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India’s first Six Senses Spa: Greater Noida’s great escape European Quartet serves up unmatched luxury

Five hotels near Mumbai airport Rediscover Kitty Su on its first anniversary

Hokkaido’s exotic locales draw filmmakers


this issue editors’ page

Dear Readers, We are all moving towards a different way of travel; one that encompasses holiday with a learning experience. We travel to be amidst natural beauty, to lose ourselves in the mystical garden of spirituality, to wander and discover our real self whilst soaring in the skies. The September issue walks you through untouched, discreet destinations. Kabini River, bordering the Nagarhole National park, wins you over with its deep, stilling peace. Read about it in our feature: Call of the River. Kaziranga paints an inspiring picture of its many living legends; our feature Fen of the Unicorns gives you an elaborate picture. Our India Traveller section also focuses on the unbridled growth of Gujarat as the new land of cinema. Read about it in our special coverage: Gujarat grows new wings as a cinema destination. The state’s imperial palace hotels, rural countryside and its proximity to Mumbai have made Gujarat a huge hit with Bollywood as well as regional filmmakers. Frequent travellers can take advantage of our story, Just off the runway… Land into Luxury, about five new hotels near Mumbai. Our feature Port of the Call on Mahabalipuram will surprise you with the location’s hidden charms, awe-inspiring architecture and more. Overseas, we bring you a slice of Pangkor; the sun-kissed island in Malaysia is home to gorgeous golf-course greens, a flowing rocky stream and beautiful temples. Our photo feature captures the Amazon Basin, its forests, and its peace. The globetrotter section takes you through Sapporo; the capital of Hokkaido is buzzing with the movie business. Its pleasant climate, European fervour draws huge crowds. The section also concentrates on high-end boutique resorts in Tuscany, the land of impeccable luxury, designer comfort and constant buzz. Moving on to our City Escapes section, we lay before you a plethora of fine dining restaurants to choose from. We are still to come to terms with the number of quality-conscious dining outlets that have sprung up in the Capital. Flip the section for our feature on India’s first Six Senses Spa in Greater Noida and Kitty Su’s unmatched style. Enjoy reading.

readers write in Holiday Fever

Golf Stroll

Your spread on Puducherry made us decide on our annual family trip this October. The boutique hotels you put together, the beautiful locales, the beaches all are real gems of Puducherry. I cannot imagine how happy my kids will be, making mud castles by the beachside of this sun-soaked destination.

I had been to Langkawi two years ago for my honeymoon. The place is special. But you showed me a different side of this charming Malaysian getaway-its golf greens. Being an avid golfer, I am definitely going to try my luck on the island group’s three distinct layouts. Anmol Dhwan, Bengaluru

Ruhi Giri, Mumbai

Winning story I had no idea how gorgeous Sri Lanka is. Thank you for packing in an interesting seven-day schedule as well. The story made for a great read, and the pictures just looked postcard-perfect.

Wine and good food is the perfect blend. Your feature on pairing wine with Indian wine was quite informative. The amalgamation of different flavours along with some fine wine proved to be an instant hit at my home, last Sunday.

Sonia Sethi, New Delhi

Rina Singh, Chennai

Picturesque Feel

Editor: Navin Berry Assistant Editor: Chesta Wadhwani Trehan 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

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

September 2012 go now

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go now September 2012

India Traveller 16 Destination: Kaziranga’s many living legends

20 City in Focus: Mahabalipuram’s monolithic architecture and hidden charms 24 Wild Getaways: Kabini, a discreet getaway is abuzz with natural beauty 28 Special Interest: Top five hotels near Mumbai Airport 32 Cinema Tourism: Gujarat grows new wings as a cinema destination

On the Cover Photo courtesy: Hokkaido Tourism

globetrotters 40 Cinema Tourism: Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido

draws filmmakers 42 Destination: Tuscany’s haute luxury quotient 46 Special Interest: Pangkor Island’s enchanting web 50 Photofeature: Machu Pichu is celebrating 100 years of being discovered 54 Luxury Special: The European Quartet brims with unmatched luxury

city escapes 62 Food and More: Signature dishes from across Delhi’s

gastronomic landscape 66 City special: L’Opera has become Delhi’s most talked-about bakery 68 Fine dining: Mamagoto’s spectacular takes on oriental fare at Select Citywalk Mall 70 Bars and Lounges: Kitty Su at The Lalit celebrates its first anniversary 72 Food and Wine: Fit for the Gods, we present lazy Sunday brunches across Delhi 76 Spa and wellness: India’s first Six Senses Spa in Greater Noida 78 Rooms and Suites: Comfort unlimited at Radisson Blu Greater Noida 2

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TRAVEL BUZZ

Discounts and Deals Exciting getaway package from Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort, Greater Noida Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi’s advance purchase offers

Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort is offering ‘one night and two days’ getaway package for the discerning traveller. On booking a deluxe room on a single or a double sharing basis, priced at Rs 7,000, you get a complimentary drive at Buddh International Circuit in a Mercedes. On booking a deluxe room on a single or

twin-sharing basis, priced at Rs 7,000, one gets to play a complimentary game of golf on the 18-hole Golf Course. The offers are valid till September 30, 2012. For more information call: (91) - 120-6743000 or visit: www.jaypeeresortdelhi.com

Book online and avail Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi’s Hot Deals offer. Avail 20 per cent discount on best available rates advertised on the website. To avail this offer, the guest has to make a minimum two consecutive nights stay reservation. The package includes breakfast and free internet usage. When booking hot deals, Club Carlson members earn 10,000 bonus gold points. This offer is valid till September 30, 2012. Advance purchase offer entitles guests to a 25 per cent discount on the best available room rates if the guest books a room 21 days before he checks in. Advance Purchase offer is valid till November 30, 2012. For more information visit: www. radissonblu.com/hotel-newdelhi

Extended Stay package by The Park New Delhi

Escape to Kenilworth Resort and Spa Goa

Experience numerous discounts offered by The Park New Delhi. On a minimum stay of five nights enjoy discounts on breakfast, one way airport transfer, relaxing head or shoulder massage per stay, 50 per cent discount on the use of internet, 15 per cent 4

GO NOW September 2012

discount on food and beverage, laundry and spa. The offer is valid till March 31, 2013. For more information call: (91) - 2374 3000 or visit: www.theparkhotels.com

Kenilworth Resort and Spa Goa has introduced Escape to Goa package. This package valid on a minimum of three night stay is priced at Rs 26,000. The package includes a complimentary drink on arrival, 20 per cent discount on food, beverages and spa facilities. The package is valid till October, 2012. For more information call: (91) - 832669888 / 2755555 or E-mail: kenilworthgoa@kenilworthhotels.com


TRAVEL BUZZ

Spa retreat at Ranbanka Palace, Jodhpur

Frequent Business Traveller Package 1) Avail special goodies at JW Marriott On booking any time at JW Marriott, Hotel Mumbai between now and September 30, you can enjoy complimentary breakfast as well as dinner for two at Lotus Café. The hotel is located along the Juhu Beach and overlooks the Arabian Sea. Also, Visit marriott.com

2) Complimentary offer at Courtyard by Marriott Chennai Enjoy a complimentary night’s stay at Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai on booking a room for two consecutive nights. The offer is valid until October 24. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel is ideal for business and leisure travellers.

Ranbanka Palace, Jodhpur has introduced attractive spa packages for relaxation of your mind, body and soul. One gets to soak oneself in the splendour of ancient treatments like Abhyangam or Shirodhara. Ranbanka Palace also offers signature European massages (like the classic Swedish Indulgence) and exotic Oriental therapies (like the traditional Balinese massage). The deluxe room is priced at Rs 10,999 per couple whereas a Club Room comes for Rs. 12,999 per couple. The offer is valid till September 30, 2012. For more information visit: www.ranbankhahotels.com

Visit marriott.com for more details

3) Accor Gurgaon’s inviting benefits Incredible choice, exclusive benefits, perfect rewards’.await’at Accor Advantage Plus Gurgaon benefits. New membership at Accor Hotels, Gurgaon costs Rs 9,900 and one supplementary card is priced at Rs 4,100. Enjoy dining and accommodation discounts at over 450 Accor hotels and resorts throughout Asia Pacific, plus as a member of Le Club Accorhotels, earn and redeem points at more than 2,500 Accor hotels worldwide.

Pilgrimage offer from Daiwik Hotels, Rameswaram

Visit: www.accoradvantageplus.com www.accorhotels.com for more details

Experience comfort at Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

HY Energy Fitness Programme at Hyatt Regency, Delhi Club Olympus Fitness Centre, located at Hyatt Regency Delhi has announced HY Energy Fitness Programmes under the professional guidance of certified trainers. The HY Energy Fitness Programme includes a set of activities ranging from basic yoga to Pilates and high-energy combat classes to fun Zoomba and Bollywood Bhangra sessions. Currently open only to members, the applicable rates per person per class are Rs 700, monthly Rs 5,000, quarterly Rs 14,000 and annually Rs 40,000.

Suryagarh, Jaisalmer a luxury boutique hotel which is spread across sprawling 20 acres has introduced packages which let you explore the royal splendour of this desert city. The 2 nights-3 days package valid till September 30, 2012 is priced at Rs. 21, 999 upwards. The package includes accommodation for two nights, traditional welcome with arti tikka and welcome drink on arrival, daily breakfast at the restaurant and visit to the dunes and camel Safari at the dunes. For more information call: (91) - 02992-269269/ (011) - 40513908 or e-mail: info@suryagarh.com

Daiwik Hotels, Rameswaram has launched pilgrimage package called ‘in the footsteps of Lord Rama’. The package includes accommodation in the superior rooms for two, bed tea or coffee, breakfast, pure vegetarian meals, relaxing foot massage at Vyom – The Spa at the hotel and transfer in an A/C car. Guests can visit revered temples like Shiva Temple, Teerthandadhanam; Tapnashan Vinayak Temple, Uppur; Navagraha Tank, Devipattinam; Setu Cheddukarai; Thirupullani Darbhasayanam Temple and Uthirakosamangai Temple over the three days to achieve a deeply spiritual experience. The 3 nights-3 day package is valid till March 2013. It is priced at Rs. 22,500 including taxes. For more information call: (91) - 04573301401, 04573223222 or E-mail: www.daiwikhotels.com

For more information call: (0 11) - 6677 1244 September 2012 GO NOW

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Lufthansa flies world’s newest aircraft to India

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Axel Hilgers, South Asia director for Lufthansa, introduced the new full lie-flat Business Class seat

The airline’s business class features ergonomically optimized seats which convert into a 1.98 metre-long full-flat bed at the push of a button

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pening a new chapter in Indian aviation, Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental recently touched down for the first time in the country. Delhi is the second destination worldwide to receive the B747-8. The state-of-the-art aircraft is equipped with technologies that help maximize in-flight comfort, by reducing cabin noise by 30 per cent. Lufthansa’s latest in-flight Business Class seat features a 6.5 feet long fullflat bed with improved sleeping comfort and much greater privacy. Lufthansa’s new business class features ergonomically optimized seats which convert into a 1.98 metre-long full-flat bed at the push of a button.

A special air cushion assures unparalleled comfort while sitting. Lufthansa's contemporary business class cabin design creates an enhanced sense of space and privacy employing a V-shaped seating layout. This virtually doubles the distance between two neighboring seats at shoulder level. Passengers can also enjoy an enhanced in-flight entertainment system with larger 15 inch monitors and noise reducing Sennheiser headsets. The B747-8 sets new standards for comfort and efficiency. It builds upon the Boeing 747 series. The aircraft is configured with eight First Class, 92 business class and 262 economy class seats. September 2012 GO NOW

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airlines & airports buzz

Qatar Airways announces Chicago as newest USA route Qatar Air ways recently announced an expansion of its USA route network with the introduction of daily passenger flights to Chicago from April 10 next year. The non- stop service from Doha will be the carrier’s fourth USA gateway, following already successful daily operations to New York (JFK), Washington (IAD) and Houston (IAH). Qatar Air ways’ Boeing 777 a ir c r a f t op er at in g on t he Chicago route will feature 335 seat s in a t wo - cla s s configuration of 42 business class seats and 293 in economy. busines s cla s s, configured

in a spacious 2–2–2 layout, features seats that convert into fully-flat horizontal beds, 17 inch individual TV monitors and an award-winning dining experience. For more information visit www.qatarairways.com

Opening a new chapter in Indian aviation, Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental recently touched down for the first time in the country. Delhi is the second destination worldwide to receive the B747-8. The state-of-the-art aircraft is equipped with latest technologies

Turkish Airlines World Golf Final to draw world’s top golf players

Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Golf Federation have made a collaboration to organize a golf tournament that will feature the world’s top eight golf players, including Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and many more. The Turkish Golf Federation, in cooperation with Turkish Airlines, will sponsor the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, to be held between October 9th and 12th in Belek, Antalya. The tournament is expected to attract great interest worldwide, and will be televised live in more than 50 countries from the PGA Sultan Course at the Antalya Golf Club where the event will be held. The ‘Turkish Airlines World Golf Final” has a total purse of 5.3 million dollars at stake, one of golf’s richest prizes. For more details visit: http://www.turkishairlinesworldgolffinal.org 8

go now September 2012

Ethiopian -B787’s new-age interiors

t hat help ma ximize in-flight seats which convert into a 1.98 comfor t, by reducin g c abin metre-long full-flat bed at the push noise by 30 per cent. Lufthansa’s of a button. latest in-flight Business Class The B747-8 sets new standards for Ethiopian Airline features of its B787 seat features a 6.5 feet longrecently full- unveiled comfort the andspecial efficiency. It builds Dreamliner. Ethiopian will be the first outside Japan to receive flat bed with improved sleeping upon the Boeing 747 series. The the Dreamliner. The Dreamliner applies breakthrough technolocomfort and much greater privacy. aircraft is configured with eight takes passenger and92overall travel experience Lufthansa’sgies newand Business Class comfort First Class, business class and to a whole new level. Ethiopian Dreamliner is configured with features ergonomically optimized 262 economy class seats. 24 Cloud Nine business class seats and 245 economy class seats. Ethiopian Dreamliner interiors boasts of higher humidity, bigger storage for onboard luggage, 60 per cent less noise footprint than peer airplanes, biggest windows in the sky, unique and adaptable lighting to the environment.


airlines & airports buzz

Lufthansa upgrades its service to Bengaluru with B747-8 From September 14, Lufthansa passengers will enjoy the all-new ‘Queen of the Skies’ when travelling between Bengaluru and Frankfurt. Equipped with Lufthansa’s new Business Class seats, this latest aircraft in the world introduces new on-board pleasures for passengers in all three classes. The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on the daily Bengaluru – Frankfurt route ( LH 754/55) is only the third such aircraft in Lufthansa’s fleet. Customers can enjoy attractive introductory return fares when booking seats on this aircraft directly on the website visit: www. lufthansa.com

British Airways introduces new app for iPhones

British Airways customers on the move can now capture and share their own ideal personalised travel guides and more, with the launch of a new Perfect Day app for iPhones. It follows last year’s launch of the Perfect Day’s app on Facebook. The free-todownload iPhone app has been cleverly configured so it can be edited, saved and used offline, and only uploaded to Facebook The iPhone app integrates and extends the existing Perfect Days service and means customers can now capture their experiences on the move using the unique format. This includes creating reviews or ‘travel snippets’ using uploaded pictures and a short description, which are tagged to their exact location on Google maps as a 24-hour recommendation. The app also includes ‘Meet Me’ function that allows users to ‘pin’ and SMS an exact location to meet.. Among the places customers can personalise with their own Perfect Days so far are Berlin, San Francisco, New York, Rome, Florida, the UK and the Caribbean. For further information on British Airways visit www.ba.com

Lufthansa inaugurates luxurious new lounge at IGI Airport, T3

Lufthansa recently inaugurated its brand new lounge at Delhi ’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The Lufthansa Lounge in Delhi is for exclusive use by Frequent Traveller cardholders from the Miles & More programme, First and Business class ticket holders of Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, HON, Senator. The generouslyspaced Lufthansa Lounge spreads across 3,767 square feet and seats 131 travellers. It is conveniently situated near the boarding gates in the main atrium of Terminal 3. Lufthansa’s new lounge concept includes design elements like poster walls and comforting accessories. The walls are designed with wing-view motives to give guests a feeling of sitting inside an aircraft. Ergonomically designed lounging chairs also feature in the lounge. On offer are complimentary hot and cold dishes and snacks along with spirits, wines and fresh juices. Workstations and Wi-Fi internet create a comfortable work environment. Lufthansa now exclusively operates two lounges in India. A Lufthansa Lounge was introduced at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai in 2009.

Singapore Airlines & SilkAir’s all-inclusive fares to Australia & New Zealand Singapore Airlines & SilkAir recently announced special all-inclusive return fares to Australia starting from Rs 58,000 for outbound travel up to 31 October 2012. This special promotional fare is valid for departures from 10 Singapore Airlines and Silk Air gateway cities in India viz. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram. Destinations in Australia are Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Travellers to New Zealand also get to enjoy special all-inclusive return fares starting from Rs 61,000 on Singapore Airlines & SilkAir for outbound travel up to 30 September 2012. These fares are available from all 10 Singapore Airlines

& SilkAir gateways in India to Auckland & Christchurch in New Zealand. Tickets can be booked from all Singapore Airlines & SilkAir online points & singaporeair.com / silkair.com September 2012 go now

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travel buzz

Mandarin Oriental, Manila launches ‘maximise’ your meetings’ package Mandarin Oriental, Manila recently introduced the “Maximise Your Meetings” package for group bookings of 10 rooms or more. Valid until 30 December, the package is designed to provide flexible solutions to organisers as well as offer value-added benefits, from complimentary room upgrades to innovative menus. The “Maximise Your Meetings” package starts from PHP 4,000 for single occupancy (including breakfast) in a superior room or PHP 4,500 in a deluxe room and includes: Full-day use of the meeting venue with menus starting from PHP 1,845 nett per person inclusive of: set lunch, two coffee breaks, one complimentary round of iced tea during lunch, and free coffee throughout the day. The package also features complimentary use of the LCD projector and screen, high-speed Internet access for one delegate at the meeting venue. The package entails one room upgrade to the Mandarin Oriental Club, where a VIP guest can enjoy executive privacy and added amenities. One complimentary 50-minute massage at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Manila is available too. For more information call: (+63) 2 750 8888 or by e-mail: momnl-reservations@ mohg.com

Tower Club at lebua launches ‘all inclusive’ meeting package

Perennially popular with those who love luxury, gourmet dining, and Thai hospitality, Bangkok is fast becoming a favourite for business travellers as well – and Tower Club at lebua is showing the way Tower Club at lebua’s All-Inclusive Meeting Package is valid until 31 October, The package features many benefits: Guests are accommodated in a spacious 66 square metre Tower Club Suite with balcony; breakfast is available daily for all guests; one can make sue of complimentary high-speed internet access

along with complimentary in-room minibar. Guests can access the Tower Club Lounge and the meeting room; daily coffee breaks are provided under the package; 15 per cent discount is available on Business Centre services; the Flute Bar on the 64th floor is available for group photo shoots as well. Package Rate starts from THB 6,499++ per person. For more information please call: +66 (0) 624 9555 ext. 29532 Email: sales@lebua. com or visit www.lebua.com

A Suite Deal for Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite Members

When Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite members check into their rooms at participating Marriott International hotels in Asia-Pacific they may now receive a complimentary upgrade to a suite*. Participating brands include JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Courtyard by Marriott hotels in Asia Pacific. Marriott Rewards members can earn points toward free hotel stays or frequent flier miles on their choice of more than 30 airline partner programs for money spent at more than 3,600 hotels worldwide. In addition to earning points or miles for dollars spent at participating hotel brands, members who stay with Marriott just 10 or more nights during a given year also receive special “Elite” benefits and services that make travel more convenient. Visit www.MarriottRewards.com/Suites 10

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TRAVEL BUZZ

Harley Davidson tour package by Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

Honeymoon package by GHM hotels! Celebrate love and romance among the intimate surrounding of The Legian Bali or The Club at The Legian. A fivecourse romantic dinner as well as a couple-spa treatment awaits you when you book Ro-

mance in Style. This special 5 days 4 nights stay package includes one 120-minute ‘Eternal Love’ spa treatment at The Spa at The Legian The Club at The Legian is located right across from

The Legian Bali, and is set within its own private compound – offering guests the ultimate in privacy and unobtrusive service. For more information call Tel: 011– 49210000

Holiday on the high Seas with Azamara Club Cruises Plan your holidays in style onboard Azamara Club Cruises. Enjoy Azamara's all inclusive amenities such as gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner; complimentary water, soft drinks, coffee and tea; shuttle service (when available) and free self-service laundry. Small in size yet big on luxury Azamara's intimate ships offer English butler service in every suite; shore excursions; enrichment programs offering everything from culinary to photographic explorations; multiple all-day-dining venues, 24-hr room service and two specialty restaurants. Soak in the settings of South American and Asian destinations such as Vietnam and Thailand with Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest this holiday season. For more details visit: www.azamaraclubcruises.in

Imagine driving a Harley Davidson through the Swiss mountains. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is now offering ‘Harley Davidson® Emotion Package’, especially created to allow guests who possess a motorcycle licence to experience a taste of biker's paradise while enjoying the stunning surroundings of the picturesque Swiss Mountains. With the Harley Davidson Emotion Package, guests will be entitled to ride the motorbike over the resort's surrounding 14 Alpine passes; which include some of the most scenic roads in Europe. Guests can admire the setting for a little longer, a special picnic will be provided to enable hungry bikers to relax and enjoy a delicious four course lunch at a location of their choice. For more information visit: www.resortragaz.ch

Norwegian Visa Application Centres in India Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS), a subsidiary of Cox & Kings Ltd announced the start of its Schengen and Residence Permit Application Centres for the Royal Norwegian Embassy in India. CKGS has opened Visa application centres across India in major cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Pune and Kochi. CKGS will provide services such as disseminating visa and residence permit related information approved by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in India. The applicants have to fill the Visa Application form online (https://selfservice.udi.no) and make an online payment of Norway Visa Fees charged by the Embassy. An appointment has to be booked online (www.no.ckgs.com) for submission of documents.

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AROUND THE WORLD

Tourism New Zealand’s cinematic appeal

Special offers on Swiss Pass by Rail Europe

D

estination Europe will appear even more exciting to Indian travellers now. Rail Europe, Swiss Travel System and Switzerland Tourism have launched 2-for-1 offer on Swiss Pass offer for their most popular Swiss Pass valid until October 31, 2012. Some of the most famous excursions in Switzerland are also actually train routes like Glacier Express and the Bernina Express – it’s almost like watching a movie as you pass through some of the most scenic locales in the world. The 2-for-1 promotion is the per-

fect deal for two people visiting Switzerland. Buy one 4-day Pass and get another one free. The promotion is available up to 29 November. The offer is valid on both the variants of Swiss Saver Pass – 4 days Swiss Pass and the 4 days in 1 month Swiss Flexi Pass. The offer means good news for children as well; the Swiss Family Card allows children under 16 to travel free when accompanied by a parent holding a valid Swiss Travel System ticket. The pass is also likely to draw more people during the autumn season.

T

ourism New Zealand’s latest release of its television and cinema commercial tells a compelling story of how the cinematic fan tasy world of Middle-earth, as revealed in the upcoming fantasy adventure motion picture The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is in fact the reality of New Zealand. It portrays the country’s stunning scenery and unique activities and experiences, coupled with Middle-earththemed narration. The campaign reflects that the New Zealand people see as the fantasy world of Middle-earth in the cinema is actually a real place just waiting to be explored. The campaign is the latest evolution of their existing 100 per cent Pure New Zealand campaign first launched in 2000.

Nobu Hotel to open at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas The 181-room hotel brings boutique luxury to the center of the Las Vegas Strip

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rom celebrities to dignitaries to foodies all over the world, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has created a legion of fans that spans five continents and has created thousands of loyal followers. Madonna once said, “You can tell how much fun a city is going to be if Nobu is in it.” Today, Nobu is one step closer to adding hotelier to his famed resumé with Nobu Hotel set to open at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas late 12

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2012, with reservations for rooms officially on sale Oct. 1, 2012. The groundbreaking pairing of two iconic brands (Nobu/Caesars Palace) will usher in a new era on the Las Vegas Strip. The new Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace will focus on taste, culture and quality. Designed by Rockwell Group’s own David Rockwell, the hotel will be created with a distinctive sense of spirit, sensuality, intrigue, fashion and craft.

The Nobu Hotel, which takes over the existing Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace, is being designed to embrace a touch of Vegas flair. When completed, the boutique hotel will also feature an adjoining Nobu Restaurant which will be the

first on the Strip and the largest of Nobu’s restaurants worldwide (spanning more than 12,000 sq ft). Hotel guests will have access to Nobu’s first-ever in-room dining menu and will receive express iPad in-room registration.


India Traveller

Hotel Novotel mumbai Juhu Beach

Travel and discover a subcontinent

Located right on Juhu Beach, Novotel is an ideal destination for business travelers who wish to stay near the airport. On offer are meeting rooms, conference and banquet facilities and customized event management services.


INDIA THIS MONTH

âœľ Bengaluru Ganesha Utsava

IN THE NAME OF GOD

September 19 to 28, 2012

W

hile Maharashtra and other parts of the country gear up to welcome the Elephant God in the month of September, in Bengaluru, the traditional festivities associated with Lord Ganesha take on a different hue. Starting September 19, on Ganeshchaturthi, the city will be playing host to the 50thBengaluru Ganesh Utsava. A 11-day extravaganza of culture, colour and creativity, the Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava is a one of Bangalore's largest cultural festivals that upholds the rich tradition of culture and heritage through its presentations of music, dance, drama and art by some of the finest artists of the country. Making the celebrations all the more special this year is the fact that the festival celebrates 50 years of its commencement. The Utsava is organised by Shree Vidyaranya Yuvaka Sangha at the APS College Grounds, Basavanagudi. Besides performances by eminent artistes the Ganesh Utsava also provides a platform for budding artists to showcase their art. Eminent musicians, theatre groups and ballet troupes from all across the country have performed at the festival over the years. Some of the renowned guests who have graced the festival. The highlights of the festival this year include a rangoli contest, photography contest. Among the artistes performing this year are Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani, Ilayiraja and L Eshwari.While there will be music, dance and culture for the soul there is enough to titillate the taste buds as well. Foods of Karnataka is a walk down stalls serving up traditional delicacies likeShenga Holige, Jack Fruit Mulaka, Bangarpet chats, Dharwad Peda and more from each of the six districts of Karnataka -- Karavalli, Uttara Karnataka, Bayalusime Malenadu, Mysore and Hyderabad-Karnataka. 14

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GETTING THERE Bangalore is well connected via air, rail and road with all metro cities in the country. The city has a decent bus network provided BMTC, which runs AC Volvos and non-AC buses on all major routes. Other popular forms of public transport include autorickshaws and private cabs, including radio taxis. The city also offers HOHO or Hop on Hop Off buses with two convenient circular routes for sightseeing tourists. WEATHER Bangalore enjoys pleasant weather and is neither too hot nor cold throughout the year. It has a typical tropical savanna climate. September receives plenty of rainfall and the average temperatures in the month range between 28 C to 18 C. VENUE APS College Grounds, Basavanagudi, located in South Bangalore, nearby Jayanagar. The area is known for its Bull Temple with a monolith statue of the Nandi bull.


DESTINATION

Fen of the Unicorns

KAZIRANGA 16

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DESTINATION

T

he legend is still alive. Dazzled by the wonders of India, medieval English travellers took back tales of magical fen lands, low-lying and glistening at the foot of blue mountains. In them, wandering wild, were herds of silver beasts with single horns. Inspired by those tales, heralds created animals patterned on the horses they knew. They called them, in the lingua franca of the age, Unicorns and emblazoned them as one of the supporters on the escutcheon of the rulers of England. There, to this day, the Unicorn stands. And, to this day, the real UniCorns still trudge through the fen-lands, the wet lands, of their home. We went to the fens of Assam’s Kaziran-

ga to see these living legends for ourselves. Our base for our foray into the floodplains of the great Brahmaputra was the beautiful Diphlu River Lodge. Self-contained cottages rise on stilts, their thatched cladding framing views of the resort’s own rice and mustard fields backed by the lush forests of Assam. On the other side, from our balcony, fishermen on bamboo rafts floated on the Diphlu River and their catch featured on the menu of the two-tiered dining room and lounge in the compound.. It was the best of both worlds: secure and cosseted in the wilderness. We could have driven out to the National Park's office and taken an elephant ride through the park, as many other visitors did, but we opted for a jeep safari to cover more of Kaziranga's 430 sq kms. It was the correct decision. The Park is crossed by four rivers nurturing dense forests, creating lush grasslands, filling lakes. It has, been declared a Wildlife Sanctuary, a National Park, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a Tiger Reserve. We did not expect to see any tigers even though they have been listed among the Big Five charismatic species of this park, but we did spot the first of the Five shortly after entering. On the other side of a lake, browsing in the grasslands, was a herd of Swamp Deer. These beautiful animals are an endangered species with only about 3,000 surviving. The males had shed their antlers and would grow them again before the rutting season. Then their spread of horns might extenmd to twelve tines giving them their alternative name of Barasingha. After this, the sightings came thick and fast living up to Kaziranga's reputation as ‘one of our most impressive wildlife preserves’, according to the authoritative Bombay Natural History Society. Just after the congregation of the social Barasingha, we spotted a Great Pied Hornbill. They nest in a natural hollow in a tree which the female enters and then plasters the entrance with her excreta and mud, leaving a small slit for the male to feed her. This protective wall is broken only when the chicks are ready to fly. Spotting wildlife in their natural habitat is exciting but an even greater reward comes with learning more about their lives and survival strategies. The family of Elephants we saw, almost concealed by the tall grass, was probably communicating with other elephants many kilometers away. Naturalists have known for September 2012 GO NOW

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DESTINATION years that elephants pick up deep, sub-sonic rumbles through their feet. Only recently, however, have they discovered that these ground-vibrating rumbles are made by special folds in their throats. This family was, obviously, not very happy with us. The ambled away, shielding their calves protectively... We ticked off the second animal in our list of Kaziranga’s Big Five. Elephants are great recyclers and they leave behind enormous piles of fibre-rich debris. Two Red Junglefowl were busy scratching in a mound deposited by elephants. The cock was brilliant, his spouse dowdy, and their ancestors were the forebears of all the domesticated chickens in all the farmyards of the world. Their eggs are particularly relished by reptiles and our keeneyed spotter sighted one of their predators. The Monitor Lizard was stretched on a fallen log, its mottled coat merging perfectly with its background. This one could have been looking for a place to lay her own eggs. Hollow logs or piles of brush are their preferred nesting sites. We had, in our drive, spotted many interesting species in this rich Park but we had sighted only two of the likely Big Four, since we had excluded the tiger. In the last half hour of our morning round we were returning on a road that skirted a green flood-plain stretching to the horizon. Our jeep slowed,

stopped, and our spotter pointed without saying a word. There, grazing undisturbed a short distance off the road, was a family of Wild Water Buffalo: the adults with wide, curved, horns and dark, muscled bodies, their calves still wearing their youthful dungrey liveries. They looked very serene and inoffensive and, but for the outward curving horns, we could have mistaken them for a domesticated village herd. In the distant past, when our hunter-gatherer ancestors settled down and became agriculturists, they must have domesticated the water buffalo and bred them to have less lethal backward or downward sweeping horns. We photographed them from our jeep and then did not even look at us. A little later, however, just before we drove out of Kaziranga, we spotted a massive male glaring at us out of the sedges. We took a hurried snap, and then left him alone with his anger. Dark clouds were roiling over the sky and a cold front swept A colourful jungle through the trees promis-

ing rain. There was a light splatter just after lunch and then the wind shredded the clouds and whisked them away. The light was gentle as if it had been filtered through a gelatin screen and the Hog Deer decided that this was just what they wanted. They appeared in ones and twos, in families and once in a herd, though they don’t generally assemble in herds. They’re gentle creatures with a rather startled look as if someone had just said BOO! to them and they weren't sure how to react. We have no idea why they’re

fowl couple

The Diphlu River Lodge

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DESTINATION

factfile Getting There: Air or Rail to Guwahati Then Road 250 kms on National Highway 37. Taxis & A/c and non-A/c buses ply Best Season November - April. Accommodation: Diphlu Forest Lodge 38 Dirang Arcade, Chandmari. Guwahati 781001 Tel: 0361 - 2667871/2/3 Fax: 0361 - 2662140 E-mail: assambengal@rediffmail.com IORA, The Retreat Bogorijuri, Kohora, Kaziranga, Assam Tel: 03776 - 262437, 262411/12 Fax: 03776 - 263418 E-mail: iora@kazarirangasafari.com Getting Around Jeep and Elephant safaris available from the Forest Dept. Bon Habi Resort 1no. Kohora Gaon, Bogorijuri Kaziranga National Park, Dist: Golaghat, Assam Tel: 3776-262675/262575 Aranya Resort Bidhan Road, Siliguri, West-Bengal Tel: + 97340-00808 E-mail: aranya_lataguri@yahoo.co.in

called Hog Deer. They don’t look like any swine we’ve ever seen. Possibly the naturalist who named them had had a bad morning! We didn’t have time to dwell on that line of thought because there, on the road in front of us, blocking the passage of another jeep driving towards us, was a Rhinoceros. He had just emerged from a wallow in the low-lying ground to the right and was covered in the glistening silver mud brought down by the Brahmaputra in its passage through the Himalayas. He was followed by another, and another, their bodies and single horns glinting in the soft light. We held our breaths, delighted at capturing these images of one of the rarest and most celebrated animals in history. They paused, looked at us as if speculating whether we were worthy of an attack with their piercing horns and armourplated bodies. Decided we weren’t. Lumbered like living tanks down the other side and got lost in the shimmering wetlands of their ancient home. So we’re happy to report that the Unicorn, the legendary single-horned and silver-plated animal, is still alive and thriving in the protected fens of Kaziranga.

Hotel Marigold by GreenPark comes to Hyderabad The hotel is uniquely positioned to cater to both leisure and MICE segments.

G

reenPark Hotels & Resorts Ltd announced the launch of Marigold – the first 5-Star luxury hotel in their portfolio. The property offers an ambience and facilities suitable for business and leisure alike. Centrally located in Greenlands, Begumpet, the hotel is at a close proximity to all the important destinations of the city. Built on 3.5 acres of land, the hotel is located away from the main road. It is insulated from the bustle of the traffic and is an ideal location for guests to conduct business meetings, conferences, as well as relish the delectable cuisine, offered by its tastefully done F&B outlets. Saffron Soul is a World Cafe which serves authentic dishes from the kitchens of the world, ranging from Indian to Mexican to Continental. Mekong is the fine dining Pan Asian Restaurant, which is the highlight of the hotel. The guests can savour authentic dishes from China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as well.

The ambience stands by its name, with blue wall panels and ceiling resembling waves giving it a true aqua feel. Mystique Lounge is yet another addition to the signature F&B outlets of the property; this one flaunts out-of-the-box interiors. Mystique, which is an ideal place to overcome weekday blues, specializes in serving single malt whiskey. All 181 rooms are designed keeping in mind the functionality and spaciousness. The five categories of rooms are Premium rooms, Luxury rooms, Studio rooms, Royal Suite and Presidential Suite. Marigold’s facilities driven by an experienced team enables hassle-free, convenient and efficient access for guests to conduct their meetings or events be it – board meetings, formal or informal business meetings, corporate events, events – weddings, get-togethers amongst others. Designed to accommodate large as well as small groups, Marigold has five banquet halls namely Peacock, Cyan Azure, Amber and Teal.

Text & photos by HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER

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city in focus

Port of Call

A

Mahabalipuram rolls down history and heritage in the same breath. Its glorious past aside, the place has a number of luxurious resorts to indulge in, beaches to unwind at, and good food to devour.

little over 50 kms south of Chennai lies a small coastal town that packs a myriad experiences with a 1500 year old heritage. Mamallapuram (Or Mahabalipuram) dates back to the 7th Century AD when this coastal city was a major Pallava hub. The Pallavas were one of the most powerful dynasties to have ruled Tamil Nadu and the town was named after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler). It was this emperor who developed Mamallapuram and even today it boasts of some of the finest examples of monolithic and rock cut architecture and has been declared a UNESCO World heritage site. But there’s more to Mamallapuram than its glorious past and a whole lot of experiences waiting to be discovered.

influence in the design almost on the lines of the rock cut Ajantha and Ellora caves. The Descent of the Ganges popularly known as Arjuna’s Penance is another landmark here and is a giant open-air relief carved out of a monolithic rock and depicts the story of the descent of the sacred river Ganges to earth from heaven led by Bhagiratha and Arjuna’s penance. The Varaha Cave temple one of the finest examples of Indian rock-cut architecture is another must see location. Mamallapuram has long been an important coastal hub and the town’s two lighthouses are testimony. One dates back to the Pallava period while the second is a relic of the colonial period (The British re-established Mamallapuram town as we know it in the 1820s) and is reminiscent of a lighthouse in a remote European island.

History awaits

Beach resorts

Legend has it that the Pallavas constructed seven pagodas along the coastline; all but one of them now lie submerged under the Bay of Bengal. The sole survivor now stands as one of the oldest structural (as opposed to rock cut) temples in South India and has withstood even the deadly Asian Tsunami of 2004. The Shore temple is one of the finest examples of Pallava architecture and this complex structure is built with fine local granite. Some distance away is the other world famous site, the Pancha Rathas or the five chariots a cluster of five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the five Pandavas. Each one of these is carved from one single piece of stone and some historians see a Buddhist

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Mamallapuram and its surroundings are home to some the finest beach resorts on the Bay of Bengal. The Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove is near the Kovalam beach about 20 kms north of Mamallapuram and is probably the most luxurious retreat hereabouts. The resort has been built on the ramparts of an Old Dutch fort and its villas incorporate modern Scandinavian and European design influences. The resort’s ocean facing restaurant Bay view with minimalist exteriors is one of the finest outdoor restaurants in India and takes you within a few feet from the Coromandel Coast. The


city in focus

Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove.

resort has played host to some of best known world leaders and International celebrities like Queen Elizabeth II. And just like other Taj Vivanta hotels, the Fisherman’s cove has a range of unique motifs that add a unique local dimension to your holiday. The Seaside Sojourn is one such motif that lets you explore your culinary skills. You can visit the local fish market with one of the hotel’s talented chefs and check out the fresh catch of the day with expert advice as you choose the best prawn, squid, lobsters and fish for your shopping bag. And once you are back to the resort you can fix your own marinade as you cook up an exquisite seafood meal with a little bit of help from the chef. And once you are done you can unwind in one of the hammocks or the lounge bar or the Jiva Spa. For sheer proximity to the Shore temple the Radisson Blu Temple Bay is unbeatable. Spread over 44 acres with a mix of beach front villas and pool facing villas. The resort’s Wharf restaurant is easily one of the most romantic beachside dinner venues and offers a breathtaking view of the Shore temple. The resort has two distinctive blocks one that hugs the Coromandel Coast and a newer section built around a shimmering pool with luxurious

villas overlooking the pool. The hotel’s activity desk is always buzzing with ideas and is the perfect place to leave your kids as the two of you indulge in some serious spa therapy or a quiet dinner with a medley of local seafood favourites and International haute cuisine. INDeco Mahabalipuram a luxur y boutique hotel is also located very close to the

just like other Taj Vivanta hotels, the Fisherman’s cove has a range of unique motifs that add a local dimension to your holiday. The Seaside Sojourn is one such motif that lets you explore your culinary skills shore temple. The hotel features 30 rooms, theme suites and is home to the Steve Borgia Indian heritage museum. The INDeco also houses an authentic Ayurveda centre that offers a host of treatments and herbal massages

Joy of good food Dine like James Bond: Moonrakers (Prob-

ably named after the 1979 James Bond flick) is possibly the best known seafood joint in the area and is a hub for international tourists and locals from Chennai alike. A throwback to the 1970s style Goan beach shack, Moonrakers is a big hit with seafood lovers and offers fresh local catch of the day from lobsters to squids to king size prawns. There are scores of other little cafes and September 2012 go now

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city in focus

Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

beach shacks but Moonrakers is clearly the big daddy of them all. Art attack: Established in the 1960s the Cholamandalam Artists’ Village in Injambakkam (35 kms away) is a large community of artists. There is a permanent exhibition of their paintings, sculptures and graphic arts and also features an al-fresco café Shiraz that serves authentic Iranian cuisine.

Beach thrills Mamallapuram is situated between Chennai and Pondicherry on the scenic East coast road and this ocean road is dotted with stunning beaches (some with casuarina groves) that are waiting to be explored at every turn. From the tourist magnets at Ko22

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valam and Mamallapuram to the quieter beaches there are enough beaches for more than one holiday. Some of the resorts can organise Catamaran rides (made popular after the famous song sequence in ‘Yuva’) that are probably the best way to embrace the ocean. The first few seconds might make your heart flutter and it’s not unusual for the raft operator to hear cries to turn back and head ashore but once you’ve made peace with the waves it’s unlikely you will want to return in a hurry. Some catamaran rides take you close to the remains of the submerged shore temples. There’s a whole host of water sports at Muttukadu (About 20 kms away) and the backwaters at Mudaliarkuppam (40 kms away). Puducherry’s famous scuba diving outfit (www.templeadventures.com) has added Mamallapuram to its scuba diving map and you can wet your feet with the PADI certified 2 day beginners course. The waters may be trickier than the relative calm of the Arabian Sea but that’s part of the adrenaline rush.

Myriad experiences Every destination looks the same on the surface but it’s only when you scratch the surface and take the plunge can you experience the true essence and Mamallapuram is

no different. Mamallapuram’s markets are a treasure trove for trinkets and souvenirs. From bronzes to semi precious jewellery there’s enough to keep you engaged. The town’s stone carvings are world famous with a tradition that dates back to the Pallava kingdom. You can still hear the local artisans chip away on blocks of stone as you walk through the market. You might not be able to fit one of the local craftsmen’s masterpieces into your hand baggage but they can add a terrific element to your outdoor spaces. Lunch with crocodiles: with 2500 crocodiles and close to 15 species the Madras Crocodile bank that is about 15 kms north of Mamallapuram is one of the best places to spend an afternoon feeding the crocodiles (www.madrascrocodilebank.org) Come home to South India: Dakshina Chitra is about 25 kms north of Chennai and has re-created and re-located homes from the four southern states from the 18th Century onwards. It is a brilliant showcase of South Indian culture and lifestyle and the destination also features weavers, glass blowers and potters showcasing their skills with live demos through the day. (www. dakshinachitra.net). by Ashwin Rajagopalan


wild getaways

S

erene scapes

CALL OF THE RIVER The scenic Kabini River bordering the Nagarhole National Park enraptures with its stilling peace and exclusive wild neighbours.

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Across the gruff waving grass we could hear the soft, rhythmic hoot of a country thrush, the breeze wafting in harmony. Fleeting clouds across the blue horizon cast a fascinating play of contrasts on the Kabini river bed as we sat in the Reading Lounge sofas, sipping fresh, hot plantation coffee, watching the idyllic scene in stilled silence. On the far river horizon a herd of thirsty elephants had gathered on the water’s edge, then gracefully ambled back into the dense forest of the Nagarhole Game Sanctuary. All else was quiet, tranquil, serene. We almost dozed off, caressed by the cool breeze.

Hideaway charms Kabini. A lesser known, discreetly hidden getaway on it’s namesake river. Natural beauty abounds in transparent shades, the seasons adding their color to this pristine corner in Karnataka with a world famous Tiger reserve as


wild getaways

Leopard in Nagarhole National Park

it’s neighbor, part of the delicate Nilgiri Biosphere. The gently lapping river, the lifeline of the myriad of wildlife and bird population in the vicinity, is also the local Kadu Kuruba tribe’s endearing eco-harmonious partner and source of sustenance. For the keen adventure enthusiast Kabini offers unique outdoor experiences that anchor around the natural environment of the destination. In-depth briefing by trained and experienced Naturalists create the necessary awareness of the flora and fauna of Kabini and the protected Nagarhole National Park, an absorbing video presentation offers invaluable insights into the vibrant jungle life and it’s unique creatures. For starters, you can savour irresistible local culinary delights from Kadu Kuruba cuisine amidst rustic interiors of the Orange County buffet, then stroll down to the Kabini river jetty and onto the highly informative and illuminating boat safari. This relaxing aquatic experience is a window to the fascinating water’s edge wildlife that one can encounter in person. The jeep / Landrover safari into the Nagarhole National Park is a thrilling yet first hand, face-to-face tete-a-tete with elephants, deer, Gaur, wild dogs, langurs, and elusive monarchs like the graceful leopard and the prized tiger.

Activity allure

Elephant ride on the banks of river Kabini

It begins at the crack of dawn. Uou perch yourself on the sturdy Landrover equipped with binoculars, camera, drinking water, sunglasses, shorts, tees and walking shoes and loads of energy and enthusiasm! The cruise boat drops you off on the edge of the Nagarhole National Park from where you rough it up the rugged terrain into the far reaches of the wildlife reserve in your 4WD. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1974, Nagarhole spreads out over a massive 644 sq km. It is sanctuary to an amazingly diverse wildlife population that is a vital part of a complex and delicate ecosystem. The forests are deciduous, dry and wet in parts, which are the core sustenance for an amazing variety of flora and fauna. You will be immersed in the surround sound symphony of the jungle characterized by the loud and constant droning of cicadas, its uninhibited symphony to your ears. If you are lucky there’s plenty you can experience as visual treat. Catch peacocks strutting their luminous feathers , an Asiatic elephant mother and calf heading to the waSeptember 2012 go now

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wild getaways ter hole, Crested Serpent Eagles on their high tree perches, casting watchful glances. You may even drive past a Black-headed Ibis or a pair of Gaur (Indian Bison) partly concealed by the bushes. Wild dogs may slink away into the thickets, wary of your Landrover, but a pack of langurs on the treetops will not hesitate to create cacophony with incessant chatter above the branches. As the heat nudges into the skies, deer cross jungle path and sprint away in a lone distance. Mynahs and an assorted mix of birds stir up their chattering mate calls to keep you company. Your keen gaze and razor eye attention can even be interrupted by a Barking Deer hurrying into the bushes. Your safari could be enhanced by sighting of a rare leopard or tiger, peering from the undergrowth, or cavorting on a low branch.

Nature’s magnificence Early mornings and late evenings are very satisfying and fulfilling if you are a serious nature worm. The Orange County boat

safari stills, drifts and stops at strategic moments when there is sighting of some animal movement on the banks of the Nagarhole shores on the Kabini river. But as you blend in with the silence and the lapping waves, Cormorants hastily flap around their nests on stumps of tree trunks in the river offering a great photo opportunity, Herons gracefully tip-toeing on the river’s edge, Egrets swooping low on the mirrored stillness. As the boat stills and you set your eyes, you can isolate elephants and deer camouflaged with the thickets, drinking water, oblivious of your presence. Inching in close to the giants are edgy langurs not sure if it is the bigger animals or the egrets above that distracted them. The boat safari introduces the aquatic ecosystem without ceremony. Taking off from it’s high perch and gliding gracefully above is the Brahmini Kite, a unique local species. As the boat drifts further, looking for the one and only the Indian Tiger, you may have just missed him! Sailing back slowly to the resort with a mellow sunset waiting to

Reading and Coffee Lounge, Orange County Luxury Resorts

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factfile Getting There Fly into Bengaluru International Airport from many Indian cities direct on all domestic airlines. Kabini in Mysore district is 6 hours by road via Mysore. Resorts like Orange County Luxury Resort Kabini arrange airport transfers to and from Bengaluru airport. Orange County Kabini offer various packages covering all meals, accommodation, sightseeing and nature activities.

span the horizon, the sudden flight of a Snake Bird or Darter with it’s long neck colours your digital frames, it’s bright plumage adding brilliance to your memories. As the golden sun ends a peaceful day, a motley of noisy Bonnet Macaque on a tree raise a welcome overture of shrieks, bidding you goodbye. Back on the jetty, you are greeted by the spirited ‘queeks’ of some Lesser Whistling Ducks still busy in the moist water grassland.

Rustic and real The tribal allure of Kabini is exceptionally memorable. The hustle and hectic pace of urban life vanish as you absorb the mindstilling peace and tranquility. In innovatively designed luxurious comfort, you can unwind and chill in one of the many Kuruba-styled, eco-friendly villas in a hamlet setting with quaintly lit walkways and rustic bush land-

kIshore Iyengar

Eco-friendly cottages of Orange County Luxury Resorts

scaping. A biking visit to the local Kuruba village lends interesting insights into their authentic handicrafts home-honed creativity, rustic cuisine and simple lifestyle. A bracing coracle ride in a custom-made spherical boat gives you a cheery frame to the many facets of the Kabini river and it’s ecology. Hopping onto an elephant back is a languid way to span a grandstand view of the scenery, ten engage yourself in feeding the pachyderm on the river banks, guided by the mahout. And when a fabulous sunset has captured your imagination across the rolling hills, bonfires light up your verve with local Kuruba

Romantic riceboat dining at river Kabini

tribal dancers stepping up the rhythms of the mauve night with guttural, foot-tapping melodies. That’s their celebration of life. Cap up your Kabini sojourn with exclusive river deck dining on the shores of the Kabini river with piping hot charcoal grill delicacies and vintage wine. For an unforgettable romantic touch, the rice boat waits for you with it’s mellow candlelight table, on-board chef and kitchenette for a moonlit dining rendezvous, dropping anchor midstream in the lapping waves... the soft breeze and twinkling glows cast mood-lifting reflections. Text by Kishore & smita iyengar

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special interest

I

n Mumbai, time is money. It is also the city where distance is calculated in minutes. Time is probably the most expensive commodity in this city. Ironically it is also the place where traffic takes up most of a traveller’s time. The last thing any traveller would want after a long flight is to be stuck in traffic. How nice it would be to have a place to go to close by, just off the airport and right into a cosy hotel. Mumbai has a solution there too, while there are many hotels close to the airport, here are the top five that have sprung up in the last few years and are definitely worth a visit or more.

NOVOTEL MUMBAI JUHU BEACH Located right on the Juhu Beach, Novotel is an ideal destination for business travellers who wish to stay near the airport. Away from the hustle and bustle and close to the tranquil waters, the recently-opened Novotel will help rejuvenate the senses. It is a one-stop business solution for all meeting requirements. The hotel also provides multioption settings and locations for vibrant and ambient banqueting functions, poolside, garden or indoor facilities. Its tailor-made event planning for themed weddings, memorable dinner receptions, team building will

Just off the runway‌ land into luxury Five luxurious hotels near Mumbai airport

Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport.

Hotel Holiday Inn, Mumbai International Airport.

Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport.

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special interest leave its guests mesmerized. What more, the outdoor pool is ideal to host any team building activity. “Talking about the hotel’s MICE offerings, Amrita Gujral Sachdev, director-sales &marketing, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach says, “Leveraging from its iconic location, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach had int roduced var ious meet ings packa ge s with beach activities, thematic break menus to cater specifically to MICE segment s. We offer meeting rooms, conference and banquet facilities dedicated to pr ivatized events. We also provide customized event

management services, special menus and themes with a personal representative who ensures the seamless success of the guest’s event through commitment to quality.” With its breath-taking view and unique offerings, one need not think twice to make their bookings at Novotel.

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT, MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Strategically located in the heart of the central business hub of North Mumbai, Courtyard Marriott Mumbai International Airport is easily accessible from both the Mumbai airports. Their spacious rooms, refreshing suites, contemporary and vibrant dining options, comfortable luxury bedding and functional work spaces offer a neat blend of upscale amenities for business travellers. Their health centre, swimming pool and sauna provide the perfect rejuvenation after a long day of meetings. As one of the newest airport hotels in Mumbai, Courtyard Mumbai offers attentive service along with modern conveniences. “Courtyard

by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport is an alternative for business travellers in the upper moderate tier seeking functional space, comfort and value. High tech and high touch meet high style in Courtyard’s sophisticated environment that provides flexibility to work, relax, eat, drink and socialize all at one’s own pace. The “Refreshing Business” lobby concept creates an atmosphere that resonates with guests, beckoning them to take advantage of the open social area. Our Courtyard hotel near the International Airport in Mumbai promises you a refreshing business experience,” asserts Gautam Bhandari, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport.

HOTEL HOLIDAY INN MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT North Mumbai’s fresh solution for the Business traveller, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport is the first refreshed Holiday Inn in India. The hotel rests in close proximity to both the airports. Apart from features like open-air rooftop infinity pool, environment-friendly amenities, the hotel

Hotel Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach.

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special interest offers the IHG loyalty programme called Priority Club Rewards which is valid worldwide among different IHG brands and the reward points never expire. “We are the newest hotel in town and by far the most advanced in terms of technology. Right from the rooms to the banqueting, we have a state of the art technology for all sorts of meetings and conferences,” confides Oppenheimer Pinto e Fernandez, general manager, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport. The hotel’s banqueting area is spread over 11,000 sqft

while the ballroom is approx 4000 sqft and pillar-less with a 24 feet high ceiling. It can accommodate 500 guests and can be divided in to three sound proof sections. The ballroom incorporates a foyer to host coffee breaks and lunches. One of the unique features of this hotel is the fact that it offers generous open air facilities. Adjacent to the ballroom is an open air ballroom terrace that can accommodate 140 people. Besides the open-air rooftop infinity pool, is the sky terrace, an ideal venue for that perfect evening gather-

ing 150-200 people. The Business Centre at the mezzanine floor offers smaller private meeting rooms and administrative support for the business travellers.

IBIS MUMBAI AIRPORT Ibis is one of the closest hotels to the domestic airport and 15 minutes away from the international airport. This also happens to be one of the USPs of the hotel, thus making it one of the preferred destinations for business travellers. “We believe in offering the ultimate satisfaction guarantee that focuses on delivering a quality experience to our guests,” shares Nitin Bhatia, GM, Ibis Mumbai Airport. Ibis features 148 comfortable rooms with high-speed internet access, air conditioning, connecting rooms and flat screen TV. The Spice It restaurant and Hub bar offer authentic and international cuisine, 24x7 while the guests can also get access to the wi-fi connection at the lobby. Its spacious, welcoming and grand interiors makes the guests feel at home. Equipped with modern facilities and hi-tech amenities, one can soak themselves in luxury and surrender to the splendid ambience.

Hilton Mumbai International Airport Hotel The beautiful colonial inspired decor,

Ibis Mumbai Airport.

Hilton Mumbai International Airport Hotel.

Hilton Mumbai International Airport Hotel.

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special interest

factfile Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach Tel +91 (22) 6693 4444 visit www.novotel-mumbai-juhu-beach.com Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport CTS 215, Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri-East, Tel: +91-22-61369999 visit: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bomcycourtyard-mumbai-international-airport/ Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport Sakinaka Junction, Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri East, Tel: +91 22 40851800 / 61161800 Visit: www.holidayinn.com Ibis Mumbai Airport Junction of Nehru Road & Western Express Highway, Vile Parle (East), Tel.: +91 22 67167777, visit www.ibishotel.com

Delhi Craft House at T3, IGIA

Hilton Mumbai International Airport Hotel Sahar Airport Road, Andheri East, Mumbai - 400099, INDIA Tel: 91-22-28380000 visit: www: hilton.com/Mumbai/Airport

manicured gardens and outdoor pool area welcomes guests to the Hilton Mumbai International Airport hotel. Located just five minutes from international airport, and 15 minutes from domestic airport, Hilton is close to shopping, entertainment and business centres in the commercial and entertainment capital of India. Nine flexible meeting spaces including a ballroom and five grand halls, with full audio/visual technology, make this Mumbai airport hotel an ideal location for business events, conferences and functions. The hotel offers its guests to relax by the tropical setting of the outdoor pool area surrounded by verdant gardens, and enjoy a cocktail or refreshing beverage from the Garden Bar. Guests can also take relaxation indoors to The Brasserie and enjoy peaceful pool views through enormous bay windows, sampling a variety of international flavours from the buffet. Last but not the least is to enjoy pre or post-dinner drinks with live music surrounded by antiques and an open fireplace in the Lounge Bar. Check into one of these newly-opened hotels, and experience utmost comfort. Text by Shweta Shridhar Photographs courtesy the hotels

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raft House, the luxury lifestyle store recently unveiled ‘Delhi Bazaar Craft House’ – the Indian store concept at Delhi’s International Departure T3 airport. The state-of-the-art integrated International Departure T3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is the second largest terminal in Asia and a new landmark for India. With ‘Delhi Bazaar’ as its central theme, the 4000 sq ft store showcases an array of colourful merchandise from different parts of India to world travellers transiting through T3. An ideal blend of the traditional and contemporary India, Delhi Bazaar Craft House promotes rural artisans, women empowerment and use of

eco-friendly material. The Delhi Bazaar Craft House, the nouvelle concept by Craft House, is tagged to be the only uni-brand store in the terminal to showcase premium merchandise manufactured and produced in India. The products are displayed in a hassle-free ambience that appeals to foreign as well as Indian travellers. Craft House opened its first luxury store at The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi in 2000. The 24X7 store features the famous Indian hand woven pashmina in an array of weaves, colours and prints, designer jewellery in precious gems, a variety in silk accessories, bags and crafts.

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cinema tourism

Home to imperial palace hotels, rural countryside and warm hospitality, the state of Gujarat is gradually turning into a conducive environment for film shootings.

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n one of the most dramatic moments of Bolly wood blockbuster Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Ajay Devgan pulls Aishwarya Rai down a flight of carpeted steps, disturbing an antique wooden table covered with brass artifacts on the way to the entrance archway of a heritage house. This house in the movie was the Orchard Palace of the erstwhile Maharajas of Gondal which has been converted by its owners into a heritage hotel. Gondal has been the location for feature films, fashion shoots, TV series and Gujarati films.

Rajasthan remains one of the top draws for film makers. After all, its palace hotels, spectacular desert dunes and picturesque rural countryside are deservedly firm favourites of Bollywood. But, in recent years, producers, directors and advertisement film makers are waking up to the potential of Gujarat as a destination for making films. This is because some of the heritage properties in Gujarat have also opened their doors to tourism. The growth of the TV industry has also helped bring Gujarat into the spotlight because of the easy accessibility of the state’s destinations by

Gujarat grows new wings as a cinema destination road from Mumbai. Realising the potential, Gujarat’s tourism authorities are also becoming proactive for tourism. Says Kishore Sinh Parmar of Vadodara-based Royal Locations that has handled many film shoots in Rajasthan and a few in Gujarat, “we have been involved with advertisement films and TV serials shot at the palaces of Baroda, the Balaram Palace Resort, Jambur Village near the Gir forests, Dharmaj village near Anand, Kutch, and archaeological sites like the Harappan citadel of Lothal, Adalaj stepwell and the magnificent Modhera Sun Temple”. “At Gondal, the main USP of this town is the sheer variety of heritage locations it offers for a variety of shoots”, says Kumud Kumari, erstwhile Maharani of Gondal. The Darbargadh or old palace complex, with its medieval walls and 1740s Naulakha Palace, is ideal for period films and Indian heritage fashion shoots. The property is a festival of stone carvings with ornate balconies, richly carved facades and courtyards. The interiors house a superb collection of antique textiles, brassware, silverware and French furniture. The Riverside Palace is a colonial-period mansion with European architecture, huge and highceilinged rooms featuring four-poster beds, old dressers and other period furniture, and lawns. The Orchard Palace is a typical British guesthouse in a large estate that works

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for both Indian and European scripts. The erstwhile princely family has a huge fleet of vintage and classic cars besides horse drawn carriages and rail saloons. Besides these, there are many Venetian-Gothic buildings in the town. Lakes, rolling grasslands, and riverside locations are an added bonus for a shoot in Gondal. Like Gondal’s palaces, the early-20th century Vijay Vilas Palace at Mandvi has been the location for Bollywood blockbusters like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

and Lagaan. The Vijay Vilas Palace offers much potential for a variety of shoots with its cupolas, umbrella-domes, carved balconies and sumptuous interiors. It has 450 acres of grounds and a beautiful beach. Other palaces of Gujarat too have become popular for Bollywood shoots. Wankaner’s magnificent Ranjit Vilas Palace and the erstwhile Maharaja’s summer palace called Royal Oasis provided the location for forthcoming film Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola directed by Vishal Bharadwaj.

Pankaj Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma are among the stars of this film. The Balaram Palace Resort also provided the location for many movies. It is not just Bollywood that has been shooting in Gujarat. Rajwant Palace Resort in Rajpipla has made room for more than 150 regional films, from 1971 onwards, including Gujarati and Bhojpuri films. The

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Ab to Banva Sajanva Hamra featuring Saira Bano and the first ever cross-border Bhojpuri film Saiyyan Chitchor are among those filmed at Rajpipla. Once a large princely state, Rajpipla is a town full of palaces and other grand buildings. The Rajwant Palace Resort in the Vijay Palace of Rajpipla is the main attraction for most shoots. Built in 1915, it has seven acres of gardens, a fine façade, antique furnished interiors, a swimming pool, and a view of banana plantations and Karjan River. The outhouses in this property often feature as post offices, police stations and panchayat offices in Bhojpuri films, The other impressive palatial buildings of Rajpipla are the Vadia Palace called Gujarat’s Taj Mahal because of its magnificent architec-

ture, the Natvar Nivas which has beautiful murals and other works of art inside, and many others. Interesting though Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster, the Bollywood thriller drama film directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, starring Jimmy Shergill, Mahie Gill, and Randeep Hooda in lead roles, is about a royal family in Uttar Pradesh it was shot at Devgadh Baria, a princely town in eastern Gujarat with many imposing palaces and palatial public buildings.. Apart from palaces, Kutch has a wealth of architectural and natural attractions. Bollywood movies like Refugee and Border had sequences along the Rann of Kutch or Gulf of Kachch. The desert landscape of the Little Rann of Kutch has made it an extremely popular destination for advertisement films of car companies and retail clothing brands. Recently, Telugu films like the historical drama Magadheera was filmed in the spectacular desert landscape of the Little Rann of Kutch. Following this, a number of Telugu films have been filmed in Gujarat bringing popular southern stars like Mahesh Babu to resorts near the Little Rann of Kutch.

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part from the magnificent palaces and unique landscapes of Gujarat, the state’s culture has also caught the imagination of producers. Kai Po Che! is a film shot extensively in Ahmedabad, Porbandar, Vadnagar and Diu. Directed by Abhishek Kapoor and produced by UTV Spotboy, Kai Po Che! is based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life. Three friends celebrate festivals, watching cricket matches together, strategizing on how to catch the attention of the cute neighborhood girl, being there to watch each other’s back in troubled times and to celebrate one’s successes by screaming “Kai Po Che!’’ like the people of Gujarat scream whilst celebrating the kite festival. Principal Secretary-Tourism, Vipul Mittra says, “we are committed to promote film tourism in the State in a big way. The tourism department is talking to Bollywood producers to take advantage of Gujarat’s conducive environment for film shooting by way of hospitable and cultured people, law and order, and a number of suitable locations. Film tourism is a growing phenomenon worldwide, as tourists are drawn to visit attractive destinations that appear in the movies.” Text by anil mulchandani Photographs courtesy dinesh shukla

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

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Kissing dolphins at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

The hotel, in conjunction with Al Boom Diving Centre at Atlantis, has launched a programme: Learn to Dive With Dolphins. Available until 30 October, this programme certifies participants as PADI Scuba Divers. The programme allows divers to imdulge in a maiden dive with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, the 4.5 hectare environment with seven interconnected resident pools and three interaction lagoons, complete with sandy beaches and a tropical setting. For more details visit: www.atlantisthepalm.com


WORLD THIS MONTH

âœľ Reitaisai Festival, Japan

KAMAKURA CALLING

September 14 to 16, 2012

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eptember is one of the best months to visit the Japanese historic city of Kamakura that plays host to the Reitaisai of the 800-year old Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. Sit uated on the outskirts of the capital Tokyo, the city located on Japan's Honshu Is land celebrates the Reitaisai festival over three days from September 14 to 16. The festival pays homage to the Gods of the shrine that dates back to 1180 AD, built by Shogun Minamoto-no-Yoritomo. The Reitaisai is best known for the Yabusame, a contest that combines equestrian skills and Japanese-style archery. This style of archery was popular among the samurai warriors from the end of the Heian Period (794-1192) to the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). The archers, sitting atop horses dressed in the traditional samurai hunting gear called age shozoku and shoot turnip-head arrows that make a whistling sound as they fly through the air. The highlights of festival include tea-offering ceremony to the Gods and classical Japanese dances. The festival is preceded by the Shinkosai parade, where parishioners carry portable shrines. The Big Annual Festival, on September 15, has unmarried women and young girls who perform dances to the accompaniment of music. 36

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GETTING THERE The city of Kamakura lies around 50 kms south of Tokyo. The nearest airport is the Narita Tokyo Airport. Airfares start from Rs 60,000 for a round trip with one stopover. Average travel time is approximately 14 hours with one stop over and 8 hours for a direct flight. The Japanese National rail connects Tokyo with KamakuraStation. A one-way trip takes just under an hour. In Kamakura, there is a network of buses that can take one to any part of city. WEATHER Summer in Kamakura extends from June till early October with the average temperature hovering around 26°C. Most days are hot and humid even though the city receives little rainfall through the summer months VENUE The Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine in the old Japanese capital city of Kamakura.


WORLD THIS MONTH

✵ Hallyu Dream Festival, Korea

CULTURE VULTURE

September 21 to 23, 2012

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allyu Dream Festival is a three-day celebration dedicated to Hallyu (the Korean wave). It is a festival that promotes Korea’s fashion, culture drama and food. The festival will present various opportunities for global Hallyu fans to indulge in the new cultural wave that is rapidly spreading outside Korea. This year, in line with the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Year national campaign, a Hallyu Festival will be held in the historical city, Gyeongju , the 1,000 year-capital of the Shilla dynasty. With its beautiful fall foliage that will bring together the top Hallyu celebrities at the Hallyu Dream Festival. To attract Hallyu fans all over the world, many programs have been planned for this three-day event such as the Hallyu Star Date, fashion show as well as a Hallyu Music Concert. Tourists can also experience Korean culture on the film set of the recent popular TV drama “Queen Seon Deok.” This year, the Visit Korea Year committee has also made it easy for foreigners by providing easy access to apply for the three-day event held in Gyeongju. Visit Korea Year website (http://english.visitkoreayear.com) to register for this event. Ticket reservations have begun and are offered free for all foreigners.

GETTING THERE Gyeongju doesn't have its own airport. The nearest are at Busan (Gimhae) and Ulsan, both an hour away by express bus. Bus service between the airports and Gyeongju's main terminal runs hourly. There are 5 direct return coach journeys per day between Seoul Incheon Airport and Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal. These services take around 4 hours and cost around 40,000 Won each way. A number of airlines including Jet, Airways, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines connects passengers from Mumbai and Delhi to Ulsan. WEATHER Due to its coastal location, Gyeongju has a slightly milder and wetter climate than the more inland regions of Korea. During September, one can enjoy pleasant evenings and sunny days. Rains tend to make an appearance too. VENUE Gyeongju is the main destination in South Korea for visitors interested in the cultural heritage of Silla and the architecture of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). The city has 31 National Treasures as well.

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WORLD THIS MONTH

✵ Loi Krathong, Thailand

LIGHTS, SOUND, ACTION

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GETTING THERE The Thai capital Bangkok is well connected with all major airports in India. Airfares start from Rs 17,000 with several airlines, including low cost carriers, operating many flights through the day. The average time of travel is around four hours. The best place to witness the festivities is probably in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, which is connected both by rail and air to the capital city. Flight time from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is about 1 hour 10 minutes. The state railway operates 14 trains a day to Chiang Mai station from Bangkok. Most journeys run overnight and take approximately 12-15 hours. The city has a local public transport network of tuktuks, songthaews, rickshaws and Chiang Mai bus service. WEATHER Chiang Mai has a tropical wet and dry climate, with warm to hot weather yearround. The rainfall in November however is moderate with temperatures ranging between 29 C to 15 C. Nights tend to be cool whereas days are hot.

November 28, 2012

VENUE Chiang Mai is one of Thailand's most culturally rich cities, located 700 km north of Bangkok, among the highest mountains in the country. The city has numerous tourist attractions, a buzzing nightlife and plenty of shopping and eating out options.

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he beginning of the New Year is an occasion for celebrations across most cultures in the world. And in Thailand, Loi Krathong marks the start of the lunar year. Loi in Thai means to float, while krathong are tiny lotus shaped rafts that float on water. A tradition that has been carried on for ages, the festival is celebrated on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month when krathongs are floated across rivers, lakes and ponds. It is a form of thanksgiving to the spirits of the waters and Phra Mae Khongkha, the Thai water god. According to the legend, Nang Noppamas, Sukothai king's favorite concubine, first started the practice of floating krathong. She fashioned a lotus-shaped krathong from a banana leaf and gifted it to the Sukhothai king who lit a candle, burned an incense stick, and let it drift in the river. Today the festival is time for revelry. Beauty contests for the selection of Noppamas Queen are held in temples and tourist destinations, as a part of the festival. Though Loi Krathong finds its origin in Sukhothai, the first Thai capital, it is celebrated across most Thai provinces. Festivities take on a different hue particularly in Chiangmai, where multitudes of lanterns are released in the sky. It is said that releasing the sky lanterns helps people rid of their troubles. The festival is also called Yi Peng or the festival of lights here. The Mai Jo lantern launch in Mae Jo University is also a ceremony worth watching. The streets in Chiangmai are also witness to the erotic coyote dancing, popular in Thai nightclubs, as part of the merriment. Other highlights of the festival include krathong making contests, krathong floating, entertainment shows, fireworks displays, cultural performances and a light and sound show. September 2012 GO NOW

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cinema tourism

Hokkaido as Cinemascapes

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cinema tourism

With majestic backdrops, incredibly beautiful in depth and sheer variety, Hokkaido is seeking Indian film industry to come and shoot!

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apporo, the capital of Hokkaido, has been designated as a special zone by the government of Japan, from this year for mutual development through tourism encouraged by the screen industry. Films shot in Hokkaido by both domestic and overseas productions have already been a great success and sold in Asian countries such as Korea and China, clearly proving the popularity of Hokkaido as a great location for shooting. Sapporo is one of the most beautiful towns in Asia admired by people all over the world. Its unique climate, like that of Switzerland and its exotic culture with an European taste, have been attracting Asian people for a long time. Hokkaido is wooing Bollywood and Indian regional cinema, with facilities and attractive incentives; such is the power of cinema to attract more tourism numbers. The trend to shoot in different locations is now an accepted dimension to Indian cinema. So much so, the recent Ek Tha Tiger has been shot in Cuba, Ireland and Turkey! Preity Zinta is soon to be releasing her own production, Ishq in Paris, shot extensively in the French capital. Producers from Bollywood and other centres in India will be converging in Mumbai, next month to attend the 6th edition of Cinemascapes, to meet with destination promoters from India and overseas. Observers believe that this trend will only grow, with more productions adopting different cinemascapes. September 2012 go now

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destination

TUSCAN

LUXURY

A cross scenic locales in endearing Tuscany, gilt-edged boutique star resorts and hotels offer designer comfort and impeccable luxury

Bracing village Relais San Felice, Chianti region.

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s one of Italy’s most celebrated regions, Tuscany (Toscana) revels in it’s classical, medieval and contemporary incarnations to the hilt in all aspects of its lifestyle. Nothing is more prominent than the outstanding hospitality havens nestled in strategic locales, offering unmatched luxury, quintessential Tuscan comfort and style and an escape into tranquility and quiet with true Tuscan flair. Our journey took us into diverse environs of superlative boutique retreats and hotels, we’d like to share with you.

RELAIS SANTA CROCE - FIRENZE In the heart of Florence (Firenze), Tuscany’s irresistible capital is this classical boutique haven of tranquil calm, it’s over-the-century heritage blending with stylized contemporary interiors,-a delight to behold.This 18th century former residence with it’s marvelous wall and ceiling frescoes, paintings and Tuscan grandeur are just the start of the hospitality journey we undertook within it’s grand portals. Suites are planned with opulence paramount in mind for the discerning guest, sheers well complemented with pleasing, pastel drapes and rich furnishings. Four poster king beds occupy inviting place within eye-soothing décor and soft mood lighting adds to the intimate ambience created instantly. Floral arrangements and old wooden trusses add curiosity in stark contrasts while soft linen and matt textured facades create symphonic synergy. The hotel’s spacious restaurant, ‘Guelfi e Ghibellini’ is ideal for innovative seasonal cuisine while located within the same building is the ‘Enoteca Pinchiorri’, a three-star Michelin restaurant. With an impressive array of vintage premium Tuscan and Italian labels. The Relais Santa Croce boasts of original wooden rafters and russes that were created in the 18th century to cover the main lounge called the ‘Sala della Musica’ which is a design element as original as it can be.

VILLA MARSILI - CORTONA On the outskirts of medieval heritage town Cortona, renowned for it’s earthy and robust wines besides it’s fascinating cobbled, old town quarters, is the Villa Marsili overlooking perhaps some of the most breathtaking views of the Val di Chiana valley of the Cortona countryside, Montepulciano and the Siena hills beyond.This is quintessential Tuscan magnetism to the hilt and this property radiated gracious welcome the moment we stepped in.

Antique furniture carefully restored and preserved all over this boutique, 27room villa hotel which revels in offering crisp aperitifs to guests on it’s flower-decked entrance patio. Each room or suite has soft tones with hand-painted floral runners, breezy furnishings, cheery chandeliers and ceilings ornamented with intriguing frescoes. The feel is regal, cozy, warm and unpretentious, as we sipped Tuscany’s famed after-nighter San Felice ‘Vin Santo’ that warmed us up for a chilly night. Tall, shuttered windows and sheers bring in the sunny countryside into your suite as you ready for a warm and welcoming whirlpool bath and aromatic coffee. For those seeking anchor to discover the sights of Cortona above on the hills, this is the most preferred hospitality getaway with personalized amenities and services.

HOTEL BORGO SAN FELICE CHIANTI REGION Unassuming, unusual and uplifting in all experiences. A gentle winter breeze drove us into this most delightful ancient Tuscan hamlet in the very heart of the world famous Chianti Wine region. Driving past vineyard rows all pregnant with the legendary Sangiovese red wine grapes, we arrived at the gravel-path commune which is a world renowned boutique country hotel. It is also the home to San Felice Agricola, the winery making Chianto Classico wines within this tiny hamlet-hotel complex, celebrated the world over for it’s platinum-quality, blue-blood ‘Vigorello’ -the first ever Super Tuscan wine, ‘Pugnitello’ the local quality grape-matured wines which have no equals in their class and the evocative ‘Poggio Rosso’ Chianti super wine of exemplary bouquets and flavors . Part of an 8th century settlement with a little chapel, narrow streets and lanes, a courtyard Our balcony-fringed suite with it’s sky-blue toned interiors, gold-tassled drapes and super soft furnishings and period Tuscan furniture was enchanting. With modern creature comforts and contemporary design cutting across the Belle Epoque feel, we found the ambience soothing and nervestilling, soft lights and muted glows adding romance. Stone built mansions offering different hospitality areas make discovery of

this retreat a pleasure, as we headed for the brick-and-stone wine cellars for some unforgettable tastings. With 28 rooms and 15 suites this enchanting haven of peace is truly boutique and very, very special. Their award-winning restaurant ‘Poggio Rosso’ offers fine wining and dining par excellence and is a culinary hallmark of innovative regional cuisine in soft, fireplace environs.Walking across the graveled hamlet square, we discovered old, well preserved alcoves of ivy-covered arches, patios and terraces meant for wine crushing, blending and storing oak barrels in ancient times, now retaining their indelible charm on courtyards.

PRINCIPE DI FORTE DEI MARMI -VERSILIA This fabulous contemporary chic property nudging the glorious Tyrrhenian coast of Tuscany packs in style and oomph befitting it’s privileged membership- Member of The Leading Hotels of The World. It is also Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels certified and uber smart environs allured us with keen curiosity. The property has 28 very uniquely designed rooms furnished in minimalistic modern style reflecting a svelte flair of discreet elSeptember 2012 go now

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destination

View of Viareggio seafront from Principe Di Piemonte.

Empire style grand suite bedroom, Principe Di Piemonte, Viareggio. 44

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egance and luxury. Like other suites, ours had ample whites and bold contrasts, juxtaposed with soft beige, fawn and reds in equal measure. State-of-the-art fittings, amenities and creature comforts add swish lifestyle dynamics to high living. The “67” on the rooftop is the only Sky Lounge in the breezy sea-facing principalities here, reflecting the decadence of A-list lifestyle of the Tuscan Riviera. An indulgent cigar bar implored us to the fine aromas of a fine Cohiba Churchill Esplendidos. The hotel’s exclusive beach club with butler service is evocative of the Riviera’s jet setting folks who sail in with casual abandon and affluent accents.

THE GOLDEN TOWER HOTELFIRENZE This brand new luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Florence packs in ultra-modern style and opulence in it’s impressive rooms and suites. The accent of gold and gold elements is an obvious delight for the visual pleasure, we noticed. Located close to the historic Palazzo Strozzi, this designer hotel converted from a century-old architectural monument to it’s present grand environs also has the original historic tower where guests can live in style. The hotel’s plus features cover a modern spa-beauty farm, heavenly soft beds and furnishings, state-of-the-art technology, an exclusive library, chocolate bar and evocative original frescoes that adorn the property. The rooms are sleek with warm appointments, matt-gold finished furniture, soft mood lighting and mellow tones in fawn, beige and gold. Premium marble facades and an interesting spherical window separates the bath area from the bedroom, while brush gold lamp shades and contrasting bright tones create a seductive ambience.

PRINCIPE DI PIEMONTE- VIAREGGIO Spanning the most prominent promenade on Viareggio’s Tuscan Riviera waterfront on the azure blue Tyrrhenian Sea, this grand heritage luxury icon with it’s splendorous classical facades is a world renowned landmark. Member of the Great Hotels of the World and also Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the sea-facing

rooms look out to the island of Corsica, the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan archipelago. With 106 rooms and suites all differently designed, each with spacious living areas and large baths, soft linen, veiled furnishings and pastel tones, it’s a dream paradise in hospitality, our suite in particular!. The rooftop pool is a dazzling vantage location for 360 degree views of the area and make it one of the most sought after hideaways for couples seeking privacy. We took in the marvelous coastline and the Apuan Alps on the far horizon, from their rooftop garden. Their Michelin-Star ‘Piccolo Principe’ restaurant offers enchanting cuisine in elegant settings of neo-classicism, the well stocked wine collection adding verve to the dining experience.

CAMPO REGIO RELAIS - SIENA

Terrace Lounge, Campo Regio Relais, Siena.

This petite boutique Relais hotel in the heart of fortified heritage town Siena overlooks the grand Cathedral and the medieval buildings of the neighborhood. From the flower-decked terrace where guests can enjoy breakfast and cocktails, grandstand views of the stunning medieval edifices create an aura of mystery and awe. This small hotel has friendly staff and comfortable rooms with modern amenities. The coffee and cocktail lounge with arched frames, period art and furniture, art-deco furnishings and floral blooms offers quietitude and a relaxed feel, far from the hustle and bustle of crowds milling on the cobbled streets below.

VILLA SAN MICHELE FIESOLE This dreamy, romantic villa perched on a hilltop overlooking the finest views of Firenze was once the headquarters of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in Florence. Originally an old monastery with 46 rooms and glorious suites all customized to classicalmodernism, it boasts of lush

landscaped gardens with thrilling flower beds. Their Michelangelo Suite commands prime position with antique furniture and furnishings, frescoes and aesthetics befitting royalty. Villa suites have their own garden overlooking the valley and the sitting and sleeping configurations have large windows that overlook the Arno Valley and the Chianti Hills. The furniture is made from armadio fruit wood, Persian floorings and carpets. The ‘Loggia’ restaurant dating back to 16th century architecture is ideal for Champagne evenings and grand Sunday Brunches, cocktails and celebrations overlooking the valley views. On the inside are two lounge dining areas, ‘Chiostro’ and ‘Cenacolo’ where fine cuisine and wines can be savored in warm wood décor settings. Their Ristorante ‘Antico’ too, with it’s period appointments make up the culinary experiences of this grand villa property. The fabled in-house cookery school ‘Buono Buonossimo!’ is graced by international celebrity chefs who offer hands-on lessons in fine gourmet to in-house guests. A privileged, uppercrust lifestyle that promises to endear to high-end clientele. Text & photos by Kishore & Smita Iyengar

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PANGKOR Our Island in the Malaysian Sun

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t could have been a yellow submarine, but it was the next best thing to ferry us into fantasy. We hopped into our yellow vessel from the jetty at Lumut, chugged across the warm Straits of Melaka, and landed in the hornbill patrolled Pangkor Island Resort. The Hornbills vetted us. They sat on our balcony and scrutinized us with beady black eyes. Satisfied, they flew away, in their gliding-flapping flight, soaring over the coconut palms, the two swimming pools, the surf-laced beach with its bathers and a jet boat riding on the plume of its bow-wave. Pangkor Island Beach Resort began to weave its enchantment around us. A green golf-course spread, hazarded by trees, and a flowing rocky stream. Neatly trimmed hedges edged the winding road; Bird-of-Paradise bushes flared extravagantly; a row of Travellers’ Palms stood at rigid attention down the curving drive, their fanned leaves like the starched

turbans of the President’s Bodyguard. The resort was alive with friendly Caucasians of all shapes and sizes, with accents that ranged from broad ‘Strailian, through Howdy Texan, Zouth Ayfreekan to Svizz-Yerman and plumy Brit: ‘Ackchully, the Pater was a boxwallah in jute!’ as an old India hand told his befuddled but compliant Thai companion. We were tempted to vanish, to relax and unwind in a resort designed for relaxing and unwinding. But duty called. We boarded a pink taxi with a yellow roof and a cheery, grizzled, wannabe Formula One, driver named Mohammed, and were spedoff around the island. Pangkor Island, like many in the coal seas of the world, is one of a number of submarine mountains, thrusting out of the ocean. Their peaks are covered in dense, rain-forests and human activity is concentrated on the white beaches which ring them. Our resort was on the one side of the island. We shot out of it,


SPECIAL INTEREST soared up narrow, winding, rising, roads through forests that looked almost as alien and lush as those inAvatar, and down to the picturesque Kampung Taluk Dalam which, roughly, means Village of the Inner Bay. Colourful boats bobbed in the bay, an old fisherman mended his nets, and two fat cats, sat like furry cushions in the sun, purring contentedly. Heaven, for a cat, must be a fishing village with all the seafood that one can eat and a lot more besides. “Do you like cats?” we asked the grizzled fisherman, wondering if we needed an interpreter. “Yes, I do” he replied to our surprise. “So did the Prophet: Peace be Upon Him”. He sounded like a clip from a TV travelogue. We moved on. In the village of Sungai Pinang Kecilwe visited a fish-processing factory, squeaky-clean and odour-free: we were excluded from the cleaning-slicing-sorting hall but to peer at the masked-glovedhead-covered women doing their work. The sales room displayed dried and salted seafood, models of boat and sailing ships, souvenirs and unguents made from fish extracts including and all-purpose oil distilled from Sea Cucumber. Very popular with visitors, we were told, are their dried anchovies: the best in Malaysia. A Goan visitor from another resort … there are many on the island … said that they were so delicious that they were worth risking the ire of our Customs back home. We wished him the very best of gourmet luck. A short drive from the famed anchovies brought us to the Pathirakaliamman Temple. The image of the goddess Kali was more benign than fearsome. We spoke to the head pujari, the amiable and urbane VenketaramanSharma: educated in the UK, trained in Chennai. Yes, of course, he and his colleague could perform a Hindu marriage ceremony anywhere, anytime, even on a Saturday as the local Hindus often demanded, The truncated, ritual would take one hour, the traditional one might take four. Nowadays, many people preferred to get married away from the temple because, here, one could not serve non-veg food. Very pragmatic, very 21st century! We drove to the centre of Pangkor to visit the Foo Ling Kong Temple. It’s a resplendent Taoist shrine in crimson and gold with a carp pond and a drum that grows hair( so they say). It’s backed against a densely forested hill. Tao is a once-and-future faith that should attract environmentalists

Breakfast on an open air terrace

(

PANGKOR ISLAND, LIKE MANY IN THE COAL SEAS OF THE WORLD, IS ONE OF A NUMBER OF SUBMARINE MOUNTAINS, THRUSTING OUT OF THE OCEAN. THEIR PEAKS ARE COVERED IN DENSE, RAIN-FORESTS AND HUMAN ACTIVITY IS CONCENTRATED

Pathirakaliamman Temple

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Snorkelling off Pulau Giam island

Pathirakaliamman Temple with its image of the Goddess Kali 48

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???????? because it advocates a life in accord with nature bringing harmony and serenity. Such an ideal did not, obviously, influence the spice-and-tin seeking Dutch. We visited the reconstructed ruins of the Fort that they had built in 16 70 to protect their exports. It was destroyed by the irate Malays in 1690: they did not approve of the Netherlanders'attitudes. The dogged Dutch rebuilt their fort 53 years later and placed a garrison of 60 soldiers to guard it. But just five years later, in 1748, they abandoned the fort and went home. Across the road from the fort are two huge, rounded, joined boulders sometimes called the Sacred Rock though there seems to be little that is holy about it. Inscribed on one is the emblem of the Dutch East India Company and a curious engraving depicting an animal attacking a human. Some say it commemorates a tiger savaging the son of the Dutch governor, others believe that it is symbolic of the Malays attacking the traders. So much for work. Now, we decided to unwind. We love Malaysian food, particularly the choice offered by the buffets in their wayside Restorans, but after the tour we opted for chicken chops and french-fries in an air-conditioned restaurant in Pangkor Town. It's not really a town: more a village with ambitions and many lures for tourist including‌. naturally‌ bright Malaysianbatiks. We resisted the batiks and took a boat ride across the bay to snorkel off Pulau Giamisland. The water was sun-sparkling and a rainbow array of fish came up to be fed. We returned to our hotel a little salt-roughened and sun burnt, watched the silhouette of a boat float across the golden embers of a dusk-smouldering sea, helped ourselves from both their vegetarian and seafood buffets for dinner and looked forward to unwinding tomorrow, our last and, for us, the most important day in Pangkor. We dawdled over a leisurely breakfast on the sun-deck: throwing nuts to acrobatic hornbills. Then we beach-combed for coral and shells, had a relaxing Balinese massage, begged off a round of golf with a German couple and enjoyed a superb Malaysian lunch. Long afternoons on vacations are for drowsing on beach chairs, splashing in the pool, followed by sundowners and a barbecue. After which we were romanced with orchids and wine, and then, when a quartet from the Philippines sauntered up,

The old Dutch Fort

Hornbills

factfile Getting There: By air to Kuala Lumpur and then a 3 to 4 hour road journey to Lumut Jetty where a 30 minute ferry trip takes you to the island. Accommodation: There are 258 rooms in the Resort in the Garden Wing, Pacific Wing, Ocean Wing and 12 exclusive villas. For Reservations: Pangkor Island Beach Resort, C/o Kuala Lumpur Sales Office Tel: (603) 2287 6868 E-mail: mktgkul@pangkorislandbeach.com Or sales@pangkorislandbeach.com

we were delighted to find that they knew the song that is very special for us. It brought back memories of the Taj in Bombay the night before we set off on our first visit to London another long era ago. The best experiences are those spangled with the stardust of such memories. Then, from our room, as the moon rose slowly over the bay, we heard the crooner softly recalling the promise of Stevie Wonder, again. Our last day in Pangkor Island Beach Resort had been unforgettable. It had also been our Wedding Anniversary. Text & photos by HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER September 2012 GO NOW

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PHOTO FEATURE

To the Land of the Incas – Peru Led by explorer, Mandip Singh Soin, 23 Indians travelled to the Amazon basin to trek, explore the rain forests and witness the spectacular Macaw claylick at Tambopata.

According to local guides, the top of the virgins. Each morning, before sunrise, the high priest would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of a new day

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PHOTO FEATURE

On the river to the Tambopata reserve through Primary rain forest

I

n the heart of the Andes lies one of the greatest civilisations of the world. All over the Andes, Spanish colonial buildings are supported by the foundations of Inca masonry, relics of the conquest that shaped Peru’s fate. It is here that Ibex Expeditions planned their two week summer 2012

The world’s largest rodent, the capybara

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PHOTO FEATURE

Amaru Andean Community. Quechua (Runa Simi) is a native language spoken primarily in the Andes. At the time of the conquest, the Incans referred to their language as runasimi, to be called Quechua

Mandip and Himraj Singh Soin

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PHOTO FEATURE

Play Elephant Polo in Thailand King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is celebrating its eleventh anniversary in the royal seaside town of Hua Hin from 12th to 16th September

T journey. Designed and led by explorer, Mandip Singh Soin, 23 Indians travelled to the Amazon basin to trek, explore the rain forests and witness the spectacular Macaw claylick at Tambopata. The team then trekked and rafted in the Sacred valley, staying with the Amaru Andean communities and experiencing their lifestyle, continuing to hike on the Inca Trail with a final climb of Huayana Picchu, the mountain guarding the Machu Picchu site that was celebrating 100 years of its discovery this year. Peruvian cuisine was enjoyed including quinoa and imbibing many a Pisco Sour ! text by ANITA SINGH SOIN

hailand offers many marvels Anantara Hua Hin amidst its natural surroundings, Resort & Spa one of which is a chance to watch a good game of polo played by 43/1 Phetkasem Beach Road a bunch of mighty elephants. With free Hua Hin 77110 admission for everyone, spectators at Thailand the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournaTel: +66 (0) 3252 0250 ment can rub shoulders with European Fax: +66 (0) 3252 0259 and Asian royalty, international sportEmail: huahin@anantara.com ing stars and local celebrities. Website: huahin.anantara.com The event has something for everyone including an opening parade through the main streets of Hua Hin, Thailand’s last ‘elephant spirit men’ (Kru Ba Yai), traditional dancers, a baby elephant camp. afun fair and a wide range of food and beverage outlets to tantalise the taste buds. The five-star luxury resort, Anantara Hua Hin is inviting guests to enter the fun world of elephant polo and discover a new passion. The resort’s Pachyderms and Polo package allows guests to get into the swing of the games, leaving them in awe of the surprising grace and skill displayed by the two-ton genteel giants. Savour lunch and a spa treatment at the Pitch, have your photo taken with the players and enjoy VIP premium access to all areas. Then after each day, guests will be whisked back to Anantara Hua Hin to relax in five star luxury comforts with all transfers between the hotel and pitch and a daily breakfast included. Book early to secure the Pachyderms, Pampering and Polo Package offered at Anantara Hua Hin.

Photos by MANDIP SINGH SOIN/Ibex Expeditions

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LUXURY SPECIAL

European Quartet: a world of luxury

Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia serve up luxury like never before... in spas, restaurants, castles, helicopters, cruise ships and more.

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LUXURY SPECIAL

Prague, Czech Republic

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LUXURY SPECIAL

S

pectacular sceneries, unexplored locales, checkered history, rich culture, vibrant cities and warm people... threads that tie four neighbouring countries of Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia together. Often referred to as the European Quartet, besides sharing history and culture, these countries have created a fast emerging tourism hub for high-end luxury travel, with plenty on offer from luxurious to the extraordinary.. specially for those who like to live life king size.

Czech Republic – Royal charms of legendary cities Prague is undoubtedly the best-known sym-

bol of the Czech Republic. It offers the best of Europe history, stunning architecture, vibrant cultural life, music, arts, fine cuisine and good wine. This intriguing city captivates all travellers with its varied charms. It not only has magnificent heritage sights, but enough to satisfy those seeking exclusive experiences as well. For the luxury traveller, Prague promises a choice of elite hotels replete with history, beautiful architecture, rich décor, immaculate service and spectacular views. The city also offers different experiences like private romantic cruises with dinner and champagne on Vltava river. Classical music is firmly rooted in the

Poland

Poland

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Czech Republic, which has produced great musicians like Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak or Leos Janacek. WAMozart,also lived and became famous in Prague. No wonder then music is in every corner of the country, with famous music venues and operas like National Theatre and State Opera. Exclusive venues at Prague Castle or Rudolfinum offer a singular musical experience in private lodges. For the shopaholics, the area around Old Town Square in Prague city center is home to boutiques selling haute couture, jewelry, glass and Bohemian crystals, antiques, international and Czech art pieces. Beyond Prague, there are 12 UNESCO sites, each of extraordinary beauty and character, which mirror Czech history. There are matchless monuments and cities that are amalgam of architectural styles from different parts of Europe. Almost 2,000 castles, chateaux and citadels-Prague Castle, CeskyKrumlov, KutnaHora or Lednice-Valtice, to name a few-form an inherent part of the Czech landscape. Sightseeing tours give a glimpse of their beautifully furnished interiors and unique collections. Some of the castles have also been turned into heritage hotels and offer an unmatched experience. Spas may be a new phenomenon for many countries but in the Czech Republic, the tradition of wellness dates centuries back. Czech spa towns have been popular with the likes of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, WA Mozart, JW Goethe or TA Edison, for ages. Today, Czech spas welcome visitors from all over the world. These hidden retreats are full of charming spa buildings, concerts, and hot spring fountains and colonnades. Fabulous venues likeKarlovy Vary or MarianskeLazne indulge travellers with luxury in beautiful surroundings of lush green forests. Czech Glass and Bohemian Crystals are another Czechmarvels, the result of age-old traditions. This world-famous glass can be found in different styles and colours – ranging from delicate stemware for champagne and wine to whisky glasses in pale-hued yellow, blue or red crystals, besides the colourless variety. Famous glassmakers and companies like Preciosaand Moser are offering a world of exclusive aesthetics that can be seen in famous hotels and palaces in Prague and abroad and have been patronised by royal families in Europe for decades.


LUXURY SPECIAL

Hungary

Poland – Culture curry Poland is an expansive country in Central Europe and offers many options for your next luxury vacation. It offers some of the most beautiful old European cities, unspoiled countryside, and friendly people. You will be amazed by the number of valuable museums, cathedrals, and castles some of which are open for tourist visits and others – turned to hotels. The capital Warsaw is the biggest and most modern city in Poland with several 5-star hotels, international chains as well as luxury boutique hotels. Among them is the InterContinental Hotel, which offers a panoramic view of the city from the swimming pool located on the 44

floor. The capital also boasts of restaurants serving international cuisines and trendy nightclubs, besides the promise of a great shopping experience at its many shopping centres. Warsaw harmoniously blends the present with the past. The Old Town here was painstakingly rebuilt from ruins after the Word War II, and is listed on the UNESCO list. ZelazowaWola, a village near Warsaw was home to the composer Frederic Chopin. Chopin recitals are organized here every weekend. The former Polish capital Kraków, is another feather in Poland's cap, with its beautiful architecture and rich culture scene. The city’s

Old Town – a UNESCO site – boasts of the biggest market square of Medieval Europe, and the oldest shopping center in the continent – the 14 century Sukiennice, where merchants from Asia and Europe, North and South used to sell and exchange their goods. The UNESCO site includes also the Royal Hill and the old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, where “Schindler’s List” was filmed. Many restaurants in the Old Town, like the oldest Wierzynek, which dates back to the 13 century, have romantic Medieval interiors with original furnishing and decorations. Nearby Kraków lies Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO site and Europe’s oldest salt mine in operation for over 600 years. The health reSeptember 2012 GO NOW

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LUXURY SPECIAL sort here is one of few subterraneo therapy centres in the world, carved from salt rock. Poland is also emerging as a health and spa destination with more than 200 resorts offering treatments ranging from water and mud to exotic therapies that use chocolate, milk, and even wine. Zakopane, a mountain resort South of Kraków, is famous for its skiing slopes. Skiing lessons with world champions are available here. The country also has 23 national parks in the mountains and near hills, sea, and lakes, water sports, golf, and many other excit-

ing activities. The Polish shoreline also has beautiful sparkling beaches and is a gateway for accessing Skandinavian and Baltic states.

Hungary – enjoy the high life For most visitors to Hungary, Budapest is the number one destination. The city promises exciting options for the luxury traveller, right from fancy hotels, helicopter rides and boat cruises to gourmet and spa experience. While Budapest offers an assortment of cozy boutique hotel, when we’re talking luxury Four Season’s Gresham Palace is the Slovakia

address to choose. Situated next to the Danube and the Chain Bridge the hotel offers rooms with “million-dollar view”. Other highend choices include Boscolo's New York Palase and the newly opened Buddha Bar Hotel. All three hotels are located in breathtaking historical buildings. While a walk through the lanes and by lanes is a tried-and-tested way to explore the city, Budapest offers the opportunity to marvel at the city from up above gazing, out from a window of a private helicopter or jet. Other options include a trip on the mighty Danube on a cruise ship. Dunarama website (www.dunarama.hu/en) includes deals to book a ride of a lifetime with an exclusive motorboat brought to Budapest straight from Italy. For those looking for gourmet options Budapest is home to two Michelin-star restaurants – Costes and Onyx. Both the restaurants serve authentic Hungarian cuisine with lots of extras and care! Fortunately luxury just doesn't stop at Budapest. Hungary is also famous for its waters, especially thermal baths and spas. Among the many historical bathhouses is Miskolctapolca, in North-East Hungary, the only the cave-bath in Hungary. Castle hotels across the country offer the best of European hospitality, including chartering the hotel’s helicopter or Rolls-Royce. Slovakia

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LUXURY SPECIAL Other attractions here include golf, horse riding, cruise on hot-air balloons and the castle’s spa facility.

Slovakia – little country, big adventure A hidden gem in the European Quartet, Slovakia is a country with warm people and cool countryside brimming with pristine landscapes. The country's chequered history is reflected in its complexity of architectural, cultural and culinary styles. And despite its size, it serves up a whole range of options for the high-end traveller. The attractions for the luxury traveller include around 1,500 healing springs and spas that offer curative treatments as well as weight-loss and fitness activities. Slovakia is particularly rich in thermal baths and its waters have been compared in healing quality to that of the Dead Sea. Bratislava, the capital features among the prominent destinations in Slovakia, close to the borders of Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The city stretches along the river Danube, making travel by boat to either Vienna or Budapest an exciting option. The highlights of the city include the Castle of Bratislava and the Old Town, with its concentration of historical sights and cultural institutions besides cafes, bars and clubs. Many of Slovakia’s numerous castles and manor houses, like the Louis XVI-style Amade Chateau outside the capital of Bratislava, have been turned into luxury hotels. These elite hotels combine historical character with modern comfort and prompt service that reflects the warmth of the Slovak people. An adventure lovers paradise, Slovakia has excellent conditions for enjoying active holidays in summer and in winter at its golf resorts, marked cycling tracks, mountains suitable for hiking, trekking, mountaineering and rivers and lakes perfect for water sports. The country also offers gourmet food and excellent wines for the epicurean souls. One region that particularly encapsulates Slovakia’s charm is Kosice, the gateway to the eastern part of the country. The city will be the European Capital of Culture in 2013. The country also has nine national parks, 12 underground caves including the remarkable Ochtinska aragonite cave, one of three such caves worldwide. text and photos courtesy Czech Tourism, Hungarian National Tourist Office, Polish Tourist Organisation, Slovak Tourist Board

Kempinski’s first property in Thailand – Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok celebrates two years

K

empinski Hotels, Europe's oldest luxury hotel group, opened its first property in Thailand's capital city of Bangkok on September 27, 2010. This five-star hotel combines Kempinski's trademark of European flair with Thai hospitality tradi-

tions. Throughout the hotel, the lotus flower plays an important role in reflecting the area's history. All the hotel’s banqueting rooms are named after various lotus varieties. Siam Kempinski Hotel is a “resort within the city,” and features 303 contemporary rooms and suites, designed by Tandem Architects, with Hirsch Bedner Associates contributing to the interior design. Unique to Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok is the garden suite, eleven duplex suites, and ten cabana rooms. All these rooms grant guests direct access to the garden, and are only a couple of steps from the private terraces and the swimming pools. The Terrace Suite on the rooftop on the garden Wing features a vast private garden with Jacuzzi. Every room offers modern comforts and in-room entertainment systems. Wifi and highspeed internet connections are available throughout the hotel. All guest rooms are decorated with pieces of Thai art, prints of lotus flowers and scenes of Thai life. Part of the hotel's design is an extensive collection of Thai art, which blends harmoniously into the overall architecture and design of the property. The hotel features a 900 m2 pillar-less grand ballroom that is ideal for celebratory events such as birthdays, weddings and engagement parties. Kempinski The Spa has been introduced to Siam Kempinski Hotel. It's the first Kempinski The Spa in Asia. Following the philosophy of the four seasons and using herbs and plants as the base for all treatments, traditional Thai influences are incorporated to make a visit to the spa unforgettable. For parents looking for “me” time, children can spend the day at the Kempinski Kids’ Club, an enjoyable place for children to hang out while their parents enjoy the marvels of the hotel's facilities. The services include baby-sitting, especially prepared meals, entertainment, games and activities. To book or for further information visit www.kempinski.com/press o www.gha.com

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

Kitty Su at the lalit

Kitty Su Kitty Su is named after a lady who had a taste for the fine things in life, and this reflects in the way the nightclub is done. It’s a blend of the ancient past and modern contemporary.


FOOD & MORE

DELHI DIARY

FOR TH

Performance

Malavika Sarukkai to enthrall Delhi Dancer Choreographer Malavika Sarukkai premieres her most recent creation love, longing and transcendence in the language of classical dance based on the poetry of Amir Khusrau. The music is composed by Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan. This production will be preceded by a talk and slide presentation entitled "Inward Journeys: Sufis as seen by the Indian Painter" by the renowned Art Historian Dr B N Goswamy. The show is sponsored by JK Paper Ltd and Minaakshi S. Dass. What: Dance Poetry by Malavika Sarukkai When: Friday, 28th September, 7.00 pm Where: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg Contact details:. VI Govan- 011-23713801

Art Watch

Craftsmanship and calligraphy design exhibit

Delhi never ceases to buzz – not when we mention good food. We scouted the Capital’s many markets and came back with a list of must-try places with their signature dishes.

Divine pizzas at Amici Café

Watch out for a unique and innovative design development project, Akshara: Crafting Indian Scripts. Presented by Jaya Jaitly founder and president of Dastkari Haat Samiti, the exhibition brings together craftsmanship and calligraphy. It proposes to highlight the importance of Saaksharta throughout India by giving it a new dimension and meaning through skills practiced by its craftsmen. The exhibition of over 140 museumworthy exhibits will be mounted at the Visual Arts Gallery. The ambitious project has worked with 58 producer-groups, 13 languages and scripts and 15 craft, textile and art forms, covering 16 states of India. The exhibition will showcase India's great written heritage by focusing on the art of calligraphy in multi-faceted and innovative ways by linking the art of calligraphy and design. Dastkari Haat Samiti has been working on this project for more than three years. What: Akshara: Crafting Indian Scripts Time: 10.00am - 8.00pm When: 16-21 September 2012. Where: India Habitat Centre, New Delhi Contact details: Dastkari Haat Samiti: 011 - 26852373, 011 - 46084883

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In a mall full of many eateries, Amici manages to hold its own. Its cutting-edge look sets the café apart. The whiff of fresh coffee brewing alongside the rustic fiery scent of the wood fired oven is all very inviting. Even on weekdays, the place bustles with ladies exchanging pleasantries over an assortment of delicious quick bites. The friendly staff is quick to tell you how their Farmer’s Favourite Veggie Pizza, Rs 396, happens to be a unanimous choice for all Amici-lovers. And they are quite right. We devoured our wood-fired, thin crust pizza with absolute joy. The generous sprinkle of veggies coupled with the freshness of ingredients explains the constant buzz. Watch out for Amici Pronto on the ground floor at Select Citywalk for cookies, muffins and their frozen yoghurt – Froyo. •Khan Market Tel.: 43587191 • Select Citywalk Mall, Saket Tel.: 41041468


FOOD & MORE

HE LOVE OF FOOD

Choco mania at Chokola

An entire place dedicated to the love of many lives: chocolate. Chokola at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon presents chocolates in myriad avatars. There are tiny pieces, large slabs, all sitting pretty in glass shelves. Good news for the health conscious – Chockola also offers pure dark chocolate of premium quality. Their signature dish Truffles Pistachio: a mound of delectable chocolate with that unmistakable zany touch is priced at Rs 60 apiece. These chocolate boutiques feature finely crafted, handmade artisan chocolates. Chokola is known for its signature selection of confectionery and fresh bakery. Also watch out for customized, jaw-dropping cakes the place bakes on request. • Khan Market Tel: 011-41757570 • Saket Tel: 011-41042853 • Pacific Mall, Tel: 011-47454459 • Vasant Kunj, Tel: 011-41007523 • IGI Airport Terminal-3 Tel: 011-49633221 • Ambience Mall, Gurgaon Tel: 0124-4665494 • Galleria Market, Gurgaon Tel: 0124-4003215

Belgium scoops at Haagen-Dazs The term, Death by Chocolate ought to have transpired from the sinful spread of Belgium ice cream available at Haagen Dazs. The upbeat, premium ice-cream place churns out unbelievable sorbets, cakes, scoops, specialty shakes, smoothies and sundaes. We sampled their signature lustrous spread of waffles soaked in abundant scoops of finest, handcrafted Belgium ice-cream and drooled over it. The dark chocolate ice-cream is whipped with such finesse that when biting into it you silently offer a little thank you prayer to the person who decided to bring this American chain to India, or more precisely to Select Citywalk, New Delhi. Its premium quality comes with a price. The signature dish set us back by Rs 600. Indeed, a little steep for a plateful of ice-cream. But given how the place celebrates ice-cream and the spreads bliss – we are not complaining! Select Citywalk Mall Tel: 011-49535567 September 2012 GO NOW

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FOOD & MORE

Khan Chacha’s super hit kebabs Now this is one place where the glitterati as well as the not-so-famous gather to binge on good food. Khan Chacha at Khan Market has been revered for cooking up a storm with their delicious kebabs, rolls and tikkas. Here, its the knowledge and experience that does the talking; the perfect masalas, the oozing flavours speak volumes about the art of fine cooking at Khan Chacha , The humble own-

ers make no noise about having the famous devour their goodies. Their signature dish Chicken Tikka. Roomali Roll, priced at Rs 130 is delicious and a big hit with the crowd that rushes in everyday. • Khan Market Tel.: 011- 24633242 • Connaught Place Tel.: 011- 43036111 • Select Citywalk Mall, Saket

Continental special at Cocoa by Belgique After a long, hard day if you want to leave it to some music and a couple of drinks, Cocoa by Belgique is the place to be. The music rolls on nonstop and the lively mood takes on you almost instantly. Their signature dish, the staff insists is Chicken Salantro. Priced at Rs 300 the dish comes along with colourful veggies by the side of the chicken. Also, look out for pastas drenched in a number of sauces here. The fare is continental plus Italian and offers a number of cocktails as well. Select Citywalk Mall Tel: 011-42658280, 011-42658281

Ice attack at Snobiz

Dimsums at Chi Bar and Kitchen Enter Chi Bar and Kitchen at SDA Market, and the dim glow emanating from the lanterns above the table greets you. A fusion of different flavours, the place is known for Asian and oriental fare. We tried dimsums with wholesome chicken filling and thin flour coating, along with a crispy veg spread which made for good munching. The sauces, prepared to the T make for great accompaniments; do sample their 64

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chilly garlic sauce, onion coriander dip and ginger dip. We were pleasantly surprised to know that Chi Bar and Kitchen offers pizzas as well. And they are named after cult filmsPulp Fiction, Good Fellas, The God’s Must Be Crazy and what not. Their signature dish: Chicken and Coriander Dimsums is priced at Rs 330. • Opposite IIT, SDA Tel: 011-46508753 • Select Citywalk Mall Saket Tel.: 011-40566919

Think of the good old gola with an American twist. Snobiz at Select CItywalk, Saket is a wow addition to its foodie landscape. This place delivers out unthinkable forms of ice smothered in yummy flavours. The quirky, little outlet has everything going right for its setting. The blue colour stands out; the miniature icecones catch all the attention. We tried the Blueberry Shave Ice and are definitely going back for more. They offer a range of ice wonders. Our Shave Ice was priced at Rs 78. Select Citywalk, Saket


FOOD & MORE

Rolls at Cinnabon Cinnabon, an American chain of baked delights, doles out an array of desserts with that special touch. Its absolute must-try is Cinnabon Classic: a warm, gooey roll soaked in layers of sinful cheese cream filling. Now, there's nothing quite like this dessert on a rotten day. We assure you within minutes of lapping up this divine roll, your mood will go back to its cheery self. And the taste just lingers on, all for a price of Rs 100. We visited the outlet at DLF Promenade Mall, Vasant Kunj and were happy to have been served so well. • DLF Promenade Mall Tel.: 011- 46105147 • Select Citywalk Mall, Saket Tel.: 011- 41026684 • Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden Tel.: 011- 45390885

Dunkin Donuts & More’s sweet treat Donut lovers, shake a leg, for the king of donuts is here in New Delhi at M Block Market 1, GK. Internationally, Dunkin’ Donuts offers more than 1,000 kinds of doughnuts along with fritters, crullers, bagels, muffins, Danish pastries, muffins and biscuits. Here, we will have to settle for a little less. The outlet at DLF Place, Saket is peppy and makes all references to how the donut is relished in America along with hot coffee. The colourful ambience makes an impression. We sampled the mango donut priced at Rs 50 and enjoyed it thoroughly.

V

Vegetarian fare at Vega, Lado Sarai

ega, presented by Tavern on the Greens specialises in authentic North Indian vegetarian cuisine. Timings: 12 pm - 4 pm, The legacy has been passed on from the 7 pm - 11 pm original pioneering restaurant at Hotel Alka Meal for 2: Rs 1,000 (Inclusive in Connaught Place which was established of tax, without alcohol) back in '80. Food aficionados can savour Address: Tavern on Greens the similar flavour now at Vega Lado Sarai. Lado Sarai, Aurobindo Marg The interiors engage the senses – miniature Tel.: 9310025070/ 9810125070 paintings adorn walls; the chandelier and other traditional elements in the middle of the room ferry you to older parts of Delhi. The earthy tones of its interiors warmly embrace you as you cross its threshold into a space where modern aesthetics meet traditional values and sensibilities. Food is cooked in pure desi ghee with fresh ingredients and without onion and garlic. The aroma and flavours instantly remind you of your grandmother's kitchen. The royal thalis on the menu offer a five-course meal fit for a king. Their Bherinvi Aloo with authentic chutney along with a host of variety of Indian breads like the paratha adrak and paratha hari mirch are definite must haves. Traditional drinks like aam-ka-panna, jal jeera, thandai and chaach make for thirst quenchers on a hot day.

factfile

• DLF Place, Saket Tel: 9811464163 • Greater Kailash Tel: 9213027252, 9213027253 • Connaught Place Tel: 41523636, 41523637 by CHESTA WADHWANI TREHAN September 2012 GO NOW

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CITY SPECIAL

French Connection Through sheer word-of-mouth, L’Opera has become the city's most talked-about bakery. With a flagship store in the upscale Khan Market and smaller outlets in Select Citywalk and DLF Promenade Mall, the patisserie is the place to sample authentic French macaroons, breads, pastries, croissants and tarts.

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he first time I heard about L’Opera, the discussion was about its prices - which are significantly higher than what you’re likely to encounter in any other bakery in town. It seemed, from a distant point of view, as one of those places which had opened up to cater to the growing community of expats in the city, and was dismissed with the typical “they don’t know better,” mindset. Turns out, they do know better – at least their cakes, pastries and breads: and it takes only one visit to L’Opera’s outlet – whether you choose to go to the big patisserie in Khan Market, or either of the smaller ones in Select Citywalk or the DLF Promenade Mall to know just how right. The miniscule L-shaped display across which sits a narrow counter with a few barstools at the bakery's DLF Promenade Mall counter is no more than a hole in the wall. Yet its size belies the attention it gets:

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people crammed in the little outlet are, for lack of a better word, gawking. That’s how good the rows of macaroons, (in pink, green, golden and brown), mile feuille, and the array of fruit tarts, lemon tarts, éclairs and mirabelle look. This is about the time that the visual and olfactory senses domineer over any trepidation and common sense crumples up and dies: you want to taste everything (and pack and take home what you can't!) I started with a gorgeous Salmon quiche (Rs. 245) and followed that up with a gushing Cheese croissant (Rs. 195) before wolfing down a delectable Danish pastry (Rs. 85) and the beautiful Lemon Tart Rs. 195) for dessert. The desserts were spectacular simply because, unlike a lot of other bakeries, neither was greasy or saccharine sweet. Even the tea, which came from a humble tea bag, was as good as it's possible

for a tea-bag tea to be. L’Opera’s top-notch authenticity flows directly from its owner founder - Laurent Samandari – who first thought of opening a bakery when he came to India for an internship a few years back, and missed, as only the French do, pastries and breads from home. Needless to say the bakery’s products are made strictly according to French techniques and there is no fusion or watering down of the recipes to suit the Indian palate.


CITY SPECIAL

Sinful Sunday brunches at Senses, Pullman Gurgaon Central Park

L’Opera (at the Malls) DLF Promenade Mall (Second Floor), Vasant Kunj -Open every day from 10 am to 10 pm. Select CityWalk Mall, Saket (Shop G-47, by Entrance C) - Open every day from 10 am to 11 pm. Home Delivery Tel: +91 120 4066 888 9:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Saturday E-mail: contact@frenchbakery.in (24 to 48 hours advance notice required)

And going by the response, Indians don’t seem to mind that at all. In fact my companion on this trip, who's spent a year studying in France, remarked how similar L’Opera is to little cosy Parisian bakeries. Besides the usual sweet treats L'Opéra also has savoury items on the menu (including the must-try savoury tarts!) and a decadent selection of cakes. Home delivery is available (minimum order Rs 2,000) and the patisserie can also cater for functions. The damages came in the vicinity of Rs 1,000 – admittedly much more than what you'd spend at your friendly neighbourhood baker. But the difference in fare is much more than the difference in what it costs. L’Opera’s goodies, including the fabulous breads, are in a different league from what is available at commercial bakeries. The sheer indulgence is worth every penny. by MERAJ SHAH

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enses, the newly launched allday dining innovation at Pull man Gurgaon Central Park introduces an extravagant Sunday spread Sunday Sabbaticals at Senses brings for foodies Italian, Asian, Arabic, Thai, Western, Japanese and Korean cuisine for their Sunday brunch. The spread also offers a Sunday special pizza along with innovative beverages. Choose from Bloody Mary, Mojito or Martini Bar with a selection of vegetable juice blends and a variety of condiments. The cherry on the cake is the Grand Dessert buffet that puts together enjoyable sweet treats for all palettes. The hotel has introduced Pullman Pamper program for kids as a part of Sunday Sabbaticals. This programme puts forward a kneehigh buffet along with entertainment activities tailor-made for the children. Children can also apply for their exclusive ‘membership’ & ‘passport’ vis-à-vis the Kids Club. Kids may register for membership at their first visit to receive a membership kit. Price per person: Rs 2200 all inclusive (without alcohol), INR 3000 all inclusive (with alcohol) Timings: 11.30 am till 4.30 pm For reservations call: Senses - +91 124 499 2000

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Pan-Asian Pan-Asian Potpourri Potpourri With its trademark anime décor, loose-collar ambience and spectacular takes on Thai and oriental cuisine, Mamagoto’s outlet in Select Citywalk delivers the restaurant’s brand of fun and fusion cuisine with aplomb

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t’s difficult to maintain complete objec tivity when writing about a restaurant which you patronise regularly. Thank fully there is a distinction here: while this writer (along with a large number of regulars) frequent the Pan-Asian Mamgoto restaurant in the tony Khan Market practically every week, this write-up is about eatery's franchise at the Select Citywalk mall in Saket. With that out of the way right at the outset, and conscience-calmed (yet still unquestionably prejudiced) here’s my two-bit on why Mamagoto is the first name which pops up in my mind every time a dinner out on town is on the cards.

Select Citywalk. In fact it's a double whammy because parking at the mall takes longer than it does at Khan Market. Nonetheless, a mall is not a bad place to wait, and after a short 20minute whirl around the second floor of the mall (where the restaurant is located) we found ourselves ensconced in Mamagoto's familiar wallpapered interiors. Why re-invent the wheel, the owners seem to have thought, and with good reason: the Japanese anime style décor and warm lighting, which work so well at the Khan market outlet, create the same friendly, informal feel at Saket. Conversation, fun and food take centrestage at Mamagoto.

Starters, Mains & Dessert First Impressions Any hopes of not having to wait - we went without reservations, Mamagoto takes the last reservation for 2015hrs, if you plan to get there later then you’ll just have to hope that you get a table – were dashed by the evidence of milling crowds outside the restaurant's outlet in 68

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While best known for its Thai food, Mamagoto also serves Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Oriental. After much handwringing we decided to go with appetisers which we had not previously sampled - Rock shrimp tempura (Rs 325), Water Chestnut spring rolls (Rs 165) and spicy fried Calama-

ri (Rs 325) – for starters. Classic dishes all but came presented in ways that we had not seen before. The Calamari, in particular was infused with flavours which are a bit fiery for the original dish but perfect for the Indian palate. These were washed these down with the Passion Fruit & Orange cooler (Rs 155) and the surprisingly refreshing cinnamon whisky story (Rs 295) - an innovative blend


FINE DINING of Jack Daniels' cinnamon and sugar. We predict that the latter is going to be the cocktail to order with winter approaching. The liquor selection is minimalistic - the emphasis is on the food here. For vegans who aren’t afraid to experiment (or are calorie conscious) the Som Tam salad – a raw papaya salad with a tangy Thai dressing takes the cake – delicious and doesn’t weigh a stone once you're finished. While pondering over the main course, we espied some items from the Robata Grill section make their way to a table adjacent to ours. Just the sight of the juicy Canadian Pork ribs (Rs 795) is enough to make any carnivore swoon. The New Zealand lamb chops (Rs 995) were even better. But if you want to stick to what you know, then consider the Maagoto Noreng – Mamagoto’s version of the classic Nasi Goreng. The humble Goreng – stir fried rice with Sambal (traditional chilli sauce) embellished with chunks of Fried Egg and served with Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Sauce makes an excellent meal for one person. It's in the bread and butter classics that the creativity of Mamagoto's chefs is most apparent. Essentially, the stronger flavours in Mamagoto's take on Thai and Japanese cuisine favour the Indian palate more than the original dishes. For dessert look no further than the homemade coconut ice cream (2 scoops for Rs 135). It's bursting with freshness and is the star of the dessert menu. Lastly, the quantities, while not quite what you' get in a typical Indian restaurant, are adequate and do not leave you hungry for more.

Why Go? Mamagoto personified, is honest and layered much like the food it serves. It's got the basics covered - impeccable service standards: your waitresses and hostesses are polite and helpful. The gentleman at the door will offer you water as you wait (which you'll inevitably have to if you don’t have a reservation). ‘Fun,’ – part of the name (Mamagoto means to play with food,’ in Japanese), is reflected in the ambience, adding to the general bonhomie of the patrons. And most importantly, it's a part of the food too – a rare example of a restaurant succeeding with its own renditions of authentic cuisines – it’s fusion and it works. And to top it off, for the quality of the food served, the prices are downright reasonable. Don’t take this reviewer’s word for it – check it out at

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.G.I Friday is known for its interna tional flavours and with the ongo ing Pasta festival it has pledged to leave your taste buds in awe. The tasteful décor only adds to the experience. Their assortment of this Italian delicacy appears appetizing with a bevy of colourful sauces topped on them. The pastas are prepared with fresh ingredients, sauces that instantly remind you of the typical American flavour that T.G.I.F. is known for. For starters, the Bistro Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta turned out to be a huge hit. The delicacy was a great amalgamation of tangy flavours, penne pasta and parmesan cheese. Chicken lovers can try delicious Lemon Chicken Piccata which is prepared with garlic, artichoke hearts and red peppers. To savour a something radically different, try the Pasta Alla Vodka which is tossed in a rich creamy basil Parmesan sauce with fresh tomatoes and a touch of Smirnoff Red Vodka. Served with the combination of fire grilled chicken breast marinated in garlic and rice wine vinegar. Those of you who love spices should try on the Pasta Puttanesca which is prepared with fresh basil, plum tomatoes, black olives, garlic and capers tossed with pasta and garnished with Parmesan cheese. To devour a blend of heart-warming ingredi-

Pastalicious Pasta Fest at T.G.I. F presents the Italian delicacy in myriad avatars.

ents, bite into the lip-smacking Roasted Garlic & Chicken Alfredo pasta. This plateful brims with colours and brings to life a blend of unique flavours. It has mushrooms, oven roasted tomatoes sautéed with grilled chicken simmered in roasted garlic Alfredo sauce and tossed with penne pasta and bacon. To give a more enhanced experience the restaurant gives you an option to club your favourite pasta with its best companion. They offer an array of mocktails and cocktails. The Pink Punk Cosmopolitan is their signature beverage. Available at: • Saket Tel: 46102741; • Vasant Kunj Tel: 011 - 46060956; • Raja Garden Tel: 011 - 45508081; • Gurgaon– 0124 - 4018681; • Noida – 0120 - 4221000 Pasta festival on until October end Timing - 11.30 am to midnight. Prices: Pastas vary from Rs 300-600. Meal for two: Rs 700 plus taxes by VASUJIT KALIA

Mamagoto S-9, 2nd Floor, Select Citywalk Mall, Saket Tel: +91-11-46545160 by MERAJ SHAH September 2012 GO NOW

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BARS & LOUNGES

KITTY SU: SO SWISH The ritzy nightclub at The Lalit hotel celebrated its first anniversary recently. Its haute quotient intact, the club hits the right, pulsating notes.

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itty Su had a star-studded first an niversary bash in August. We de cide to visit the nightclub at The Lalit to find out why it’s so talked about. On the extreme left of the lobby, a flight of stairs lead you down to the most spacious five-star hotel nightclub I have been to, although in eons. Once the guests are frisked, they have to obtain a card which acts in lieu of moolah. Top up the card when required as the nightclub does not accept cash at the bar. You are offered a complimentary welcome shot on arrival. Kitty Su is named after a lady who had a taste for all the fine things in life, and this reflects in the way the nightclub is

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done. It’s a blend of the ancient past and modern contemporary. The sculptures of Khajuraho brought in from Khajuraho add sensuality of the past, while the signature dim lighting, comfy seating, and wooden flooring create a modern ambience. The nightclub reflects the modern sensibility of designer Bobby Mukherji who’s designed the club. Kitty Su opens into the main dance floor. There is an elevated area that has its own bar and a tiny dance floor, and a personal butler to fetch you drinks from the bar. All this comes at a cost of Rs 45,000 onwards, including a drop home, if you are too tipsy to drive back home.

The bar and dance floor are open for all but you need to have a reservation for 15 people and more to occupy the couches. You can also cuddle with your loved one and click yourself with the camera installed at the photo booth. The smokers can go the smoking room, adjoining the main area. It also has lights and cigars for purchase. But, otherwise, there aren't really any couches to relax. You could visit the ‘The Dressing Room’, also popular as the champagne lounge, since the bar serves the best of champagnes. But even this room, has stools for seating. There's another mini club, called ‘The Salon’ which has its own bar, and DJ console. But it is


BARS & LOUNGES

open only for private parties. Kitty Su has a secret room ‘The List’ reserved for the A-listers. We figured Virat Kohli was there recently. It’s accessible by electronic key card, and often, guests are escorted through the back entrance from the

kitchen, to avoid the club crowd. 'The List' has its own bar, and the music can be changed as per the guests' request. Kitty Su essentially comes across as a nightclub where the mini clubs within the club are mostly let out for personal parties. The swim wear – trikini, swimsuit sari, and accessories like clutches, ipad clutch, leather moccasins and beach shorts for men displayed across the nightclub are striking, and unique to the nightclub. This range for Kitty Su has been designed by Shivan & Narresh and is available for purchase. The choice of music at Kitty Su is electro, pop, house music, progressive trance and commercial music. You can request the DJ to play a popular English track, but the club doesn't play Bollywood music or bhangra at all. The bright air horns (speakers) that belt out the music are quite trendy; the disco lights are subtle, and the projectors near the DJ console, air interesting music related stuff on the video wall. You can get really high with the exhaustive drinks menu. There is a specially concocted range of cocktails based on the seven sins of lust, gluttony, greed, discouragement, wrath, envy and pride. These are priced at Rs 800. There is another selection called Kama Sutra cocktails priced at Rs 500.

factfile Timings: Wed, Fri & Sat, 10 pm – 2 am Cover charges: Rs 2,000 onwards (varies depending on the DJ) for couples & stags (includes alcohol & food) The Lalit Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place For reservations: Tel: 4444 7666, 96504 00444

The wine list is impressive. The Kitty Su bartenders know their drinks, as they experiment with the welcome shots too. You might not want to eat too much but the nightclub has Asian food. There’s penne in vodka sauce, Asian pizza topped with Chinese Duck and other finger foods for Rs 800, in addition to the insanely priced caviar. Round off the night on a sweet note with sweet sushi on a chocolate plate, nutty brownie martini, and other delicacies for Rs 500. Or you could just party on... the music is not your regular club music, the drinks and food menu is really innovative, the crowd is a notch above the rest of the clubs, and so is the nightclub. Wash away your blues on a rainy Wednesday night or unwind on a Friday or Saturday night, as the nightclub is open only on these days. by MANISHA ALMADI MIDHA

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food & wine

Luxury spread featuring the Caviar at ITC Maurya’s West View’s Sunday Summit Brunch.

Bring on the brunch B ritish author Guy Beranger was spot on when he wrote in 1895 in an article “Brunch: A Plea” that a “brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” Like any enduring Sunday-morning ritual, a brunch – a portmanteau word combining breakfast and lunch – is an institution that has survived the onslaught of time. The leisurely weekend meal lubricates social bonding over acres of comfort food in a chilled out atmosphere accentuating the ‘all’s well with the world’ feeling. However, as any brunchie will tell you, a good brunch isn’t just about the food. It is as much about the intangibles – mellifluous

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With irresistible brunch offerings across the city’s gastronomic landscape, celebrate your Sunday like never before.

music, the scintillating company of dear ones, atmospherics and a feel-good factor despite the day’s culinary excesses. Leveraging this emotion, as well as the augmented purchasing power of today’s gourmands, the city’s dining establishments are laying out the proverbial red carpet for their brunches this season. The meals – diverse, eclectic and oomphy – are indeed fit for the Gods. “A good brunch is an experiential that elevates a meal to the next level,” opines Glenn Eastman, Executive Chef, The Leela Palace, New Delhi. The hotel offers a resplendent Sunday buffet at its award-winning coffee shop The Qube. And will soon, informs Eastman, unveil a Saturday brunch (complete with a jazz band) at its iconic European eatery, Le Cirque.

According to Chef Gurjyote Singh, Chef de Cuisine, at The Claridges Suraj Kund, apart from tickling the most pernickety palate, a classic brunch helps a chef put a new spin on dishes, invent new ones and offer something that doesn’t exist on a regular menu. “It is an opportunity to showcase our imaginative best to our discerning customers,” says Singh. Yet not all chefs look forward to brunch time. In his nonfiction book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain, a former line cook, called brunch a “punishment” for the B-team cooks and a “dumping ground” for the week’s leftovers. For diners, the possibility of crowds or a long wait at the buffet table, he said, can be a put off. But these brunch haters remain a minority, pushing against the tide of the ebullient brunch lobby. Indeed what’s not to like about


food & wine getting up late, lingering over the Sunday papers with steaming cups of chai and then heading straight to a buzzy lunch venue without the intervening inconvenience of breakfast? For the super active, who miss the action of weekdays, a brunch is the perfect excuse to bolt out of the house into a vibrant eatery and indulge in the warmth of human contact. Though essentially a winter concept, the compulsions of market dynamics have propelled establishments to embrace the concept of brunch for summers as well by tweaking their offerings. Many outlets take their meals a notch higher still by getting musicians to serenade their diners – a pianist, a singer or a whole jazz band. Adding further heft to the brunch segment are theme-based buffets. Created around occasions like Mother’s Day, IPL matches, Halloween or Christmas, they are increasingly currying favor with punters while driving sales. For instance, the Sunday Champagne Brunch at Threesixtyone, The Oberoi, Gurgaon – arguably the city’s most lavish – is a large swathe of the world on your plate. Created by Executive Chef Ravitej Nath, a smorgasbord of Japanese, Chinese, Italian as well as Indian offerings tempt taste buds at this stunningly crafted coffee shop. Augmenting the interactive quotient with guests are live counters of Peking duck rolls by Chef Tang (Sichuan), hand-pulled noodles by Chef Hu (Cantonese), sushi and sashimis by Chef Hiroshi (Japanese) and Teppanyaki stir fries by Chef Mark. Meanwhile, the Indian culinary gurus can be spotted tossing nubile roomalis and prodding sizzling kebabs on the grills creating culinary theater. “We have a specialized chef for each type of cuisine and our food quality is unparalleled, informs Diksha Pande, F&B Manager at The Oberoi, Gurgaon. “The idea is to offer the freshest of produce, diversity of food, aesthetics of presentation and beverages which complement the food very well.” T he booze factor is pretty high and indeed “unparalleled” – a bouquet of 10 champagnes,

beers, wines plus 10 types of cocktails, mocktails and martinis. However, the sight of so much food, regulars comment in jest, often paralyzes them into indecision! The Oberoi’s also hosts a Sunday at Amaranta, the hotel’s contemporary Indian coastal restaurant where fresh seafood, flown in daily from the country’s 7,500 kilometre coastline, gives landlocked Delhiites a whiff of the sea. At The Leela Palace, New Delhi, the Sunday brunch looks deceptively low key at its award-winning coffee shop Le Qube. No raucous laughter, drunken chatter or loud music. However, don’t let that fool you into believing it isn’t every bit as indulgent as – if not more than – than the other city spreads. Here’s what we consumed within the first half hour of our arrival: lobster eggs Benedict, three freshly-shucked oysters, parma ham, poached eggs with black truffle hollandaise, smoked salmon and a flute of champagne. Okay, two flutes. Over the course of the next five hours, we partook of some astoundingly good beef carpaccio, grilled fish with cucumber slaw, lamb cutlets, sushi and one too many Brie-smeared crackers while volleying between the pink champagne and a martini made with orange

juice, star anise and basil. On any other day, it would be prudent to find a table right next to the large floorto-ceiling windows overlooking the Leela’s splendiferous lawns and a gobsmacking sculpture by artist Satish Gupta, but here’s the truth: the more you eat, the harder it is to walk to the buffet spread. So sit as close to the grub as possible for the brunch! At Oasis, The Claridges Surajkund’s multi-cuisine eatery, we stand transfixed, soaking in the Sunday brunch’s endless counters groaning under the weight of goodies. The dessert section sparkles with miniature pastries, cakes, golden waffles, a chocolate fountain, shot glasses swirled with fruit mousse, high-rise fruit soufflés and more complex numbers like the black sesame crème brule and green tea macaroons. The live stations, sizzling grills, seafood counters as well as a separate section for kids (burgers, fries, mini pizzas, hotdogs…) and tables stacked

Lemongrass and chilly crusted prawns on chilled maple and udon broth at Taj Mahal Hotel.


food & wine crafted a special ‘Kaiseki meal’, traditional Japanese ‘soul food’ for which he uses recipes of his mother and grandmother. And as we downed one habit-forming sushi (tuna, crayfish, salmon roe, nigiri, maki…) after another, accompanied by the robust wasabi and a sweet sake, we swear we attained culinary nirvana. Machan, the Taj Mahal Hotel’s all-day dining in New Delhi, which pioneered the Brunch at Oasis, The Claridges Surajkund. lavish Champagne-andCaviar brunch in 2003, has led the other city hotels to ramp up their Sunday buffet spreads a s well. Offer ing an eclectic and upmarket mix of caviar, seafood and different types of champagnes, the Taj concept has been a hit with the city’s chi chi since its inception. According to the hotel’s Executive Chef Amit

high with food appear dazzling and hence, our initial surge of gluttony. However, avoid capitulating to this sudden urge to run amok stuffing your face with everything in sight. Preserve that appetite for a blast of flavorcharged Japanese cuisine created by the enormously talented chef, Keisuke Uno. The chef works magic in sundry forms with ingredients flown in fresh from Japan. For us, he

Chowdhury, though over the years the caviar and champagne concept has met with stiff competition from restaurants serving foie gras and sauternes, “it was essentially the Taj’s iconic brunch template which was used by other hotels to spin out their own spreads”. However, Chowdhury is of the firm opinion that brunch offerings should be healthful keeping in mind contemporary lifestyles. “The produce should be local, fresh and flavorful. Food which is light and allows people to sample the entire spread without feeling too full, is increasingly becoming a benchmark for a “good” brunch,” adds the award-winning chef who also has also written food books. The Taj’s new brunch selection, for instance, has an eclectic selection of regional Indian, European and Southeast Asian food with live stations. Pan-seared foie gras with accompaniments like balsamic jelly and strawberry foam, a caviar and roe station, seafood grills offering fresh water prawns, mussels, soft shell crabs, squids, octopus and Victorian sea bass are some of the highlights. The Middle-Eastern section has an array of mezze,

Outdoor sitting area at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

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Sunday brunch at Threesixtyone at The Oberoi Gurgaon.

chicken shwarma and freshly baked pita. According to Rishiraj Singh, F&B Manager, ITC Maurya, the “wow factor” is vital for a standout brunch. “For ITC,” adds Singh, “the biggest wow is our Rooftop Cuisine. The Sunday Summit brunch at our eateries – West View and My Humble House – allows the diner to experience our luxurious spread of two buffets. Our open kitchen-inrestaurants let guests interact with the chefs even as they watch their favorite dishes being rustled up live.” One may choose to sit the innards of the beautifully decorated restaurants at the Maurya. Or sip a glass of wine or two on the terrace, soaking in sight of the Metro move through Delhi’s lush spaces even as mellifluous music floods one’s senses. The ITC’s Sunday Summit Brunch is liter-

ally, a moveable feast. Like the city’s iconic Metro, it takes one around no less than 15 food stations. The ‘Green Line’, for instance, takes one through the starters – antipasti, fondue, boulangerie, Asian soups, salads and dimsums. Main courses are indicated by the ‘Blue Line’ which include duck roaster, Thai curries, Asian staples, pies and flans. The ‘Red Line’ is, you guessed it, the dessert track which includes fruit carvery, crepiere, handmade chocolatiere and other such sinful temptations! With such temptations on offer, it is hardly surprising that despite the hiccup-inducing prices (a Champagne Brunch at The Oberoi Gurgaon is tagged at Rs 4,295 including taxes while the city’s other brunches average around Rs 3,000), the brunch brigade seems to be growing exponentially.

Some more brunch in the city

Hyatt Regency’s award-winning outlets cook up delicous spreads every Sunday. The holiday is special at La Piazza as this restaurant offers antipasti options along with lavish helpings of pasta and pizzas (Rs 2,200). At The China Kitchen, you can savour traditional Chinese dishes. perfectly paired with Sunday Lanson Rose Champagne (Rs 4,800). If you seek an Oriental experience, step into Oriental Grill on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy sushi, sashimi, and tempura The main course offers you a choice of vegetables, meats and seafood (Rs 2,850). Sunday brunch timings: 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. For reservations and information call +91 11 6677 1333

Interestingly, most hotels are also tapping the brunch’s interactive element to its optimal level. At Blooms, Intercontiental Eros, Nehru Place, there is an extensive multi-cuisine spread, with lots of live stations where skillful chefs customize orders. The concentration during this summer though has shifted from winter favorites like laksa, fondue and redmeat dishes to fresh and light summer foods. Tall and multi-hued cocktails and sundry beers slake thirsts while an imported wine selection tempts the oenophiles. In fact most establishments emphasize how seasonal adaptations are vital for a successful brunch. At Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida, for instance, there is a conscious effort by the kitchen to amp up the summer quotient with tasty low-cal salads and desserts crafted from seasonal fruits and vegetables. A quintessential summer brunch at Radisson would thus, informs Subhashish Gupta, F&B Manager, incorporate dishes like Tenderloin Stroganoff, Lamb Navarin, Moroccan Lamb Tagine and Caponata stuffed baby Aubergine and Fricassee of Chicken. Desserts would comprise crepes, baklava, lime pie and an entire gamut of fruit-based sweets while the salads would feature avocado, mango, pineapple, pickled shallots, toasted pumpkin seeds, snow peas and cherry tomato. With such irresistible brunch offerings across the city’s gastronomic landscape, go ahead and indulge. And then wallow in the afterglow of inertia that follows your excesses. Remember: today is Sunday. And this isn’t the day for calorie crunching! by neeta lal

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India’s first Six Senses Spa in Greater Noida This international chain is home to an array of spa treatments along with insightful expertise

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ix Senses Spa is conveniently locat ed and is just a few minutes’ drive from Pari Chowk, an important landmark of Greater Noida. It was launched in the last week of August. Six Senses is a resort and spa management and development company, based in Thailand that manages resorts under the brand names Six Senses and Evason and Six Senses Spas. Tracey Pool, spa director, Six Senses Spa at Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort who has been associated with the brand for about five years now insisted how India was an important destination for Six Senses’ portfolio.

The concept: Spread across 90,000 sq ft the spa is designed in the style of a traditional Indian home. The 76

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inner courtyards, water features and various therapy and relaxation areas radiate an inviting approach. Locally-sourced wood and stone along with traditional artefacts including antique bronzed pots, vases and urns evoke a sense of peace.

The ambience: The spa occupies a three-story building and is one of the largest in the Six Senses Spas portfolio. During my recent visit to this place I received a warm organic welcome that sets the tone of things to follow. On entering the structure an assortment of bells on the wooden table greet you. As one moves towards the basement which is also called the active floor, the many amenities come to surface: a stateof-the-art fitness centre, changing rooms, a


SPA & WELLNESS juice bar, yoga studio and aerobics pool surrounded by an indigenous herbal garden. The best thing about this floor is the fitness centre which offers motorised treadmills, latest equipments besides a work-out machine from Kinesis, not seen in many Indian gyms. The ground floor houses the reception, another juice bar, consultation rooms, four single treatment rooms, changing facilities with steam, sauna, experience shower, ice fountain and private pools, a private nap room and relaxation areas. Specialist treatment rooms for Ayurveda, Thai, colonic hydrotherapy and Watsu therapy are on this level as well. First floor offers facilities which include Hammams (a meditation cave), single and double treatment rooms, a ladies club and golfer's treatment area.

Spa treatment: The spa boasts of an Ayurvedic expert who offers the guests personalised treatments after analysing and determining the need of the body and mind constitution. Talking about the Spa treatments Poole said, “We conduct personal consultation with the guests to determine their needs. As per the requirement, we provide measures for stress relief, Ayurvedic massage and other treatments.” Six Senses spas all over the world have Six Senses Signature massages like Detox, Energiser, Holistic and Oriental. Detox is a stimulating massage which helps in lymphatic drainage and it helps to reduce fluid retention and tone skin.

Introductory offer on Watsu Therapy

Introductory offer entitles you to a flat 25 per cent discount on the list price of Watsu Therapy. Watsu is a gentle stretching and massaging treatment carried out in a purpose built Watsu pool with warm water. Tel: (+91)-120- 6743272/ 6743000, E-mail: reservations-jaypeespa@sixsenses.com Visit: sixsensesspa.com Timings: Open all 7 days from 10 am to 10 pm, Fitness centre: From 7 am to 10 pm

Energiser is a relieving upper body massage it is a medium to deep pressure massage focussing on back, neck, shoulders and feet. Oriental is a fusion of international therapies. It is medium to deep pressure massage it works on stress and helps to relieve tense muscles. On Tracey’s recommendation I settled for Holistic massage which is soft to medium pressure massage with long sweeping strokes and after a fifty-minute session I felt totally relaxed. Care has been taken to include plethora of locally-inspired treatments using indigenous ingredients such as golden marigold, castor, jasmine, tamarind, thyme and pomegranate. The spa employs many treatments which use ancient Indian system of natural herbal medicine Ayurveda. Also on offer are a series of Asian therapies such as Thai Massage, Tuina, Shiatsu, Indian Head Massage and Foot Acupressure. In addition to this a selection of specialist therapies such as Reflexology, Reiki and Chinese Cupping are also on offer.

Pricing and membership options: The price range varies from Rs 2,500 to Rs 19-20,000 for the packages. As far as Six Senses Signature massages like Detox, Energiser, Holistic and Oriental are concerned all are priced at Rs 4320 for a fifty minutes session. The spa has plenty of membership options joining fee for lifestyle six-month membership is Rs 25,000 for single and Rs 30,000 for couple whereas the six month membership fee is Rs 125,000 for single and Rs 220,000 for a couple. by VASUJIT KALIA

Privileged program for spaholics at The Lalit’s Rejuve – The Spa

Wellness seekers looking out for frequent therapy sessions at a good discount can now head to The Lalit Delhi.

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he Lalit Suri Hospitality Group recently launched the Privileged Program for Spaholics, giving its patrons an opportunity to take an exclusive membership for Rejuve – The Spa and enjoy its unique benefits. Rejuve – The Spa provides a holistic experience to its guests and is known for its therapies designed specially to relax senses and unwind. It incorporates a synergized essence of wellness. Rich in the splendour of bygone era, Rejuve – The Spa offers an elaborate menu featuring royal treatments and therapies. The experience encompasses aroma, Ayurvedic, herbal and natural therapies, the patented ‘colour healing’ body massage therapy, yoga and meditation, besides offering beauty salon services, a futuristic gymnasium and swimming pool. As a member of the Priviliged Program for Spaholics, guests can avail 30 per cent discount on all therapies and 25 per cent off on their visit to salon and beauty parlour. The program allows members special discounts and offers at the award-winning spa brand of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, Rejuve-The Spa, across its six hotels in Mumbai, Bangalore, Bekal, Goa, Khajuraho and Jaipur. September 2012 GO NOW

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ROOMS & SUITES

Indulge in luxury at Radisson Blu Greater Noida The warmth-inducing rooms of the Radisson Blu exude a sense of comfort. The colours used are unlike any other hotel in the city, setting it apart in style.

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he Radisson Blu Hotel Greater Noida is sit uated 5 km from the Yamuna Expressway and about 35 km from South Delhi. When asked why the hotel chose Greater Noida for its location, General Manager Suraj Kumar Jha said, "It is a new destination as far as business tourism is concerned; most of the automobile or IT companies have set up their base in Greater Noida." Further, considering that the distance between the hotel and the Buddh International Circuit is only 15 minutes, the hotel is bound to become a favourite with Formula 1 fans. Jha also said they hotel chose this location in order to address the needs of the visitors to the India Expo Centre, the racing circuit as well as travellers on the Yamuna Expressway. “We

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thought it was the right time and the opportunity to open a hotel which will cater to all these segments. Our target customers are corporate, leisure, and motorsports lovers.�

Rooms and Suites: The hotel features 175 spacious guest rooms, 11 junior suites, eight executive Suites and two Deluxe Suites I checked into a superior room, which was around 408 sq ft in size. It was decorated in warm colours and flaunted contemporary accents. The business class rooms are slightly bigger (415 sq feet), with a bathtub; the room allowed access a club lounge. Among the suites, the junior suite is quite large (575 sq ft) whereas the executive suite

Suraj Kumar Jha


ROOMS & SUITES spreads across 672 sq ft and includes separate living and guest rooms. The biggest room at the hotel is the Deluxe Suite with 1,000 sq ft Jha told me that all the rooms have been designed by Zeiler & Lim, a Malaysian firm that conforms to the European standards of Radisson Blu.

Luxury at your fingertips Like all the other rooms, my room featured a large flat screen TV with satellite channels, a DVD player, hair dryer, and an electronic safe. The hotel had a solution for my need of coffee every second hour by installing a coffeemaker. The minibar was well-stocked with chocolates, snacks and drinks.

Dining and more After a comfortable time in my room at the hotel, I strolled across the hotel to absorb its luxurious feel. Considering the array of cuisine that restaurants at the hotel provide, I was confused as to which to try first. I started with Satin, a pan-Asian fine dining restaurant, which focuses on Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The hotel aims to cater to the Korean and Japanese companies like Honda, Hyundai and Samsung based in the area, according to Jha. After Satin, I moved on to Cross Avenue, a 24-hour restaurant, which has a vast buffet with breakfast, lunch and dinner options. One of the many interesting attractions in the hotel was Mints, the atrium tea lounge, with exquisite varieties of teas from across the world and comfortable eating and a cheery ambience. And finally for the lovers of fine wines and cocktails, there is Scarlet, with good offerings in food as well. For the business traveller, the hotel includes a ballroom, which can be divided into two sections and can host any event with around 350 people. It opens into a lawn sprawling over 5000 sq ft. The hotel felt like home away from home, and the courteous staff made my stay a memorable one. by VASUJIT KALIA

factfile Address: C-8, Site-IV, 2nd Cross Avenue Road, Kasna - Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh - Greater Noida Tel: 91-120 4517777 E-mail: reservations@rdgreaternoida.com Room Rates: The rates start from Rs 6,500 plus taxes for a superior room

Comfort unlimited at Hilton Garden Inn Saket

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or travellers seeking a shopping ex pedition in Delhi, there’s nothing quite like being close to the malls in Saket. Hilton Garden Inn Saket, located in South Delhi's shopping and entertainment center, the DLF Place Mall can be quite the solution for shopaholics

flocking to the capital. The hotel is a 30minute drive from New Delhi's International Airport. After spending the day shopping at the nearby Select City and MGF mall, one can soak in the city’s vibrant nightlife – all easily accessible from this New Delhi hotel. Its rooms make the guests feel at home. They flaunt contemporary design and offer an innovative range of amenities. The rooms are known for their supportive beds. Ideal for tired shoppers, the bed’s Garden Sleep System provides self-adjusting, pressure-free support. Guests can avail smooth room service, order an in-room movie on the LCD TV and order from the hotel’s 24-hour room service menu and stay connected with complimentary wireless internet access at the large desk, featuring comfortable ergonomic chairs. The rooms are also equipped with amenities that provide an enviornment lucrative for work.

September 2012 GO NOW

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LAST PAGE

GREEN ALERT In our monthly round up of the destinations which offer sustainable tourism practises in India and elsewhere we focus on home stays in Sikkim, Pantanal Conservation Area in Brazil and sustainable solutions adopted by Globus family of brands.

Wildlife haven: Pantanal Conservation Area in Brazil

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ne of the ultimate destinations for the wildlife lovers across the world The Pantanal Conservation Complex consists of a cluster of four protected areas with a total area of 187,818 hectares. Located in western central Brazil at the south-west corner of the State of Mato Grosso, the site represents 1.3 per cent of Brazil's Pantanal region, one of the world’s largest freshwater wetland ecosystems. This region also assumes more importance as it is head-

Happy home stays in Sikkim

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ome stays are the best way to know any place inside out. Travel enthusiasts can stay with the locals in their homes and experience the life of different mountain communities of Sikkim. Travel to the pure and pristine settings of Sikkim, a distinctive rural ecotourism destination. While staying with the locals one gets a chance to visit ancient Buddhist monasteries; participate in bird watching trails, trek, be a part of cultural festivals and explore natural wonders of Sikkim. Sikkim Himalayan Homestay program promotes ecotourism in rural areas of Sikkim. This is an endeavour to help the mountain communities of Sikkim to benefit from low-impact rural tourism. The effort is also beneficial for protecting the environment and the cultural heritage of the communities.

Globus launches responsible tourism campaign in India

A waters of the region’s two major river systems, the Cuiabá and the Paraguay Rivers and the abundance and diversity of its vegetation and animal life are spectacular. During the rains, this area is flooded by waters overflowing from its rivers: this is the time when there is an explosion of colour in the rich aquatic flora, with the mammals concentrated on a few mound hills. During the dry spell, lakes are formed which provide a source of food for an enormous variety of wildlife, including migratory birds from all over the world. With so much of diversity, wildlife lovers have an option of taking a boat to explore this regions diversity. 80

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fter being honoured with the distinguished Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) Bronze Certification, the Globus family of brands announced the launch of its ‘Responsible Tourism’ campaign in India. The mission of this campaign is to educate travellers and travel agents about responsible tourism practices. The company is one of the first major International tour operators to be honoured with the STEP certification. The certification is a flagship program of Sustainable Travel International, a leading non-profit which helps destinations, businesses, and travellers implement innovative solutions to support sustainable tourism development. Globus family of brand's commitment extends beyond supporting external partnerships such as with Tourism Cares to fund the preservation of Foundation Galápagos in South America, the National Park Foundation (NPF) – the official charity of USA's national parks and helping the South African National Parks' Save the Rhino project.



Go Now September 2012