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Sample the best that Switzerland offers the glitzy world of dubai hotels the rise and rise of destination Pune the ever popular

Srinagar is in season

Summer is here, it is time for

coolerS


THIS ISSUE EDITORS’ PAGE Dear Readers, In recent weeks, unfortunately, the cost of travel has been going up, especially air travel. It has therefore, become even more important to know and study the destination where you are heading! It is all the more important to experiment less and experience more. With fuel costs rising, road travel is also not a cheap option anymore. Planning travel was never more critical. With the sun beating down on us, the rush would be to head to places that are cooler – among them being the hills. This issue, we bring you the less discovered and not often talked about Dharamshala. This is living in the lap of nature, with a difference, with the deep Buddhist influence seeping all around. We also have a destination story on Pune, a modern city that is developing on all its sides – some of the best hotels to come up in the country in recent years are in Pune. The off season in Goa, the summer and the monsoons, offer some very affordable packages; there is everything going for Goa in the summer, except for the shacks on the beaches! We also bring you a first-hand account of accommodation options in the Paradise on Earth, Srinagar. A short drive from Delhi, we update you with new options to explore the city of the Taj. Moving overseas, our globetrotting section explores regions far and wide. From the Swiss Alps to Kuala Lumpur, from hotels in Singapore to discovering Cuba as a destination for travellers and businessmen. Along with these, there is Kenya, Dubai and Monaco for you to discover. Not everybody is travelling this month. For those who must remain content staying back in the city, we bring you plenty of action from within the city to keep you busy. Go watch the latest musical offering at Kingdom of Dreams, Jhumroo, a tribute to the great singing legend, Kishore Kumar. Find out which are the best places to dine out and have a tête-à-tête with the Michelin starred chef, Vikas Khanna. We have the summer special pages, which share with you what you can eat, drink and ‘apply’ this summer. A selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks wait for you. The option to chill at the numerous shopping malls is always there. We bring you a selection that includes the high-end Christian Louboutin. So, sit back, relax, have a summer cooler and enjoy our latest issue that will help relieve the summer stress.

Editors Note READERS WRITE IN Old World charm

Picture Perfect

Although it is summertime, but after reading the Neemrana Revisited article I decided to go to there with my family. The experience was fantastic and it was one of the most memorable vacations I had. Neemrana has such a royal charm and the writer beautifully captured the whole essence of the place.

I love the kind of pictures you have been using for your starters section. They instantly speak to you. The picture that was used for the Spudfest festival was very good. I would like to see more photo features in the magazine, like showcasing a particular destination with just spectacular pictures. Hope I can see more of this in the coming months.

Anita Krishnan, Bangalore

Veggie Delight I am a foodie that too a vegetarian and my job constantly takes me around the world, especially South-East Asia. The story on restaurants in Singapore was such a delight because it gave me so many options to eat out. Every time I was in a fix but this time around I would know my way around, thanks to you. Raghav Gupta, Chandigarh

Kanika Gehlot, Mumbai

Yamuna Alert Thanks for the Yamuna piece. We need more such thought provoking articles on city issues. It puts across the problems that need immediate attention and how we Delhiites can make a difference. There was a good comparison with other river based cities.

Editor: Navin Berry Assistant Editor: Purva Bhatia Business Development: Sudhir Sood Advertising: Saurabh Shukla Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani Go Now is printed and published by Navin Berry, on behalf of Cross Section Media Pvt. Ltd. Printed at Rakesh Press A-7, Naraina, Phase II, New Delhi. Go Now is published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Tel: 91-11-43784444. Fax: 91-11-41001627, 41001628. E-mail: info@crosssectionmedia.com This issue of gonow contains 80 pages plus 4 pages cover

Sambit Nagpal, New Delhi

drop us a line

Like something we wrote? Wondering how to get somewhere? Or been to a place you want to talk about? Write to us and let us know. Don’t have the words to describe a place? Don’t worry – send us your best travel pictures and we’ll let them speak for you. If your letter or photo is published, you will get a year’s subscription to gonow absolutely FREE! Send your letters and photographs to E-mail: info@gonow.in info@crosssectionmedia.com Material not used will not be returned

June 2012 GO NOW

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GO NOW JUNE MAY 2012 2012

INDIA ESCAPES 18

Photo Feature: Dharamshala, The less-seen side of the hill station

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City in focus: Pune, Tracing the city's growth over the last 15 years

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Getaway: Srinagar, Accommodation option to suit every pocket and palate

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Getaway: Agra, There's more to the city than the Taj Mahal

GLOBETROTTING 38

Singapore: On cloud nine across seven hotels in Singapore

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Swisslures: Climb every mountain in this Alps country

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Kuala Lumpur: Tee it up and then top it with a fine meal

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Kenya: There is more than jungle safaris in this African country

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Dubai: Living life king size in this emirate

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Monaco: Here grandeur is a way of life

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Cuba: An earnest welcome to tourists and businessmen

CITY ESCAPES

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GO NOW June 2012

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In Town: Interview with Michelin starred chef, Vikas Khanna

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Fine Dining: Something to offer to everyone, De Villa

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Summer Special: Find out what to eat, drink and apply this summer

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Rooms and Suites: Learn about the hi-tech rooms at Pullman

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Spas and Gyms: New options in spa therapy

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Retail Therapy: Designer shoes for the well-heeled

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Creative Zone: The new show at Kingdom of Dreams, Jhumroo


u San Fermin Festival, Pamplona, Spain

Race the bulls 6 - 14 July, 2012

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ith Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’ bullfighting and Pamplo na in Spain became must-experience and must-see in travel itineraries all over the world. “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honour,” said the writer immortalising a sport whose reputation was previously largely regional. The sport had a second lease of surge in popularity with the recent Hrithik Roshan-starrer Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Though the festival comprises of several events, the most dangerous hence interesting hence popular one is the encierro or the running of the bulls. The encierro is at the heart of the San Fermin and is celebrated in the Navarra region in honour of the patron saint San Fermin. The bull run starts on a very traditional note: the runners who would be a few metres from where the bulls are waiting will raise their rolled newspapers and chant to an image of the patron saint. The whole point of the run is to get the bulls from outside the city into the bullring: it starts at the corral in Calle Santo Domingo when the clock on the church of San Fermin strikes eight o’ clock. Two rockets are launched in succession which makes the bulls charge at the runners for a distance of 825 metres. The entire run doesn’t last more than three of four minutes. Then, as it is shown in ‘Zindagi…’ those three minutes last an entire lifetime.

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How to reach there Several international flight operators fly out of Delhi to Madrid or Barcelona. From here you can take an internal flight into the Vitoria Airport in Pamplona where the bull-run takes place. Zaragoza and Bilbao are also smaller airports near Pamplona. Pamplonabalconies. com, run by bull-run aficionados can be an useful resource if you are going for the San Fermin Fiesta. How the weather is July is very hot in Pamplona with temperatures hovering around 35°C. Keep yourself properly hydrated and lots of sunscreen handy. venue The streets of Pamplona, the capital city of Navarre. Starts by the steep uphill of the Cuesta de Santo Domingo via the dangerous corners of Calle Estafeta and ends in the Plaza de Toros.

Maitane Onrubia, pamplonabalconies.com

world this month


world this month

u Dubai Summer Surprises and Dubai Sports World, Dubai

Sports Sans sun

Y June 14 - July 14, 2012

An Amazing summer

ou are a sports fan but the searing heat is forcing you to stay indoors? The Dubai Sports World, the Middle East’s largest indoor sports event is your answer. In fact, the DSW sees to it that the summer does not come in the way of your sports and fitness enthusiasm as it organises a host of related events in its large air conditioned arena. Basketball, football, rugby and even beach volleyball are some of the events that find a berth this season. There is a fitness boot camp for physical fitness for those who may not be too keen on sports. The cricket-crazy Indians too have something to look forward to here - there is a cricket academy where training will be imparted by professional players and coaches. In order to get an idea of the scale of the events organised, in 2011 for the Dubai Indoor Football Championships, Read Madrid and FC Barcelona were pitted against the top four UAE teams. The football clinics that happen on the sidelines are hugely encouraging for a player with potential where he can get insights into the game from the greats. The DSW will set the ball rolling on June 8 and will keep the adrenaline flowing till August 31st. Attention corporates: The Summer Sports Majlis, the hospitality box, can be booked for team-building activities where reputed chefs will cater to your specific culinary needs.

June 8 - Aug 31, 2010

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etail therapy works in many ways and with the Dubai Summer Surprises - DSS - it can be handy in beating the heat as well! The DSS is not as widely known as its more illustrious peer the Dubai Shopping Festival, the DSF. However what ties both these is the core activity - shopping. This year it is said that over 6,000 stores will be participating in the event and the organisers are expecting huge footfalls from all neighbouring countries, especially India. The festival is not all about shopping as each of the participating mall hosts events and contests that interests people of all ages. There will also be shows which are spectacular enough to take your breath away. A large number of events are slated to take place in Modhesh World, among the emirate’s best-known entertainment zones - this also happens to be the main attraction of DSS. Say hi from us to Modhesh, the yellow-Smiley guy who is the festival mascot. ‘Modhesh’ means ‘amazing’ in Arabic.

Getting there Emirates, Air India, Jet Airways and IndiGo fly daily flights from New Delhi to Dubai and the approximate time is 3 hours 25 minutes. Starting fares can be somewhere between Rs 24,000 to 31,000. Perfect for shopping, clubbing and enjoying the beaches, Dubai’s transport system is quite exceptional with the new metro expected

to be complete by December this year. Walking in the June heat can be difficult so hail a taxi in the street, which are aplenty. Weather Forecast According to the World Meteorological Organization, temperatures in Dubai in June are expected to range between 26.1°C to 38.8°C.

Venue The Dubai summer surprise takes place at around 50 malls all across Dubai and the venue for Dubai Sports World is Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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world this month

u Treasures of the World’s Cultures, Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Sports Festival

Let’s play together June 21 – July 19

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Human history, retold

uditoriums become playgrounds and lobbies become courts. The Abu Dhabi Sports Festival is the region’s largest indoor sports event hosting football, basketball, chess, billiards and other tournaments. Another highlight of the event is the kind of crowd that comes together for the event – just about everyone! From the top sports academies in the city to the man on the street, everybody participates in this display of pride and solidarity and of course, sportsmanship. The special attractions for this year, the organisers say, are the indoor running track and the cricket academy where enthusiasts are given professional coaching by eminent practitioners.

April 18 - July 17, 2012

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he Middle East, especially the UAE carved a niche among global revellers by being the last word in retail therapy and high octane adventure. Now it is set to make a mark as a sought-after destination for the culture vulture. ‘Treasures of the World’s Cultures’ is the second in the series of exhibitions organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.‘Treasures…’ tells the story of more than two million years of human life through some of the world’s most magnificent objects. From paintings that reflect the rich and varied traditions of Islamic art and tools made in East Africa during the Old Stone Age to masterpieces from Renaissance Europe, the exhibition explores the varied interpretations of ‘treasure’. Featuring examples of ‘buried treasure’ and recent artworks from around the world, the exhibition connects historical and modern cultural perspectives through one visual experience. The exhibition is in collaboration with the British Museum and also has some select priceless exhibits from Al Ain National Museum, Sharjah Archaeology Museum and the private collections of prominent Emiratis. All the exhibits take visitors through a vast horizon of world heritage as embodied in over 250 objet de art - a definite treat for the culture and heritage enthusiast. On display at the Zayed National Museum, this exhibition gives never-before insights, wisdom as well as knowledge that inspires and equips us for the future.

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Getting there Etihad and Jet Airways have daily flights from New Delhi to Abu Dhabi and the approximate time is 3 hours 40 minutes. Starting fares can be somewhere between Rs 29,000 to 35,000. Abu Dhabi’s road network is excellent and driving is on the right side of the road. Business visitors are unlikely to need to use the municipal bus systems in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Al-Ain. There are no train services connecting the emirates. Weather Forecast According to the World Meteorological Organization, temperatures in Abu Dhabi in June are expected to range between 24.8°C to 39.6°C. Venue The venue at Abu Dhabi is the Manarat AlSaadiyat and the Saadiyat Island.


world this month

u Dragon Boat Festival, Hong Kong

An ode to honesty June 23, 2012

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ot many would know that the dragon boat race is a tribute to an honest statesman who fought corruption - in fourth century B.C. Though largely re garded as mythology, the story does resonate as an echo of the times we are living in. Chu Yuan, a Chinese nobleman, tried in vain to dissuade the ruler from his corrupt ways. As a mark of protest, he drowned himself in a lake in the Hunan province by tying a huge rock around his neck. Despite efforts by his friends to rescue him – which included throwing rice dumplings at the fish as a more appetising option – nobody could even find his body. The dragon boat race is in memory of this unsuccessful rescue attempt – rushing to the spot where poor Chu Yuan jumped. You have long, slender, regal boats (made of teak during the earlier days), manned by not less than 20 paddlers who row in sync to beating drums. The crescendo is built up to a point that soon, not just the boatmen, but the audience are also transported in the adrenalinefuelled trip. These boats are called dragon boats as they are embellished with ornate dragon heads; the dragon being a symbol of benevolence and protection in China. This year too, in June, mythology takes to the water in memory of the upright Chu Yuan. Be there if you are impressed by the mythology.You can be there even if you would like to see the epitome of teamwork – like the dragon boat race – live.

Getting there Air India, Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways have daily flights to Hong Kong and the approximate time is 5 hours 23 minutes. There are some flights with a stop at Bangkok which take about 8 hours to 13 hours. The average fare would range between Rs 40,000 to 45,000. Within the city, taxis are relatively cheap and can be hailed on the street. Public transport system in Hong Kong is good with mass Transit System and air conditioned buses are available easily. Pedestrian walkways are good and discovering the city on foot would not be a bad idea either. Weather Forecast According to the World Meteorological Organization, temperatures in Hong Kong in June are expected to range between 26.2°C to 30.2°C. Venue Tai O, Lantau Island

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world this month

u Puri Rath Yatra, Puri, Odisha

The bhakt juggernaut

June 21, 2012

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ver wondered how a king would come visiting? The Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha would be the best place to quench your curiosity. The festival commemorates the travel of Lord Jagannath, more popularly known as Lord Krishna, accompanied by his siblings – Balbhadra and Shubhadra – from Gokul to Mathura. En route he stops by the house of his maternal aunt to eat his favourite sweet cakes. Adding further benevolence to the whole proceedings is the Sudarshan Chakra or the celestial wheel the Lord takes with him everywhere. The Puri temple is also renowned as ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to tradition, the power of Yama, the god of death, is nullified by Lord Jagannath. There are three new chariots created for the juggernaut - each of them almost seven feet in diametre and pulled by a dozen wheels. These chariots, or raths, are replicas of the Jagannath temple and each of them carries an idol of Lord Jagannath. On the day of the festival, thousands of devotees from all over the country, pull these gigantic chariots – each of them towering at a 50-feet – to the Gundicha temple nearby. This fe s t iva l i s very high on the religious quotient and pilgrims throng for a go at the chariots. If you are non-Hindu, the Puri Rath Yatra is your only chance for a glimpse of the gods who reside in the conservative Puri temple.

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Getting there Indigo, Air India fly 2-3 flights per day and the travelling time is around 2 hours with the approximate range of fare between Rs 7,000 to 10, 000. Puri is about 50 kms away from Bhubaneswar and the rail and road connectivity between Puri and Bhubaneswar is good. Express and super fast trains links Puri with Bhubaneswar and is the best mode to travel. Taxis are also available from Bhubaneswar charging anywhere from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. Taxis are not always available for local transport, but it is easier to find auto Rikshaws and cycle Rikshaws in Puri and this is the most convenient way for local transport Weather Forecast According to the Indian Meteorological Department, temperatures in Puri will be somewhere between 40.7 degree Celsius to 28.2 degree Celsius. Venue The three chariots are driven from the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha mandir.


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India Traveller Travel and discover a subcontinent

Photo courtesy: Wildflowr hall, shimla

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xperience the gracious hospitality of Oberoi all across the country.You can experience the romance of the Taj Mahal, live the heritage of Jaipur, wine and dine with the tiger in Ranthambore and relax in the lap of nature in Shimla. There are fantastic itineraries offered by participating hotels, or you can customize your itinerary for 6 days or more. Hotels included in the offer are The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur; The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur; The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore; Wildflower Hall, Shimla; The Oberoi, New Delhi; The Oberoi, Gurgaon; The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata; The Oberoi, Bangalore; The Oberoi, Mumbai. The offers include accommodation in a premium room, 25% on spa therapies, and participation in daily yoga sessions.

The offer will be valid till 30th September and the price range is between Rs 1,17,000 for 6 nights to 2,14,000 for 12 nights. For more information call 1 800 11 2030 or email at reservations@oberoigroup.com


airlines & airports buzz

Singapore Airlines

High brow, sky high

Kenya Airways

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Jambo! Namaste!

he famed Kenyan safari just got closer. From May 16, Kenya Airways commenced flights from New Delhi which became the airline’s 57th global destination. Kenya Airways will now fly to Nairobi from New Delhi four times a week on Boeing 767-300. The new flight, KQ221 will depart from New Delhi Airport at 00:50 hours and will arrive at Nairobi at 05:30 hours. Flights operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday every week. The new flights are an outcome of Kenya Airways’ ambitious growth plans to expand its network as part of its 10 year growth strategy.“New Delhi is the second

Bengaluru International Airport

Good news, shoppers

The shopping paradise on earth is now much closer. With the completion of the maintenance work at the Bengaluru International Airport, SilkAir has scheduled two flights between the IT hub and Singapore, which began operations on May 5th. This regional arm of Singapore Airlines is a full-service airline and currently operates 33 weekly flights from seven cities in India. Singapore Airlines first landed in India in 1970 on the shores of Chennai. Over the span of the next 40 years, the airlines expanded its operations to over 53 weekly flights from six cities in the country. With the new service, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir combined now operate 88 flights from the country. 12

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city after Mumbai that we will be flying to India,” said Dr.Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.“We intend to open four more destinations in the sub continent as part of our 10 year expansion strategy.” The new route makes a lot of sense to the airlines as India has become a primary source market for Kenya in Asia region with close to 60,000 Indian arrivals to the destination for the period January – December 2011. India ranks fifth amongst the largest tourism generating source markets for Kenya. There couldn’t be a better time for that brush with the wild you been planning for so long.

IndiGo

Two more, too good

IndiGo is the top on time performer in the Indian skies. They are the largest low cost carrier too. Further consolidating their position are two more flights the airline has added to the busy Delhi – Mumbai sector which commenced operations from May 25th. Designed to serve the growing demand between the two business hubs of the country, these flights also gives more choices to the business and leisure traveller.“We are looking at providing affordable fares on these new routes for our travellers,” says Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo. “IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it.”The new flights will surely consolidate the airline’s position as the fastest growing carrier in India.

No time to read a book? Listen to it, then. High fliers taking Singapore Airlines can now listen to all-time favourites such as Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ or ‘Wizard of Oz’ or ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H. G. Wells, among other classics with more on the way. These are first in the lot of books brought to sound by KrisWorld, the airline’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system. The service is available on the B777-300-ER, A330, B772R and B773R aircrafts which operate from India. “Audio books are the next-best thing for busy travellers who do not have time for a ‘good read’”, says Ms Tay Ai Cheng, Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Librarian, Public Library Services Group, National Library Board, the chief collaborator for the initiative. “While audio books have been a feature in our in-flight entertainment offering for some time, this new selection of titles recommended by the National Library Board has broadened our range of fiction books,” said Mr Tan Pee Teck, Senior Vice President Product and Services at Singapore Airlines. The titles available are refreshed every month to give the travellers a wider choice. Books that talk? Sounds like it.

SpiceJet

Spicing up the (international) skies

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he Indian skies are going to get busier with SpiceJet getting the go-ahead to add six new international destinations to its current list. The government and aviation authorities have cleared the budget airline’s proposal to fly to Bangkok, Dubai, Kabul, Male, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The Kalanithi Maran-owned airline will thus be adding 63 overseas flights per week to its schedule this season – leading to a five-fold increase from the current 14 flights a week. The airline also has ambitious expansion plans up its sleeve – it is planning to add five Boeing 737 aircrafts to its current fleet of 37 by year-end. This will also require that more routes are opened up to deploy the newly-acquired aircrafts. This five-fold increase in international operations has the potential to double the revenues from international operations for the airlines spelling a bigger growth potential. This will also greatly augment connectivity of Indian carriers to destinations abroad.


airlines & airports buzz Charles de Gaulle Airport

Smoother means faster

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AirAsia

Painting the sky red. Smart, sporty and sexy

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hat began just 10 years ago with a couple of aircrafts has today grown into Asia’s largest and leading low-cost carrier with the most extensive network of over 150 routes. AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline in the annual airline survey by Skytrax for three consecutive years from 2009 to 2011. Having carried over 140 million passengers so far, all the celebrations that marks its tenth anniversary

festivities are certainly justified. Taking the exuberance one step further is the brand new cor porate identity that reflected its ‘Ten Awesome Years’ campaign including new television commercials, offers for passengers as well as sassy new uniforms for the flight attendants. This reflects the airline’s ‘dare to be different’ attitude by being visibly vibrant.The new uniforms also embody the carrier’s involvement in the

field of active sports. And of course, it is also a tribute to the ‘can do’ attitude of each and every employee. Endearing itself further to its growing legion of regular fliers are a host of surprises like baggage fee reduction, revised meal prices and abolishment of counter check-in fees for international flights. Of course, those who made it all possible – the passengers – are the ones who are in for the real treat.

T5, Heathrow

The verdict is out

Of all the airport terminals in the world, which is the best? In terms of architecture, ambience and layout? Skytrax, an independent survey company, organised a study which took feedback from 12 million customers over 10 months and covered 388 airports.The winner emerged clear and loud: the British Airways’ home hub T5 at Heathrow. Besides the architecture and ambience that clearly stood out, the other parameters which earned the terminal the award as the extensive range of shopping and dining options in the departure area. Now, if you thought the airlines was going to rest on its laurels, think again: Over the next five years British Airways will be investing more than £5 billion on new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground. Winning ways, indeed.

he Charles de Gaulle airport is going all out to endear itself to the Indian flier. Air France and Aeroports de Paris have joined hands to make the airport a convenient destination and preferred stopover for passengers who are flying into France or just passing through. From July this year, all long haul Air France flights will be moved to the new terminal 2E. Terminal 2E is the same as from where the other international flights operate including those from the US, Canada, the UK and the whole of Africa. The airlines representatives informed that there are three boarding gates in T2E as well as automatic trains to ferry passengers - which means you reach your gate in three minutes flat! And there are no additional security checks - making your movement faster and hassle-free. On average, this saves about 10 minutes of connection time for about 10,000 passengers everyday! If you have the time to spare between connecting flights, you can browse around the business lounge – the biggest Air France lounge which has all the major French and international brands. Another major development is the opening of a transit hotel. But this will only be next year. Meantime, find company in the many restaurants - including vegetarian ones - and the well-stocked bars.

Malaysia Airlines

Truly friendly

Malaysia Airlines is set to join the oneworld alliance by year-end. Now, what does this mean to passengers? Those travelling in Economy class can now carry up to 7 kg of cabin luggage instead of the earlier allotted 5 kg. Those travelling Business and First Class can carry two pieces each not more than 7 kg; the only catch is that the height x length x width should not exceed 56 x 36 x 23 cm. In addition to the cabin luggage, you can also bring on board a laptop or a notebook, briefcase or a binocular bag. Also allowed are a small bag and a walking stick. Those with infants (less than 24 months old) are allowed a baby bag with food and nappies, a carry cot and fully collapsible baby stroller. Though the airline is slated to join oneworld alliance by end of this year, the new guidelines have been implemented for all flights from May 15.

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travel buzz The Serai, Cikmagalur and Kabini

Escape to Serai this summer

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ith temperature, soaring, plan your trip to The Serai, Chikmagalur and Kabini this summer. A sanctuary of luxury and tranquillity, The Serai promises to invigorate you with specially crafted summer packages which are valid till June 15, 2012. Spread across 70 acres of rich coffee estates, The Serai, Chikmagalur is a perfect summer getaway. The 29 designer villas here are sure to capture your imagination. A 2 nights/3 day’s package starts from Rs 28, 000 upwards. The Serai, Kabini, is sure to revitalize all your senses. One can take a lazy stroll through the verdant greenery to see exotic birds or indulge in a jungle safari to liberate one’s mind, body and soul. A 2 nights/3 day’s package starts from Rs 32,250 upwards.

Mapple Hermitage Bhimtal

Mapple Resorts and Palaces launch Mapple Hermitage Bhimtal

Mapple Resorts and Palaces have launched Mapple Hermitage which is set in the middle of Kumaon Hills in the Bhimtal town of Uttarakhand state. Out of a total of 48 air-conditioned rooms which this hotel offers 24 are lake view rooms, 14 are valley facing rooms and 10 cottages, every room has a balcony with a sitting area. Multi cuisine restaurant, 100 covers is delight for the food lovers and serves mouth-watering Indian and Continental dishes. The guests can enjoy a swim at climate controlled swimming pool, work out at a gym, play table tennis and host of other games here. For the business travellers there is an 1800 sq ft. conference hall for 200 Pax in theatre style. For more information on the packages, call + 91 01792 – 272712/13/14, 272480/81/82 or visit www.baikunth.com

For reservations call: Chikmagalur: (91)-80 4115 2200/4001 2200, Kabini: (91)- 8228 264444 or email: enquiries@theserai.in

Baikunth Resorts, Kasauli

Mapple Leisure Resort, Corbett

Attractive discount packages by Mapple Leisure Resort in Corbett The Mapple Leisure Resort which is spread across seven acres of lush green forest in Corbett is offering discount packages to lure the summer traveller. The resort offers 15 elegantly designed rooms which take care of all your needs. These rooms are replete with all modern facilities to ensure that you have a luxurious stay in the hotel and take back cherished memories of your vacation in the Jim Corbett National Park. The package includes welcome 14

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drink on arrival, accommodation in well appointed rooms, tea/coffee maker in rooms, breakfast, lunch and dinner as per meal plan and complimentary stay of children below 6 years of age in the room without an extra bed.

The 2 nights and 3 days package for a couple is priced at Rs. 9,500 upwards. For more information call: (91)- 011 29552303/2045/2047/2048, e- mail: reservations@ mapplehotels.com or info@mapplehotels.com

Discounted European plan by Baikunth Resorts

Summers are finally here and for those looking for calm winter chill Baikunth Resorts in Kasauli has come out with a discounted European plan which will be valid till September 30, 2012. Under this plan, Superior Rooms are priced at Rs 6,300, Superior Cottages at Rs 6,750, Deluxe Cottages at Rs 7,200 and Deluxe Suite Cottage at Rs 7,650. This plan comes loaded with incentives like welcome drink on arrival, electric kettle tea and coffee in the rooms, special amenities tray with cookies & muffins, one free session of consultancy for two guests from our in-house doctor and 15 percent discount on any treatment at the spa. Children below 5 years can stay complimentary without extra bed where as Rs 1,250 will be charged per person per day for an extra person between 5-10 years and Rs.1,500 for an extra person aged 11 and above. For more information on the packages, call + 91 01792 – 272712/13/14, 272480/81/82 or visit www.baikunth.com


travel buzz The Chalets Naldehra, Himachal Pradesh

Tee off under the shadow of cedar forests Aamod, Himachal Pradesh

Take a welcome summer break in Himachal Pradesh with Aamod

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he Chalets Naldehra, a boutique mountain resort which is located 22 kilometres from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh is an ideal getaway for the lovers of adventure sports and golf. The resort is located at a distance of just 300 meters from 18 hole Naldehra golf course. It boasts of accommodation in quaint pinewood log cottages built with imported technology and wood from Finland. These log homes have a small bedroom which opens into a living room with a

working fireplace. A winding staircase goes up to a second bedroom with a sloping roof. There are small manicured lawns and independent balconies lined with potted geraniums for the Scandinavian look. It is replete with amenities like an indoor all weather swimming pool that is temperature controlled, a spa, a Jacuzzi, an activity room with a pool table, table tennis, carom and indoor games and a playing area for smaller children.

Aamod has introduced two night ‘unforgettable summer holiday packages’ for its two properties nestled in the mighty Himalayas at Dalhousie and Shogi respectively. The packages at Aamod, Dalhousie are priced at Rs12,500 for two adults in the Deluxe Cottages or Rs 1,9000 for four adults in the Family Suites. The packages at Aamod – Shogi come for Rs 1,8000 for two adults in the Deluxe Cottages or Rs 25,000 for four adults at the Family Suites. These packages include a welcome non-alcoholic drink and a seasonal fruit basket on arrival, daily Breakfast, complimentary accommodation for 2 children below 6 years in the same cottage and 20% discount on laundry services. These offers are valid till March 31, 2013. For more information visit www.aamod.in

The 2 nights/3 days package is valid from April 1, 2012 starts from Rs 14,990 onwards with children being charged extra. For more information or reservations call (91) - 01772747715, 6940481, email: contact@chaletsnaldehra.com or visit www.chaletsnaldehra.com

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Delhi

“Beat the Heat” with refreshing spa & salon packages at ‘R the spa’ From the stable of Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Delhi comes R the Spa where you can pamper yourself with the summer special spa treatment packages meant to keep you cool and refreshing. R the Spa offers three different Summer Spa packages which are as follows: The first package includes Green Coffee Wrap, Relaxing & Refreshing Aroma Massage, Herbal Tea; the second spa treatment comprises of Anti – Oxidant facial Mask, Manicure & Pedicure, Refreshing Floral Bath and third Spa treatment includes Watermelon Facial, Papaya Body wrap, Aromatherapy Massage. With these packages there is a complimentary welcome drink on arrival, Use of Jacuzzi, Steam (Optional) & Use of Swimming Pool (Optional). Each of these packages are priced at Rs 6,500/(All inclusive of taxes) For more information call 1800-1800-333, (91)-011-26779191

Fortune Select Excalibur, Gurgaon

Summer getaway at Fortune Select Excalibur

Take a well deserved summer break at Fortune Select Excalibur strategically located on the Sohna Road in Gurgaon. The Standard Room comes for Rs. 6699 per night whereas Fortune Club Room is priced at Rs 8,699 per night. On arrival one is greeted with a complimentary drink, buffet breakfast and dinner. One can also use swimming pool, health club and high speed internet on the complimentary basis. For more information, call (91)-124-3988444 or emailExcalibur@fortunehotels.in

MARRIOTT PROPERTIES ACROSS INDIA

Do you want to play? Marriott will pay!

Leading luxury hotel brand Marriott has introduced an interesting offer for those who will be making future reservations at any of their properties spread across the country. Under this offer called ‘You Play, We Pay’, you can earn a credit of Rs 2,000 if you decide to spend two nights at the property. If you decide to spend three nights, your credit goes up to Rs 3,000; which can be redeemed against your final settlement. To avail the offer, you have to make your reservations before August 31st and the stay validity is till October 31st. The offer also entitles you to many exciting facilities like room upgrades, the Marriott benchmark meals and drinks, free high speed browsing, massage and spa treatments. To redeem this offer book a room between: May 1, 2012August 31, 2012. For stay validity – May 1, 2012 –October 31, 2012. For more information log on to: www.marriott.com June 2012 go now

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travel buzz

Goa Monsoon escapes 16

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travel buzz

Radisson Blu Goa

The Radisson Blu resort is a 5-star deluxe property spread over ten acres of gardens and coconut groves. Its 132 rooms are inspired by Goan-Portuguese architecture and the hotel offers facilities expected of a brand like Radisson. The hotel offers a summer package for 3 nights and 4 days for Rs 28,000 for a superior room and Rs 31, 000 for a premium room. The offer includes airport and Margao railway station transfers, buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner and other such facilities. The offer is valid till 30th September. For reservation or more information, call + 91 22 65340310/+91 88888 19181/ +91 8888848034 or email reservations@ rdresortgoa.com, resvmum@rdresortgoa. com,pnaik@rdresortgoa.com

Goa Marriott Resort and Spa Refresh and energize yourself at the Quan spa, that promises new world of spa and wellness treatments. There are 4 individual treatment rooms and 1 couple treatment room with a bath tub. The monsoon journey follows with orange green tea scrub, which exfoliates and renews the skin. The

revitalizing Aroma fusion massage with basil and peppermint oil works wonders to your skin.

The package is priced at Rs 4,500 + taxes and the duration of the spa treatment is 2 hours. For more information, call +918326656214 or email quan. goa@marriotthotels.com

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree is located on the Candolim beach and is designed to capture the romance of the 15th century Portugal. Set amidst lush green trees a holiday at this exotic retreat would be a catch. The resort offers summer deal for 3 nights and 4 days with the Plaza room priced at Rs 14, 999. The offer includes facilities like buffet breakfast for two persons at Citrus CafĂŠ, complimentary Open Bar from 6-8 pm daily by the poolside and other amenities. For reservation and enquiries call 0832-3988188 or email hi.go@lemontreehotels.com

Holiday Inn

With picture perfect beaches, a laidback island vibe and vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere, Goa has a lot to offer to the discerning traveller. The summermonsoon may be a lean period, the hotels have attractive packages for the vacationers. Holiday Inn offers an amazing package for 3 nights and 4 days with facilities like Airport and station transfers in Ac coaches, Goan wine and cookies on arrival, complimentary use of swimming pool and use of leisure activities, for kids and adults. The package is valid till 30th September and a deluxe room is priced at Rs 30,000.

Cidade de Goa

Cidade de Goa, the five star resort on the Vainguinim beach has come up with tempting offers to draw travellers during the summer-monsoon months in Goa. These packages are titled Fun breaks, Easy Escapes and Leisure Getaways. All three offers are valid for 3 nights and 4 days. The Fun Break is priced at Rs 9,000, Easy Escapes at 10, 500 and Leisure Getaways at Rs 11,500. The three packages include airport transfers by AC coaches, discounted rates for treatment at spas, buffest breakfast and other such amenities. All the three offers are valid till 31st July. For more information visit www.cidadedegoa.com or email cidade_del@cdgdso.com

For reservation and enquiries call 011-43589818

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photo feature

Summer is just one reason When summer temperatures start to soar, the capital and its surroundings see a traditional exodus to this mountain town. Though the distance is a bit daunting to qualify for a ‘quick getaway’ – closer to 600 km – Dharamshala has held forte as a preferred summer sojourn for many decades now. GoNow traces the changes Dharamshala has undergone in recent years, while continuing to be a sought-after destination. Text & phographs by thommen jose

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photo feature

Heavenly streams

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quick climb from the Bhagsunag Temple and you reach the picturesque Bhagsu Falls. In case you find the bathing tourists a bit too raucous for comfort, climb a little higher and you can dangle your feet in the cool waters. The path further higher is a trekkers’ delight for its steep climb and wonderful sights. It is also dotted with refreshment stalls.

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photo feature

Green is the valley. And cool.

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estled in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala is perched at a salubrious altitude close to 1,500 metres. The lush verdant cover is courtesy of the looming Dhauladhar Mountains. The city is divided into two distinct sections – the Kotwali Bazaar and Dharamshala. Further higher from Dharamsala are the touristy McLeod Ganj and the Ganchen Kyishong home of the Dalai Lama.

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In the wilderness

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ne of the oldest churches in northern India, St John in the Wilderness is in Forsyth Ganj, the second civilian settlement started by the British after McLeod Ganj. Built in 1852, the church survived the Kangra earthquake of 1905 which killed 20,000 people. However, it cannot do much against backpackers who decide to spend the night in its eerie-quiet cemetery, under stately tall deodars.

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Little Lhasa

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ver since the 14th Dalai Lama made this mountain town his home in 1960, there has been an influx of Tibetans into Dharamshala, which continues to this day as tensions between Tibet and China continue unabated.The presence of the spiritual leader here has made it a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world earning it the title ‘Little Lhasa’.

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photo feature

Not exactly Potala‌

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he residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is a far cry from the majesty and opulence of the Potala Palace in Tibet from where he fled during the Chinese invasion in 1959. There is a monastery next to the palace where the devout congregate and where His Holiness makes an occasional appearance, giving benedictions and receives new refugees from Tibet.

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photo feature

Venerating a tradition

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he Bhagsunag Temple is just a short walk from the main town square – but the narrow lanes are usually choc-abloc with traffic.We suggest you park your car at McLeod Ganj and walk the short distance. Locals say that Bhagsunag Puja has been held in the Bhagsunag Temple for over a century-and-ahalf. There are many shops dealing in curios and other knick knacks.

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photo feature

Happy Haddock

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ierce Brosnan probes you through glazed eyes from the menu of this popular restaurant in town. This eatery is bang in the middle of McLeod Ganj, in the upper reaches of Dharamshala. Food is average – nothing much to write home about.Then, what pulls the crowd in is the bar which makes this Captain Haddock lookalike an evidently happy man.

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city in focus

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f one has to describe Pune, it is a progressive city with modern infrastructure, a city with a wonderful balance of culture and commerce, with nature, lifestyle and enterprise thrown in. One of the fastest growing cities in India (with more than 5 million ambitious and upwardly mobile citizens), the city of Peshwas is today one of the top ten cities in our country to live in. From the cosmopolitan areas of the Cantonment to the traditional City area and Deccan – the educational hub, Pune is a fine mixture of various aspects. The basic culture and positive mind-set of Puneites has held the city in good stead. Over the years, Pune has progressed from a middle class town to a vivacious hub of multi-dimensional business activities that have effortlessly integrated into a globalised economy. Also known as the ‘Queen of the Deccan’ due to its climate and location, this city attracts a lot of people from all over the country.

Education Pune has always been a very popular destination for national as well as international

students. Symbiosis International Hostel was one of the first to house international students in Pune. Referred to as the ‘Oxford of the East’, Pune is home to some of the best schools, colleges as well as professional institutions in India such as Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, University of Pune, National Defence Academy etc. Puneites have always had an inclination to pick up new foreign languages such as Japanese (University of Pune), German (taught at the Max Muller Bhavan) and French (at the Alliance Française de Poona).

Information Technology Fifteen years ago the only software technology park was a small facility in Bhosari (Pimpri Chinchwad Area). Several Pune-based IT icons made a modest beginning in less than 1,000 sq ft offices in this park. Now Pune has IT parks in Hinjewadi, Aundh, Kharadi and Hadapsar. The establishment of various software companies in the city has added to its attraction with ample job opportunities which contribute to Pune’s growth rate. Be it global

business, innovation, sophisticated management and human relations several brilliant entrepreneurs based in Pune have firmly established their credentials in numerous arenas. Of late this dynamic city has turned into an important epicenter of unique sectors such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. Industrialists like the Tatas, Bajajs, Kalyanis, Kirloskars, Poonawallas and Firodiyas have strived really hard to add to the progress of the city. Pradeep Bhargava, Managing Director of Cummins Generator Technology & Chairman of CII Western Region says,“Pune, popularly known as Pensioner’s Paradise, was a manufacturing town as well as a hub of education some 20 years ago with companies such as Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto located here. Now it is a major manufacturing hub what with virtually every car manufacturing company setting up their unit here. Apart from the automobile industry, Pune is also a diverse hub today owing to the service sector, chemical industry and IT opening up in this city. Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant have their offices in Pune now. Infosys has more employees in Pune

The rise and rise of The Pune today is totally different what it was just 15 years ago. GoNow traces the growth of this bustling metropolis that boasts of an undeniable cosmopolitan character.

Pune is a hub for several IT companies.

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compared to Bengaluru. There are a large number of management colleges as well as engineering colleges in Pune which is why the IT sector is booming. Companies such as Cummins and John Deere have come up with high end research centers which do global technology work. Industry research centres and education has had a positive impact on the growth of the city. With higher disposable incomes now, the youth visit shopping malls and multiplexes more often. Unfortunately the civic infrastructure has not caught up with the city’s growth. There are water problems, electricity problems and traffic situation is difficult and disorganised. We still don’t have an international airport which is definitely a disadvantage. On the positive side, Pune used to be a Marathi speaking town but with so many students (from all over the country) living in the city, Pune is now cosmopolitan with various different languages spoken here. Pune has good job opportunities, the IT sector has grown here and there are several multinational companies. It is well-connected to Mumbai, the weather is good and various resources are easily available here.The Bajajs, Firodias, Kalyanis, Poonawalla’s have lived here since ages and so their industries are based in Pune. Geographically it is close to Bombay and it is has a very good climate as compared to other cities, it is a good city to live in. Earlier it was known as a town which

Mercedes Benz showroom. (Below) Its manufacturing plant.

On the positive side, Pune used to be a Marathi-speaking town but with so many students living in the city, Pune is now cosmopolitan with various different languages spoken here. pune has good job opportunities and is well-connected to mumbai. had a lot of German companies, now there are Swedish firms, Japanese, Korean as well as American companies in Pune”.

Roads, Travel and Traffic Twenty years ago there were hardly any traffic jams in the city. Fifteen years ago, a lot of Puneites rode bicycles, whether young or old. Senapati Bapat Road, Jangli Maharaj Road, FC Road didn’t have road dividers.16 years back, MG Road wasn’t a one way street. Pune airport had less than five daily flights; today Pune has several domestic flights and two international flights (Frankfurt and Dubai) as well. Although there have been several talks on setting up an international airport, no concrete development in this direction has

occurred yet. Pune also lacks a good transportation network; people have to travel by private transport due to the lack of a Metro. There used to be a perennial traffic jam on the old Bombay Pune highway before the expressway was constructed. Most Puneites enjoyed traveling to Mumbai by Deccan Queen in the morning. In fact the breakfast served on this train was very popular. India’s first six-lane high-speed expressway, The Mumbai Pune Express Highway was built in 2002, and has minimised travel time between these two cities to almost two hours. Some 10 years ago, there were no Visa Processing Centers in Pune. One had to travel all the way to Mumbai to obtain a visa. In the early 1990s, there wasn’t even a computerised reservation

for railways. One had to wait in long and slow lines to get reservations. A large number of roads were built around the central portion of Pune as the city grew, including the major highways which link the city to other parts of the country. Pune is also connected by two National Highways, NH50 and NH4.

Population Pune’s population has shot up from over six lakh in 1951 to 50 lakh now. According to statistics available with the Pune City Tahsildar office, in the last decade, the population grew by 34.28 %, but the highest decadal growth (51.73%) was between 1971 and 1981, while the lowest (29.93 %) was between 1951 and 1961. According to the union ministry of urban development Pune’s population is 50,49,968 out of which 26.59 lakh are men, and over 23.9 lakh are women. The overall population of Pune district is 94,26,959.There are 57,39,716 urbanites (60.89 %) including Pune and other small towns. June 2012 go now

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city in focus National Institutes Institutes of national importance like the National AIDS Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG), National Institute of Virology (NIV), National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), National Informatics Centre (NIC), National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), National Centre for Cell Sciences (NCCS), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, have only added to the city’s distinct character.

Vinod gaikwad

Pune University accepts several national as wellas international students.

Detroit of the East: The vibrant city of Pune is one of India’s significant automotive centers, with both domestic and international auto giants manufacturing here. Automobile firms such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercedes Benz, Force Motors (Firodia-Group), Kinetic Motors have their base in Pune. Companies like General Motors,Volkswagen, and Fiat have also set up Greenfield facilities in the suburbs.

Hospitality industry Le Meridien opened its doors in 1999, before that it was only Sun n Sand and the Taj Blue Diamond. Now there are several five star The skyline of the city has seen a drastic change in the last few years.

properties in Pune such as The Westin, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, O Hotel, Hyatt Regency, two Courtyards by Marriott, Pune Marriott and Convention Centre, Ista, Holiday Inn. Pune has always been a gourmet city, Kayani bakery’s shrewsbury biscuits, Chitale’s Bhakarwadi and mithais, the sandwiches of Marz-O-Rin, Budhani’s wafers, Joshi Vadewale’s vada pav, Mastani (milk-based drink with flavors of home made ice cream spiked with rose syrup and garnished with petals), Laxminarayan Chiwda from the city of the Peshwas have always been sought after. There were a couple of Chinese and Indian restaurants in the city, a smattering of the Udupi places serving the routine idli-dosa-sambhar and the Shetty spawned non-descript eateries that claimed to serve food that they termed as ‘multi-cuisine’. In the last five-six years, Pune has evolved in terms of cuisines and the quality and variety of food available to people have gone up. Today Puneites have a lot of choices when they think of dining out. The concept of eating out in Pune has caught on like never before what with several stand-alone A-grade restaurants, nightclubs and lounges such as Stone Water Grill, Little Italy, Mainland China, Oh ! Calcutta, Sigree, Cocoparra, Sicilia, Maya, Tertulia, café Mangii, Darios, All Stir Fry, Not Just Jazz by the Bay, Firangipani, Indijoe, Soy, Trikaya, barbeque nation, Zafraan, Hard Rock Café, Flag’s, The Ship, etc opening their doors to Puneites.

Residential and commercial areas

Yoopune residences.

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Pune has always been known for its wadas (located in the old Pune called Peths) which are typical 16th century style constructions, where joint families could live in the many rooms on the same premises. As time passed by, the same style of construction was practiced by many families who lived as tenants and shared common utilities such as toilets and bathrooms. Some of these wadas are heritage structures. Several wadas were razed down in the last few years, the ones that still exist are in desperate need of repair. Deccan Gymkhana and Koregaon Park have always been the most expensive places to live in Pune. In the early 1990s, the residential neighbourhood of several localities in Pune was considerably better. Many bungalows with lush gardens existed which have now given way to apartments, banks, commercial buildings, hotels, etc. Twenty years ago, Aundh, Baner, Wakad, Bavdhan, Warje


People from various nationalities in Osho Meditation Resort.

were villages on the outskirts of Pune, and Hinjewadi was unheard of. The skyline of the city has seen a drastic change in the last few years thanks to builders, architects and designers who have striven to give Pune’s skyline a dazzling makeover. Fringe areas have been spruced up with interesting projects such as golf resorts, for example, the O Golf Country Club and resort in Baner. The first skyscraper that made a mark on the city’s skyline last year was a product of the ABIL Group. Kumar Builders and Panchshil are two other construction companies who have introduced projects that are going to give Pune a whole new look.

Culture Since ages, Puneites have taken a keen interest in various art forms, music, theatre, literature and spirituality. The Osho Meditation Resort in Koregaon Park in Pune is a modern 28-acre resort where one can relax, meditate or simply mingle with people of all ages who visit from over 100 countries. The Osho Meditation Resort is also the reason for Koregaon Park retaining its greenery even now. Pune is the largest center for German companies from the last 60 years according to the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. There are several expatriate families in the city most of which are German with the presence of nearly 400 businesses. The rest of the expatriate population comprises of students or those who visit the Osho Meditation Resort. Pune has a rich legacy when it comes to activities related to knowledge, tradition, sports and culture. For this very reason this city was chosen as a host for the third Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008. The well-known FTII (Film and Television Institute

of India) is also located in Pune and has produced a whole lot of brilliant actors for all genres of the film industry. The historic and well-stocked National Film Archive of India in Pune only adds to its reputation of being a city that has a filmi connection. The International Film Festival which was launched in 2002 is held in Pune year after year. Pune didn’t have a good cricket stadium which was addressed with the inauguration of the Subroto Roy Sahara stadium on the April 8, 2012. “Once upon a time, a sleepy traditional Maharashtrian town, Pune is now not only a cosmopolitan town but an international destination for many. The typical Narayan – Sadashiv Peth look has also undergone tre-

eral of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA).

Shopping Some 15 years ago, the best place to shop in Pune was the MG Road, but there were no malls. Today Pune has numerous malls such as Inorbit, Phoenix, Pune Central, Lifestyle, Nucleus, SGS mall, Shopper Stop, etc. There were no large bookstores such as Crosswords some 15 years ago. Manneys in Camp, Popular Book House and International Book Service in Deccan Gymkhana were frequented by Puneites for buying books. Fifteen years ago all Puneites went to Laxmi Road to shop for their jewelry and trousseau. Today there are several well-known

The vibrant city of pune is one of india’s significant automotive centres with both domestic and international auto giants having manufacturing facilities here. This has earned it the title ‘detroit of the east’. mendous change and we have now large complexes with all amenities matching the housing complexes of Mumbai and New Delhi.The growing and ever expanding industries including IT has contributed immensely in the growth of the city. Today it is the most sought after investment destination for foreign investors and the presence of more than 225 German companies bear testimony to the same. It’s an auto, I.T. and an educational hub too and that contributes a lot to the changing face of Pune. A centre for industry, trade, education art and culture, Pune is being rated today as the most livable city in India,” said Anant Sardeshmukh, executive director-gen-

designer boutiques and jewelry stores in the city. There were no multiplexes during that time, Westend, Alka and Rahul were frequented by Puneites for watching movies. Today Pune houses Big Cinema, City Pride, Cinemax, Fame, E Square, and Inox. Pune is a modern and vibrant city pulsating with warmth, vivacity, enthusiasm and with an eye towards the future. The city of the Peshwas has demonstrated immense potential across various sectors and domains over the years. No wonder so many people from all over the country are attracted to this incredible city year after year! by Jyoti Balani June 2012 go now

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getaway

WelcomHeritage Gurkha Houseboat

The Lalit Grand Palace

Vivanta by Taj

Five summer sojourn options

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by the dal

ince summers immemorial Srinagar has been a preferred getaway. Right from the ruling Maharajahs of the plains to the elite English of pre Independence India the valley has been the most sought-after escape during summer months. Even today it continues to remain so. With summer well underway and temperatures pointing to a scorcher this year as well, Go Now recommends five choices for you to stay in Srinagar: from the understated luxury of Vivanta by Taj and the ebullient history of The Lalit to the soothing sways of the houseboat that lulls you into dreamland. Note: Even if you are not going to Srinagar, knowing about the options will make you cooler.

Rediscover the paradise

Vivanta by Taj

For the well-heeled and the discerning, Vivanta by Taj has always been the last word in luxury travel. As with the rest of their properties, the location of their Srinagar property too is jaw-dropping –

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nestled comfortably by the undulating slopes of the Kralsangri hill, immortalising the finest views of the iconic Dal Lake and surrounded by the verdant magnificence of the Zabarwan mountains. The Vivanta by Taj, ‘Dal View’, is spread over six lush acres and is just 20 km from the airport. The drive itself is an appetiser to what is in store – the winding road takes you through the spring-summer bloom of the Tulip Gardens, the snow-peaks of the Gulmarg and the golden-warm chinars during autumn. By the time you reach the gates carefully manned by guards in soldier-crisp uniforms, you would have climbed to a height of 1,730 metres above sea level.You are extended a sincere warm welcome typical of Taj everywhere at the reception from where you are led to a tea lounge where you can try out different specialty coffees and herbal tea for which Kashmir is famous. Once you check into your room – there are 82 spacious rooms and suites – you might want to unwind at the bar or the spa or dig into mouthwatering delicacies at any of the nouvelle restaurants. Or maybe just sit back and

watch the shikharas sway home as dusk settles over Dal Lake. Look no further, you are in paradise.

A summer steeped in history The Lalit

The Lalit Grand Palace in Srinagar was originally ‘Gulab Bhavan’, a palace built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1910. As he didn’t have any children of his own, after his death the palace came to his nephew Maharaja Hari Singh who decorated it with the best available in the valley: handicrafts, paintings, carpets and furniture. Most of these items have been carefully preserved under the new ownership among which the most cherished being the chinar tree where Mahatma Gandhi and Maharaja Hari Singh held a conversation. Maharaja Hari Singh and his wife were great hosts who loved to entertain and they used to cook for their guests themselves.The puja house and the durbar hall from the times of the Maharaja have all been restored to their earlier glory. The central courtyard and the lawns where the


getaway royal guests had a good time also have been refurbished and done up to suit the modern traveller. The palace, which is The Lalit Grand Palace today, has successfully kept intact the aura of majestic tranquility and splendour. The Lalit Grand Palace is just 17 km from the airport and has 112 rooms spread over two floors where you can choose between suites and palace cottages and smoking and nonsmoking options. From the Ladakhi namak chai (salted tea) to zafrani phirni (rice pudding made in saffron-flavoured rice), the restaurants all serve authentic tastes from the valley. Among the numerous facilities thereare several thoughtful ones like the babysitting service, an indoor pool and a shopping centre. Thoughtful touches…are what The Lalit is all about.

Five star homestay Hotel Dar-es-Salam

Definitely not in the same league as The Taj or The Lalit, the Dar-es-Salam makes up for any lack of grandeur and history with its affable, personalised care and attention. Standing pretty by the banks of the tranquil Nageen Lake, the hotel had its beginnings in the 1970s when Kashmir was the hottest location among Hindi filmmakers. Picturesquely situated in one-anda-half acres of land, the property is off the Ashai bridge where the Nageen Lake meets the Dal. In a way you could say here you have the best of both the worlds: the quiet of the Nageen and the splendour of the Dal. Like the traditional houses you see all over Srinagar, the Dar-es-Salam is built entirely of deodar trees laid out vertically and the base later reinforced with earth. A family-owned and run property, there are only 14 rooms which remain true to its Kashmiri roots and traditions. Nevertheless, the rooms are all equipped with handy modern facilities like mini bars and child-lock plugs. The wooden flooring and ceiling brings back the long-lost aura of regal self-indulgence amidst utmost serenity. As the quiet lulls you, take in the fine history of the Hari Parbat – an early 19th century fort atop a hill nearby – or just the peace that seems to

Hotel Dar-es-Salam

  BUDGET OPTIONS 

It goes without saying that the star properties, even the boutique ones for that matter, will be beyond the reach of a big chunk of tourists. If you are prepared to let go of the services of a personalised concierge and other trappings of ultra luxury, there are many middle range hotels that are doing a decent job of service and amenities. The reviews may not exactly be rave and the experience not reverie-inducing. However, they do a big service by providing the biggest slice of tourists - the domestic middleclass – coming to Srinagar with quality, comfort and accommodation within their budgets. The Kaisar, Comrade Inn, Jamal Resorts, Zabarwan Hotel, Grand Mumtaz – most of them around the Dal Lake, along the boulevard – are almost standard in their offerings. And prices.

permeate from almost-still Nageen Lake. Dar-es-Salam surely lives up to its name which means ‘abode of peace’.

Theme stays Houseboats 

Any mention of Kashmir and the first thing that comes to mind is of course, the Dal Lake. The closest second would be the houseboats, locally called the shikhara. The English commissioned gigantic boats - almost like floating houses - where they spent their summer away from the smouldering plains of Delhi and other parts of north India. Even post Independence, the Kashmiri Hanji community used to build these floating behemoths; they still continue to build and operate the houseboats. These houseboats today are at the centre of their source of livelihoods – forming floating gardens, grocery shops and ferrying commodities and people. As tourism picked up in the valley many of these houseboats too became part of the hospitality industry – offering full fledged services akin to a hotel itself. So you have houseboats with catchy names like Cutty Sark and Almost Heaven to Dilshad Group of Houseboats, De Laila Group, Gurkha Houseboats…all you have to do is just take a walk by the boulevard and you will be swarmed with options that are put to you by youngsters in chaste Urdu to impeccable English. Some of the prominent hotels along the Dal also have houseboats which are maintained as their sister concerns or recommended on commission basis. Houseboats with deluxe features usually start at Rs 5,000 for a night. But remember depending on the number of days you are staying and your bargaining skills, the rates can be brought down considerably. by Thommen jose

Floating five-star

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o visit to Srinagar would be complete without at least an overnight stay in a houseboat. A night over the gently swaying waters of the placid Dal Lake, ringed by lush trees and undulating mountains is what memories are made of. As we said earlier, one walk along the Dal Lake boulevard and you will be inundated with options. Even in houseboats, there are several options to suit different budgets – from the budget ones with basic amenities to the luxe ones which come at a premium. Then, we are talking about memories so who is worried about the prices! All the houseboats are quite spacious and open into large verandahs where you can sit with your morning cuppa and watch the life go by – a father dropping his daughters to school, the local grocery shop floating from house(boat) to house(boat), the flower-seller putting on his best charm enticing honeymooners to buy his blooms… Most of the bigger boats

have three or four double rooms, each with separate verandahs for privacy. All the comforts of a three or four-star accommodation is found here too: The rooms are fully air-conditioned and come with double beds with attached baths and warm showers, television with cable channels, coffee / tea-makers and hair dryers. Most of the bigger houseboats have doctor-oncall facility and 24-hour power backup. Spotting an opportunity in the booming MICE sector, some of the bigger ones offer Wi-Fi and conference rooms which can accommodate up to 25 people. Usually these are on the open decks which bring you the best thing about the houseboats – great views of the Dal Lake. by Thommen jose

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getaway

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getaway

The Dal Diary Seeing with new eyes

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t was a rainy June in Srinagar and billowy clouds had blanketed the Dal Lake. I was passing through, part of a motorcycle group, doing the Leh-Ladakh run. We were resting before proceeding to Kargil and Khardung-La, arguably the highest motorable pass in the world. Houseboats were rented and the Dal boulevard became the testing ground for the dozen thumpers before the defining leg. “You should see the Dal from up there,” Mohammed said pointing to the Shankaracharya Mountain looming nearby. Mohammed was a local, an auto rick-

shaw driver. I was sure that he was trying to con me. I didn’t budge from the stone steps by the bank of the Dal Lake where I sat watching the shikaras sway home. “Ok,” he added seeing my reluctance, “you don’t like the view, don’t pay me.” That was the clincher.With not much to do on a drippy dusk, I went with him. From the top of the mountain, the view was fetching, to say the least and on the way back I was more relaxed. “Where did you pick your English?” I asked. “I am a graduate, sir,” he said with a kind of nonchalance almost like it was a fact of life: All auto rickshaw drivers in the valley were graduates who spoke excellent English. There is an oft-quoted Proust which means that the point of travelling is not about seeing new places but seeing with new eyes. I left Srinagar with new eyes. Text & photos by Thommen jose

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getaway

Suite Weekend Getaways Wooing honeymooners and couples needing to reconnect and revive their romance is the exclusive Adults Only 11th floor. The elevator hallway has lighting changes three times daily to create a cosy atmosphere while chocolates and fruit welcome you.

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ou now have yet another reason to get away to the city of the Taj Mahal, over the next week end. Or, for that matter, during the week as well, if chutti is not the issue. Special suites, two bed roomed, with its own private pool, spanning

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over 2000 sq.ft of extremely well-thought out and duly appointed interiors and furnishings! There is a choice of these – family suites with two bedrooms, or couple suites where one of the two bedrooms has been converted into a couple therapy room.

A few years ago, ITC Mughal came up with the most spectacular spa – easily one of the biggest, occupying over 1,00,000 sq. ft. area including a sprawling swimming pool, therapy rooms overlooking water bodies and forests. Then they re-created their conference


getaway

VIP reception area in the newly-renovated lobby.

with nature over its 30 acres, with its well studied flora and fauna. There is a green house where enthusiasts can learn much. Of course, you can opt for the buggy rides to the Taj. Suites don’t come cheap, but you can always call in for the rate of the day! Not only they make good economic sense, but also a great getaway, indeed. For some more time, you will have to do with the NH2, the traditional road from Delhi to Agra. Anytime now, the Agra Expressway should be declared open, reducing travel time from Greater Noida to the city of the Taj to less than two hours. Presently, the distance of just 200 km takes well over four hours, going by experience. If you are travelling in the near future,

Attendant in Raghvendra Rathore designed uniforms.

make sure you make time to stop by at the newly opened Enroute, multi-cuisine restaurant at Hodal, halfway on your journey. Excellent food and even better ambience. Text & photographs by navin berry

Outdoor part of the 2000 sq ft suite.

areas into more choices for the business segment. They have now redone all their rooms and suites. Not to mention the lobby – the old chandelier has gone and a more warm and friendly feeling has taken over. A separate VIP check-in has been created and a modest shopping and retail area carved outside. The coffee shop wears a totally new look - space, gardens and architecture invoke the Mughal era living even more forcefully. There is so much more to do here - live

The spa room within the suite.

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Globetrotting

Photo courtesy: Atlantis The Palm hotel & resort, Dubai

Discover the world with our updates on destinations, airlines and experiences

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oinciding with the Dubai Summer Surprises, Dubai tourism has partnered with Emirates to position Dubai as the preferred leisure destination for the family. The package offered by Emirates is valid for bookings up to 30th July and for travel stays up to 30th September. For every two paying adults, up to two children under 12 years get half-priced tickets, hotel accommodation and meals at participating hotels in Dubai. Meals include breakfast, lunch and dinner at select outlets. The offer starts from Rs 27,324 and includes airport transfers, excursions, accommodation and meals. For an extra charge, a dune dinner or a desert safari can also be included. For more information call (022) 40974055 and you can also write to ekholsindia@emirates.com


Oriental Club Lounge, Mandarin Oriental

special reasons to stay At

Singapore’s

select Seven hotels

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ou realise how accessible everything is in Singapore when places from your hotel are within walking dis tance or a short ride away – be it the Orchard Road shopping hub, the National and Asian Civilisations Museums and other speciality ones, the iconic Marina Bay Sands with its The Shoppes at Marina Bay, Art Science Museum, Casino, Flyer, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Resort World at Sentosa with its Universal Studios, yet another Casino – or the must-visit Mustafa Centre in Little India. There are many other reasons on why you might want to opt for a certain hotel – listed below, alphabetically, are Singapore’s Special Seven….

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

Romance is in the air on the Couples Floor

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is the exclusive Adults Only 11th floor. The elevator hallway has lighting changes three times daily to create a cosy atmosphere while chocolates and fruit welcome you. Rooms are equipped with the ‘Love Bucket’ providing 101 ideas to romance each other with, sensual massage oils, throw pillows, free-flow candy jars, a ‘Love Box’ of poetry, dimmer mood lighting and L’Occitane bath amenities. Lovebirds can enjoy the ‘Indulgence Till Noon’ menu and not be interrupted till midday.These include options, all at an additional cost, such as Breakfast in Bed choices, Picnic Baskets such as Romance or Indulgence, and finally if you want to step outdoors there are off-property indulgences such as Picnic in the Park at Marina Barrage or Singapore Botanic Gardens. Another attraction at Four Seasons is the ‘Stay Longer – 3rd night free’ promotion (valid until 30th September 2012). Deemed perfect for business and leisure, offering a

complimentary 3rd night for every two nights with Four Seasons (min. of three-night stay is required). The complimentary night must be used in conjunction with initial stay and cannot be combined with other offers. Where: 190 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore 248646. Tel. +(65) 6734 1110 Website: www.fourseasons.com/singapore

Grand Hyatt Singapore

Living in the heart of Orchard Road

Located in the heart of the world-renowned Orchard Road precinct, the city’s shopping district, the hotel comprises 662 elegant guestrooms and suites divided across the Terrace and Grand Wings which offer a garden or city view. Dining options include the very popular mezza 9 offering nine dining concepts, Straits Kitchen, specialising in the flavours of authentic Singaporean cuisine, Italian cuisine


Globetrotting

Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre

at Pete’s Place, the poolside Oasis, and afternoon tea and signature Champagne cocktails at the stunning all-black 10 SCOTTS.The glassenclosed martini bar serves a choice of over 30 martinis, while BRIX Nightclub lets you party till the wee hours. Surrounded by lush tropical greenery and waterfalls, the Damai Spa is recommended for its highly professionalised treatments amalgamating the healing philosophies, techniques and traditions of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and European cultures. Alongside is the Fitness Centre for regular gym users. Inclusion of thoughtful services such as crèche, anniversary and birthday arrangements and the booking of special guided tours are critical add-ons. Where: 10 Scotts Road, Singapore 228211. Tel: +(65) 6738 1234 Website: http://singapore.grand.hyatt.com

Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard

City Centre

Favoured by Indian visitors

After a recent makeover, the hotel has a ‘fresh’ appeal. Plus its proximity to the shopping paradise, Orchard Road, MRT station, and a 10-minutes ride away from the must on every itinerary, the 24-hour retail hub Mustafa Centre are among its attractions. Add to it the award-winning Tandoor catering high quality North Indian non-vegetarian and vegetarian cuisine as a comforting factor. Television channels include Zee TV and a cricket channel so you don’t miss out on any action while away from home. The Executive floor comes equipped with complimentary wireless broadband and Internet connection and a Lounge to meet and entertain your guests in.

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

Grand Hyatt Singapore

The hotel is quite in demand for Indian weddings, as a specialised in-house wedding planner caters to all the demands and nuances of traditional and modern Indian weddings, coupled with sumptuous banquet prepared by the Tandoor master chefs. Other facilities range from the rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam rooms and gym to the business centre and a variety of flexible event spaces and function rooms to suit every need. Where: 11 Cavenagh Road Singapore 229616. Tel: +(65) 6733 8333 Website: www.holiday-inn.com/sin-orchard

Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

Making a distinct design statement

Enter in to an impressive atrium lobby with its contemporary and stylish design exuding splendour with oriental charm. Each of the 527 rooms and suites, four executive floors and

the premium Oriental Club Lounge offer spectacular views of the ocean, harbour or city. Leading the way as the first and only Forbes Five Star hotel in Singapore, the hotel’s culinary outlets complement its special status. Dolce Vita offers authentic flavours of Italy, while Cherry Garden goes Cantonese; and MELT – The World Café for a la carte and buffet choices. Connoisseurs of fine steak won’t want to miss the esteemed Morton’s The Steakhouse; while contemporary Japanese cuisine is at Wasabi Bistro. English Afternoon Tea and cocktails at the Axis Bar and Lounge. BAY@5, an outdoor lounge by the pool, comes with unrivalled views of Marina Bay. Recently unveiled in August 2011, The Spa was awarded the coveted ‘Five Star’ status in the 2012 Forbes Travel Guide. Do-trys are the Signature Spa Therapies and spa product line. Where: 5 Raffles Ave, Marina Square, Singapore 039797. Tel: +(65) 6885 3030. Website:www.mandarinoriental.com June 2012 go now

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Raffles Hotel

Swissôtel The Stamford

Raffles Hotel

Capturing the essence of bygone era

Cherished as the legendary symbol for “all the fables of the Exotic East”, this circa 1887 property is undisputedly heralded among the world’s top hotels. In l991 Raffles Hotel reopened after a massive restoration resulting in a harmonious synthesis of 21st century luxury with the style and elegance of a gracious world. History emanates from the hotel’s imposing colonial, white façade to The Bar & Billiard Room, once a sanctuary to a spirited tiger, is today a retreat for Sunday brunch. At the Long Bar where the world-famous Singapore Sling was created in 1915, you can still shell peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. Opt to stay in Personality Suites which harboured, and are named after, famous guests from the world of literature like Somerset Maughan, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling and James Michener- or perhaps more recently, the suite Amitabh Bachchan slept in. The alfresco Raffles Courtyard is a busy, bustling place most evenings for its finest ocean catch seafood prepared with a distinctive Mediterranean flavour served beneath a starry sky. History buffs will enjoy browsing in The Raffles Hotel Museum which unveils the history of Raffles against the history of Singapore through fascinating memorabilia and period photographs. Shoppers are not forgotten either as the adjoining Raffles Hotel Arcade houses over 40 international and regional specialty stores. Where: 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673. Tel: + 65 6337 1886. Website: www.raffles.com 40

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The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

Ritzy Band, Baaja aur Baarat

While there is a noticeable increase in Singapore being the preferred destination for Indian weddings, this hotels comes as being the top choice. Several recent high profile weddings held at The Ritz-Carlton have hit the newspapers and become the talk of the town. An experienced, internal wedding planner, apart from providing the legendary Ritz-Carlton personalised service and attention to detail, is adept at organising Indian weddings complete with traditional rituals such as mehendi, sangeet, gari puja, jai mala, pheras, ‘havan’ (fire ritual), and helping arrange for a priest – and the most important part of a

baraat – the horse for the bridegroom. A dedicated on-the-premises Indian chef oversees the food preparation as well as preparing special menus for each occasion. Set amidst seven acres of tropical landscape the newly-renovated 608-room hotel has all its guest rooms and bathrooms (which are reputed as one of the best in Singapore) offer views of either Marina Bay or the city skyline. The food and beverage outlets have the guests’ preference recorded when they dine in while the Indian / vegetarian section in the daily buffet lunch and dinner line up at Greenhouse goes down very well with the Indian guests. Where: 7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039799. Tel: +(65) 6337 8888. Website: www.ritzcarlton.com


Globetrotting

THAT ONE THING: IN FLANDERS

Swissôtel The Stamford

This Business Hotel can go Family-friendly too!

Although primarily a business hotel, Swissôtel The Stamford, which went smoke-free a few months ago, recognises that a considerable segment of guests frequently travel with their families particularly during the holiday seasons. The hotel offers the Kids Room programme in which a guestroom, adjoining the parents’ room, undergoes a complete transformation to become a delightful, vibrantly colourful kids’ paradise complete with adorably themed beddings, cuddly toys, educational books and interactive games. Reliable babysitting services are offered that parents can engage during their night out or even if visiting the Willow Stream Spa. In June you could sight Bollywood stars staying at the adjacent The Fairmont for IIFA 2012 (7 to 9 June). One of Southeast Asia’s tallest hotel, it offers panoramic views of the island-nation’s skyline, as well nearby islands of Malaysia and Indonesia. During the Singapore Grand Prix season in September, the hotel provides the most stunning view of the Singapore Night Race track. Food choices are aplenty within the comfort of the hotel complex with a range of specialties at 16 restaurants and bars including the right-at-the-top 71st floor Equinox Complex. Or children can avail of food of their choice in the adjoining Raffles City mall and food court. Where: 2 Stamford Road, Singapore 178882. Tel +(65) 6338 8585. Website: www.swissotel.com/ singapore-stamford Text by Amita Sarwal Photo courtesy the hotels

Over 200 museums, 300 art nouveau buildings and 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At least 2,000 chocolate shops. Still not impressed? How about 650 different beers to choose from? Cheers! This is Belgium for you, in a nutshell. Then, why are we talking about Belgium? Where is Flanders? Flanders is the country’s northern part consisting of Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. If you are in a hurry, you can cruise a canal in Bruges, browse through the diamond market in Antwerp, check out the excellent collection of art in the museums in Brussels…all over a single day! Then, if you have a few days on hand, we suggest some more experiences not to be missed.

Brussels: Too much art can be exhausting – intellectually, especially. How about perking up with a cuppa at the Espressobar, opened by the popular OR coffee roasting house? The new Espressobar is near the stock exchange - guess stockbrokers need more coffee. For tourists, there are ‘cupping’ sessions organised every month - where you discover the origins of coffee, ways of roasting and of course, the art of serving coffee. Love your beans? Get more out of it at www.orcoffee.be Antwerp: Staying over in Antwerp for a few days? Then you should be staying in ‘t Zuid, the artistic heart of the city. And if you are staying at ‘t Zuid, then shack up at the popular b&b spot, Funk Apartment. These are stylish, chic apartments with fullyequipped kitchen and an airy, sunny patio. Book on www.funkapartments. com Fancy some authentic Flemish grandmother recipes? Head to SensUnik, a third-generation restaurant with a sweeping family-feel. Children have special seating on the second floor

where you can also avail the services of a babysitter. Check out more of this nononsense eatery on www.sensunik.be Ghent: The accommodation looks more like an installation and you will end up looking like a part of it. Go clickcrazy at Studiomie b&b - these are not your typical room, but containers! Everything will be served in your room; well, actually you won’t want to leave the installation - the views of the Ghent city are fantastic from here. See them to believe them on www.studiomie.be Bruges: The popularity of this capital and the largest city of West Flanders suddenly soared with the movie on two hit men, ‘In Bruges’. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bruges is so breathtakingly beautiful that it is sometimes called the ‘Venice of the North’. Just make sure that you have at least halfan-hour to spare for a boat trip on the canals – you will see this historic city like you would never have. One of the prominent cruise operators are Avalon Cruises. Reach them at www.avaloncruises.com by Thommen jose

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Globetrotting

SwissLures

Here is a menu of many of the special attractions of Switzerland. Pick what you want, mix and match them to your preference. Use a guide-book of Switzerland so that you don’t miss anything

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witzerland is a small, endlessly alluring, country. In spite of the Eurozone crisis, it continues to draw increasing numbers of Indian travellers. They know that the Swiss, who hold the secret purse-strings of the world, always give value for money. Here is a menu of many of the special attractions of Switzerland. Pick what you want, mix and match them to your preference. Use a guide-book of Switzerland so that you don’t miss anything. Then entrust yourself to the hyper-efficient trains of Helvetia, which is another name for Switzerland. You’ll always leave on time, get there on time and travel in cosseted, scenic comfort.

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eak Experiences. You can, literally, climb every snowy mountain: by cable car and cog-wheel railway rising from an access @ point.. Titlis (3239m) has the Rotair cable car which turns slowly giv-

Through a train window – a great way to see Switzerland. 42

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ing everyone a 360 degree view of the great mountains all around. This ride seems to be particularly popular with our folk. We @ it from Engleberg, a quiet little town with a Benedictine abbey founded in 1120. Jungfraujoch (3454m) highest railway station in Europe, ‘Top of Europe’ restaurant.This was a fascinating, and varied, scenic trip ascending from the lake, through forests and snowy ski-slopes to a station cut into the mountain. We @ it from our favourite town in Switzerland, the beautiful Interlaken. Pilatus (2070m) option to climb by the steepest cog-wheel in Europe, descend by cable car, or vice versa. Superb views over Europe, buffet restaurant etc on top. This is one of our favourite mountain trips. Our preferred @ is from Lucerne with its floral bridge and then a cruise across Lake Lucerne to the cog-wheel station at Kriens. Schilthorn (2,970m) and its Piz Gloria rotating restaurant built for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. They project the making of the Bond movie on a wrap-around screen followed by a feature on the ecology of the mountains. Interlaken was our chosen @ then by road and cable car.

Santis (2502 m) Interesting mountain cuisine in a restaurant with panoramic views. On a terrace, a stupa to commemorate the arrival of the first Tibetan refugees from India to Switzerland. Our @ from St. Gallen with its superb abbey church and incredible library of ancient illuminated manuscripts. St. Gallen by train via Herisau to Urnasch then Post-bus which is a mail van with a unique musical horn, finally cable car.

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ailtours. Switzerland’s famed railways are more than just transporters of people and goods, they are also great sightseeing experiences. We’ve made a selection of the ones that interested us most but there are many others. The Glacier Express.: Zernatt-Brig-Andermatt-Chur-Davos/St. Moritz or return. 290 kms, 71/2 hrs. Plunges through the High Alps with dizzying gorges, crossing 291 bridges and viaducts, through 91 tunnels including the longest meter-gauge tunnel in the world at the Oberalp pass at an altitude of 2033 m.The Golden Pass Route. Lucerne-Interlaken-Zweisimman-Montreux or return.237 kms, 51/2 hrs. One of Switzerland’s most famous rail journeys, from the banks of Lake Lucerne to the Swiss Riviera,You’re first on the narrow gauge Brunig line as far as Interlaken. Then on the Lotschberg Railway. to Zweisimman. Finally in the superb panoramic coaches of the Montreux-Oberland Railway. Since all trains leave and arrive on time and stations


Globetrotting

The lakes and mountains of Europe from Mt. Pilatus. 

scraped off onto the plate with a wooden spatula, spread on potatoes cooked in their skins, seasoned with nutmeg, paprika, pepper and eaten with accompaniments of pickled gherkins, onions, ham and air-dried meat. The classic cheese-making destination is Gruyere, where you can see the whole cheese-making process with a commentary in various languages. Swiss chocolates are also rightly famed and make a great present to take home. Take a guided tour through the Cailler chocolate factory and gorge on all the chocolates you can eat, and then buy. Visit a vineyard for wine-tasting: smell, sip, savour, don’t gulp. Recently we spent a great morning at Espesses in the vineyard and winery of Au Clos de la Republique with its owner, the eloquent and friendly Partick Fonjallaz.and his family. Their wines sang to us and It was like listening to an elegant flute and harp recital.

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At a ‘Folklorist’ Evening, Alp horns boom.

are excellently signposted, changing trains is not a problem. The William Tell Express. Lucerne-Fluelen-St. Gothard-Locarno-Lugano or return. An interesting combination of a river cruise and a rail journey. From Lucerne to Fluelen by ship on the Vierwaldstatter See with a three-course meal on board. Then by rail through the dramatic Gothard massif to the warm Italian speaking towns of Lucarno and Lugano. The Grand Canyon Express. Chur-Laax or return. From June to October an alternative to the rail trip is the post-bus carrying eight passengers along winding, little used, roads through the Vorderrhein Gorge with its views of white calcite pinnacles. Night in the Sporthotel Rancho in Laxx. If, however, you’re short of time and still want to have a Swiss cruise experience, you can do a river trip from Schaffhausen to the medieval city of Stein-am-Rhein. Or a sunset-dinner cruise on Lake Lucerne.

f you’ve Been There, Done That. Catch the Marmot Express from the beautiful lake town of Montreux, with its casino, and ride a cogwheel train to Les Rochers-de-Naye where you visit the large, rabbit-like marmots brought from all over the world, living and thriving in separate open-sir enclosures. Take a short trek to the Alpine Garden with wildflowers from the mountain regions of the word, growing on rocky Swiss slopes. There’s also an authentic Tibetan chorten fluttering with traditional scarves of honour. Dine in a restaurant cut through a mountain with widescreen picture windows at the edge of a cliff.

The Swiss Confederation is divided into 26 Cantons with their own flags and the power to make most of their own laws. These, in turn, are divided into over 3,000 communes: independent bodies who make their own budgets and levy their own taxes.

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he Epicurian Touch. It’s not enough to see Switzerland, you must taste it. Two iconic dishes that are as much a ceremony as a meal are Fondue and Raclette, both cheese based. In Fondue the cheese is melted over a burner, at the table, in an earthenware dish called a caquelon When the cheese is liquid, before it begins to bubble, guests dip in chunks of crisp bread, using three-tined forks, scrape the bottom of the dish to prevent the cheese from burning, and eat the bread-soaked cheese. Drink kirsch during the meal, For Raclette, a slice of cheese is heated in a grill on the table,

Stay overnight in a Mongolian yurt reinforced with Swiss engineering to withstand the high winds of the Alps.. Spend a ‘Folkloric’ evening in Lucerne’s Stadtkeller. Much of the music is created using farm utensils and implements: steel bowls with marbles, brooms and saws. And, naturally, Alphorns that bear a strong resemblance to the trumpets used by Tibetan monks. They’ll also teach you how to yodel, or make a very brave attempt to, do so. This gets you in the mood to join a Conga line. A great, boisterous, festive evening guaranteed to knock all the stuffing out of your shirt. (Contd. on page 45) June 2012 go now

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Globetrotting

Negotiating the Mines at KL With a surfeit of golf courses, excellent visitor friendly facilities and a vibrant nightlife, Kuala Lumpur is an excellent golfing destination in the region.

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he CIMB Asia-Pacific Classic, the U.S. PGA Tour’s one of only two stops in Asia, was being played out at the Mines Resort & Golf Club when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur. And from the sidelines, it seemed like a fun course to play. Larger-than-life golf stars like Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Camillo Villegas, Jhonattan Vegas, and our very own Jeev Milkha Singh, seemed to agree, shooting record scores. “This golf course is there for the taking, it’s just a question of who makes the putts,” enthused Singh after his opening round. Whether the Robert Trent Jr. designed layout felt defiled by that ournament barrage is difficult to assess. What isn’t, though, is that the hapless amateur golfers, who took to the Mines’ fairways (yours truly amongst them) the day after the culmination of

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the tournament, bore the full brunt of a snubbed golf course’s fury…

The Mines Resort & Golf Club The Mines used to be the world’s largest open-cast tin mine (the Hong Fatt mine ceased operations in 1982 and was subsequently acquired by Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, a Malaysian entrepreneur).Yew roped in golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II, to create a top-quality resort location just south of Kuala Lumpur. It may not be a mine anymore, but it is a veritable minefield of jungle bounded terrain: add to that plenty of water hazards and deep liberally scattered bunkers. Natural elevation changes have been used to create two of the holes which stay with you once you’re finished – the risk-

reward, downhill, short par-4 6th (with a deep swale awaiting anything hit left), and the plunging par-4 9th with its intimidating tee-shot and panoramic backdrop. The magnificent Mines Resort Lake (formerly the heart of the mine) provides an impressive backdrop to many of the holes with an array of buildings flanking the opposite side of the lake. The National mosque and the Palace of the Golden Horses, (which you can closely inspect at the par-4 12th) provide a stunning backdrop. The Mines is only open to guests at the resort and members. To play here, enlist the services of a golf tours operator. (See Tee it up) Starting a golf vacation in Malaysia with The Mines is not advisable (unless you’re a single handicapper and love to challenge


Globetrotting yourself). If, like me, your game is challenged, then you’d do better to start at a less punishing layout.

The Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club The Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club is only a ten-minute drive from the city centre. KLGCC is a classic 36 hole layout comprising the East and West courses, with an impressive roll of top tournaments hosted – the Maybank Malaysian Open, and the Ryder Cup styled Europe vs. America Solheim Cup for ladies. The KLGCC is a classic layout for imaginative golfers who like to shape their shots. Most holes give spectacular views of the holes and surrounding scenery and offer different routes to the greens. The longer and tougher West course is constantly undulating and features yet another lake at the turn on the ninth hole. Caution: water comes into play on no less than 13 of the holes and you’ll find yourself in the drink more often than you can imagine.

Off the Golf Course Kuala Lumpur sets a benchmark for multiculturalism and cultural potpourri like few other cities in the region can. Established for generations, Malay, Chinese and Indians have imbued the city’s architecture, music and arts, and the cuisine with variety and complexity and a vibrant sub-culture flourishes. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or

golfguide • The Mines Resort & Golf Club Designed by Robert Trent James Jr. No of holes: 18; Yardage: 6191 meters; Par 72 Green Fee: Only open to resort guests Website: www.minesgolfclub.com Phone: +603 8943 2288 • Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Designed by Robin Nelson and R. Wright No of Holes: 36 (West & East); Yardage: 6364 metres (West); Par 72 (West) Green Fee: MYR 477 (Weekdays), MYR 636 (Weekends) Email: klgcc@simedarby.com Website: www.klgcc.com Phone: +603 2093 1111

a gastronome, an adventure junkie or a clubber, KL is an exciting place to discover. To explore KL effectively (and especially if you have time constraints) you’ve got to use the public transport systems, especially the Monorail, Putra LRT and Star (light rail transit systems) that use elevated tracks, moving across and above the city’s busy intersections. Taxis are readily available and usually stick to metered payments. Avoid travelling by taxis and buses during the rush hours, which extend from 7:30hrs to 9:00hrs and 17:00hrs to 19:30hrs. If you’re living near the town centre then a ten-minute walk will get you to most city landmarks and tourist areas. For an authentic spread of Malay, Chinese and Indian food, head straight for a lunch (MYR 46) or dinner (MYR72) buffet at the Seri Melayu restaurant right in the heart of the city’s ‘Golden Triangle’. Almost three decades old, the restaurant is widely considered the best place to sample local cuisine in KL. For reservations contact +603 2145 1833 or mail enquiries@serimelayu.com by Meraj Shah

SwissLures

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lassic, Intellectual, Scholarly Switzerland. If you wan‑t to give some depth to your Swiss visit, looking beyond the things that your friends might choose, visit some of the Museums. Our guide lists over 150 of them but if we had to whittle it down to a more manageable length, we’d opt for Geneva’s Watch Making; Lausanne’s Museum of the Olympic Games; Lucen’s Sherlock Holmes; Interlaken’s Model Railway; Basle’s Collection of Caricatures and Cartoons particularly recommended for visiting netas; three in Lucerne starting with the famed Bridge with its flowers and paintings, its Transport and its Glacier Garden; Zurich’s Mask as well as its Coffee Museum; and Zermatt’s Alpine Museum. Our favourite, not listed in the guide, is the Museum Sammlung Rosengart also in Lucerne which is the personal collection of a friend of the great artist and is now overseen by his daughter, Angela Rosengart, who was one of Pablo Picasso’s models. Do also include some of the old cathedrals on you must-visit list. Many of them were linked with the great Reformation and Counter-Reformation movement that swept Europe as Buddhism had once swept our land. The ripples of that religious tsunami in Switzerland can still be felt among the common people. Here are some other interesting facts. Switzerland covers an area of 41,289 sq kms, appreciably smaller than Himachal’s 55, 673. Every Swiss speaks four official languages: German, French, Italian, Romansch and most speak English. The Swiss Confederation is divided into 26 Cantons with their own flags and the power to make most of their own laws. These, in turn, are divided into over 3,000 communes: independent bodies who make their own budgets and levy their own taxes. In spite of the lingering echoes of the Big Bang of Christianity, dividing the people into warring Catholics and Protestants, this functional Panchayat Raj has produced a country of enviable stability and well over fifteen Nobel Laureates. It also produced the Red Cross whose iconic emblem is the reverse of the Swiss Flag. It was created by a Swiss philanthropist named Henri Dunant. There’s a lot to discover in Switzerland and, as James Bond said, Once in Not Enough. Text & photographs by Hugh & Colleen gantzer

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Globetrotting

K Photos: Kenya Airways

enya is a large and diverse East African nation – with 42 different peoples and cultures. Like most travellers to Kenya the team and I flew in to Nairobi. Given that Kenya is working on welcoming up to two million tourists annually by the end of this year the airport is remarkably small and retains a quaintness of a bygone age. Outside, the number of cars, office workers, busy roads and pavements are testament to Nairobi being Kenya’s commercial hub. The traffic is crippling, it took us an hour and a half to make the short journey to the hotel.“Was this normal?” I asked my driver,

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“every day,” he replied. And the traffic on the pavements was equally busy; hundreds, probably thousands of Kenyans pound the streets with a sense of purpose and determination as they walk to and from work. A friend from Nairobi tells me they would rather save the few shillings for the bus fare for a meal later in the week. Our stay in Nairobi was short-lived, the next morning at 6am we drove 100 km east of Nairobi to Matuu. My journey really did take me off the beaten track. Driving along an impressively laid and preserved highway, we suddenly turn left. Were we careering

off the road? No, there was no road here but there was certainly a destination. As we were in search of ideas that had a lasting impact and was sustainable, we first went to a village where technology was transforming people’s lives. Here in the middle of seemingly nowhere, the water pump manufacturer Grundfos was setting up a unique system giving people sustainable, regular access to clean drinking water. They had devised a system with which villagers pay for their water using a smart card, topped up with cash using a mobile money system. It’s two innovations in one here.Why should villagers


pay for their water was my obvious question. In Kenya, hundreds of wells often dry up because the locals don’t know how to maintain them. This money pays for regular maintenance services. Making this water pump project sustainable. Along the way I saw women, some elderly some too young to be called women, carrying gallons of water, on their heads, on their backs, some letting their bicycles or bullocks carry the load – walking for miles, where to, I had no idea. A local woman named Ruth used to travel 40 km every day to collect water, she needed to take her daughters with her to collect enough. But with this new pump in place not only close by but also in constant supply she has been able to spend her days studying instead and has trained as a social worker, her young girls have enrolled in school. What’s more the school has a small field out back where they now grow vegetables thanks to the water supply and provide one square meal a day for students. Kenya is a world leader in mobile money, giving thousands of people in remote areas access to a unique banking system via what almost everyone has access to here, a mobile phone. Back on the road in our safari jeeps we marvel at the sights around. Tea plantations, coffee plants, more men, women and children walking to no place in particular that I can spot along our route - determined to get to their destination. Then suddenly we spot a grey giant in the trees. There is a herd of elephants

income. Lake Victoria provides up to 90% of Kenya’s total fish supply. But stocks of the popular Tilapia fish are declining fast – largely down to overfishing. At night the Lake is lit up by lamps used by the fishermen to attract and lure the fish into their nets. I went to Lake Victoria to learn about a fish-farming project – breeding fish in a controlled environment in pools in farmers’ spare land. It is encouraging fishermen to build their income and diet from a more sustainable source of fish. I wasn’t expecting to become a fisherman myself – but on invitation I jumped into one of the ponds as the men and women harvested 1,000 Tilapia. A wonderful mud bath and a real insight into how Kenyans live their lives! Lake Victoria is a domestic tourist attraction. Kenyans come here for their summer breaks. A rather unique game lodge-style

Back on the road in our safari jeep we marvel at the sights around. Tea plantations, coffee plants, more men, women and children walking to no place in particular. crossing the road! Just when you least expect it, Kenya offers you with the most joyous of surprises. The next few days took us west to Kisumu on the banks of Lake Victoria. It’s the world’s second largest lake, home to thousands of hippos and brave fishermen dodging the beasts to collect their catch. The majority of Kenyans rely of fishing as their main source of food and

resort on the banks of the Lake has been recently refurbished ready for discerning customers to fly in on their private jets or to take the dirt track road to its awaiting luxury. The lake seems like an Ocean, the sunsets are beautiful, fishing trips are available and there’s plenty of great walking to be done. But be warned – like most areas outside Nairobi, it’s recommended you are home before nightfall for your own safety. We travelled around in jeeps provided by one of the

large local safari companies. Private car hire is probably the best and safest way to travel. I didn’t spot any tourist buses and Kenya’s rural public transport is mostly a system of small mini-vans crammed with local people. Local specialties reflect Kenyans’ staple diet of fish and basic vegetables. A typical meal includes fried or barbecued fish, almost always Tilapia, with cassava (like a yam/ potato) or Ugali – a savoury cake made of maize flour and water. Locals crush together the fish, ugali and a tomato based sauce and eat it with their hands. There is a large Asian community in parts of Kenya and we found some Indian and Pakistani restaurants in both Nairobi and Kisumu, but unless you stay in the major hotels or tourist resorts you may find the food Kenya has to offer limited. To anyone visiting Kenya, I would suggest a venturing beyond the usual sights to discover the truly diverse sights and slice of life the country has to offer. Saima Mohsin is an avid traveller and freelance journalist based out of the UK and Pakistan. She is the co-presenter of ‘Horizons’ on BBC World News along with Adam Shaw. June 2012 go now

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Globetrotting

Uncompromising worldclass standards of excellence command the dazzling, iconic luxury hospitality properties of Dubai. We bring you a firsthand experience of the incomparable design and comfort features.

custom-created opulence

dubai

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he best part of a visit to Dubai is that there are absolutely no comparisons. Not the sheer scale, the size, the mind-boggling dimensions, the starry opulence and the irreplaceable grandeur that score years ahead of touted global ‘competition’. Pioneering and trailblazing its frenetic, futuristic dash into the next century, Dubai is unstoppable in its look-ahead progressive enthusiasm to be the first among firsts, and only in firsts. This starkly bewildering yet very real-life phenomenon is happening all around in the vast expanses of the sweeping sands and you need more than a fair taste of the right spectacular experiences of the elegant, highend, uppercrust lifestyle highlighted in its world-class super luxury hospitality havens to ingest these truths. Dubai’s ever metamorphosing and emerging skyline is proof enough. We sized up the megamoths of hospitality icons that dazzle in their own might and right, the finest of them all radiating warmth and spatial flair, thrillingly their very own. The city’s incomparable, cutting-edge hospitality legends set the premier example for others in India and the world to be inspired by, engaging the globe’s most talented resources and minds to create nextgen masterpieces.


Globetrotting Burj Al Arab

24-carat luxury without compare

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elebrated and acknowledged as the most luxurious hotel in the world, this iconic, globally renowned, tallest all-suites seven star colossus on it’s own eco-designed man-made island has redefined hospitality excellence way ahead of competition. From their bespoke Rolls-Royce limousine pick up from the airport to the traditional Arabian welcome with cardamom coffee, dates and flowers to the grand luxury en-suite check-in to exclusive evening champagne and caviar to spectacular ocean views of The Palm and the glittering Dubai skyline, platinum elegance and luxury wrapped us with singular distinction. Pure, expressively bold and pristinely bright natural tones radiate customised warmth in every living area of the lavishly appointed hotel, redolent with it’s leit-motif real 24-carat gold fittings and embellishments. Exquisite designer elements in every form dictate the unhindered luxury that compels you to drink in the decadence crafted to be only the best in the world. The Burj Al Arab reflects the respected fondness for colour in all its unpretentious incarnations as a contrast to the dry, brown sun-burnt vastness of the harsh desertscapes around. With a 24x7 butler pampering our every whim to exotic Arabian sweets and bespoke Hermes full range amenities and personalised business desk and broadband, we took in the superlatives laced with gold leaf caressed blueberry chocolate flakes, California strawberries and clove dipped Spanish Sherry. Technology and art synergise here to create hospitality concepts that go beyond embroidered prose. The ‘Arabian Sails’ single-side facade is cutting-edge technology with graceful aesthetics, while basics like wind velocity factor, soaring humid

temperatures and weather-proof temperature control architectural elements that create an oasis of techno- eco-artistry equalled by none in the world. A walk-in gilt-cased library leading to a sumptuous snooker lounge, an evocative rooftop 300 degree views spanning the spectacular fine dining address ‘Al Muntaha’ with it’s own feather smooth, sea-facing all glass express elevator, are just a few golden nuggets we discovered. To top the Burj Al Arab cutting edge, the world-class, much awarded live aquarium-graced seafood landmark ‘Al Mahara’ and the adjascent Juna Cigar Lounge steal the accolades. The fascinating, calibrated cascade waterfall with advanced fibre optics in symphonied perfection is music to the senses as the world’s tallest atrium perfected into ultra-futuristic contemporary design. To cap up the platinum edge experience, a helicopter from atop the grand hotel circular helipad sweeps you off across the megapolis, back to the swank airport.You murmur ‘Alhamdulillah’!

To top the Burj Al Arab cutting edge, the world class, much awarded live aquarium-graced seafood landmark ‘Al Mahara’ and the adjascent Juna Cigar Lounge steal the accolades.

Exterior of the Grand Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel.

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Armani Hotel Dubai

Bespoke designer dynamism

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t the ravishing new address in Downtown Dubai, competitiondefying spectral statements spiral to tizzying height. We are talking about the tallest and most awesomely engineered and designed architectural icon in the world – the Burj Khalifa and it’s fabulous boutique signature Armani Hotel within. At it’s footsteps across pleasing water bodies is the sprawling, mind-teasing designer Dubai Mall – the world’s biggest. As we sailed into the steel-and-glass multi-linear flourish of the dedicated entrance of bespoke Armani Hotel Dubai, a quietly understated aura ushered us within it’s avant garde environs laid out with minimalistic flair. This designer hotel conceived and created by world renowned designer Giorgio Armani bears his legendary stamp in all its design features and structural accomplishments. Located within the stunning Burj Khalifa, this super deluxe luxury haven occupies levels concourse to eight, thirty eight and thirty nine commanding breathtaking views of the city. The oval reception and lounge extends languorously, ensconced in steel-arched visual columns, an exhilarating calm exuded by matt metallic tones interspersed with shades of bright furnishings and crisp floral blooms all canopied within tall, floor-to-ceiling beige cascade drapes. Expansive and quietly sophisticated, the environs envelop your calm pace into elevators opening out to deisgner glass and glow suite lobbies in diffused, carefully calibrated ambience. In our Fountain Suite we explored the futuristic features…kisstouch single point remote controls for wide ceiling-to-floor windows opening out to jaw dropping views of the fantastic man-made Dubai Fountain, the Downtown and the swish city scapes opening out with theatrical oomph. Mood lighting, security check and access, broadband TV internet and bespoke Armani accessories and designer linen add to the ultimate decadence and comfort. By night, on the latest water feature below the Burj Khalifa, we stood speechless and bewildered with the seamlessly graceful pyrotechnics displayed on sashaying waltzing musical fountain waves against the steel and mirrored backdrops of this magnificent new architectural icon. The Armani Hotel Dubai blends state-of-the-century technology and flawless convenience features with gracious high-end lifestyle and grandeur that’s understated yet enormously opulent. An example of measured interior design credo packed with practical next-century architecture dynamics, an inspiration for India’s rapidly evolving hospitality industry in dire need of indigenous, globally-focused, environment sensitive credo with unplagiarising creativity as its foundation.

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Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Towering triangular triumph

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ne of Dubai’s most recognisable, iconic landmarks on the sprawling, hyper-stylish Sheikh Zayed Road, is the Jumeirah Emirates Towers with it’s triangular pinnacle – home to ultramodern, equilateral shaped, cutting-edge architecture and avant garde interior design within all glass and matt steel flourish. Rising majestically to 51 floors above the Dubai skyline and financial hub, this leit motif edifice celebrates uber chic European design in it’s interiors, dynamic linear layout and furniture, grand views of the lush green financial district and an interesting art gallery. We were shown around the exclusive, private ‘ladies only’ Chopard Floor on level 40 for executive women, serviced only by women with bespoke interiors and furnishings and amenities. With premium dining outlets and an effervescing lounge bar, the icing on the cake of this luxury business hotel is it’s level 50 fine wining and dining restaurant – VU’s famed for French finesse with global flavors. The views obviously left us continuously awe struck. Minimalism is not overrated here, instead excitement prevails in colour on the entrance water cascades with changing fluorescent strobe lights, the lobby with open sunshine brilliance and floral arrangements and suave polished teakwood features that add zing to sophistication.


city escapes

Al Bahou Atrium, Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel.

Cocktail Reception Lounge – Dar Al Masyaf, Madinat Jumeirah.

Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel Dubai

Dar Al Masyaf - Madinat Jumeirah

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Cross-continental journey in luxury e followed the footsteps of the great traveller Ibn Battuta, scaling the heights of this ultra-luxurious 396-rooms five-star landmark with it’s iconic leit motif 60 metre high arched gate, adjacent to the world-famous themed Ibn Battuta Mall. Intricately crafted giant Moroccan chandeliers light up the spacious Bahou atrium as traditional Moroccan décor and interiors with calming water fountains offer instant tranquility. Traditional Arabian cardamom coffee and dates complete the introduction for us. Swiss global hospitality excellence of Moevenpick Hotels reflect in the chic, contemporary design in themed living areas and public spaces, handcrafted artistry waltzing with modern co-ordinates in profusion. Ibn Battuta’s cross continental travels and experiences are opulently frozen in fascinating theme suites inspired by Andalusia to Morocco to India, China, Russia, Tanzania, Persia, Turkey, Egypt and Thailand. All Ibn Battuta theme suites radiate unhindered affluence in design, collectibles, furnishings, space, tones, undulatingly luscious comfort in velvet and calf leather upholstery, linens, private spaces, baths and amenities. In the Moroccan-themed Executive Lounge choicest cocktails, world wines and hors d’oeuvres usher in a fabulous fine dining selection. ‘Shanghai Chic’ celebrates Chinese fine dining with Oriental pomp,‘Chor Bazaar’ rates numero uno in Dubai’s Indian fine dining excellence. ‘Sicilia’ offers unforgettable home-made fare in Osteria-styled earthy, siena and rust-toned alluring décor complete with seasoned wine barrels and vintage magnums. A living journey into uniquely evocative thematic design and architectural accomplishment.

Arabian grandeur on the lagoons he traditional Abra glides gently across the lagoons fringed with graceful date palms, ‘Barjeels’ or eco-designed Arabian wind towers overlooking naturally landscaped gardens, lush turfed acres and the glorious Arabian seafront. In the grand luxury environs of Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai’s Arabian-styled retreat, the Dar Al Masyaf is personalised, premium lifestyle with a difference. The traditional courtyard-graced summer houses of old Arabia are the inspiration for the expansively designed stand-alone, two-storey houses. All the villas are on the waterway’s edge, idyllic, shady paths winding their way through the richly landscaped gardens with ample profusion of all-season colorful blooms and calming green alcoves. The Dar Al Masyaf Gulf summer houses open out to the white sandy beach and ensconce within them liberally designed one to three guest rooms. Traditional hand-plastered, weather-sensitive interiors with contemporary flair blend with soft earthy terra tones and Arabian objects of art. As your butler looks after all your needs, you recline in the lounge, stirring up your fine dining sojourn with a crisp aperitif. As the shadows lengthen across the azure waves beyond, cheery lights and spots live up the romance of the night, the villas regaling in mood-lit soft glows, the sounds of the Rabab and Darbouka wafting in the breeze. Energy-saving lighting all over the landscaped lagoons and villas ensure easy negotiation of walking paths, cheerfully rope-lit Arabian tents with lavish lounging upholstery add romance around the islands and landing steps, structured with customised natural stone. The feel-at-home tranquility is total and invigorating. Text & photographs by kishore and Smita iyengar June 2012 go now

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Play, Pamper, Prowl in Monaco

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his has traditionally been the playground of the seriously rich. And the charm is that even today, it continues to be an amal gam of sheer opulence and understated elegance. While buying property here could be out of bounds for most of us – last year it had the world’s most expensive real estate – you can definitely pass through this wee little country which understandably tops many ‘highest’ lists: highest employment (100 per cent), highest life expectancy (90 years), highest GDP, highest per capita…you get the idea. Now, while you are passing through, there are seven must-sees you should not miss, however distracted you get by that political heir, oil monarch or showbiz celebrity.

Monte Carlo Casino Monaco has always been the hub of the high-stake gambler and his home here is the Monte Carlo Casino. If what turns you on is the tense-calm of the poker room or the boisterous-but-behaved crowd at the craps table, then you too should head this way. This magnificent gold-and-marble atrium was designed by Charles Garnier in 1863, overlooking the Mediterranean and houses an opera and a ballet arena; the Ballets de Monte Carlo is headquartered here. So if you 52

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wish to gamble away the night or head in for some arty fare, it is this high temple for you.

The Grand Prix Racing Route Of late, we Indians have been able to decode the high-octane glossary of Formula 1, thanks to the first-ever F1 at the Buddh Circuit, Greater Noida. While the Buddh circuit is among the fastest in the world, the one in Monaco is the slowest but the hardest. When the F1 is not happening, the route follows the city streets, around the harbour, actually. Previously won by legends like Schumacher, Senna and Graham Hill, the circuit has also been immortalised in computer games like Gran Turismo and Racing Evolution.

Old Town The Old Town is the traditional and the heritage-rich part of Monaco and has been preserved with immense care and attention. There are numerous classy lounges and restaurants in this area. The trademark narrow lanes here are lined with medieval houses which are several centuries-old. A few of the attractions within the Old Town are the Place Saint Nicholas,

the Chapelle de la Paix and the Saint Martin Gardens. In case you are looking to try a different cuisine from the ubiquitous French and Italian ones, go for the authentic Monaco fare – called Monegasque – available in any of the numerous eateries that line Old Town streets.

Thermes Marins Monte Carlo The walking and exploring and of course the culinary indulgences would have by now put you in the mood for some self pampering. The Thermes Marins Monte Carlo does just that. This multi-level complex covers an area of 6,600 sq m and faces the sea. Check in


Globetrotting for some specialised water therapies, manual relaxation therapies, energising massages with essential oils, shiatsu, hydromassage, pressotherapy…the list is almost endless.

Metropole Mall When you are in a haven of luxury, will the high-end brands be far behind? The Metropole Mall caters to the shopaholic in you in every way that is Monaco - splendid, rich and oozing glamour.This luxury shopping mall is inside the prestigious Hotel Metropole and has 80 boutiques with designer names from the world over like Swarovski, Kenzo, Christian Lacroix, Lacoste, Espace Mirage and Pomellato. Just don’t forget your platinum-range cards.

Travel gears for the intrepid traveller

I-Pods and I-Pads: everybody seems to have one these days. So what would you carry when you take your trip that one step further – deeper, higher? We suggest some gear that should see you through the rough and rumble of the forest trek, the slip and tumble of the mountain trail and the depth and dark of the deep seas.

Monaco Cathedral

Contour Wearable Camcorder

This Roman-Byzantine style building has a breath-taking altarpiece by Nicois painter Louis Brea from 1500. Built with white stones from La Turbie in 1875, the cathedral is also the burial place of several past sovereigns including Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace. The Monaco Cathedral sits atop the site of the first parish church in Monaco built in 1252 dedicated to St’ Nicholas. Don’t miss the truly regal four-keyboard organ.

Going biking, hiking or surfing? And want to record it? No, no, no, mobile cameras are not the answer. Trust us. We suggest you get yourself a wearable camcorder from Contour. The camera shoots in 1080p high-definition video and can be mounted on your bike handlebar, helmet or anywhere else you want to shoot from - leaving your hands free to do the riding, sliding and the manoeuvring. The company claims that this is the world’s first and smallest wearable camcorder which films in HD video. Definitely, the best option to record all your adventure when you head out to the great outdoors next time.

Prince’s Palace The palace was originally a fortress when in 1191 the German emperor Henry IV gave up the harbour and the rocky promontory to the Republic of Genoa. He had one condition though – that they build up fortifications to combat piracy from the sea. Get a taste of princely living if you are in Monte Carlo between June and October. Still in the regal premises, and if you are a petrol-head, head to the immaculate private collection of over 100 cars including early Fords, Cadillacs and Renaults.The London taxi used by Princess Kelly (previously actress Grace Kelly) adds an emotional touch to the whole spellbinding collection of wheels. Coutesy Monaco Tourism

Portable solar chargers With telephone towers across the country, there is no dearth of signals to call and tell your pals that you are having a chilled bear in a ramshackle on a Goan beach or close on the heels of a tiger in Corbett. But how many times have you gone ‘tut tut’ as there was no power in your mobile? The mobile recharger Powermonkey from Powertraveller enables you recharge on the go: its 3500mAH lithium polymer battery, housed in a full body aluminum case can recharge an iPhone twice and standard mobile phones 3 - 4 times. It is also compatible with handheld game consoles, portable GPS systems and e-readers. In case you want more power, yes you guessed it – go get the Powergorilla!

Travel chargers and adapters Your flight has been announced. Your mobile is still charging at the coffee shop. Your

iPod is with a friend who is charging it from where she is accessing free internet. And there is another friend who is charging your PDA… Sounds familiar? Doesn’t have to be your story anymore. The Kensington 4-port USB charger looks not just dandy, but makes your gadgets pretty much organised too. XTG Technologies too have similar products in interesting designs. If you are an Apple-bum, then charging your iPod, iPhone and Mac computer anywhere in the world is made possible with the World Traveller Adapter Kit. Like everything from the orchard, this one too is a sleek beauty worth at least a dekko.

Underwater cameras There is one thing that we all know - the world beneath the sea is not just exotic, but breathtakingly beautiful as well. But next time, you dive beneath into the blue seas make sure that you come up with some wonderful photographs as well. The Olympus Stylus Tough (we never doubted it) ensures you do that. These cameras that come in two variants - 8010 and 6020 - are not just waterproof, but ‘shake-proof’ and ‘freeze-proof’ too. And when yo u c o m e t o Olympus, there is no doubting the quality - you have at your disposal 14 MP, 5x wide zoom, a built-in Dual Image Stabilisation and 2GB internal memory.Well, go ahead and bring back memories from wherever you go. And by wherever, we mean wherever. With these gadgets on hand, the world definitely becomes your playground. Now, the only question is, how far will you go? by Thommen Jose June 2012 go now

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A lesser frequented destination by the Indian traveller, but nevertheless just as exotic, is Cuba. GoNow talks to the Cuban Ambassador in New Delhi. H.E. Abelardo Rafael Cueto Sosa is enthusiastic and hopes to attract both Indian tourism as well as investment

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Come to Cuba

uba is a very friendly country, with warm and welcoming people. It is a very safe destination, with virtually no crime, free from drugs, no gambling, no organized prostitution. It has a vibrant night life with some of the best cabaret shows in the world. It has the sun and the beaches; excellent oppor tunities for eco-tourism, some of the best rums in the world. In India, some of these rums are being bottled by Pernod – Cuban White Rum, the Havana Club. The infrastructure is still nascent. Ever since 1962, when the Cuban blockade was held, the country closed its doors on all American enterprise. Nothing is

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imported from the US. We are very keen for some Indian investments in the tourism sector. We will go all out to accommodate any Indian initiative to invest and manage hotels in Cuba. Cuba received 2.7 million tourists in 2011. Canada is the leading generator of tourism into the country. Other countries who send t o u r i s t s i n cl u d e Spain, UK and Croatia. Latin American tourists are also finding Cuba a popular destination. October to March is the best tourist season. It would be a dream to get tourists from India. Getting to Cuba from India is not difficult.You can get many options to do a one-stop journey, through cities like Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam and London. Beyond

Paris, for instance, Havana is another 9 hours away. Virgin Atlantic is presently flying three times weekly. Eating out in Havana offers an international experience. Staple food for the Cubans is lots of fruits and vegetab l e s . Yo u c a n choose plenty of dishes with an Indian flavour. Both Spanish and Chinese cuisine is popular.There is also plenty of meats. You can get a great room for anywhere between US$ 100–125 with complimentary breakfast.

as told to navin S berry


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City Escapes

Photo courtesy: The claridges, surajkund

Life in the Capital City – The Best of Spas, Lounges, Bars

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quick getaway from the city, it can’t get any closer! The Claridges, Surajkund is a deluxe resort, within the NCR, in close-by Surajkund, as its name would suggest. It is a perfect getaway for people who are not on holiday to some faraway destination. The resort has everything going to provide some quality time with your family, with facilities that work for both parents and kids. The special summer offer includes accommodation in a pool/courtyard facing room, access to the kids club equipped with play station, games and cartoon movies, welcome drink and dinner. There are parting gifts for guests and you have an option of late check out till 4:00 pm. The offer is priced at Rs 9,999 for 1 night and 2 days and Rs. 17,999 for 2 nights and 3 days. For more information and reservations call +91- 129-4190000 or email at resv.surajkund@claridges.com

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in town

Top toque vikas khanna Vikas Khanna, the New York-based Michelin-starred chef-restaurateur was in Delhi recently to launch his latest book ‘Flavors First’. The book celebrates the acclaimed chef’s culinary journey from the backwaters of Amritsar to that temple of gastronomy – New York – all in the span of a few years. Khanna says he picked up the culinary nuances of a creamy dal makhni and robust rajma-chawal from his grandmother. Such was Khanna’s culinary expertise that at age 17, he launched his own catering company and soon had the town’s lunching ladies eating out of his hands! The rest as they say is history. The 39-yearold chef went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America, Cornell University, the New York University and the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. Regarded as one of America’s top toques, Khanna’s work at Salaam Bombay, The Café at the Rubin Museum and Junoon has also got rave reviews. Excerpts from an exclusive interview:

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hy did you come out with a book at this point in your career?

The book ‘Flavors First’ celebrates my life in two diverse worlds -- India and America. One is my spiritual home and the other is my stage to showcase my country. I thought this was a good time to talk about my journey. As I live in the West, I adapt to a lot of new techniques and am inspired by new ingredients. I continue to learn more to expand my kitchens and pantries. This book celebrates that expansion of my kitchens and for me, it’s always about Flavors First. In fact the book is the result of collaborations with creative cooks from around the

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world. These include cooking for life fundraising events that I have organised with such culinary wizards as Alain Ducasse, JeanGeorge Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud, Bobby Flay and Drew Nieporent among many others.

Tell us more about ‘Flavors First’. The recipes of my book are full of unexpected tastes. Dishes range from old favourites such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Samosas, and Garlic Naan to those with global spins on tradition like Masala-Honey Cornish Hen, Wonton Crisps with Tamarind Chutney and Pineapple, and Chai Crème Brûlée. Entire chapters are devoted to every part of a complete Indian meal including easy handmade breads, a variety of chutneys,

appetizer s perfect for parties and entertaining, slow-cooked curries and tender stews, desserts, and cool refreshing drinks. Our recipes are versatile – they will satisfy meat lovers and vegetarians and are easily adapted to incorporate the freshest, market-driven ingredients of every season. By following the mantra of putting “flavors first,” one can elevate the most humble of ingredients. My recipes reflect the many memories that have influenced my cooking, from my grandmother’s simple traditional dishes to the eye-opening experience of living in New York where I learned to adapt the centuries-old traditions of Indian cooking to the wonders of the city’s ethnic diversity.Throughout the journey, the common link continues to be the vibrant flavours of the food.

Which are your favourite restaurants in the world? This is always a tricky one! (laughs). Frankly, there are many. But I’d rank Sasu Ma in Surat (Gujarat) pretty high as I had an amazing meal there once which transported me straight to my home. Eating langars at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, though its not technically an eatery, also gives me much happiness. But my greatest food feast has been at Daniel, New York. I also go to Spice Route (New York) whenever I miss home. Bukhara in New Delhi is also a place I am in love with.

What is your take on Americans eating Indian Food? I think both India and America have their own distinct palates. Both countries love their food and that is very important for me. Americans are getting used to Indian flavours while Indians are getting hooked to the American ones.

What are your comments on your profession? I’d say that this is perhaps the only profession in the world where people compare you to their moms! Good or bad, that’s secondary. The mother becomes the biggest benchmark.


in town People usually end up saying,‘Oh, this is just like my mom’s food’. If they want to be critical, they’ll say ‘You can’t cook daal like my mom’. Either way it’s like being compared to God’s own shadow!

You have also worked with a legendary chef like Gordon Ramsay. He is known to be quite a hot head. I have known Chef Gordon for many years and we have worked together several times. He is a super talented, super down-to-earth man. He loves food and loves the people who respect them. The rest is all TV.

You also intend launching a restaurant in Bodh Gaya. Why that city? Well, Bodh Gaya is unknown to most Indians despite the fact it is such a historically rich destination. But over time, this spiritual legacy has been forgotten. Being a spiritual person, the place connects me instantly to my soul. Hopefully, I will revive the presence of Bodh Gaya with my restaurant someday soon.

What are the path-breaking innovations you’ve introduced in the concept of Indian cuisine? We do a lot of work on presentations and try to keep the food as rooted as possible. We also apply a lot of western techniques to create more layers of flavours and textures.

What do you think of Indian cuisine as it exists today? This is just the beginning. Indian food is one of the most loved foods in the world. I am a huge fan of the new dishes coming from newer regions to the dining rooms. It is building a lot of interest.

What are your views on the dining out scene in India – in cities & towns? How does it compare with the West? India is similar to America in so many ways. The restaurants have now become a part of daily life and they tend to grow at much faster speed. I love eating out in India.

Do you think a westerner’s perception of Indian cuisine has evolved over the last decade? How & why? Indian food is relatively new as compared to Italian and Chinese. But it is growing at a much faster speed. Initially, every cuisine is stereotyped as it tends to grow, until it becomes a part of daily life and entertaining.

What advise would you like to give to aspiring chefs? Follow your heart. Express yourself with food. It is also important to grow as you work, both experience wise and spiritually. by Neeta Lal

Experience a nostalgic musical journey through

nU’s Big Band

Theory

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hat makes a romantic eve n i n g p e r fe c t ? Your partner, a candlelight dinner with him or her at a fabulous restaurant and the cherry on the cake would be, some brilliant music and better still if it is a live performance. Well, next time you need to woo your lady love, head to nU, at Malcha Marg and you won’t be disappointed. Although it has been there on the Delhi scene for just three years nU and its live band, Big Band Theory has garnered a niche for itself and the band also got nominated for the Best Live Music venue in the Times Nightlife Awards 2012. The Big Band Theory has been playing at nU since August 2011 and prior to that a Thai band performed at nU. The nU Big Band Theory has seven talented

musicians in its troupe, from Davao City, Philippines; Joey Narciso (Lead Guitar), Junnix Daclison (Vocals/ Second Guitar), Leo Nudalo (Voacals/Keyboard), Juan Franco Yu (Drums), Chrysler Paul Ian Badiang (Bass), Carmi Olivar (Vocals) and Kristine Caneda (Vocals). These seven talented musicians are the main reason for the rising popularity of nU on the Delhi music scene. And the range of musical genres that they encompass is extensive, from Jazz to Rock and Roll, Classic Rock, Ballad, Pop, R&B, Country and even the hottest ‘Lady Gaga’ hits. Most of the people like to listen to soft, romantic numbers and thus the songs that get requested more often are – Everything I do I do it for you by Bryan Adams, Lady in red by Chris de Burg and Nothing’s gonna change my love for you by George Benson The band is going to complete one year in August and they perform everyday from 8:30 P.M to 11. Everybody has different choices in music but nU fills this gap because they are comfortable belting out Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” as well as Pearl Jam’s “Daughter”. So, if your loved one has been miffed at you for not paying attention to her, nU is your answer to cool off her fraying nerves this summer along with treating her to a great meal and some real chart topping numbers from over the years. So sing along and celebrate your relationship. by APRAJITA SHISHOO

June 2012 go now

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fine dining

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he Capital’s bohemian district and an ever buzzing culinary hub – Hauz Khas Village sees a new option opening almost every week. A recent addition to the market’s gastronomic landscape is De Villa, co-owned by cricketer Ashish Nehra and his brother Bhanu Nehra. Calling itself ‘a culinary and mixology venture’, the restaurant offers global cuisine that can be paired with choicest selection of drinks.The restaurant claims the cocktails are

The three-floored fine dining restaurant has got something to offer to all foodies.

Be Spoilt for Choice at De Villa on the menu after a thorough research and trial. So while you have the regular Mojitos and Martinis, there are special drinks like Citrus Fizz, Tempest and Balcony Breeze. The restaurant is spread over three floors: the first level has a live grill station while the second floor is the Brick Bar boasting a dance floor. The decor of the restaurant is understated with minimalist furnishings making the ambience relaxed. The best space of the restaurant is, however, the rooftop with a private deck up on the top. The terrace gives a splendid view of the surroundings and the choice of music played (a mix of reggae, lounge and retro) goes well with the ambience. There are screens in the restaurant which enliven the atmosphere during events such as IPL. De Villa’s USP lies in the wide array of options it offers – from Arabic and Lebanese cuisine to American, Italian and Indian. The specialty of the restaurant, however, lies in grills and steaks. The options in grills include: Grilled Lobster Thermidor cooked in white wine and mushrooms served with parmesan cheese; Norwegian Salmon served with gherkin mash and red wine emulsion. Also, it prides in serving sea food options like lobsters, which are served in very few restaurants in the city. I started my meal with a special vodka based cocktail, First Kiss, which will be included in the menu soon. The starters accompanying the drink were Hongos Cigarro and Mezze Platter. The former dish is made of mushrooms mixed with apricot served with garlic aioli in cigar shaped rolls. Being not such a big fan of mushrooms, the dish surprised me with its taste and certainly makes 60

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fine dining

Get a taste of French bread in town!

W Chef’s recommendation Mezze Platter Hongos Cigarro Nazza Alle Verdure it to the ‘must try’ list. Mezze Platter consists of Kibbeh, Meat Fatiyaar, chicken wings and pita both served with Hummus, Babaghanoush, Tabbouleh and Tzatziki.This again is a must try, not so much for the taste but for sheer variety, which makes it an ideal starter to go along with your drink. I then got a taste of Malay cuisine with lemon grass-favoured Chicken Satay served with sweet chilli and peanut sauce. For the main course, I was served the Indian version of Pizza: a Nazza, the most interesting dish on the menu. Made from the Indian bread, naan (“Na”) & topped with regular pizza (“Zza”) toppings, this one is a delicious surprise. My meal ends with Kahlua Cake – coffee cake served with Kahlua sauce and Apple and Toffee Sandwich, which is an amalgamation of apple and cinnamon with toffee crusted layers. De Villa is one of those restaurants you like to frequent not Location: 8 A, Hauz so much for the taste Khas Village, New Delhi  Contact: +91but for the overall 11-65651845/ experience. It makes 7838428007 for an ideal venue Timing: 12:30 PM to for a relaxed evening 1:00 AM savouring different Meal for 2: Approx Rs. 1400 for two (without cuisines sitting in the alcohol) ++ city’s favourite gastronomic hot spot. by Purva bhatia

hen Frenchman Laurent Charles Samandari first came to India he missed bakery products from back home. His desire to have fine French pastry led him to found L’opéra. It was first started in the year 2008, when they were just dealing in home deliveries (which they are dealing in even now, with a minimum order of Rs. 2000). It was in March 2011 that they came up with their first outlet at Khan Market and since then there has been no looking back. Now they have in total 6 outlets, one in DLF Promenade mall in Vasant Kunj, another in Galleria mall in Gurgaon. The other three outlets are in French embassy (for the embassy staff only), DLF Golf and Country club (for the club members) and Ravissant salon in New Friends Colony. Although it has been popularized as a French patisserie in town, it is a hit with the city crowd. According to Susana Nordstrom, head of customer relations and quality L’opéra “It is a mixed bag, I would say. There are a lot of expats in the morning when they come to drop of their kids to the school in Sujan Singh Park, and then in the rest of the day see a potpourri of people.” Neatly tucked a minute away from Good Earth store, L’opéra is a small outlet with just 3-4 seats for people to sit and eat. Done in beige and brown tones, the interiors of the place compliment the scrumptious chocolate pastries and cakes kept at the counter. One of the most sought after delicacy is the macaroons, which are authentically French. It comes in as many as 10 flavours and it has a crisp shell and a soft moist interior. I decided to taste the chocolate macaroon which was heavenly in taste and the chocolate just melted in the mouth as soon as I took a bite. On being asked which products are favourites and get sold more than any other, Susana promptly replied it was the Lemon Tart, Baguette and Almond Croissant. The prices of the patisseries, some feel, are slightly on the higher side. But the ingredients that are all French imports definitely justify the tag. After all, there is a price for everything. Outlet address: 5-B, Khan Market, Timings: 8am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday. 9:30 am to 10pm on Sunday.

by APRAJITA SHISHOO June 2012 go now

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summer special

Delicious delights that appeal to your “Sen5es” Come summer and your appetite goes for a toss. But a visit to the Sen5es restaurant at Pullman Hotel, Gurgaon can change that. One look at the sumptuous spread and your taste buds get tickling. We found ours were more than tickling, when we took a look at the live counters. Read on what was it that got this writer to rave about the food.

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n a hot sweltering May day, I headed off to Sen5es, the multi cuisine restaurant of the upscale business hotel, Pullman. The name Sen5es, because it brings all the five elements of nature together and after having food there I couldn’t agree more. What I had expected was a usual fare of five different cuisines and live kitchens, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a new item on the menu, duck. The continental spread also had a duck oven and Peking duck pancake was one of the most asked for items. The other counters were Italian, Indian

counter, a bar for drinks and an ice cream Teppanyaki counter. The dessert counter’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is possible to get your ice cream customised in your own special way. The bar had various flavours of iced tea and refreshing summer drinks. The spread was lavish and I decided to begin with the revitalizing iced tea. One sip and the tea had its effect, the heat outside was looking less menacing than before and I developed an appetite for the sumptuous spread. Keeping the weather in mind, the Indian spread especially had a lot of revitalizing options in terms of food and drinks. Also, some chutneys and pickles were kept in martabans, mostly to give an Indian feel to the Indian counter. People, if they see Indian utensils, connect a lot with the food and would definitely try it out was the response I got when I asked them about the reason behind these martabans. As soon as I had a taste of the mango chutney, bang I was transported to my childhood when my grandmother used to prepare the same; it was a delight to savour it. Other than that, one could also try the mint chutney, chach, flavoured yogurt and garlic chilli chutney. Along with these delicacies, a golgappa shot is what will give you a high like no other shot would. Another delicacy that is a speciality and also ordered often is the Peking duck pan-


summer special

Molecular Gastronomy makes its debut on the Delhi Culinary Scene

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cake. Don’t be misled by the name pancake because it doesn’t look anything like a pancake, rather it is a roll, and the duck is stuffed into it with different sauces. The taste is very peculiar and the sauces give a very pungent flavour to it.The other most sought after thing on the menu are the pastas which are customised according to your taste. One should try the red sauce pasta which was close to pure delight. Apart from food, what draws your attention at the Sen5es is the big wooden community table that can seat up to around 10 people. Inspired by the heritage of the Pullman brand as a luxury train coach, the table is made out of original railway sleeper wood and aged at least 70 years. When Pullman was bought by Accor group, they restored the table and now it is used at Sen5es. Another innovative idea is the digital art that is used effectively. The idea behind it was that many hotels were patronizing art so Pullman came up with the idea if video art, wherein there is a moving art theme with vivid backgrounds (one of the backgrounds was of old monuments in Delhi) which was specially crafted for the hotel.The same is displayed in the hotel in 72 screens spread across all public areas. So, if you are in Gurgaon next, try to dine at Sen5es at Pullman, you will not regret it. by APRAJITA SHISHOO

ocated in the upmarket Mehrauli area, Smoke House Room is the third edition of Dam Good Restaurants after Smoke House Grill in GK and Smoke House Deli in Vasant Kunj. The restaurant is very avant garde in its interiors as well as its menu because the USP of the restaurant is its strong molecular gastronomy concept. In dictionary terms, Molecular gastronomy means, the application or study of scientific principles and practices in cooking and food preparation. For a layman, molecular gastronomy would mean pairing two food items so that they taste better when consumed together. For example, vodka infused with toasted coffee beans was paired with “Gathering of Mushrooms” because the sommelier found that both the dish and the drink had similar aromatic compounds (woody, silky, musky coffee, roasty). Name: Smoke House Room Similarly, rum (smoked) was paired with a maize dish. The Location: Third Floor, Crescent mall, Lado Sarai, dish had a dash of ginger and carrot sauce which added Mehrauli sweetness to the preparation so having it with smoked rum Hours: Dining hours from gives a different high to the flavours. Smoke Hose Room is 7:30 P.M. to 1 A.M. one of its kind in India and according to the food director Prices: Hunter menu: at Smoke House, Siddharth Mathur, it Rs 3,000, Gatherer Menu: will take time for people in the city Rs 2,500 (Prices are to turn experimental. excluding taxes and alcohol) Because the eating experience at the restaurant can be so very different than your usual Dal makhni, Pizza fare, the restaurant has made sure the diners don’t have any trouble in understanding what they are ordering. The staff at the restaurant has been trained to guide people on what to eat. Instead of the usual a-la-carte the diners have an option of choosing from the hunter and gatherer menu. Both the menus start with A Gathering of Mushrooms which has almost 8 varieties of mushrooms, coffee soil and garlic-olive oil pudding. The eating experience at the Smoke House is fresh and dynamic and the in-house sommelier helps you out in choosing what drink should be paired with which food. Smoke House Room is in a completely different league than its earlier established sister concerns. But if you are really high on food and experimenting then try Smoke House Room for its innovativeness. by APRAJITA SHISHOO


summer special

Take your pick from these refreshing summer coolers Scorching sun, sweltering heat and irritable sweat are the three put offs during the summer season. We at Go Now did a survey and picked out a bunch of drinks this summer for you to savour and chill. Read on and try out the ones that suit your taste.

ALCOHOLIC SUMMER COOLERs Singapore Sling Singapore Sling is an exciting drink which offers something more than that meets the eye. The grenadine creates a sweet finish, while the cherry brandy gives it character. Sour mix gives it a nice citrus touch, which together with gin

and club soda gives the drink a nice whole. Available at: ORO Bar, Radisson Blu Hotel, Paschim Vihar. Price: Rs. 450

Belvedere Golden Martini A drink that premiered at the 44th Annua Grammy

Aw a r d s h a s t o h av e something special in it. Belvedere Golden Martini is a Vodka Martini with tinge of Orange zest. It feels nice and fresh and it is a king of dry vodka martinis. In celebration of the Grammy festivities, Belvedere created this martini to reflect the glitz and glamour of the event. Available at: Rubicon Bar, Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon. Price: Rs 700

7 on the Richter What better way to beat the heat than having the 7 on the Richter. A fantastic mix of Vodka, Gin, White rum and orange juice. One drink on a hot summer afternoon and you are sorted for the rest of the day. It is served in a Pilsner glass and garnished with a slice of lime. Available at: Drift Restaurant, Epicentre, Gurgaon Price: Rs 350

Classic Mojito What better way to enjoy your summer s with a glass of Classic Mojito in your hand. The drink first came to fame at La Bodeguita del Medio (famous bar in Havana 64

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with patrons like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara) about fifty years ago and it is still going strong. Fresh lemon, mint and soda, and your summer are sorted. Available at: DIVA, M Block Market Greater Kailash-2. Price: Rs. 550

Way to Heaven Heat is catching on and to beat the heat turn your heads towards Heaven. There is a Way to Heaven and it goes through The Spiritual. Confused? Well, Way to Heaven is a refreshing drink that will give you the coolness of cucumber with the finish feel of gin and ginger along with lemonade. Available at: The Spiritual, Double Tree by Hilton, Gurgaon. Price: Rs. 350


summer special

Non ALCOHOLIC SUMMER COOLERs Pomegranate sangria It is red in colour and doesn’t look dangerous. It is one of the most refreshing drinks, and has major health benefits.The Pomegranate Sangria consists

of Pomegranate juice (obvious) and papaya skin. The Pomegranate juice works as a major antioxidant and the benefits of papaya are well-known. So, save yourself from the summer heat and a pitcher full of Sangria.

How to cool off in this scorching weather? Jacqualine Tara Herron tells us all; what to eat and drink and what to avoid this season.

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Available at: Bar Zen, Marriott, Gurgaon Price: Rs 375.

Citrus tea cooler For a tea lover, summers are a painful time. Can’t live with it, cant live without it. But here’s a life saver, the Citrus tea cooler. Steeped in mint leaves, orange juice and lemonade, the tea turns into a refreshing summer cooler. So sip the sweet, cool tea and enjoy the summer. Available at: The G-Bar, The Grand, New Delhi. Price: Rs 350

Mint Margarita Mint, Lemon and Ice.What a combo! A real heat buster and that’s what one needs in this scorching summer. Little bit of lemon to feel tangy, dash of mint to feel refreshed and a glass full of ice to cool down the boiling temperature. Try the Mint Margarita and rejuvenate your soul for the rest of the sweltering month. Available at: Leela Keminpski, Gurgaon Price: Rs 700

Guava Mania A cool drink for a lady. The best way to chill and relax during this summer is having a Guava mania. It is a soothing drink with

Beat the heat with some tips on summer

bit of a tang, the base of guava is mixed with jalapenos cinnamon and a handful of crushed ice. It goes ver y well with healthy food and can be had after a meal as well. Available at: India Grill, Hilton Garden Inn, Saket Price: Rs 425

Orangede There is nothing like a simple cool Orangede on a hot summer day. It is tangy, it is fresh and it is energizing like nothing else. Forget the mojitos and margaritas, try the simple Orangede and refresh your spirits this summer. Available at: Café Delhi Heights at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon Price: Rs. 95 by Aprajita shishoo

he summer months can wear away at your skin and take out the vital nutrients and moisture that is needed to maintain a healthy body and spirit. Our varying skin types deal with these extreme conditions differently and therefore require careful handling and protection. Ways to protect your skin Protecting the skin on the outside is a must. Protect it from inside out with constant hydration by drinking at least 2.5 litres of water a day. Make sure that you wear an SPF for your face that is not less than factor 30 to prevent the formation of brown spots from sun damage and exposure to high potency sunlight. Wear large sunglasses with UVA protection that shields the delicate tissue around your eyes and if you’re out in the sun for long periods its best to wear a hat and shield your whole face as much as possible. When the climate is dry, moisturize day and night with creams that contain healing and repairing properties such as Vitamin E and A, Aloe Vera, Neem Extract, or cooling oils. It is important to maintain fresh odorized skin in humid weather with water based body sprays which contain chamomile, sage, vetivert, eucalyptus and cajiput for an ultimate cooling experience. This will also detox your skin and prevent any breakouts or rashes emerging from the heat.

Check your diet

It is also important to keep your intake of spicy and heavy oily foods to a minimum so that your metabolism is not overheating with excessive digestive action to maintain a natural homeostasis beneficial for a cool stress less body and mind. The skin reflects the inner state of your body and if the system is blocked through heavy foods your skin may reveal these impurities. Drink lassies with yoghurt and sandalwood powder for a traditional cool down which your skin loves and will give it a soft cool look and feel. And last but not least, don’t go out in the midday sun… The writer is the Director Spa, Salon, Health and Racquet Club at The Imperial, New Delhi June 2012 go now

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Summers kill your appetite and one risks getting dehydrated fast. Sahil Arora here tells us what are the best foods to eat this summer and what are the things to avoid. Read on to find out the fruits and veggies that would provide your body nutrients and at the same time keep you refreshed and hydrated.

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No More Summer Blues

summer special

ummer is great as long as you don’t get the summer blues, sun burns and as long as you don’t get dehydrated. Consuming the right diet is very important during summers. There are food pairings that will hydrate you well and let you enjoy the summer. Elements that provide cooling to the body are rose-petals, raw mangoes, almonds, barley and more. In parts of north India, particularly Bihar, Sattu is the common man’s summer-cooler. Roasted barley is ground into a powder, mixed with jaggery and water. Similarly lime water, tender coconut water, aam-panna (a drink made with raw mangoes) are regular summer antidotes. Make lassi with whipped curd by adding cumin powder and rock salt. It not only cools down the body but is also superb for digestion. For centuries, people in Southeast Asian and Pacific Island countries have been drinking the water from young coconuts for hydration. It’s one of the best ways to replace the water and electrolytes the body gives off in hot climates. Coconut water contains vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that perfectly replenish the body after a long day in the sun. Try cold soups. Keep your starters light and fresh. Thai steaming is a great idea in the hot summer months. This technique ensures that your food retains its colour, texture and flavour and the most important part, its nutrients. Deep red water melons, luscious mangoes, sweet melons, and more summer fruits to chill you out are great choice in summers. Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods out there. It’s made up of mostly water, but it also has essential hydrating salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. It’s perfect for those hot summer days when you need to replenish your body. Just

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summer special

As the scorching sun beats down on us, Francis Gill tells us which oils would calm our worn out spirits and refresh our mind for another sweltering day…

Essential Oils for Summertime “It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine ... it’s summertime!” – Kenny Chesney

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remember, like all fruit, eat it on an empty stomach. Also vegetables with high water content like onions, tomatoes and cucumbers should be regularly eaten as they will not only cool down the body but provide the daily quota of nutrition as well. Alternatively (and perhaps counter-intuitively), you might try adding more spice to your diet to help cool your body through sweating. Hot peppers, fresh ginger, horseradish and black pepper should all do the trick. As for preparation, try to focus on fast cooking methods like steaming and quick sautés as opposed to more heat intensive ones. If there are dos, then there are don’ts as well. Sadly, ice cream and ice-cold beer are on the list, at least where long-term body cooling is concerned. Gerard E. Mullin, the director of gastroenterology says that “anything ingested that is lower than actual body temperature will initially produce a cooling effect systemically. But after 15-20 minutes, the opposite holds true.” In summer, light food should be preferred which can be digested easily. So, oily and junk food like pizzas, burgers must be avoided. For the meat lovers, there is a delicious alternative to fried chicken and red meat -- roasted or grilled fish which have high amounts of fatty acids help in regulating blood pressure, immune responses and liver function. The writer is Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon

ummer months can be harsh and severe, especially on the skin.Whatever skin type one has, the strong rays of the sun can affect you adversely. But all is not so bad, there are ways to take care of your skin and shield yourself from the summer sun. It is an ideal time to experiment with light, energizing, herbaceous, floral, and cooling essential oils; oils from the mint, citrus and floral families are the call of the hour. Of the many oils that can give you solace during the this time, also one of my personal favourite, Victoria Beckham’s secret, camellia Oil. After a long relaxing hot water bath apply this oil warmed between palms and see those stretch marks fade away from your face.This oil shields the user from dry skin and sunburn. It is most beneficial for people with dry skin as it replenishes the same natural nutrients that make the skin smooth. It’s also effective in softening of skin especially around the areas where natural oil is less, such as around the heels. It also acts as a shield against UVB rays making it the numero uno choice for these months. Besides acting as an emollient and a sun block it also supplies rich moisture and elasticity when applied to damp hair. The next oil of my choice would be peppermint oil; after a long and exhausting day immerse your feet in a foot bath with a drop of peppermint oil.The menthol of this oil is good for skin along with its ability to improve oily skin and nourish dull skin. It is a perfect choice to help you relax during the ruthless summer months. Peppermint oil can also be used for hair care as it not only removes lice and dandruff but with its instantaneous cooling effect gives instant relief from those terrible headaches that one is prone to during summertime. The oil blends well with other essential oils like rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, etc. Lavender oil with its aromatherapy quality not only helps one relax but when added to one’s bath or applied to the sun burnt areas displays its quintessential healing properties. The healing powers of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. Besides sunburns it also helps in case of cuts, wounds and burns as it rapidly aids in the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy sessions and some perfumes because waft of this oil helps in treating sleeplessness and head aches. Well, these are some of the benefits of using calming oils in summertime. Apply these oils, relax and enjoy the summer season. The writer is Director of Spa, Spa Oasis,The Grand, New Delhi June 2012 go now

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Rooms & Suites

Go hi-tech at Pullman Gurgaon

Accor’s upscale hotel brand with a business feel to it. Being a cosmopolitan brand, the services here are highly personalized. Our prime targets are the corporate and MICE clientele. The key is to provide connectivity solutions to them and therefore, we have taken proper care of their business needs by incorporating services like Wi-Fi, an office corner with I-pod docking system in which one can charge laptops, digital cameras and so on, right in their rooms.” Pullman Gurgaon Central Park offers the signature Pullman Co-meeting Concept – ideal for MICE initiatives – Commitment, Connectivity, Comfort and Cohesion. In addition, the Pullman brings convenience for customers with a dedicated Events Manager, to detail every aspect of an event, and act as a ‘single point of contact’ during events. There is also an IT Solutions Manager to address all IT and audio-visual requirements. Further, to enhance the entire event, Pullman also offers Pioneering ‘Coach’ menus to identify the ideal trainer and speaker for a dedicated business function. The property will also present state-of-theart meeting spaces that extend over 17,000 sq ft. From nine meeting spaces to the Connectivity Lounge by DELL and Chill Out Zone,

To lure tech-savvy business travellers and the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and events) segment in India, Accor’s upscale hotel brand, Pullman, offers hi-tech gadgets in its rooms and suites.

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deally located in the booming business National Capital Region, Hotel Pullman Gurgaon Central Park has strategically positioned itself as a hotel suitable for both business and leisure travellers.The Pullman is the upscale international hotel brand of Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator which is present in 90 countries with over 4,200 hotels and 145,000 employees. The hotel features 285 rooms which includes 120 Superior Rooms, 90 Deluxe Rooms, 75 Executive Rooms and 22 suites. With elegant European styling, all the rooms offer a panoramic view of the city and feature the signature Pullman bed along with complimenting stylish furniture, media hub with direct connectivity, complimentary Wi-Fi satellite and cable colour TV, sprinkler, dead bolt, audible smoke alarms and safe deposit box for the room safety, mini-bar, Nespresso Coffee Machines and four fixture bathrooms. While interacting with the media about the developments, Xavier Louyot,Vice President Global Marketing, Directeur Marketing, Pullman hotels and resorts divulged his vision on how the hotel plans to lure the business traveller,“Pullman is

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the 8-metre high Phoenix ballroom and the adjacent wedding pavilion leaves guests spoilt for choice. Apart from taking care of all business needs, Pullman Gurgaon also offers tailormade solutions for all its clients.The ‘Pullman Night program’ enables guests to customise every detail of their sleep experience, while ‘Pullman Fit’ offers a variety of fitness regimes.

Future venture The Pullman is planning to open doors to La Riviera, a fine dining concept that will enthral guests with its Southern French – Italian coastal cuisine. Guests can choose from the finest selection of wines from the French and Italian Riviera and a striking display of gourmet French cheese at the exclusive Vinoteca by Pullman. They can also pick their choice of sea-food from the live display in a custom built aquarium. by vasujit kalia


Rooms & Suites

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ at Leela Residences

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he Leela Group made its foray into the super luxury homes segment with Leela Residences. Ideally located at Ambience Island on the National Highway No.8, the Residences is situated a stone’s throw from the bustling millennium city of Gurgaon. Proximity to the airport, which is just 5 km away, makes the residences a perfect choice for corporate travellers, enterprising tourists, as well as executives relocating to India. Leela Residences was in the limelight when Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts stayed here with her three kids while shooting for her film- Eat, Pray, Love. Refreshingly modern yet reassuringly warm, each one of the 90 Residences features branded appliances and wood furniture. Designed by the internationally acclaimed Hirsch Bedner & Associates (HBA) Design Consultants from Australia, the Residences are crafted to combine contemporary minimalist interiors with modern conveniences like high speed internet, electronic appliances, LCD TVs and much more. Being the residential wing of the hotel, the guests staying here are entitled to

all the privileges that are associated with the hotel. The Residences also offers a comprehensive and fully equipped kitchen, including a dish-washer as well as ironing facilities. From gracious one bedroom to spacious three bedrooms they are ideal for a medium to long duration stay. The spacious one bedroom residence is spread across 67-97 square meters and is ideal for single executives. Spread across 115-127 square meters, the two-bedroom residence is for those who are looking for an extended stay, while, the three-bedroom residences (which are spread across 167 square meters) are crafted to perfection keeping in mind family needs. One gets to savour a plethora of additional facilities like access to the hotel’s 24-hour business centre for private meetings, secretarial services, spa, a choice of three restaurants serving Indian and international cuisines and the beauty salon while staying in these residences. by vasujit kalia

Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi rooms get a facelift Paying heed to the guest feedback Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi goes in for room renovation

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adisson Group believes in keeping the maxim ‘Customer is King’ in the forefront. And at the Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi when its loyal guests gave the feedback that the rooms should be renovated, the hotel was quick to respond. The Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, loc at e d n e a r t h e D e l h i - G u rg a o n Expressway features 261 spacious guest rooms, including 140 superior rooms, 64 premium rooms, 35 business class rooms, 20 suites and two presidential Suites. The hotel is a 5-km drive from Indira Gandhi International Airport and the booming business district, Gurgaon. Talking about the facelift of the rooms Javed Ali, vice president & general manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, says,“Our rooms have all been renovated according to the feedback we have received from our guests to ensure that we are in tune with the latest and modern-day designs and set-up. Though there is no significant addition to room inventory.” Th e d r iv i n g forces behind the renovation was g u e s t comfort and high convenience result-

ing from ergonomics and incorporation of the ‘plug & play’ hightechnology based on travel empathy for the business class.“We had invited a designer from Singapore for the project. The rooms have been designed by Thom Catallo, a US-based designer whose runs a firm in Singapore. Catallo worked on the room keeping in mind the feedback that the hotel had received over the years.” Featuring luxury The renovated rooms and suites consist of lavish features like plush mattresses with high-count luxurious bed linen, a range of pillow options, plug & play media hubs, large format, high definition LCD TVs (with a huge range of satellite programs), complimentary wired and wi-fi internet for resident guests, high-convenience international power sockets throughout, ergonomic work desk and chairs, laptop compatible electronic in-room safe deposit boxes, iron and ironing board, well stocked mini bars and complimentary tea and coffee makers to name a few. The rooms also feature specially engineered quadrupleglazed double-framed windows to provide adequate sound insulation. “Each of our rooms and suites features complimentary breakfast in the coffee shop, complimentary Wi-Fi and complimentary airport transfers. To ensure a comfortable stay, rooms at our hotel in Delhi feature silk designer upholstery and linens, luxury beds, rain showers and mist-free mirrors,” he added. With so much on the platter, guests can look forward to a highly satisfying experience the next time they stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza. by vasujit kalia

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spas & gyms

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Emerge spanking new

he other day a friend of mine went to a popular South Delhi mall and wanted to swing by for a quick foot massage at one of the many spa options available these days, but was disappointed with the long waiting queue. Not really ready to believe I tried my luck on another day and I met with the same fate: a waiting period of over and hour. Killing some time window shopping, I still wanted to give it a shot and figure out the big deal about spas in malls that have become such a rage! To my surprise, the malls that are selling Thai massages like hot cakes are not really selling them for a song. Albeit, unlike Thailand, the therapies at these up-market yet basic spa parlours in malls are luxurious indulgences! And yet they do well. A case in point is the Aroma Thai chain which has 10 outlets located in malls. The success mantra of this beauty/indulgence business is decoded by Nakul Kapoor, director, Aroma Thai. He explains,“The best part about spas within malls is the fact that you do not need to plan a visit. You can simply walk in without a prior appointment while you’re shopping, out to watch a movie. We’ve noticed in a city where there is lack of entertainment opportunities, spa is a new concept people are willing to try.” It helps that magazines, newspapers and television media have contributed to the propagation of this popular culture with tempting pictures of pampering sessions that few find hard to resist. For most people as they understand spa the experience is the next level to visiting a beauty salon. In fact, there is a kind of ‘wow’ factor attached to visiting spas – despite the fact that accessible spas are also quite ‘in’. They don’t just help

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you relax, but the tales attached to enjoying a good therapy can at once make you seem part of the elite club, elevating your social standing in just a session! What is intriguing is not just this growing fad about going to malls, shopping till the last penny on your credit card is not just a woman’s domain any more. Men are enjoying their new hedonistic status like never before. You’d be surprised that most spas have long waiting queues thanks to men

Scented, medicinal oils (above) used for massage. Njavarakizhi (top next page) and foot massage chair (bottom) used for spa therapies.

And it is growing in popularity too gooing by the ever-increasing options on offer - from a simple foot massage to fish spas and couple spas to spa parties. Go Now guides you through the myriad therapies and helps you pick what floats your boat.

who are learning to enjoy their pampering sessions rather unashamedly – the Indian metrosexual is learning to be proud of finer aspects of grooming and cosmetic care, what every bit of male indulgence being more acceptable in changing times. So you walk in and find men and women seated on comfortable chairs being assisted by their therapists to a session of foot pampering, shoulder massage or a back-rub. And part of the indulgences comprise of enjoying all luxuries that were prerogatives of women in a no-holds-barred-way. Says Shika Chandra, co-owner of Happy Feet, a spa at Select Citywalk, Saket,“Sometimes, when wives are shopping you find husbands quietly come and enjoy and quick massage. In fact manya-times we even find husbands coaxing wives to try out therapies once they’ve enjoyed theirs.” So going for quick therapies in the midst of a shopping spree or while


spas & gyms otic therapies include caviar facial for men and women with caviar extract, meant to be a perfect ant-ageing agent. Malls spas are also great get-aways from prying eyes. When you want to go on a quiet date and not really be seen by too many familiar faces that you many run into, spas offer a private retreat away from the madding crowds. In fact spas in the city have cut through social awkwardness and taboos attached to men and women going out together. These days couple massages are a part of the deal and spa receptions do not

factfile Aroma Thai Spa Select CITYWALK, Saket Floor: 2 : Second Floor. Store No: S30 (B-2) AromaThai Foot Spa Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj Floor: 2 : Second Floor AromaThai Foot Spa Ambience Mall, Gurgaon Floor: 2 : Second Floor AromaThai Foot Spa Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden ORIENTAL SENSES • 2nd Floor, DLF Mega Mall, Golf Course Road Gurgaon 122002 Haryana Tel: +91 124 430 7505 • 2nd Floor, MGF Metropolitan Mall, M.G Road Gurgaon 122002 Haryana Tel: +91 124 401 9985 • 2nd Floor, DLF Place, Saket District Centre New Delhi 110017. Tel: +91 11 410 96357

your choice – from the music, candles, to flowers and aromas, they bring you a diverse option on the platter and you can transform your chosen space into a spa-tmosphere! From providing robes and slippers for the

the most popular massages at the malls still continues to be the foot massage – it is less time-taking and after long shopping sessions is the best way to relax. Select city walk introduced the concept of the fish spa. waiting to catch a movie is not just an indulgence that women want to try. The most popular massages at the malls still continues to be the foot massage – it is less time-taking and after long shopping sessions is the best way to relax. Select Citywalk introduced the concept of the fish spa and was the first among many malls to encourage customers to take a break while little fishes gnaw at the sole of your feet, cleaning away dead cells and leaving you with shinier, cleaner feet! Not so sure how I feel about fish chewing in on your skin, but most who have tried it seems to have enjoyed the pampering by the fish, they say. One of the other popular massages these days seems to be the deep-tissue massage which is what many celebrities swear by for rejuvenating skin and a youthful glow. Some exotic facial to try out are the caviar facial for men and women. Some of the other ex-

mince any words when they see a man and a woman together in asking if they would like a therapy together – it certainly makes it easier for couples still fumbling for words about whether it is appropriate to bring up a topic like that in India and better still at a local mall. Adds Kapoor, “With people becoming busier in their lives it is often difficult for them to find time to participate in activities together. But a spa where you can walk in without prior pre-meditation is an option many couples are finding an easy option to spend quality time together while both can relax.” Couple spas are definitely acceptable and are also one of the most sought-after categories. Some spas are playing with new concepts. Take for instance the Oriental Senses Spa housed in Gurgaon’s Ambience mall. The spa caters to spa parties and brings the spa to you in a way that is tailor-made to

guests that they can take home to invitation cards, it’s all available once you’ve made up your mind about a spa-party! So for your next get-together, just when you’re running out of ideas, you could think of a pampering session for your guests! Spas offer a bunch of possibilities. From enjoying a relaxing foot massage with a bunch of friends to being in your reclusive room where you want to forget interacting with the world, while being part of it, these are decent options to try out once you step out of the house and are willing to do something a tad bit different. These are mostly equipped for basic facilities with a shower and changing area but no men’s and ladies rooms – but I suppose that’s what you’re looking for in a mall – a quick dash in for a relaxing therapy and dashing out to face the world with renewed enthusiasm. by sanghita Singh June 2012 go now

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ed sole for the soul

A dash of red lip-stick is what it takes for a woman to perk up her face! In fact, red lipstick is a known quick-fix that takes care of most beauty worries on any given day. Christian Loboutin, the global shoe designer with the mostest has successfully managed to decode the mystery of the red. His red-soled shoes immediately struck a note with women of fashion, who on any given day were assured that a hint of red on their soles, would take away the blues on a not-so-good-day and on a near-perfect day, enhance girl power by showing their wild-wicked-adventurous and bold side. Two decades into the business and Louboutin shoes continue to vanish from the racks as women go for the kill, choosing the brand for the value it has built over the years.

Women and Louboutin Shoes define a woman, as many will tell you. More often than not, a woman will choose a right pair of shoes over a killer dress. Shoes are an investment; some women will tell you and the right kind will bring out the ultimate woman in you. And Louboutin has taken on the responsibility of etching out a personality for each of his women with a variety. To begin with, let’s not get carried away but to remind ourselves that Louboutin shoes are for women who can afford them! But most women we know (that have a certain bent for the adventure-stylist in them) would break a bank to own a pair of Louboutins! Louboutin has been accused for encouraging style in women which is a departure from the traditional feminine and soft. Instead Louboutin’s women are those of the world, they exude power and are women who are sure of themselves – they can walk into a room unescorted – just with the fire of scarlet on their soles women catapult themselves into confident beings ready to take on men, compete with them while retaining a seductive quality. Little wonder some of the world’s most sought-after women are Louboutin’s clients – from Diane Von Furstenburg and Catherine Deneuve to Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The designer Christian Louboutin grew up in the 12th arrondissement of Paris where his father was a cabinet maker and his mother, a house-wife. Growing up in an impoverished 72

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Mover over Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik. Christian Louboutin is here to stay. Modern women swear by Louboutins, worship the designer for giving women’s feet a place in the fashion altar and are willing to trade comfort for ultimate style as they give into the luxury of beauty embracing their soles! The designer has recently started a line for men and has set his sight on starting a make-up range.


retail therapy store in Mumbai. Louboutin’s tribute to India came with an Indian collection of his shoes which were influenced by the colours of Rajasthan and betrayed a hint of Gujarat with specialised bead-work. Those are Indian treasures with a universal appeal.

Style vs comfort A perfectly crafted pair of shoes may not come with the utmost comfort call. After all, beauty is not often defined by cushioncomfort! The designer has confessed that while designing shoes his focus has always been on crafting beautiful shoes and not on comfort. The designer has mentioned in earlier interviews: “I don’t hate the idea of comfort. I just don’t think it’s important for me as a designer, it’s not in my creative process. Some people say, for instance, they’re in a comfortable relationship. I favour someone who would tell me:‘I am in a very passionate relationship’. It’s the same thing for shoes. I would rather someone say, ‘Your shoes look passionate and sexy’, than ‘Your shoes look so comfortable’.” Quotable quote by the designer, but no denying the fact that he believes in the credo of passion as opposed to predictable sluggish comfort. set-up clearly did not take away his love for the finer things, but only lit the fire in his belly for more. Running away from home several times during his growing up years, he concentrated on sketching shoes and not academics. He finally juggled jobs and worked as a backstage assistant to entertainers, became a landscape gardener, contributed to Vogue and somewhere in between designed women’s shoes for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Maude Frizon. His eventual calling lay in designing shoes, he felt and with the blessings of a few good Samaritans the shoeman opened his first Parisian shoe salon in 1991. Princess Caroline of Monaco, his first buyer helped carry tales of his exemplary design skills and slowly yet steadily, Louboutin’s name scorched the tabloids. From the shoe-man he transformed into the showman – taking shoes into imaginative heights of artistic creativity. Little wonder he has never given away a pair of shoes as a gift, albeit has offered discounts to some of his prized clients.

The Louboutin store The Louboutin store is as recognisable as the shoes. The classic Louboutin store is defined

by elegance and enigma. The ubiquitous red carpet in all its stores world-wide defines Louboutin’s obsession with fine couture and hi-fashion in a sexy, teasing way. The shoes are show-cased against a marbled tiled wall in most stores. And only few can resist not falling for their favourite pair on a store visit. Romance novelist Danielle Steel owns 6000 pairs and is still counting!

Louboutin and India Louboutin first visited India in 1978 as a tourist and stayed here over a year apart from traveling around in Egypt. That was much before he found himself and his true calling. Over the last two decades of the style rage that his shoes have created, Louboutin has cultivated a steady list of admirers from India as well. Most of his shoes were picked up by Indian consumers from the London store and many had dropped in earnest suggestions that he looked eastward towards India. Finally, with business prospects looking good the designer agreed to open his first store in Delhi’s Emporio mall which is to be followed by a

Creativity and business The designer has announced his plans to get into the beauty business. From reviving the stilettos into an accessory that fashionconscious women are ready to worship, Louboutin is setting his sights on starting a make-up line that will be in tandem with his red-lacquered shoes in collaboration with Batallure Beauty – characterised by the same edginess, adventure and devilish pride that his wearers have found in his shoes.

Creating for men From revolutionising beauty in women’s shoes, Louboutin is now focusing his creat iv i t y as the pragmatic shoe-designer looking out for the metro sexual man who doesn’t mind a hint of red on his soles. The first Louboutin Men’s Boutique, Christian Louboutin Boutique Homme on Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Paris, opened in the summer of 2012. He’s opening four new men’s stores worldwide soon. by sanghita Singh

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retail therapy

just arrived

From precious metals to gadgets, accessories to furniture, there is always something new in town for the style diva or the connoisseur of fine living. We bring you a selection from the finest – which enhances ease of living or adds luxe to living.

A date with eight

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ior plays the ‘eight’ game with the creation of Dior VIII, a watch that was launched by brand ambassador Charlize Theron sporting the new white Dior VIII launched at Baselworld 2012. With the creation of the Dior VIII, the brand pays tribute to the couturier. Its name, consisting of eight char-

Go glam this summer

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ith summers here, it’s time to look fresh and sparkle. What could be easier for a woman than to just don the right stones and spread the light? Always on trend, jewelry designer Radhika Chanana presents a collection of cocktail rings, made in pure gold, with stunning designs. Encrusted with polki, tourmaline, coral, turquoise and other stones, the pieces are extremely versatile.Wear them through the day with your maxi dress-

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es, adding that tribal bling, or team them with your pristine white salwar kameez for a burst of glam and color. Try it! Price:  150-ICE Accessories : 22 carat gold peacock design hand ring Rs 29,000/151-ICE Accessories : Polki, red and green flower ring 22kt gold Rs 39,000/152-ICE Accessories : Turqouise, polki and tourmaline ring Rs 20,500/153-ICE Accessories : Polki and centre tourmaline 22 kt gold ring Rs 39,000/-

acters, is the lucky number of Dior’s founder. The date of his couture house’s creation, was the 8th of October 1946. The name of his first collection was baptised “en hult”. Also it is at the Avenue Montaigne and 8 Place VenDome  in the VIIIth Arrondissement of Paris that they showcase the high Jewellery and timepiece collections. More over, 8 is the only number that appears in Roman numerals at 8 ‘o’ clock on this ultra-feminine and classic-shaped wristwatch. The Dior VIII collection is inspired by the classic couture from the House of Dior.  Th e c e ra m i c wo rk o n the Dior VIII has enabled the creation of a structured pattern, a bracelet made from an arrangement of pyramids, like the Lady Dior bag and its “Cannage” pattern obtained by the work on the leather. The new Dior VIII White is pure and simple and matches with everything. In Haute Couture, white has a very special meaning because it is the colour of the “toile”, the cotton canvas prototype that is the basis for the construction of a dress.


The sound of monsoon music

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ust when the scorching summers are weighing heavy on you, Baggit’s latest cheerful collection comes with the promise of the showers are not too far awar. Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens... If these are also your favorite things, then the new range from Baggit, inspired by the colors of the monsoon is sure to find a place in your collection soon! Blues, reds, yellows, mauves and whites, the colors do the talking. With a wonderful mix of suede, corduroy and faux leather, the clutches and hobos are a delight to carry in the rains. And

to add to the delight, the prices start from only Rs 400! You can pick up your very own from the nearest Baggit store. Available at all Baggit exclusive outlets in Delhi or multibrand stores such as Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop and Central.

O-Oh!

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ackie O glasses have never quite gone out of style. This summer the rage comes back with round sunglasses as designers and the celebs who love them send the visual cue that vintage glam is the way to go. Straight off the 2012 fashion runways, round sunglasses are one of the biggest fashion accessory trends, making its way straight down to people’s hearts and lingering there to be cherished. Flaunt this dramatic batwing look this season with eyewear from OPIUM- brought to you by Eternity Lifestyles. If you want to go

for hipster vintage style this season, round sunglasses must be your second-to-none choice as this unique eyewear defines class by itself. They are fun. They are daring. They are stylish! --with a decidedly vintage vibe – so if you’re ready to see the world through round sunglasses get out there and flaunt the hottest trend of round eyewear from the house of OPIUM. OPIUM Model Description: OP 1103 C1: PRICE: Rs 1,950/The vintage look is back with these 1960’s sunglasses – a fashion statement of the times. These round sunglasses are made of plastic with purple gradient lens. Availability: Delhi Lifestyle: Gurgaon, Vasant Kunj, Rajouri, Noida

No frills, only function

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hen it comes to phones and changing technology, it is really difficult to keep pace with new choices on the shelf. But a recent award ceremony in Germany voted in favour of The Porsche Design P’9981 smartphone by BlackBerry as “Smartphone of the Year 2012”. The German luxury brand’s product combines typical straight-line and puristic design by Porsche Design and innovative technologies by BlackBerry. “Porsche Design has been a symbol for Iconic Style since 1972,” says Dr. Juergen Gessler, CEO of the Porsche Design Group.“Products with clean lines and no frills are at the heart of our design philosophy. Our collaboration with BlackBerry led to a smartphone that implements our credo without compromises. The Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone by BlackBerry is a modern luxury smartphone that combines timeless design with state-of-the-art technology.” The Plus X Award is given in categories like technology, sport and lifestyle paying particular attention to innovative and future-oriented products that distinguish themselves from others by a noteworthy added value - the Plus X Factor. June 2012 go now

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Signature living

Being house-proud is commonplace in these times. Not only are people experimenting with colours on the walls, the home has taken on a whole new dimension which can assume new meanings with diverse creative inputs. ‘Chizzle’, a furniture and space conceptualisation design brand with its stand-alone boutique in the exclusive Galaxy Hotel Complex situated in Gurgaon aims at providing holistic interior design solutions that are tailor-made to suit the specific needs and requirements of its discerning clientele. The brand specialises in the design and production of bespoke furniture items, handcrafted by master artisans and crafts men, manufactured in adherence to the distinctive design sensibilities of its clients. Choose one for your home and work-place and create your own signature space. by sanghita Singh

Carved wooden bracket: Rs 14,000

Gold Wing chair: Rs 42,000

Chizzle chair with footstool: Rs 56,000 (Chair: Rs 42,000 footstool: Rs 14,000)

Traditional High back settee: Rs.66,000 76

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creative zone musical

A tribute to music legend Kishore Kumar at the Kingdom of Dreams The new show is an ode to Bollywood dreams. Very similar to a Broadway musical, the shows at the Nautanaki Mahal are full of Bollywood song, dance and drama. These musicals are new for the audiences and a thrilling way for actors to showcase their talent.

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never before seen experience, a Bollywood styled drama enacted on a stage, something that has never been tried before in India. Kingdom of Dreams is the perfect mix of a theatre performance and a Bollywood masala movie. In fact, some people also compare the performances to the world famous Broadway musicals. Initially, Kingdom of Dreams came up with the story of a gypsy price and the show was titled Zangoora. The lead roles were and still are played by TV actors Hussain Kuwajerwala and ex- miss India Gauhar Khan. The show is still going strong and people come out in droves to see the performances. After a successful run of the show for about a year, Kingdom Of Dreams came up with Jhumroo, a show that is dedicated to the great singing legend, Kishore Kumar. The show revolves around a young guy named Jhumroo and

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his aspiration to sing like Kishore Kumar and woo his lady love. The lead roles are played by Tv actors Gaurav Gera and Shweta Gulati. The show was staged at Nautanki Mahal, the main performance area at the Kingdom of Dreams, (the other centres of attraction are the Culture Gully and iifa CafĂŠ). The theatre has a seating capacity of 700 plus, with the attraction point being the recliners with prices for them going as high as Rs. 5000. The interiors of Nautanki Mahal have an air of regality and splendour to it, the upholstery and the curtains are done in royal red and gold. The show begins with a bang and the 3D screens come to life displaying the names of the cast and music from a Kishore Kuamar song playing in the background. The show is a story of a simple boy next door, Bhola who likes Meena in his office and wants to woo her. He is a huge fan of legendary Kishore Kumar and

wants to win a reality singing competition to impress his lady love. In a very Padosan-Lage Raho muna bhai twist Kishore Kuamr’s spirit ultimately helps him to win his love. Other than Kishore Kumar, the other highlight of the show is technology and the arrangements in the show are such that it allows, laser lights to be used, 3D display screens to give an effect, and for a particular scene in the show, the actors are suspended in the air which feels like they are para gliding. All these effects along with show dancers coming out on aisles and dancing make it a power packed performance and the audiences feel like a part of the whole production.

Culture Gully Culture Gully is the food and shopping zone at Kingdom of Dreams. There are about 14 states that have their food and shopping


creative zone musical stalls. The state of Maharashtra has a stall that looks like the compartment of a local train, has night lamps that resemble a tiffin dabba, an ode to the famous dabbawalas. Lucknow is all imperial and blue with ghazals playing in the background. They keep people entertained as there are many live shows happening at Culture Gully, like a magic show, a puppet show, dancers dancing on bhangra tunes. It is an excellent getaway for kids and parents alike.

IIFA Café IIFA Café was inaugurated in 2010 when Salman Khan’s blockbuster hit, Dabangg was premiered here.The café is a pub-cum-lounge-cum-discotheque done in red and is inspired by the iifa awards. There are award replicas and walls are plastered with life size portraits of famous Bollywood actors. The café is a remarkable hangout for the youngsters and is good for a quick drink or two before the show at Nautanki Mahal starts. by APRAJITA SHISHOO

It is has been a very satisfying and exciting experience till now. I had never worked before in a musical, so it was new for me and the fact that it was challenging was a high for me.

I think I was plain lucky to be a part of Jhumroo: Gaurav Gera How has the experience been so far working in one of the biggest musicals in the country? Shweta Gulati: It is has been a very satisfying and exciting experience till now. I had never worked before in a musical, so it was new for me and the fact that it was challenging was a high for me. The show is very technologically driven and I had to achieve the perfection to be able to perform Meena’s role. Gaurav Gera: I think I was plain lucky to be a part of Jhumroo. I just wished it and god

granted it to me. I had seen Zangoora few months back and I was overwhelmed. I just wished if ever I get a chance to do it I would definitely take up the offer. Then four months after watching Zangoora I got a call from these guys here and I auditioned and got the part. Jhumroo has now been running for more than a month, how difficult is to keep up the energy level for every show? SG: See it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every show you do there is a feeling of novelty to it. No two shows are exact replicas, the reaction the performance, everything is new. Seeing the audiences on stage and their reaction is such a high that energy levels are pepped up before every show. GG: I don’t know, I surprise even myself. It was an eye-opener for me that I can work so hard and keep up my levels so high. I think my wish to be a part of the show was so strong that it continues with me till today. It is a Bollywood driven show and I enjoy

the dancing and the singing bit. The show is inspired by Jhumroo and is also a tribute to the late legend, does that make a huge challenge to live up to the expectations of filling in the shoes of one of the biggest entertainers that ever lived? SG: See it would be a huge challenge for anybody. We are celebrating a performer, an entertainer and he was and is a legend. It would be a challenge for anybody but if you have his songs to support you, then half your battle is already won. Each of his songs takes the story forward. GG: Yeah, but being a huge fan of the great singer helps. I loved his music and have done lot of comedy on Tv already and I was comfortable doing it. With his music and my forte to support me, half the worries were taken care of. The previous production Zangoora offered by the Great Indian Nautanki Company is a huge success and is also the biggest Bollywood musical in the world. Now the same production team is coming up with Jhumroo, hence there is bound to be a comparison. What is there in Jhumroo that stands out? SG: See, comparisons are obvious, any two movies of a director are compared so it was but natural. But zangoora was a huge hit and the audiences were like, if this is Zangoora, then the next would be one notch higher. And also our show is more today’s show with a singing competition and a story of today’s youth and we are more technologically driven than Zangoora. GG: Yeah comparisons are obvious, but we are a different show. That’s the story of a gyspy prince and we are more contemporary. Technologically as well, we are different. So the comparison is more about the fact that it is a musical, otherwise everything else is different. by APRAJITA SHISHOO June 2012 go now

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Green Alert Our monthly roundup of sustainable tourism practices in India and elsewhere making a difference. Village Ways, India

A voyage of mutual discovery

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eing able to do good work is rewarding in itself. But when you are able to do it in some of the most beautiful regions on earth, you couldn’t ask for more. Village Ways not just provides the villagers an alternate source of livelihood, but it came about at the most opportune time when it was needed most. In 1990, the Binsar National Park was annexed by the Indian Forestry Commission which left five villages deprived of its source of livelihood – timber and other forest produce. The villagers were left with little option but to migrate to nearby towns and to work as labourers. Village Ways not only provided these villagers employment opportunities in their own native villages but also reversed the migration trend. It was imperative to find ways and means to make the villagers stay put to retain the traditional skill and knowledge they had in abundance. At Village Ways, the key operational word is sustainability. The organisation works in partnership with rural communities to design, develop and manage a tourism model where the local communities are equal partners – in the work, pleasure and the profits.Village Ways works to attract visitors to these traditional communities and lifestyles while the villagers themselves ensure that the guests are welcomed warmly, stays secure and have a good, meaningful time. The visitors are exposed to an authentic slice of rural life with opportunities to lend a hand in the local activities.Trained guides take you around the villages and share their knowledge of the teeming flora and fauna, the traditional energy-saving techniques and medicinal practices. This interaction also gives the villagers to know more about the outside world. The discovery, must say, is mutual.

Casa Particulares

For the real Cuba

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ot all sustainable tourism practices are necessarily linked to organisation. In fact, at the heart of its success lies individual initiative. You don’t have to check in to a certain resort or sign up for a certain activity. But you can do your bit for sustainable tourism through the decisions you make. Like choosing a particular destination. Or deciding where to stay once you get there. Tourism has had a checkered history in Cuba which was not known for much else than Castro, rum and cigars. But the country has been back on track for several decades now sprucing up its infrastructure and preserving the sensitive ecosystem of the archipelago. Spelunking, bird watching, horse riding, nature photography…the activity list for the traveller is as varied as it can get. A trekkers’ paradise, Cuba has more than 100 developed nature trails and hiking paths where you can avail the services of professional guides. Tropical forests, mangroves, rare orchids, prehistoric cacti, and the world’s tiniest frog and bird if you are lucky…you will get to see them all over the course of single day’s trek. Suggested places to visit are the Guaniguanico Mountain Range for the unusual rock formations, biosphere reserves Sierra del Rosario and the Guanahacabibes Peninsula and the Zapata Nature Park. Many star hotels are coming up along the north coast of Cuba;

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you can check into any of these if you want to be pampered by eversmiling, English-speaking Cubans, as you lie on well-tended beaches. Then, if you are looking for a real slice of Cuba, we suggest you find yourself a casa particular – Cuban for home-stay. The Cubans, you will find, are the friendliest people on earth and literally trip over each other to be of assistance. Salsa and dominos – either of these can win you many friends and admirers here. by thommen jose


June 2012 go now

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Go Now June 2012  

Go Now June 2012