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GONOW

a cross section publicataion

Volume 14. Issue 5. November 2013. `50

ALL ABOUT TRAVEL AND TOURISM

Flashback from Jab Tak Hai Jaan in

Kashmir & Ladakh THE CAPITAL’S AEROCITY PROJECT OPENS WITH JW MARRIOTT NEW DELHI

Transcending Borders with Music KAILASH KHER

Mauritius A Week in Paradise

Sula Vineyards The Grape Escape Mumbai The Spaluscious city


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this issue Bengaluru Airport Gets Going for Anticipated Increase in Traffic GoNow talks exclusively with G.V. Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director, BIAL on the revamp and expansion plans of Bengaluru International Airport.

pg 10 tourism matters

6 Cinema Tourism Gets a

Boost at Cinemascapes: Cinemascapes was held in Mumbai for its 7th edition with film producers and industry people. 8 Yashraj Films looks back on shooting experience in Kashmir and Ladakh: In conversation with Aashish Singh, Executive Producer and VP of Yash Raj Films.

travel niche

12 The Grape Escape: Wine

tourism at Sula Vineyards in Nashik is fun.

travel destination

16 Mauritius – A week in

Paradise: Discover Mauritius through the picturesque journey of Tanmoy Das.

travel holiday

22 A vacation outside India,

fun and frolic with family: Choose the destination from the chosen ones, where you and your family can enjoy, explore and relax.

hotel launch

26 JW Marriott opens its doors with 300 rooms: A relief at last for Aerocity hotels, with the opening of JW Marriott.

hotel options

32 Choose your stay: The

Hospitality of Nepal: From our detailed description of some of the finest hotels.

hotel experience

36 A journey into oneself: A

sojourn at the Ayurveda Centre ‘Kalari Kovilakom’ tells you about the relaxing experience there.

hotel launch

40 A royal retreat: Dusit

Devarana New Delhi serves an intimate, high-end sanctuary experience.

heritage discovery

42 The art of the matter – The

finesse of Jordan: This culturally rich country lies in the crucible of three major faiths and has a lot to offer.

heritage collection

46 Sailing through the maritime history: Odisha State Maritime Museum takes you through a beautiful journey.

metro wellness

48 The spa-luscious Mumbai:

This bustling city offers some of the finest relaxing spas of the country.

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We present a new look GoNow, much like the best cars in the world, that periodically upgrade. Some of them feature minor additions, and occasionally with a new model, they make a new mark in the market. We believe this change in our pages befits a new model look. Much has changed. We have more room to offer, leg space, as they say! That means a more and distinct bandwidth within which we view our canvas. We are starting, therefore, with an appropriate tag line “all about travel and tourism”. There is so much of travel out there in mainline media - just about every day, so much gets featured. Aviation is making the bigger news, with new airlines, associations and a promise of newer beginnings. The intelligent and educated consumer needs a constant connect with this world of change. We believe today’s traveller wants to sit on an aircraft that he believes is making money for its airline. Consumer psychology would demand that they know more about brands, more about choices, and also become more aware of what is driving travel and tourism. In this issue, we reflect upon cinema tourism, as a new agent of influencing people where to travel. Movies cast a mesmerising spell around destinations, what we call cinemascapes. These make the consumer decide where he wants to travel. The Sound of Music was one such title. Kashmir ki Kali was another. Between them, the world went to Austria and to Kashmir. Culture and Heritage is a huge draw for Indian travellers. We are also a nation that attracts most of its incoming tourists for our cultural richness and diversity. We bring you a museum that brings our maritime history alive at Cuttack in Orissa. We also take you to Jordan, a much sought after country for its tradition and history. Hotels and hospitality provide the base around which we plan and execute our travel. We bring you new launches like the JW Marriott in Aerocity in New Delhi - this development promises to become a game changer for the country. Not since the Asian Games in 1982 has the country witnessed such development - in fact, Aerocity is even more than what we saw then - these are 5,000 rooms coming within 12 months of each other, all within one common area. There is also a convention centre attached but this has got derailed, as the promoters shied off - we are yet to know who will complete this picture. Our story centres around the relief and the joy that these hoteliers would feel on getting approvals from the concerned authorities – a few have been waiting for over six months to open! Hotels have an outreach that is not often recognised. We bring you what we have called the hotel connect around the development and success of Neemrana Fort & Palace on the Delhi-Jaipur highway. Over the years, this heritage resort owes its eminence to the village around and to the localw people who have grown along with it.

metro golf

52 Golfing around the summer capital of J&K: The Valley offers some fine courses.

travel icon

54 Kailash Kher –

Transcending borders with music: In conversation with this mesmerizing singer.

Neemranafication How a simple hotel can transform a rural undiscovered and uncharted terrain in India’s countryside.

From the Editor

Editor: Navin Berry Managing Editor: Priyaanka Berry Editorial: Anupriya Bishnoi, Nikita Chopra 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. E-mail: info@crosssectionmedia.com This issue of gonow contains 56 pages plus 4 pages cover

If travel incites you just the way it incites us, share your experiences on /gonowlifestylemagazine /gonowmagazine /gonowmagazine

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@crosssectionmedia.com Material not used will not be returned

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airlines & airports Air India opens a new lounge at T3 in Delhi, offers an introductory package

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edefining the concept of luxury and comfort for the First and Business Class travellers, Air India launches its grand lounge at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport New Delhi. You can also access it if you are travelling by the Economy class, by paying some nominal charges through your debit/credit card only. They have two lounges, separate for Domestic and International departure. It has all the services require to relax and rejuvenate you for your trip. It is accessible 24 hours a day and has hot food, snacks, cookies and salad bar being served for the guests. You can also sip through the freshly brewed coffee/ tea while grabbing a comfortable seat in the ample seating area equipped with newspaper/magazines. The International Lounge also serves the finest collection of drinks. Regular flight updates are also available in the lounge. A shower with the required amenities is also available at the International Departure Lounge. Travellers from the Economy class can pay ` 500 for using the lounge for a period of 2 hours and shower (at an additional charge of `200) by using their Credit/Debit card.  www.airindia.com

Skiing in Gulmarg this winter has a new hotel option in Khyber

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ry the full range of outdoor activities and sport in the pristine snow with The Khyber Resort and Spa in Gulmarg. Their two nights and three days package serves its guests with an accommodation in a Premier Room for two people, airport transfers between Srinagar International Airport and the resort. A ticket till Phase 1 of Gondola for two is also a part of this package. Along with this, one complimentary sledging session for two people and one full day ski session with a certified instructor basic gear rental at additional Rs. 6, 500 can also be availed by the guests. So, now book a memorable holiday at the Khyber and enjoy the beauty of a white winter. Price: ` 41,999. When: Valid till 10th March 2014 For Reservations, Call: +91 1954 254666 or Mail: info@khyberhotels.com

New products on SQ on Singapore Mumbai route Passengers flying on the Singapore-Mumbai route with Singapore Airlines will now travel on the new batch of Boeing 777-300ER and relish the services of their next generation cabin products. It includes one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment systems involving larger screens, touch-screen handsets, and spacious and comfortable seats in all the classes. G.M. Toh, Singapore Airlines’ General Manager India, explains, “India is a very important market and the five-month deployment of this state-of-the-art, long-haul product on the mediumhaul Mumbai-Singapore route demonstrates our commitment to the market.” These products will be available on SQ 423/424 on selected days during the northern winter schedule. On flight number SQ 423, you can experience them on Monday, Saturday, and Sunday during the period from 28th October 2013 to 30th March 2014. It will also be deployed on Thursday and Friday from 31st October 2013 to 22nd November 2013. On coming back from Singapore to Mumbai, you can experience these high-standard products on flight number SQ 424 on Wednesday and Thursday during the period from 30th October 2013 to 21st November 2013. These would also be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 27th October 2013 to 29th March 2014.

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 www.singaporeair.com


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national hotels

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Two new hotels in Goa

ith a picturesque backdrop and warm ho s pit a l it y, ho te l s i n G o a s e r ve a mesmerizing experience to its guests. Recently, two major brands of luxurious hospitality have launched their properties in the party capital of India. Pride Sun Village Resort & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Resort have come up with their fine blends of style and opulence. Pride Sun Village Resort & Spa is very well furnished and equipped with all the facilities required to relax a traveller. Whereas, Novotel Goa Shrem Resort promises to deliver an exclusive experience of international hospitality with the right blend of all its traits. The former is located in the seaside town of Baga near the quaint markets of Arpora, North Goa, and the latter is at a walking distance from Candolim Beach, the epicenter of Goa’s nightlife and beaches. Where: Pride Sun Village Resort and Spa, Saquwadi, Baga Arpora, Calangute, Goa – 403 518. Call: 0832 226 9103 Novotel Goa Shrem Resort, Anna Waddo Main Candolim Road, Bardez Goa, GA 403515, India. Call: 0832 249 4949

Earn Free Room Nights with Lemon Tree Smiles R e-launching its loyalty rewards programme, Lemon Tree Hotels makes it faster and easier for guests to earn free room nights. The members can start earning free room nights straight after checking in for five nights. It entails three tiers, Silver, Gold and Platinum,

and offers guests quick upgrades to higher tiers. The benefits which are a part of the program include, room upgrades, partner/ spouse room stay complimentary, and free WiFi, early check-in from 9am and late checkout till 3pm, and two pieces of laundry per stay.

This loyalty program is applicable to three brands, Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree Hotels and Red Fox Hotels. 24 hotels across 14 cities in India are included under the umbrella of this programme.  loyalty.lemontreehotels.com

Splendid Weekend Sleepover at Radisson

New Year Culinary Affair at The Met

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ith world-class services and a hospitable affair, The Metropolitan Hotel and Spa invites you to make your New Year eve a memorable one. This charming combination of taste and jubilation is all set to make the evening perfect for you and your mates. This exotic culinary journey is spread across various restaurants of the hotel, including, Sakura, Chutney Bar + Tandoor and Zing. 6

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You can choose your perfect venue as per your taste buds. Zing offers its guests with scrumptious dishes from cuisines around the world, whereas, Sakura serves you with an authentic Japanese fare. They have something for all, and for lovers of Indian cuisine they have, Chutney Bar + Tandoor. When: 31st December 2013. Price: ` 5,000 + taxes per person onwards. For Reservations, Call: 011-42500200

Spoil your family by treating them with a sumptuous sleepover at Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, NH-8. With lavish buffet breakfast, stay at a Premium Room w it h f ree addit iona l mattress for children below 8 years, children from 8 to 12 years pay half of the best available rates for the additional room. You and your family can also enjoy w ide spre ad Sunday Brunch at NYC with unlimited wine and beer. An indulgent hour-long Aroma therapy for a person at the impressive R the Spa is also a part of the package. You can also avail 25% off on any additional spa treatments. The guests will be welcomed with a welcome drink and various more complimentary services. Price: Rs. 14, 000  www.radissonblu.com/hotelnewdelhi


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tourism matters

Cinema Tourism Gets a Boost at Cinemascapes

The 7th edition of Cinemascapes, an annual event that celebrates cinema tourism, by bringing film producers to meet with location providers, was held last month in Mumbai.

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inema tourism is the next big segment in the manner the world is promoting travel. We in India have a wide and most panoramic landscape to offer to film producers, as locations for their film shooting. Leading countries, through their film commissions and tourism boards, are wooing Bollywood for their cinemascapes. Indian states are fast catching on, too. This year, in its 7th edition, Cinemascapes, as an annual event concluded on a high and focused on new locations and new beginnings for cinema

Leading producers Shantaram with Ramesh Sippy and Manmohan Shetty, in coversation with Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary Tourism, Gujarat.

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(Top) The inaugural session saw a significant gesture, with the Union Minister, Shri Manish Tiwari; his Secretary Bimal Jhukla and Shri Raghvendra Singh, Joint Secretary films, all three sharing the platform, representing the I&B Ministry perspectives on the proposed single window clearance mechanism on the cards. (Left) The Live Debate Padmaja Joshi, exclusively anchors the debate for Headlines Today. Panellists were film producers Mahesh Bhatt, Ramesh Sippy, Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister G A Mir.

The captivating J&K Dialogue session – G.A. Mir, J&K Tourism Minister shares the panel with director Ayan Mukerji; Aashish Singh, Executive Producer and Vice President, Yash Raj Films and Talat Parvez, Director Tourism Kashmir. A candid dialogue follows.


tourism matters Cinemascapes Honours the Best

Honouring the best in Cinema Tourism both on television as well as in films, the organisers honoured the best in the genre. Ramesh Sippy, eminent producer, headed the jury.  Indian Location in an Ad campaign, O&M India and Rising Sun Films for their outstanding Tourism Ad Campaign – Khusboo Gujarat Ki  Overseas Location in an Ad campaign – Mahindra XUV 500 shot in South Africa Interface Communications & Chrome Pictures

Aashish Singh, Executive Producer and Vice President, Yash Raj films receiving the award for excellent depiction of an overseas location in the movie ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’

tourism. The show witnessed overwhelming participation both from the Indian film industry and location providers. The inaugural session saw a significant gesture, with the Union Minister, Shri Manish Tiwari, his Secretary Bimal Jhukla and Shri Raghvendra Singh, Joint Secretary films, all three sharing the platform, representing the I&B Ministry perspectives on the proposed single window clearance mechanism on the cards. One of the big issues before India’s film industry is the multiple permissions needed for shooting within the country. Therefore, producers go abroad where it is much simpler. The day then proceeded with presentations by leading partners at the show. How they are simplifying and how they are keen to be the chosen cinemascape. Facilitation is one aspect, incentives is another. More and more destinations are understanding the need to incentivise and make it attractive for producers and filmmakers to choose their destination. A favourite film sequence makes any location popular and desirable as a tourist destination.

The Learning Curve

A plethora of rebates and concessions are being offered from around the world. How does a producer find out what is best suited for his

 Hollywood Film depicting an Indian location – Life of Pi – 20th Century Fox & Fox Star Studios.

Location in Hindi TV series – Pyaar Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara – Rajshri Productions  Television serial for an excellent depiction of Overseas Location – Sanskar – Dharohar Apnon Ki – Cinemantra Entertainment & Media  Bollywood film for best depiction of an Indian Location – Kai Po Che  Bollywood film for an excellent depiction of Overseas Location – Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Yash Raj Films

 Excellent depiction of an Indian

business? EY submitted a detailed analysis with four leading producers: Tanuj Garg, CEO Films at Balaji Telefilms, Aashish Singh, Executive Producer and Vice President, Yash Raj films, Amar Butala, Creative Director, Disney UTV Studio and Vikesh Bhutani, Executive Producer, Excel Entertainment sharing their experiences on the ground.

The Live Debate

How will the proposed single window clearance mechanism evolve? How will it practically get implemented in our federal structure? How free is Indian cinema to pursue its own creativity? Padmaja Joshi, exclusively anchored the debate for Headlines Today. Panellists were film producers Mahesh Bhatt, Ramesh Sippy, Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister G A Mir.

J&K Dialogue

Indian producers are beginning to trek back to Kashmir. These are early days for what was once the favourite cinemascape for Bollywood. G.A. Mir shared the panel with Mumbai producer Ayan Mukerji and Talat Parvez Director Tourism Kashmir. A candid dialogue followed. Overall, an engaging day for both the film producers as well as for location providers.

The Learning Curve - on the panel are four leading producers: Tanuj Garg, CEO Films at Balaji Telefilms; Aashish Singh, Executive Producer and Vice President, Yash Raj films; Amar Butala, Creative Director, Disney UTV Studio and Vikesh Bhutani, Executive Producer, Excel Entertainment sharing their experiences on ground.

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tourism matters Yashraj Films Looks Back on the Shooting Experience for ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ in Kashmir and Ladakh Winner of this year’s best Hindi Film shot on an Indian location, at the annual Cinemascapes Awards function held in Mumbai, Jab Tak Hai Jaan was also the last film of legendary Yash Chopra. In this interview, with Aashish Singh, CEO, Yashraj Films, we capture some of the excitement on location and the nostalgia that goes along with shooting in Kashmir and Ladakh. What made you choose the location?

We all are aware that Kashmir is one of the most beautiful states in t he count r y. It played an integral part in the script as well because it justified the presence of a journalist from discover y channel (Anushka Sharma) in Ladakh who happens to meet a bomb disposal officer (Sharukh Khan). The setting was beautiful as well as convincing for both these characters to be in Kashmir.

“We are really looking forward to shoot there again and are waiting for a script to come our way that we can base in the state.” AASHISH SINGH Executive Producer and VP, Yash Raj Films

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What was your experience doing the shooting – any memories, any interesting side stories to share with our readers?

It was a wonderful experience for the unit to travel and shoot in such beautiful parts. We all have so many wonderful memories of the shooting. T he food ser ved in a Ya s hr aj unit i s a lw ay s delicious but Yashji made it a point to serve Wazwan to the unit. Another unique experience for the stars and the unit was that they stayed in tents for two nights when we shot

at Pangong Lake (Ladakh). There are so many side stories like in the Jiya re song – we actually made all the Shikara boat men dance, we also had ladies from the villages with no background of acting, dance with Anushka in the song.


tourism matters all production requirements of the unit were well met. What was the end result? How did it match your expectations?

Honestly, we were initially a little worried about shooting in Kashmir from a security point of view despite all assurances of support at government and local administrative level and we were pleasantly surprised that we had such a flawless shoot despite having such a large unit and superstars working in the film. There was not a single minutes delay in the shoot due to any security/crowd issues which does come into play when you shoot anywhere else in India. We also got an opportunity to shoot the

We wanted tough looking men to dance with Sharukh Sir in the army camp, and on our request, we were provided with hundred police jawans who came all the way from Baramullah to Pahalgam and they danced in the film, apart from helping us with the security. The most memorable thing for us is that Yashji directed the last shot of his life in Kashmir. Basics on location – like where did you stay, for how long, how you commuted, and how you interacted with the local crew and support staff?

We were in J&K for about two weeks, the unit flew in from Leh to Srinagar and then commuted

film the way we wanted to, and wherever we wanted to, without any restrictions. Is there any way you can compute the final effect? Any feedback you got, etc.

The final effect is magical and breath taking for all to see in the film, whether it is the landscape of Ladakh or the pristine beauty of Kashmir. The film looks very fresh and the visuals are eye catching and soothing. The feedback has been extremely positive and so many people are interested in shooting in the state. We are really looking forward to shoot there again and are waiting for a script to come our way that we can base in the state. as told to NAVIN BERRY

by road. The stars stayed at the Grand Dragon in Ladakh, The Lalit in Srinagar, Pine and Peak in Pahalgam and Hotel Highlands Park in Gulmarg. The local crew and the support staff were quite experienced in handling such a big unit and the support staff was also excellent. We worked closely with Nazir Bakshi who is a veteran in handling film shoots and a dear friend of Yashji. Jhamsheed Khawar, who is a very bright and enterprising young line producer, handled the line production from the Kashmir side. He and Padam Bhushan, who is our line producer, ensured that

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airlines & airports

Bengaluru Airpo Anticipated Inc GoNow talks exclusively with G.V. Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director, BIAL, on the revamp and expansion plans of Bengaluru International Airport. With architecture that aims to incorporate the spirit of the South, the airport is set to expand T1, create more check-in counters, increase security and provide travellers an efficient and speedy airport experience.

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ell us about the expansion plans going on at the Terminal 1 of the airport?

Designed to enhance operational performance and cater to the increase in passenger traffic anticipated by 2015, the construction of the expanded terminal is in full swing. The enhanced T1 will be spread over an area of approximately 1,50,500sqm. The terminal building design takes into account existing core strengths i.e. short walkways, ease and convenience of usage, linear flow and flexible design. The terminal when expanded will be more than double the current floor space. What are the highlights of this change?

The airport terminal will have more check-in counters, seating areas, a large security hold area and more aerobridges. Our aim is to significantly improve the passenger experience. It will make access to seating, amenities and commercial facilities easier and better. Additionally, it will help airlines improve their operational performance. T1 will be equipped with cutting edge IT infrastructure, security systems, airport infrastructure and environment friendly infrastructure, systems and processes. The radiant interiors and exteriors are being designed to mirror the rich culture of Karnataka and the vibrant colors of the Garden City. What is your expectation of the end product? As an airport

“Upon completion, we envision an enhanced airport that befits the city of Bengaluru, enhances its business opportunities, complements its culture and welcomes its visitors.” G.V. SANJAY REDDY MD, BIAL

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how do you position it within the city?

We envision an enhanced airport that befits the city of Bengaluru, enhances its business opportunities, complements its culture and welcomes its visitors. The decision to begin expansion has come at an appropriate time, given the rapid pace of growth that this airport is witnessing. With our pioneering efforts here, we are re-writing India’s aviation history. As an airport, we are proud to be a part of the India growth story with world class airports being planned and built by us. What phase of the expansion plan has been launched and how is the final look expected to be like?

The project has already started seeing the commissioning of new infrastructure in the past few months. Recent highlights include the commissioning of a brandnew VIP/GA terminal campus covering over 80,000 sq.ft. as part of the Terminal 1 expansion, a new energy centre that will cater to the entire power requirement of the new expanded terminal and a new chiller plant towards the expanded terminal’s air-conditioning. Besides this, the installation of new security screening machines and check-in counters has been completed successfully. The airport has also gone through a tremendous elevation in the landscaping with over 100 acres of newly landscaped spaces in and around the airport terminal. So, what all is complete and commissioned? And how is technology upgrading the experience?

Facilities that are completed include the new VIP building and the new AOCC. The AOCC is a high tech infrastructure and is the nerve-centre of the airport and helps both airlines and concessionaries to streamline processes to ensure faster turnaround, making the operations as well as travel through the Bengaluru International Airport more


airlines & airports

ort Gets Going for crease in Traffic

Expected look of expanded Terminal 1 at Bengaluru International Airport

efficient and economical for passengers. The AOCC is aided with technologically advanced processes to enable faster and quicker decision in real time and comes equipped with a video wall to enable operators to have a common real-time information projection at a common visible area. How will the airport reflect the city?

BIAL aims to create an experience and believes that it is more meaningful when the airports architecture reflects the spirit of the South. Passengers arriving at the airport can now view the ‘flight mural’, designed by eminent artist Yusuf Arakkal. The state-of-the art expanded terminal will showcase art installations by various eminent artists in India and are currently being shaped. And for the passengers to begin with their experience of two new terminals starts when?

With smooth progress on expansion of passenger terminal areas, travellers can look forward to enjoying the enhanced T1 in stages from the fourth quarter of 2013. Can you share some elements of design being incorporated?

The final look of the new terminal is designed by architectural

firm HOK, along with several leading international architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects & engineering consultants. They are givin g t he e x p a nde d T1 a n enhanced and modern design elevation. The architectural concept is based on the idea of a dramatic swooping and curving roof, under which the building sits. The roof is the unifying element for new and existing facilities, bringing both together as one composition. It also forms a dramatic canopy to the main entrance, offering passengers and public a giant covered area, protected from the weather. The undulating wave form provides the Terminal with greater physical presence. How are you planning to make the airport consumer-friendly for the passengers?

Our pr ime focus ha s always been to enhance passenger experience at the airport in every possible way. We as an airport have been constantly innovating and upgrading our services and processes. Departure punctuality touches 85% through most months, within 15 minutes of scheduled time. Baggage delivery remains constant with the first

“At BIAL, Wave like exterior view of the airport the focus is to establish this airport volvement of the city in the airport’s development. Soon as India’s leading after announcing the expanairport in terms of quality sion of the existing Terminal and efficiency and set a 1, we launched a campaign benchmark for the future called ‘Smile Bengaluru’. This commercial development was an opportunity for the city’s residents and airport stakeof Indian airports.” holders to share their thoughts baggage being dropped on the belt within seven minutes of the flight touching down. By international standards, this is a good record. One of the steps that the Bengaluru International Airport took while aiming to give passengers the ultimate in travel experience, is investing in state of the art IT and communication systems to ensure faster processes and responsiveness. In the last one year, our efforts to offer high standard of service to passengers have been applauded by various industry bodies. These awards are a testimony to our commitment towards safeguarding the interest of our customers by providing quality and international standards of service. What, if any, steps have you undertaken to make the airport a part of city’s milieu? After all, it is integrate to the city?

BIA L welcome s active in-

and ideas on how they would like to see the expanded T1. After all, it is their needs that BIAL serves. The launch of this campaign is testimony to our inclusive approach of involving the local community with the airport project. These ideas and suggestions were considered to shape the future of Bengaluru’s expanding airport. The terminal expansion team has taken into account 80% of the feedback received from the ‘Smile Bengaluru’ campaign and it is being incorporated into the new design. This makes Bengaluru International Airport a truly participative airport that is being built in collaboration with citizens. Customer-friendliness is a key commitment at BIAL and this initiative was an opportunity for Bangaloreans to not only speak out with suggestions for improvement, but also witness their ideas fructifying in their new terminal. exclusively to TEAM GONOW

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travel niche

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niff, swirl, sip. Oh, the Bacchanalian joys of savouring velvety wines! I’m at the Sula vineyards in Nashik, Maharashtra – also known as India’s Napa Valley – quaffing the latest bubbles from the Sula stable – Brut, Brut Rose and Seco that hit the markets this month. Sula Brut – a complex blend of five classic grape varietals (Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Sultana, Shiraz and Pinot Noir), is one of the few Méthode Champenoise (crafted like champagne) wines in the world, the wine gurus at the venue inform me.

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The Sula Brut Rosé, on the other hand, comprises Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc while Sula Seco is a crisp and sparkling concoction, more like an everyday aperitif. Both the Brut and Brut Rosé are bottle-fermented, I’m told, and aged in Sula’s underground estate cellars, Brut for a minimum of 15 months and the Rosé for about 12. For an oenophile, the wine tasting is like a party in the mouth – the bubbles explode and tango on the tongue. The heavenly experience is augmented further by the venue – verdant vineyards

encircled by salubrious hills of the Western Ghats, offset by the glutinous Gangapur lake. Nashik – 172 km northeast of Mumbai and about 1968 ft. above sea level – is labeled as ‘India’s wine capital’. Lush vineyards and a well-developed winery infrastructure make it the perfect destination to experience firsthand the Indian wine growth story, learn about wines and wine making and (best of all) sample some of the finest Indian labels. Nashik’s prime wine region stretches between Igatpuri and Dindori where the har vesting

period is between February and March. There are now almost 50 wineries in and around Nashik fanning out in a myriad directions. But Sula is perhaps the most popular and most accessible located west of Nashik near Gangapur Dam. Nashik Vintners, the makers of Sula wines, hold 65 per cent of the Indian wine market producing the entire smorgasbord – Sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, rose, sparkling brut and rose, viognier, reisling, shiraz, merlot, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. At the vineyards, tourists are


travel niche shepherded through the facility sequentially – de-stemming, crushing, fermentation, racking, fining, bottling – by a wine guide. After the tour, they are taken to a spiffy tasting room (The Cellar) that is fronted by a broad and spacious balcony to try out the latest homegrown wines with cheese platters. Rajeev Samant, the CEO and Founder, Sula Vineyards, laid out a well-crafted roadmap for the company’s exponential growth from the time Sula set up its first winery in 1999 to becoming the country’s largest wine producer by volume. Several more wineries have been added to the outfit’s portfolio containing huge numbers of new vats, barrels and cellars. Sula’s tasting room, Samant tells us, is perhaps the most well-appointed in the country supplemented by a wine shop, a retail

THE

GRAPE ESCAPE Wine tourism at Sula Vineyards in Nashik is fun, engaging and a great escape from the urban whirligig. Text & photographs by NEETA LAL

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travel niche merchandize outfit, an amphitheatre for performances and restaurant franchises like Little Italy. On weekends it is interesting to see the vineyards morph into the venue for a wine mela with visitors enthusiastically stomping on grapes (somewhat to my relief, I was told that these were reject grapes and the juice was not used). ‘Beyond’, Sula’s 32-roomed resort situated near the vineyards flaunts large living areas, private balconies and a swimming pool. An in-house chef rustles up for us lip-smacking meals over our weekend break, crafted from fresh organic produce and a suitably diverse menu. They are then paired with homegrown wines helping us get a firsthand experience of pairing the right wines with different kind of cuisines. Besides the tastings, the vine-

yards offer a relaxed ambience – a great escape from the urban whirligig – and an opportunity to meet the winemakers and understand the process of wine making. In addition, tourists can also snap up wines at discounts and ingeniously-crafted merchandise (wine corks converted into key chains!) at the wine stores. At one level a bottle of wine is a product, but it is also a product that goes beyond itself – to the grapes that make it, to the terroir that shapes it, and to certain intangibles such as culture and landscape. This is the reason why advertising has a very limited impact in selling wines and also because there are simply too many of them to facilitate easy consumer recall. Studies have shown that large numbers of people pick a bottle

Resort with a view, a view from Sula’s luxury resort Beyond’s balcony 16

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off the shelves because “a friend recommended the wine”; also that visits to wineries can lead to repeat business and build brand loyalty. In short, wine tourism serves the bottomlines of wineries and winery visits provide the impalpable cues that help consumers understand and appreciate wine. India may not yet be a big destination for wine tours, concede experts, but the wineries in Nashik are certainly getting there. Besides weekend groups and day trippers, overseas wine afficionados keen on following the wine trails in India, are also adding to the footfalls. T he la s t s eg ment i s well travelled around international wine circuits and have a good understanding of wine. We meet Holly Jones and Mathieu Streiff, oenolists from Britain and France respectively who are in Nashik to sample its wines after trying out those from the established regions around the world. How would they compare Nashik’s wines to those from say France or Britain? “I’d say Nashik’s wines are pleasantly good but they are more ‘drink-now’ wines,” says Holly. “In other words, it’s better not to store them for too long. Excitingly for wine connoisseurs, many Nashik vineyards now have tasting rooms that are open to the

public which offer good discounts on retail purchases. This is an added incentive for us to come here.” Just down the road from Sula is York, a new winery complete with state-of-the-art equipment and a pleasant tasting room. Off the Mumbai-Nashik highway are wineries like Indus, Zampa and Vallonee, while to the north is Dindori taluka where much of the best grapes are now grown since Nashik itself has become too expensive for most vineyards. Dindori is also where Chateau d’Ori has a winery making excellent reds (and oddly bad whites), while about an hour away is Vintage which, under the Reveilo name, makes some of the most consistently good wines from Nashik. Outside Nashik, other Indian companies with stakes in the wine industry are Grover Vineyards and Four Seasons Wines, both ba sed in Kar nataka, in southern India. However, Nashik’s success gets accentuated all the more when compared to the other regions where India’s wine industry has established a foothold. Narayangaon, near Pune, where Indage’s winery predates Sula’s, is plagued by financial problems. Other states are trying to get in on the wine bandwagon (including, most surprisingly, Tamil Nadu), but given the time it takes to set up


travel niche

Wines on display at Sula’s retail outlet in Nashik

To keep up with the demand, we are adding a million liters of capacity every year. Today we have a capacity to produce eight million liters. RAJEEV SAMANT CEO & Founder, Sula Vineyards

a good winery, Nasik’s dominance seems set to be unrivalled for some years to come. If the overall wine business has been a success in Nashik, on the level of par ticular wineries, and the wine itself, the story is more mixed. Sula’s success leads to several other wineries being set up, mostly by farmers who were previously growing wine grapes for Sula. Maharashtra’s government, happy at the idea of an upmarket agro-business, pitched in enthusiastically with excise waivers and the creation of a wine park where farmers could use wine making facilities. The state’s encouragement – albeit erratic – seems to have helped. Despite not having expansive wine estates, India is now producing enough wine to export to 22 countries. As the world gets a taste for the Indian grape, the price of vineyard land in some places in the country is estimated by those in the industry to be as expensive as in parts of Bordeaux in France where grapes have been grown for centuries. The price of land is one of the biggest challenges faced both by Sula Vineyards, and other

brands of Indian wine. “In Nashik,” a local wine expert tells me, “land prices can cost $250,000 an acre as compared to an acre of vineyards in Bordeaux is between $5,400 and $560,000.” However, Indian wine producers aren’t just beleaguered by the land price. They also have to grapple with the unenviable task of finding acceptance among domestic consumers who are more whiskey-drinkers. In 2012, wine (including imported varieties and sherry) only made up 0.45% of sales of 9 liter cases of alcohol in the country, according to the latest figures compiled by the International Wine and Spirits Research. However, what offers succour to the Indian wine growers is the fact that the wine market in India is growing at 13% annually, faster than that for any other alcoholic beverage. “To keep up with the demand, we are adding a million liters of capacity every year. Today we have a capacity to produce eight million liters,” says Samant. T he company produced 550,000 cases of wine last year and Samant expects the number to ratchet up by 25% in 2013. To achieve this target, Sula is pulling out all stops to promote the product domestically, holding about 1,600 wine tasting sessions a year to educate people on the nuances of enjoying a glass of wine. The company is also trying to develop wine tourism in India, with vineyard tours and a music festival, which is held at their winery in February. Their customer base is growing twice as fast among women as men, and the company has a wine they say is designed especially for women that is low on alcohol,

slightly sparkling and sweeter than other varieties. Greater exposure to Western culture, global travel and experience of other countries where drinking wine is part of the lifestyle, are also helping to propel wine sales across the country. Sula, which has red, white, rose, sparkling and dessert varieties, exports about 5% of what it makes. Its largest market is Japan, followed by the U.S. and U.K. The company also exports to other parts of Europe and the Middle East. This year, it hopes to expand into Africa, China and Russia. T he Na shik- ba sed v intner has also successfully extracted oil after cold pressing the seeds that remain after wine has been extracted. “Till now we used to compost the seeds, which because of their stony nature do not decompose easily,” says Samant. Sula’s first production batch of extra virgin grape seed oil is around 30,000 bottles, and the company has tied up with Godrej venture Nature’s Basket for marketing it. With a distinctive nutty flavour, emollient properties and a high smoking point, grape seed oil is used both for consumption as well as for use in the cosmetic industry. On the price front it compares with extra virgin olive oil. It’s been a full day. And to rest my aching limbs, not to mention a brain reeling under the onslaught of wine facts and figures, I head to the Beyond Spa. The aesthetically-designed space has a relaxing ambience and smells wonderful. I give in to the ministrations of the therapist’s aromatherapy massage followed by a rejuvenating wine facial. Needless to say both leave my skin glowing and spirits uplifted! November 2013 GO NOW

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travel destination

MAURITI A Week T

he Mauritius assignment took me on a nice whirlpool tour for seven days. I tried to explore as many forms of beauty of the paradise island in land, water, under water and sky, as one can possibly do within a week. My five senses were thoroughly absorbed in relishing the sights, sounds, smell, and touch and taste the beauty of Mauritius. As a maxi miser by nature, I tried to use every moment and opportunity to add to my experience and coverage, I dived 35 meter deep in the blues of Indian Ocean, of course in the safety of Blue Safari submarine BS 1100, then took a sub scooter dive to the site of 18

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travel destination

IUS in Paradise

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travel destination

discovery of Star hope (Republic of Mauritius), I swam with dolphins, hanged loose in thin air on parachute over the Isle Aux Cerfs island and flew over the entire islands on helicopter, I walked and interacted with wild lions and cheetah and was driven the length and breadth of the island crisscrossing it again and again by my friend Veeren from Mauritius Tourism. On board the Air Mauritius flight from Delhi to Port Louis, I was possibly the only single passenger, the flight was full with young couples from different parts of the world especially young Indian “just married� couples who looked, smelled and behaved like they are on honeymoon. They were indeed, on their way to the paradise island.

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travel destination

The first glimpse of the islands from the aircraft window was breath-taking, I was amazed how on earth those tiny pieces of land peek out and stay up dry and not get submerged by the massive deep blue Indian Ocean that surrounds it? The aerial view reminded me of an advertisement that Mauritius Tourism used to run in the 90’s where they described Mauritius “99 percent water and 1 percent land”, what an amazing balance in nature. As the plane descended, the lush green island expanded and revealed its green fields and mountains and surprisingly the plane landed in the wide runway of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International airport which apparently had just been opened the day before I arrived. What a privilege, I was rather expecting a jerky landing with short run and sudden breaks, like perhaps landing at Agatti Airport in Lakshadweep Islands way back in India. The first impression of the island was quite interesting, I rolled down the car window, on my way to Port Louis, the capital city – there is no need of air conditioning, temperature hovers around 20 degrees in October, its spring time in the island as Mauritius is in the southern hemisphere. The air is light and fresh, the sunlight is so much more crisp and clear. So everything looks just as any photographer would wish for, with high saturated colour. What a refreshing change from smoggy New Delhi. People are more relaxed and happy, most of the Mauritians are of Indian origin. French is the main language, all you see from street signs to billboard, all that you hear or taste is saturated with a strong French taste. Like oil in the fries, I mean French fries. November 2013 GO NOW

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travel destination

From Cap Matheureux in the north, to La Vanille Reserve in the south, and from Flic en Flac beaches in the west to Ile aux Cerfs in east, this stunningly beautiful island oozes French flavour. I was amazed with how clean the beaches were and how friendly the people are. Even the ferocious lions and tigers from Africa happily meet and greet the tourists at Casella Park and let the brave hearts hold their long tails while walking with them in the nature park. Dolphins, hundreds of them, playfully jump off the water and circumbulate the swimmers on the west coast of the island. The gigantic tortoise happily give the kids a ride around the park of La Vanille reserve. The local people sell hot ‘Dholpuri’ a hot Indian bread role wrapped with spicy chutneys and salads of your choice. It’s been over two weeks that I returned from the island but my mind is still saturated with Mauritius. I can’t stop browsing those glimpses of the paradise island which I couldn’t capture in camera but they captured my heart, I call them Mauritius moments. 22

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travel destination

About the Author Tanmoy Das

This photo feature and text is from Tanmoy Das, the New Zealand-based Bengali from Bhubaneswar, where he was last working in the India Tourist Office a s a photographer. Tanmoy is a devout ISCON follower and mixe s his time bet ween spirituality and photography. Ta n m o y w a s r e c e n t l y commissioned by GoNow to spend a week in paradise. November 2013 GO NOW

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travel holiday

Fun rides at Wild Wadi, Dubai

Fly in the air with iFLY, Dubai

Wild Wadi, Dubai – must visit place for kids

A Vacation Outside India

Fun and Frolic with Family 24

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Grab fun and leisure time with your family by vacationing at one of these exciting destination. GoNow picks the best destinations and venues where you and your children can enjoy, explore, relax, and learn while having lots of fun. GoNow takes you to experience the • Vastness and variety of Dubai that assimilates adventure in all spaces with attractions like the desert safari, Wild Wadi Water Park and sky diving. • Find nature at Singapore’s zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Sentosa Island. • In USA kids and adults enjoy together at adventurous parks like Disney World, Four Flags and Sea World. • Once in a lifetime experiences at Malaysia including sea diving in Langakawi and thrilling rides at theme parks of Sunway Lagoon and Legoland.


travel holiday Adventure in USA   OUR PICKSA

Disneyland

When talking theme parks, Disneyland is favourite of all. When you enter this land, stories come

Variety in Dubai   OUR PICKSA

iFLY Dubai

Ever fancied of flying free in the sky? Visit iFLY Dubai which is amongst the largest indoor sky diving tunnels. Experienced flight instructors here give one-on-one instructions on how different body positions control our flight inside the tunnel. The training would let you enjoy the flight experience that would be the best and longest free fall time of your life. iFLY claims to be as safe as much as it’s exciting. For more info visit: www.theplaymania.com/ifly

Desert Safari

Experience the thrill of a life time with roller coaster ride on the sand dunes of Arabia in luxurious 4 wheel drives. Stop on the highest sand dune to look at the beautiful sunset and the waves in the sand. At the end of the ride, guests are taken to Bedouin campsite which lies in the heart of the desert. One can enjoy camel riding, biking in the sand etc. The highlight here is the traditional dance of enchanting belly dancers who move intricately to rhythms of the Arabic music.

to life, immersing you in tales of your favorite Disney films. Get into the Fantasyland just after you visit Sleeping Beauty Castle, here you can meet the gallant heroes and hateful villains of your favorite Disney stories. Encounter beautiful princesses such as Snow white, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Mickey and many more cartoons have their home here. For real adventure, ride on big thunder mountain railroad car, the Aerosmith-themed Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster that takes you on a hedonistic ride through L.A. in the band’s limousine, while the Twilight zone of terror takes you up 13 terrifying storeys, drops you, then does it all over again. Experience Disney-MGM Studios: full bigbudgeted Hollywood Technicolor glor y. Also enjoy film-themed shows starring the lovable Muppets, the Little Mermaid and others. Disney also has a new 500acre Animal Kingdom, where real jungle creatures and landscapes recreate an authentic African safari experience. Disney also operates two themed water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Parks & Entertainment. Simon tells us there are eleven theme parks in total, and Aquatica – SeaWorld’s water park is one of the most loved attraction, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove are our two more brands which helps one get close to the wildlife and the underwater animals. “We are a family destination with something for every age group,” says Simon. The highlight here is an underwater Shamu show where killer whales are the performers. Also at SeaWorld, enjoy interaction with penguins, beluga whales, sharks, walruses, seals, and possibly even a polar bear. Climb into a mock Greek fishing boat on journey to Atlantis and rise skyward, first through a foggy mist then out into a world of blue, a water ride that combines thrilling coaster action and amazing special effects as you travel to a lost civilization. Whirl, swirl, splash and crash through playful rapids and foaming whitewater. There’s also a nighttime rock

’n roll orca extravaganza with a light show. For more info visit: www.seaworldparks.com/en/ seaworld-sandiego

Six Flags

Six Flags Entertainment is the wo r l d ’s l a r g e s t   a mu s e m e nt park corporation based on number of properties. The company has developed various fun theme parks, thrill parks and water parks for family entertainment. Known worldwide as a thrill ride haven, Six Flags Magic Mountain is a 260-acre theme park that features 18 worldclass roller coasters and over 100 rides and games for the entire family. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is a 25-acre water park set amidst the fringes of a tropical jungle. At Discovery Kingdom, California there are animal adventures and the Six Flags Fiesta Texas highlights culture and music of Texas. With so many Six Flag parks, fun can never end. For more info visit: www.sixflags.com/america/index.aspx

For more info visit: https://disneyland. disney.go.com/

Sea World, San Diego, California

Lots of things to do at Sea Worldamazing rides, meet with rare animals and a lot. “People generally come to us for SeaWorld, but we have a lot more”, says Norbert Simon, Senior Market Manager, Continental Europe at SeaWorld

Disneyland, USA

Wild Wadi

Get wet and wild at Wild Wadi- a water park designed like an Arabian Wadi (oasis) with characteristics from Arabian folklore. If surfing is your sport, then the Wipeout Flow riders is worth a try. Being one of the four such rides in the world, they produce realistic wave effects that are ideal for bloody-boarding, knees-boarding or surfing. If you seek some adrenaline rush, don’t miss Jumeirah Sceirah – a 33-meter high slide with steep angles that speeds up to 80km per hour. You can also relax and catch your lazy time in the lazy river here. Safety is assured. For more info visit: http://www. jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/ dubai/wild-wadi/

San Diego Aquarium November 2013 GO NOW

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travel holiday Once in a lifetime experience at Malaysia Langkawi

Langkawi is an archipelago made up of 99 islands on Malaysia’s west coast. Surrounded by turquoise sea, the interior of the main island is a mixture of picturesque paddy fields and jungle-clad hills. Lots of people like to come here for fun water activities like diving. Langkawi has expansive Underwater World along Pantai Cenang and a Cable car in Pantai Kok.

Family fun at the beach

For more info visit: www.langkawi-info.com

Legoland

A childhood favourite for many, look forward to indulge in interactive rides and shows here. Catch a view of Legoland model structures, which are built with over 30 million Lego bricks. It is a full-day interactive experience for families with young children between the ages of two and 12. For more info visit: www.legoland.com

World’s largest lego-snake being prepared at Legoland, Malaysia

CARL VAZ

Director, India Representative Office, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Dubai is a multifaceted city offering a host of recreational activities such as desert safaris, worldclass shopping malls, beautiful beaches, and golf and water sports to travellers during their holiday break. It is a destination that has always charmed tourists with its world-class convention centres, fine dining outlets, world class hotels and events, with India representing the top source market for inward visitor traffic into Dubai year-on-year.

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Wildlife adventure

MANOHARAN PERIASAMY

Director, Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia is strongly perceived to be a real value for money destination amongst Indians. It is known for best spas, ecotourism, beaches, duty free shopping, amazing golf courses etc. Some of the favourite family destinations are Genting which is under renovation, Legoland, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, Taman Nagara, Redang Island, Sabah and Sarawak.

JAY GRAY

Vice President – Global Partnership Development, Brand USA

Interesting mixtures of tourists come into USA, business travellers consist of 40%, whereas VFR also is a major number out of Indian market to USA, it is 29% now and they also consist of leisure travellers. A lot of people are travelling to USA for shopping as we are a great shopping destination. Outdoor activities are also seeing an increase now – museums, cultural travel, nightlife, entertainment – we have it all. According to 2011-12 statistics, 80% people come for shopping, whereas, 73% come for sightseeing at the country side, national parks.


travel holiday

Songs of the sea at Sentosa

Jurong Bird Park

Entertainment at 4d magix, Sentosa

Nature and wildlife at zoo in Singapore

Wildlife and nature in Singapore Resorts World Sentosa

G.B. SRITHAR

Area Director, South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board

Singapore is a perennial favourite with families as it offers yearround holiday options and the experiential offerings are constantly evolving. Travellers could have so many, different and engaging activities in the attractions like Universal Studios Singapore, River Safari, Sentosa and Gardens by the Bay. The family-friendly environment across the island ensures that they take home with them wonderful holiday memories.

A must visit place in Singapore is Resorts World Sentosa which is an integrated resort on the island of Sentosa. Not to miss places here are- casino, Universal Studio theme park, spectacular shows and a marine life park which includes world’s largest oceanarium. At the 4D Adventure Park in Sentosa take delight in watching a 4-D movie and ride on a virtual 4-D roller coaster “Extreme Log Ride”. Get kick out of Asia’s first 4-D Interactive Shoot-Out game by firing crazily with motion-sensor pistol. One of the best ways to end your day in Sentosa is to watch the Songs of the Sea show. Set on a peaceful island, it is a mesmerizing show that depicts a beautiful love story on the canvas of the sky. The view of the prince and princess’ beautiful face that emerges in the sky is scintillating. A bunch of performers sing, dance and recite the story with dramatic effects and pyrotechnics. Water jets, flame bursts, lasers and captivating music make this a one-of-a-kind entertainment spectacle. For more info visit: www.rwsentosa.com

Singapore Zoo

Set in a rainforest environment, Singapore Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals from over 316 species of mammals, birds and

reptiles. The park boasts the world’s first free-ranging orange utans habitat in a zoo, which is a must visit. Relish an outdoor feast at Jungle Breakfast with wildlife in your surroundings. It is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning programme that offers unique experience with elephants, orange utans and snake. The fun is endless here with interesting animal presentations, photography with animals and more! For more info visit: www.zoo.com.sg

Jurong Bird Park

Home to 5,000 feathery friends across 280 bird species, Jurong Bird Park in Singapore houses one of the largest collections of birds in the world. Key attraction at this place is- A bird discovery centre where one can see a replica of the 2.6 metre skeleton of the second largest bird in the world and the tiniest bird is also right next to it. Watch amazing bird shows and answer all your kid’s questions like how do feathers help a bird fly? There is an egg-cellent egg collection from more than 250 bird species where you can find rarely seen green and blue eggs. For more info visit www.birdpark.com.sg compiled by SHWETA MITTAL

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hotel launch

RELIEF AT LAST FOR A

JW Marriott Opens its Do The first of the dozen hotels planned for Aerocity in New Delhi opened its doors, some what quietly and unobtrusively. But with confidence in the product, the latest luxury offering in the hospitality sector in the capital.

T

he much-awaited Aerocit y hotels got a leg-up when t he f ir s t a mon g them opened its doors last month. JW Marriott was among the hotels that had got completed some months ago, and was awaiting clearance. There were issues of security that came to the fore, and confusion prevailed with numerous voices expressing diverse opinions at the same time. The hotels were asked to tweak their product to suit the security issues of the authorities concerned. JW received its approvals and was allowed to open with 300 rooms, along with the spa, wellness centre, swimming pool and its party lawns, all day dining restaurant with its 225 covers, patisserie and its banquet hall (13,500 sq ft without a pillar). Another 220 rooms will follow the same drill of observing the specifications, for which the systems are in place already, and will open a month afterwards.

JW is the brainchild of Sushil and Sandeep Gupta, father and son promoters of Asian Hotels West, which formed an SUV with Delhi Airport. The duo is well versed with the hospitality industry, having started as one of the three owning families of Hyatt Regency in New Delhi – after the Asian Hotels demerged into three entities, the Guptas began nursing Hyatt Regency Mumbai Airport and also acquired the Qutab Hotel and Apartments after the sale of ITDC properties. Now, they have a third property as they begin their innings with the third chain in their system – after Hyatt and Clarion, it is now also Marriott, three formidable brands under their belt. It must have been a huge sigh of relief, when they became the first hotel to get its clearance? It has been six months since they were ready. They could have opened on 1st April, said Sushil

Gupta, when GONOW met the two in a recent interview in the newly opened hotel. So, the last six months must have been a big pain with no gain? “Looking back, possibly, it was nobody’s fault. No one knew the drill that was expected to be followed. No one told us, and possibly no one knew what to tell us. It is a complex issue and we are glad it is finally behind us.” But surely, they are professional hoteliers with a big learning curve behind them of almost three decades. How come they did not know what to do? “We know what is expected of us as hoteliers. But we did not know these requirements. Frankly, we were not given any such brief of requirements. The problem is uniform for all the hotels in Aerocity, and we are glad these are now being ironed out, at last.” In today’s scenario, when business is facing serious challenges, such inordinate delays can cost both opportunity and money. What has it been like for the promoters? It has been a huge financial outflow, say both in unison. Hotels work on very strict budgets and they had embarked upon a very controlled regimen to be responsible hoteliers, and not to waste money anywhere while maintaining an eye on top end luxury. Therefore, this six months lapse has cost them dearly. It is unfortunate, as it would cost them some additional 15 to 20% on their project cost. What has been the project cost like, is our next question? On a base of 525 rooms, their cost was `1.5 crores per room. With the six

“We know what is expected of us as hoteliers. But we did not know these requirements. Frankly, we were not given any such brief of requirements. The problem is uniform for all the hotels in Aerocity, and we are glad these are now being ironed out, at last.”

SUSHIL GUPTA and SANDEEP GUPTA Sushil and Sandeep Gupta, father and son, worked fast and furiously to ensure the hotel opened as quickly as it could. 28

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Asian Hotels West

months delay in opening, with everything ready including the staff, the cost has gone up to Rs. 1.75 crores per room. How did they keep their costs down, was there any magic formula? They travelled, they looked at sources closely, and monitored their cost. Luckily for them, all their imports were before the dollar went up. Each item was looked at closely, they spent a lot of money but carefully and wisely. Sandeep says he was looking at luxury as the customer will experience it, and not as a statement of what they spent on it. Luxury is not just about spending, he says. What were they out to create, in the first place? Sandeep handled the design and concepts and says he was focussed on redefining luxury in terms of room comfort, public spaces and unique F&B. In his view the design is both classic and contemporary, and along with the JW team have worked steadfastly to raise the benchmark and create a unique experience. What is luxur y to him? It is “grandeur, comfort, and sophistication. The experience will seamlessly incorporate space, scale and service,” says Sandeep. The bigger question is what next for Aerocity? Can these dozen hotels co-exist and will there be enough business for all of them? Everybody is eagerly watching, and many remain pessimistic with the hospitality business being what it is today. What do the Guptas have to say on this? “Aerocity is a futuristic project. It is not meant for just today. It is forward looking and all the hotels are opening in phases. This supply will get absorbed slowly as it comes along. This level of development is unparalleled in our history. This project has been much in the news, and not for the right reasons. It will become a world hub, as we go along. Not just for the airport which it will, but also for the city, between the Delhi we know of, and the NCR – it will become a new centre of activity for the region, the city,” says a confident Sandeep. But the anguish over the last six months must remain. And the loss is immense for an entrepre-


hotel launch

AEROCITY HOTELS

oors with 300 Rooms

Rooms overlooking the poolside, and the T3 operational area. These are the rooms that have been provided extra security!

The confectionary at the lobby level: new offerings for the city dweller.

neur? The two are emphatic that they want to look ahead and not behind. The exacting six months are now behind them, and they wish to move forward. “The larger project is the outcome of DIAL’s vision in continuity to its efforts to create a world class airport, a hub between the East and the West. The entire area, we understand, will be created by DIAL as a self contained complex. We are confident of our success and so are other hoteliers working on their projects in this belt”, says Sushil. What has it been like, between the two of them, working on this project? It appears they have been a great team between them. Sushil, the father, has brought with him great working knowledge of working with the government. Keeping his patience, understanding the problem and trying to offer solutions, Sushil has been an active Rotarian, a keen golfer, a strong believer in Pranic healing, and also a leading ho telier with his Hyatt Regency, before the three promoter s in Asian Hotels opted for a separation. Sandeep says his contribution has been to focus on design, the final feel of the end product. “We kind of divided our responsibility

between us. Sandeep was looking after the construction primarily with his focus on execution, while I was looking after the finances and their structure. What is really important is that between us we have managed to create this luxury at perhaps the lowest cost per room in the country”, shares Sushil Gupta. How do they see the road ahead? The operational part is with Marriott, a most professional team. It is their job to get the rooms and services going as a business. What would their expectations be, at this juncture, considering the lapse of six months? Nothing additional as an expectation, except that their projections become six months late, they say. Nothing has changed, except that they are six months behind time. Surely, they are not going to sit back, and must be looking at new projects. So, what new can be expected? Nothing at this moment, says Sandeep. It is time to consolidate, test the waters for the hospitality business as a whole. How does the growth scenario shape up, is what everybody is watching. Will they go abroad? No, nothing like that, at all. They wish to grow within the country – there are enough opportunities going within. It could be another metro, or perhaps even a resort location. Goa is one such possibility but only time will tell. by NAVIN BERRY

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hotel effect

Neemranafication

How a simple hotel can transform a rural undiscovered and uncharted terrain in India’s countryside.

Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg

I

t’s amazing how a palace in ruins, when brought back to life, can actually give a new meaning to the entire area it surrounds. The change-around of Neemrana Fort-Palace has redefined the lives of Neemrana inhabitants and vice versa. I say so because I witnessed the immense development and hope this symbiotic relationship has brought to an ancient historical town in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Some 128 kilometers after, my urban, boisterous and tired world as a Delhiite had transformed to a much more passive and fascinatingly royal one. Imagine your car hiking the steep road that faces the entrance of the fort, while a vintage sedan carrying a tourist family passes you, and just as you get tempted to ask for a trip too, there are camels warmly inviting you for an equally majestic cart ride! There are many people I met, from men who had came as construction workers two decades back at the same sight and are now managing the spa, to a jeweller whose life took a complete turn after his art was appreciated by the foreign guests at the fort. But before narrating their stories, here’s what this ‘non-hotel’ has to offer and how this dream project came to reality. A research tour-led Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg to discover a 14th century hill-top fort overlooking the Aravalli range that lay in ruins. The idea of resurrection came promptly and the erstwhile ruling family, considered to be the direct lineage of Prithviraj Chauhan, gave a glad affirmation. Recreated in 1986, it is today known amongst India’s oldest heritage resort hotels. When the people of Neemrana got involved in the architectural restoration process, it was little known that the property would become a brilliant model of practical and sustainable heritage tourism that involves the local communities in such a way that their rural pride resurges to oppose the migration to urban slums. So, today when someone stays in this 63-room heritage resort, they can personally witness a large part of the vegetables eaten during the visit, literally being harvested at the nearby organic farm that is administered by a faithful villager. And if you get to talk to the employee who picks up your laundry, he will tell you how he learnt to respect his work, because of the immense opportunities the property granted to him. Read a few stories gathered from in and around the Neemrana Fort-Palace, those share a similar theme of sustainable development of society, economy and environment. by VARALIKA VIJ

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hotel effect Laxman Saini

Head Gardener Laxman is the man, who brought vegetation and greenery to not only the vegetable bio garden that lies in the vicinity of Neemrana Fort Palace, but also to the hill area that surrounds it. So in a way, it wasn’t just the fort that was restructured. Unbelievable, but true, for in order to beautify the surroundings, Laxman and his men collected seeds of the desolately alive plants and trees, and spread them over the hills lavishly by hand at the opportune monsoon time. While the hills around became alive again only some 6 years back, he also learnt how to grow vegetables like lettuce, parsley, celery, and spinach organically, unfamiliar to the local farmers. This man, mostly dressed up in a green kurta and white pyjamas is a Neemrana resident, and an integral part of the fort palace since more than a decade. He showed me the farms, where some 6 people work with him in shifts, and on our way back, instructed village kids to do their schoolwork. “Aise aise logon se milta hu, ki padhai likhai ki kimat samajh aati hai,” expressed Laxman.

Kawar Singh Saini

Vegetable Supplier Kawar Singh is from Pratapsingh Pura v illage, 3 kilometres away from Neemrana. His work was limited to being a shopkeeper at a small store before he learnt about an opportunity at the fort place. Benefitting tremendously from the palace resort since the last 5 years, his business has grown manifold. “I started with supplying all by myself, and gradually employed 4 other boys who now work for me.” Stating his experience, he said, “ Bahot accha vyavhar raha hai yaha ke logon ka abhi tak.” Having married off his daughter recently, he conveyed that he could not have got so much quality work elsewhere.

Himmat Singh

Local shopkeeper On his way to Delhi back in 2002, Himmat noticed the Neemrana Fort Place. He was then serving at a handicrafts shop close to Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. Having found an opportunity to set up his own venture, he migrated to Neemrana and has had a stable and better lifestyle ever since. His shop lies just a few metres away from the palace. “The good things I found here is that the labour is cheap. The industrial area around has developed tremendously since this fort has been renovated, attracting a lot of business meetings. Many foreign clients who come here have a love for handicrafts. “Pehle servant the, ab khud ki dukaan hai. Iss jagah ne humein kaafi diya hai.”

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Sanjay

Zip lining professional Sustainable development also leads to a lot of innovation. Sanjay, a journalism degree holder had always been an adventure enthusiast. While he was looking forward to finding a drastic change of career, simultaneously Mr. Jonathon Walter from the UK came to stay at the Neemrana Fort-Palace and found it to be an excellent site for zip lining. An advertisement in the newspaper seeking for zip lining professionals was promptly answered by Sanjay and he landed up being trained for the next 8 months by European trainers alongwith 10 other chosen men. “This is the first site in India where zip lining started. The sport attracts 60 to 100 people at weekends.” He shared with us that the entire industrial area grew very recently and continues to achieve newer heights.


hotel effect Ashok Yadav

Head Chef Ashok Yadav is a unique example of an ordinary villager turned into an extraordinary chef. He can prepare Indian, Chinese, Italian, Continental and many fusion cuisines, at par with international standards. The guests at Neemrana Fort are enjoying his delicacies since the last 19 years. “Shuru se kitchen mei hi kaam kiya kyunki wohi shok tha.” And to give impetus to his interest, chefs from France and Italy flew down to train him and many others. He hails from Majri Kalan village, 7 kilometres away from Neemrana. Ashok’s elder daughter has completed her second year in Bachelor’s of Arts. Describing his personal and professional growth, he quotes, “Humein yahan aa kar sabhayata mili.”

OP Samria

Assistant Spa Manager 15 years back, OP Samria came to the fort site as a 20 year old construction worker. After 5 years of working as a labourer, the administration gave him a housekeeping job. A couple of promotions after, he now takes care of the nitty-gritty’s of the spa and the swimming pool. W hile helping me out w ith writing the correct spelling of his surname, he said, “I don’t know where I would have been if this fort wasn’t explored by the present day owners, but I definitely would not be wearing this pink kurta, which not only signifies the hospitality services I render to the valued guests, but also the welcoming nature I have imbibed because of this job.”

Rakesh Kharera

Camel Rider 22 yea r old Ra kesh K ha rera is a resident of Neemrana, who serves 15-20 people average at `200 per head, interested in riding his camel every day. Revenue earned from the 35 minute camel ride around the Neemrana Fort Palace provides daily bread to his brother, sister and mother. According to him, the site provides him with a good opportunity and he hopes to have more people to ride as the winters approach.

Badri Prasad

Kitchen Porter It was 1986 when Badri Prasad came to Neemrana searching for work that provides him the basic daily wage. Finding an opportunity at this fort-palace, he helped with the most basic of construction processes and later began taking care of the stores and crockery. During his service at the property for 27 years, he has managed to educate his two sons to the level of a civil engineer and an M.ED. While his main functions remain dishwashing, he says, “Idhar shuru se parampara rahi hai ki sab parivar ki tarah rehte hai. Kisi ko koi pareshani nahi rehti kyunki sab sabhi ka kam kar lete hai.”

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hotel options

Choose Where You Stay

THE HOSPITALITY OF NEPAL A hospitable country with a number of hotels located in scenic locations serving different experiences, from traditional to modern... GoNow brings to you a list of some of the best hotels that you can choose from for your pleasant stay in Nepal. With magnificent geographical features, Nepal is a must visit place for adventure, leisure, and business, etc. Surrounded by high peaks of Himalayas, it has a pleasantly chilly weather which creates an exciting atmosphere for your vacations. This Himalayan nation welcomes travellers for a mesmerizing experience in its valleys and mountains.

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Hotel Yak & Yeti Kathmandu

Modern Design and Historic Interiors Location: The hotel is located in Durbar Marg which is known as the heart of the Kathmandu city. This place is known as the King’s way among foreigners as it leads to the former Royal Palace of Narayanhiti. Being the place of luxury for Nepal, Hotel Yak & Yeti adds on to its magnificence. The hotel is around 30 minutes away from the airport and near to the hot spots of the city. Architecture: Adding a historic character to the property, the hotel creates an interesting fusion of modern amenities and original heritage interiors. The hotel is built out of a 100 year old palace and greets its guests with modern day sophistication and splendour. The traditional fountains, golden temples and the emerald gardens of the hotel serves its guests with a true taste of Nepal. The historic character of the hotel perfectly fuses tradition and hospitality.

What to expect: It serves a cosy stay to its guests with its meticulously furnished rooms with a decent size ranging from 292 sqft with plush presidential suite sized at 759sqft. Appointed to the highest degree of comfort and convenience, the 270 rooms available at the hotel are available in three different categories, Deluxe Room, Club Shangri-La Executive Room and Suites. Along with en-suite bathrooms, the rooms are also appointed with television, a fully stocked mini bar, etc. Business travellers can organise their meetings and conferences at the facilities available at the hotel. The guests can also relish delicious Nepalese cuisine at the various cafes and restaurants of the hotel, serving various cuisines for its discerning travellers. The Sunrise Cafe at the lobby is a casual dining place for the guests to ease at. With

a seating capacity for 120 guests, it serves buffet as well as a-la-carte for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Chimney is a fine dining restaurant for an intimate dinner or a quiet family time. It has a seating capacity for 70 guests and serves a palette of fresh ingredients involving refined and interesting innovations. Catch up with friends at The Pub over drinks and snacks. It is the place in town to relax and groove with your buddies. Special offer: The hotel has various offers for all kinds of guests, whether you are booking at the last minute or months in advance, you can avail one of the offers of the hotel. The Long Stay Promotion can be enjoyed by guests who are checking in for seven nights or more. This package includes free Wi-Fi, 2 way

airport transfers, international Buffet Breakfast and a welcome drink on arrival. The guests will also be treated with two bottles of mineral water in their room every day. Use of Gym, Sauna, Steam, Jacuzzi and Pool are also complimentary as a part of this package. With a 43% discount, this package is available at USD 135 (after discount). factfile Address: GPO Box no. 1016, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal Website: www.yakandyeti.com Call: +977 1 4248999

Dwarika’s Hotel Kathmandu

Showcasing Cultural Heritage of Nepal Location: Located close to Pashupatinath Temple, King’s Palace and Boudhanath, Dwarika’s Hotel Kathmandu is placed in Battisputali, the north-western part of Kathmandu Valley. The hotel is also very near to Royal Nepal Golf Course, and Guhyeshwari Temple. Being so close to these mustvisit places of Kathmandu, the hotel is a perfect place for you and your family. Architecture: The hotel boasts of intricate wood carvings, and showcases the Newari civilisation of the Kathmandu Valley through its sculptures and bronze crafts. Dwarika’s Hotel Kathmandu emphasises on the importance of heritage conservation and also highlights the traditions of Nepal’s hospitality. The hotel was built with an aim to revive the architectural and cultural splendour of the Kathmandu valley and till date it retains the same guiding philosophy and remains a beacon for the importance of heritage conservation in Nepal. “Besides the collection of woodwork, the artisans of Nepal are represented in every interior detail, from handmade terracotta tiles, decorative bricks and pottery lamp stands to the linen and furnishings that use local fabrics and styles, everything has been carefully and specially designed to highlight the different artistic traditions of the Kathmandu valley,” says Rene Vijay Shrestha Einhaus, Director, Business Development and Finance, Dwarika’s Hotel, Kathmandu. What to expect: The hotel serves traditional Nepali cuisine with different

number of courses varying from 6 to 22. The restaurant offers a traditional dining experience loved a lot by Indian guests. Adding on to this, Rene tells us what they offer to their Indian clients, “Many of our Indian clients who come to stay with us enjoy the traditional architecture that surrounds the hotel. Most Indians admire the heritage of the hotel and also the kind of hospitality that we provide here. We also have our summer offers that are mainly for Indian clients who are looking for a long weekend getaway, since the weather here in Kathmandu around that time is still very pleasant and mild.” Divided into three categories, namely, Royal Suite, Heritage Suite and Heritage Room, the hotel has a total of 87 well appointed rooms and suites. The

relaxing Library, indulgent pool, rejuvenating Spa and many for interesting facilities at the hotel will make your trip worthwhile. Special offer: The room rates starts from USD 275 plus 10% service charge and 13% VAT based on single occupancy. This does not includes breakfast, but you can avail a complimentary yoga session every morning at 7:00 am, use of the swimming pool and fitness centre and daily documentary show at 7:30 pm on Nepali culture and religion. The offer is valid till 31st December 2013. factfile Address: P.O. Box: 459, Battisputali Kathmandu, Nepal Website: www.dwarikas.com Call: 977-1-4479488

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hotel options

Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu – Soaltee

Destination for Celebrations Location: Being close to both the shopping area of the city and to the business district, Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu – Soaltee is a perfect abode for business as well as leisure travellers. The hotel is just four kilometres away from the Tribhuvan International Airport and the Boudhanath Stupa is also ten minutes walking distance from the hotel. Architecture: Modern luxury and classic sophistication come at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza with distinguished Nepalese hospitality to create enduring memories. Built up in 12 acres of landscaped ground, the open veranda of the hotel is surrounded by vibrant gardens, making it a soothing sight for the guests. The red brick building with illuminated lighting further enhances the beauty of the hotel. Nepal’s rich fascinating culture is well represented by the art

and architecture of the hotel. The hotel is considered as a legendary landmark in Kathmandu cityscape and is one of the leading hotel of the kingdom. What to expect: With a wide range of accommodation, dining and recreational facilities available at the hotel, it has been playing host to heads of state, business leaders and celebrities. A couple of prominent names from the whole list of affluent people are, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana and several other international celebrities. The hotel ser ves as a perfect luxury destination for all those who simply seek an oasis of comfort at the end of a busy day. “A distinctive feature of the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu is our highly motivated and well-trained

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

staffs that provide exceptionally attentive, personalized and warm service. Over the last four decades, we have established a reputation for excellence by offering quality services to our guests,” says Nalin Mandiratta, General Manager, Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu, Nepal. The hotel boasts 282 luxuriously appointed rooms, including 16 suites equipped with all the state of the art amenities. The Mountain View from standard elegant rooms at Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu will enthral you. Gather your thoughts at the desk or let them wander over the beautiful garden scene outside your window. “If you’re amongst those who always look for some extra space to relax, work and socialize, the hotel’s spacious Regal Suites will serve your purpose admirably. You can entertain guests in the separate lounge area or enjoy an intimate dinner from the exquisite in-room dining menu.”

Luxury, Entertainment and Tradition Location: Centrally located in Kathmandu with the Tribhuvan International Airport being just 4km away and the city centre of Kathmandu just 6km, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu ser ves the quintessential Nepal experience to its guests. The hotel is also very near to the Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and epitomes of Buddhism and Hindu culture, respectively. Architecture: A great combination of tradition and luxury, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is built in the Newari style of Nepalese architecture on 37 acres of landscaped grounds. “Nepal as a destination entices one’s imagination as a place of mysticism, culture, the Himalayas and friendly people. As a hotel in Nepal we have tried to fuse all these attributes while at the same time offering International standard of service and facilities as a Hyatt,” says Suman Shrestha, General Manager, Hyatt 36

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Regency Kathmandu. The hotel is a perfect getaway options for travellers from India looking out for a traditional Nepalese experience. What to expect: The hotel offers a total of 280 rooms which serves its guests with a scenic view of either the Stupa, or the lush green gardens or the high mountain ranges. Shrestha tells us more about what in particular do they offer to an Indian guest, “for the discerning guests from India the hotel offers a number of facilities, like, on-site casino for entertainment, spacious outdoor and in-door facilities for family and individuals to enjoy at their own privacy, destination for off-site residential weddings with an experienced and dedicated events team to handle specific requirements for an Indian wedding, preferred venue for MICE out of India for conference and incentive groups, special package rates which include services like breakfast, airport transfers, sightseeing, etc.”

Special offer: The hotel has a special package for the travellers looking out for an exciting experience. Along with transfers to and from the hotel and airport, the hotel welcomes you with a drink and fruit basket in the room on the day of arrival. The guests can also relish exotic buffet breakfast at the coffee shop and two half day sightseeing’s on the following day of arrival. The guests can also avail one free usage of steam/sauna and free usage of Gymnasium during the stay except therapies. The price for the package is ` 7, 333 (single/double occupancy) and `10, 999 (Triple occupancy). These rates are applicable only for a minimum stay of three nights and above. This offer is valid till 30th April 2014. factfile Address: Tahachal Kathmandu P.O. Box: 97 Kathmandu, Nepal Website: www.ihg.com Call: +977-1-4273999


Shangri-La Village Resort Pokhara

Heaven on Earth Location: Nestled in the heart of Pokhara, Shangri-La Village Resort is just 5 minutes drive away from Pokhara Airport and 7-minute

drive from Phewa Lake. During your stay at the resort you can visit the International Mountain Museum, Ganesh Kayak Shop,

Offering an array of cuisines from around the world, the restaurants at the hotel offer its guests with The Cafe, which features a show kitchen serving international cuisines. Rox Restaurant is the signature restaurant of the hotel and serves authentic Southern European cuisine. Rox bar, The Lounge and the Terrace are other options for the guests to choose from. Special offer: Starting from 1st November 2013 till 31st January 2014, the hotel offers a special 20% discount to its guests. The offer includes 20% discount on Hyatt Daily Rates for stays from 7th December 2013 to 31st January 2014 (excluding 31st December). Along with this, you can earn Bonus Miles as Lufthansa, Jet Airways and Air France/ KLM will offer their members double miles, while British Airways will offer members triple miles from 1 November 2013 – 31 January 2014 for all eligible stays. You need to book your trip at least seven days before you travel to avail these offers. factfile Address: P.O. Box 9609 Taragaon, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal. Website: www.kathmandu.regency.hyatt.com Call: +977 1 449 1234

and German Bakery, which are at walking distance from the hotel. Architecture: Every room of the hotel serves a magnificent view of the high ranges that surround the hotel. Architecturally, the hotel is inspired by the villages of Nepal and showcases the true culture of this beautiful place. The location of the hotel further enhances the architectural appeal of the building. The resort is a result of a man’s vision and a man’s photograph. The architectural beauty of the resort is a depiction of the Annapurna Mountains that surround it. What to expect: The hotel has a lot of pleasant surprises for its guests, like the pools that shine like a mirror and showcase the splendour of the Himalayas, lush green gardens, and a swimming pool that is used also as a waterfall. The view that the hotel serves is its USP as it is nestled in the panoramic view of the Annapurna Mountains. The hotel possesses 61 carefully designed rooms, equipped with luxurious amenities. All the rooms have a private balcony and a mesmerising view of the mountains. The rooms are fully air-conditioned and heated with individual controlled thermostats. The rooms are designed in an elegant way combining both, the modern and village aspect for its guests to have

an unforgettable experience. It has two categories of rooms, Premium and Deluxe, which vary in terms of the size. To fulfil your gastronomic desires, Shangri-La Village Resort has got various cuisines from around the world. The Sanctuary Bar is next to the swimming pool and perfect for brunches, barbeques, cocktails and dinner receptions. The whole ambience along with live cooking would add a touch of splendour to your gathering. On the other hand, Trail’s End Bar serves a calm atmosphere for couples to spend a lone moment and relish over fine drinks and scrumptious meals. Special offer: The Deluxe Room rates for the hotel start with USD 220 for single occupancy and USD 250 for double occupancy. For a Premium Rooms both single and double occupancy are charged at USD 250. On Friday evenings you can also enjoy live performance by the rock star of the town, Ciney Gurung from 7:00pm at `1,299 per person. And, every Saturday you can relish the scrumptious brunch from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at the hotel for `1,100 per person. This is valid till 31st December 2013. factfile Address: Gharipatan, Pokhara, Nepal Website: www.hotelshangrila.com Call: +977-61-462222, 460224 compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA

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hotel experience

A JOURNEY INTO O A Sojourn at the Ayurveda Nestling between the southern and the northern mountains of the Western Ghats of Kerala, in an area called the “Palakkad Gap”, in the village of Kollengode, stands the palace of the erstwhile Queen of the Vengunad ruling dynasty. by SHIELA BHIDE

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oday, the palace is the Centre for Ayurveda, the renowned Kalari Kovilakom, run by the CGH Earth group of hotels. Having heard from many of our friends how they had benefited from the Centre’s truly authentic Ayurvedic treatment, my husband and I decided to go through it ourselves. Since Ayurvedic treatment is supposed to be most effective during the rainy season, we booked ourselves for 38

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a two-week course in August this year. A three-hour flight brought us directly from New Delhi to Coimbatore. At the airport we were received by two staff members of Kalari Kovilakom. It was a pleasant two-hour drive to Kollengode village. As we neared Palakkad, there appeared, as far as the eyes could see, green paddy fields, coconut trees and banana groves swaying gently in the rain. At the


hotel experience Centre we were greeted by the staff in the traditional Indian manner with garlands of flowers, red vermillion and a lighted lamp. The General Manager explained to us the details of the two-week programme. Three sets of white cotton pyjama suits and a pair of sandals were handed over to us. All guests are expected to wear these during their stay at the Centre. As the General Manager explained, they help to bond the guests together and break down all barriers and distinctions. He then offered to take us round the complex. Explaining the meaning of the name “Kalari Kovilakom”, he said “Kalari” refers to the martial art, “Kalari Payathi”. The piece of land on which the palace was built, had been used previously for training in the martial arts. “Kovilakom” means “abode of the King”. The Palace: At the entrance to the Palace there is a board with the words “Please Leave Your World Here”. As we were guided through the Palace complex, we were literally transported into another world – a gentle, quiet world, suffused with history and spirituality. The Queen’s Palace, constructed in 1860, is beautiful and stately with large colonnaded verandas, high ceilings and antique furniture and walls dec-

ONESELF:

Centre “Kalari Kovilakom” orated with photographs of the royal family of Vengunad. Surrounding the main palace building is a number of smaller buildings with red tiled roofs which are used for Ayur vedic treatment, yoga and meditation and as residence for guests and staff. There is one section of the palace complex which is distinctive because of its colonial architecture. Built in the 1930’s, it has eight large residential rooms for guests with amenities that one can compare with a five star hotel. One thing that is striking about the entire complex is that it is kept spotlessly clean. One sees staff members going around attending to their chores, silently and diligently, greeting all passers-by with warm smiles and a “namaste”. The Gardens : The Palace,

situated on 6.5 acres of land, is surrounded by gardens full of trees and plants, most of them of value in ayurveda. We saw a number of guests walking along the leafy pathways that encircle the gardens. There are also a number of ponds in the garden. Legend has it that, once upon a time, there was a King named Dharma Varma, who seized the wealth of a Shiva temple. Lord Shiva cursed him and he was afflicted by leprosy. The King ran to the sage Kashyapmuni to save him from the curse.

Kashyapmuni advised him to pray to Lord Vishnu at the Kachamkurussi temple and then to bathe in the tank south of the temple. The King is said to have been cured from the disease after following this advice. The Ayurvedic Treatment: We soon got into the routine of the Centre – consultations with the doctors (known as “Vaidyas”), oil massages and yoga and meditation sessions. The doctors carry out three methods of investigations to know the physi-

cal condition of each new guest, namely, “darshana” or studying the appearance of each new guest, “sparshana” or examination by touching the body and “prasnai” or asking questions to the guest about his or her physical condition and well being. A detailed record is kept by the doctor of the type of ailments and the progress of the treatment each day. The treatment is entirely individual-centric, depending on the “prakriti” or constitution of the person. The first few days are spent on de-toxification of the body with medicated ghee or clarified butter. This is followed by special types of oil massages, sauna baths and internal cleansing of the digestive system with herbal laxatives. Once the doctor is convinced that November 2013 GO NOW

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hotel experience

the body has been cleared of the toxins, he puts each guest on to a special treatment for rejuvenation, depending on the particular ailments of that person. Diet: The food at Kalari Kovilakom can be described as “satvik”, which means simple, healthy and easily digestible. It is purely vegetarian and consists of a lot of locally grown vegetables, grains and fruits. The diet too is entirely individual-centric, prescribed by the doctor on the basis of the “prakruti” of the guest and the stage of the treatment. Guests are encouraged to sip warm ginger water or herbal or spice tea throughout the day to help with the digestion. Yoga: Yoga lessons are held early in the morning. Yogasanas of the Patanjali School of Bihar are followed here. In addition, yoga nidra and pranayama classes are held during the rest of the day. Karma yoga or “the service of the community” is encouraged. It is performed by a symbolic gesture of feeding the fish in the pond. Spirituality: Ayurveda, as it is practised at this Centre, can be considered more as the act of healing than as a system of 40

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medicine. The treatment that is offered is a combination of therapies for the body, mind and soul. It aims to help balance the energies within the individual with those represented by the five elements of Nature or the “ Panchamahabhutas”. “Om shanti, shanti, shanti” is an oft-repeated refrain during the day, which calms the mind. Yoga sessions begin and end with the chanting of mantras in Sanskrit which seek good health and well-being for all as also universal peace. There is a temple on the compound built and maintained by the royal family. It is dedicated to Srimurthy Bhagwati Devi. The idol in the temple can be seen from a distance through a stained glass window in the palace wall. Passersby on the road can be often seen paying their homage to the Goddess as they peer through the diamond-shaped window. Inside the palace, in a small alcove, there is a small statue of one of the ancestors of the royal family, the King Shaktan Vira Ravi Thampuran. He was supposed to have been a wise and able ruler and was also a scholar. He is considered to be the guardian spirit of

the palace and a light is lit every evening at sunset near the statue. After dinner, cultural pro grammes, such as classical dance and music, are arranged in the Queen’s Hall of Audience or “the Poomugham”, as a tribute to the royal family which patronized the local artists. Making Friends: There is an opportunity for quiet relaxation and contemplation for the guests in bet ween the programmed activities. They can be seen taking walks, reading or chatting in small groups. It was a mixed group – Indians, Rus sians, Ger mans, French and Italians-all conversing in English in their own special accents. The conversations often veered to the topic of the ailments the people were suffering from, why they have turned to Ayurveda a nd how t he t re at ment wa s progressing. Friendships are made easily in this cloistered world. Florence from Paris told us that this was her eighth annual visit to the Centre. She said that the treatment ensures that she does not fall ill during the rest of the year. Her immunity has been built up so effectively by now that she does

not need to take any vaccinations, not even against ‘flu. Nicolai from Moscow said that he suffered from severe shoulder pain. After trying allopathic medicines for several years with no effect, the doctor told him that he had an option to either undergo surgery or to take cortisones. He wanted neither and, therefore, he had come to the Centre to try out Ayurveda. Miranda from Milan, while leaving for home, confided that she was disappointed that during her stay at the Centre she could not visit the near-by villages and see how the local people lived. She, however, rationalized that guests have to accept that the Centre was not a spa-resort but an “ashram”. She said that she was, nevertheless, looking forward to sight-seeing in Mumbai on her brief stopover and “to having some spaghetti”, she added with a wink and a naughty grin on her face. Time to Depart: It was soon time for us to leave as well. After saying fond farewells, we crossed the imposing portal of the Palace with a light spring in our step, a smile on our face and a hope in our hearts that we will return once again, another day.


At Park Inn by Radisson, we choose to add color to your life. Through bright, bold and fresh hospitality, this energetic mid-market brand offers you an uncomplicated, friendly and fun guest experience. Park Inn By Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur is located on National Highway – 8, at Bilaspur which is within travelling distance to the industrial hub of Manesar, Dharuhera, Bhiwadi, Bawal and Japanese industrial zone based at Neemrana, all forming a part of the National Capital Region of New Delhi, India. Adding Color to LifeSM parkinn.com/hotel-gurgaonbilaspur

Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur NH-8, Bilaspur, Gurgaon - 122413, Haryana, India Toll Free: 1800 1800 369 November 2013 GO NOW

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hotel launch

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he gasp-inducing Falaknuma Palace Hotel in Hyderabad, the glorious ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, the stunning Leela Palace in Delhi and the luminous Suryagarh Fort in Jaisalmer…the last few years have seen the concept of luxury being redefined by premium hospitality players across the country. And now, for those seeking sybaritic pleasures of a whole new level, yet another enticing luxe launch just happened. Dusit Devarana, an urban luxury resort, threw open its doors to a collective gasp from the chi chi last month. With its glutinous water bodies, a profusion of flowering trees, and gorgeous purple, rust and mustard-hued architecture, the first glimpse of the property is sheer nirvana for the eyes. Positioned as an “urban retreat”, the 50-roomed resort is set

amid eight acres of gardens and seems perfectly secluded despite being located cheek-by-jowl to the chaotic Delhi-Gurgaon highway. A joint venture between Thailand’s premier hotel brand – Dusit International – and the Bird Group, the property claims to be the “very first of its genre”. And that it is. Festooned with domes and curves, the resort’s rooms flow into each other seamlessly while a striking wall of stained glass greets you in the lobby, its colors reflecting in a still pool below. Dusit Devarana has several water bodies, reflecting pools and the longest pool in Delhi (102 meters long), we’re told, with the Devarana Pool rooms opening straight onto a deck which leads you into the water! The resort’s massive driveway is surrounded by what looks like a tall black hedge, but is actually a barrier made of intricately carved

The newly launched Dusit Devarana property in New Delhi is an intimate, high-end sanctuary experience. by NEETA LAL

metal leaves. There’s also a giant hibiscus statue along the driveway, as if it’s fallen off a tree! However, the most interesting element, is acclaimed Thai architect and interior designer, Khun Lek Bunnag’s three-dimensional architecture in the dome area which incorporates light and shadow plays, which change hues as the day progresses. The original trees and a domelike structure, which was the family temple, were all retained from the original property. This is constructed with long slats of sandstone combining a feel of privacy as well as open space. A 335-foot-long temperaturecontrolled swimming pool isn’t the property’s only water-feature. One of its most charming accoutrements is a large pond next to the restaurant, home to a raft of ducks! According to Jaideep Anand, Area General Manager of the prop-

erty, the audience the resort is targeting are its key differentiator along with its facilities and uniqueness. “Ours is an ideal abode for the corporate elite, the highest end of conference and convention niche as well as the discerning leisure travellers across the globe,” avers Anand. A nd indeed, t he proper t y seems tailor-made for those seeking a quick (albeit expensive) getaway from the city but without navigating its kamikaze traffic to travel out of it. Each room comes with an iPad that operates your door (among other things). The controlled wilderness of Devarana’s courtyard is speckled with more than a thousand trees, fruit from which is used by the hotel to craft food and drinks. Some other delightful surprises include a family temple and a yoga pavilion. The aim, as its staff put it, is to create an ‘intimate, high-end

A ROYAL RETREAT:

DUSIT DEVARANA NEW DELHI

Entrance lobby 42

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Kiyaan Pillars

sanctuary experience.’ In keeping with its Thai roots, Bunnag has used the leitmotif of the “five elements” throughout the property. He has also leveraged the existing rich natural landscape to build a property that resonates with nature. It can best be summarized as a contemporary Indian art museum where the ‘architecture itself becomes art’. That unique design philosophy is manifest in the giant rotating pendulum on the staircase towards the lobby, the various moon shapes that emerge from large cutouts on the marble walls, the little flower details everywhere, and even in the shape of the recessed lights on the floor.  Such flourishes are hardly surprising considering the executive director of the hotel, Ankur Bhatia of Bird Hospitality, is himself passionate about design, and has strewn accessories (picked up from his travels) all over the property. At the moment only one of Interiors of Kiyaan

the hotel’s three dining options is open: the in-house restaurant, Kiyan. It creatively employs ingredients picked from a nearby vegetable and herb garden. “Kiyan’s USP is its farm-to-plate philosophy,” elaborates Chef Nishant Choubey, Executive Chef, Dusit Devarana New Delhi. New world cuisine is the way to go forward according to Choubey. Ergo, three set-menus offer European cuisine which is served nouvelle, Indian food which is presented in a contemporary way while Thai food is served in its traditional avatar. Organic fruits and vegetables create “astoundDusit room interiors

“Ours is an ing freshness” while the menu ideal abode for the changes periodically to keep the surprise element alive. corporate elite, the highest “Mi s o black cod, slow end of conference and cooked pork belly , foie convention niche as well as the gras with mulberry jam , toffee-coffee pudding are discerning leisure travellers some of our signature dishacross the globe.”

JAIDEEP ANAND Area GM

es,” adds the feted chef. But perhaps t he most exciting feature to experimental Delhi diners will be the arrival of Michelin-Star restaurant, Kai. Voted as one of London’s best Chinese restaurants, the eatery will be in an outdoor marquee structure at the Devarana. For those who want to slake their thirst in style, Iah Bar offers a select ‘young’ fare, offering trendy mixology options, boutique brewery beers and new age wines.

The ambience, music and service reflect the fashionable yet no-fuss attitude of today. How can a property like the Dusit be complete without a stateof-the-art spa? Devarana Spa, which owes its lineage to the age old Thai traditions, also offers spa cuisines from across the world. Expect ancient treatments and internationally trained expert hands which will not just pamper your body but calm your mind as well. In a place that showcases the best of Thai and Indian hospitality, it’s no surprise that Dusit’s staff is also international – a mix of Thai, Indian and European. Oh yeah, and a round-the-clock private butler (titled the “Devarana Life Style Executive”), a Jeeves-like character who will indulge your every whim! November 2013 GO NOW

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heritage discovery

The Art of the Matter

The Finesse of JORDAN GoNow brings you a first-hand experience of this renowned and culturally rich country, Jordan, fast becoming a hit with Indian tourists. Catching on equally with Bollywood producers, attractive packages are available through leading tour operators. Jordanian Airlines gives you direct connections. Text & photographs by HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER

J

ordan is thrice blessed. It lies in the crucible of three major faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Also intriguing traces of a fourth. All these have been packaged seamlessly along with a fusion of leisure and wellness. Questing for the roots of our beliefs, we discovered an intriguing little land. Atop the high citadel of the capital, A mman, t he bronze trumpets of history echoed in our minds. Massed far below, cars like bright beetles coursed down the roads, between the high-rises, of the capital of the kingdom of Jordan. We climbed the steps of the Archaeological Museum. Among the exhibits that caught our eyes was a goddess of the mysterious Nabatean Traders. She looked very Indian. Driving into town, we walked to the enormous, fanlike, Roman Theatre, excellently restored. In its wings were the Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Traditions. The jewellery was particularly interesting. It looked like the traditional ornaments worn by our women in Northern India. Out of Amman through arid thorn- scrub lands we arrived at one of most revered place of Christianity. For centuries. Bethany-beyondthe-Jordan had attracted pilgrims to the sequestered area controlled by the Baptism Site Commission. We bumped on a track through the thorn forests, alighted. A little further on, we stepped into the grounds of the imposing Church of St John the Baptist. Inside, among a profusion of murals, was one of the most beautiful portraits of The Madonna that we have ever seen. 44

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the 6th century, measures 88 sq meters. When it was discovered, it was thought to be the oldest map in the world and it shows what this land must have looked like 1,500 years ago. There is a fish in the Jordan River swimming away from the Dead Sea, horrified at its salinity. Green palms sway over oases. Lions hunt gazelle. Clearly, the land was not as arid then, as it is now. In fact, it was on the borders of the ‘Promised Land’ of the Bible, shown to leaders of the ancient Jewish people from Mount Nebo. We drove out and parked at the base of mount. Atop it stood the

Rose Red Petra “half as old as time’.

Outside the church, on the banks of the Jordan River, an Orthodox priest in a tall black hat, stood in a beautiful baptismal font kiosk, pouring blessed water on the head of a little girl while her parents and grandparents looked on proudly, John’s baptism of Jesus had started a tradition that Christians observe to this day We left Bethany and coursed deeper into the legendary lands of the Bible and stopped at the ancient city of Madaba.

Like much of Jordan, Madaba is built on undulating terrain. Roads wind, climb and descend, gnarled grey-green olive trees spread their shade on old walls, grape vines hang from trellises, and mosques raise their domes near the spires of historic old churches. When laying the floor of a church in the late 19th century, Madaba’s greatest artistic treasure was revealed. In the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, there is a mosaic map of the Holy Land. It was made in

Bedouin hospitality in Wadi Rum


heritage discovery

The Oval Plaza in Jerash: Roman heritage in an Arab town

Braided Cross with a sculpture of a snake coiled around it. The cross represented Christ as well as Moses with his arms outstretched, the snake recalled the serpent that Moses had once carried. From here, Moses had been allowed to see the land that he had been forbidden to enter. We looked out from this 800 meter high peak to the distant horizon where Israel’s

Jerusalem and Jericho could be faintly discerned. On May 15, 1948, the United Nations carved out Israel. Some believe that the promise to Moses had been fulfilled. And the world, and the Holy Land, changed. Parts of this Holy Land had, centuries earlier, been transformed by the Romans. Here, 2,000 years ago, they had

The Church of St. John the Baptist at the baptism site

reconstructed an Arabian town into a deliberately Romanesque Mediterranean centre with public baths, fountains, colonnaded streets, and theatres with VIP seats. They even altered its name from the Arabic Garshu to the Roman Gerasa. It is now known as Jerash. This is, reputedly, ‘the world’s best preserved Roman provincial city’, designed by skilled Roman architects and engineers. Visually its most impressive space is the Oval Plaza ringed by a colonnade of Ionic pillars. This was, clearly, a public meeting place, a concourse, where citizens exercised briskly in the morning, met and conversed through the

day, and strolled around and relaxed of an evening. Stretching out from the Oval Plaza is the impressive Colonnaded Street. This main thoroughfare of Jerash still carried the marks of chariot wheels, the preferred vehicles of those days. Halfway up this road, the columns become broader. This was the entrance to the Macellum, a covered marketplace: appreciably more organized than a bazaar or a gallery of street-shops. Hadrian’s Arch soared, honouring the visit of the Emperor Hadrian in AD 129. We left Jerash and drove deeper and deeper into this historic land, plunging into the fabled past. Our guide stopped our car. November 2013 GO NOW

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heritage discovery

Floating on the unsinkable Dead Sea

Walked to the edge of the road and said, dramatically, “Behold: the Dead Sea!” We stepped across and looked down. The stretch of water spreading between the bare mountains of Jordan and Israel looked as cold and uninviting as the Arctic Ocean. But it’s neither dead nor a sea. It is a saltwater lake. And it is far from dead. Apart from a whole host of harmless bacteria, it was alive with tourists who revelled in the many strange things about this wonderful “sea”. At 365 meters below MSL it is the lowest place on the surface of the earth, We went down to the beach and stepped into the Sea. It was comfortably warm. Other visitors were either standing in it up to their chests, or floating effortlessly on their backs, “In this water, our bodies do not sink deep enough to swim” said a fellow bather. We scooped up some water and tasted it: it was as acrid as liquid alum. True Dead Sea fans dip their hands into large urns filled with Dead Sea Sand. They scoop out handfuls of this black stuff and spread it on 46

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their bodies and claim that it’s great for the skin. To experience the Dead Sea had been one of our ambitions. Jordan held two others. Chasing another dream, we perched ourselves, precariously, on a rickety, aromatic, horse cart in a rock-strewn Jordanian town. For 1,200 meters we stumbled, creaked and jingled through a deep slash in the towering rocks. Indiana Jones, in his Last Crusade, had galloped through this ravine at breakneck speed chasing baddies in German uniforms. It was a tortuous, torturing, ride. Then, wonder swept like a balm over our tensed bodies. There, ahead, through a cleft in the rocks, constricted like the eye of a needle, was Rose-red Petra, half as old as time. We drew up in a piazza, micro-dotted with time-pilgrims like us. A whole winding canyon had been carved into tombs, palaces, churches, theatres, dwellings, even a high place of sacrifice crowning a great flight of stone

stairs. The people who designed all this, from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD, were the Nabateans, They, knew where to camp and where the hidden sources of water lay in the seemingly trackless desert. Their wealth and power burgeoned. Sadly, a great earthquake finally made the Nabateans abandon their city. Just as we were climbing onto our bone - shaking hor se - car t again, a bearded guide strolled up to us. “Excuse me” he said “I hear you are from India.” “That’s right” He held out his hand and shook ours. “We must thank you. You see, in the end, Petra was sustained by the spice caravans from India. Thank you again..” His comment got us thinking. The essential magic of Jordan lies in the resilience of its desert people. We set out to meet the original People of the Desert: the Bedouin in the incredible Wadi Rum. A sea of golden sand spread from horizon to horizon. Rising out of that sea were islands of rocks

in weird shapes, sculpted by the wind and sand over thousands of years. These carved, boulder-hills, looked black from a distance but, when we got closer, we found that they were rich with subtle shades of ochre, pink, grey, white and all the shades and tints in between. It was in this wonderful waste that David Lean had shot Lawrence of Arabia directing Peter O’Toole in the title role. Lawrence’s face had been carved on a rock in a small valley in Wadi Rum. In that sheltered place, too, there was a long Bedouin tent where we, and other visitors, drank cardamomflavoured coffee and admired hand-crafted souvenirs. It was then, while sipping gahwa-coffee, that a thought struck us. This essentially arid land has been a clean slate on which nations have wished to leave their mark. The gracious Jordanians have welcomed the signatures of others, and prospered. They have also, with great finesse, incorporated such flourishes into own their hospitable, desert, heritage.


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heritage collection

Odisha State Maritime Museum

Sailing through the M Odisha State Maritime Museum in Cuttack takes you through a beautiful journey involving the history and significance of boats and maritime culture in India. Nilabh Sinha, Principal Director, Indian Council of Conservation Institutes, INTACH explains the thought involved behind it.

Depiction of workers constructing a boat at the museum 48

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heritage collection our concept was also to reflect the relation of trade and traditions between India and other southeast Asian countries. India still has cordial trade relations with Bali, so we wanted to depict the cultural resemblances also. We had to dig into the history, find out all the trade routes that were there, similarities between the Indian traditions with Bali and other south-east Asian countries. Like, we have prepared a ravana depicting the similarities between Indonesian and Indian ravana. Also, we have depicted the dances and similarities in cultures and textiles of the two places. As it used to be a boat repair gallery, so we wanted to show all kind of boats that were prevalent at that time in different sizes and types. We have prepared replicas in smaller scales and presented them in the museum.

Various maritime tools on display at the museum

Where do you see it connecting?

Naveen Patnaik and Mallika Mitra during the inauguration

Maritime History W

hat was the basic concept behind Odisha State Maritime Museum?

This was a pre-found boat repair workshop, established by the British in 1869. They had huge machineries, and technology and this was near to the coast, so all boats and ships used to come here for repairing. Eventually, it was abandoned and taken up by the government; there were a lot of government officers working inside and they did construction as per their convenience. Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of the state, wanted this place to be developed and be something related to boats, etc… because of this, the Maritime Museum came up. Mallika Mitra, Director of INTACH Conservation Institute, was the main co-ordinator of the project and got the entire work executed. We had many meetings and developed the entire plan, got the officers to shift out from the whole building. With the working of government officials in the building, many things were

Do you think Cuttack is best suited for the museum?

altered and constructed; to restore the original building we had to remove all the new additions and bring back the original look of the building.

T he concept of the museum perfectly relates to Cuttack. It has a river which links to the sea, because of which various people used to come here to get their boats repaired. There is a connection and this is the region where this activity is reflected in people’s day to day lives, this adds up to be a reason for this museum to be here. If we depict this thing in Delhi, then maybe people can’t relate that well to what we are trying to showcase.

While restoring the building, what hurdles did you face?

As major parts of the building were not in use, so it was collapsing completely and because of the government officers functioning in it, its use was also changed. Because of an unattended building there were a lot of trees growing everywhere. The main challenge that we faced was first to evict the whole building, to move everyone out of it and then to dismantle all the later additions without affecting the basic fabric of the building and re-doing it in the proper fashion. Like, we have prepared a mill, so we had to prepare it as per the original concept, we couldn’t alter it. What scope do you see now?

We are targeting the general public to understand the history of maritime in this part of the world. The museum will help people in under standing t he whole concept behind boat making, its importance and its relevance. We have t hr e e dimen siona l models depicting various types of boats and different phases of boat making. What kind of Puja is offered before a boat is prepared, various rituals that are performed, we have tried to bring it all together at one place.

How has the response been till now and what next?

“Our second phase is a different thing; in this phase we are developing an area in the premises into a large aquarium.”

NILABH SINHA

Today, it is one of the largest Principal Director, Indian Council maritime museums in the of Conservation Institutes, countr y and it is solving the INTACH purpose very well. Apart from this,

We launched the museum on 1st Apr il and we are getting around 1,500 to 2,000 visitors per day. Our second phase is a different product; in this phase we are developing an area in the premises into a large aquarium. Here, people can see different kinds of fish; and will be a great attraction for visitors and locals of the city. It is expected to be inaugurated by the end of this year. As told to NIKITA CHOPRA

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metro wellness

The SpaLuscious Mumbai Four Seasons Spa

Located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the hotel, the Spa features 8 treatment rooms including 2 for couple’s treatments with relaxing bath, rain shower a nd pr ivate s te a m room. The Spa allows hours of uninterrupted escapism with its cool and serene ambience. The decor blends all natural materials of wood and stone giving an earthy, holistic feel. Separate men’s and ladies changing areas feature relaxation lounge, hot and cold experience showers, crystal steam room, ice fountain and vitality pool with bubble loungers. A fully equipped fitness centre, yoga studio, outdoor swimming pool and spa lounge area complete 50

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the wellness facilities. The Spa has won Best Hotel Spa in Mumbai and Best Hotel Spa in Asia. It offers 9 different massage modalities, traditional Ayurveda treatments, as well as body scrubs and wraps using organic, natural products. A range of professional facials are designed to nourish, balance, revive and boost the skin. A choice of spa rituals offer guests a personalised, healing journey. Go there for: Apoha Mizra, a 90 minutes signature massage that combines western techniques with ayurveda healing traditions. A full body massage is combined with heated poultices of medicinal herbs to relieve tension and enhance relaxation.

Special offer: Spa Time, where guests can enjoy their favourite 90 minutes massage for the price of 60 minutes. This is available daily from 10am to 3pm for `4,250 plus taxes. Reach them at: Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, 114 Dr. E. Moses Road, Worli, Mumbai- 400 018 Call on: 022- 24818000

Myrah Spa

The spa is spread over two levels and there’s an option to choose from the luxurious suites attached with private plunge pools at ground level and the upper floor suites equipped with hydro units. Myrah has fusion of whimsical and modern charm. Lavish yet subtle, its interiors are decorated with brocade back-

A range of professional facials are designed to nourish, balance, revive and boost the skin. A choice of spa rituals offer guests a personalised, healing journey. FOUR SEASONS SPA

Every other movie built on a story in Mumbai has an opening shot with people running and frowning upon their professions, careers and lives. Yes, we all think the very busy city needs to relax and may be needs some pampering too. What better way than getting indulged in a Spa therapy? Jet lag massage for the routine travellers, aroma therapy for the professionals and couple massages for the ones who need to spend some time alone. GoNow finds out the best Spas (read it a place to tranquilize and ease off) in Mumbai to make the spa experience here nothing but the best.


metro wellness The word Quan means source of pure water and we have tried and given our spa an ambience similar to underwater surroundings and colours.

QUAN SPA

drops, crystal chandeliers and ornate gold mirrors. It has won Best Day Spa Award from Vogue India Beauty Awards in 2011 for its great services that range from body polishes, massages, envelopments, hydrotherapy baths and facials. For ultimate pamper and care, one can also opt for add-ons like eye care, neck care, bosom care and slimming treatments. Go there for: l Age defying caviar envelopment with jasmine or hibiscus which moisturizes and firms the skin making it more youthful. l Age defying stem cell facial in which plant stem cells are used to boost skin’s natural cellular processes, making it firm and elastic while reducing wrinkles. l Signature massage in which best

massage strokes are synchronized to give a complete head-to-toe experience. Special Offer: Royal wellbeing Rewards programme entitles you to various discounts on massages, lounge experience and free consultation. Reach them at: 11 Palm Spring Society, Behind Shoppers Stop, Juhu, JVPD scheme, Mumbai 400 049. Call on: 098 20 040002

Quan Spa

Quan Spa at the JW Marriott Mumbai is located 2 levels below the lobby. All the treatment rooms here are colored differently to add to the jazzy ambience. “The word Quan means source of pure water and we have tried and given our spa an ambience similar to underwater surroundings and colours,” says Winningla Shimray, Director of Spa at JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai.

They also have exquisite couple spa rooms designed specially to instill romance in the air. Quan Spa has been awarded with various accolades like Most Luxurious Spa Treatment by Asiaspa, Best Hotel Spa by Pevonia Asiaspa, Best city spas in Mumbai by Condenast, etc. We offer Ayurvedic and Thai massages among which their speciality treatments are jet lag massage, perfect back

Royal wellbeing Rewards program entitles you to various discounts on massages, lounge experience and free consultation. MYRAH SPA

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metro wellness

Executive spa experience for men, which combines classic deep tissue sports massage and a cleansing Sothys facial. THE PALMS SPA

eration and support collagen and elastin which help in keeping away wrinkles. Special offers: They have different membership cards – silver for `20,000, gold for `36,000 and platinum for ` 50,000 which lets one enjoy various discounts and happy hour packages. Reach them at: 104, 1st Floor, Juhu Sea View Apartments, Juhu Road, Santacruz (West), Mumbai-400 049 Call on: 91 998 7570 943 / 022 65203330 They also have branches at Bandra, Versova and Chembur in Bombay.

and the ultimate aroma therapy the aroma therapy massage at massage, says Shimray. Along with `30,600 plus taxes massages, services like wraps, Special Offer: Ayurvedic treatscrubs, facials and hand/feet ritu- ment of Shirodhara and Abhyanga als are also offered. at `7,000 plus taxes and Quan Spa Go there for hand and feet ritual at ` 3,000 plus The Ultimate Aroma Therapy taxes. Massage which releases tension Reach them at: JW Mariott, and targets all parts of body. Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, They carefully apply pressure to Mumbai-400049 stimulate the nervous system, use Call on: 022-6693 3610 Swedish & neuromuscular tech- Aura Thai Spa niques to relieve muscular tension and use lymphatic drainage that focuses on encouraging Aura blood circulation. Thai claims to Couple Ritual: This comuse natural, botanical plete spa ritual is to boost spirits of you and your partextracts that boost cellular ner. Good way to spend a regeneration and support quiet, enjoyable and relaxcollagen and elastin which ing night together. Its starts help in keeping away with a bath ritual followed by a skin polish and finally wrinkles.

AURA THAI SPA

All the four spas of Aura Thai in Mumbai have modern amenities with simple décor which give their customers a calm and relaxed atmosphere. They offer traditional and authentic Thai spa services which is amongst the top 5 spa genres in the world. They earn plus points as all their therapists are certified and trained in giving traditional Thai massages and they use essential oils with tropical flowers for all therapies. The spa has bagged various awards amongst which are Rashtriya Vikas Ratna in 2013, Rashtriya Udyog Ratna in 2011, Spa Chain of the Year at Indian Salon Congress in 2013 and Best Day Spa by Asia Spa India in 2012. Go there for: Whitening body masque in which Aura Thai claims to use natural, botanical extracts that boost cellular regen-

The Palms Spa

Palms Spa is located in the green enclosing of Dhanraj Mahal, near the Gateway of India. The small jasmine-scented boutique spa has 3 treatment rooms, each with ensuite showers and steam rooms. “A great deal of attention has been paid to the environment in which guests receive their treatments,” says Karl Irani, the owner of Palms Spa. Natural elements like stones and plants are used in the designing of interiors so that calmness of nature soothes the visitor’s eyes. A fine contrast of refined and unrefined surfaces is skillfully established. Coming to their services, there’s a lot for luxurious pampering seekers – body polishes, facials and massages. They use good brand products like Sothys, Ramburi and organic range of Cnaan. Go there for: Executive spa experience for men, which combines classic deep tissue sports massage and a cleansing Sothys facial. The Palms Spa experience that pampers in three stages: first, a hydrating milk and honey scrub; then the yogurt, honey and pomegranate body mask, and finally a full-body Balinese massage. The highlight that comes in the end is raspberry and rhubarb facial for nourishing the face. If you have just come after a long journey, go for Palms’ Jet lag package that promises to relax and awaken your body by application of an espresso body scrub followed by jet lag and foot massage. Reach them at: Ground Floor, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Opposite the Yacht Club, Mumbai Call on: +91 22 66349898 or +91 22 66349922 compiled by SHWETA MITTAL

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metro golf

Golfing

Known for its handicrafts, lakes and gardens, Jammu & Kashmir has some of the finest Golf Courses too. Situated in the Kashmir Valley, its scenic beauty is unmatched and the picturesque background adds on to your overall golfing experience.

Around the summer capital of J&K

F

rom 9 to 18 holes, 2405 to 6984 yardage, Srinagar and Pahalgam in Jammu & Kashmir have golf courses of different kinds. They offers you an opportunity to play golf all through the summer from April to November. Also, due to its low temperatures, it allows you to play golf for longer duration in comparison to the plains. The golf courses that these cities hold in are:

Royal Springs Golf Course

Spread over 300 acres of hills and the local dense forests, lakes and wilderness. It is the only 18-hole golf course in the Srinagar and surely one of the most beautiful one. Located at the foothills of Zabarvan Hills and overlooking the azure Dal Lake, it is very close to the Mughal Garden, Chashma Shahi. Its beauty is very well credited to the globally acclaimed designer, Robert Trent Jones Jr. II who has designed more than 500 golf courses around the world. The biggest challenge that a golfer lands while playing at this course is in handling the rough on the course and reading the lines and slopes on the greens. Built in the year 2001, this 18-hole course is spread across an area of 6,984 yards with Par 72 serving challenges to all level of players. It also has three water bodies in different parts of the course which adds interest to the game. It offers its guests with all amenities to make them feel comfortable and focus on their game. Starting with basic services like caddy, driving range, Pro shop, and locker facility and changing rooms, it also offers golf set on rentals, practice putting range, cart/buggy, etc. It doesn’t offer facility of night golf, shoes rental, and also doesn’t allow on course F&B. You need not worry if you are not a member, as walk-ins can also play at the course. A fee around `1,500 is charged from guest accompanied by members, walk-in guests, and IGU members. For foreigners the fee is 40 USD. Green fees for 9 holes is `1,000. After your game, you can relish the savouries at the Sundeck which offers magnificent views of the course. The green at the 5th hole, a 195 yard par 3 is one of the toughest and dramatic holes with a view of the Dal Lake. Situated at an altitude of 5,250 feet, it is a tough cookie to play. 54

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factfile Royal Springs Golf Course, Cheshma Shahi, Boulevard Road, Srinagar. Distance from Airport: 17kms. From Railway Station: 300 kms. From City: 9.3 kms

Kashmir Golf Club

One of the oldest cour ses of the city, it has all the luxuries available that would making t he e x p e r ience of a g olfe r, unforgettable. Adjoining the city’s main avenue, it is located just two kms short of Dal Lake and 15 kms from the airport. It is a very professional course and the venue for some of the major tournaments held in the city. It has well-placed bunkers and hazards intermingled between chinars and pines. These trees appear as obstacles for a perfect round. This 18-hole course has nine common fairways and plays to a par of 70... It is spread across 52 expansive acres of lush grass adjoining the Maulana Azad road. A very interesting feature about the finishing hole of the course is that it has a hill in the backdrop which houses a very famous Shiva temple at its peak. The club has been talked about a lot in the history, the 98-year old Ghulam Mohammed; the famous pro man has been associated with the course. It also has a clubhouse where you can relax and go for lunch after your tiring game. Specially the South Indian food is relished the most at the club and is a must try. You can also go for a cigar, as they house one of the finest collections of the same. In

case you couldn’t carry your golf set, shoes, etc, then you can rent them at the course, for a nominal fee of `300 each. Apar t from t he member s, others people who are coming to the course need to pay a fee to try their hand on the course. If you are visiting Srinagar for a long period of time and wish to play the sport regularly, then tr ying to get the membership would be a better option. Charges vary from weekdays to weekends, guests accompanying members need to pay `800 on weekdays and `500 on weekends. Whereas, walk-in guests would be charged `3,000 on weekdays and `1,500 on weekends. Foreigners coming to the club need to pay `1,500 on weekday s and ` 3,0 0 0 on weekends. IGU members can also play at the course by paying `600 on weekdays and `1,300 on weekends. The payments can only be made by credit cards. factfile Kashmir Golf Club, Moulana Azad Road, Srinagar, Distance from Airport: 15kms From Railway Station: 300 kms From City: 3.7 kms

Pahalgam Golf Course

This beautiful 18-hole golf course in Pa ha lga m i s sure to ta ke you by surprise with its natural landscape and beauty. A relatively undiscovered golf course of J&K, the Pahalgam Golf Club, designed by Ranjit Nanda, a professional golf cour s e a rchitect, i s s et amongst fir-covered mountains and snow-capped peaks. “It is

Switzerland in India”, exclaimed Pankaj Sharma, Reliance industry distributor for northern India on his return last month. Developed by Pahalgam Development Authority, the course is long, has changes in elevation that make for a dramatic game, has water in play on 6 holes, has bunkers of all sizes and shapes and has its fair share of hazards and OB areas making it a course that will test your skills, strategy and patience. At an altitude of 7250 plus feet your ball will travel a good 8% further but that does not make this course any less challenging. Ravinder Zutshi, Deputy Managing Director, Samsung India adds that the course is extremely well maintained. “The fairways are well cut and well maintained and the hazards are so beautifully laid out. The water bodies are hardly

6 inches deep and filled with pebbles, so the water remains clean and you don’t lose your ball”. Sharma adds that he visited Pahalgam after 1985 and couldn’t under understand why he waited this long. “The temperature was ideal at 9-10degree Celsius with not much wind and clear skies”. Summing up, Zutshi says that “it was an absolutely amazing experience. The natural beauty is breath-taking. I could never imagine such lush greenery and pure clean air and ‘cushioned greens’ where your feet sink in just a bit.” T he G r e e n Fe e fo r w a l kins through the week is `1,200 for guests, IGU members and foreigners. It is recommended to book the golf cart in advance. Pahalgam is about 100 kms from the Srinagar airport. by TEAM GO NOW

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travel icon With almost 800 concerts in approximately eight years across the globe, Kailash Kher is someone who is responsible for shedding the boundaries between the nations with his Sufi and pop music. Whenever he performs abroad, people from across communities, never fail to groove on his melodious tracks. With each day he is becoming more and more desirable and his global fame is accelerating. GoNow, in a recent conversation with him, finds out the role of music in binding people together and how is he achieving it.

H

ow do you connect your music to audiences across the world?

enthusiastic audience?

Music is like love, happiness, purity, trance and meditation for me. It has never needed language or any geographical sensibilities. A good piece of music touches the heart directly irrespective of language or skin colour. 

There are several to quote. However, the one in Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA, was quite hilarious. I requested people to shake their booties and they were so much engrossed in the music that they literally did it. People’s reactions have always motivated me to perform better. It’s great to perform amongst a responsive audience.

How have your experiences been, performing in different parts of the world?

Any specific destination where you would like to perform in the future?

We have per for med for all k ind s of audiences the world over – from Indian diaspora across the globe to prestigious music festivals. Not only for the South Ea st A sians but also Amer icans and Europeans dance to our music. I have seen people from all around the world crying, smiling and dancing transcending over any community they may belong to. Once they are into music, language becomes meaningless and is easily forgotten.

Your most memorable performing experience?

My recent one in Oslo (Norway), where more than 70,000 people attended the concert and more than half were nonHindi/Urdu speaking audiences from Norway. It’s exhilarating to see how music transcends people over their religion or language.

Where have you witnessed the most

I am looking forward to participating in Japan. Recently, a senior journalist from Japan told us that our music is highly appreciated there and I guess I should plan my next performance soon in Japan.

What part do you believe music plays in bringing people from various parts of the world together?

Music is something, which I believe is elevated above everything else in the world. I think it takes you on the path of God, and nature. No boundaries, no discrimination, it treats everyone alike and when people hear good music they don’t discriminate. Like, I have said earlier, music plays a big role in bridging the gap between various nations.

What can we expect from your band at Bacardi NH7 Weekender?

Some exceptionally mad crowd, real music lovers and a new sect called NH7. as told to ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

KAILASH KHER

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last page

Log-on to WoNoBo for panoramic views of India Ever wondered, if you could re-visit your old school while sitting in your bedroom? No? WoNoBo helps you do it with its 360o panoramic views of each nook and corner of major cities of India, soon to launch for a total of 54 cities.

O

ffering 360˚ immersive p a nor a mic v iew s of street s acros s the c o u n t r y, Wo N o B o brings the major cities of India to your desktop. It shows real life pictures of every street, market, landmarks and even unknown places of the cities. To start with, it have introduced the maps for 12 major cities of India, namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coastal Goa, Pune, Agra, Jaipur and Surat. It will soon be expanding this service to top 54 cities of the country. So now, you can view any city while sitting at your home. Adding on to this, WoNoBo.com also offers 360o immersive panoramic views of interiors of over 2, 000

search bar the desired destination you are looking for, the pictures on the website are such that they will show you the real-life pictures, helping you to take the correct turn, unlike the other maps which just show the outline of the city. This interactive website also has a small window on the right hand side bottom corner which gives the outline map too. While viewing the directions, you will also find a few tags of different colours on the screen which name the landmarks, like any particular monument, restaurant, hotel, museum, etc. You can revisit your school or your favourite restaurant in the hidden streets of the city or any other place you wish to see. In collabor ation w it h t he Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India campaign, WoNoBo has also produced some walking tours based on different themes which will help users to walk around Indian cities and rediscover them. These tours can guide the tourists perfectly on where they should go and how. So now you don’t need a tour The walking guide anymore, you tours will tell can just view the tourists on what is walking tour, select the places that you fascinating in our country would like to visit and for what they a nd g e t g oi n g. should visit it. Along with this, the website also PARVEZ DEWAN Sajid Malik and Parvez Dewan at the launch of WoNoBo ha s pr intable cit y Secretary, MoT

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top busines s establishment s. “There is a need to engage in our cities and allow the technology to connect. This is our offering to India and to everyone who is interested in India. With immersive panoramic experience, it allows the viewers to do a lot of things. We have prepared one of the most advanced maps in India as it is not only about landmarks but every nook and corner of different cities of the country. It is basically a technology platform which allows you to slice and dice a city as per your will,” explains Sajid Malik, Chairman & Managing Director, Genesys International. Once you reach the website, you can select the city you are in or the one you would like to visit (if they differ). Then type in the

guides, which you can take along with you while on the road. These too very well guide you through the streets and markets of the city. So now you just need to plan your trip to India, take a flight and come, rest WoNoBo will help you on where you should go and how and when. The walking tours will tell people coming from abroad to India on what is fascinating in our country and for what they should visit it. Parvez Dewan, the Tourism Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, says that in a course of two years, every state in India will have one walking tour and the ones which are on the top in a tourist’s visitors list will subsequently have more. “Domestic Tourism is the bread and butter of India, and initiatives like these will attract Indians to visit different parts of their country,” adds Dewan. Very soon, WoNoBo will also be available in your hands on your smartphone. This will help you in using it while driving with your GPS. You can switch between the map and the 360˚ views. Adding on, Malik says, “If you are travelling to a new place, you can check out the interiors of a hotel and decide while sitting at your home on which hotel you would like to stay at. You can also share your location with your family and friends; this adds on as a plus point for concerns relating to security.” by NIKITA CHOPRA


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Date of Publication: 03/06/2013

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