa | Photo Credit: Bhawna Grover

Let us also take a quick glance through some adventure activities and additional services that are about to be launched by Goa Tourism Development Corporation soon:

Amphibian Tours: Goa will be the first Indian destination to introduce amphibious vehicles in the country. Service of these vehicles is expected to resume from February and will take tourists on exciting tours like duck tours to the hinterlands of Goa. Already experienced this in Singapore or London? Now try in India too!

Heritage Boat Cruise: Goa is set to introduce two heritage boat cruises on its backwaters. The four-hour cruise will include lunch/dinner and typical Goan live music and dance extravaganza.

Motorised Paragliding: The adventure sport is expected to be operational in Goa from the first week of February.

Hop-on Hop-off Bus: The bus service is about to start very soon in Goa. It is expected to make travelling in Goa convenient and will also provide easy access to other tourist attractions.

Come, experience a safe and pleasant stay in India’s beach capital during the four-day gala carnival.

GoNews: Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, Becomes World’s Best Hotel of 2016

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Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, bags the best hotel in the world award by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice of hotels 2016. The hotel has proudly bagged maximum number of awards (7) across different categories. Also, this is the very first time that an Indian hotel has won the honour.

Umaid Bhawan Palace
The grand complex of Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur | Photo Credit: Gaurav Das

Built between 1928 and 1943 for Maharaja Umaid Singh, the royal palatial hotel, now managed by Taj Group of Hotels, proudly holds the status of the ‘best hotel in the world’. Equipped with 347 luxury rooms and decorated by 26 acres of lush gardens, this massive Indo-Colonial styled hotel has remained a hot favourite amongst luxury travellers from across the world. Also, the extravagant palatial hotel is the hottest spot for palace wedding amongst celebrities. From the wedding ceremony of Bollywood couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to the 50th birthday celebration of Nita Ambani, the hotel has been the witness to many such unforgettable events. Its immaculate architecture, magnificent décor and luxurious hospitality contributed to its prominence.

Umaid Bhawan Palace
Swimming pool at Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel, Jodhpur | Photo Credit: http://www.umaidbhawan.com/picture_gallery.htm

As the name suggests ‘Travellers’ Choice Awards’, the hotel has been recognized and appreciated by global travellers for its impeccable service, traditional hospitality, luxury, grandeur and value for money. Umaid Bhawan Palace has been chosen the winner on the basis of reviews, ratings and opinions posted by millions of travellers in one year.

It is not only Umaid Bhawan Palace that has left an impeccable footprint on Indian Travel and Hotel Industry, but other names like Oberoi Vanvilas, Taj Rambagh Palace, Orange County Resorts and Bougainvillea Guest House have also made their ways to the world’s best hotels. Rajasthan remained at the top position amongst all Indian states followed by Kerala and Karnataka.

GoNews: Dilli Haat Gears Up For The Great Indian Food Festival

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Eat, dine and make merry! After all, it is food that unites us all.

The Great Indian Food Festival being held at Pitampura, Delhi, on January 23rd and 24th, 2016, is all about local street food delicacies brought from different parts of India. Delhi is crazy about street food and with this festival, you will get a glance of how other Indian states too savour their road side dishes.

Food Festival
Traditional Indian Thali | Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/GreatIndianFood/photos_stream

Great Indian Food Festival is going to feature vendors with generations of culinary experience. Be a part of this food fiesta in the heart of the capital and get lost in the aroma of tandoori chicken, Lucknawi kebab, Amritsari kulcha, dhokla, petha, daal-bati churma, Hyderabadi biriyani, rasam-vada and much more. Places like Amritsar, Lucknow, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Gujarat and Jaipur, which you have always heard of and their street food delicacies you always wanted to eat, will now be available at your doorstep.

Food Festival
Pav Bhaji in the making | Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/GreatIndianFood/photos_stream

Both foodie and non-food lovers, bring along your friends and relatives to this gala gastronomic affair. Remember to come early, because those plates overloaded with chole bhature and dahi bhalla tastes great when served fresh. Need not worry, entry is 100% free.

Some quick check outs of the Great Indian Food Festival:

Location: Dilli Haat Pitampura, Delhi

Date: January 23, 2016 – January 24, 2016

Time: Jan 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM to Jan 24, 2016 at 11:00 PM

Entry: Free

With winter hovering during that time, the festival is expected to be a real hit.

GoNews: Tamil Nadu is India’s Only Destination in NYT’s “52 Places to Go in 2016”

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Unusual, strange, but after all true! None other than the New York Times has listed Tamil Nadu from India as the only Indian destination to visit in its list of ’52 places to go in 2016′. The southern state is placed in the 24th position and is believed to be the one that holds rich ties with Indian history, culture and religious activities, some of which are yet to be discovered.

Tamil Nadu
The majestic complex of Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu | Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_Nadu

While the northern part of India is applauded for its Mughal era forts and palaces, the south serves as a great gateway to historical Hindu temples. Rich in history and architecture, the temples magnificently draw the cultural brilliance of our country. The sprawling complex of Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and the Chola dynasty constructed Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur are some examples of intricate art carvings and ancient Indian architecture. Not only for this, but also for the breathtaking Western Ghats, Nilgiri Mountains, aromatic coffee and spice plantations and palm kissed beaches, Tamil Nadu is enlisted as the only Indian destination to be visited this year. Authentic South Indian food cooked with local spices and served on banana leaves spread the popularity of Tamil culture and traditional practices all across the world.

Tamil Nadu
Shore Temple in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu | Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_Nadu

Other destinations included by New York Times in its list of ’52 places to go in 2016′ are Mexico City, France, North Dakota, Toronto and Abu Dhabi among others.

You can reserve Goa, Kerala or Rajasthan for later and as of now plan a vacation anywhere in Tamil Nadu.