Travel News

goNews: 4 New Trains Launched in Kashmir

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After a gap of almost eight years that a train was introduced in Kashmir, Northern Railways finally announced the launch of four DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) trains in Kashmir. From now onward, these new trains will ply on the Banihal-Baramulla and Baramulla-Budgam routes. The trains were launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu this month itself from Delhi’s Rail Bhawan through video conferencing. Then, Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, flagged off the service from Anantnag Railway Station in South Kashmir.

news trains
Banihal Railway Station | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_Railway#/media/File:Kashmir_railway_line_near_Banihal_railway_station.jpg

These DEMU trains will have limited stops and will make travelling between the places convenient for both locals and tourists. At the same time, passengers will get better opportunity to explore Kashmir valley with these train rides. As per sources, another rail-link from Banihal to Katra, which will connect Kashmir Valley with rest of India, is expected to be completed by the year 2020.

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A Railway Bridge in Banihal | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_Railway#/media/File:Railway_bridge_in_banihal.jpg

The cool pleasant weather of Kashmir makes it a year round destination. So hurry up and book your tickets to this ‘paradise on earth’. Make sure you take either one or all of these train journeys to watch the spectacular landscape of Kashmir.

World’s Most Expensive Flight Launched by Etihad between Mumbai and New York

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Etihad Airways’ newly launched Mumbai-New York flight is now the world’s most expensive one where an all-inclusive one way ticket is priced at a whopping Rs 25.22 lakh. Not only this, an all-inclusive one way Mumbai-Abu Dhabi ticket is priced at Rs. 3.31 lakh, while a Mumbai-London ticket is priced at Rs 17.25 lakh. World’s biggest commercial aircraft, Airbus A380, includes world-class passenger cabin called ‘The Residence’, which is a luxury ultra-private, three-room suit in the sky having a separate en-suite shower room, a spacious bedroom with double bed, a living room with 32” LCD television, personal chef and butler.

Etihad
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thetoptier/16732117486/in/

The jumbo aircraft has a seating capacity of 496 passengers- two seats in The Residence, nine seats in First Class Apartments, 70 seats in Business Suits and 415 Economy Smart Seats. Nine First Class Apartments are private living spaces which are equipped with flat television screen, private vanity unit, well-fitted shower cubicle, mini-bar and wardrobe for guests.

70 Business Studios located on the upper deck of the aircraft are furnished with fully flat beds and are designed with 20 percent increase in personal space. All of these units offer direct aisle access. The luxurious lobby located between the First Class and Business Class units is furnished with comfortable sofas and bar counter for the comfort of passengers.

Etihad
Photo Credit: https://careers.etihad.com/?locale=en_GB

The young innovative airline, Etihad Airways, which believes to be a long-time supporter of Indian Aviation industry, is serving the country since 2004. Mumbai was the launch pad of Etihad’s operation in India and introduction of the new aircraft with additional seating capacity and luxury in-flight amenities demonstrates its overwhelming undertaking to one of world’s fastest growing economies. The airline aims to fulfill demands and expectations of travellers with its finest products and services.

goNews: Underground Corridor of Bangalore Metro Starts Operation from Friday, April 29

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Traffic gridlock in Bangalore is expected to get curbed to some extent as underground section of Bangalore metro rail was inaugurated on Friday, 29th April, 2016. After a long-term speculation over commencement of the underground section of the East-West corridor, Bangalore Metro, also known as Namma Metro, finally celebrated its inaugural function last Friday evening. The inauguration ceremony took place at the Legislative Building, Vidhan Soudha. Union Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were present for the function. First commercial run of the metro was held on April 30, Saturday at 06:00 am, when enthusiastic travellers gathered at the stations and clicked selfies with the new colourful trains while taking their first ride.

Bangalore Metro
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namma_Metro#/media/File:Pic_from_Namma_metro_baiyappanahalli_station_1481.jpg

Out of the 42km stretch, this 5km stretch is an underground corridor, as it passes through important and recognisable parts of the city. Vidhan Soudha, a major landmark, got a station of its own to cater to thousands of people who come there for work. With this new underground corridor, Bangalore’s east and west will now have a direct link from Nayandahalli to Baiyappanahalli. The underground network covers important locations of the city like Cubbon Park, Vidhan Soudha, Sir M Visvesvaraya, Kempe Gowda and City stations. The entire East-West Corridor, named ‘Purple Line’ covers a distance of 18 km with 17 stations. There will be 10-minutes gap between each train. First and last train will run at 6am and 11pm respectively.

Bangalore Metro
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namma_Metro#/media/File:Bangalore_metro_token_front.jpg

Five underground stations on the line promise to give a completely new experience to commuters. They will be able to avail facilities like escalators, air-conditioning, and WiFi soon. The present 45,000 daily metro rider-ship is expected to increase with the launch of this new corridor. Total trip duration will be around 33 minutes. The entire trip is priced at Rs. 40. After missing several deadlines and originally set to go commercial from November 2015, underground corridor of Bangalore Metro finally commenced its operation from April 2016.

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Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Line_(Namma_Metro)#/media/File:Namma_Metro.jpg

During the inauguration ceremony, Karnataka Chief Minister had put pressure on Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. to finish the work of entire phase 1 network of 42 km by November 1, and also to start operations of the same on Karnataka Rajyotsava.

All the best Bengalureans!

goNews: Noida Gets its First Sci-fi Themed Snow Park, Ski India

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Noida has brought forth a sci-fi themed snow park named Ski India, in its newly opened DLF Mall of India. This theme park is expected to be this year’s most frequented summer destination among NCR people. Equipped with fabulous technology and designed to provide snow and ice in this otherwise sweltering heat, people living in and around Noida can now be found in the snow park anytime. Irrespective of weekends or weekdays, the snow park is expected to remain crowded with kids and families. It is open 365 days a year and has options of skating, skiing, sleighing and tobogganing.

Snow Park
Image for Representational Purpose Only | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136318165@N03/21545085231/in/

Spread over two floors and an area as large as 100,000+ sq.ft, temperature inside Ski India is minus 15 degrees and one will have snow up to their calves and icicles above their head. Every activity here, starting from making snow angles to whipping snow balls, passing through snow caves and holding breathe after sliding down huge slopes of snow, is full of fun.

Snow Park
Image for Representational Purpose Only | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/southbound228/4991677204/in/

As per the manual, visitors will be provided with heavy jackets, cool looking boots and gloves. However, it is always good to wear full clothes to protect knees from getting frozen. Get clear instructions from the personnel about slippery floors and the inside temperature. A bunch of activities can be tried here at a price of Rs. 1,200 per person for around two hours. Guests are advised to sit back for sometime, get accustomed to the freezing temperature and take the games slowly. Otherwise, one might suffer from breathlessness or headache.

Such an entertainment zone is actually unbelievable in a hot dry city like Delhi.

Glance Quickly through These Facts:

Where: L05, 06 DLF Mall of India, Sector 18, Noida

Nearest Metro Station: Noida Sector 18

Price: Rs. 1,200 per person

Open: All days

goNews: NHAI Launches Cashless Travel Facility on Toll Plazas

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National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has recently rolled out FASTag, a cashless payment mechanism on toll plazas of national highways. FASTag leads to non-stop vehicular movement through toll plazas along with the convenience of cashless payments of toll fee with the help of nationwide inter operable Electronic Toll Collection Services. It was officially introduced at a toll plaza of National Highway 8 at CTM, Ahmedabad. At present, the system is operational on nearly 275 toll plazas of various national highways across India.

NHAI
National Highway 8 | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Highway_(India)#/media/File:DelhiFlyover_EDITED.jpg

Use of this new mechanism FASTag will not only increase user convenience for payments without halts at toll plazas, but also will save a lot of time, fuel and money. To one’s knowledge, FASTag will have a one time fee of Rs. 200, and will be affixed on the wind screen of vehicles. FASTag employs RFID technology, which enables toll payments to be made directly from pre-paid accounts linked to it. Introduction of this online payment system is expected to boost transparency of toll transactions and curb revenue leakages.

NHAI
Durgapur Expressway | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Highway_(India)#/media/File:Durgapur_Xpressway.jpg

FASTag will be on sale from specific toll plazas on National Highways along with designated branches of participating banks from this month itself. A vehicle using this facility can pass through a FASTag lane to avail cashless travel.

goNews: India’s First Underwater Bullet Train to Run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad

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India’s first bullet train that is proposed between the cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is expected to pass through a long 21km sea tunnel. Though most part of the 508km long corridor will be on an elevated track, the stretch after Thane creek towards Virar will pass through a tunnel built under the sea. This distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected to be covered within two hours as the train will run at an estimated maximum speed of 350 km per hour.

Bullet Train
Image for Representational Purpose Only | Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/88277742@N00/257855533/in/

The ambitious and first-of-its-kind project in India is likely to cost a whopping Rs 97,636 crore. This includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction as well as import duties. Alignment of the corridor is almost finalized and around 81% of the funding will come from Japan. Early this week, railways has informed National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited to go head with this much awaited project. A study supporting the Bullet Train Project stated that the train should provide 100 trips a day to cater to as much as 43 million residents of the country.

Bullet Train
Image for Representational Purpose Only | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel#/media/File:A_crossover_on_the_south_side_of_Zhongxiao_Xinsheng_Station.JPG

At the same time, Ministry of Railways has proposed a tariff for the upcoming bullet train. The bullet train fare is said to be 1.5 times more than the current first class AC fare of express trains. For example, at present, First Class travel by Duronto Express between Mumbai and Ahmedabad costs Rs.2,200. The same distance via dedicated high-speed corridor covered by the bullet train will cost around Rs. 3,300. In Japan, a similar bullet train ride between Tokyo and Osaka measuring a distance of 550 km costs Rs.8,500.

Countries like Japan and China already have express trains that run under water. Now, incorporation of such a means of transport in India will definitely bring pride to the nation and make inter-state travel hassle free.

goNews: Vistara to Introduce Daily Direct Chandigarh-Delhi Flights from May

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Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara announced the commencement of flight operations to Chandigarh from Delhi and Hyderabad from next month onwards. Service of the daily direct return flights to Chandigarh will resume from May 2, 2016. With the addition of direct flights to Chandigarh, Vistara also announced its operations in other destinations across North India like Jammu, Srinagar, Lucknow and Varanasi.

Vistara
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101723554@N07/17297011692/in/

According to the airline, with the introduction of new cities, total number of weekly flights offered by Vistara will also increase to somewhere around 400. Not only this, the airline’s expansion continues with the introduction of daily direct flights Mumbai-Kochi flights from this month.

Vistara has also opened its signature lounge at the Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Also, once this phase of growth is successfully completed, the airline will cover 16 destinations across the country with its fleet of three-class Airbus A320 aircraft. Tickets for the new route are already on sale. Plan your trip and book as soon as possible to get the best deals and lowest fares.

goNews: Delhi to Have Driverless Metro Trains by This Year End

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Equipped with advanced features and latest techniques, Delhi is going to introduce driverless metro trains that will run on sections of the Phase-III network. This new slot of trains are expected to be operational by next year end. According to a statement by DMRC, 20 such trains will be manufactured in South Korea’s Changwan by the end of 2016, while the remaining set of around 61 trains are being manufactured at Bengaluru’s Bharat Earth Movers plant.

Metro trains
Delhi Metro | Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62597303@N03/5956544763/in/photolist-

DMRC stated that these trains will run on over 58 km-long Majlish Park-Shiv Vihar and over 38 km-long Janakpuri (West) – Botanical Garden (Line 8) corridors of the Phase-III project. These eco-friendly trains are equipped with additional features for the comfort of passengers and are designed to run at a speed of maximum 95 kmph and operational speed of 85 kmph. The coaches will come with latest facilities like digitial route maps, LCD screens with videos, graphics, live-streaming and WiFi. Train operators will not be required to run these trains and Operations Control Centres (OCC) of the Delhi Metro system will regulate their operation.

Though these new set of metro trains will be operated by drivers for a year, once DMRC declares these safe, their full fledged driverless operation will be introduced in the capital for a smoother and comfortable journey across.

goNews: Goibibo Launches ‘Go-Time Guarantee’ Feature for Quick Refunds

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Goibibo.com, the country’s leading online travel aggregator, has recently launched a unique feature called ‘Go-Time Guarantee’ for quick and easy refunds. With the introduction of this feature, Goibibo guarantees refund to be processed within 2 hours from the time a customer cancels his travel with the portal. In case there is a failure to meet the 2-hour guarantee, Goibibo promises to credit Rs. 100 in that particular customer’s GoCash wallet for every hour of delay. With the launch of ‘Go-Time Guarantee’. Goibibo strives to deliver the fastest refund in India and increase trust and reliability of customers.

Goibibo

Ashish Kashyap, Founder and CEO of Goibibo stated that the company’s core focus is to continuously increase speed, reliability and trust, and launch of ‘Go-Time for refunds’ is the first step in solving pain points of customers. In the coming 3-4 months, ‘time guarantees’ will be given to customers for all processes. Apart from ‘Go-Time’, other innovative features launched by the company includes ‘Photo ratings and reviews’; ‘Question and answers’ and ‘Flights plus hotels on mobile’.

According to a report released by Morgan Stanley last December, Goibibo.com secured the No.1 position in hotel booking volumes in India. It is also the preferred OTA by hoteliers across various parts of India.

goNews: Thai AirAsia to Launch Direct Daily Bangkok-Kochi Flights

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Thai AirAsia decided to launch daily direct flights between Don Mueang Airport, Bangkok and Kochi, India from May 17, 2016. At the same time, the airline is also offering promotional airfares starting at a price as low as Rs. 2,999 until March 27, 2016. Travel period with this promotional fare will last till May 22.

Thai AirAsia
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/94910863@N06/8839768019/in/

AirAsia has already become a familiar brand in India following its success in the Chennai and Bangalore route. With the introduction of a direct flight between Kochi and Bangkok, the airline is eyeing more business and revenue generation. With the introduction of the direct flight to Kochi, Thai AirAsia is also expecting to achieve load factors of over 85% within the first three months of the route’s operation.

Thai AirAsia
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/igcameron/4034013882/in/

Kochi is an important port city as well as industrial hub of India. It is also flooded with tourist destinations and leisure activities like ancient churches, backwater cruises etc. Presently Thai AirAsia flies in Don Mueang-Chennai route and Don Mueang-Bangalore route five times a week. It also flies from Don Mueang to destinations like Phuket, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi and Surat Thani, all of which are popular amongst Indian travellers.

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.

goNews: Delhi Airport Wins ‘World’s Best Airport’ Title for Second Time in a Row

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On Monday, 1st March, 2016, New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has been adjudged as the world’s best airport in the category of handling nearly 25-40 million passengers on a yearly basis. For the second time in a row, Delhi airport has attained this prestigious position. All thanks to the airport’s employees and partners who have relentlessly delivered the best and most distinctive experiences to global passengers. Apart from holding the world’s number one position for two consecutive years, the airport has also been awarded for being the best airport by size and region – Asia Pacific and second the best one by Region-Asia Pacific.

Delhi Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indira_Gandhi_International_Airport#/media/File:Delhi_t3_terminal.jpg

The parametres that helped the airport bag the award include improved on-time performance of airlines, launch of flyDEL (an interactive and user-friendly mobile application), enhancement of signages and airport ambiance, strong bonding with stakeholders, upgradation of entertainment facilities like shopping and eating joints, excellent sanitation system and positive customer flying experience. The ranking was announced by The Airports Council International (ACI), a trade association of world’s airports established in 1991. Also, the airport has scored 4.96 on a scale of 1 to 5 in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey.

Last year the airport handled an average of 958 flights daily and 760 thousand tonnes of cargo. Delhi’s IGIA is an active gateway to nearly 58 domestic and 62 international cities. Around six domestic and 57 international airlines use the airport as their destination. Domestic flights like Vistara, Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet use IGIA as their operational hub.

Delhi Airport
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad | Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajiv_Gandhi_International_Airport#/media

At the same time, Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has been ranked as the world’s third best airport, and that too for the seventh time in a row. Airports Council International (ACI) declared Hyderabad International Airport, which is operated and managed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport, as the third best in the world in the category of handling 5-15 million passengers annually. The airport is set to receive the award at the ASQ Awards Ceremony, which is scheduled to take place in the month of April.